An incredible East Asian country with a long list of amazing sites to see, attractions to enjoy, foods to sample, and places to explore, Japan stands out as one of the world's premier tourist destinations. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Overview

Overview
© oben901/stock.adobe.com

It's home to Tokyo, the country's capital city and the largest metropolis on the planet. Visitors to Tokyo will find a mixture of historic and futuristic landmarks and locations to check out, ranging from the ancient Meiji Shrine and beautiful Imperial Palace to the video game and virtual reality arcades and stores of districts like Shibuya and Akihabara.

Elsewhere around Japan, you'll find fairy tale forests, temples dating back many centuries, little islands populated with rabbits and deer, the breathtaking Mount Fuji, amazing cities like Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuoka, and so much more.

In short, Japan is an amazing place to travel and can appeal to all kinds of visitor from history buffs to tech addicts, from families looking for fun attractions like Tokyo Disney Resort to couples in search of romantic strolls through bamboo forests.

Japan is also home to some very cheap accommodation options. There are plenty of expensive hotels and private rentals to be found around Japan, but you can also save a lot of cash by staying in one of the country’s hostels. Read on to learn all about a few of the best hostels all around Japan.

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2.Space Hostel Tokyo

Space Hostel Tokyo
© Space Hostel Tokyo


One of the top hostel locations in all of Tokyo, Space Hostel Tokyo is located in the Kitaueno area, not far from the center of Tokyo and all of the main touristic areas and attractions. There's a subway station (Iriya) less than five minutes away to help you get around, and you'll find some attractions within walking distance too like the Ueno Zoo, the Ueno Park, and the Tokyo Skytree.

This is a relaxed, laid-back sort of hostel that benefits from clean and simple rooms. The shared rooms all come with shared bathrooms and are maintained to a very high standard, typical of the best hostels all around Japan. You'll get free wireless internet access when staying at this Tokyo hostel, so can look up train times, local maps, and more to plan out your vacation itinerary each day. You'll also find a communal kitchen and a comfortable lounge space to hang out and relax after a long day exploring the city streets.

Tokyo, 110-0014, Phone: +81-3-62-31-66-37

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3.Khaosan Tokyo Samurai

Khaosan Tokyo Samurai
© Khaosan Tokyo Samurai

Another excellent Japan hostel for your trip to Tokyo, the Khaosan Tokyo Samurai offers simple, low cost accommodation in Japan's biggest city. As the name suggests, there really is a samurai theme to this hostel, which features traditional sliding doors, simple futons, and authentic decoration throughout. The dorms offer simple sleeping capsule beds with clean, comfortable bed linen, and the hostel also offers free Wi-Fi access for all guests and a communal kitchen space too.

As for the location, Khaosan Tokyo Samurai is located in a busy main street in the Taito region of Tokyo. The local train station is just two minutes away, so you can get all around the city with ease, and another big advantage of this Japan hostel is that it's literally five minutes away from Senso-ji, the oldest temple in all of Tokyo and one of the Japanese capital city's most popular touristic landmarks.

Tokyo, 111-0035, Phone: +81-3-38-44-00-11

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4.Kyoto Hana Hostel

Kyoto Hana Hostel
© Kyoto Hana Hostel


If you're heading to Kyoto, rather than Tokyo, or simply plan on making the city of Kyoto a stop on your Japan adventure, the Kyoto Hana Hostel is an excellent place to stay. This is one of the top rated hostels in all of Japan, with past guests ranking this location highly for its prime location, comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and useful facilities.

The Kyoto Hana Hostel is situated in the Shimogyo-ku district, being less than a mile from the center of the city and only a short walk away from the local train station. The rooms here are simple and clean, with typical Japanese futons laid out for guest use and small tables provided too. The shared bathrooms are kept to a nice standard, featuring multiple sinks, mirrors, storage, and more. You'll find a communal kitchen at this Japan hostel too, as well as a spacious lounge and even the option to rent bikes for exploring the local area.

229 Kogawacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8149, Phone: +81-7-53-71-35-77

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5.Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto

Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto
© Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto


Another good hostel option for people heading to Japan, the Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto is situated in a perfect location in the heart of Kyoto, making it an ideal place to stay for people who want to explore this amazing city and visit the various landmarks like Nijo Castle, the Fushimi Inari Taisha, and Kiomizu-dera temple. There are plenty of good shops and eateries nearby as well, so you definitely won't run out of things to do if you choose to stay at this highly rated Kyoto hostel.

The Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto offers a comfortable, chilled-out vibe that all guests can appreciate. There's an on-site bar/cafe serving up a range of drinks throughout the day, as well as two large communal kitchen areas, casual dorms with simple bunk beds and storage spaces, and a rooftop terrace which is just perfect for admiring the surrounding scenery and cityscape.

600-8142 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Phone: +81-7-53-42-24-44

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6.Untapped Hostel

Untapped Hostel
© Untapped Hostel


If you're looking to get off the beaten path a little and visit the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan, the Untapped Hostel could be the perfect place for you. Situated in a great spot, just a short walk from the nearest subway station and only a short journey away from some key landmarks like the Sapporo Beer Museum and Sapporo Clock Tower, this hostel is a great base for travelers exploring the city.

Even if you've stayed in many hostels all around the world, you'll still be blown away the first time you step inside the Untapped Hostel. Wonderfully decorated, this hostel features a lot of traditional furnishings and stylish room layouts that really help to make everyone feel comfortable. It's a true 'home away from home', offering warm, rustic, welcoming accommodation for people from around the world. Private standard rooms and classic hostel dorms can be found here, along with a shared kitchen, small lounge spaces, a rooftop terrace, and an on-site restaurant.

Kita 18jo Nishi4 1-8, Sapporo, Hokkaido 001-0018, Phone: +81-1-17-88-45-79

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5 Best Hostels in Japan



Japanese Currency

Japan is an amazing country to visit for a long list of reasons. It’s a nation with a huge amount of history and a truly unique culture that is completely different to anywhere else on Earth. For millions of people each year, a trip to Japan is a very exciting experience as the country has a lot of different things to see and experience. Many people spend their vacation time in the vast metropolis of Tokyo, which almost seems like a city from the future in many ways, while others tend to explore the more natural side of Japan, taking in its forests, rivers, small villages, and ancient temples.

Wherever you plan on going in Japan, you’ll need to plan out your trip ahead of time to really make the most of each day, and one of the big things you definitely can’t forget to take into account is the currency. This is an important part of any trip, as it’s always essential to find out what kind of currency is being used in the countries you wish to visit, what the exchange rates are like, how much things tend to cost, and the different ways in which people pay and use the currency each day. Read on to learn all about the currency of Japan, including some helpful tips and tricks to make the most of your money.

Official Currency in Japan

The official currency of Japan is the yen. The symbol for the Japanese yen is ¥, and you'll sometimes see the currency referred to as JP¥ or JPY. Like many other currencies all around the world, the value of the Japanese yen can rise and fall over time, so exchange rates will also vary and can shift quite dramatically, but in general, a single US dollar is worth over 100 Japanese yen.

Coins and Notes in Japan

The Japanese money system is based around coins and notes, just like many other money systems and currencies all over the globe. You'll find coins and notes in a variety of denominations. Let's take a look at the coins first of all. You can find Japanese yen coins in the following varieties:

-1 yen

-5 yen

-10 yen

-50 yen

-100 yen

-500 yen

Coins have been used in Japan since the late 19th century. They have been made of various metals over the years. The 500 yen coin has the unique distinction of being one of the most high value coins to be used in any monetary system in the world. You can quite quickly and easily differentiate between the coins due to their different colors and styles.

The 1 yen coin, for example, is made entirely of aluminium and is the smallest of the coins. The 5 yen coin is made of a mixture of copper and zinc, giving it a slightly golden color. The 10 yen coin is made mostly of copper, while the 50, 100, and 500 yen coins feature the inclusion of nickel. The 500 yen coin is the largest and each coin features various images on one side, with the year of minting and the value of the coin on the other side of most coins.

The yen coins have all been cleverly designed to make it very easy to tell between them, and the same can be said for the banknotes of Japan, which you can find in the following denominations:

-1,000

-5,000

-10,000

Yen banknotes have been around in Japan since 1872, which was just two years after the introduction of yen coins. The various denominations of notes have changed over the years, but nowadays there are only the three listed above to worry about. Each note is clearly labeled with its value in the top corners of both sides.

One side of the note is decorated with an important cultural image of Japan like Mount Fuji or the hoo statue from the Byodo-in temple, while the other side features an iconic figure from the country's history like Hideyo Noguchi on the 1,000 yen note or Ichiyo Higuchi on the 5,000 note.

Using Credit Cards in Japan

Interestingly, unlike many Western nations, Japan hasn't really made a major switch to the use of credit and debit cards over regular cash. Statistics show that over a third of all payments in Japan are made in cash, and the society tends to prefer cash in general due to cultural associations. This is especially true for small amounts, and Japanese people usually prefer to receive cash.

However, credit cards are becoming increasingly accepted around the nation, especially in major cities like Tokyo and big touristic areas. So if you're planning on visiting the top touristic locations on your trip, you should find that plenty of hotels, restaurants, and big stores will accept cards. Train stations and large grocery stories also usually accept cards.

Using US Dollars or Other Currencies in Japan

The only places where you can expect to be able to use US dollars or other currencies in Japan are at major chain hotels and duty-free shops. In general, everywhere else around the country, you’ll need to be paying in yen.

Tips for Currency in Japan

Follow these top tips to make the most of every yen you spend and have the best time when making purchases in Japan:

-As previously mentioned, Japan is still very much a cash-based society and you really need to have cash on you at all times unless you’re staying exclusively in the main touristic areas and only plan on visiting big chain stores and restaurants. If you want to head out to the smaller towns and villages, cash is essential.

-Most tourist attractions will only take cash due to the typically low entry fees too, so this is another reason to keep some coins on you at all times.

-You may even enter some restaurants or locations where items are provided via a kind of vending machine system, and these places will only usually take cash too.

-While some train stations accept cards, others will also only take cash, and the same is usually true of taxis and various forms of public transport like buses.

-Be careful when using ATMs as most of them won’t even accept non-Japanese cards.

-Consider investing in an IC card. IC stands for 'integrated circuit' and these are basically pre-paid cards that can be charged up and used all around the country in various shops, stations, restaurants, and even vending machines, as well as on buses and trains.

-Search around at multiple locations and compare prices to get the best exchange rates and maximize the value of your money.

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Tipping in Japan

While tipping has now become so common in many western countries to the point that it is now more or less a kind of unspoken requirement, the Japanese have so far remained on the other end of the spectrum. In general, tipping is still not customary in Japan. In fact, the mere act of giving tips and the manner by which you hand over gratuity may offend some Japanese citizens.

The Japanese

The first thing you know about the Japanese is that they are very polite and courteous people. They put a premium on respect and good manners. Be very careful with how you act around them because some customs or traditions from your own country may not sit well with the Japanese. You should do this wherever you go, but this is a bigger deal in Japan than elsewhere.

Tipping may be offensive…

The Japanese also take pride in the quality of their work. They do their best to produce the products and services that they offer, which is why most of the service establishments in the country do not accept tips. To them, you are already paying for the best. Tipping makes it look like you are telling them that their service is good only that time and not all the time.

...But not all the time.

However, if you are coming from a tipping-friendly country, you may find yourself wanting to give gratuity even when in Japan. Don’t worry. It is not considered rude or offensive every time and everywhere.

Many service workers who are exposed to a large number of tourists are getting used to receiving gratuity from guests and tourists and are thankful to get tips. You may tip as you like in such places, provided that you do it respectfully.

General Rules

Always thank your host, guide, waitstaff, and other service workers, regardless of whether or not you are giving a tip. As mentioned, politeness and courtesy are way more important to the Japanese than any other form of gratitude foreigners may show.

When giving tips, the safe thing to do is to always put the cash in an envelope before handing it over to the person you are tipping. Never give money that you just pulled out of your pocket or wallet.

There is a certain manner of handing over an envelope in Japan. Hold the upper middle part of the envelope, front side up, with both thumbs and index fingers.

Take note, however, that there are places where it is rude to give cash tips directly to the person and you have to leave the envelope with the money somewhere.

Services

Here are specific services you will likely use in Japan as a traveler, together with the right manner of tipping (if any) for each.

Transportation - Taxi drivers are never tipped, let alone public transportation drivers, regardless of how efficient or helpful they are. Don’t offer gratuity, even if they carry your bags, give recommendations, and other things that usually warrant tips in other countries.

Accommodation - Hotels are almost never tipped in Japan. The staff may even refuse if you offer. If you want to leave a tip, politely ask any of the staff if that is allowed. If they do agree, leave the tip in your room, placed inside an envelope. Handing it to any hotel staff directly is rude.

Restaurants - The rule of thumb in restaurants in Japan is to never offer a tip. There may be places that will accept gratuity, but at the same time, there are many dining establishments that will refuse. Simply thank your server respectfully.

Massages and other spa services - Never tip at spas. Just be polite and respectful, and observe the Japanese manner of showing courtesy. Take off your shoes, and incline your head when greeting people, especially your masseuse.

Guided tours - Tour guides in Japan are lax when it comes to accepting tips. Many of them are already used to getting tips from tourists, especially westerners, and understand that gratuity is a means of showing thanks. A few dollars is okay, but they will not think you rude if you choose not to leave a tip.

When in Japan, tipping should be the least of your worries. The Japanese are proud of their work, and the price they ask you to pay already covers the highest-quality service or product quality they offer, so there is no need to tip. However, do watch how you speak and act while in this beautiful gem of a country because the Japanese value courtesy, politeness, and respect above all.

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Joypolis

Joypolis is located in Tokyo, Japan. Visitors will enjoy the variety of rides this amusement park offers. The Joypolis in Tokyo, Japan is part of a chain of amusement parks that opened in July of 1994 in Yokohama, Japan. Since 1994 Joypolis parks have been opened in several Japanese and Chinese cities. These parks feature amusement park rides, and arcade games based on Sega properties.

History

Though nine parks have been opened, only five remain in operation. There are three located in the cities of Odaiba, Tokyo, and Okayama in Japan and two located in the cities of Qingdao and Shanghai in China. The other four parks were closed due to low visitor numbers

The Tokyo location is the biggest theme park located indoors in Odaiba DECKS Tokyo Beach. This allows for visitors to enjoy the park in all weather conditions. The amusement park boasts twenty kinds of attractions.

Attractions

Joypolis Tokyo offers three floors of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

First Floor Attractions

Gekion Live Coaster- This coaster combines music, games, and roller coasters. It is the first “concert coaster” in the world.

Halfpipe Tokyo- This ride combines digital components with excitement to create an extreme next generation ride focused on snowboarding with music.

Zero Latency VR- This is a virtual reality experience. It allows for up to six players playing at the same time. The largest feature of this VR game is the “Free ROOM” that allows players to be more active with their movement. This room allows the six players to play cooperatively with each other. The game uses the latest virtual reality technology including the Head Mounted Display (HDM) and the nature of the “Free Room” giving players to feeling of emersion. It is a Zombie Survival shooting experience.

The Joypolis Explorer- This attraction uses treasure hunting to solve the mystery of an “old document.”

Initial D Arcade Stage4 Limited- This is car racing attraction. It is based on a manga series that has the same name.

Pirate’s Plunder- Visitors will travel to “Skull Island” in search of a hidden treasure. Visitors will shoot at skeletons and lend a helping hand to pirates

Main Stage- This stage is used for live shows.

Second Floor Attractions

Transformers Human Alliance Special- This ride allows visitors to shoot enemies while spinning around on a circular track.

The House of the Dead 4 SP- This is an arcade game where visitors can shoot zombies in a ruined city.

Sonic Athletics- This attraction is based on the Sonic Sega game and makes visitors run on a treadmill to achieve a victory.

Storm G- This is futuristic Bob-sleigh with and three-hundred-and-sixty-degree twist.

Sonic Carnival- This attraction is an area devoted to Sonic the Hedgehog and is suitable for all ages. It features carnival games geared for younger visitors that are Sonic and friends themed.

Tower Tag- This attraction is a virtual reality shooting experience.

Third Floor Attractions

Mystic Mansion- This attraction features “Ayakashi” and provides a Japanese horror atmosphere. It is a 3D ride.

Fortune Forest- This attraction gives visitors a glimpse into their future as they take in the virtual forest surrounding them.

Biohazard- This attraction is based on the video game “Resident Evil 7.”

Wild Wing- This is virtual reality experience that takes visitors on a tour of a world on a glider.

Wild Jungle Brothers- This attraction takes visitors on a simulated jeep tour of the jungle.

Wild River Treasure Hunt- Visitors ride the virtual rapids on a “special” simulated raft.

Phoenix Wright Ace in Joypolis- An attraction based on the Japanese game.

The Room of the Living Doll- This is a haunted house horror adventure about living dolls that can be experienced in Super-Stereo and incorporates VR technology.

Unsearchable- This is an interactive timed experience that allows visitors to search for treasure and then escape a secret basement.

Lola and Carla the Beauty Contest- This is an experience that lets visitors discover their potential as a stage models. Visitors are asked questions and their answers determine the character they create.

Joypoli_Sug-oroku- This attraction winds through the entirety of Tokyo, Joypolis. It is a game of Sugoroku that visitors complete as they explore the park.

Dining

Joypolis Tokyo offers a variety of food options.

Crepe Shop- This shop specializes in crepes. It is located on the first floor of the park.

D-Lounge- This lounge serves light snacks and refreshments that can be enjoyed while visitors roam the park. The D-Lounge is interactive and is located on the second floor of the park.

Dippin’ Dots- This is an ice cream shop located on the first floor of the park.

Frame Café- The Frame Café is located on the first floor of the park and has a magnificent view of Tokyo and is also home to the Multi-Stage.

1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Phone: 03-55-00-18-01

More Indoor Amusement Parks

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