is the best way to carry money in Japan: Travelers Checks, cash or
A: Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it is
generally safe to carry cash. Credit cards are widely used throughout
Japan, and major credit cards are usually accepted. Regarding Travelers
Checks, Japanese yen or US dollars are the most practical for a visit to
Japan, but may not be widely accepted by establishments other than major
hotels and banks authorized to exchange foreign currency.
Q: Can I
use my credit cards?
A: Most of the stores and restaurants accept VISA, Master Card and
American Express cards. However, you must be aware that there are small
shops that may not accept credit cards. Foreign credit, debit and cash
cards can be used at over 21,000 Post Office ATMs in locations
throughout Japan. 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. Accepted credit
cards include Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club.
Q: Is it
possible to use my mobile phone in Japan?
A: The Japanese mobile telephone system is not compatible with those of
other countries. Except for some special kinds of phone (satellite
phone), your mobile phone will not function in Japan. If you want to use
a mobile phone in Japan, rental phones are available. You can find
rental shops at Narita Airport and Kansai Airport.
A: With a little pre-planning Japan is an affordable destination for
even the most budget conscious traveler. Foreign visitors to Japan can
take advantage of a wide variety of budget accommodation options,
transportation passes and sightseeing discounts. Budget Travel
don't speak Japanese. Will travel in Japan be difficult?
A: Traveling in a country where you don't speak the language can be both
challenging and rewarding. But even if you don't speak any Japanese,
finding your way around Japan needn't be difficult. English is widely
spoken throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist
centers. Announcements on public transportation are frequently made in
both Japanese and English, and signs generally include decipherable
roman characters or an English explanation. A comprehensive range of
tourist services also provides a helping hand to foreign visitors in
Q: I am
visiting Japan for the first time. Where should I go?
A: Many visitors from overseas visit Tokyo, and its neighboring cities
Nikko and Hakone. The old cities of Kyoto and Nara are also popular
is the best time to visit Japan?
A: Japan has three peak vacation seasons when many people in the cities
travel to the countryside or go abroad. These are the New Year holiday
period (Dec 29 - Jan 3; banks and shops stay open through Dec 31),
Golden Week (April 29 - May 5 and adjacent weekends), and O-bon (a week
around Aug 15). During these periods Tokyo tends to be quieter, and city
trains and roads are emptier. Note that most museums are closed from
around Dec 29 - Jan 3, and that most shops and restaurants are closed on
Jan 1. From Jan 1 to 3, major temples and shrines are packed with
visitors who come to pray for a happy and prosperous year. If you don't
mind crowds, Jan 1 is a great opportunity to see women in kimono. The
various national holidays in Golden Week are marked by associated events
whose venues and adjacent areas get very crowded.
do you go to central Tokyo from New Tokyo International (Narita)
A: The JR Narita Express, limousine bus and Keisei Dentetsu railway are
the major means of transportation. The JR Narita Express will take you
to Tokyo Station, located at the center of Tokyo, in about 60 minutes.
The one-way fare is 2,940 yen (Japan Rail Pass valid). The rapid train
takes 80 minutes to Tokyo Station with a one-way fare of 1,280 yen. The
limousine bus has many direct lines to major stations and hotels. Travel
time varies between 60 to 90 minutes depending on the destination and
the traffic. The fare is about 3,000 yen one-way. The Keisei Dentetsu
Limited Express (Sky Liner) runs between Narita Airport and Ueno,
downtown Tokyo, in about 60 minutes. The one-way fare is 1,920 yen. If
you use the rapid train, it takes 75 minutes and costs only 1,000 yen
do you go to Haneda Airport from New Tokyo International (Narita)
A: There is a variety of transportation at various fares and times. The
limousine bus and Airport Limited Express are recommended, as there is
no need to change. There are about 3 to 5 bus services every hour
between the airports, except early morning and evening. It is 3,000 yen
one-way and takes about 80 minutes. Every hour, there are 1 or 2 Keisei
Dentetsu Railway Airport Rapid Express trains, which take about 110
minutes. The fare is 1,560 yen one-way.
do you go to the center of Osaka from Kansai International Airport?
A: JR Limited Express Haruka, the Nankai Dentetsu Railways RAPIT Limited
Express and the limousine bus are the major means of transport to the
center of Osaka. Haruka will take you to JR Shin-Osaka Station, located
in the center of Osaka, in about 45 minutes. The fare is 2,980 yen
one-way and the Japan Rail Pass is valid. If you use RAPIT, you can
reach Namba Station, the most bustling part of Osaka, in about 30
minutes at 1,390 yen one-way. The express train takes about 40 minutes
but the fare is only 890 yen one-way. The limousine bus has a number of
services to major stations and hotels and the fare is 1,300 yen one-way.
Travel time varies depending on the traffic, but 60 minutes is the
Q: Can I
purchase tickets or make reservations for JR trains in advance?
A: You can purchase tickets and make reservations from abroad. The
English web site of JR East has opened a reservation site for the Narita
Express (limited express train that runs between New Tokyo International
Airport and metropolitan Tokyo) and Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Japan
Railways Seat Reservation Service.
can I purchase a Japan Rail Pass?
A: An Exchange Order for a Japan Rail Pass can be purchased from
overseas offices of JTB International, Nippon Travel Agency Co., Ltd.,
Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Ltd. And Tokyu Tourist Corporation plus their
affiliated travel agencies in various countries. Overseas offices of JAL
also handle the Exchange Order.
the Japan Rail Pass valid for Shinkansen trains?
A: Yes, it is, with the exception of the Nozomi of the Tokaido/Sanyo
do you travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka?
A: You can take Shinkansen Hikari, which takes 2 hours 30 minutes to
Kyoto and 3 hours to Osaka. Nozomi is 15 minutes faster to Kyoto than
Hikari and 30 minutes faster to Osaka.
Q: Do I
need an International Driver's License to drive in Japan?
A: If you wish to drive in Japan, you must possess one of the following
1) A Japanese Driver's License
2) An International Driver's License (90 member countries) based on the
Treaty of Geneva (1949)
3) A Driver's License of Switzerland, Germany or France (must inquire
about conditions to the institution issuing the driving permit of
kinds of accommodations are there in Japan?
A: You will find a variety of accommodation styles to suit all tastes
and budgets in Japan. If you are looking for western-style lodgings,
there are luxury hotels and business hotels. If you prefer
Japanese-style accommodation, stay at Ryokan (Japanese-style inn) and
Minshuku (private guest-house providing a bed and meals). We recommend
Welcome Inn, the Japanese Inn Group and Youth Hostels for travelers on
do you make reservations at hotels?
A: If you want to make a reservation, you can either ask the travel
agent to arrange the accommodation, or contact the hotel directly. Many
hotels now have their own web site where you can make reservations
do you find reasonable accommodations?
A: A non-profit-organization, Welcome Inn Reservation Center, has made a
list of reasonable accommodations for overseas visitors.