Post Reply
Japan Revealed – Departure 22/03/2019 Message from Tour Manager
Post: #1
Information 
My name is Caroline Godfrey and I am your Tour Manager for the “Japan Revealed” leaving on 22nd March 2019.  I have included some updates in this posting to my original posting for this tour which I posted in March 2018)


I would like to say “Konnichiwa” to those of you travelling with me on this holiday.  With only a week until we go, I am sure that you are all looking forward to your holiday.  

This is a truly wonderful holiday.  Japan is an amazing destination, it really is a “foreign county”.  Those of you travelling there are in for a real treat. I am sure you will return home having made many new friends, seen some amazing sights and with some beautiful memories.

Japan's spring spans from March to May depending on the year. Spring is an exciting season in Japan, with Sakura (cherry blossoms) capturing the imagination and attention of visitors and locals alike as their beautiful pink flowers blanket the country in soft colourful splendour.  As it is a natural phenomenon how much cherry blossom, we see will depend on what nature gives us this year. There are plenty of other beautiful things to see as well as delicious types of food to eat.

I will be flying on the Lufthansa indirect flight from Heathrow to Munich and then on to Tokyo (Haneda).  For those of you flying with Lufthansa I look forward to seeing you at Heathrow or the departure lounge in Munich if you are flying from other regional airports.  

I know that most of the group are flying direct on the British Airways flight from Heathrow to Tokyo (New Tokyo International), You will be met in Tokyo by the local agent who will transfer you to the hotel. Be mindful that this is a busy itinerary, you may want  to take the opportunity to get some rest at the hotel before we head out to dinner in the evening, or explore the vicinity of the hotel. I will meet you at the hotel for our Welcome Meeting prior to heading out for our first dinner.  The local agent will provide you with up to date details on the timings for this, I currently expect it to be circa 18.00 local time.

Two of you are flying from Paris. I will meet you at the hotel for a Welcome Meeting prior to heading out for our first dinner.  The local agent will provide you with up to date details on the timings for this, I currently expect it to be circa 18.00 local time.

I look forward to meeting you all and to sharing your “Japanese Adventure” with you.

I thought I would share some of my packing and travel tips for this holiday.

Bags
You may find it useful to carry a bag with you that you can use to store your socks, shoes (when you need to take them off), tissues, wet wipes, rubbish bag etc. You will also find it useful to carry a carrier bag with you to collect your rubbish in.  People do not walk around eating and drinking in Japan like they may do elsewhere in the world, and there are very few rubbish bins.

Cash
Cash is king in Japan and you must have Japanese Yen.  Larger department stores, most hotels, and some restaurants take credit cards (Visa, Mastercard), but the majority of what you spend will need to be in cash. All post offices, and now most 7-11's, have ATMs that accept international debit/credit cards.

Clothing
As a Tour Manager I use packing cubes which I find very convenient in separating out types of clothing and keeping my suitcase in order!

Always try to keep your luggage weight a few kilos below your allowed limit in case you want to pick up some souvenirs.
The weather can still be quite cold at this time of year.  You will need to take a cardigan, jacket or coat of some sort in case of bad weather days, windy days and days when you're planning to go out at night. You might also find it useful to have a hat, scarf and gloves, it is better to come prepared than to wish you had packed them!

Pack clothes that you can wear in layers, that way you are prepared for all eventualities.

You will need to remove your shoes before entering some of the buildings we visit on the tour. You may find it helpful to wear shoes that are easily put on and slipped off. Bare feet are considered very dirty and there are many sites in Japan where you can only enter if you remove your shoes and then often only if you are wearing some sort of sock (nylons are acceptable). Don't miss out on your must-visit teahouse or palace because you didn't have socks with you.

Make sure you pack a raincoat, or umbrella. 

For up to date information check the weather forecast on the internet before you leave.

Electrical
The voltage in Japan (100 V) is less than in the United Kingdom (230 V). You may need a voltage converter.  Also the frequency in Japan (50 / 60 Hz) differs from the frequency in the United Kingdom (50 Hz).  To be sure, check the label on the appliance. Some appliances never need a converter. If the label states 'INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz' the appliance can be used in all countries in the world. This is common for chargers of tablets/laptops, photo cameras, cell phones, toothbrushes, etc.

Entering Japan (at the airport)

All foreigners, including foreign residents, get fingerprinted and photographed upon entering Japan as a measure aimed at preventing terrorism.  You will be required to complete a couple of forms.  You may experience long queues at immigration. If you are a UK citizen you only need a valid passport and you will be entitled to enter Japan as a “temporary visitor” for up to 90 days.

Excursions

On this Just You holiday all excursions are included there are no optional excursions.

Food and Drink

The water in Japan is safe to drink, but it is likely to taste different to water at home, you may prefer to drink bottled water. Although tap water in hotels is safe to drink it doesn’t suit everyone.

There are several meals included in your holiday which gives you the opportunity to try various kinds of Japanese cuisine.  The food is quite different from the food you eat at home.  Restaurants in Japan range from mobile food stands to centuries old ryotei, atmospheric drinking places, seasonally erected terraces over rivers, cheap chain shops and unique theme restaurants.

If the food is not to your taste there are plenty of convenience stores where you can pick up snacks. But I would encourage you all to try different kinds of food as it is all part of the Japanese experience.

To get the most from your Japanese experience, be adventurous and try as many different Japanese foods as you can.

Language

English is not widely spoken in Japan. However, we have local guides throughout our tour.

Luggage

Porterage is not included in the holiday.  Generally, when we are using the Bullet Train, your main suitcase will be transported to the next hotel in a van and will not travel with us on the train.  Please ensure that you use the Just You luggage labels that you have been provided on both your main luggage and your hand luggage.  That will help me to identify you and for to see who else is travelling on this tour.

Medication

Japan has strict rules in place for taking medicine into Japan for personal use.

The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. This includes Vicks inhalers, medicines for allergies and sinus problems, cold and flu medication containing Pseudoephedrine and even some over-the-counter painkillers like those containing codeine. Foreign nationals have been detained and deported for offences - ignorance may not be considered a defence. You should check the status of your medication with the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.

Money

The currency of Japan is written “. Its currency sign is “¥” and is written “Yen” or “JPY” in foreign characters. Consumption tax in Japan is 8%. Currently, whether indicated prices are tax-included or not is up to the store. Please ask the staff if the prices include tax or not before making your purchase if you would like to know how much you must spend. The current exchange rate (as at March 2019) is circa £1 = 148 Yen.  The actual exchange rate you receive will vary depending on where you buy your Japanese Yen.

ATM machines can often be found in Post Offices and near to 7-11 stores.

Tipping

Play it safe: Assume that prices in Japan already include gratuity in the form of a service charge, so tips are not expected in a restaurant or a taxi. However, if you would like to thank your local guides and drivers for their service tips can be left at your discretion. The tip should be presented as more of a gift than simply additional cash or payment for services.

Toilets

You will find that the toilets are quite different from what you are used to at home, you will find both Western and Japanese (squat) style toilets. You will find it useful to carry tissues with you (toilet paper is often absent from some of the toilets) and hand sanitiser as you may find that some of the toilets do not have any soap. You will often find that there are no hand towels present in the toilets.

Other Tips

It is always a good idea to keep a copy of your Passport.  Bring copies of your travel insurance.  If you're bringing prescription medications with you, remember to pack the prescription slip or a note from your doctor, in the event customs officials question you about the nature of the medicine.

To make a telephone call from Japan to United Kingdom,  + 44, followed by the phone number (dropping the first 0). Calls can be expensive.  Check with your mobile provider to see if they offer any special packages.

I am excited to be leading this wonderful tour again and look forward to meeting you all. I wish you all a holiday to remember and a trip that will give you many new friends.

Best Wishes

Caroline
Find all posts by this user
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)