Traveling to Japan: Insurance Information & Travel Tips for the Ultimate Experience
As you plan your trip to Japan, you’re probably dreaming about delicious sushi, amazing cultural experiences, and visiting beautiful Buddhist temples. However, you may have dismissed one of the most vital aspects of your trip: travel insurance.
With so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide which policy is right for you and if you even need insurance at all. But don’t worry! We’re going to break down everything you need to know about travel insurance for your Japanese adventure. Then, we’ll share some of our top travel tips that’ll help you have a smooth, exciting trip to Japan!
Travel Insurance for Travel to Japan
Planning a trip to Japan takes time, preparation, and definitely a large chunk of change. Odds are you’ve made quite a financial investment to make sure everything for your trip is in order. However, an essential yet often overlooked aspect of traveling is travel insurance.
While you never anticipate anything going wrong while you’re abroad, travel insurance can provide you peace of mind if your plans are interrupted, or if you have a medical emergency while you’re in another country. Whether you need to cancel your trip last minute or you need medical care while you’re away, travel insurance can provide you with a variety of coverage options to ensure that you can get your money back and get the medical assistance you need.
Do I Need Insurance to Travel to Japan?
While it’s not required to have travel insurance to visit Japan, it’s in your best interest to get covered. If you either need to cancel your trip or cut it short for an emergency in the country or back home, travel insurance can provide a means of recovering your money that would otherwise be lost.
Travel insurance offers priceless peace of mind if you’re abroad and need to pay for medical emergencies or injuries. In most cases, your insurance provider at home will not provide coverage outside of your home country and Medicare doesn’t offer coverage outside of the United States. You can take the chance that everything will go as planned, but if it doesn’t, you’ll be out of luck and paying out of pocket for any medical expenses that you incur while you’re in Japan.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost for My Japanese Adventure?
The cost of travel insurance for your trip to Japan depends on the policy you choose and your specific needs. Basic coverage can run you around 3-4% of the total cost of your trip, while premium coverage can cost you 10-12%. You may be hesitant to spend any more money planning your trip, but if you do happen to encounter an issue while you’re traveling that requires you to pay unforeseen costs, you’ll be glad you made the choice to purchase insurance before you left.
You should note that the cost of travel insurance can vary between providers, even if they offer the same coverage options. To ensure you get the best deal, you should always compare a variety of quotes before making a final decision. Our simple travel insurance comparison tool will provide you with multiple quotes from several different providers, and it makes choosing the best policy for you and your budget stress-free. You can purchase your plan directly through our site at the lowest price guaranteed, which makes it super easy to complete the process in under five minutes. In just a few easy steps, you’ll rest easy knowing you and your trip are covered!
Now that you’ve got your travel insurance taken care of, it’s time to move into the exciting parts of planning your adventure to Japan. We’ve put together a few of our top tips to keep in mind while planning to ensure you are prepared to handle the currency, to bear the weather, and of course, to have the time of your life!
Japan is far from being a cashless country. While most restaurants will accept credit cards, many smaller places only accept cash. You’ll also find that trains and subway stations don’t always accept credit cards, so it’s essential to carry cash at all times. We also recommend exchanging your money at the airport rather than at your hotel, as the exchange rates will most likely be better at the airport.
Unless you’re traveling from southeast Asia, you should definitely wait until you arrive to exchange your money to get the best rates available. You can use international ATM cards at Seven Bank ATMs (at 7-Eleven convenience stores) and Japan Post ATMs, but you should note that fees will depend on the time and day you are making the withdrawal.
When it comes to tipping, don’t worry about it. It’s not a part of the Japanese culture, and in fact, can be construed as rude or even insulting in some situations. At restaurants, you’ll notice that you’ll need to pay your bill at the register, rather than leave money on the table. Cabs and taxis don’t need to be tipped either.
While not customary, there are some situations where you may want to tip someone as a thank you for the services they are providing, like a tour guide, perhaps. If you do feel the need to tip your guide, don’t just pull the money out of your wallet and try to hand it to them, as that can be considered rude and abrupt. It should be put inside a decorative envelope and sealed before presenting it to your guide with a slight bow.
What to Pack for Your Visit & Weather Conditions
The weather in Japan can vary greatly depending on which areas you plan to visit. The northern island of Hokkaido sees cooler temperatures than the mainland and other islands. And even within the various islands of Japan, you’ll see large swings in temperature between the colder mountainous areas compared to lower elevations.
Major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto will see temperatures slightly above freezing during the winter (November to February). Summers are typically humid and balmy between June and September, reaching temperatures up to 95*F. However, you should note that summers are dominated by rainfall, and typhoon season starts as fall approaches. The best time to visit is in the spring or late autumn, when temperatures are mild and significant rain events usually don’t happen.
Your packing list will vary depending on what regions you plan to visit, what activities you want to partake in, and the time of year you’ll be visiting. If you’re going to enjoy any skiing in the mountains, you’ll need a heavy coat, boots, and additional outerwear.
If you’re traveling in the summer, you should be aware that Japanese culture is more modest than in the western world. Women typically cover their shoulders even in the summer, and there is a level of propriety that you need to maintain when visiting religious sites.
One thing you should include in your suitcase is a pair of shoes that are easily removable. You’ll find yourself needing to take your shoes off in a variety of situations, such as when entering historic buildings. It’s best to take comfortable slip-on shoes, rather than having to deal with lacing and unlacing your shoes multiple times per day. You should also remember to pack a few pairs of lean, hole-free socks, as being barefoot is also not customary in many indoor situations.
Live Like a Local
Japan is full of truly unique cultural experiences, and you’ll want to make sure you take part in as many as possible. Regardless of where your travels take you, you’ll need to get out into the countryside and experience a few days at a Ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn. Between the minimalist tatami mat rooms, kaiseki meals, yukata robes, onsen baths, and futon bedding, it’s a unique experience you will only find in Japan!
If you’re looking to experience the spiritual side of Japan, consider staying at a Buddhist Temple for a few days. A spiritual retreat will give you a taste of the Buddhist lifestyle when you stay at a Shukuba or temple lodging, and take part in morning prayers, meditation classes, and traditional vegetarian meals. The mystical Mount Koya is home to over 100 Buddhist temples, as well as the fantastic Okunoin Cemetery. As one of the most sacred places in the country, you’ll be able to experience authentic Japanese Zen!
Popular Destinations in Japan
Planning your travel itinerary to Japan can be overwhelming as you consider all of your options. To help you narrow it down, we’ve put together a list of the top most popular destinations, as well as a few less popular yet spectacular places to visit.
Top 10 Most Popular Places to Visit in Japan
- Mt. Fuji
- Hakuba Village
Top 5 Unique Places to Visit in Japan