Well in advance of your trip to Japan, please make sure your travel documents are all in order. For specific purposes—such as tourism, business, or visiting family and friends—citizens of 68 countries do not require a visa, and will be issued permission for short-term stay upon arrival. To find out more information take a look at the website below.
Citizens from outside of these 68 countries must apply for a visa before arrival in Japan, even if you’re just coming as a tourist. For further information, visit the website below.
Japanese immigration are very welcoming to visitors but Japan is extremely strict when it comes to VISAs so this tip should be your first priority and don’t wait until the last minute.Mark James Hill
In Japan people tend to use cash for most transactions. So at some point you will likely need to withdraw money. Most ATMs in Japan only allow you to withdraw cash if the card you are using was issued in Japan. Exceptions are postal ATMs, found mainly at post offices, and Seven Bank ATMs, at some 20,000 7-Eleven convenience stores. Seven Bank ATMs are available 24 hours a day, all year.
Before I got my Japanese bank account, I always knew where to go when I needed to withdraw cash: 7-Eleven! With other ATMs, I was never sure whether they would accept an international card, but 7-Eleven ATMs always had me covered.Alec Jordan
This one should not be underestimated. Cash is everything in Japan—do not rely on a credit card to get you through as it may not be accepted at restaurants, shops, or ATMs. The trusty 7-Eleven has never let me down though!Garreth Stevens
Availability of ATMs in Japan is amazing! You can find one at every corner. I remember being in need of some cash while out drinking around midnight in Tokyo, stepping into a convenience store, and immediately withdrawing money to continue enjoying the night!Denis Sigal
Having Wi-Fi in Japan is pretty useful. Japan Wireless is a company that provides rental pocket wi-fi devices that deliver high-speed internet at affordable rates. Book before you leave for Japan, as they send the pocket device to you before your trip. You pay to use it for as long as you like, and then just send it back in the provided return envelope after your stay!
A great service that keeps you connected even when exploring Japan’s more rural areas!Leon van Houwelingen
Car Rental Information To rent a car for your trip in Japan you will need to make sure you have a valid license. An International Driving Permit issued based on the Geneva Convention is a valid license that you can get issued at home before your trip. A license issued by Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, Estonia, or Taiwan is valid in Japan, but you will need an official Japanese translation. It is essential you carry this with your original license.
You should also be aware of Japanese traffic rules, which you can find here: https://english.jaf.or.jp/safe-driving/traffic-rules-in-japan
Here are some rental companies for you to check out:
TOYOTA Rent a Car: https://rent.toyota.co.jp/eng/
NISSAN Rent-a-Car: https://nissan-rentacar.com/english/
Times Car Rental: https://www.timescar-rental.com/en/
NIPPON RENT-A-CAR: https://www.nrgroup-global.com/en/
ORIX Rent-A-Car: https://car.orix.co.jp/eng/
Eki Rent-A-Car: https://www.ekiren.co.jp/phpapp/en/
Public transportation in Japan is excellent, but there are times when you want to be able to go to places that aren’t easily reached by trains or buses. That’s when being able to rent a car really comes in handy.Alec Jordan
The first time I came to Japan, I rented a car and it was very easy to get around. There is plenty of English on street and expressway signs, and drivers in this country are quite courteous.Edvard Vondra
4.Car Rental Information
5.JAPAN RAIL PASS
The Japan Rail Pass is a cost-effective feature that gives you unlimited use of JR trains for one, two or three weeks. The pass is available in two varieties—Ordinary and Green. The latter allows you to sit in first class seats. The Japan Rail Pass can be purchased outside of Japan, so make sure to get it before you leave for your trip! It’s a bargain for tourists!
If you're a tourist in Japan, you should definitely get a Japan Rail Pass! I used one on my first trip to Japan, and it made traveling around so easy and inexpensive.Alec Jordan
I used the Japan Rail Pass several times as a tourist coming from France during summer vacations and visiting friends from Tokyo to Fukuoka. I always appreciated the freedom of jumping on a Shinkansen any time of day, finding a seat, and enjoying the comfort of the train. And for the student I was then, it was great to save so much!Denis Sigal
Although Japan’s transportation system is very efficient, it can be quite overwhelming for visitors. We recommend using an IC card, such as Suica or PASMO. They are prepaid, rechargeable cards that you can use for trains, subways, buses, and for purchasing items at some stores and vending machines. You can buy them at train station ticket machines. Prices start from ¥1,000 and this includes a ¥500 deposit. More information can be found on the card websites. Visitor versions called Welcome Suica and PASMO PASSPORT are available with different designs and no deposit, but are only valid for 28 days, which is perfect for travelers. Both are available at Tokyo（Narita/Haneda） airports, and the Welcome Suica can also be purchased at JR East Travel Service Centers.
An IC card is a must have. You don’t want to be that guy staring at the train map making locals wait. These cards are so convenient, just load them up and you always have a way to pay for travel, drinks, and goods at stores. Super convenient! And really a necessity. And you can keep the card as souvenir, or return it to get your deposit back.Kevin Jackson
7.Taxis in Japan
The trains in Japan are nearly unbeatable when it comes to timeliness, convenience and price, but if you want to be dropped off right at your destination or you need transportation late at night, take a taxi! Just show your driver your destination on a map, brochure or smartphone and say, “Koko made onegai shimasu.” Or just say the name of your destination instead of “koko”. For example, “Tokyo-eki made onegai shimasu!” (Please take me to Tokyo Station.) “koko de oroshite kudasai!” (Please let me off here) Drivers are usually very good about assisting you with any baggage you might have, and will activate the automatic door for you when you get in, and when you get out – just as soon as you have paid. Cash and credit always work, some taxis accept various forms of digital-payment such as Suica or PASMO. And you don’t have to pay a tip!
Taxi drivers know the cities so well. I’m always impressed with how well they navigate the roads! And the best part is tips are not required at all!Dan Lewis
Japan National Tourism Organization is offering a Japan Official Travel App. The App features push-notifications for weather, emergency warnings, and in-depth articles and travel tips for Japan. It is intuitively organized into three main categories. Discover- exploration by Category and geographical Area, Route Search- a transit planner, and Spot Search- special interest locations like: restaurants, tax-free stores, ATMs etc. The App is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store, and is available in four languages: English, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. https://www.jnto.go.jp/smartapp/eng/
JNTO App has almost everything a traveler or even a local would need for effortless travel in Japan. Having one intuitive app which will help travelers enjoy their trip instead of endlessly searching on their smartphones is very helpful.Kevin Jackson
8.Japan Official Travel App
9.TOKYO TOURIST INFORMATION CENTERS
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has set up five Tokyo Tourist Information Centers in different locations across the city in an effort to provide information regarding both Tokyo and Japan for travellers both domestic and foreign. The Tokyo Tourist Information Center located in the the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a great place for sightseeing information. It is also a great place to experience the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building’s popular observatory room tour provided by the city’s volunteer guide service. The Shinjuku bus terminal Tourist Information Center is always lively and is a great place to start for train and bus trips. If you plan on entering Haneda airport, the Tourist Information Center on the second floor is a MUST SEE! The surrounding area around Ueno’s Tourist Information Center feature’s some of Tokyo’s popular spots like Ueno park and Ameyoko shopping street. For information on the nature-rich Tokyo Tama area, please visit the Tourist Information Center in Tachikawa station.
Gaining access to information through the website is good, but for travellers looking for more information upon arriving in Tokyo we recommend that you head to the Tourist Information Center. Don’t set a rigid schedule, allow for a little flexibility in your plans, and enjoy your adventure!Kevin Jackson
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) operates a 24-hour hotline. If you have any problems, questions, or concerns while traveling in Japan please call 050-3816-2787. You can even call from overseas (+81-50-3816-2787). Support is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. JNTO has been in business since 1964. With the use of statistics and market reports, JNTO provides reliable information in an effort to promote travel to Japan. They also provide support for international events. Their expertise is unquestionable.
It's nice to know JNTO, the most knowledgeable people about Japan, have got your back and are only one call away in case anything goes wrong while traversing this great country.Mark James Hill
10.Japan Visitor Hotline
Before traveling to Japan, it is important to understand your healthcare options in case of an emergency. There are many hospitals in Japan with bilingual medical professionals available—you just have to know where to go! Hospitals that have the Japan Medical Service Accreditation for International Patients (JMIP) provide safe healthcare service in English and other languages.
Here are some JMIP hospitals in central Tokyo:
NTT Medical Center Tokyo
Address:5-9-22 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku
Tokyo Metropolitan Bokutoh Hospital
Address:4-23-15 Kotobashi, Sumida-ku
Address: 2-2-2 Toranomon, Minato-ku
Tokyo Metropolitan Komagome Hospital
Address: 3-18-22 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo Metropolitan Hiroo Hospital
Address: 2-34-10 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
And outside Tokyo: https://www.jnto.go.jp/emergency/eng/mi_guide.html
Medical treatment in Japan is excellent, and I have always been impressed by the kindness and thoroughness of doctors and nurses here. Particularly around Tokyo, finding health providers who speak English is very easy.Alec Jordan
Heatstroke Prevention Products
In the heat of the summer you to look after yourself. With temperatures climbing over 30°C, people can be at risk of heatstroke—high temperature, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and extreme thirst. In order to prevent heatstroke, you need to keep yourself cool and hydrated. Keep cool and hydrated with special products from pharmacies, such as rehydration solutions, cooling sprays, sheets stickers, and special candy in convenience stores to help replenish salt.
Next is simple heatstroke prevention you can do while in Japan
①Stay well-hydrated with water or sports drinks. We recommend ORS if you should experience symptoms of dehydration.
②Maintain a cool body temperature using cooling spray. There are types to spray on your clothes or directly on your skin.
③This is a body-cooling sheet. There are types you can apply like patches or sweat wipes.
④Recharge lost sodium with salt candy, but be careful not to eat too many.
The high temperatures, along with the humidity, can make summer very tough. Going outside and walking for 30 minutes can leave you drenched in sweat! You really have to make sure drink a lot of liquids and stay as cool as you can.Edvard Vondra
The importance of taking precautions cannot be overstated, especially in Tokyo during summer months. Newcomers may not be prepared for the onslaught of tropical weather, and veterans overestimate the immunity they have developed.Laurier Tiernan
12.Heatstroke Prevention Products
There are many storage services around the city that you can use. Japan’s major airports all offer luggage delivery services, which allow you to have your bags delivered to your hotel. Most major hotels also offer luggage storage, and can arrange luggage delivery between hotels for people who are traveling to other areas of Japan. Most major cities have coin lockers available at train stations and tourist facilities, which are useful if you have some spare change and need somewhere to leave your bag while you’re soaking up the culture.There are luggage service centers operated by logistics companies in the central Tokyo area as well, so be sure to check them out.
When I’ve checked out of my hotel and have some extra time to spare before moving to my next destination, I always leave my bags in the coin locker at the station. It couldn’t be more convenient!Garreth Stevens
If I’ve done a lot of souvenir shopping and have more than I can carry with me, I send my packages home, so they’re waiting for me when I get back. Every hotel I’ve stayed at has offered this service.Alec Jordan
For your trip you should consider downloading the MyMizu app. It provides a map that shows different public spots where you can refill your water bottle with clean water for free. It also shows participating restaurants, cafes, and other businesses that offer free refills. All you need is your own reusable water bottle and the MyMizu app, and you won’t need to buy another plastic bottle again! This app supports sustainability and encourages people to be more environmentally aware.
It’s great because there’s no need to buy bottled water anymore! It’s also helping the planet.Edvard Vondra
It’s excellent to have around Tokyo when I need more water.Alec Jordan
15.Traveling in the new normal
Ahead of journeying to Japan, it is best to do some research about recommended safety guidelines and updates of official data. Search your destination’s infection-prevention guidelines in advance of your departure. Wash your hands often; with sanitiser when possible. Wear a mask when coming within two meters of other people; and make sure it covers both your mouth and nose. Also, avoid touching products before you purchase them; as children were taught, in days gone by, “use your eyes, not your hands”. Rather than hampering the pleasure of your travel, precautions may actually augment it; avoiding peak travel times, and attractions’ most crowded hours will both reduce stress and enhance your enjoyment. When traveling in Tokyo, check its municipal page for the latest cautionary tips, and download the COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application, to be warned of any possible contact.
Updates on COVID-19 in Tokyo: https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/
Contact-Confirming Application: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/cocoa_00007.html
Information for protecting yourself and others from GO TOKYO: https://www.gotokyo.org/en/plan/coronavirus-information/index.html
Traveling after the time of Covid requires a bit more effort, in terms of planning and precautions. However, these delays are time well spent; we all want this to be over as soon as possible.Laurier Tiernan
Everyone wants to enjoy their travels, especially on their first trip to Japan. However, everyone varies in their needs and capabilities. The Tokyo Sightseeing Accessibility Guide presents 30 routes through Greater Tokyo, and is honed for the elderly and the disabled; so that everyone enjoys their touristic experience. Under “Route” – on each course’s page – you’ll see an easy-to-read map displaying the course from start to finish, as well as information about accessibility, travel tips, and bonuses.
Under the “Route Details” you’ll find visitor information, accessibility, and barrier-free restrooms, as well as tips for each location along your chosen route. Information regarding sightseeing near each chosen course is also readily available. You can also feel free to shorten or alter your course to suit your physical state, available time, and preferences.
Everyone could use a little help in planning more efficient routes for tourism in Tokyo. And - for those who find stairs challenging - this guide could be a lifesaver!Laurier Tiernan
16.Tokyo sightseeing accessibility guide