Traveler Essentials

Other Tips to Help Along the Way

Vending Machines

Vending machines are everywhere in Japan and offer drinks like mineral water, juice, coffee, tea, and various soft drinks. In the summertime all the drinks are cold, but during the winter months many machines have both heating and cooling systems, and you can purchase a hot drink beside the road or at a random street corner. Vending machines are fairly cheap as well and an easy way to keep hydrated if you forget your water bottle when travelling.


If you’re not familiar with using chopsticks, practice beforehand. Avoid sticking chopsticks upright in your food, as this is considered impolite. Instead, rest them on a chopstick rest or the side of a plate. If you cannot use chopsticks, don’t be shy to ask for a fork.

Gift Giving

If invited to someone’s home or for special occasions, it’s customary to bring a small gift. Choose items like local souvenirs, nicely wrapped, and present them with both hands. Avoid giving white flowers or other items associated with mourning.


Bowing is a common form of greeting in Japan. When meeting someone, a slight bow is appropriate. Follow the lead of locals and match the depth and duration of their bow.


Japanese culture places importance on orderly queues. When waiting in line, be mindful of others and maintain your position. Avoid cutting in line or rushing ahead.

Writing addresses down

Consider writing down or printing your hotel address or other addresses you need to visit in Japanese. This way you can ask direction from a Japanese person easier if you don’t know how to correctly pronounce the place or give the address to a taxi driver.

Planning ahead

It will do you a great favor if you plan ahead and book/buy your ticket to popular places beforehand. This way you will ensure you get in and sometimes avoid horrendous queues.

Travel Insurance

Make sure you have a travel insurance when travelling in case of lost luggage or a sudden need for health care.