Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What You Should Take to Japan - Japan Travel Tips

     This winter, my husband and I are finally going to visit Japan, which is our home country. We grew up and worked in Japan, and now we are living in the U.S. Obviously, Japan and U.S. are very different countries such as languages, cultures, laws and etc. If you are planning on traveling Japan for your first time, perhaps you have already read some articles about Japan travel tips. Yet, I will share with you my real Japan travel tips. Today, I'm going to share four items you should take to Japan with you. :)

1. Wash Cloth or Handkerchief
My Wash Clothes or Handkerchiefs
      It's no joke! Don't forget to take some wash clothes or handkerchiefs to Japan. Regardless of age and sex, Japanese people always keep one in their pocket or handbag when going outside. After washing your hands, you need it to dry your hands with your own handkerchief. Well, some public bathrooms have hand dryers or paper hand towels, but not all bathrooms have those. Even though I never carry around wash cloth nor handkerchief in the U.S., I always keep one in my handbag in Japan.
     I have ten wash clothes and handkerchiefs now, and most of them were gifts from my friends, colleagues and so on. In Japan, those are perfect as a gift because everyone needs one. Indeed, handkerchiefs are also one of the most popular gifts for mother's day and father's day in Japan. :) I remember that I bought this Celine wash cloth for my mother-in-law at a department store when we traveled Osaka. I loved that it has very cute loafer patterned embroidery, so I also bought one for myself. :) In Japan, you can purchase wash clothes and handkerchiefs at department stores, Muji, Daiso, some clothing stores, gift shops, and so on. It's usually 100 yen to 1,500 yen.
Wash Cloth
   By the way, handkerchief is called hankachi (ハンカチ) in Japan, and wash cloth is called towel hankachi (タオル ハンカチ) in Japan.

2. Cash
      In the U.S., most stores accept credit cards. Even if I only have less than $5 cash in my wallet, I think it's still okay in the U.S. because I can use a credit card. However, in Japan, you should put more cash in your wallet. When I lived in Japan, if I had less than 10,000 yen (about $88) in my wallet, I started to think I should add more cash in it. (By the way, when I travel Japan, obviously I put more money in my wallet.) Some Japanese people always have more than 100,000 yen in their wallets, and it's not unusual in Japan. One of my Japanese friends told me that he had 400,000 yen in his wallet, and I thought it's too much! It depends on how much you spend until you add cash in it next time.  By the way, there is no tipping in any situation in Japan. 

Credit Card Acceptance List (◎Accept  vs ×Don't Accept)
Convenience Stores - Most stores accept credit cards.
Department Stores - Most stores accept credit cards.
Discount stores - Many stores accept credit cards. (◎Donki)
Supermarkets - Some stores don't accept credit cards.(◎Aeon and Ito Yokado  vs  ×local supermarkets, smaller supermarkets)
Drugstores - Some stores don't accept credit cards. (◎Matsumotokiyoshi and Kokumin  vs  × local stores and smaller stores)
Restaurant - Some restaurants don't accept credit cards. (◎Royal Host, Skylark Group Restaurants vs × local restaurants and smaller restaurants)
Food Stalls - Most food stalls don't accept credit cards.
Gift Shops - Some stores don't accept credit cards. (◎Gift shops located in airports     vs  × small local gift shops)
Transportation (Train) - Some companies don't accept credit cards. (◎JR)
Transportation (Bus) - Some companies don't accept credit cards.    
Transportation (Taxi) - Some drivers don't accept credit cards. 
Hospitals - Some hospitals don't accept credit cards. (◎larger hospitals     vs ×smaller hospitals)
Post Office - They don't accept credit cards.

***Some stores accept credit cards only when you spend more than minimum amount, which might be 500 yen to 3,000 yen.  

3. Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fee
       Foreign transaction fees are charged by most credit card companies on purchases made in abroad. Many of them charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. Check your credit cards if you have a 0% foreign transaction fee credit card. If truth be told I had never thought about it until last year, and I always paid a 3% foreign transaction fee when I used my credit card in Japan (I was an idiot!). I wish I could have known it earlier. This year, I finally got a Capital One Quicksilver credit card. It's a 0% foreign transaction fee credit card, and I can earn 1.5% cashback rewards on any purchase. I like the fact that its annual fee is free.  I think many airline credit cards also offer a 0% foreign transaction fee.

     By the way, the best credit card brands for Japan travel are VISA and MasterCard, but you can probably use JCB, Diners and American Express at many stores.


4. Your Favorite Deodorant
Shisiedo Ag Deo 24 for women
     While most U.S. deodorants are solid stick, most Japanese deodorants are spray. Moreover, Japanese deodorants are not as strong as U.S. ones. Indeed, U.S. deodorants are popular for some Japanese people who concern extreme underarm odor. They buy U.S. deodorants online such as Amazon Japan. You cannot find U.S. deodorants at drugstores in Japan. If you have your favorite deodorant, you really should take as many deodorants as you need to Japan.  However, if you are looking for the most effective Japanese deodorant, I recommend you to try Shiseido AG Deo 24. My husband loved this product and told me that Shiseido AG is the best Japanese deodorant he has ever used.  Shiseido AG Deo 24 has women's deodorants and men's deodorants.
Shiseido AG Deo 24 Men

       These are my entries you might like.
■My Shopping List for Japanese Beauty Products - What I Want to Get in Japan

■Top 15 Popular Posts from Best Japanese Beauty Products

■Top 5 Life-Changing Japanese Beauty Products   

■Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Bath Salt / Bath Additive Brands

■What I Bought at Japanese Supermarkets

■Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Japanese Supermarkets (for Beginners!)

■Don Quijote (Donki) Haul - What He Got in Japan

■8 Interesting Japanese Kitchen Gadgets!

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Snacks

■My Top 10 Favorite Japanese Sweets

■Top 10 Most Popular Japanese Foods 

■My Top 15 Must Eat Foods in Japan - My Favorite Japanese Foods

     My entries related to popular and cool Japanese products can be seen here.
     My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.

     My entries related to Japanese sweets and snacks can be seen here.

     My entries related to beauty can be seen here.

     My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

     My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

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