Airport Taxes

The departure tax of Y2,000 (~US$20) from Narita airport and Y2,600 (~US$25) from Kansai International is included in your airfare.

Baggage

On Domestic flights, passengers are allowed 44 pounds of luggage per person. On International flights, passengers are allowed two pieces of checked luggage. Excess luggage fees will be charged if you check more than the stated allowances, and these charges are your responsibility.  At most major airports, baggage carts are available for your luggage, usually for a small fee.

Climate and Clothing

Japan is generally a rainy country with high humidity. Because of its wide range of latitude, Japan has a variety of climates, with a range often compared to that of the east coast of North America, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The temperature varies widely over the country on any given day -- annual average temperatures range from 43 F/6 C to 72 F/22 C, depending on where you are. Between October and April, temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. May, June and July are the rainiest months, and June, July and August are hotter and more humid. Winter months can become quite cold in various areas in Japan. Be sure to check the weather for your specific destination before you pack.

Communications

A direct overseas call can be made from a public telephone displaying an International and Domestic Telephone sign. These phones are not widespread, but can be found at airports, hotels, and other key facilities. A credit card call can be made from a telephone with an International and Domestic Telephone sign. Insert a 100 yen coin (returned when you finish the call) and input an access number. 

Postcards and stamps are available from post offices, convenience stores and kiosks at train stations all over the country. Post boxes are located by street crossings, buildings and public facilities.

Currency

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. The current exchange rate is approximately one US Dollar for 80 yen.

Travelers Checks are accepted by leading banks, hotels, ryokan (Japanese inns) and stores in major cities. International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are also acceptable at these major establishments

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are commonly available in large urban areas throughout Japan. However, many do not accept foreign credit cards or cash cards and their service hours are often restricted. Many ATMs operate only during banking hours although some remain open until 18:00-20:00 on weekdays. Weekend services are restricted to Saturday mornings.

Customs Regulations

According to related laws and regulations, the luggage of inbound and outbound passengers must come under customs supervision and control. Passengers should make accurate declarations to customs officials regarding the luggage they carry into or out of the territory.

Electricity

Voltage in Japan is 100 volts. However, the frequency is different. In the eastern half (Tokyo), the frequency is 50 Hz and in the western half, (Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya) the frequency is 60 Hz. For the average tourist, electrical equipment such as hair dryers and shavers do not require converters. Most major hotels provide hair dryers and other amenities.

Food and Water

Tap water is safe to drink anywhere in Japan. Mineral water including major imported brands can be easily obtained from super markets, convenience stores and other similar places.

Health Matters

There are no inoculations required for entering Japan from anywhere around the world. Medical systems and facilities in Japan are well established so that you can expect to receive a high standard medical treatment, should you have a problem with your health during your stay.

Holidays

New Years Day - Jan 1st.

Coming of Age Day - Jan 15th

National Foundation Day - Feb 11th

Spring Equinox - Mar 20th or 21st

Greenery Day - Apr 29th

Constitution Day - May 3rd

Children's Day - May 5th

Respect for the Aged Day - Sep 15th

Autumn Equinox- Sep 23rd or 24th

Health - Sports Day - Oct 10th

Culture Day - Nov 3rd

Labour Thanksgiving Day  - Nov 23rd

Emperor Akihito's Birthday - Dec 23rd

Passports and Visas

Nationals of many countries, including the US (for up to 90 days), 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.

Time Difference

Standard Time in Japan is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, USA.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Japan. This includes services from taxi drivers, bell service, and restaurant staff. Often a service charge of 10% or 15% is automatically added to your bill, especially at Western style hotels and first class establishments.

Transportation

All airport and sightseeing transportation are included in our tours. Unless specifically arranged, all sightseeing and transfers are provided via air-conditioned motor-coach.

Japan has one of the world's most highly developed transportation systems. The rail service alone covers almost all possible destinations. In addition, there is the national highway system, and a well developed domestic air service. Buses and taxis provide connections around the clock in the cities, while ferry boats link Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe with the main ports on Hokkaido and Kyushu.

What to Pack?

Valid Passport. Travelers Checks. Copy of Your Airline Ticket. Your Medicines. Departure documents. Travel alarm clock. Camera(s), batteries & films. Sunscreen/Tan lotion.  Pocket size Kleenex. Extra luggage locks/keys. First Aid kit. Soft, foldable slippers. Extra set of eyeglasses. Folding Umbrella.  Comfortable walking shoes.