Discover Japan travel guide

Japan is a truly exotic country where the highest modern technology meets a traditional past.

From beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring to world-leading ski parks in the winter, Japan has a unique experience at every turn.

The locals are helpful, the facilities spotless and the public transport is one of the world’s best, which means getting around is a breeze. Japan is an island nation. The nearest neighbouring countries are China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia. Japan is 9 hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UTC+9), so the country is 13 hours ahead of Toronto or 16 hours ahead of Vancouver.

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Emergency Numbers Police Dial 110
Fire or Ambulance Dial 119
 
Main Ethnic Groups Ethnic groups in Japan are not widely known but it is said that 98.5% are Japanese with Koreans, Chinese and others making up the remainder.  
Main Religion 41% Folk Shinto (identify as non-religious but will participate in Shinto rituals and worship)
35% Buddhism
 
Geographic Facts Capital and the Largest City: Tokyo (8.3 million people)  

The Japanese are well known for their traditions. Being polite and showing respect is very important to their culture. Bowing in greeting is one sign of respect, as are these common gestures:

  • Shoes are taken off to enter many buildings and homes, so wear shoes that you can slip on and off easily without using your hands.
  • When you are handing something to someone do so with both hands as this is considered the polite way.
  • Never leave your chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice as that is how rice is offered to the dead.
  • Konnichiwa = Good day
  • Ohayou gozaimasu = Good morning
  • Sumimasen = Excuse me or used to call the staff in a restaurant or shop over
  • Arigatoo gozaimasu = Thank you
  • Ogenki desuka? = How are you?

Best time to visit
Spring is the best time to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms and the warm, dry temperatures.

Seasons
Japan experiences four seasons a year, however, the temperature can vary in each city. These temperatures are based on the Tokyo average:

Summer
July to Aug
21˚ / 28˚
Autumn
Sep to Nov
14˚ / 21˚
Winter
Dec to Feb
3˚/ 9˚
Spring
Mar to May
14˚ / 21˚
Transport
Renting a car is one of the best ways to see Canada, but in the big cities you can find plenty of taxis, buses and trains. However, some buses and trains are commuter-focused and may not run late at night or on weekends. Another option for travelling between cities is the extensive network of domestic flights.
Dialing code +81

 
Visas - Canadians do not require a visa to enter Japan for tourism or business for stays under ninety (90) days.
Language is Japanese.
 
Currency - Yen (CAD$1 = JPY¥84) *average rate, 2018-2019.
The drinking age in Japan is 20 or over.
Tipping - Service standards are very high but tipping isn’t part of the culture. Giving a tip may cause confusion and can also be offensive. Some restaurants however will add a 10% service fee to your bill.
Drive on the left side of the road.
 
Electrical / Device: 100V - Japan uses a two pin ‘A’ type plug.

World records

  • World’s largest strawberry at 250g.
  • World’s largest comic strip at 3785.35m2 by Adidas Japan and depicted each player from the football world cup team in 2010.
  • The greatest distance ever covered by an electric vehicle, single charge (non-solar) was 1,300km in 2013.

National icons

The national icons are Mount Fuji, Cherry Blossoms and Red-Crowned Crane.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as of the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.  Photography Credits: Joel_420, Shutterstock.com.
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