5 Things You Need In Japan
Cash. Cash. And A Little More Cash.
I brought about 200 US dollars worth of yen, thinking that would be plenty since I’d just use my credit card for incidentals throughout Japan. I mean, Tokyo is one of the most modern cities in the world, right? Well…in some respects it’s the epitome of modern, but it’s also a cash only city. I burned through my cash since I had to use it unexpectedly for train fare, meals, entrance fees etc. I would have been more comfortable with $400-$500 in cash.
Internet Connectivity! Pocket Wi-Fi Or Pre-Paid Sim Card
Just like I assumed I would be able to use my credit card everywhere, I also assumed there would be plentiful Wi-Fi available. Wrong.
Free and reliable Wi-Fi is not commonplace yet in Japan. Even our hotel Wi-Fi connectivity was consistently poor at all three hotels: spotty and inconsistent to the downright non-existent. While literally unplugging is part of the adventure of travel that helps you focus on the present moment, it was unnerving to get lost in a city where I couldn’t read the language at all without having the ability to use Google Maps or Google translate.
Google Maps (In English)
The Tokyo train system is relatively easy to navigate (at least in the downtown part of Tokyo where the signs include English characters- the further out you get from tourist areas, the more difficult I found it to be) and always on time. Trying to find your way on foot however, is not nearly as easy.
My Own Personal Walking Tour Guide
I wish I had on my trip to Tokyo my own private tour guide. Fortunately, GPSMyCity.com has created a whole series of Walking Guide apps to guide you through the city. For a $5 app, totally worth it. It’s a BIG app though, so make sure you have room on your phone for all those vacation photos you’re going to take.
Comfortable, Stylish Walking Shoes
I’m a die hard lover of Chuck Taylors with their bold colors, white laces and classic style. My Converse are rad, but…we clocked about 20,000 steps hustling and bustling around Tokyo and by the end of the 3rd night, my feet were killing me. Fortunately for me, Okinawan sake is a powerful pain killer and after a few rounds at dinner, I was able to finish off the night by exploring the area around the Tokyo Tower despite my blistered toes.