Japan is nine hours ahead of GMT and observes Japan Standard Time (JST) all year.
The national currency is the yen. Payments are made mostly in cash yen formats. It is recommended to purchase as much yen as most possible before departure as the exchange rate is so much better in the UK. Japan is still very much a cash-based society. The use of VISA and MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major hotels, department stores and higher end restaurants in major cities and tourist areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka, but in the suburbs and countryside is very much cash only. There are some ATMs in major cities (Citibank or Mitsui-Sumitomo for Visa International card) but these are not everywhere. Banks are open from 09:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday (they are closed on weekends and holidays).
Electricity and Plugs
The voltage is 100 volts which is about half of the voltage you get in the UK. A universal adapter is required.
Temples, museums, art galleries, gardens and most tourist sites are generally open between 08:00 and 16:00 or 17:00. These times differ between seasons. We recommend enquiring online or with tourist offices before visiting. Most museums and art galleries are closed on Mondays and for Mondays which are bank holidays the following Tuesday they will also be closed. Department stores, supermarkets and shopping centres are open seven days a week and are open on bank holidays. Shops are open between 10:00 and 20:00.
The five leading national daily newspapers in Japan are the Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun and the Nikkei Shimbun. English versions of these newspapers are widely distributed. The shops sell foreign magazines with some British titles. In large hotels, the English-speaking television channels you can get are CNN and BBC. There are also two radio stations which broadcast in English - InterFM (Tokyo) and FM Cocolo (Kansai).
In general, post offices are open from 09:00 to 19:00, Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday and from 09:00 to 12:30 on Sundays. The post offices can be recognised by their logo - a red T topped with a horizontal bar. It costs around 110 yen to post a letter to the UK.
To call Japan from the UK, dial 00 + 81 + the area code (without the 0) followed by the number of your correspondent. To call the UK from Japan, dial 010 + 44 and the number of your correspondent to 9 digits (without the first 0). Phone cards are easily purchased if needed and on sale at all newsstands.
Internet and Mobile Coverage
Japan’s famous for its high-speed broadband connections and the phone signal is good. However, we advise you to check directly with your operator before travelling for the terms of access to the local network in Japan.