What Are You Doing in Japan? A Guide to Exploring the Land of the Rising Sun

Japan has always been a fascinating destination for travelers, filled with a rich and unique culture, stunning natural landscapes, and innovative technology. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, there is something for everyone in this amazing country.

But with so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Japan. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate your way through this wonderful country and make the most of your time here.

Getting There

Japan is easily accessible from many major cities around the world. The two main airports are Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport, both located in Tokyo. From there, you can take trains, buses or taxis to reach your destination.

If you’re coming from within Asia, there are many low-cost carriers that fly to Japan, making it an affordable destination for budget travelers. Alternatively, you can take the ferry from nearby countries like South Korea or China.

Getting Around

Transportation Pros Cons
Train Fast and efficient, covering most of the country Can be expensive, especially for long trips
Bus Cheaper than trains, good for short trips Slower than trains, limited routes
Taxi Convenient and comfortable, good for short trips Expensive, can get stuck in traffic

Japan has an extensive public transportation system, with trains and buses covering most of the country. The train system is especially efficient, with high-speed trains like the shinkansen connecting major cities in a matter of hours.

If you plan on traveling outside of the cities, renting a car is also an option. However, be aware that driving in Japan can be challenging due to the narrow roads and different traffic laws.

Where to Stay

Japan offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Prices can vary depending on the season and location, so it’s best to book in advance if possible.

Ryokans, traditional Japanese inns, are a unique and immersive way to experience Japanese culture. They typically feature tatami mats, futon beds, communal baths, and Japanese-style meals.

Capsule hotels, while not for everyone, are a popular and affordable option for budget travelers. They offer small sleeping pods, shared bathrooms, and other basic amenities.

What to See and Do

Japan has countless attractions to offer, from historic temples and shrines to modern theme parks and shopping districts. Here are just a few highlights:


Known as the cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to over 2,000 temples and shrines. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture.


The bustling capital of Japan, Tokyo is a modern metropolis with endless things to see and do. From shopping in Shibuya to visiting the Tokyo Skytree, you’ll never run out of things to explore.


A popular hot springs resort town near Mount Fuji, Hakone is a great place to relax and unwind. Take a dip in the hot springs, ride the scenic cable car, or take a boat ride on Lake Ashi.

Universal Studios Japan

A theme park based on popular movies and TV shows, Universal Studios Japan is a fun and exciting destination for families and fans of pop culture.

Snow Monkeys

A visit to the Jigokudani Monkey Park near Nagano is a unique and memorable experience. Watch as wild snow monkeys bathe in the hot springs and interact with each other.

What to Eat

Japanese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients, delicate flavors, and beautiful presentation. Some must-try dishes include sushi, ramen, tempura, and yakitori.

Be sure to also try some local specialties, like okonomiyaki in Osaka or Hiroshima-style oysters. And don’t forget to indulge in some sweets and snacks, like matcha-flavored Kit Kats or mochi rice cakes.


What is the best time to visit Japan?

Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit Japan, with mild weather and beautiful scenery. However, these seasons can be crowded and expensive, so be sure to book in advance.

Do I need a visa to visit Japan?

Most nationalities do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Check with your embassy or consulate for specific requirements.

Is Japan expensive?

Japan can be expensive, especially in the big cities. However, there are many budget-friendly options available, such as hostels, cheap eats, and discount passes for attractions and transportation.

Is it easy to get around Japan if I don’t speak Japanese?

Yes, Japan has a good public transportation system with signs in English and other languages. Many Japanese people also speak some English and are happy to help visitors.

What should I pack for a trip to Japan?

Be sure to pack comfortable shoes for walking, as well as clothing suitable for the season and activities you have planned. If you plan on visiting temples or other religious sites, remember to dress modestly and remove your shoes.

Can I use my credit card in Japan?

Yes, most places in Japan accept credit cards. However, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases and places that don’t accept cards.

What is Japan’s currency?

Japan’s currency is the yen. There are coins for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen, and banknotes for 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen.

Is Japan safe?

Japan is generally a very safe country, with low crime rates and strict laws. However, as with any destination, it’s important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Can I use my phone in Japan?

Yes, most international phones will work in Japan. However, be aware of roaming charges and consider getting a local SIM card or renting a portable Wi-Fi device.

What is the time difference between Japan and my home country?

Japan is 9 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+9). Check the time difference between Japan and your home country before you travel.

What is the voltage and plug type in Japan?

Japan uses 100 volts and Type A and B plugs. Be sure to bring a voltage converter and adapter if your devices are not compatible.

What is the tipping culture in Japan?

Tipping is not customary in Japan and may even be considered rude in some situations. Exceptional service may be acknowledged with a small gift or by saying thank you.

Can I smoke in public in Japan?

Smoking is prohibited in many public places in Japan, including restaurants, bars, and train stations. Be sure to check for designated smoking areas if you are a smoker.


Japan is a fascinating and diverse destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, nature, or technology, you’ll find it here. With careful planning and an open mind, you can make the most of your time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your trip to Japan. Enjoy your travels, and we’ll see you again soon!

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