Japan FAQ

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Those traveling to Japan: The summers in Japan are very humid and hot during this time of year, ranging from 30-35 degrees Celsius on average. Stay hydrated and cool during your visit here! Luckily we’ll be near Oku-tama, which is nice and cool!

(FREE) Tour Around Tokyo: University students in the Tokyo area can provide free tours for visitors. Please go here for more information. There are also lots of local firework festivals (hanabi taikai in Japanese), so be sure to check them out if you can!

Also, if you plan on going sightseeing during this time, please make plans before this conference. After this conference, there is a Japanese holiday called “Obon”. Many businesses close down or get booked very quickly, and it may even be difficult to book train tickets. Please prepare for your trip accordingly.

What Japanese words/phrases could I learn for my visit?

If you’re visiting Japan, it’s useful to know a few keywords to get by. However, you don’t need to worry about the language barrier. Many venues in Tokyo have menus, pamphlets, etc. in English, and we are preparing for the incoming visitors for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! Here are a few key words and phrases. Japan is the perfect place to practice Japanese! You can find more on this handy website: http://maggiesensei.com/

Etiquette:

– “Thank you” (arigatou gozaimasu)
– “Hello” (konnichiwa)
– “Excuse me” (sumimasen)

Using the Train/Bus, Exploring the City:
– “Where is ___?” (___wa doko desuka?)

At Restaurants:
– “This, please.” (kore o kudasai) [Most restaurants have pictures on the menu, so you can just point!]
– “Cheers!” (kampai!)
– “Thanks for the meal!”/”The meal was delicious!” (gochisou sama deshita!)

Bonus! Dietary Restrictions:
– “I’m vegetarian.” (watashi wa bejitarian desu)
– “I’m vegan.” (watashi wa kanzen saishoku shugisha desu)
– “I can’t eat ____.” (watashi wa ____ wo tabemasen)
– “I’m lactose intolerant.” (watashi wa nyuutou futaishou nandesu.)

Etiquette: What kinds of cultural things should I know about when I come to Japan?
Here are some few tips about etiquette here. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the customs or forget! Japanese people are extremely understanding and are aware that not all travelers know about their customs.

Handing Money to the Cashier: When you pay for things, there is usually a little tray on the counter. Please put your money on the tray instead of the cashier’s hands.

Using Chopsticks: Never use your chopsticks to point at people. Do not stick chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice. It is performed during funerals, so it’s inappropriate to do otherwise!

Taxi Doors: When you hail a taxi, the driver will pull up to you and the door will open automatically! It also closes automatically when you leave the taxi.

On the Train: Please avoid calling/talking on the phone while commuting on the train. It’s considered impolite here! It’s very tempting though, because the phone signals are good even when you’re underground on the subway!

Hot Springs/Onsen: Japan is known for having very nice onsen (hot springs/public baths). If you decide to try one, remember to enter the washing area and then enter the bath. If you have long hair, please tie it back before entering the bathing area:

What kind of food should I try in Japan?
Japan has something for everybody! There are also a lot of famous non-Japanese restaurants here in Tokyo. Here is a list of some Japanese foods/meals you can try while you’re here. There are even vegetarian/vegan/halal/etc. versions of these around Tokyo, so everyone can try!
– Sushi
– Ramen, Soba, Udon
– Okonomiyaki
– Gyoza
– Tempura
– Tonkatsu
– Takoyaki
– Mochi, Daifuku
– Unagi (eel)
– …and more!

Is the train easy to use?
Japan has one of the most innovative and reliable train systems in the world! Trains almost always arrive and depart on time. It might get crowded during rush hour, of course. All train stations have ticket machines available in English. If you have internet access, you may use Google Maps, Hyperdia, or Navitime to receive train schedules and find out about any delays. Most train stations also have free wifi hotspots.

How can I hail a cab/Uber?
Taxis are everywhere in Japan, and they’re pretty reliable. The easiest way is to catch one from a train station. You can also use different kinds of apps to request a taxi. Our members have used the following apps. You may need to confirm your phone number once you download the app, so you should download them and create your accounts before coming to Japan! 😉

What kind of souvenirs can I bring back to my home country?
There are lots of options, depending on what you’d like to share. Here are some categorized lists for your convenience:
Sweets: Kit-Kats (lots of limited edition flavors!), mochi, candies, cookies, etc.
Alcohol: Sake, Whiskey, Shochu, Chuhai, etc.
Tokyo-Exclusive “Omiyage”: Each city & prefecture in Japan has exclusive souvenirs. Even locals collect them! Tokyo has “Tokyo Banana”.

Where should I visit while I’m in Tokyo?

Here are some places that our Vice President, Tomoko, suggests!

Is it expensive to travel around Tokyo?

Only if you want it to be! Here’s a good article about traveling around Tokyo on a budget.

Have any more questions? Feel free to contact us. 🙂

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