If travel in 2019 has taught me one thing, it’s that people love Japan. It seems like every man and his dog has travelled over there, and it's pretty easy to see why.
The country is a fusion of ancient culture and futuristic technology, complete with robot restaurants, extraordinary temples, animal cafes (be sure to go to a cruelty-free one^) and Mario Kart in the streets - what more could you want? Whether you are broke or balling, Japan is a must see.
Before you head off to Japan, you’ll definitely be needing some foreign currency (unless you’re that broke - in which case, it may be best not to travel at all!). Before heading off, make sure you split your yen on cash and a Travel Money Nz Cash Passport. This bad boy can be used across Japan, and if you need more cash out, there is a 7-11 around every corner (we do suggest you plan your ATM withdrawals, though; withdrawal fees can add up, chewing in to your hard-earned travel savings).
If you’re of the belief that all the best things in life are free (or very cheap!), Japan isn't about the destination, it’s about the journey. You should still make sure you see the major sites such as Tokyo, Kyoto and the ski fields, however, you’ll have to make a couple of little sacrifices. Instead of taking a speedy bullet train to each destination, take some more time to enjoy the journey on a regular train. While you’re there pick up a Japan Rail Pass. Your rail pass will pay itself off in no time, as the pass covers local city areas and can be used between cities. You can pick up a 7-day pass for 28,300 yen, which is roughly $375 NZD; and will cover most of your transport in Japan.
Tip number two involves your sleeping situation. Unless you want to rely on the kindness of strangers on a night out, this one will have to be organised ahead of time. You can always head to a hostel, but that’s a bit too ordinary for your futuristic Japanese trip. Instead, you can opt for a capsule hotel. This isn't like a regular hotel, instead, you’ll get your own tiny room pod inside a big room. These can start from 2,700 yen a night (around $35 NZD).
When you visit the oodles of temples Japan has to offer, make sure you have grabbed a temple pass. This will give you unlimited transportation and access to the temples for around 1,200 yen (around $15 NZD). This way you can enjoy the temples without forking out the big bucks.
The food in Japan alone is enough to travel over there. With ramen, sushi, miso and bubble tea aplenty, you’ll be tasting heaps of good flavours. Ramen will be your budget best friend in Japan. It is basically a delicious noodle soup packed with flavour that won’t hurt your wallet too much.
Be sure to check out the shopping centre food courts for an easy feed. These places are packed with a variety of easy lunch options, all reasonably priced. If you’re a super savvy shopper, head to the supermarket in the evening and grab some sushi. They slash the prices at night so you’ll be walking away with a lot of sushi and even more money in your wallet.
If you’re a baller, first of all, congratulations. Second of all, can you please send me some money? Account number 1214 8891 BSB 062-948.
If you’ve got a couple of coins to rub together, why not head over to Japan in September this year to catch the Rugby World Cup. I’ve heard New Zealands tipped to do really well. Even if you don’t have tickets, it will be an incredibly exciting time to be in Japan. If you have a couple more coins to rub together, why not catch the Olympics in Japan too? The games will kick off in July 2020, and yes, I will be competing.
If these dates don’t line up for you, Cherry Blossom season hits in March or early April in major cities. And these cherrific blossoms alone are worth the flight to Japan.
As a baller in Japan, the country is your oyster. In Tokyo, you won’t want to miss The Robot Resturant. Tickets go for 8000 yen which is roughly $100 NZD, but this experience is worth every cent to be bewildered by the fantastically weird show. On your way to the Robot Resturant, why not pull up in style in a Mario Kart. A three-hour tour costs 6,800 yen which is around $90 NZD. A small price to pay to go-kart on the streets of Tokyo and dress up as one of the gang.
The ski-slopes are also a must-do for the ballers among us (when you send that cash to my account, I’ll join you!). Japan is home to over 500 ski resorts, and the fields are ranked as some of the best in the world.
A three-day ticket in Hakuba will set you back 16,300 yen, which is around $240 NZD, and that’s without the ski rentals, accommodation, and warm meals you’ll be needing at the top of the mountain. Having said that, the chance to shred that powder is completely worth this price tag.
Whether you’re broke or a baller, Japan is a must see. And whether you’re broke or a baller, getting your yen from Travel Money Nz is a must do. Come in store or visit us online to get your cash and Cash Passport. The fun doesn’t stop there though, protect yourself with rate guard when you purchase your foreign cash in store with us, and if the conversion rate improves within 14 days, we will give you the difference*.
^There are far fewer laws concerning animal rights in Japan than New Zealand, and many cafes, especially owl cafes, have been shut down in recent years. From allegations of sedation, overcrowding, lack of veterinary care, to confinement and restraint, chronic stress and disruption of natural sleep cycles, many cafes violate animal welfare laws. We recommend doing a bit of research before you head to an animal cafe. This article offers plenty of cruelty free alternatives.
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