Myth busting in Japan
Before we set off to Japan I had so many conflicting messages from many. I also read heaps online that if I am being g honest made me a little nervous. The language barrier, no internet and train travel were among a few myths that I feel like now I’ve travelled I can confirm are all nothing to worry about, literally, you have nothing to worry about when embarking on a trip to this magical land.
Below is a list of the myths I am here to bust for you, you know, just to put your mind at rest. Then all you have to worry about is how much Ramen you are going to consume.
No-one speaks English and it’s really hard to communicate.
FALSE. Big fat myth. The Japanese are some of the kindest people in the world and they will help in whatever way they can on your travels. From the train station staff to the shop workers everyone has a basic grasp of English and if not they will try their hardest to help and understand you.
You can’t connect to wifi and have to rent the wifi pockets.
We had no dramas connecting to WIFI in Japan. Every train station, most trains and all our accommodation had super strong WIFI, even some towns had their own town connection that you could use on the streets. If you are worries however, you can rent a pocket WIFI and hand it back in at the airport before you depart. If you click this link it will show you some options.
There’s so many vegetarian options available everywhere.
Now, this is something I struggled with. I eat seafood so finding a fish alternative was good, plus who doesn’t love a tempura prawn! BUT in terms of vegetarian ramen I struggled. I had to order a normal pork ramen in some places and Robbie ended up with the extra meat. If you really research Vegan and Vegetarian options are available.
The trains are hard to use and navigate
The trains and train stations can be very overwhelming. With so many different lines and everything in Japanese you may struggle on the first day, however after this you will be sweet. Google maps will be your best friend, it even comes with train times and platform numbers sometimes. The train station staff are awesome, if their English is lacking they have a sheet with numbers and are always on hand to help. The JR staff in the offices are awesome too so they can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask, once I asked a train cleaner and he knew exactly how to help! The JR Pass is also your best mate, order one here and save yourself some coin on your transport.
The food is hard to order
Again, this is false. Some restaurants have English menus, some have pictures, some have machines outside with pictures. You order, pay and hand your ticket to the chef, take a seat at the bar and wait for the deliciousness to arrive. Eating in Japan is so exciting, so be prepared for some weird and wonderful dishes to graze your tastebuds.
Your chopstick ability must be tip top
This friends is true. During our trip I think we only sat in one restaurant that had a fork. Every single place we ate had chopsticks and that was it, so if you cant use them, learn before you go. Your other option is to buy yourself a little reusable cutlery set and carry that around with you. I thought I was good until I watched how the Japanese actually do it, so sitting in communal ramen bars was great for me, I could observe and pick up some tips.
Shopping in japan is crazy
TRUE! Shooting in Japan is WILD, but so much fun. The Japanese are so fashion forward and some of their shops are so awesome. If you a bit of a fashionista then save some room in your case, you will want to bring some of the wonderful finds home with you.
Japan is expensive
Now, this is totally dependant on where you are eating and sleeping. We travelled Japan on a budget but still managed to have a double ensuite private room every night. We ate ion the bakery (amazing!) in the morning and managed to have picnic style lunches everyday from the supermarkets. For example breakfast cost us around $15NZD and lunch the same for decent size sushi rolls. Dinner never topped $40NZD for us both and snacks were always under $10. We also found an awesome Sushi train in Harajuku, this is the perfect place to fill up for cheap.
Japan is really busy
Yes, Japan is VERY, very busy. However the whole country is very regimented. Theres no pushing on the trains or in the streets. The Japanese are an incredibly polite race and even step to the side so you can disembark the trains. Always have your wits about you and make sure you stick to the right side when walking down the street or in stations.
You have to go nude in the Onsen pools
Yes, yes you do. If visiting an Onsen is your thing then be prepared to go nude. It’s not weird, no one is looking at you and it’s not a new thing. However, if being nude with a bunch of strangers isn’t your thing then seek out a private Onsen. We found a private Onsen for 90 mins and paid $36NZD this way we could be nuddy alone and not feel uncomfortable.
You might get bored just wandering around the cities
YOU WILL NEVER BE BORED IN JAPAN. There is SO much to see, do, eat, smell and touch. From Robot restaurants, busy intersections, bright lights and forests in each city you will find so, so much to fill your days. We crammed so much in to our 12 day itinerary and we could have done more. We spent so much time wandering and looking at the amazing sights, we ate so much food and took time to fully immerse ourselves in everything Japanese.
If you are planning a trip to Japan, the JR Pass will be your best friend for travel. It is so easy to use and will save you so much money when travelling from city to city! Click the link here to explore your options!
I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! JAPAN IS AMAZING!