Japan: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

About Japan


Timeless and modern, tranquil and mesmerizing, Japan has a way of gently sinking its hooks into a traveler's soul. Its hypnotic streets can sometimes feel like a lucid dream where shapes, sounds, and flavors all feel foreign yet inviting at the same time. Japan has been described as addictive and from your first taste of this country, you'll understand why you will always come back to the land of the rising sun.


Capital City: Tokyo

Population: 125.8 million (2020 est.)

Currency: Yen

Time Zone: Japan Standard Time - WITA (GMT+9)

Emergency Number: 110


Packing List

Speak the Language

Language: Japanese

  • Good morning - Kon'nichiwa
  • Good night - Oyasumi
  • Goodbye (to a person leaving) - Sayonara
  • Thank you - Arigato
  • How are you? - Ogenkidesuka
  • I’m fine - Daijobudesu
  • I’m Sorry - Gomen'nasai
  • Delicious - Oishi


Google Translate: Google Translate: Download the Google Translate app or click here 




Fun Facts

  • The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populated megacity in the world. Made up of 3 prefectures, the greater Tokyo city limits have an estimated 38.4 million inhabitants.
  • Despite Tokyo boasting the largest metropolis in the world, Japan is surprisingly green with 69% of its landmass covered in forest.
  • If you are a fan of a good old-fashioned natural disaster, Japan is the place for you! There are 110 active volcanoes, 47 of which are closely monitored. On top of that, Japan sits above 4 tectonic plates which translates to 1500 earthquakes per year.
  • The Japanese have the 2nd highest life expectancy in the world at an average of 83.5 years of age, second only to the people of Hong Kong.
  • The first European visitors to Japan were the Portuguese in 1543. Not only did the Portuguese trade some European technology such as guns, armor and ships, but they also introduced a staple in Japanese cuisine, tempura.
  • The Japanese are famous for their efficiency and punctuality and one clear example is their train system. Despite train lines running throughout the country in all directions, they are always on time. In fact, back in 2017, the Tsukuba Express Line made global headlines when it publicly apologized for leaving the station 20 seconds too early.
  • The Japanese work ethic is legendary and you will see it all around you when the workforce squeezes themselves into the smallest space in public transport during rush hour. The Japanese work culture is so intense that the word 'Karoshi' exists, which translates to 'death by overwork'.
  • Although they might not have mastered the art of 'work-life' balance, Japan has the lowest unemployment rate in the world at 2.4%.


Tipping Suggestions: Tipping is NOT customary in Japan and in many cases could be considered rude or insulting. In the few exceptions when tipping is customary, never hand over cash directly but neatly placed it inside an envelope.

Ryokan with private Nakai-san (Japanese style hotel with staff that take care of guests) 1000 yen paid in an envelope at check-in
Private dinner w/ Geisha 3000 yen paid at the beginning of dinner
Guides  500 yen per day, at the end in an envelope



Where can I find information on travel safety? Check out the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on safety while traveling.


Is the water safe to drink? Japan's tap water is drinkable and safe. The national water infrastructure is reliable and purification facilities are well-maintained.


Do I need a Visa? For Visa information, click here. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you return home and has two or more blank pages. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter.


What about vaccines? For Vaccination information, click here.

Do you recommend travel insurance? While not required, we highly recommend all travelers get travel insurance for their trip to protect themselves from the unknown! Check out travel insurance options from our partner, worldnomads.com or from a provider of your choice.


How much should I pack? As we will be using shared transfers and spaces throughout our tour we recommend all travelers pack as lightly as possible. Please review our luggage restrictions below.


What does public transportation look like? Japan has an efficient public transportation network, especially between large cities. Japanese public transportation is characterized by its punctuality, it's superb service, cleanliness, and efficiency.


Is Uber or Lyft available? Uber is available in Japan although it is not as frequently used by locals because of the efficient public transportation system. Chinese ride-sharing app, Didi is also used.

Luggage Restrictions

Luggage Restrictions purple
Luggage restrictions purple – mobile – 1

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