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Travel Tips
 

Currency

The currency in Japan is the yen () and banknotes and coins are clearly marked. There are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 coins, and 1000, 5000 and 10,000 banknotes. The 1 coin is an aluminum lightweight, the 5 and 50 coins have a hole in the middle.

Clothing

As with any temperate country, recommended clothes to pack depend on the season. In spring and autumn, pack jackets and sweaters, in summer, short sleeves and swimwear, and in winter, topcoats, wool suits and extra-warm jackets and sweaters are advisable. There is really no need for formal clothing such as tuxedos and evening gowns, and those can be rented if necessary. A point to note: clean socks are a necessity in Japan since shoes are customarily removed at certain Japanese restaurants or in the vestibules of private homes.

Emergency Numbers

Dial 110 for the Police, 119 for the Fire Department or Ambulance, and 3501-0110 for Police General Information in English. Emergency calls made on public phones are free. Just press the red button before making the call.

Health/Medical Services

For hospital information, call 5285-8181 in Tokyo (English, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Spanish spoken). In general, hospital reception desks are open from 8:30 am to 11:00 am, Monday through Friday for English-speaking doctors and hospitals in Tokyo. Below is a list of general hospitals that you can refer to :

International Catholic Hospital (Seibo Byoin) 2-5-1 Naka Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 161-0032 Tel: (03) 3951-1111

Japan Red Cross Medical Center (Nihon Sekijujisha Iryo Center) 4-1-22 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012 Tel: (03) 3400-1311

St. Luke's International Hospital (Seiroka Byoin) 9-1 Akashicho, Chuo-ku. Tokyo 104-0044 Tel: (03) 3541-5151

Tokyo Adventist Hospital (Tokyo Eisei Byoin) 3-17-3 Amanuma, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 167-0032 Tel: (03) 3392-6151

Tipping

It is not common in Japan to tip. A 10 - 15% service charge is included in your bills at hotels, Ryokan and up-market restaurants. Unless you request extra or special services, no tip is necessary.

Time Differences

Standard time in Japan is nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +0900). The difference decreases by one hour during daylight saving time in the summer.

Telephone Service

There are indoor and outdoor public telephones just about everywhere in Japan. There are yellow, green and red phones. The yellow and green telephones accept 10 and 100 coins while the red phones accept 10 coins only. The green phones also accept magnetic, prepaid telephone cards. Local calls are charged at a rate of 10 per minute.

Tourist Information

Foreign travelers in Japan can obtain information and assistance from the Tourist Information Centers (TICs).

The "i" Information System is a national information service. Each center has tourist information for the area that it represents. These centers are normally located at railway stations or in the heart of the city. They have an easily recognizable logo: a red question mark with the word "information" printed below.

Postal Service

The Japanese Postal Service provides complete services for both domestic and foreign mail. For domestic mails weighing 25 grams or less, the postage rate is 80. Mails weighing between 25 to 50 grams will cost 90 if the envelope is between 9 x 14 cm and 12 x 23.5 cm. Mail that has different measurements costs 120 up to 50 grams and 140 from 50 to 75 grams. Postcards cost 50 to send.

Postage rates for International Air Mail differs according to location and weight of mail.

Drinking Water

Tap water is absolutely safe to drink anywhere in Japan. If desired, however, mineral water is widely available at hotels, department stores, supermarkets, and many restaurants.

Business Tips

Business cards are a necessity if you are going to be working in Japan as all introductions and meetings in Japan involve an exchange of business cards. There are some guidelines to follow here. When you receive a card, do so with some ceremony and study it carefully. Refer to the cards often. Do not just put the card away without looking at it. Accept a card with both hands. Also, never write anything on a card that was given to you.

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