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10 Common Travel Mistakes to Avoid in Japan

Ah, Japan! It’s a treasure trove of culture and history, with tons of unique experiences for tourists to indulge in. But, let’s be honest, not everything is a bed of roses. Some experiences might leave you with a “why did I do that?” feeling. And, thanks to the internet, you can now read about all the hilarious and regretful tales of travelers who have been there, done that, and wish they hadn’t!

1. Simply Depressing: Going to the Animal Cafes

Owl Cafe in Tokyo
Photo credit: Lewis Tse // Shutterstock.com

While they may sound amazingly cute in theory, several travelers expressed feeling depressed after visiting the various animal cafes that Japan offers. The owl cafe was the main culprit, which was described as “incredibly depressing and awful.” However, many had a positive experience visiting the country’s cat cafes.

2. Awkward Mishap: Boarding the Wrong Train Car in a Hurry

Woman only train car in Japan
Editorial credit: Savvapanf Photo / Shutterstock.com

Picture being in a hurry to catch a train in Japan and accidentally getting on the Women Only car. Now, imagine doing that as a 34-year-old male with a beard and tattoos. Talk about feeling awkward and embarrassed! This traveler quickly apologized and switched cars at the next stop, but those two minutes felt like an eternity.

3. Beat the Crowds: Tips for Enjoying Popular Tourist Spots

Japan Kyoto Fushimiku tons of crowds
Editorial credit: FMilano_Photography / Shutterstock.com

Traveling to Japan is a dream for many, but beware of midday crowds at popular tourist spots like Fushimi Inari and Arashiyama bamboo grove. A seasoned tourist learned this the hard way and found themselves lost in a sea of people, unable to enjoy the serene surroundings. Early morning or evening visits are recommended to avoid crowds. Also, don’t feel pressured to check off every tourist attraction; skipping something that doesn’t interest you is okay.

4. Overhyped Waste: The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo

Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
Editorial credit: Alex Waltner Photography / Shutterstock.com

In Tokyo, the Robot Restaurant is marketed as a must-see attraction, but according to one wanderer, it is a waste of time and money. The performances could be better, the food is overpriced, and the seating could be more comfortable. Stay away from the hype, and spend your time and money on better experiences in Tokyo.

5. Avoiding Temple Overload: Communicating Interests to Your Guide

Temple in Nara Japan
Editorial credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Visiting temples in Japan sounds like a great idea until you realize you’re feeling burnt out after only three of them. One traveler regrets not communicating their limitations and interests to their tour guide beforehand, resulting in temple overload. Lesson learned: be clear about what you want to see and do to avoid disappointment.

6. Scam Alert: Beware of Fake Monks

Editorial credit: Nielskliim / Shutterstock.com

A common scam in Japan involves a supposed monk handing out bracelets of wooden beads and asking for donations. One traveler fell for it, feeling pressured when the monk wouldn’t take the bracelet back and donated 2000 yen. Later on, they realized they had been scammed and regretted falling for it. Beware of scams, and always be cautious.

7. Unpleasant Zoo Experience: Ueno Zoo Might Disappoint

Ueno zoo in tokyo - panda eating bamboo while girls take photos with their cell phones
Editorial credit: Aija Lehtonen / Shutterstock.com

Despite the hype surrounding the Ueno Zoo in Japan, someone found the experience unpleasant and depressing due to the strong smell in the area. They advise others to skip this attraction and find other things to do in Japan.

8. Beyond Tourist Hotspots: Trying Unique Japanese Dishes

Image credit: Shutterstock
Image credit: Shutterstock

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, it’s easy to become obsessed with finding the “best” version of popular Japanese dishes like ramen or okonomiyaki. But the commenter regrets missing out on unique and lesser-known dishes in favor of chasing the highest-rated spots. Lesson learned: take a chance to try something new and discover culinary delights beyond the tourist hotspots.

9. Timing Matters: Visiting Tokyo’s Skytree

Tokyo Sky tree
Editorial credit: skyearth / Shutterstock.com

The Skytree in Tokyo may look cool, but one visitor regrets visiting it during their trip. Poor crowd control during spring break resulted in an overcrowded and disappointing experience. Staggering admittance times like Tokyo Tower could have made a difference. Waiting in line to get down from the 450-meter deck took longer than enjoying the view. Lesson learned: be mindful of peak times and crowd control.

10. Overrated Nightlife: Roppongi for Tourists?

Roppongi at night
Editorial credit: StreetVJ / Shutterstock.com

Roppongi in Tokyo is known for its nightlife, restaurants, and entertainment. However, an individual found it overrated and not worth the visit. They found nothing particularly interesting about the area and felt it mostly catered to tourists. Lesson learned: feel free to visit only some popular spots and be open to discovering hidden gems.

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