Frequently Asked Questions about Japan Tours (FAQ)

1. When is the best time to visit Japan
Cherry Blossom season is the best time to visit Japan (end march – the first week of April). This is the busiest time as well. If you wish to avoid crowds May and October are good months with pleasant weather. Mid to end November is good for Autumn colours in Japan and winter months are great for skiing in the northern part of Japan.
June in Japan is the rainy season and July, August are hot and humid. However, there will always be a location to suit you regardless of the time you visit.

2. Have you got natural sights in Japan
Many people limit their visits to the main highlights of Japan which are Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Two thirds of Japan are covered by forests, mountains and hills. Visitors can enjoy national parks, mountains, volcanoes (Mt. Fuji, Mt. Aso), gorges (Takachiho, Kurobe, Geibiki gorge), caves, marshlands for hiking, waterfalls, rivers and many more.

3. What are the local annual festivals in Japan

– Sapporo Snow Festival (one week in early February)
– Yokoteyama Kamakura Festival (February 15 and 16)
– Omizutori in Nara (March 1-14)
– Takayama Matsuri (April 14-15 and October 9-10)
– Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto (May 15)
– Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo (Weekend closest to May 15)
– Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo (Third full weekend in mid May)
– Hakata Gion Yamakasa ( July 1-15)
– Gion Matsuri in Kyoto (July)
– Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka (July 25)
– Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori (August 2-7)
– Kanto Maturi in Akita (August 3-7)
– Awa Odori in Tokushima (August 12-15)
– Nagasaki Kunchi (October 7-9)
– Jidai Matsuri in Kyoto (October 22)
– Chichibu Yomatsuri (December 2-3)

4. Will I need a visa to visit Japan
British passport holders do not require visa in order to visit Japan on holiday. You may need to provide evidence of a return ticket, proof of accommodation on arrival.
Please check following link for the list of Japanese embassies and consulates to find out more information and for other passport holders.

5. What payment methods are accepted in Japan
Japanese currency is the Yen. Japan is still very much a cash based society. Following are the payment methods used in Japan.
– Cash
– Credit Cards : Most high end hotels, high end restaurants and department stores accept credit cards.
-IC Cards : IC cards such as Suica or Icoca are stored value cards which can be re charged and used for payment of trains, buses, convenient stores, vending machines and many chain restaurants.

6. How can I exchange currency
Best is to exchange currency in your home country before you travel. Major post offices, banks and hotels in the cities will exchange money.

7. Is English widely used in Japan
Some people in big cities and some hotel staff do speak English and there are English signs at most major train stations. It is best you learn some simple phrases in Japanese before you travel. If you want to enjoy and learn more about the culture of Japan we recommend you to book some guided tours in Japan.

8. Safety in Japan
Crime levels are low in Japan. It is generally safe to walk about in Japan or use public transportation. However, you should still maintain the same level of vigilance as you would be at home and take sensible precautions. You can check up to date information of safety levels through the foreign travel advice website

9. Do I need any vaccinations before I visit Japan
Please check with your health professional 4-6 weeks before you visit and tell them which areas you will be visiting. Please check foreign travel advice website for more information.

10. What are the public transportation methods in Japan
– Railways: Trains, Subways, Shinkansen and night trains
– Internal flights
– Cars
– Ferries

11. Is Japan Rail Pass Value for money
Japan Rail Pass is a popular means to explore Japan. You can get 7,14 or 21 Day passes which can be used on consecutive days from the time you start using the pass. These passes are value for money, if you do few long distance bullet train journeys. You need to calculate and see if it is worth getting the pass depending on your travel itinerary. You can get your Japan Rail Pass from an authorised travel agent before you travel to Japan. More information on Japan Rail Passes can be found on following website.

12. What are some traditional Japanese food
– Sushi: Vinegar rice and fresh fish presented in different ways and shapes
– Sashimi: Any thinly sliced raw food including raw beef, chicken, fish and sea food
– Tempura: Battered fried fish, vegetables and sea food
– Yakitori: Bite –sized chicken grilled on skewers
– Miso soup: Soup made out of fish or kelp stock combined with bean paste. This is served with traditional meals
– Tsukemono Pickels: Traditional pickels made out of some vegetables and plums
– Udon: Noodle made out of wheat
– Soba: Noodle made out of buckwheat flour
– Sukiyaki: One pot dish made out of beef, vegetable and tofu with a sweet soy sauce broth
– Kaiseki: Seasonal themed dishes crafted with attention to detail

13. What facilities have you got for disabled travelers in Japan
35% of the train stations are accessible and work continues to improve accessibility. Most major hotels will have wheelchair accessible rooms and public areas. Smaller hotels and Japanese style inns may not have accessibility. You may need to check with your travel agent when booking. More information of facilities for disabled travellers can be found here

14. Electricity and Plugs in Japan
The voltage used throughout Japan is uniformly 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use;—50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan (including Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka). A convertible type of electrical appliance such as a hair dryer, travel iron and shaver should work wherever you are in Japan. However, in other cases, a step-down transformer is required to convert the voltage.