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flag Japan Japan: Practical information

In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications

 

Accommodation

Japanese Style Hotels
Ryokan or Japanese Inns: Medium range accommodation, with price varying according to the level of comfort. Some Ryokan have their own hot water springs and reserve baths for their clients.

Minshuku: Bed and breakfast accommodation.
Japanese Guest Houses
Japan Ryokan Association

Continental Style Hotels
First Class Hotels: Highest option.

Business Hotel: Standard option.

Pension Bed & Breakfast: Economical option.
Japan Hotel Association
Japan Hotel Network
Tokyu Hotel Chain

Low Cost Hotels
Dormitories, hostels and youth hostels.
Discount Hotels in Japan
Japan Youth Hostels Inc
Typical Accommodation
Capsule Hotel: Cheapest option, nothing more than a bed.

Temple Accommodation (shukubo): Unique and economical experience. 

Hotel Rules
Prices are given per person and not per room. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government enforces an Accommodation Tax on hotels and inns around the city. For more information, check online.
For Further Information
Japan National Tourist Organisation
 

Price Indications

Economy Room from 18 to 24 €
Medium Price Room from 30 to 69 €
Good Quality Room above 99 €

Source: Lonely Planet

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Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
 
  • Izakaya
These are bars where you can sample lots of dishes.
  • Famiresu (family restaurants) and Shokudo
They offer Japanese, Chinese or Western dishes.
  • Teishoku-ya
Serve a main dish and a bowl of rice. Situated especially near business centres and very busy during lunchtime.
  • Kaiseki Ryori and Ryotei
Offer Japanese haute cuisine
  • Yatai and Rotensho
Street vendors
Rules For Eating Out
Lunch is usually served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and dinner between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Rules vary from one establishment to another, but it is generally usual to pay the bill directly at the cash desk, on entering, after ordering or after the meal. It is not commonto leave a tip. 'Gochisosama deshita' is said while leaving the restaurant.
 

Price Indications

Economy Meal from 5 to 8 €
Medium Price Meal from 12 to 23 €
Good Quality Meal from 30 to 69 €
 
Food Specialties
Sushi, one of the most well-known Japanese food preparations, consists of cooked rice and other ingredients, including raw seafood, vegetables or pickled products. Raw fish, when sliced and served without rice, is known as sashimi. Makizushi are generally wrapped in nori (seaweed) and can be served as temaki (a cone-shaped hand roll filled with a variety of ingredients), futomaki (a thick and large fat roll filled with several fillings and sliced into six or eight pieces) or hosomaki (a smaller cylindrical roll with typically only one filling and sliced into six or eight pieces).

Many Japanese dishes are served in bowls (known as domburi) with rice on top and meat/vegetables underneath. Some examples include: oyakodom (eggs and chicken), katsudom (fried pork chops), gyudom (eggs and beef), unadom (grilled eel), chukadon and tendon (seafood and vegetables).

Japanese cooking also includes salads (gomaae), seaweed, noodles (soba), soups, meat grilled on skewers and cheese.
Drinks
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage. Popular alcoholic drinks include: happoshu (a by-product of beer that is less strong in taste, but has the same alcohol content), sake (a spirit made from rice) and umeshu (a Japanese liqueur made from plum). Local and international varieties of beers and wines are also available.
Dietary Restrictions
None
Table Manners
Many houses or restaurants have very low tables and cushions laid directly on the floor. The Japan Guide website gives some advice on how to sit down.

The meal begins with ‘’itadakimasu" ("I gratefully receive") and finishes with "gochisosama (deshita)" (Thank you for the meal). Chopsticks are used instead of cutlery. The Japan Guide website gives some advice on how to use them.

It is good manners to finish one’s dish right to the last grain of rice, and to put one’s place setting back after the meal as it was at the beginning. It is bad manners to blow one’s nose at table, or to go to the toilet during the meal. The Japan Guide will give you further information about table manners.

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Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
The bigger towns have well-developed metro systems and taxis available everywhere. The metros of Tokyo and Osaka are among the most extensive in the world and Tokyo's metro system ranks as the fifth best metro in the world. Destinations and information are written both in Japanese and in English. Taxi lights show green when they are free and red when they are not. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so ask the hotel to write the address of your destination in Japanese.
Maps of Urban Networks
Map of the Tokyo Metro
Map of the Osaka Metro
Urban Transport Agencies
Tokyo
Osaka
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps lets you build an itinerary in every large urban centre across the world
Taxi Companies
Japanese Association of Independent Taxi Drivers (in Japanese)
Japanese Association of Taxi Tokyo Kojin (in Japanese)
 

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Tokyo Narita International Airport 65 km / 41 miles JPY 30 000 / 60-90 min JPY 3000 / 90 min JPY 1000 / 75 min Available
Osaka - Kansai Intl (KIX) 38 km / 24 miles JPY 15 000-18 000/~50 min JPY 400 / 45 min JPY 900 / 40 min Available
Nagoya - Chubu Centrair Intl (NGO) 32 km / 20 miles JPY 13000 / 30-40 min Available 28 min -
 

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The Japanese rail network is efficient and modern and remains the most suitable means of transport for foreigners. The network has recently been equipped with a high speed line (shinkansen) which travels at 185 miles per hour and links Tokyo with the other main economic centres in the country. The Japan Rail Pass allows one to travel at a reduced cost. For further information about the Rail Pass, consult the Japan Rail Pass website. Domestic air travel can be quite expensive, but it is practical if travelling with a lot of baggage.

Japan Guide summarises the different means of transportation in Japan.

Rail Companies
Japan Railways - Hokkaido
Japan Railways - East
Japan Railways - Central
Japan Railways - West
Japan Railways - Shikoku
Japan Railways - Kyushu
 

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Japan Airlines Major Yes Yes
All Nippon Airways Major Yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair Low Cost No Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 
 
 

Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
Japan's road network is modern and safe; however, tolls on motorways can be expensive, traffic congested and car rental prices high. It is advised that persons without an excellent knowledge of Japanese do not drive alone, as all of the road signs are in Japanese.
Driver's License
Foreigners can drive in Japan with a recognized international driving permit for up to one year after entering the country. Japan recognizes only international driving permits which are based on the Geneva Convention of 1949. A few countries, including Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, however, issue international driving permits which are based on different conventions. The international driving permits issued by those countries are not valid in Japan. Instead, holders of a French, German or Swiss driver's license can drive in Japan for up to one year with an official Japanese translation of their driving licenses to be obtained from the respective country's embassy or consulate in Japan. People from other countries, whose international driving permits are not recognized by Japan, must obtain a Japanese driving license in order to drive in Japan. A Japanese driving license is required for all drivers who are staying in Japan for more than one year.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
The minimum age is 18. Rental costs are very high.
Rental Agencies
Tocoo
Times Car Rental
Tolls or Taxes
Motorways are subject to tolls and the rates are very high.

The Japan Guide website describes the motorway network and tariffs.
Road Maps
Map of Japan
Find an Itinerary
Live Search Maps
Traffic Conditions Online
Circulation
Parking Facilities
In Japan, some automatic parking structures store your car in designated spaces. Some of them are multi-level while some are single-level.
 

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
18
Side of the Road For Driving
Left
Speed Limits
49 to 62 miles/h on express-ways or motorways, 18 to 24 in town and 31 to 37 everywhere else.
Safety Belts
Obligatory
National Roads Organizations
The national road transport Bureau
Japan Automobile Federation
Drive a car in Japan

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Time and Time Difference

Current Local Time
It is %T:%M %A In Tokyo
Summer Time
None
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

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Climate

 
Type of Climate
Climate in Japan can vary noticeably from one island to another. The rainy season lasts from June to mid-July and the typhoon season lasts from August to September. Summers are damp and humid, with temperatures rising up to 38°C (100°F). The temperature can drop to under 5°C in winter. Autumn is the best time to visit Japan.
For Further Information
Japan Meteorological Agency
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

 

Climate

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Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
Metric system
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degree Celsius (°C)
 

Use our service Measurement Converter.

 
Electricity
 
  • Voltage
100V
  • Frequency
50 HZ (Tokyo, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Yokohama, and Sendai), 60 HZ (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima)
Type of Electric Socket
Type A and B
Type of Telephone Socket
Japanese, US RJ-11
DVD Zoning
Zone 5

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Japanese Yen
ISO Code
JPY
To Obtain Domestic Currency
It may be useful to arrive in the country with some Yen in your pocket. Currency exchanges may be expensive, so it is best to withdraw currency directly from banks' ATMs.
Possible Means of Payment
Payments are usually made in cash. Credit cards are also useful, but only taken in larger establishments. ATMs are easily accessible all day long and can be found in airports and town centres. Travellers cheques are typically not accepted outside of large hotels.
 

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator

 

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Speaking

Official Language
Japanese (nihongo)
Other Languages Spoken
Korean and Chinese
Business Language
English is the most commonly spoken foreign language. Business professionals, including business leaders, often read English better than they can speak it.
Getting Some Knowledge
For some basic phrases in Japanese, consult the Travlang website.
Free Translation Tools
Babel Fish Translation : Text and webpage translation
Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC: Online Japanese Dictionary Service : Online dictionary
Jisho : Online dictionary

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Emergency Numbers

Police 110
Fire and Ambulance 119
Marine Emergency 118
Tokyo Metropolitan Health & Medical Information Centre - with emergency interpretation service in English 03-5285-8185

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Communications

Quality of Communications
Japan has the most advanced telecommunications network in the world. The use of mobile phones and internet is very widely developed. Public WiFi hotspot are widely developed, Public telephones are accessible everywhere but start to disappear. The cost of international communications is high. Call-back services are available for foreigners.
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From Japan, Dial 00
To Make a Call to in Japan, Dial +81
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers
10. They begin with a zero, followed by 3 digits corresponding to regional codes, and the other numbers. You can consult Japan international country codes and city calling code on 1areacodescountrycodes.com
Mobile Telephone Standards
Japan has its own mobile phone standards (both cell type and PHS type). Mobile phones bought in other parts of the world cannot be used in the country. You can buy a phone or also rent one for a short time, even for a single call. To avoid subscriptions, prepaid cards can be purchased.
National Mobile Phone Operators
eMobile, NTT DoCoMo, SoftBank Mobile
 

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
.jp
National Internet Access Providers
There are a great many providers; the biggest ones are NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, Softbank. Some of them offer fast and temporary connections: Live Door and Asahi Net .
Access in Public Places
Accessible in a lot of places.
Access in Hotels
Accessible in most modern hotels.

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Latest Update: November 2022