Practical information about Japan

  1. The Japanese climate

As in Finland, there are four seasons in Japan, and the seasons also coincide. The Japanese are proud of their four seasons, and a surprisingly large proportion of Japanese believe that seasonal variation is a unique phenomenon that occurs in Japan. Most of Japan has a temperate climate.

Japan’s four seasons:

  • Spring runs from March to May and is one of the best seasons to travel to Japan. The temperatures are pleasant, the worst heat is just ahead, and the rains are minimal. March-April also includes a three-week cherry blossom. The flowering of the cherry blossom, or Sakura, is called hanami and is an important celebration for the Japanese. In the spring, daytime temperatures range from 10 to 20 degrees, so while on some days you may need a jacket, on the warmest days you can move around with your shirt sleeves. In the spring, showers may occasionally occur.
  • Summer starts in June and lasts until August. According to BRIDGAT.COM, The summer months in Japan are the hottest and wettest of the year. Especially in July and August, the mercury rises high and the humidity is high, while the rainy season (tsuyu) starts as early as June. The length and intensity of the rainy season varies from year to year. In summer, daytime temperatures usually range between 20-25 and 32 degrees, and 30-35 degree heat is not uncommon either. The typhoon season runs from May to September. The risk of typhoons is greatest in August, albeit mainly in the southern parts of the country.
  • Autumn lasts from September to November. In autumn, the temperatures are pleasant, and the high humidity typical of summer drops significantly. Daytime temperatures move between 15 and 25 degrees towards the end of the year. The maple trees are shrouded in stunning shades of brown, which gives the landscape a very unique and truly stunning look compared to other seasons.
  • Winter lasts from December to February and brings with it cold frosts and thick snow cover, especially in the Japanese Alps and the northern island of Hokkaido. Similarly, cities closer to the Pacific Ocean, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima, rarely enjoy snowfall. Daytime temperatures remain 10 degrees on either side, but at night mercury often drops to frost.

As a country starting with letter A featured by COUNTRYAAH.COM, Japan is a long country that stretches from north to far south and from east to far west. For this reason, typical weather is also very different in different cities, as can be seen from the weather statistics below.

Average. highest temperature 8 9 12 17 21 24 28 29 26 20 15 11
Average. lowest temperature 2 2 5 10 14 18 22 23 20 15 9 4
Precipitation e.g. 43 58 94 119 132 182 128 147 181 158 84 44
Average. highest temperature 8 9 13 19 24 27 31 33 28 22 17 11
Average. lowest temperature 1 2 4 9 14 19 23 24 20 13 8 3
Precipitation e.g. 50 80 120 130 160 240 230 130 220 100 80 50
Average. highest temperature 9 9 13 19 24 28 31 33 29 23 17 12
Average. lowest temperature 3 3 6 11 16 20 24 25 21 15 10 5
Precipitation e.g. 50 70 110 130 150 230 140 90 170 110 70 30
Average. highest temperature 10 11 14 20 24 27 31 32 29 23 17 12
Average. lowest temperature 2 2 5 10 15 19 24 25 21 14 8 4
Precipitation e.g. 45 67 124 142 178 147 259 111 170 88 68 41
Average. highest temperature 7 7 11 17 22 25 29 31 27 21 16 10
Average. lowest temperature 1 1 3 8 13 18 22 24 20 13 8 3
Precipitation e.g. 270 172 159 137 155 185 232 139 225 177 265 282
  1. Travel patterns

The trip will be organized for an international max. In groups of 12, only with the Asian Travel Travel family’s own customers. There is an English-language guide for all the mentioned excursions and transports.

  1. When should you travel to Japan?

You can travel to Japan all year round. The best travel times are spring and autumn, when the weather is mild and pleasant.

Every year from late April to early May, there is a “golden week” when almost all of Japan is on holiday. During Golden Week, there may be congestion on public transport, hotels and attractions. Smaller shops may also be closed.

  1. Travel conditions

Carefully read our travel conditions, as these form part of the contract terms for package tours. Trips purchased from us are covered by the Package Travel Act.

  1. Assistance in obtaining travel insurance

You will find all the information you need on our insurance pages.

  1. Visa

Finnish citizens can travel to Japan for a short time without a visa. The passport must be valid throughout the stay. The entry authorities collect biometric identifiers from those entering the country in the form of fingerprints and a facial image, which in addition includes an interview for entry verification. The 90-day residence permit is then stamped on the passport.

  1. Vaccinations

We recommend that you contact a doctor who specializes in vaccinations, your own doctor or an authorized vaccination clinic.

  1. Languages

The official language of Japan is Japanese, which also has its own writing system. Younger people in particular speak English, and asking can go a long way.

Various signs, signposts and notices are in Japanese, but there are also signs in English on hotels and public transport. The Japanese are generally very helpful, so if you stand on a street corner with a map in your hand and look confused, you can expect some friendly soul to stop to help.

  1. Currency and credit cards

The Japanese currency is the yen (JPY).

Japanese people pay and receive payment preferably in cash. We therefore recommend that you change enough yen before you set off.

International credit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, are accepted as means of payment in only a few places, such as international stores in major cities.

ATMs are everywhere, but they do not accept foreign cards. You can withdraw money with an international credit card from Lawson kiosk chain kiosks and 7/11 stores. These stores have ATMs that also accept international credit cards. The stores and kiosks of these chains can be found in almost every city.

If you bring cash in US dollars or euros, you can exchange money at tourist information offices, most of which have a vending machine. Other currencies may not be exchanged.

There are, of course, banks in Japan as well, but they are few and far between and their opening hours are quite limited.

  1. Price level

The price level in Japan is the same or slightly lower than ours.

As everywhere else, visiting a restaurant can be inexpensive or expensive. The most expensive products include imported goods such as wine, Coca Cola and imported meat. Japanese products such as Japanese beer, sake, Japanese soft drinks and tea will be much cheaper. From Lawson kiosks and 7-11 stores you can buy really good, fresh and high quality packed lunches – the so-called Bento boxes – very reasonably priced.

Short taxi journeys of up to 10 kilometers are also quite reasonably priced.

If you buy home electronics, you can save a decent amount. However, we recommend that you find out the domestic price level before you travel so that you can compare prices.

  1. Drink money

Drink money is not known in Japan. If you leave money on a restaurant table when you leave, the waiter can in many cases leave after you to return your “forgotten” money.

In Japan, however, it is common practice to give small, beautifully wrapped gifts. If you want to remember your guide or hotel cleaner, you can get them a small symbolic gift, such as a beautifully packaged piece of cake or a small box of Japanese candy, and write your thank you for the good service on a small card. Remember that the symbolism of a gift is more important than its value.

  1. Hotels

Hotel rooms in Japan are usually small, also in 4 and 5 star hotels. Most double rooms have twin beds, and the single room is really big enough for just one person. If you absolutely want to sleep in a double bed, please indicate this when booking your trip. It is common practice to have a nightgown pre-set on the bed. All hotel rooms have slippers, as the Japanese do not wear shoes indoors. There is little space for luggage. In all three- and four-star hotels, the bathrooms are small prefabricated plastic rooms that are virtually identical everywhere. The bathroom comes with a hairdryer and usually also disposable toiletries such as soap and shampoo. The toilet seats are heated (and you can also activate the electronic cleaning / flushing program if you want to try it). In some four- and five-star hotels, the bathroom furniture may be porcelain.

If the hotel is full, the accommodation will take place in another hotel of the same level.

  1. Ryokan

Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, where you can experience while staying at the hotel on housing compared to a completely different side of Japan.

Ryokans are decorated in a traditional Japanese style with straw tatami mats, shōji sliding doors and windows, low tables and futon beds. Some rooms have a private bathroom, while others share a bathroom with other guests.

Unlike hotels, where you usually spend only a little time of the day, ryokan are more than just accommodations. Japanese people can travel long distances to enjoy the hospitality and authentic Japanese cultural experience of a particular ryokan. Relaxing at the Onsen Spa and multi-course meals are an essential part of the ryokan’s cultural experience.

In a modern ryokan, meals are most often enjoyed in the common dining room, while in a traditional ryokan, dinner is served in the room. The Kaiseki meal is the culinary highlight of Ryokan accommodation. Dinner is a real experience in both appearance and taste. During the meal, 10-15 different dishes are served using seasonal ingredients and specialties. Kaiseki offers a unique opportunity to try many delicious and interesting Japanese dishes that you will not easily be able to taste elsewhere.

Ryokans are usually located near the Onsen Spa, and some ryokans have their own onsen. The water of the Happiness is obtained from hot springs heated by active volcanoes in Japan. From volcanic earth, minerals such as calcium, sodium, and chloride are soluble in water and are believed to help with digestive problems, fatigue, bruising, and many other ailments. It is precisely because of the health-promoting effects of Onsen baths that ryokan are particularly popular accommodations for the Japanese.

The biggest advantage of a ryokan over a hotel is that the atmosphere of the ryokan is authentic Japanese. The atmosphere of the ryokan is calm, making it easy for the visitor to relax.

Staying at a ryokan offers a unique opportunity to get close to Japanese culture and learn more about Japanese traditions.

  1. Time difference

The time difference between Japan and Finland is 7 hours in winter and 6 hours in summer.

  1. Electricity

The mains voltage in Japan is 100 V and the plugs have two flat pins (similar to the USA). We recommend that you bring your own adapter with you, as it is not possible to borrow an adapter in all hotels.

  1. Telephone and internet

Japan’s international area code is +81.

In Japan, making and receiving a call can be expensive. Check your mobile phone coverage and prices with your mobile operator.

Everyone has smartphones, and many local tourists like to use selfie sticks.

Virtually everywhere there is free WiFi: on trains, in cafes, restaurants, shops and the hotel.

  1. Security

Japan is one of the safest travel destinations in the world. It is safe to walk the streets both day and night. Even in the Tokyo subway, which is crowded during rush hour, there is no need to worry. The Japanese are also very honest and cheating on a tourist would not come to their mind. If you leave a tip on the restaurant table, you can be prepared for the waitress to catch you on the street and return the money you “forgot”.

  1. Meals and beverages

Japanese food is really delicious, and great attention is paid to harmonious flavor combinations. The flavors are mostly mild, but some dishes can use horseradish or chili, for example. The Japanese especially love fish, so there is a lot of different fish dishes on offer. Usually the portion includes a small amount of fish or meat, and the main focus of the meal is on rice or noodles and vegetables. Noodles are a traditional and popular dish made from wheat (Udon), buckwheat (Soba) and a mixture of wheat and rice flour (somen). A typical noodle dish is ramen, which is also a popular fast food. Noodles are served either hot or cold and often season a variety of soups. In addition, during the trip you can enjoy sushi, tempura (deep-fried mouthfuls), miso soup, soy, tofu and yakitori (grilled chicken pieces on a bamboo skewer) and enjoy a piece of green tea. The portions are often small, and typically several small portions are ordered in restaurants.

Restaurants and cafes can be found everywhere and in all price ranges. From Lawson kiosks and 7-11 stores you can buy really good, fresh and high quality packed lunches – the so-called Bento boxes – very reasonably priced.

In many places, the menus are on a tablet, which also makes ordering convenient. Choosing a meal can be challenging if everything is in Japanese and the order is made based only on the pictures.

The waiters are usually very friendly and helpful.

  1. Holidays

Experiencing the traditions and celebrations of other countries and cultures is always a particularly wonderful and fascinating experience. Below is an overview of holidays, important festivals and other anniversaries.

Please note that some museums and attractions may be closed on such days.

  1. Flight reservations and airline tickets

We will send your flight booking to you as soon as you book your trip. You can see the times and itineraries in the itinerary. It is very important that you check your name for typos. The name on the reservation must be the same as the name on the passport . If you notice an error in the name on the booking, please contact us immediately.

Today, only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets) are used, so you do not receive a physical airline ticket. An airport passport and booking number are used for check-in at the airport. The booking number will appear on your itinerary.

Your itinerary will also show if your trip includes an internal flight in Japan.

If your trip includes a domestic flight in Japan, you will not receive an e-ticket for this flight from our partner until you arrive in Japan.

  1. Information letter

Once you have booked your trip with us, we will send you a newsletter before the trip starts. The information letter contains important information such as online check-in, measures in case of possible delays, tips on tips, etc. In addition, the letter contains important telephone numbers, such as the numbers of our local representatives and our own emergency number.

For this reason, it is important that you print the newsletter and take it with you on the trip.

  1. Seat reservation, upgrade class and extra legroom

The airline will give you a seat on the flight at check-in. If you have special wishes, you can book a seat in advance on the airline’s website. Most airlines have a menu item “manage my booking” on their website. Please note that several airlines charge a fee for booking a seat, so it is a good idea to keep your payment card on display when booking. When an airline opens a flight seat reservation varies, but as a general rule, you can reserve a seat from the time of booking 48 hours before departure.

In addition, many airlines often offer the option of upgrading the flight class, e.g., more legroom or other amenities. Examples are Economy Comfort on KLM flights and Premium Voyageur Air France flights. This increase can be made on the airline’s website, for a fee.

Please also note that the airline has full access to control of all seats and is therefore always entitled to make changes to reservations.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will provide you with a seat at check-in.

  1. Your luggage

We recommend that you pack only one suitcase per person for your trip to Japan. (Anyway, it’s a good idea to pack as little luggage as possible, as hotel rooms are quite small.) We use many different airlines on our trips to Japan, so the amount of luggage allowed may vary for both checked-in luggage and hand luggage. Baggage information can be found on the flight ticket. You can also contact us if you have any questions about our luggage. If your trip includes a domestic flight in Japan, the maximum amount of luggage is 20 kg.

Make sure you have all the essentials in your hand luggage. Essential goods include passports, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money, prescriptions and vital medicines. In addition, you should pack a camera, binoculars, computer and tablet, as well as chargers and adapters in your hand luggage.

Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so pack a warm sweater or windbreaker in your hand luggage.

  1. Transfers to and from airports

The Itinerary states whether your trip includes Airport Transfers.

  1. Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing cultural and etiquette differences is one of the pleasures of traveling, and it is important to respect these differences. The saying goes “in the country the way of the country,” and that’s why we’ve put together tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your trip to Japan.

Deep bow is a sign of deep reverence – the deeper the bow, the greater the reverence. Men keep their hands on their sides as they bow, while women bring their hands together in their arms.

When handing something over to another, hold the object with both hands.

The elderly are particularly respected in Japan. The “silver seats” on trains and buses are for the elderly and disabled, and others never sit in them.

Many temples and shrines require a certain cleansing ritual to be followed if the minds enter.

Public rubbish bins are scarce. The Japanese are used to carrying a small garbage bag where they store the garbage accumulated during the day and which they then empty when they get home. We recommend that you learn from them – you can then empty your own garbage bag when you arrive at the hotel.

Always take off your shoes when you enter a shrine or a traditional Japanese house or restaurant.

Chopsticks should not be left in an upright rice bowl, but should be placed next to the bowl. Namely, the chopsticks in the rice bowl resemble incense, which is lit in temples in memory of the dead.

Avoid physical contact in public areas. It is very rare to see Japanese kissing or cuddling in public places.

If you’re angry, don’t let it show up. Showing irritation or frustration by shouting or rude behavior is extremely bad and degrading behavior, and it never results in any good. Loud speech and laughter are also perceived as an indication of rudeness.

The Japanese dress in style and cover. It is rare to see shorts on men and bare shoulders on women, and it is also good for foreigners to follow these dress patterns.

Tattoos may not be considered good because they are associated with crime. This dates back to a former punishment in which a sign was tattooed on the forehead stating that a person was convicted of a crime. Today, tattoos are associated with the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza, whose members have common tattoos – the more tattoos, the higher a person is in the Yakuza rankings. Therefore, we recommend that you consider dressing especially carefully if you have tattoos.

  1. Passengers with reduced mobility

Please note that our trips are generally not suitable for people with reduced mobility. Contact us for more information on opportunities tailored to your specific needs.

Practical information about Japan