Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • - 10 things to know before you go to Japan.

  • I'm Chris, this is Topher, we're Yellow Productions.

  • We do travel guides that are fun,

  • informative, and entertaining.

  • This is part of our series on Japan.

  • We've got over 100 other videos on Japan,

  • but after you watch this one you'll be well-versed

  • to come to this country.

  • Many people think that Japan can be difficult to get to,

  • hard to navigate, it's like the land of foreign things.

  • But I'll tell you that is not so,

  • and after you watch this video, you'll be a pro at Japan

  • and if you want some specific travel guides

  • on specific places, well,

  • check out some of my other Japan travel videos.

  • The first thing to know before you come to Japan

  • is about etiquette and rules.

  • Japan is a country of rules and to make things work,

  • you should learn to follow them.

  • The Japanese have a specific way

  • of doing almost everything.

  • As a foreigner, you might get a pass,

  • they might understand if you don't understand

  • but it is better if you try to understand

  • so I'll give you a few of the Japanese etiquette basics.

  • First of all, the typical greeting is a bow

  • and the deeper the bow, the more respectful it is.

  • So you'll see a small bow to big bows

  • and if it's a bigger bow,

  • that means they are giving you more respect.

  • They have a certain way to sit if you're at a table

  • that doesn't have chairs and you're on a tatami mat,

  • there's a certain way to sit

  • but they'll probably expect if you understand,

  • and you just sit how ever you wanna sit.

  • But if you ever find yourself on a tatami mat

  • you'll need to take off your shoes.

  • Expect to take off your shoes in certain areas of Japan.

  • Don't ever step on a tatami mat in bare feet.

  • Tatami are straw mats, by the way.

  • If you hand something to somebody

  • or they hand something to you, it'll be with two hands

  • so give it to them with two hands

  • and receive it with two hands.

  • When you're paying for things in a shop,

  • you will find there's a little money dish.

  • Put your money in there,

  • they will put the change back in there for you.

  • The Japanese are happy to help, but they are often shy

  • and so if you find that they don't respond

  • quickly right away, it's because they're shy,

  • maybe not because they don't wanna help

  • or they don't understand, and when they do help

  • they will often really go out of their way to help you.

  • The second thing to know before you come to Japan

  • is about the language.

  • It's Japanese of course, but there's different dialects

  • throughout the country.

  • If you're speaking in English to Japanese,

  • they may not seem like they know English

  • when they're looking at you or how they respond

  • but it's often because they're just shy.

  • They often also understand more than they can speak.

  • You may find that the way they'll respond

  • is by going to get somebody else or perhaps writing it down.

  • Just speak slowly and speak with basic words

  • if you find yourself in a little bit

  • of English/Japanese trouble.

  • Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are all pretty well signed

  • in English, particularly the public transportation

  • so if you're in the big cities you won't have an issue

  • getting around if you don't speak Japanese.

  • I will say that is not so much the case in the suburbs.

  • If you're in the smaller towns in Japan,

  • the stations are just in Japanese, so good luck. (chuckles)

  • It's also good to have your hotel and destinations

  • written in Japanese, just in case you get lost

  • and you need to ask for help.

  • You could always show somebody the card

  • that has that written in Japanese.

  • And if you're trying to speak Japanese

  • and you don't know it, just try the English variant.

  • For example, hamburger

  • is often (speaks in foreign language),

  • coffee is (speaks in foreign language).

  • But I'll say it's good to learn some basic Japanese,

  • a basic word I use all the time when I want water,

  • it's (speaks in foreign language),

  • or if you want beer, it's (speaks in foreign language).

  • You say that, chances are you'll get what you want.

  • The third thing to know before you come to Japan

  • is about timeliness.

  • In Japan, being on time is very important.

  • You will find that stores close and open promptly

  • at the time posted to the minute.

  • Bullet trains have to run within 15 seconds

  • of their posted schedule,

  • otherwise they're not considered on time.

  • If you've made dinner reservations,

  • make sure you are on time.

  • If you're five minutes early, chances are they won't

  • seat you 'til it's actually your dinner time.

  • And if you come 15 minutes late, well,

  • you might as well forgot

  • that you had that reservation anyway

  • 'cause they figured you weren't coming.

  • Distance is often measured not in meters or miles

  • but in walking time, so things will advertise

  • that they are a one-minute walk from the train station

  • or a zero-minute walk which means they're basically

  • right on top of the station.

  • Related to time zones, Japan is just one time zone

  • for the entire country so that makes setting your watch

  • pretty easy if you're traveling around,

  • and also the calendar is different.

  • They measure it based on the emperor and things like that

  • and so if you look at dates and you don't understand,

  • well, that's because they've got a different way

  • of doing dates.

  • The fourth thing to know before you come to Japan

  • is about public transportation.

  • In short, public transportation in Japan is amazing.

  • I will say, be aware of rush hour and the last train.

  • Last train time's often around midnight.

  • If you miss it, you are kind of stuck

  • and if you're wondering why I'm talking

  • about public transportation in a canal,

  • well that's because there's some boats that run

  • on this canal here in Osaka.

  • And if you're wondering where I'm shooting this,

  • I'm shooting this in Osaka in the Namba district

  • around Dotonbori, this is the Dotonbori Canal.

  • If you wanna know more about like how to ride the trains

  • in Tokyo and Osaka, I've got separate videos on those.

  • But if you're taking public transportation,

  • you should note that on the trains and subway,

  • there is little luggage storage.

  • So Japan offers these luggage shipping services

  • that essentially you can pay and have your luggage shipped

  • so that you don't have to carry it with you on the trains.

  • I will also say the train stations, they are amazing,

  • but they can be confusing.

  • So if you're on the train and you're in the station

  • and you can't find where you're going, just remain calm,

  • that's the first step.

  • Don't rush for your train, there will be another train,

  • I guarantee it, well unless it's the last train.

  • But these trains, they come very very frequently in Japan.

  • The Yamanote Line in Tokyo comes almost every couple minutes

  • so just take the next one.

  • Also in the train stations, they have these neat

  • coin lockers where you can store your luggage.

  • The coin lockers are great, but make sure you remember

  • where you put your luggage, in what locker,

  • otherwise you'll be probably looking for your luggage

  • for a long time.

  • Japan offers this great thing called the JR Pass.

  • The JR Pass it's for foreigners,

  • unlimited, Japan Railways trains.

  • Japan Railways is the main train operator,

  • but there's other companies too so just be aware

  • that your JR Pass will not go on all trains in Japan,

  • just the ones operated by JR.

  • If you're driving, I've got a video on that too.

  • Check out my video on driving and renting a car in Japan,

  • just don't drive in the big cities.

  • Drive in the suburbs, it's pretty nice and okay.

  • Their expressways are actually quite good.

  • You might also hear of something called a limousine bus.

  • Those often pick you up from the airports.

  • It's not a limousine, it's really just a bus.

  • Maybe kind of a nice bus (chuckles)

  • but it's not nearly a limousine.

  • Also there's really no Uber or Lyft

  • or any app-enabled ride companies here, just taxis.

  • You're gonna have to hail one down the old fashioned way.

  • Also, bicycling is pretty popular right here.

  • Just park in a legal spot, otherwise you might find people

  • picking up your bicycle and towing it away

  • and if you are riding a bicycle, ride it on the sidewalks.

  • That's where you ride your bike here.

  • So if you're also walking on the sidewalks,

  • beware of some of the bicycles that may be riding there too.

  • The fifth thing to know before you come to Japan

  • is about food, Japanese food is awesome, excellent.

  • There's great food to be had all throughout Japan.

  • People often think of Japanese food as noodles, sushi,

  • and yakitori, but I'll tell you Japanese food

  • is so much more than that.

  • But let's start with noodles, ramen is probably one of those

  • quintessential Japanese dishes.

  • If you're eating ramen here,

  • make sure to slurp your noodles. (slurping)

  • That is considered a compliment to the chef

  • if you are slurping so you'll hear most of the locals

  • slurping their noodles when they eat it.

  • They are not being rude.

  • It's considered quite polite actually.

  • Some other great things are things

  • that are called (speaks in foreign language), D-O-N.

  • Typically those are bowls, rice bowls,

  • that have something on top.

  • (speaks in foreign language) is a rice bowl

  • that has breaded fried pork on top.

  • (speaks in foreign language), it's a tempura bowl.

  • One of my favorite chains in Japan is Pepper Lunch,

  • and their locations are dwindling but it's fast food steak.

  • It's delicious, they have another one called Ikinari Steak.

  • The Japanese love pudding.

  • There's pudding all throughout the country,

  • so check out the pudding while you're here.

  • They have green tea matcha everything.

  • Green tea pudding, green tea drinks,

  • green tea, green tea, green tea.

  • The fruit here is really good.

  • It may seem really expensive, but I will tell you

  • the fruit is worth it.

  • The strawberries will probably be some

  • of the sweetest strawberries you've ever had in your life.

  • Cantaloupe here too doesn't taste

  • like cantaloupe anywhere else.

  • And also, people think food in Japan is expensive

  • and let me tell you, it does not actually

  • have to be expensive.

  • If you're going to Tokyo, you can watch my video

  • on cheap eats in Tokyo.

  • It's pretty applicable for a lot of the big cities in Japan.

  • Many restaurants, they'll have the sort of plastic

  • replica food out in front so you can take a look

  • in the windows to decide what you want.

  • Many restaurants in the big cities will have English menus,

  • just ask if they have an English menu.

  • If they don't, then use the point and order method.

  • Point at the menu and say this one.

  • That is typically a phrase they understand

  • in most restaurants.

  • Some restaurants, they won't have menus or order takers.

  • They'll just have vending machines.

  • Pretty popular at ramen restaurants.

  • In that case, there'll be a vending machine out front.

  • You put your money in the vending machine,

  • push a button, it spits out a ticket,

  • and then you'll take that ticket in with you