General Information about Food, Special Diets, Transport and more to help you prepare
Food and Eating
Eat truly authentic sushi and other Japanese dishes! One of the great attractions of Japan is the incredible food available. There are literally hundreds of restaurants and choices available! Prices range from several hundred yen obento from Convenience stores or supermarkets up to tens of thousands of yen (=$100's!!) at exclusive restaurants only available to existing customers. Your guide knows many great places to eat, and we can also explore and enjoy finding new ones!
True vegetarian food is limited, as dashi fish stock is extensively used in many recipes. If you are happy to eat fish, it is no problem. Specialist shojin ryori (Temple food) restaurants are available, and are generally expensive, however even the simplest restaurant has some traditional dish that is suitably vegetarian.
Gluten free used to be virtually unheard of, however some restaurants have become more aware of this. Although most dishes are rice based soy sauce with wheat content is extensively used, so avoiding wheat gluten is more difficult than you first imagine. It is possible to avoid foods containing wheat / gluten, although your food choices are limited.
Your guide has experience in asking for and finding meat-free and wheat / flour free options, and information is freely available on the internet.
If you have special diet needs, please contact us and we can discuss the possibilities with you. Please note the terms and conditions of the tour which outlines your and our responsibilities in regard to special diets on the tour.
Walking and Transportation
It is convenient and interesting to walk to various destinations in Kyoto. Along the way you can see many interesting sights and find small shops and temples that are worth a visit. Our tour is based around walking to many of our destinations, so a degree of mobility and fitness is required. Kyoto is mostly flat but walking in Higashiyama, most temples and Kurama requires some hills and stairs.
For farther destinations we will use local trains and subways - these are convenient and not nearly as crowded as the legendary Tokyo trains!
Hiring a bicycle and riding like a local is great fun if you are up to it. In Japan you are able to ride on footpaths (with consideration of pedestrians) and are not required to wear a helmet. Depending on the tour members wishes and weather, we may hire bicycles and ride alongside the Kamogawa River to sample the local lifestyle.
Health and Insurance
It is highly recommended that you purchase your own travel insurance. Minor health problems and medications for them are easily available at Drug Stores (Chemists). If you require more serious help for any reason, the Japanese health system is very expensive for foreign tourists.
Bring adequate cash - Japanese Yen! Japan is still very much a cash society, although credit cards are increasingly accepted. You may be able to access funds from the ATM's available in convenience stores and banks, but despite what your local bank or Australian Post will tell you, it may be impossible or at the best difficult. I recommend exchanging money through Travelex before departing for the airport in Australia. Don't be like my friends who I met at Kansai airport. They had no money for days until we could find an ATM that worked for them, including no money to get to Kyoto from the airport!
Passport and Visa
Of course, you will need a valid passport to leave Australia and enter Japan. Tourists from Australia* are given a 90 day visitors visa automatically on entry to Japan - there is no need to apply before hand. (*applies to Australian Citizens - other country's citizens please check)
Telephone & Internet
You can use your mobile phone, however check your provider's international roaming rates - these can be very expensive!
Local mobile phones are available for hire at the airport, but are a little expensive. A travel sim is now available to buy at the airport, which comes with a pre-loaded amount of calls, text and data. Your accommodation provides free internet access, and there is a growing number of free internet access points in Cafes etc.
All power in Japan is 110 volts and is supplied through the Japanese style twin plug power points. An adapter is readily available and check if your charger / device will work on 110 volts.