Travel Tips



Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands. Japan’s topographical features include coastlines with varied scenery, towering mountains, which are very often volcanic and twisted valleys that invite visitors into the mysterious world of nature.


There is only one official language spoken in Japan, which is of course Japanese. However, many Japanese are able to understand English to a certain extent since English is the foreign language that everyone must learn as part of compulsory education. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, you can still certainly enjoy Japan. But if you know a few everyday Japanese phrases then it will make your trip even more memorable. A few words make a big difference.


Japan’s population is over 126 million. Most Japanese reside in densely populated urban areas. Japan’s capital city is Tokyo. The population of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area including the city, some of its suburbs and the surrounding area is approximately 12 million.

(Source & More Information: Japan National Tourism Organization)

Climate & Seasons

Winter (December – February)

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

Spring (March – May)

The plum blossom is a good sign that the cold winter will soon end and spring is just around the corner, followed by the cherry blossom at its best in the Tokyo area between the end of March and the beginning of April to bring this beautiful season to a climax. Splendid views of mountains, fields and gardens all blanketed in gentle pink abound in this season.
Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops. 

Summer (June – August)

The Japanese summer begins in June with a three to four week rainy season. This is an important time for farmers to plant rice. It becomes seriously hot and humid from July onward and many Japanese 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.
Clothing: light clothes (cardigans and other similar kinds are handy, since indoors are mostly air-conditioned.) 

Autumn (September – November)

Autumn always brings such freshness with a light breeze and cool temperature after the hot and humid summer. All forests are dyed in glorious autumn colors. Chrysanthemums create beautiful displays with their abundance of flowers to enchant visitors to parks and gardens. Autumn is also the season for many exhibitions, music concerts and sports tournaments in Japan.
Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops. 

(Source and More Information: Japan National Tourism Organization)


The traditional food of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. The side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Fish is common in the traditional cuisine. It is often grilled, but it may also be served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter as tempura.


Strictly vegetarian food is rare since even vegetable dishes are flavored with the ubiquitous dashi stock, usually made with katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna flakes), and are therefore pescetarian more often than carnivorous. An exception is shōjin-ryōri (精進料理), vegetarian dishes developed by Buddhist monks.

We will arrange all the necessary needs such as Japanese vegetarian dish, shōjin-ryōri, and foreign restaurants such as Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese and etc. according to your preferences.


Currency & Money Exchange

There is no limit on the amount of any currency that may be brought into or taken out of Japan. However, if you transport (any currencies, cheques, securities or other monies) exceeding 1,000,000 yen worth in Japanese currency into or out of the country then you must complete a customs declaration. The unit of Japanese currency is 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. You can buy yen at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money exchangers. At the international airports, currency exchange counters are usually open during normal office hours. The exchange rate fluctuates daily depending on the money market.

Travellers Cheques

Travelers Checks are accepted by leading banks, hotels, ryokan (Japanese inns) and stores in major cities.

Credit, Debit and Prepaid Cards

Credit, debit and prepaid cards of International brands are acceptable at wide variety of merchants. There will be instances where merchants may not display the card acceptance marks so do not hesitate to ask the salesperson if your card is accepted. You can use cards for Narita Express (JR) and Shinkansen (JR) fares; however, may not use them to pay for most of short distance train/subway fares. Outside the major cities, cards not may be widely accepted. However, you can withdraw cash nationwide at ATMs in post offices and in 7-eleven stores.


You can withdraw cash using your international brand credit, debit, prepaid and cash cards nationwide at ATMs of Japan Post Bank and Seven Bank. Citibank ATMs are also in service but number of ATMs is very limited with most of their ATMs located in major international airports and in their branch offices. Please note that no other Japanese banks currently accept international transactions. To find ATMs near your destination, Visa provides an ATM locator on their website which you can use to locate ATMs by your nearest subway/train station.

(Source and More Information: Japan National Tourism Organization)


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).  A convertible type of electrical appliance such as a hair dryer, travel iron and shaver will therefore be handy; otherwise a step-up transformer is required to convert the voltage. There are no columnar-shaped plugs or 3-pin plugs used in Japan but 2-flat-pin plugs are used instead. It is therefore advised to purchase a plug adapter beforehand.


In Japan, you will find many Wi-Fi signals which you can enjoy browsing the internet. Please note they often require a password for security reasons. (In an effort to prevent internet-related crimes, service providers are required to identify whom they are providing the services to. Some require long-term contracts which normally are limited to residents of Japan.)
Also, most accommodations are internet-ready, but you might sometimes find a wired internet connector in your room. In such case, please use a wireless travel router.
If your budget allows, hiring a mobile hotspot device at the airport is another good option. You can use it in any areas the mobile covers.

(*)Various types of unlimited mobile phone data networks have been prevalent among long-term residents. As a result, if not at home or at office, people have long preferred to use this location free mobile service.Due to the recent boom in smartphones, things are changing and phone companies are eagerly setting up many Wi-Fi spots for their customers to ease the traffic on their mobile phone data networks.

(Source & More Information: Japan National Tourism Organization)

Visa Requirements

Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay. Nationals of many countries are eligible to enter Japan without a visa unless the purpose of the visit is to reside in Japan, to obtain employment or to otherwise engage in remunerative activities. The following is a list of nationals of countries that have “Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements” with Japan:

For a period of 90 days or less

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay

For a period of 15 days or less

Thailand and Brunei

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. To apply for a visa, please check the following link. 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.

(Source and More Information: Japan National Tourism Organization)

Useful Links

Japan Travel Guide

Japan National Tourism Organization Japan: The Official Guide
Official Tourism Guide For Japan Travel
Lonely Planet Japan

Visa Information

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Visa Information

Tokyo Travel Guide

Official Tokyo Travel Guide: Go Tokyo
Time Out Tokyo
Metropolis Japan
Tokyo Cheapo

Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto City Official  Travel Guide
Welcome to Kyoto
Kyoto Journal

Guide for Other Areas

Osaka Visitors Guide: Osaka Info
Visit Hiroshima
Kamakura Visitors Guide