Japan is a country located in western asia off the coast of Korea and China. Japan consists of a series of islands, Hokkaido in the north, and Honsu in the south are the two main islands. Okinawa is also a known island with a large U.S. Military Prescense.
The Capitol of Japan is Tokyo which is located on the island of Honsu. Tokyo is also the largest city population wise in Japan.
Other Notable cities in Japan are Osaka, Kyoto, Nagano, Nagoya, Yokohama, and Sapporo.
Japan is noted for it’s electronic and automotive industries and also for it’s anime genre, interesting game shows, and J-Pop. Most major cities have a busy city center filled with businesses and alleys filled with bars, restauraunts, and small vendors.
The currency of Japan is the yen with 1 yen worth roughly 1 U.S. cent. While Japan is a modern society with a large technology sector, its economy is still mainly cash based, most shops only accept cash or cashless payment based on the Suica/Passimo card system. With the 2020/2021 Olympics coming there is a push to get more businesses to accept credit cards, but for now it is still wise to have cash on hand for any transaction. Larger stores (BIC Camera, Don Quioxite, etc) and western hotels accept cards, but most stores and vendors still accept only cash. You should get a coin purse as you will end up with a lot of coins while in Japan. Trains, convienence stores, and a lot of department stores also accept and use a contact less payment system known as Suica, Iocaca, or Passimo. This system allowys you to fill up a card at a train station with cash and then just tap it to use trains and subways, and to purchase items at stores.
Japan has a large Transportation system consisting of Trains, Buses, Airplanes, and Ferries. If you want to rent a car note you will need an International Driving Permit. Japan is one of the few countries I have traveled to where my U.S. drivers licenses was not accepted and in which I needed an internation driving permit. Note you do not need to drive in Japan, during out trip we survived on public transportation and only had the IDP to be able to drive Mario Karts. If you are going to be going to muliple cities in Japan it may make sense to get a JR Rail Pass. We have a post on the JR Rail pass so be sure to check it out here: https://bald-traveler.com/what-is-a-jr-rail-pass/.
- Medication: https://bald-traveler.com/medication-in-japan/
- Do not bring Walkie-Talkies/FRS radios, the bands they operate on are regulated in Japan.
- Do not bring knives or lock pick tools. These are highly regulated in Japan.
- Even pocket knives with short blades can be problematic.
- In the cities most signs also have English and most locals can speak some English.
- Learn some key phrases in Japanese.
- Always have your passport, if the police ask for it, be nice and give it to them.
- Save your Receipts for tax free purchases, you need to turn them in when you leave so stores get credit for them.