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Al Craighead Jan 7th, 2002 01:01 PM

Going to World Cup
Hi all, I'm going to the World Cup in Japan in June and doing some research. Are signs there all in Japanese symbols/language? ie. will I be able to where trains are going etc. What is the best way to pay for things? I've read that ATM's that accept US cards are hard to come by and credit cards not readily taken. Should I get a railpass if only going for two weeks or so? thanks in advance. Cheers. <BR><BR>

Florence Jan 7th, 2002 02:01 PM

Bonjour Al,<BR><BR>Signs: big cities all have signs in both Japanese and Roman caracters, and more and more smaller cities too. Cities hosting matches will most certainly have made an effort. Don't worry about trains, even small stations have signs in both languages and international symbols.<BR><BR>ATMs: except in Tokyo and Kyoto, ATMs accepting foreign cards are hard to find. During the Olympics, Nagano had made an effort but I just read ( - letters) that they took them away after the event. This is one of the little things that make Japan "special" sometimes ... Take cash in the big cities but don't be worried about carrying lots of money: Japan is still very, very safe and you most certainly won't be mugged or pickpocketed, although I would be careful in crowds around stadiums, there is a strong possibility that thieves (Japanese and foreign) will rely on Japan's reputation for safety to take advantage on unsuspecting visitors.<BR><BR>I never had any trouble paying for hotels and restaurants (except very small family-run ones) with my Mastercard. Most hotels, shops and restaurants will indicate clearly if and what cards they accept, and more and more Japanese use them. <BR><BR>Invest in a railpass if you intend to go to several venues and visit, say, Kyoto from Tokyo. It will save you money, time and trouble buying tickets. <BR><BR>Have a great trip.

Al Craighead Jan 7th, 2002 02:57 PM

Florence,<BR><BR>Merci Beaucoup. Question for you or anyone else. Being as Japanese are know for taking photos am I correct to assume taking pictures throughout my trip won't be a problem? I know certain cultures frown upon certain things be photographed. Also any ideas on were I could find information on attending a sumo match? Don't get much of that here in Canada. Finally a Canuck I enjoy going out for beer at night. How are prices? I've heard drinking can be very expensive in cettain parts of Asia. Cheers.

Florence Jan 7th, 2002 09:41 PM

No problem at all with photographing everywhere and everyone. The few places where it is prohibited will usually be clearly marked.<BR><BR>Sumo: have a look at (Japan sumo association) for a calendar of events and informations on tickets. There is no official tournament (Hon-Basho) in June but there are exhibitions around the country, and I expect they will stage some in connection with the World Cup.<BR><BR>Beer: I remember paying around Yen 400-700 for a pint of Kirin depending on the place (small restaurant or large izakaya). I won't vouch for the accuracy of this information: Most of the time, I don't pay for my own beer since it will be taken care of by my kendo instructor. You can find beer bottles or cans on a 24 hours basis in any all night grocery store (AM/PM, 7/11, etc.) and in vending machines if you decide to drink in your room :-))<BR><BR>

jfm Jan 16th, 2002 09:57 AM

Hey Al!<BR><BR>I am going to the World Cup as well. Which matches are you going to? I am going to the 3 in Oita, and will try to buy a ticket for the round of 16 match in Kobe.

Alec Jan 16th, 2002 03:30 PM

I'm pretty certain that all ATM's in post offices take foreign-issued cards. They are mainly inside the branches, so you have to go during opening hours (roughly 9-5 M-F, Saturday mornings in larger branches). You can also use machines at Citibank branches, common in large cities.

Florence Jan 16th, 2002 09:34 PM

I've read recently something about ATM in post offices accepting foreign cards, but I'm unable to find it again. Here is a lists, with maps, of some post offices in cities all over Japan<BR><BR>

Al Craighead Jan 17th, 2002 12:41 PM

Thanks for the ATM info. That is the coomon way I deal with foreign currencies when I go to Europe and was unsure about Japan.<BR><BR>jfm, unlike the last two world cups were I had tickets prior, I do not currently have tickets. This is primarliy due to my sponsor connnection no longer purchasing tickets and they way you had to order tickets officially. I'm going to try and catch three games, preferably England vs Sweden (Saitama), Cameroon vs Germany (Shizouka), Italy vs Croatia (Ibaraki). But we'll see. <BR><BR>Cheers,<BR><BR>Al.

lcuy Jan 17th, 2002 10:36 PM

Al- while the ATMs are getting easier to find, they are still nowhere near as common as in other countries. In addition, we discovered that many of those we did find, were entirely in japanese characters with no obvious english translation. <BR>make no mistake...this is a society that is only beginnng to use credit and still only in response to traveller's need. In smaller places, always ask "credito?" before they ring up your sale. We always take plenty of Japanese yen (cash) and I always start panicking that we'll run out when we are forced to pay an expensive bill in cash (usually on a saturday night--and forget about getting more cash till Monday!) <BR>My favorite story about travelling in Japan, which took place the year before the winter Olympics there:<BR>We arrived in a ski resort near Nagano on a Saturday morning, My husban and I and two kids. We somehow thought it was a Friday. In the tourist booking office at the train station, this lovely girl called around and found an inn for us to spend the weekend, at about $200 per night. I whipped out the Visa..."sorry no credito". I pulled out dollar traveller checks and dollar bills. "so sorry, no". Do any other inns take credit? "Sorry,No". She then took us to the window, pointed out the town's only bank. "on Monday, you exchange dollars, you come back, pay me". Unbelieveable, and she never even asked to see our passports. Just took it on faith that we'd be back! We spent a great weekend in town, but had to eat lunches in the nicest restaraunt, as it was the only one that took Visa! Luckily the inn provided breakfast and dinner and the ski shop took Visa cards. <BR>On Monday, we went to the bank, then paid for our rooms on our way to the train.

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