The Car Lovers Guide to Japan! Part One, Eating and Getting Around Inexpensively

The train can be very crowded.  Stand to the side of the door and let all the people out first, then get in quickly and move as far from the door as possible to make room. Always give up your seat for old, pregnant or handicapped people. It is really bad manners to speak loudly, stare at people, clump at the doors, eat, drink, or talk on your cell phone on the train.  It is ok to look at your phone and text.

To get around Tokyo, Goggle Maps works pretty well and tells you what trains and subways to take. We also had good luck with an app called Citymapper. The thing is you can get anywhere using public transportation and it’s so good its better than driving. I wish we had such a system. Taxies are not too expensive and they are the thing to use if you stay out past 11:30 at night when the trains stop running. Uber is not ridesharing in Japan, the app summons a cab for you! If you get lost never fear, most stations have a help desk and most Japanese at least understand a little English.  If they don’t, they will usually go out of their way to find someone who can help you.  This goes for most places as well. We never had any trouble doing anything, someone either spoke enough English to help or they found someone who could help. Be sure to be polite and thank your hosts.  Manners are very important to the Japanese. Getting by in a foreign country seems scary at first but I promise you, once you get the hang of things, you will love it!

It is also super bad manners to cough or seem sick in public which makes sense because Japan is so crowded.  If you are sick or sniffle or sneeze, you should wear a mask for good manners.  You can get masks everywhere.  It actually makes sense to wear one in the trains because they are packed and in winter many people are sick. I got really sick and so did 3/4ths of our group. Next time I am gonna rock a mask on the train and use hand sanitizer when touching the hand loops on the train.

Using the train and walking makes you hungry. The plane food was awful and I think we didn’t end up really eating for 20 hours so we decided to grab some food.  In Tokyo, it’s almost impossible to get bad food.  Rent is so high that you need to get customers or you go out of business fast.  It also seems that there is a place to eat every 200 feet or so!  The best places are little holes in the walls on back streets.  Even though they may seem small the food is great and not expensive. Fortunately, most places have ordering machines where you press the buttons of pictures of different food. Then pay the total.  The machine spits out a ticket you hand to the kitchen and they make your order.  In Japan, you don’t have to tip so things are simple!


  1. Japan is easily in the top 3 best places to travel, even after going twice I would go again in a heartbeat. It’s beautiful everywhere from the ski slopes of Hokkaido to the pop up street food shops of Fukuoka.

    Not eating food while walking is good advice, I had a nice old lady stop and thank me for sitting down to eat. We did drink beer in our water bottles the whole time though, it was summer and we were hiking to mountain shrines, 10/10 would do it again.

    The food is amazing, even hole in the wall places are incredibly clean, trying yakitori, ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba is easily the second best thing to do after visiting the landmarks.

    I’ve been looking at importing a turbo 4wd Kei car since the first time I saw one Covered in snow in Niseko.×576.jpg

  2. “be aware of not holding up others or getting in the way like walking two or three abreast slowly taking up several lanes. I wish Americans were like this!”
    Can’t agree more! it’s beyond belief how Americans are so not aware of their surroundings and have no shame of hindering others

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