Hi folks! Welcome to PacSet Insider, a monthly feature where we divulge some of the ways you can make the absolute best out of a trip to Japan, whether you’re on a PacSet tour or traveling by yourself.

Today we are going to talk about Walking in Japan. Why? Because walking isn’t simply just an unavoidable thing you have to do to get from place to place while traveling in Japan (especially in the cities), but because the act of walking is actually an integral part of Japanese culture. Let me elaborate.

Unlike here in the United States where we rely heavily on cars to get from place to place, much of the Japanese population relies heavily on public transportation and a sturdy, reliable pair of feet. Commuting to school with peers on foot is a commonplace practice – even preschoolers are seen walking in single file lines on streets to get to school (accompanied by an adult, usually). In fact, in many towns, students aren’t allowed to ride a bicycle to school until junior high school. It gives students the chance to be social, active, and to greet fellow townspeople as they make their way to school every day.

In the cities, it is impractical and often expensive to own a car, so most people rely on trains and other public transportation instead. Japanese society functions on its active citizens to keep everything running efficiently for its 127 million or so people. So my advice to you, fellow traveler? Prepare yourself physically and mentally so that you can confidently join, and more importantly, enjoy seeing the country on foot. Before and during the tour, eat well and eat right. If you don’t usually exercise, try to fit in at least 15 minutes of light exercise a day leading up to the tour. Pack comfy shoes, a water bottle, and breathable socks. Preparing yourself for walking – whether you’re going to see temples, on shopping sprees, or simply just wandering the sights, you’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and we have another little secret for you! With all the walking that they do, Japanese people have devised of some pretty amazing remedies to relieve sore feet. Our PacSet favorite happens to be a product called Kyusokujikan (休足時間). Wear these lovely little herbal patches on your feet overnight and your feet will wake up feeling fresh and ready for a brand new day of exploration! You can usually find them in Japan at certain convenience stores or any pharmacy.