Travel Tips


Handy tips and useful information to know before travelling to Japan.



Visitors to Japan from Australia do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Under Japan’s New Immigration Procedures, all visitors must present their passport upon arrival and agree to be fingerprinted and photographed. Immigration may also ask a few quick questions. See english/ for more information.

Money and costs

The Japanese currency unit is the Yen (¥). Coins are available in units of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen. Notes are available in 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 yen. ATMs that accept Cirrus, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PLUS and JCB can be found at post offices, major convenience stores and many banks. Cash payments are still more popular than credit cards, especially in smaller stores.

Money and costs

The Japanese currency unit is the Yen (¥). Coins are available in units of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen. Notes are available in 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000 yen. ATMs that accept Cirrus, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PLUS and JCB can be found at post offices, major convenience stores and many banks. Cash payments are still more popular than credit cards, especially in smaller stores.


Tipping and bartering are not expected in Japan.

Mobile phones

Currently, 3G models and 4G LTE work in Japan that use the 2100 MHz band. With some global roaming plans from Australian service providers you can use your own phone to send and receive calls and texts and to access broadband internet. Alternatively, you can rent a SIM card if it works in Japan to use with your own phone, or a pre-paid phone from such service providers as Softbank and Mobal Narita at Narita Airport Terminal 1. Renting a portable Wi-Fi in Australia to use in Japan is also an option worth considering. Portable Wi-Fi is a device that allows multiple machines including laptops, tablets and smartphones to gain internet access wherever you are within the carrier service area.


Internet cafes are readily accessible in Japan, especially in the cities. Although big-name chain stores like Global Gossip are prevalent, the most popular internet cafes in Japan are Manga cafes, which also provide comics, magazines and video games. You pay time increments in either a private booth or a communal seating area. Special time- packages are available and there is even the option of an overnight stay on a reclining seat in a private booth.

Public phones


Green or grey public phones can be found everywhere in Japan. They accept ¥10 and ¥100 coins, and telephone cards that can be purchased from kiosks and news agencies. You can make international calls from grey phones displaying the “international” sign.

To call Australia

Japan has three international call providers. Dial one of their access numbers (0033, 001, or 0061) + 010 + country code (61) + area code (without the zero) + personal number.

Postal Service


Mail to
Postcard 52yen 70yen
Standard Letter
up to 25g
82yen 110yen 1200yen
Standard Letter
up to 50g
92yen 190yen 1200yen
Number of
Delivery days
7 3

International mail can be classified into letter post (letters, aerogrammes and postcards); parcel post; and EMS (Express Mail Service). EMS takes two to four days to reach Australia. Airmail or letter post and parcel post takes three to six days and sea mail takes one to three months. Parcels must be under 20 kg. Most post offices are open 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

Peak travel seasons

Train, bus and flight timetables may change during the following peak travel seasons: New Year (December 27 to January 3 and adjacent weekends), Golden Week (April 29 to May 5 and adjacent weekends), Bon Festival (the week surrounding August 15).



For police assistance call 110 (free call from public phones if you press the red button) or look for the nearest “Koban” (police kiosk) marked with a red pentagonal light. For the fire department or an ambulance call 119.


All tap water in Japan is safe to drink.

Information centers


The Visit Japan Information Network consists of 250 information services across the country. Usually located near major train stations and town centres, they will provide information on local tourist sites.




SEIKO again revolutionises watch making with the release of the 2014 Astron GPS Solar series


For over a century, Seiko has consistently been at the pinnacle of time keeping technology. Since developing the world’s first quartz wrist watch in 1969, called the ‘Astron’, the Japanese watch maker has continued their pioneering legacy. In 2012, Seiko released the ground-breaking Astron GSP Solar Series. In a world first, the watch requires only the power of light to connect to the GPS network and with just the touch of a button, seamlessly adjusts to the relevant time zone. In 2014, Seiko has further revolutionised the Astron GPS Solar series with a host of innovative new features that truly puts the watch in a class of its own.


GPS Solar System

The Astron GPS Solar gains all the energy it needs by simply being exposed to a light source, meaning there is no need to ever change a battery. By pressing just one button, the watch receives precise location updates from a minimum of 4 GPS satellites orbiting the earth and automatically adjusts to the corresponding date and time zone. Daily signal checks also give atomic-clock-like time keeping accuracy.

Smaller Simplicity

The new 2014 Astron GPS Solar is an incredible 30% smaller than its 2012 predecessor, due to new energy-saving technology that has considerably reduced the size of the GPS antenna. Despite the reduction in size, the watch features a new 6 hour chronograph in 1/5 second increments. All other features, including the perpetual calendar accurate to February 2100, Daylight Saving Time selection and in flight mode, remain.



Novak Djokovic LE Series

Available from November 2014, the Novak Djokovic Limited Edition features a stainless steel case with rose gold coating and a black ceramic bezel. Only 2,500 will be produced and each time piece will be individually numbered and fitted with an extra strength silicon strap. The case back is laser engraved with Novak’s name and signature to nicely complement the extensive Astron GPS Solar family.

Limited Edition

The 2014 flagship edition, limited to just 7,000 watches, adds further unique elements to the already impressive Astron range. On top of the black ceramic bezel with 12 specially cut facets, a crown with special “lighter cut” and a distinctive white dial, all watches feature a laser marked GPS SOLAR logo and an individual serial number engraved on the back. The special gift box with an additional crocodile leather strap completes the stylish limited edition.







The essence of Japanese tradition and aesthetics, distilled into a colourful, sweet confection that sits in the palm of your hand. Made from seasonal ingredients, and with designs that mirror the natural imagery of the season, wagashi is an edible reminder of simpler times, when life was tightly entwined with natural rhythms. In this feature, we look at the various types of wagashi, their significance, and how you can experience them for yourself while in Japan.



Exuberant, visually stunning, and filled with cultural significance, Japanese matsuri are not to be missed. Whether you are hoping to experience the nostalgia of simple shrine festivals, or a massive multi- day extravaganza of parades, this feature is your guide to planning and preparing for a safe and enjoyable matsuri experience.



In Japan, the fashion found in the back streets of suburbia trickle upward to have a very real impact on the glitzy runways. Here, the divide between high fashion and street fashion is blurred, and styles evolve seemingly overnight. Come with us on a journey through the streets of Tokyo, as we explore a potpourri of fashion subcultures, and the cult-status niche brands that the fashionistas of Japan are going crazy over.



With high-flying international ties, a vibrant local creative scene, and plenty of tradition to draw on for inspiration, it’s little wonder that Tokyo is fast becoming a world-class art destination. This art is not just relegated to exclusive, large galleries ? it is in fact surprisingly accessible, if you know where to look. This feature highlights some of the art gems that can be found around Tokyo.


Rediscovering Japan

Step outside of the metropolitan areas of Japan and you will find abundant natural beauty. In this feature, we explore an island filled with art, and find surprising links between Kyoto and surfing, Okayama and the Mediterranean, and Nagoya and Italy.



With thousands of years of wellness tradition, accompanied by a culture of hospitality and a philosophy espousing co- existence with nature, Japan is the perfect retreat for the world-weary. In this piece, we take a look at the oases of wellbeing on offer, whether you are seeking a good, restorative sleep, improved metabolism, holistic dental care, or the simple joys of a tea ceremony in a pristine environment.