eSIM Japan travel guide: Don’t miss these 6 things


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer


Ever wondered whether an eSIM Japan travel guide exists? Congratulations—you’ve stumbled upon that very thing!

Japan is a dream travel destination, and visiting this beautiful country is a bucket-list item for many (me included). It’s a distinct, ancient culture that seems to be both ahead of the rest of the world, while deeply rooted in ancient tradition. 

It’s this complex combination that makes Japan among the most unique destinations in the world. But what else is there that makes it so special?

We’re glad you asked, because it’s a list worth exploring. Our eSIM Japan travel guide lists six things to see and experience in Japan on your trip of a lifetime. We guarantee there’s something on this list for everyone (and all styles of travel). 

Explore our eSIM Japan travel guide

Are you ready to explore Japan? Let’s dive right in, and start with something everyone loves to experience as they travel: local cuisine. 

1. Fill up on food

You’ve got to think beyond sushi when it comes to food in Japan. Now, we don’t mean you should avoid it (the opposite: take every opportunity you get to try it). We simply mean that Japan’s food goes so far beyond sushi, and will definitely surprise you.

Japanese cuisine is known for clean, palatable flavours with that umami we all know and love. Here are some dishes you can’t afford to miss: 

Wagyu: expensive, premium Japanese steak

Noodles: ramen, soba and udon

Yakitori: small skewers of grilled chicken seasoned with a sweet & salty sauce

Donburi: simmered or fried meat, fish or vegetables served over steamed rice

Tamagoyaki: a Japanese omelette made of several rolled layers of egg (often served with soy sauce or sugar)

Sukiyaki: beef slices seared in broth in a hot pot, with different vegetables, noodles, and proteins

Oden: a combo of veg and protein items stewed in a light broth, seasoned with soy sauce and dashi in a hot pot

Okonomiyaki: sliced cabbage, other ingredients mixed with batter and pan-fried on a hot plate 

Shabu shabu: thin meat slices dipped into a broth and eaten as cooked

Gyoza: fried dumplings with black vinegar sauce

Kaiseki Ryori: traditional, multi-course Japanese dinners.

2. Connect with culture

Take a moment once you arrive to really look at and absorb the culture around you. What are people wearing? Where are they headed? What do the trees look like? How are the streets designed?

One of the most unique things about Japan is how its cities and towns are organized. This is a country that has taken urban planning to new levels, ensuring all its neighbourhoods are well connected

Many cities and towns have their own distinct styles, as well. Kyoto, for instance, has rules that dictate what colours businesses can and cannot use, and design styles as well. 

And as you explore these distinct areas, don’t be afraid to ask questions! Anyone who’s travelled to Japan will be quick to tell you how friendly and polite its citizens are. Chatting with locals is a great way to connect with a new place, especially one as unique as Japan. 

3. Take in tradition

Traditional experiences go well beyond geishas and gardens (although again, we’re not saying you shouldn’t seek these out). 

Ryokans are a traditional experience absolutely unique to Japan. These traditional Japanese inns are among the best ways to experience Japanese culture. When you arrive, you swap your clothes and shoes for a yukata robe and slippers. A ryokan stay will likely also include relaxing in a tatami mat room, soaking in an onsen (hot springs), and fine dining kaiseki cuisine. 

If your trip to Japan will happen as winter ends, consider participating in hanami, which means “flower viewing” in Japanese. This traditional (and almost spiritual) custom involves taking in the beauty of the cherry blossoms while enjoying a picnic among the trees. Delicious food and beverages are a must. And in terms of timing, cherry blossoms bloom across Japan from around the end of March to mid-May, depending on the region.

4. Ride the bullet trains

Are you a fan of train travel? Or maybe a fan of technology? Japan’s bullet trains, called shinkansen, are among the world’s fastest, most efficient ways to get around. These trains are notoriously on schedule, and travel at speeds of 320 km/hour.

But these trains aren’t noteworthy simply for their speeds. They boast a sleek design, they are quiet and incredibly comfortable for riders, with spacious seats where people can relax and take in the views. Bento boxes are offered to riders, and the trains feature affordable (albeit basic) sleep accommodations (these are expensive on most trains). 

5. Explore Japan’s Islands 

We all know Japan is an island nation, like Australia or Madagascar. But did you know it’s also a nation of islands? Japan’s climate stretches from subarctic in the north, to subtropical in the south, giving you plenty to explore during your visit. 

Can you picture Japan’s picturesque, snow-capped Fuji mountain? Well, how about this instead: turquoise waters with beaches and palm trees. The Okinawa prefecture is Japan’s southernmost region, and contains lush islands and beachfront resorts. It almost features rainforest regions, with some of the world’s oldest rainforest trees. 

Looking for a different kind of island experience, but still something unique to Japan? Consider visiting Miyajima Island instead, near Hiroshima, where you’ll see not only the iconic Itsukushima Shrine and surrounding holy temples and Buddha statues, but also Sika deer. The island has around 1,000 deer, which are quite tame and friendly, and they remain protected by Japanese law.

And for a VERY different kind of island experience, perhaps for urban-exploring travellers, consider Nagoro “Scarecrow” Village on the island of Shikoku. While the island became deserted as its residents either passed away, or left to find jobs, one resident, Tsukimi Ayano, returned over a decade ago. She has since repopulated the village with about 350 life-sized dolls, each representing a former island resident. 

6. Shop like a local 

While it may not top every traveller’s list, shopping in Japan is legendary for many. Whether it be at large department stores, or checking out the latest manga or anime media or merch, shopping in Japan will no doubt feel very different from home (wherever you’re from).

But shopping in Japan can also happen at less obvious places, including at vending machines. This is yet another facet of Japanese culture and technology that’s far-surpassed its competition elsewhere. Vending machines can stock anything from piping-hot ramen, to eggs, to umbrellas, to even cake in a can (seriously!).

Another type of shopping you won’t want to miss is convenience stores, known as konbini. The food and snacks at konbini stores is known to be delicious and affordable, making grab-and-go food in Japan far superior to most other countries. 

Street markets are also worth noting, and perhaps not something people associate with Japan. The truth is that this is how you’ll experience most of your shopping in Japan, and you can expect to be dazzled. Check out the incredible variety of vendors, and slip inside one of the tiny restaurants within the markets themselves. 

eSIM Japan travel guide: final thoughts

Why are all so fascinated by Japan? Wait. Why is that even a question, now that I think about it?

The insane level of variety captured in the list above should be a good indication of this question’s answer. While comparing cultures is typically a futile exercise, it can’t be a controversial statement that Japan’s culture is among our world’s most unique.

This eSIM Japan travel guide has BARELY scratched the surface, so this is likely not the last post that I’ll put together on this. But I do hope that it’s helped to show just how unique Japan is, and how choosing experiences that are less stereotypical, and dig a little deeper than a typical tourist experience, can be an amazing way to travel. 

Remember to check out the food, unique Japanese culture and tradition, ride a bullet train, travel to Japan’s islands, and shop like a local. And while you’re in Japan, consider using prepaid Japan eSIM data to stay connected (and avoid roaming fees). 

Sayonara, and safe travels!