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It’s not a legal requirement to buy travel insurance for a trip to Japan, but it’s highly advisable. If you need medical care, lose your luggage, or have to cancel your hotel and plane tickets, you’d want to be covered.
Because of Japan’s location, you’ll need a worldwide travel insurance policy.
Some things are regularly excluded from policies, so look out for:
If you travel overseas more than twice a year, save hassle by buying annual cover rather than multiple single-trip policies. You might save money too.
Medical care in Japan is expensive and doctors can refuse treatment to tourists without valid medical insurance - make sure your travel insurance includes medical cover.
The FCO advises that while treatment and facility standards are high, the cost of treatment can be very expensive and clinicians may want proof you’re able to cover the costs.
Your treatment could be delayed while your policy is checked - contact your insurer as soon as possible if you need medical care.
Most trips are trouble-free but there are a few travel risks you should be aware of:
Japan is in a major earthquake zone and tsunamis have occurred in the country. There are several active volcanoes in Japan, and the tropical cyclone (typhoon) season runs from June to December. See the FCO’s Japan natural disasters page for more information
The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster happened in 2011 and there are some exclusion zones around the power plant as a result
Groping on public transport is a problem in Japan, where it’s known as ‘chikan’. The police advise you shout at the perpetrator to attract attention and ask a fellow passenger to call the train staff
Crime levels are very low in Japan, but Tokyo’s entertainment districts are a little riskier
British passport holders can travel in Japan for 90 days visa-free, but expect to provide evidence of a return ticket or onward travel. If you need to, you can extend your stay in Japan for up to six months. Check Visas Japan to find out more.
When eating out and drinking in Japan you pay for your meal at the end, although tipping isn’t necessary.
Japanese people are friendly and welcoming but loud and boisterous behaviour is not as acceptable as it is in the UK.
Penalties for most offences tend to be more severe than in the UK and the police have the power to detain people for up to 23 days while they’re investigated.
Japan is largely a cash society, with the currency being the Yen. You may struggle to use your credit and debits cards in Japan, but Japanese post offices, 7-Eleven stores and JP Post Bank branches will accept some foreign cards in their ATM machines.