Passport and visa
For travel to Japan, Swedish citizens do not need a visa for a short stay within 90 days. Your passport must be valid during your stay in Japan and contain at least two blank pages. Upon arrival in Japan, you may in rare cases be asked to show your return ticket. Since 2007, all Japanese travelers are photographed on arrival and are allowed to leave their fingerprints.
Vaccinations and health
Japan very good healthcare. No mandatory vaccinations are required for entry into Japan. Make sure you have insurance that covers health care in Japan as well as repatriation in the event of a more serious accident / illness. Bring your insurance documents with you during the trip. If you are taking medicines with you, these should be stored in their original packaging so that it is clear what kind of medicine it is. When carrying prescription drugs, you should bring a certificate from your doctor in English to pack it together with the medicines in your hand luggage. Tap water in Japan is drinkable.
Weather and clothes
Japan has four distinct seasons with mild and pleasant spring and autumn months. The winter is in most places quite mild with clear weather, especially in southern Japan, but it can be significantly colder in the northern parts of the country with rich snowfall along the Sea of Japan and in the central parts of the main island of Honshu.
The rainy season, which lasts about a month and a half, falls in early July on Honshu and a little earlier south. Japan has fairly hot summers with high humidity, with the exception of the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan which is usually considerably cooler than the rest of Japan.
The typhoon season reaches its peak in August and September. Typhoons usually hit the coasts of Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku and cause heavy rain and wind in large parts or all of Japan for about two days
The ideal times to visit Japan are in the spring (March – April), and then coincide with the sakura (cherry blossom) or in the autumn (October – December) when the autumn leaves are at their most beautiful. November has a perfect combination of low rainfall and pleasantly warm temperatures that extend to early and mid-December.
As a tourist in Japan, you can dress as you usually do at home. Our trips to Japan include many walks. Therefore, bring walking-friendly shoes that are also easy to take off, as many places we visit like to see that you take care of your feet indoors.
Climate table for Tokyo
|Max ° C||8||9||12||17||21||24||28||29||26||20||15||11|
|Min ° C||0||1||5||10||10||14||22||24||20||14||8||3|
Climate table for Kyoto
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|Min ° C||0||1||3||9||13||18||23||24||19||13||7||4|
Currency and exchange rate
The Japanese currency is called the yen and is usually available at most exchange offices. The 7-Eleven chain has ATMs in their stores where you can withdraw cash with a VISA card and Master Card. Other ATMs, with the exception of those found at major post offices, usually do not accept foreign credit cards. Many smaller shops and restaurants do not accept card payments.
Japan has a reputation for being a cash-based society, but trends have gradually changed. (There has been a significant increase in acceptance of other payment methods.)
Cash is still the most common payment method, especially when it comes to small amounts. Cash is usually the only way to pay for entrance fees to tourist attractions, in smaller restaurants and small shops. Coins are also needed in storage cabinets. It is good to remember to bring coins when you use buses and trams. On board buses, you can usually not pay with banknotes worth 1000 yen or more, and the bus driver may not have any major banknotes. Vending machines usually accept 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins and 1000 yen banknotes, but newer machines sometimes also accept 5,000 and 10,000 yen banknotes.
Credit / debit cards
There is an increasing acceptance of credit and debit cards, especially in large cities. Most hotels accept payment by debit and credit card today, as do most department stores, between to good restaurants, shops and large stores. In addition, many train stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurant chains and shops accept cards.
Transport and communication
Public transport in Japan is extremely efficient. Public transport is usually built according to a zoning system, which means that the ticket price will be higher the further away you go. Tickets are usually valid for a one-way trip unless you buy a day or month card. In Tokyo and other major cities, the subway is usually the most convenient means of transportation.
Taxis are relatively cheap in Japan. However, try to avoid taxi rides during rush hour in Tokyo and Osaka as you can stay in traffic for a long time. Always bring a business card from the hotel before the return trip. Japan has a complicated address system where street names are often missing, which makes it difficult for taxi drivers to find where you are going, especially in the metropolitan regions. However, taxi drivers always find metro stations, hotels, parks and museums, etc. that can be listed as landmarks. Taxis light up red if they are vacant and green if they are busy.
It is possible to use mobile phones with 3-G SIM cards, but we recommend that you contact your subscription provider and ask them whether you can use your phone in Japan. Mobile phones with old prepaid cards rarely work in Japan. Japan Air Lines has launched the “JAL Explore Japan Wi-Fi” app, which allows you to connect for free to more than 200,000 WI2 Wi-Fi hotspots (“hotspots”) across the country. The app is available on Android (min 4.1), iPhone or iPad (min iOS 8.0). http://www.fr.jal.co.jp/world/en/jalwifi/index.html
Food and drink
In Japan you will find a huge selection of different kinds of restaurants. The more traditional restaurants often specialize in a limited number of dishes that are cooked to perfection. Japanese cuisine is absolutely world-class, but in Japan you will also find plenty of Chinese, Korean, Western and Indian restaurants. In Tokyo, there are more Michelin-starred restaurants than in London, New York and Paris combined! The fast food restaurants are also of a high quality with incredibly low prices. Domestic alternatives include the Yoshinoya chain, which serves rice and fried meat at very affordable prices. At the relatively cheap Kaitenzushi restaurants, plates of sushi pieces are placed on conveyor belts that run along an oval counter along which guests sit and can watch the sushi chefs’ work. Just pick things that you think look good. Note that the plates have different colors or patterns depending on the price range.
Many Japanese restaurants do not have menus in English, but usually there are photographs or plastic models of the dishes so you can see what is on the menu. In such cases, just point to what you want when you order. Feel free to bring a fork if you find it difficult to eat with chopsticks. It is not certain that ordinary cutlery is available in all the restaurants we visit.
Traditional restaurants often serve tea with the food, but you will also find a large number of domestic beers such as Kirin, Asahi and Sapporo. In recent years, Japanese whiskey with brands such as Yoichi, Hibiki, Hakushu and Yamazaki has attracted international attention.
Bottled water is easily available throughout Japan – including in the endless vending machines – but in addition, tap water is completely safe to drink.
Shopping and gifts
The price level in Japan is similar to that in Sweden. However, the range of goods is enormously much larger. Here you can find everything! Japanese handicrafts, crockery, kitchen knives and clothes are examples of things that many people like to take home. The shops’ opening hours are usually longer than in Sweden, especially in the big cities where many shops and department stores are open until 20:00 or even later, even on weekends (instead one of the weekdays has been closed). The banks are open Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 15:00. Post offices are generally open weekdays between 9:00 and 17:00 and Saturdays between 9:00 and 12:00. In Japan, there are plenty of service stores that are open around the clock. The largest chains are 7-Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart and Sunkus.
Japan’s National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has, for visitors to the country, set up a hotline line that is answered around the clock, all year round. The number can be used for tourist information, as well as for assistance in the event of accidents and emergencies. Help is available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.
The number is: + 81-50-3816-2787
Electricity: The current in Japan is 100 volts, 50 Hz in eastern Japan and 60 Hz in western Japan. You need an adapter. In larger hotels, you are usually able to borrow an adapter free of charge, subject to availability. If you want to be on the safe side, you should bring one from home.
Baggage: It sometimes happens that the checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack valuables and important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage.
Local time: 8 hours before Swedish winter time and 7 hours before Swedish summer time.
Tips: Tips are included in the bill.
Travel Insurance: You can purchase travel insurance through Phoenix Travel. First, check what your home insurance policy covers.
Tattoo: Please note that guests with tattoos are not allowed in the hotel’s bathing establishments!