8 ways to travel like a local in Japan


Here are 8 ways to travel like a local in Japan, Nagomi Visit-style.

1. Take the trains

Yes, there are taxis in Japan but the train is not only convenient, on time, but safe. It might be intimidating at first especially when trying to navigate but your Nagomi Visit host or the team can help with directions so not to worry. Of course a friendly train conductor or fellow commuter will sure to be able to assist. Once you get on the right trains it is time to start people watching! As a Nagomi Visit guest you have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the locals themselves so make sure to share your observations with your host and maybe you might gain a bit of insight into Japanese culture.

2. Walk around residential areas

You will for sure do this if you go on a Nagomi Visit but make sure to pay attention while you are walking to your host’s place. You might spot a hidden gem like a small temple or shrine.

3. Learn a few Japanese words

No one is expecting you to be fluent. Just a few friendly words will go a long way like a simple thank you, Arigato gozaimasu. For a Nagomi Visitor, add on a few like hajimemashite (nice to meet you), when you are meeting your host for the first time at the station. Or oishii desu to say the food is delicious or gochiso sama deshita (thank you for the meal) after you have finished eating.

4. Go to a neighborhood supermarket

You will get to see the real world of Japanese food beyond sushi, tempura, yakitori, and ramen. Ask your Nagomi Visit host if you can stop by a nearby by supermarket with them before or after your visit. This is a great way to see a slice of Japanese life and of course to learn more about real Japanese food.

5. Go to the corner convenient store

A convenient store is also a fun place to visit before or after a Nagomi Visit. This is especially true if you were lost in the aisles in your previous visit there. Now your host might be able to explain to you what some things are so you will be less intimidated to try!

6. Make time to visit a small neighborhood event

Just ask your host if there is anything going on nearby and they may be able to direct you to something or have time to join you. Whether it is enjoying the cherry blossoms at a nearby park, or participating in a small local matsuri festival during the summer, you will be able to experience these very Japanese traditions without the tourist crowd.

7. Go sing at a local karaoke box

Even though you are not singing in front of a random audience like a karaoke bar, going into a karaoke box takes a little courage. If you happen to have some karaoke loving hosts they might be able to guide you through the process and maybe even teach you some Japanese songs.

8. Visit places besides Tokyo or Kyoto

Tokyo and Kyoto are not to be missed of course but if you really want to get to know Japan make sure to visit other areas. Remember there are Nagomi Visit hosts in various parts of Japan. Recent popular areas include Matsumoto or Nagano which is near Hakuba, and Hiroshima. Make sure to check out the Nagomi Visit host map.