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Japan is one of the most exciting countries in the world. From innovative technology to beautiful landscapes, a peaceful culture of respect and a modern food scene that brings a whole new meaning to culinary creativity, it’s no surprise that this vibrant country is top of so many people’s travel bucket-lists.

If you’re planning a trip to Japan check out our list of the dos and don’ts, all supported by Cash Passport by Mastercard® (Cash Passport) – the smarter way to travel.

DON’T skip the ramen

Be prepared to wait in a lengthy line for a steaming bowl of noodle soup at some of Japan’s top ramen restaurants. Before visiting these hole-in-the-wall, mostly cash-only eateries be sure to withdraw some yen from one of the many ATMs at post offices, Citibanks and 7-Eleven stores that accept the Cash Passport travel card*. And if you’re in Tokyo, hit up the ten-seater Nakiryu for a Michelin-starred bowl of the city’s best ramen for about $10.

*Some merchants and ATM operators may charge their own fees and set their own limits.

Image credit: Osugi / Shutterstock.com

DO visit a street market

Japanese street food is known to rival restaurant quality and the best places to sample some morsels of delicate local fare is at a street market. And it’s not just about the food, Japan’s best street markets are the perfect place to get lost for a few hours exploring row upon row of stalls selling everything from sweets to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs – and here are two of our favourites.

Ameya Yokochō – Tokyo: Snack on octopus dumplings, seafood bowls, fruit skewers, Yamitsuki croquettes (with potato and meat) and menchi katsu (fried ground meat patties) as you watch local vendors flogging their wares to eager purchasers.

It’s all about the people watching at this vibrant arcade filled with over 400 shops, but if you are in the mood to purchase just know that it’s pretty much cash only here. That’s not a problem though with a local 7-Eleven located just a 10-minute walk aware where you can easily withdraw local currency 24/7, seven days a week using a MasterCard Cash Passport card pre-loaded with Japanese yen with a locked-in exchange rate*.

Nishiki Market Shopping District – Kyoto: Known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, this five-block-long shopping arcade is the place to be to experience one of Japan’s liveliest markets. Specialising in all things food related, expect to see plenty of fresh seafood, sushi, pickles and sweets, as well as cooking utensils including Japanese knives and intricately decorated plates, bowls and chopsticks. Cash is king amongst the market stalls but there’s a nearby 7-Eleven where you can withdraw Japanese yen with Cash Passport.

*Some merchants and ATM operators may charge their own fees and set their own limits.

DON’T take the bus

Taking the train in Japan is an experience in itself. The Japanese bullet train reaches speeds of up to 320 km/h and the Tokaido Shinkansen line is the busiest, connecting Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka in just over three hours.

Image credit: Ginza Kojyu

DO splurge on a fancy dining experience

The Japanese know good food – that’s a fact. With more Michelin-starred restaurants of any city in the world, Toyko is a haven for foodies, while Osaka and Kyoto also serve up equally as amazing dining experiences.

While you can get great cheap eats in Japan, splurging on a fancy dining experience is not to be missed with Ginza Kojyu, Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama and Kashiwaya top of our list of recommendations. And, if you’re worried about tracking your $$$, simply login to your Cash Passport My Account to keep an eye on your spending, load more money and move money between currencies – easy.

DON’T smoke on the streets

Lighting up on the streets in Japan can result in a pretty hefty fine so if you’re a smoker make sure you do your research on designated smoking areas. Tokyo and Kyoto have introduced bans on smoking on the streets but most train stations have designated smoking areas, while it’s still normal to see people lighting up in restaurants across the country.

DO stay connected to the internet

Tokyo is massive. As are some of Japan’s other cities. When navigating a city like Tokyo you’ll probably find it useful to connect to the internet as Google Maps and public transport route planners will become your savour – unless you’re in the mood to simply just follow your feet.

Over 100 countries in six continents offer Boingo hotspots which you can easily connect to as part of the Cash Passport offering, simply load your card with AU$100 worth of Japanese Yen to enjoy three months of global Wi-Fi* – perfect for those times when you don’t want to get lost.

*T&C’s apply. Wi-fi is provided by Boingo hotspots. Visit cashpassport.com.au and mastercard.boingo.com for more information.

Image Credit: LMspencer / Shutterstock.com

DON’T leave a tip

It’s not customary to tip in Japan, instead, the locals expect to be treated with the same level of respect and politeness that they show you. Do not be offended if your tip is refused, and if you really insist on leaving a cash tip, check with your hotel concierge about the most appropriate way of doing so.

Image credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

DO shop like the locals

With Cash Passport accepted at millions of locations around the world, Japan’s colourful shopping scene is right at your fingertips. Head to Tokyo’s Harajuku to experience Japan’s quirky Kawaii culture, pick up a high-fashion souvenir at Osaka’s Herbis Plaza Ent or browse beautiful traditional ceramics and kimonos at Kyoto’s Handicraft Center.

Image credit: Sean K / Shutterstock.com

DON’T worry

The petty crime rate in Japan is one of the lowest in the world so while you should always be aware of your surroundings you’re unlikely to encounter any trouble. However, just in case you run into any issues MasterCard’s Cash Passport offers 24/7 global assistance, protection for lost or stolen cards and emergency cash access so you can continue to enjoy your holiday while you wait for a replacement card to be sent to your destination.*

*T&Cs apply. Customer must contact Customer service to report lost or stolen card. Emergency cash can be arranged up to the balance on your Cash Passport, subject to availability of funds at the approved agent location.

DO pre-load Cash Passport with Japanese Yen
DO lock in exchange rates to avoid currency fluctuations
DO carry less cash

DO all this when you travel with MasterCard Cash Passport

Mastercard Prepaid Management Services Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 145 452 044, AFSL 386 837) arranges for the issue of the Multi-currency Cash Passport™ and Cash Passport™ Platinum Mastercard® in conjunction with the issuer, Heritage Bank Limited (ABN 32 087 652 024, AFSL 240 984).  You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement for the relevant Cash Passport facility available at www.cashpassport.com.au before deciding to acquire the product.  Any advice does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives and you should consider if it is appropriate for you.

Mastercard® is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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