Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,944 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of 6,852 islands, including four of the large main islands.
Japan's population is over 126 million. Most Japanese reside in densely populated urban areas. Japan's capital city is Tokyo. The population of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area including the city, some of its suburbs and the surrounding area is approximately 12 million.
The Japanese are not in the habit of taking long periods of annual leave. However there are 16 national, government-recognised public holidays per year. These public holidays in Japan mean that particular short periods are extremely busy with people travelling to be with family, or taking part in communal festivities. The period at the beginning of May when several public holidays fall on consecutive days is know as "Golden Week". This holiday period is particularly busy and it is a good idea to avoid travelling during this period, if possible.
Please note that although Japan has a fair amount of national holidays, this usually does not mean that shops will be closed. Most of the time, you will be able to find plenty of shops and restaurants that are open. The only exception to this is New Year's Day when everything shuts down. Do note, however, that government institutions, banks and post offices (including bank and post office ATMs!) are closed for public holidays.
|Date||The Holiday's Name|
|1 January||New Year's Day (Gantan)|
|2nd Monday in January||Coming of Age Day|
|11 February||National Foundation Day|
|23 February||Emperor's Birthday|
|20 March||Vernal Equinox Day|
|29 April||Showa Day|
|3 May||Constitution Memorial Day|
|4 May||Green Day|
|5 May||Children's Day|
|3rd Monday in July||Maritime Day|
|3rd Monday in September||Respect for the Aged Day|
|23 September||Autumn Equinox Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Health Sports Day|
|3 November||Culture Day|
|23 November||Labour Thanks-Giving Day|
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not need a visa to enter Japan for a holiday as these countries have Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements.
At immigration, Australian and New Zealand passport holders will be issued with a "Temporary Visitor" entry status stamp, which allows them to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities such as sightseeing, participating in amateur sports, visiting relatives, taking inspection tours, participating in lectures or research, attending conferences, making business contacts or other similar activities.
Passports must remain valid for the duration of stay in Japan.
Nationals of countries that do not have "Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements" with Japan must obtain a visa.
Please direct all visa-related enquiries to the Consulate-General of Japan in your nearest city.
The plum blossom is a good sign that the cold winter will soon end and spring is just around the corner, followed by the cherry blossom at its best in the Tokyo area between the end of March and the beginning of April to bring this beautiful season to a climax.
Splendid views of mountains, fields and gardens all blanketed in gentle pink abound in this season.
Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.
The Japanese summer begins in June with a three to four week rainy season. This is an important time for farmers to plant rice.
It becomes seriously hot and humid from July onward and many Japanese enjoy bathing in the sea and relaxing at cool resorts in mountainous areas.
Summer is when many interesting festivals and other events are held all over the country.
Clothing: light clothes (cardigans and other similar kinds are handy, since indoors are mostly air-conditioned.)
Autumn always brings such freshness with a light breeze and cool temperature after the hot and humid summer.
All forests are dyed in glorious autumn colors. Chrysanthemums create beautiful displays with their abundance of flowers to enchant visitors to parks and gardens.
Autumn is also the season for many exhibitions, music concerts and sports tournaments in Japan.
Clothing: light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.
The temperature rarely drops below 0℃ in the plains along the Pacific coast during wintertime.
It is also quite dry and very often sunny.
Central Japan and Northern Japan are highly reputed regions for winter sports.
Southern Japan is comparatively mild and pleasant in winter.
Clothing: overcoats, sweaters, etc.
Please ensure that you are fully aware of all passport and visa requirements for your destination and that you allow adequate time to obtain them. Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the actual departure from the country.
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 (including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka).
Australian appliances can be used in Japan as long as they have a travel adapter, which can be purchased at airports or in the travel section of department stores.
A 2-flat-pin plugs are used in Japan.
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.
Japan is a tip free country and you do not have to tip chambermaid, taxi drivers, or hotel or restaurant personnel.
Japanese standard time is GMT +9.
The Japanese currency is the Yen. With notes in ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 denominations and coins either ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500. 1 Aussie Dollar = 80 Yen (as of Aug 2018). 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.
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.
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.
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.
Emergency numbers include 110 for police, 119 for ambulance/fire.
Please visit a website of Japan National Tourist Organisation (JNTO). They provide all information what the travellers need.
JNTO also offers tourist's language handbooks in English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Korean, French, and Thai. Please feel free to download and use them.
There is also a handbook filled with simple Japanese words and expressions at the website below.
TOURIST'S LANGUAGE HANDBOOK