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. Please note that if you do 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 note that it is illegal to bring into Japan some medicines used overseas. Please confirm with your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate in this regard.
If you are bringing more than one month’s supply of any prescription medication, you will need to apply for a so-called "Yunyu Kakuninsho" certificate in advance. C-PAP machines and other medical devices used under the advice of your doctor are also subject to this requirement.
Further information and the application form for the Yunyu Kakuninsho are available at this government website.
Vaccinations and general health
Standard 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, is hot, 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.
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.
Payments and Access to cash
Credit and debit card payments are widely accepted in Japan. However, cash is still useful, especially in rural areas, as some smaller, local establishments and taxi companies may only accept cash payments. Mobile telephone payments options are widely available but should not be relied on as the apps may have regional limitations. Therefore, we recommend having some cash on hand.
Cash in Japanese yen can be withdrawn from almost all ATMs, which are ubiquitous in Japan, using the major foreign-issued cards except AMEX. All ATMs have an English language screen for ease of use. Please note, that there may be a daily withdrawal limit so confirm with your issuer prior to travel.
Before leaving your home country, please check that your credit/debit card can be used abroad. You may also wish to enquire as to what fees you will have to pay for overseas withdrawals, and to notify your bank that you are going abroad, as occasionally a card that is suddenly used overseas may be suspected of being used fraudulently and blocked.
Mobile/Cell phone usage and the internet
There are a wide variety of call and data plans available for visitors to Japan, and we are unable to recommend any one particular provider.
In the rare case that you require a mobile/cell phone with a Japanese number, rental providers will send the device to your first night’s accommodation or to your arrival airport for pick-up. It is worth noting that your credit card may be pre-verified for as much as JPY50,000 until you return the device. In any case we recommend arranging this before you arrive in Japan, as the process will not be possible once you first meet your Walk Japan Tour Leader.
Ultimately, most customers do not require a rental phone with a Japanese number. Even in the absence of a data or SIM plan, WiFi internet access is widely available. However, please verify with your provider that your phone will work in Japan and check associated charges before leaving for Japan. You can always be reached while on tour through your Tour Leader’s mobile phone, the number of which is provided prior to your tour. Please note, however, that in the Japanese countryside, mobile reception can be variable outside of village, town and city centres.
A comprehensive guide to Internet access, WiFi and SIM cards can be found here.
There is no tradition of tipping in Japan. No Japanese expects or will solicit tips.