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Catriona Rowntree’s top travel tips for Japan

3 min read
1 Sep 2023
Two geishas wearing traditional japanese kimono among Sensoji Temple in Asakusa Tokyo, Japan.

As one of Australia’s most travelled women, there are few destinations missing from Catriona Rowntree’s passport.

But until recently, there was one major omission: Japan. Catriona finally had a chance to visit the land of the rising sun last month and it didn’t disappoint!

Rich in culture, delicious cuisine, and endless things to do, Japan has so much to offer.

As Compare the Market’s travel expert, Catriona has shared her top tips for travellers looking to make the most of their trip.

See the world from a different perspective


Try something new

From skiing and snowboarding to hiking and mountain climbing, there’s plenty to pique your sense of adventure when touring Japan!

Street karting has also become a popular option for super fans of the Mario Brothers.

While these must-do activities might seem like obvious inclusions for your holiday, it’s important to make sure your travel insurance covers you for the extra risk.

If you’re taking part in an adventure sports activity, it’s particularly important that you have travel insurance cover that includes emergency assistance, medical evacuation and even repatriation.

Take care to follow safety guidance and don all the right protective gear to ensure your cover isn’t voided!


Cruise is back!

We’re really excited to see cruising return to Japan for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

A lot of people make the mistake of planning their trips around one destination or attraction. For example, they might say “I’ll just go to Tokyo to see the cherry blossoms” but then they’re just scratching the surface.

Cruising allows you to visit multiple locations without the hassle of planning a complex itinerary. The best part is that you get to see everything and never have to unpack!

After touring Japan, we finished off in Seoul in South Korea, which is emerging as one of the hottest travel destinations for fashion and beauty.

If you’re travelling by sea, you’ll need to add cruise cover to your travel insurance policy!


Be a conscientious traveller


Respect is paramount

One thing you’ll notice is that Japan is an incredibly clean country! You won’t find any rubbish on the street.

In fact, as a film crew, we were told not to film people eating in the streets, as this could encourage litter.

Remember when travelling that you’re an ambassador for your country – so please take care and be respectful!


Embrace the language

Learning even a few words can be super helpful and locals are always grateful for the effort.

‘Hello’ – ‘Konnichiwa’, thank you very much – ‘arigato gozaimasu’ and ‘goodbye’ – ‘sayōnara’ are some basics that will help you through many interactions.

My personal favourite is “oishi” which means delicious!

Google Translate is also a big help for trickier situations.

Make sure you save some key emergency contacts in your phone, and keep a copy of your travel insurance policy handy in case you need to make a claim.

You can use Compare the Market to browse a range of travel insurance policies to suit your needs.



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avatar of author: Catriona Rowntree

Written by Catriona Rowntree

Catriona Rowntree is an Australian travel icon, having hosted Australia’s longest-running travel show, Getaway, for 25+ years. She has travelled extensively around the world and visited over 100 countries, with some incredible stories to tell along the way. Catriona is a wealth of knowledge and is always happy to share travel advice for any destination. When she’s not out on a whirlwind adventure, she loves to spend time with her family on their farm in rural Victoria.

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