Tips for Winter Holiday Travel

Traveling outside of or around Japan this winter holiday season? Be sure you’re familiar with the following rules.

International Flights

1. Bag up your liquids—Japanese regulations for international travel are liquids up to 100 mL and pastes (toothpaste, hair product) up to 100 g in appropriately sized containers. No PET bottles, refillable bottles, or coffee cups may be brought through security.

2. Have your flight number, passport and passport information, accommodation information (your address in Japan and the address where you are staying in your destination) and the amount of cash and items you have on hand available for filling out your customs/immigration forms on the plane.

3.  Keep your luggage tickets for your checked luggage. When you check luggage, you’ll receive a little piece of paper with a barcode and number on it. You will need this to pick up your checked luggage in Japan. After you get your luggage, show the attendants these so they can check that you have the correct luggage. (This may not apply in your destination, but when you return to Japan, you will need to do this.)

4. Scissors are not allowed in luggage on Japanese flights. (Nail clippers and safety razors are okay, though.)

5. If traveling to your home country, be sure to bring ID, credit cards, health insurance cards,  and any other necessary documents and identification for use there.

6. Also, if traveling to your home country, do you have your old cellphone, your Japanese cellphone, your chargers for both, and your keys?

7. You will need your re-entry permit  to return to Japan. Be sure to fill out the correct forms for re-entry-permit holders at immigration.

8. Your contracting organization may require you to fill out forms for international travel and for cultural furlough (if you receive furlough). Ask when filling out your request for time off. At my office, I am required to submit a formal notice of international travel with my flight times and travel information. Those who receive furlough will often have to fill out forms about the purpose of their trip, their planned stops, and possibly their accommodations.

9. If you are missing classes (if you teach) or taking vacation days that are not national holidays or your workplace’s designated New Year’s break, bring your office some omiyage. Individually wrapped edibles that are unique to or famous in your destination are ideal. For example, when I went home to the US, I brought  buckeye candies from my hometown in Ohio.

10. Addendum: A tip from Ana: “Look into travel insurance. It’s not typically too expensive, and just in case something happens (broken leg while skiing, getting bit by some foreign bug, an accident of some sort) you’ll be very glad you have it. Non-insured medical expenses in the US can get very, very expensive very, very quickly, and your Japanese health insurance does not automatically cover anything that happens when you’re outside Japan!”

Domestic Flights

1. Bringing liquids on board is okay. If you are traveling with bottles of alcohol, you are encouraged to have it in your carry-on to prevent breakage. (Love that omiyage culture!)

2. Keep your luggage tickets for your checked luggage. When you check luggage, you’ll receive a little piece of paper with a barcode and number on it. You will need this to pick up your checked luggage in Japan. After you get your luggage, show the attendants these so they can check that you have the correct luggage.

3.  Scissors are not allowed in luggage on Japanese flights. (Nail clippers and safety razors are okay, though.)

4. If you are missing classes or regular workdays to travel, don’t forget your omiyage! Your destination airport will have plenty. When I traveled to Okinawa, I brought back 紅芋お菓子 (purple potato sweets).

Have fun planning and preparing for your winter travels!

Leah Zoller is a second-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. She also recommends bringing Vitamin C, allergy medicine, and eye drops on international flights.

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2 thoughts on “Tips for Winter Holiday Travel

  1. Look into travel insurance. It’s not typically too expensive, and just in case something happens (broken leg while skiing, getting bit by some foreign bug, an accident of some sort) you’ll be very glad you have it. Non-insured medical expenses in the US can get very, very expensive very, very quickly, and your Japanese health insurance does not automatically cover anything that happens when you’re outside Japan!

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