Planning Your 2024 Japan Trip: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Planning a trip to Japan? You need to know these common mistakes, and make sure you don't make them.

Alina S.

2/12/20242 min read

white hotel bed linen with throw pillows
white hotel bed linen with throw pillows

3. Underestimating Distances and Time:

Even on a short trip, wanting to visit many cities is natural. However, understand travel times between destinations. While a bullet train connects Kyoto and Tokyo in a day, don't squeeze them into a day trip, as traveling long distances takes time and energy. Research distances and allocate realistic time for each location. Consider alternative destinations if your schedule doesn't permit longer journeys.

4. Skipping Cultural Experiences:

Exploring cities, shrines, and taking pictures are fun, but delve deeper by incorporating cultural experiences. Explore with a guide to learn about history, local culture, and people. Consider workshops, experiences, cooking classes, or even renting a kimono. Embrace the multitude of cultural offerings!

5. Overestimating Technological Advancement:

When we think of Japan, cutting-edge technology often comes to mind. While things are changing, cash is still essential in many places. Don't forget to get Wi-Fi access for your mobile device before your trip or at the airport.

6. Ignoring Opening Times and Check-in Limits:

Many tourists are surprised that stores and cafes open after 10 am, and some restaurants close between lunch and dinner. Always double-check opening times during itinerary planning. Additionally, Japan is strict about hotel check-in times. Aim to arrive before the stated time to avoid complications. Remember, late check-ins might require prior notification and fees.

7. Fixating on Seeing Mount Fuji:

Seeing Mount Fuji is a dream for many, but weather dictates its visibility. Winter offers the highest probability, while summer surprisingly offers the lowest. Keep your itinerary flexible and be prepared for potential disappointment if seeing Mount Fuji is a priority.

Planning can seem overwhelming, but Japan by Locals trip advisors can help you ensure a smooth and mistake-free adventure!

Excited about your upcoming trip to Japan? Before you embark on your adventure, there's an important step: planning! While it's crucial to know how to plan, understanding "how not to" is equally important. In my experience as a tour guide, I've witnessed several common mistakes travelers make. Here are a few to avoid:

1. Lack of Planning:

The biggest mistake? Not planning at all! I often encounter travelers whose only "itinerary" is a handwritten list of attractions from a friend or hotel staff. While hiring a guide for a day can be helpful to teach you how to get around, truly enjoying your trip requires crafting a personalized itinerary reflecting your interests and travel style. Go beyond generic recommendations and tailor your plan to what you truly want to experience.

2. Booking Accommodation Late:

Japan is small but tourism-intensive, especially after its recent reopening. Popular cities like Tokyo and Kyoto fill up quickly, so plan and book hotels at least 3 months in advance for the best deals and locations. Remember, Japanese people enjoy domestic travel too!