Can you match the custom to the country? Read Article
Are you dreaming of a destination where you can wander through ancient temples one minute and watch a robot kick a soccer ball the next? Do you crave the type of holiday that sends your body into a sensory overload as a result of colourful cherry blossom blooms, fluffy white snow, rich cultural heritage and insane technological integration– all from the comfort of a train going precisely one million km/h*? Finally, do you need a way to justify pancakes being healthy to your PT?
Well, friends, today is your lucky day. Ring ring, it’s Japan on the phone, ready to give you all of this and more.
Japan is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for Aussies with something for everyone all year round. Albeit small in land size, Japan’s offerings for tourists are immense and incredibly diverse. We understand that this can be more overwhelming then folding a fitted sheet, so here is a quick lil highlight reel to get you started.
First and foremost – food.
When I was little, Mum told me we were going to Sushi Train - you can imagine my disappointment when I realised we weren’t actually sitting on a mini train going through a Willy-Wonka-esk sushi forest.
Whilst Japan won’t offer you a literal sushi train through sashimi forests (though it really should become a thing), they have more than enough culinary wonders to ensure you come back from holiday plump as a pork bun.
In Winter you can warm your ski-abused ego with miso soup and soba noodles. In Summer be sure to indulge in some matcha ice cream and fresh sashimi. You know what is good all year round, though? Okonomiyaki! The Japanese have blessed us with this almighty take on pancakes that is also super fun to say. The best bit? It’s made of cabbage, a.k.a. vegetables, a.k.a. LOAD UP MY PLATE BECAUSE HEALTH. #fitspo
Travel Money Tip: On a budget? Visit supermarkets after 8pm, as they are normally selling their fresh produce for 50% off. 7/11’s are everywhere and sell heaps of super cheap and delicious meals to keep you going, as well.
Speaking of Budget – how much am I gonna spend?
Japan definitely isn’t one of the cheaper Asian destinations; however this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it on a budget. Here’s a quick list to get you started**:
Water: NZ$1.20 (500ml bottle)
Beer: NZ$5.80 (draft beer)
Fast food: NZ$15
Train: NZ$2.5 (single journey)
Temple entry: NZ$9
How will you pay for these? With the Japanese Yen of course! Just like the date of Cherry Blossom full bloom, exchange rates change frequently. Protect yourself from these by locking in your exchange rate with a prepaid travel money card like the Cash Passport.
Not only can you secure your rate, but it isn’t linked to your personal bank accounts. In other words, you don’t have to worry about a different exchange rate every time you purchase and, if you’ve had one too many sakes and you start tap, tap, tapping away at your card, you don’t have to stress about it eating into your funds at home. We recommend taking a mix of cash and card for your trip to ensure you are fully covered as well.
When it comes to cash, we recommend doing your research and not leaving your foreign currency purchase to the last minute. We get it though, you’re busy trawling the net for cat cafes in Kyoto, which doesn’t leave much time for monitoring exchange rates. So, we’ve made it easy for you with currency alerts. Simply choose your currency and leave the monitoring up to us.
In saying that, if all else fails and it gets to the day before your trip and you realise that OHMYGOD I HAVE NO YEN, HOW ON EARTH WILL I PURCHASE UNLIMITED SASHIMI?!? Stress less, Travel Money NZ offers cash commitment. We promise to have our top currencies in store, and if we don’t we will give you up to $100*.
Things to keep your Mum happy
Don’t let Godzilla fool you – Japan is super safe, like crazy safe. Just look both ways before you cross, keep a sharp eye on sassy forest monkeys and don’t walk down any dark alleys. You know, the usual stuff.
With this in mind though, make sure you have travel insurance. One minute you’re in a cat cafe patting a lovely Persian and drinking tea, the next you’re headed to the local Japanese doctor with a solid cat scratch and resulting third degree burns from your tea.
As far-fetched as that seems, you would be surprised at what Aussies have had to make insurance claims for overseas, and how much a simple doctor’s visit will cost. Whilst we can’t stop the unexpected from happening, we can provide you with a tailored insurance policy to ensure you are protected. So, take out the insurance and pet all the Persian kitties you want, just maybe keep the tea on the table, okay?
There is so much Japan has to offer every traveller. The country is brimming with idiosyncrasies that will leave you wanting more. Whether you come home raving about that time you dressed up as Yoshi and drove around the streets of Tokyo in a go kart, or explaining how nice everyone is (the Japanese practice Omotenashi, a.k.a being HELLA polite and continuously offering an exquisite level of hospitality), or still being mildly confused about the fact that you can order some really interesting things from vending machines, we can guarantee that your friends will be super jealous, and your insta feed will be #lit.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your Japanese adventure today, and before you leave, don’t forget to grab some Yen from Travel Money NZ.
*Train definitely does not go 1million km/hr, though that would be incredibly cool.
**Please note prices are valid as of April 2018 and are a guide only.