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 help you on city transport in Tokyo or Kyoto.
  • A Tokyo day pass is worth buying if you plan to make more than eight subway connections daily. 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. However, it costs almost the same as a fare ticket (for example, from Tokyo to Kyoto, fare 7980, reserved seat 5740 Yen). JR pass holders who want a reserved seat can buy only this part. You can use the Hikari and Kotara trains if you have a JR Pass. 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 change, but it is possible to get change from 1000 yen.
  • For timetables and connections, www.hyperdia.com is a conducive place to look at. It is easily understandable and provides 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

  • The 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 nigiri cost about 200 yen for each pair.
  • A can of beer costs between 200 and 350 yen at convenience stores.


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