As I type, Beth and Andre on enjoying their honeymoon to Japan and Vietnam.
Japan seems a exotic to lots of travelers and some are hesitant to go because of some misconceptions that they have heard about it so let us try to clear up some of the common misconceptions
- You must speak Japanese– In many of the larger cities (that tourists are more inclined to visit), those involved in the tourism and transportation business speak English. Some restaurants have pictures on menus that you can point to and you might even run into a local who may suggest some dishes!
- It’s too crowded – not all of the cities are going to look like Tokyo’s Shibuya intersection when hundreds of people cross the street at the same time. Tokyo is a big city just like New York or Chicago and it will be busy but it doesn’t have to scare you away.
- It’s too expensive – Japan has a huge variety of hotels and restaurants that cater to all budgets. A business hotel room in Tokyo can be very small and relatively inexpensive, but has everything a traveler needs if you just want a place to lay your head. There are major hotel chains and super-luxe hotels.. Do try to check out a Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) that include will breakfast and dinner. As far as value on food, you can eat inexpensively in food courts (no need to worry about speaking the language since there are pictures of the food), or you can choose more upscale options.
- Japanese cuisine isn’t all about raw fish– Japanese food isn’t only sushi and sashimi. Wagyu (Japan-bred) beef is available in many restaurants, as well as chicken, pork and vegetarian dishes. In many cities, there are restaurants that offer French, Italian cuisine, South American, Indian, Western, Korean, Thai and more.
- It’s too hard to get around – Information offices are in every train and bus station with English-speaking staff, maps, brochures and suggestions on how to maximize your visit. We can included private tours at your destination but most of our clients will do a combination of small group excursions, private excursions and using their Japan Rail Pass to explore on their own.
- Their etiquette rules are intimidating– they do have rules but don’t stress about them. Here are some important ones to know, from by Steve Gillick in an article from
– Don’t stick your chop sticks in your rice, but instead lay them on the table (and you can ask for a fork and spoon if you wish).
– Don’t be afraid to slurp your noodles. It’s the proper way to eat them!
– Take off your shoes before entering a home or temple or a room of tatami mats (reed mats), and either put on the slippers provided or walk in your socks.
– Bring some business cards or name cards, and when a local presents their card to you with two hands, present your card the same way.
– While many Japanese may bow to you to show respect, you don’t need to bow if you are not so inclined. Shaking hands is OK, too!
- I don’t want to only visit cities– Japan can offer adventure, nature, history and even beaches. Beth and Andre’s honeymoon itinerary includes Hiking in the Japanese Alps (Kamikochi), visitingFiji Hakone Izu National Park strolling the Philospher’s Path in Kyoto and enjoying some hot springs at a Ryokan.
Japan is not everyone’s cup of tea but if it’s on your bucket list, let the team at My Vacation Lady help you plan your dream vacation or honeymoon. I think you’ll find our personalized service and experience to help you get the most of your vacation experience.