Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the Japanese Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. Securing required documents is the responsibility of the traveler. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
Currency used is Yen. Japan is fundamentally a cash society. Although most stores and hotels serving foreign customers take credit cards. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates. Not all ATM accept foreign cards, the Post Office mostly have extremely efficient ATMs.
Voltage in Japan is 100v/50Hz. America's electrical currents are 120 V at 60 Hz, with a type A or B socket, so you'll need a converter and an adapter.
Wireless and wired Internet access is widely available throughout Japan. Many of the hotels we use offer this service free or at a small charge. There are also Internet cafés in main cities that allow you access, usually for a small charge.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. International phone charges from pay phones can be usually high; third party phone cards are reasonable alternative. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
Global VAT Refund for European Countries: VAT is Value Added Tax and is included in the price of goods in European Union countries. Non-European Union residents may qualify for a refund of part of the VAT portion of purchases made in Europe. Note that only participating outlets displaying the Global Refund logo qualify and minimum purchase values apply. As they are quite complex, it is impossible to fully outline the rules of each country here. Please check with participating outlets, or visit the website www.globalrefund.com
Tipping effectively does not exist in Japan, and attempting to offer tips can often be seen as an insult. With that said, some restaurants do add a 10% service charge, and family restaurants may add a 10% late-night charge after midnight.
Japan has one of the world's best transport systems, and getting around is usually a breeze, with the train being the favored for most locations. Although traveling around Japan is expensive, there are a variety of passes for foreigner visits that can make travel more affordable. Traveling from city to city in Japan is easily done by train or bus.
First and foremost: wear shoes that you can slip off easily, as you may be doing this several times a day. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. Don't forget to pack swimwear and a swimming cap.