BASIC GUIDE

Location

Asakusa is one of the Shita-machi towns in Tokyo, where you can let yourself be enchanted by the air of temple incense. As a contrast to the neon lights of Tokyo's many nightlife attractions, in a Shita-machi (Down-town) you can experience the atmosphere of Edo - the old Tokyo. Tokyo has Asakusa, Ueno, Yanaka, Sendagi and Nezu to relax. It is worth visiting Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center in front of Kaminarimon Gate. The Japanese modern style building has not only all-about information but also nice cafe and terrace where you can get the great view of Tokyo Skytree over Sumida river (no admission ticket required).

Asakusa is located on the north-east of central Tokyo, easy access to many popular sightseeing spots like Ueno (2 min.) Akihabara (6 min.) Tokyo main station (10 min) Ginza (16 min.) Roppongi (20 min.) Shinjuku (25 min.) Harajuku (25 min.) Shibuya (26 min.) and you can also take ferry from Asakusa pier on Sumida River Park to the Tokyo Bay area, for instance, to visit Hamarikyu Garden and Odaiba. Nikko can be reached by Tobu Line (direct train, less than half price of JR). There are also direct connections to both Narita Airport (Terminal 1 and Terminal 2) and Haneda Airport (Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3). For night owls, Asakusa is not an ideal place to stay since there is no 24-hour-public-transportation in downtown Tokyo, it is better to stay Roppongi and Shibuya walking distance or short taxi ride distance.

History
Asakusa was founded as fish village. About 1500 years ago (in 7th century?) one fisherman scooped Kannon sama (Goddess Kannon) from Sumida River while netting fish from the river. Dedicated her to the temple which was the origin of Sensouji Temple. Tokugawa Shogun visited and devoted. After Meiji Restration, town becomes one of the shopping and entertaiment district in downtown Tokyo, lasted as such before Ginza took place. After the World War 2, Asakusa returns back into cultural center of Japanese tradition as seen in Edo era. One of the interesting places to live in Tokyo.
Emergency
Including THE virus, please refer to this page and this page. Feel not good while in Tokyo? This is the whole list of foreign language doctor/hospital and medical institutions. Or, please contact your Embassies and Consulates in Japan.
Drinking Water
Tap water is safe to drink anywhere inside Japan. Although, you may not like a slice bit of taste of swimming pool, you know the white tablet called Chlorine. Even Tokyo Water is getting better each year (you may be interested in reading www.waterprofessionals.metro.tokyo.jp for the improvement) you may dislike the processed water in small island, but please do not worry, there are major water brand such as evian and crystal geyzer and vittel sold any super market, and you should please try Suntory brand or Mt.Fuji brand water while here in Japan. By the way, tap water costs JPY1 (one yen) per 4 litre.
English Speaking Doctor
Younger doctors are well educated in English these days, medical systems and facilities in Japan are well established so that you can expect to receive a high standard medical treatment if you were not scared of IT/AI style ER. Amburance needed? Please call 119, no need coin nor telephone card for any public phone in such emergency. Once again, here's your English speaking doctor.
Time Zone
All of Japan has a single time zone, nine hours ahead of GMT or UTC. There is no system of Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) in Japan, so you don't need to change your watch/clock by season. Hokkaido in summer gets sunrise at 3:30 am, early birds get three yen (JPY3) Hokkaido in winter sunsets at 3:30pm, long hour night owl activities! Interested in Lunar/Solar calender in Japan? Please click here to be "lunatic". Easy to handle your body clock, but watch out for the jet-lag! Wherever you come into Japan from GMT+1 or GMT-7, try stay awake until it gets dark, then finally sleep well like log or child, so next morning (JST = GMT+9) will be super fine without original time difference.
Plugs and Electricity
100 volts AC 50Hz in Tokyo and eastern Japan, 100 volts AC 60Hz in Osaka and western Japan. North Americans, please don't you worry, Japan is as same as yours, almost! Please bear in mind that there is not usually a third pin (the earth line) here in Japan.
Business Hour and Holidays
Department stores, shopping sites, restaurants are open on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays in Japan. Banks and Post offices are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays, but some main post offices (including the one in Asakusa and in Tawaramachi) are open seven days a week. Banks open 09:00-15:00, and Post pffices open 09:00-17:00. Offices are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and National Holidays. Most museums are closed on Mondays. As robot is taking place of human beings' simple (and usually boring) job, some people can reach earlier retirement than average (say, 50's or even early 40's if you planned and worked very hard in your 20's and 30's) some other people even work less than 20 hours a week, in another words, some does only work 2 days a week, and rest 5 days a week. Welcome to the AI "future" world!
Currenty
Yen is the currenty used in Japan. Sometimes people say that we all have Yen (En) =
Pratiya Samutpada to deal with this life. If you know how the life game works, you know how the happiness appears. Anyway, Coins have 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500, Notes have 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000.
Credit Card and e-money
These days, more credit cards and e-money are widely accepted. Suica and PASMO can be referred at each page.
Foreign credit card and cash cards can be used at Post Office (there are around 25,000 post office ATMs in Japan) and Seven Bank ATMs (around 15,000 Seven Bank ATMs are placed at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Japan). Accepted credit cards include VISA, Master Card and American Express.
Point and Mileage
Are you a mileage fan? Then, All Nippon Airways is "premiumly" recommended at about JPY10 (ten yen) a mile with PLT status. Or about JPY3.0 (three yen) a mile if you transfer your Marriott BONVoY points to ANA mileage club. Many Star Alliance members have beautiful A350 for Tokyo, and the rate is all year the same including Easter and Spring vacation (small fuel surcharge and airport tax need to pay in addition). For Japan domestic train journey, with IC card, you don't need to pay the cost of paper for each ticket, for example, 157yen with ic card costs 160yen by cash with paper ticket. Shinkansen has eTicket available on IC card now. Complicated? Money is just a partial game of life, so let's just enjoy playing around with (^^)
Delivery Service
If you bought too much presents and souvenirs in Japan, don't pay airlines for excess luggage fee, but post them to your sweet home at any post office found in Japan (including airport post offices). It is as easy as Step 1-2-3 as shown at this page. No Japan Post Service around you? Alternate service by cute Black Cat will be right beside you in any town, you may at least send to your departing airport as shown on this page. If you had ski gear or snowboard gear, Ski Ta-Q-Bin are also recommended. Let's travel with free hands!
Phone Call
Public telephones accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins and/or telephone cards. A local call (within Tokyo's central 23 Wards and some other metropolitan cities) costs 10 yen per minute. If you put in two 10-yen coins and speak for less than one minute, one of the coins will be returned to you. No change is given for partial use of a 100 yen coin. Prepaid telephone cards cost 1,000 yen from vending machines, kiosks at train stations, and convenience stores. Charges for inter-city calls vary according to the distance.
SIM and Wi-Fi
There are mobile phone, SIM card and pocket wifi rental service for tourists visiting Japan. For public wifi service and further information please contact any of the companies listed on this Sumart Support.
How much is Japan?
2 liter (2,000cc) mineral water : 78yen - 198yen
0.5 liter (500cc) mineral water at station kiosk : 100yen - 130yen
A cup of coffee at cafe : 180yen - 480yen
A cup of coffee at convenience store : 86yen - 150yen
McDonald regular menu and morning menu : official-mcdonalds-menu
A can of drink from vending machine : 100yen - 160yen
Same softdrink at super market : 39yen - 98yen

Taxi upto 1km (for example, Asakusa - Tokyo Ryokan) : 420yen (max. 4 passengers)
Metro between Asakusa and Ueno (2.2km) : 168yen (ic card) or 170yen (cash)
Metro between Asakusa and Shibuya (14.3km) : 242yen (ic card) or 250yen (cash)
Train (TX Line) between Asakusa and Akihabara (3.1km) : 210yen (ic card) or 210yen (cash)
Shortest JR ride (a few stops upto 3km) : 136yen (ic card) or 140yen (cash)
Toei bus ride (for example, Asakusa - Tokyo) : 210yen (ic card) or 210yen (cash)

Loaf of bread : 98yen - 350yen
Can of beer : 98yen - 250yen
Jug of beer at bar : 280yen - 780yen
Western breakfast : 500yen - 980yen
Japanese breakfast : 380yen - 780yen
An apple : 50yen - 200yen
A mango : 250yen - 5,000yen (really!)
A melon : 500yen - 10,000yen (really!)
Lunch box : 250yen - 850yen
Good ramen noodle : 700yen - 2,000yen
Cheap ramen noodle : starts from 320yen
Kake (plain) soba : 230yen - 600yen
Kake (plain) udon : 230yen - 600yen
Sushi lunch set : 1,000yen - 5,000yen
Sushi dinner set : 3,000yen - 30,000yen

Pair of socks (including the five-toes) : 100yen - 500yen

Domestic post card stamp (anywhere in Japan) : 63yen
International post card stamp (anywhere around the world) : 70yen
Optic Fiber Cable Internet (upto 1Gbps) without limitation : 5,000yen - 6,000yen per month
Optic Fiber Cable Internet (upto 200Mbps) without limitation : 4,000yen - 5,000yen per month
SIM (around 1Mbps - 50Mbps) contract without limitation : 980yen - 2,980yen per month

Movie at theater : 1,000yen - 1,800yen
Disneyland One Day Passport : 8,200yen
Disneysea One Day Passport : 8,200yen
Disneyland One Year Passport : 68,000yen
Disneysea One Year Passport : 68,000yen
Both Disneyland and Disneysea One Year Passport : 99,000yen (life is wonderfu!)
Baseball/Football/Rugby game ticket : 1,000yen - 5,900yen
Public bath (both Sentou and Onsen) : 470yen

Petrol/Gas per liter : https://gogo.gs/
Toyota Prius : 2,608,000yen (Rent-a-car 10,000 per 24hrs)
Toyota MIRAI 2021 : www.toyota.com/mirai/
Toyota MIRAI Second-Hand : Official Used Toyota Car
Nissan GT-R NISMO : 24,200,000yen (Rent-a-car 30,000 per 24hrs)
Parking lot in Asakusa and in Ueno : 25,000yen - 50,000yen per month

Water monthly bill per apartment/house : 5,000yen - 10,000yen
Electricity monthly bill per apartment/house : 0yen - 10,000yen (please see below)
Electricity monthly sale (out of your solar panel) per house : 0yen - 30,000yen (yes, you can earn money out of sunshine!)
Apartment 30sqm (to rent a month) in Asakusa : 80,000yen - 150,000yen
100sqm land (to buy) in Asakusa : 60,000,000yen - 300,000,000yen
A night stay in Asakusa : 3,000yen - 20,000yen (500yen - 5,000yen during Covid-19)
Minimum wage per hour (in Tokyo) : 1,013yen (around 160,000yen per month)
White Paper, Annual Report, Survey
Environment => www.env.go.jp/en/wpaper/
Health, Labour and Welfare => www.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp/index.html
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism => www.mlit.go.jp/en/statistics/white-paper-mlit-index.html
Energy => www.enecho.meti.go.jp/en/category/whitepaper/
Crime => www.moj.go.jp/EN/hakusyo_index.html

More at Cabinet Office => www.cao.go.jp/en/whitepaper.html
Hokkaido (Ainu Mosir)
www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3004509/ ....... Japan's northern island, is nature paradise, used to be the Land of Ainu, but before Ainu, it was the land for every animals, plants and rocks and rivers. Sapporo attracts many winter visitors for the February Snow Festival, snow becomes popular shapes of cartoon characters. Otaru is famous for its beautiful canal which remains the pioneer days of Japan, and the Sushi Restaurant Street offers us the freshest sushi in the world. The largest ski slopes in the area, the Niseko Ski Resort is situated not far from Otaru. Hakodate was the last place for Samurai who was surrendered by new government, Meiji. Furano is famous for its beautiful lavender fields, which blooms in full color from June to July. Note that Hokkaido has no rainy season. Mt.Taisetsu is the center of Hokkaido island surrounded by many hot springs. Biei has what you cannot see in other part of Japan. In the eastern and northern part of Hokkaido, the Kushiro Shitsugen is an extensive national park with beautiful Lake Mashu, Lake Akan and Lake Kussharo, which are spread around the outskirts of northern Kushiro. Shiretoko Peninsula has the best primitive landscape covered with ice cube from Sea of Okhotsk in winter time (best time to visit Hokkaido).
Northern Honshu
www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3004511/ ....... Oomazaki is the best maguro tuna port. The Shirakami mountain range that velvets to Aomori and Akita is a world heritage. Kakunodate is a historic town with samurai residences and storehouses. Hiraizumi was originally modeled of Kyoto and is the site of the noted Chusonji Temple built in 1109. It is famous for its gold covered Amitabha Hall. Southern Tohoku centered by Sendai, the largest city in Tohoku called the 'forest capital'. Mt.Zao, located between Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures, attracts summer skiers and winter onseners. Yamadera Temple has its famous poem, 'Shizukesaya Iwani Shimiiru Seminokoe' by Basho MATSUO who eventually found Maktub in a dewdrop of a single leaf. Aizu-Wakamatsu city is the castle town of Tsurugajo Castle with Tokugawa Spirits. Nearby has Mt.Bandai and Lake Inawashiro, which is world-renowned for its natural beauty in color. Fukushima gave itself a bad name, worst name, on google search (T_T) Niigata, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, is one of the world's snowiest areas and, as such, attracts large numbers of skiers throughout the winter. Sado Island in Niigata is the fifth largest of Japan's islands on the way to Russia. The island made Japan's instruction to the west (Europe) due to its gold mine.
Central Honshu
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbCbqpxDymE ....... has the backbone of Japan, the Northern Japan Alps and Southern Japan Alps, which rise to 3,000m and higher. Mt.Fuji is one of the most famous mountains throughout Asia, and is the symbol of Japan, now became the world heritage even with self defence force practice field attached. Izu Peninsula is a popular resort area as well as geo performed area. There are open-air onsen that views Mt.Fuji and the Pacific Ocean. 2020 is another milestone not only for Tokyo but for all Japan and the world. Nagoya is the largest city in central honshu, and the capital of JR Tokaido Shinkansen, also popular due to unique airport called Centrair with hot spring inside the terminal. Nagoya Castle, originally a residence and military headquarters for Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 2027, it is only 40 minutes away from Shinagawa Tokyo with Mag-Lev ride at top speed of 505km/h. Hida-Takayama where you feel the best of traditional Japan. Shirakawago is an intermountain village registered as a world heritage site. Old wooden houses called Gassho-Zukuri, constructed with thatch, remains as it used to be for hundreds of years. Kenrokuen in Kanazawa is one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens. Kanazawa has 21st Century Museum as well. Noto Peninsula has unique atomosphere stick into the Japan Sea. A 90 minutes train ride from Kanazawa via Fukui takes you to Eiheiji Temple, celebrated as one of the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. 2015 started Shinkansen connected to Tokyo direct, now aiming west bound to Kyoto. Tateyama mountains and Kurobe canyon are known as a cool point of summer time. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is not JR, but very recommended for the scenic route. Nagano became world-famous as the host for the 1998 Winter Olympics. Zenkoji Temple is a representative old temple of Nagano. The main tower of Matsumoto Castle in the city of Matsumoto is nicknamed as Crow Castle because of its black walls. Monkey hot spring cannot be missed in winter time.
Tokyo (Edo)
The capital of Japan, is located center of Japan. The region not only has the biggest city in the world (along with Shanghai and Mexico City) but also has some premitive beauties in nature such as Nikko, Okutama, Mitsumine and southern islands beyond Tokyo Bay. Nikko remains of historical constructions reflect its glory during the Edo Period when it flourished as an area associated with the Tokugawa Shogun. Day trip to popular sightseeing areas and historical sites can be made from Tokyo. Such areas include Yokohama, which is one of the largest ports in Japan, the ancient city of Kamakura, which used to be operated by Ashikaga Samurai Shogun in 12 and 13 centuries, and the hot-springs area of Hakone, which orginated in the old Nara Period (8 century). Oze has nice walking trails over wetland located 1,400m above sea level, extending through Gunma, Fukushima and Niigata, three prefectures. Kusatsu, Ikaho, Shima, Takaragawa and Nasu are also the famous for hot-spring.
Kyoto
www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3004513/ ....... had been Japan's capital for over 1,200 years (from AD794), and during that time became the best of Japanese art, culture, religion, and spirit. Located some 500km west of Tokyo, Kyoto can be reached in 2 hrs. 20 min. by Shinkansen super express from Tokyo. Nara was also a major center of Japan's arts, crafts, literature, and industries (founded on AD710). The most famous and national treasured attraction is Todaiji Temple, where the Great Buddha sits under the wooden roof. And Horyuji Temple is the oldest temple complex in Japan. Osaka is the central city of west Japan with a population of 3 million business comedian (^_^) The Osaka castle is the symbol of their heart and spirit, although they lost their originality by adding the Universal Studio :p Kobe is the one of Japan's main ports as well as the Japan's main China Town, along with Yokohama. Nearby, Akashi has national longest bridge connects Awaji Island, maybe also to open the Akashic Records. Mt. Rokko, located near Kobe city, has one of the spectacular night view over the port. Himeji Castle is registered as a world cultural heritage site, must visit. Mt. Koya was founded in 816 by Kobo Daishi KUKAI, the great Shingon sect of Buddhism, the monastery is consist of over 120 temples. Kumano Kodo, which is an old religious pilgrimage path, has achieved world heritage registration in 2004. People come to this path after the Shikoku 88 temples pilgmirage. Lake Biwa with its small sacred island inside is the largest lake in Japan.
Western Honshu
www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-Bgx6JK1Vw ....... The Japan's Mediterranean Sea, Seto-Naikai, is surrounded by the three main islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Because of the strategic reason, during World War, Japan made her best battleships in this area (Yamato, Nagato and more). Chugoku locates in the far west of Honshu, main island. Shikoku (literally four countries) Japan's fouth largest island, can be reached via the Seto Ohashi Bridge by JR trains. Tottori Sand Dunes lasts 5km along the Japan Sea where you can ride 'imported' camel. Izumo Shrine, which origins go back to the times of Japanese myth, is situated in the eastern part of Shimane Prefecture known as the Izumo sacred region where so-called 8 million gods gather, the number is very similar to Sikh. The atmosphere of a historical castle town can be felt in Matsue, which is referred to as the 'Water Capital' because of her bordering to lakes, seas and rivers. The highest peak of the Chugoku region is Mt. Daisen where you can ski in winter time. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial and The Dome are symbols of everlasting peace, portraying the horror of atomic bombs which we don't want to see anymore anywhere in our universe. Warehouses with white colored wall stand along the Kurashiki River. Miyajima is among one of the Three Views of Japan, is an island in the Seto Inland Sea, also called as floating shrine, Itsukushima Jimja is located on the island and is known as the center of the island's belief.
Shikoku
www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3004517/ ....... is indeed the 4th biggest island of Japan, which has 4 of 12 original built castles (not re-built one) Marugame, Matsuyama, Uwajima and Kochi. Also 88 Temples which attract young and old for their enlightment and impermanence of life and death. Matsuyama holds the oldest hot-spring in Japan called Dogo Onsen. The Shimanto River is one of the clearest streams in Japan (no damn dams!) with best eel swimming naturally. Should you be interested in the Pilgrimage, we'd also like to invite you to hit and surf on Three Years in Tibet and pray some mantra before becoming an itinerant trader of soul here in Asia.
Kyushu
www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3004518/ ....... has Fukuoka as its capital city which is the transport hub of Kyushu, also connected to South Korea by ferry and short haul flight, as well as the center of economy and administration. Dazaifu Temmangu Shrine is the God of education, sister of Yushima Shrine in Ueno, Tokyo. A port town, Nagasaki, developed her ties with foreign countries especially Holland and China in early era. Huis Ten Bosch is a theme park with 17th century Holland. A Nagasaki Peace Park was established at the epi-center of the atomic bomb blast to appeal the forever peace. The generous nature of Kyushu where Japanese Emperor landed from heaven, has stunning hot springs and mountains, can be seen in Takachiho, Beppu and Kirishima. The Aso Panorama Line, a large-scale landscape on the plateau access to the active vocano Mt. Aso. Kumamoto Castle, constructed in 1608, is one of Japan's three beautiful castles. Beppu is a hot-spring-town with one of the greatest quantity mineral water from the earth. Yufuin is another well-known hot spring region in mountain area, surrounded by beautiful zen nature. Southern Kyushu is pleased with a warm climate throughout the year which has almost a tropical atmosphere. Sakurajima is most active mountains in the island, errupts ashes all over the city (almost everyday). The "sand bath" where one is buried under heated sand evaporated by underneath hot spring, is a specialty of Ibusuki in southern Kagoshima-ken. One of the largest evergreen forests in Japan can be observed on Yakushima Island, located 4 hours slow ferry ride from Kagoshima port, you can feel the 8,000 years giant trees as you might have seen on Mononoke-Hime (Princess-Mononoke). Amami islands are the Christmas present from the USA in 1953.
Okinawa (Ryukyu Kingdom)
The aquarium official youtube page ....... shows world-class beautiful sea. Shuri Castle belonged to the Ryukyu Dynasty, which reigned in Okinawa for 450 years from 1429 till Japan's lost World War (when USA occupation started). And all Okinawa islands were "refunded" from the USA in 1972. Kita-Daitoujima and Minami-Daitoujima were inhabited only after 1900. The first settle came from Hachijo-jima (south of Tokyo Bay). The main island has one mono-rail from the airport to the city center. Western most island called Yonaguni is only 110km away from Taiwan, yes, you can see the Formosa! Each island has its own language, not Japanese direct, but their own, and has its own god at each Utaki.