banner
map
Japan Destination Information
 
Visa: Not required for U.S. citizens for stay up to 90 days.

Customs: Free import of 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco; 3 bottles of alcohol (760 c.c. each); 2 ounces of perfume; gifts and souvenirs not exceeding ¥200,000.

Currency: The Japanese Yen (¥). Notes - ¥500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000. Coins - ¥1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500. The yen exchange rate varies daily. The rate for each day is posted at the hotel cashier or money exchange. It is generally safe to carry cash in Japan. Small amounts of cash are needed for most forms of transportation, for dining spots that do not accept credit cards or traveler's checks and for other small purchases.

Credit Cards: Hotels accept credit cards as a form of payment. Some shops and restaurants also accept credit cards. Most small restaurants and souvenir shops do not accept credit cards.

ATM's: Although there are ATM machines all over Japan, most only work with local Japan bank cards. The big exception are the ATMs found at the over 26,000 post offices across the country and the machines installed at 7-Eleven convenience stores. 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. Touch the “English Guide” on screen button when you start for an English user menu.

Banking: Banks are open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Closed Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays. The banks at New Tokyo International Airport (Narita) and Kansai International Airport (Osaka) are open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Electricity: 100 volts, 50 cycles, A.C. 15/30 amps. Electrical appliances from the U.S. such as hair dryers will work, but they will run a little slow. The plug is the same as the U.S. so no adaptors are required. U.S. purchased camcorder, digital camera and MP3 chargers will also work without an adaptor.

Tipping: Tipping is not customary except for special services. Restaurants and hotels add a 10%-20% service charge to their bills, and their staff including porters and hair dressers, require no tipping. Taxi drivers are tipped only for special services, such as helping with luggage.

Taxi: Taxis are plentiful in big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Taxi fares in Tokyo are very expensive; less costly in other cities. In big cities, most taxis have automatic doors. Please stand clear of taxi doors.

Water: Tap water is safe to drink.

Airport Tax: New Tokyo International Airport (Narita): Adult ¥2,040 (Pre-paid on airline ticket)
Airport Tax: Kansai International Airport = Adult ¥2,650 (Pre-paid on airline ticket)

Climate: Japan has four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. The country's four main islands stretch through 25 degrees of longitude and as a result the climate varies from sub-tropical in the south to sub-arctic in the north. Tokyo is hot in the summer (average 80°F) with cool winters (average 41°F). The period of the highest precipitation in most areas is during the rainy season, from mid-June to mid-July.

Clothing: Jackets and sweaters for spring and autumn. Light clothing, short sleeves for summer. Topcoats, wool suits and extra-warm jackets and sweaters for winter. Clean socks are needed, since shoes are customarily removed at certain Japanese restaurants, temples & shrines and private homes.

Note: Carry handkerchiefs or small packs of paper tissues; many restaurants do not provide napkins, only the 'oshibori' hand towel. Public restrooms do not always provide toilet paper or paper towels.

Lost & Found: If you left your bag or package in a train station or other public area, go to the station master's office or the nearest police box and ask for English-language assistance. If left in a taxi, go to your hotel's reception desk. Taxi drivers often bring the belonging back to your hotel.

Holidays In Japan 2014
January 1 (Wednesday) New Years's Day (National Holiday) Gantan (always on Jan 1) - Most companies close from December 29 through January 3. January 4 is often the first (but nominal) day back to work. (Note, since the first falls on a Sunday, the actual days banks, offices and shops are closed may be extended. This is a time when millions of Japanese return home for family reunions, hundreds of thousands take trips overseas. This is one of the two major holiday seasons of the year. During most of December business seems to focus on bonenkai (year ending parties) and then in early January on shinnenkai (year starting parties). Count on the period from December 15 through January 15 as a time when you may not be able to do much business.
January 13 (Monday) (National Holiday) Coming of Age Day - Seijin no Hi (always on second Monday) This is the day when those who had their 20th birthday between April of last year and March of this year celebrate coming of age. A great day to see lots of pretty girls wearing beautiful kimono. In this era most of these girls will need someone to help them dress as they may never have worn a formal kimono before.
February 11 (Tuesday) National Foundation Day (National Holiday) - Kenkokukinen no Hi (always on 11th) Celebrates the founding of the Japanese nation. Once known (with rightest connotations) as Kigensetsu
March 20 (Thursday) Spring Equinox (National Holiday) - Shunbun no Hi (always on March 20 or 21) This is the Vernal Equinox (night/day are equal).
April 29 (Tuesday) Showa Day (National Holiday) - Showa no Hi (always April 29) This date is the birthday of the last emperor, Emperor Showa (Hirohito). This day also marks the beginning of Golden Week, the period from April 29 through May 6 where virtually the entire population of Japan takes a holiday. This week should be avoided by vacation travelers, the trains are very full and hotel prices are at their highest.
May 3 (Saturday) Constitution Memorial Day (National Holiday) - Kempo Kinenbi (always May 3) Celebrates the post-war constitution of Japan.
May 4 (Sunday) Greenery Day (Midori no hi) (National Holiday)- Kokumin no Kyujitsu (always May 4) (Note: Since this national holiday falls on a Sunday and Monday is also a national holiday, it will be observed on May 6 (Tuesday).
May 5 (Monday) Children's Day (National Holiday) - Kodomo no Hi (always the 5th day of the 5th month) Traditionally this was Boy's Day. This marks the end of Golden Week
July 13-15: Obon Season (Festival Of Souls) - The Obon week, Tokyo celebrates in July, the rest of the country celebrates in mid August. This is one of Japan's three major holiday seasons, accompanied by intensive domestic and international travel activities and increased accommodation rates. Although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed.
July 21 (Monday) Marine Day (National Holiday) - Umi no Hi (always on Monday) This is a new holiday that started from 1997. With schools finally closed, this holiday can be thought to mark the start of the main Summer Holidays, which will last till the end of August. (also called Maritime Day)
August 13-15: Obon Season (Festival Of Souls) - The Obon week, most of Japan celebrates in August, the rest of the country celebrates in mid August. This is one of Japan's three major holiday seasons, accompanied by intensive domestic and international travel activities and increased accommodation rates. Although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed.
September 15 (Monday) Respect for the Aged Day (National Holiday) - Keiro no Hi (always Monday)
September 23 (Tuesday) Autumnal Equinox (National Holiday) - Shunbun no Hi (always on Sept 23) Night and day are equal again. (Note: Since this national holiday falls on a Sunday, Monday will be a day off.)
October 13 (Monday) Sports Day (National Holiday) - Taiku no Hi (always on second Monday) Parents all over Japan will be going to athletic events at their children's schools.
November 3 (Monday) Culture Day (National Holiday) - Bunka no Hi (always on Nov 3)
November 15 (Saturday) Shichi-Go-San Festival (always Nov 15) Shichi = 7, Go = 5, San = 3. Not a holiday but a traditional festival. Especially for boys age 5 and girls ages 3 and 7. A chance for parents to dress these children in kimono.
November 23 (Sunday) Labor Thanksgiving Day (National Holiday) - Kinro Kansha no Hi. (Note: Since this national holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on November 24, Monday.)
December 23 (Tuesday) Emperor's Birthday (National Holiday) - Tenno Tanjobi (always on Dec 23) This is the current Emperor's birthday. His reign has been named Heisei (Succeed at Peace).
December 25 (Thursday) Christmas - This is not a legal holiday, not a family holiday, but children expect presents.
December 31 (Wednesday) New Years Eve (omisoka) - Officially a holiday for bank and government employees only. But for many offices, December 30th will be the last working day until January 5, 2015.

 

Holidays In Japan 2015

January 1 (Thursday) New Years's Day (National Holiday) Gantan (always on Jan 1) Most companies close from December 29 through January 3. January 5 will be the first (but nominal) day back to work.

This is a time when millions of Japanese return home for family reunions, hundreds of thousands take trips overseas. This is one of the two major holiday seasons of the year. During most of December business seems to focus on bonenkai (year ending parties) and then in early January on shinnenkai (year starting parties). Count on the period from December 15 through January 15 as a time when you may not be able to do much business.

January 12 (Monday) (National Holiday) Coming of Age Day - Seijin no Hi (always on second Monday) This is the day when those who had their 20th birthday between April of last year and March of this year celebrate coming of age. A great day to see lots of pretty girls wearing beautiful kimono. In this era most of these girls will need someone to help them dress as they may never have worn a formal kimono before.
February 11 (Friday) National Foundation Day (National Holiday) - Kenkokukinen no Hi (always on 11th) Celebrates the founding of the Japanese nation. Once known (with rightest connotations) as Kigensetsu
March 21 (Saturday) Spring Equinox (National Holiday) - Shunbun no Hi (always on March 20 or 21) This is the Vernal Equinox (night/day are equal).
April 29 (Wednesday) Showa Day (National Holiday) - Showa no Hi (always April 29) This date is the birthday of the last emperor, Emperor Showa (Hirohito). This day also marks the start of Golden Week, the period from April 29 through May 5 where virtually the entire population of Japan takes a holiday. This week should be avoided by vacation travelers, the trains are very full and hotel prices are at their highest. This day also marks the beginning of Golden Week, the period from April 29 through May 6 where virtually the entire population of Japan takes a holiday. This week should be avoided by vacation travelers, the trains are very full and hotel prices are at their highest.
May 3 (Sunday) Constitution Memorial Day (National Holiday) - Kempo Kinenbi (always May 3) Celebrates the post-war constitution of Japan. (Note: Since this national holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on May 6th, Wednesday.)
May 4 (Monday) Greenery Day (Midori no hi) (National Holiday)- Kokumin no Kyujitsu (always May 4)
May 5 (Tuesday) Children's Day (National Holiday) (Observed on May 6, Monday) - Kodomo no Hi (always the 5th day of the 5th month) Traditionally this was Boy's Day. This marks the end of Golden Week
July 20 (Monday) Marine Day (National Holiday) - Umi no Hi (always on Monday) This is a new holiday that started from 1997. With schools finally closed, this holiday can be thought to mark the start of the main Summer Holidays, which will last till the end of August. (also called Maritime Day)(Note: Since this national holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on November 24, Monday.)
July 13-15 & Aug 13-15: Obon Season (Festival Of Souls) - The Obon week, Tokyo celebrates in July, the rest of the country celebrates in mid August. This is one of Japan's three major holiday seasons, accompanied by intensive domestic and international travel activities and increased accommodation rates. Although this is not an official national holiday, many offices are closed.
September 21 (Monday) Respect for the Aged Day (National Holiday) - Keiro no Hi (always Monday)
September 22 (Tuesday) National Holiday
September 23 (Wednesday) Autumnal Equinox (National Holiday) - Shunbun no Hi (always on Sept 23) Night and day are equal again.
October 12 (Monday) Sports Day (National Holiday) - Taiku no Hi (always on second Monday) Parents all over Japan will be going to athletic events at their children's schools.
November 3 (Thursday) Culture Day (National Holiday) - Bunka no Hi (always on Nov 3)
November 15 (Tuesday) Shichi-Go-San Festival (always Nov 15) Shichi = 7, Go = 5, San = 3. Not a holiday but a traditional festival. Especially for boys age 5 and girls ages 3 and 7. A chance for parents to dress these children in kimono.
November 23 (Monday) Labor Thanksgiving Day (National Holiday) - Kinro Kansha no Hi
December 23 (Wednesday) Emperor's Birthday (National Holiday) - Tenno Tanjobi (always on Dec 23) This is the current Emperor's birthday. His reign has been named Heisei (Succeed at Peace).
December 25 (Wednesday) Christmas - This is not a legal holiday, not a family holiday, but children expect presents.
December 31 (Thursday) New Years Eve (omisoka) - Officially a holiday for bank and government employees only. But for many offices, December 30th will be the last working day until January 4 or 5, 2016.
Previous Page