Anyone who traveled or lived in Japan before?

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21 / F / Los Angeles, CA(US)
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Posted 1/28/19 , edited 1/28/19
I've never traveled to Japan before. All i know is that my dream one day is to travel to Japan and explore more interesting things about the country. I want to save up and travel for a week just to see what is like. The things i want to do there is to see ramen shops, food shops, go to anime shops/ exhibits, karaoke, and to visit the landscapes there. But the thing is is thats i need to study a bit more Japanese and ask friends to go there with me in order to go. So does anyone who traveled or live in Japan knows about what is like in Japan? and how are they with foreigners? and what are the expenses?

I also had a dream of living in Japan but realistically, i rather visit than to live there lol.
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29 / M / St.Louis
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Posted 1/28/19 , edited 1/28/19
Honestly you can get by speaking the bare minimum in Japan, just get one those travelers pocket books. I did that as an experiment when I was there just to point out to my friends I was traveling with, that you'd be surprised how far you can get with just one word phrases like sumimasen (to get someones attention) and kore (to point at what you need help with).

So does anyone who traveled or live in Japan knows about what is like in Japan?
I might leave this to someone else to explain since it is a broad question. Their are different cultural rules but on the whole its not that different from the US.

and how are they with foreigners?
Sometimes you will have to deal with cranky / rude workers in Japan, just like anywhere else. I wouldn't take it too personally if they give you the cold shoulder since some people don't want to deal with the language barrier.
The majority of business do cater to foreign tourists, like alot of restaurants have english menus.
I've personally never dealt with the police when I was traveling with friends, but police can randomly stop you and go through your stuff so make sure you carry your passport with you at all times.

what are the expenses?
Depends on how much you want to spend. You can go cheap, stay at a hostel or AirBnB and eat at convenience stores (7/11, Lawson, Family Mart).
JR Pass is expensive but if you use the Shinkansen then you do get what you paid for it.

I also had a dream of living in Japan but realistically, i rather visit than to live there lol.
Depends on your field of study. You can do the teach English stuff if you have a bachelors and those jobs don't require you to speak Japanese.
But for anything else you will need native level Japanese.
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Posted 1/29/19 , edited 1/29/19
I lived in Japan before and I go there every now and then to visit people so hopefully I can help but... how detailed do you want the answers to be? Because your questions are quite broad and mostly dependent on what area in Japan we're talking about
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21 / F / Los Angeles, CA(US)
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Posted 1/29/19 , edited 1/29/19

potayon wrote:

I lived in Japan before and I go there every now and then to visit people so hopefully I can help but... how detailed do you want the answers to be? Because your questions are quite broad and mostly dependent on what area in Japan we're talking about


Well it can be a few details or more. Sorry if this was a broad question ^_^ i couldn't think this question through. It should be called " What is like going to japan?"but if you only have few details then thats fine. So sorry for that ^_^ please don't sweat your self out there.
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Posted 1/29/19 , edited 1/29/19

Dollqueenanise510 wrote:


potayon wrote:

I lived in Japan before and I go there every now and then to visit people so hopefully I can help but... how detailed do you want the answers to be? Because your questions are quite broad and mostly dependent on what area in Japan we're talking about


Well it can be a few details or more. Sorry if this was a broad question ^_^ i couldn't think this question through. It should be called " What is like going to japan?"but if you only have few details then thats fine. So sorry for that ^_^ please don't sweat your self out there.



No no don't apologise, mostly the reason I'm thinking it's broad is because I've been to everywhere in Japan except Okinawa, and different cities had their own differences. For example, if you're asking what's it's like in Tokyo, my answer will be different to what it's like in Kyoto, or other rural towns like Yamaguchi, Oita, etc.


Do you have an idea of which part of Japan you want to go to? If you're only planning for one week, I don't think you'll be able to get too far from the main city areas... but in my experience the best places in Japan for me personally were the places outside the city. If you can I would suggest going there for more than a week. :)


But for the most part though don't be afraid to travel to Japan! If you stick to the touristy areas, those places are well-equipped for travellers (although they can be quite crowded). If you have any more specific questions, maybe I can answer them for you.



Dollqueenanise510 wrote:

So does anyone who traveled or live in Japan knows about what is like in Japan?



Do you mean in terms of transport? Food? Culture? People? Things to avoid?



Dollqueenanise510 wrote:

how are they with foreigners?








Dollqueenanise510 wrote:

what are the expenses?




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π / Train / Railyard
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Posted 1/29/19 , edited 1/29/19

Dollqueenanise510 wrote:

I've never traveled to Japan before. All i know is that my dream one day is to travel to Japan and explore more interesting things about the country. I want to save up and travel for a week just to see what is like. The things i want to do there is to see ramen shops, food shops, go to anime shops/ exhibits, karaoke, and to visit the landscapes there. But the thing is is thats i need to study a bit more Japanese and ask friends to go there with me in order to go. So does anyone who traveled or live in Japan knows about what is like in Japan? and how are they with foreigners? and what are the expenses?

I also had a dream of living in Japan but realistically, i rather visit than to live there lol.


Been there twice, for a total of 6 weeks, mostly in Tokyo.

You don't need to know Japanese but it helps as few people speak English. Alternatively it's nice to get a SIM card or take your accomodation's wifi with you if it's portable, google translate helps a lot.

I have some tips on how to get around easily and save some money on a few things, let me know if you're interested, I can go into detail.

The general attitude there is very open, they are a bit reluctant to interact with people because of the language barrier, but they are willing to help. You're always greeted with a smile and treated well as a customer.

Japan is expensive (to me at least, coming from a less developed country), but you can go to ramen shops and izakayas where they have amazing food and that nice atmosphere on the cheap, I'd recommend not to bother with more expensive restaurants. To me, anime merch felt expensive, also keep in mind that people there have different tastes, so don't be surprised if you won't easily find popular anime merch. A nice tip is to go to Akihabara and just look, and shop elsewhere (like Nakano Broadway or Animate shops around Tokyo)
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29 / M / St.Louis
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Posted 1/30/19 , edited 1/30/19

wststreet wrote:
To me, anime merch felt expensive, also keep in mind that people there have different tastes, so don't be surprised if you won't easily find popular anime merch. A nice tip is to go to Akihabara and just look, and shop elsewhere (like Nakano Broadway or Animate shops around Tokyo)
Anime merch is pretty expensive, I'm always surprised by how much the random knick knack stuff (like keychains, phone cases, t-shirt) costs.
Unfortunately that is one of the bad things about how fast the merch switches out every season, so unless it was a popular franchise it might be hard to find. I remember being in Akihabara when the Love Live movie was coming out as seeing Love Live stuff everywhere, then next year alot of the Love Live merch was gone (replaced by LL:Sunshine).
Not to mention some shows simple get none to very little merch sometimes.
It depends on what you plan on buying. A brand new anime shirt will cost the same no matter where you are in Japan. So when it comes to buying brand new merch, I really like Akihabara since you have so many shops carrying so many products its the best option if you are looking for something specific.
On the other hand used merch is pretty expensive in Akihabara, so like you mentioned Nakano is a good place.
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39 / M / SW Ontario, Canada
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Posted 1/30/19 , edited 1/30/19

CKD-Anime wrote:


wststreet wrote:
To me, anime merch felt expensive, also keep in mind that people there have different tastes, so don't be surprised if you won't easily find popular anime merch. A nice tip is to go to Akihabara and just look, and shop elsewhere (like Nakano Broadway or Animate shops around Tokyo)
Anime merch is pretty expensive, I'm always surprised by how much the random knick knack stuff (like keychains, phone cases, t-shirt) costs.
Unfortunately that is one of the bad things about how fast the merch switches out every season, so unless it was a popular franchise it might be hard to find. I remember being in Akihabara when the Love Live movie was coming out as seeing Love Live stuff everywhere, then next year alot of the Love Live merch was gone (replaced by LL:Sunshine).
Not to mention some shows simple get none to very little merch sometimes.
It depends on what you plan on buying. A brand new anime shirt will cost the same no matter where you are in Japan. So when it comes to buying brand new merch, I really like Akihabara since you have so many shops carrying so many products its the best option if you are looking for something specific.
On the other hand used merch is pretty expensive in Akihabara, so like you mentioned Nakano is a good place.


Been there 3 times before and am going again in late March.

This is pretty solid info and is worth keeping in mind. There really isn't that much more merch in Japan than you can find online in most stores so you shouldn't expect a giant tidal wave of stuff for your favourite series if you've already looked online and haven't found much there. Plus, the prices aren't going to be much different. Of course, it's great to be in the middle of all of the stores that actually sell it off the shelf but don't expect to save a lot of money or see a lot more variety. You will, however, be able to actually find used stuff or slightly older stuff that may be sold out at most online retailers (but you might end up paying a pretty penny for it).

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Hokkaido, Japan
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Posted 3/17/19 , edited 3/18/19


Seconding this cause it's a great answer.


I'm living here now, but I'm in Hokkaido, which is kinda different from other parts of Japan. But yeah, if you have any other specific questions that Potayon hasn't addressed, I'd be happy to give my input too.

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Posted 2/10/19 , edited 2/10/19
I can speak Japanese just barely, but managed perfectly. I spent three weeks in Japan and had only two "long" conversations with locals.
Japanese don't seem to enjoy speaking English but will give it a try - with body language.
If you go to Tokyo there's almost everything in understandable English - signs, menus etc. and you can always try google translate on your phone and even though it's not perfect, they get what you're trying to say.
I was super nervous before my trip because I don't speak fluent Japanese but I had so much fun there that I wasn't thinking about it.
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Posted 3/19/19 , edited 3/19/19
I've been over to Japan a few times now, and one of my friends has lived there for 5 years and pretty sure isn't coming back any time soon since is now married with a kid. Like Spokenboot38 I can speak a few basic things in Japanese mainly stuff i picked up for travelling there though it depends on where you go really. If you plan on heading somewhere like Tokyo everything is pretty easy to understand as the Directions/ Tube stations and stops ect are all in english and I only encountered one person there when ive been who didnt speak a lot of english but in a big city like that they usually speak enough to understand what you want at a basic level so you shouldnt have really any issues there (though id recommend a few key phrases like asking where something is ect).

Since I travelled over from the UK it took quite a long time and i found a week goes really fast so you might not be able to fit everything in you want to do just as a heads up as ive normally gone for 10+ at a time. The start of April is a good time to go since the iconic cherry blossom festival is around then sometimes heading near the end of march they havent always bloomed so a little later is fine for this.

Akihabara is gods gift to mankind since you said you want to see anime shops ect and has so many things to buy buy can add up fast with the figures i struggles to get them in the case without wrecking the boxes. All billboards and shops arcades cafes ect its magical!

For the ramen shops there are some really amazing ones (my faves in Machida - but thats a bit out of the way) Ichiran is a kind of chain ramen shop you can find around the place thats quite easy to use if you a worried about the language barrier since most ramen places have a type of vending machine to request what ramen you want but this place has pictures and english on them to make it easy to understand and also have a tick sheet in english at you booth for things like how rich and toppings so easy place to start with if worried - but i would recommend trying some yakiniku if you go and eat meat as its one of the best things ive ever done food wise. a lot of places do all you can eat and drink for a time limit and have variations on the menu but the price I felt was really good usually from £15-30 for around 1.5-2hrs - some places you can sit down at and order from a menu some had ipads and can just order off of that with pictures and in english - but if they give you a japanese menu a lot of places do normally have an english one you can ask for if needed i've found.

As far as the deal with foreigners in Japan my friend who lives there has good and bad things to say in the long term but mostly positive when i speak to him and he does the whole youtube blog stuff as well ive found some of the stuff that bothers him seem a mute point for me, so everyones gonna have things that will and wont bother them. From just travelling myself on shorter stays I've never had any issues with people there and at most you get the odd person or group (normally younger) glancing at you more probably out of curiosity than anything some even wave and smile when you notice them. I can say I've seen or had any problems though and they are normally very patient and polite with you and always try to be helpful in my experience; so i cant find anything negative to say. Though when you head out of the main cities the language barrier does become a difficult a times but I've mainly been in and around the Tokyo and Nagoya area so far so its not been a big issue for the most part. I'm hoping to head over Kyoto/Osaka areas next since theres some really interesting places outside of just Tokyo when you read up on the country but its a good starting place to get a feel for travelling there.

One thing I would suggest is if you do look to book look at flights and an Air BnB - The first time i went i did a hotel and flight and was so much more expensive this way (£1400 for 10 days) I found a deal in June this year from the UK for 2 weeks (1 Kyoto/1 Tokyo) with flights there and between cities with 2 Air BnB's for both area for £900 so makes a big difference if you look around across the year and vary the seach for decent deals it makes it way more affordable!
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Posted 3/19/19 , edited 3/19/19
Been there twice, my favorite place is Kyoto. I'll be going back there maybe this year.

Last time, I bought some sharpening stones I needed as well as a kitchen knife. I plan to pick up even more in the famous Tokyo knife district.

They're generally fine with foreigners, just mind your manners and don't try to stand out. I am Asian so I didn't stand out to begin with, but you should be wary of what you do since etiquette is everything.
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