Japan is a state in East Asia situated on the Japanese archipelago. The archipelago is the group of 4 large islands that form 97% of Japan. The islands are Kyushu, Honshu, Hokkaido, and Shikoku. The Sea of Japan and the Korea Strait wash the western part of Japan, the waters of the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean wash the southern and eastern parts of the country. The north of Japan is washed by the Sea of Okhotsk. The capital city is Tokyo.
In the northern part of Japan, the climate is temperate. On the south, the climate is monsoon tropical and subtropical. The average temperature in summer is +38°C on the south and +30°C on the north. High humidity is typical for Japan and tropic cyclones frequently occur. The average temperature in winter can be as low as -15°C in Hokkaido, -5°C in Honshu and on the Ryukyu archipelago the temperature is +16°C. Plan your trip to Japan in spring during the blooming time of cherry trees and at the end of September or at the beginning of October.
The Japanese, mainly, are the adepts of Shintoism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The official language is Japanese.
The lovers of skiing should head to the Naeba Ski Resort on the Takenoko Mountain in Niigata. This place holds the international snowboarding and alpine skiing competition. The Tomamu Ski resort and Rusutsu Ski Resort in Hokkaido and Hakuba and Shiga Kogen in Nagano are extremely popular among the tourists. Experienced climbers can climb the sacred Mount Fuji.
The tourists who like comfort and beaches should go to Kamakura, Miyazaki, Okinawa, Ryukyu island, Kerama islands, and Iwo Jima. In these places, there are all the facilities for diving and snorkeling. Wonderful beaches are in Nara, Gunma prefecture and on the Noto Penninsula.
Those who love country holidays will enjoy excursions to such castles as Inuyama, Kochi, Kumamoto, Matsue, and Matsumoto. You will be mesmerized by an amazing beauty of the Happo-en Garden in Tokyo. The tourists can also see the volcanoes Asama, Asosan, and Miharayama.
If you like city entertainments and a relaxing shopping, you will spend a wonderful time in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto.
Aeroflot and JAL offer direct flights from Moscow to Japan. The tourists from Russia can also get to Japan from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Emirates offers transit flights from Moscow to Osaka with a stop in Dubai. There are everyday flights from EU countries and CIS capitals to Tokyo and Osaka.
We recommend flying with such low-cost airlines as Jetstar, Cebu, Air Busan and Peach.
There is a tourist ferry route between Vladivostok and Sakaiminanato through Donghae in South Korea.
The citizens from CIS or EU countries must obtain a visa to travel to Japan.
Before submitting the documents for a visa, the applicant must give to the sponsor and the inviter (it can be one and the same person) a package of documents. The sponsor and the inviter is a person or an entity having an official status in Japan.
The application for a short-stay visa is processed within 4 days and the visa is valid for 3 months. The period of stay in Japan depends on the booking date or the date of the invitation.
At arrival, the tourists are obliged to have their fingerprints and photographs taken. If a tourist refuses, he or she is not allowed to visit Japan.
There are no restrictions concerning import or export of national and foreign currency. The tourists are obliged to declare any sums exceeding 1.000.000 JPY. Goods made of 900 fineness gold exceeding 1 kg also must be declared.
The tourists who reached the age of 20 can bring in Japan the following goods duty-free:
- alcohol and tobacco;
- up to 56 ml of perfume;
- personal belongings and gifts (the total cost of which must not exceed 200.000 JPY).
It is not allowed to bring in Japan:
- fresh fruits and vegetables;
- plants and animals;
- certain food products of plant and|or animal origin (according to the current limits);
- publications and video with the scenes of violence;
- obscene materials;
- goods violating the law of patents and copyright.
The tourists can export tobacco and alcohol.
It is prohibited to export the goods with historical, archaeological and cultural value without a special permit.
The Japanese cuisine is believed to be one of the most unusual in the world. The staple food is rice, seaweed, fish and seafood.
Rice is a typical ingredient in the traditional Japanese cuisine. On of the most popular rice dishes is sushi (rice rolls with various stuffing), Mochi (rice cake) and Onigiri. The Japanese love buckwheat noodles Soba and wheat flour Udon.
Fish and seafood are often eaten raw. We recommend trying shrimps, sea-urchin and slices of raw fish with soy sauce and wasabi. The foodies will enjoy Sashimi, tempura-fried fish, Odorigui (devil fish), seaweed pasta, roasted eel Unagi and Norimaki (rice pies with seaweed and raw fish).
Traditionally, the Japanese start their meals with the soups Nabe (fish or meat soup), Miso and Misoshiru (based on the fermented miso paste), fish soup Suimono and potato broth Potetto.
Do not miss Japan without trying the salad with edible golden daisy leaves, vegetable fritters Okonomiyaki and egg and mushroom roll Matsutake.
Meat dishes did not gain popularity in Japan but the tourists can try the Japanese kebab Yakitori, stewed meat with potatoes Nikujaga and meat Mizutaki.
Those who have a sweet tooth can treat themselves to sugared golden daisy leaves and fruits, desserts with peach nuts and delicious rice pies. The desserts are usually served with herbal tea or a drink Kori.
The most popular alcoholic drink in Japan is a rice wine Sake and light rice beer.
The official currency in Japan is yen (JPY).
It is better to exchange currency at the banks. In Tokyo International Airport, there are currency exchange offices which work 24 hours. In large malls, hotels, airports and bank offices, there are currency exchange machines. The best exchange rate is at the airports.
There are no problems in paying with the international credit cards, however, only the ATMs of the Japan Post give the money in yens.
Do not be concerned about cashing traveler’s checks, they are accepted in hotels and banks.
The tax-free system is available in Japan. To refund the VAT, the tourists should spend 10.801 JPY for general goods or 5.401 JPY for repeat goods. All the purchases should be made in the stores with a label Global Blue Tax Free Shopping. When making a purchase, the tourists should fill in the Tax-Free Form. The VAT is refunded either in the store or at the customs. All the goods must be in its original package and must be exported from Japan not later than 6 months from the date of purchase.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Japan
- Tokyo is an interesting place for those who loves cultural monuments. The tourists can visit the heart of the city the Tokyo Imperial Palace and neighboring parks such as Kitanomaru Park and Higashi-Guehenno park. Visit the Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Ascension of Our Lord Church, Tokyo National Museum, Edo-Tokyo Museum and National Museum of Western Art. Take a walk along the Ginza Street, take a picture of the Sensoji Temple and the new national Theater. You will be amazed by the Tokyo Skytree, the group of skyscrapers Three Towers and the Yoyogi Park. The tourists will undoubtedly like the Tokyo Disneyland, the Nihonbashi Bridge and the Shiba park.
- On the Hoidakko island, the tourists can take a trip to the largest national park Daisetsuzan with the volcano Asahi-dake and visit the national parks Akan and Onuma Quasi.
- If you stay in Yokohama, you will be able to see the beautiful Sankei-en Garden, the Yamashita Park and the Yokohama Landmark Tower.
- In an ancient Japanese trading capital Osaka, the tourists will see the Umeda Sky Building, the ancient Buddhist Temple Shitenno-ji and Sumiyoshi taisha. These buildings together with the Osaka Castle are the heart of the city. Anyone can visit the Universal Studios Japan.
In Japan, there are 18 cultural, architectural and natural UNESCO sites.
- In Nara Prefecture near Ikaruga in Horyuji, there still preserved magnificent Buddhist monuments such as the Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area. Take a walk in the historic part of Nara and see historical monuments.
- In Hyogo Prefecture in Himeji-jo, the travelers can visit a magnificent Himeji Castle or the White Egret Castle.
- Enjoy the amazingly beautiful nature on the Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.
- Anyone can go hiking to the beautiful mountain Shirakami-Sanchi on the Honshu island in Akita Prefecture. If you happen to be in Shimane Prefecture, take the excursion to the Cultural Landscape and Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine.
- The tourists will find some unique architectural and historical monuments in Kyoto, Uji and Otsu in the Shiga and Kyoto Prefectures.
- A visit to the historic Japanese Villages of Gokayama and Shirakawa-go will be a true cultural discovery. These villages are still preserved in the Gifu Prefecture and the Toyama Prefecture.
- You cannot leave Japan without visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in the Hiroshima Prefecture. In this city, one can also visit the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.
- If you stay in the Tochigi Prefecture, visit the Shrines and Temples of Nikko.
- In Okinawa, the Gusuku Sites are still preserved as well as the Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
- The Wakayama Prefecture is an ideal place for revealing the Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
- The Shiretoko peninsula which is under UNESCO protection has a unique national park.
- Your holidays in Iwate Prefecture will not be complete without visiting magnificent gardens, temples, and Hiraizumi archaeological monuments.
- In the Gunma Prefecture, one can go to the Tomioka Silk Mill.
- Magnificent and amazing Fujisan rises on the border between the Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures. In Tokyo, the tourists can visit the Ogasawara islands.
- Traditional Japanese chopsticks, wooden dolls and Tenugui fabric are sold in Tokyo.
- Kimono, footwear Geta and traditional Japanese fan Ogi or Utiva, a Japanese umbrella Wagasa and porcelain sushi sets can be bought in the city of Osaka.
- Tanuki, Maneki Neko, Netsuke figurines and bells Furin are sold in Kyoto.
- In Honshu, the tourists buy Japanese cosmetics with the mussels, seaweed and pearl extracts and famous Sake.