Japan FAQs | The Dragon Trip

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about bookings, flights, discounts, getting in, health, where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, with whom, dressed in what, eating what, we’ve got you covered!

Japan Adventures

Who are we?

We made a whole page to answer just this question. Click here to read about us.

Why should you travel with us?

You’re choosing pretty much the best value in Japan backpacker travel…

  • We take you to see the absolute best of Japan. All-encompassing, packed itineraries give you access to the top must-see sites you’ve read about, as well as all the hidden, off-the-beaten-track destinations you haven’t.
  • Experience travelling with an amazing group of like-minded people – not just those travelling with you, but our expert, fun-loving guides too! They’ll show you their part of Japan their way.
  • Give something back by volunteering in the local community.
  • We have an excellent commitment to safety – we do the hard work keeping you safe, so you can enjoy yourself to the full.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable travel – we want these stunning places to exist for future generations.
  • We like to think of ourselves as open-minded people, and our tours are for open-minded people too. We welcome travellers of any nationality, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, gender and sexual orientation.
  • We are a LGBT-friendly travel operator, so you’ll feel safe travelling with us, whatever your way of life – that means no judging and no harassing!
  • Our Japan trips are most suitable for travellers aged 18 to 55, however, we do occasionally make exceptions outside of this on an individual basis.

Who travels with us?

On first glance, our ‘Dragons’ look like a disparate group of people. We’re young, old, long-time travellers, career-breakers, gap year-takers, families, students, teachers, explorers, history buffs, foodies, nomads, fitness freaks, anime-lovers, Brits, Europeans, Kiwis, Aussies, Americans and a whole lot more. However, whilst appearing very different at first glance, our travellers are more united than first appearances might suggest…

Just like our fantastic team, our customers share a thirst for knowledge, a taste for adventure and a genuine interest in discovering new cultures.

What’s included?

  • Western and Japanese (english-speaking!) adventure leaders.
  • Free Japanese tuition for beginners
  • Accommodation in hostels and hotels which meet The Dragon Trip’s high standards. All have their own unique Japanese charm, and at the same time are safe, clean, and hygienic.
  • All train, boat and bus tickets.
  • Entry to a whole range of places plus a vast number of included activities
  • All taxes and charges.

What’s not included?

  • Flights to and from Japan
  • Aside from the many free unmissable activities The Dragon Trip offers you, we also offer some extra activities which are great value for money, safe and fun.
  • Food and Drink
  • Any train/bus tickets for journeys made after the trip
  • Any hostels for after your trip has ended

Who will guide the tours?

You will always have extremely knowledgeable, English-speaking guides! For more info about our awesome team, click here.

 

Please note: During our Japan tour, there are some brilliant bike tours around our destinations. However, if you can’t or don’t want to cycle – don’t worry! Your guide can provide you with the route so that you’re able to take the bus instead.

How can I book my trip?

All you have to do is email us with your full name at info@thedragontrip.com and send in your deposit (10% of trip cost) to guarantee a place in the tour of your choosing. The full amount will be due 70 days before your trip departure date. Once we have confirmed your deposit or full payment, then we will need your correct passport name, birthdate and passport number so that we can issue you your visa invitation letters and booking pack.

What is the payment policy?

For all trips, a deposit of 10% of trip cost is required in order to confirm your booking, and the remaining amount is due 70 days prior to your departure. If you book on to our Japan tours less than 70 days prior to departure, the full balance will be due within 3 days of booking.

How do I pay?

After making a booking on our website, depending on whether you are paying in British pounds or US dollars, you will need to send your payment to our British account, or US account. If you are paying to our US dollar account please make sure to let your bank know that you do not want them to use an intermediary bank and instead send it directly to the US dollar account at HSBC UK – otherwise you may be charged with a $25 intermediary bank usage fee! You can also choose to pay via paypal but they charge a 3.4% additional cost for their service. As soon as we see your payment come through we will issue you a receipt confirming it.

British (GBP) bank account details:
HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip Pte. Ltd.
Account Number: 8153 1115
Sort Code: 40 02 08
Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
Swift Code: MIDLGB22 IBAN: GB82MIDL40020881531115

US$ (USD) bank account details (for customers based in the USA):
Eastern Bank Account Name: The Dragon Trip LLC
Account Number: 60141 9715
Routing Number: 0113 01798
Swift Code: EASRUS3B
Send checks to: The Dragon Trip, 51 Melcher Street – First Floor, Boston, MA 02210, USA

US$ (USD) bank account details (for customers based outside of the USA, including Canada):
Account Name: The Dragon Trip PTE LTD
Swift Code: CMFGUS33
Account Number: 8310305569
Address: TransferWise, 19 W 24th Street, New York NY 10010, United States

Canadian Dollar (CAD) bank account details:
Account Name: THE DRAGON TRIP PTE. LTD.
Bank Name: Digital Commerce Bank
Financial Institution Number: 352
Transit Number: 10009
Bank Account Number: 940591852
Bank Address: 736 Meridian Road NE, Calgary, Alberta, T2A 2N7 Canada

Euro € (EUR) bank account details:
Account Holder: THE DRAGON TRIP PTE. LTD.
Bank Name: AS LHV PANK
IBAN: EE547777000091791801
SWIFT/BIC: LHVBEE22
Bank address: Tartu mnt 2, Tallinn 10145, Estonia

Australian Dollar (AUD) bank account details:
Account Holder: THE DRAGON TRIP PTE. LTD.
BSB Number: 013943
Account Number: 612518329
Account Type: Current
Bank Name: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (AN)
Bank Address: 833 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

What happens if there is an unforeseen emergency?

Examples of this would include:

– Terrorist attack
– Civil unrest
– Earthquake/Tsunami
– Bad Weather
– Flooding

The Dragon Trip will only pay up to the original costs outlined in the itinerary, but will not pay any additional costs*. Our official policy is to charge customers for any extra costs and advise them to request reimbursement from their travel insurance provider. Payment to The Dragon Trip should be made before the company makes additional purchases whenever possible.

*Additional costs may include (but are not limited to) arranging new transportation or booking new accommodation for the group.

Please note:

Because this policy involves emergency situations, it is always on a case by case basis. Adventure tour managers reserve the right to make an exception to this rule if the group’s safety is in danger or a decision needs to be made immediately (i.e. the next train is about to depart and we need to quickly buy new tickets without consulting the group). In these cases, it is acceptable for the company to make purchases without receiving payment from customers in advance.

After their tour, customers can request reimbursement from travel insurance. Many travel insurance providers offer some form of “Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage” which covers unexpected inclement weather or unexpected natural disasters. These are examples of relevant coverages included in most policies:

• Trip Delay – generally from bad weather or carrier-caused delays. Trip Delay is reimbursement for meals and accommodations that you might incur if your trip is delayed for a covered reason. Trip Delay can happen at any time throughout the trip. For example, you’ll be reimbursed up to the daily limit for meals and accommodations (to the policy maximum) if your departure is delayed for more than the number of hours required for a covered reason during your trip.

• Trip Interruption – you unexpectedly return home early from your trip. This reimburses you for your unused prepaid trip costs and one

If The Dragon Trip goes out of business, would I still be able to get a refund?

Yes, as stated below:

Total Payment Protection (topp) Policy cover.
In compliance with the UK Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 an insurance policy has been arranged with Travel & General Insurance Services Limited (tagis), to protect customers’ prepayments in the unlikely event of our financial failure and paid in respect of

  • non-flight inclusive packages commencing and returning to the UK
  • the ground handling aspects of packages where the customer is responsible for arranging travel to the destination offered in this brochure/literature/document/on this website (subject to the terms of the insurance policy), for:
  • a refund of such prepayments if customers have not yet travelled, or
  • making arrangements to enable the holiday to continue if customers have already travelled, or
    Customers’ prepayments are protected by a topp policy.
    In the unlikely event of financial failure please contact the claims helpline on 0870 0137 965. A copy of the policy is available on request.
    This policy is provided by Travel & General Insurance Services plc (tagis), registered number 02527363 and underwritten by International Insurance Company of Hannover plc (Inter Hannover), registered number 01453123. tagis and Inter Hannover are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

What if I miss the booking deadline for a trip?

Unfortunately, registration for our backpacker tours is closed 18 days before the departure date.

How do I get my Japanese Visa?

Nice and easy! They are available upon arrival for over 60 countries including the UK, US, Canada Australia and EU countries.

*2023 Update: Some countries are now eligible for visa free travel to Japan. Please check out more information here or contact your local embassy for more information.

What travel insurance do I need for Japan?

We require all our customers to have backpackers travel insurance when coming on the trip. We recommend purchasing a travel insurance that offers ‘Bad Weather or Natural Disaster Coverage’.

Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you. In the event of an accident, we may need to contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number. When it comes to who to choose, we’re big fans of World Nomads as a travel insurance provider.

Do I need any special vaccinations for Japan?

No vaccinations are required to enter Japan. Tap water is safe to drink anywhere in Japan.

I have a medical condition – is this OK?

Generally yes, but please do inform us of your specific requirements at the point of booking.

Please note that many common medications and over-the-counter drugs are illegal in Japan. If you have a prescription, you may want to check the rules regarding bringing it into Japan before you travel. You may need to obtain a Yakkan Shomei, a type of import certificate, in advance and show the certificate alongside your prescription medicines at customs.

Do I need a first aid kit?

All of our Adventure Leaders have a fully equipped first aid kit with them at all times, but of course there is no harm in bringing your own small one along. We also advise that you bring your own antihistamine, anti-diarrhoea, and painkillers if you think you’ll need them. These are available in all of the cities.

If something happens, will I be able to get necessary medical attention?

Yes, Japan has modern, well equipped hospitals that are never very far away!

Which hostels do we use? Their addresses?

*Please note, hostels are subject to change dependent on availability.

  • Shinjuku Imano Hostel – Tokyo
    5 Chome-12-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan
    +81 3-5362-7161
  • Keikyu Plat Kamakura – Kamakura
    2 Chome-2-39 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014, Japan
    +81-3-5724-3512
  • Fuji-Hakone Guesthouse – Hakone
    912 Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0631, Japan
    +81 460-84-6577
  • K’s House Kyoto – Kyoto
    418 Nayacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8142, Japan
    +81 75-342-2444
  • Webase Hiroshima – Hiroshima
    4-16 Nakamachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0037, Japan
    +81 82-248-8120
  • Hotel Vessel Inn – Osaka
    2 Chome-2番18号 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
    +81 6-6211-7071

Please note that while gender-specific dorm rooms are available in some destinations, there is a chance that your hostel accommodation will be mixed dorms.

Do I need to bring power converters?

The voltage in Japan is 100 Volts, which is different from North America (120V), Central Europe (230V) and most other places. Japanese electrical plugs have two, non-polarized pins, as shown above. They fit into North American outlets.

Japanese power outlets are identical to (2-pin) North American outlets. While most Japanese outlets these days are polarized (as in one slot is slightly wider than the other), you can find non-polarized outlets in some places.

Do I need a sleeping bag or is linen supplied in the hostels?

All bedding is provided.

Who looks after our bags when we’re on transport and/or day excursions?

The bags will be stored at the hostels where they are tagged and recorded. On a couple of occasions, they will be stored at storage facilities in railway stations.

What should I pack for my trip?

We strongly recommend packing very light for The Dragon Trip. You can wash your clothes or pick up some supplies in the plentiful Japanese shops.

Suitcase or backpack?

Customers should be considerate of their amount of luggage when travelling. Please keep luggage to one check-in bag and to a size convenient for easily moving between locations, and for storage in hostel dormitory/shared rooms. We highly recommend a large backpack (50-70L). Laundry facilities are available throughout the trip to make packing lighter possible. For those taking domestics flights on their trip, please be aware carriers operate a standard 15kg limit on checked-in luggage.

Bringing luggage on the Shinkansen (bullet train):

There are restrictions in place for the size of luggage which can be taken on board the bullet train when travelling across Japan. You can travel with one luggage piece with a maximum size of 160cm (sum of height, width, and length). For comparison, a standard large backpack has dimensions of 50-52cm torso length and 88-100cm hip width. When travelling in Japan, we would always recommend travelling with a large backpack or rucksack to ensure that you’re able to board all transportation successfully.

Packing suggestions

  • Passport
  • Japanese yen or credit/debit card
  • Travel insurance policy
  • Photocopies of insurance policy, bank cards, passport photo page, visa
  • A big bag and a small rucksack. We sometimes get separated from our big bags, so you’ll need to keep your valuables with you in a small bag.
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Dry clothes for the rainy season/typhoon season
  • Hiking footwear
  • Flipflops
  • Sensible walking shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts/skirts
  • Swimming costume
  • Lightweight waterproof
  • Towel
  • Washbag
  • Student card if you have one, as there are a few student deals on the trip
  • Camera and charger – Japan is a photographer’s dream!
  • Small first aid kit with medicine for diarrhea, paracetamol, disinfectant etc.
  • Bring electronic products at your own risk. Some customers choose to travel with iphones, tablets and laptops, but although theft is extremely rare on the Dragon Trip there is petty crime in some areas we visit.

Will my phone’s sim card work?

International travellers often face expensive roaming charges when using their mobile phones abroad, when using voice calls and data access. However, there are several alternatives available to ensure convenient and affordable internet connectivity without incurring charges.

It is possible to buy a prepaid SIM card when you enter Japan, and can be used on most unlocked mobile phones. Some mobile phone carriers also offer the option of purchasing an e-sim, too. Alternatively, you can rent pocket wifi, which can be ordered to arrive at your accommodation for your arrival.

How do I get money in Japan?

ATMs are plentiful and you can withdraw money in all the places that we visit. We advise that you notify your bank that you will be travelling before you depart. As a note, many banks and cards do charge a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing money while abroad.

How much should I budget for food and drink on the Dragon Trip?

It really varies depending on your taste and budget. You can get a simple meal such as a bowl of ramen for £2 or go for high class sushi. Generally, we take travellers to affordable restaurants and recommend budgeting £15-20 a day for food and drink.

What kind of restaurants will we go to?

Your Adventure Leader will always offer to take you for a group meal, where we go to a local restaurant, which we know is hygienic and has cheap and delicious food. If you are craving Western food, then there are lots of great options!

I’m a vegetarian/have allergies – will I be able to get the right food?

Yes! With so many food choices, Japan can meet the needs of individuals with special dietary needs or requests. Just tell your Adventure Leader and they can help you find something suitable. You will probably discover a new dish that you love! However, please note that if you follow a vegan diet, you will not be able to eat the Sumo Lunch.

I have an emergency on my trip, who should I contact?

If you encounter an emergency on your Dragon Trip in Japan, you can call our 24-hour emergency line on +81 3 4560 1080. Please note, this number should only be used in real emergencies related to someone being in danger or encountering an incident during their trip.

  • If you can’t find what you’re after, email us: info@thedragontrip.com
  • If you plan to stay on afterwards, we offer the option to upgrade the JR passes we provide on this trip to either a 14-day (165 GBP) or 21-day pass (275 GBP).
  • Any promotional code used must be presented and used at the time of paying your deposit and thereby confirming your booking. No special offers can be used on bookings which have already been submitted and confirmed.
  • Our prices are set in GBP £, prices listed in American Dollars and Euros are for reference only, and although we update these regularly, they are occasionally inaccurate. If paying for your tour in a currency other than GBP £, we do need to have received an amount which converts to the cost of your specific trip at the point of purchase. For currency conversion rates please check www.xe.com
  • Maximum group size is 17, and minimum is 4 people.
  • Accommodation is not provided the night before Day 1 of your trip or for the night of the last day of your trip.
  • Please bring details of your travel insurance along with you to the meeting. In the event of an accident, we may need contact your insurance company on your behalf, so we will need the insurance company’s name and phone number and your policy number
  • Please note, we work hard to keep our published itineraries as up to date as possible. However, as we are constantly striving to improve our trips, sometime the itineraries may change slightly between the time you make a booking and the time you go on The Dragon Trip.
  • The use of Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is prohibited during activities organized by The Dragon Trip. If you are in possession of a drone when entering the country it is your responsibility to be informed of and follow all local laws. This may include registering your drone with authorities. If you violate this policy or operate a drone illegally you are subject to removal from the tour as per our terms & conditions.
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