JaPango: Getting Prepared

Organising your trip to Japan

1. Flights
Most direct flights leave in the late morning / afternoon to arrive in the morning the next day (with the time difference), so please aim at arriving on Sunday 13/10 in the morning or around noon, and arrange departure back to Europe to be on Friday 25th.

We recommend the Japanese airlines – Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA). Other good alternatives are British Airways, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Swiss, KLM. Asiana and Alitalia might offer cheap flights. Try skyscanner.net for the best prices.
We recommend the following direct flight with British Airways:
BA5: Saturday 12/10 @ 15:45 at Heathrow, arrives next day Sunday at 11:25 at Narita.
BA6: Friday 25/10 @ 12:55 at Tokyo Narita, arrives same day in London Heathrow at 17:30

2. Costs in Japan
Note: please refer to the page ‘costs and dates’ to see what is included in your package.
Japan is not a cheap country, so to keep the cost to a minimum we have decided to share a flat for all participants. We will also get a Japan Railpass that allows us to travel at a much more reasonable cost. We also require all participants to get a travel iunsurance that covers you properly, as access to health care is not cheap either – so with your insurance you can travel with peace in mind. And finally, because we have lived in Japan for a long time, we know where to go and what to do to avoid the ‘tourist prices’.

Milongas cost the same as in London (about £10-12). Attractions tend to be cheaper, ex. getting in temples often cost 300 to 500 Yen (£3).
Some things can be quite reasonable in Japan: food is not expensive (allow 2000-2500 Yen i.e. £10-15 for a meal). Taking the tube and bus within Tokyo and Kyoto is cheaper than in London. And you can buy nice souvenirs, chinaware and more at costs which would be lower than in London.

It is very easy to change ££ into JPY (Yen), as well as withdrawing money from cash dispensers so we would not recommend you bring loads of cash with you – just a few different cards and perhaps some money in cash for the first 2-3 days.

3. Weather and what to wear
October in Japan is mild – it’s actually one of the most pleasant months to visit Japan with clear skies and relatively low humidity. It is also the famous period of the Koyo season (red leaves).
Bring some clothes that will keep you warm when we visit Koya san (mountain) but also some light clothes in case it gets warm in the city. And of course some nice outfits for when we go to Japan’s milongas – most Japanese dancers will come with nice clothes as the country likes to dress up when going out.

4. Other things to bring
We recommend you bring comfortable shoes to walk around when we do our visits. For the temples, it is better to come with trousers (short skirts might feel a bit displaced).
Apart from what you would normally bring in any overseas trip, you will find Japan an extremely comfortable place to visit, with ‘combini’ (shops carrying food and things you might need) in every corner of the archipalego.
WIFI & INTERNET: there are many, many free wifi hotspots, but if you want to stay connected to the internet at all times, you can buy a SIM card which fits mobile phones anf gives you web for 14 days (£15 for the whole period): some information can be found here. You can also rent a phone.
Oh! And we don’t think you should bring tea from home (unless you cannot spend a day without this special favourite brand of yours): after all, tea can be found everywhere and is very much part of the culture of Japan, much more so than coffee. Of course this will be Japanese tea (green tea, macha, smoked, and many others) but they are truly delicious.

5. Visa, health & other requirements

Passport validity: your passport should be valid for the entire duration of your stay.
Visas: UK and EU citizens don’t need a visa to enter Japan as a tourist. On presentation of a valid EU passport you will be granted a 90-day stay in the country. If you are not from the EU, check with the embassy in your country.
Proof of onward travel: you may need to provide proof of onward travel in the form of a return ticket. You should make all flight reservations before departing for Japan.

Health: Japan is a very safe place to travel. It is an advanced country with high standards of hygiene and few endemic diseases. There are no special immunisations needed to visit and, other than bringing prescription medications from home, no special preparations to make. Hospitals and clinics can be found all over the archipelago. Simply make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before taking the trip. Source: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/health.

PLEASE NOTE: we require all participants to subscribe to a comprehensive travel insurance before arriving in Japan. One example of such insurance is the ‘InsureandGo’ (insureandgo.com) GOLD plan, costing less than £50 for the 2 weeks in Japan.

Disclaimer – by joining this tour you fully and unreservedly agree with the disclaimer at this page.

5. What will happen once you book

We will send you a receipt of your deposit payment; the remainder is due by Sept. 1st. And about 3 weeks before departure, we will send you a Japango Guide and travel info pack, with information and addresses, our final schedule, and so on. We recommend you print your pack before you leave home. We will then contact everyone of you before the trip, for last minute preparations, answering to your questions, and getting ready for your holidays. You can be sure you will have an amazing time and unforgettable experience in the country of the rising sun!

RAILPASS: our package includes the cost of the Japan railpass (7 days). We will give it to you when we meet in Tokyo.

6. What will be the accommodation like?
We will alternate between modern ‘western-looking’ accommodation and traditional, ‘ryokan like’ (Japanese) accommodation. Please note Japanese bathrooms are usually wet rooms, with the shower next to the bath. In Fuji area we will stay in an Inn, which means that the onsen like bathroom will be shared with all the guests.


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