Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Japan is a country with a rich, endearing history full of culture, tranquility and excitement all at the same time. Most of us who take a trip to Japan soon realize upon touching down that Japan is a magnificent land with some of the most beautiful scenery of any country in the world. However, before taking a tour to Japan, travelers should educate themselves on this land to get a better idea of what to do when visiting The Far East. Read below for some interesting tidbits on the country of Japan:
Despite its relatively small size compared to some of the world's other larger countries, Japan's population is a little more than 126 million people, with most of these residents living in some of the country's more densely-populated areas. In fact, the Tokyo Metropolitan Area alone houses an estimated 12 million people or roughly ten percent of the country's population. In fact, it's estimated that during the day that number might increase to up to 15 million with people commuting to work in the city, so if you're planning a trip to Tokyo, prepare yourself for some crowds.
The people of Japan has become more accustomed to visitors from the United States, so language is less-likely to be an issue now compared to past times. Still, do yourself a favor and take along a translating device of some sort or just a phrasebook/dictionary to prepare yourself for those times when you run into residents that aren't familiar with the English language.
Public transportation is readily-available in most of the larger cities with trains, buses and taxis providing the primary source of public transportation in these locations. Make sure to keep that translating device or dictionary handy just in case you get into a situation where you're not around English-speaking Japanese citizens. Also, make sure to print out a schedule of the train schedule to ensure you'll get where you want to go at the time you want to go. As for buses, check online and see the databases for the schedules.
The currency for Japan is yen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen with paper currency in denomination of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen. Make sure to check the exchange rates before you head out on your Japan vacation to make sure you bring enough cash for your trip.
Traveler's checks are accepted in most banks, hotels, inns and stores throughout most of Japan's major cities as are most major credit cards including American Express, VISA, Diners club and MasterCard. These credit cards can also be used at most ATMs throughout the cities as well and in fact, most 7-Elevens also have ATM machines that accept these credit cards as well. However, most of the areas outside the major cities do not accept these credit cards, so make sure to take some yen when traveling to these areas.
And if you want to brush on some interesting facts on Japan before you go, consider the following:
- Japan is 70% mountains
- Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands
- The most popular pet in Japan is the Golden Retriever
- Japanese pizza traditionally has mayonnaise, corn and seaweed on it
- Watermelons can often cost up to $100
- KFC is a really popular place to visit on Christmas
A trip to Japan provides a fantastic chance to experience the culture of a rich and endearing land while providing memories that will last a lifetime.