General Japan Info

Japan is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with a population of 127,960,000. Major religions include Shinto and Buddhism. The time zone is UTC+9, internet TLD is .jp and the main language is, of course, Japanese.

VISAs and Immigration

New Zealanders can travel for 90 days in Japan under the VISA waiver program. For more information on Japan’s VISA and Immigration regulations please go to the bottom of this page to find our “Useful Links” section.


Japan has four main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. It also has over 4,000 other, smaller islands. The biggest island is Honshu and contains Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, Kobe and other major cities.


Voltage in Japan is 100 volts with 50 hertz frequency in eastern Japan and 60 hertz in western Japan.

Calling Code

Japan’s international calling code is +81.


Japanese standard time is GMT +9.


The Japanese currency is the Yen. With notes in ¥1,000, ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 denominations and coins either ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500.

Currency exchange is available at major banks and exchange bureaus can be found throughout Tokyo. Please check for the most current rates but as of July, 2013 NZ$1 = ¥76. A local beer costs around ¥400 but can be more in major cities.

Public Telephones

Public phones accept 10 and 100 yen coins or magnetic prepaid cards. Emergency numbers include 110 for police, 119 for ambulance/fire.

Public Restrooms

There are two types of restrooms in Japan which offer either traditional Japanese-style squat toilets or Western-style. Many modern restrooms will include both types although visitors to the countryside will often find only the traditional type is available.

Credit Cards

Credite cards accepted at most hotels, department stores, duty free shops and restaurants although in the countryside it’s a better idea to rely on cash.


Tipping is not customary in Japan.


Japan is an extremely safe country with an extremely low crime rate. Even so, it’s still wise to make sure that you take care of your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.

National Holidays 2016 – 2017

Date Week Day Name
29 APR 2016 Friday Showa Day
3 MAY 2016 Tuesday Constitution Memorial Day
4 MAY 2016 Wednesday Green Day
5 MAY 2016 Thursday Children’s Day
18 JUL 2016 Monday Sea Day
11 AUG 2016 Thursday Mountain Day
19 SEP 2016 Monday Respect for the aged Day
22 SEP 2016 Thursday Autumnal Equinox Day
10 OCT 2016 Monday Health Sports Day
3 NOV 2016 Thursday Culture Day
23 NOV 2016 Wednesday Labour Thanksgiving Day
23 DEC 2016 Friday Emperor’s Birthday
1 JAN 2017 Sunday New Year’s Day
2 JAN 2017 Monday New Year’s Day Observed
9 JAN 2017 Monday Coming of Age Day
11 FEB 2017 Saturday National Foundation Day
20 MAR 2017 Monday Spring Equinox Day


Useful Resources

Japanese Embassy in New Zealand (you can find VISA requirements on this website).

Consulate General of Japan in Auckland (you can find VISA requirements on this website).

New Zealand Government’s Travel Advice for Japan

Japanese Immigration Bureau

Japan Customs

List of Prohibited Items by Japan Customs

Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) – A company whose job it is to promote travel and give information about Japan.