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Plan Your Trip to Japan

So, you're planning to go to Japan. Before you start cramming clothing in your suitcase, however, you should stop and ask yourself a few questions: Will your ATM card will work in Japanese machines? How will you get around? By taxi or train or plane or bike or rental car? What if you have to see a doctor? Will your meds pass through security? Can you bring along your beloved cat? (Or dog?) Worry not. Here you will find information on these topics and more.
  1. Before You Go to Japan (14)
  2. Japan Tours (8)
  3. Japan Travel Agency (18)
  4. Japan Travel Tips (6)
  5. Japan Visa Information (8)

Planning for Good Health in Japan
All you need to know about taking medicine to Japan, vaccinations to consider, and staying healthy.

 

The Mechanics of Japanese ATMs
How to get yen from an ATM in Japan.

Everyone's Temple: Senso-Ji
Senso-Ji Temple in Tokyo is what most people think about when they think about Japanese temples – foreigners and Japanese alike. The Kaminarimon gate, with the huge painted lantern, is used as a backdrop for TV shows, and when the lantern is raised during typhoons, it is reported on the news. You could call it everyone's favorite temple.

Five Tips for Flying to Japan

Tips for flying to Japan. Read this, especially if you have kids.

 

Fido's Japanese Vacation
Taking your cat -- or dog -- to Japan.

 

Left to Your Own Devices in Japan
If you're traveling to Japan, you'll probably expect access to Wi-Fi. Don't. It can be spotty in Japan, whose population mostly depends on smartphone connections for access to the Internet when not at home or the office. Here's how you can ensure you stay connected on your trip.

The Doctor Will See You Now
As the Scouts say, "Be Prepared." This goes for travel, too, and here you'll find out who to call if you need a doctor in Japan.

Japan's Low Crime Doesn't Mean No Crime
For the majority of visitors to Japan, travel is safe. But there are some exceptions. Here's the lowdown on crime in Japan.

Talking About Learning Japanese
For anyone looking to learn to start speaking and understanding Japanese, the Pimsleur Japanese Language Program is pretty effective with its use of repetition, lesson continuity and practical phrases.

All the News that's Fit for Your Trip
A large number of English-language news sites offer reporting on Tokyo and beyond. Here are the top sites to bookmark and check before and during your trip, to keep informed. (After longing for a return visit to Japan, you'll also find yourself perusing the sites after getting home, too.)


If you're an American and you find yourself in the Nakanoshima section of Osaka, it's probably because you need to go to the U.S. Consulate. But while the area isn't known for ancient temples or shrines or castles, it is a handsome, clean area with several charming Western-style buildings constructed a century ago and a highly respected ceramics museum.

Tamamo: A Castle Park Without the Castle
Tamamo park offers a pleasant escape when visiting or stopping through downtown Takamatsu. Conveniently located next to the JR Takamatsu station, the park is the perfect place to go when waiting for a ferry ride at the nearby port or during a stopover at the station.

Shinkansen: The Best Ride in Japan

Next Stop: Tokyo Station
Train and subway stations are usually thought of as a way of getting to somewhere else. Not so for Tokyo Station, where shops, restaurants and amazing architecture make the station itself a destination.

Your Printer's Paper-Trail May End in Japan
Before taking your printer to Japan, find out if it's locked with a region code that may prevent you from using cartridges you buy while in Japan. If you're already in Japan, here's what to do.

Japan for the Jaded Traveler
Though known for its tradition and technology, Japan offers plenty of offbeat tours and travel packages. Here are a few quirky things to do in the Land of the Rising Sun.

True Colors of Japan
Japan has stunning fall foliage at parks and other places throughout the country. Here are the top destinations.

Japan for Ice Skaters
If you're an ice skater and want to sharpen your skills on the ice -- or if you just want to get a taste of what many Tokyo dwellers do for fun -- you're in luck: The city hosts many ice skating rinks. Here's a list of top rinks in Tokyo.

Racing Through Achipelago
For travelers who enjoy running, it's worth considering timing your trip to Japan with a race, registering and preparing far in advance, so you can get a little exercise while you're visiting temples and shrines and dining on sashimi and rice. Here's a partial list of marathons and half marathons throughout the archipelago.

Osaka: No. 2 At Its Best
Often over-looked Osaka is a huge city by American standards and remains an economic engine in Asia. It's also a great place to visit, with its variety of top restaurants, towering castle, shopping destinations and close proximity to the Japan of old: Nara, Kyoto and Himeji castle.

Jetting Through Japan
Flying domestically in Japan lets you cut down on travel time and can be a competitively priced alternative to riding on the Shinkansen bullet train. Making air travel easy between cities is the dozens upon dozens of domestic airports all over the nation. But there are pitfalls to flying. Here's how to avoid them.

Quick Kyoto: 6 Spots to See in the Historic City
Heading to Kyoto for just a day or two? Here are six spots to see.

Getting to Osaka
Two airports, buses, bullet trains and ferries all take you to Osaka, Japan's No. 2 city. Here's how to get there.

At Narita? Take One Capsule and Call Me in the Morning
Nine Hours hotel, which opens July 20, 2014, at Narita International Airport, promises to let you shower, sit back, and sleep (inside a pod) without leaving the airport.

Don't Go Off the Rails in Japan
Japan's rail system is efficient, clean and usually a fun ride. But for people who speak little Japanese, the rail system can appear overwhelming. Here's what you need to know for your rail rides on the archipelago.

Have Faith in Japan
Japan is known for its temples and shrines of Buddhist and Shinto origin. But Christian churches can be found, and some posses great architectural design. Here are the Top 3 churches and cathedrals to visit in Tokyo.

"Little Book" Packs Big Punch
Tuttle's "The Little Book of Japan" fills its pages with beautiful images of all that makes Japan awesome and ties the photos together with breezy prose about the country, its culture, traditions and history. It's small enough for the backpack and fun enough to keep on the coffee table, whether you're planning a trip to Japan, are already there, or just want to dream about going.

Going off the Peak
Most people save their vacation time for the summer, but this isn't always the best idea when heading to Japan. Some of the best times to travel to the archipelago are during the cool of November or March -- and even the chilly months in between can save you money on airline tickets and hotel rooms and the hassle of fighting through other tourists. Here are tips to traveling off the peak.

Hot Tips For Summer Travel
Getting ready for your summer trip to Japan? Here are five tips you need to know to have a good time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Don't Get Bitten on Your Trip to Japan
It's a rare chance you'd get bitten by a snake in Japan, but the risk is still real. Venomous snakes can be found throughout the archipelago, and here's what you need to know to stay safe.

"Heritage Sites" Offers Picture of Perfect Japan
John Dougill, a professor at a Kyoto university and author, draws you into the wonders of Japan's World Heritage Sites in his aptly titled book, "Japan's World Heritage Sites." The images, helpful maps and sidebars, along with fact-rich text, make this a necessary resource for students of Japanese culture and history, or anyone planning a trip to the nation.

Tokyo Tower Can Still Rise to the Occasion
Tokyo Tower is not only an antique of Japan's recovery years, but an icon of the city, still worth visiting, even though it's now overshadowed by today's high-rises.

These Tiny Towns Are Big on Small Wonders
Deep in the countryside of Kagawa prefecture, about two hours from Osaka, are two small neighboring areas that produce 80 percent of Japan's pine bonsai. Tens of thousands of the dwarfed plants grow there in hundreds of nurseries that span as many acres, creating miniature forests of magnificently manicured and manipulated trees. Here's your guide to the small wonders of bonsai in Kinashi and Kokubunji.

Branching Out: Top Bonsai Destinations in Japan
Bonsai may have roots in ancient China, but Japan owns its own tradition of the living art form. And for fans of the craft, plenty of festivals and destinations await on the archipelago. Here's your guide to bonsai in Japan.

B.Y.O.B.: Bring Your Own Barbecue
Looking to cook up a good time in Tokyo? Then bring your own barbecue. But you better know where. Here are the top spots to grill your own steak in Japan's capital city.

Tokyo Gets Fired Up for Hanabi
July and August light up with fireworks festivals throughout Japan. If you're in Tokyo, here's the event lineup for 2014.

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