Kyoto Guide

Coming to JAPAN

Japan, the land of the rising sun, has always been an exotic lure to foreigners. With the intriguing mix of world class R&D and technologies together with refined aesthetics and values, much of Japanese history and cultural ways are to this day, still a mystery to many.

Take this opportunity to experience and become familiarized with the food, fashion, sights, values and customs you cannot find anywhere else.

Time Difference

Japan does not crossover any time zones, and does not incorporate Summer Time.
The time difference between Japan and other major woraving daylild cities is given below.
(The difference decreases by one hour at those cities hght-saving time.)

Time Difference


New York is 14 hours behind Japan.
When Japan is 3:00 pm of May 5th, New York is 1:00 am of May 4th.

Passport & Visa

Foreign visitors entering Japan must carry a valid passport.
Apply for passports well in advance, as it may take months to process.
A visa is required for citizens of countries that do not have visa exempt agreements with Japan.

Contact your local Japanese Embassy or Consulate for visa requirements and further details, as each country has a different policy for application.

Money Matters

Traveler's checks are accepted by leading banks, hotels and ryokan in major cities including Kyoto.

International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club, MasterCard and JCB are also acceptable at these major establishments,although credit card payments are not always accepted at local stores (especially at establishments dealing with food and drink), and outside large cities.

However, Japan is undoubtedly a cash society, and obtaining cash beforehand is highly recommended when visiting the country.

In the past, Japan has been thought of as an expensive country to visit.
However, many foreign visitors today are pleasantly surprised to find an accessible Japan. A good range of prices are available for such things as accomodation and food making it easy to fit any budget. As well, tips are not expected at restaurants and in taxis, and more than anything, exchange rates have shifted in favour of foreign tourists.

Tax in Japan is 5%. A new law (as of April 2004) has been passed requiring merchants to indicate the 'tax-included' prices on their products.

Business Hours

Weekdays Weekends & Holidays
Banks 9am-3pm closed
*(Bank ATMs) 24hrs 24hrs
*Post Offices 9am-5pm closed
(Post Office ATMs) 9am-5:30 9am-5pm
Convenience Stores 24hrs 24hrs
Convenience Store ATMs 24hrs 24hrs
*Dept. Stores 10am-7:30pm 10am-7:30pm
Shops 10am-6pm 10am-6pm
*Museums 10am-5pm 10am-5pm
Offices 9am-5pm closed

*UFJ & Mitsui Sumitomo Bank ATMs are open 24hrs. Other Bank ATM access hours vary.
*Some main post offices are open daily. See website for further details.
*Some department stores are closed a couple of weekdays a month.
*Most museums are closed Mondays.


Public pay phones are available virtually everywhere in Japan, although they are becoming less prominent with the increasing spread of mobile phones.

Direct international calls may be made from gray and IC card telephones.
These types are easy to use, as they have instructions in English.
Green and gray phones accept 10 yen coins, 100 yen coins and magnetic prepaid cards.
Orange IC card phones accept only IC prepaid cards, sold in vending machines nearby.
Regular magnetic prepaid cards are also sold at vending machines, as well as at convenience stores, station kiosks, souvenir shops and others.

Mobile phone systems of other countries are not compatible with the Japanese system, and most likely will not work. Mobile phones with Japanese numbers may easily be rented at the airport after arriving.

Contact information
Telecom Square
Pupuru Mobile Phone Rentals
NTT DoCoMo: (Customer Service Center) TEL: (0120) 680100

Internet connections are offered at the Business Center at the Conference Center, as well as at Internet cafes available in the central city area at a low price. Most hotels offer Internet connections.


Dial 110 for police and 119 for the fire department or ambulance.
No money is required for these numbers.

Other numbers
International Medical Information Center Kansai - 06-4395-0555
Metropolitan Police Dept. Counseling Service for Foreigners - 03-3503-8484

For Hospitals with Foreign Language speaking Doctors and other useful information, see the Kyoto City International Foundation website.


The electric current for home use is uniformly 100 volts, AC, throughout Japan, although there are two different cycles in use - 50 hertz in eastern Japan, 60 hertz in western Japan (& Kyoto).

Major hotels in large cities often have two outlets of 110 volts and 220 volts.
As well, many hotels have hair dryers and other electric appliances available on a loan basis.

Sockets in Japan are usually shaped to accept two even-sized prongs only.
Most hardware & electric stores carry current converters and prong converters.
There is a fairly well stocked electronics store near the Conference Center. As well, there are many larger electronics stores downtown (south of Shijo on Teramachi).