Tokyo Fashion Wiki: Categorized Tokyo street fashion 30 genre 150 models (Japanese Edition)
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The only content we will consider removing is spam, slanderous attacks on other members, or extremely offensive content eg. We will not remove any content for bad language alone, or being critical of a particular book. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Tokyo Fashion Wiki English Edition: Rate this book Clear rating 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. Be a rice Addict. Real Japanese food at home. Japan's excellent Shinkansen network means that flying is usually more of a luxury than a necessity.
That being said, flying remains the most practical mode of reaching Japan's outlying islands, most notably for connections from the mainland to Hokkaido , Okinawa , and service to Kyushu to and from Tokyo.
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Flying is also useful for getting around sparsely populated Hokkaido, as the Shinkansen network there currently ends in Hakodate. Narita to Haneda or Kansai to Itami is quite a trek, so allow at least two and preferably three hours to transfer. Full fares for domestic flights are very expensive to areas without discount carriers, but significant discounts are available if purchased in advance.
These are a particularly good deal for travel to Hokkaido or the remote southern islands of Okinawa. Some blackout periods or other restrictions during peak travel seasons apply. For all these tickets, ticketing must be done before arriving in Japan, and there are no date changes permitted for the first domestic segment. Route changes for all the flights are not allowed. That said, ticketing must be done at least 3 days before the flight, there are no refunds, nor date or route changes permitted.
The low-cost carrier concept is slowly making inroads into Japan, but they are mostly available for trips to from Sapporo, Naha, Fukuoka, and a few other cities in Kyushu from Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
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Usually, these airlines offer lower walk-up fares than the majors but they limit advance discounts to a small number of seats. There are often very limited baggage allowances, however, and these should be checked before purchasing a ticket. Passengers can fly standby at half of the full published fare, which is usually less than the equivalent express train fare.
ANA only requires you to be a member of its mileage club, and both require ID proving your age. Given that Japan is an island nation, boats are a surprisingly uncommon means of transport, as all the major islands are linked together by bridges and tunnels. Ferries are mostly limited to connections between areas with fairly low population. There are some long-distance ferries from Tokyo and Osaka to distant cities, even Okinawa and Hokkaido , but the fares are usually higher than discounted airline tickets and the ferries are mostly used by people and companies wanting to transport their cars.
For some smaller islands, however, boats may well be the only practical option.
There are also some inexpensive and convenient short-distance intercity ferries such as the Aomori - Hakodate ferry. Vending machines and simple restaurant fare are typically available on board, but on longer trips particularly in second class the primary means of entertainment is alcoholic — this can be fun if you're invited in, but less so if you're trying to sleep.
Especially on the route between Tokyo and Kyoto - Osaka - Kobe triangle the high competition broke down the prices: It may be worth it to pay a premium to get a better seat; remember that it is less fun to sightsee after a sleepless night. Intercity buses usually have significantly less legroom than intercity trains, so passengers over about cm may be uncomfortable. A few buses offer more luxurious Premium Seating. These seats are bigger, offer more legroom, and are exclusive, with only a few seats allocated to an entire bus.
Like their railroad counterparts, a few overnight buses can be used only by women an example is the Plumeria or Cherish bus service between Tokyo and Osaka. It is available to both Japanese and foreigners, but must be purchased outside of Japan. Travel days are non-consecutive but passes must be used up within two months.
You are limited to a maximum of two bus trips per day and you cannot travel twice on one route in the same day. Passes are not transferable and photo identification is required when boarding the buses. If you have a lot of time on your hands, want to visit several major cities in a single trip, and do not mind the time spent on buses including sleeping , then the Bus Pass is worth considering.
The more trips you take, the more cost-effective the pass will be. There are a couple of small drawbacks to using the Bus Pass: You are restricted to using buses that seat four to a row, as opposed to three see above. On most buses, you're expected to board from the back and grab a little numbered slip as you enter, often just a white piece of paper automatically stamped by the dispenser as you pull it. In the front of the bus, above the driver, is an electronic board displaying numbers and prices below, which march inexorably higher as the bus moves on.
When it's time to get off, you press the stop button, match your numbered slip to the electronic board's current price, deposit the slip and corresponding payment in the fare machine next to the driver, then exit through the front door. Note that you must either use your IC card if you can, or pay the exact fare: If you're short on change, it's best to exchange before it's time to get off.
Increasingly, buses accept smartcards such as PASMO and Suica - you will need to tap your card against a scanner by the entrance usually above the ticket dispenser and then again using the scanner next to the fare machine by the driver when you exit. If you fail to 'tap on' when boarding, you will be charged the maximum fare when alighting. The electronic board almost always includes a display and recorded voice announcements of the next stop — usually only in Japanese, although some cities like Kyoto make a welcome exception. However, if asked most drivers will be glad to tell you when you've reached your destination.
You will find taxis everywhere in Japan, not only in the city but also in the country. Taxis are clean, convenient, and completely safe, though expensive: But sometimes, they are the only way to get where you are going. The maximum number of passengers aside from the driver in an ordinary taxi is four. While fares can be high, if short of time and there are several of you together, it can be a good way to get around quickly. Taxi meters are strictly regulated and clearly visible to the passenger.
If you are not sure if you have enough money for the trip, your driver may be able to guess the approximate cost of a trip beforehand. Even if money is not a concern, if you get a cost estimate beforehand, some taxi drivers will stop the meter at the estimated price regardless of how much further the destination may be, which can save you money.
Taxi fares are also higher at night. Some taxis can also accept credit cards - those that do usually have a small logo sticker of the accepted card on the side window. Tipping is not customary and would most likely be refused; unless there is an exceptional reason why you should offer a tip, it is probably best you spare the cabbie the embarrassment of having to refuse. In the city, you can hail a taxi on just about any main street a light on the roof indicates it's available - just stick your arm out as it approaches , but outside train stations and other transfer points you should board at a taxi stand.
The taxi stand will usually either have a long line of patient passengers, or a long line of idle taxis. If the destination is a well-known location, such as a hotel, train station, or public facility, the name alone should be enough. Note that even in the major cities, extremely few taxi drivers can speak English, so carrying a pamphlet or card of your hotel or destination with the address on it can be very helpful.
Likewise, have staff at your hotel write down the names and addresses of places you want to visit in Japanese to show your taxi driver. An interesting feature of Japanese taxis is that the driver controls the opening and closing of the rear left passenger door. Try to avoid the habit of closing your door when you board the taxi. Taxi drivers also have a reputation for speeding and aggressive driving, but there are very few accidents involving bad drivers.
Rental cars and driving in Japan are unnecessary in or around the major cities, as public transport is generally excellent and gets you almost everywhere. In addition, the roads of major cities like Tokyo are plagued with massive traffic jams and parking is expensive and difficult to find, so driving there is more of a hindrance than anything else. However, many rural areas can really be explored with only your own transport, so driving should certainly not be dismissed out of hand, especially in isolated places, plus on the vast island of Hokkaido , Okinawa , and the Noto Peninsula.
Due to Hokkaido's cooler climate it is a very popular destination in summer, so if you are considering renting a car at this time be sure to do so well in advance of your planned travel date as they are often unavailable at this time. Often the most feasible option is to combine the two: JR's Ekiren  has outlets at most larger train stations and often has discounted train and car packages.
An international driver's permit with your regular license, or for residents, a Japanese license will be required if you wish to rent a car or drive in Japan, and must be carried at all times. Purchasing insurance from the rental car company is highly recommended as any rental car insurance from your home country especially through most credit cards is unlikely to be valid in Japan, check your policy before heading out.
Including insurance for a Non-Operation Charge a surcharge when a damaged car is unrentable is also worth considering. There is no "left turn on red" rule in Japan, however in rare cases a sign with a blue arrow on a white background will indicate where turning on red is legal not to be confused with the white arrow on a blue background, which indicates one-way traffic.
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Drivers are required to make a complete stop at all at-grade railway crossings. So for one or two people it's not cost-effective for direct long distance travel between cities. In major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, a flat rate toll is paid when entering the expressway system. On inter-city expressways, tolls are based on distance travelled, a ticket is issued when you enter the system and the toll is calculated when you exit.
Avoid the purple ETC lanes at toll plazas unless you have the ETC device fitted as they are reserved for electronic toll collection, any other lane will accept either yen in cash exact change not required or major credit cards. Using local roads to travel between cities has the advantages of being toll-free and offering more opportunities for sightseeing along the way, but traffic jams and numerous traffic lights slow things down considerably.
Also do not be fooled by the lack of police cars on the highways meaning you can speed. Many areas have extensive photo-taking radar speed traps - some even a few hundred meters apart. Since the traps are stationary, some car navi systems actually tell you where they are before approaching. Both rental costs and fuel are more expensive than those in the USA, but fuel is generally cheaper than found in Europe. Most fuel stations are self service, to fill up the tank with regular fuel at a full service place, say regulaa mantan to the attendant.
Most rental cars have some kind of satellite navigation "navi" thus you can ask the rental car company to set your destination before your first trip. Some models specifically newer Toyotas have an English language mode, so it doesn't hurt to ask the staff to change it before you head out. However unless you read Japanese you may need to ask for assistance to make full use of the navigation computer. Japanese driving habits are generally as good as anywhere else, and usually better than other Asian countries. Japanese roads are generally of good quality, with smooth bitumen surfaces.
Gravel roads are very limited, usually forest roads, and unlikely to be on the itinerary of too many tourists. Roadworks are frequent however, and can cause annoying delays. Certain mountain passes are shut over winter, those that are not usually require either snow chains or a combination of studless winter tires and 4-wheel drive. Most rental places require you to refill the tank before returning the car, or face an extra charge. Larger hotels in the cities and regional hotels normally offer car parking, but it would be wise to check car parking however before you book.
Validated parking is available at some car parks that are attached to major department stores in large cities, but don't count on getting more than hours free. The best car to use in Tokyo is a taxi. Japan has horizontal traffic lights, with any arrows appearing beneath the main lights. The color-blind should note that the red stop is on the right and the green go is on the left.
There are usually only one or two traffic lights per intersection pointing the same way, which can make it hard to see when the signals change. However some prefectures, such as Toyama and Niigata, have vertical lights this is supposedly due to the amount of snow they get. Japanese signs follow a mixture of European and North American conventions, but most should not pose any difficulty in understanding. On the highways and around major cities English signage is very good; however in more remote locales it may be spotty.
Electronic signs are everywhere on expressways and major arterial roads, and provide helpful real-time information on road conditions, unfortunately they are displayed exclusively in Japanese. The following is a brief list of the most common messages and their translations:. Warning hazards for repair, breakdown and construction are always well illuminated at night and tend to also appear at least once before the main obstacle on higher speed roads such as expressways.
Other road hazards to be aware of are taxis, who feel they have a god-given right to stop wherever and whenever they like, long-distance truckers especially late at night who may often be hepped up on pep pills and tend to ride the bumper of any slower car in front, and country farmers in their ubiquitous white mini-trucks, who never seem to go above a crawl and may pop out of rural side roads unexpectedly.
Road speed limits are marked in kilometres per hour. They are 40 kph in towns with varying areas: There is usually a fair bit of leeway in terms of speeding - about 10 kph on normal roads, for example. If you go with the flow you should not have any problems, as the Japanese often pay speed limits no more attention than they have to. Japan has many great opportunities for cyclists. Bicycle rentals can be found throughout the country, especially near popular routes. Some routes like the Kibi Plain in Okayama, or Shimanami Kaido which takes you from the mainland Onomichi to Shikoku Imabari have been set up specifically for cyclists.
If you will be spending an extended period of time in Japan, you may want to consider purchasing a bike. If you choose to do this, be aware that you need to have it registered. If your bike does not have the proper sticker, your bike can be confiscated. It is important that any bike that is not a rental bike is registered under the rider's name. If you are caught borrowing a bike registered under someone else's name, it is considered stolen in Japan, and you will likely be taken to the police station. The police often check bikes, so avoid problems by obeying the law.
Japan is a safe country for hitchhiking, although there is no Japanese custom for this, and some Japanese language ability is almost mandatory. See Hitchhiking in Japan for a more detailed introduction and practical tips for this fine art. Most Japanese under 40 have studied English for at least 6 years, but the instruction tends to focus on formal grammar and writing rather than actual conversation.
As a result, outside of major tourist attractions and establishments that cater specifically to foreigners, it is rare to find people who are conversant in English. Reading and writing tends to come much better though, and many younger Japanese are able to understand a great deal of written English despite not being able to speak it.
English and Chinese are often spoken by a some clerks in establishments such as major stores. If lost, it can be practical to write out a question on paper in simple words and give it to someone young, preferably high school or college students, who will likely be able to point you in the right direction. It can also be helpful to carry a hotel business card or matchbook with you, to show a taxi driver or someone if you lose your way. Take comfort in the fact that many Japanese will go to extraordinary lengths to understand what you want and to help you, and try to pick up at least basic greetings and thank yous to put people at ease.
Google Translate isn't perfect, but it can definitely help you if you are stuck in a situation where there is not enough to communicate. The app isn't great at reading text using the camera, but typing in a simple message can work. The slang-heavy dialect of the Kansai region is particularly famous in Japanese pop culture. The Kagoshima dialect is completely unintelligible to other Japanese. Likewise, on the southern islands of Okinawa , many dialects of the closely related Ryukyuan languages are spoken, mostly by the elderly, while in northern Hokkaido a rare few still speak Ainu.
Japanese is written using a convoluted mix of three different scripts: However, hiragana and katakana do not carry the meaning of the original Chinese characters they were derived from and are simply phonetic characters. There are thousands of kanji in everyday use and the Japanese spend years learning them, but the kana have only 50 syllables each and can be learned with a reasonable amount of effort. Knowing Chinese will also be a great head start for tackling kanji , but not all words mean what they seem: However, most Japanese are familiar with Western customs, and will almost always give their name in Western order when speaking with Westerners.
Names are a complicated matter in Japanese language. Using someone's given name when speaking to or about them is considered very personal, and is only common among grade-school children and very close friends. At all other times, the default is to use family names plus -san , a suffix approximately like "Mr. In the Japanese language, though, names are frequently avoided altogether by using pronouns or just grammatically omitting them. San is the default name suffix, but you may encounter a few others: To avoid being overly familiar or formal, stick with -san until someone asks you to call them differently.
Also do not use -san or other suffixes after your own name when introducing yourself. When most Westerners think of castles, they naturally think of their own in places like England and France. However, Japan too was a nation of castle-builders. In its feudal days, you could find multiple castles in nearly every prefecture.
Because of bombings in WWII, fires, edicts to tear down castles, etc. Four of them are located on the island of Shikoku, two just north in the Chugoku region, two in Kansai, three in the Chubu region, and one in the northern Tohoku region. There are no original castles in Kyushu, Kanto, Hokkaido, or Okinawa. Nijo Castle is an original however, it was actually an Imperial residence rather than a castle, so it is not included on the list of originals. Japan has many reconstructed castles, many of which receive more visitors than the originals.
A reconstructed castle means that the donjon was rebuilt in modern times, but many of these still have other original structures within the castle grounds. For example, three of Nagoya Castle 's turrets are authentic. Reconstructions still offer a glimpse into the past and many, like Osaka Castle are also museums housing important artifacts.
Kumamoto Castle is considered to be among the best reconstructions, because most of the structures have been reconstructed instead of just the donjon. The only reconstructed castle in Hokkaido is Matsumae Castle. Okinawa's Shuri Castle is unique among Japan's castles, because it is not a "Japanese" castle; it is from the Ryukyuan Kingdom and was built with the Chinese architectural style, along with some original Okinawan elements.
Ruins typically feature only the castle walls or parts of the original layout are visible. Although they lack the structures of reconstructed castles, ruins often feel more authentic without the concrete reconstructions that sometimes feel too commercial and touristy.
Many ruins maintain historical significance, such as Tsuyama Castle , which was so large and impressive, it was considered to be the best in the nation. Today, the castle walls are all that remain but the area is filled with thousands of cherry blossoms. This is common among many ruins, as well as reconstructions. Takeda Castle is famed for the gorgeous view of the surrounding area from the ruins. The nation has designated an official "Top Three Gardens", based on their beauty, size, authenticity gardens that have not been drastically altered , and historical significance.
The largest garden is actually Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu. And in spite of its reputation as a concrete jungle, Tokyo actually has a number of gardens to see. Rock and sand gardens can typically be found in temples, specifically those of Zen Buddhism. The most famous of these is Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto , but such temples can be found throughout Japan. Moss gardens are also popular in Japan and Saihoji Koke-dera , also in Kyoto, has one of the nation's best. Reservations are required to visit so they can prevent overcrowding. Regardless of your travel interests, it's difficult to visit Japan without at least seeing a few shrines and temples.
Buddhist and Shinto sites are the most common, although there are some noteworthy spiritual sites of other religions, as well. Buddhism has had a profound impact on Japan ever since it was introduced in the 6th century. Like shrines, temples can be found in every city, and many different sects exist.
Some of the holiest sites are made up of large complexes on mountaintops and include Mount Koya Japan's most prestigious place to be buried and head temple of Shingon Buddhism , Mount Hiei set here when Kyoto became the capital to remove Buddhism from politics, the head of the Tendai sect of Buddhism , and Mount Osore considered to be the "Gateway to Hell", it features many monuments and graves in a volcanic wasteland. Many of the nations head temples are located in Kyoto , like the Honganji Temples and Chion-in Temple. Kyoto also has five of the top Zen temples named in the "Five Mountain System" Tenryuji, Shokokuji, Kenninji, Tofukuji, and Manjuji , along with Nanzenji Temple , which sits above all the temples outside of the mountain system.
Although there are "five" temples, Kyoto and Kamakura both have their own five. Eiheiji Temple is also a prominent Zen temple, although it was never part of the mountain system. Todaiji's is the largest in the nation, while the Kamakura Daibutsu is the second largest, meditating outside in the open air. Horyuji Temple in Horyuji , just south of Nara, is the world's oldest wooden structure. The beautiful Phoenix Hall in Uji is seen by most visitors to Japan on the back of the ten yen coin, if not in real-life.
Shintoism is the "native" religion of Japan, so those looking to experience things that are "wholly Japanese" should particularly enjoy them as they truly embody the Japanese aesthetic. The holiest Shinto Shrine is the Grand Ise Shrine , while the second holiest is Izumo Shrine , where the gods gather annually for a meeting. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi came into power, Christianity was banned and Christians were persecuted.
Nagasaki is the most famous persecution site where 26 Japanese Christians were crucified. They are saints today and you can visit the memorial for these martyrs in the city. The Shimabara Rebellion is the most famous Christian uprising in Japan, and it was this rebellion that led to the ousting of the Portuguese and Catholic practices from Japan although Christianity had already been banned by this time , along with approximately 37, beheadings of Christians and peasants.
In Shimabara , you can visit the ruins of Hara Castle, where the Christians gathered and were attacked, see old Portuguese tombstones, and the samurai houses, some of which were occupied by Christian samurai. Less famous sites may be off the beaten path, like the Martyrdom Museum and Memorial Park for martyrs in Fujisawa. When the nation reopened, some Christians assumed that meant that they were able to practice Christianity freely and openly, so they came out after years of practicing secretly. Unfortunately, it was still not legal and these Christians were brought together in various parts of the country and tortured.
You can see one of these sites at Maria Cathedral in Tsuwano , built in the Otome Pass in the area where Christians were put into tiny cages and tortured. Along with the Martyrdom Site, Nagasaki is also home to Oura Church , the oldest church left in the nation, built in Because of Nagasaki's status for many years as one of the nation's ports for the Portguese and Dutch, the city is rich in Japanese Christian history, so many museums here have artifacts and information about the Christian community.
Japan has a few well-known Confucian Temples. As Japan's gateway to the world for many centuries, Nagasaki 's Koshibyo Confucian Temple is the only Confucian temple in the world to be built by Chinese outside of China. Yushima Seido in Tokyo was a Confucian school and one of the nation's first-ever institutes of higher education. The first integrated school in the nation, the Shizutani School in Bizen also taught based on Confucian teachings and principles.
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The schoolhouse itself was even modeled after Chinese architectural styles. The Okinawan religion also has its own spiritual sites. Seta Utaki , a World Heritage Site, is one of the most famous. Many Okinawan spiritual ceremonies were held here. Asumui in Kongo Sekirinzan Park is a large rock formation believed to be the oldest land in the area. As a religious site, shaman used to come here to speak with the gods. Okinawa is where some of the most brutal battles occurred between Japan and the United States, and the area is crawling with remnants from its dark past.
The Peace Park, Prefectural Peace Museum, Himeyuri Peace Museum, and the Peace Memorial Hall are some of the best places to learn more, see artifacts, and hear accounts of the battles that took place here. While Hiroshima and Nagasaki are important World War II sites, because the bombings of these cities led to the end of the Pacific War, the sites and museums found in these cities also speak to many as visions of a grim future, should nations continue supporting nuclear weapons programs and nuclear proliferation.
These two cities are the only cities in the world that have ever been hit by nuclear bombs, and each city has its own Peace Park and Memorial Museum where visitors can get a feel for just how destructive and horrific atomic warfare truly is. For many travellers in Japan, visiting at least one of these cities is a must. Some other possibilities are in Tachiarai, Fukuoka at the Chikuzenmachi Tachiarai Peace Memorial Museum which was a former airfield for training kamikaze, plus in Minamikyushu, Kagoshima the Chiran Peace Museum where most kamikaze took off on their one way missions, and in Kure, Hiroshima the Yamato Museum.
Note however that at the kamikaze museums photography is mostly prohibited. Many people are curious about the possibility of visiting Iwo Jima. Currently, the Military Historic Tours Company  has exclusive rights to conduct tours of the island. There are various other war remains throughout the city such as underground bunkers, pillboxes at Takasu Beach, and sites of former kamikaze lodgings in Nozato.
It is a symbol of Japan.
Every year it has been visited by many people for sightseeing and mountain climbing. It is famous for its amazing view seen from the top of the mountain. It has various faces, for example, Diamond Fuji. Generally, most foreign credit and debit cards will not work in most Japanese ATM's. The big exception is the ATMs found at over 20, Japanese post offices and over 20, 7-Eleven convenience stores, plus now a growing number of Lawson's and Family Mart convenience stores, plus Shinsei Bank branches.
Since Japan is generally safe, withdrawing higher amounts and fewer times can save you some money. Putting your money in a credit union or other similar financial institution before your trip may save you from a lot of the expensive fees. If you do plan to use your ATM card in Japan, make sure your bank knows about it first so they don't suspect fraudulent usage and freeze your account.
The currency of Japan is the Japanese yen pronounced en in Japanese. The value of the yen has been up and down significantly over the past few years. As of November , it stands at yen to the US dollar. Japan is fundamentally a cash society. Even businesses that do take cards often have a minimum charge as well as a surcharge, although this practice is disappearing. Most merchants are not familiar with this, but it will work if you can convince them to try! It's not a guarantee though as some places with the JCB logo declined Discover cards.
Always carry an alternate if you want to pay by card. The Japanese usually carry around large quantities of cash — it is quite safe to do so and is almost a necessity, especially in smaller towns and more isolated areas. These are generally credit-card sized charge cards that can be recharged in exchange for cash in yen increments , either at metro ticket vending machines or at convenience store cash registers for no additional fee.
An IC card is a very convenient way to pay for everyday purchases and can be obtained for a yen deposit and the initial charge amount from ticket vending machines at rail and subway stations. Balances are valid for ten years. The remaining charge and half of the deposit is refunded upon returning the card to station staff Pasmo has no refund charge , however refunds can only be done in the region the card originates from. Since the introduction of nationwide cross-compatibility, cards purchased in most major cities can be used anywhere that shows the letters "IC" in gold and red note that this does not extend to PiTaPa e-money compatibility; this means that a good number of vending machines in Osaka will not take, say, a Suica or Pasmo as payment.
Some people also use mobile phones to pay for their purchases where the mobile phone either has a built-in chip that allows it to function like a stored value card e. Suica or like credit cards whereby the cost is billed to them with their mobile phone bill.
However, a Japanese phone and SIM card is required to make use of this service so it's typically not available to foreigners on short visits. If you already have a Japanese phone, be aware that initializing the prepaid card function on a rental SIM will incur data charges, though this will most likely be less than the cost of a physical card.
This can be avoided by using WiFi. Mobile phone-based stored value systems can be charged either by credit card typically only American Express or JCB cards from overseas are accepted or at convenience store cash registers. Almost any major bank in Japan will provide foreign currency exchange from US dollars cash and traveller's checks. Rates are basically the same whichever bank you choose. Having to wait min, depending on how busy the branch gets, is not unusual.
Among other Asian currencies, Singapore dollars seem to be the most widely accepted, followed by the Korean won and Chinese yuan. Other Asian currencies are generally not accepted currencies from nearby countries, like won, yuan, and Hong Kong dollars, are exceptions. Japanese post offices can also cash traveller's checks or exchange cash for yen at a slightly better rate than the banks, however, it can take minutes of waiting.
Traveller's checks also have a better rate of exchange than cash. Since passports usually do not show your address, bring along another form of ID such as a driver's license that shows your address. The major exceptions are:. While 7-Elevens are everywhere, having more options is always recommended, so try to get either a UnionPay or Discover debit card before arrival for increased convenience for instance, at Narita Airport, there are the "usual" foreign-capable ATMs on the 1st floor of Terminal 2 that get crowded when the international arrivals start coming, whereas the Mitsubishi-UFJ ATMs on the 2nd floor are wide open during most hours.
One thing to beware: An exception is convenience stores, which are open 24 hours. SMBC only takes If the first digit is something else and it does not have the logo of another network it will not function at all in Japan. Change it out for another one. On top of these, there are cash dispensers abbreviated to CDs in Japan , intended for credit card cash advances.
If you're having trouble, pick up the handset next to the machine to talk to the central ATM support staff. Vending machines in Japan are known for their pervasiveness and the notorious variety of products they sell. Even the most high-tech vending machines do not take credit cards, save for certain ones in train stations though there are limitations — for example, JR East ticket vending machines require a PIN of four digits or less; most credit card customers would be better off purchasing from a ticket window.
Note that cigarette vending machines require a Taspo card age verification , which are unfortunately off limits to non residents, but local smokers are usually happy to lend you theirs. But if you find a beer vending machine rare, but they exist , they do not require age verification. Prepaid electronic cards are quite popular in Japan for small purchases. There are cards for train fares, convenience store purchases, and public telephones, though they aren't interchangeable.
Stores can now choose to display prices either inclusive or exclusive of tax. If you cannot find out any words in the price card, most of them are now tax-excluded. Always keep a sizeable stack of reserve money in Japan, as if you run out for any reason wallet stolen, credit card blocked, etc , it can be difficult to have any wired to you. Western Union has a very limited presence even in the larger metropolitan areas their agreement with Suruga Bank ended in , and they have just started a new agreement with Daikokuya as of April , banks will not allow you to open accounts without local ID, and even international postal money orders require proof of a residential address in Japan.
Tipping effectively does not exist in Japan, and attempting to offer tips can often be seen as an insult. Even bellhops in high end hotels usually do not accept tips. The only exceptions are high-end ryokan see Sleep and English-speaking tour guides. Some tourist serving companies may have a tip jar, but it is not expected to tip.
Japan is not as expensive as its reputation implies.
It is cheaper to eat a full meal at a moderately priced restaurant in Tokyo than in Australia, Canada and most Western European countries. Lodging and transport will be your biggest expenses. In Osaka, there are many places in the Chuo Group. As a rule of thumb, popular temples charge an entrance fee but shrines do not. There are a few exceptions however, such as the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo and the Daishoin Temple on Miyajima which do not, and the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, which does. Japan is expensive in the central high-end shopping and eating areas. Since tourists often flock to these areas, consider purchasing lunch or snacks at a local supermarket before starting your day.
A glass of orange juice at a cafe in the centre can cost you more than your entire lunch at the supermarket. Don Quijote stores are similar to Wal-Mart style shopping with inexpensive food, clothing, gifts, etc. The consumption tax imposed is not refundable for purchases of consumable items such as food and beverages that you consume in the country. Certain stores have tax free purchases for consumables over a certain amount, but you will get them in a sealed bag with a warning not to consume them in the country or be subject to tax.
When making tax free purchases or tax refund claims, counter staff would staple or tape the receipt in your passport, which you should keep with you until you leave Japan. This piece of paper is to be surrendered to the customs counter at your point of departure just before you pass through immigration and checks may be done to ensure that you are bringing the items out of Japan.
It is a confusing process though and not well signed at the airport. Just drop the receipts in the bin and head toward immigration. Despite the saying that Japanese cities never sleep, retail hours are surprisingly limited by North American standards. Opening hours of most shops are typically 10AM-8PM, though most shops are open on weekends and public holidays except New Year, and close on one day a week. Restaurants typically stay open until late at night, though smoking would usually be allowed after 8PM so those who can't stand cigarette smoke should have your meals before then.
However, you will always find something you could need to buy at any time of day. In central Tokyo you will never be more than meters away from a convenience store. They often offer a much wider range of products than convenience stores in the US or Europe, often have a small ATM and are often open all day all week unless they are part of a larger mall that has a closing hour! Many convenience stores also offer services such as fax, takkyubin luggage delivery, a range of non-international postal services, payment services for bills including topping up international phone cards such as Brastel and some online retailers e.
Of course, establishments related to night life such as karaoke lounges and bars stay open well into the night: Pachinko parlours are obliged to close at 11 pm. To many Westerners, anime animation and manga comics are the most popular icons of modern Japan. Many visitors come to Japan in search of merchandise relating to their favorite anime and manga titles, which are often released in different versions in Japan and the West; the Western versions edit out taboo references in the Japanese version. Most anime fans will even try to find Japanese-language anime DVDs, but there are difficulties to doing so: You can get around this with special, often expensive equipment such as multi-system televisions and all-region DVD players.
More commonly, a computer with region-lock bypassing software installed i. You may also be surprised by the prices: The mecca of anime goods in Japan is in Akihabara, with another good source at Nakano Broadway, both in Tokyo. Note, however, that Blu-ray regions are much less restrictive than DVD regions. Some discs are also released without any region coding at all, and can be used with any NTSC-compatible player. Be mindful about the content of any anime or manga that you purchase and try to bring back to your home country, especially if it contains sexually explicit material.
The content of some anime and manga may be illegal under certain laws in your country. A [ well documented case ] involves an American who in , ordered manga from Japan and was arrested after American postal workers opened his parcel prior to his receipt of the package. The manga he ordered were declared illegal under U. While this cannot be charged under child pornography laws being drawings, no children can be said to have been involved in their creation , they are still illegal in the U.
S and several other countries under laws regarding obscenity. Check your local laws before trying to import any titles that might be questionable. Of course, the language will still be in Japanese unless the game has multilingual options. There have been a lot of game consoles made in Japan.
Here is a list of old consoles and their release dates in Japan. PC games, on the other hand, will usually work fine, as long as you understand enough Japanese to install and play them. Generally the best places for Video Game shopping are Akihabara in Tokyo, and Den Den Town in Osaka in terms of deals, you can purchase video games from almost anywhere in Japan. Battery-powered small electronics and still cameras made for sale in Japan will work anywhere in the world, though you might have to deal with an owner's manual in Japanese.
There are no great deals to be found pricewise compared to the US, but the selection is unparalleled. However, if you are buying other electronics to take home, it's best to shop at stores that specialize in universal or "overseas" configurations, many of which can be found in Tokyo's Akihabara. Even the US standard V voltage may be too much for some devices. They usually have English-speaking staff on duty and accept foreign credit cards.
For common products the prices at any are virtually identical, so don't waste time comparison shopping. Bargaining is possible in smaller shops, and even the larger chains will usually match their competitors' prices. Most of the big chains have a "point card" that gets you points that can be used as a discount on your next purchase, even just a few minutes later.
Some stores the biggest being Yodobashi Camera require you to wait overnight before being able to redeem points. The cards are handed out on the spot and no local address is needed. However, some stores may not allow you to earn points and receive a tax refund on the same purchase. If you know you will buy something else at the same store which is likely given that you almost always pay on the floor the item is found on , choose to earn points as most items, earn at least 10 percent in points, compared to the 5 percent tax refund.
While you may be better off heading for France or Italy for high end fashion, when it comes to casual fashion, Japan is hard to beat. Tokyo and Osaka in particular are home to many shopping districts, and there is an abundance of stores selling the latest fashion, particularly those catering to youths. Just to name a few, Shibuya in Tokyo and Shinsaibashi in Osaka are known throughout Japan as centers of youth fashion. The main problem is that Japanese shops cater to Japanese-sized customers, and finding larger or curvier sizes can be real challenge.
Japan is also famous for its beauty products such as facial cream and masks, including many for men. While these are available in almost every supermarket, the Ginza district of Tokyo is where many of the most expensive brands have their own shops. The main pearl growing operation to this day is in the small town of Toba near Ise , but the pearls themselves are widely available — although there is little if any price difference to buying them outside Japan.
For those who insist on getting their hands on the "authentic" stuff, Mikimoto's flagship store is in the Ginza district of Tokyo. Then of course there is kimono. While very expensive new, second hand kimono can be had at a fraction of the price. There is a separate Kimono buying guide on Wikitravel for those who would like to buy their very own. Smoking cigarettes remains popular in Japan, especially among men. While cigarettes are sold at some of the many vending machines dotting Japan, visitors to Japan who wish to purchase them must do so at a convenience store or duty-free.
As a result of the Japanese tobacco industry cracking down on minors the legal age is 20 , you now need a special age-verifying IC card, called a TASPO card , to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine. Japan has few domestic brands: Seven Stars and Mild Seven are the most common local brands. American brands such as Marlboro, Camel and Lucky Strike are extremely popular although the Japanese-produced versions have a much lighter taste than their western counterparts. Also, look out for unusual flavoured cigarettes, light cigarettes with flavour-enhancing filter technology although they taste very artificial and have little effect, mostly popular with female smokers.
Japanese cuisine, renowned for its emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, has taken the world by storm. One of the joys of getting out of Tokyo and travelling within Japan is to discover the local specialties. Every region within the country has a number of delightful dishes, based on locally available crops and fish. In Hokkaido try the fresh sashimi and crab. Eating with chopsticks is a surprisingly easy skill to pick up, although mastering them takes a while.
Some chopstick guidelines to be aware of:. You shouldn't "whittle" your chopsticks after breaking them apart. Many restaurants give you a hot towel o-shibori to wipe your hands with as soon as you sit down; use it for your hands, and not your face. Many Japanese dishes come with different sauces and garnishes. Japanese never put soy sauce on their rice; they eat bowls of rice plain, or sometimes with furikake , a blend of crumbled seaweed, fish, and spices. Soy sauce is used for dipping sushi in before eating, and they pour it on grilled fish and tofu as well. Most soups and broths, especially miso, are drunk directly out of the bowl after you've chopsticked out the larger bits, and it's also normal to pick up a bowl of rice for easier eating.
Curry rice and fried rice are also eaten with spoons. The number of restaurants in Japan is stupendous, and you will never run out of places to go. For cultural and practical reasons, Japanese almost never invite guests to their homes, so socializing nearly always involves eating out.
According to the world famous Michelin Guide, which rates restaurants in major cities around the world, Tokyo is the most "delicious" city in the world with over restaurants that received at least one star out of three. In comparison, Paris and London received a total of between them. These typically consist of a meat or fish dish, with a bowl of miso soup, pickles, and rice often with free extra helpings.
Menus will, for most establishments, be in Japanese only; however, many restaurants have models many in exquisite detail of their meals in their front window, and if you can't read the menu it may be better to take the waiter or waitress outside and point at what you would like. Restaurants will present you with the check after the meal, and you are expected to pay at the counter when leaving — do not leave payment on the table and walk out.
When it's getting late, a server will usually come to your table to tell you it's time for the "last order. This is true across the country, except at the most expensive places. That means "pay up and move out. Many cheap chain eateries have vending machines where you buy a ticket and give it to the server. At most of these restaurants, you'll have to be able to read Japanese to use them, though. At some of these restaurants, there will be plastic displays or photographs of the food with varying prices in front of them.
It is often possible to match the price, along with some of the kana characters to the choices at the machine. You'll always know how much you're spending so you'll never overpay. If your Japanese language skills are limited or non-existent, these restaurants with vending machines are really quite comfortable places because there is limited or no conversation required at these establishments.
Try ones in government buildings: Practically every town and hamlet in Japan boasts its own "famous" noodle dish, and they are often well worth trying. There are two major noodle types native to Japan: Typically all dishes below can be ordered with either soba or udon depending on your preference and a bowl will cost only a few hundred yen, especially at the standing-room-only noodle joints in and near train stations.
Ramen can be considered to be the defining dish of each city, and practically every sizable city in Japan will have its own unique style of ramen. The four major styles of ramen are:. In Tokyo, there is a brand of chinese noodles called "Jirou. The restaurants that handle this usually only handle "Jirou" type of noodles. If you tell the waiter "mashimashi" they well add great amounts of vegetables for free.
Left overs are unacceptable so be sure to have an empty stomach.