It's All Good.
planning a trip to japan really isn't that complicated! We promise.
It's not terribly different from visiting anywhere in the states, except that not everyone speaks English, and the country seems to have a thing against tampons. Despite that, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you feel absolutely confident in your trip!
Do I need to speak Japanese?
Not at all! While it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a basic understanding of the language, Japan’s not too hard to get around without knowing the language. If you’re particularly concerned about it, book us to accompany you on your trip as we’re all fluent in the language and cultural nuances of Japan.
What’s the electricity situation like in Japan? Should I pack converters?
- Japan runs on a 100-volt grid, which is different from the US (120v) and Central Europe (230v). Eastern Japan runs on a 50hz current, while Western Japan is 60hz.
- However, the vast majority of sockets in Japan are a 2-prong, polarized sockets which are identical to those 2-prong sockets used in the US. Coming from the US, the only thing you should consider is whether the electronics you are bringing with you have a 2 or 3-pronged power supply. If you are bringing electronics with 3-pronged power supplies, you can find adapters here or pretty much any other store that carries electronics equipment.
- If you are coming from somewhere outside of the US and have concerns about power supply, you can check here for details and recommendations, though we (Kaala) does not guarantee 110220volts.com’s reliability in business and you would be using them at your own risk.
- For more information, check here
What should I pack?
Travel to Japan isn't uniquely complicated. We suggest packing the way you'd pack for any trip for the most part. Underwear, toiletries, your battle jacket and legitimately ripped jeans.
The only items of note might be socks without holes in them (you'll likely be slipping your shoes off a lot, if visiting people's homes), a power converter (if coming from Europe - North American plugs should work find in Japan, if at a slightly lower voltage), and a hand towel (besides the fact that a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have, Japanese bathrooms also lack towels or hand dryers).
And really that's it!
What about prescription drugs in Japan?
Generally speaking, you are allowed to bring up to 1-month’s supply of a prescription drug with you into the country without any sort of licensing or application. For more than 1 month, you may need to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei.
Please refer to this document for details.
Do you have a script for food allergies?
For those of you with food allergies, Japan is definitely a country to keep your eyes peeled and to play it safe. While there are many restaurants that will be able to cater to your dietary needs, it is far from the case that all will be willing to do so, and not even the case that the ones who are willing will meet the standard you require. So, be cautious.
Here’s a link with a decent run down of allergies in Japan.
Will you be holding my hand the entire time?
You can choose how much you want us to be involved in your experience - if you’re a real adventurer who likes to engage with the unknown, you’re free to explore the landscape on your own; or, if you’d like us to hang around, show you the grittiest bars, speak Japanese, and get you into the after parties, you’re welcome to have us along for the ride too.
What’s Japan’s wi-fi situation like?
Spotty. Various convenience stores claim to offer free wi-fi service, but login is a cryptic puzzle and there is no guarantee you’ll be able to gain access. Many train stations, at least within Tokyo, offer free service, but while the login is considerably easier you will lose access once out of the station. Hotels usually have wi-fi, but there are definitely ones that still offer cable connections.
Point being, don’t rely on Japan to provide you with wi-fi; rely on yourself.
Many phone service providers have affordable international package
Are there any faux pas / taboos / social things I NEED to be prepared for?
Tattoos aren’t nearly as trouble causing as you may have been led to believe, but there are still places where tattoos are banned and where you could get kicked out, such as any pool, gym, onsen (spa), ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), and most water parks and beaches. It's also considered respectful to cover your tattoos at temples and sacred sites.
Check out this article for some helpful information.
Tipping isn't a thing. If you do tip, your server may chase after you to give you the money you accidentally left behind. No need to challenge expected behavior here, as a tip won't be received in the same way as in America.
Right and left are swapped, when it comes to movement. Cars drive on the left, and people walk on the left.
Be prepared to take your shoes off when you enter someone's home.
What about bathroom-y / sexy stuff?
Japan’s traditional “squatty potty” toilets are still relatively common, especially outside of the metro areas, so be prepared to take the most awkward bathroom break of your life. You can prepare yourself here.
Japan’s hi-tech toilets, on the other hand, can be equally as befuddling, especially when addressing the notoriously controversial bidet feature. Think of it this way: after a particularly vigorous gym routine, do you dab the sweat away with a towel and leave it at that, or do you jump into the shower? Same concept. Check out details here.
When it comes to that time of the month, Japan has a mighty preference for the pillowy pad. Are tampons impossible to come by? Not at all, but selection is something of an issue. Read more about this here.
Bathrooms generally don’t provide paper towels or hand dryers at the sink, so you might want to consider carrying tissue paper around with you. Or just wipe your hands on your pants.
Condoms can be found in pretty much every convenience store. Wink.