Travel Advice

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Travel Advice


Please check that your passport is still valid before travelling and that it has sufficient blank space, usually a single page, for entry and exit stamps. Please also check with your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate whether you will require a visa before travelling to Japan. It is a requirement of Japanese Law that you carry your passport with you at all times in Japan or, if you are resident in Japan, your Residence Card.

Please have a photocopy of your passport details kept separately from your passport in case the latter should be lost. This will help speed the procurement of a replacement.

Visas for Japan

Japan has Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements with a number of countries. Please refer to your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate for details. Walk Japan cannot advise on individual visa requirements.

If you need to apply for a visa and require a letter from Walk Japan to support your application, please request this from us no later than six weeks prior to the start of your tour. Walk Japan cannot guarantee the letter will be available in time to complete your visa application if your request is received any later than this date.

Medicines and cosmetics

Although the Walk Japan Tour Leader carries a first aid kit please bring your own basic supply of adhesive bandages, blister plasters, antiseptic cream, etc. Some medicines and cosmetics with which you are familiar may not be available in Japan, although there are usually similar products. Prescription medicines in Japan may differ from foreign medicines in minor, but possibly unacceptable, ways. If you require a specific medicine or cosmetic, either for health or comfort, please bring sufficient quantities with you.

Please be aware that there are restrictions on bringing certain medicines into Japan. For example, certain medication is illegal in Japan, even for personal reasons, while other medication may require additional documentation before arrival, depending on type and quantity. Please refer to the relevant page on the Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare of Japan’s website for further details and use the contact listed to have any of your questions answered by Ministry staff. Walk Japan cannot provide advice in this regard.

Vaccinations and general health

Vaccinations are not normally required for Japan. However, please check with your own government’s health authorities for their latest advice. The weather is generally benign in Japan. Summer, however, can be hot and humid and the rays of the sun strong. To help avoid sunstroke and dehydration use sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and drink water regularly.

Mountain sickness is not an issue on Walk Japan tours, which rarely reach an altitude above 1,600m (5,250ft).

Walk Japan will advise if on a private custom tour the itinerary includes heights where altitude sickness is a possibility.

Water from the tap in accommodation in Japan is usually safe and drinkable. If in doubt please ask your tour leader or purchase drinks from one of the ubiquitous drinks machines found almost everywhere. For Wayfarer Self-Guided tours, detailed information regarding tap water is included in your Route Booklet.

Photography and drone usage

In general, taking photographs is not a problem. However, if taking photos of individuals or groups please ask their permission first. Please do not take photographs of young school children, unless first agreed by their parents or guardians.

The use of drones is heavily regulated in Japan and penalties are severe when not abiding by the law. Because of this we cannot recommend or allow their use on tour. Please refer to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website for details.

Access to cash, credit and debit cards

Changing foreign currency at a bank can be a time consuming exercise. Instead, we recommend alternatives, including arriving in Japan with some Japanese currency, using credit cards and withdrawing cash from ATMs.

ATMs in post offices provide cash against most credit/debit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club International, PLUS, Maestro, Cirrus, Union Pay and JCB. Post offices are ubiquitous in Japan and found in the smallest village. There may be a daily withdrawal limit for international cards. 7-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart convenience stores also offer a similar service. The ATMs at convenience stores are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Japanese bank ATMs do not provide cash against credit cards, nor will they provide access to foreign bank accounts with the exception of a very small number of ATMs designated to do so. These are found only in major urban centres.

Credit and debit cards have become widely used in Japan but should not be relied upon especially in the countryside. Mobile payments are likewise widely used in Japan but these are mainly domestic services and often difficult or impossible to use by non-residents with the exception of Alipay, WeChat Pay and Apple Pay.

Before leaving your home country, please check that your credit/debit card can be used abroad and the applicable fees for overseas withdrawals.

Mobile/Cell phone usage and the internet

A wide variety of call and data plans are available for visitors to Japan, and we are unable to recommend any one particular provider. What may be most ideal is dependent upon the length of your stay in Japan and the purposes for which you require it.

Before arrival, please verify with your provider that your phone will work while in the country and check associated charges before leaving for Japan. You can always be reached while on tour through your Walk Japan Tour Leader’s mobile phone, the number of which is provided prior to your tour. For customers on our Wayfarer Self-Guided tours, English-language, Japan-based emergency support is available, the number for which is provided in your Route Booklet. Please note, however, that in the Japanese countryside, mobile reception can be variable outside of village, town and city centres.

WiFi internet access is widely and freely available in Japan, including at almost all accommodation used on tour. Details about internet availability are found in the Pre-tour Pack for your tour.

A comprehensive guide to Internet access, WiFi and SIM cards can be found here.


There is no tradition of tipping in Japan. No Japanese person expects nor will solicit tips.

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