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How easy is it for a non-Japanese speaker to get around?


So Im booked and excited to be heading to Tokyo in August of 2014 and I was wondering how easy is it to get around without knowing any Japanese kanji? Im trying to learn a few key phrases but was wondering how often am I to find a place that may have an English menu? Thanks in advance


It all depends where you are going. If you are in central Tokyo, there is probably a 50% chance that they will have an English menu available. If not, they may have a photo menu or model food outside that you can point to. I’m sure the staff will do their best to explain it to you if you don’t understand. Finding your way between stations isn’t that challenging - the Metro stations and the JR all have English signage. The more challenging aspect is finding an exact location - such as a shop or restaurant. The block system (as opposed to the street number system) can be a challenge to get used to. If you can arrange for data roaming or a Japanese data SIM, you’ll be able to use Google Maps or Four Square - which will make getting around much easier.


Awesome, thanks for the response. Ill be staying in Tokyo, near Roppongi Hills for nine days. I cant wait, Im dying with anticipation.


Make sure you bring a card from where you are staying with you. And look for policemen on the street to direct you on a map when you are lost,. Very few Japanese speak English. Everyone tries to be helpful but most can’t offer much advice.


When in doubt or if overwhelmed, just say omakase onegaishimasu, and they’ll choose their own recommendation for you. Very useful phrase :-).


Ichiban yasui means the cheapest. Let them know upfront you’re a Cheapo!


Thank you for the answers!


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