Japan is a country of mountains. Nearly three quarters of the land is considered mountainous, and two thirds is forested. This makes Japan an excellent place to walk and hike, with trails for beginners and experts alike. Some of the popular locations have well-appointed cabins for overnight stays or extended rests, and will even offer the most Japanese of services – vending machines!
Despite these modern conveniences, hiking in Japan, not to mention mountain climbing there, still means planning your trip carefully and being able to keep in touch with civilization when necessary. Staying connected means packing the newest piece of hiking technology, your mobile phone.
For years Japan was the world leader in mobile phone technology. Japan’s mobile network was the first to go nationwide. Japan was also the first to have mobile internet, the first with color screens on phones and the first for a whole host of other things we now take for granted.
But while the Japanese were forging ahead and using technology unique to Japan, the rest of the world was developing standards that now define a somewhat common ground globally. Because Japan has created its own closed mobile ecosystem, termed “Galapagos syndrome” because it has made their technology perfect in-country but incompatible on a world scale, using foreign phones on the domestic Japanese networks has been always been a challenge.
With the advent of 4G LTE networks, this disparity is becoming less of a problem for foreign travellers. It may be awhile before compatibility becomes a simple issue, but in the meantime here is a Japan mobile network guide to show you how to best use your options (such as a SIM card from Sakura Mobile) to successfully use your cell phone in Japan.
WiFi can be a lifeline for travelers around the world, but especially in Japan where your regular cellular service is not available or will cost you in high roaming fees. When planning your Japan adventure be sure to bring a WiFi-enabled mobile device to help you get around. Wifi access will help you get the best value food and shopping, as well as to discover popular tourist spots and hidden gems on the go. You will be able to use your mobile device in diverse locations including airports, convenience stores, and even on many of the super-fast Shinkansen bullet trains. Read below to successfully navigate the sometimes confusing array of WiFi options and get internet in Japan for an even more wonderful trip!
When you think of Japan, what is the first image that comes to mind? For many, it is the picture of a geisha holding an umbrella. For some it is their favorite manga or anime. For those lucky enough to have visited Japan during Spring, the iconic view of hundreds of sakura trees in full bloom is hard to beat. This is hanami (“flower viewing”) season in Japan, and it is a highlight of the year for many people. While many might think that they can only see sakura in the country, Tokyo cherry blossom trees are just as beautiful! Don’t worry about where to see cherry blossoms in Tokyo–we’ll show you some of the best places around.
With two international airports, Tokyo is an obvious starting point for any visitor to Japan. At the heart of the city is Shinjuku, a place full of restaurants and bars with a few nightclubs, some karaoke and plenty of hidden treasures. Shinjuku also has one of the busiest transport hubs in Japan, connecting the city to the rest of the country with a dozen train lines moving millions of passengers daily.
With so much energy and so many people moving through for business and pleasure, it’s not at all surprising that there are just as many great hotels in Shinjuku to choose from. From homey hostels to theme hotels and surprisingly inexpensive high-class digs, here are 7 of our recommendations for the best Shinjuku accommodation out there. READ MORE
For many people, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. It is a chance to meet family, eat amazing food and give presents to loved ones. In Japan New Year is the biggest holiday, with many people returning home to spend time with their extended families. The festive spirit is reflected throughout Japan, with events held from Hokkaido to Okinawa that anyone can enjoy.
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When some people think of transportation in Tokyo, they imagine the crazy looking maps they’ve seen of the subway lines. With so many stops covering such a large area, it seems like a daunting system. However, Tokyo train and subway lines are among the most extensive and convenient in the world. There a few other transit options as well but you’ll find them less attractive. The buses are difficult to learn and taxis or private cars are expensive. Rental cars can be convenient because there are many options near railway stations, making them easy to find but parking is a bit of a pain – not to mention expensive. Most tourists choose to use the train systems because they are cheap, fast and easy to use.
Mount Takao, otherwise known as Takaosan, offers a convenient and calm retreat from the hustle of the capital that is only one hour away from central Tokyo. Full of history and tradition, Mount Takao has been a center of religious devotion for centuries-and the climate, perfect all year-round but ideal for summer, offers a cool escape from the heat and humidity. Whether you need to refresh yourself during vacation or just need a break from the exhausting frenzy that is Tokyo, there is something on Mount Takao for you. Keep reading to learn about the wonders that await you on this ancient mountain and discover why it is one of the best day trips from Tokyo.
Japan is a country full of things to see, do and experience. Despite a reputation for being one of the more expensive destinations in Asia, if you plan carefully you can save time and money while traveling. Whether you are looking to visit thousand-year old temples or shop for the perfect souvenir, there is always a deal to be found. Especially for more spontaneous travelers, learning how to travel in Japan on the cheap is not as difficult as it may seem. Just be sure to bring your phone or tablet with you to take advantage of all the opportunities available.
Do you want to stay in Japan for an extended holiday, to study or to work, and you need a way to stay connected to the phone and Internet? Fortunately, Japan’s system of calling and data networks are regarded as being among the best and most reliable in the world-for some. Foreign visitors looking for mid- to-long-term phone and data plans will likely have a difficult time shopping around for several reasons. Keep reading to find out what you’re up against when buying a phone in Japan and discover an easy solution that will save you money and keep you connected throughout your stay.