Practical A to Z
Practical A to Z
- Earthquakes and natural catastrophes
- Eating out
- Embassies and consulates
- Getting around
- Public holidays
- Social etiquette
Earthquakes and natural catastrophes
Earthquakes, typhoons and tidal waves threats are extremely closely monitored. Don’t overreact and if necessary, contact your embassy.
Mealtimes: 11.30am-2pm and 6-10pm (with the exception of large towns).
Tipping is not customary.
Japan’s cuisine is renowned the world over and there is no lack of restaurants, each of which serves a single type of cuisine: mini-kebabs, noodles, sushi, etc.
Izakaya – Very popular bistros or inns in Japan.
Shokudo and famiresu – (Family restaurant) low-priced restaurants near railway stations or in the basements of large buildings.
Kaiseki ryori – The masters of Japanese haute cuisine.
The voltage in Japan is 100V (50 or 60Hz) and the sockets are similar to those found in the United States.
Embassies and consulates
British Embassy – No 1 Ichiban-cho - Chiyoda-ku - Tokyo 102-8381 - t 03 5211 1100 - http://ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk/
Irish Embassy – Ireland House 5F - 2-10-7 Kojimachi - Chiyoda-Ku - Tokyo 102-0083 - t 03 3263 0695 - www.embassyofireland.jp
Japan probably has the best public transport network in the world: dense, extensive and perfectly organised. However a car can be useful to explore the countryside, mountains and more far-flung islands. In tourist areas, bicycle rentals are very commonplace.
The mosquitoes are very annoying and it is worth taking a repellent.
Police – t 110
Fire brigade or ambulance – t 119
Japan Help-line – t 0570 000 911 or 0120 461 997; free 24/7 help-line in English
The currency of Japan is the Yen (¥).
Banks are generally open Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm.
In Japan, you can change foreign currency in banks, exchange offices, main post office branches and in some hotels and department stores. Many banks only accept American dollars.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards, with the exception of small establishments in the country.
While little used in Japan, banks, exchange offices, large post office branches and hotels will change traveller’s cheques for cash with no problem.
An average daily budget of €125/person will cover a comfortable hotel, public transport by day and a taxi by night, two meals in a restaurant, four museum entrances, one purchase and one evening out.
The Japanese postal service is efficient, reliable and fast.
Post offices are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (or 7pm and until 3pm on Saturdays in the case of large branches). Central post offices in large towns are also open on Sunday mornings.
When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday becomes a public holiday.
1 January – New Year’s Day
2nd Monday of January – Coming of Age Day
11 February – National Foundation Day
Around 21 March – Spring equinox
29 April – Showa Day
3 May – Anniversary of the Constitution
4 May – Greenery Day
5 May – Children’s Day
3rd Monday of July – Marine Day
3rd Monday of September – Respect for the Aged Day
Around 23 September – Autumn equinox
2nd Monday October – Sports Day
3 November – Culture Day
23 November – Labour Thanksgiving Day
23 December – Emperor’s birthday
Shops: open 7/7 from 10am-8pm.
Conbini (or neighbourhood convenience stores): open 24/7.
Visitors to Japan are spoilt for choice in terms of souvenirs such as amulets, engravings, lacquered objects made out of wood and bamboo, calligraphic tools, pottery, dolls, sabres and kimonos, without forgetting a host of gourmet delicacies, including rice wine, tea and exquisitely wrapped cakes and sweets.
Most museums, temples and castles are open from 9 or 10am-5pm, except on Mondays. When Mondays fall on a public holiday, they are closed on Tuesdays. Many sites are closed from 28 December to 3 January.
The Japanese are very attached to the respect of social etiquette and conventions, which are considered the backbone of harmonious and peaceful relationships. The group takes precedence over the individual, thus dictating how each person must behave.
To call Japan from abroad
Dial 00 + 81 + area code without the first 0 + number of the person.
To call home from Japan
First dial an operator (Japan Telecom - 0041; IDC - 0061; KDDI - 001; NTT - 0033) + 010 + country code (UK 44, Ireland 353) + number of the person without the first 0.
Within the same region – Dial the number of the person.
Another region – Dial the area code + the number of the person.