MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

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ABOUT

Our mission at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON is to spread Japanese pop culture to the world - that includes fashion, music, anime, food and a whole lot more. We want to reach out to present and future J-fans in the hopes that you will make the trip over to Japan.

With a welcome increase in the number of visitors coming to Japan in recent years, we at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON have been working with local businesses to offer products and services that are unique to Japan and also assist these companies with their localisation strategies. By employing a mix of marketing strategies, we aim to boost the local economy from inside and out.

In order to realise our hopes, we have created the 4 elements of MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON. They are 1. Our events that take place all over the world (FES), 2. Our MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Information Center (BOX), 3. Our website (WEB) and our original TV show on NHK World (TV.)

MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON.
Say Hello to The Latest Japanese Culture.

The 4 Elements of MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON.

TRAVEL Q&A

BEFORE VISITING JAPAN

So, do I need a visa?

Japan has agreements with 60 countries that exempt these citizens from having to apply for a visa to enter Japan. Nationals of all other countries require a visa.

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Do I need to be vaccinated before going to Japan?

Nope! There are no requirements for travelers from any countries regarding vaccination certificates.

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Is it possible to use my mobile phone in Japan?

You should confirm the compatibility of your mobile phone in Japan with your phone line service provider in your own country before departing for Japan. If you want to use a mobile phone in Japan, rental phones are also available. You can rent them at Narita Airport and Kansai Airport too.

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Japan is expensive, right??

A visit to Japan is affordable even for those on a budget, as there are a wide variety of budget accommodations, transportation passes, and sightseeing discounts.

Despite rumors that travel in Japan is expensive, Tokyo and other large Japanese cities are not any more expensive than other big cities worldwide. Previous surveys on price differentials from 2002 showed that the average price in Tokyo is only 1.06 times higher than the average price of London, 1.13 times higher than the average price of Paris and Frankfurt, and 1.24 times higher than the average price of New York. 100-yen shops and budget stores abound in Japan and sell extremely affordable necessities and reasonably priced gifts, and inexpensive restaurants serve meals that cost 1,000 yen or less.

Staying in Japan is also affordable, as inexpensive hotel chains and ryokans abound, for international travelers as well as locals, which can meet anyone’s budget.

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I don’t speak any Japanese at all! Will I be able to have a good time?

Traveling in a country where you don’t speak the language can be both challenging and rewarding. But even if you don’t speak any Japanese, finding your way around Japan needn’t be difficult. English is widely spoken throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist centers. Public transportation announcements are frequently made in both Japanese and English, and signs generally include decipherable roman characters or an English explanation. A comprehensive range of tourist services also provides a helping hand to foreign visitors in Japan.

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When is peak travel season?

Visitors to Japan should be aware of the peak times of the year for booking travel and accommodation reservations, which are: (1) Yearend and during New Year holidays — Dec. 27 to January 4 and adjacent weekends; (2) “Golden Week” holiday season — Apr. 29 to May 5 and adjacent weekends; and (3) “Bon” festival season — the week centering on Aug. 15.

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MONEY

So what’s the currency in Japan, anyway?

Have a look at our Currency Guide to find out everything about the Japanese currency!

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I’m out of cash! Where can I find an ATM?

Although it varies on what bank you use, usually 7-11 is your best bet to find an ATM that would work for you. 7-11 has a system called 7-Bank where it accepts international cash cards as long as “International” is written on it. Other convenience stores such as Lawson and Family Mart have an ATM machines depending on the location.

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The shopping is too good here! I’m ready to exchange some more bills from back home – where do I do it?

How much more convenient can you get when you can get your money exchanged in major shopping hub, Harajuku? Turn your money into yen at MOSHI MOSHI BOX! Other options will be at the bank, post office, and usually at larger hotels. It’s also a smart choice to get it all done at the airport right when you arrive.

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Can I use my credit cards? If yes, what is the best way to carry money in Japan: Travelers Checks, cash or credit cards?

Although most stores and restaurants will accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express cards, travelers should keep in mind that there are smaller shops that may not have merchant account capabilities. More than 26,000 Post Office ATMs exist at various locations throughout Japan, and stickers indicate whether a Post Office has an ATM machine. Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Visa Electron networks are accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards.

Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so carrying cash is not a real problem. Travelers Checks are also an option, although it is wise to have these available in either Japanese yen, or US dollars. Travelers Checks may not be accepted by establishments other than major hotels and banks, as establishments must have currency exchange capabilities in order to accept these.

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GETTING CONNECTED

I’m lost. Where can I get Wi-Fi?

Come down to MOSHI MOSH BOX! Located in Harajuku, we provide free Wi-Fi to all visitors. Also, Japanese convenience stores literally offer everything; including Wi-Fi. (I know, I know, super cool right?

Often cafes offer free Wi-Fi such as Starbucks. But you could also rent portable Wi-Fi routers or rent smartphones. Narita Airport, Haneda Airport and the JR train lines offer free Wi-Fi use as well!

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My phone is dying! Where can I find an outlet to charge my phone?

Again, if you’re in Harajuku, come to MOSHI MOSHI BOX for free power!

Or you could invest in a portable cellphone charger. Everyone here in Japan uses one, and it’s more like a necessity if you want your phone to not die at noon. They come in a variety in different shapes and designs.

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I’m not bringing my laptop with me on this trip! Is it easy to find one if I needed it?

If you want to do a quick search on how to get to places – you can always drop by the MOSHI MOSHI BOX in Harajuku to do a search for free!
If you want to stay for longer to do some browsing, we’ve got “internet cafes” and “manga kissa” where you can stay and browse the web for a set price depending on how long you want to stay. The “manga kissa (manga café)” is actually tailored for manga readers for their wide manga selection but they usually offer computers too, and some even opt to stay here when they miss their last train. Some guest houses and hotels offer computers for extra charge as well, so it’s best to ask upon arrival.

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TRANSPORTAION

I’m lost and I don’t have a phone!

Go to the nearest police box. In other countries, police officers can be intimidating, but not the Japanese cops. Ask them for directions if you are lost, they would be more than willing to help you out!

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Guys this is too much numbers and Japanese – is there an easier way to buy train tickets?

The solution to this problem is very easy! Get a Suica or Pasmo pass! It’s basically a “charge” card, so you can choose how much money you put into the card. Simply touch the card reader when going through the train station and it will automatically deduct the train fee.
As if that weren’t magical enough… these Suica/Pasmo cards can do more than just take care of your train fees! You can use it as electronic cash when making a purchase vending machines, station kiosks, restaurants, convenience stores and even on taxis. That little sucker can get you far, especially if you don’t have any actual cash on you.

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Help! I don’t know how to get around by train. Is there a way to look it up?

Finding your way to your destination is always a struggle when you are a foreigner in Japan. There is always the option of asking the train station staff for directions. (You can find them in the information booths by every station entrance) There are various train applications you can download onto your phone, but majority are only in Japanese.

The Jordan Train website is a life-saver when it comes to this problem because not only is it free, but it provides all the information: time duration, train transfers, costs, and different ways of reaching your destination – all in English!! (http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae)

When taking the train, be careful to look out for the type of line: express, rapid and commuter. Otherwise, the train might not stop at your destination!

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The train system is too confusing, and I need to get somewhere quick – get me on a cab! Where do I find them?

You can usually find taxis outside any station. At large stations, they will usually have a space for taxis to be parked for customers to use.

When it comes to prices, taxis are not the usual mode of transportation because it’s pretty darn expensive over here! Compared to a 150 yen train ticket that could get you across more or less three stations worth of distance, taxis cost 710 yen for the first 2 km and they add 90 yen after that for every 250-300m so it can get pretty pricey if you’re considering going a far distance.

A PSA to those of you who want to catch a cab back home after the trains have stopped running – there’s an additional 20% surcharge from 10:00pm – 5:00am. It might be fine to cab back if you’re staying somewhere central, but you might as well party the night away until the first train if otherwise!

And we hate to break it to you, but unfortunately most taxi drivers don’t speak much English.

However, thanks to technology, most cabs now have SAT NAV which pulls out the location onto the map by punching in the phone number or address of the destination!

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ACCOMMODATION

If I’m going to go to Japan, I want to do it the traditional way! But how?

Stay at a ryokan or a minshuku! Sometimes they’ve got cheap hostels that are styled like a ryokan too so your stay won’t be too expensive either!

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So what’s the difference between a ryokan and a minshuku?

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style inn and if you’re set on getting the full Japanese experience, a Ryokan is what you’re looking for. They offer two meals and the times in which they offer meals are usually set. A minshuku on the other hand is commonly family-run, and is a Japanese bed & breakfast. It can also be a cheaper alternative to the ryokan!

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Where’s a convenient place to stay in Tokyo?

Shinjuku is always a good idea. You can find cheap guest houses if you opt for a place that’s a longer walk from the station. Shinjuku is a huge station that offers many train lines that’ll get to everywhere you’d want to see. You’ll definitely find it convenient to get around to places!

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Airbnb and Couchsurfing?

Yup, these two great services are available in Japan. The communities are still in the expansion phase, but you can definitely find something that will suit your needs if you choose not to stay at a hotel or ryokan.

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SIGHTSEEING

I’m in Japan, I need to have legit sushi before I leave. Where can I get some good sushi?

The ultimate place to have the best sushi in the world, would be Tsujiki. If you go early in the morning you can see the bidding of the just-caught fish! The quality of the fish is guaranteed fresh! But if you are out of time or just simply can’t be bothered to go all the way there, check out Midori-sushi. They have two locations in Shibuya but they definitely have the best quality sushi. Friendly service and a touch-panel menu, it definitely should be a place that is on your travel itinerary.
If you want a cheaper option there are actually 100 yen plate sushi shops!!! Sushi-lovers can now pig out without worrying about not eating the more high-end fish. (You see, at conveyor belt sushi restaurants, prices are marked by the color of the plates). There are a lot of places in town you can go to for this awesome deal

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Where can I see people in cosplay?

I wouldn’t want to say its a dying breed, but definitely the amount of people in cosplay have gone down. However lolita style and cosplay can be usually seen in Harajuku or Akihabara. If you just walk around, you’ll definitely bump into a “cosplay-er”!

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Where’s that maid café everyone’s talking about?

You’re thinking Akihabara! Get maids to welcome you and draw cute drawings on your food here. Akihabara’s also the electricity center of Tokyo so get all your tech gear here.

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Where can I get “Kawaii” gifts/souvenirs? (Mainly for yourself that is)

Definitely in Harajuku. All shops in Harajuku have the “kawaii” style so you are bound to find very cute souvenirs for yourself and friends back home. Paris Kids also along Takeshita street is a good place to get really cute accessories for only 315 yen!! And it isn’t crappy quality, but legit kawaii accessories!!

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Where can I take purikura? I’ve always wanted to take one!!

Purikura stores are scattered throughout the city, but if you happen to be in Harajuku there are several along Takeshita street. Some are in basement floors so are a bit hard to find, but keep an good eye out and you’ll definitely find them. (Beware, your eyes will become HUGE in purikura pictures!)

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Where can I see the statue Hachiko?

Hachiko is famous dog statue that is right outside the JR Shibuya station. In order to get to him, you must come out of the Hachiko Exit in Shibuya Station. You have to try you’re best to find him in the midst of people but once you spot a green old Japanese train (you can actually go inside), the Hachikou statue will be right across from that train. The Hachiko statue is a famous spot to meet-up with friends, which is why there are always so many people standing around there.

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Any good places to party here in Tokyo?

Roppongi would be your best bet to fulfill your party animal desires and to have one of the most memorable nights in Tokyo (that is if you can remember the next day.) Not only are there a ton of places to drink, Roppongi is the home of many clubs. Filled pretty much any day of the week you are bound to find some fun there.

Shibuya is another great place to party with your friends. A well as clubs, it has many “izakayas,” basically a Japanese bar where you can order little side dishes as well. Mainly of the locals enjoy the all you can drink for two hour deals they have. Shinjuku as well, although the station can be very confusing, is a good city to find izakaya’s and bars to drink at!

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I want to visit at least one temple or shrine! Where is one that I can go to easily?!

Meiji-jingu Shrine is probably one of the easiest to get to! It is right in Harajuku, so you can definitely stop by on your shopping day! Once you get out of the train station, you will see the store GAP right across the street. Don’t cross the street but turn right and keep going. You’ll soon see the entrance to the Shrine right away. (P.S Meiji-Jingu Shrine is big so if you plan on going through the whole premise, shoes might be a good idea!

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Where is a classic landmark to visit?

Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree are two landmarks that are defiantly worthwhile visiting! The Imperial Palace and the Edo-Tokyo Museum is also a good one if you want to see a more historical Japanese landmark.

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GENERAL

What’s the number to call in times of emergency?

We hope you don’t have to call these numbers but letting you know just in case – the police is 110, the ambulance is 119. Be sure to punch in +81 if you’re calling from your phone from home.

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Do people still wear kimonos around?

If we’re talking 130 years ago – then yes! We’re sorry to shatter your Edo-period fascination, but you’re most likely to be surrounded by people sporting their Western-influenced fashion gear more often that a kimono! But modern day has birthed fascinating fashion styles – want to witness some of the wildest fashion styles? Harajuku’s definitely the place to find the fashionistas.

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When’s a good time to visit Japan?

There are certainly the pros and the cons of living in a country with four seasons – the summers can get brutally humid and the winters rather dry and freezing. Considering Japan’s a lot of walking while touring, it’s best to visit during the spring (April – June) or fall (September – November). Also keep in mind that our rainy season runs from the beginning June all the way through mid July! The sunny side of this is that you’re more likely to find cheaper deals.

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SHOPPING

Tax free?

Look out for the “Tax Free” sign on store windows and cashiers, to get that pesky tax out of the equation!

But remember, you need to spend those yen in the same store on the same day to get the exemption. When it comes to consumables (food, drinks, medicine, cosmetics), you’ll need to sped over 5,000 yen, and for other goods, over 10,000 yen.

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Can I negotiate prices?

Nope! Unlike many other parts of Asia, this will simply cause confusion for the staff.

But, you might be able to score a better deal at flea markets or other less formal stores, so don’t lose that bargainer’s soul just yet.

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I want value for my shopping! When are the sales?

There are two main sale seasons in Japan. Most stores start their winter sale in early January, and the summer sale in early July.

It’s good to know that the prices generally get cheaper as the sale continues… But make sure to show up early if you want to get the coolest threads!

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The 4Elements ofもしもしにっぽん