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Japan is an island nation off the eastern coast of Asia continent. With population of nearly 130 million people, the country has the world's second largest economy. Due to the long period of isolation, Japan has developed a culture unique to itself. Today, culture is one of the top exports of Japan, along with electronics and cars.

Japan offers an unique blend of traditional and new entertainment and products. For sightseeing, there is no shortage of temples and museums for the history buffs, and newer landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and theme parks for the younger crowd. If you are a shopaholic, you can choose between the traditional dress kimono and yukata, or the newer designer t-shirts and jeans. The gourmands can enjoy the kaiseki or the new age fusion cuisines. There is something for anyone.



  • Kanto 関東
    • Tokyo 東京
    • Yokohama 横浜
    • Hakone 箱根
  • Chuubu 中部
    • Mount Fuji 富士山
    • Nagoya 名古屋
  • Kansai 関西
    • Osaka 大阪
  • Shikoku 四国
  • Kyushu 九州
    • Nagasaki 長崎
  • Hokkaido 北海道
    • Sapporo 札幌


Japan has a highly developed public transportation system. Millions of people rely on it everyday to get to work and to travel between cities. Private vehicles are necessary for getting around in rural areas.


Japan is the home of Shinkansen, one of the fastest, safest and most punctual passenger rail service around the world. Shinkansen lines connect major cities from Hakata on Kyushu Island, to Osaka, Tokyo, Nagano, Niigata, and Sapporo on Hokkaido island. The Shinkansen is often the faster, more convenient alternative to domestic flights. The Tokaido Shinkansen line, connecting Tokyo and Osaka, has the highest ridership. The trains dispatch at less than 15 minute intervals on this line.

As the Shinkansen covers the long distance, high speed travel, the various Japan Rail companies and other private rail companies offer local services. There are different service levels such as Local, Rapid, Express, Limited Express, etc.

Japanese depend a lot on their train services, as a result, there is a large fandom that follows the rail equipments and developments.



While bus services are also available, they are less reliable and less frequent than rail services.


Taxis are expensive transportation alternative. The first two kilometers costs about 660 jpy, and each additional 500 meters are 100 jpy or more.


With population less than half of US, Japan still manages to be the second largest new car market. Roads in Japan generally belong to one of these many categories: expressways, national routes, surface roads and mountain passes.

In urban areas, the surface congestion is a problem and cars are less convenient. The tolls for intercity expressways are also prohibitively expensive. Cars are indispensable in the rural areas, where public transportation is not available as an option.



Use ATM to get cash at the current exchange rate with the least hassle.

Most of Japanese banks' ATM machines are not on the international ATM network such as Plus or Cirrus. You will not be able to use foreign ATM card with them. Plus and Cirrus are working to improve their cards' acceptance.

Japan Post's ATM machines are on the international ATM networks. The post offices are everywhere and identified by the mark 〒.

The ATM machines are not 24 hour. They have the same hours of operation as normal branches.

Make sure your ATM card PIN is 4 or 6 digits long. A friend was unable to use his ATM card with 8 digit PIN on a Japan Post ATM machine.

7-11's 7 Bank has joined Plus and Cirrus networks. You can find their ATM in most of the 7-11 convenience store locations.

Japan Rail Pass

If you will be doing a lot of travel, consider on getting a Japan Rail Pass. The pass allows unlimited travel within a fixed time period on JR's system. It more than pays for itself if you take many trips on the Shinkansen. A 7-day pass is roughly equal to the round trip fare from Tokyo to Osaka on the Shinkansen.


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