Japan Booking Pack | The Dragon Trip

Your Japan Booking Pack

Starting in Tokyo

The Dragon Trip is the all-encompassing, flexible trip for adventurers seeking to discover the real Japan, showing you the very best parts – including cultural, historical and adrenaline-inducing attractions, jaw dropping scenery, and mind-blowing nightlife! Over the next few weeks it is our goal to show you a side of Japan you will remember for the rest of your lives.

Joining your tour in Tokyo

Meeting Point:

The meeting time is 2pm in the lobby of the hostel. You will meet your Adventure Leader here, as well as the rest of your group, for a pre-departure briefing. 

Your hostel’s address:

UNPLAN Shinjuku  

Address (English): Shinjuku-ku Shinjuku 5-3-15, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, 160-0022, Japan 
Address (Japanese): 新宿区新宿 5-3-15, 新宿区, 東京都 
Phone: +81 3 6384 1297 

If you have any queries or issues with your trip, email our Ops team on mytrip@thedragontrip.com.

We can arrange for you to stay longer

If you are planning on spending additional nights in Tokyo at the beginning or end of your tour, we can book your accommodation for you. We can also extend your Japan Rail Pass for an additional cost. This needs to be requested at least four weeks in advance. Please email info@thedragontrip.com for more information.

Finishing your tour in Tokyo

The trip ends in Tokyo on the morning of Day 7. If your flights from Narita or Haneda do not leave until later, we can help arrange additional activities for a fee, or you are welcome to spend some time exploring with your Adventure Leader. Your Japan Rail pass is valid for the whole day, and your Adventure Leader will be able to advise on how to best spend the day.


Please don’t forget your insurance! It’s compulsory to have travel insurance on our trip. Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the pre-departure briefing. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number, as well as your policy number.

Please make sure your insurance offers ‘Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage’.

Please fill out our online emergency contact and insurance form: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=rfqL-ZrCHE-ZyFlXVmm6aL8AI-_kJexNluZNhQF78ydUMEk4RVRNQzkyME1RWVcwVjdIVjlZMThVUCQlQCN0PWcu

Don’t forget your passport!

Have you sent us your passport details?

The Dragon Trip needs your passport copy to book accommodation and transport tickets in advance of your trip.

Please ensure that you passport is valid for six months of onward travel, with a spare page for every country you plan on visiting (all those stamps!). If you need a new passport, make sure you send us your new passport details as soon as possible, or you may experience some difficulties whilst on tour. If you are travelling on a passport with different details to the ones provided to us, we may have to purchase new train tickets, which will incur additional charges.

Do I need a visa?

Short answer: No you don’t! Most nationalities do not need a visa to enter Japan from 11th October 2022. If you do need a visa for any reason, do let us know. You may have to pay additional fees for your Japan Rail Pass. Do check your country’s status before you travel though.

Keep in touch!

We want to hear all about your amazing travels across Japan.

Whether you’re on the tour or reliving your amazing experiences, be sure to use the hashtag #thedragontrip to join in with our amazing community of fellow Dragons.

In addition, if you tag our profile in your photo with the handle @thedragontrip, we might just feature it! We love to see all the fun you get up to on your adventures.

Lastly: if you don’t want to have your photos appear on our social platforms, please do email us to let us know.

Meet Your Fellow Dragons

As many of our Dragons travel solo, we want to take to make the process of meeting your fellow travellers as easy as possible. We create WhatsApp groups for every departure date in advance, meaning that you can get to know everyone on your tour before you hit the ground.

You can also like us on Facebook and join ‘The Dragon Trip: Adventure Advice‘ Facebook group – here, you’ll be in a community of past, present, and future Dragons who can all share tips and advice.

Our Ultimate Packing Check List

On all of our trips you will be required to carry your own bags, so pack light. Japan is known for its shopping in case you forget something, and you can always borrow from others in your group – that’s what friends are for!


  • Passport (with a copy of the photo page)
  • Insurance Details and photocopies
  • Student Card (if you have one)


  • Your credit/debit card (we suggest using ATMs at each country to withdraw cash.)
  • Japanese Yen

The Essentials:

  • First Aid Kit (with medicine for diarrhea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc)
  • Camera and charger
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts/skirts
  • Long pants (for hiking)
  • Long trousers and sleeved shirts (when visiting temples and some of the local villages)
  • Swimming costume
  • Flip-flops
  • Sensible walking shoes/hiking boots
  • Towel
  • Washbag
  • Flashlight/torch
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Earplugs (for a better sleep in the dorms)
  • Locks for bags
  • Waterproof backpack cover


Do I need to bring power adaptors?

Yes – these are available to buy in airports or various stores before you arrive. Make sure you get adaptors that will work – Japan uses Type A plugs, so make sure your adaptor is appropriate for this.

Do I need to bring a sleeping bag?

All bedding is provided in the accommodation.

Who looks after our bags when we are on transport and/or excursions?

Your bags will be stored at the hostels, where they are tagged and recorded. On a couple of occasions, they will be stored at storage facilities in railway stations.

How much stuff can I bring?

We strongly recommend packing very light for The Dragon Trip. All the cities we visit will have places you can wash your clothes, and you can easily pick up supplies.

Suitcase or backpack?

A backpack or holdall is much more convenient. Please note that there are restrictions in place for the size of luggage which can be taken on board the bullet train when travelling across Japan. You can travel with one luggage piece with a maximum size of 160cm (sum of height, width, and length). For comparison, a standard large backpack has dimensions of 50-52cm torso length and 88-100cm hip width. When travelling in Japan, we would always recommend travelling with a large backpack or rucksack to ensure that you’re able to board all transportation.

Will my phone work?

Your phone is unlikely to work, but it’s possible to buy a SIM out there. Wi-Fi is available in all of our hostels.

On cycling:

During our Japan tour, there are some brilliant bike tours around our destinations. However, if you can’t or don’t want to cycle – don’t worry! Your guide can provide you with the route so that you’re able to take the bus instead.

Your Welfare on Tour

Our adventure tours are a safe space where everyone is welcome. We kindly request that you show respect to your fellow adventurers, our Adventure Leader, as well as the local people and places we encounter throughout our journey. Any form of discrimination, bullying and violence is strictly prohibited, and we expect all travellers to adhere to the laws, customs, and regulations of each destination we visit. Behaviours that contradict these expectations or impede our staff’s ability to fulfil their duty of care or follow the planned itinerary, may result in the removal of the individuals involved from the trip. If you encounter any concerns during your travels, please promptly communicate with your Adventure Leader or local guide. Alternatively, you can discreetly contact the Adventure Leader via WhatsApp. They will be able to address the issue directly and help find the best solution.

backpacking in japan
geishas in Kyoto on Japan Budget Tour

Top Tips from The Dragon Trip

Try saying that tongue twister really fast.

On the weather:
  • Japan’s seasons are one of the reasons to travel to Japan. The weather can change dramatically depending on the time of year, and it can be very hot in summer and cold and snowy in winter. Pack layers, so that you can prepare for any weather changes and be comfortable going from in to outdoors.
On how to travel sustainably:
  • Packing as light as possible keeps your carbon footprint low. We recommend 10-15kg, especially as you are expected to carry your own luggage.
  • Use local laundry services. This money goes straight into the local community, and is available in most of our hostels.
  • Pack a reusable water bottle. You can drink the tap water in Japan, which reduces your need for single use plastics on tour
  • Credit cards are not as widely used in Japan (in convenience stores and restaurant), so keep cash with you at all times to avoid missing some amazing foods and souvenirs!
Stay connected:
  • Your Adventure Leader will invite you to a WhatsApp group chat on Day 1 to keep in touch with you and the rest of your group.
  • Maps.me: This is a great app to stop yourself from getting lost! You can download it to your phone for free. We recommend downloading many maps from different cities in Japan before your trip, and using these maps later when you don’t have Wi-Fi.
  • Feel free to bring your electronics! Japan is a very safe country to travel in, so bring whatever will keep you connected to home.
Food & Drink:
  • There will be lots of great nights out on The Dragon Trip, but please remember to always drink within your limits. Never journey home by yourself at night and never leave another person in the group alone. Always follow the legal drinking age limit, which in Japan is 20.
  • Drugs are illegal. If our Adventure Leaders see you committing any crime while travelling with us, they are obliged to report to Head Office and possibly to the police, so please don’t put them in that position!
  • The food is delicious throughout Japan and you won’t be able to get enough of it. Try anything and everything possible. Your Adventure Leader will be able to recommend all of the best spots.
  • A great way to stick to a budget while you travel in Japan is to grab food at convenience stores like 7-Eleven, especially ones near train stations (Kyoto, Hiroshima). They have good eating options, including sushi and bento boxes which are perfect for a quick pit stop.
  • A lot of traditional Japanese dishes contain animal products. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, we recommend downloading the Happy Cow app, which will help you find local recommendations.
Pack patience:
  • Despite the stories of Japanese efficiency and hospitality, can be very different from home. Some systems or ways of doing things which you may take for granted back home aren’t necessarily the same here. Please be patient with The Dragon Trip and Japan as a whole, as sometimes things don’t run like they may back home, despite our best efforts.
  • You may meet many people from lots of different backgrounds and cultures on this trip. You may have different opinions or ways of doing things. Treat everyone how you wish to be treated and remember to work together as a group.
  • Always try to arrive a couple of minutes early to check outs or departure times. Japan is an incredibly punctual society. Being late may mean missing transport connections, and you don’t want to delay the whole group.
  • Some hostels in Japan may be gender-segregated, but not all.

Navigating Japan’s Culture

Japan’s culture is incredibly unique, which is part of what makes it such an amazing place to visit. By and large, in Japan it’s always better to be over-polite, punctual, and sensitive. Below, we’ve put together a guide that will help you navigate Japan’s culture successfully.

  1. Be respectful of the local culture. Dress appropriately at temples and religious sites, and be polite and kind.
  2. Do not tip. It can be seen as rude, and isn’t really a part of Japanese culture. In most cases, a service charge will probably have been added to your bill already.
  3. Keep your voice low on trains, as common courtesy is for these to remain quiet. Please watch the volume of your voice in public places, particularly on subways and trains.
  4. Split the bill! In Japan it’s common to split checks amongst friends or even on a date. This is known as betsu-betsu. It is not common for restaurants to offer separate checks, so people just roughly figure it out amongst themselves.
  5. Always take off your shoes. Slip-on shoes can be useful in Japan, as there is a lot of taking your shoes off when entering a living area. However, never use shoes or slippers on a tatami (Rush Grass Mat) floor. You should walk on these with your bare feet or socks.
  6. Wear the bathroom slippers! Many places in Japan will provide bathroom slippers for your use in their washrooms. It’s really easy to forget to take these off as you leave the bathroom. This is a big mistake, and considered extremely embarrassing.
  7. Do not litter. Public trash bins are very hard to find, if available at all. This is because Japan is an island nation without much space for landfills. In order to properly separate trash into what can be recycled and what can’t, you are expected to carry your trash home and properly divide it up to dispose of. Please be prepared to carry your trash with you until you get back to the hostel!
  8. Pointing is considered somewhat threatening in Japan and is avoided. Instead, people tend to indicate direction with an open hand.
  9. Use the hand towels for your hands only. Many restaurants in Japan will provide you with a moist towel known as an oshibori, that’s either cool or hot depending on the season. These are used to lightly clean your hands before a meal. It’s considered rude to clean your face with them, or to continue using the oshibori throughout the meal as a napkin.
  10. Be sensitive and patient. The Japanese are generally indirect about uncomfortable topics and avoid conflict where possible. Directly challenging someone in a way that might embarrass them is a bad idea. Instead, many Japanese people tend to drop subtle hints about how they feel rather than direct, bold statements. The ability to read such hints is an important social skill in Japan.
  11. Make time to sit down and enjoy your food! Walking and eating is seen as sloppy. It’s very common to see people stand or crouch when eating Japanese street food.
  12. It’s customary to take off your backpack on a crowded train and hold it in your hands.
  13. Blowing your nose in public is considered rude. The locals retreat to the washroom to blow their nose.
  14. Try to bow, if you want. The Japanese have a number of different ways of bowing that apply to different social situations. As a tourist, knowing the rules can be complex, so there is no need to bow unless you really want to. Just keep in mind that bowing lazily can be considered rude.
  15. Don’t open taxi doors, as most are automatic in Japan. The driver will open and close the door from inside, and might get a little upset if you try to operate the door yourself.
  16. Do not walk and smoke – walking and smoking is viewed as a dangerous and inconsiderate. The Japanese take this quite seriously, and it’s now illegal to walk and smoke in some areas. This is actively enforced. Designated outdoor smoking areas are quite common in Japan.
  17. Follow Karaoke etiquette, in case you go with locals! Foreigners in Japan tend to take a haphazard approach to karaoke with people freely joining in songs as they feel fit. The Japanese are more likely to take turns picking songs and may get offended if you cut in on their song. This varies by person, but it’s safest to ask permission before joining a song.
  18. Loud conversations on your mobile phone in public places are considered rude in Japan. Locals try to be discrete and very quiet when accepting a call. It’s also considered rude to talk on the phone on a train or in a cafe.
  19. Slurp your soup! It’s okay to pick up a soup bowl to drink from it as opposed to using a spoon.
  20. When you need a waiter in Japan, you can yell SUMIMASEN! (excuse me). It’s perfectly acceptable to call for them in this way.

In case of Emergencies

No matter where you are or what you do, safety always comes first. We conduct our own health and safety checks but sometimes things happen that our out of our control.

Emergency services numbers are listed below:

Police: 110

Ambulance: 119

After the police arrive on the scene, you must produce your ID and describe what happened. If there is a language barrier it is the police’s responsibility to seek out interpreters. Otherwise, call your embassy for advice. This process can be very time consuming and tedious and may take a few hours to resolve. You may only leave the scene when the police permit it. Please keep in mind that if you are involved in or see an accident in Japan you must be careful not to get involved. You choose to help people at your on risk, as there is a chance you could be sued if things go wrong.

To contact our staff:

Email: mytrip@thedragontrip.com

24/7 emergency contact number: +81 50 1742 2696

Contact Us

Any questions or feedback?

Contact our London Team: info@thedragontrip.com

(Please note that this email is only monitored from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 17:30 (Friday 17:00) UK time, if you have any urgent issues, such as flight delays or last minute cancellations, please contact our Japan Ops Team.)

Contact our Japan Team: mytrip@thedragontrip.com

To read our full terms & conditions, click here.

Onsen in Japan

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