Embassy of Japan in the UK 101-104 Piccadilly, London, W1J7JT Tel.::020 7465 6565 Fax.:020 7491 9328 Web.: www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp
British embassy in Tokyo, Japan No 1 Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8381, Tokyo Tel.:(+81)(3) 5211-1100 Fax.:(+81)(3) 5275-3164 Web.: www.ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk
General consulate of Japan in the UK (Edinburgh) 2 Melville Crescent Edinburgh EH3 7HW Tel.:+44(0) 131 225 4777 Fax.:+44(0) 131 225 4828 Web.: www.edinburgh.uk.emb- japan.go.jp
Embassy of Japan in Ireland Nutley Building, Merrion Centre, Nutley Lane, Dublin4 Tel.:01. 202 8300 Fax.:01.283 8726 (general) 01 202 8350 (cultural division) Web.: www.ie.emb-japan.go.jp
Cultural institute of Japan (Japan Foundation) Russel Square House, 10-12 Russel Square, London WC1B 5EH, U.K. Tel.:44-20-7436-6695 Fax.:44-20-7323-4888 Web.: www.jpf.go.jp
Japan is an insular state which is composed of 4 main islands and approximately 4000 smaller ones. The main islands are called (from North to South): Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku und Kyushu. Japan is located in the north pacific at the east coast of Asia and has a total surface of about 377.708km².
The country’s geography is characterized by its multifaceted coastlines, volcanic highlands and deep dales. Japan has a population of about 126 million people. 12 million of them live in Tokyo.
The health service of the foreign office advises as a suggestive immunization: protection of tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. On a longer stay (over 3 months) it is suggested to get a protection for hepatitis B, also. The medical care is comparable with the care in Europe. Everything is uncomplicated in the hygienic and technical area. In the big cities, there are German and English speaking medicals, otherwise the communication is difficult.
The proof of a passport that is valid up until 6 months after the stay is necessary at the entry for EU citizens, citizens of Liechtenstein and the Swiss because of tourist reasons.
A visa is not necessary if the stay is shorter than 6 months. At the entry or by leaving the country it is important to fill out an entry/departure card.
100 V, 50 Hz in the north of the Oi river (near Shizuoka), and 100 V 60 Hz on the south of this line. For the sockets you need a bipolar tab type A. Adapters can be bought in electronic stores.
MONEY & CREDIT CARDS
The currency unit is Yen. There is no unit according to Yen. The currency rate is 1 EUR = 110 Yen (June 2010). There are 1-, 5-, 10-, 50-, 100-, 500 Yen coins and 1.000-, 2.000-, 5.000- und 10.000 Yen notes. Currency amounts and traveller checks can be imported and exported. With the export there is a ceiling of about 5.000.000 Yen. The change of currencies is generally possible however these are traded unfavourably. The dollar can be traded almost everywhere but other currencies like the Euro can only be traded at specific, very scarce places. American Express, Visa- and Euro/MasterCard are accepted in bigger hotels, ryokans, shopping malls and banks. Traveller checks are accepted in bigger cities, too. The banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm from Monday to Friday. Cash money can be withdrawn at the machines in post offices and the 7Eleven convenience stores.
January 1st-New year, 2nd Monday in January-day of the adults, February 11th-day of foundation of the state, March 20 or 21st-beginning of spring, April 29th- day of the green, May 3rd-day of the constitution, May 4th-holiday (because it is between two holidays), May 5th-international children’s day, July 20th-day of the sea, September 15th- day of the reverence for the elder , September 23rd or 24th-beginning of autumn, 2nd Monday in October-day of sport and health, November 3rd-day of the culture, November 23rd-Labor day, December 23rd-Birthday of the emperor. If a holiday is on a Sunday the proximate Monday will be a holiday, too. December 25th is not a holiday. December 28th to January 3rd administrations, agencies, banks and offices are closed, but most of the shops are open on December 28th to January 3rd.
Bring enough film or memory cell with you. There are impressive buildings, beautiful sceneries and open-minded Japanese people everywhere. It is almost never forbidden to make photos, however you should ask people before if you want to take pictures of them.
HOTELS AND ACCOMODATIONS
In general there are two different types of hotels in Japan: on the one hand the hotels in the western style like we know them and the hotels in the Japanese style. These are called ryokan and offer a great opportunity to learn about the Japanese lifestyle. The rooms are covered with soft straw mats, the tatami, and the facilities are mostly simple. Rooms are often separated with sliding doors of paper and wood. Very typical for this housing are the bathrooms, separated by gender. Some important advices for the stay in a ryokan: at the entry you will find slippers that you have to put on because street shoes are not allowed to wear in a typical Japanese house. The so-called Yukata (sleazy Kimono) are already in the rooms, which you can wear in the ryokan. Before the use of the community bath (which contains very hot water) it is necessary to clean you up thoroughly. The ryokan have normally a higher price than the classy accommodations. The western hotels are also on a very high international standard. A lot of excellent hotels have their own bus line with connection to and from important stations and airports.
There are 4 distinctive seasons and every season has its own charm. The best travel time is spring or autumn. Spring: the spring is starts with the peach blossom and achieves its height of the season with the cherry blossom.
(Transitional clothing, sleazy pullover are advisable) Summer: June has a three- to four-week rainy season with a following summer heat in July. The humidity is very heavy that is why a lot of Japanese take a towel with them. Autumn: a fresh breeze involves comfortable temperatures. The autumn is famous for the distinct foliage staining. Winter: on the level at the pacific coast it is still over zero degrees however it is advisable to wear a coat. While an intense winter is expected in northern Japan, a warm climate rules in southern Japan (app. Okinawa).
Stores: Mo-Su 10.00 - 20.00
Department stores: Mo-Su 10.00 - 19.30
Museums: Mo - Su 10.00 - 17.00
Nippon Yuusei Kousha is a public company that has 24700 branches all over the country. The opening hours are from Monday to Friday 9.00 - 17.00. For a postcard to overseas you need a 70 Yen stamp, for a letter that weighs less than 10 gr. A 130 Yen stamp.
The official language is Japanese. Japanese students learn English from the seventh grade on. When looking for help or contact you should approach mainly younger people. Speak slowly and distinctly. Sometimes it is helpful to write down what you said.
TAXI / TRAIN
There are taxis everywhere and finding one should not be a problem. Japan owns one of the best railway systems of the world.
The fastest and most comfortable way to travel large distances is by the high speed train „Shinkansen“. The inner city trains also run on a regular basis and are basically always on time. In the big cities like Tokyo, Osaka etc. there is also a well built out subway system.
Public phones can be found everywhere; most of them are green or grey. Coins of 10 Yen as well as 100 Yen are accepted. Also telephone cards bought in convenience stores and kiosks at the train station can be used. A local call costs 10 Yen / min but one has to know that the phones do not give out any change.
For international calls it is recommended to use pre-paid cards. Those can be bought in the train stations of the big cities. Furthermore there are cheap rates in ticket shops but these are hard to find for the first- time visitors.
Important dialling codes:
In Japan it is not common to give tips. Except in 5-star restaurants you should not tip because the recipient might feel offended.
The time difference is CET plus 8 hours. During the European summer time: plus 7 hours.
Tokyo became Japans capital in 1868. Since then the 12 million-metropolis is a political and economical centre of the country. The city is located at the South coast, exactly in the Tokyo bay. In the north you will find the Kanto plain. Tokyo itself is divided in 23 administrative districts. From the calmly Meiji-Park over to the busy drive to the skyline of the district Shinjuku, Tokyo offers a huge variety where every visitor recognize its charm.
- Before entering a Japanese house, guests have to take off their shoes
- In Japan people slurp while eating soups and noodle dishes. Do not express any sentiment of disapprobation about it.
- When using the communal bath, pay attention not to bring soap into the bath, to wearing the right slippers and not to let cold water into the bath.
- In private households you should not be too critical about dishes that are possibly unknown to you. The host might feel offended and compelled to take you to a western style restaurant.
- Blowing one’s nose in public is regarded as impolite.
- Do not be surprised about the fact that many people wear masks to cover their mouth during a flu epidemic.
- Be patient when your English is not understood instantaneously.
- It can sometimes happen that people stare at you or watch you very accurately. Do not feel menaced or annoyed by that.