Outlined in this document are a variety of traditional elements to everyday life in Japan. Respecting these cultural elements is appreciated and will provide a more enjoyable stay in Japan.
Credit card, debit card and cash
International debit cards and credit cards such as Mastercard, AMEX and VISA are accepted at major establishments, such as hotels, large retail stores and some restaurants.
However, many establishments are cash only or do not accept international cards, especially outside of the main cities. This can include restaurants, cafes, hospitals, small retail stores and tourist outlets.
It is strongly recommended all visitors carry cash and do not rely on debit or credit cards for day-to-day living in Japan.
ATMs are readily available throughout Japan – at banks, post offices and convenience stores (such as FamilyMart, 7Eleven and Lawson). Most ATMs have an English language option.
Is not required in Japan
INTERNET AND CONNECTIVITY
As with many countries around the world, it is important to stay connected while on the move in Japan.
Outside of internet services provided at hotels, free Wi-Fi at cafes or similar is readily available in main cities but less frequently available in rural cities.
There are a three main options for mobile connectivity in Japan:
Roaming: utilise the mobile roaming service from your existing mobile phone provider
Japanese SIM card: There are a variety of SIM card options targeted at tourists or those visiting Japan short-term. Many are limited to 30 days of usage, so multiple cards may need to be purchased for the duration of the tournament if using this option.
Many SIM cards provide unlimited data, but not all provide voice calling (cannot make standard voice calls or receive standard voice calls). Smart phones must be unlocked in order to utilise a Japanese SIM card.
There are limited options for short-term SIM cards directly through mobile phone stores in Japan (many companies require contracts), but options do exist through general electronic stores and suppliers. A few options include:
NTT Docomo - 'Japan Welcome SIM’ prepaid Sim cards can be ordered online and picked up at your preferred airport
Mobal – can be purchased online in advance, long-term packages are also available
Sim Card Geek – provides a variety of Japanese options
Bic Camera – for purchasing in-store, visit Bic Camera, an electronic retailer throughout Japan with a wide range of SIM card options.
*Pocket Wi-Fi: Is a very popular option for those in Japan short-term and can be the easiest option for staying connected 24/7. It is essentially a pocket-sized Wi-Fi router which can be easily carried in your pocket or a bag. Pocket Wi-Fi can be rented for your stay in Japan, and require no set-up, ready for use out of the box. Most companies will deliver to a hotel or they can be arranged to collect at airports. There are many options for providers in Japan, a few options include:
- Ninja Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi Rental Store
- Japan Wireless
- Sakura Mobile
- there are also Pocket Wi-Fi kiosks
*Please be advised that pocket Wi-Fi routers are prohibited inside all Rugby World Cup 2019 stadiums
EMERGENCIES – TYPHOON AND EARTHQUAKE
The typhoon season is at its peak from August to early September, with an average of 25 typhoons hitting Japan every year.
- Typhoons are essentially tropical storms that bring heavy rain and strong winds. Severe typhoons can affect the natural landscape, transport routes and electricity supply.
- Typhoon warnings are widely reported and accurately tracked throughout Japan. It’s important to remember that while this is a new environment for international visitors, typhoon season is an annual occurrence in Japan and, as such, forecasting, tracking and warning systems are advanced, and life returns to normal very quickly when a typhoon passes.
What to do if a typhoon is forecast or hits?
- Follow guidance of news reports and governing bodies, do not take any unnecessary risks
Japan is situated in one of the most earthquake prone areas of the world, and minor earthquakes occur nearly every week. Most are very small and rarely cause damage, but it is common to feel small tremors.
Due to the earthquake risk, buildings and homes in Japan must be constructed to extremely high earthquake proof standards. As with typhoons, Japan has advanced earthquake warning and response systems across the country.
What to do if there is an earthquake?
- Due to high construction standards, you are generally safer being indoors than outdoors during an earthquake
- Take cover under a table, or in a door frame until the shaking stops. At a minimum, avoid being near anything that could fall onto you, such as shelving
- Stay under cover until the shaking stops
- If you are outdoors, move away from buildings to avoid falling debris and be wary of power lines
What to do after an earthquake?
- If the earthquake is a minor tremor with no damage, normal day-to-day life will resume. There may be minor delays in transport lines as post-earthquake checks are carried out
- If the earthquake is major, follow the guidance of news reports and governing bodies, do not take any unnecessary risks
Emergency Numbers (24 hours, Toll-free)
Police: Dial ‘110’ from any telephone
*In Tokyo, the Metropolitan Police have an English help line at 03-3501-0110, available Monday through Friday except on holidays, from 08:30-17:15
- Fire/Ambulance: Dial ‘119’ from any telephone
- Tokyo English Lifeline (TELL): 03-5774-0992 (Daily 09:00-23:00)