Hi, I am Marinette from the Philippines and I am here to talk about the preparations I did for my trip to Japan in November.
I am very fond of traveling and backpacking. I hate going in tour groups, because for me, these tours are very limited, and travelers don’t get to have a sense of the culture of the place. I like going on my own, hence, it is a must for me to research everything there is to know about my travel destination. Where else to quickly find this information than on the Internet, right? I used different search criteria to find exactly what I wanted to know before visiting Japan. I’d like to share with you my Google search hacks below:
Japan weather –
This, of course, tops my list. I always want to be physically prepared when I go to a place – especially when it is known to have four seasons. Coming from a tropical country, this is very important for me because I need to know exactly what clothing and other stuff to bring. Since my trip was in November, I brought lots of cold-weather clothes. I also brought lip balm, to keep my lips moist and smooth. There are different websites that offer historical and forecasted weather, pretty easy to be informed on this so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Things to do in Japan –
I think this is the most basic search criteria travelers’ use. Of course, everyone wants to know what they could do in a certain destination. This information can usually be found on news articles, traveler blogs and social networking sites. I personally recommend reading travel blogs than news articles, because these blogs are raw – not edited to make readers look past the imperfections of their travel destination. I usually check out 5-7 sites for comparison, and then make up my own list of to-dos based on the most recommended things by bloggers. Thankfully, my Japan itinerary – which includes Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo – was wonderful and worth visiting.
Getting around Japan –
This is to have an idea of how you’ll go around your destination. In Japan, time really runs fast, and you could not be left waiting in their railway system for a few minutes if you really want to enjoy and explore what they have to offer, considering you only have limited time to roam around. My tip is to get to know or at least familiarize yourself with their transport system, including the schedule of departure of trains and buses. You can do this by reading about it on Lonely Planet, or similar websites. I also recommend to use Google Maps while traveling. With this, time is really in your hands to enjoy.
Basic Japanese Conversation–
One of the more important things you should be prepared of is the language barrier. I’ll be straight to the point: Most of the Japanese I’ve encountered don’t know how to communicate in English. What I suggest is that, get to know beforehand translations of basic conversations like, “Thank you”, “Welcome”, “How much for this?”, “Where’s the restroom?”, and some more basics that you think will help you communicate with the locals during your stay. There are websites which offer basic language courses for free, I suggest you learn for a bit before traveling to Japan. Knowing other countries’ cultures is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we shouldn’t miss out, Japan most especially, because of their cultural heritage that was sculpted and preserved for several generations harmoniously mixed with the state-of-the-art and busy commercial districts that will make you fall in love. I hope these hacks would make your visit in Japan a hassle-free one.