A Handy Guide to Essential Services and Tips
Here are 10 useful pieces of information to know before traveling in Japan. They are divided into three main categories: Public transportation usage, luggage handling convenience, and cultural aspects.
Table of Contents
- Luggage Handling Convenience
1. Railway App
When using public transportation in Japan, downloading one of the railway schedule apps can be highly beneficial. ‘Japan Transit Planner’ App allow you to input departure or arrival times and provide detailed information about various transfer stations and routes. Hyperdia has been discontinued for downloading.
2. Transportation Cards
Pay train fares and buying tickets for every destination and route in Japan can be cumbersome. To ease the process, consider purchasing a Pasmo or Suica transportation card. You can load the card with a certain amount of money, and the fare will be automatically deducted whenever you ride a train. These cards can be charged at any station, and they are becoming more widely accepted in vending machines, convenience stores, and other facilities.
3. 1-Day Metro Pass
You may buy a 1-day metro pass in several cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Although it might not be valid on all private train lines, this pass offers a whole day of unlimited access to the huge metro system of the city.
4. Bicycle Rental
While Japan may not have reached the level of some countries with extensive bicycle paths, you can often rent bicycles near major tourist attractions. Renting a bike offers an affordable way to explore, and you must stay within the designated green lines when cycling on the roads. It’s a great way to stay budget-friendly and burn some calories along the way. Major cities in Japan have designated bicycle rental stations, so be sure to look up the relevant information before starting your journey.
Luggage Handling Convenience
5. Coin Lockers
You’ll find coin lockers occupying one side of nearly every train station and department store. These lockers, available for a fee ranging from 200 to 900 yen, come in handy for temporarily storing luggage during your day trip or if you want to explore other places after shopping. Be cautious, though, as most coin lockers reset daily, and exceeding the rental period will result in additional fees.
6. Kuroneko Yamato
If you can’t fit all your belongings in your luggage, you can use the Kuroneko Yamato delivery service to send your baggage to your next destination. Conveniently located at airports, convenience stores, and other spots, this service offers reasonable rates for the convenience it provides.
7. Koban (Police Box)
Koban, also known as police boxes, can often be found near train stations and busy areas. These police boxes serve more than just crime prevention; Japanese police officers are trained to memorize the surrounding areas of their jurisdiction, making them a reliable source for asking directions. While they might not be fluent in English, they are helpful in guiding you using gestures and maps.
8. Convenience Stores
Convenience stores in Japan offer a wide variety of instant food and beverages. In Tokyo alone, you can find thousands of convenience stores within a few blocks’ radius. They operate 24/7, and most of them provide ATMs, printing and copying services, as well as facilities such as restrooms. You can also purchase alcohol and cigarettes from convenience stores. To fully enjoy Japan’s convenience store culture, it’s advisable to research recommended menu items before you go.
9. Manga Cafes
Also known as net cafes or manga cafes, these establishments offer a unique experience where you can read manga books within a small space. They usually provide drink vending machines, and some even have paid shower facilities. Each cubicle offers some privacy (walls are relatively low and may be connected), making them a convenient and budget-friendly option for a short stay and quick shower.
10. Love Hotels
Japanese big city railway stations sometimes have “Love Hotels” nearby. Don’t be fooled by the name. these lodgings are ideal for couples or lone visitors looking for a hassle-free stay. Some people enjoy staying in hotels with themed rooms or short-term access to amenities like jacuzzis. Just like capsule hotels, I consider it a unique form of accommodation that you can experience in Japan. Even while they might not be as readily available on the weekends, they might be a dependable choice for affordable accommodations during the week.