Even before I was finally going to Yokohama, there were a ton of misconceptions of traveling and getting prepared to travel to Japan. There were the common ones such as Japan is really expensive or Tokyo is really crowded or things like that. In this blog post I will share with you my opinions regarding the 5 misconceptions about traveling to Japan
While yeah, those are the common misconceptions on traveling to Japan, but there were other underrated misconceptions that could be really nice to learn just in case if you want to go back to Japan at any time.
So, I’ll tell you the misconceptions I heard a lot about people wanting to travel to Japan, and I gathered some tips I learned from other world travelers I met that could help your preparations become a lot more smoothly and might be able to save your money.
It is expensive to travel to Japan
One of the most common misconceptions I heard from many people wanting to go to Japan is the expenses they have to deal with. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, food, souvenirs, etc. Like me, travelers were worried about breaking their bank accounts in half just to have a good time in Japan (even for one week).
The media always portray Japan as a “one-in-a-lifetime trip” that you can just break your bank account in fours and it’ll all be worth it, but you might never go back there ever again. When I got back from Yokohama, I realize there were many other options that would make the trip a lot cheaper.
Cheaper flight to Japan
There are some websites that can give you a cheaper flight to Japan. Even if they are in premium economy, they are some seats that are under $2000 or even $1500 at best. Plus, if you live in a location that’s closer to Japan and/or has a larger international airport, then you might have a bigger advantage. Which means your flight to Japan might even go under $1000.
Stay at budget hotels
If you want to go to a really good hotel but don’t want to spend another grand for a week, go for 3-4 star budget hotels. Yeah, it doesn’t always have the luxuries of a 5-star hotel, but your wallet will thank you later on. That way you can save more money for your future trip, and a 5-star hotel can be a possibility.
Food and shopping expenses
Food and shopping expenses also vary. Rather than going to an expensive restaurant, you can just go to a small ramen restaurant that would cost roughly $7-9. Or you can try to go to Western fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds or KFC or Popeyes.
Avoid travel agencies if possible, or find really good ones!
I suggest you avoid travel agencies since they are not really the best, but there can be certain ones that will give you great recommendations if you can’t do it all your own. But at the same time, trying it on your own won’t be so difficult if you can budget really well.
It takes a long time to prepare for Japan trips.
I do hear from some people that going to Japan will take a long time to prepare. You have to understand a different culture, a different language that’s outside of your “language tree”, how to maneuver around a location that you’ve never been to before, and vice versa.
However, for people that had been to Japan before or know someone that’s from Japan, that means preparation would be a lot smoother and faster than average. Statistically, many people would take about half a year to prepare for a week in Japan. However, for me, it took me about less than two months for me to get prepared for Japan.
Well, because we used a travel agent, it took us a lot shorter than doing it ourselves, but you get the idea. Plus, since I get to see two of my loved ones in Japan, it makes the process go a lot smoother. Without the travel agency and my loved ones, it might take us a while for us to plan the whole trip completely.
Overall, it doesn’t really take that long to prepare for Japan if you’re going back to the country. It can be understandable if it takes a little longer if you never been to Japan, but it won’t technically take that long (almost more than a year) to prepare for Japan.
Just a good couple of months to prepare would be nice, but I can understand for some people that they need a lot of time to fully prepare for the trip to Japan.
Spring is the best time to go to Japan
Many people claim that spring is the best time to go to Japan. It is true that blossoms mostly bloom at the beginning of April, so that’s why many foreigners would try to go to Japan to see them blossom right in front of their eyes. So, that’s why many articles suggest that springtime is the perfect time to go to Japan.
Fall in Japan
However, there are times outside of spring that are a good time to go to Japan. Fall is also a great time to go to Japan because the weather starts to cool down to almost a perfect temperature to go out and explore nature, plus you don’t have to worry about being too hot or too cold.
Travel to Japan in winter
Winter is also a decent time to go, but try to go at a decent time because snowing can happen in Japan and canceled flights can happen because of cold weathers.
While I do think summer is a good time, summertime is also raining season. So for the safety of not getting wet from the rain, spring and fall (or winter) are a great time to travel to Japan.
I have to pack a ton of things
I had seen tons of foreign travelers packing about four or five of their suitcases to go to Japan in which they only used one or two for the entire trip. Not just in Japan, it happens almost around the world. It was completely crazy for travelers to overpack for the trip and only use one of them.
My dad and I had a backpack and one luggage so we wouldn’t have to deal with carrying tons and tons of luggage and be tired the moment we went into our hotels. When we came back, it wasn’t even heavier than we first came to Japan despite the extra clothes and souvenirs we bought from the stores.
However, if you would’ve stayed in Japan for more than a week (maybe a month or two), then it’s somewhat understandable to get extra luggage. But for a week or two in Japan, maybe your personal backpack and one luggage are good enough.
I need to learn a ton of Japanese
Besides the expenses of Japan, worried about learning Japanese is also one of the common misconceptions on traveling to Japan. Yeah, the Japanese language is considered one of the hardest languages in the world, but it’s not really that hard and not always necessary to learn if you’re going to stay there for a short time.
My dad did not understand Japanese at all, and I have to translate for him. While yeah, my Japanese was super broken, the Japanese people respected my efforts, and there were some that spoken really good English to my dad and me.
Since the Tokyo Olympics are coming soon, the Japanese people are trying to improve their English by talking to foreigners more or traveling to English-speaking countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
It is recommended to know enough Japanese to survive a week or two just in case.
Those are the five misconceptions about traveling to Japan. While there are others out there, these are the five I would mostly predict that foreigners have in mind when they think about traveling to Japan. If you’re planning to go to Japan, have fun but please be careful.
Oh, and I suggest you read my blog 12 Things Foreigners Need To Know About Japan before you go ;)