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Japan Travel Tips – How To Eat April 13, 2021

Posted by Maniac in Japan Travel Tips, Uncategorized.
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It’s Tuesday, that means it’s time for a new set of Japan Travel Tips. If you’re unfamiliar with this series, we share with you some of the best independently produced documentaries designed to help international tourists who wish to visit Japan. After surviving 2020, you can be sure I REALLY want to travel, and why not travel to a country that is the birthplace of some of my favorite games of all time?

In previous parts, we’ve helped you land, arrange a hotel, and find your way around the country. Now, we are going to help you eat. The most important thing you should know about food is that in Japan, it’s all around you. At the very least, you can trust the food you find at a local convenience store. However, even I admit that there is far too much to go over when it comes to Japan’s food culture, and because of that I’m only going to be able to talk about the most basic concepts in this part. I promise we will be going more in depth at a later part.

Going out to eat is quite an experience in Japan. Before we get started with what is out there, let’s brush up on table manners. Here’s Paulo from Tokyo to explain some rules for eating at Japanese restaurants.

Now that you’ve brushed up on some dos and don’ts for how to eat in Japan, you’re going to want to know how to place an order if there’s a language barrier between you and your server. Thankfully, Life Where I’m From did a great video where he answered the question, “Can you feed yourself in Japan if you can’t speak the language?” It shows a lot of spots you can get food from, and offers tips on how to place an order. Enjoy.

Now that you have a general idea about how to go about getting food, even if you speak little Japanese, let’s talk about how to get some food in you quickly! Sometimes the fastest and easiest way to get something to eat, especially if you’re on the go, is from a vending machine. There are vending machines for literally EVERYTHING in Japan, and it is very possible to get some food or drinks while on the go. Here’s the Only in Japan channel which should explain vending machines better than I could.

People on a budget who have the ability to cook food at home with them will be happy to know convenience stores like 7-11 are located all over Japan, and their quality is pretty good. If you’d like to know more, Strictly Dumpling did a taste test of some of the food you can find at Lawson and 7-11 stores.

So what can we ascertain from these videos?

  • Keep cash (local currency) on you since many places won’t accept credit/debit
  • It’s probably a good idea to practice with using chopsticks
  • Don’t eat while on the go, sit somewhere to eat whatever you got
  • If you can’t say the word of what you want to eat, pointing to a picture of it works fine
  • Pay at the register and leave money on the register tray, do not hand money directly to the cashier
  • No tipping
  • If eating in a cafeteria type setting, return your plates and trays to where you got them from and dispose of all trash in designated areas.
  • Keep a reusable napkin on yourself
  • IC cards can be used for vending machines but it isn’t guaranteed every machine will accept IC cards. You may need to use coins and bills to pay for vending

We intend to focus on a more in-depth discussion of food at a later time. Those of you hoping we would talk about sushi or ramen should stay tuned for a later article where we talk about them further! Depending on the hotel you’re staying at, certain meals during the day could be prepared for you (and in the event that happens please don’t forget to notify the hotel of any food allergies you have in advance). In the event you have a complete menu of pre-arranged meals set up with your hotel, you will be just fine.

Hope you’re all enjoying the series so far. Japan is vast with not just a wide range of culinary options but with countless entertainment opportunities. Next time we’ll be scratching the surface on some of the best places to visit throughout the country!

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