At first consideration, a trip to Japan can appear to be anything but simple. Certain visions persist of a crowded country featuring a complex maze of subways, trains and rickshaws moving at light speed whirling under the umbrella of that impossible language. It is all true. However, don’t let potential overwhelm get in the way of a great vacation.

Japan seems to go out of its way to help the traveler. Voices are recorded in English at many subway and train stops. In fact, I found detailed information in English while taking the train from Osaka to Kyoto. Although signage in English is in short supply, there is just enough to get around in this systematic and punctual county. Visitors can expect everything to be right on time.

So what if all else fails? Ask someone. In my experience, most Japanese are more than happy to help the traveler navigate street and subway platforms. Of course, officially, we always advise using caution when approaching anyone at home or abroad — even if Japan is one of the safest destinations in the world.

Written by Devin Galaudet

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