Des­ti­na­tion Fo­cus: Des­ti­na­tion Fo­cus:

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Contents -

Ja­pan tips and travel high­lights

FACT FILE: Do I need a visa?

Cit­i­zens of 62 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, France, Ger­many, UK, Canada and the US, don’t re­quire a visa to visit Ja­pan. Stays are gen­er­ally al­lowed for up to three months at a time. For more info, visit­

How long will it take me to get there?

Be­tween 6 and 7 hours from Sin­ga­pore. Ja­pan is 9 hours ahead of GMT, 1 hour ahead of Sin­ga­pore.

What’s the money sit­u­a­tion?

The of­fi­cial cur­rency in Ja­pan is the Ja­panese yen (JPY). Many ATMS don’t ac­cept for­eign cards and credit card use is lim­ited so do carry suf­fi­cient cash. Cash with­drawals are pos­si­ble at post of­fice ATMS and 7-Eleven stores. Banks and post of­fices will ex­change ma­jor for­eign cur­rency and trav­ellers’ cheques.

When’s the best time to visit?

Late March to April is Sakura (cherry blos­som sea­son), a hugely pop­u­lar time to visit. June tends to be wet, while high tem­per­a­tures and pow­er­ful storms can strike through­out July and Au­gust (with the ex­cep­tion of Hokkaido, moun­tain­top re­sorts like Hakone, and the Ja­panese Alps). The au­tumn months of Septem­ber to Novem­ber are cooler and aes­thet­i­cally beau­ti­ful. De­cem­ber kicks off the ski sea­sons in the north. Snow­cov­ered land­scapes in Ja­pan are lovely, yet ob­vi­ously very cold.

What’s a tip for stay­ing healthy in Ja­pan?

The coun­try has an on­go­ing risk of earth­quakes and tsunamis, so it’s best to fa­mil­iarise your­self with the safety pro­ce­dures of where you’re stay­ing, just in case. Check jma/in­dexe.html to keep up­dated. Steer clear of the ex­clu­sion zones around Fukushima Dai-ichi Nu­clear Power Plant.

Is there any­thing I should know about meet­ing the lo­cals?

Ja­panese peo­ple greet each other with a bow. For for­eign­ers, a bow fol­lowed by a gen­tle hand­shake is ac­cept­able.

What’s a must-try dish?

Where do we start? Maybe with ra­men, a noo­dle soup com­bin­ing a meat or fish broth flavoured with miso or soy, and served with a va­ri­ety of top­pings de­pend­ing on the re­gion and the chef.

What should I buy as a sou­venir?

Quirky snacks, yukata robes, wa­gasa ( tra­di­tional Ja­panese um­brella made from pa­per and bam­boo), cat- re­lated para­pher­na­lia.

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