Nemophila & Kochia at Hitachi Seaside Park Nemophila & Kochia at Hitachi Seaside Park

First-Time Visitor Info

Smooth your way with a little forward planning

It is easy to feel a little overwhelmed and disoriented when you visit Japan for the first time, so find out the basics before you fly and get acquainted with the country through our helping you plan guide.


Learn a little more about Japan's customs, culture and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as its seasonal weather, geography and luggage delivery options. Many of the questions first-time travelers might have are answered here, along with insider tips and practical advice to help you navigate the country with confidence.

  • Language

    Japan's official language is Japanese, but English is generally understood in major cities and designated tourist sites.

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  • Timezone

    All of Japan sits within the same time zone, and no daylight saving is practiced. The country is nine hours ahead of GMT.

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  • Wi-Fi & Connectivity

    Wireless hotspots are popping up all over major cities in Japan, so you should never be too far from a Wi-Fi connection.

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  • Plugs & Electricity

    Japan uses two flat parallel prong plugs. For guaranteed charging of your electrical necessities, purchase a plug adapter beforehand.

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  • Currency

    The Japanese yen is used throughout the country and you can exchange foreign currency at the airports and most major banks.

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  • Tax-Free Shopping

    Visitors to Japan are eligible for tax exemption on many consumer goods. The process of receiving your tax back can vary from store to store.

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    Tax-free Shopping
  • Tipping

    Tipping is not practiced in Japan. In fact, it can cause discomfort and confusion if you do. A service charge is generally added on to the final bill in restaurants.

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  • Credit Cards

    Even though Japan is a cash-centric country, credit cards are usually accepted in most shops, restaurants and taxis in major cities.

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    Credit card
  • Weather (When to Visit)

    The weather in Japan can vary wildly depending on where you are traveling to. Find out the best times to visit and what to pack.

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  • Visa Information

    Travelers from 68 countries across the globe can visit Japan for up to 90 days without requiring a visa.

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    Visa Information
  • International Tourist Tax

    Visitors to Japan pay a 1,000 yen departure tax to expand and enhance the country’s tourist infrastructure—a small tax that will make a significant difference.

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    Domestic Air Travel
  • Japan Visitor Hotline

    Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) operates a visitor hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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  • Custom & Duty

    The Japan Customs official page is your most trustworthy source to answer any questions or queries related to Japanese customs and duty.

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    Visa Information
  • IC Travel Cards

    Make your journeys as smooth as the public transportation you will ride on by purchasing a chargeable IC travel card.

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  • Drinking Water

    While bottled water is readily available all over Japan—including in the infinite vending machines—the tap water is perfectly safe to drink.

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    Safe Drinking Water
  • Luggage Storage & Delivery

    If you don't wish to haul your luggage around with you, drop your bags and cases off at the delivery service kiosks located at the airports.

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    Luggage Delivery
  • Tips for Budget Travels

    To stretch your yen as far as possible, research into discounted travel and accommodation, as well as eating options that won't break the bank.

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    Tips for Budget Travels
  • Staying Safe in Japan

    If you do find yourself in a situation that requires serious help, dial 110 for an urgent call to the police and 119 for fire or ambulance.

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  • Embassies

    Your embassy is there to help and support you if you should need it. Make sure you know how to get in touch.

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    Visa Information
  • Customs & Manners

    Following a general travelers code of respect for the people you meet and places you visit will stand you in good stead.

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    Customs & Manners
  • Local Laws

    Make sure you are aware of the local laws in Japan as ignorance is not accepted as a valid line of defense.

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    Local Laws
  • Business Hours & Holidays

    Avoid closed doors and fully-booked hotels by finding out the Japanese business hours for major businesses, services, and facilities, and the dates of the major holidays.

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  • Useful Apps

    Download a selection of apps to make your trip to Japan run even smoother. Choose from a list of all-round, navigation, sightseeing and accommodation applications.

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    Useful Apps
  • Postal Services

    Instead of just an email, send a postcard back home to let friends and family know about your Japanese adventure.

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    Postal Services
  • Telephone Calls

    While modern technology enables you to connect with friends and family around the world from the palm of your hand, there still might be times when you need to make use of public telephones.

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  • Online Reservation Sites

    Book your stay in Japan through one of these useful sites offering a wide range of accommodation options.

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    Online Reservation Sites
  • Traveling With a Disability

    At major train stations, airports, and hotels, as well as in most newer shopping centers and theaters in the city, the disabled traveler or wheelchair user should have little trouble getting from place to place.

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    Traveling With a Disability
  • Traveling With Children

    Traveling to Japan with children may seem like a daunting prospect and something best avoided, however, the country is surprisingly accessible.

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    Traveling With Children
  • Muslim Travelers

    Japan continues to enhance its hospitality for Muslim travelers through the introduction of Muslim-friendly facilities.

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    Muslim Travelers