How-tos

Where and how to validate / receive your Japan Rail Pass

You’ve got a voucher for your Japan Rail Pass. Great! But where and how can you validate / receive the pass?   Midori-no-madoguchi Bring your voucher to a JR (Japan Railroad Company) counter located at major JR train stations called Midori-no Madoguchi, which literally means “Green Counter”. They will know what you want if you show the voucher, but try saying “onegai shimasu” along with showing the voucher. It is a useful and polite expression in Japanese meaning “please do this for me” that you can use almost everywhere you go in Japan. You can just say “onegai shimasu” or use is in place for please like “shio-ramen onegai shimasu”. [...]

Tattoos and Hot Springs (onsen) – tattoo-friendly hot springs in Japan and how to find them

Are there tattoo-friendly hot springs in Japan? How can you find out if they will let you in and how can you make sure you don’t miss out this unique experience of getting in hot springs while travelling in Japan? Why do they care if you have tattoos or not in the first place? Why tattoos are taboos in Hot Springs in Japan It has been a custom in Japan to prohibit people with tattoos to use public onsen, hot springs. That was because tattoos meant connection to Japanese mafia, Yakuza, for a long time. Tattooed skin indicated  that the person had pledged to be a member of a crime [...]

Riding a train in Japan – Tips, manners and trivia including endless announcements and women-only cars

I use public transportations as much as possible when I’m travelling in a foreign country. You get to experience real life as a local. That’s what makes a travel a real experience beyond been-there-done-that in my opinion. I recommend that you take trains and buses when you visit Japan not only because it’s convenient, but it has some uniqueness that you might enjoy. Here are some things to keep in mind when you go ride on a train in Japan. Punctual Service Public transportation system in Japan is amazingly punctual and well organized. Trains in Japan run dead on schedule. Check when your train is supposed to arrive and/or depart [...]

How to take a bike on a train in Japan

So, you brought your bike to Japan. You plan on travelling around Japan by bike. Unless you have plenty of time and are determined to bike to everywhere, you might want to get to the next destination quickly on a train. How can you do that in Japan and what are the rules for bringing your bike on a train? I’m writing this article to answer those questions. Train is the way to transport your bike in Japan I love cycling. I own a road bike and a mountain bike. On my weekend trips to the country, I always bring my bike, especially in spring and autumn. There are many [...]