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Thread: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

  1. #1

    Exclamation What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Dear fellow photogs,
    I am leaving for Japan this coming Friday with my family for a 7-day trip holiday. This is my first time going to Japan and I do have some doubts regarding certain "technical issues".

    1. I'm traveling with a tour group so sadly, my itineary is all planned out. We will visit usual tourist spots such as Mount Fuji, Disneyland etc. Will visit Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

    Will be bringing my DSLR. Should I bring my fish-eye along? My fisheyes happens to be a diopter lens.

    2. I understand their electricity current voltage/watt/whatever you call it is different from ours. If I'm not wrong, they are using NTSC and we are using PAL. So isizt going to cause any inconvenience if I need to charge my iPod/batteries there? They are not going to explode right?

    3. I am also aware that we cannot use our handphones there too. But I am planning to bring my phone there because of its currency-exchange functions. My math is just too lousy (I can't go mental calculations for nuts) and I find calculators too tacky, therefore, I find my phone is a much better disguise. And as we all know how expensive things can get in Japan, I wanna make sure before I buy something. So just wanna ask if I reach there and switch on my mobile, it's not going to explode or something, right? It will also mean that I can't receive any SMS/calls if anyone in Singapore were to call my number right?

    4. What is the one thing I must take note when I'm in Japan in your opinion?

    Thanks people!

    {mich}

  2. #2

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    u will still be able to use ya phone...turning on isnt a problem i presume...u juz dun have any network coverage....

    regarding the fisheye...if u feel like taking fish eye shots...then bring it along.....

    one thing i tink u need to take note is....learn some simple jap.... or else...u're gonna be super duper reliant on ya tour guide..... dun be worried about conversing in jap there...most of the locals wun laugh at u even if your jap is way off...i tink they kindda appreciate that a foreigner is trying to communicate to them in their language...

    cheerios..

  3. #3

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    1. Since you are following a tour group, find a good bag and bring whatever lenses you can carry. I'd suggest one wide angled (rectilinear if possible), one normal zoom, one telephoto zoom and one for low light.

    2. PAL and NTSC are viewing formats on your TV. The voltage and current are different from SG, you will have to bring an adapter. One thing to note, when I used a SG water boiler with the adapter, it seemed to take forever for the water to boil. I'm a physics cum electronics idiot, maybe someone else can explain.

    3. Don't bother with your handphone, you won't be able to use it even one bit. You might like to rent one from your phone operator. As for exchange rates, you would only need to know how to divide everything you see by 72 for the SGD equivalent.

    4. Bring more batteries. Bring a videocam if you can cause photos will only portray so much of Japan.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    hihi,
    1)yes it will take a long long time to charge batteries or boil water than the normal time required as their voltage is lower.. use a adaptor is ok for all our appliances, but do take note if u are buying electrioncis fr there, make sure u get their export model if not u use their charger to charge the equiptment in singapore, the item will get spoilt.
    water is safe to drink fr their tap... actually most of the water u drink at their restaurant are from tap.. if u still feel not safe.. boil them 1st lor., but japan has a lot of convience store, just pop by to buy some drinks lor.
    2)u can't use our phone there unless u have 3G phone over there. U can on the phone but u realise the battery will run out quickly as it is constantly searching for network, hence power drained off fast... if u need to convert money.. roughly 100yen is $1.4 lor.. 1000yen is $14...etc.
    3)change jap yen in singapore as they normally dun accept sin currency there, i think only USdollar are accepted at money changer.
    4)still cold over there, was there not long ago.. bring along a jacket.
    5)no point bargaining over there as prices are all fixed!!
    6)DSLR is not excatly cheap over there... they still selling 20D!!... but some compact digital camera are really cheap.. do pop by their electronics shop to look see look see.. u will be so excited over there... but their new gadgets's instruction manual are in japanese.. do take note.
    hope it helps..

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Just a side-note so that you won't stick out so much.

    1. Stand on one side of the escalator.
    2. Don't use your mobile or keitai on the train, it's not encouraged.
    3. Most of the time, the only place where you can change money is
    at the bank or at the airport.
    4. Don't bargain unless the item you are looking don't have a price-tag.
    5. Enjoy your trip.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    to add on, please clear ur own used cutlery after finishing ur food at fast food restaurants. non-observance of some of these pointers are a straight giveaway that u are not a local there

    Quote Originally Posted by Prismatic
    Just a side-note so that you won't stick out so much.

    1. Stand on one side of the escalator.
    2. Don't use your mobile or keitai on the train, it's not encouraged.
    3. Most of the time, the only place where you can change money is
    at the bank or at the airport.
    4. Don't bargain unless the item you are looking don't have a price-tag.
    5. Enjoy your trip.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    1)Have you VISA PIN number ready and you won't be worried about cash shortage.
    2)Make sure your battery chargers accepts 100V AC.
    3)Some shops can bargain, even big stores with price tags on. Just try.... and don't forget to ask for Duty Free rebates if any.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    1. Good for u that u travelling tour. Wait till u figure out the #$@#% train system. As for the lens - bring if u think u will regret not having it with u.

    2. All modern day chargers are rated for use in both 120V and 240V environments so no problems with recharging anywhere. The only thing u must take note of is to bring the right adapter aka 2 flat pin plug. Japan uses the same power socket system as US.

    3. 3G phones can be used in japan. you can make calls and sms like a regular GSM phone. u can bring ur GSM phone there, it just wont connect to any network when turned on.

    Cheers and have fun.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    1. Change your currency in Singapore. If you can't, can still change at Tokyo Airport. Money changer is very difficult to find in Japan. Even some banks don't transact in S$. They only accept US$.

    2. Water is generally cheap in the convenient stores. If you get hungry during the evening and don't want to spend in the restaurants, walk around your hotel neighbourhood. You will come across some convenient stores nearby. If you are lucky, there might just be a bento store nearby. During my stay in Tokyo, just round the corner of my hotel, there was a bento store with a lot of variety. Can choose from over 50 different set!! Each set going off around S$7-10. Really cheap! And it is very filling also.

    3. Get an adapter for all your electonical appliances. Japan uses the 2 flat pin plug. They won't explode. I used the adaptor to charge my D70 and batteries while I was there. Not forgetting my laptop as well. Have some extra memory cards with you if you don't intend to bring your laptop along. There are too many opportunities for photography. Remember to bring along your tripod (if possible) for the night shots.

    4. Train system is very interesting there, especially in Tokyo. Quite a challenge but it's an experience. Since you are travelling on a tour, don't think you will have to travel on a train. Japan train system is quite similar to Singapore, just a little bit more complicated. Try to get a map from the station and remember the station no. and the 'line' you are on. Different lines are operated by different companies. You might need to change a few trains to get to a place. You might need to walk a distance to get to the next line. If you are lost, approach the train master at their control station, they will be able to help you out.

    There is a ladies cabin during rush hour. So make sure you board the right section. Also don't use your hand phone on the train. It's consider rude.

    5. Bring whatever lenses you need. Personally I brought my wide angle and zoom lens when I was there. Wide - to capture the night life, all the bill boards, lightings, neon signs, the activities going around. Zoom - to zoom in on people from afar. A lot of fashion statements on the clothing, appearances and if you are lucky, you might spot some ladies in kimono. Manage to take a couple of shots with a lady in kimono while she was doing her personal make over. How lucky

    6. If you are eating in a fast food or bento restaurant, remember to clear out your trays. They don't have staff to clear your tables. I was on my way out when I realized why all these Japanese are staring at me. I returned to clear off my table before hurrying off. That also depends on where your guide will bring you for meals.

    7. Lastly, have fun and enjoy your trip.

  10. #10

    Smile Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    mind your 'p' and 'q's.

    try getting lost in the maze of underground lines in tokyo. and 'forced' to ask the locals for assistance. what a challenge!

    try outdoor onsen(hot bath).


    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    Dear fellow photogs,
    I am leaving for Japan this coming Friday with my family for a 7-day trip holiday. This is my first time going to Japan and I do have some doubts regarding certain "technical issues".

    1. I'm traveling with a tour group so sadly, my itineary is all planned out. We will visit usual tourist spots such as Mount Fuji, Disneyland etc. Will visit Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

    Will be bringing my DSLR. Should I bring my fish-eye along? My fisheyes happens to be a diopter lens.

    2. I understand their electricity current voltage/watt/whatever you call it is different from ours. If I'm not wrong, they are using NTSC and we are using PAL. So isizt going to cause any inconvenience if I need to charge my iPod/batteries there? They are not going to explode right?

    3. I am also aware that we cannot use our handphones there too. But I am planning to bring my phone there because of its currency-exchange functions. My math is just too lousy (I can't go mental calculations for nuts) and I find calculators too tacky, therefore, I find my phone is a much better disguise. And as we all know how expensive things can get in Japan, I wanna make sure before I buy something. So just wanna ask if I reach there and switch on my mobile, it's not going to explode or something, right? It will also mean that I can't receive any SMS/calls if anyone in Singapore were to call my number right?

    4. What is the one thing I must take note when I'm in Japan in your opinion?

    Thanks people!

    {mich}
    Last edited by reachme2003; 24th April 2006 at 10:26 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    1. I'm traveling with a tour group so sadly, my itineary is all planned out. We will visit usual tourist spots such as Mount Fuji, Disneyland etc. Will visit Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.
    Wooo Osaka, can help me bring some stuff back from TMC in Osaka?


    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    2. I understand their electricity current voltage/watt/whatever you call it is different from ours. If I'm not wrong, they are using NTSC and we are using PAL. So isizt going to cause any inconvenience if I need to charge my iPod/batteries there? They are not going to explode right?
    As long as your charger accepts 110-240V it's ok as the charger will auto step itself. However the connection(s) are different, Japan uses the older 2 flat pin male connectors. 3 pin devices will need a travel adaptor to change the connection type.

    I've charged batteries for my portable HDD, camera and handphone whilst in Japan.



    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    3. I am also aware that we cannot use our handphones there too. But I am planning to bring my phone there because of its currency-exchange functions. My math is just too lousy (I can't go mental calculations for nuts) and I find calculators too tacky, therefore, I find my phone is a much better disguise. And as we all know how expensive things can get in Japan, I wanna make sure before I buy something. So just wanna ask if I reach there and switch on my mobile, it's not going to explode or something, right? It will also mean that I can't receive any SMS/calls if anyone in Singapore were to call my number right?
    No won't explode, just no signal, unless it's a CDMA and/or 3G phone.


    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    4. What is the one thing I must take note when I'm in Japan in your opinion?
    Slurrrrp as loudly when having noodles as you can.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    Dear fellow photogs,
    I am leaving for Japan this coming Friday with my family for a 7-day trip holiday. This is my first time going to Japan and I do have some doubts regarding certain "technical issues".

    1. I'm traveling with a tour group so sadly, my itineary is all planned out. We will visit usual tourist spots such as Mount Fuji, Disneyland etc. Will visit Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

    Will be bringing my DSLR. Should I bring my fish-eye along? My fisheyes happens to be a diopter lens.

    2. I understand their electricity current voltage/watt/whatever you call it is different from ours. If I'm not wrong, they are using NTSC and we are using PAL. So isizt going to cause any inconvenience if I need to charge my iPod/batteries there? They are not going to explode right?

    3. I am also aware that we cannot use our handphones there too. But I am planning to bring my phone there because of its currency-exchange functions. My math is just too lousy (I can't go mental calculations for nuts) and I find calculators too tacky, therefore, I find my phone is a much better disguise. And as we all know how expensive things can get in Japan, I wanna make sure before I buy something. So just wanna ask if I reach there and switch on my mobile, it's not going to explode or something, right? It will also mean that I can't receive any SMS/calls if anyone in Singapore were to call my number right?

    4. What is the one thing I must take note when I'm in Japan in your opinion?

    Thanks people!

    {mich}
    A 7-day trip holiday = actual 5-day. Doing serious photography in a big group is not fun. It is better to enjoy the time there with your family and dont forget to take a lot of photos of your own family.
    Your will miss most of the sunrise and sunset shots .... morning will be rushing out with buffet breakfast and at nite will be rushing back to hotel or somewhere for dinner together.
    But in between you can still squeeze in some serious shooting if you are not lead to some tourist shops by the operator.
    1. No point to bring too many lens. Probably a wide and a mid range.
    2.Electricity wise, no real problem .... just get a local adaptor.
    3. If u really need to calculate (?... only 1 rate), just get a cheap calculator ($5?) rather than yr hp (useless in Japan).
    Dont think you will need a lot of money coz most of the things are too costly for you to consider as well as for tour group, they are mostly souvenir-type.....
    Just remember to eat as much Japanese food as possible ..... shashimi, noodles, cakes, ice-cream ... they are relatively cheap compared to sg , quality for quality.
    Enjoy yourself and waiting to see yr pics ......
    always the Light, .... always.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    7 day holiday? can come back on time to vote?

  14. #14

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by mich_2103
    Dear fellow photogs,
    I am leaving for Japan this coming Friday with my family for a 7-day trip holiday. This is my first time going to Japan and I do have some doubts regarding certain "technical issues".

    1. I'm traveling with a tour group so sadly, my itineary is all planned out. We will visit usual tourist spots such as Mount Fuji, Disneyland etc. Will visit Kobe, Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka.

    Will be bringing my DSLR. Should I bring my fish-eye along? My fisheyes happens to be a diopter lens.
    I just got back from a similar trip and I get by with just an 18-200. Although a fisheye might be useful in certain places. I find myself rarely using focal lengths below 24mm on a camera with a DX sized sensor (1.5x crop factor).

    2. I understand their electricity current voltage/watt/whatever you call it is different from ours. If I'm not wrong, they are using NTSC and we are using PAL. So isizt going to cause any inconvenience if I need to charge my iPod/batteries there? They are not going to explode right?
    Make sure your chargers are able to take 110-240v. They use flat pins like US, so be sure you've got correct adapters.

    3. I am also aware that we cannot use our handphones there too. But I am planning to bring my phone there because of its currency-exchange functions. My math is just too lousy (I can't go mental calculations for nuts) and I find calculators too tacky, therefore, I find my phone is a much better disguise. And as we all know how expensive things can get in Japan, I wanna make sure before I buy something. So just wanna ask if I reach there and switch on my mobile, it's not going to explode or something, right? It will also mean that I can't receive any SMS/calls if anyone in Singapore were to call my number right?
    I got myself a 3G phone before I went and it worked fine there on NTT DoCoMo and Vodaphone networks.

    4. What is the one thing I must take note when I'm in Japan in your opinion?
    If you want to shop, change more money. Not many shops accept credit card in Osaka and Tokyo. Enjoy yourself. I sure did!

    Thanks people!
    {mich}
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 24th April 2006 at 02:36 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Most of all..... enjoy yourself!!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Witness
    one thing i tink u need to take note is....learn some simple jap.... or else...u're gonna be super duper reliant on ya tour guide..... dun be worried about conversing in jap there...most of the locals wun laugh at u even if your jap is way off...i tink they kindda appreciate that a foreigner is trying to communicate to them in their language...

    cheerios..
    i survived a week without knowing japanese on a free & easy trip. guess it ain't that difficult after all or i could be just lucky

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ndroo
    i survived a week without knowing japanese on a free & easy trip. guess it ain't that difficult after all or i could be just lucky
    Got me any presents?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    Got me any presents?
    Yeah, the girls will be contacting you soon. Stay tuned.

  19. #19

    Default Re: What should I take note when traveling to Japan?

    eh.. seems like u already have alot of replies... just to add on abit..

    1. U can use ur phone there if it is a 3G phone, JP docomo is cheaper than vodafone, u can receive sms free.. but sending sms to sg will be about 40cents for docomo..
    2. If u have chance to eat out, try fried rice, taco balls, pepperlunch... its nicer in Japan..
    3. U can find tons of things in 100yen shop
    4. Japanese don't eat while they walk.. so some pple will give u weird looks if u eat while u walk..
    5. remember to bring ur passport if u wanna get tax rebate, else they won't let u do so.
    6. For those skin care items, price various from different stores... drug store name Matsumoto can be find easily..
    7. In disney land.. there's a push cart selling smoked turkey leg... find it so so only, dun get cheated by the long que.. haha

    Enjoy !!

    cant think of much for u to take note... u can ask me if u have any qns... travel to Japan quite often...

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