Japan is a country in Asia according to physicscat. Japan is a land of contrasts: big cities beckon with bright lights and the latest high-tech gadgets, while in the countryside, centuries-old Japanese culture—geishas, Zen rock gardens, temples, and shrines—can still be experienced today. The unconventional Japanese pop culture has a great attraction for enthusiastic tourists. Pioneering technical innovations and the latest craze in fashion and design items can be purchased here much earlier than anywhere else in the world. But underneath that blunt modernity beats an ancient heart. Japan is still the realm of the exquisite geisha tradition, the sumo wrestlers, a country where historic festivals are celebrated and food has been elevated to an art form. But Japan is also scenically beautiful and unforgettable. Particular highlights are Mount Fuji, which is of volcanic origin, and the pine forests of the Koya Mountains.
Arriving by plane
Japan’s national carrier is Japan Airlines (JL) with non-stop flights from Frankfurt/M. to Tokyo-Narita and ANA – All Nippon Airways (NH) with direct flights from Frankfurt/M. to Tokyo and Osaka and from Düsseldorf and Vienna to Tokyo. Lufthansa (LH) offers direct flights from Frankfurt/M. and Munich to Tokyo Haneda. Swiss (LX) flies direct from Zurich to Tokyo and to Osaka. Austrian Airlines (OS) connects Vienna non-stop with Tokyo. British Airways (BA) flies direct from London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda. There are numerous feeder flights from German-speaking countries to London. Air France (AF) offers non-stop flights from Paris to Tokyo-Narita and Tokyo-Haneda. Finnair (AY) flies from Vienna via Helsinki to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. KLM (KL) connects Amsterdam and Fukuoka.
Frankfurt – Tokyo: 11 hours 10 minutes; Frankfurt – Osaka: 11 hours; Vienna – Tokyo: 11 hrs 10 mins; Zurich – Tokyo: 11 hrs 50 mins
Departing plane and ship passengers have to pay a departure tax of 1000 yen (approx. 8 € / 9 CHF) per person. Exceptions are transit travelers staying less than 24 hours in Japan and infants under the age of two.
Arrival by car
Tolls are payable on all highways in Japan and on the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, which connects the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Payment can be made either in cash or electronically. Central Nippon Expressway provides detailed information. Documents: A Japanese translation of the driver’s license must be carried in addition to the national driver’s license. The international driving license is not sufficient in Japan. The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) prepares translations on the same day or at the latest on the next working day at its numerous international service counters. Further information can be obtained from the Japanese tourist office JNTO in Frankfurt/M., Tel. +49 (69) 20353.
Arrival by ship
The most important Japanese ports include the ports of Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe and Nagoya, where numerous passenger ships dock.
Shipping companies such as Phoenix, P&O Cruises, Costa and Trans Ocean offer world cruises starting in Europe with stopovers in Japan.
Shanghai Ferry offers weekly sailings between Shanghai (China) and Osaka (journey time: minimum 46 hours). Pan Star Cruise connects Busan (South Korea) with Osaka. DBS Cruise Ferry offers services between Vladivostok (Russia) and Donghae (South Korea) connecting to Sakaiminato in Japan.
Traveling by plane
Domestic flights are operated by Japan Airlines (JL) and All Nippon Airways (NH). Japan Airlines (JL) connects all major cities. All Nippon Airways (NH) also flies to smaller cities. Important routes include Tokyo – Sapporo, Tokyo – Fukuoka, Tokyo – Osaka and Tokyo – Naha. Skymark Airlines (BC) flies to a variety of destinations throughout Japan at affordable fares from Tokyo-Haneda and Kobe. Peach Aviation (MM) operates a variety of domestic flights from its hubs in Osaka and Okinawa.
Traveling by car/bus
Japan has an excellent road and highway network. The Keiyo Highway, Tohoku, Tomei, Tokaido, Joban and Meishin Expressways connect the Pacific coast cities. Awaji Island is connected to the mainland between Akashi and Iwaya by a road bridge. Tolls are payable on all highways in Japan and on the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, which connects the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Payment can be made either in cash or electronically. Central Nippon Expressway provides detailed information. Gas stations are everywhere. The service, such as refueling, cleaning the windshield, etc. is free of charge.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
Japanese roads are generally in very good condition.
The Japanese road network includes – Interstate highways, which are highly ramified and particularly dense along the Pacific coast, and urban freeways in and around Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, among others, marked with green signs; – national roads, marked with blue signs; – prefectural roads and – municipal roads.
Well-known car rental companies such as Avis or Budget are also represented in Japan. When booking in advance, travelers are usually picked up at the train station, airport, hotel or ferry and brought back on return. When renting a vehicle, a driver must generally be at least 26 years old and have held a driver’s license for at least one year. For a young driver fee, it is also possible to rent from individual rental companies from the age of 18.
Taxis are readily available in the cities. Between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. and if demand is greater, for example at peak times or due to weather conditions, a surcharge will be charged. Unusual for Europeans: The doors are automatically operated by the driver. The destination and a nearby well-known place should be written down in Japanese, preferably with a sketch of the route, since there are hardly any street names. The house numbers in the various districts are based on the chronological order in which houses were built. When a taxi is available, a red light will illuminate in the lower left corner of the windshield. A car with an English-speaking driver can be hired from hotels or travel agencies for sightseeing.