1. Japan's Public Holidays

DateThe Holiday's Name
1 JanuaryNew Year's Day (Gantan)
2nd Monday in JanuaryComing of Age Day
11 FebruaryNational Foundation Day
21 MarchVernal Equinox Day
29 AprilShowa Day
3 MayConstitution Memorial Day
4 MayGreen Day
5 MayChildren's Day
3rd Monday in JulyMaritime Day
3rd Monday in SeptemberRespect for the Aged Day
23 SeptemberAutumn Equinox Day
2nd Monday in OctoberHealth Sports Day
3 NovemberCulture Day
23 NovemberLabour Thanks-Giving Day
23 DecemberEmperor's Birthday

2. Passports & Visas

Visas A valid passport is required for entry into Japan and Australian passport holders do not require a visa for stays within 90 days.

Please note: It is important to double-check your visa requirements with the embassy of Japan / consular office as visa regulations may have changed.

3. Climate

Japan has four distinct seasons. The most scenic and colourful times to travel are April/ May for the cherry blossoms, and October/ November for the autumn colours. Summer can be hot and humid, especially in July and August, while winter is chilly and crisp with snowfalls in northern Japan and the Central Alps. The rainy season extends from mid-June to mid-July with the humidity increasing during this period.

4. Electricity

Japan Plug The voltage used throughout Japan is uniformly 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use; 50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan. A convertible type of electrical appliance such as a hair dryer, travel iron and shaver will therefore be handy; otherwise a step-down transformer is required to convert the voltage. There are no columnar-shaped plugs or 3-pin plugs used in Japan but 2-flat-pin plugs are used instead. It is therefore advised to purchase a plug adapter beforehand.

5. Safety

Koban Japan is extremely safe, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. You can walk on the streets and not be afraid. The country is also hospitable, clean, prompt, polite, efficient, friendly, and you can drink the tap water. In regard to safety, many foreigners have wonderful stories of returned lost wallets. Hopefully, you will not have to report such an incident to the police, but if you do, you will find a "Koban" or Police Box at most train stations and major city intersections.

6. Cleanliness

Garbage can In regard to cleanliness, you will find that most cities in Japan do not have garbage cans along the streets. This is because the Japanese do not eat and walk at the same time. Therefore, they do not produce trash such as paper coffee mugs, ice cream cups, or chip bags, while strolling along a thoroughfare. If You have such trash, carry it with you until you find a garbage receptacle - usually at locations that sell such snack items or next to the ubiquitous vending machines. When you find the trash receptacles you will notice that there will be separate bins for regular trash vs. aluminium cans and glass bottles. Throw the recyclables in their appropriate slot.

7. Tipping

Japan is a tip free country and you do not have to tip chambermaid, taxi drivers, or hotel or restaurant personnel.

8. English Signage in Japan

English Signage Many foreigners worry about travelling around Japan on their own because they cannot read Japanese. This is not a problem, especially in the big cities. In Tokyo, most of the subway stations have signs in English and Japanese. Most trains even have onboard LCD displays indicating the upcoming stop in Japanese and in English. On the bullet trains, announcements will be made in Japanese and in English. In Kyoto, the buses even announce the stops in English and offer LCD displays. Finally, you will see a lot more English signs than you expect, just because the Japanese find it very trendy to use English in signs and brochures.

9. Currency

Currency The Japanese unit of currency is the Yen. 1 Aussie Dollar = 80 Yen (as of Jul ’12). You can change your money at most banks and post offices. They should have the current rates of exchange clearly on display. You will need your passport when you want to change money. You can get a cash advance at 12,000 ATM machines located at Seven Eleven convenience stores around Japan at any time using your ATM or credit cards.

Credit cards are accepted in most stores and services in Japan, but some cases, such as small shops and restaurants accept cash only. And you may need cash for buses, taxis, trains, and admission to some museums, sights, temples, and shrines.

10. Drinking Water

Tap water is safe to drink anywhere in Japan. Mineral water including major imported brands can be easily obtained from super markets, convenience stores and other similar places.

11. Hospitals

Medical systems and facilities in Japan are well established so that you can expect to receive a high standard medical treatment, should you have a problem with your health during your stay.

12. Emergency Telephone numbers

Please note that most organizations have English – speaking personnel.
Police : 110
Fire and Ambulance : 119

13. Public Telephones

If a public telephone displays an International and Domestic Telephone sign, direct overseas calls can be made. Though not widespread throughout Japan, they can be easily found at airports, hotels, and other key facilities. Direct calls can be made via a telephone company using the company’s access number.

Credit Card Calls
If a public telephone displays an International and Domestic Telephone sign, credit card calls can be made. Simply insert a 100 yen coin (returned when you finish the call) and input an access number.

14. City Information

TohokuAomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima
KantoIbaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa
ChubuNiigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Yamanashi, Nagano, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi
KinkiMie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama
ChugokuTottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi
ShikokuTokushima, Kagawa, Ehime, Kochi
KyushuFukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima

15. More Information

Please visit a website of Japan National Tourist Organisation (JNTO). They provide all information what the travellers need.

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