Tipping – Tipping is not customary in Japan, and rarely accepted. You may find your tip politely refused if you try to leave a gratuity. You could consider bringing small souvenirs from home to gift. Check with your local guide what is appropriate in any given situation if you are unsure. Power plugs – Japanese electrical sockets accommodate two rectangular pins, and an adapter is required for Australian and New Zealand appliances. The standard voltage is 100V (230V in Australia and New Zealand). Many appliances have dual voltage but check your appliances before you go and purchase a converter if required. Currency – The Japanese Yen is used throughout Japan. Depending on the exchange rate at time of travel, expect to trade in your AUD/NZD for lots of smaller notes. It is always handy to have a rough conversion guide on hand so you know the amount you are spending without having to do the maths each time. Onsen Etiquette – Thaw your bones in a traditional hot spring after a day of sightseeing. Be aware of the protocols before you jump in. Men and women are often separated, and you will bare all. Alternatively, save your hot spring experience for a strategically timed visit to the hotel onsen. Shoe Racks – Keep an eye out for shoe racks out the front of restaurants and other common areas. This is an indication that you should remove your shoes before entering out of respect. Follow your Tour Directors lead if you are not sure. Photos – Ask consent before taking photos of the local people. It may be considered offensive and you may be asked to delete the photo. Check with your local guide if you are unsure what is appropriate.
What should I bring?
Slip on shoes – As it is customary to remove your shoes at many temples and restaurants, take shoes that are easy to slip on and off to avoid time balancing one-legged and untying your shoelaces at every second stop. Translation guide/app – The younger generation (particularly in tourist-heavy areas) are English-savvy but you will experience a language barrier in Japan. Your local guide will be able to assist on tour, but it is always handy to be prepared. Download one of the many language apps before you leave or learn a couple of Japanese phrases that you can use while on tour. Small daypack/bag – Particularly in cities like Tokyo, there are masses of people clamouring through the streets and train stations. Pack a small daypack or bag which hangs close to your body for your day excursions, and ensure it zips up to keep your possessions secure.
Don't miss these authentic experiences on tour!
Tsukiji Fish Market – The hustle and bustle of the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is a sight to be seen. Arrive early to witness the auction winners proudly stacking their carts with fresh produce. If you miss the morning mayhem there are retail shops and restaurants to satisfy your craving for an authentic Japanese market experience. Ramen – This warm bowl of goodness is a must-eat on your Japanese tour, especially if you are travelling in winter! A traditional noodle soup with many variations, it is best consumed while sitting cross-legged and barefoot under a low wooden table. Sake Tasting – Japanese Rice Wine is common throughout Japan, and if you have the option on your tour, it is worth taking part in an organised tasting!