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General


Passport

Of course you need a passport.
If you don't have it, please contact the following agency in United States.

If you aren't US citizen, contact your local Foreign administrate office.

Disembarkation / Embarkation card

This is a card you need to fill in before entering Japan.

Normally this document will be handed out to your from flight attendant when you abroad.

Card (2) will be attached to your passport and used when you will leave Japan.


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National Holidays


You need to check your schedule.


2017

January 1: New Year's Day (National Holiday)
January 2: New Year's Day observer 
January 9: Coming of Age Day (National Holiday)
February 11: National Foundation Day (National Holiday)
March 20: Vernal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
April 29 : Showa Day (National Holiday)
May 3: Constitution Day (National Holiday)
May 4 : Green Day(National Holiday)
May 5 : Children's Day (National Holiday)
July 17: Marine Day (National Holiday)
August 11: Mountain Day (National Holiday)
September 18: Respect-for-the-Aged Day (National Holiday)
September 23 : Autumnal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
October 9: Health-Sports Day (National Holiday)
November 3: Culture Day (National Holiday)
November 23: Labor Thanksgiving Day (National Holiday)
December 23: Emperor's Birthday (National Holiday)


2016

January 1: New Year's Day (National Holiday)
January 11: Coming of Age Day (National Holiday)
February 11: National Foundation Day (National Holiday)
March 21: Vernal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
April 29 : Showa Day (National Holiday)
May 3: Constitution Day (National Holiday)
May 4 : Greenery Day (National Holiday)
May 5 : Children's Day (National Holiday)
July 18: Marine Day (National Holiday)
August 11: Mountain Day (National Holiday)
September 19: Respect-for-the-Aged Day (National Holiday)
September 22 : Autumnal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
October 10: Health-Sports Day (National Holiday)
November 3: Culture Day (National Holiday)
November 23: Labor Thanksgiving Day (National Holiday)
December 23: Emperor's Birthday (National Holiday)
 Jan 2nd is off-day in 2016.

2015

January 1: New Year's Day (National Holiday)
January 12: Coming of Age Day (National Holiday)
February 11: National Foundation Day (National Holiday)
March 21: Vernal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
April 29 : Showa Day (National Holiday)
May 3: Constitution Day (National Holiday)
May 4 : Greenery Day
May 5 : Children's Day (National Holiday)
July 20: Ocean's Day (National Holiday)
September 21: Respect-for-Aged Day (National Holiday)
September 23: Autumnal Equinox Day (National Holiday)
October 12: Health-Sports Day (National Holiday)
November 3: Culture Day (National Holiday)
November 23: Labor Thanksgiving Day (National Holiday)
December 23: Emperor's Birthday (National Holiday)
May 6 and Sep. 22 are off-day in 2015.

If you hit these holidays in Japan, enjoy it.
There are a lot of places to satisfy your requirement.
Sightseeing, shopping, Museum, Music.

All department stores and Public spaces are open from 10:00 to 7:00
even National Holiday (except New Year's Day).
Many companies take off from Dec.29 to Jan 3 at least.
Service industry (restaurant, museum) takes off Jan 1 and 2. Recently the situation has a little bit changed. Super Markets are open on even Jan 1st.
These rules vary. Please check it at concierge at your hotel.

Bon is another peak period not good to visit Japan.
It is around from Aug 10 to Aug 15.
We can expect the trains for long distance are fully crowded.

Temperature

Temperature and weather are the most important items to check before traveling.

City

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Tokyo

5.2 5.6 8.5 14.1 18.6 21.7 25.2 27.1 23.2 17.6 12.6 7.9

Kyoto

4.0 4.5 7.6 13.9 18.7 22.4 26.5 27.7 23.4 17.1 11.5 6.5

Sapporo

-4.6 -4.0 -0.1 6.4 12.0 16.1 20.2 21.7 17.2 10.8 4.3 -1.4
Centigrade Degree

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Time Difference

In Japan we have one time standard.

And no day light saving time.

It is different from yours as you find.
You need to pay attention always whenever you call home or office from Japan.

Time Difference international

This table shows the Time Difference from Japan to your country.
In the case of Boston, it says -14 hour.
In Japan Noon =>
In Boston Noon -14 becomes
10 o'clock in the evening on previous night.

Area

Country/
City

Time_
Difference

Asia

China

-1

Hong_Kong

-1

India

-3:30

Indonesia

-1

Korea

0

Malaysia

-1

Pakistan

-4

Philippines

-1

Singapore

-1

Taiwan

-1

Thailand

-2

America

Brazil

-12

Canada(Toronto)

-14

Canada(Vancouver)

-17

USA(Atlanta)

-14

USA(Boston)

-14

USA(Dallas)

-15

USA(Denver)

-16

USA(Los Angels)

-17

USA(New York)

-14

USA(Washington)

-14

Europe

Belgium

-8

France

-8

Germany

-8

Italy

-8

Netherlands

-8

Spain

-8

Switzerland

-8

United Kingdom

-9

Oceanic

Australia(Canberra)

-1

New Zealand

+3

Hawaii

-19

 

 

Electric Voltage

All area in Japan, Electric Voltage is 100 Volt.
Eastern Area of Japan
100 Volt 50 Hertz
Western Area of Japan
100 Volt 60 Hertz
If your country's voltage is 120 Volt, your hair dryer can be used
in both area but less power.
If you have a dryer with voltage change switch(115 <-> 230),
it is what you need to bring.


Water


All tap water is safe to drink.
Restaurants serve you a glass of water or a cup of tea.
This is free of charge and safe.


Radio in Japan

If you want to listen to the English Radio station,
AFN Pacific (American Forces Network) AM 810 k Hz.
This station is for US Army/Navy around Tokyo area.
Now you can listen to this station on your smart phone.

Android Apps

iTunes Apps

InterFM FM 76.1 M Hz.
Just opened new FM station for international people.
Kind of public Radio for foreign people various news and information
with various language.

Telephone

Telephone call to your country costs a lot.

Why don't you bring a card which is issued by your telephone company with you.

If you are from US, AT&T or MCI card will be good to carry.

ATT 1-800-222-0400

MCI 1-800-444-4141

 

You just call an operator and tell them you want to have an international calling card.

They will send the telephone card and let your know the special access phone number to be able to make a direct call to your home country.

In the case of AT&T, it is 0039-111

If you are staying in a hotel, dial '0' to connect it to outside line.

 

You have another option to save money to call out.

ATT Pre-paid card

You can call from pay phones, home phones, office phones,mobile phones and hotel phones using AT&T pre-paid card.

Same rates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Why don't you call AT&T before your departure?



Prepaid cellphone

Prepaid cell phone is available for travelers to Japan.
It would be better to make an advanced reservation. 

Public Phone

Public phone requires coin, 10 Yen, 100 Yen, or a telephone card, prepaid plastic money - only good for telephone.

Some telephone can only accept a telephone card.

International Call

Correct Call for Domestic

Dial 106

 

Dial Information in English by Nippon Telephone & Telegram

0120-364-463

Monday - Friday

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Interpreter Service

If you have a trouble on phone, you can ask AT&T to help you as an interpreter.

Dial 0031-11-2522

It costs you 4.5 Dollars/minutes.



Internet access


Mail and Post office

You may want to send a picture card or a letter to you family. You can buy postcards any gift shops then you need stamps. International postage is complicated. The postage to your country varies country by country. >It is better to check the charge at WEB site of Japan Post.
Here is the explanation of international postage.

Check Japan Post Office


Accommodations (Hotels etc.)

There are several types of Accommodation facility in Japan.

You can select your favorite type of facilities when you make a reservation.

When you make a reservation, you had better to check all facilities in your room.
See following chart for your reference:
There is no definition of each facility and equipment. The following chart is my guts feeling for your reference.

Accommodation Comparison Table

City Hotel

Business Hotel

Kanko Hotel

Ryokan

Pension

Minshuku

Youth Hostel

Price

10k - 40k

5k - 10k

10k - 50k

10k - 100k

6k- 15k

5k - 8k

3k - 4k

Target guest

Everybody

For Japanese
Businessman

Everybody

Everybody

Family or Couple

Family

Students

Location

Big city

Big city -
small city

Sightseeing
spot

Sightseeing
spot

Sightseeing spot

Sightseeing
spot

Sightseeing
spot

Outside call from room

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

?

No

No

Dinner

Not incl.

Not incl.

Included

Included

Included

Included

Not incl.

Breakfast

Not incl.

Not incl.

Included

Included

Included

Included

Not incl.

Air conditioning

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

?

N

?

Floor

Carpet

Floor

Tatami

Tatami

Floor

Tatami

Floor

Restaurant

Several

one

Several

one

No

No

No

Bed type

Bed

Bed

Bed or Futon

Futon or Bed

Bed or Futon

Futon

Bed

Bathroom

In room

In room

In room

In room

?

Shared

Shared

Shower

In room

In room

In room

In room

?

Shared

Shared

Toilet

In room

In room

In room

?

?

Shared

Shared

Furniture Table and chair

Equipped

Equipped

Lower table
and Zabuton

Lower table
and Zabuton

No

Lower table
and Zabuton

No

Shoes

No need to
take off

No need to
take off

Take off

Take off

Take off

Take off

Take off

Prepared Nightware

Pajamas

Pajamas

Yukata

Yukata

Yukata

Yukata

No

Amenity set

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Cleaning service

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No


Hotel

You can enjoy your staying with comfortable feeling because everything is similar to the Continental level hotels.
All clerk can speak English and you don' t feel any difference from English native hotel.

Following is the example of famous hotel chains in Japan..

Sheraton

Inter-Continental

Westin

Marriott


Make a reservation in Tokyo now?
Click here!

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Business hotel (hotels for the lower budget business man)
Someone call the bath equipment in business hotel as a "Yellow submarine"
You know the submarine equipment are well designed compactly.
The size of room starts from 100 sq feet or 6 m x m
Larger cities than middle size have business hotels.

You can find the best technology to put all utilities in small space.

Space is so limited.


Yukata is ready to wear as a bathrobe for you.

TV isn't always free.
You might need to pay 100Yen per hour.




Kanko Hotel

Many sightseeing areas have Kanko Hotels. Here Kanko means sightseeing.
Nice View
- mountains
- lakes
- ocean cliffs
- hot spring etc.

Normally these hotels supply a good view from the window of your room or good foods or good amenity facility like hot springs and Roten buro ie. open public bath

Typical Kanko Hotel






Minsyuku
Minsyuku follows the Youth hostel price-wise.
Family operates a lodging using their house.
It is tough to find the English speaker at a Minsyuku.
If you want to stay in a Minsyuku, you had better to know some Katakoto Japanese (simple communication level Japanese).
Bath is shared with all guests so you have to use the bath with other guests.
Some Minshukus have coin operated air-conditioners. They require 100 Yen for one hour of operation.
No bed is available.
A room has Tatami mattress, typical Japanese flooring covered with straws mattresses.
Here Tatami mattress is a woven rush.
It is very popular in Japanese houses.

Lower budget Minsyuku have no air-conditioners
Meals are served in the dining room which has Tatami mattresses flooring.
You need to knee and sit down on Zabuton cushions.
The rest-room is shared with other guests also.
A room has 6-10 Tatami mattresses, a low table and 4-6 Zabuton mattress.
When you are going to sleep, you need to pull the Futon from the closet and arrange it to fit into your room.


Pension
Also Pension is operated by a family but the house is normally rebuilt to accept guests.

There are various types of rooms.
- Two beds
- Three beds
- Two Futon
- Three Futon
You can specify the type of room like above in addition to the selection of with bath and powder room.
The meal is served in the dinning room.
An owner of a Pension might be able to speak English. You had better to ask it when you make reservation.


Typical Japanese inn
Facility of Ryokan is similar to Kanko Hotel but they have more heritage

Ryokan
Ryokan is a typical Japanese inn.
When you get through the enterance of a ryokan, you will be welcomed by inlined employees bawing deeply and saying "Ira-shaimase - it means welcome to us".


Facility of Ryokan is similar to Kanko Hotel but they have more heritage
Tatami matress room and a set of table and chairs are typical arrangement in a ryokan.

A room in the best class has a bathroom and powder room.

Almost all ryokans have public bath.



Youth Hostel

Youth hostel is the cheapest facility of lodging.
The manner of using youth hostel is universal.
There are
350 youth hostels in various locations in Japan.

You can make a reservation of Youth Hostel in Japan from a office in your country.
The cost of youth hostel is around
3000 Yen and around 4500 Yen if two meals are included.

 


Bathing in Japan

Sento:

It used to be public bath in town.The bath tub/shower in the house wasn't so popular in Japan until 20 years. At least one or two Sentos were in a town and it was the community place for people.The number of Sento decreased dramatically by increasing of home shower equipment.The Sentos are changing their style from public bath to Hot Spring facilities to survive.

 

The long Chimney is a symbol of Sento facility.There are two entrances for men and women in front of Sento.Take off your shoes and put your shoes in to a shoes locker.A person at entrance is called "Bandai" requests you to pay a fee.
Around 300 yen is a fee to take a bath.Then you will find open free space that is supposed to take your clothes off.There are shelves and lockers for your clothes.

 

You can put your clothes into a locker and keep the key on your wrist to the bathroom.Take a towel with you to wash your body.
The second room has one or two bath tabs and faucets.
One thing you have to notice is not to wash your body in the tub.We will share same water with other peoples.The bathtub is to dip your body for soaking.Put towel on your head to avoid to put it into bathtub sanitarily.You wash your body in front of faucet then rinse.

 

Chair for a guest

Tenugui (bathing cloth)
and Yuoke (wash-pot)

Hot springs (Onsen)

The system is public bath, same as sento.Onsen means hot spring. The area where there are many hot springs, has many ryokans, traditional Japanese inn, and they have bath rooms in each ryokan. Also open air baths are available in various hot springs locations.
Onsens are normally locate in rural place.

If the place you are going has Roten buro (low ten boo low), "open-air bath", you will really enjoy it in the open air.
Rotenburo face the mountainscape like Mt. Fuji, waterscape etc. Some onsens aren't separated for men and women in mountain area.You need to check it before entering.

Roten Buro

You could feel reluxing with
open -ir
nice view
comfortable breeze

Vending Machines
 

Japan is a country of vending machines.
It was told that one third of all vending machines in the world locate in Japan.

You can find vending machines very easily, tobacco,
soft drinks, beer, tissues, magazines, etc.

Alcoholic beverages are sold
only from morning to 10PM by vending machines.
Time varies by prefecture.
This is the regulation to protect younger people
from drinking.

Also vending machines are available in many hotels.
If your hotel doesn't have a room service, it should have vending machines somewhere.
You can buy any beverage of variety of selections, juice, green tea, oolong tea, beer, etc.



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