It's almost time for Japan to host the Rugby World Cup! There's a lot to prepare: passport, tickets, and fan gear; but while watching rugby and traveling in Japan, it’s important to know the ins and outs of, not only how things work, but the etiquette as well. Let’s take a look at this short and quick guide to help prep you for your journey!

Trains

Japan is well known for its immense public transportation infrastructure, but it can be a little daunting for a first-time—or even live-in—foreigner to navigate. From buying tickets to boarding the right train, all it takes is a little practice to get used to it. In addition to buying individual tickets at the counter, there are also special 5-day tickets, called the JR Seishun 18 ticket. It might be just the thing for you while you watch some rugby matches.

Japan Rail Seishun 18 Ticket

Japan Rail Seishun 18 Ticket

How to travel on Japan Rail local and express trains, buses and the Miyajima ferry for just ¥2,370 per person per day.

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What to say?

How much is a ticket to 〇 station? eki made wa ikura desu ka?
I want to go to 〇. Please, guide me. e ikitai. Annai shite onegai.
Where is the 〇 line? sen wa doko desu ka?
Does this train stop at 〇 station? Kono ressha eki ni tomarimasu ka?

Ride the trains like a pro. (Foto: Wikipedia Creative Commons)
Ride the trains like a pro. (Foto: Wikipedia Creative Commons)

IC Cards

If you aren’t used to public transportation, IC cards can make the process a little easier. With this credit-card sized smart chip card you just need to tap the card to the panel at the ticket gate on trains and buses, and off you go. SUICA in particular is well known and used around Japan. You can even use it as a debit card at some big city convenience stores and vending machines.

Guide to Suica Cards

Guide to Suica Cards

Suica is a rechargeable transportation card from JR recommended for traveling around Japan via train or bus. This convenient card..

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What to say?

I want to buy an IC card. IC card o kaitai.
I want to charge my IC card. IC card o chaaji shitai.
Can I use my IC card here? Koko ni IC card o tsukaemasu ka?

Cash vs. Credit

If you’re used to traveling abroad, you might be used to using credit cards abroad; such is not the case in Japan. Although credit cards are slowly becoming more common use, cash is still king. The more rural your travels become the less likely it is that you’ll be able to use credit cards, so be sure to carry enough cash to last. The good news is that there are some ATMs accustomed to dealing with foreign credit cards; most popular is the 7-Eleven convenient store.

Contactless payments, particularly Apple Pay, is making its way to Japan. It can even link your SUICA card (for trains and buses) directly to your phone. You can find out more about Apple Pay here.

Money in Japan

Money in Japan

Know before you go with this money guide about the Japanese yen, exchanging currencies, how to pay in Japan, and using ATMs.

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What to say?

Can I use a credit card here? Koko ni kurejitto kaado wo tsukaemasu ka?
Where’s the nearest ATM? Chikai no ATM wa doko desu ka?
Don't forget your cash! (Foto: Pixabay)
Don't forget your cash! (Foto: Pixabay)

Driving in Japan & Car Rental

If your travels plan to take you out of the big cities, it might be worth considering renting a car. But what will you need—and how do you do it? First off, you'll need to get an International Driver's Permit; the process is easy and cheap and the permit allows you to drive in 150 countries worldwide. These IDPs should be obtained before coming to Japan and are valid for one year.

If you want to learn more about driving laws and signs, check the JAF English website.

Renting a car is surprisingly easy in Japan, especially with the magic of the internet and how simple it is to make a reservation.

If you decide to drive, just remember, there is zero tolerance for drinking with alcohol in your system and carries a fine of up to 500,000 yen.

Traveler’s Insurance

A must for every visitor to Japan is traveler’s insurance. Bicycle accidents, colds, or unexpected accidents can rack up quite a bill, especially in Japan where uninsured medical expenses are so high. There are a lot of criteria to take into account while choosing your insurance provider, but it’s definitely something you want to take care of before coming to Japan.

Basic Etiquette

You always want to make a good impression on people wherever you go, and that might be most true when you go abroad; you’re a representative of your country, after all. Here are some quick phrases—and full guides—on etiquette to practice and faux pas to avoid.

What to say?

Can you help me? Tetsudaemasu onegai.
Excuse me. Sumimasen
Bon appetit! Itadakimasu!
Thank you for the meal Gochisosama deshita.
Cheers! Kampai!
Please have my seat. Kono seki e douzo.
Thank you. Arigatou.
Please. Onegai.

More phrases

Time for a 'kampai!' (Foto: Pixabay)
Time for a 'kampai!' (Foto: Pixabay)

Other useful guides

Table Manners

This fantastic guide will keep you from making any unfortunate faux pas while you dine with your friends, or if you just want to look like you know what you're doing. And don't worry about tipping, it is not a system used in Japan—it's included with the great service.

Guide to Japanese Table Manners

Guide to Japanese Table Manners

With the guide to Japanese table manners you'll learn something new and feel confident about not breaking any taboos while enjoying..

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Drinking Etiquette

Want to enjoy sake like a pro? This is the way!

Sake Etiquette

Sake Etiquette

Japan is a nation in which courtesy is greatly valued. To make sure that you have a fantastic sake drinking experience with your..

Train Etiquette

From backpacks, luggage, offering your seat up, and public drinking—it's a good idea to know how to behave in these sometimes cramped conditions (if travelling during rush hour).

Onsen/ Hot Springs

Did you know that tattoos are taboo in Japan? And you'll probably be barred from onsen entry if you have one. If you are inked, be sure to check out Tattoo Friendly for a list of places you can visit.

Shrine and Temples

Is it bow once, clap once? Or bow once, clap twice? And when am I supposed to wash my hands? Don't worry, we've got you covered in this guide.

Bringing Medication to Japan

Traveling with medicine can be tricky. Here are the guidelines for entering Japan with prescription or OTC drugs. However, recreational drugs (including marijuana) are outlawed and carries a severe penalty.