Japan Travel Guide
Home / Japan /

Japan Travel Guide

Japan, located in East Asia, consists of four home islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, and many offshore islands around. It has typical marine climate, with four distinct seasons. This is a country where historical remains and modern elements coexist, making it mysterious and alluring. The historical temples or shrines, cherry blossoms, fine cuisine, unique culture are the highlights there. Kanto region centered on Tokyo and Kansai region centered on Osaka are the most popular travel destinations. It usually needs 5-10 days to visit Japan and the best visit time is March-May and October-November. 
 

Japan in General

 Location: East Asia
 Area: 377,835 km² (145,883 sq. mi)
 Language: Japanese
 Currency: Japanese yen (JPY)
 Time zone: UTC+9
 Administrative division: Hokkaido, Tohoku, Chubu, Kanto, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, and last, Kyushu and Okinawa; including Tokyo Metropolis, Hokkaido, Osaka-fu, Kyoto-fu, and 43 kens, 47 prefectures in total
 Popular regions: Kanto, Kansai, Hokkaido
 Highlights: Mount Fuji, oriental cherry blossom, geisha, historical heritages, local cuisine, onsen bathing
 Recommended days for a visit: 5-10 days
 Best time to visit: March-May & October-November; for Hokkaido, winter from December-February is the best time
 

Recommended Itineraries and Sightseeing Plans

 If you have only a short period, 2-3 days, in Japan, it’s advised to travel around Tokyo merely. You may spend 1 day visiting the highlights in the city, including historical sites such as Senso-ji Temple and Meiji Shrine, or modern business districts like Shibuya, and Ginza. A day tour to surrounding areas is also recommended. In addition to the must-see Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, Yokohama, and Nikko are also popular destinations.
 Memorable Japan Tour in Tokyo and Surroundings from $1659
 
 If you land in Osaka and have 2-3 days, you may visit Osaka at first and then continue to sightsee in Kyoto. In Osaka, the best-known attractions include Osaka Castle and Dotonbori. If interested, Universal Studios may need a whole day. Kyoto is rich in historical relics, which seems to take you back to the ancient times.
 Osaka Private Package with Kyoto, Arima Onsen Town and Kobe from $4459
 
 If you have 6-7 days in Japan, the classical tour can be considered: Tokyo-Kyoto-Nara-Osaka, which includes both Kanto and Kansai. 
 6 Days Best Private Tour of Tokyo - Mt. Fuji - Kyoto from $1889

 With more than 10 days, you may go on an in-depth trip in Japan, adding more destinations to the above classical route. The mountain area in central Japan (Takayama & Shirakawa-go), Chubu city of Nagoya, western Hiroshima, Kyushu, or Hokkaido in the north are the popular options.
 10 Days Panoramic Japan Tour from $3259
 

Hot Destinations & Top Things to Do

 Tokyo: Senso-ji Temple, Meiji Shrine, Tokyo Tower, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Disney Resort, Ginza
 Mt. Fuji: Lake Kawaguchi, Arakurayama Sengen Park, Lake Ashi, Hakone Onsen
 Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Gion, Kinkaku-ji Temple, Nijo Castle, Arashiyama
 Osaka: Osaka Castle Park, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Dotonbori
 Nara: Nara Park, Todai-ji Temple
 Hiroshima: Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Itsukushima Shrine
 Hokkaido: Mount Hakodate, Sapporo Odori Park, Sapporo Kokusai Skiing Resort, Otaru Canal, Lake Toya

 See also Discover Top 18 Things to Do in Japan
 

Entry Rules & Travel Tips

Visa

Passport holders from 68 countries and regions can visit Japan without a visa, including most countries in Europe, Canada and United States in North America, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, Lesotho, Mauritius and Tunisia in Africa, Israel, Turkey and United Arab Emirates in Middle East, Argentina, Bahamas, Chile, etc. in Latin America, and Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, etc. in Asia.
 
If a visa is required for your travel to Japan, prepare valid passport, application form with your recent photo, and document to prove your financial capability (valid international credit card, assets certification, or employment certificate letter with the bank account statement) for the application. Other necessary documents include those of your household register and family relation. You could apply for the visa at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country.
 

Currency Exchange

The Japanese currency is yen (JPY). It is stipulated that a visitor could take cash no more than JPY 1 million (about USD 7,272) when entering Japan. Generally, the airports in Japan provide currency exchange service, but there is a commission charge. Major banks in Japan, such as Mizuho Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG), and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), are in service of exchanging cashes as well. Although some small branches may not offer such service, those at airports and nearby attractions could satisfy your need in general.
 
Besides, you can withdraw Japanese cash via ATM machines, but be sure it’s an international ATM machine and your bank card could be read by the machine. You can also find a 7-Eleven convenience store, which has an ATM machine usually. However, 7-Eleven would charge you a service fee of JPY 110 (USD 0.8).
 
For the exchange rates, JPY 1,000 ≈ USD 7.3, EUR 6.9, or GBP 6.2. These rates change from time to time, and those mentioned above are for reference only.
 

Internet

There are many public WiFi accesses in Japan. In addition, tourist SIM card is practicable for tourists to get connected to the Internet. NTT docomo, au, SoftBank, and more operators have launched multiple tourist SIM cards, with different quantities of data traffic and different days. You may select that one most suitable for your Japan tour. Moreover, rental pocket WiFi router is a nice option, if it is a family tour with multiple users.
 

Other Travel Tips

Here are some other matters needing attention when your travel in Japan:
 1. Do not bargain in Japan.
 2. Tipping is unnecessary when having a meal, shopping, taking a taxi, or in any other occasions.
 3. The voltage in Japan is 110V, with a frequency of 50/60Hz. The sockets are made with two vertical flat ones or added with a round one. Thus, a plug converter and a voltage adapter may be needed.
 4. Take off shoes when getting into a Japanese house or even the hotel room, especially a traditional one.
 5. Japan has a strict waste sorting system, and some articles for use are produced with a label to declare what type of waste it would be. Please sort the waste carefully and throw them to the corresponding trashes.

Most regions in Japan is dominated by temperate maritime monsoon climate, which sees a high humidity throughout the year. Cold monsoon from the northwest make Japan’s winter (generally December to February) pretty frigid, while the warm southeast monsoon brings the muggy summer (June to August). Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are mild in Japan. Hokkaido in the northernmost part of Japan has lower temperature; it turns to be an ice world in winter and a great destination for snow fun. Okinawa, islands in the southernmost of Japan, is popular for superb beaches with warmer weather.
 
The best time to visit Japan falls in spring and autumn months. In addition to pleasant weather, it’s also because of the cherry blossoms and fall foliage.
 
Some seasonal events in Japan also catch visitors’ eyes, such as winter illuminations, summer fireworks, and festival celebrations.

 See more about  Tokyo Weather     Osaka Weather     Kyoto Weather     Nara Weather     Hiroshima Weather     Mount Fuji Weather
 

Japan’s developed transportation system is integrated with airlines, Shinkansen – bullet trains, ordinary trains, long-distance bus, and more urban vehicles. For shuttling between two cities, Shinkansen is the first choice for its high speed and affordable fare. A flight is the fastest way, while ordinary train takes a long time but costs less. Long-distance bus is great to go around a metropolis, however, it’s not worthwhile to travel between big cities for an excessive sitting journey at higher price.
 
In a city, subway, city bus, and taxi are easily available, to send you to any attraction and anywhere. Subway lines connect the main sites in the city, and buses owns more densely scattered stops. Taxi is probably the most extravagant transportation mode in Japan, because of the high fare, but the most flexible, too. 
 

Food and Snacks

Japanese cuisine is welcomed all over the world. Sushi is the most widespread. Tsukiji Jogaii Market in Tokyo is a busy place for seafood as well as sushi, and you could also find higher-end sushi in Shibuya, Ginza, and more business districts in Tokyo. Takoyaki, or known as octopus balls, is popular in Osaka, as well as okonomiyaki. Dotonbori, Shinsakbashi, Shinsekai, etc. are all perfect for foodies in Osaka.
 
Kaiseki cuisine in Kyoto, Seafood ramen in Hakodate, grilled eel rice in Nagoya, Sanuki Udon Noodles, etc. are all featured food locally. Tempura, gyoza, daifuku, dango, taiyaki, matcha, and more tasteful Japanese snacks can also be found in the food streets. Izakaya, a kind of traditional Japanese pub, serves food with sake; it’s stunning to probe into Japanese food culture, sake tasting, and nightlife.
- Last updated on Apr. 14, 2023 by Nancy He -