Japan is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with a population of 127 million. Major religions include Shinto and Buddhism. The time zone is UTC+9, internet TLD is .jp and the main language is, of course, Japanese.
Australians and New Zealanders can travel for 90 days in Japan under the VISA waiver program. For more information on Japan’s VISA and Immigration regulations please go to the bottom of this page to find our “Useful Links” section.
Japan has four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. It also has over 4,000 other, smaller islands. The biggest island is Honshu and contains Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Kobe and other major cities.
Voltage in Japan is 100 volts with 50 hertz frequency in eastern Japan and 60 hertz in western Japan.
Japan’s international calling code is +81.
Japanese standard time is GMT +9.
The Japanese currency is the Yen. With notes in ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 denominations and coins either ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500. Currency exchange is available at major banks and exchange bureaus can be found throughout Tokyo. Please check for the most current rates but as of November, 2012 AUD$1 = ¥85. A local beer costs around ¥400 but can be more in major cities.
Public phones accept 10 and 100 yen coins or magnetic prepaid cards. Emergency numbers include 110 for police, 119 for ambulance/fire.
There are two types of restrooms in Japan which offer either traditional Japanese-style squat toilets or Western-style. Many modern restrooms will include both types although visitors to the countryside will often find only the traditional type is available.
Credit cards accepted at most hotels, department stores, duty free shops and restaurants although in the countryside it’s a better idea to rely on cash.
Tipping is not customary in Japan.
Japan is an extremely safe country with an extremely low crime rate. Even so, it’s still wise to make sure that you take care of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 2 New Year’s Day
Jan 2 Bank Holiday
Jan 3 Bank Holiday
Jan 9 Coming of Age Day
Feb 11 National Foundation Day
Mar 3 Dolls’ Festival/Girls’ Festival
Mar 20 March equinox
Mar 20 Spring Equinox
Apr 29 Shōwa Day
May 3 Constitution Memorial Day
May 4 Greenery Day
May 5 Children’s Day
Jul 7 Star Festival
Jul 17 Sea Day
Aug 11 Mountain Day
Sep 18 Respect for the Aged Day
Sep 22 September equinox
Sep 23 Autumn Equinox
Oct 9 Sports Day
Nov 3 Friday Culture Day
Nov 15 7-5-3 Day
Nov 23 Labor Thanksgiving Day
Dec 21 December Solstice
Dec 23 Emperor’s Birthday
Dec 25 Christmas
Dec 31 Bank Holiday