Japan useful information for your travel

Below you will find some interesting details about Japan, that can be useful for your travel.

Area : 377,829 sq km (145,877 sq miles)

Population: 127,960,000 (2011 estimate)

Population Density : 337,1 per sq km

Capital : Tokyo

Time : GMT + 9

Electricity : 100 volts AC, 60Hz in the west (Osaka), 50Hz in the east and Tokyo. Flat 2-pin plugs.

Official language : Japanese. Some English is spoken in major cities.

Religion : Shintoism and Buddhism (most Japanese follow both of these religions) with a Christian minority.

Climate : the weather is a favourite topic of conversation in Japan. This is not a surprise given the complexity of the climate in a country spanning 20 degrees of latitude.

From the harsh winters and mild summers of Hokkaido to the sub-tropical Okinawan climate there is a great variety in Japanese weather. Even in the same city both extremes of weather can be experienced in a year : Sapporo in Hokkaido can experience temperatures of – 10 in the winter but heat waves of 30 degrees in the summer are not a rare occurrence.

On the mainland, summer temperatures are generally between 20 and 30 degree centigrade. In the early part of summer (mid-June to mid-July) there is a rainy season lasting a few weeks, this is however broken up by days of fine weather. Rains come again in late summer thanks to typhoons, although these usually blow over in a day.

Japan detailed Map

Telephone / Fax: full international direct dial service. Country Code: 81. For outgoing international calls dial either 001 010 (KDD) or 0033 010 (NTT) followed by the country code and then omit the first 0 from the telephone number. You need an international telephone card to make calls from certain public call boxes (regular telephone cards can not be used to make international calls).

Post : Tokyo Central Post Office has some English-speaking staff, it is located in front of Tokyo Station. Osaka central post office is located next to Osaka station. Airmail to Europe takes four to six days to arrive. All main post offices have Poste Restante and will hold mail for up to ten days. Post office hours : 0900-1700 Monday to Friday, 0900-1200 on Saturdays. Tokyo Central Post Office is open weekdays until 1900 and Saturdays until 1700.

Press: English language newspapers are available in most cities, they include The Daily Yomiuri, The Asahi Evening News, The Japan Times and The Mainichi Daily News.

Mobile Phones : there is a lot of confusion surrounding the use of overseas mobile phones in Japan. The mobile network in Japan works on a different system to the rest of the World and until recently no overseas mobile phones would work. However, with the advent of 3G phones this has changed. The rule is basically this: if you have a 3G handset it will work. If you do not have a 3G handset it will not.

 

Health and safety : although Japan is a clean and relatively safe country it is always advisable to take out Travel Insurance for the duration of your stay.

Currency : the Japanese unit of currency is the Yen. You can change your money at the airport, at most banks and at post offices. They should have the current rates of exchange clearly on display. You will need your passport handy when you want to change some money.

Travellers Cheques can be exchanged at most major banks, larger hotels and some duty free shops. You may avoid some commission by using yen-denominated Travellers Cheques.

Credit Cards : credit cards and debit cards of the major issuers (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, JCB, Diners) are becoming increasingly accepted in the major cities. However they are not used as much as in western countries. At a supermarket there may only be one till where you can pay with plastic and more often than not you will not be able to use a credit card.

Avoid cash machines at banks as these do not normally accept foreign-issued cards. Instead use the Post Office cash machines or ATMs at branches of the Seven Eleven convenience store from which you will be able to take out money using Visa cards, Cirrus or Maestro. You will need a 4 digit PIN number to do this.

Emergencies : Police: dial 110 Fire / Ambulance: dial 119
You should be able to make yourself understood in simple English.

Japan Helpline : 0120 461 997 (for emergency advice in English 24hrs).

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