Before I continue to me moving to Japan, I would like to leave just another note on the best things and services you can find on the airports in Japan.
At the main airports in Japan you can find shower rooms where you can take a shower and freshen up before continuing your travel. I have used them more than once before continuing a trip to Nagasaki and Tohoku. After that long 12 hour flight a shower was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Luggage pick up and drop off
So imagine you arrive in Tokyo but you’re still getting that shinkansen to Tohoku or you arrive at Kansai airport and you’re moving to Hiroshima or Nagasaki and you have this large suitcase with you that will be a bother to carry around. Look in the airports and you will find a service that will deliver your bags at your destination within one day.
I have used this service once when I was traveling home from Tohoku. I called them and my luggage was picked up on the previous day. I took the shinkansen, spent the whole day in Tokyo and at the end of the day went to the airport. Before checking in for my flight I went to the service’s luggage pick up and there was my bag waiting for me.
Sleeping in the airports
With the rise of lowcost companies and flights that leave really early, people can be seen sleeping at the airport. This happened to me when returning from Hiroshima. We spent the night in Kansai airport waiting for Peach airlines flight.
In case this happens to you, look for the information counter, we found out later that the airport provides blankets for you to spend the night. Just make sure you return them before leaving for your flight.
Phones and data cards
So first thing, old cell phones with no 3G will not function in Japan. However, you can rent a Japanese phone at the airport. Be sure to look around for a place at the airport where you can do this.
In case you have a 3G phone and since free Wi-Fi is not easy to come by in Japan, I recommend you to get a pocket wifi or to rent a data card to use while you are in Japan. Prices didn’t vary too much, but you should do you own research.
I used this service once when I went to Japan to travel. Let’s face it, being able to communicate with family and friends in case anything happens and being able to check directions on maps without worrying with roaming charges is really a good way to make your journey simpler.
For this service you need to pay online, before your trip, and when you get to the airport you will make the withdrawal at the post office. You just need to show your ID and you will be ready to go.
Exchanging The JRPass
Another thing you can do at the airport is to exchange you JRPass voucher for the real JRPass. The JRPass is a kind of transportation ticket, pre bought before you go to Japan. It’s only available to foreigners that live outside Japan. With it you can use most JR trains and some buses and boats any number of times.
So you go online and buy a Japan Rail Pass. After a few days you receive an exchange order. With this, at the airport you exchange it for the real deal and you get your Japan Rail Pass. You sign it and go on your merry way. I absolutely recommend this in case you plan to travel a lot in Japan. This is not a good option if you just plan to do a week in Tokyo for example.