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1) Japan


Q: Do I need any vaccinations to enter Japan?
A: There are no requirements for foreign travelers from any countries regarding certificates of vaccination.


Q: Do I need a visa?
A: Japan has agreements with 60 countries exempting their citizens from the necessity of applying for a visa to enter Japan.
Nationals of all other countries require a visa.


Q: What can I bring through Customs?
A: Baggage or accompanying items arriving separately (within six months after either entry to or exit from Japan), which are accepted as for personal use only, are duty-free within the restricted quantity per item per adult as specified below by the customs regulations. 

Japan Tours




Q: What is the best way to carry money in Japan: Travelers Checks, cash or credit cards?
A: Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it is generally safe to carry cash. Credit cards are widely used throughout Japan, and major credit cards are usually accepted. Regarding Travelers Checks, Japanese yen or US dollars are the most practical for a visit to Japan, but may not be widely accepted by establishments other than major hotels and banks authorized to exchange foreign currency.


Q: Can I use my credit cards?
A: Most of the stores and restaurants accept VISA, Master Card and American Express cards. However, you must be aware that there are small shops that may not accept credit cards. Foreign credit, debit and cash cards can be used at over 21,000 Post Office ATMs in locations throughout Japan. Post offices where this service is available display stickers indicating which cards are accepted. Cards from the Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Visa Electron networks can be used. Accepted credit cards include Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club.


Q: Is it possible to use my mobile phone in Japan?
A: The Japanese mobile telephone system is not compatible with those of other countries. Except for some special kinds of phone (satellite phone), your mobile phone will not function in Japan. If you want to use a mobile phone in Japan, rental phones are available. You can find rental shops at Narita Airport and Kansai Airport.


Q: Is Japan expensive?
A: With a little pre-planning Japan is an affordable destination for even the most budget conscious traveler. Foreign visitors to Japan can take advantage of a wide variety of budget accommodation options, transportation passes and sightseeing discounts.  
Budget Travel Hints


Q: I don't speak Japanese. Will travel in Japan be difficult?
A: Traveling in a country where you don't speak the language can be both challenging and rewarding. But even if you don't speak any Japanese, finding your way around Japan needn't be difficult. English is widely spoken throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist centers. Announcements on public transportation are frequently made in both Japanese and English, and signs generally include decipherable roman characters or an English explanation. A comprehensive range of tourist services also provides a helping hand to foreign visitors in Japan.

(2) Sightseeing


Q: I am visiting Japan for the first time. Where should I go?
A: Many visitors from overseas visit Tokyo, and its neighboring cities Nikko and Hakone. The old cities of Kyoto and Nara are also popular tourist destinations.


Q: When is the best time to visit Japan?
A: Japan has three peak vacation seasons when many people in the cities travel to the countryside or go abroad. These are the New Year holiday period (Dec 29 - Jan 3; banks and shops stay open through Dec 31), Golden Week (April 29 - May 5 and adjacent weekends), and O-bon (a week around Aug 15). During these periods Tokyo tends to be quieter, and city trains and roads are emptier. Note that most museums are closed from around Dec 29 - Jan 3, and that most shops and restaurants are closed on Jan 1. From Jan 1 to 3, major temples and shrines are packed with visitors who come to pray for a happy and prosperous year. If you don't mind crowds, Jan 1 is a great opportunity to see women in kimono. The various national holidays in Golden Week are marked by associated events whose venues and adjacent areas get very crowded.

(3) Transportation


Q: How do you go to central Tokyo from New Tokyo International (Narita) Airport?
A: The JR Narita Express, limousine bus and Keisei Dentetsu railway are the major means of transportation. The JR Narita Express will take you to Tokyo Station, located at the center of Tokyo, in about 60 minutes. The one-way fare is 2,940 yen (Japan Rail Pass valid). The rapid train takes 80 minutes to Tokyo Station with a one-way fare of 1,280 yen. The limousine bus has many direct lines to major stations and hotels. Travel time varies between 60 to 90 minutes depending on the destination and the traffic. The fare is about 3,000 yen one-way. The Keisei Dentetsu Limited Express (Sky Liner) runs between Narita Airport and Ueno, downtown Tokyo, in about 60 minutes. The one-way fare is 1,920 yen. If you use the rapid train, it takes 75 minutes and costs only 1,000 yen one-way.


Q: How do you go to Haneda Airport from New Tokyo International (Narita) Airport?
A: There is a variety of transportation at various fares and times. The limousine bus and Airport Limited Express are recommended, as there is no need to change. There are about 3 to 5 bus services every hour between the airports, except early morning and evening. It is 3,000 yen one-way and takes about 80 minutes. Every hour, there are 1 or 2 Keisei Dentetsu Railway Airport Rapid Express trains, which take about 110 minutes. The fare is 1,560 yen one-way.


Q: How do you go to the center of Osaka from Kansai International Airport?
A: JR Limited Express Haruka, the Nankai Dentetsu Railways RAPIT Limited Express and the limousine bus are the major means of transport to the center of Osaka. Haruka will take you to JR Shin-Osaka Station, located in the center of Osaka, in about 45 minutes. The fare is 2,980 yen one-way and the Japan Rail Pass is valid. If you use RAPIT, you can reach Namba Station, the most bustling part of Osaka, in about 30 minutes at 1,390 yen one-way. The express train takes about 40 minutes but the fare is only 890 yen one-way. The limousine bus has a number of services to major stations and hotels and the fare is 1,300 yen one-way. Travel time varies depending on the traffic, but 60 minutes is the average time.


Q: Can I purchase tickets or make reservations for JR trains in advance?
A: You can purchase tickets and make reservations from abroad. The English web site of JR East has opened a reservation site for the Narita Express (limited express train that runs between New Tokyo International Airport and metropolitan Tokyo) and Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen Line. 
Japan Railways Seat Reservation Service.


Q: Where can I purchase a Japan Rail Pass?
A: An Exchange Order for a Japan Rail Pass can be purchased from overseas offices of JTB International, Nippon Travel Agency Co., Ltd., Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd. And Tokyu Tourist Corporation plus their affiliated travel agencies in various countries. Overseas offices of JAL also handle the Exchange Order.


Q: Is the Japan Rail Pass valid for Shinkansen trains?
A: Yes, it is, with the exception of the Nozomi of the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen.


Q: How do you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka?
A: You can take Shinkansen Hikari, which takes 2 hours 30 minutes to Kyoto and 3 hours to Osaka. Nozomi is 15 minutes faster to Kyoto than Hikari and 30 minutes faster to Osaka.


Q: Do I need an International Driver's License to drive in Japan?
A: If you wish to drive in Japan, you must possess one of the following driving permits.
1) A Japanese Driver's License
2) An International Driver's License (90 member countries) based on the Treaty of Geneva (1949)
3) A Driver's License of Switzerland, Germany or France (must inquire about conditions to the institution issuing the driving permit of respective countries)

(4) Accommodations


Q: What kinds of accommodations are there in Japan?
A: You will find a variety of accommodation styles to suit all tastes and budgets in Japan. If you are looking for western-style lodgings, there are luxury hotels and business hotels. If you prefer Japanese-style accommodation, stay at Ryokan (Japanese-style inn) and Minshuku (private guest-house providing a bed and meals). We recommend Welcome Inn, the Japanese Inn Group and Youth Hostels for travelers on low budgets.


Q: How do you make reservations at hotels?
A: If you want to make a reservation, you can either ask the travel agent to arrange the accommodation, or contact the hotel directly. Many hotels now have their own web site where you can make reservations on-line.


Q: How do you find reasonable accommodations?
A: A non-profit-organization, Welcome Inn Reservation Center, has made a list of reasonable accommodations for overseas visitors.