Useful travel information

Tour program

Hands-free-Travel

“Hands-free-Travel” is a program that foreign travelers to Japan can travel freely in Japanese regions without any heavy baggage.
This program makes your Japan trip more enjoyable. (Logo marking for those who provide “Hands-free-Travel” program.)

hands-free-travel
Hands-free-Travel counter

“Hands-free-Travel counter” provides you with such services as keeping your heavy baggage temporarily and sending it to your accommodation facilities, etc.
With this program, you don’t have to go to your hotels or lodgings to check your baggage in between your sightseeing.

Kyoto Station - Carry Service

This program is to accept, keep temporarily and deliver your luggage between Kyoto Station and your lodging facilities such as nearly all hotels, inns, Minshuku, Pension, Hoyosho, Shukubo and guest houses in Kyoto city.

KIX (Kansai International Airport) Baggage Delivery Service

Services such as temporary baggage storage, baggage delivery and wrapping baggage are available in the Kansai International Airport.

Free Wi-Fi
Kansai Wi-Fi (Official)

Finds and connects overseas tourists in Japan to free Wi-Fi spots! With the press of a button you will be connected to Wi-Fi easily and you can use the internet for free at about 30,000 access points in the Kansai region provided for Kansai tourism.

Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi app for foreign visitors in Japan. You will be connected to the nearest free Wi-Fi spot with a one time registration of use. Available in 16 languages.

Transportation pass
KANSAI ONE PASS

You can travel around “Kansai” with just one IC card. The pass is available only for foreign visitors.
With this pass, you can smoothly make connections at any major transportation companies in the Kansai region without buying tickets each time, and some discounts for museum and other facilities are available.

JR-WEST RAIL PASS

You can purchase convenient and inexpensive unlimited ride ticket according to your travelling days and area.

JAPAN RAIL PASS

This pass is jointly provided by six companies of the JR group. It is the most economical pass if you travel around Japan by train. (Please note certain limitation is applied. For example you cannot use it for “Nozomi” and “Mizuho” on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen Line.)

Basic information

Visa

Any foreign visitors entering Japan must have a valid passport for the duration of their stay.

In order for them to enter Japan, in general, they must comply with the conditions of their visas and the status of residence.
However, visa exemptions are made for citizens of 66 countries if they stay within 90 days, visit only for sightseeing and do not engage in activities where they earn compensation.

If necessary, please make sure to check the latest and detailed information on standard visa other than short term stay by visiting website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (“visa” section) because visa conditions are periodically revised.

Currency and Money Exchange
Currency

The currency of Japan is written “円.” Its currency sign is “¥” and is written “Yen” or “JPY” in English.

Consumption tax in Japan is 8%. Whether indicated prices include tax or not depends on each store. Please ask store’s staff if the prices include consumption tax or not before your purchase.

There is no limit on the amount of any currency that may be brought into or taken out of Japan. However, if you transport any currencies including checks, securities or other monies exceeding 1,000,000 yen worth in Japanese currency into or out of the country, you must submit custom declaration.

Money Exchange

You can buy yen at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money exchangers. At the international airports, currency exchange counters are open during normal business hours. The exchange rate fluctuates daily depending on the money market.

Exchange rate
                               
Currency(unit) Foreign currency to yen Yen to foreign currency
US dollar(1USD)105.650.0094
Euro(1EUR) 130.19 0.0076
British Pound(1GBP) 149.36 0.0066
Swiss Franc(1CHF) 111.39 0.0089
Australian dollar(1AUD) 81.61 0.012
New Zealand dollar(1NZD) 76.46 0.013
 as of Mar 22, 2018
Cash

You had better bring more cash than usual because quite a few ATMs and small stores in Japan do not accept overseas issued cash cards and credit cards.
However, relatively more card brands are accepted by ATMs in Yucho Bank at post offices, Seven Bank at 7-Elevens and some convenience stores.
You can easily tell whether your card is accepted or not by card logo marks labeled near ATM machines.

Tipping

Tipping is not necessary in Japan in general.
Hotel bills in Japan include service charges which are considered to be paid on behalf of tip.

At some Japanese inns, there can be a custom to give small amount of money to express your appreciation to people who will take care of you as a name of “Ochadai” or “Kokorozuke.” It will be normally given wrapped in a small envelop or Kaishi before the service.

Climate
Winter (December to February)
winter It is quite dry during winter with the average temperature of 6℃ / 42.8℉

Central and Northern Japan are highly reputed regions for winter sports. Southern Japan is relatively mild and the temperature rarely drops below 0℃ in the plains along the Pacific coast.

Down jacket and overcoat are good enough in Japanese winter. Other items to keep you warm are knit cap, ear pad and disposable warmer.

Spring (March to May)
winter The average temperature is 15℃ / 59℉

The plum blossoms at the end of winter are followed by the cherry blossoms at its best during late March to early April. You can enjoy beautiful views of mountains and gardens covered by their gentle pink color.

Overcoat is necessary in March because the temperature fluctuates in spring. Cover-ups such as a light jacket and a sweater may be enough from April through May because it gets warmer.

The Rainy Season

Rainy and cloudy days increase from middle of May and it becomes the rainy season from early June to early July in the main land of Japan. The rain may continue to pour over a period of 3 to 4 weeks so travelers during this season should plan ahead. Please be careful of hazards such as mold and food poisoning that often result from the high level of humidity. Hokkaido is mostly unaffected by the rainy season.

Even if you can spend day time with a short-sleeve shirt, jackets or cardigan sweaters are recommended just in case because it becomes colder when it rains.

Summer (June to August)
winter The average temperature is 26℃ / 78℉

The Japanese summer begins in June, when the rainy season also starts. The temperature and humidity become very high from July onward. Many Japanese people enjoy bathing in the sea and relaxing at cool resorts in the mountains during summer. In addition, many festivals and events are held all over the country in this season.

Light clothes such as a short-sleeve shirt is recommended because it becomes seriously hot and humid during July and August. Don’t forget UV protection such as wearing a cap because you will have quite a few strong sunlight days.

Typhoons (July to October)

Typhoons in the Pacific Ocean pass near Japan from July through October. Statistics show they move during August and September most often. Accurate typhoon forecast is difficult and the damage level is different each time. It is important to gather necessary information occasionally when a typhoon is expected because public transportation may be stopped. In most cases, it affects regions at least for two days.

Autumn (September to November)
winter The average temperature is 19℃ / 66℉

Autumn always brings such freshness with a light breeze and cool temperature after the hot and humid summer. All forests are dyed in glorious autumn colors. Chrysanthemums create beautiful displays with their abundance of flowers to enchant visitors to parks and gardens. Autumn is also the season for many exhibitions, music concerts and sports tournaments in Japan.

You can wear a light shirt during daytime because there are still quite a few days with summer sunlight in September. However, cover-ups such as cardigan sweaters and hooded sweatshirts are recommended because it becomes a little chilly at night. There is also a day when sweaters or jackets are required in November because of lower temperature.

Voltage and plug

There are no columnar-shaped plugs or 3-pin plugs used in Japan. 2-flat-pin plugs are used instead. Therefore, purchasing a plug adapter beforehand is recommended. The voltage used throughout Japan is uniformly 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use; 50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.

A dual voltage type of small electric appliances such as hair dryers, travel irons and shavers will be handy. Otherwise, a step-up transformer is required to convert the voltage. In Japan, it is relatively easy to find devices such as conversion plugs and transformers in the urban areas. They are sold in electronic stores in Osaka’s Nipponbashi or other mass merchandisers.

Business hours and national holidays
Business hours

  Weekdays Saturday Sunday & Holiday
Bank (with tellers) 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. closed closed
Post office 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. closed closed
Department store 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Store 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Museum 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Office 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. closed closed

There are also establishments with business hours not listed above. So if you plan to visit any establishments, please visit their website or contact them by phone for their correct business hours.

How to use toilet

You can find public toilets in public facilities such as parks, streets, stations and service areas of highways.
They are free to use in general, but pay toilets can be found on a rare occasion.

Usable toilets are found also in the commercial facilities in general but please be aware that the use may be limited only to employees in some of the convenience stores.
Urinals for men and Japanese and western style toilets for women are equipped in rest rooms in general. You can flush urinal by pressing the button located on the top of urinals. Recently some toilets have automatic sensors that start flushing with the motion of your hand.

You can flush the toilet by pushing the button or pulling the lever. They are located near the left or right side wall in case of Japanese style toilet. In case of western style toilets, the buttons or sensors are located on the wall, otherwise, you can flush by pulling the lever behind the toilet seat.

Emergency information

Contact numbers in case of emergency
Police 110

To call the police for emergency, dial 110 from any phone. If you have any problem such as speaking or if you cannot tell who you should contact, dial “#9110.” They will navigate you to the suitable contact people.

Lost and found: 03-3814-4151
General Information: 03-3510-0110 (in Japanese or English)

Fire/Emergency 119

To call an ambulance for fire, sudden illness or emergency, dial 119 from any phone. If it is difficult for you to explain on the phone, ask any Japanese person nearby. If you call by yourself, speak in English first and obtain any further contact information because multi-language assistant system is different by prefecture.

Accident/Theft etc.

Any emergencies such as theft, car accidents and others can occur anywhere.

If the incident occurred in a hotel, contact the front desk manager or concierge first. In case of an earthquake or other natural disaster, follow the instructions of the hotel staff to assure your safety.

In other cases, you may need to report the incident to the local police. Click any button below for further information or advice on how to deal with theft, accidents and other emergencies.

Natural disaster

Japan is subject to many wind and water related disasters. Typhoons hit Japan from summer to autumn and Japan experiences earthquakes and volcanic eruptions because it is located where many continental plates meet.

Although Japan is a disaster-prone country, there is no need to be overly concerned. Many disasters are small in scale, and we have accumulated knowledge on how to deal with disasters through past experience. Disaster drills for various types of disasters are held on a regular basis both publicly and privately.

However, if you encounter a major disaster, please respond to the situation with the following points in mind.

Response when you encounter an earthquake

First priority is your safety including your family. Protect your head by getting under a sturdy table or other object. It is dangerous to go outdoors because there is a high risk that glass shards or building materials may fall on you, not to mention the danger of collapsing buildings.

Fire is the most dangerous secondary disaster caused by an earthquake. At the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, many people died not only due to collapsing buildings but to fire. Extinguish cooking fires or cigarettes immediately.

Inaccurate information such as rumors and speculations tends to increase shortly after a major earthquake. Pay attention to information provided by the news media, municipal governments, fire department and police. If there are no such information sources near you, obtain information from a source that is as closely related to a public institution as possible. If you are staying in a hotel, consult with the front desk.

Response when you encounter wind and water related disasters or abnormal weather

Wind and water related disasters such as typhoons or torrential rain sometimes cause flooding, mudslides or other large-scale disasters. Since rain and wind are things we commonly experience, they tend to be considered less serious than earthquakes. However, they have caused much damage in Japan. If you actually encounter strong wind or rain, please pay attention to the following points.

Check weather forecast on a regular basis when touring Japan. If much rainfall is predicted in nearby areas by weather forecast, obtain any necessary information from the front desk of the hotel or internet. Extra caution is required if you are staying in an area near a large river or with steep slopes. Even if rainfall is small in the plain, there is a risk of flooding in case of big rainfall in an upriver region.

Embassy/Consulate

Foreign Consulates in Kansai
Consulate Phone address
U.S. Consulate-General Osaka-Kobe 06-6315-5900 2-11-5 Nishitenma, Kita Ward, Osaka city 530-8543
British Consulate-General Osaka 06-6120-5600 3-5-1 Bakuromachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 541-0059
Consulate-General of Italy Osaka 06-4706-5820 Nakanoshima Festival Tower 17th FL, 2-3-18 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka city 530-0005
Consulate-General of India in Osaka 06-6261-7299 Semba I.S. BLDG 10th FL, 1-9-26 Kyutaromachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 541-0056
Consulate-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Osaka 06-6449-9898 Nakanoshima Intesu BLDG 22nd FL, 6-2-40 Nakanoshima, Kita Ward, Osaka city 530-0005
Australian Consulate-General Osaka 06-6941-9271 Twin 21 MID Tower 16th FL, 2-1-61 Shiromi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 540-6116
Consulate-general of the Netherlands in Osaka 06-6484-6000 Kitahama 1-Chome Heiwa BLDG 8B, 1-1-14 Kitahama, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 541-0041
Royal Thai Consulate-General, Osaka 06-6262-9226 Bangkok Bank BLDG 4th FL, 1-9-16 Kyutaromachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 541-0056
Consulate-General of the Republic of Korea in Osaka 06-6213-1401 2-3-4 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 542-0086
Consulate-General of the Republic of Korea in Kobe 078-221-4853 2-21-5 Nakayamatedori, Chuo Ward, Kobe city 650-0004
Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Osaka 06-6445-9481 3-9-2 Utsubohonmachi, Nishi Ward, Osaka city 550-0004
German Consulate-General Osaka-Kobe 06-6440-5070 Umeda Sky BLDG, Tower East, 35th FL, 1-1-88-3501 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka 531-6035
Commercial Consulate of Pakistan Osaka 06-6569-3106 Asia and Pacific Trade Center, ITM BLDG 4th FL, H-1, 2-1-10 Nankokita, Suminoe Ward, Osaka city 559-0034
Consulate-General of Panama in Kobe 078-392-3361 Yamamoto BLDG 7th FL, 71 Kyomachi, Chuo Ward, Kobe 650-0034
Philippine Consulate General Osaka 06-6910-7881 Twin 21 MID Tower 24th FL, 2-1-61 Shiromi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 540-6116
French Consulate General in Kyoto 075-761-2988 8 Yoshidaizumidonocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto city 606-8301
Consulate-General of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in Osaka 072-221-6666 4-2-15 Ichinochohigashi, Sakai Ward, Sakai city 590-0952
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in Osaka 06-6848-3451 1-2-2 Nishimidorigaoka, Toyonaka city 560-0005
Consulate-General of Mongolia in Osaka 06-6241-7761 Midosuji Gran Tower 1st FL, 3-5-1 Bakuromachi, Chuo Ward, Osaka city 541-0059

Muslim-friendly

Muslim-friendly

The Kansai region welcomes Muslim visitors from the bottom of heart. In Kansai, we have advanced Muslim-friendly services such as establishing worship facilities and special arrangement for food preparation in order for Muslim visitors to enjoy peaceful and comfortable tour in this region.

Please note that some of the listed facilities are not necessarily certified as Muslim-friendly. And even if it is certified, the qualification is different by each certification authority. Please check details or latest information by contacting each facility.