It’s 24 years since I was in Japan. 24 years and yet, I’m pretty sure I think about it in some capacity every single day. I spent six weeks there during the summer between my first and second year of university and it had a profound effect on me. Five of us travelled there together. One of those people remains one of my closest friends and favourite people in the world and I’m still in regular contact with another friend from that trip, although she lives in Hong Kong so we haven’t seen each other for a decade.
My Japanese adventure remains one of my favourite adventures of my life so far. I loved the people, I found the place and the culture fascinating and I still hope to take my family there one day to experience some of what I did.
One of my favourite things about Japan was the mix of traditional society and day-to-day life and the progressive technology, and more specifically how these to things are able to sit side-by-side effortlessly, despite seeming contradictory.
So what do you need to know about travelling to Japan in 2023? Things have moved on somewhat since I was there. Back then I used a prepaid telephone card to call my parents from a payphone and if I wanted to send an email, I had to go and find a spare computer in the university, or an internet café – things are much easier now in terms of staying connected.
Travelling to Japan in 2023 is an exciting prospect, as this remarkable country seamlessly blends its rich cultural heritage with cutting-edge technology. However, to make the most of your trip and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, there are certain things you should consider packing and preparing for. In this article, I will explore five essential items you’ll need when traveling to Japan in 2023.
Japan Rail Pass
The Japan Rail Pass is a must-have for any traveller looking to explore the country’s many regions efficiently. Whether you’re wandering the streets of Tokyo, admiring the ancient temples in Kyoto (please do add this to your list), or taking in the scenic landscapes of Hokkaido, the Japan Rail Pass offers unlimited access to Japan’s extensive rail network. This pass is particularly valuable if you plan on visiting multiple cities during your trip, as it can save you a significant amount of money on transportation costs.
Japanese Power Adapter
Japan uses a unique electrical plug configuration, which can be quite different from the plugs used in most other countries. Don’t overlook this and come unstuck. The voltage in Japan is 100 Volts, which is different from North America (120V), Central Europe (230V) and most other regions of the world. To keep your devices charged and avoid any inconveniences, be sure to pack a Japanese power adapter (or several). This small but essential tool will ensure your smartphone, camera, and other electronics are ready for use during your travels. You can usually find Japanese power adapters at electronic stores or online retailers before your trip.
Pocket Wi-Fi or SIM Card
Staying connected while exploring Japan is essential, especially if you need to access maps, translate signs, or communicate with locals. You can either rent a pocket Wi-Fi device or purchase Japan SIM cards to ensure you have internet access wherever you go. These are also available as Japan eSIMs, which are delivered to your inbox in minutes. Having a reliable internet connection will make navigating the country and staying in touch with loved ones a breeze. This is a massive difference since I was in Japan, this would have made life much easier. These days it’s so much easier to stay connected. mobal offer English language customer support, there are no contracts and the profits go to charity, making it an absolute no-brainer.
Cash and an IC Card
While Japan is increasingly becoming more card-friendly, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, as some smaller establishments and rural areas may only accept cash payments. Additionally, an IC card, such as the Suica or Pasmo card, can be extremely useful for getting around in cities like Tokyo. These cards allow you to seamlessly pay for public transportation, including buses, subways, and even some taxis. You can also use them at convenience stores and vending machines, making your day-to-day transactions more convenient.
Japan is a country of exploration, and you’ll likely find yourself walking more than you initially anticipated. To ensure you enjoy your journey to the fullest, invest in comfortable and sturdy footwear. Whether you’re trekking through ancient temples, strolling through bustling markets, or hiking in the beautiful Japanese countryside, comfortable shoes will keep your feet happy. Consider a pair of comfortable walking shoes with good arch support to prevent fatigue. Walking really is the best way to see this country and take in all that it has to offer.
Traveling to Japan in 2023 promises to be an unforgettable experience, filled with a mix of traditional and modern attractions. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, don’t forget to pack a Japan Rail Pass, a Japanese power adapter, a Japan SIM card, cash and an IC card, and of course comfortable footwear. With these essentials in your travel arsenal, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the Land of the Rising Sun with ease and make the most of your visit to this incredible destination. I fell in love with Japan 24 years ago, I challenge you not to do the same!