VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
Portuguese citizens do not need a visa for tourist visits for up to 90 days. Brazilian citizens must apply for a visa at the nearest Japanese embassy.
Japan does not require visitors to have vaccinations or record-worthy procedures. As you will soon see, the Japanese have public and personal care almost obsessed with hygiene and health.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic. In FitForTravel find country-specific health and disease prevention advice (in English).
TRIP TO JAPAN
Fly to Tokyo, Kansai or Osaka with the TAP (tel.: 707 205 700) and the JAL, via Madrid or Barcelona from €800.
The most important and convenient airports for traveling to Japan are:
Honshu Island: Narita (Tokyo), Kansai, near Osaka but serving the entire region including Kyoto.
Other important international airports in Honshu are Nagoya, north of Osaka, Niigata and Sendai, in the north of Honshu island, south of Honshu is also served by Hiroshima.
Kyushu: Fukuoka and Hiroshima.
Okinawa Archipelago (in the sub-tropical zone of Japan) : Naha
Despite being formed by a group of main and other secondary islands and a large part of the country being occupied by mountains, super-technological Japan has developed an almost perfect transport network with prices in line with the quality.
The country is served by internal flights JAL (Japan Airlines), ANA (All Nippon Airways) to almost all major cities which are generally relatively high priced. The low-cost company skymark operates the cheapest flights to and from cities on all the islands of the Japanese archipelago
Japan Air Pass
There is also the Japan Airpass, from the ANA / Star Alliance company, which includes 5 internal flights at a discount and can be purchased by visitors arriving in Japan on an international flight ANA.
The most practical and economical way to travel in Japan is a combination of train and subway (in cities) which are almost always connected to the main airports. In addition to being sophisticated and even luxurious (it even has its own hostesses), the bullet train Shinkansen It is considered faster and more practical than the plane, for trips of less than 600 km, but it is also not exactly cheap and must be booked well in advance, especially during the Japanese holiday periods, when places are sold out in a short time.
There are 4 types of Shinkansen with different services and prices:
Kodama – stops at more stations
Hikari – stops only in major cities
Tsubame – serves the island of Kyushu
Nozomi – The fastest of all and also the most expensive
The most accessible rail journeys are those made by trains that are slower and stop more often. Except for the cases of smaller stations in less developed areas of the country, there are often elevators and escalators that avoid greater efforts with heavy luggage.
Japan Rail Pass
The national railway company JR (Japan Railways) has created a series of rail passes (7,14 or 21 days in 1st or 2nd class) with different characteristics that also include bus and ferry sections. These passes allow you to substantially reduce the cost of train travel and pass through stations without stopping to buy tickets. Just show the passes to employees on tourniquets. If you have bulky luggage, these employees will open a wider door to facilitate your passage. O JR Pass it is not valid on any metro system in the country.
Japan's largest metro systems are Tokyo, followed by Osaka. Many other cities have their own less comprehensive systems. In the main ones there are signs in English (or, at least, Latin alphabet), also in ticket machines. The organization of the line systems – usually by color – the maps of the stations and exits and the sophistication implemented by the companies that manage them allow most visitors to get away from it without major problems, almost without having to question the station employees. These only very rarely speak English.
Subway trips can be paid for with individual tickets or with electronic charging cards/chips read by turnstiles. There are almost always elevators and escalators that avoid greater efforts with heavy luggage.
Public transport systems interrupt their service around midnight or 1 am and resume at 5 am.
Hiring a car is justified just to visit the attractions in the rural or natural hinterland probably less traveled by train and buses.
The lowest price (eg for a Mazda Demi 1.3 petrol; 5 seats) is around €44 for 12 hours with insurance included. You must add to this expense between €22 to €45 of petrol per day depending on the kilometers you travel. Also note that most cars have automatic gears and right-hand drive. Driving is on the left.
All of this is complex at first, but once you've gotten used to it, driving in Japan is extremely easy and safe.
Long Distance Buses: The Japanese railway system is so extensive and functional that the need to resort to this solution is rare. In any case, the vehicles and service are little different from what exists in the West.
Urban buses: stations are almost always close to train stations and may have different payment systems including depositing coins in a box next to the driver when entering from the front. Or take tickets from a machine. In this case, there must be a number on the ticket, which must be compared with the one on the front panel, together with the number of the station at which you leave to determine the amount you must leave in the same type of box, next to the driver.
The best times to visit Japan are spring and autumn, when temperatures are milder. Early summer (May and June) brings heavy monsoon rains – tsuyu. The following months are pleasant on the mountain but very humid in the flat areas. Autumn has the added advantage of providing a fabulous reddish-yellow natural landscape that precedes leaf fall. From mid-December to March, it is most likely to find a snowy landscape with temperatures that can drop well below zero degrees, especially on the island of Hokkaido and in the higher altitude villages of the Japanese mountains.
The local currency is the Yen (JPY). You will find ATMs all over the country, until some time ago, only a few strategically placed at airports, train stations, metro and post offices allowed withdrawals with foreign credit cards, but this restriction has been decreasing over the years. Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world, even more so when the Yen enters periods of appreciation against most currencies. Expect to spend an absolute minimum of €80 per day, this staying in a capsule hotel or simple guest-house dormitory in the biggest cities, dining at the most popular restaurant chains like Yoshinoya – very famous among young foreign visitors – or shopping food in supermarkets.
This value increases exponentially each time you have to fly, travel by train or ferry or pay admission to any attraction.
The most affordable stays are booked at backpacker guest houses and capsule hotels, costing from €30 per night per person. International Youth Hostels are usually very well equipped but relatively more expensive, on average €60 to €90 per person per night.
A half liter of water costs around €1. A full meal can cost between €8 for a ramen dish at the Yoshinoya chain and many hundreds of euros at the best Japanese restaurants. pre-cooked meals bento cheaper ones can be bought at supermarkets and convenience stores, but are usually impregnated with preservatives.
Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world when it comes to Internet access. You'll find it everywhere, in most situations, free and with great browsing speed. In big cities, many residents and business owners leave their supposedly private networks open and, as if that wasn't enough, the hotspots Free abound.
If you don't get free access, Internet cafes are a way of life in Japan. Some people even sleep in them in folding armchairs, with easy access to drinks and food served by machines. They can also read manga books or dedicate themselves to video games to pass the time. The cost of staying at these Internet Cafés is around €3 per hour. Some establishments run promotions to attract customers for the night time.
Another solution is SIM cards with Internet access that can be obtained from any number of companies or other devices that ensure Wi-Fi wherever you go and, in Japan, you will find many more than conventional ones pens (USB sticks). Any communications store will have the most revolutionary technological solutions. The trickiest thing will be getting more in-depth explanations in English.