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Essential Tokyo Info

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What to Wear

Casual clothes are fine for sightseeing but for business, because so much rests on appearance in Japan, one can never be too smart.

Warm clothing is advisable for winter. Although the temperature doesn’t fall much below zero, the wind-chill factor can be quite high. Wet weather gear and boots wouldn’t be in the way either – occasionally it snows, but this usually turns to slush.

The spring (March, April and May) is mild but you’ll probably need a jacket. Even if the temperature is high people still tend to have a winter look about them.

June to early July is the rainy season. It’s generally too humid for rain gear – umbrellas are best.

In the summer (July to September), despite heat and humidity the tendency is to overdress rather than strip off. Women are likely to feel very out of place in shorts. Long shorts are okay for men as long as the beach look is avoided.

Autumn days are mild, but there might be a chance of rain – rain wear advisable.

Business Dress

Regardless of season men are best off in dark coloured suits with a blue or white shirt. Other colours are worn, but blue and white are considered the most acceptable. It’s also advisable for men to be clean shaven – stubble is generally frowned upon.

Women are also best off in a suit or at least a jacket. For business open toed shoes and sleeveless blouses are considered unsuitable, failure to wear tights is often unacceptable, as is (hold your breath in case they check) failure to wear a bra!

Men should avoid black ties and women an all-black look – this is funeral attire. Also as it’s customary for shoes to be removed before entering certain buildings, rooms, restaurants etc, it’s best to ensure that socks and tights are free from holes. Shoes that can easily be slipped on and off are also preferable.

Weather

In winter (November to March) the days are dry and clear. Temperatures are usually between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius. February is the coldest month.

In Spring (March to May) expect some rain, but with temperatures ranging from 11 degrees to 15 degrees Celsius it feels very mild.

The rainy season begins in mid to late June. It lasts for a month – rain can be torrential but it doesn’t necessarily rain every day. Temperature and humidity is high.

Summer (July to September) temperatures can get up to 37or 38 degrees and humidity can be as high as 70 percent. Both day and night it feels extremely hot and muggy.

The autumn begins in September – expect a lot of rain and the occasional typhoon. As November approaches the days become clearer and less humid, and temperatures become more comfortable.

Money

Banks are open from 09:00am to 03:00 pm Monday to Friday (closed on national holidays).

Foreign Exchange counters can be found in most banks. Exchanging money into yen is generally not a problem, but when doing the transaction in reverse, many banks will only sell US dollars.

ATM/Cashpoint machines operate from 08:00am to 08:00pm (many are closed on national holidays). In the more central districts some operate 24 hours.

Credit cards – Japanese people tend to use cash. This means that although most places do take credit cards, there are still many places that don’t – have plenty of money ready just in case.

Emergency Numbers

Police 110 (probably no English spoken).

Ambulance 119 (probably no English spoken).

Tokyo Fire Department Information Desk 3212 2323 (English speakers available).

Tokyo English Lifeline 5721 4347 (English speakers available).

Japan Helpline 0120 461 997 (English speakers available).

Earthquakes

Earth tremours are monthly occurrences and are usually nothing to worry about, but in the event of an extra big one it’s wise to take precautions. First turn off anything that might cause a fire. Next, as a means of escape, open a door or window. After that grab a supply of food and water, and then, using a pillow to protect your head, crouch under a table or something solid.

During and after the earthquake NHK will be broadcasting information in English – tune a battery powered radio to 639 AM or 810 AM.

For more information about earthquake survival check out the Earthquake Preparedness Checklist prepared by the US embassy in Japan.

Public Holidays

January 1st New Year’s Day
January 8th (approx) Adult’s Day
February 11th National Foundation Day
March 21st (approx) Spring Equinox Day
April 29th Green Day
May 3rd Constitutional Memorial Day
May 5th Children’s Day
September 15th Respect for the Aged Day
September 23rd Autumn Equinox Day
October 10th Sports Day
November 3rd Culture Day
November 23rd Labour Thanksgiving Day
December 23rd Emperor’s Birthday

Have any questions about visiting Tokyo? Leave it in the comments section.

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