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Japan country information

Japan map
State of Japan
Area: 337,873 sq km
Population: 127,433,494
Population density: 337 per sq km
Capital: Tokyo
Passport & Visa
Passport Required?
British Yes
Australian Yes
Canadian Yes
USA Yes
Other EU Yes
Visa Required?
British No/1
Australian No/2
Canadian No/3
USA No/2/4
Other EU No/1/2/3

Passports

Passport valid for the duration of intended stay in Japan required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Passport Note

(a) Whether or not they hold a visa, visitors who do not possess visible means of support for their stay, onward or return tickets, or other documents for their next destination, may be refused entry. (b) All foreign nationals now entering Japan will be photographed and have their fingerprints taken; nationals will also be subject to a short interview regarding their purpose of stay.

Visas

Not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:
(a) 1. nationals of Austria, Germany, Ireland and the UK who although initially granted a 90-day stay may apply, while in Japan, to the local immigration department for an extension of up to a further 90 days, making the visa-free stay up to six months;
(b) 2. nationals of Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovak Republic and the USA for stays of up to 90 days;
(c) 3. nationals of Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden for stays of up to three months.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa Note

4. Journalists from the USA must obtain a visa regardless of intended length of stay.
Getting there

Getting There by Air

The largest national airline is Japan Airlines (JAL) (website: www.jal.co.jp ).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Tokyo is 12 hours; from New York is 12 hours 30 minutes.

Main Airports

Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) (Narita City) (website: www.narita-airport.or.jp ) is 65km (40 miles) east of Tokyo (journey time - 1 hour 10 minutes). To/from the airport: Luxury coaches depart regularly from the airport to city-centre hotels. There is also a limousine bus to the Tokyo City Air Terminal (TCAT). A shuttle bus links the airport with major hotels in the city centre. Tickets for all services can be bought in the terminals. Japan Railways' reservation-only Narita Express line runs from Narita station terminal located beneath the airport to Tokyo station (journey time - 1 hour), Shinjuku (journey time - 1 hour 30 minutes) and Yokohama (journey time - 1 hour 45 minutes) regularly. There are taxis to the city, with a surcharge after (journey time - 1 hour). Travellers should note that these are five times as expensive as the trains. There is a free shuttle bus connecting both terminals (journey time - 10 minutes).
Facilities: Duty-free shops, bank/bureau de change, car hire, restaurants, tourist information centre in both terminals, post office, mobile phone and video camera hire and Internet facilities.
Departure Tax: 2040.

(Osaka) Kansai International (KIX) (Kansai) (website: www.kansai-airport.or.jp ) is 50km (31 miles) southwest of Osaka. To/from the airport: There is a bus to the city (journey time - 1 hour). The Nankai RR service goes to Namba station (journey time - 30 minutes). The JR West service goes to JR Osaka station (journey time - 1 hour 10 minutes). Taxis are available to the city (journey time - 1 hour); a surcharge may be imposed after 2200. It is also possible to take the jetfoil from Kansai Airport to Kobe's Port Island (journey time - 30 minutes).
Facilities: Duty-free shops, car hire, banks/bureaux de change, tourist information and bar/restaurant.
Departure Tax: 2650.

Central Japan International Airport (Centrair) (NGO) (website: www.centrair.jp/en ) is 35km (23 miles) south of Nagoya. To/from the airport: JR Tokai Bus Company operates frequent services between the airport and Nagoya station (journey time - about 45 minutes). Meitetsu bus services are also frequent and call at Sakae and several hotels in the city. Taxis are available. Meitetsu trains offer the fastest way of getting into town (journey time - 30 minutes).
Facilities: Car hire, bureaux de change, ATMs, bars, restaurants and shops.
Departure Tax: None
 
Fukuoka International (FUK) (website: www.fuk-ab.co.jp ) is 20 minutes' journey time from Fukuoka City.
Facilities: Outgoing duty-free shop, car hire, bank/bureau de change and bar/restaurant.
Departure Tax: 945.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Japan is easily accessible by sea, and passenger ships include the major ports on their schedules. Ferries operate daily from Osaka and Kobe to Shanghai (China) and weekly from Kobe to Tanggu (near Tianjin, China).

Note tour.tk: Ferry crossings to and from China

For Taiwan, ferries depart from Okinawa with Arimura Sangyo Lines.
To confirm sailing times in English, try online (tel: (98) 860 1980;
website: www.tokai-kyowa.co.jp).

The Shimonoseki-Busan ferry runs across the Sea of Japan to Korea (Rep).

Note tour.tk: Ferry crossings to and from Korea and Kampu Ferry services between Japan and Korea

Links to the Russian Federation include weekly services between Yokohama and Nakhoda (near Vladivostok). Alternatively, there is a twice-weekly service to Wakkanai in Hokkaido from Korsakov in the Russian Federation. There are cruises between the Japanese islands en route to Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Getting There by Rail

The Trans-Siberian route to Japan is an interesting and very well organised, if lengthy, trip. Connections can be made daily from London via Harwich or Dover through Europe to Moscow. The Trans-Siberian railway departs regularly from Moscow (see Russian Federation section). Among the many tour operators that organise tickets for this is The Russia Experience (website: www.trans-siberian.co.uk ).

Other useful links:
Nankai Ferry services to and from Wakayama and Tokushima
Setonaikaikisen and Ishizakikisen ferry service to and from Hiroshima / Matsuyama
Cycling & Maps

Japan Road Atlas
by Shobunsha Publications
scale: 1:250,000 / Hokkaido 1:600,000
Available in better Japanese bookshops (¥3000)

Very extensive road map of Japan. It has cities and towns in both Roman and Japanese script. The road representation is almost identical in actuality, which is pretty impressive. Only downfall of the book is that, even though it indicates mountain passes, there are no elevations...

   
  Japan Cycling Navigator for every cyclist travelling in Japan
e-Wadachi enjoy cycling and drinking around Japan
Kancycling Cycling in the Kansai (and other parts of Japan)
Cost of living
Japan: all prices in Japanese Yen (¥)
drinks food: local markets; restaurants; and stores

water
juice
soft drink (can)
soft drink (bottle)
soft drink (bottle)

2 litre
1 litre
350ml
500ml
1.5 litre
100- 200
200
120
150
260
bread ½ loaf-white
bread ½ loaf-whole gr.
4-6 slice
6-8 slice
160-200
300
bento lunch box
soba noodle box
udon noodle meal

per box
tray-supermarket
meal-restaurant

500-1000
300-500
500-1000

beer (can)

wine
300ml
500ml
750ml

205+
265+
600+

udon noodles (fresh)
soba noodles (dry)
rice

220g pack
400g pack
1kg

20- 80
170-250
600+
tea lipton yellow tip
coffee (can)
filter coffee
instant coffee
cornflakes
box of 50
200ml
400g
125g
375g
580
100-120
500
180
305
eggs
tofu
per 10
336g
200
156
corn oil
tinned tomatoes
tomatoes
500g
500g
kg
200
120
300

milk
yoghurt
cheese
phildelphia cheese
Magnum icecream

1 litre
500g
200g
250g
each

185
170
300-450
440
150
potatoes
onions
spinach
mushrooms-king oyster
bean sprouts

kg
kg
kg
200 - 250g
kg

200-300
400
210
80-200
200
rice crackers
chips
130-150g
56-65g
100-150
135
apples
oranges
bananas
pineapple (tin)
kg
kg
kg
500g
400
430
300
220
custard cream buns
chocolate (dark) biscuits (simple)
biscuits (cream)
5 piece
100g block
140g pack
2x95g packs
100-150
120
260
228
honey
peanut paste (skippy)
360g
340g
675
370
 
accommodation personal
budget city hostel
budget city hotel
2000-3850 per dorm bed
5000+ (single) with bathroom
deodorant roll-on
soap
shampoo
toothbrush
toothpaste
disposable razor
toilet paper
50ml
150g
200ml
each
140-150g
3 pack
4 roll pack
490
150
400
100-300
200-350
200-300
250
camping wild
campgrounds
you can camp wild everywhere
300 per person through to 2100 for a site with no showers
internet 500+

* tba = price to be announced
* January 2009: at time of writing 1.00 USD = 94.51 JPY
all prices have been taken from internet resources such as wikitravel, hostel world, leading supermarket chains, travel blogs, forums and of course our own travel experiences and purchases of everyday products in food markets, bazaars and local shopping facilities. They are only an indication and designed to give you a general impression of the cost of living in Japan. Items are geared towards the budget conscious traveller with an occasional craving for a bit of luxury.
Thank you to Nigel for helping us fill in this information

When in Japan, you will have a few options of getting your money out of your bank account. Most banks will only accept Japanese cards, but there is an exception: Japanese Post. And a very good one, because they have offices all over Japan, even in the tiniest of places. But beware: ATM's are not open all day every day... that may sound strange, but it is no fun when you are about to catch a ferry, to find out the ATM doesn't work on Sundays...(!) Usually they open at 9AM and close at 9PM, but the operating hours on Sunday entirely depends on the size of the branch.
Accommodation
Acommodation we used while in Japan (May 2008): (prices based on two people sharing)
We used below campsites, but otherwise we camped wild everywhere (at no cost), in parks and near rivers.
Star system explained: from 0 to ***** where 0 is a total disaster and ***** is luxurious (and out of our price range)
         
City / town: Name accommodation: Our experience: Price: Stars:
         
Ikegawa Ikegawa campground simple, but adequate -- **
Kamikochi Kamikochi campground beautiful setting, no showers ¥ 700 ***
Miyajima Miyajima campground gorgeous, bambi's all around ¥ 600 ***½
Nagaike Nagaike campground not too elaborate ¥ 2150 *

Useful link: Camping in Japan ! with several camp sites listed around the country
Food & drink
Bike shops
   
Fuchu,
T
okyo Pref.
Y's Road
5-42-3 Yotsuya, Fuchu, Tokyo
Tel. 042-352-3308
Website: www.ysroad.net/shops/fuchu.html
   
Fujisawa
Kanagawa Pref.

Marsh Bike Shop
252-0813 Fujisawa, Kanagawa 359-5 Kameino
Tel. 0466-43-8389
Fax 0466-43-8398
Website: www.marsh.co.jp

   
Isehara,
Kanagawa Pref.
C.H. Donkey Bikes
259-1131, Laputa 3-3-3 Isehara, Kanagawa, 1F
Tel. 0463-95-3841
Fax 0463-95-3842
Website: www.chdbikes.com
   
Ogata
Hiroshima Pref.
Ueki Cycle Sports
Ogata, 739-0623 Otake City, Hiroshima Prefecture, 1-25-6
Tel. 0827-57-7265
Fax 0827-57-7291
Website: www.bikeueki.com
   
Climate
climate chart Hiroshima Japan
climate chart Sapporo climate chart Tokyo Japan
Road distances
Detailed distance chart from our trip through Japan May/June 2008 (km/alti)
km
total km
Narita - Tokyo - Chino - Nagoya - Wakayama - Tokushima - Matsuyama - Hiroshima - Shimonoseki    
       
Narita airport Narita
9
Narita Chiba
24
35
Chiba Funabashi
19
54
Funabashi Ichikawa
6
60
Ichikawa Tokyo (central station)
20
80
       
Tokyo Fuchu
32
Fuchu Sagamiko
36
68
Sagamiko Doshi-mura
33
101
Doshi-mura top pass
13
114
top pass Yamanakako lake
8
122
Yamanakako lake Fujiyoshida
10
132
Fujiyoshida route 358 turn off (1000)
20
152
route 358 turn off Kofu (350)
28
180
Kofu Nirasaki (350)
12
192
Nirasaki Fujimi top (950)
33
225
Fujimi top Chino (790)
13
238
   
Chino Suwa (777)
6
Suwa Shiojiri pass (1012)
14
20
Shiojiri pass Shiojiri (700)
10
30
Shiojiri Hata intersection route 25/158 (680)
17
47
Hata Nagawado Dam (1000)
20
67
Nagawado Dam Kamikochi (1507)
22
89
Kamikochi Takayama (610)
47
136
Takayama Gero (400)
51
187
Gero Kanayama (271)
28
215
Kanayama Kina (150)
46
261
Kina Tajimi (154)
12
273
Tajimi Seto (120)
17
290
Seto Nagoya
20
310
   
Nagoya Kuwana
31
Kuwana Komono (70)
27
58
Komono Buhei pass (815)
13
71
Buhei pass Hino (191)
25
96
Hino Koka (182)
11
107
Koka Urajiro pass (359)
36
143
Urajiro pass Ujitawara (118)
10
153
Ujitawara Nagaike (Kyoto pref.)
12
165
Nagaike Nara
20
185
Nara Kashihara
23
208
Kashihara Gojo
45
253
Gojo Hashimoto
12
265
Hashimoto Wakayama ferry (to Tokushima)
52
317
   
Tokushima ferry terminal Kamiyama (135)
34
34
Kamiyama Minokoshi Pass (1406)
51
85
Minokoshi Pass Oboke (222)
45
130
Oboke Motoyama (274)
37
167
Motoyama Ikegawa (193)
52
219
Ikegawa Misaka Pass (720)
48
267
Misaka Pass Matsuyama
20
287
Matsuyama Kanko Ko ferry terminal (to Hiroshima)
21
308
   
Hiroshima ferry terminal Hatsukaichi ferry terminal (to Miyajima)
23
23
Hatsukaichi ferry terminal Miyajima Tsutsumigaura
4
27
Miyajima Iwakuni
24
51
Iwakuni Sugano Dam (300)
55
106
Sugano Dam Shunan
16
122
Shunan Ogori
49
171
Ogori Mine
29
200
Mine Kawatanaonsen
49
249
Kawatanaonsen Shimonoseki ferry terminal (to Korea)
26
275
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