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Fukuoka: Survival: Before Coming
Before Coming (Qjmp: 18001)
Fukuoka or Hakata?
The official name of the city is Fukuoka, but it is actually a recent (1960's) amalgamation of two cities, the 400 year old city of Fukuoka and the 2000 year old Hakata. You will hear both names used - it is all the same city.
Things you do not need.
You do not require any special vaccinations to visit Japan.
You need a current passport valid for the duration of your intended stay.
Coming as a short term visitor.
Japan has agreements with 57 countries which allow residents of those countries to get a tourist visa on arrival. You are not permitted to work on a tourist visa.
Most E.U. passport holders, US, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian passport holders can get a visa on arrival. The duration of the length of stay permitted varies by country and may not be given in full in any case.
If you are coming other than as a short term visitor, you require a certificate of eligibility prior to arrival. Contact the Japanese consulate or embassy in your own country for more information.
You should arrange medical health insurance to cover your stay in Japan. For minor complaints you should can usually pay for treatment at any hospital or clinic. Make sure you know the full medical name of any prescription drugs you may be taking. Bring copies of prescriptions.
Credit cards are less widely used/accepted in Japan than some other countries. Most large hotels and stores will accept them and some restaurants. Cash machines in which you can use your credit cards are also comparatively rarer.
Make sure you know the cancellation numbers for your credit cards in case they are lost or stolen.
Cashing money from dollars to yen and back can be done at many but not all banks. Be aware that changing money takes a little time (about 30 minutes) and requires the completion of an application form. Changing money from/to currencies other than US dollars can only be done at certain banks.
Clothes Be prepared for:
In summer (July, August)
Average temperature 27 to 28 degrees celsius: Hot and very humid - day/night.
In autumn (September, October, November)
Often warm and pleasant - occasional typhoons.
In winter (Jan, Feb)
Average temperature 5 to 6 degrees celsius in Jan: coldish, but snow is rare.
In spring (March, April, May)
Average temperature 14 to 15 degrees celsius in April: Gradually warming.
In the rainy season (June) Hot, sticky and wet.
Japanese people are generally very smartly dressed. If you intend staying in Japan, be aware that you will be judged on what you wear.
For more information see our climate section.
Slip on shoes
In Japan shoes are removed in the genkan (entrance hall) prior to stepping into a house. Spending 10 minutes squatting on the floor to remove/replace your shoes as your host looks on is inconvenient at best and embarrassing for both of you at worst.
Socks, Socks, Socks Socks - lots of socks. Socks are part of your publicly seen attire in Japan and, unprotected by shoes, tend to wear out more quickly. A hole in the toe that would go unseen in another country will be on permanent public display here.
Any medication you need. Bring prescriptions with you if possible, to demonstrate that your medication is not an illicit drug. Some forms of contraception are freely available, but possibly best not relied on.
Sunblock, insect repellant and sunglasses tend to be expensive. Insects are not a problem in most cities.
Lots of tiny gifts which represent your home country in some way. Specialty food is particularly appropriate.
Film is freely available.