Japan Travellers Tips

FLYING TIME: From the UK is approx. 12 hours to Tokyo
TIME:GMT + 9
HEALTH: There are no requirements for UK travellers to provide certificates of vaccination.
VISAS: No visa is required for UK passport holders staying up to 6 months. Anyone staying longer than 6 months will have to apply for a visa through the relevant channels.
CURRENCY: The local currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY), most banks will change US dollars or pounds sterling if required.
ELECTRICITY: 100 volts is the standard current. However major hotels will have 2 outlets for both 110 and 220 volts for hair dryers, travel irons ex cetera.
MOBILE PHONES: UK mobiles will not work in Japan. However we are able to offer you rental phones at very competitive prices. Please call for further information.

INFORMATION:
Japan National Tourist Organisation
www.seejapan.co.uk
020 7734 9638

History
Even as Japan leads the way in the digital era, the Japanese have kept a firm hold on their history, their culture and their identity. Age-old tea ceremonies follow meticulous procedures to bring out the full flavour of the tea. Regular trips to onsen (hot springs) are a favourite past time, whilst traditional ryokan inns make for a special kind of stay. The intensely polite social mores also hark back to feudal times when samurai lived by the sword and by honour. Kimonos and yukatas, traditional robes, are a sight to behold, especially against serene temple backdrops, or during the fireworks festivals. But surely, the most rewarding vista is that of the illustrious Mount Fuji, the time-old icon of Japan that has watched over the Japanese constantly.

Culture
Be it the most miniscule gadget you’ve ever seen, or the latest fascinating cartoon that you watch secretly but never admit to in public, Japan has us all, well and truly, hooked. Forever at the forefront of technological innovation, no one makes it like the Japanese do. Planes, trains and automobiles have all received the Japanese treatment and all things electronic seem to have their beginnings in Japan. The Bullet Train is one of the sleekest slickest and quickest rides this side of the planet and not to be missed. Oodles of the latest technological prizes sparkle invitingly, and all at a cut down cost. The Manga Mecca for otakus, Japan offers endless anime, manga and computer game shops, not to mention playful cosplay cafes where waitresses dress up as comic book characters. Anime fans will find the Manga Tour of the Ghibli Museum, and the recently opened Manga Museum in Kyoto to be the highlights of their trip.

Food
When we are not watching Japanese cartoons or busily engaged in levelling up to the next level on the newest Japanese game, we are out eating Japanese food. No town here in the UK is complete without a Japanese restaurant. Poised and refined, we nibble on delectable sushi, or, face down in the bowl, we hog ramen soup noodles with sounds of sumptuous smacking and slurping. But Japan has so much more on offer for the palate than just that. Fresh sashimi and genuine sushi galore await you so grab your chopsticks quick!

When to go?
As the country shares latitudes with Canada in the north and Morocco in the south, the climate is as varied as the culture. Each season brings its own distinct charms, with Springs perhaps the most striking. The beautiful cherry blossom begins to bloom in the lowlands of the south at the end of March, gradually spreading upwards until it envelopes the north by the beginning of May. This wave of blossom is celebrated throughout the land with a series of national holidays.

Summer begins with the rainy season in June, continuing with high temperatures and humidity throughout July and August. The cooler weather of autumn brings splendour in the vibrant colours of changing leaves, best seen in the national parts of Nikko and Hakone. Although the southern most regions of Japan enjoy mild or even wamer winter weather, for the rest of the coutry winter is crisp and cold. Hokkaido and the Japan Alps are ideal locations for indulging in a range of winter sports.

Language
More and more Japanese are becoming accustomed to dealing with foreigners. Making your way around isn't as daunting as you may have imagined, most train stations signs are in English as well as Japanese, and even the Bullet train announcements are in English, informing you of approaching stations.