Considering booking your spring vacation to Japan? Do it! Curating her very own Japan travel tips, Winnie Liu, author of Moshi Moshi, is here to guide you through your amazing trip to have the BEST experience.

Using her own experience traveling through Japan, Winnie has become an experienced visitor to Japan and wants everyone else to be one! From eating on a budget to which 7-11 snack is the best, she here to help! Check out her tips:

Eating well on a budget:

A great place to experience delicious local cuisine on a travel-budget is at Japanese supermarkets. The plethora of hot and cold prepared foods make from quick snacks to an entire meal. To save even more money, come snag the dishes in the evenings. Some employees will mark up all the food with discount stickers. So, enjoy those late night outings, just make sure you don’t wait up too long before they run out!

Where are the trash cans??:  

Next to vending machines are one of the few places you can find a recycling bin (and on rare occasions a trash bin) in Japan! Thankfully, vending machines are literally on every corner of major cities. The most common ones are for drinks (which often sell hot AND cold drinks). You can find specialty ones for food, gadgets, accessories, and more! 

Travel ALL across Japan:

The JR Group, one of Japan’s largest private railway companies, offers a cost-effective and handy travel option. Only available to foreign tourists called the JR Rail Pass, the pass comes in 7, 14, and 21 day usages. It’s valid for almost all major forms of transportation in Japan provided by the JR Group, including shinkansen (AKA bullet trains). This pass used to be much more cost-effective; prices unfortunately went up around 60% for all passes in October 2023. It may not be as well-priced as it once was, but if you plan to travel around Japan a lot, it could still work for you! Don’t you just love public transportation!

Cash is king!

In Japan, the big chains and department stores will likely accept major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard, on rare occasions Discover and Amex too). But, cash *is the most* reliable payment method. 7-11 ATMs consistently have one of the best exchange rates for Japanese yen from foreign currencies, and the process is extremely simple. Simply insert your foreign debit card into any 7-11 ATM and select the amount of yen you would like. The only catch is you will not see the exchange rate until the money is pulled from your bank account. At which time, you can see how much USD or whatever currency you own was pulled. But it will always be a better rate than airport kiosks and exchange counters in touristy areas!

Scouting restaurants like a local:

Finding delicious restaurants isn’t difficult in Japan. Chances are, just walking around and strolling into random establishments will net you some delicious meals. But if you like to plan ahead or seek out specific places, there are two tips and tricks that will help you find digs popular with locals.

1) Search for cuisine terms on Google using Japanese characters instead of English (e.g. sushi is 寿司 in Japanese).

2) Use Tabelog, a food review site for native Japanese spots that is similar to Yelp. Any place with a 3.5+ rating is actually pretty good from my experience.