Tips and recommendations for traveling to Japan

Below you will find some things that we consider helpful to know before going to Japan:

Transportation

  • The JR Pass does not give you any help on city transport in Tokyo or Kyoto.
  • A Tokyo day pass is worth buying if you plan to make more than 8 subway connections in a day. Otherwise, it would be better to buy single tickets (in Tokyo, 150 yen, in Kyoto, 220 yen).
  • A reserved seat on the Shinkansen is not necessary, although it costs almost the same amount as a fare ticket (for example, from Tokyo to Kyoto, fare 7980, reserved seat 5740 Yen in addition). JR pass holders who want to have a reserved seat can buy only this part. If you have a JR Pass, you can use the Hikari and Kotara trains. There are always cars 1–5 (or 1-3) for non-reserved seats. Although we traveled with the Shinkansen 8 times, we never saw anybody standing. In the non-reserved car, there were always seats available.
  • On the bus, you pay for a ticket when you exit. It is better to have exact money, but it is possible to get change from 1000 yen.
  • For timetables and connections, www.hyperdia.com is a very helpful place to look at. It is easily understandable and gives you up-to-date information on how to get from point A to point B most efficiently.
  • Depending on how far you ride the train, Tokyo Metro prices range from 170 to 320. A one-day pass is also available for 600 per person, per day.

Accommodation

  • Best value for money can be obtained using business hotels.
  • Ryokan (a Japanese-style guest house) is worth trying. Not all ryokans take a fortune for the night there.

Money

  • The easiest way to get along is to have cash.
  • A credit card can be used for Shinkansen ticket purchases from ticket kiosks, also in bigger department stores and brand stores.
  • Not all ATMs are usable with Visa or Cirrus cards.

Dining

  • A restaurant’s ramen noodles cost about 900 yen.
  • Sandwich prices at Family Mart or 7-Eleven range from 200 to 350.
  • A restaurant’s Asahi beer costs about 500 yen.
  • Cold beverages purchased from vending machines cost 150.
  • Sushi nigiris cost about 200 yen each pair.
  • A can of beer costs between 200 and 350 yen at convenience stores.

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