Welcome to Japan!

Japan has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. People are visiting Japan for the first time will have a lot of expectations. Japan will never let you down. It is full of charm such as the stunning the scenery, four clear and distinct seasons, culture, food, people, train systems, Japanese hospitality and more.

Japan is a stratovolcanic chain of islands consisting of about 6852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area. Japan is often referred to by the famous epithet “Land of the Rising Sun” in reference to its Japanese name.

QUICK FACTS

Official Name:Japan
Capital:Tokyo
Location:Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the southwest. southeast of the US state of Florida.
Goverment:Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Dialing Code:+81
Time Zone:GMT +09.00
Climate Weather:Japan’s weather and climate features four distinct seasons Spring from March to May is perhaps one of the very best times to visit Japan, as temperatures are pleasantly warm without being too hot, with daytime temperatures ranging between 21C to 26C. Autumn from September to November is also a wonderful time to visit Japan with the weather much more tolerable than in summer. Winter from December to February is a magical time to visit as the landscape is turned white with snow. It’s the perfect time to go skiing.
Population:126.5 million
Land Area:377,972 km2
Official Language:Japanese
Currency:Yen (¥)
Foreign Currency Accepted:USD ($), Euro (€), Pounds (£)
Entry requirement:EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Japan for up to 90 days Austria, Germany, Ireland and the UK citizens do not require a visa to enter Japan for up to 180 days Visa required – 15 days (conditional) visa waiver for regular Indonesian e-passport holders.

All visitors must hold a passport with at least two blank pages valid for at least 06 months beyond the date of your arrival. If your passport does not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry.

Health Tips:Many prescriptions are not honoured in Japan so it is important to an adequate supply of prescription medication with you

General information

Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the southwest. Japan is a stratovolcanic chain of islands consisting of about 6852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area. Japan is often referred to by the famous epithet “Land of the Rising Sun” in reference to its Japanese name.

Japan has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. People are visiting Japan for the first time will have a lot of expectations. Japan will never let you down. It is full of charm such as the stunning the scenery, four clear and distinct seasons, culture, food, people, train systems, Japanese hospitality and more. If you had already been to Japan, you may have already been tempted to visit japan again and again. Its attractions are endless.

The population of Japan is 127 million is the world’s 10th largest and Japanese people make up 98.5% of Japan’s total population. Approximately 9.1 million people live in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan.

Time difference

GMT +09:00

Compare to Indonesia, Japan is 2:0 hours ahead compare to local time.
That means when it is 12:00 in Jakarta is 14:00 in Tokyo.

Compare to France, Japan is 7:0 hours ahead of France
That means when it is 8:00 am in Paris France, it is 3:00 pm in Tokyo in Japan.

When to visit

Japan is truly a year-round destination, and Japanese culture is remarkable in its appreciation of the changing of the seasons. As you’ll see when you visit, each season (and even sub-season!) is celebrated with seasonal foods, and often festivals

Japan has a “rainy season” (Tsuyu) from around the beginning of June until the end of July. Rainfall increases in most areas except Hokkaido during this period. Summer starts around July with hot humid weather continuing until September. Heavy rain and strong winds caused by tropical cyclones called “typhoon” head from the South to North across Japan from July to October, summer to autumn. Strong northwesterly winds are cause by the Siberian air mass in winter. Some areas experience snow fall, the air is cold and dry.

Spring is Japan’s most famous season, and is symbolized by the iconic sakura (cherry blossoms), which typically bloom sometime between the second half of March, and the first half of April (sakura bloom schedules, too, vary significantly depending on location).

In terms of clothing, March to May is relatively warm so a long sleeved shirt would be the best choice, late May to September is hot so prepare with cooler clothing such as short sleeved shirts and shorts. The summer heat ends by October so back to long sleeve shirts and layering. There is cool to cold weather from November onwards, a coat will come in handy.

Japan has different climate depending on regions so it’s important to do some research on the local temperature and weather before packing your bags.

Money and currency

US$1 = JPY 111 (currency rate can be varied depending the day you search)
Euro€ 1 = JPY 124
JPY 1 = IDR 120

The Yen (¥ / 円 / JPY) is the official currency in Japan
The Bank of Japan issues four types of Japanese paper banknotes, and 6 different coins.
The banknotes, with value denominations of ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000, and ¥10,000, are produced in slightly differing sizes in descending value order for easy sorting (the ¥2,000 note, decorated with Okinawa’s Shureimon Gate and a scene from the Tale of Genji, is rarely used).

Japan is largely a cash-based society, and it is not unusual to make large transactions in cash. Though credit cards are gaining popularity in Japan, many shops still operate on a cash-only basis. There are usually trays next to cash registers where money is placed when making a purchase. Crumpled or torn bills, as well as dirty coins, are not common sights. Reloadable electronic cash cards are also widely used to pay transportation fees, vending machines, and an increasing number of shops. (see IC cards, Transportation)

ATMs are common in major cities in Japan, though many close at night. ATMs with 24-hour service are available in convenience stores.

Electricity

The power supply is 100V/50Hz in Eastern Japan and 100V/60Hz in Western Japan, but most electrical items can be used in both areas.

Electric outlets are identical to 2-pin/3-pin North American outlets, and many portable electrical devices will work without a problem in Japan; however, using a transformer is recommended. For other countries, a plug adaptor and transformer are necessary. Larger electrical appliances brought from abroad, especially household appliances, will not work in Japan.

 

Telephone and how to call

Japanese phone numbers typically take the form (012)-345-6789.
The numbers in parentheses are the area code, which can vary in length from two to six digits; however, the phone number always has ten digits regardless of the area code’s length.
Mobile phone numbers typically take the form 090-1234-5678 and always have eleven digits. There are many services that provide discounts on international calling. Internet based services (such as Skype or VoIP) are probably the cheapest options for both residents and travelers.
International calling cards can be bought at a convenience store online, and at vending machine. Shop around for the best rates for the particular country that you wish to call.

Visa requirement

Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay. In order to enter Japan, visitors usually must comply with the conditions of their visas and authorizations of resident eligibility. However, visa exemptions can be made for citizens of sixty-six different countries provided that their stays are within ninety days such as with stays for sightseeing purposes and that they do not engage in activities where they earn compensation.

EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Japan for up to 90 days.
Austria, Germany, Ireland and the UK citizens do not require a visa to enter Japan for up to 180 days. Visa required – 15 days (conditional) visa waiver for regular Indonesian e-passport holders.

Vaccines and Travel insurance

When you travel to Japan, expect to experience fantastic food, see stunning temples and shrines and enjoy a culture steeped in a long, rich history. Though an expensive country to visit, a trip to Japan can be a trip of a lifetime. Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor (ideally, 4-6 weeks) before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Many prescriptions are not honored in Japan so it is important to bring an adequate supply of prescription medication with you. In the 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) ranking of healthcare systems, Japan ranked 10 out of 190 countries. While medical care is good in Japan, it may be challenging to access international doctors while abroad. Additionally, medical facilities that cater in Japan are costly.

How to go to Japan

Non-stop flight time from Jakarta to Tokyo is around 7 hours 30 minutes.
Fastest one-stop flight between Jakarta and Tokyo takes close to 9 hours. However, some airlines could take as long as 33 hours based on the stopover destination and waiting duration.

Airlines operated from Indonesia to Japan
Japan airlines, United Airlines, Sri Lankan airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Sichuan Airlines

Transportation in Japan

Japan has one of the most advanced, safe and efficient transport systems in the world. It covers almost all the points of interest. In addition, there is a national high way system as well as advanced services domestic flights. Buses and taxis are available at any time while ferry services linking Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe with main ports in Hokkaido and Kyushu.
In addition, Japan offers comprehensive international flight services through Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways and plays hosts to foreign passenger aircrafts that fly all over the world.

Trains

Trains are a very convenient way for visitors to travel around Japan, especially in conjunction with the Japan Rail Pass. Rail passes can be obtained for 7, 14 and 21 days.
Japan Rail Pass – Ticket prices can be changed

Type Ordinary
7 consecutive days starting 29,200 yen (241$) (rates may change)
14 consecutive days starting 46400 yen (383$)
21 consecutive days starting 59350 yen (490$)

Tickets for short distances are available from ticket machines that are installed at each train station whereas tickets for long distances and reservations are dealt with at ticket offices at major stations.
And of course, Shinkansen, or “Bullet Train” it provides a very fast and reliable travel to almost anywhere in Japan. Network consists of the Tokaido Line, the Sanyo Line, Line Kyushu, Tohoku Line, Nagano Line, Line Akita, Yamagata Line and Joetsu Line. Long distance services among them JR super express (super express), a limited express (limited express), express, berth (sleeper) and a reserved seat (reserved seating) and costs that vary depending on the distance and type of service.

Subway

Subway is available in all major cities and provides fast and efficient transportation. In Tokyo, JR ticket prices start around ¥ 130, ¥ 160 (ticket prices may change) subway tickets for Tokyo Metro and ¥ 170 for Toei (Metropolitan) railway, and prices both increase according to distance traveled.

Bus

Bus services are available in all cities, but are sometimes a bit difficult to use for visitors who do not speak Japanese.

Taxi

Taxis are also widely available and can usually deliver passengers to an address written in Japanese or on a business card. If the red light in the lower left corner of the windshield is on, that means the cab is free and can be stopped. Be careful when approaching the left rear door: the door is opened and closed automatically from the inside by the driver.

Special food and drinks

Japanese dishes that have been known in western countries either in the form of “sukiyaki” or more exotic “sushi,” have in recent years been increasingly recognized and liked around the world. Aside from sushi, popular dishes include donburi (simmered fish, meat or vegetables served over rice), onigiri (small parcels of rice wrapped in dried seaweed), kayu (a rice porridge), mochi (pounded rice cakes) and chazuke (cooked rice with green tea often served with salmon or cod roe), to name a few.

Rice has been a staple food for the Japanese for over 2,000 years and still accompanies or forms the base of many meals.

Many Japanese visitors have already tasted the pleasure of raw fish and fried shrimp flour. But some of the first visitors to Japan have been waiting for the diversity and luxury of traditionally prepared food. Eating in Japan is an experience you will enjoy and remember for life.

Although many traditional Japanese dishes are fish-based, there are some Japanese dishes that generally use pork or pork broth. For example, ramen, tonkatsu, gyoza, okonomiyaki, some kind of curry etc. Food from the Okinawa area uses a lot of pork and processed products, such as Goya Campur and Okinawa Soba.

Unlike their counterparts in the west, family restaurants in Japan offer exceptionally good value, tasty food and great service. Some of the better-known restaurants are Gusto, Coco-ichi (specialising in Japanese style curry) and Joyful (mainly found in the west of Japan). Of course, being Japan the restaurants are always spotlessly clean too.

Things you should NOT DO in Japan

  1. Entering a home with shoes on is almost unheard of in Japan. You’ll be provided with slippers to wear inside most private homes, temples, shrines, and traditional inns; the removal of footwear is required in any room with tatami floors.
  2. It is considered rude to eat or talk on your phone on public transport, as well as to eat while walking on the street.
  3. Avoid blowing your nose in public, as it is regarded as impolite. On the other hand, feel free to slurp all soups and noodles when eating–it’s considered rude not to do so.

Places to go and things to do

When meeting new people, it’s best to nod with your head and bow slightly, although some people might greet you with a handshake. Even among friends, hugs and kisses are rare, especially in public.

Cherry blossom festivals are observed everywhere in Japan during the blossoming season. The nationwide New Year’s celebration and the Floating Lantern festival in July are among the most famous, as is the Snow Festival of Sappero. Tokyo boasts the largest variety and abundance, with whole neighborhoods teeming with boutiques and department stores.

Tokyo

One of the world’s most exciting and electric cities, Tokyo blends the ancient with the new. It is full of amazing with cuisine, beautiful cherry blossom gardens, cutting-edge architecture, charming backstreets, a glittering neon-filled cityscape.

Shinjuka – area with crowded skyscrapers within Tokyo. It consists of offices, shopping and nightlife.

Ginza neighbourhood – it’s the capital of shopping where you will.

Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo tower

Osaka

Osaka is famous for food and nightlife and is the third largest city in Japan and located on Honshu Island. This is one of the favourite tourist destinations of foreign tourists. Many tourists come to Osaka to visit Universal Studios Japan, Kaiyukan aquarium and shopping areas like Namba, Shinsaibashi, Amerikamura, Umeda.

Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places in Japan, located in central Honshu Island known as the city of 10,000 Shrines including the top rated Fushimi Inari Shrine. This colourful city once served as the imperial capital of Japan for more than 100 years. Kyoto is also known for its lovely gardens.

Okinawa

Okinawa is truly unlike anywhere else in Japan. Perhaps that’s why it keeps growing in popularity as a tourist destination, as evidenced by the rapid expansion of its airports.

Sapporo

Sapporo was named Lonely Planet’s top travel destination in Asia for 2016. The city is surprisingly cosmopolitan and trendy and situated in Hakkaido’s Ishikari plain. For many tourists this is the transit hub to access hot springs and beautiful mountains. The area is famous for beer and food festivals during summer.

Mount Koya

Mount Koya is one of Japan’s most magical destinations, and the perfect place to spend a night at a Buddhist temple in Shukubo temple lodgings. This is located in a peaceful wooded area, south of Kyoto and Osaka

Mount Fuji

It is the highest mountain in Japan also called Fujiyama. It is a volcano that has been dormant since its last eruption in 1707 but is still classified as an active volcano.

Hiroshima

It is famous for being the site of one of two atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. Despite it’s tragic past, Hiroshima is now a bustling and vibrant city. The Peace Park and Museum are a poignant reminder of Hiroshima’s past.

Hakone

The beautiful national park in the Hakone area is around 80Km west of Tokyo and just to the south of Mount Fuji, Japan’s most sacred peak. Hakone has plenty to see and do, from tasting eggs boiled in volcanic waters to taking a boat trip across beautiful Lake Ashi or maybe you will just sit back and relax whilst soaking in one of the many therapeutic hot spring baths.

Kionsaki Onsen

This is the best place for Japanese hot springs. The town boasts seven bathhouses, which sit among pretty streets of traditional wooden buildings and narrow bridges.

Nagasaki

The city of Nagasaki is also the second city where atomic bombs were dropped. In this city also built Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (Nagasaki Genbaku Shiryouk). It is one of the beautiful cities in Japan and full of colours and vibrant.