How To Travel In Japan Without Speaking Japanese

A practical Guide and Workbook covering all the essentials. No Japanese? No problem!

20 years ago, I had no idea how to get the most out of travelling in Japan.

I’d look at seasoned Japan travellers and wonder how they got to where they were - having great adventures every time they were in the country.

How they discovered so many wonderful hidden locations - away from the crowds of tourists.

How did they manage that if they didn't speak Japanese?

But then one day, I decided to stop looking at all those other smart travellers… and become one myself.

At the time, I was struggling with learning Japanese. Even though I was having two lessons each week, there was so much to take in. It didn’t help that I have a terrible memory!

I felt frustrated. Like I wouldn’t be able to conquer the language (I still haven’t) and because of that I’d find it impossible to truly explore the ‘genuine’ Japan - beyond the all the safe and obvious places that all the ‘tourists’ were going to.

But then things changed.

I found the answer.

And I developed my own, practical techniques to get ahead.

And doing so has helped me in numerous ways, like being able to feel far more confident in heading off the well-beaten tracks, and discovering beautiful places that sometimes even the locals have never heard of.

But I didn’t want to keep this knowledge inside. I wanted others to have this same feeling. To know that they, too, can be pioneers of The Real Japan!

So, I wrote a book: How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese.

How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese is shows you how you can explore Japan even if you don’t speak any Japanese.

Take a moment to think about something that’s been holding you back - maybe it’s not being able to speak Japanese, or lacking confidence to step outside of your travel comfort zone. Or maybe you just find the whole prospect of travelling in Japan overwhelming.

Then, imagine what it would feel like to bust the ceiling on those limitations and finally experience the most rewarding trip to Japan ever.

This book will help you achieve that too.

Your Instructor

Rob Dyer
Rob Dyer

Hello, I’m Rob Dyer. I write, publish and travel.

I lead an ever-growing community where I inspire and help folks all over the world explore Japan off-the-beaten track.

I've been having adventures in Japan, off the tourist routes, for almost twenty years, and yet I still feel like I have only seen the tip of the iceberg of this amazing country.

I have a Japanese wife and an adorable, if slightly mad cat, named Salvador.

I started to share my passion for travelling in Japan. To offer inspiration and resources to anyone who wants to discover Japan beyond the clichés. The Real Japan.

Winner: 2018 Content Creator of The Year
- Grey, Grizzled and Gaijin Social Media Awards

Maybe you're coming here for the 2019 Rugby World Cup or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

One of the major considerations with travelling in Japan is the inscrutable Japanese language.

Japan is like no other country on Earth. It's easy to feel like an alien when you come here.

A seemingly incomprehensible, often kaleidoscopic, barrage of cryptic symbols awaits the foreign traveller who doesn’t speak or read Japanese.

I've been exploring Japan since 2000.

From the northern wilderness of Hokkaido, via seldom seen islands like Sado and Shodoshima, down to the subtropical paradise of Okinawa and the Yaeyama Islands, I've travelled in the major cities and well off-the-beaten-path.

And I've picked up plenty of tips along the way.

If I can do it, so can YOU!

I've distilled 19 years of my experience into this ebook for you.

This practical Guide and Workbook covers all the essential basics you need to ensure your first (or next) trip to Japan is as Amazing as you deserve it to be.

Recently updated, my 56-page ebook contains:

5 Self-paced, pre-trip planning Exercises -

These are designed to help you pre-plan your trip and to identify possible areas of difficulty, and provide you with the tools or resources you need to overcome any travel challenges you will face.

Here's just some of the benefits you get:

  • Using Public Transport - Japan's public transportation is among the very finest. Japan's world famous shinkansen bullet trains are a fantastic travel option. And the Japan Rail Pass could be just the ticket you need. A large part of my book is dedicated to providing you with the best information and tips so you'll know in advance what modes of transportation will best suit your needs.
  • Topics covered include:
    • Airports, Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), Shinkansen (bullet trains), JR & Private Local Trains, Seat Reservations
    • Using Buses, Riding Trams, Taking On The Tokyo Subway, smart travel (IC) cards

Ride Japan's incredible bullet trains

  • 11 (free) Japanese Translation apps - Speaking Japanese is the single biggest challenge you'll face when travelling in Japan. So I've included 11 Japanese translation apps, both for Android and Apple phones. You won't need them all (!), but I've recommended 11 so there will be at least one or two that you will get great use out of. Bonus: All of these are FREE to use!
  • 32 Key Travel Words/Phrases - Knowing a few basic words and phrases in Japanese can transform your experience of the country. Based on decades of travel, I've included the 32 key words/phrases so you can get a deeper, more rewarding experience of The Real Japan.
  • 8 Recommended Japan Travel apps - Armed with a small set of well-chosen travel apps will reduce your need to speak Japanese, making travelling in Japan a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.

Travel safely with cash

  • Money, ATMs and Banks - Japan is still very much a cash-based society. I'll help you how to plan to travel safely with plenty of cash on you at all times, and how to get more cash when you need to, and when you can use credit cards.
  • Eating Out - Tips so you can choose and savour Japan's incredible food.
  • SIM Cards & Wi-Fi Rental - So you can keep in touch with family and friends in Japan or back home, I include my recommended Wi-Fi router to rent and SIM cards to buy.
  • Pre-Planning Key Travel Connections and Booking Accommodation - will make life a lot easier. Allowing you to focus more on the experience, in the moment, instead of worrying about not knowing when your connecting train leaves.
  • Making The Most of Japanese Tourist Information Offices - run local sightseeing coupon schemes that foreign tourists can take advantage of for free. These offer discounted entry to many local sights, museums, transportation, etc. and often come with their own maps.
  • Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), Japan's Tourist Information Center (TIC) - offer detailed and comprehensive tourism information for all of Japan.


  • Travelling Off The Beathen Path
  • Body Language, Asking For Assistance, Using a Japanese Phrasebook (and my recommended books)
  • English Language Tours
  • & more


5 Pre-trip planning exercises designed to ensure you're organised in advance instead of worrying and trying to sort out issues while you are travellling. These include:

  • What Do You Want From Your Trip?
  • Taxi Checklist
  • Key Travel & Accommodation
  • Language Solutions List
  • Your Resources


  • Links to online resources
  • Further reading
  • Access to Japan tours with English-speaking guides
  • Designed to be printable and used digitally
  • Interactive PDF format compatible across all your devices

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I'm looking forward to helping you travel in Japan without speaking Japanese.

Rob Dyer The Real Japan

"For anyone thinking of travelling to Japan but worried about the language, this is an invaluable resource!"

- Deb Alton, subscriber

"Just wish we'd had this book before we went - this guy knows the country inside out"

- Jane McIntyre,

“I'm very picky, but this is REALLY good! Perfect for anyone who wants to travel to Japan."

- Saki, @SakiJapaneseGal, Periscope

"There is some really, really, really great stuff in here. Definitely worth getting."

- Craig Hoffman, author Grey, Grizzled & Gaijin

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