General Information

  • About Japan

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Japan is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with a population of 127 million. Major religions include Shinto and Buddhism. The time zone is UTC+9, internet TLD is .jp and the main language is, of course, Japanese.

Visas & Immigration

Australians and New Zealanders can travel for 90 days in Japan under the VISA waiver program. For more information on Japan’s VISA and Immigration regulations please go to the bottom of this page to find our “Useful Links” section. 

Geography

Japan has four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. It also has over 4,000 other, smaller islands. The biggest island is Honshu and contains Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Kobe and other major cities.

Electricity

Voltage in Japan is 100 volts with 50 hertz frequency in eastern Japan and 60 hertz in western Japan.  

Calling Code

Japan’s international calling code is +81.

Time

Japanese standard time is GMT +9.

Currency

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. Currency exchange is available at major banks and exchange bureaus can be found throughout Tokyo. Please check for the most current rates but as of November, 2012 AUD$1 = ¥85. A local beer costs around ¥400 but can be more in major cities.

Public Telephones

Public phones accept 10 and 100 yen coins or magnetic prepaid cards.  Emergency numbers include 110 for police, 119 for ambulance/fire.

Public Restrooms

There are two types of restrooms in Japan which offer either traditional Japanese-style squat toilets or Western-style. Many modern restrooms will include both types although visitors to the countryside will often find only the traditional type is available.

Credit Cards

Credit cards accepted at most hotels, department stores, duty free shops and restaurants although in the countryside it’s a better idea to rely on cash.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary in Japan.

Security

Japan is an extremely safe country with an extremely low crime rate. Even so, it’s still wise to make sure that you take care of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.

National Holidays

Jan 1      New Year’s Day
Jan 2      New Year’s Day
Jan 2      Bank Holiday     
Jan 3      Bank Holiday     
Jan 9      Coming of Age Day         
Feb 11   National Foundation Day             
Mar 3    Dolls’ Festival/Girls’ Festival         
Mar 20  March equinox
Mar 20  Spring Equinox 
Apr 29   Shōwa Day         
May 3    Constitution Memorial Day         
May 4    Greenery Day   
May 5    Children’s Day  
Jul 7       Star Festival       
Jul 17     Sea Day
Aug 11  Mountain Day  
Sep 18   Respect for the Aged Day           
Sep 22   September equinox      
Sep 23   Autumn Equinox             
Oct 9      Sports Day         
Nov 3    Friday    Culture Day       
Nov 15  7-5-3 Day            
Nov 23  Labor Thanksgiving Day
Dec 21   December Solstice         
Dec 23   Emperor’s Birthday        
Dec 25   Christmas           
Dec 31   Bank Holiday

Useful Sites

Japanese Embassy in Australia 
Australian Government’s Travel Advice for Japan
Japanese Immigration Bureau
Japan Customs
List of Prohibited Items by Japan Customs
Japan-accessible NPO Japan Accessible Tourism Center