Japan: what to know before your trip
Japan is great for independent travel: everyone speaks English, it’s easy to get a visa, transportation works perfectly.
The most expensive item of expenditure on a trip is airfare. They will cost 35,000-40,000 R round trip. In second place is travel around the country. Housing in Japan costs about the same as in Europe, and you can safely save on food: everything is delicious and cheap. Tickets to museums and temples are also inexpensive – 200 -500 R .
If you’re going to Japan, save this article for your bookmarks: we’ve collected important information about attractions, hotels, food and transportation. See the full article for details.
What you’ll learn
Where is the : Japanese Archipelago. The largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. When the season : end of March – beginning of June, September – October. Average temperature: average +21°C in spring and autumn, +30°C in summer. How long will it take to fly : direct flight from Moscow about 9,5 hours. Currency : Yen, 1 ¥ (0.58 R). Time difference with Moscow : +6 hours. Language : Japanese. In big cities many Japanese speak English.
What to see in Japan
If you compare Japan to Russia, Tokyo is like Moscow and Kyoto is like St. Petersburg. If you go to Japan for two weeks, divide it roughly equally between Tokyo and Kyoto: from there it’s convenient to leave for the day and go to other cities.
In Tokyo, tourists walk among skyscrapers and visit the Imperial Palace. From the capital it is convenient to get to the cities of Nikko, Kamakura and the mountain resort of Hakone.
Nikko has a national park with waterfalls, a volcano and a lake. Kamakura has ancient temples from the 11th-13th centuries. In Hakone, tourists admire views of Mount Fuji and bathe in hot springs.
Kyoto is visited to see temples, cultural sites and geisha. Nearby are the cities of Nara and Osaka.
Nara is another ancient capital of Japan, known for its park with hand deer. Osaka is the third largest city in the country. There you see a five-story samurai castle and go to Universal amusement park.
When is the best time to go to Japan
In late March or early April, the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan – the country is in a tourist frenzy. To plan a trip at this time, check the cherry blossom forecast by region.
In late April or early May in Japan, “Golden Weekend” is a national holiday that runs for 6 days in a row. During this time, the whole country is on vacation, so the Japanese go to travel. Train tickets are sold out, accommodation is expensive, and temples, parks and museums are crowded.
Mid-May is the best time to go. There are fewer tourists and accommodation prices go down.
From June to September in Japan is a tropical heat, often heavy rains, and from the ocean come typhoons. Temperatures average +30 °C – most tourists choose a different time to travel.
In October and early November, Japan has “Momiji,” the season of red maple leaves. There’s a calendar for momiji, too.
How to get a visa to Japan
A visa to Japan is free. It is easy to get it, you need the usual set of documents and a program of stay. It asks for a travel plan: what you plan to do and where you will live. In the program it is important to specify the contacts of hotels or apartments on the air-bi-NB – by the time of application you need to book all accommodations.
There is no need to make an appointment to apply – you just need to come to the embassy with your documents. The staff will take your papers and tell you on the spot whether the visa will be granted or not. If the visa is approved, it will be made in 4 working days.
The embassy can pick on the electronic seal on the bank statement. Ask the bank in advance for a bank statement with a real stamp
Only Aeroflot and Japan Airlines have direct flights to Tokyo from Moscow. Japan Airlines flies the coolest of the Boeings, the Dreamliner. It’s a huge plane with comfortable seats, delicious food, and monitors that are built into the seats. The average ticket costs 37,000-45,000 R . Connected tickets are only 3,000-5,000 P cheaper than direct tickets .
How to get from Tokyo airport to downtown
Usually flights from Moscow to Tokyo arrive at Narita airport. It is located 66 km from Tokyo. Most tourists get to the center by bus or by Narita Express and Keisei Skyliner trains.
How to get to the center from the airports: Narita, Haneda
Japan loves cash. Cards are accepted, but between a large bill and paying cashless, the Japanese will choose cash.
Yen can be bought with dollars. There are many exchangers, some are automatic. The exchange rate is acceptable and it’s safe to change money.
When you pay at the cash register, it is customary to put money or a card into a special tray on the counter, not to give it to the salesman in his hands. But the change, check and card will be returned to you from hand to hand with a thank you and a bow.
Tax-free for foreigners is very conveniently organized. The 8% discount is made right at the purchase, if you have your passport with you. Tax-free is available almost everywhere, even at the Seven Eleven grocery store.
Hotels and hostels Regular hotels and hostels in Japan are the same as the rest of the world. There are big chains like APA Hotels or Hilton. The average room costs 4500-5500 P for two people per night. The rooms are small, but they have everything you need. Usually check in from 15:00, less often from 13:00. If you want to check in earlier, you’ll have to pay half the price.
Apartments There are many options, but apartments are more expensive than hotels, especially if you rent the whole place. Apartments on Air Bin Bin in the Ginza area of Tokyo cost from 7000 P per night. The older houses have small rooms and tiny bathrooms. In some you have to wash yourself sitting on a stool – such is the tradition.
Capsule hotels A small capsule only fits one person. You can only sit or lie down there. Inside the capsule there is a clock, alarm clock, light setting, and sometimes a TV. Bathroom and toilet are shared on the floor. Things are taken for storage at the reception. A night costs 1500-2500 P .
Love hotels Mostly love hotels have spacious and huge beds. Rooms are furnished in unusual ways – like a schoolroom, a doctor’s office or a huge cage. Rooms cost from 6000 P per night. The more interesting the interior, the higher the price.
Ryokans A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel. They sleep on special mattresses, futons, which are spread out on the floor. The only furniture in the room is small tables. At them they also sit right on the floor. Showers and toilets are usually shared. Some ryokans have onsen, which is a bathtub with water from a hot spring. A night in a simple ryokan costs 8000-10 000 R . Staying in a ryokan with a beautiful view, hot springs and a traditional Japanese dinner of many small dishes will cost 20,000-30,000 P . At check-in, guests are given Japanese “geta” slippers and a homemade “yukata” robe.
Traditional Japanese houses often have no central heating – it can be cold in winter or autumn.
Food and restaurants.
Prepared food In Japan, bento – beautifully packaged food sets – are sold everywhere. A bento with sushi, rice, roasted vegetables and fresh fruit costs about 500 P . Thanks to bentos in Japan, you can’t go hungry: they are sold and eaten everywhere.
How to get around Japan
The main mode of transport in Japan is railroads. There are many different railway companies in the country, the largest one is called Japan Railways. Fares are expensive. A ticket for the Shinkansen high-speed train from Tokyo to Kyoto costs ¥13,910 (8,041 P) one way.
To save money, you need a JR Pass. It can be used for a week or two for unlimited travel on high-speed trains, express trains and electric trains. On them you can see the sights around Tokyo and Kyoto. “J-ar-Pass for a week costs 16,470 P per person and pays for itself in the first three days of the trip.
You can buy a J-ar-Pass at the airport or online at japan-rail-pass.com in advance. On the website is cheaper. After payment, a voucher will be sent, which must be exchanged for the JRpass in Japan.
You can activate the “J-ar-pass” at the Japan-rail-pass information counters, for example at Shinjuku station in Tokyo. When you activate the pass, they will write your name and passport information on it.
The first time you pass with the “J-ar-pass” through the control, it will be stamped. Then you just have to show it to the officer at the station every time you pass through the turnstiles.
In Japan, everyone books trains in advance. If you plan to travel around the country on weekends or national holidays, it’s worth selecting the trains you want on the Hyperdia website in advance, print out a list and take it with you. When you activate the J.R. Pass, ask a staff member to reserve tickets using this list. They can then be changed without any problem. If you’re planning to move on weekdays, you don’t have to reserve train tickets.
There is public wifi almost everywhere in Japan. It is usually free in museums and other attractions.
If you don’t want to connect to new wifi every time, rent a router for the duration of your trip. You can do it right at the airport at the information booths labeled Pocket Wi-Fi.
What to bring from Japan
From Japan bring unusual sweets, Japanese cosmetics, children’s toys and appliances like cameras. Store prices are usually listed without VAT, so at the checkout the total may be 8% more than you planned.
If something happens
Russian Embassy in Japan Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Adzabudai, 2-1-1 (〒106-0041 東京都港区麻布台 2-1-1). Phone: +81-3-3583-4224.
We are looking for people who travel independently. If you have organized vacations in Russia, near abroad, popular resorts or more exotic places – share your experiences with us.
When best to go to Japan
Planning a vacation to Japan in 2022? Great choice! In this review, we’ll tell you all about the seasons, the weather, and where to go and what to see in any given month. We’ll also find out where the best beach vacations are and what advice tourists give.
Japan is a world of exoticism. A jewel-like blend of tradition and modernity. A place of harmony of mind and body. You can pick up many other epithets, but to understand their meaning is possible only by visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.
– Cheap tickets to Japan – interesting excursions in Russian
When it’s better to go on vacation to Japan
First of all it is Hanami , Japanese national tradition of admiring flowers. Nature begins its presentation with flowering of Japanese plum ume from the end of December to the end of March. However, the main event of hanami is the blossoming of the cherry blossoms. Due to the climate, this magical spectacle can last more than three months (from late February to late May). There are cases when, for example, on the island of Okinawa the cherry blossoms start blooming as early as January. The wave of Japanese cherry blossoms travels through the country from the southernmost island of Kyushu to the northern island of Tohoku.
We recommend admiring this natural magic in the Japanese capital in the Shinjukugyoen Park, where there are 1500 sakura trees of more than 75 species. Also impressive is Ueno Park (the largest in Tokyo) and Sumida Park.
The blossom lasts only 8-10 days, so there are two options: either follow the “wave” across the country, or catch the moment. In addition, in May, other beautiful flowers begin to bloom: azalea, shiba-zakura, and wisteria.
Thousands of tourists from all over the world come to see the hanami. But the real excitement in the country is from April 29 to May 6. During this time there is a series of official holidays: Sowing Day, Constitution Day, Green Day and Children’s Day. The period of festivities is collectively called “Golden Week. It entails traffic jams and queues, as well as difficulties with hotel reservations. In addition, the prices of holidays in Japan at this time rise sharply. It is advisable to take this into account when planning your trip.
It is also worth mentioning that in mid-May begins the traditional festivals, including Kanda matsuri and Sanja matsuri in Tokyo, as well as Aoi matsuri in Kyoto.
(Photo: SteFou! / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)
Early summer is not the best time to vacation in Japan. From June begins the so-called tsuyu (rainy season) and lasts until mid-July. Summer in the country is very hot, the temperature is between +34 … +38 ° C, and the humidity can exceed 90%.
Nevertheless, only in summer you can conquer one of the main attractions of Japan – the volcano Mount Fuji, located on the island of Honshu. Climbing Mount Fuji is officially allowed only from July 1 to August 27. As the season ends, you won’t find the escort professionals and rescue services that keep you safe in the summer.
Summer in Japan is the season of festivals and grand fireworks. If you want to see one of the festivals, it is advisable to plan your itinerary according to the country’s calendar of festivals. Look at the calendar of festivals in major tourist cities. There is also another calendar. Both sites are in English.
In mid-August, the Japanese celebrate Obon. It is believed that at this time the souls of the dead come down to earth. Locals visit the graves of their ancestors and pay their respects. People go to their native places to see their relatives. Moreover, in August, children have school vacations, so there may be problems with hotel reservations and ticket purchases.
Judging by the weather, September is not the best time to vacation in Japan in 2022. The heat is still there, and the humidity is still high. In addition, at this time the country is particularly prone to typhoons, which are characterized by strong wind gusts and heavy rains.
By the end of September, the weather conditions soften, the number of tourists decreases and begins, in our opinion, the most favorable time to travel to Japan.
October and November is the time of the traditional Momiji , also called the red maple season. Just as sakura trees once covered Japan from south to north, now in the opposite direction (north to south) the red-yellow waves of autumn leaves color the country. The best place to observe the Momiji is in Kyoto. Travelers also advise enjoying Japanese autumn in Tokyo, Okayama and Hiroshima.
In reviews of holidays in Japan, tourists note the October festivals. One of the most representative festival – Jidai Matsuri, a festival of eras, dedicated to the history of the country. You can visit it on October 22 in Kyoto.
(Photo: Freedom II Andres / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)
Going on holiday to Japan in winter is probably the most interesting from mid-December, when the country is immersed in the New Year atmosphere. However, it should be borne in mind that the Japanese themselves at this time are in constant travels in their hometowns. We advise you to book accommodation in advance and shape your itinerary as carefully as possible, because the prices of holidays in Japan during this period are rising.
Japanese landscapes in January and February are dull, so to see the snowy beauty, we advise to stick to the northern regions. We advise to experience the delights of the famous Japanese hot springs onsen near Mount Fuji. The combination of a natural hot bath, the Japanese winter and the view of the snowy peaks of the legendary volcano is perhaps the best atmosphere in which to appreciate the onsen.
When traveling in Japan in winter, be sure to visit the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival, held annually in early February and lasting 7 days.
Where to stay in Japan? Accommodation in the country is not cheap. Hotels are advised to look for on the search engine Roomguru, it will select the best deals from the variety of booking systems. For example, in Tokyo, a night in the hostel with excellent reviews Guest House Wasabi costs from $ 26, but the rooms in decent hotels in Tokyo cost much more – for example, the price for a double room at the hotel Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo-Toyocho starts at $ 95.
Beach Recreation in Japan
The Japanese themselves are not the biggest fans of rest by the sea, because the traditional fashion for pale skin in the Land of the Rising Sun has remained to this day. Nevertheless, there are beach resorts on almost every island in the country, and tourists can sunbathe on the coast during a tour around the country.
The choice of a beach vacation destination in Japan depends on your needs and hobbies. Surfing enthusiasts will prefer the Kamakura resort. However, the most popular among fans of active recreation on the water is the Ryukyu archipelago and its largest island, Okinawa. The sea here is always warm, and the minimum water temperature is +20°C. Colorful coral reefs attract divers from all over the world. Also, at Kerama Islands near Okinawa, tourists have a great opportunity to watch whales.
In reviews of beach holidays in Japan with children tourists recommend the town of Miyazaki on Kyushu Island. In addition to the luxurious beaches, there is a famous water park “Ocean Dome”, which can accommodate more than 10 thousand people.
The city of Shirahama on Honshu Island is considered a truly unique place to vacation at sea in Japan. Snow-white quartz sand was brought from Australia to its shores. Well-appointed beaches of the resort, hot springs and modern hotels attract both tourists and locals.
The name of the town of Ibusuki (Kyushu Island) translates as “city on hot land”. The thermal waters here approach so close to the surface that the temperature of the seawater can reach +40°C. Not surprisingly, the city is called the Japanese Hawaii.
There is a saying: “The sick and honey are bitter. To rest was not spoiled by illnesses, we advise to collect the right first aid kit.
(Photo: Shinichi Higashi / flickr.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)
When planning a vacation in Japan in 2022, you should understand that the concept of low season in the country almost does not exist. Each time of year here has its own uniqueness. In addition, domestic tourism in the country is developed no worse than abroad. Local residents move around the country during national holidays, so this period is characterized by difficulties with booking accommodation, problems with buying tickets for transport and everywhere long lines. Also during the holidays there is an increase in the prices of holidays in Japan.
Japan is a very law-abiding country, and the crime rate is extremely low. Nevertheless you should not forget about the basic precautions, and even more so to become a source of law and order (as it is sometimes done by our compatriots in popular resorts). Not everyone in Japan has a good command of English, so it is best to seek help from the police if necessary. Moreover, for convenience of foreigners Latin alphabet letters are duplicated in subway and road signs.
Going on holiday in Japan tourists need to know a couple of things that are considered the norm in some countries (even a tacit obligation), and here will be perceived as an insult:
- In Japan it is not customary to leave a tip, the usual encouragement of 5-15% is already included in the price of goods or services.
- There is no haggling in stores or markets.
- In addition, we’d like to give a little advice on handshakes. The Japanese pay a lot of attention to privacy and self-restraint. Do not shake hands first, because this type of European greeting may not fit the values of every local.
Those who like to bring something “from across the sea, the ocean” should take note that the souvenirs and delicacies can be produced exclusively in a particular region of the country. For this reason, it is advised not to delay the purchase of what caught your eye. In reviews of holidays in Japan, tourists are advised to buy jewelry and bijouterie. Their prices though not different from European, but the quality and design at the highest level. If the girls Japan can attract natural cosmetics based on pearls and algae, the men certainly will not leave indifferent ultra-modern gadgets and computer games.