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Japan Tours FAQ

Before You Book:

If you’re interested in attending a tour, but aren’t quite ready to commit, join our no-obligation trip list. You’re assured a spot on the tour if you decide to go…and you begin to receive our trip information emails.

There is truly no obligation. There are no deposits. If you find you cannot go on the tour, no worries. The list simply allows us to plan better and assures you a place on the tour.

For most tours, we’ll ask for a deposit around six months before the trip. This prepayment is a credit towards your final trip payment (not an additional charge) and serves to reserve your place on the tour. Typically, the bulk of the tour payment is not due until about 45 days before departure.

Our refund policy is the best in the business. If you cancel after payment is completed, you’ll receive a full refund of your trip payment (less anything that isn’t transferrable) if your space can be filled from a waiting list.

If your space cannot be filled from a waiting list, you’ll receive a 75% refund of the amount paid, less the cost of any game tickets we are not able to resell on your behalf and/or any already paid for services or items, such as your hotel rooms – for which we may not be able to get a refund.

Interested in spending more time in Japan? We are happy to help! Many of our guests arrive a day or two early to acclimate to the time change and get their bearings. However, we do recommend doing most of your personal travel after our tour because we take pride in teaching our guests how to get around on their own, and that will make your personal travel more enjoyable.

HOTEL: If you wish to stay at any of our tour hotels, we can make those arrangements and include such on your trip invoice.

If you plan to travel beyond our tour hotels, we recommend our Japan travel agent to obtain out-of-tour hotels and travel. Contact Katsumi Mamiya at 425-373-5626 for a no-obligation quote and information. He is available from 9 to 5 Pacific Time. His email is: k_mans@msn.com.

TICKETS: Sometimes guests have friends in Japan they would like to have join them at one of our games. Let us know and we will include any extra tickets in your trip invoice.

Should you want tickets to games or events outside the tour, we will direct you to our ticket maestro Michael Westbay at JapanBallTickets.com, who, for a modest service fee, will take care of your out-of-tour ticket needs.

RAIL TRAVEL: For most Japan tours, we provide you with a 7, 14, or 21-day Japan Rail Pass, depending on your chosen tour. If you desire a rail pass before or after your tour, let us know so we can help you get the best rail travel value.

We recommend that Americans traveling to Japan review the following three resources before their departure. For non-US citizens, check the correspondending departmental website for your country.

  1. U.S. Department of State’s Japan travel page
  2. STEP: U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
  3. U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Japan: Information for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Japan

As part of the tour, you will receive a wealth of pre-departure information via email to thoroughly prepare you for your visit and the people you will meet.  Plus, we are always available to answer questions. We invite you to contact us with any questions you may have.

Planning Your Trip:

Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) is the main Japan airport used by the great majority of visitors.

However, the other, smaller, Tokyo airport, Haneda (HND) is hosting a growing number of international flights, so you will want to use both Narita and Haneda airports when considering your air travel.

We encourage you to investigate the services of our Japan travel agent who strives to get the most cost-efficient fare. Contact Katsumi Mamiya of K-Man’s Travel Expert at 888-557-5022 or k_mans@msn.com for a no-obligation quote and information.

Don’t be concerned about getting in touch with Katsumi and then not using his services. He’s no-pressure and he’ll be the first to tell you if you can do better somewhere else.

If you buy airfare and can’t go, the airlines will often give you a credit on that ticket for at least a year. If you get the ticket with your air miles, the miles simply go back into your account – often with little, if any, penalty.

We provide detailed instructions that take you through the airport and on to the hotel, and then from the hotel to the airport at the conclusion of your trip.

At Narita Airport your transfer consists of a high-speed train that you board in your airport terminal and take into Tokyo. From there it is a short taxi ride to your hotel. Your arrival instructions include a directional card written in Japanese for the taxi driver.

At Haneda Airport your transfer consists of a short monorail ride that takes you into Tokyo where you take a taxi to the hotel.

Budget about $40 each way. It can be less since, we are sometimes able to use your rail pass to offset some of the transfer costs, depending on the date of the transfer. We take care of that calculation during the trip planning.

Most private health insurance is not place specific, meaning it will cover you anywhere, including Japan, which has modern health care services.

Unfortunately, most such private health insurance will require you to pay on your own by credit card or cash for such medical services and then be reimbursed by your insurance company upon your return home. Check with your health insurance provider.

Medicare and other similar public insurance has extremely limited coverage, if any, for health care services outside the U.S.

Some guests avoid any guesswork by purchasing health insurance for travelers. An insurance agent or travel agent can give you more information about buying such insurance. Travel insurance does not always include health insurance, so be sure that is included in your purchase.

You generally can buy a plan for a limited period of time or keep a policy in force year-round if you travel frequently.

Katsumi Mamiya, our US-based travel agent can assist. His email is: k_mans@msn.com.

For citizens of most countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, a valid passport is all that is required for entry into Japan. No visa is needed. Please be sure your passport is valid for six months after your return date.

Prior to departure we will purchase a voucher for your Japan Rail Pass. Depending on your tour itinerary, we may mail that voucher to you ahead of time. You will exchange that voucher in Japan for the actual rail pass. Depending on your choice of trips with us, you will get either a 7, 14, or 21-day rail pass.

Very Important! Use a rolling suitcase.

Ideally, it should fit into the overhead luggage compartment of an airplane. You can accompany that with a small backpack. Previous guests have found themselves able to easily work with this luggage arrangement.

With a rolling suitcase and backpack, you can breeze through train stations and on and off trains with ease. Rolling luggage that can fit in an overhead also makes travel on the train much easier. Because there are no luggage cars, luggage in Japan has to accompany you in the seating cars. The seating cars resemble a much roomier version of a commercial airliner with ample overhead luggage racks.

If you can fit your luggage in the overhead on your flight over, you also eliminate the risk of your airline losing anything. By their own admission, airlines are not stellar at getting bags to the right place at the right time.

Having said all that, you can bring a larger rolling bag if you like, it’s just more of a hassle, and you don’t get all the benefits mentioned above when using a larger size.

Japanese currency is the yen.

Credit cards have become increasingly more accepted in Japan since Covid-19, but for meals, small purchases, and at the ballpark, cash is often used.

Guests tend to budget $70 or so per day for meals, small souvenirs, etc. Keep in mind that having a few beers or the like at the ballpark can mount up. I personally budget $100 per day.

We recommend you use the ATM at your Tokyo airport and/or exchange your cash or travelers checks at the airport upon arrival. Get more cash than you think you’ll need.

ATMs are becoming more prevalent and you’ll be able to find them along the way, particularly at convenience stores, most notably 7-11s.

Electrical devices made for use in North America have no trouble with the voltage of the Japanese electrical system…as long as you can plug them in.

Japanese wall outlets are for two-pronged plugs, with both prongs being the same size. This means that the common phone charger works in Japan.

Some of our two-prong plugs have one prong that is slightly larger, and some have three prongs, with the bottom one being round. Neither will fit in a Japanese outlet. Read this guide for more info.

Fortunately, you can bring your own plug adapter to make this a non-issue. These adapters simply turn your three-prong or your two-prong plug with one prong larger than the other into a straight two-prong plug suitable for Japan.

You can find simple adapters online for under $5 that do the trick, or you can buy a more comprehensive adapter such as this one that you can use in pretty much any country you travel to. 

And, by the way, all hotels supply hair dryers and the like.

Most cell phones work in Japan. Check your coverage plan for details. We strongly recommend using your phone’s default international option, which is typically $10/day, depending on your provider. It is worth the price because you can simply use your phone the exact same way you would at home! The only caveat with this option is that you have a limited amount of daily high-speed data, so whenever wifi is accessible (especially at the hotel), you should use it so that you’re not stuck with super-slow data when you’re out-and-about in the city.

Don’t forget the old school approach too – direct-dial from our hotel rooms to home is often inexpensive. This is a cheap-and-easy option!

Even more cost-effective is using the wireless capability of your cell phone to make calls. Download a wifi-based app such as WhatsApp (our preferred choice) or Skype, and, if you have an iPhone, use iMessage, FaceTime, and FaceTime Audio to stay connected with other iPhone users.

All our hotels have wireless internet access both in-room and in the lobby. Free wireless hotspots exist around Japan, but their promise is far greater than their delivery.

The only way to be assured of wireless everywhere, other than at the hotel, is by having a mobile hotspot device known as pocket wi-fi, about the size of a very thin deck of cards. This gives you wi-fi pretty much wherever you are, including on the trains. These can be rented at the airport upon your arrival or delivered to the hotel for your arrival via services such as Ninji Wifi.

While You're There:

Many Japanese speak English and you can generally communicate with those who do not by smiling, gesturing, and pointing. We promise that you will always find help and never need worry about getting lost, going hungry, or being unable to find a restroom. We do not, of course, rely on that. We will always have either a native Japanese speaker – or someone fluent from having lived in Japan – with us.

Dress is casual. Your dress throughout the trip is what you would wear to a Major League Baseball game.

We stay in modern, business class hotels, all within a ten-minute walk of subway and rail lines. All hotels have in-room bathrooms, televisions, tea service, air conditioning, hair dryers and internet access. Also included daily is a fresh yukata, a light robe-like garment, meant to be worn in place of pajamas, so you can save the packing of night clothes if you wish. Most Japanese business hotels do not have fitness centers like you would see in American hotels. Further, most hotels do not include breakfast in their daily rate.

While we do host a few dining events, the bulk of the meals are on your own.

The combination of each participant’s unique tastes and the overwhelming variety of dining options in Japan makes a fixed selection impractical.

Plus, a lot of eating is done at the ballpark!

Japan has every food you can imagine, and some you can’t. We promise that even the most finicky eater will find pleasure with the countless places to eat and the reasonable prices. We’ve never been proven wrong.

We familiarize you with each town so you can go out by yourself, or with some of the group, to eat on your own terms.

Each hotel at which we stay has laundry service, but keep in mind that Japan hotels are no different from other big city hotels – laundry is expensive.

Coin laundries are not common in the downtown metro areas where we stay. Some guests opt to purchase travel laundry detergent to do a small load in the sink or bathtub of their hotel room and hang it dry.

There’s no tipping. Anywhere. Ever. You pay the price indicated. All prices in Japan already include any service charge and tax.

We leave plenty of time for you to explore, poke, dig and mine Japan. We have lots of optional touring and suggested things for you to do, all for little, if any, additional cost.

We will run you ragged if you let us or you can wander off by yourself. It is up to you. The hallmark of our trip is flexibility.

The Japanese are gift-givers. To the extent that we need to present gifts on behalf of the entire group, we will take care of that.

Many guests enjoy bringing baseball trinkets such as baseball cards, pins or the like, to give to people they meet at games or along the way. This is always a hit.

When giving to children, first ask the parents for permission. The parents always oblige and the children are delighted.

Game entry is straightforward. You can bring in a normal sized backpack, purse, or bag with your usual baseball game gear.

The only time they get a bit concerned is when people bring in large scale photographic equipment that appears to be for commercial use. In most cases, it is still permitted though.

Most, but not all, ballparks allow guests to take in outside food and beverages (yes, including beer, though some will have you empty it into a large cup they provide as you come in).

We use our baseball contacts to obtain the best possible reserved seat tickets for each game. The ballpark, day of the week, and opponent determine available seat locations.

  If you would like to see games outside of the tour schedule please visit our ticket site: JapanBallTickets.com.

We typically have a few scorekeeper s on our tours and all past JapanBall scorekeepers would agree that it’s possible, but at times challenging due to the language barrier, to keep score in Japan. Some parks are more friendly to it than others.

If you do keep score, go in with the mindset that your book might not be as perfect as it typically is.

Scorecards are rarely available at ballparks in Japan, so be sure to bring your own book or scorecards.

It is also essential to print and/or download the rosters before leaving for Japan. You can find them on our NPB team info pages.

And More...

This trip requires a moderate amount of physical exertion.

You should be able to navigate a Major League Baseball style stadium and be ready to climb up and down usual stadium stairways…all without handrails.

I doubt we’ve ever walked more than a half-mile at any one time. But you’ll need sufficient stamina to keep pace with a reasonably active group of travelers, including being able to carry/roll your luggage on train transfers and when we travel to new cities. It is also required to be able to lift your luggage to the overhead bins for tours that travel to multiple cities.

During our September trip the weather can be very hot and humid. This, combined with the time change, can be draining. Stay hydrated and know your limits, as we will often be on the move!

Japan is not ADA accessible. Sometimes the urban terrain is uneven with a step or drop-off that we would not expect at home, so you must be very aware of where you walk.

They also drive on the left side of the road, so if unfamiliar with that, you really must keep a watchful eye when crossing streets. Look both ways – twice!

No vaccinations are required to enter Japan, which has a modern medical infrastructure.

If you have any questions about your ability to participate in the trip, please feel free to call or write.

All train cars we reserve and the cabs we take are nonsmoking. We reserve non-smoking hotel rooms, unless you request otherwise.

Japan is reputed to be one of the safest countries in the world and we have never experienced anything on our trips to make us think otherwise. Common sense is in order, of course.

Stories abound as to the honesty of the Japanese. One tour guest experienced this firsthand when she accidentally dropped over $200 worth of yen in a parking lot as she hurried to a lunch appointment. Three members of a Japanese construction crew working nearby saw this, rounded up the bills, and chased her down to return the cash.

We don’t mean to suggest that there is no crime in Japan, but we feel much safer in Japan than we do in the U.S. As the U.S. State Department confirms, “The general crime rate in Japan is at levels well below the U.S. national average.”

Visitors are not expected to know the complexities of the bow or other Japanese culture peculiarities. Bow as you like, but a smile and/or a handshake is just fine.

Japan is not ADA accessible and, therefore, we cannot be held responsible for denial of service by transportation carriers, hotels, restaurants or other suppliers.

We are not equipped to give individual help for walking, dining, getting on and off transportation, or other needs.

A qualified companion must accompany those travelers needing such assistance and we must talk with both the traveler and companion to be certain that the type of travel we do and the available facilities in Japan are clearly understood and accepted.