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January 25, 2008updated Dec 14, 2015

Useful Information for your Stay in Tokyo

By Chris Boyle

WHEN BEST TO GO

Tokyo’s summer weather can be hot and muggy, and it can be very cold in the winter, so the more comfortable weather of spring and autumn – March to May and September to November – are the best times to visit Tokyo. The city is particularly picturesque in March and April when the cherry trees are in blossom.

LOCAL CUSTOMS

The Japanese are formal and reserved with a strict etiquette system and visitors are expected to behave politely. Bowing is the customary greeting and you can also bow to communicate thanks or an apology. Some over-the counter medicines, particularly for allergies and sinus problems, are forbidden under Japanese law, so check with the embassy before travel.

ATTIRE

Most Japanese dress smartly and conservatively so a smart suit is essential for business meetings, and it is not advisable to go to a first-class hotel, a theater or a restaurant wearing casual clothing or anything too revealing. If you are invited to someone’s home remember to bring clean socks as you are expected to remove your shoes.

LANGUAGE

Japanese is the official language. English is not widely spoken in Japan.

CURRENCY

JPY

EXCHANGE RATE

$1 = JPY 77 £1 = JPY 124 €1 = JPY 106

COUNTRY DIALLING CODE

+81

24 HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

Ambulance: 119

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Fire services: 119

Police: 110

EMBASSY CONTACTS

+81 3 3224 5000 (US) +81 3 5211 1100 (UK)

TIME ZONE GMT

+9

POPULATION

32 million people live in Tokyo.

RELIGIOUS DEOMOGRAPHIC

Shinto and Buddhism are Tokyo’s two major religions.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  •   Sanja
  •   Osunafumi Taisai
  •   Kachiya
  •  Hinode Matsuri
  • Meiji Shrine Spring Festival

TYPICAL OPENING HOURS

Shops open from 9am to 6pm weekdays and Saturdays. Friday is the day of rest, when many buildings close.

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