Japan FAQ Guide

Japan FAQ Guide

Under popular demand from many friends, acquaintances and mutuals, I have done an FAQ guide which has been divided into three sections: First-time Visitors, Regular Travellers and Living in Tokyo

Please understand that this is from my point of view coming from someone who speaks Japanese, has lived there and last went there in December 2023 so my perspective might be very different to yours. It is your choice to mix and match what I say to your liking.  

How long should I stay in Japan?

First-Timers – 2 weeks maximum in 3-4 cities. I’d recommend Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka with the fourth being Yokohama or Nara.
Frequent Travellers – 3 weeks to a month if you’re financially able to and want to see more places and friends. Go to cities or towns in other regions e.g. Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa if possible.
Living in Tokyo – Depends on the visa you get.

When’s the cheapest and best time to go? 

Due to inflation in the current climate, it’s best to book 9 months to a year beforehand as prices can surge unexpectedly.

The best sales for cheap flights are usually in January or September. Best time to go is mid to late May, early to mid September and November. Avoid Golden Week which is usually early May.

Commercially, attending Summer festivals can also get incredibly hot from June all the way until September (28° – 40°) so if you’re not a fan of the heat, don’t go. Around Halloween, it’s still quite warm (23° average) during October till early December.

Sakura/Hanami season

Around mid to late January, there are announcement sites about when it is predicted for the best time to go view the full bloom. Commercially, Sakura season (March/April) has been getting later and later due to climate change so follow this site for more information on when to go before deciding. 

Hanami Viewing (Cherry Blossom Viewing)
Sakura themed Food & Drinks (from 2017 so likely to have changed)

Hotel, Hostel or Airbnb?

Hotel, definitely. All the places I stayed in around Japan can be found here (just filter it to places to stay). You can also do hostel as a second option. I’ve never tried Airbnb, sorry.

Where should I stay?

JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Fukuoka
Comfort Hotel Hiroshima Otemachi
APA Hotel Kyoto Eki Horikawadori
Matsuyama Tokyu REI Hotel
Guesthouse Sumicco
Watermark Hotel Sapporo
Hotel Mystays Asakusabashi
Hotel New Tohoku
Tokyu Stay Gotanda

How much spending money do I need to bring?

Check First-Time Visitors and Regular Travellers to see individual amounts.

Should I buy a IC Card or JR Rail Pass?

If you’re travelling a lot, I’d say both. The IC Card is very convenient for metro/tube/underground train in most cities (I’ve used it in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto). JR Rail Pass is something I highly recommend for people who have never been to Japan because if you want to go to the most popular cities, instead of paying approximately ¥14,000 (£95) one-way, you could pay for a week and go anywhere at anytime with just one rail pass.

Do I need to speak Japanese?

In my opinion, yes. Basic greetings and sentences are helpful as I don’t think it’s as English friendly as most people think. The more you go out of the major cities (e.g. rural areas and small towns,), the more Japanese you’ll have to speak. Also in certain eateries, English menus have a higher price than Japanese ones so try and do your best with reading a bit too. If you’re not good at languages, then don’t speak too fast in English (but not in the way that the media portrays people do in the form of linguistic racism) so people can understand. Go to First-Time Visitors, Regular Travellers and Living in Tokyo for more information.

Will my expectations of Japan be a reality? What are some do’s and don’ts?

Read this article and also this additional one here before I may crush your hopes and dreams below:
– In terms of architecture of buildings and other settings from what you see in dramas, slice of life anime/manga and reality tv, it’s quite accurate.
Dos: Read up on basic mannerisms, learn some Japanese, bring cash as it’s a 60/40 cash-card payment ratio, be a bit quiet on public transportation, be organised and do things in advance (e.g. purchasing tickets, having money to read properly etc.)
Don’ts: Be a hot mess (e.g. shouting, being vulgar, being white girl drunk or being an uncultured swine), act kawaii and be an anime character. You’ll embarrass yourself, they just won’t tell you to your face.
– Avoid talking on the phone in public transport (For example, shinkansen’s have spaces in between passenger cars where people can take calls).

Where can I eat or drink for cheap?

There is actually a range of affordable restaurants that I recommend along with conibini snacks from Family Mart, Lawsons, Sunkus and 7/11.

Vegetarian or vegan friendly: I’m not knowledgeable about vegan eateries, sorry. But for vegetarian, I wrote an article with recommendations for vegetarian restaurants here.

Where do you recommend going clothes shopping?

For brands to shop at, here’s my recommended brands list and where exactly to get bigger size shoes. I would also advise:
Try before you buy. Refund is possible but I have never seen anyone do it, nor myself. I have only exchanged with receipt so if you’re a serial returner, please try before you buy, don’t buy it on impulse.
S is usually a UK Size 6-8, M and One Size is the standard size which equals to a 10/12 and L would be about 12/14. I rarely see XL except for brands like PUNYUS
– Some brands are getting better with clothing that has stretchy material such as GU, Uniqlo, S.I2.C., OLIVE des OLIVE and American Holic.

What bars or clubs should I go to?

Recommending bars, clubs, DJs and spaces only in Tokyo but hopefully they’ll be more to come when I go to other cities/towns in the future:

1OAK (R&B/H/Reggaeton/EDM) in Azabuujuban
AMAPINIGHT (Amapiano/Reggae/R&B) all over Japan. Check their schedule on IG.
BAIA (Pop/EDM/Hip-Hop) in Shibuya.
Garam (Reggae/Dancehall) in Shinjuku.
Harlem (R&B/Hip-Hop/Dancehall) in Shibuya.
Music Bar in Shibuya.
nasthug (House/R&B/Hip-Hop/Dancehall) all over Japan. Check her schedule on IG.
Star Bar in Ginza.
Triad Bar in Ebisu.

What apps should I download?

Most may not work in your region unless you get a SIM card (e.g. fashion apps) but these are ones I’d recommend to download before going to Japan.
– Hinative 
– JR Line Map (Android only)
– Tokyo Subway Navigation
– yomiwa 

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

2 thoughts on “Japan FAQ Guide

  1. Planning this (my first) trip to Japan has been doing my head in! But this has been really useful! Some of these things I didn’t even consider or think of but, I’ve learnt a lot from just reading this. So thank you for writing this. Also, I LOVE the way it’s written! I’m definitely going to read the articles that are linked to this. Especially on food. ???

    1. Thanks a lot Junior! I’m glad it has helped you out and thanks for the support ? Any more things you think about for your trip, just message me whenever!

%d bloggers like this: