USEFUL INFO JAPAN
Practical information to organize the trip with details about the best period to go, necessary documents, how to get around and much more.
WHEN TO GO to JAPAN
Japan can be visited all year round. People's favorite periods are undoubtedly the spring months with the "hanami" cherry blossoms which run from March to May, and the autumn season in search of the "momijigari" foliage which runs from the end of September to November.
WHEN TO SEE THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS or "HANAMI" in JAPAN
“Hanami” means “admiring the flowers” and in Japan it is a real tradition that began many years ago. Without a shadow of a doubt, spring is the best time to enjoy the wonderful blossoming of cherry trees, especially in the months of March and April. Below you can see a map for cherry blossoms in Japan:
WHEN TO SEE FOLIAGE or "MOMIJIGARI" in JAPAN
In Japan, autumn has an equally exciting importance as the cherry blossoms. Koyo indicates red and yellow foliage, Momiji is linked in particular to red maple leaves, a true symbol of the autumn season in Japan. The Japanese carry out a spiritual contemplation of the foliage, which is called Momijigari and has a deep-rooted and profound influence on Japanese culture. Below you can see a map for Foliage in Japan:
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED for JAPAN
A valid passport is required to enter Japan. Furthermore, you must be in possession of a return ticket, so that you can justify the period you will spend in the country. However, as regards the entry visa for tourist reasons, it is not necessary for a maximum of 90 days of stay.
WHAT TO BRING to JAPAN
In Japan, in summer, it is really hot, there is very high humidity, especially in cities like Kyoto and Tokyo and therefore, for this purpose, we strongly recommend bringing some extra change of clothes. Always remember to divide your clothes between the suitcase you check in and the one in the hold, so that if the latter is lost you can deal with the emergency. Don't forget to have some cash with you! If you need a particular medicine and are afraid of not being able to make yourself understood, it is best to take it with you.
Given the absence of rubbish bins in all cities, if you have purchased street food or a simple bottle of water you should know that you will most likely have to carry the plastic to the hotel. The only solution would be to consume the food in the place where it is purchased since whoever sold you the meal will take the leftovers back as an integral part of the restaurant service.
If you smoke, be careful! In Japan it is absolutely forbidden to smoke on the streets; there are clearly smoking areas marked with signs and furthermore, it may seem counterintuitive, but smoking is only possible in some restaurants such as izakaya and smaller taverns.
If Japan attracts so much it is mainly due to its culture, to its way of combining the modernity of a technologically cutting-edge nation with the most ancient traditions. Japanese culture is wonderfully rich in knowledge, practices, ideas, beliefs and styles. We remember, just to name a few, kimonos, ikebana, the tea ceremony, matsuri, geisha, hanami, momijigari, bonsai, haiku, waka, ukiyo-e, kabuki up to get to the most modern manga, anime, jpop music.
GAY FRIENDLY JAPAN?
Japan considers homosexuality compatible with traditional social and family expectations, but on the condition that the latter always take precedence. Homosexual activity is legal, but socially it is still kept hidden. There is no specific law against homosexuality and families made up of same-sex couples do not have equal legal protections compared to heterosexual ones.
LOCAL CURRENCY in JAPAN
The local currency is the YEN. (1 euro corresponds to 160.306 JPY). The coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 100 and 500 yen; while banknotes are available for large amounts in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.
CREDIT CARDS in JAPAN
The main international credit cards are accepted in the major banks, hotels and shops in the major cities. Many places accept credit cards, but don't expect all of them to do so as Japanese people much prefer paying in cash over cards. We absolutely advise you to avoid the currency exchange kiosks that are usually found in airports and Italian cities given the very high commissions; Exchange rates at Japanese airports, on the other hand, are excellent and have no commissions.
LOCAL TIPS in JAPAN
In Japan, tipping is not necessary, in fact, in some places it is even frowned upon. Leaving a tip can almost be considered an insult. If you simply want to thank someone, just say “arigatò” or better yet “arigaou gozaimashita” (many thanks)!
BARGAIN in JAPAN
Bargaining in Japan is not so easy but you have to try to see how things go, especially if you are very interested in a product. It is necessary to make it clear that you are looking for a good price and are not questioning the value of the item. Osaka is the most famous city for bargaining: prices are rock-bottom and traders can't wait to bargain.
ELECTRICITY AND TIME ZONE in JAPAN
Japanese electrical outlets are type A, with two flat connectors (like in the USA), so a power adapter for Europe/Japan is required.
As far as the time zone is concerned, Japan is 8 hours ahead of Italy but in summer it decreases as it does not adopt the summer time system.
GETTING AROUND in JAPAN
The fastest way to get around Japan is the 'Shinkansen' bullet trains famous for their speed and extreme punctuality. On each line there are rapid trains that stop only at the main stations, semi-rapid trains that make a few more stops and local trains that stop at every station. To get around the city and to make shorter trips, there are also numerous bus lines.
CHEAP CAR RENTAL in JAPAN
To travel far and wide in Japan you can do it by train, alternatively if you want to venture out with a guide you will need a rental car. We have chosen to rely on DiscoverCars.com, the best car rental website where you can search, compare and save up to 70%, a real bargain right? They will help you choose the perfect car for your next trip, without having surprises of car delivery surcharges, and where it suits you best. Then just download their App to manage your booking wherever you are.
TRAVEL INSURANCE for JAPAN
Before any trip it is good to take out insurance to cover any inconveniences that could ruin the experience. We always rely on HeyMondo which allows you to choose the right insurance for every need. We recommend that you always protect yourself with health insurance and coverage for any cancellations, delays and, if you use them, for theft or breakage of electronic equipment. Medical treatment in Japan can be very expensive. Health insurance in this country is not mandatory by law but is strongly recommended; without it, even a routine visit can make you shell out staggering amounts.
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INTERNET & PHONE CALL in JAPAN - eSIM CARD
How many times do we go abroad and the first thing we do is call home to say we have arrived. How often are we in a city on vacation and we need to find a place to eat using Google Maps or the internet. How many times do we need to send messages and photos on WhatsApp without spending a salary.
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Here is the SOLUTION we use: Holafly, a new technology with eSIM. Order your eSIM on the website and within minutes you will receive an email with a QR code. Just scan it and you'll be connected to the internet right away. You save time, stress and above all do something good for the environment by not having a physical SIM. If you are in a hurry and have to leave tomorrow and have not thought about the internet problem, you can solve it very quickly with this eSIM, and there is no problem that you could accidentally lose it or damage it while traveling. Most importantly, with the eSIM you don't have to change or remove your regular SIM card, you can leave it in the phone and use the eSIM instead of the physical one.
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Holafly also offers data plans with unlimited data to many of the main destinations in the world: for example USA, Indonesia, Europe, Mexico, Thailand and many more.
This is a "new" technology and not all devices are compatible with it, but you can check which phones are already compatible with the eSIM at this link: https://esim.holafly.com/how-to/esim-phones.
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