Getting Around Japan When You Don’t Speak Japanese

I have been going to Japan solo for the last few years and it’s my happy place 😊. I went to Tokyo and Kyoto (old school Japan) and that was the start of my true love for Japan.


I did not know a single word of Japanese and I still only know a few words. As long as you have Wi_Fi, you will get on fine! Word of mouth had me believe that I would struggle in Japan because I didn’t speak Japanese, but that that was codswallop! There are many people that speak English. I would tend to speak to the younger generation as there was a better chance that they speak English. For awareness, the Japanese are very respectful, and so if they cannot speak English well, they will not attempt it because they do not want to disrespect you.

As I mentioned earlier, you can easily get around Japan without speaking Japanese as long as you have Wi_Fi. In Japan you can get portable Wi_Fi devices… how great is that! Anywho, I have either had a Pocket Portable Wi_Fi device either via my Airbnb apartment or I have rented one. You will have to charge it and you can ask bars, restaurants etc to charge your belongings. The renting price recently for 9 days was around £50 and it’s totally worth it.

Pocket Portable Wi_Fi Device
Snapchat on the go

Another key item to have for Japan, is a rail pass. You can purchase these at the Japanese airports and train stations in the ticket machines (yes, you can change the language to English). The rail pass card can be topped up and used for trains and restaurants etc. The card you purchase even prints your name… how cool is that! You can specify the amount to topup and you even get change.

Google is your friend, so use it to the max. Research where you want to visit. I’m not just talking about areas of Japan, but also shopping areas and coffee shops etc. Japan has many quirky shops for example they have cat, bunny and reptile 🦎 cafes. They also love Disney, and cats. Cat lovers will be in heaven out there!

Cat Cafe
More Catness

Tokyo has Uber! Great news right! But at present, there are only two cars because it hasn’t taken off yet. The other alternative for getting around is the standard Taxi cabs, that are always around. To get around, simply show the driver your destination on your phone/google. When you get a taxi, do not touch the doors as they are automatic. Also, do not tip as it is disrespectful to the Japanese.

It’s also worth noting that if you change English written addresses into Japanese, the address is changed in order for example English addresses are stated by number, street name and city etc however if written in Japanese, the order is changed. Unfortunately I found this out the hard way… 4 take cabs later, I finally got to my destination… annoying.

I ❤️ Tokyo

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