Planning a trip is not only deciding which cities you’re going to visit. There are also a lot of others things to know, especially when coming to Japan. So if you’re planning a visit to Japan, here are 6 things you should know before your trip.
1) JR Pass is only valid on JR trains
JR Pass doesn’t cover subway trains, some buses and Nozomi shinkansen. You can check here about lines covered by the JR Pass. So if you plan to take the subway, you can buy tickets, but the best option is to buy an IC card, such as a Suica or a Pasmo card.
2) Japan is a cash society
It is very common in Japan to pay in cash rather than by card. A lot of shops do not accept credit cards. Moreover, many Japanese ATMS do not accept foreign debit and credit cards. Click here to know more about places where you can withdraw cash with foreign credit card.
3) Use Hyperdia
Public transport in Japan is really efficient, but also very complex since there are so many different trains, lines, and platforms. Fortunately, the famous site and app Hyperdia will help you. Hyperdia is a route finder, available in English, Japanese and Chinese. You just have to put in your departure station, arrival station, date and time of travel. The app is free for 30 days.
4) Free WiFi is hard to find
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Japan is seen as a leader in high-tech technologies. However, when it comes to free WiFi, you will notice that there are actually few free WiFi hotspots available! The app Town WiFi can help you connecting to many WiFi hotspots, but if you want to use internet everywhere, it would be a great option for you to rent pocket WiFi.
5) In some shops, you can be exempted from paying consumption tax
If you’re a temporary visitor, you can be exempted from paying the 8% consumption tax if you’re shopping at tax-free shops. A lot of shops are tax-free, such as the famous drugstore Matsumoto Kiyoshi (マツモトキヨシ), or the department store chain Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ). Don’t forget to show your passport and to check if the shop is setting minimum purchase amounts for tax exemption. Here are some rules about tax exemption.
6) Emergency phone numbers
Finally, here are some useful phone numbers in case of emergency: ・Police: 110 ・Fire/ Ambulance: 119 ・Japan Helpline Service (24/7, English): 0570 000 911 And if you don’t speak Japanese, here is a guide of essential survival Japanese.
We hope that this article will help you planning your trip to Japan!