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 www.immi-moj.go.jp/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 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 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. You can also withdraw Japanese Yen at Seven Bank (inside 7-Eleven convenience stores). Cash payments are still more popular than credit cards, especially in smaller stores. www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard
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 router 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.
Tipping and bartering are not customary in Japan.
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.
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.
The Visit Japan Information Network consists of 324 information services across the country. Usually located near major train stations and town centres, they will provide information on local tourist sites.
|Domestic Mail||Mail to Australia||EMS|
|Postcard||52 yen||70 yen||—|
|Standard Letter up to 25g||82 yen||110 yen||2000 yen|
|Standard Letter up to 50g||92 yen||190 yen||2000 yen|
|Number of delivery days||—||7||3|
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).
All tap water in Japan is safe to drink.
For police assistance call 110 (free call from public phones if you press the red button) or look for the nearest koban, or police kiosk, marked with a red pentagonal light. For the fire department or an ambulance call 119.