Arashiyama - Bamboo Forest & Lake | Yasaka Shrine
Photo's - Daniel Davies

Hello from Japan! If I told myself I would be saying that only a few months ago I wouldn't have believed it at all! I'm back from Australia only two months and I've been to Germany and now Japan. I literally feel sick of the thought of not having somewhere booked after this! After visiting America (Cali, San Fran, Las Vegas, LA).. and Australia (as well as some of Europe and Egypt, Thailand - Japan is probably my favourite! Japan is very clean, organised, safe but also crazy, exciting and so much fun! So far Dan and I have travelled Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka and now we are in Hiroshima! If you have me on Snapchat (emilinalove1) you will see I have been snapping my journey and also vlogging my trip around Japan! I can't believe I only have a week left! So far I've gathered a few helpful tips for people who may decide to visit Japan in the future..

Remember two greetings (Especially the second!)


Hello
"CON-NIDGE-WA" - Kon'nichiwa

Thank you
"A-REE-GAT-O" - Arigatou 


Most people will assume you don't know Japanese and you'll find yourself pointing a lot or rudely assuming (like myself) that they should know even a little bit of English. Pointing and using 'thank you' at least will go along way.  

Familiarise yourself with areas/hotels


This is a big must, something I wish I did whilst I was waiting for my flight at Heathrow for hours on end. Once you arrive, especially if you're on your own, the Japanese (from my experience) aren't great English speakers and they really do try to help in anyway that they can but at the information desk be sure to have done your research in the area that you're staying. Their metro can seem very overwhelming at first but be sure to ask around if people speak English or to point to your location. I guess this point is quite obvious but just be sure you know where you're going. It might be helpful to take a look at the map online before your flight.

Take cash - Japan is still very much a cash only country

The supermarkets are card but the rates overseas can be awful! (I got a better rate by changing my money when I arrived rather than in the UK). A lot of shops and accommodation is 'cash only' so bring cash and make sure you check the small print if you're staying in hostels (A lot a male only)! Whilst we're on the subject of accomendation; although they can be quite cheap if you are on a budget, you'll find that they can have triple bunk beds or tiny boxed rooms! If this is OK then go for it, at least you'll have more in your pocket. I only mention this as it's something I haven't seen before.

Research food's before you go!

Obviously if you're up for trying anything this doesn't apply to you but if you have dietary requirements or are generally fussy than it's good to know what foods you'll be eating as packaging is all in Japanese! I've found that shop assistants speaks very little or no English at all. In the supermarkets, most commonly 7 Eleven and Family Mart you'll find that it's hard to find fresh fruit and veg (I paid 270 yen for a carrot because I hadn't seen veg yet!) - They tend to have microwaved/processed foods and the arranged salads (quite basic, side salads) are quite costly! Although I haven't yet been to Starbucks, the coffee that's easily coffee available doesn't have the option of soy or skinny and yes.. I'm dying! Isn't it funny how we get so use to these little things

The JR Rail Pass is very helpful!

Expensive but you save a lot on trains, particularly if you're travelling Japan! If you're only staying in a city than it isn't really worth it as they are quite costly (£213) - I will mention that if you're going to Japan it's definitely worth travelling around with only Kyoto being a few hours away - I actually preferred Kyoto to Tokyo in some places, as it's very traditional and what you'd expect from Japan.

Where we stayed in Kyoto:

Wind Villa Guesthouse - The accommodation is very clean and peaceful, even though it was central and close to attractions! We didn't need to use public transport so much like we did in Tokyo so saved some money. The owner is very helpful and always around to help out as well as making conversation and keen for you to make the most of your stay. We stay in one of the little box rooms which is roomy - I would have liked something bigger and to stay with Dan but they are popular so I was happy to have stayed! A family mart is next door and a subway station is 1 minutes away. 
4 out of 5!
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