Frequently Asked Questions
How can I communicate with home while away?
Internet service is available at all land accommodations. You should check with your cell provider to determine if you have coverage in this region or if you can add coverage for the duration of the trip. Cell service will not be available in all areas. Contact information for the hotels will be provided in your final travel documents.
What are the passport or visa requirements?
Whether or not you need a Visa will depend heavily on what country you’re coming from. Most western nations such as the United States or the UK have 90-day exemptions. Unless you’re from one the countries without Visa exemptions, all you’ll need to show the immigration officer is your passport. You’ll also have to comply with a scanning of your fingerprints and a photo. All foreign residents and tourists are REQUIRED to carry on their person either their resident card or their passport at all times.
What is the local currency?
The currency of Japan is the Yen. You can get the local currency at ATM’s and at some hotels; however, we recommend that you exchange currency at the airport. If you plan on using your card for ATM’s, it is recommended that you use participating post offices and 7-Eleven ATM’s. Please check with your card companies for more information regarding service fees that may apply.
For current exchange rates: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
While things are slowly changing, Japan is still very much a cash based society.
What to wear?
Attire is casual and comfortable during the day, with sturdy footwear for excursions. Evening wear consists of open-neck shirts, slacks, or similar attire. Fleece jackets or sweaters are advisable for cool evenings. Other items to consider: shorts, swimsuit, hat, sunglasses and rain jacket.
What if I have dietary requirements (allergies, religious restrictions, or preferences)?
We will make every effort to accommodate special dietary requests. Please inform our office at least 45 days prior to departure of these requests.
How do I power and charge my devices?
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).
2-flat-pin-pronged plugs are used in Japan, the same as North America.
What are pre-paid gratuities?
Gratuities are customary expressions of appreciation for a job well done. It is our goal to ensure that the service you receive is as wonderful as the sites you visit. While we have collected pre-paid gratuities with your reservation, at your own discretion you may choose to provide additional tips. Japan for the most part is a tip-free country. If you want to express your appreciation, a simple thank you is more than sufficient.
Are vaccinations required?
Most US travelers are covered by routine vaccinations. US citizens should consult the Centers for Disease Control website http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/or your health care provider for vaccination requirements and recommendations. Citizens of all other countries should consult their government’s national disease center or their physician.
Are there any luggage restrictions?
There are no restrictions on the size or number of pieces of luggage each guest may bring. However, storage space may be limited at some hotels as well as on some modes of transport. Therefore, we recommend each guest follow the usual regulations of most airlines and only bring one checked piece of luggage weighing no more than 50lb, one carry-on type bag and one personal item.
What arrival and departure transfers are included?
This package includes an arrival transfer from Tokyo’s Haneda (HND) or Narita (NRT) airports to the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Shinjuku. A departure transfer will also be provided from the Osaka Intercontinental Hotel to Osaka’s Kansai (KIX) or Itami (ITM) airports). If you extend your stay at these properties, the transfers will still be included. Contact our team or your travel agent to ensure arrangements outside of these arrival and departure transfers will be included. Booked guests should provide their arrival and departure details 45 days prior to the trip to ensure transfer availability.
Tattoos - what do I need to know?
You should know that in the eyes of conservative Japanese, you have basically branded yourself as part of the Yakuza. Historically, Japan branded criminals with tattoos. Later, as the country entered a period of modernity, Japan’s organized crime syndicates took total ownership of the practice. Recently, Japanese youth are beginning to change the cultural and legal perceptions of tattoos however much red tape remains.
What this means in practice is that you will not be able to use most pools, public bathing facilities, or gyms. If you have a small tattoo you can simply cover it with flesh-colored tape and be fine but if have sleeves, you’re going to need to pass on some activities. Nevertheless, if you still want to experience a traditional hot spring, I suggest booking a ryokan with private onsen in the room as this will allow you to circumvent the need to share with people who aren’t comfortable with your tattoos.