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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Japan Travel Requirements

Japan has one of the most complex and criss-crossed railway system in the world. Fortunately for many locals and visitors alike, most of its major attractions are close to a railway station. The Japan Railway (JR) Group lines and the many private lines operate frequently and are punctual, safe, clean, speedy, and economical.

Traveling by bus is perhaps the cheapest way for long distance travel. Most of them leave at midnight and reach their destinations early next morning. They are all air-conditioned, and have ample space and comfortable seats. However, reservations for a seat must first be made through a travel agent or bus company.

Shinkansen (Bullet Train)
Shinkansen, the Japanese high speed trains (bullet trains) are operated by the JR. The Shinkansen network is centred around the city of Tokyo. Commuters can travel to the West or North from Tokyo.

Coins are minted in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen. Bank notes are printed in higher denominations of 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen.

Foreign Exchange
Other currencies may be exchanged for Japanese yen at international airport exchange centers or at authorized city banks in Japan.
The exchange rate for each day is posted at most banks from 10:00 a.m. for U.S. dollars, 11:00 a.m. for other currencies to 3:00 p.m. Exchange currency at banks during this time frame to avoid inconvenience.
Japanese public transport, stores and restaurants are legally forbidden to accept foreign currencies. You do need small amounts of yen currency for immediate needs.
If you have foreign bank notes other than U.S. dollars, it is wise to convert some of it to yen while at the airport. Even at leading city banks, tellers are not always accustomed to handling foreign bank notes. Traveler's checks can be cashed quickly at banks, but few stores or restaurants accept them. Unused yen (bank notes only; no coins) can be reconverted into foreign currencies at the airport with no limitation, provided the exchange center has sufficient funds for reconversion.
The money exchange centers at Narita Airport are open from 6:00 a.m. until the last flight arrives at night. At the Kansai Airport for handling currency exchange, there are 10 banks, with one or more open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Foreign currencies handled at these airports'centers include the Australian dollar, Austrian schilling*, Belgian franc*, Canadian dollar, Danish krone*, Deutsche mark, Dutch guilder*, Finland Markka*, French franc, Hong Kong dollar, Italian lira, New Zealand dollar, Norwegian krone*, Singapore dollar, Spanish peseta, Pound sterling, Swiss franc, Swedish krona* and U.S. dollar. All 19 currencies can be exchanged for Japanese yen but not necessarily vice versa for currencies marked by an asterisk.

Checks and Cards
Personal checks are not in general use. Yen traveler's checks can be purchased at overseas banks. Credit cards are widely used in urban areas. Shops and restaurants that accept credit cards have stickers at the entrance or signs posted elsewhere to designate which cards are accepted.

Individual tipping us not common in Japan, since a 10 to 20 percent service charge is added to the bill at hotels, Ryokan and restaurants. No tip is necessary unless you request extra services.

All banks are closed on Saturday, Sunday and holidays except a few authorised branches.


Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM

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