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  • Youve just spent the last 8, 10, 14 hours on a plane to get to Japan.

  • Youre on the ground, youve got your bags, youre ready to hit the ground running

  • and spend the next one, two, three weeks going from Hokkaido to Fukuoka and see everything

  • that there is to see!

  • Not so fast!

  • There’s a lot of things that you need to know before we get going.

  • So, I’m here to show you what those things are.

  • Let’s get to it!

  • So, unless youre flying into Japan from some place like Australia, Korea, or Guam,

  • youll probably be on your flight for a long time and coming from a very different

  • time zone.

  • T he first thing I’d suggest is, do your best to start acclimating yourself to Japan’s

  • time zone at LEAST 24 hours before your arrival.

  • If you can get your body on your new sleep schedule before you arrive, youll already

  • be one step ahead of the game and ready to begin your adventure from the moment you step

  • out of the airport without playing catch-up with your sleep.

  • I know you want to get your japan adventure started, but before you leave the airport,

  • youll need to get a few things in order.

  • Cash/currency, Wi-fi and Internet, transportation arrangements, luggage forwarding, and more.

  • There are even a few things you can and should start taking care of before you leave home.

  • Were going to cover a all of this and hopefully eliminate some of your anxieties and hopefully

  • make your arrival into Japan as smooth as possible.

  • Before you even leave home, there are a few apps that you should install and become familiar

  • with.

  • These will make your travel easier when it comes to language translation as well as navigating

  • the country.

  • The first two apps that people usually think of are Google Maps and Google Translate.

  • However, these are not always the best and you need to know that there are other options.

  • First, let's look at language translation.

  • This is important, because you don't want to be like this guy!

  • Again, Google translate is OK, but most Japanese will tell you that these translations sound

  • strange.

  • A couple of better apps are called Papago and Deepl.

  • Although no app will translate into perfect native Japanese, these apps offer a more natural

  • translation.

  • I’ll put links below.

  • As far as getting around the country and navigation, there are many apps to choose from.

  • But, I’ll share my go-tos for these apps.

  • If youre driving or walking, Google Maps is probably the best app for you.

  • When walking, Google maps actually has a real time view that will display the path in front

  • of you and SHOW you exactly where to go.

  • I often use this when walking in unfamiliar areas.

  • When driving, Google maps does a decent job, but can also take you on some very narrow

  • back streets if it detects that the main streets are congested.

  • This is not a problem, but just realize that these streets may be VERY narrow and youll

  • need to take your time and use caution.

  • The Waze is also a good option for driving and can be used if youre more comfortable

  • with this option.

  • As far as navigating the train system, there are many apps to choose from.

  • I’ll share the two I use most.

  • For navigating the rail system I recommend an app calledJapan Transit planner.”

  • Simply put in your current train station, then the station you want to go to.

  • The app will usually give you several train options.

  • It will tell you how much each train will cost, what time it departs and arrives, and

  • also tells you what platform you need to catch the train on.

  • If you miss your train, just hit the search button again and the app will recalculate

  • the new time and route.

  • If Google maps is your thing, it can also be a good option for navigating the trains.

  • Unlike the Japan Transit Planner app, Google maps recognizes your current location and

  • will actually use your phone’s camera to show you how to get to the train station using

  • a live view of the area youre in.

  • So here’s your homework

  • Download these apps and get familiar with them before you arrive in Japan.

  • Again, I’ll put links to them down below.

  • The last thing you want is to be struggling with how to use an app when you just want

  • to enjoy Japan.

  • Once you arrive, youll obviously collect your baggage and go through security and customs.

  • This is a pretty standard process and will not be covered in this video.

  • There are several places to get information on this including your airline’s website.

  • Also a quick google search forJapan Airport security and customsshould provide you

  • with a host of information.

  • As far as vaccine requirements go, this seems to change weekly, so I suggest you check the

  • Japanese embassy website to get the most up-to-date information.

  • Ok, so youve got your bags, youve processed security and customs, and youve stepped

  • into the main terminal - Now what?

  • You obviously need Japanese Yen, You need your phone set up for Wi-Fi and internet,

  • you need transportation to your hotel as well as for the remainder of your stay in Japan.

  • And instead of trying to lug heavy bags with you on a train or bus, you may also want to

  • look into having your luggage forwarded to your hotel or even to another city in Japan

  • through one of Japan's luggage forwarding services.

  • .

  • Fortunately, true to Japanese fashion, they have made this a very simple process and can

  • be handled right in the arrival terminal of the airport.

  • This video was taken at Haneda, and the area I’m in is just to the right of the exit

  • from Airport Security.

  • Narita, or any other airport you fly into will have a similar area where you can get

  • everything set up.

  • These nice young ladies are very helpful and have everything you need to get your Wi-Fi

  • connected - Sim cards, pocket Wi-Fi, and even entire phones.

  • Check out their website at anyfone.jp/en for everything you need to know about getting

  • connected during your stay in Japan.

  • The airport even has self-serve Wi-Fi kiosks if you're inclined to help yourself.

  • The bottom line is there is no shortage for Wi-Fi options to keep you connected during

  • your stay.

  • Further down, at the very end of the arrival terminal, youll find luggage delivery services.

  • These services will take your bags and deliver them directly to your hotel or even other

  • cities in Japan.

  • These typically guarantee same day service if you drop off before 11:00 am.

  • But check with each provider.

  • The cost for this service will vary depending on the size and weight of your bag and where

  • youre sending it.

  • This is a very convenient service if you don't want to carry heavy bags on the train, or

  • if you want to begin exploring Japan immediately after leaving the airport without the burden

  • of carrying heavy bags while sightseeing.

  • One of these services, JAL ABC, is actually a one-stop shop where you can take care of

  • your Wi-Fi and luggage forwarding all at one location.

  • As always, I have a link to this at the bottom.

  • Ok, so youve got your Wi-Fi and luggage taken care of.

  • Now let’s get some Japanese Yen.

  • It’s my personal opinion that you won’t need to get Yen before you arrive since you

  • won’t need it until you get here and youll likely get a better exchange rate here in

  • Japan.

  • Your first thought might be to go to the currency exchange counter which is right outside the

  • Security and customs exit, but my suggestion is DONT!

  • Instead, use your debit card at one of the ATMs right next to the Exchange counter.

  • Yes, youll pay a processing fee, but this still comes out to a better exchange rate

  • than using the exchange counter.

  • ATMs are located at every convenience store in Japan (which are everywhere) so you can

  • exchange what you need, when you need it, and where you need it.

  • The word is that Japan is a very cash-based society.

  • That myth is quickly changing and many places do accept credit cards.

  • If you can do this, and you are responsible with your credit debt, this is by-far the

  • best way to pay for things.

  • Youll get a real-time exchange rate AND youll collect your credit card points.

  • Again, I only suggest using credit IF you are responsible with your debt!

  • Another tip on using your Credit or debit card while youre traveling in Japan is

  • to be sure to notify your bank and credit card company that youll be traveling abroad.

  • This will prevent any security freezes to your account when your bank begins to detect

  • new international charges.

  • Alright!

  • Youre almost ready to leave the airport and see Japan but you need to know how youre

  • getting to your next destination.

  • Are you taking a shuttle bus, taxi, train or renting a car?

  • Both Haneda and Narita offer limousine shuttle bus services into parts of Tokyo and Yokohama.

  • Again, this service is located in the main arrival terminals of the airport and can’t

  • be missed.

  • You can get more information on this and even schedule your shuttle ahead of time by visiting

  • their websites.

  • If youve decided to rent a car, you can pick it up at the same location as the shuttle

  • bus and limousine ticketing.

  • There’s just one more method of transportation that well discuss in this video and it’s

  • the one youll likely be using the most.

  • The Japan rail system.

  • At first glance the rail, subway, and shinkansen system can be very intimidating, but set your

  • anxieties aside and arm yourself with a couple of apps and information and youll be just

  • fine.

  • A lot of you have asked about rail passes and which is the best.

  • In this video, I’ll provide some basic information on rail passes, but in the end, this is just

  • something that youll need to spend some time researching for yourself to see what

  • option works best for your specific needs.

  • If you are planning to purchase a rail pass, just remember that this needs to be done BEFORE

  • you leave your home country and the clock will start ticking on your pass when you first

  • use it.

  • Earlier in this video, I mentioned a couple of apps that I personally use for navigating

  • the rail system.

  • Again, I suggest you download these apps and get familiar with them BEFORE you arrive.

  • Put a few starting and ending points into the apps to see how they work.

  • Since youll likely be using the train for most of your transportation around Japan,

  • Youll want to buy a Pasmo or Suica card.

  • This is different from a Rail Pass which has a time limit and can only be used for certain

  • trains.

  • The Pasmo or Suica card can be used for commuter trains, buses, vending machines, and can also

  • be used at most convenient stores.

  • Simply purchase the card for ¥500 and charge it up as often as you like with any of the