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Travel Tips

Travel Tips

Travel Tips


Contact our Travel Consultant

1-855-325-2726 (US/Canada)

1-909-988-8885 (International)

Mon. - Fri.

8:30am - 5:30pm (PST)

(Except National Holidays)

Visa Information

Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport. That passport must be valid for the entire period of stay.

Nationals of many countries are eligible to enter Japan for a brief period without a visa for purposes of tourism. Which countries have the Visa Exemption and how long they may stay without a visa is detailed (in English) on the following Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html

Please carefully review whether your passport has a visa exemption, how long you may legally stay, and what rules are applicable to tourists from your country. Please be aware that the above list only applies to short-term stay for purposes of tourism. Extending the period of stay, living, working, or other commercial purposes will require other official visas.

passport

Notes: In the case of the waiver of visa requirements of up to three months or 90 days, foreigners are granted upon landing a temporary visitor status for a period of 90 days (14 days for Brunei). Nationals of countries and regions that have taken measures concerning the waiver of visa requirements with Japan for stays of up to six months in principle are granted permission to stay in Japan for 90 days at the time of landing. Nationals of these countries and regions who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days must apply at their nearest immigration authority in Japan for an extension of their period of stay.


Nationals of countries that do not have ¨Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements¨ with Japan must obtain a visa.

A ¨Temporary Visitor's Visa¨ is usually required as permission to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities such as sightseeing, participating in amateur sports, visiting relatives, taking inspection tours, participating in lectures or research, attending conferences, making business contacts, or other similar activities.

In other words, the ¨Temporary Visitor's Visa¨ cannot be used for any remunerative purposes, which involve profit-making or payment acceptance within Japan by the visitor.

To apply for a visa, the applicant must apply in person to a Japanese Embassy or a consulate, usually in their home country. The following documents must be submitted whatever the purpose of visit you are going to make:

  1. Valid passport;
  2. Two passport photos taken within the six months previous to the date of application;
  3. Two official visa application forms, available at the embassy or consulate;
  4. Documents certifying the purpose of the visit.

As the type of documents required for the application may differ according to the purpose of your visit, the applicant is advised to check with the Japanese Embassy or consulate beforehand.

(*1) Persons holding a valid and subsisting Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport issued by the Hong Kong SAR of the People's Republic of China are exempt from the visa requirement for up to 90 days.

(*2) Persons holding a valid and subsisting SAR passport issued by the Macao SAR of the People's Republic of China are exempt from the visa requirement for up to 90 days.

(*3) The visa waiver regime applicable only Serbian nationals holding e-passports.

(*4) Persons holding a valid Taiwan passport which includes a personal identification number and residing in Taiwan are exempted from obtaining a visa for up to 90 days.

(*5) Persons holding a valid Non-Machine-Readable passport issued by Barbados, Lesotho (since April 1st, 2010), and Turkey (since April 1st, 2011) need a visa to enter Japan. These nationals holding valid biometric passports containing an electronic chip will be exempt from the visa requirement.

Time Differences

All of Japan is in the same time zone, 9 hours ahead of G.M.T. No Daylight Saving Time is practiced in Japan. Shown below is a list of time differences between Japan and other major international cities.

America

Sao Paulo

-12 hours

Toronto

-14 hours

New York

-14 hours

Chicago

-15 hours

Mexico City

-15 hours

Los Angeles

-17 hours

Asia & Oceania

Sydney

+1 hours

Seoul

0 hour

Hong Kong

-1 hours

Beijing

-1 hours

Singapore

-1 hours

Bangkok

-2 hours

Jakarta

-2 hours

Europe

Moscow

-6 hours

Frankfurt

-8 hours

Geneva

-8 hours

Paris

-8 hours

London

-9 hours

Key: ¨T¨ stands for temperature in (F) Fahrenheit and (C) Celsius.

Money

Currency and Money Exchange

There is no limit on the amount of either foreign or local currency that may be brought into or taken out of Japan. However, if you transport any currencies, checks, securities, or other monies exceeding 1,000,000 yen worth in Japanese currency into or out of the country then you must declare it on a customs declaration form.

The unit of Japanese currency is the Yen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen and bank notes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen. 2,000 yen notes are rare, so for denominations less than 5,000, expect to receive 1,000-yen notes.

You can exchange your home country's currency for yen at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money exchangers. Currency exchange counters are found at international airports, and are usually open during normal office hours. The exchange rate fluctuates daily depending on the money market.

Travelers Checks and Credit Cards

Travelers Checks are not commonly accepted for direct payment in Japan. Some larger hotels may accept them, but we recommend redeeming them at a bank or currency exchange for bank notes. If you choose to bring traveler's checks, we recommend bringing them in your home country's currency and exchanging them for yen on arrival. International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club, and MasterCard are accepted at many major establishments in big cities like Tokyo, but Japan is still primarily cash-based, so expect many smaller or more traditional locations to only accept cash payment. Additionally, credit card transactions are not always accepted in suburban or rural areas, so acquiring cash currency is highly recommended before traveling to the countryside.

ATMs

Foreign credit and debit cards can be used at Japan Post Bank and Seven Bank ATMs throughout Japan. Japan ATMs only withdraw cash in yen. There are over 20,000 Japan Post Bank ATMs in Japan and post offices which provide this service display stickers indicating which cards are accepted. ATM withdrawals can be made with cards with VISA, MasterCard, Cirrus, PLUS, Maestro, American Express, UnionPay, Diners Club, JCB, and DISCOVER logos . Please inform your bank that you will be using your card overseas, and check with them regarding any service fees for international withdrawals, as well as potential limits to how much can be withdrawn per day. Japan Post Bank ATMs are the best option for international withdrawals, and their ATMs are found throughout the country, at post offices and elsewhere. Though, please be aware that service hours for these ATMs may be limited.

Seven Bank ATMs are also available for international cash cards and credit cards. Over 26,000 Seven Bank ATMs are placed at 7-Eleven convenience stores, airports, and major department stores throughout Japan. Unlike Japan Post Bank ATMs, service operations are 24 hours a day in English, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese. Cash cards from the PLUS and Cirrus networks can be used. Accepted credit cards are VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and China UnionPay.

We recommend contacting your bank beforehand, both to inform them that you will be using your card overseas, and for information regarding international withdrawal fees and withdrawal limits. Please check beforehand the location of each ATM and its availability as these conditions vary from machine to machine.

Business Hours and Holidays

Some main post offices are open seven days a week. Most department stores are closed for two to three weekdays a month. Most museums are closed on Mondays.


Business Hours

Weekdays

Saturdays

Sundays and National Holidays

Banks 09:00 - 15:00 closed closed
Post Offices 09:00 - 17:00 closed closed
Department Stores 10:00 - 20:00 10:00 - 20:00 10:00 - 19:30
Shops 10:00 - 20:00 10:00 - 20:00 10:00 - 20:00
Museums 10:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 17:00
Offices 09:00 - 17:00 closed closed

National Holidays

Date

January 1st

The Second Monday of January

February 11th

March 21st

April 29th

May 3rd

May 4th

May 5th

The 3rd Monday of July

August 11th

The 3rd Monday of September

September 23rd

The Second Monday of October

November 3rd

November 23rd

February 23rd

Name of the Day

New Year’s Holiday

Coming-of-Age Day

National Foundation Day

Vernal Equinox Day

Showa Day

Constitution Memorial Day

Greenery Day

Children’s Day

Maritime Day

Mountain Day

Respect for the Aged Day

Autumnal Equinox Day

Health and Sports Day

Culture Day

Labor Thanksgiving Day

The Emperor’s Birthday

Customs

When you enter Japan, you are requested to hand in the ¨Customs Declaration¨ form of both your accompanied and unaccompanied baggage at the Customs Clearance. ¨Customs Declaration¨ forms are available on the plane/ship or at the Customs office.

Personal effects and unaccompanied baggage that are for personal use, are free of duties and/or taxes within the allowance specified below. If you have both personal effects and unaccompanied baggage, please consider them together when referring to the allowance. Clothes, toiletry articles, and other personal effects that are for personal use, as well as professional equipment that will be used during your stay in Japan, are all free of duties and/or taxes if they are considered reasonable in number and are not for sale.


Duty-Free Guide

Quantity

Notes

1. Alcoholic Beverages 3 bottles Approximately 760 ml per bottle
2. Cigarettes 200 If a visitor brings in more than one kind of tobacco product then the total allowance is 250 g.
3. Cigars 50
4. Others (e.g. loose tobacco) 250g
5. Perfumes 2oz 1 oz is equivalent to approx. 28 cc. (excluding eau de cologne and eau de toilette)
6. Other items 200,000 yen The total overseas market value of all articles other than the above items must be under 200,000 yen. Any item whose overseas market value is under 10,000 yen is free of duty and, or tax and is not included in the calculation of the total overseas market value of all articles. There is no duty-free allowance for articles having a market value of more than 200,000 yen.

The quantity of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, including both prescription and non-prescription drugs and some food supplements (vitamin and mineral supplements), which a visitor can bring into Japan at one time may be limited.

Telephone/Communication

Public Phones

A direct overseas call can be made from some public telephones displaying an International and Domestic Telephone sign. Even though these phones are not as common as they once were, they can still be found near most large train stations. Coin currency or telephone cards (which can be purchased from convenience stores) can be used to make calls. When calling internationally, dial 001-010 - followed by the number.

Public telephones

Hotel Phones

Another option for emergency international calls is to ask at your hotel to used their phone. When using the hotel phone, first connect to the hotel operator before making your international call. Please be aware that the hotel will usually charge for use of their phone, which can be paid for with credit card at most locations.

Mobile Phone Use and Rental

You might be able to use your mobile phone in Japan's cell service area (depending on phone model and service provider), but doing so often involves additional roaming charges appearing on your phone bill. One better option is to rent a Japanese mobile phone, which can be done at most international Japan airports. For further information regarding cell phone use and mobile phone rental, please contact any of the following companies.

JAL ABC
SoftBank Global Rental

Free Wi-Fi

Many locations around Japan (airports, larger hotels, major train stations, others) will have free Wi-Fi available. Please be aware that, in many locations, the signal is usually only strong enough for brief texting, and may not be strong enough to sustain other data usage or internet browsing.

Sim Card and Pocket Wi-Fi Rental

Two cheap options for using your cell phone in Japan include renting a Japan SIM Card for your mobile phone or renting Pocket Wi-Fi to carry around Japan with you. Renting a Japan SIM Card means being able to use your phone to make calls or text anywhere in Japan, but please be aware that what SIM cards you can use depends on your phone model and the size of your current sim card. Connecting your mobile phone to the Pocket Wi-Fi means avoiding roaming charges from your service provider when texting or using smartphone applications like Maps over Wi-Fi. Phone calls can even be made over Wi-Fi from certain VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) applications, such as WhatsApp, LINE, or Zoom, and some phones even have a Wi-Fi Calling option to enable in their Settings. And the Pocket Wi-Fi can be shared across multiple devices in a group of travelers. We recommend purchasing your Sim Card or Pocket Wi-Fi from Japan Wireless or Ninja WIFI, which have pickup counters in most international airports in Japan, and they can even deliver to your accommodation in Japan. Prices vary depending on how much bandwidth you need and how long you will use it for, as the cost is calculated by-the-day.

Ninja Wi-Fi
Japan Wireless

Facsimile and Computer Networking

Facsimile machines are available at most hotels. Ask the front desk or go to the hotel's business service center. Most hotels (especially Western-style hotels), will have Wi-Fi available for computer access.

Companies

Access and Inquiry Numbers

Direct Dial

Credit Card

Collect & Operator-assisted

Inquiries

KDDI 001-010 0055 0051 0057
NTT Communications 0033-010 0034-112 - (0120)-505506
SoftBank Telecom 0061-010 0043 - (0120)-030061

Mobile Phones

You can use your mobile phone in Japan in SoftBank Mobile or DOCOMO´s 3G (3rd Generation) service area. All you have to do is bring your own SIM card and insert it to a rental phone or your own 3G handset. Some smartphones or cell phone companies may differ, we advise to consult with them ahead of time. For more details, please check with your local mobile phone service provider. Rental phone service is also available upon arrival at Narita Airport or Kansai Airport. For further information please contact any of the following companies.

Toll Free Numbers

Telephone numbers starting with 0120 are receiver-paid calls under NTT´s Free Dial 0120 service. For Japan Telecom, the toll-free numbers begin with 0088, but calling areas are sometimes limited. Toll free numbers cannot be called from outside Japan.

Facsimile and Computer Networking

Facsimile machines are available at most hotels. Ask the front desk or go to the hotel's business service center. Some hotel phones and the newer gray telephones have modular sockets for computer network access.

Electricity

Voltage Conversion and Appliance Use

The voltage used throughout Japan is uniformly 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use; 50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan (including Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka). Because of this, a convertible type of electrical appliance (hair dryers, travel irons, and shavers, etc.) made for overseas travelers will be handy. If not, a step-down transformer or voltage converter will be useful.

Plug Types in Japan

The most common plug in Japan is the non-polarized, ungrounded 2-pin plug. There are no columnar-shaped plugs in Japan, and 3-pin plugs, though increasing in number in Western-style hotels, are still rare. Therefore, it advised to purchase a plug adapter beforehand, if you need it.

Domestic Calls
Climate

Winter (December - February)

The temperature rarely drops below 0°C in the plains along the Pacific coast during the wintertime. It is also quite dry and very often sunny. Central Japan and Northern Japan are highly reputable regions for winter sports. Southern Japan is comparatively mild and pleasant during the winter.

Suggested Clothing: Overcoats, sweaters, etc.

Winter

Spring (March - May)

One of the most pleasant seasons in Japan, spring is often symbolized by the cherry blossom. The cherry blossoms begin to appear in Tokyo area between the end of March and the beginning of April to bring this beautiful season to a climax. Some climates will have their trees blooming later in the season. Splendid views of mountains, fields and gardens all blanketed in gentle pink abound in this season.

Suggested Clothing: Light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.

Spring

Summer (June - August)

Summer in Japan officially begins in June with a three to four week rainy season called "tsuyu," or "baiyu". This is an important time for farmers to plant rice. It becomes seriously hot and humid from July onward, it is highly recommended to stay hydrated. This season is also known as a time to enjoy bathing in the sea and relaxing at cool resorts in mountainous areas. Summer is when many interesting festivals and other events are held all over the country.

Suggested Clothing: Light clothes, and cardigans or other similar kinds are handy due to most indoor environments being air-conditioned for this season.

Summer

Autumn (September - November)

Autumn tends to bring in fresh, light breezes and cool temperatures after the hot and humid summer. The forests are usually vibrant with eventful autumn colors. Chrysanthemums create beautiful displays with their abundance of flowers, enchanting visitors to parks and gardens. Autumn is also the season for many exhibitions, music concerts, and sports tournaments in Japan.

Suggested Clothing: Light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.

Autumn
Transportation

Trains

Japan's four major islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku are covered by an extensive and reliable network of railways.

Trains are a very convenient way for visitors and for Japanese citizens to travel around Japan, especially in conjunction with the Japan Rail Pass. About 70 percent of Japan's railway network is owned and operated by the Japan Railways (JR), while the remaining 30 percent belongs to dozens of other private railway companies, especially in and around metropolitan areas. There are some special passes that only visitors are allowed to purchase at a discounted price.

Trains

Subway

Subway

Japan has an efficient, safe, and cost-effective system of city subways, allowing rapid movement around its inner urban areas. Services are less frequent on weekends and public holidays. Finding your station is usually easily done as the station name is often displayed on electronic boards in the carriages in both Japanese and English.

Women-only trains: Some subway lines in Japan have women-only passenger cars running in the rush hour period, normally 8am-9am. During the evening rush hours, some lines will have women-only trains in the evening, as well. Look out for the pink sign on the platform for the female only the passenger car. Subways in Japan have announcements on the train in Japanese and frequently in English, too.


Taxi

Most taxis accommodate for up to four passengers (not including the driver), while larger vehicles are able to accommodate an additional fifth passenger. Taxi fares typically start around 600-700 yen for the first two kilometers and increase by roughly 100 yen for every additional 500 meters traveled depending on the city. The cost also increases when the taxi is not moving for a prolonged time. Late in the evening, rates are raised by 20-30 percent, so night taxis tend to cost more than usual.

taxis

Bus

Bus

In Tokyo, Osaka, and some other large cities, buses serve as a secondary means of public transportation, complementing the train and subway networks.

In cities with less dense train networks like Kyoto, buses are the main means of public transportation. Buses also serve smaller towns, the countryside, and national parks. Plus, major cities are linked by highway and long distance buses.