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Tokyo

The busy Shibuya district, Tokyo

Practical Info about Tokyo

Getting around the city

Tokyo's public transport system is one of the most efficient in the world and is clean and safe, combining an extensive train network, 13 underground subway lines and a bus system. Visitors usually find the trains (JR) and subways the best way to get around, although the complexity of the underground network can be intimidating; rush hour, from 7:30am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm, should be avoided. Most stations have English signs. Because lines are owned by different companies, transfers between trains or subways usually require a transfer between different train systems, with different ticketing systems that can be confusing. Subway tickets are bought at vending machines. The bus system is more complicated for visitors as most destinations are written in Japanese only and bus drivers don't speak English. Taxis are convenient but never cheap, particularly during rush hour. Taxis can be hailed on the street, except in some central areas, where they only pick up from taxi ranks. Drivers speak little English. Driving a car in the city is not advised. Walking around the city is a delight and the best way to go sightseeing, when possible.

Time

GMT +9.

Electricity

Electrical current is 100 volts, 60Hz in the west (Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hiroshima); 100 volts, 50Hz in eastern Japan (Tokyo, Sapporo, Yokohoma). Flat two- and three-pin plugs are used.

Currency

The currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Money can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureaux. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. ATMs are common but do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores will accept foreign cards.

Communication

The international access code for Japan is +81. Local calls can be made from any public phone, but only some allow international calls. Telephone cards are sold at kiosks and from vending machines. The local mobile phone operators use technology that is not always compatible with international networks, but 3G has roaming agreements with most international networks, and local handsets can be hired from the airport and various other locations. Internet cafes are widely available.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 110 (Police); 119 (Ambulance)

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Coming of Age Day 13 Jan 12 Jan
National Foundation Day 11 Feb 11 Feb
Spring Equinox 21 Mar 21 Mar
Shôwa Day 29 Apr 29 Apr
Constitution Day 3 May 3 May
Childrens Day 5 May 5 May
Marine Day 21 Jul 20 Jul
Respect for the Aged Day 15 Sep 21 Sep
Sports Day 13 Oct 12 Oct
Culture Day 3 Nov 3 Nov
Labour Thanksgiving Day 23 Nov 23 Nov
Emperors Birthday 23 Dec 23 Dec

Climate

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Tokyo has a humid subtropical climate and four distinct seasons. The summer months (June, July and August) are hot and sticky due to an unpleasant level of humidity, while winters can get very cold. The warmest month is August, which averages 81°F (27°C), and the coolest month is January, averaging 42°F (6°C). Summers can be rainy and Tokyo's rainy season usually lasts from early June to late July. The rain is not constant and the city still gets plenty of sun over this period. Typhoons are most likely to affect the city in August and September. Snowfall is common in the city in January and February. The best time to visit Tokyo is in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn.

Tokyo Narita International Airport

www.narita-airport.or.jp/airport_e

Getting to the city

Each airport terminal has a separate railway station. Terminal 1 uses Narita Airport Station and Terminal 2 uses Airport Terminal 2 Station. Different train services on the JR or Keisei lines serve Tokyo and surrounding destinations. The journey to Tokyo takes one hour. Train fares begin at roughly JPY 2,500. Buses connect to the domestic airport and hotels in the city centre; the journey takes between one and two hours from the pick up at departure lobbies of Terminals 1 and 2. Tickets should be bought at the ticket counter for about JPY 3,200.

Car rental

Rental cars can be organised at the airport.

Airport taxi's

Fixed fare taxis are available from outside the airport's arrival area, and there are assistants available at the designated fixed fare taxi stands in the airport. Fares into the city start at JPY 15,000.

Transfer between terminals

A free shuttle bus connects the two terminals.

Facilities

The facilities at New Tokyo Airport are extensive and include shops (including duty-free), banks, ATMs, currency exchange bureaux, massage services, baby changing areas, a pet hotel, beauty salons and left luggage. A variety of restaurants catering for Japanese, Chinese and Western tastes are available. Both terminals have shower facilities and Day Rooms (bedrooms which can be hired by the hour).

Parking

Terminal 1 parking is in P1 and P5, while Terminal 2 parking is in P2 and P3. Parking at Tokyo Narita International Airport starts at JPY 400 per hour and JPY 1,500 per day for P3 and P5, and JPY 500 per hour and JPY 2,000 per day for P1 and P2.

Internet

There are several free wifi hotspots in each terminal, and internet cafes.

Airports nearby