JAPAN TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS CULINARY TRIPS
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION
This tour begins in Tokyo. There are two main airports in Tokyo – Narita and Haneda international airports. Narita International Airport (NRT) is where most international flights land. Narita Airport is located about two hours from Tokyo, while Haneda International Airport (HND) is located about 40 minutes away. Group transfers will be provided and will be based on arrival times. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours for your airport transfer. In the event the wait time is more than two hours, we can arrange a private car and driver for an additional cost.
Please plan to arrive at the airport by 3 PM so that you have enough time to make it to the hotel and get settled before the welcome dinner.
This trip will end in Kyoto, so please plan to depart from either Kansai International Airport (KIX) which is located one and a half hours away from Kyoto or Osaka International Airport (ITM) which is located 50 minutes from Kyoto. Group transfers will be provided and will be based on departure times. We will not know the exact times of the transfers until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.
Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs on the first and last day of the tour. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.
We do not book international flights to or from Japan for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR JAPAN
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.
Please note: proof of insurance is due within 14 days of booking, and delay in receipt may result in late documentation charges.
We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/
Passports & Visas
All countries require a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity. Visas are not required for travel to Japan from the US and many other Western countries, but you must have an onward/return ticket for 90-day “visa free” entry. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation. You can visit the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website for the most up-to-date visa requirements here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.
HEALTH & SAFETY
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Japan. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription. Please note that certain psychotropic or narcotic prescription medications may require advance documentation to be brought into Japan. Please contact your local Japanese consulate or embassy for additional information.
We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.
Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/japan.
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours.
Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.
For more information on safety and security in Japan, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/japan.html
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.
CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY
The Japanese currency is the Yen. Japan has a reputation of being a cash-based society, but trends have gradually been changing. Citibank, most post offices and 7-Elevens will accept debit and some credit cards, but the majority of ATMs do not. You will have the opportunity to withdraw and exchange cash at your arrival airport, and throughout the trip, but because of the unreliability of ATM machines, we strongly recommend that you arrive in Japan having already converted most of your spending money to Yen.
For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency
It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.
Meals: All breakfasts, four lunches, and six dinners are included, including the meals you cook yourself.
Meal costs can vary widely. For lunch, one can budget the Japanese yen equivalent of $10-$20 USD for economical lunches, $20-$40 for mid-range lunches, and $50-$150 for high-end lunches. For dinner, one can budget $20-$40 USD for economical dinners, $35-$50 for mid-range dinners, and $50-$150 for high-end dinners. Please also consider budgeting money for snacks and drinks.
Tipping:Tipping at restaurants is not customary in Japan and is often considered rude. Guides working with foreign guests will accept tips but this is entirely at your discretion. A suggested amount is the Japanese yen equivalent of $5-10 per person per day.
Other Expenses: You should also plan to take spending money for incidentals such as souvenir shopping and nightlife.
Japan expertly navigates the boundary between honoring the traditions of its past while charging into new technologies, as one immediately experiences upon arriving in this mesmerizing archipelago. The incredibly punctual bullet train system, which connects nearly every corner of Japan, whisks travelers past ancient temples and shrines, winds amongst the lush green mountains and rice paddies of the interior, and darts through pulsing, modern cities that seem ready to burst at the seams.
Japan is also a place famous for its complex etiquette and conventions. The Japanese people are very courteous but it will be greatly appreciated if one bears a respectful attitude and can demonstrate a basic grasp of their etiquette. Some things to keep in mind are to remove shoes when entering a home, a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) or anywhere with tatami (straw mats); clean yourself thoroughly and ensure you are completely free of soap before soaking in the hot springs or bath houses prevalent in Japan; and of course, there is chopstick etiquette. Refrain from doing the following: sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, using chopsticks to point, or using the eating end of the chopstick to serve yourself from the communal dishes – instead, flip your chopsticks around. Please do not pass items from one set of chopsticks to another as this is reminiscent of funerary rites in Japan. This article provides a basic overview of more important social rules.
CLIMATE IN JAPAN
On this tour, you will spend all of your time on the main island of Honshu.
On Honshu, Spring lasts from mid-March to May. Temperatures range from 40 – 65 ºF. Springs showers are common, so if you are traveling at this time of year, please pack a rain coat and warm layers.
Summer begins in June and ends in mid-September. Summer is also the season for typhoons, and rain is common. Temperatures are usually in the high 90’s and it is generally very humid.
Autumn is from September to November and is marked by gentle breezes and cooler temperatures of around 46 – 50ºF. In early September, temperatures can get as high as 70ºF. The weather is typically clearer this time of year.
Winter lasts from about December to mid-March, depending on the location. Winters are cold, with temperatures ranging from approximately 30 – 45 °F. It is typically drier in the winters here, but snow is not unusual.
ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN JAPAN
The standard voltage in Japan is 100 V and the standard frequency is 50 / 60 Hz. Japanese plugs have 2 flat pins like those in the United States and most US electronics will not require a voltage converter, though they may run a bit more slowly. Please note that if you are bringing any items with a grounded plug with 2 flat pins and one rounded pin, you will require a plug adapter to adapt this to 2 flat pins only. These can often be found at hardware stores in the United States.
Wi-fi is available in the hotels where you will be staying. The ryokan in Kawayu Onsen has wi-fi in the lobby area and the service extends into most rooms. A limited selection of trains will also have wi-fi.
Most US cell phones will not work in Japan, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.
WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR JAPAN CULINARY TOUR
We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.
We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.
We suggest that you bring the following items:
Clothing & Equipment
- Season specific clothing (if traveling in winter, pack warm clothes, sweater, jacket, hat, and a raincoat; if traveling in summer, pack warm weather clothing and consider bringing a light layer for evenings or air-conditioned buildings)
- Clothes to wear for optional dinner at upscale restaurant
- Comfortable walking shoes (preferably a pair that are easy to slip in and out of as you may be removing shoes frequently when entering homes)
- Bathing suit (please note that this can not be worn in communal baths, but can be worn in certain outdoor hotsprings)
- Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
- First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- This document, printed
RECOMMENDED READING LIST
Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!
FINAL NOTES ON YOUR JAPAN CULINARY TOUR
The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.