1. It can be VERY expensive
However, if you plan to backpack you can get by on about 3000 yen/day (2016)
2. Always know where the nearest 7 eleven is
Japan is a cash based society, nobody takes cards (except 7-eleven, fancy stores, some restaurants & large supermarkets) Besides the post office, 7-eleven is one of the only ATMS that take western cards. You’ll know them intimately by the time you leave.
3. Alcohol is cheap
I mean really cheap
4. Water is generally safe to drink
unlike most of Asia
5. The JR ticket is a bad deal
Unless you plan on only using bullet trains because you only have 1 week to tour you should avoid this pass. Travel by night bus instead or even the subway when in major hubs, for example, Kyoto to Osaka. Tons of money can be saved this way if you plan to stay for a bit.
6. Be prepared to miss fruits and veggies
They are expensive and no restaurant serves them really. You can find them in grocery stores in season but again, they’re ex-pen-sive.
7. Yes, the toilets do spray your bits
I was playing with the buttons the first time and a water jet shot at me so I jumped up and it hit the stall door and soaked the floor.. Don’t do that.
8. You’re going to walk A LOT and it’s HOT
I know everyone says it but 33 degrees Celsius + oppressive humidity is impossible to deal with as a Canadian, avoid Japan in July and August. Also, forget the heels and grab your Birkenstocks or runners instead. Whether it be from metro to metro or up a hill to a beautiful temple you cover a lot of ground touring Japan dress for it and your feet will thank you.
9. It’s not as lonely as it appears
Yes the locals tend to stare at their feet instead of smile at you as you pass by but they do this to make you feel more comfortable ironically. The Japanese are the most kind and helpful people when you strike up a conversation with them, so reach out you’ll be glad you did. As for the language/reading barrier most necessities also come in English like train stops and some restaurants. Google came out with a character translator which you can download. But if everything was in English it wouldn’t be as fun, trust me.
10. It doesn’t matter where you stay
Japan is really clean, there is virtually no difference between the $30 Airbnb vs the $160 hotel so pick your favorite location and be done with it. No matter what, the room will be tiny and foreign and the mattress will be thin so you might as well save some money and go out and see the sights. Don’t even think about renting one with Western features, where’s your sense of adventure!