Japan Map

About Japan

  • Language: Japanese- 日本語 (“Nihongo”)
  • Currency: Yen (¥)
  • Exchange Rate: 110¥– $1USD
  • Time Zone: Japan Standard Time (GMT+9)
  • High Season: April-May, August
  • Visa Requirements: None for up to 90 days (most countries)
  • Electricity: 100v AC with 2-prong plug like North America
  • Emergency: 119 for ambulance and fire
  • Transportation: Trains are the most popular form of transportation. They are reliable and convenient.
  • Accommodations: International hotels, traditional hotels (ryokan), and AirBNBs are popular.
  • For families: Hotels charge per person, not per room so everyone must be on the reservation. Most public bathrooms have an abundance of facilities for babies/toddlers and often have separate parent rooms with changing tables, bottle warmers, and private nursing rooms. In older, less touristy areas, elevators or ramps for strollers can be hard to find.

Travel News

Packing Lists

Borders to Open in Japan for Tourism
Packing List for Japan in Summer
Packing List for Japan in Spring
Packing List for Winter in Japan
Packing List for Fall in Japan

Recent Posts

15 Best English Bookstores in Tokyo

One of my favorite things to do on a rainy afternoon or when I'm in need of inspiration is to wander around bookstores. There's something about being near so much knowledge, creativity, and art, that makes me feel inspired and ready to create. If you're like me or if...
Free Custom Google Map of Tokyo


Top 5 Murakami Novels

Top 5 Murakami Novels

Haruki Murakami is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Japanese authors with a worldwide readership. His work is...

read more

Suggested Reading

Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golding

Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.”

Norwegian Wood

Norwegian WoodHaruki Murakami

and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.”

I Am a Cat

I am a CatNatsumi Sōseki

“Richly allegorical and delightfully readable, I Am a Cat is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time observing human nature – from the dramas of businessmen and schoolteachers to the foibles of priests and potentates. From this unique perspective, author Sōseki Natsume offers a biting commentary – shaped by his training in Chinese philosophy – on the social upheaval of the Meiji era.”

Lonely Planet Japan

Lonely Planet is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore a bamboo grove in Arashiyama, marvel at Shinto and Buddhist architecture in Kyoto, or relax in the hot springs of Noboribetsu Onsen -all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Japan and begin your journey now!

The Lady and the Monk

The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto– Pico Iyer

“When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find out something about Japanese culture today — not the world of businessmen and production lines, but the traditional world of changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind the rising sun of geopolitical power.

All this he did. And then he met Sachiko.

Vivacious, attractive, thoroughly educated, speaking English enthusiastically if eccentrically, the wife of a Japanese “salaryman” who seldom left the office before 10 P.M., Sachiko was as conversant with tea ceremony and classical Japanese literature as with rock music, Goethe, and Vivaldi. With the lightness of touch that made Video Night in Kathmandu so captivating, Pico Iyer fashions from their relationship a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt book that is at once a portrait of cross-cultural infatuation — and misunderstanding — and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both the old Japan and the very new.”

For more book suggestions, see my list of Books to Read Before Visiting Japan.