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Must Haves While Traveling In Japan
Japan is an amazing country. There is so much to see and do here. The mass transit system allows people to travel all over quickly and cheaply. A first time visitor may want to get out and hit all the sites at once. Before you go out and hit the pavement here are a few suggestions of things you might want to have on hand.
When Traveling You Might Need...
- A Small Umbrella - You never know when it may rain while your out seeing the sites. Also, your umbrella can be used to give yourself your own personal shade.
- Tissue - This is very very important. Tissue is always helpful if you have a runny nose. If you are like 90% of the Japanese then you may have hay fever (I am one of the 90%). Also, Japan's parks have restroom facilities to use. The only problem is that most do not have toilet paper. Don't worry if you forget your tissue in your hotel, the train stations seem to always have a vendor passing out tissues. My son loves this! He loves getting all the free tissue packets and I like to look at the advertisements on the packages.
- Handkerchief - Another very very important item. Most bathrooms will not have paper towels to dry your hands. Some may have a air dryer but in my experience they are worth it. The hand dryers tend to blow cold air or very little air. I would advise you to always have on one hand, unless you want to wipe your damp hands on your pants. If you don't have a handkerchief a small wash cloth works fine as well.
- Face mask - As I mentioned I have terrible allergies here in Japan. I've notice wearing a mask helps filter some of the pollen. Also, Its nice to have one on hand if you have a cold. Don't worry about looking odd. Everyone in Japan wears a mask out at on time or another. In fact, it is encouraged to wear a mask if you are ill. We wouldn't want to share our cooties.
- Pasmo or Suica Card - If you are going to be traveling and using the train, rail, or bus system, then you would want a card. I like the card because I don't have to fumble around with money or keep track of my tiny train ticket. I put a specified amount on my card, swipe and go. You can also use your card at the stores and vending machines in the terminals.
- Your Gaijin Card - If you are here long term,then you have to carry your alien registration card.
- A Wallet - You need something to hold your money, your train pass, and your id. You tend to acquire a lot of change here. 500 yen -1 yen are all coins. You want to have a coin purse or a wallet that can hold coins as well as bills.
- Cash - Please don't assume your Visa or Amex will be accepted everywhere. In fact, most places in Japan only take cash. Make sure you have ample cash on you. Also most ATMs will not accept your foreign ATM card. If you need to go to the ATM you will need to visit a convenience store, the post office, or the airport.
- Japanese-English Dictionary - As I mention in my hub Japan Myths, not everyone speaks English. Also, not everything is written in English.
- A Map - You might need to know where you are if you get lost. It is also great when asking for directions. If you are having language barriers you can simply point on the map.
- Extra Underwear - well this one is more for the little ones. I have two small kids and you never know when an "accident" may happen. also Japanese toilets may be difficult to use for the novice, so I guess this is a good idea for everyone. *Most places have western toilets. But train stations, older stores and parks tend to have Japanese toilets.*
- A Shopping Bag - Many stores charge for plastic shopping bags. They aren't expensive about 2 yen at most. But You will save money and help the environment by bring your own bag.
- A Small Disposable Bag - This bag is for holding your garbage. You will also notice there are very many public trash cans. The are trash bins in front of stores but not in common places like the park. My kids like the have snacks in the park, so I always have a small bag on hand to keep our garbage in until I find a trash bin.
- A Bag - I usually carry my purse. Its large enough for me to fit everything into. Some people prefer a backpack. Both of my children carry their own bags. My daughter has a purse and my son has a "man bag". A lot of men carry "man bags" here.
These are just a few things you may need will adventuring in Japan. I know I always try to keep these things on hand. All of these things can be bought at a 100 yen store. HAPPY TRAVELING!!
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