Please ensure that you visit your doctor to enquire about any vaccination requirements you may need for your visit to Japan. It may be worthwhile taking a copy of your itinerary with you to show the exact areas you will be travelling to within Japan.
Japan has quite strict rules about taking prescription drugs and medication into the country. Even some common cold remedies are not permitted so it is always worth checking prior to travelling. We advise contacting the Japan Embassy in your country for the latest information.
You are permitted to take up to one month's supply of a prescribed drug and two months of an over the counter drug into Japan without obtaining prior permission. If your medication is prescribed, we advise that you take either a copy of the prescription or a letter from the doctor stating that the medication has been prescribed to you. It is also advisable to take the medication in its original packaging.
If you are taking more than the quantities mentioned above, or if you need take needles, you will have to apply for an import certificate, known as a Yakkan Shoumei. Further information and the application forms, if needed, can be found online here-
Please note that there are a few exceptions to the above rule. Any medication containing pseudoephedrine (ie. Sudafed) is not permitted as this is a banned substance in Japan under the anti-stimulant laws. If the medication contains a narcotic, like codeine or morphine, you will need to obtain a different certificate regardless of the quantity being taken into Japan.
Passports & Visas
This information is intended as a guide only, for official information please contact your nearest Japanese Embassy. An onward ticket is sometimes required in order to be allowed into the country. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay and it's always a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport in case you lose it.
Nationals of UK, Germany, Mexico, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Ireland - No Visa Required, maximum stay of 6 months (initially 3 months, then apply for extension)
Nationals Of other EU, Bahamas, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Mauritius, Singapore, Turkey - No Visa Required, maximum stay of 3 months
Nationals Of USA, Barbados, New Zealand - No Visa required, maximum stay of 90 days
Spring Weather in Japan. In March, Tokyo's spring weather is an average of 13 degrees C / 55F during the afternoon, and 5 degrees Celsius / 44F during the morning and evening.
What to pack
There are no regulations with regards to clothing / covering up in Japan aside from dressing appropriately in temples etc. We would suggest packing clothes you are comfortable in, include a lightweight waterproof jacket for spring showers alongside a layerable jumper / scarf for the evenings as it can be quite cool. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, but easy to slip on and off as shoes are not permitted in shrines, temples or traditional restaurants. Don’t forget your travel adapters.
Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or small cruise ships. Also,
-Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
-Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
-Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
-Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
-Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.
Japan is a cash-based society - Yen - and many places that you might expect to take credit card normally—like McDonald’s—do not. A lot of stores simply aren’t equipped to take card and usually have a sign out front on the rarer occasion that they do. Only international banks such as HSBC, or ATMs at 7-Elevens or post offices, will accept foreign cards.
Also, since everything from 1 yen to 500 yen (about $5) are coins, we highly recommend bringing a coin purse with you.
We often get asked about tipping - despite guide books saying that tipping is not customary in Japan, the giving of "gifts" in envelopes as thanks for service is. While it is certainly up to the discretion of each person, to a certain extent it is recommended in order to guarantee the best level of service. We can provide you with a list of recommended tipping scales if you wish to tip directly yourself, or we suggest an all-inclusive tips package of US$168 per person that we, as the Big Journey Company, will distribute on your behalf to ensure the best possible service.
Japan is a very clean country, however to avoid finding yourself without soap after using the bathroom, as this isn’t always available, we suggest carrying hand sanitizer with you. Face cloths are not always provided.