If you’ve never visited Japan, you can certainly be forgiven for not knowing what to expect – and might be having some misconceptions about what Japan is really like!
Most travelers to Japan are surprised to find out that these common myths are either grossly exaggerated, or simply not true.
Myth 1: Japan is expensive…!!!
Many people around the world think that Japan is an expensive country to visit but in fact it’s quite the opposite! Yes, it’s not as cheap as visiting Thailand, Cambodia or Indonesia but also not as expensive as Switzerland, Norway or America! You’ll only pay between $15 and $40 euros for a hotel, apartment or air b&b in central Tokyo which is far lot cheaper than a hotel in Amsterdam! When it comes to food, of course you can decide to get square melons and wagyu beefs but you can get affordable tasty dishes at a traditional Japanese restaurants, family restaurants and even at the convenience store! Affordable delicious and tasty meals ranging from $3 to $10, for these prices you can only dine at MC Donald’s in many European countries! Japan is very affordable, it can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be…!!!
Myth 2: All Japanese food is healthy
People who travel to Japan for the first time think that they will return from their trip 10 kg lighter because Japanese food is healthy…right? However, you might be surprised at the quantity of fried food, food covered in mayonnaise and extremely high-carbohydrates food. Yes, Japanese people also eat healthy meals including fish, miso soup, and vegetables but these meals are mostly cooked at home. When Japanese people go out for dine you should expect karaage fried chicken, rich pork broth ramen, fried pork in thick curry sauce… and this in combination with beer or a sweet cocktail, it’s not exactly good for your figure and health!
Myth 3: Japan is the most technologically advanced countries
Japan is a country of numerous contradictions. On one hand the country is famous for its technology; robots, vending machines and automatic toilet seats, it all seems so innovative and futuristic! On the other hand Japanese people have a very hard time giving up old traditions and absolutely love paper work. Cash money is often preferred over debit cards and the fax is still a huge thing. Want to change your address? while in Europe you can do it online in just 5 minutes, but in Japan you have to go to the city hall, taking an appointment online or by phone is not even possible. So you need to be prepared to wait for several hours.
Myth 4: All Japanese people love anime…!!!
Every anime & manga lover just have one dream: visiting Japan, the mecca of manga and anime! If you grew up watching Dragon ball, Naruto and Pokemon you probably noticed that most people around you didn’t share those interests and might find it very different and geeky. But in case you visit Japan no one will ever judge you for it right? It is true that there are many shops for merchandise, amazing anime characters can be found on posters in the stations and cafes exist but not all Japanese people, actually most Japanese people are really not anime and manga fans! You have heard about the word “otaku” that is often used outside Japan to refer to an anime and manga fan but in Japan the word otaku has a negative meaning! A Japanese otaku is considered as an older man who dedicates his life to something in very obsessive manner and therefore spends most of his time in his room. Just be prepared to encounter all different kinds of people in Japan- anime fans, neutral people and haters!
Myth 5: It’s difficult to get around if you don’t speak Japanese
The Japanese language seems pretty intimidating. It’s widely considered as one of the world’s most toughest languages to learn, and doesn’t appear to come naturally to many English speakers. So it’s not surprising that the perceived language barriers is one of the biggest concerns voiced to us by clients and friends planning visits to Japan. Apart from the fact that many people who travel to Japan (including basically 99% of our visitors) don’t speak a single word of Japanese, there is also a very common misperception that Japanese people don’t speak English. The truth is that even if you don’t speak a word of Japanese, getting around Japan is surprisingly very easy, and almost definitely quite less challenging than you might expect.
Myth 6: You’ll offend everyone if you don’t learn Japanese etiquette
Japanese etiquette are so complex, and has so many layers, that even Japanese people often commit mistakes. Going far beyond simple rules like taking off your shoes while entering a tatami room, you could just devote your whole life to trying to master Japanese etiquette. Fortunately, unless you are a business traveler, you can just keep it sweet and simple and learn one overarching rule: Observe, listen, be polite, and apologize.