Do you like being a Japanese citizen?
EntryTo table of contents
As a German citizen, you only need a valid passport to enter Japan - children's passports are also accepted. The passports must be valid for the entire duration of the journey. A visa is only required if you plan to stay in Japan for more than 90 days.
If you want to stay in the country for 180 days, you have to get a permit from one of the regional immigration authorities for this period. It is also possible to apply for a Working Holiday Visa to spend a holiday work stay in Japan. This is valid for one year and has to be approved by the respective Japanese diplomatic mission.
FlightsTo table of contents
As is often the case, the best prices are offered by the Arab airlines. If you want to fly to Tokyo, you pay a little more - from 700 €. You can go to Nagoya or Fukuoka from around € 530. The return flights are already included in these prices. Most of the flights include one or two stopovers.
Highlights and the most beautiful routes for backpackers
Tokyo - the orderly chaos
The Japanese capital Tokyo has over nine million inhabitants and yet you will never experience hectic in this gigantic city. The best way to get around is by subway. If it should get full, there are so-called pushers with white gloves that gently but firmly push people into the car.
At the foot of the old castle is the Nihon Tei garden. There you can practice “looking at the flower”. It is a kind of meditation that makes sense whenever the hanami, the cherry trees, are in bloom. In the Nakasu-Kawabata district, old Japan is at home with small shops and sushi bars. Since the famous Kushida Shrine is just around the corner, you should also take a look at this cultural monument.
Just a few streets away is the Canal Center, one of the city's largest shopping malls. This huge shopping temple is always worth a visit, especially if you want your souvenir to be colorful and kitschy.
From Beppu to Hiroshima
If you need a little relaxation, then the seaside resort of Beppu is the right choice. Beppu in Ōita Prefecture has 3,700 hot springs and 168 public baths. The springs are real highlights, and some are so hot they can be used as natural egg cookers. The white pond hell, for example, is milky white to bluish and in the so-called blood hell the water is deep red. In Beppu you can get wrapped up in hot sand and then sweat profusely, which is said to be very healthy.
When you have recovered a little in Beppu, the journey continues to Mount Aso. It is Japan's largest and still active volcano, at the feet of which a true lunar landscape of lava invites you to be amazed.
From Beppu it is not far to Kumamoto, where you should definitely see the fantastic Suizenji Garden. The bullet train then continues to Hiroshima, the city that gained notoriety in 1945. Take the tram and take a trip through the center of the city, past the Peace Memorial and the Atomic Dome. This is a ruin that is now the landmark of Hiroshima.
Take the opportunity when you are in Hiroshima and take a detour to the beautiful island of Miyajima with its numerous koi ponds. If you like to eat oysters, indulge yourself, because there are plenty of oysters on the island. The prices are like in German snack bars.
In order to plan a specific route that suits your interests and the duration of your trip, the best thing to do is to get a travel guide for backpackers: Lonely Planet Japan or Stefan Loose Japan.
Other places of interestTo table of contents
Kyoto is also beautiful and there are an incredible number of UNESCO World Heritage sites there. When you are there, you should definitely visit one or the other shrine or temple. The Kiyomizu-dera temple, for example, is particularly beautiful.
In Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan, the Osanbashi Pier and the former passenger ship NYK Hikawamaru are very interesting. A curiosity is the Ramen Museum, whose exhibition is all about traditional noodle soup.
If you are in Okayama, the castle in Himeji is a must as it is not far away. It dates from 1620, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is beautifully enthroned in the midst of many trees.
There is actually a Chinese quarter in the city of Kobe that is well worth seeing. Because where do you have China and Japan all at once? The Nunobiki Herb Garden is also impressive, where you can admire an incredible number of flowers and herbs and perceive them with all your senses. Incidentally, it can be reached by cable car - so the good view is guaranteed!
This list could now be continued indefinitely, because Japan is full of places worth seeing.
Other possible routes for backpackers
Due to the enormous size of Japan, there are of course many possible routes backpackers can travel. For example, one option would be to start in Tokyo and then visit Yokohama, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, and Nagoya.
But it would also be possible to fly to Kansai International Airport and then travel to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Okayama and Hiroshima. From there you could make a detour to Beppu.
This is what trips to Japan could look like. The final planning then of course depends on your preferences. Depending on whether you prefer nature or cities, you can decide.
Transport within the countryTo table of contents
Tokyo is the linchpin when it comes to onward travel across the country. Since the Summer Olympics in 1964, Japan has had a very well developed network of highways. You can also make good progress quickly and easily by train. Domestic flights are relatively expensive in Japan. But if you're on one of the high-speed trains, it's really fast and it doesn't cost a fortune.
With a Japan Rail Pass, you can save a lot of money and get around practically anywhere in the country. I would definitely use one. In the big cities like Tokyo there is a subway. Sometimes nostalgic trams still run in the smaller cities, which are perfect for an extensive sightseeing tour.
To find cheap flights, I recommend the flight search engine Skyscanner.
Accommodation To table of contents
Obviously, this article cannot provide a comprehensive list of all accommodations, but I have a few tips. In any case, hostels are the cheapest option to stay in Japan.
In Tokyo, for example, the Hotel & Hostel KIKKA TOKYO is highly recommended for € 14 per night in a dormitory. If you don't mind sleeping in a bunk bed, the very modern Mustard Hotel Asakusa 1 would also be an option. Here an overnight stay costs 15 €.
In Hiroshima, the beautiful WeBase Hiroshima and the Hiroshima Hana Hostel are also very cheap for 16 and 15 € per night, respectively. In Kyoto, for example, you can sleep at Piece Hostel Sanjo for € 22.
However, there are many other options in all cities. It becomes clear, however, that the prices are not too high. You can find cheap accommodation for backpackers at Hostelbookers, Hostelworld or Agoda.
Money & Daily BudgetTo table of contents
Japan is much cheaper than Germany in many areas. This applies, for example, to hotel rooms (be careful, some rooms are very, very small, but also very clean) and also to most restaurants and local public transport. Cigarettes are very inexpensive at € 2.50 for a box and you can get a good pasta dish for € 3. If you don't shop too much and choose cheap accommodation, then a maximum of € 50 per day should be enough.
As a credit card when traveling, the free DKB card is the best choice. There are no fees for withdrawals abroad worldwide. If banks collect a fee on site, you can have this refunded by the DKB free of charge.
Typical cuisine and drinks: you have to try this! To table of contents
Japanese cuisine is very diverse. However, there are still some dishes that you should definitely try.
A real specialty is, for example, kushikatsu, small skewers with seafood or meat. They are breaded and then fried.
You can't miss sushi and maki when you're in Japan. It tastes much better than ours and is usually cheaper too. Sukiyaki is a typical Japanese stew. Depending on the region, it contains, for example, beef, konjak noodles, tofu, Chinese cabbage, leek, onions and enoki mushrooms.
Bento comes in many different configurations. Rice, vegetables and fish or meat are served in separate compartments. Different dishes with glass noodles (harusame) are always a highlight.
Drinks that are essential in Japan are sake and tea - especially greener ones. Whiskey and beer are also popular.
Useful Phrases Go to table of contents
In case of an emergency, you can read up a few useful phrases or words here.
Good Morning. ohayō gozaimasu
Good day. konnichi wa
Good evening. konban wa
Where is the toilet, please? toire wa doko desu ka
Many Thanks. dōmo arigatō
Do you speak English? eigo ga hanasemasu ka
Time DifferenceTo the table of contents
The current difference to CET (Germany) is +8: 00 hours. The time zone is Japan Standard Time (JST). So in Japan you have already experienced a new working day before it even starts in Germany.
Country code To table of contents
If you want to make a phone call to Japan, you have to dial either +81 or 0081.
Cellular and Internet To table of contents
Of course, you always have the option of using the free WiFi in your accommodation. But if you want to be independent, you should get a SIM card with prepaid credit. You can either buy them from a local electronics store or order them before you travel.
There are many different tariff providers. A very good offer is that of Japan Experience - there are unlimited dates for 19 €. These are then valid for 8 days and do not allow regular calls, only Internet. Most of the time, that's what you need most anyway. You can find many other providers online.
LanguageTo the table of contents
Japanese (the official language) is spoken in Japan, but most people also speak and understand English. Sometimes they are just a little afraid to speak actively. The younger generation is more used to the English language. So normally you have no problems communicating.
CurrencyTo table of contents
The currency of Japan is the yen (JPY). At the moment: 1 € is worth 119.45 ¥. Of course, the course can change quickly.
That's why you can find current exchange rates at Oanda. Here you can also print out a small conversion table for your trip. You can find it at Oanda under the tab "Reference card for travel".
Best travel time To table of contents
Japan has six different climates, and what the weather will be like depends on where you are. The winters on the west coast are very cold and snowy, but rather very mild in the southern parts of the country. Late summer is the time of the typhoons. In the south and in central Japan, the summers are very pleasantly dry and warm.
If you are traveling in winter, the south of Japan is ideal, in summer it is very beautiful in the north and also in the center of the country. Tokyo has an average annual temperature of 15.6 ° C. It is warmest in August with an average of 27 ° C and the coldest in January with an average temperature of around 5 ° C. In general, it can be said that there is an increased number of tourists during the holiday season.
Vaccinations To table of contents
At CRM Center for Travel Medicine you will find all the vaccinations recommended for your stay in Japan up-to-date and at a glance. You will also find information on the malaria situation on this page. Ask your health insurance company whether they will cover the costs for vaccinations and malaria pills.
There is currently no compulsory vaccination for Japan. However, depending on the type of travel and duration, you can consider getting vaccinated against hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, meningococci and TBE. These are the immunizations that, according to CRM, make the most sense.
Security Go to table of contents
Japan is considered a safe travel destination - the situation there is stable. In the big cities like Tokyo, however, there are certain neighborhoods that you shouldn't visit. Travel near the former Fukushima nuclear power plant is not recommended.
You should always pay attention to the worldwide safety instructions and check them before your trip. In general, you should avoid demonstrations in the target country and listen to the local authorities. The crime rate in Japan is very low. As everywhere, however, petty crime can occur in tourist places. Therefore, it is always important to pay attention to personal belongings and valuables.
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