Preparations Traveling to Japan Part I

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Japan is an island nation which neighbors with the People's Republic of China, Korea and Russia. Consists of 6852 islands that stretches from north to south with the four largest islands are: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. Approximately 97% of Japan's land area is in fourth biggest island, and 70% to 80% consists of wooded mountains. Due to the condition of steep mountains areas with soft soil conditions and erosive so much concentrated settlements in coastal areas. Location of islands is above the Ring of Fire Pasfik and at the junction of three tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes Japan, even in the century occurs a few times each tsunami. The geographical situation is also advantageous because Japan finally has many hot springs and most of them have been built as a tourist destination.Preparation Before Going:

a. Circumstances Weather

The trip this time I traveled alone with my husband and this is a journey to the 5th that we live together. Before leaving that to my attention first was the weather. Japan alone has six different climate zones and sometimes the difference is so extreme, for example, when I was there in March, the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto) and Kanto (Tokyo) has entered the spring, but in the area of ​​Hokkaido (Sapporo) still winter thick. But since the departure of only three cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka so I only pay attention to the Kanto and Kansai regions only. Basically these two regions have the same weather models are shaped saddle with August as the peak summer season. Table weather Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka can be seen below (Source Books Lonely Planet Japan 12th edition).

If you look at the table above shows that in March the average temperature ranges between 10-20 degrees Celsius with low rainfall. Because March is still the early spring so the temperature was quite cold and the wind was blowing pretty hard sometimes accompanied by rain. With the weather so no need to bring clothes a lot because we would not sweat (if the weather is such that I even sometimes can not distinguish between dirty and clean clothes because it smelled the same :)). Additional equipment that needs to be taken is Longjohn shirt, sweater, jacket Windbreaker lightweight, thin but windproof plus scarves, gloves, and a hat to cover the ears. All the equipment I bought in outdoor gear store that sells a lot of camping and climbing equipment. Weather conditions in Japan can be checked accurately at the following website


Tempura Snacks
b. List of Restaurants in Japan

Frankly, getting food in Japan is more difficult than in Sydney and Melbourne, especially if we had gone not to the Muslim community because of chicken, beef, and sheep, are widely available in grocery stores kosher, which is usually around the mosque. Halal food here does not mean only non-pork but also meat that is not slaughtered by mentioning the names of foods or drinks that contain alcohol. Two things complicate among other things, First, many Japanese dishes containing Mirin and Sake alcoholic. Even the dip sauce sometimes also made of Sake. In addition the second lot of foods that contain contents written in Japanese without the slightest English. So hard even when we do not know Japanese writing. But for those who have a basic knowledge of Japanese language and know little about Hiragana, Katakana or Kanji can learn to read the content of the contents of Japanese food in this website.

To overcome this there are several things you can do include: Cook Yourself. Usually I am shopping at the supermarket at night before turning to the hostel because many supermarkets in Japan that provides discounts up to 50% at night. To be safe, could also bring Dried Food Ingredients from Indonesia such as shredded and dried seasoning. Also do not hesitate to ask questions or ask the clerk supermarket choose appropriate foods. Tips latter is kagetan Being a vegetarian, does not eat meat does not mean eating bad. Average food in Japan tastes very good although there was no meat. Even have to eat outside and not finding kosher restaurant there are a few things to keep in mind include:

If you want to eat noodles in warm select Udon and Soba noodle broth wear the fish broth and seaweed. Do not choose because generally Ramen Ramen wearing meat broth.

Other foods that can be tried are: Sushi and Sashimi whose main ingredient is fish, takoyaki (fried squid flour), okonomiyaki (a type of pancake but ask stuffed vegetables or seafood only), tempura (shrimp or vegetables wrapped with herbs tempura then fried ), Onigiri (sushi rice layered triangular dried seaweed that most of it is seafood)

Other foods that can be tried are: Sushi and Sashimi whose main ingredient is fish, takoyaki (fried squid flour), okonomiyaki (a type of pancake but ask stuffed vegetables or seafood only), tempura (shrimp or vegetables wrapped with herbs tempura then fried ), Onigiri (sushi rice layered triangular dried seaweed that most of it is seafood)

Pocket WiFi
c.Communication Provider
There are some following options:

If you want to call it, the easiest way is to rent a cell phone. The rent can be through the Internet and then transfer to hotel or airport or rent directly through the Booth Rental is widely available at Airport and Station. The rent varies, generally ranging from 250-1000 yen per day or 3900 Yen per week plus the cost of about 35 yen per minute for local calls and 45-70 yen per minute for long distance calls. Prices and how leasing can be checked here.

If you want to be continuous Internet access, there are two ways you can do that: rent a SIM Card (Data Only) or hire Pocket Wi-Fi. While the second option to hire Pocket Wi-Fi can be checked here. The rental fee Pocket Wi-Fi varies depending on the type and speed but generally ranges from Y3900 to Y4900 per week.

If you want to telephone and Internet access, in addition to combining the two methods above can also rent a SIM Card Voice and Data from telecommunications companies such as SoftBank Global Rental or Global Advanced Communications

At that time, observing the prices are enough to drain the bag I finally decided to bring mobile phones with SIM Card from Indonesia which is only used for SMS only. But do not forget to contact customer service to open the first number. I rely on the phone to her husband's tablet that is equipped with Skype, WhatsApp, Tango and Line by utilizing free Wi-Fi from the hostel. Although only berteleponan only at night when I'm in a hostel, but was good enough. In order not to get lost a lot, the need for maps can be tricked by downloading a map application that can be accessed offline as Triposo .

Post Office
d. Financial Stuff

The money issue I mentioned because this is the first time I had trouble withdrawing money in a country. Usually when go traveling, I already know the estimated costs to be incurred for the preparation of itenerari always I include the calculation of the budget. During this time in Indonesia we just bought a little currency of the country to be visited, then bring US dollars to be exchanged in the destination country, ATM cards and credit cards. For safety's sake as much as possible we only carry a little cash and a US dollar exchange rate has always proved successful. But apparently US Dollarpun hit the stone in Japan. When we get there, the exchange rate fell against the Japanese yen so that we do not exchange it if it is not forced. Eventually all payments made by credit card but somehow we still need cash. Worse yet many ATMs in Japan do not accept credit cards or debit cards issued by banks outside of Japan.

When we get there, the ATM that can accept only ATMs located in 7 Eleven and post office. The sign is easy, if the ATM has a menu in English means he receives an ATM outside Japan. The bad news as of April 1, 2013, at 7 Eleven ATM no longer accept debit or credit cards marked Mastercard, Maestro, and Cirrus ATMs at post offices while still willing to accept the card as long as it does not use chips. So some things that need to be considered in the use of ATMs in Japan are:

Make sure that the debit card or credit card you carry can be used in Japan. In general, the kartukartu Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, JCB, Union Pay, Discover and Diners Club International.Know fee and limit the withdrawal to the International withdrawals.

Some of the following links useful to indicate the location of ATMs that accept credit or debit cards issued by banks outside of Japan, these links include: Seven Bank and Visa ATM Locator.
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