Airlines and Airports
Nearly all major airlines and airports offer flights to Tokyo. The countries own two leading airlines, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA), both serve a broad range of international destinations. Tokyo's most important international airport is Tokyo's Narita Airport and Tokyo's Haneda Airport. For additional information on the airports and transfers please click here.
Getting around Tokyo is easy, with a multitude of public and private railway systems and subway lines that run on schedule. While there is no specific city center, The Yamanote Loop train line marks the center of the city. Buses and cabs constantly circle the city. Buses usually run until late while train and subway lines generally operate until midnight. Getting a prepaid IC cards such as PASMO or Suica is recommended to make traveling within the city on private lines and other transport simple. Your most important purchase is a Japan Rail Pass if you plan on Japan-wide travel and using the national rail and bus network.
Passport and Visas
A valid passport is the most common travel document required for entry into a foreign country. More than 80% of all countries in the world require this document. Even if it is not required for entrance into a foreign country, it is required to re-enter the United States in most cases. evidence of their U.S. citizenship and valid proof of identity. U.S. citizens traveling to Japan must have a current U.S. passport with at least three months of validity from your date of departure. The passport must have at least one blank page for stamps. Travelers who wish to stay longer in Japan past 90 days must apply for a visa, which can be done through the Embassy of JAPAN website and at a local visa center. Those arriving for study, internships or employment must apply for a Japan visa before leaving the U.S. Apply using the Embassy of Japan website, which allows travelers to submit and track the correct application. Use the Embassy's Visa Wizard tool if you're unsure whether you need one for your trip to Japan. Foreign entry requirements vary from country to country. Following is a list and explanation of the most common entry requirements for U.S. citizens traveling for tourism or business purposes. The foreign entry requirements listed may not apply for those traveling for study, work or emigration.
Any foreign visitor who wishes to enter Japan must have a passport, which will remain valid during the period of stay. In order to enter Japan, visitors usually must comply with the conditions of their visas and authorizations of resident eligibility. However, visa exemptions can be made for citizens of sixty-six different countries provided that their stays are within ninety days such as with stays for sightseeing purposes and that they do not engage in activities where they earn compensation.
For current information please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Japan.
Immigration officers may ask travelers to show proof of sufficient funds when entering Japan, depending on the circumstances. You may also be required to show your return airline ticket, so be sure to have a printed copy with you when traveling. If you forget to print your itinerary ahead of time, use the airport Wi-Fi and a smartphone to find any proof of a reservation in your email.
Vaccines and Health Requirements
There are also no vaccinations required to enter the country, but it’s always a good idea to speak with your physician before traveling to a foreign country to learn whether there are any health concerns that you should be aware of based on your personal medical history.
The State Department does recommend, however, that tourists obtain travel insurance when visiting countries outside the U.S. Check that all prescription medication is in its original and clearly-labeled packaging, and don't carry into Japan any medication that is not legal there. It's advisable to check with the Embassy of Japan if you take a restricted prescription medication. Consider asking your doctor for a signed copy of your prescription before leaving; that can make things easier if Japanese customs takes issue with any bottles or pills.
The currency that will be used during the event is the Japanese yen. The exchange rate will more than likely change numerous times before the event start date, but as of December 2016, one United States dollar equals about 117 Japanese yen. Cash dominates financial transactions in Japan, and far fewer places accept credit cards than do in the U.S. However, this is changing, particularly in Tokyo. Hotels, department stores, and taxis all accept payment by credit card. However you should be prepared to pay cash for metro tickets, at markets, for street food, and at smaller shops. Tokyo is also well outfitted with ATMs, all of which give you the option of service in English, where you can easily withdraw cash. For the typical visitor, we do not recommend exchanging money before your trip unless you are able to take advantage of an unprecedented exchange rate. Withdrawing cash and paying a onetime foreign transaction fee (usually around $5USD) and paying with a credit card will probably save you money in the long run.
Train Transportation in Japan
Japan's main islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido are served by a network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country's major cities. Japan's high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen and are operated by Japan Railways (JR).
Running at speeds of up to 320 km/h, the shinkansen is known for punctuality (most trains depart on time to the second), comfort (relatively silent cars with spacious, always forward facing seats), safety (no fatal accidents in its history) and efficiency. Thanks to the Japan Rail Pass, the shinkansen can also be a very cost effective means of travel.
The shinkansen network consists of multiple lines, among which the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka) is the oldest and most popular. All shinkansen lines (except the Akita and Yamagata Shinkansen) run on tracks that are exclusively built for and used by shinkansen trains. Most lines are served by multiple train categories, ranging from the fastest category that stops only at major stations to the slowest category that stops at every station along the way.