Your Japan Booking Pack
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
The meeting time is 10 am at the reception in Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan & Hostel. You will meet your Adventure Leader here as well as the rest of your group.
Your hostel’s address
Khaosan World Asakusa Ryokan & Hostel
Taito-ku, Nishi-Asakusa 3-15-1
How to get to your hostel
The best way of getting to your hostel from the airport is to take public transport. Here are directions from each of Haneda Airport and Narita Airport: https://thedragontrip.com/japan-arrival-instructions/
Finishing your tour in Tokyo
The trip ends at Tokyo Railway Station around 2 pm on Day 13.
If you prefer, you can leave the group in Osaka, if flying out from there or wanting to travel onwards to somewhere else in Japan. We are unable to offer a refund for the train journey from Osaka to Tokyo if you choose not to take it. However, your Japan Rail pass is valid for that whole day and your Adventure Leader will be able to advise on how to best spend the day.
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 email@example.com for more information.
Book Optional Excursions
Some of the most popular activities that we offer need to be booked in advance. Please book and pay for these activities at least three weeks in advance in order to guarantee your space. We may not be able to guarantee availability if you make a last minute request to join.
A two hour activity, dress up as a character from a video game and kart your way around the streets of Tokyo. ( A Full driving Licence and International driving permit is required for this activity)
Sumo Experience (£85)
This is an exciting experience to go inside the sumo stables, see sumo wrestlers train and then enjoy a meal with them. You may get the chance to wrestle the sumos and take them on!
To enjoy this activity, you will miss part of the miss part of Edo Tokyo Museum. We provide accurate directions on how to get to and from the Sumo Experience.
Robot Show (£55)
One of the weirdest experiences that Japan can offer, enjoy a crazy show as robots and people dance around the stage. It’s hard to explain just how bizarre this show is but a must-visit for the first time traveller to Japan
Calligraphy Class (£25)
Learn about the history of the Japanese art of calligraphy whilst mastering how to write your name. This short class allows you to take home an authentic, personalised souvenir for you to hang on your wall.
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://www.wjx.cn/jq/54597087.aspx
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. 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.
Follow us on Instagram
You can keep reliving your Japan trip when you’re home by finding us on the following social media platforms! We love seeing your photos and videos, so be sure to tag us!
Please do inform us by email if you would rather not have your photos appear on our social media platforms.
Remember to use the hashtag
Find Friends on Facebook
As so many of our Dragons travel solo, we want to take to make the process of meeting your fellow travellers as easy as possible. We have created a Facebook Event for every departure date to make it easier for you to meet in advance and share the excitement.
Like us on Facebook and go to the Events tab to meet fellow Dragons in advance.
You can also join ‘The Dragon Trip: Adventure Advice‘ group – also available on Facebook.
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)
- Japanese Yen
- First Aid Kit (with medicine for diarrhea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc)
- Camera and charger
- Long pants (for hiking)
- Long trousers and sleeved shirts (when visiting temples and some of the local villages)
- Swimming costume
- Sensible walking shoes/hiking boots
- Mosquito repellent
- 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 for all of Asia.
DO I NEED TO BRING A SLEEPING BAG OR IS LINEN PROVIDED IN THE HOSTELS?
All bedding is provided.
WHO LOOKS AFTER OUR BAGS WHEN WE ARE ON TRANSPORT AND/OR DAY 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.
CAN I BRING LOADS OF STUFF?
We strongly recommend packing very light for The Dragon Trip. The cities all have places you can wash your clothes and you can easily pick up supplies.
SUITCASE OR BACKPACK?
A suitcase is OK, but a backpack or holdall is much more convenient.
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.
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. 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), keep cash with you at all times to avoid missing some amazing foods and souvenirs!
- 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.
- Bring electronic products. Japan is a very safe country to travel in so bring whatever electronics you need to connect you 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.
- 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 are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, please download the app Happy Cow for recommendations.
- 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
Navigating Japan’s Culture
Japan’s culture is so unique that part of is an envy of the world. In Japan, it is always better to be over-polite, punctual and sensitive. Below is our in-depth guide on how to navigate the Japanese culture without tripping up.
- Be respectful of the local culture, dress appropriately at temples and religious sites, be polite and kind.
- 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.
- Keep your voice low on trains – Please watch the volume of your voice in public places, particularly on subways and trains.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Do not point – Pointing is considered somewhat threatening in Japan and is avoided. Instead people tend to indicate direction with an open hand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take your backpack off on trains – It’s customary to take off your backpack on a crowded train and hold it in your hands.
- Don’t blow your nose in public – Blowing your nose in public is considered rude. The locals retreat to the washroom to blow their nose.
- Try to bow – 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.
- Don’t open taxi doors – Most taxi doors in Japan are automatic. The driver will open and close the door from inside and might get a little upset if you try to operate the door yourself.
- 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.
- Follow Karaoke etiquette – (Incase you go to Karaoke w/ 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.
- Be considerate when on the phone – 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.
- Slurp your soup – It’s okay to pick up a soup bowl to drink from it as opposed to using a spoon.
- Calling a server – When you need a waiter in Japan you can yell SUMIMASEN! (excuse me). It’s perfectly acceptable.
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:
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
24/7 emergency contact number: (+81) 050 5534 9557
Any questions or feedback?
Contact our London Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note that this email is only being 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 delay,cancelling the trip in the last minute, please contact our Japan Team)
Contact our Japan Team: email@example.com
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