Printable travel guide for Japan
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Japan that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Japan Page.

Basic Facts

Capital: Tokyo(pronounced with two long "o")
Population about 120,000,000
Telephone Code 0081
Time Zone standard +9
Area 377,835 sq km
Language(s) Japanese
Ethnic Groups Ainu(less than 1% of the total population), living in the North (minority)
Highest Mountain Fuji-San (3776m)
President/Head of State some politican
Government Constitutional Monarchy, with the world's oldest existing royal family
Independence since 660 B.C. by the first emperor Jimmu
Currency Yen
Exchange Rate US$1=105Yen EURO=140Yen
Health Risks travel bug
Electricity 110V, 60Hz (Tokyo) 50 Hz (Osaka)
Country Name in other languages Nihon or Nippon (Japanese)

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Tokyo is always worth a visit. The worlds largest city has a bit of everything...if you can afford it.

Maps

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Getting there and away, Getting around by
Air

Train
If you need to know how to get from Point A to Point B, what trains and what time, the cheapest and/or the fastest way, check out this website: http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/ - sueanne

Bus

Car

Motorcycle

Boat A good way to get to Japan is by boat from Vladivostok, Busan, Shanghai for instance. I took the boat from Shanghai. It wasn't very expensive but takes 48 hours. Spend the time learning Japanese basics, each word will be rewarded. Hot water is available, so you can live on noodles if you want. Viktoria
I took the boat from Korsakov (Sakhalin) to Wakkanai (Hokkaido). It was very expensive, but comfortable & only 6 hours. A can of beer costs 100 yen (tax-free). kenkenfujita
Hitchhiking

Bicycle ...

Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest. Hostels Hotels Camping Other Options Here are some of the budget options : 1. Business Hotels They offer a single room with futon (and maybe some rooms have TV set) and public bathrooms/toilets, some offers free breakfast, some don't. Price range from JPY2000-JPY3000 per night. 2. Internet Cafe Some of them offers "night package" of 5 or 10hours, price can drop up to JPY150 per hour (JPY1500 for 10-hour package). You are provided with pillow and blanket, computer with internet connection, tv set with dvd player and some game consoles (PS3, Nintendo, etc). Some provides free shower, but some charges a low fare for the shower room, free flow soft drink from the vending machine, and of course, extensive collections of comics and magazines (Japanese only) 3. Karaoke room As well as the internet cafes, karaoke rooms charges 'happy hour" packages for night-time usage, and even more cheaper (can be under JPY1000 for 8-hour usage), but you'll have to sleep on the couch, and they only have toilets (no shower rooms of course), with free soft drinks from the vending machine. November, 2010 kewpie1412 Indonesia

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties ...
Etiquette in Sushi restaurant the half of the story is true, rest half cheating lies

Money and Costs

Currency, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs... The usual misconception is that travelling in Japan is extremely expensive. This is not true. Mind you, Japan is a highly developed country, and so of course it is not as cheap as Thailand for instance, or as India or Brazil. But it's not more expensive than developed country in the West either: -- If you have not been able to find a place to stay for free (also check out www.globalfreeloaders.com and www.couchsurfing.com), you can find accommodation for ¥3,000-5,000 (~US$ 27-45). Options include capsule hotels [www.gojapan.about.com/cs/accommodation/a/tokyocapsule1.htm], minshukus [www.koyado.net/us/make.htm] and hostels [www.jyh.or.jp/english/index.html]. -- Have some soba or udon (noodle dishes) or donburi (a rice dish) for your meals (with a free glass of water or hot green tea!) for as little as ¥300-500 (~US$ 2.8-4.5), or get some of those sticky triangular rice balls (onigiri) with their delicious fillings from convenience stores for even less than that! And tipping is not common either; well, compare this with the 15-20% mandatory in the US! -- Public transport is cheaper than in most European countries; prices start from ¥130 (~US$ 1.1) and a day ticket for the Tokyo subway network would set you back ¥1,000 (~US$ 9.1). Have you ever checked out the London tube rates? -- Travelling by train is comparatively cheap if you get a Japan Rail Pass before you come to Japan (www.japanrailpass.net); these go for ¥28,300 (~US$ 260) for 7 days of unlimited travel on all lines (except the Nozomi Shinkansen Super Express), ¥45,100 (~US$ 410) for 14 days, and ¥57,700 (~US$ 520) for a 21-day pass. -- All the shrines and temples still in common use and many museums are free, others charge as little as ¥300-500 (~US$ 2.8-4.5). -- Public toilets grow on trees and are free of charge! So don't be misled and visit this great country! Sebastian (username: woseik)

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa? How to get it? Embassies & Consulates, of the country abroad and in the country.

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Hi check out my blog for Japan. www.ianclavis.blogspot.com

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas...

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

The Japanese can be quite shy at first, so even if they can speak English, they may simply pretend not to understand to avoid embarrassing themselves by making a mistake. Because of this, the language barrier may often be there so it's a great idea to master a few catch phrases in Japanese before you go.

A few useful phrases are as follows:
(feel free to correct this if anyone speaks Japanese!)
"Domo Arrigato" (domo are-ee-ga-toe) - "Thankyou"
"Sumimasen" (sue-me-ma-sen) - "Excuse me" (great to use on the train)
"Kore o kudasai" (kor-eh oh kud-a-sigh) - "I'd like this please" (when you are buying something)
"Eigo ga wakarimuska?" (eigo gah wa-ka-ri-mus-ka) - "Do you speak English?"
"Shashin toresete ita taki muska" (sha-shin toreh-set-eh it-ah tah-key-mus-ka) - "May I please take your photograph?"
"Hasijime muste" (hasj-im-ee mus-teh) - "Pleased to meet you!" (complete with a bow!)

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

Climate and When to Go

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

Japan Travel Guide (L)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan (L)

External Links

www.japan-guide.com - Provides much usefull information on sightseeing, getting around, costs, climate, traffic and many other travel matters!

Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link.

Offtopic Messages

Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club (but related to the country). Do you need a visa invitation? Looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent? Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly!
Disclaimer: The Hospitality Club has no control over the information above and accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone using this website. Please correct false information or send us feedback about it.
Copyright: Feel free to use the text on your website as long as you notify us and include a clearly visible link to www.hospitalityclub.org above the text.