Some Tips for those who intend travel to Japan

Japan as a vacation destination is fascinating. We recently came back from a wonderful tour of Japan and would like to share some tips to those who wish to visit Japan:

Transport from Airport to Hotel:

  • We found that it is very convenient to go by Airport Limousine Service. One can buy the tickets just outside the arrival lounge. The people at the counter are very helpful and do speak good English. One can pay by credit card also. We bought a combined Ticket (i.e., Limousine to the Hotel + 24 hour Metro and Subway Ticket).
  •  Once you buy the Limousine Ticket, you will find Limousine Bus Stops just outside the exit and you have attendants manning these stops who are very helpful and will guide you to the right stop and right queue. They will load your luggage into the Limousine Bus and there are no charges or tipping. The courtesy extended by these Limousine Bus attendants is unbelievable and we were pretty impressed.
  •  If your Hotel is not covered by the Limousine Bus, you can get down at the nearest Hotel Stop covered by the Limousine Bus (You will be guided as to which is the nearest stop to your Hotel)  and then take a Taxi from the nearest Stop to your Hotel.
  • Do carry printed address of your Hotel (both in Japanese and English) with its Phone No. This makes communication with Taxi Driver / Limousine Bus Ticket Counter Easy

Wi-Fi / Internet

  • Airports and Hotels are covered with free Wi-Fi. However, one will need an App to connect to free Wi-Fi in Airport and Public Places (though not in Hotels). There are currently two major, nationwide products available that make connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots easier:

Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi : A smartphone app that unifies the registration process of over 100,000 free tourist hotspots by numerous companies and organizations so that visitors can use them all without having to register for each service individually. Registration of some personal data is required.

Free Wi-Fi Passport: Two weeks (extendable) free access to approximately 400,000 Softbank hotspots at restaurants, cafes, major train stations, hotels and other locations across Japan. Registration is made by calling a toll-free number (*8180) from a foreign cellphone while connected to the Softbank network. Calling the number will get you a password that can be used on up to five devices.

Metro / Sub-Way in Tokyo:

  • Commuting by Metro and Sub-way in Tokyo is very convenient. One can reach almost all important tourist attractions through Metro / Sub-Way. (The Tokyo subway is a part of the extensive rapid transit system that consists of Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway in the Greater Tokyo area of Japan. While the subway system itself is largely within the city center, the lines extend far out via extensive through services onto suburban railway lines).
  • One can buy 24 hour / 48 hour / 72 hour tickets also, if travel is frequent.
  • Metro lines are colour coded and there is enough information available in English inside the trains.
  • However, be prepared for lengthy walks when changing from one line to another.
  • Commuting by Metro / Sub-Way is the best way to go around in Tokyo.

 Exchanging Currency in Japan:

  • One can exchange currency before catching your flight to Japan, or on arrival at the airport in Japan or at any currency exchange machines. I found that currency exchange machines gave the best exchange rate.
  • One can also withdraw from ATM machines at convenience chain stores such as ‘7 Eleven’ and ‘ Family Mart’. But ensure that your credit card and / or ATM Card is activated for use in Japan.
  • Currency Notes which are most in use is denomination JPY 1,000. Coins are used for denominations below JPY 1000.

Umbrellas : Hotels generally provide umbrellas (free of cost – returnable), for use if weather is cloudy or if it is raining.

Vending Machines: We found lots of vending machines for soft drinks, Sodas and Water. These machines take both JPY 1000 note and Coins. Operating these machines are very easy.

Power Adapters for Japan : The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, which is different from India, Qatar (230V / 240V), North America (120V), Central Europe (230V) and most other regions of the world. Japanese electrical plugs have two, non-polarized pins. It is advisable to carry Adapters which fit into Japanese electrical plugs for charging your mobiles, cameras etc. Also it is advisable to carry Power-banks.