What challenges did you face when you visited Japan?

Travel Forums Asia What challenges did you face when you visited Japan?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Japan
1. Posted by nanayama1223 (Budding Member 2 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi - I'm really interested in what kind of challenges people faced when they went to Japan!
I am currently based in London, and just want to hear any stories from past visits and if you have any advice!


[ Edit: Edited on 04-Sep-2018, at 00:20 by nanayama1223 ]

2. Posted by king_golo (Respected Member 129 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I've just come back from Japan and have to mention two challenges:

a) The heat - it does get incredibly hot in summer with temperatures almost peaking at 40 °C. Add to this the fact that it doesn't cool down at night, and you know what I mean. Advice: Don't go in August!

b) The lack of elevators in Japan's giant subway or train stations. As we were travelling with a toddler in her pram we always needed to use an elevator to leave the subway station. In many cases there are 20 or more exits, but only two have an elevator, and these are never close to where you actually wanted to go. This led to long time spent trying to leave train stations, sometimes up to 20 minutes or so. Advice: Go without a pram or wheelchair!

The language didn't cause too much of a problem. In subways and trains all announcements are also made in English, and if in a rare case they are not, you just have to listen closely to the Japanese announcement to find out where you are. English speakers are rare, but if you have travelled a bit, you should know how to get a message across without having a common language with your conversation partner, so this wasn't a big deal.

3. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 671 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

To me, the biggest challenge would probably be the food. Of all Japanese dishes I ever tried, I did not like a single one.

4. Posted by UliS (Travel Guru 144 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

The first time, using ticket machines is a bit confusing, they want to get first your money and only after you will know how much, but you get used to it fast. Having a ticket which covers not the full journey is not a problem, you can pay the difference when leaving the station. on public buses you will know the price also only when leaving.
The food i did like, but sometimes got something different then i was expecting, those pictures are sometimes misleading, soup with fish instead of food with egg for instance, and sometimes even when seeing the thing in a department store, it was something made of fish instead something sweet.

5. Posted by sapporostan (Budding Member 17 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

the main thing you should focus on is your trip itself. there should be no problem with the hotel nor with food as they have fast food if you do not like the ramen, sushi, soba, etc- i found that none of the foods are spicy and all are healthy. once you have your trip planned, then you can see what transportation is required. unfortunately, Japan is one of the cleanest, safest, nd best food places in the world. most world travelers rate it #1 so please plan your trip, then come back to us for details help

6. Posted by king_golo (Respected Member 129 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Kathrin_E

To me, the biggest challenge would probably be the food. Of all Japanese dishes I ever tried, I did not like a single one.

How come, Kathrin? I loved pretty much all the food and was never really disappointed. I may not be someone who tries out the weirdest-looking things in a market or so (and there are bizarre things, e.g. crab brain), but with meat and veg dishes we never went wrong. My definite favourite was okonomiyaki - did you try that?

7. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1527 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Japan, in my opinion, is one of the easiest countries to travel in; and the food is consistently among the best, especially when you consider the quality of the ingredients. If you don't like Japanese cuisine, you can try the numerous international offerings.

Getting around is easy. On transportation systems signs and announcements usually are available in Japanese, English and Mandarin.

If you have to travel in summer, try Hokkaido, the northernmost island. Temperatures are more moderate there. Many Japanese travel to Hokkaido for relief in summer. The summertime lavender and flower fields in Furano are gorgeous and spectacular. The riot of color includes butterflies.

Japan has several low-cost air carriers; and foreigners are eligible to purchase the Japan Rail Pass, which depending on your itinerary, can have cost advantages. If you have Star Alliance miles, flights within Japan on ANA can be had for either 5,000 or 8,000 miles. Last year I booked a R/T ticket from Osaka to Naha, Okinawa, on ANA (via the United Airlines Web site) for 10,000 miles. There were no fees nor surcharges, so no money was required for the ticket.

Please be aware that many hotels in Japan have strict check-in times, usually around mid-afternoon. Rooms tend to be on the small side; but they are exceptionally clean. Many hotels have coin-operated laundry facilities.

I've traveled throughout the world and Japan is one of the few countries where you're not likely to encounter hassles. People are unfailingly helpful and polite. Streets are clean and safe.

I have friends who have never traveled overseas before; and Japan is one country that I can recommend they visit without hesitation, particularly if they have an interest in Asia. I was in Japan last summer (July and August) and this spring (April and May).

8. Posted by Akialexa (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

The main challenge that I've experience is language barriers. Most of the Japanese people can't understand English. Most of the time, it's hard to communicate to them. So my main suggestion, always bring your phone with translators app.


[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

9. Posted by MilesTX (Budding Member 40 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

The language was not a problem for me in Tokyo and Kyoto, even though I expected it to be. Plenty of signage in English. I tried Google Translate in camera mode, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped.

I also had difficulty with the food. Found something pre-made at a nearby 7-11 and purchased it for several meals...I don't know what it was, but it tasted good to my Western palate. (Hint: 7-11s have everything you need, including ATMs.)

10. Posted by sapporostan (Budding Member 17 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

english is required as one of the main tests to get into college. foreigners talk too fast. if you talk very slowly, you will be understood depending on where you go. as far as food goes, lawson's is like 7-11 stores and provides amble food such as egg sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, and other acceptable delights that will allow even the most carefull eaters a very good option. we do not know when, where, and for how long you will be going to Japan if at all so all these comments by everyone are not focused in areas that will really help you