About Japan

Weather and temperatures

In the winter months (December to February), cold, dry air-masses from Siberia move down over Japan, where they meet warmer, moister air-masses from the Pacific. This makes the Pacific Ocean side of Japan quite dry and cold. Big cities of Honshū like Tokyo have winters with highs in the single digits or even low teens and lows a few degrees above zero (Celsius). An odd January day can be colder, but these cold snaps usually don’t last.

For the week from the 28th until the 31st of January, temperatures are expected to vary from 1 ºC to 9 ºC, with practically no chance of rain.

Please note that UNU fully supports the Japanese Ministry of Environment in its power-saving efforts by endorsing the “Warm Biz” initiative. We advise you to wear warm clothes during the venue, as thermostats are recommended to be set to 20 ºC.

Electricity

The electrical power throughout Japan is 100 Volt which is different from North America (110V), Central Europe (220V) and most other countries. Furthermore, the current in Eastern Japan (including Tokyo and Yokohama) is on 50 Hertz. Japanese electrical plugs are the flat two-pin type, similar to North American outlets. Basic North American electrical items will function reasonably well in Japan without an adapter and vice versa, but this frequency difference may cause damage if you are intendeding to use sensitive equipment. It is recommended you use a frequency converter when traveling throughout the country. Some electronic equipment such as European ones which operate on 220V may need a transformer. Transformes are available at Japanese electronics shops and many hotels have 110V and 220V outlets for use with foreign appliances.

ATMs

Most automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Japan do not accept credit, debit or ATM cards issued outside of Japan. The big exception are the ATMs found at the over 21,000 post offices throughout the country. Post offices where this service is available display stickers indicating which cards are accepted. ATMs at post offices allow you to withdraw cash by foreign Visa, Plus, MasterCard, Euro card, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, Diners and JCB cards and provide an English user menu. Note that most post offices do not offer a 24-hour ATM service. While ATMs at major post offices are typically available weekdays from 7:00 to 21:00 and closed on weekends, some may also open on Saturdays and Sundays. ATMs at smaller branches operate From Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 16:00 and are closed on weekends and national holidays. Your best bet is from Monday to Saturday between 9:00 and 17:00. In addition to the ATMs at post offices, a small number of inter national ATMs are located in major department stores, airports and Citibank branches (there is one located between UNU and Omotesando Station). In order to use international ATMs, make sure before leaving for Japan, that your credit or debit card can be used abroad and that you know its PIN. Also, check what fees and daily and/or monthly limits are associated with international withdrawals.

Emergency

Every Japanese district has its own “police box” the community-based security system called KOBAN, usually located near a busy intersection or station. It plays an important role in maintaining public safety. You can seek help, report an incident / accident or ask for directions there. (Very few policeman speak English, though). If you have an emergency in Japan, call 110 for police and 119 to report a fire or request an ambulance. Emergency calls can be made from pay phones free of charge. Press the red emergency button and dial 110 or 119. The operator will answer in Japanese so you will need to be able to describe their address or location in Japanese or seek the assistance of a Japanese speaker.
The nationwide emergency phone numbers are:
Police:110 Ambulance / Fire: 119
English Help and Information Lines:
Tokyo English Lifeline: 03-3968-4099 (English)
Police Information in English: (03) 3501-0114
Japan Help Line (nationwide 24hours a day, 7days a week- toll free): 0120-461-997