Useful Facts about Tokyo

Time Zone
Japan is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 9). There's no daylight saving time, so subtract 1 hour in the summer.

Opening Hours
Government offices and private companies are generally open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. Banks are open Monday through Friday 9am to 3pm (but usually will not exchange money until 10:30 or 11am, after that day's currency exchange rates come in). Neighborhood post offices are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm; some major post offices (located in each ward) stay open until 7pm. Tokyo's Central Post Office is open 24 hours.

Department stores are open from about 10am to 8pm. Most are open daily but may close irregularly. Smaller stores are generally open from about 10am to 8pm, closed 1 day a week. Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and Family Mart are open 24 hours.

Public Holidays
National holidays are January 1 (New Year's Day), second Monday in January (Coming-of-Age Day), February 11 (National Foundation Day), March 20 or 21 (Vernal Equinox Day), April 29 (Showa Day, after the late Emperor Showa), May 3 (Constitution Memorial Day), May 4 (Greenery Day), May 5 (Children's Day), third Monday in July (Maritime Day), third Monday in September (Respect-for-the-Aged Day), September 23 or 24 (Autumn Equinox Day), second Monday in October (Health Sports Day), November 3 (Culture Day), November 23 (Labor Thanksgiving Day), and December 23 (Emperor's Birthday).

Climate
Tokyo has four distinct seasons. Summer is hot and humid, winter is cold and dry. The best times to visit Tokyo are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November).

Language
English is widely understood in major hotels, restaurants, and shops, but it's hit-or-miss elsewhere.

Tipping
One of the delights of being in Japan is that there is no tipping - not even to waitresses, taxi drivers, or bellhops. If you try to tip them, they'll probably be confused or embarrassed. Instead, you'll have a 10% to 15% service charge added to your bill at higher-priced accommodations and restaurants.

Currency
Japanese Yen, 1 ¥ = 100 sen

ATM
It is not always easy to get cash in Japan. This is because the vast bulk of the country’s ATMs only work with Japan-issued bank cards and credit cards. However, Japan’s post office ATMs accept most foreign-issued bank cards.

Telephone
Country code: +81
Area code: (0)3
The area code for Tokyo is 3 if calling from abroad and 03 if calling from within Japan.

Electricity
The electricity throughout Japan is 100 volts AC, but there are two different cycles in use: In Tokyo and in regions northeast of the capital, it's 50 cycles, while in Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and all points to the southwest, it's 60 cycles. Leading hotels in Tokyo often have two outlets, one for 110 volts and one for 220 volts (with the appropriate plugs used in the U.S. and Europe), so you can use most American or European appliances (electric razors, travel irons, laptops, and so forth) during your stay. Otherwise, plugs are the same as in the U.S., two flat parallel pins.

Emergency Numbers
Police: 110
Fire & Ambulance: 119

Pharmacy
Roppongi Pharmacy is the closest to a 24-hour pharmacy in Tokyo. No credit cards are accepted.

Roppongi Pharmacy
Address: 6-8-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station: Roppongi Station (Exit 3)
Telephone: +81 3-3403-8879
Opening Hours: 10am-1am, closed second Sunday of the month

Post
Post boxes are red in Tokyo and the slot on the left is for domestic mail, the right one for international. English script is acceptable when writing addresses and stamps can be purchased at convenience stores. Post offices are indicated by a red and white ’T’ and are located everywhere. Post office ATMs accept foreign bank cards. Opening hours are 9am-5pm Mon-Fri (some larger branches open till 7pm) and closed at weekends.

Tourist Information
The Tourist Information Center (TIC) of Japan National Tourism Organization is your helping hand while in Japan. Its services range from providing travel information and free literature about Japan to offering suggestions on tour itineraries.

Tourist Information Center
Address: 10F Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Building, 2-10-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: +81 3-3201-3331
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm daily

Websites
Japan National Tourism Organization: www.jnto.go.jp
Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau: www.tcvb.or.jp
Tokyo Tourism Info: www.kanko.metro.tokyo.jp
Tokyo Hotel Booking: www.tokyo-hotel-booking.com or www.agoda.com

Newspapers
Three English-language newspapers are published daily in Japan: the Japan Times and the Daily Yomiuri, as well as the International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun. Hotels and major bookstores carry the international editions of such newsmagazines as Time and Newsweek.