Essential Information

Climate

Japan has four distinctively different seasons.

springSpring (March – May)
Spring begins in March in the southern islands and April in the northern islands, with the blooming of plum and peach trees followed by cherry blossoms. In Tokyo area cherry blossoms are at their best normally between the end of March and the beginning of April. They only last on average for about a week in any one area, so the parks are crowded with hanami revelers (cherry blossom viewing picnics) talking about the beauty of the blossoms and getting inebriated at the same time.
Clothing : A jacket or sweater would be enough.

summerSummer (June – August/September)
The Japan Summer starts from June with a rainy season that lasts three or four weeks. The temperature starts getting high and it is usually hot and humid through to the end of summer (late August or early September).
Clothing: You will only need light clothes.

AutumnAutumn (September/October – November)
The typhoon season starts in September and although only a few of them come ashore, heavy rains are typical. The pleasant temperature and brilliant blue skies of autumn make this time of year ideal for traveling. It is especially beautiful in the middile/end of November when the leaves change color. Siberian high pressure systems bring cold westerly winds, and with them winter.
Clothing: A jacket or sweater would be enough.

winterWinter (December – February)
The Japan Sea coast and the mountainous areas receive heavy snowfalls throughout winter. Mountainous areas from the Japan Alps (central Japan) to Hokkaido become winter wonderlands, and the main destination for Japan’s winter sports enthusiasts. The southern areas along the pacific coast receive little snow and temperatures rarely fall below freezing.
Clothing: A coat would be enough, but if you are travelling in the north, it is advisable to bring warmer clothes with you.


Source: Japan Meteorological Agency

Time Difference

The time difference between Japan and major cities around the world (not allowing for summer time) is as follows: Los Angeles -17 hours; New York -14 hours; London -9 hours; Paris -8 hours; Rome -7hours; Singapore/Bangkok -2 hours; Sydney +1hour.

Money

The unit of Japanese currency is yen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen and bank notes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.
You can convert foreign currency at any bank, hotel or tourist facility that displays an “Authorized Money Exchanger” sign. The conversion rate is better at banks, but there is no black currency market.

Credit Cards

All major credit cards, such as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diners Club are accepted at all major hotels, restaurants and tourist facilities. You cannot use them at small or inexpensive places.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Japan, so do not feel obliged to. Hotels and major restaurants will add a 10-15% service charge.

Electricity

The electrical current is 100 volts in Japan; 50 cycles from Tokyo and north, and 60 cycles west of Tokyo.
2-flat-pin plugs are used in Japan. Columnar-shaped plugs or 3-pin plugs are not used in Japan. It is therefore advised to purchase a plug adapter beforehand.

Business Hours

Stores: Department Stores are normally open from 10 am to 7:30 pm everyday (including Saturday and Sunday), with most stores closing once a week, (the day depends on the store.)

Banks: Banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm and are closed on weekends and public holidays. The ATMs are open until 9 pm every night and a few high street banks have 24 hour ATMs in locations throughout the major cities.

Medicines

Make sure to pack any prescription medicines you need. Japan does have international standard medical services and facilities. Hotels can help you, if you need urgent attention.

Emergency

In case of an emergency, please call the corresponding telephone number below.
Calls can be made from public payphone, mobile phone and are sometimes available free of charge.

110: Police
119: Fire and ambulance service

 


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