Looking to travel to Japan? Get all the information you need to have a safe, enjoyable and unforgettable trip while there, courtesy of GoBear Malaysia. We’ll present you with things you needto keep it mind before and during your time there, especially the need to get travel insurance for
About wonderful Japan
Youkoso! Japan is an island nation and has a history stretching back nearly a thousand years. Its reigning emperor is from the world’s oldest surviving dynasty; so it’s not surprising to know that
modern Japan is at once highly cosmopolitan and immensely traditional at the same time.
Japan rules over the Japanese archipelago of islands and observes Japan Standard Time (UTC+9) all year round. Being in the Northern Hemisphere (and pretty far north at that), summer comes around the middle of the year, and winter towards the end.
It is a very safe place, so most Malaysian travel insurance policies include Japan in Area 1 (usually the cheapest band), but you should check your specific plan to make sure you’re covered if you decide to go. Its currency is the Japanese yen (JPY).
Japan is incredibly homogenous, so Japanese is not only the official language, it’s probably the only language most Japanese speak fluently. English is taught as part of the school curriculum, and in the largest megalopolises, most large establishments are English-speaking. GoBear Malaysia recommends bringing along an English/Japanese tourist phrasebook. Otherwise, you might face
some difficulties in contacting the emergency services concierge provided by your travel insurance in Japan.
Seafood is a primary component of Japanese food, as is rice. Sushi and sashimi, as well as teppanyaki, are the most famous examples of Japanese food known overseas, but they encompass so much more. Try nabe (hot pot) while in Japan (especially during winter) and Japanese BBQ. While in Kobe, splurge a little on actual Kobe beef. Pork (buta) does feature in Japanese food, but not prominently. Sake (rice wine) is part and parcel of Japanese culture and cuisines, and is a must-try while you’re in Japan. Even children can get in on the fun with amazake (a sweeter, nearly non-alcoholic version). Food safety standards are generally quite high here, but just in case, GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance for Japan.
What to buy in Japan
Japan is where you will find the otaku (obsessed/fanatic) Mecca of Ahikabara (Akiba), so if you have anybody you know is interested in Japanese media such as anime, manga, or cosplay, this is the place where you can find all the related merchandise. Aside from that, however, Japan is also home to Takashimaya, Isetan and Kinokuniya and Daiso. There are many uniquely Japanese items that you can find only in Japan, so shop around for some good bargains. Inquire about GST refunds in-store; you might be eligible depending on how much you spent and when you’re leaving.
GoBear Malaysia recommends checking whether your credit card covers lost or stolen purchases while overseas, or you can buy travel insurance for your Japan shopping spree.
Things to do when in Japan
Japan is rich in culture and steeped in tradition; if that’s what interests you, then you’ve come to the right place. During the New Year, visiting a shrine to pray for good luck is something of a ritual for most Japanese, as is Obon and Tanabata; many similar festivals take place in Japan throughout the year, culminating in a fireworks display. Depending on the time of year, you might be lucky enough to take part in hanami (flower-watching) parties. Just make sure that your travel insurance for Japan covers you for all the things you intend to do. There is also a very vibrant artistic – especially musical and theatrical – community, with concerts and plays almost year-round in the capital cities.
Japan travel advisory checklist
Have a hassle-free trip! International travel, especially to Japan, has its own set of issues that you should prepare for, so that you can properly enjoy your holiday overseas. Aside from travel insurance
for Japan, GoBear Malaysia recommends you consider the following:
Passport & visa requirements for Japan
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity after the dates you intend to go; you may notbe allowed to travel if your passport is too close to expiry. No visa is required for Malaysianbiometric passport holders visiting Japan as tourists for up to 90 days. In the event that your passport or other travel documents are lost or stolen, make sure you know the emergency contact details for your travel insurance concierge in Japan, so that you can be assisted as quickly as possible.
Electricity & water in Japan
While Malaysia uses the Type G power socket, you will instead see Type A or Type B sockets in Japan. This means that you will need a universal travel adapter. Its 100V/50-60Hz electrical system also means that you must not simply plug in your electrical items, unless they are rated to work with ~100V, or use transformers that accept ~100V. The tap water here is generally safe to drink.
Japanese telecommunications & Internet coverage
The telecommunications network in Japan covers most of the nation. Mobile phones bought in Malaysia might not work with Japanese pre-paid data SIMs, as Japan along with the USA use CDMA networks rather than GSM ones. Check the specific frequencies your phone uses against the ones your preferred Japanese telco supports. Voice-capable SIMs are difficult to get unless you have a permanent Japanese address (getting your resident friend/relative to buy one for you is probably the easiest way, or you can rent a SIM/phone). Wi-Fi for tourists is somewhat available everywhere you go, as is 4G LTE. The emergency number is 110 for the police and 119 for fire/ambulance services; but remember that most Japanese do not speak fluent English.
Healthcare & medical facilities in Japan
Japanese medical facilities are world-class (but also very expensive, so GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance for all Japan travel), with medical facilities available throughout most of the country. If you intend to go someplace more remote, ensure that your travel insurance for Japan includes emergency medical repatriation coverage. Japanese credit card facilities Japan has its own payment network called JCB. International credit card networks that are present in Japan include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express (to a smaller degree). UnionPay is also widely available. Credit cards are accepted by many retailer and food outlets, though some of the smaller outlets may prefer cash instead.
Ready to start planning your Japan travels? Stay safe and protected while overseas!
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