Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Fuji, Japan

Mount Fuji

Japan’s Mt. Fuji is an active volcano about 100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Commonly called “Fuji-san,” it’s the country’s tallest peak, at 3,776 meters.
Photo by David Edelstein

JAPAN

Asia

Japan Travel Information

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Key facts

Capital:

Tokyo

Location:

Eastern Asia, island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of the Korean Peninsula

Currency:

Yen (JPY)

Area:

377,915 sq km

Population:

124,687,293 (July 2021 est.)

Languages:

Japanese

Religion:

Shintoism 69%, Buddhism 66.7%, Christianity 1.5%, other 6.2% (2018 est.)

TimeZone:

UTC+9

Tel Code:

+81

Weather

Japan has a diverse climate, with four distinct seasons. The best time to visit Japan depends on what kind of weather and activities you prefer.

Spring (March to May)

Spring is the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossoms. The cherry blossom season starts in southern Japan in late March and moves northwards, reaching Tokyo and Kyoto in early April. The weather is mild and comfortable, making it ideal for sightseeing.

Summer (June to August)

Summer is the peak tourist season in Japan, with hot and humid weather. It is a good time to visit the beach and participate in outdoor activities, but it can be uncomfortable for sightseeing in the big cities.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is the second-best season for tourism in Japan, with comfortable temperatures and beautiful fall foliage. The leaves change color starting in northern Japan in September and moving southwards, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo in late November. It's a great time for hiking and viewing the changing leaves.

Winter (December to February)

Winter in Japan can be cold and snowy, especially in the northern areas. It's a good time to visit the ski resorts, but it can be difficult for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The exception is the region of Kyoto and Tokyo where the winter weather is relatively mild.

Overall, the best time to visit Japan depends on your interests and what you want to see and do. If you are looking for cherry blossoms or autumn foliage, spring or autumn would be the best time to visit. If you prefer hot weather and beach activities, summer would be the best time, but if you want to experience skiing and other winter activities, winter would be the best time.

Transportation

Japan has an extensive and efficient transportation system, making it easy to travel around the country. Here are some of the main transportation options available in Japan:

Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

The Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, is a high-speed rail service that connects major cities in Japan. It is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to travel between cities and is often used for long-distance travel.

Local Trains

Local trains are a convenient way to travel within cities and to nearby towns and villages. They are often more affordable than the Shinkansen and provide frequent service. Some cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama also have subway systems.

Buses

Buses are also a popular way to travel within cities and to nearby towns and villages. They are often slower than trains but can be a good option for reaching destinations that are not served by trains.

Taxis

Taxis are available in most cities and towns, and can be a convenient option for short trips or for reaching destinations that are not served by public transportation. They can be more expensive than other transportation options.

Rental Cars

Rental cars are also available in Japan, but it's not so common for tourists. They can be useful for traveling to remote areas or for flexibility, but be aware that driving in Japan can be challenging due to the complex network of roads and the high cost of tolls.

Bicycles

Many cities and towns in Japan have bike-sharing programs and rental shops, making it easy to explore on two wheels. It's a great way to see the sights at a more leisurely pace, but keep in mind that cycling can be challenging in large cities with heavy traffic.

Overall, Japan's transportation system is highly developed and reliable, making it easy to get around. The best option for you will depend on your destination, budget, and personal preferences.

Accommodation

Japan offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Here are some of the main options:

Hotels

Hotels are the most common type of accommodation in Japan and can range from luxury to budget-friendly options. They offer amenities such as private bathrooms, air conditioning, and room service. Some hotels also offer traditional Japanese-style rooms known as "ryokan"

Ryokan

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that typically features tatami mat floors, futon bedding, and communal hot spring baths. Staying in a ryokan can be a unique cultural experience and are usually found in touristy areas like Kyoto, Hiroshima and some rural areas.

Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels are a unique and budget-friendly option that originated in Japan. They offer small, capsule-shaped sleeping pods for guests to sleep in. They are typically found in urban areas and are popular with budget-conscious travelers and business travelers.

Hostels

Hostels are another budget-friendly option that can be found in most major cities and towns. They offer dormitory-style accommodation and shared facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals such as apartments, houses, and villas, are becoming a popular option in Japan, especially for families and groups of travelers. They offer more space, privacy, and amenities than hotels, and can be a cost-effective option for longer stays.

Temples

Temple lodging or Shukubo, is another unique option. They are usually found in places like Kyoto, and are a traditional form of accommodation where visitors can stay overnight in a Buddhist temple.

Overall, Japan offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you prefer the traditional elegance of a ryokan, the convenience of a hotel, or the unique experience of a capsule hotel or temple lodging, you'll be able to find something that suits your needs.

Money

Money Tips for Travel

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with international transactions.
  • Bring a mix of cash, credit, and debit cards--and possibly a travel money card.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.
  • Make sure to have a backup option for accessing money in case your primary method doesn't work.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • NEVER accept currency conversion at ATMs! Always get your home bank to convert at much better rates.
  • Think about getting a Wise or other travel debit card; these can provide much better rates and some free ATM withdrawals.

ATM and Credit Cards

  • Research the availability of ATMs and credit card acceptance at your destination before you depart.
  • Keep your ATM card in a safe place and be mindful of your surroundings when using it.
  • Try to stick to using ATMs that are affiliated with major banks.
  • Keep your credit card information safe and secure, and be aware of potential scams.
  • Make sure your cards have the necessary security features, such as chip and pin.
  • Be aware of the fees associated with withdrawing money from ATMs and using credit cards abroad.

Exchange Rates

  • Research the currency and exchange rates of your destination before you depart.
  • Consider using a card with no foreign transaction fees.
  • Be aware of the local customs and etiquette when it comes to paying.
  • Keep an eye on the exchange rate throughout your trip and try to make large purchases or withdraw large sums of money when the rate is favorable.
  • Be careful of places that may offer to exchange money at rates that seem too good to be true.

Mobile

When traveling, getting mobile access is very important these days. If you are working remotely, wanting to update social media, or need to access your banks SMS authentication messages having a reliable service is a must. At WhereNext we recommend:

eSIM

Services such as those offered by our partner, Airalo, allow you to easily order and install an eSIM for different countries or regions that you are traveling in.

Dual SIM phone

If you have a phone that supports dual SIM's then you can get a SIM on arrival for each country, this is probably better done at a telco store rather than at the airport.

Extend your home plan

Depending on where you live and your mobile service provider you may be able to extend your plan to cover mobile roaming at reasonable rates.

Keep your primary SIM

With the amount of accounts we all have that require two factor authentication via SMS, keeping a constant number for these accounts is a must.

Community

There are several online communities and platforms that you can use to meet people while traveling, both for making new friends or for networking professionally. Some popular options include:

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups dedicated to connecting people while traveling, from expat groups and travel communities to groups specific to certain cities or regions of the country. You can search for groups based on your interests or location and connect with others who share similar interests.

Meetup

Meetup is a platform that allows you to find groups of people that share your interests in your local area. There are Meetup groups all around the world, and they cover a wide range of topics, such as language exchange, sports, and cultural activities.

Internations

Internations is a social network for people who live or work abroad. It has a large community of expats and organizes regular events, activities and gatherings that allow members to connect and socialize.

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing is a platform that connects travelers with local hosts, who offer free accommodation and a chance to experience the local culture. It's a great way to meet locals and make friends!

Reddit

Reddit has a large community, and there are several subreddits dedicated to connecting expats and travelers. You can use it to ask questions, get advice, and connect with others who are also living or traveling in the country.

Linkedin

LinkedIn is primarily a professional network, but you can also use it to connect with people who work in the same industry or have similar backgrounds. It can be useful to connect with people before you arrive and establish a few professional contacts to help you get started.

At WhereNext, we use Nomad List as a global community and then research more local ones for our destination. These are just a few examples of online communities you can use to meet people; please suggest any others that you think are appropriate for this destination.

Facebook Groups

Insurance

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It covers a wide range of needs--even some you might not expect!

Medical Coverage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include coverage for doctor visits, hospital stays, and emergency medical transportation. It's also a good idea to ensure that your travel insurance covers COVID-19 related illness and delays!

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Travel insurance can provide coverage if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected events such as illness, weather, or travel bans. It can also provide coverage if your trip is delayed or if your travel provider goes out of business.

Lost or Stolen Luggage

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or stolen luggage, as well as personal items such as passports and electronic devices.

Emergency Assistance and Evacuation

Many travel insurance plans offer emergency assistance services, such as providing information on local hospitals and doctors, assistance with replacing lost or stolen documents, and help with arranging transportation in the event of an emergency. At WhereNext we have partnered with Global Rescue for evacuation services, which are highly recommended if you are undertaking dangerous activities or are travelling to dangerous parts of the world.

Liability coverage

Travel insurance can also provide liability coverage in case you cause an accident or harm someone while you are traveling.

Travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind for travellers in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies. It can help cover the costs of medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, and more. It's always a good idea to review the coverage and compare the different options available before making a decision. At WhereNext we both use and have partnered with Safety Wing for general travel insurance.

Entry Requirements

Here are some general travel tips regarding entry requirements that apply across all countries:

Passport

Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your arrival in the country you are visiting. Some countries will not allow you to enter if your passport is set to expire within a certain period of time.

Visa

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if you need a visa. Some countries require a visa for entry, while others do not. Make sure to apply for a visa well in advance of your trip as the process can take several weeks. Check the latest Visa requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Health Requirements and COVID-19 Rules

Check with the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to see if there are any health requirements for entry. Some countries require vaccinations or proof of medical insurance. Check the latest health requirements and if necessary get an online Visa with our partner iVisa.

Travel Insurance

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you are traveling internationally. Travel insurance can cover you in the event of trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unexpected events. Our travel insurance partner is SafetyWing. For dangerous activities and/or countries consider a rescue service like those offered by our partner, Global Rescue.

Customs

Be familiar with the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Some countries have strict laws regarding drug possession, alcohol consumption, and dress codes.

Currency

Check the currency exchange rate and make sure you have enough local currency for your trip. Some countries may not accept credit cards or travelers cheques, so it is always good to have some cash on hand. At WhereNext we recommend use a Wise debit card, which provides low cost currency conversions and ATM withdrawals.

Research the country

Research about the culture, customs and laws of the country you are visiting. It will help you to understand the place more and also prepare you better for the trip.

Contact Information

Make a copy of your passport and keep it in a separate place from your passport. Also, leave a copy of your itinerary and contact information with a friend or family member at home.

COVID Status

I am vaccinated 
Japan Closed
Test
Required
Quarantine
Not required

Check Visa Requirements

      Things to Do

      Japan, an island country in East Asia, is a land of contrasts and diversity, with a rich culture and history, a vibrant modern society and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. From its bustling cities to its tranquil countryside, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Japan. Here are the top 10 things to do in Japan that should not be missed:

      1. Explore the Streets of Tokyo

      Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world, with a unique blend of traditional and modern culture. Visitors can explore the city's bustling streets, colorful markets, and impressive temples and shrines.

      2. Visit Kyoto

      Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, is known for its beautiful temples, shrines, and gardens. Visitors can explore the city's many historical sites and learn about the culture and history of Japan.

      3. Visit Mount Fuji

      Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the most iconic symbols of the country. Visitors can take a day trip to see the mountain and hike to the summit (during the climbing season) or enjoy the views from a nearby town or lake.

      4. Visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Miyajima Island

      Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a powerful reminder of the devastating effects of nuclear war. Visitors can also take a ferry to the nearby Miyajima Island to see the famous floating torii gate and visit the Itsukushima Shrine.

      5. Take a dip in a hot spring (Onsen)

      Japan is known for its hot springs or Onsens, which are found all over the country. Visitors can take a dip in one of these natural hot springs and enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic benefits.

      6. Visit the Nikko National Park

      The Nikko National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the most beautiful and historic temples and shrines in Japan. Visitors can explore the park's many temples, shrines and waterfalls, and see the diverse wildlife.

      7. Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market

      The Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the largest and most famous fish markets in the world, and offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture and cuisine. Visitors can see the wide variety of seafood on offer and sample some of the freshest sushi in the world.

      8. Explore the Castles of Hiroshima

      Hiroshima is home to several impressive castles, such as Hiroshima Castle and Iwakuni Castle, which offer a glimpse into the history and culture of Japan. Visitors can explore the castles' grounds, see the exhibitions and learn about the samurai warriors who once lived there.

      9. Visit the Gion District

      The Gion District is a historic neighborhood in Kyoto known for its traditional machiya houses, geisha culture and teahouses. Visitors can explore the district's narrow streets, visit the teahouses, and catch a glimpse of geisha on their way to appointments.

      10. Enjoy the Cherry blossoms

      Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms, which are in full bloom in spring. Visitors can take a walk under the pink and white blossoms, and enjoy the beautiful scenery in parks and gardens around the country, particularly in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.

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