Japan

Capital City: Tokyo
Timezone: UTC+9
Country Calling Code: +81
Currency: JPY

1 CNY = 15.98 JPY

1 USD = 99.88 JPY

1 EUR = 122.92 JPY

1 GBP = 145.27 JPY

1 AUD = 99.88 JPY

These rates were valid at time of writing.
Please check www.xe.com for exact exchange rates.

Weather & When to Visit

 

The weather in Japan is generally temperate, with four distinct seasons. Winter, from December to February, is quite dry and sunny along the Pacific coast with temperatures rarely below 0°C and some snowfalls. Southern Japan is relatively temperate and experiences a mild winter while northern Japan is colder. Spring runs from March to May with pleasant temperature and a little rain, thus cherry blossoms are out and many festivals are celebrated during this time. Summer coming in June, brings hot weather and rain until August. Autumn is from September through November featuring light breezes and cooler temperatures around 8-10 degrees. Overall, the best time to visit Japan to appreciate cherry blossoms is spring and red leaves during autumn.

Events & Festivals

 

There are plenty of festivals and events happening throughout the year in Japan. Festivals including Grand Sumo Tournament, Takayama Spring Festival and Hollyhock Festival are celebrated in spring to enhance the joy during cherry blossoms.

For Japanese, the coming of cherry blossoms is one of the happiest events. Cherry blossoms (Higan sakura) normally begin blooming in Okinawa. Somei Yoshino cherry blossoms reach their peak in late March through April in Honshu region. In Hokkaido, cherry blossoms are usually in full bloom in May. Another important element of Japanese festivals is processions, in which the local shrine's kami (Shinto deity) is carried through the town in mikoshi (palanquins). It is the only time of the year when the kami leaves the shrine to be carried around town. Many festivals also feature decorated floats (dashi), which are pulled through the town, accompanied by drum and flute music by people sitting on the floats. Every festival has its own characteristics. While some festivals are calm and meditative, many are energetic and noisy.

For more detailed information, pictures and brief introductions please check http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2063.html and http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/festivals/ for a festival list.

Visas

 

Visa to enter Japan is required for many countries except the following: Austria, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the USA. All visitors need a passport valid for at least 6 months. Visa fees are revised on April 1st each year and waived for certain countries. It must be paid with cash or money order. Read more about visa fees here: http://www.ny.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/d/06.html

Airports

 

There are two major airports in Tokyo, Narita Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND). There is also one in Osaka called Osaka International Airport (ITM), and one in Hokkaido, called New Chitose Airport (CTS).

Narita handles the majority of international passenger traffic to and from Japan. It is the second-busiest passenger airport in Japan, busiest air freight hub in Japan, and ninth-busiest air freight hub in the world. Unlike Narita, Haneda airport handles almost all domestic flights to and from Tokyo. In 2010, a dedicated international terminal was opened at Haneda in conjunction with the completion of a fourth runway. This allowed for a dramatic increase in international flights going to Haneda, which previously had only "scheduled charter" flights to Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei.

Osaka International Airport, despite its "international" designation, is entirely domestic. And is the primary domestic airport for the Kansai region of Japan, including the major cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It is classified as a first class airport. New Chitose Airport serves the Sapporo metropolitan area.

For more information of Narita Airport, please visit http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/index.html  For more information of Haneda Airport, please visit http://www.tokyo-airport-bldg.co.jp/en/  For more information of Osaka International Airport, please visit http://osaka-airport.co.jp/en/

Things to Consider

 

Tipping is uncommon in Japan; however tipping your drivers and guides who have provided good service is prevalent.

Shoes must be taken off before entering someone’s house or a temple. To be even more polite, turn your shoes to face the door after taking them off.

Do not stand your chopsticks in the food as it is reminiscent of a death ceremony.

The garbage bins are not abundant in Japan; therefore bring a bag for your trash.

Metro and train systems are quite developed in the big cities, especially in Tokyo. Make sure to bring the railway map with you to avoid getting lost.

 

Important Note:
Whilst Classic Travel does our best to keep information updated, it is always advisable for you to double-check details for your specific trip as information can change without notice, particularly in regards to arrival & departure airport terminals, visa requirements and airport/port fees.