Smoking is not allowed inside restaurants in Japan, but there are usually designated smoking areas that allow you to smoke outside. You should only smoke in these areas and not just on the pavements outside the establishment as you could get fined by the Police. Some bars and clubs allow you to smoke inside and some hotels allow you to smoke in your room, but please check with the establishment beforehand to see if this is permitted.
Some Banks and all Japanese post offices have ATM’s that will accept foreign credit or debit cards. You can also use foreign payment cards at many “in-store” ATM’s that are found in numerous popular shopping locations, specifically Seven Eleven, Lawson and FamilyMart chain of stores. Please note that some ATM’s do charge a small fee to use them and also remember to check with your bank to see if there are any other currency conversion or similar charges that you could incur for using ATM services abroad. It’s always best to inform your bank or credit card company that you will be travelling abroad and give them the dates. They should inform you of any charges you can expect to incur in advance, and also ensure that your cards are unlocked for transactions during your vacation.
Tipping, gratuity and service charges
There is no culture of expected tipping for service workers in Japan, but some establishments may have a compulsory service charge which will be added to the total cost of the meal. Please check the menu for this beforehand to avoid any possible embarrassment. If you wish to tip any staff in appreciation of their good services, then you can do at your own discretion and this will be appreciated.
Onsen (hot springs and public spa baths)
Japanese people feel less comfortable about tattoos and body art than their western counterparts. Consequently most public onsen or spa bath houses have a strict NO TATTOO rule.
If you have body art but would like to experience a Japanese onsen then it’s best to avoid the public facilities and instead seek out a hotel that incorporates a private onsen (hot spring spa). It’s always best to check with the establishment before making a special journey, and the hotel’s policy should be clarified prior to confirming your booking.
December to March is considered as Winter season in Japan, with January and February being the coldest months. If you wish to experience Japan during this time, then remember to pack your Winter wardrobe as it can be quite cold.
From March to June the temperature becomes progressively milder (approx 15-20°C during the daytime), but this also coincides with the rainy season. Some rain will be expected almost every day. If you plan to visit at this time of the year then it’s important to consider packing umbrellas or light raincoats and suitable wet weather footwear.
Summer in Japan is from July to September. Expect both heat and humidity during this time. In August temperatures can be over 30°C, so remember to use sunscreen and keep hydrated. This is also the perfect time for a beach and bikini type holiday!
Check out the posts about Everyday Places that are UNIQUE to Japan: