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Ensure a Smooth Trip with These Guidelines

Visiting Japan’s countryside can be an enriching experience, allowing you to delve deeper into the country’s rich culture and breathtaking landscapes. However, exploring rural areas requires some additional preparation. In this article, we introduce five important tips to ensure a memorable and hassle-free journey through Japan’s countryside.

1. Carry Sufficient Cash

When venturing into the countryside, it is crucial to have an ample amount of cash with you. While popular tourist areas and cities may accept credit cards and electronic payment methods, many stores, shops, and services in rural regions primarily rely on cash transactions.

Additionally, electronic payment methods like Suica cards may not be used for certain purchases of transportation fees. According to the writer’s experience when going to Gotemba City in Shizuoka Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture, the shinkansen gate does accept Suica, but one needed to pay transportation fees by cash to go out of Gotemba station, Hirosaki station, and Aomori station. Therefore, it is advisable to keep enough cash on hand to avoid any inconvenience during your trip.

2. Plan Your Meals Ahead

Unlike bustling metropolitan cities, convenience stores and establishments catering to specific dietary needs, such as halal food, can be limited in the countryside. Furthermore, these options might be located far from your intended destination.

To ensure you have a satisfying dining experience, it is recommended to plan your meals in advance and consider carrying snacks or provisions with you. By doing so, you can avoid the challenge of finding suitable dining options in remote areas.

Bring your own lunch when visiting places that are difficult to find halal foods.

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3. Stay Connected to the Internet

When exploring rural regions that are not in close proximity to popular tourist spots, you may encounter difficulties in communicating due to limited English signage and language barriers. In such situations, having a reliable internet connection can be immensely helpful.

Make sure you are equipped with tools such as Google Maps and translation services on your mobile device. You can opt for a pocket Wi-Fi device or a travel SIM card to stay connected, enabling you to navigate unfamiliar territories and communicate effectively with locals, enhancing your overall experience.

4. Timing Your Arrival Wisely

When embarking on a journey to explore rural Japan, it’s crucial to consider the timing of your arrival at the destination and accommodation. This tip is precious if it’s your first visit to the area. By arriving early and avoiding late-night arrivals, you can fully immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance that rural regions offer.

This early arrival allows you to unwind and appreciate the calm surroundings, setting a relaxed tone for your entire stay.

Night view (around 20:00) of Hirosaki City in Aomori Prefecture. No people or cars and most shops are closed.

5. Embrace the Local Language and Culture

While English proficiency has been steadily increasing in Japan, particularly in tourist hotspots, it is important to note that the level of English spoken in rural areas may be limited.

By learning a few basic Japanese phrases, you can bridge the communication gap and show respect for the local culture. Simple greetings like “hello” (konnichiwa) and “thank you” (arigatou gozaimasu) can go a long way in establishing a positive rapport with the locals and gaining their assistance when needed.

Experience Japanese traditional inn (ryokan)

Before embarking on your journey, take some time to research the customs and etiquette specific to the areas you plan to visit. By familiarizing yourself with local customs, such as removing your shoes before entering certain establishments or adhering to particular dining etiquette, you can demonstrate cultural sensitivity and earn the respect of the local community.

Ready to Conquer the Countryside of Japan?

Exploring Japan’s countryside offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s natural beauty and authentic cultural experiences. By following these five essential tips, you can make the most of your rural adventure and create lasting memories.

So pack your bags, prepare yourself, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Japan’s picturesque countryside.

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