The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

When we were planning our one month Japan itinerary, we knew we wanted to fit in as much as we could, into those four weeks. Japan might be a pretty small island, but there’s an incredible amount of things to see and do. It would take an entire lifetime and then some, to just explore Tokyo. We wanted to visit as many cities as we could, tick off as much as possible, and have the time of our lives while we were at it.

Well, I’m happy to report that all three of those goals were achieved!

We managed to travel to six different cities over a four week period. Starting in Yokohama, we then traveled to Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and finally, Tokyo. We didn’t want to spend the entire four weeks, only exploring the major cities.

We wanted a taste of traditional Japan amongst all of the bright neon lights. So we broke up the bustling cities with some lesser known, traditional towns across Japan.

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Days 1 to 3 – Yokohama

We were quite sluggish upon arriving at Haneda Airport at around six thirty in the morning. We were running on almost no sleep, after suffering through two six hour flights, plus a seven hour layover at Singapore Airport. That was before we even arrived in Japan.

Before leaving Australia, we researched the best way to get from Haneda Airport to our hotel in Yokohama. It ended up being super easy, and all we had to do was catch a bus to Yokohama City Air Terminal (also known as YCAT), then catch a train to Shin Yokohama Station. Click here for more information on getting from Haneda Airport to YCAT.

Finding our way from Yokohama City Air Terminal to our hotel was quite overwhelming. We arrived during the morning’s peak hour rush, so combine that was almost zero sleep and being thrown into a foreign country – it was pretty intense. In an exciting way, of course. We eventually managed to manoeuvre our way through the hundreds of business people, rushing in every direction through the station.

Where to stay in Yokohama

We stayed at the Shin Yokohama Kokusai Hotel for our first two nights in Japan. The hotel is fairly close to the Shin-Yokohama Station, however it took us a while to find our bearings when we first arrived, and definitely took a few wrong turns. Be sure to have an offline map with directions to your hotel, before arriving in Japan.

Note: Something that we didn’t realise before arriving in Japan, is their hotel check-in policy is quite strict. Check-in time starts at 3pm (in most hotels across Japan) and if you arrive early, you are not allowed to check in without paying to do so. We arrived at around 10am, but were so desperate for a shower and bed, we paid the extra fee to check in early. From memory, it costs about 1,000 yen per hour before check-in time.

Visit the Cup Noodle Museum

We decided to visit the Cup Noodle Museum on our first and only full day in Yokohama. If you’ve never heard of the Cup Noodle Museum before, it’s basically exactly what it sounds like. You can learn all about the history of cup noodles throughout the world, and even design your very own cup of noodles!

We’ve written an entire post about our experience at the Cup Noodle Museum. So go give that a read for a full recap of our noodle cup designing adventure.

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After designing your Cup of Noodles, the friendly staff member lets you capture each step of the process on camera!

Shopping in Yokohama

If shopping is something you’re keen to do while in Japan, Yokohama has quite a few shopping malls. Queen’s Square and Landmark Plaza are two of the more generic shopping centres that you’ll find. However, if you’re looking for a more unique shopping experience, visit World Porters. This mall attracts a younger crowd, so you’ll definitely find some bargains if you shop around.

Yokohama Ramen Museum

On our last night in Yokohama, we decided to set off on foot to the Yokohama Ramen Museum. We had read about this place during our Japan research, and it was added straight onto our bucket list. The Ramen Museum is an awesome, well, museum, filled with everything you didn’t think you needed to know about ramen.

To make the experience even better, you’ll find two floors downstairs that are designed to replicate streets and houses from an old town in Tokyo. These floors contain around a dozen different ramen restaurants. Choose your meal using the vending machine outside of each restaurant, and take a seat inside. You can also purchase mini ramen bowls, if you would prefer to sample more than just one.

Note: The bowls are huge. Even the mini bowls were just about all the food I could manage. Keep this in mind if you want to try as many ramen meals as you can.


The atmosphere and design of the Ramen Museum is definitely unique. Entry to the museum and access to the restaurants costs 310 yen per person, plus whatever you decide to spend on ramen. There is also a bar with super cheap alcohol. That had me sold, for sure!


Days 3 to 10 – Osaka

Day three on our one month Japan itinerary started with a Shinkansen Bullet Train ride from Yokohama to Osaka. The journey only took around three hours, and we even saw Mt Fuji on the way from the train! We’ve already published our Osaka Itinerary in a seperate post, simply because we had so much to talk about.

There is so much to see and do in Osaka, that we highly recommend staying in the city for at least a few days. We stayed in Osaka for seven days, and even that wasn’t enough time. That being said, we did manage to tick off quite a bit from our list.

Where to stay in Osaka

We stayed at the Hotel MyStays Sakaisuji-Honmachi during our time in Osaka. This was a great location, putting us super close to the main shopping and entertainment district of Osaka, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street. We were also close to major train stations, tons of food options and plenty of things to see and do.

Note: Osaka is a great starting point to explore nearby cities and prefectures. As you can read about here, Japan’s train system is world class. It’s super quick and easy to travel to almost any city across Japan. We suggest making the time to visit Kyoto and Nara during your time in Osaka.

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit Nara, but we did take a couple of day trips to Kyoto and absolutely loved it. You can read all about Kyoto in our Osaka post as well.

Shopping in Osaka

There are plenty of places to shop in Osaka. The most popular shopping districts, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street, were only a twenty minute walk from our hotel. You’ll find hundreds upon hundreds of chain stores, Japanese souvenir stores, boutiques, street food, restaurants and much more.

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The bright neon lights of Dotonbori in Osaka’s shopping district.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios was one of the main reasons we wanted to visit Osaka in the first place. We’re both huge Harry Potter fans. As soon as we realised there was a Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Osaka’s Universal Studios, we just had to go. If you love Harry and his friends as much as we do, definitely set aside a day to live it up at Hogwarts.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka. I lived another dream of spending the day at Hogwarts. Japan, I love you.

Day trip to Kyoto

Kyoto is one of my favourite places in Japan. It’s such a beautiful way to get an insight into traditional Japan. With endless shrines, temples and beautiful places to sit and relax, you’ll fall in love with Kyoto just as much as we did. We spent one day exploring Arashiyama and another visitng the Fushimi Inari shrine.

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The beautiful Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto. A perfect day trip from Osaka!


Days 10 to 12 – Hiroshima

The first thing I’m going to say about Hiroshima, is that I wish we stayed longer. After spending such a long time amongst the crazy hustle, bustle and flashing neon lights of Osaka, Hiroshima was a very welcome change of pace. The people are incredibly kind and friendly, and there’s a beautiful peaceful vibe about the city.


It took roughly two hours to get from Osaka to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Compared to the rest of our Bullet Train journeys, this one was fairly quick. When we arrived at Hiroshima Station, we then had to catch a tram to our hotel. The tram ride costs a flat rate of 160 yen for adults, which you drop into a clear container before departing the tram. Super easy!

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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum.

Where to stay in Hiroshima

We stayed at the Comfort Hotel in Downtown Hiroshima. This was the perfect location, as it was within walking distance to almost everything we wanted to see during our short time in Hiroshima. There was a train station nearby and the tram stop that we needed to get back to the airport was right outside our hotel.

Shopping in Hiroshima

Hondori Shopping Arcade is the main shopping mall in Hiroshima. It’s very similar to Osaka’s Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi Street, but a lot less busy. You’ll find tons of familiar chain stores, restaurants, pharmacies for some reason, boutiques and street food. We walked up and down this mall quite a lot, and found something new each time!

Don’t miss the Book Off store in Hiroshima. If you love finding classic gaming consoles, super cheap electronics, Japanese and English books for less than a cup of coffee and an endless amount of toys, Book Off is going to feel like heaven. It’s essentially a second hand store, but it’s the best second hand store you’ll ever visit. I promise.

Cheap food in Hiroshima

During our time in Hiroshima, we discovered a wonderful little Italian food chain called Saizeriya. Their menu is loaded with delicious, super cheap meals to suit almost anyone’s taste in food. Some of their menu items include foccaccia (100 yen), garlic bread (170 yen), soup (150 yen), various pasta and pizza (400 yen), chicken and steak meals (up to 900 yen) and desserts (400 yen or less).

Other than food, you can also get unlimited soft drinks, juice and iced teas from the drink bar for 190 yen. Water is free. And the best part of all, you can get half a bottle of wine for 200 yen. Yes, I had some with lunch. Yes, it’s cheap house wine but still, 200 yen? Can’t complain about that. It was drinkable, and that’s all that matters!

Hiroshima Peace Memorial and A-Bomb Dome

Our first and only full day in Hiroshima was spent at the Peace Memorial and A-Bomb Dome. It’s pretty difficult to explain the feeling you get when visiting this area of Hiroshima. The park is extremely clean, quiet and relaxing. I highly recommend paying the 200 yen entrance fee to visit the museum, even if you don’t know anything about the history of the Atomic Bomb devastation.

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We didn’t know a great deal about it, but it’s a surreal experience learning about the devastating events that happened. It will give you a new perspective about why the people of Japan are such friendly, accepting and wonderful people.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Hours + Pricing

Cost: 200 yen
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm
Closed: The main Museum building will be closed until July 2018.

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The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, Japan.

Hiroshima isn’t a city with lots of tourist attractions or crazy things to see and do. But if you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful city to visit, to help break up the hustle and bustle of big city Japan, we definitely recommend adding Hiroshima to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful city with lovely people and an inspirational history.


Days 12 to 14 – Nagoya

If there’s one thing I regret from our trip to Japan, it’s cutting our time in Hiroshima short to visit Nagoya. Each to their own, but I wasn’t too fond of Nagoya. Although it’s Japan’s fourth most populated city, compared to Yokohama, Osaka and Hiroshima, it was pretty dirty and uninspiring. There isn’t a whole lot to see and do, besides the Nagoya City Science Museum and Planetarium and Toyota Museum which were both closed the day we visited.

Where to stay in Nagoya

We stayed at Hotel Trusty during our two days in Nagoya. This wasn’t a very good choice in regards to location, because we had to walk quite a decent distance to the main part of the city. It was also one of the dirtiest Japanese cities we had seen so far. Choosing a hotel that’s closer to the main attractions will make your experience a lot more convenient.

Learn from our mistakes

Be sure to check opening hours for main attractions before planning out your day. Two of the things we wanted to see during our time in Nagoya was the Planetarium and Toyota Museum. Both were closed on our only full day in the city. Don’t end up like us, bitter at Nagoya, wishing we were still in Hiroshima. Plan your visit better than we did!

Shopping in Nagoya

Oasis 21 is a modern shopping complex with a ton of cool shops and restaurants. Oh yeah,  it’s also conveniently a bus terminal! There is almost always some sort of event held underneath the epic glass roof filled with water. There are also a few larger shopping malls in the area, dozens of restaurants and in true Japanese fashion, an endless amount of convenience stores.


Days 14 to 17: Nagano

Nagano was on our itinerary for one main reason: snow! We spent quite a long time during the planning stage of our Japan trip, trying to find an easily accessible way of seeing snow. Eventually, we settled on Nagano.

We arrived in Nagano early afternoon on March 14th, via the Bullet Train from Nagoya. Nagano Station is fairly small – as is the city itself – so finding our hotel wasn’t difficult. It took around 20 minutes to walk from the station to our hotel (Hotel Kokusai 21).

Where to stay in Nagano

We stayed at Hotel Kokusai 21 during our time in Nagano. Our hotel was in a pretty good location, taking us roughly twenty minutes to walk to the station. There were a few convenience stores within walking distance, plus plenty of vending machines and even a Japanese style Denny’s restaurant. Our hotel was huge, definitely one of the biggest Japanese hotels we’d had so far.

Shopping and Dining in Nagano

We were pretty hungry the day we arrived in Nagano after not having enough time that morning to eat breakfast, before leaving Nagoya. So the fact that we spotted a Japanese style Denny’s a few minutes from our hotel was pretty exciting and super convenient.

Right next to Denny’s is a Family Mart convenience store. If you’re not familiar with Japanese convenience stores, they’re basically the best thing in the world. Selling everything from water and alcoholic beverages to quick snacks, toiletries and hot meals. I bought a bottle of wine, Russell bought a bottle of whisky and we also stocked up on snacks.

Day trip to Hakuba

Our first full day in Nagano was the day I finally ticked see snow off my bucket list. Excitement was bubbling over the edge, as I added layer after layer of warm clothing onto my body, and made sure my camera battery was fully charged. It was the moment I had been dreaming about for most of my life.

We took a bus from Nagano Station to Hakuba, and ended up in the beautiful snow village of Happo One. Something cool about Happo One, is the 1998 winter Olympics were hosted there! The Ski Jumping Stadium is still there, Olympic rings and all. For around 500 yen, you can take a ski lift to the very top, and be rewarded with the view in the photo below!

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A beautiful view of Hakuba in Nagano, Japan. Our first time seeing snow!

To read all about our day in Hakuba, click here. It was such an unbelievable experience. I’m so glad I can say that I saw snow for the very first time, in Japan.

Nagano is a great city whether you visit during the warmer or colder months. Similar to Hiroshima, it’s a nice place to rest and recharge, especially if you’re headed to another big city.

Or, like us, the mother of all big cities: Tokyo!


Days 17 to 29 – Tokyo

Ahh, Tokyo.
Japan’s capital and the world’s most populated city.

With a population of around 13 million people, 47 different prefectures and endless things to do, you’ll need an entire lifetime to explore the city. Once again, because I talk a lot, we have a seperate post all about our time in Tokyo. If you’re interested in reading about everything we did during our twelve days in Tokyo, click here for a full recap!

Where to stay in Tokyo

We spent twelve days in Shinjuku, which is one of Tokyo’s most popular cities. Shinjuku is in a great central location, and is the perfect base to explore Tokyo. We stayed at Shinjuku New City Hotel, which was only a 20 minute walk from Shinjuku Station, the biggest train station in Japan.

Shopping in Tokyo

The shopping in Tokyo is probably the best I have ever experienced. With a literally endless amount of shopping malls, outdoor shopping streets, boutiques, souvenir stores, department stores and more; there’s something for everyone.

I had a ball shopping on Takeshita Street in Harajuku. Shibuya is filled with familiar chain stores like Forever 21, H&M and Gap. Don’t miss Shibuya Crossing – the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world! Enjoy the view from Starbucks or one of the shopping buildings surrounding the crossing.

The Ultimate One Month Japan Itinerary | Rhiannon Travels

The crazy, bustling Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan! The busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.

Dining in Tokyo

Whether you love sushi, fried meat on sticks, tasty desserts, noodles, pizza, pasta or almost anything else – Tokyo is a city filled with cuisine from across the globe. Restaurants in Tokyo have more Michelin Stars than Paris and New York combined. Regardless of your budget, you will have no problems finding something delicious to eat during your time in Tokyo.

Attractions in Tokyo

There are so many different things to do in Tokyo. From spending a couple of days at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, to enjoying a Robot Restaurant show in Shinjuku. Don’t miss the beautiful gardens, shrines and temples throughout Tokyo. Visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building for an incredible FREE view of Tokyo!

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

Head to Shinjuku to enjoy this incredible view for FREE at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building!


Tips for First Time Visitors to Japan

Now that you have some ideas for your own one month in Japan itinerary, here are some tips and tricks to help make your visit as smooth sailing as possible!

Purchase a pair of comfortable sneakers

One thing I noticed during our month in Japan, was that we walked a lot. My phone has an inbuilt pedometer (as do most smartphones these days) and there were multiple days where I walked over 20,000 steps.


If you enjoy exploring new places on foot like us, you’ll definitely need to invest in a good quality pair of sneakers or walking shoes. There are tons of different styles available for both men and women.

Invest in a good backpack

Japan is one of the best places in the world for day trips. You can explore so much more of the country, simply by taking the Shinkansen Bullet Train to smaller towns from major cities across Japan. If you’re keen on doing some day trips during your time in Japan, you’ll need a good quality backpack, or daypack, to keep all of your essentials.

Don’t forget your camera

Almost everywhere you travel to across Japan, is incredibly beautiful and worthy of the millions of photos you’re going to take. Before arriving in Japan, consider purchasing a good quality camera, if you don’t have one already.

I have the Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera, and I love it. It takes incredible photos and has a whole bunch of awesome features and settings that I’ve had lots of fun testing out.


If you would prefer to try your hand at a more in-depth camera, consider a DSLR like the beautiful Canon EOS.

Bring plenty of entertainment for the Bullet Train

If you plan to travel between cities and prefectures in Japan, you’ll probably be catching the Shinkansen Bullet Train quite a bit. Depending on the distance you travel, the journey could take more than two hours. Think of the Shinkansen as a much more comfortable plane.


I like to have plenty of options available when it comes to keeping myself amused. General things like a good book, my laptop to watch movies or get some writing done, or a Kindle filled with tons of classics to read.


So there you have it, our one month Japan itinerary. Just remember, there is a lot to see in Japan. One month is definitely not enough to see everything. But it’s still a good amount of time to tick lots of awesome places off your Japan bucket list. Use this guide as a starting point to plan an amazing and memorable visit to the incredible Japan.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

Have you been to Japan before? What was your favourite city? Tell me in the comments!

Did you like this post? Pin it or share it with your friends!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Post updated in January 2018. All prices and facts are correct at time of last post update. 

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

Japan is a weird and wonderful place. I didn’t really know too much about the country before Russell and I decided to book our first international trip together, where we would spend a month exploring Japan. It wasn’t long before we realised just how amazing the country really is. We read stories and blog posts, watched an endless amount of videos and did as much research as possible before booking anything. We wanted to find out what other people thought were the best things about Japan.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Although doing research and watching videos made our decision a no brainer, we still weren’t expecting Japan to be as amazing as it was. If you’re looking for your next travel destination, have a read through what we found to be the 20 best things about Japan. One of the most beautiful, traditional, modern, unique, safe, foodie heaven and friendly countries in the world.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

The people

These aren’t in any particular order, but I feel as though I should mention this one first. Japanese locals are definitely the nicest group of people we have ever met, and probably the nicest people we will ever meet. At no point during our month long stay in Japan, did we come across a Japanese local that wouldn’t go out of their way to help us.


Everyone we met was incredibly friendly, helpful and a joy to be around. There was more than one occasion during our four weeks in Japan, where we must have looked confused or lost. I know this because we had people offer their help, purely out of the goodness of their hearts.

One woman stopped us on the street in Osaka, while we were heading to the train station on our way to Hiroshima, to ask if we needed directions.


Another young woman saw we were struggling with our luggage in a Tokyo train station, and pointed us in the direction of an elevator we didn’t know was there. Honestly, if you ever need help while in Japan, don’t be afraid to ask. You will be shocked to experience such a widely friendly and genuinely kind group of people.

The convenience stores

There’s only one word for Japanese convenience stores: epic. If I could choose one overall, stand-out thing about our time in Japan, it would absolutely be the convenience stores. I’m sure for most of you, that’s probably a super sad thing to admit. But we don’t have anything like them here in Australia. At least not in Adelaide where we are from.


Japan convenience stores sell a huge variety of snacks, hot and cold drinks, hot food, alcohol, toiletries, cigarettes, everyday household items and so much more. Plus, everything is incredibly cheap. So if you’re ever in a jam and need an emergency umbrella or quick bite to eat, visit one of Japan’s millions of convenience stores.

The Best Things About Japan: What I Loved & Miss The Most

Vending machines

I can guarantee one thing to anyone who is visiting Japan for the first time: you will never go thirsty. There are vending machines on literally every single corner. Some even have more than one vending machine.


In winter, you’ll find a combination of hot and cold beverages. During summer, there are generally only cold drinks available. In bigger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are even more vending machines located almost everywhere you go, some even selling unique items that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Here’s a fun game: every time you come across a vending machine, buy something that you haven’t tried before. Most items are around 100 yen, so it’s a super cheap and fun way to experience Japan’s quirky food and beverages!

It’s a very safe country

Japan is definitely the safest country I have ever visited. Russell and I traveled together, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly safe walking down the street by myself at night. Just like everywhere in the world, I’m sure there are parts of Japan that aren’t entirely safe. But generally speaking, I felt very comfortable exploring even the overwhelmingly busy Tokyo.


Even the train stations are incredibly safe, which is great news for solo travelers. If you decide to explore Japan alone, I’m happy to confirm that it is one of the safest places in the world to visit. That being said, it’s always best to have common sense and remain alert, especially when traveling alone.

Japan’s train system

One of the things we underestimated most about Japan, is the public transport system. Before arriving in Japan, we knew that it is a very punctual and smoothly run country. Everything and everyone is on time, and there is a system in place for absolutely everything. Not to mention the pure convenience of having almost everything you need, at super easy access.


The public transport system in particular though, runs more smoothly than anything else we’ve ever experienced. Given the fact that we were westerners in an Asian country, we expected to see little to no English. Well, that wasn’t the case at all. The signage in (almost) every train station is written in both English and Japanese.

Other than trains being precisely on time (if you’re 10 seconds late to the station, too bad, you’ve missed the train) in most major Japanese cities during day-time hours, trains run as frequently as every two minutes. This came in handy quite a few times, when we were hesitant to catch a particular train incase it took us in the wrong direction.

The Shinkansen Bullet Train

This is one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. If you’re not familiar with the Shinkansen Bullet Train, it’s a super high-speed train that takes Japanese locals and international visitors, between cities across Japan.


We used the Shinkansen five times during our month long visit to Japan, and never got sick of it. It’s essentially an airplane for the ground, and is an awesome way to travel around Japan. I’ve written an entire post about the Shinkansen Bullet Train and the Japan Rail Pass that you’ll need to use it. So click here to check that out.

Visit Japan: A Practical Guide For First Time Visitors

Heated toilet seats

This is probably one one of the things I miss the most. Being able to sit on a warm toilet seat, in the middle of winter when getting up during the night to pee, is something that I could definitely get used to.


Although we only had this experience for one month, I don’t know how I’ve survived 25 years of life without heated toilet seats. They are a game changer, especially in winter. Come on, Australia. Why isn’t this a thing yet? Or maybe it is, and I’m just totally left in the dark.

If for no other reason, please visit Japan to experience their heated toilet seats. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Japan’s snacks and Cup of Noodles

I’ll be honest, I personally don’t think that anything can beat the incredible snacks that you’ll find in Australia. We have some pretty delicious, super unhealthy foods.


Maybe it’s the convenience, or the wildly cheap prices, but Japan’s snack foods are awesome. There is such a large variety, and half the time you won’t even know what you’re eating. But that’s half the fun. Not to mention the Cup of Noodles. You’ll find a huge variety in convenience stores and vending machines, for super low prices.

One Month Japan Itinerary: The Ultimate Travel Guide For A Four Week Visit

Towards the end of our trip when we had barely any money left, I ate cup noodles for almost every meal. They were delicious, and I got pretty good at using chopsticks, too.

Combination of modern and beautifully traditional 

All over Japan, you’ll notice there is a wonderful combination of both incredibly modern and beautifully traditional. Even in Japan’s busy capital of Tokyo, you can be shopping for quirky fashion one minute, and be strolling through a beautiful garden on your way to a shrine or temple the next.


You will always be able to find a relaxing place to spend the morning or afternoon. Not to mention the large array of temples and shrines, for that little bit of beautiful Japanese history, to break up the craziness of Japan’s big cities.

There are so many things to see and do in Japan

It would literally take an entire lifetime to experience everything there is to see and do in Japan. We visited for one month, and didn’t even scratch the surface. Not only are there dozens of incredible cities and prefectures to explore, there are tons of small towns and off-the-beaten-path experiences to be had.


I’ve written a post with our month long itinerary, sharing everything we did during our four weeks in Japan. This should give you a brief insight into just how huge Japan really is, and how many incredible things there are to see and do all over the country.

Japanese cuisine

I’m not a foodie, in fact I’m quite the opposite. I’m a picky eater and always have been, so I tend to stick to what I know. But Russell had a blast trying all sorts of crazy Japanese cuisine. Whether you love red meat, seafood or crazy snacks and desserts – Japan will feel like heaven. Dotonbori in Osaka is one of the best places to go to experience some of Japan’s best food, so be sure to add Osaka to your bucket list.


Other than Japanese cuisine, you’ll find a ton of western options available if you’re like me and stick to the basics. From McDonalds to Subway, KFC and plenty more – there’s a wide variety of options to choose from.

Japan’s love of gaming

Now, although I don’t technically play video games, I do enjoy watching Russell play them. There are certain areas within Japan, that are a gaming lovers heaven.


Akihabara in Tokyo is one of the brightest, bustling, exciting and unique places I’ve ever been. There are an endless array of stores to browse until you run out of money or the store itself closes – whichever comes first. So bring along plenty of cash, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to leave with a suitcase filled with gaming goodies.

Cherry Blossom season (Sakura)

We visited Japan at the beginning of Cherry Blossom season, which begins in April. This is one of the busiest times of the year in Japan, and it’s easy to see why.

The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

For a few weeks at the end of March to middle of April, Cherry Blossom trees (or Sakura) bring beautiful, breath-taking colour to streets and gardens all over Japan. It’s quite an incredible sight, and if you plan your trip perfectly, you may be able to experience the falling petals.


We had unfortunately already returned to Australia when the petals began to fall, but it was still an amazing experience witnessing the gradual blossoming of the trees and Sakura petals during our last week or so in Japan.

Japan’s Gardens and parks

Japan has a seemingly endless amount of beautiful gardens and parks. Some cost a small entry fee, some are entirely free to wander around. My favourite two gardens were Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. These are both incredible gardens, and although they cost around 300 yen to enter, I truly believe it’s worth it.

There’s something so relaxing and peaceful about Japanese gardens, and is another one of the best things about Japan, and a big reason why I miss the country so much.

The shopping in Japan

No matter what your interests are, there is something for everyone in Japan. Tokyo’s Akihabara is the gaming hub of Japan. Takeshita Street in Harajuku is perfect for experiencing Tokyo’s quirky fashion scene. Osaka’s Dotonbori is absolutely insane, and you’ll be bumping shoulders with people no matter which time of day you go (but the shopping is totally worth it).

12 Day Guide to Exploring Tokyo: A Tokyo Itinerary For a Memorable Experience

Japan was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had. There’s something for everyone, and if I didn’t run out of money, I would have definitely needed a second suitcase.

The Best Things About Japan: 10 Things I Loved and Miss The Most

Being able to purchase alcohol from convenience stores (and vending machines)

If you’re a regular reader, you would already know that we both love alcohol. Not in a way that you should be concerned. I simply like a glass or three of wine, and Russell is a big supporter of the Whisky industry.


Not only is alcohol in Japan incredibly cheap, it’s also legal to consume on the streets. You can bet your bottom dollar I took full advantage of this. We live in Australia where takeaway alcohol can only be purchased from a bottle shop, so it was pretty fun drinking vodka on the streets of Tokyo.

I’m not gonna lie: that’s probably my second reason why I miss Japan so much, and would move there tomorrow if I could.

Japan’s convenience and punctuality 

If you thought the fact that there’s a vending machine on every corner is convenient, wait until you experience things like using an elevator. Other than the trains running precisely on time and being able to drink alcohol while exploring the streets of Japan, there is even a system in place for using an elevator.


In all cities except Osaka, it’s customary for people to stand on the left side of the elevator, leaving the right side free for people who want to walk up or down. This was so strange to us, but it was incredibly helpful and convenient. I even find myself getting annoyed at people in Australia who don’t do this.

Hiroshima

I feel the need to mention Hiroshima separately, because I adored it that much. For a city with such a devastating history, it’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve ever visited.


From the beautiful Hiroshima Peace Park and Memorial to the incredible Shukkeien Garden, there are plenty of things to see and do. We spent two full days in Hiroshima, and to this day, I still wish we stayed longer. The people are some of the kindest I’ve ever met, the streets are 100% clear of any rubbish and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

A Day In Hiroshima, Japan: Peace Park + Museum, Shukkeien Garden and Hiroshima CastleA Day In Hiroshima, Japan: Peace Park + Museum, Shukkeien Garden and Hiroshima Castle

If you get the chance, please visit Hiroshima and see for yourself, just how wonderful the city truly is.

Japan’s countryside

We spent a couple of days in Nagano, which is a town in the Northern Japan Alps. We visited at the end of the snow season, which is the main reason we decided to detour north on our way to Tokyo, and I’m so glad we did! Japan’s countryside is absolutely stunning, and although I can only share my experience about a snow covered countryside, I’m almost positive it’s just as beautiful during the rest of the year.

The fact that we loved Japan so much, we are returning one year later

I’m sure this post has subtly shown you just how much we absolutely adore Japan. There are so many unique and wonderful things about the country, that we have decided to return, just over one year after our first visit! So prepare to read more about Japan in 2018, because I guarantee I will have a lot to talk about!


So there you have it. The 10 best things about Japan (in my opinion, anyway). There’s so much to love about Japan. It’s an amazing country, with incredible people and a ton to see and do. If you’ve visited before, tell me in the comments what you think the best things about Japan are! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels The Top 20 Best Things About Japan | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

Using the Japan Rail Pass to Explore Japan on the Shinkansen

Using the Japan Rail Pass to Explore Japan on the Shinkansen

When we were planning our month long trip to Japan back in March 2017, working out the train and transport system was our first priority. Train travel is the most efficient way of getting around Japan, as there are hundreds of regular train and Subway lines. But if you want to travel between cities in Japan, you might need the Japan Rail Pass. This pass gets you on the super fast and exciting Shinkansen Bullet Train, and will take you from city to city in record time.

We used the Shinkansen Bullet Train five times, traveling between Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and Tokyo. This guide for the Japan Rail Pass is perfect for anyone who is unsure about whether they need the fastest, most convenient and cheapest way to travel from city to city within Japan.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

The most important piece of advice I can give to someone visiting Japan for the first time, is trying not to become overwhelmed by the amount of people. We arrived at Yokohama Station highly jet-lagged, having not slept for over 24 hours, and were thrown straight into the deep end. I remember it vividly: us standing to the side, watching hundreds of men and women in business suits rushing past us. I wish I had filmed this moment, but we were so exhausted, it was the last thing on my mind.


If only we knew at the time just how simple the Japanese train system actually is. It might look horribly intense and terrifying at first. But once you get the hang of things, and you’re not dragging heavy suitcases on over twenty hours of travel exhaustion – it is actually quite simple. So here is our guide on using the Japan Rail Pass, and other tips for train travel throughout Japan.

Using the Japan Rail Pass to Travel Around Japan

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

What is the Japan Rail Pass?

The Japan Rail Pass is made for visitors to Japan, who will be in the country for less than 90 days. If you are planning to travel to multiple cities across the country, the Japan Rail Pass is perfect for you. Instead of purchasing individual Shinkansen Bullet Train tickets (more on the Shinkansen later in this post), the Japan Rail Pass gets you onto as many Bullet Trains as you like.


Not only can you use the Japan Rail Pass to travel between cities on the Shinkansen, you can also use it for any JR train lines throughout the country. Simply look out for signs directing you to the JR trains in any of Japan’s train stations, show your JR pass at the window and you won’t have to pay any extra to board those trains.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Tips and Information about the Japan Rail Pass

Purchase your Japan Rail Pass before arriving in Japan

The Japan Rail Pass is only available online, to non-Japanese visitors. That means, if you live in Japan or are staying in the country for longer than 90 days, you will not be able to purchase the pass.


The JR Pass isn’t available once you arrive in Japan, so be sure to plan ahead, purchase before you arrive and have it delivered to your home.

Choose a Japan Rail Pass to suit your length of stay

Choose the Japan Rail Pass that suits you, based on the length of time you’ll be staying in Japan. For example, Russell and I purchased a 21 day pass, which cost us 59,350 yen each (everyone in your group will need their own pass).


We stayed in Japan for an entire month, so this gave us plenty of time to activate the pass and get the most use of out it during the time we spent in Japan.

You can also purchase a seven day pass for 29,110 yen or a fourteen day pass for 46,390 yen.

The Japan Rail Pass isn’t for everyone

Before purchasing your Japan Rail Pass, you should first decide whether or not you actually need one. If you are spending your entire visit to Japan in Tokyo, you won’t need a JR Pass. You can simply use the regular train or Subway systems to get around Tokyo. The same applies for any other city in Japan.

However, if you are going to be visiting multiple cities, you will more than likely need a JR Pass. We spent time in six different cities across Japan: Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Nagano and then Tokyo.


This meant we were able to travel from one side of the country to the other, and even ventured to Japan’s countryside to spend a couple of days in the snow.

Use JR train lines as often as you can

As I mentioned earlier, your Japan Rail Pass gets you on more than just the Shinkansen. There are JR train lines in most stations across Japan, so be sure to utilise these as often as possible. All you need to do is show your JR Pass at the window alongside the JR gates, and you’ll be let straight through without having to pay any extra.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

The Japan Rail Pass lets you travel across Japan at a super discounted rate

If we were to purchase individual Shinkansen tickets for each journey throughout our time in Japan, it would have cost far more than the price of our Japan Rail Pass. Not only this, but we also caught a lot of regular JR trains in each city that we visited, meaning we saved even more money. If the JR Pass works out to be cheaper for you, we highly recommend purchasing it.

The Shinkansen Bullet Train

If you decide to purchase the Japan Rail Pass, you’ll be able to travel around the country on the super fast Shinkansen Bullet Train. The Shinkansen reaches speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour, which will definitely get you to your destination in record time.


One of the most important things to note about Japan, is that everything is incredibly punctual. Meaning if your Shinkansen is leaving the station at 11:23am, be there and ready to go because it will not wait for you.

The Shinkansen travels between most major cities across Japan. The first one we rode was from Yokohama to Osaka; then from Osaka to Hiroshima; Hiroshima to Nagoya; Nagoya to Nagano and finally from Nagano to Tokyo.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Tips and Information about the Shinkansen Bullet Train

You can reserve seats on any Shinkansen Bullet Train

You can reserve a seat on any Shinkansen Bullet Train throughout Japan. Simply head to the train station early enough before the time you wish to leave, and most of the time it’s easy enough to reserve a seat. That being said, if the reserved seats are in fact sold out, there are a couple of other options.


You can either reserve a seat for the next train, then hang around the station for an extra hour or so. Or you can choose a non-reserved seat. This just means you’ll be in a first come, first served situation. Head straight to the platform that your train will be leaving from, then either place your suitcase or a personal item on the line outside of each train car; or stand in line and wait.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

This will guarantee you board the train first, and will therefore find a seat quite easily, even without a reserved ticket.

Bullet Trains have luggage compartments 

This is something we weren’t sure about the first time we boarded a Shinkansen. Russell and I used the Bullet Train to travel between cities across Japan, so we had all of our luggage each time we did this. So we were hoping there would be plenty of room to store all of our luggage on the train, without having to keep it in front of our feet for the duration of our trip.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

When we boarded our first Shinkansen, we were surprised to see that there was ample space above our heads (similar to the overhead bins on a plane) for suitcases, handbags and backpacks. However, if your suitcase is too large to fit in the overhead storage, don’t worry. At the back of each car throughout the train, there is an extra area where you can store your suitcases, which is pretty handy for people like me who have a bad overpacking problem, and shop way too much.

They also have bathrooms and rubbish bins

Most Shinkansen Bullet Trains have bathrooms on board. They are located between most carriages, and are super modern, clean and easy to use. If you choose to buy some snacks before boarding the train, there are also bins located next to the bathrooms on most Bullet Trains. Use these to dispose of your rubbish before departing the train, just incase you don’t come across a bin right away (more on this soon).

Some Shinkansen Bullet Trains have a snack service, too

This isn’t available on every train, but some Bullet Trains have snack carts. Someone will walk up and down the aisles with food, which you can buy right then and there. Think Hogwarts Express style. You can pretend that you’re a wizard for the day.


From what I can remember, we only had this option on one of the trains we caught, though. If you are catching an early train or want some food to eat throughout the journey, purchase some snacks from one of the many vending machines or convenience stores located in the train station.

General tips for Transport and Navigation in Japan

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo Card

When you arrive in Japan, you will need to purchase a Suica or Pasmo card. The train system is the best way to get around Japan, and you will use these cards to do so. There’s a 500 yen deposit fee when purchasing the card, which you can get back if you return the card at the end of your stay in Japan.


To start using your Suica or Pasmo card, simply load any amount of money onto the card that you like. We started with loading 2,000 yen onto our Suica card, because we weren’t too sure how it worked or how expensive fares were. This lasted us a couple of days, until we had to reload again.

We used a Suica card for the duration of our trip, and didn’t have any issues. The Suica and Pasmo cards are essentially the same thing, they are just sold by different companies.


Note: We decided to keep our Suica card as a souvenir, so we didn’t get our 500 yen deposit back. If you do want the deposit returned, ask at one of the information windows in any train station at the end of your trip. That being said, unless you’re desperate for that 500 yen, I suggest keeping your Suica or Pasmo card as a little memento from your time in Japan!

Ask conductors at Train Stations for help

Most train conductors will be very helpful when it comes to directing you to the correct train or platform, regardless of the communication barrier. We relied heavily on Google Maps to direct us around Japan, which worked well most of the time.


But if you are unsure, simply find a conductor and point to the station or location in which you are heading, and they will do their best to give you directions.

Make sure to leave via the correct exit

As I mentioned earlier, Google Maps will be a lifesaver when it comes to train travel in Japan. The information is very helpful, and will give you step by step directions for getting from one destination to another. Another great thing about Google Maps, is it will also give you the exit that you need once getting off the train.


Be sure to pay attention to the yellow signs – see the photo below as an example – as they will tell you if you’re heading the right way or not. The signs are very clearly marked (with west exit, north exit etc) so it will be easy to find your way once you know the exit you need.

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Note: If you are arriving at one of Japan’s larger train stations such as Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station, leaving through the wrong exit could cause you a very frustrating detour (if you’re in a hurry). So when you are putting your destination into Google Maps, be specific. If you want to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Govern Building for its incredible free view of Tokyo, don’t just type Shinjuku. Type in Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and you’ll get accurate directions.

Don’t be intimidated when traveling by trains

It will probably seem confusing and a bit scary when catching a train in Japan for the first time. Like I mentioned earlier, on our very first day in Japan, we had to catch a train to Yokohama Station. It was around seven o’clock in the morning, we were running on no sleep and were thrust into peak hour in the busiest city in the world.


At first, it was super intimidating. But one of the best things about Japan, is their extremely friendly and helpful locals. So if you are ever stuck, ask for help. Honestly though, you won’t need to worry too much. Every train in Japan has an English translation of all the information you need. Use Google Maps to navigate your way around each city, and simply head to the platform that Google Maps is telling you to!

You’ll catch on in no time – I promise.

There are vending machines everywhere

If you’ve been hanging out for a bottle of water, an icy cold soft drink or even a hot coffee, the Japan’s vending machines will be your best friend. They are literally everywhere, and especially in train stations. Whether you’re stepping off the train or heading out of the station, I guarantee you will come across at least five vending machines before you even leave the station.

Bins can be hard to come across

This was something that surprised us a little bit. Rubbish bins are rare all across Japan. You will maybe find them outside of the occasional vending machines, but other than that, you’ll need your hiking boots to track one down.


Depending on the train station, you might find one on the platform when boarding or leaving the train, but not all the time. So keep that in mind, and dispose of any rubbish you have when you do come across a bin.

Note: This is based on the fact that Australia has public rubbish bins everywhere. So the fact that bins are scarce, might not be such an odd thing about Japan, but it was definitely something that we had to get used to.

Take your time when catching trains

I mentioned this earlier, but everything in Japan runs precisely on time. Trains are no exception, and although they run on time, they also come very frequently. So don’t rush for your train. Always be sure you know which one you need, that you’re standing on the correct side of the platform and your train is heading in the right direction before boarding.


If you miss the train, don’t worry, there will be another one a few minutes later. The same applies with the Shinkansen Bullet Train. Even if you have a reserved seat, if you miss the Shinkansen, there will be one an hour or so later – so don’t stress!

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Purchasing a Japan Rail Pass to use the Shinkansen Bullet Train as well as regular trains, Subway and JR train lines, is the easiest way to navigate around Japan. We were surprised at just how easy the whole process was, from purchasing our JR Pass online before we arrived in Japan; to sitting down on our very first Shinkansen.


With the friendly and helpful Japanese locals ready to help out whenever you need it, there is absolutely no reason to stress.

Here is a brief recap of the important tips we have covered in this post:

  • Use Google Maps, and make sure you leave via the correct exit
  • The Japan Rail Pass can be used on regular trains throughout Japan, not only Shinkansen Bullet Trains. Keep an eye out for JR Lines in most of Japan’s train stations.
  • Take your time when catching trains, because they run very frequently
  • Japanese vending machines are perfect for snacks to eat on the Shinkansen, or while you’re waiting for the train
  • Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card to travel around Japan using the regular train lines

Have you visited Japan before, and did you purchase the Japan Rail Pass? If you think of any tips that I have missed, leave them in the comments below!

Related: Read our Japan Archives

Did you like this post? Pin it for later or share with friends!

Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels Japan Rail Pass: Is it Right For You? | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

We are both huge theme park and Disney fans. Once we learned that there is a Disneyland Resort in Japan, we knew we absolutely had to go. Tokyo is home to Disneyland and the most unique Disney park in the world, DisneySea. DisneySea is incredible, and is a place that all Disney fans should visit. If you’re planning a visit to Japan, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea should definitely be on your list.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

Before visiting Japan, we had only visited California’s Disney Parks – Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Although we’ve both been to these parks multiple times, we hadn’t widened our Disney horizons beyond Anaheim. That’s why we decided to spend a day at each of Tokyo’s Disney parks. We chose to visit DisneySea first, then head back the following day for Disneyland!

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

How to get to Disney Resort

Japan’s train system is world class. Meaning you can travel between cities in Japan super quick and easily. Disneyland is no different.

JR train line to Maihama Station

If you’re traveling from Shinjuku, Tokyo, Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Shingawa, Yokohama or Akihabara, catch any of the JR train lines at one of the stations above, that is heading to Maihama Station.

Use Google Maps for directions from your hotel to the nearest major station. The Google Maps app will give you step by step directions, including the train(s) you need to catch and the best exits to leave via. It will also give you the direction and how far you’ll need to walk in between.

Pretty handy, huh?

Disney Resort Monorail from Maihama Station

Once you arrive at Maihama Station, you’ll then need to catch the Disney Resort Monorail. The monorail is decked out in Disney, and is super adorable. Even the windows are shaped as Mickey’s head. The monorail will take you directly to the entrances of both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, so just hop off at your desired park!

The monorail is super easy to find. Just follow the huge crowd of people dressed as Disney characters and you’ll be fine.


Tip: If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can actually use this to get to the Disney parks. Simply show your JR pass to an officer standing next to any JR entrance gate, and you’ll be let straight through – without having to pay any extra! For more information, here is a detailed explanation of the trains you can catch from the main stations around Tokyo.

Two Days at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea | Rhiannon Travels

The adorable Mickey shaped handles on the Disney Resort Monorail!

Ticket Prices & Where to Purchase Tickets

There are a few options when it comes to purchasing tickets to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The ticket you choose to buy depends on whether you want visit just one park or both.

1 day Passport

Adult – 7,400 yen per person
Ages 4 to 11 – 4.800 yen per person
Ages 12 to 17 – 6,400 yen per person

2 day Passport

Adult – 13,200 per person
Ages 4-11 – 8,600 yen per person
Ages 12-17 – 11,600 yen per person

3 day Magic Passport*

Adult – 17,800 yen per person
Ages 4-11 – 11,500 yen per person
Ages 12-17 – 15,500 yen per person

4 day Magic Passport*

Adult – 22,400 per person
Ages 4-11 – 14,400 yen per person
Ages 12-17 – 19,400 yen per person

*A Magic Passport gets you into both park on the 3rd or 4th consecutive day. This allows you to spend the morning at Disneyland, then end the day at DisneySea (or vice versa).

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

The best places to purchase tickets

I am about to give you the most important piece of advice I will share throughout this entire post.

Do NOT purchase Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea tickets at the gate.

You will absolutely regret it. The lines are excruciatingly long and you will end up spending a great deal of your time waiting in lines, before you even enter the park. Instead, there are a few ways to purchase tickets before arriving at Japan’s Disney Resort.

Selected Disney Stores around Tokyo

Some of the Disney Stores located throughout Tokyo actually sell Disneyland and DisneySea tickets. Tickets cost the same as everywhere else, and will save you a ton of time on the day. It also means you won’t struggle with an online purchase.

The following stores sell Disney Resort tickets:

  • Shibuya Koen Dori
  • Odaiba Aqua City
  • Ikebukuro Sunshine City Alpa
  • Hachioji Tokyu Square
  • Machida 109
  • Akishima Mori Town

Online

Tickets can be purchased online via the Tokyo Disneyland Resort website. If you’re staying at a hotel, the front desk will more than likely be happy to help you purchase your tickets and print your confirmation or e-ticket.

At selected convenience stores

Family Mart or Lawson convenience stores throughout Tokyo generally sell tickets to a lot of attractions, including Disneyland and DisneySea. If you’re unsure, walk in and ask! Japanese people are some of the friendliest I have ever met, and will almost always go out of their way to help in any way.


We purchased our 2-day passports from the Shibuya Disney Store a few days before our first day at Tokyo Disneyland. This turned out to be a great decision, as it meant we only had to wait in line for 10 minutes, instead of up to an hour. If you aren’t able to purchase tickets online, plan a day in Shibuya and do two things at once!

Disneyland and DisneySea: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve visited Anaheim Disneyland before, Tokyo Disneyland is very similar. It’s laid out pretty much the way way, and you can still walk through and admire Cinderella’s Castle. Mind you, the castle looks totally different! The characters are the same and you can still indulge in dozens of delicious churros.


However, if you’re looking for something a bit different, while still wanting to experience the magic of Disney, we recommend DisneySea.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Everything about Tokyo DisneySea is amazing. From the props and buildings, to the decorations, rides and attractions. Not to mention the huge river stretching across almost half of DisneySea, from Port Discovery to Mediterranean Harbour. The detail that’s been put into DisneySea is hard to describe, so you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!


In my experience (having been to Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park multiple times), DisneySea is completely different. The sheer size of everything around you, like the Journey to the Centre of the Earth volcano, is incredibly impressive and like nothing we have ever seen before.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Food: Quick Eats & Food Carts

Just like every other theme park in the world (Disney or otherwise), there are food carts absolutely everywhere, catering to almost all of your sweet and savoury food cravings. These are the general snacks you’ll find throughout Disneyland and DisneySea:

Churros – 310 yen
Fried dough pastry, aka the best theme park food on Earth

Popcorn – 310 for a regular box, 1,000 to 2,300 yen for a character souvenir bucket
Flavours: Cappuccino, caramel, milk chocolate, honey, soy sauce, butter and regular salted. The flavours will vary depending on which park you visit, and the land within that park.

Ice cream – 200 yen to 300 yen

Soft drink and water – 200 yen to 300 yen

There are a good range of Japanese and Western food options available at the snack carts throughout Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. Japanese snacks include: steamed buns filled with various meat, dessert steamed buns with strawberries, mochi dumplings filled with custard, and various fried delicacies.


We visited Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea at the end of our month long Japan trip, so we were running a bit low on money. This meant we couldn’t really experiment too much for the different varieties and snacks, and food wasn’t our main priority.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Food: Restaurants

The restaurants at both of Tokyo’s Disney parks are very similar to any other Disney park you would have been to. They’re all themed, based on which land they are in. Although most sell the same general food options, you might find a bit of variety if you shop around first.


We didn’t spend too much time exploring the restaurants, as we were on the hunt for cheap and quick food. But if you like pizza, french fries, sandwiches, bakery foods, rice, pasta, Japanese cuisine and a lot more, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

As far as theme park food prices go, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are very reasonably priced. You can get a huge cup of french fries for 500 yen, a decent sized slice of pizza for around 450 yen and from what I saw, the fancier meals were better than expected at less than 2,000 yen (they usually include a main meal, drink and a side of some sort).

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Time and money saving food tips

Bring your own snacks

Before arriving at Disneyland or DisneySea, stock up on snacks and drinks at one of Japan’s hundreds of convenience stores. You’re allowed to bring in your own food, so why not make the most of it?


This will not only save you money, but also tons of time throughout the day. The lines for most restaurants at both parks get super long, so bringing your own lunch and snacks will make your day a lot easier! Expect to wait at least half an hour for the most popular popcorn carts!

Bring a water bottle

There are heaps of water fountains located in both parks. Usually you’ll find at least one in each of the different lands, so there’s no shortage of cold water available for free. We were glad we decided to bring our own water bottles, as it saved so much time and money throughout the day!

Eat lunch earlier in the day

Waiting in long lines at a theme park is inevitable. But we were surprised at just how long the lines were at food carts and restaurants around the park. So we suggest eating lunch earlier as opposed to, well, lunch time!

The restaurants in particular remain fairly quiet up until around 11am, so head there earlier in the day to save some time. Every minute counts, especially if you’ve only got one day to explore the park.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Rides at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea

You’ve made it to the part of this post you’re actually here for: the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea rides!

It’s no secret that Disneyland in general is a very busy place. No matter which Disney park you visit or what time of the day, you’re gonna have to share the park with other people. I know, it sucks.

The minimum wait time for almost every ride was around 140 minutes. Even more so on the bigger, newer and most popular rides and attractions. Unless you get lucky and visit on a quiet day, this is the general wait time for most rides.


For example, when we visited Disneyland (on a Thursday in winter) we arrived at the park around fifteen minutes before it opened. We would have arrived earlier if it didn’t take an hour to get from our hotel to the park. It just didn’t seem worth getting up at 4am to be there by 6am with everyone else.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Remember earlier in the post, when we recommended that you don’t purchase your tickets at the gate?

Well, when we arrived at Disneyland, there was a line to even enter the line. The people who hadn’t already purchased their tickets (either online, from a convenience store or a Disney Store) would have been waiting in line for over an hour. That’s just to purchase the ticket.


Guests then need to line up to enter the actual park. Since we pre-purchased our tickets at Shibuya Disney Store, we were directed straight to the second line. This took around twenty minutes to get through. Once the clock struck eight o’clock, the gates opened and thousands of Disneyland guests ran to their favourite ride.

Our plan was to get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain. By the time we finally made it into the park, it was already 8:10am. The line to get a Fast Pass was crazy long, and the standby wait time for Space Mountain was well over 100 minutes.

Moral of this story? Purchase your ticket beforehand, and arrive as early as you can.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Space Mountain will always be worth the wait.

Tips for using Fast Passes

A Fast Pass is your best bet in getting on most (if not all) of the major rides and attractions. Insert your park ticket into a machine located outside of each ride that has a Fast Passes available. The machine will then print out a ticket with the name of the ride at the top, and an hour time bracket for you to come back later in the day. When you go back during your allotted time, you will be able to breeze past all of the people who have been standing in line for over an hour, and get on the ride in under 10 minutes! Well, most of the time. Sometimes you may have to wait a little longer than expected, but either way, it’s better than 140 minutes.


Note: You can only get one Fast Pass ticket at a time. For example, if you get a Fast Pass for Space Mountain as soon as the gates open, you’ll have to wait a couple of hours until you can get another Fast Pass (for a different ride or the same ride).

[bctt tweet=”Why are Fast Passes a must when visiting Tokyo’s Disneyland and DisneySea? Click to find out!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Fast Passes available at Tokyo Disneyland

These are the rides at Tokyo Disneyland that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout Disneyland. You’re welcome.

Westernland

Big Thunder Mountain

Critter Country

Splash Mountain (semi water ride)

Fantasyland

Haunted Mansion
Pooh’s Hunny Hunt (Fast Passes run out fast)

Tomorrowland

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues
Space Mountain (my all time favourite ride. Super fast paced roller coaster in almost complete darkness)
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters
Monster’s Inc. Ride & Go Seek (interactive ride for kids. Fast passes generally run out quick, so get in early to avoid missing out)

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Fast Passes available at Tokyo DisneySea

These are the rides at Tokyo DisneySea that have Fast Passes available. There are only a small number of Fast Passes available for each ride, per day. So to make things easier for you, we’ve sorted the rides below into the different lands throughout DisneySea. You’re welcome.

American Waterfront

Tower of Terror
Toy Story Mania (Fast Passes run out super quick. Get one early to avoid missing out. We missed out and didn’t get to go on this ride, unfortunately)

Lost River Delta

Indiana Jones (super fast roller coaster)
Raging Spirits

Arabian Coast

The Magic Lamp Theatre

Mermaid Lagoon

Mermaid Lagoon Theatre

Mysterious Island

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Age & Height Limits

As you might expect for a theme park, all of the attractions at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea require riders to be of a certain height and sometimes a certain age. To make things easier for you, I’ve included links to both the Disneyland and DisneySea website pages, which list each ride individually, as well as the age and height restrictions for that particular ride.

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

Parades

I can’t really give any advice or suggestions in regards to the Disneyland or DisneySea parades and shows, as we prioritised rides over parades. But from what we could tell by queues, the “Big Band Beat” show at DisneySea and the “Happiness is Here” daytime parade at Disneyland are unmissable!

Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea Helpful Tips

Buy food before lining up for a ride

This is a great way to save time while waiting in long lines. We saw people snacking and even eating their lunch while waiting in lines for rides! It’s a pretty convenient way to kill some time, and eat some delicious food.

Get to the park early

If you only have one day at each park, we definitely recommend arriving earlier than 8am (when the park opens). The earlier the better to be honest. You’ll be able to fit more into your day, and won’t risk missing out on Fast Pass tickets.

Plan your day around Fast Passes

Before you arrive at Disneyland or DisneySea, write a list of your must see rides and attractions. Next, write down whether that particular ride is a Fast Pass attraction. When you arrive at the park, head for the ride at the top of your list and grab a Fast Pass. Then, head to number two on your list and wait in the standby line.

By the time you’ve been on that ride, eaten some food and had a look around, it will be time for you to grab your second Fast Pass ticket! Planning your day around Fast Passes is the best way to ensure you experience most (if not all) of the rides and attractions on your list!

Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea: What To Expect + Tips to Help You Plan Your Day!

In Conclusion

I hope I’ve given you plenty of tips, to help you make the most of your day at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The service from every single staff member at Disneyland and DisneySea is absolutely amazing. So if I have left something out, I’m sure any of the friendly Disneyland peeps will be happy to help you out!

The four most important things you need to remember before your visit to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea are: get to the park early, plan your day around Fast Pass tickets, bring your own snacks and water bottle, and don’t buy your tickets at the gate. Purchase Disneyland and DisneySea tickets from a Disney Store or convenience store a couple of days before you visit.

If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer, feel free to ask them down below! I’m more than happy to help out! Have you been to Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea? What did you think? I’d love to know!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to follow along with our travels. You can also find us on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram!

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Post originally published in March 2017. Updated in January 2018.

rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors

Japan is one of the most incredible countries in the world. Ask anybody who has visited, and I’m almost positive they will agree with me. If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Japan, it will be one of the most wonderful and unique experiences of your life. In this guide to Japan, I am sharing some of the most important things you should know, before visiting for the first time.

Compared to Western countries, Japan is very different. Other than the obvious language barrier, traveling to such a unique country will bring some difficulties. Nothing that is unbearable, and not even difficulties that will hinder your visit. But there are a few things to remember when visiting Japan, to make your time there as enjoyable and stress free as possible.

We spent the entire month of March 2017 exploring six different cities across Japan. From the quiet and calm Yokohama to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, there’s always something different to see and do. Here is our ultimate guide to Japan for first time visitors.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

Currency & Money in Japan

The currency used in Japan is Japanese Yen. In comparison to Australian and United States Dollars, Japan’s currency is quite similar. By that I mean, if you were to purchase something for 100 yen, converting that back into AUD or USD works out to be pretty equal. Of course, always check with a currency converter before your trip.


In most aspects, Japan is a very advanced country. When it comes to the use of credit or debit card, however, you might be surprised to know that Japan is still pretty far behind. Most restaurants and shops don’t accept card payment, and you’ll find a lot of places are still very cash focussed businesses. Here are some tips to help with the currency and money in Japan:

Always have some cash with you

Having cash at all times is super important, especially on your first day in Japan. It will come in handy for transportation from the airport to your hotel, as well as snacks and other small things you may not have planned for. It’s also a good idea to have a good amount of cash during the rest of your stay. Given that Japan is still a cash-oriented country, you might struggle to find places that accept card.

Withdraw cash at Convenience Stores

There aren’t many reliable places to withdraw cash throughout Japan, but convenience stores are one of the most common. Find a 7/11 or Family Mart, as they are going to be your best bet. Don’t worry about trying to find one either – they’re everywhere!

Tip: Get yourself a travel wallet, to not only keep your cash, but also your passport and any tickets you need to keep handy.

Tipping is not required in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is that tipping is not required. In fact, it’s almost considered rude. So there is no need to tip anyone in restaurants, hotels or transport staff.

Climate and Weather in Japan

We visited Japan in March 2017, the tail end of their winter and the beginning of spring, which means Cherry Blossom season. Although we didn’t see the blossoms falling, we did get to experience the start of Cherry Blossom season, and it was beautiful. Given that we visited at the end of winter, it was still quite cold. Here are some of our top tips about Japan’s weather and seasons:

Cherry Blossom Season

Cherry Blossom season runs from March to May, and is the busiest time of year in Japan. We were lucky enough to see the very beginning of Blossom season, however didn’t get to see the country in full bloom. For some great tips and incredible photos of Japan during Cherry Blossom season, read this post by Viola from The Blessing Bucket.

Seasons in Japan

The seasons in Japan are: summer from June to August, autumn from September to November, winter from December to February and spring (Cherry Blossoms) from March to May. Cherry Blossom season is very busy in Japan. It’s the most popular time of year for tourists, which means everything is more densely packed than normal.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

That being said, although it will be busy I recommend planning your trip for spring, because it’s a beautiful experience. Be sure to book early and prepare for large crowds everywhere you go – theme parks in particular.

Japan is a very mountainous country

One of the things at the top of our Japan bucket list, was to see snow. Lucky for us, Japan has a ton of really beautiful mountains and countryside. On our way to Tokyo, we spent a couple of days in Nagano, where we took a day trip to one of the nearby snow vilages of Hakuba.

Japan’s vending machines change with the seasons

This is another quirky fact about Japan – the vending machines found on almost every corner throughout the country, change with each season. During the colder months in the year, you’ll find a mixture of cold beverages (water, ice coffee, juice, milk and soft drinks) and hot beverages (hot coffee, tea and soup).

Language in Japan

One of the first things we noticed when arriving in Japan, was that very few people speak English. This is obviously something we were prepared for, as it shouldn’t be expected that every person in the world speaks English, when it isn’t their first language.


It’s best to come prepared and have a few key phrases or words memorised, to make your visit as easy as possible for everyone involved. Here are some common phrases you should know before arriving in Japan:

  • Arigatou Gozaimas – Thank You
  • Konnichiwa  Hello
  • sumimasen – Excuse Me
  • Ohayou Gozaimasu – Good Morning
  • Konbanwa – Good Evening
  • Hai – Yes

These are just a handful of the phrases you will need on a daily basis. From our experience, Japanese people are very patient and will do everything they can to help, regardless of your knowledge of Japanese. That being said, it’s simply good manners to practice some every day sentences or phrases to make certain situations easier.


Tip: If you are worried about learning a few key phrases, and even want to expand your Japanese knowledge further than just saying thank you or hello, purchase a Japanese phrase book. Take this with you everywhere you go, and you will always know the perfect thing to say!

Transport in Japan

One of the best things about Japan is their impeccable public transport system. Although it may seem confusing and overwhelming when you first arrive in Japan, the trains and Subway are actually super easy to navigate. All train stations have directions and signage in both Japanese and English.


No matter where you need to go or which city you are heading to, it won’t be too difficult finding your way. Here are some tips for using Japan’s train system:

Use Google Maps

The ‘directions’ function in Google Maps will be your best friend. Type in the location you’re heading (from your current location) and Google Maps will list all of the different train lines that will take you there. Find the corresponding platform in the station, and hop on the right train – it’s that simple!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Japanese people are some of the most friendly and helpful people in the world. If you’re ever stuck and need directions, don’t be afraid to speak up. Whether it’s a conductor on the train platform or someone simply walking by, almost everyone will do their best to help. We even had people voluntarily come up to us and help when they saw that we were struggling with directions on our first couple of days in Japan.

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card

Purchase a Suica or Pasmo card the day you arrive, for ultimate ease and convenience when exploring Japan. Simply load some money onto your card, swipe your card at the gate and walk on through. We bought a Suica card on our first day, which made traveling around the country super easy. Suica and Pasmo cards can also be used for purchases in some convenience stores

Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass

If you plan to travel between cities across Japan, I highly recommend purchasing a Japan Rail Pass. This is only available for visitors to Japan who will be staying in the country for less than 90 days, and must be purchased online before arriving. The JR Pass will get you onto the Shinkansen Bullet Train and various JR train lines throughout Japan.


The JR Pass can be quite expensive, so you should first decide whether it’s worth purchasing. For example, if you are only spending time in Tokyo, you won’t need a JR Pass as you can simply use Tokyo’s train or Subway system. But if you are doing some city-hopping, they are definitely worth it. Check out the Japan Rail Pass and see if it’s right for you, here!

 

Wifi & Sim Cards in Japan

Before arriving in Japan, we purchased a pocket wifi device. This turned out to be an absolute life saver, as we had wifi wherever we went, had a spare battery and a protective case to keep it all in. I recommend purchasing a pocket wifi if you plan to spend a significant amount of time in Japan.


Another great option for data in Japan is purchasing a local SIM card. Grab one from the airport before heading out into the excitement of Japan.

Safety in Japan

Japan is definitely one of the safest countries I have ever visited. The entire month that we spent traveling around Japan was very smooth sailing, and we had no issues with crime or felt unsafe at any point. If you are planning a solo trip to Japan (in particular solo female travelers), you don’t need to worry too much.

That being said, as a general rule for travel, you should always remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, so as long as you keep your wits about you, there will rarely be any issues.


I traveled with my partner, but even if I had traveled alone, I would have felt perfectly comfortable walking the streets of Japan at night by myself. It is an incredibly safe place (from our experience, and from what I’ve heard from other travelers to Japan) which is awesome.

Accommodation in Japan

We always stay in hotels when we travel, purely for personal preference. We like our privacy and are happy to budget a little bit extra for a comfortable and secure place to sleep. Just like everywhere else in the world, Japan has a few options when it comes to accomodation:

 

Hotels – Check out HotelsCombined for some awesome deals!
AirbnbAirbnb is a great option for families and groups of friends
Hostels – For budget travelers, hostels are the perfect option!
Capsule Hotels – For a totally unique and budget friendly option, capsule hotels are perfect! Read more about this awesome style of accomodation here!

The type of accomodation that you choose depends on your style, who you’re traveling with and your budget. There are a ton of options to suit everybody, whether you prefer a five star resort or a cheap budget friendly hostel. Do some research before booking, and always shop around!

What to Wear in Japan

Japan is a weird and wonderful place to visit. If you’re into fashion, you’ll be in heaven winding through the streets of Tokyo, shopping up a storm. When it comes to the style in Japan, it seems nothing is off limits. Harajuku for example, is one of the best districts in Tokyo to get a taste of Japanese fashion. There are an endless amount of unique stores, filled with everything from cat clothing to second hand bargains.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Tip for Females: From what I could tell, girls tend to show off their legs and cover up the top half of their body. During our month in Japan, we visited Disneyland, DisneySea and Universal Studios. A lot of Japanese girls were wearing shorts or skirts, despite the cold weather and I never once saw any cleavage. That’s something to keep in mind for you ladies traveling to Japan!

Things you should do in Japan

Do buy alcohol and snacks at Convenience Stores

The second you step into your very first Japanese convenience store, you’ll be hooked. They literally have almost everything you would need at the last minute, including food, drinks and toiletries. If you are an alcohol drinker, Japanese convenience stores sell bottles of wine for less than 500 yen, bottles of scotch for under 2,000 yen and premixed drinks for 200 yen a pop.


If you are craving a snack, visit your nearest convenience store. You’ll find a huge range from chips to chocolate, ice cream, cup of noodles and various hot foods. Convenience stores are one of the things I miss most about Japan!

Do slurp your noodles

If you visit a ramen restaurant or really anywhere that serves noodles, always slurp them! Of course this seems to only be acceptable in Japan, as anywhere else in the world frowns upon making this much noise while eating. Make the most of being able to slurp your food while you eat, and it being okay!

Do try to be on time

The Japanese are very punctual people. As a whole, Japan runs very smoothly. The trains always arrive precisely on time, and if you have a meeting planned with somebody, I’m willing to bet money on the fact they’ll be there right on the dot. In this day and age, almost everyone has a phones with alarms and a clock, so use them and don’t be late!

Do take your shoes off when necessary

In some places, such as the fitting rooms in stores and temples or shrines, it’s expected that all visitors remove their shoes before entering. Generally there will be a sign asking people to take their shoes off. But if there isn’t, just have a look around to see what everyone else is doing.

Do appreciate Japan for it’s unique and contagious atmosphere

Whether you’re spending the day at one of Japan’s theme parks, hiking up one of the incredible mountains, or strolling through the winding road’s of Osaka’s Dotonbori. Japan will fascinate you in the best way possible. Be sure to appreciate every moment of your time in Japan, and take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

Things you should not do in Japan

Like anywhere in the world, there are some things you should and should not do when visiting Japan. Some of these are super quirky and some are pretty strange – in the best way, of course. There is a system in place for almost everything in Japan, which helps to make the country run as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the things that are frowned upon in Japan:

Don’t stand in the middle of an escalator

In all cities across Japan (except Osaka), it’s customary for people to stand on the left hand side, leaving the right side free for anyone who wishes to walk up. Trust me when I say that this one is important, because escalators are absolutely everywhere in Japan.

Don’t tip

I mentioned this earlier, but tipping is considered rude in Japan. It’s a well-known fact that Japanese people put their heart and soul into everything they do, meaning that if somebody tips them for a job well done, it’s assumed the service was better than expected. I promise, you’ll be surprised just how polite and friendly the Japanese are.

Don’t litter

One thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Japan, is the lack of rubbish bins in public. This is especially inconvenient in busy shopping districts. Despite the lack of bins, the streets are immaculately clean (in most areas), so don’t be that person and leave your rubbish on the side of the road. Generally you’ll find bins outside of convenience stores and vending machines, so hold onto your rubbish until you can dispose of it correctly.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Don’t eat while walking

I’ll be honest, I’m guilty of this one. I didn’t realise until the very end of our trip, that eating while walking in Japan is frowned upon. If you grab a quick snack while shopping, either sit down or stand out of the way while eating. I still feel ashamed about the number of times I scoffed down McDonalds fries while running for a train or window shopping.

Don’t blow your nose in public

I’m also guilty of this one. I’m from Australia, where it is not frowned upon to blow your nose in public. But for some reason in Japan, it is! This is why you’ll hear anyone who is sick on trains, sniffing instead of blowing their nose. Just wait until you have some privacy, and sit in discomfort instead.

Don’t talk loudly on the phone in public

This mainly applies when traveling on trains. The first thing you’ll notice about catching trains in Japan, is that everyone is on their phones. Either texting, playing games or listening to music. But you will never hear a Japanese person peaking on their phone while on the train.

Things To See and Do in Japan

There are a lot of incredible things to see and do in Japan. But unfortunately, whether you are spending one week or one year in Japan, you will never be able to see it all. The only way to make the most of your time in Japan, is to choose what you absolutely cannot leave without seeing.

With that said, here are some of our favourite things to see and do throughout the six cities in Japan that we visited. These are obviously not all of the best attractions, they are just what we experienced personally, which I have even organised by city. You’re welcome. You can also read out super in depth one month Japan itinerary.

Yokohama

There are a few fun and unique things to see and do in Yokohama, including: the Cup Noodle Museum, the Ramen Museum, Cosmo Clock Ferris Wheel. We didn’t plan our time in Yokohama very well, so the Ferris Wheel was closed on our only full day in the city. But if you’re looking for a couple of fun and very Japanese things to do, don’t leave without checking out the Cup Noodle Museum and Ramen Museum.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Osaka

After Tokyo, Osaka is the second biggest city that we visited. There are so many things to see and do, but some of our favourites are: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Osaka Castle, Tempozan Ferris Wheel and Dotonbori.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Kyoto

We took two day trips to Kyoto during out six days in Osaka, and I’m so glad we did this. Kyoto is one of Japan’s beautiful historic, country towns and there are a lot of relaxing places to spend an afternoon. The Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari Shrine are two of my favourite things to see.

A Comprehensive Guide to Japan for First Time Visitors | Rhiannon Travels

Hiroshima

Hiroshima is my favourite city in Japan, at least out of the six that we visited. If you are only spending one day in Hiroshima, I highly recommend visiting Hiroshima Peace Museum and Memorial.

Tokyo

As I’m sure you are already aware, Tokyo has an endless amount of things to see and do. There is absolutely something for everyone, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what your interests are. Some of our favourite attractions in Tokyo are: Harajuku, Shibuya Crossing, Akihabara, Shinjuku Batting Centre, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (free!), Disneyland and DisneySea.

Food in Japan

If you love meat or seafood, you will feel right at home in Japan. Almost every major city is filled with dozens of Japanese and Western restaurants. There are a huge range of options available, across all budgets. If you’re like me (a picky eater who doesn’t eat much meat) don’t worry, you will still find plenty of delicious food.


Along with the plethora of Japanese restaurants selling ramen, sushi, yakitori and much more, there are also a lot of western food chains. I ate at McDonalds, Subway and KFC quite a bit, since I’m not really interested in experimenting with food. However, if you plan to sample Japan’s cuisine, you are in for a treat.


That brings us to the end of this extremely long and in-depth guide to Japan. Have you visited Japan before? What surprised you the most and what was your fondest memory of the wonderful country? Tell me in the comments below and don’t forget to share this with your friends! 

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rhiannontravels

Rhiannon is a travel blogger from Adelaide, Australia. Together with her partner, they have been traveling the world for around two years, and hope to not only visit every country in the world one day, but also live in Japan. Rhiannon started this blog back in September 2016, and has been helping people just like you, travel the world with ease!