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Japan -The Land of the Rising Sun as it is commonly called- is a great travel destination for both tourists and businesspeople alike. The second largest economy in the world and gifted with a rich history and an incredibly exciting culture travel possibilities in Japan are almost endless. Golf courses, cruises around Japans more than 3,000 islands, traditional Japanese landscapes sightseeing or Tokyo Disney resorts; Japan is a great place to visit and a safe place for tourists as few other countries around the world. Yet certain things should be taken into consideration when travelling there given the big cultural difference compared to western countries. The following tips will help you plan a successful trip to Japan and organize your time and money in a better way.
Although Japanese is the official language in The Land of the Rising Sun most public trains, installations and tourist attractions count with displays in both Japanese and English. Japans National Tourist Organization (www.jnto.go.jp) provides free travel guides and books that give vast information regarding travelling in Japan. Not many people speak English though, so it may be a good idea to know a few basic phrases in Japanese or maybe carry a pen and paper to better describe what you are looking for.
The Yen, one of the strongest currencies in the world, is the local legal tender. Exchange services are available at the airport, banks and exchange offices. Most major credit cards are accepted in big cities such as Tokyo but in small stores and the countryside local currency is what is usually accepted. Have in mind that Japan is fairly expensive compared to other world economies regarding basic issues such as food and services so be sure to carry enough currency as personal checks are not usually accepted.
If you think electronic products are cheaper in Japan you are right. But have in mind that the local voltage supply is 100v / 60Hz, quite unusual characteristics. So, if you are planning to buy any electronic equipment to take back home be sure to tell the sales personnel if such items will work in your country.