Questions Answered At a Glance

Q. Do I need any special vaccinations?

As of this writing there are no specific requirements for travelers from any countries regarding vaccinations but be warned that this could change any time in light of a major epidemic. Be sure to check official sources prior to departure!

Q. When is the best time to visit Japan?

Unless you’re from one the countries that don’t have Visa exemptions, all you’ll need to show the immigration officer is your passport. You’ll also have to comply with with a scanning of your fingerprints and a mug shot but other than that, you shouldn’t need anything else. That said, I have seen a few reports of people being requested to show proof of a return ticket so do keep that in mind if you’re a long term backpacker or otherwise just prefer to book one-way flights.

Q. Can I use my cell phone in Japan?

This can vary depending on your network provider. Before arriving in Japan, make sure to confirm the compatibility of your mobile phone with your phone line service provider. It is worth noting that rental phones, sim cards and Wi-Fi are available in Japan on varying plans and costs. Most major airports have kiosks offering these services. Do your research to find out what makes the most sense for you.

Q. Would you recommend bringing Travelers Checks, cash or credit cards?

Although most stores and restaurants will accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express cards, travelers should keep in mind that Japan is still very much a cash culture. You may find smaller shops or remote ryokan hotels that only accept yen in cash. More than 26,000 Post Office ATMs exist at various locations throughout Japan, and stickers indicate whether a Post Office has an ATM machine. Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Visa Electron networks are accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so carrying cash is not a real problem. Travelers Checks are also an option, although it is wise to have these available in either Japanese yen, or US dollars. Travelers Checks may not be accepted outside of major hotels and banks.

Q. Is Japan expensive?

Japan is an affordable place to travel, even for those on a tight budget. There is a wide variety of budget accommodation, transport passes, and sightseeing discounts to help support the [JNTO: Budget Travel Hints]. In reality, Tokyo and other large Japanese cities are not any more expensive than other big cities worldwide. If you make smart choices, the wide range of shops, restaurants and services mean that your yen can stretch relatively far. 100-yen shops and budget stores abound selling extremely affordable necessities and reasonably priced gifts, and inexpensive restaurants serve meals that cost 1,000 yen or less. If you book in advance, staying in Japan can be relatively affordable. There are plenty of inexpensive hotel chains and ryokan hotels—especially in major cities and tourist areas. best.

Q. Which airport should I use?

Which airport you ultimately chose really depends on where you’re coming from and where you’re trying to go. Flights permitting, you should probably fly into either Kansai International Airport or Haneda International Airport unless you’re heading to a more remote location like Hokkaido or Kyushu. If possible though, I highly recommend that you avoid Narita International Airport. While widely considered the main gateway to Japan, it is located over an hour away from the center of Tokyo in neighboring Chiba prefecture. Though flights to Haneda might be a little more pricy you’ll need to account for 3,000 yen in train fees from Narita. Usually the difference evens out in the end so go with the more convenient option. In the worst case if you must use Narita, many hotels also have buses that pull right up to their front door. Be sure to check the website of wherever you’re staying for more details.

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