I used trains.jp for train tickets(for iPhone, in Tokyo)! But visitors can get a JR pass, but it’s more convenient to just get a Suica/Pasmo in case you want to switch between JR & metro without having to buy a ticket all the time.
That’s true! I didn’t know about the JR pass but we did get the pasmo pass because it seemed like it was more encouraged?? (I saw a lot of trains/buses that had the pasmo logo on it) I used it as my bus ticket to go to the ghibli museum too!
Anonymous sent : Hi Mae! Was it difficult getting around in Japan because of the language barrier? Any insight would be much appreciated. :)
I’d say most of them understand some basic English. It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few words or phrases though. When I was shopping in Akihabara/Harajuku, I would just say “sumimasen” to get the employee’s attention and point to the item I’d like to get (when an item was too hard to reach).
For the train stations, basically most of them (if not, all of them) have English routes on the screen so you know where your stop is. Buying tickets also wasn’t a problem. They have the English button that translates everything so you’re good. Signs in the trains/subway platforms are both in English and Japanese. From what I remember though, I don’t think the maps on the ticket gates are in English…My cousin downloaded this app that had the map in English instead.
My cousin and I got confused at one point while we were checking where we should go on the map. A Japanese girl beside us helped us go to the right station by going along with us. Although she did not speak any English, we somehow still understood each other by body language.
As for ordering food like in McDonald’s for example, they have a menu with pictures on them. I just pointed to the food I wanted and put my fingers up to tell her the quantity.
Overall, I’d say it wasn’t difficult getting around in Japan but learning words and phrases would help if they can only reply in Japanese (that way, you can pick up bits and pieces of words they’re saying). Hope this helps you!