How to Prepare for an Upcoming Visit to Japan
Japan is one of the most popular tourist destinations throughout Asia thanks to its stunning location, its natural beauty and what can only be called an extremely unique culture. This is why it is wise to plan ahead if you hope to make the most out of what such a holiday experience has to offer.
Of course, some logical steps include learning important phrases with the help of an online Japanese tutor and deciding upon what time of the year is the most appropriate to visit. There are still a handful of lesser-known suggestions which will help to ensure that your stay will provide memories to last a lifetime. Let us take a look at some practical (and perhaps surprising) tips espoused by the experts.
Plan Ahead in Terms of Commuting
Japan is quite a large country and it can be challenging to navigate the numerous roads and highways (particularly if you have difficulty reading Japanese). This is why most travellers will instead leverage the efficiency of the national transportation system. If you plan on visiting far-off locations, it is essential to purchase a Japan Rail Pass well in advance of your departure date. This single pass will allow you to travel throughout the country without being forced to pay additional fares.
What Time of the Year is the Best to Visit?
While it is possible to visit Japan throughout the year, most experts agree that some seasons will offer more amenable weather conditions than others. Spring and autumn tend to offer the best conditions in terms of temperature, flora and fauna. Let us also recall that Japan can become quite cold in the winter; especially if you will be travelling to the north of the country. As the spring and autumn seasons are also popular with foreign travellers, make it a point to book any reservations at least two months in advance of when you plan to depart.
Some travellers will find Japanese culture slightly different when compared to common western practices and mores. However, there are a few simple tips which will enable you to be prepared for what is in store. For example, bowing is a sign of mutual respect amongst friends, colleagues and even strangers. The Japanese also encourage slurping sounds when eating food, as this is considered a sign that the meal is tasty and appreciated.
Also, one popular myth involves the notion of Japanese formality. While this might have been true in the past, younger generations are now much more open in regard to how they interact with others; even foreigners. Do not be afraid to ask for directions if you become confused in a larger city or to enquire about a specific Japanese phrase. The chances are high that any passers-by will be more than happy to oblige.
Japan is a nation with a rich and proud history. Learning some of its basic cultural nuances is therefore a great way to show your appreciation for their welcoming nature and to become fully immersed within the culture.