Arriving in Tokyo can be both a thrilling and bewildering experience—especially if it is your first time to visit. To help you transition smoothly into the metropolis, familiarize yourself with the following basic information. Find out how to get around the city with ease with a Travel IC card and the easiest way to connect to the internet. Discover money-saving shopping tips, what to do in an emergency, what to pack in each season, and much more.
Standard Japanese is spoken throughout Tokyo and the country as a whole. English is generally understood, especially in the major tourist areas, but don’t expect full fluency everywhere. Even though a language barrier may exist, a combination of clear English and gestures should get you through most situations.
Tokyo is nine hours ahead of GMT, with no daylight-saving time. Days can stay light until around 19:30 during the summer, but the nights draw in around 17:00 in the winter.
Power Plug & Electricity
The voltage in Japan is 100V and the frequency is 50-60 Hz. The socket is type A, with two flat holes. Using foreign electric appliances will require a frequency converter and plug adaptor.
Japanese yen is used throughout Tokyo and foreign currency can be exchanged at designated spots throughout the city.
There is no tipping culture in Tokyo, so the final bill you receive at cafes, bars and restaurants is the final price that you need to pay. In some restaurants, a fixed percentage service charge is added to the bill.
Most major credit cards such as American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, and JCB are accepted at major stores and facilities. When checking in to a hotel, they serve as identification in lieu of a cash deposit. Note, however, that some facilities do not accept credit cards at all, and others may accept only certain types, so carry some cash at all times.
Safe Drinking Water
Tokyo’s tap water is completely safe to drink and conforms to strict quality regulations. Bottled water is also available at convenience stores and out of the seemingly endless number of vending machines.
If you find yourself in need of assistance, dial the following numbers— Police 110 / Police calls in English 03-3501-0110 Fire emergency/ Ambulance 119 Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information 03-5285-8181 (9:00-20:00) The Japan Helpline (24 hour all round emergency assistance) 0570-000-911