A record 24.04 million people visited Japan in 2016, welcomed by Japan's spirit of omotenashi. A nation where tradition and modernity share the same space, Japan offers an exciting, unique experience for everyone. From Tokyo’s urban sprawl to the peacefulness of Kyoto, from boisterous Osaka nightlife to Hiroshima's contemplative spirit, Japan’s attractions never fail to dazzle visitors. The amazing food, unique culture, and warm hospitality will keep you coming back!
To get you started, here are some useful tools for your trip:
Not usually - just a valid passport. If you are a US citizen, you do not need a visa to travel to Japan for up to 90 days with a roundtrip ticket. The purpose of your visit must be tourism, visiting relatives/acquaintances, attending a conference, etc.
Japan has made agreements to waive visa requirements for tourism with 61 countries and regions. You can find more information about this on the Embassy's visa section page. If you need to obtain a visa for your travels, please contact your nearest Consulate General of Japan or call the Visa Section of the Embassy at 202-238-6800.
To call Japan from the U.S., dial 011 81, followed by the area code and phone number. For Japanese cell phones, the area code is 80 or 90. Other common codes are 3 for Tokyo, 78 for Kobe, 75 for Kyoto, 6 for Osaka, and 82 for Hiroshima. If you're given a number that starts with 0, remove it and dial the rest. So, if the number is 080, just dial 80. You can also look up numbers via the Japan Phone Book.
Other options for calling abroad include VoIP services such as Skype.
Excellent! Japan has an extremely modern subway and rail system, as well as the famous shinkansen bullet trains, and a large network of buses. Japan-Guide has an excellent guide to transportation in Japan, including information on the numerous tickets and passes available. You can also use the Japan train route finders at the top of this page.
The Japan Rail Pass is one of the most popular option if you'll be traveling long distances by train, or if you're looking for an economical solution for sightseeing. Japan-Guide has more information about the rail pass, but we also have a list of distributors in the DMV area available on our DMV Resources page. You must purchase an Exchange Order before you travel to Japan. You cannot buy a Japan Rail Pass in Japan.
For information about traveling on public transport system with a wheelchair or other disabilities, please check our special circumstances section below.
UAVs are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. Their website has a guide in English for those who would like to use UAVs in Japan.
For laws in specific cities and prefectures, you can try and contact local film offices, who might be able to provide you with information on filming with UAV.
Medications are restricted by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. Certain medications require a Yakkan Shoumei import/export certificate which can take over two weeks to process. For information and/or restrictions on specific medications, please check with Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
For more information, please check the main Embassy's guide to bringing Medications into Japan. The Embassy of the United States in Japan also has good information on bringing medication for personal use, although we are not affiliated with them.
Although Japanese food is considered some of the healthiest in the world, it can be difficult to find appropriate foods if you have dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and more. Many major restaurants now include pictorgrams on their menus to help, but smaller restaurants may not have them.
For those with halal food restrictions, the JNTO provides a guide to Muslim friendly food stores as well as a travel guide. Additionally, Veg-Travel Tokyo is a vegetarian, halal, and kosher restaurant search. The Jewish Community of Japan also has helpful kosher guides.
If you have food allergies, be aware that any products containing eggs, milk, wheat, buckwheat, peanuts, shrimp and crab will be labeled by law. The JNTO's English Tourist's Language Handbook includes information on how to indicate what you are allergic to.