Your tips on Japan

We asked you for your top tips for travelling in Japan – and you didn’t disappoint. From places to visit and advice on getting around to culinary customs and taking photos, here’s what you said…

Team Wanderlust
07 January 2021

Timely advice…

Japan Rail (Shutterstock)

“Timing a visit for the cherry blossom in spring can be hit and miss. It’s very weather-dependent and lasts only a few days. Fans of Japanese gardens will appreciate the autumn leaf colours just as much. It’s a less short-lived event, so you’ll be less likely to miss it.”

– David Kingsnorth

“Most restaurants give you a small, damp cloth before your meal. It’s to clean your hands – not, as I found out, to clean your face with. If you use it for your face, some people find it funny, some find it weird and most will not tell you until you’ve done it innumerable times.”

– Oliver Futter

“If you’re planning a number of trips, a Japan Rail Pass (bought prior to arriving in Japan) makes life much easier, as you avoid having to buy tickets on the day of your trip. Download the HyperDia app (or use it online), which is the Japan rail timetable – you can plan your routes and then go to the ticket office with the train times written down.”

– Nick M

“Remember that the word for yes in Japanese sounds like “hi”. We kept going into shops saying hi to them, not realising we were saying “yes.”

– Anna Grainger

Island life…

Enoshima Island (Shutterstock)

“When in Tokyo, spare an afternoon to visit the island of Odaiba. See the Gundam statue, shop till you drop, eat traditional food and relax in the gardens. Oh, and don’t forget to see the robotic receptionist. Well, it is Japan!”

– Mark Blyth

“Enoshima is a fantastic day trip from Tokyo with plenty to do and has a great change of pace from the big cities and usual haunts. Make sure to visit the Sea Candle from which (on a good day) you can see Mt Fuji.”

– Warren Jacobs

“You must, must, must visit the beautiful island of Miyajima, off the coast of Hiroshima. It has mountaintop views and a ‘floating’ shrine, which is a World Heritage Site. For romance, take a private rickshaw tour.”

– Pat Reed

“Get away to the island of Shikoku. As well as temples, The Iya Valley has three vine bridges, and Nagoro village. Populated mainly by scarecrows, which harvest the fields, sit at bus stops and ‘repair’ phone lines, they outnumber the human population by 10 to 1.”

– Alan Holmwood


Kyoto by bike (Shutterstock)

“Kyoto is a lovely city to cycle. Many guest houses and hotels offer free bicycles for guests to leisurely scoot around. Ride considerately and be aware of parking regulations, especially in the city centre, and you can visit many of the beautiful attractions without paying a cent.”

– Christopher Liew

“At Fushimi Inari-taisha everyone stops to take a picture at the first few shrines. Walk past them – the shrines go on for ages, so if you just walk and enjoy them for a few minutes you will have lots of room and space, and no surrounding tourists, for all your fab pictures!”

– Rhiannon Hobbs

“Don’t worry if you get to Nishiki Market after everything has closed. There’s some incredible shutter art to admire and it’s a lovely walk from west to east towards the Shirakawa Canal.”

– James Donaldson

“For a glimpse of old Tokyo, head to Golden Gai in the Shinjuku district. It’s a warren of narrow alleyways lined with tumbledown bars. They come to life at night, each with different themes and atmospheres. Great fun!”

– Lydia Houghton

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