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Top Travel Tips and Tricks for First Time Travelers to Tokyo

Top Travel Tips and Tricks for First Time Travelers to Tokyo

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If you’re traveling to Tokyo, Japan anytime soon, you’re one lucky individual whether you choose economy or business class flights to Japan! It’s a fascinating country, and the culture is intriguing not to mention the breathtaking landscapes and landmarks. You’re likely to feel welcome right off the bat; however, as a first-time traveler there are major dos and don’ts you should know about when it comes to visiting Tokyo. Keep reading to find out what travel tips are most important to your trip.

Bowing

When greeting someone in Japan, bowing is the appropriate gesture. You should bow by bending your upper torso forward at a 15-degree angle. However, when you meet an elder, extend your bow as to show respect. If a native bows to you first, nod your head to replicate the acknowledgment. Japanese don’t always shake hands so don’t let this discourage you. It’s best you wait and see if they offer their hand first before extending yours.

Know the name of your hotel

In case you lose your notes or hotel keycard, you should know how to tell the taxi driver the name of the hotel and the closest subway that will take you to your destination.The English version of the hotel’s name is often not available, so knowing how to say it in the native language will help to get you back to where you need to be.

Never open your own door

Don’t get out of the taxi yourself. Your driver will come around to let you out and open the back door to let you in. It’s best you wait for this courtesy as to not offend the driver.

Put away your phone

It’s bad business to pull out your cell phone while riding on a train or bus in the city. You also should refrain from initiating conversation as well. Natives do their own, quiet thing.

Subway and train hours

The trains and subways close at 12:00 am. If you’re out after midnight, make sure you’re within walking distance to your accommodations or next destination. Taxis are still available but they can be expensive during late hours.

Meal time

Always thank the host with a bow. Do this before and after your meal as it shows good manners.  

It’s cool to slurp there!

Where slurping is rude in the States, it’s a custom in Japan! Notice the room when you eat out and you’ll find this noise to be a welcomed one.

Check, please

When you’ve finished your meal and it’s time to pay, cross your fingers to make the letter “X” and the waiter will take care of the bill.

Learn the language basics

Knowing a few of the key phrases in Japanese will help you communicate with natives. Practice saying, “excuse me,” “thank you,” “hello,” “goodbye,”—terms you may need when interacting with strangers. Oh, and “where’s the bathroom?” is another must-know phrase as you won’t be able to read their locations either.  

A nice way to say “no”

When the Japanese says something is “impossible” or mention something is “difficult,” it’s their way of saying “no.” They do not want to turn you away, however, there are times it’s necessary.  Don’t attempt to force the situation as it could end up being an unfavorable decision.  

Signs in English

Although it’s recommended, you don’t have to know many Japanese phrases as there are enough signs are in English that you can navigate through Tokyo without much difficulty. It’s when you begin to explore outside of the city that you will need to know those important Japanese phrases, as signs in English aren’t are prevalent.

Don’t tip!

In the States, tipping is mandatory, but in Japan it’s refused! Tips are not counted towards a waiter’s salary and the gesture is seen as rude and inappropriate. It doesn’t seem possible but some will get angry if you tip them.

Gifting

Giving a gift is different from tipping and it is generally well accepted. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, bring a gift! If possible, pick this up before you leave and select a gift that has meaning to your hometown.

ATMs

If you find an ATM that takes your card, take note of it because most banks won’t accept your bank card. You can find a post office that has a cash machine you could possibly use.

Suica Cards

If you’re thinking about coming back any time in the future or extending your stay because you got such as great deal on cheap business class flights to Tokyo, you should get a card to store your yen. PASMO cards are accepted so you may want to consider applying for one.  

Keep your passport with you

The passport is the best way of identifying yourself should you need identification. You can expect this to happen so don’t forget it back in the room!

BYOTP

Bring your own toilet paper! The public restrooms in Japan don’t always have them available, so you might want to have some handy when you leave the hotel. If you forget, look for a street vendor as they will offer a pack of tissue to forgetful and unaccustomed tourists.

Take your shoes off

Most of us are aware shoes are a no-no in Japanese places of business and in the home. Make sure you have a clean pair of socks that doesn’t have any holes in them. If you’re not sure when to take them off, just ask.   

Bathroom rules

The Japanese are particular people, so it’s not uncommon to wear different shoes to the bathroom. These shoes are not the same ones you’d wear around the house and are specifically worn to visit the toilet.

Refrain from blowing your nose

If you have the sniffles or a runny nose while you’re visiting Japan, absolutely do not blow your nose in public! Excuse yourself to the bathroom or into another room and quietly blow or wipe your nose.

I hope you enjoyed these top travel tips for travel in Tokyo!

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Juliana

    May 30, 2017 at 4:20 AM

    I had no idea about taking your cell phone out in public … oops. Thanks for the tips, hoping to head there later this year for the very first time.

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Travel Tips

7 Best Ways to Explore Greece

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Greece has everything to offer travellers–whether you want to explore bustling cities, relax on pristine islands, learn about fascinating culture, or just soak up the sunshine. Whatever you decide, we hope this list helps inspire your next trip to the country.

Visit Athens

Athens is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and should be at the top of every traveller’s itinerary when visiting Greece. This thriving metropolis boasts of over 1 million inhabitants and a rich history dating back to 3000 BC. Overlooking the Saronic Gulf, the Acropolis dominates the skyline with its distinctive minaret-like structure built upon layers of rock.

Its construction started under Pericles and continued right up till 1828. For centuries now, Athenians have lived side by side with their past glory. Athens offers plenty of reasons to visit its many museums and monuments, including the Acropolis, Keramikos museum, Ancient Agora Museum, National Archaeological Museum and more.

Sightsee the Peloponnese Peninsula

The Peloponnese peninsula stretches southwards from Sparta and includes the largest cities of southern Greece: Corinth, Argolis, Patras and Larissa. Its mountainous terrain provides excellent conditions for walking, biking, para-gliding, rock climbing and mountaineering. The area is dotted with small settlements, monasteries, castles, and churches dating back centuries.

Take a boat tour along the Greek Islands

The best way to see the beauty of the Greek Islands when you visit Greece is by taking a cruise ship vacation. You’ll experience breathtaking views as well as enjoy an authentic island lifestyle that’s unlike anywhere else in the world. There are dozens of different cruises available throughout the Mediterranean Sea; however, there are only two main types: coastal tours and offshore trips.

Coastal tours take passengers near shore while offshore excursions allow them to travel farther out into the open sea. If you’re looking for something between these two options, consider a mix of both. For example, a combination of a coastal tour followed by an overnight sail will give you time to spend ashore before returning home. For the best experience, consider renting a private boat or yacht.

Get into the water activities at Mykonos

Mykonos is known for being one of the world’s top destinations for windsurfing, kite surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, jet skiing and yachting. Whether you prefer land-based sports or sea adventures, you won’t get bored on Mykonos. Several companies run organised trips to different locations around the island. However, if you’d like to venture off the beaten track, there are several opportunities to rent equipment locally.

Watch sunset drinks while sitting by the beach

Kos offers several great locations for watching sunsets. One particular area worth checking out is at Kasteloura Beach where you’ll find a bar serving cocktails with fantastic views across the water. Alternatively, head to Platis Gialos harbour, where you will spot dolphins playing around the boats moored nearby.

Have breakfast overlooking the sea in Corfu Town

Corfu town sits right next to the beautiful bay of Laganas, where it enjoys views over the Gulf of Mirabello. This picturesque location means that this part of Corfu will always be busy, especially during summer months. However, even though there are plenty of bars and clubs, most people still choose to enjoy their breakfasts here.

Wander through old town Patras

Patras used to be one of the largest cities in southern Europe until the 19th century. It keeps much of its original charm despite being modernised. The old quarter contains ancient churches, narrow streets lined with restaurants, cafés and boutiques. There’s also lots to do beyond wandering around the old town; take boat trips or visit the Aquarium of Southern Italy.

Enjoy seafood fresh off the grill in Halkidiki

Halkidiki is a popular choice among tourists looking for cheap holidays in Greece. With so many activities available, no matter what your interests may be, you’re bound to have fun!

Do a wine tasting in Rethymno

The Greek island of Crete is most commonly associated with luxury resorts, high end cuisine and glitzy nightclubs. However, those seeking something more down to earth will enjoy visiting the small towns scattered throughout the region. Among them is Rethymnon located along the southern coast. Here, visitors can sample some delicious wines before heading home.

Greece has been attracting travellers since antiquity. Today, thousands flock here every summer hoping to experience this beautiful country first hand. From exploring bustling markets to relaxing on pristine islands, there’s plenty to see and do in Greece. Whether you choose to stay in cosmopolitan Athens or explore remote villages dotted all over the Aegean Sea, there’s always an adventure waiting just round the corner.

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Travel Tips

5 Best Things To Do In Maryland

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One of the smallest states in the United States, Maryland sits peacefully on the Atlantic shore on the historic Chesapeake Bay, near Washington, D.C. Regardless of its size, this beautiful state has a lot to offer—from museums to historic sites, breweries, amusement parks, lakes, thriving wetlands, forested mountains, lakes, and waterfalls to keep you entertained throughout.

The state is quite popular with sailors, beachgoers, and nature lovers due to the vast number of outdoor settings. However, that isn’t to say that Maryland doesn’t appeal to others. Sports betting and gambling are legal in Maryland. Meaning, a lot of people from the neighboring states often enter to visit Maryland sportsbooks and casinos.

After all, you don’t require a huge budget to experience all the fun Maryland has to offer.

If you are planning a trip to this state, here are the top five attractions you shouldn’t miss visiting.

1. National Aquarium

Located in Baltimore, the National Aquarium is a dramatic building that overlooks the Inner Harbor. Inside, you will find the replicates of numerous ecosystems for marine life from across the world. Additionally, the place is also home to birds, mammals, and appropriate plant life.

Though all environments are not underwater, they do share a common link to water. The largest of all the ecosystems here is the five-story Tropical RainForest, where you will get to explore life at various levels—from forest floor to the treetops and from plants to frogs, birds, sloths, and monkeys.

In the Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit are sharks and dolphins alongside other tropical fishes.

2. Ocean City Boardwalk

As the name suggests, this attraction is located in Ocean City. It features nearly 3 miles of exciting pedestrian route lined with various sorts of entertainment for people of all age groups.

You will also be able to find some of the most popular attractions for families in Maryland near the boardwalk, including museums, restaurants, rides, and hotels. So, after enjoying a leisurely stroll, taking in the beautiful beach with soft sands and sparkling waters, consider grabbing an ice cream and finding a place to relax.

If you are traveling with your kids, drop by Timper’s Rides and Amusements and Ripley’s for some added fun.

3. The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum situated in the Mount Vernon Cultural District in Baltimore is a unique cultural landmark. It is also one of the few institutions in the world that stand for a comprehensive history of world art.

The museum features all forms of art from the third millennium B.C. through the early 20th century. The collections are displayed and interpreted spectacularly. However, the museum is best known for its magnificent jewelry, ivories, enamels, bronzes, and illuminated manuscripts.

Furthermore, the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine antiquities here are immaculate. So are the medieval and Renaissance art collections.

4. Old Town Annapolis and William Paca House

Located between the Town Dock and the Maryland State House are a handful of blocks that feature history and charm. The State House was once the United States Capitol. It is also one of the oldest State House that is still in continuous legislative use.

The William Paca House and Garden are located down the hill. As you make your way there, you will get to explore narrow streets brimming with picture-worthy brick and clapboard buildings. Now, if you are wondering who William Paca is, he was the signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The place was fully refurbished with period antiques and original Paca family items. It features a two-acre garden with a fish-shaped pond, terraces, and a topiary. The house is also an example of how an influential and prosperous Annapolis family looked and felt in the colonial era.

Fort McHenry National Monument

5. Fort McHenry National Monument

The fort was completed in 1803 in an effort to secure the entrance to Baltimore’s busy harbor. In 1814, Fort McHenry withstood a 24-hour bombardment by the British, thereby evolving to be a national icon in the country. However, there is more history to this fort than the bombardment.

The fort once saved Baltimore from occupation. It also acted as a source of inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner. He was held a prisoner on a British ship during the attack.

While at Fort McHenry, you can tour the buildings, walk the ramparts, or catch a dramatic multimedia presentation on the fort’s history and the national anthem.

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Travel Tips

Where Is Polynesia, And What Is The Disney Polynesian Village Resort?

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What does Polynesia mean?

The word Polynesia comes from 2 Greek words, “poly and nesos”, which translates to mean  “many islands”. The name is appropriate considering that the Polynesian islands take up more than 800,000 sq miles!

Where is Polynesia? Thanks to Disney it can be a lot closer than you might think. In this article, we’ll review a few fun facts about Polynesia, as well as what you can expect when visiting the Disney Polynesian Village.

So take a look! By the time you’re done reading this article, you can start planning your dream vacation.

Where Is Polynesia?

Where is Polynesia? Polynesia takes up a large triangular area of land in the east-central Pacific ocean.

The apex of the triangle is right at the Hawaiian Islands. The base angles of the triangle are New Zealand for the west angle and Easter Island for the eastern base angle.

In addition to stretching out from Hawai, Polynesia also includes its group of Polynesian islands. A few of the islands include Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Wallis, and French Polynesia. At the islands, you can find picturesque overwater bungalows.

Where Is the Disney Polynesian Village?

You can find the Disney Polynesian Village in sunny Florida, right by the Magic Kingdom. The resort rests on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon.

The Seven Seas Lagoon is a body of water made by humans. It’s like an aquatic red carpet leading to Magic Kindom. The lagoon features boating, fishing, and more fun activities for guests of all ages.

What the Disney Resort Is Like Inside

After opening in 1971 the Polynesian Village Resort has been a sought after location by many guests. The resort has a motto, “Aiita Peatea”, translating to mean “Tomorrow there will be another day, exactly like today”. In other words, don’t worry, life’s good!

The zen-like motto reflects the laid back, peaceful atmosphere of the resort. The 847 room resort is only 2 monorail stops from the Magic Kingdom. The entire resort takes up a total of 39 acres and the decorations transform each acre into a tropical paradise.

While touring the resort, you’ll be able to enjoy looking at waterfalls, tiki torches made of bamboo, tropical plants, and of course a beach area. The casual, family-friendly resort uses the Great Ceremonial House as the lobby. You could easily spend all day just hanging out in the lobby admiring all of the exotic plants and landscaping.

Disney Vacation Club

Moving on, let’s look at what being a Disney Club Vacation member is all about. If you already know you want to visit Disney resorts more than once, a membership could help you save money.

When you’re a part of the Disney Vacation Club or DVC, you’ll get a certain amount of points. The number of points you get is up to you based on your initial membership purchase.

Next, you can use the points to reserve your stay at any of the DVC resorts like the polynesian dvc resort in Florida. There are DVC resorts all over the world, and your membership won’t lock you into a singular location. Instead, you’ll have access to all of the resorts worldwide, as well as additional DVC member benefits and perks.

What To Expect in Your Resort Room

What do the rooms look like at the Polynesian Village Resort? All of the rooms are in 1 of 11 different longhouses.

The longhouses are large buildings, that allow you to access your room from an interior hallway. Every room is either 2 stories or 3 stories high.

A standard room at the Polynesian will have a day bed, 2 queen-sized beds, a small table, 2 chairs, and an armoire for your clothes. The standard room size is about 415 square feet and you can’t have over 5 occupants in any 1 room. You’ll also find amenities like a coffee maker, ironing board, Disney shampoo and soap, an iPod dock, and a safe.

Did you want to get a king-sized bed? If yes, you’ll have to make a special request since they only have a limited number of king-sized beds available.

Next, if you want to stay in a suite, you can house anywhere from 4-9 people. All of the resorts suites are in the Tonga longhouse.

Different Room Views at the Polynesian Village Resort

What type of room view matters to you? If a relaxing room view is important to you, we suggest you book a room that offers a lagoon view. If you want to keep an eye on all the action, ask for a clear view of the theme park.

A standard room view will feature the lovely landscaping and walkways the Polynesian resort is famous for. The marina and pool are included in the standard room views, so you can request them at no additional cost!

Finally, some rooms overlook the parking lot. When you book your room, you have to specifically ask to not get a parking lot view, otherwise, you probably will.

Room Check-in and Check-Out Policies

After booking your room, you’ll need to download the My Disney Experience App. Open up the app and look for a section titled “Online Check-in”. After clicking on the online check-in, you’ll be able to request an early check-in.

We suggest you choose the early check-in options since this will give you the most freedom. Rooms aren’t ready until 3 p.m., and there’s no guarantee an early check-in will mean your room’s ready sooner.

However, you will have the freedom to drop off your luggage with the bell services, get your magic bands for the park, and start exploring! Magic bands are colorful wristbands that connect you to everything on your vacation. Your magic band can help you with park access, getting into your room, buying Disney merchandise, and more.

Plan Your Dream Vacation

Where is Polynesia? Now you know where to find the Polynesian islands, as well as Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Were you surprised to discover the resort is right outside of Magic Kingdom? Or how about how you can request a lagoon view for your room?

We hope our article was able to answer all of your questions so you can start planning your dream vacation today! For more great locations to visit, check out the rest of this site.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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