Japan is a long way from home! Here's a few tips to make your journey a little more comfortable.
Travelers need a passport with 6 months of validity to enter Japan.
Apply for, or renew your passport 4-6 months before your departure.
You MUST have at least 6 months of validity to enter Japan. That means your passport cannot expire in 2023 (even if that's AFTER you return home!)
Apply or renew a US passport here:
Learn more about US to Japan Entry Requirements:
Rent a Portable Wifi Box
You can activate international data with your cell service provider ($10/day/phone), or you can purchase a portable wifi router ($4/day) for your immediate family.
Rent a portable wifi box:
AT&T International FAQs:
Verizon International FQAs:
Tell your bank and credit card providers you are leaving the country...
Some cards, like Chase Sapphire cards are smart enough to automatically approve transactions abroad if you use them to purchase flights.
But that's not always the case, and banks and credit cards NOT used to purchase your flight will require a quick phone call before you leave the country. You can usually find this telephone number on the card itself.
... but be ready to use cash there, too.
Credit cards are used in Japan, but are not as ubiquitous there as they are in the United States. So plan to change and carry cash.
Most Japanese ATMs will accept your debit card if you let your bank know in advance. ATMs in convenience stores usually work with foreign cards. There are also money changing options for cash, but generally you'll get a better rate withdrawing from ATMs.
English is very common in Japan, and most people will understand at least a little bit (especially written).
One phrase Matt swears by is "___________ wa doko dess-ka?"
It essentially means "where is the _______?" And English is common enough that you can just ask for the English word and solve your problem. "Toilet wa doko dess-ka?" "Taxi wa doko des-ka?"
90% of travel challenges can be fixed with the right "doko dess-ka"