Destination Tips

Japan is Back! A Travel Primer for Newbies.

Jake Redman October 11, 2022 5

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Japan has reinstated visa-free travel to several countries, so now may be the time to start planning a trip. Japan is a wonderful country thanks to its many natural landscapes and beautiful architecture. It’s a country that’s rich in history and its people are said to be some of the most polite and kind individuals on the planet.

Japanese sake barrels - Tokyo, Japan
Japanese sake barrels – Tokyo, Japan


Japan is the kind of place that truly has something to offer every type of traveler. Whether it’s someone looking to delve into history, to try the delicious food, or to simply relax and unwind, there are lots to do.

If a trip is on the cards for Japan in 2022 or beyond, then there are plenty of things to do in order to make the most out of this vacation. With that being said, here are some helpful tips to get the best experience out of a trip to Japan.


Take time to do research on Japan

Before traveling or organizing a trip to Japan (or anywhere new), it’s good to do research. For those who’ve never been to Japan before, it’s important to take scope of what’s out there and how to get the most out of this excursion. It’s a big place and it can be easy enough to get lost or start aimlessly wandering from one location to another, without really knowing where to go.

Take some time to do research on Japan so that the trip can be tailored around what the group wants to see or if it’s just a solo travel trip, it’ll help find all the best places for those lone travelers to the country.

Organize private tours for part of the trip

When it comes to a new country, it can easily feel overwhelming. There’s so much to do and see in Japan and not everyone has the boldness to take to the streets and find their way about.

Sometimes, a good way to get an overview of the country is by organizing a private tour. Japan tours that are private and highly customizable are going to help the individuals on the vacation, to see everything that makes up Japan.

It’s worth having an idea of what type of activities or viewpoints are on the to-do list so that everything can be checked off initially. Once the private tour is over, it can then be a you can always go back to those spots for a deeper dive.

Private tours aren’t for everyone but they’re highly customizable and can take away some of the heavy-lifting like navigation and digging deep for information about places visited.

a man taking a selfie
Jake gets a personalized welcome to Sapporo.


Think before purchasing the Japan rail pass

When it comes to the country’s or the destination’s transport, it’s always good to assess how beneficial it is for travel. For some places, like Rome in Italy for example, there is likely no need for travel on the metro as most of it can be walked. Of course, it may be that tourists rack up thousands of steps throughout the day, but it means a lot of the city can be explored on foot.

For Japan, the Japan Rail Pass may not be as useful to some as it may be to others. Consider whether or not the JRP is worthwhile, especially as it doesn’t cover all train providers. It may be worth the investment if there are particular spots on the list to visit. There’s also the benefit of getting to a place faster, when taking public transport.

For some tourists, it may be more important to spend more and get there quicker than to save money and extend the length of time it takes to get to a location.

Japanese Kyoto local train traveling on rail tracks along the railway. Japan
Travel by rail in Japan can be an efficient way to go if it fits your itinerary.

Buy tickets in advance for certain activities

This is the case in many travel destinations around the world due to popularity and simply ease of use when traveling. Buying tickets in advance for certain activities and locations is important. 

Some recommendations for booking in advance include Tokyo Disney, Sumo Wrestling, and traditional tea ceremonies to name but a few. Activities are important to book in advance because it helps to get the best, authentic experience of Japan and what it has to offer.

It can also end up saving money on those activities that may be more expensive to pay for in person. There’s also the chance that some may be fully booked by the time the trip comes around.

Check the weather before packing for Japan

Depending on the time of year that the trip is planned for, it’s important to check the weather before planning. March to May and September to November are the best times to go if looking for warm and sunny weather.

For all other months, it can often be subjected to cold weather and sometimes snow. It’s worth noting because the last thing a person wants when traveling somewhere new is to pack for the wrong weather conditions. 

Know the culture’s do’s and don’ts

Just like anywhere in the world, Japan has its own culture, which comes with its do’s and don’ts for tourists. Here are some do’s and don’ts to be prepared for when it comes to the trip to the  country.

  • Do slurp food.
  • Don’t tip.
  • Do accept gifts whenever they’re given.
  • Don’t touch others.
  • Do take your shoes off.
  • Do abide by random police searches.
  • Don’t be loud on public transport.

There are lots more cultural do’s and don’ts, so make sure to do the research before traveling. 

Grill beef in Japanese restaurant
From street fare to high-end dining. Japan has the food.

Learning some basic phrases

Basic phrases are important to know when it comes to traveling somewhere where the tourist’s native language isn’t native to that country. With that being said, making the effort to learn some basic phrases can go a long way in helping create a good impression.

There are plenty of applications that can be used online to learn the basics when it comes to the Japanese language. Of course, not everyone is going to get even the basic terms right when it comes to pronunciation. However, it’s great to show that an effort has been made to learn it. 

Enjoy the beautiful country of Japan

Japan is a truly beautiful country that many go back to again and again to explore. Use these tips to ensure the best opportunities are taken advantage of with any upcoming trips.


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Jake Redman

Jake Redman

Modhop Host & Founder Jake Redman brings years of global exploration and travel tips to the podcast and our videos at Modhop. Jake is also a Producer and Host for SiriusXM.

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