Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun is a truly exotic country
where high tech meets tradition. And regardless of which time of year you
visit, you’re bound to have a unique experience every time - from beautiful
cherry blossoms in the spring to world leading ski parks in the winter. The locals
are helpful and polite, the cities are exceptionally clean and spotless and the
public transport is one of the world’s most efficient.
There is an overabundance of things to experience when visiting
Japan. There is also more to Japan than Tokyo - the world’s largest city and
the busy, bustling capital. Japan is also famous for the offbeat, bizarre, and
strange. From the Harajuku Girls – grown up women who dress up in school
uniforms and other unusual gear, to unusual museums like the Parasite Museum and
even the Beer Museum.
While Japan is a highly urbanised country, there are many
parks and gardens to relax in if you feel like removing yourself from the
metropolis. Many of these you can enter
free of charge so you can wander around Zen rock gardens, bonsai trees, and
small lakes filled with colourful fish.
Japanese food has become a popular cuisine throughout the
world, in particular dishes like yakitori, tempura, miso soup, sashimi, and of
course, the ubiquitous sushi. Wherever you travel in Japan, you’ll find that
great care is taken in the preparation and presentation of meals. The country’s
cuisine features specialties based on ingredients local to the area, and each
region has its own distinct culinary style. In 2010, Tokyo overtook Paris as
the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. Japan takes its food seriously, and tasty
morsels are available from street food to high end restaurants. A good value
option is the izakaya – a Japanese-style pub.
Japan is one of the most reliable snow and ski destinations
in the world with at least 4 months of regular snowfall each year. Ski season
usually occurs from November to April, with almost every single day delivering powder
snow for fresh runs. Make sure you hit the snowfields early to make the most of
the day. Don’t bother to lug your own ski gear over – just hire it in Japan as it
is usually high quality and brand new.
When journeying throughout the country, you’ll probably need
more cash than you’re used to carrying at home when travelling, as not all
places accept credit cards.
Japan has one of the most efficient public transport systems
in the world, especially in metropolitan areas. If a train says it is going to
depart at 10:28 am, it will leave precisely at 10:28 am and zero seconds. But
if you miss it, don’t worry, there will be another one arriving on time very
soon. You’ll find that the buses, metros and bullet trains will take you almost
anywhere that you want to go, on time, every time.
Signs in Japan are normally produced in both Japanese and
English, but it always helps to know a few words of Japanese – just so you can
see how the locals appreciate you making an effort.
- Ohayou Gozaimasu - Good Morning
- Konnichiwa - Good Day
- Sumimasen - Excuse me
- Arigatoo Gozaimasu - Thank you
- Ogenki desuka? - How are you?
Japan is well known for its cleanliness, high health
standards and safety standards but even in a country with good laws and
regulations, accidents can happen anywhere to anyone. Natural extremes such as typhoons
and earthquakes are relatively common and can cause disruptions to your travel
plans. The typhoon season runs from approximately May to November.
Snowboarding or skiing is a popular holiday activity in
Japan during the winter, but they can often cause accidents and injuries. Don’t
take un-necessary risks such as skiing on unmarked tracks.
Where possible, avoid the city metros during peak hour as
pickpocketing can be more frequent.
Regularly check the Japan National Tourism Organisation
government website http://www.jnto.go.jp/ for
up to date travel advice and alerts for the country.
While Japan is generally a safe destination to visit, travellers
to Japan are also advised to use common sense and caution to avoid potential
Being a smart traveller by taking precautions to minimise
the risk of illness, accident or theft while overseas can help improve the
chances of your trip to Japan being memorable for all the right reasons.
However, some things are outside even the most cautious traveller's control;
ensuring you have adequate travel insurance is an essential way to minimise the
costs of an illness or misadventure in Japan.
Whether you have to change your travel plans for health
reasons, have your new camera stolen or even suffer an injury that requires
medical evacuation, Allianz Travel Insurance can help minimise the financial
impact. Allianz offers Basic Travel Insurance, Comprehensive Travel Insurance
and Multi Trip Travel Insurance for your trip overseas. Get a quote from