A Traveler’s Guide to Visiting Japan

In 2019, Japan recorded 31.88 million people entering the country, it’s the country’s first time to surpass the 30 million mark, finally achieving a record high. Well, we can’t blame those 31 million though for wanting to visit Japan. 

Japan is the home to a lot of things people are in love with. Animes, Japanese dramas, technology, rich culture, amazing tourists spot, and jaw-dropping sceneries. You can enjoy the busy metro city life in Tokyo or enjoy the rural and relaxing life in Tottori.

Japan has it all. So if you’re planning a trip to Japan, better bring with you some important information. 

Japan’s Visa Requirements

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Do I need a visa for Japan?

Yes, you need a visa for Japan. However, there are certain nationalities that are visa-exempt and can enter Japan with Temporary Visitor status. This is only for limited periods of time, usually 15 to 90 consecutive days, and are used for tourism, visiting relatives, and business purposes. But, visitors under the Temporary Visitor status cannot be paid for work. 

For the list of visa-exempt counties, click here. 

If you are a citizen of the following countries, you will need a visa to enter Japan. 

  • China
  • Russia
  • Philippines
  • Vietnam
  • CIS countries and Georgia

Tourist Visa Requirements

A tourist visa is a short-term stay with the purpose of tourism, visiting friends and relatives, or attending courses or conferences. 

Citizens (except for those under the visa-exempt countries) wanting to visit Japan must first obtain a tourist visa, while tourists from visa-free countries are only required to hold a valid passport to obtain their Japan eVisa. 

If you are not from any of the visa-exempt countries, then you need to successfully apply for a tourist visa and must meet the following requirements. 

  • A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity and 2 blank pages
  • Completed visa application form
  • Recent passport photo and certified copy of your birth certificate
  • If married, submit a marriage certificate
  • Submit intention to leave Japan at the end of your authorized stay 
  • Proof of financial capacity and supporting financial statements to prove that you can support yourself financially during your stay
  • Submit tax return
  • Certificate of Employment (if you are applying without a sponsor)
  • Provide itinerary of your trip (schedule and travel plans)

Flight Cost to Japan

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All airfares vary from airline to airline and even to the season when you book your tickets. Peak season traveling is more expensive. For Japan, the most expensive time to visit the country would be during the blossoming of the cherry blossoms and autumn foliage (early April and mid-November). 

If you travel through the off-season (late autumn through March, except for the New Year’s holiday), you’ll be able to save a lot more money. 

On average, a round flight from the US to Japan would cost between $700 to $1,200. 

Flight Duration to Japan

If you are from Asia, the flight duration is from 2 hours (from Korea) to 12 hours (from Yemen). If you are from the United States, the estimated flight duration would be 13 hours, and from Australia, 9 to 10 hours. If you are from the EU countries, the flight duration is between 9 hours (from Russia) to 14 hours (from Spain). 

Important Apps for Tourist

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MAPS.Me

Getting lost in an unknown country with no mobile data or wife in sight can be quite devastating. But good thing MAPS.Me was created. This app is an interactive offline map that functions similarly to Google Maps but does not require an internet connection. 

The application is available in more than 15 languages, such as Arabic, Czech, and German. Before traveling to Japan, make sure you have the app ready on your phone. Your current location will be updated once you connect to the Internet. 

The is app is free but, if you wish to remove in-app ads, you can get the paid version. There are 3 subscriptions: weekly, monthly, and yearly, all priced differently. 

Navitime

Japan’s transportation system is in a whole another level. It has a comprehensive network, the trains are modern and efficient and they follow their timetables down to the very last second. However, as a tourist, it might be overwhelming at first glance. 

Navitime was first created to be a guide for Japan’s subway system but it has now become of one of the most essential travel app.

The app offers a detailed explanation and introduction to the country’s transportation network, including maps, travel time, and a route planner. 

Aside from this, you’ll also have access to written guides and advice on traveling to different regions of Japan. 

While the app is free, some features such as alternative routes or turn-by-turn direction are paid. 

Imiwa?

Traveling to a foreign country where you don’t speak its language can be quite intimidating. Unless you know a bit of the Japanese language, menus, signs, and notices, station and train announcements will be incomprehensible. 

You’ll encounterer people who will speak a bit of English, especially when you’re in the cities, but it’s either limited or they’ll be too shy to show it. So better pack up some words and expressions to make your trip more enjoyable. 

Imiwa? is made just for that. Imiwa? is a dictionary app that includes thousands of entries in English, German, French, and Russian. English is the most comprehensive with 170,000 entries. It also finds words in katakana and hiragana, kanji, and romanji and helps you understand these words by giving you sample sentences. 

The downside for this, however, is that it’s currently only available for iOS users. 

Yomiwa

Truly the age of technology where you can walk out of the door in a foreign country and you don’t need to worry about walking around and asking for directions. 

Introducing, Yomiwa, an automatic sign translator. All you need to do is point your device’s camera at any text and it will instantly translate it for you. It could be a restaurant’s menu, a street sign, billboard, ATM screen, Yomiwa will help you with it. 

Aside from helping you translate, the app also has additional features such as saving the words and an option to practice kanji. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is Japan expensive?

For travelers on a tight budget, it could be. A lot of tourists actually hesitate to go to Japan because of blog posts and experiences from other travelers that say that Japan can be quite an expensive country to tour. 

If you travel like a legit tourist (eating out, staying in hotels, and travel a lot), you can easily spend $200 a day. However, if you live like a local (stay in a hostel, eat cheap food, and buying a railway pass), Japan won’t be as expensive as you thought it would be. 

  1. How’s the climate and weather in Japan?

Japan’s climate is mostly temperate with four distinct seasons. 

Eastern Japan has hot summers and cold winters partnered with heavy snow, especially on the Sea of Japan and in mountain areas. Western Japan has very hot and humid summers and moderately cold winters. 

If you wish to know more about Japan’s climate and weather, you can read more here: When is the Best Time to visit Japan?

  1. Is Japan safe?

Yes, Japan is very safe. The country has a low crime rate. However, like all countries in the world, petty thefts could still happen and common sense in traveling is still needed. So if you are out and about, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times. 

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