WELCOME TO OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT JAPAN
Despite being a relatively mature travel destination, Japan can still confuse and confound us, especially when we’re fairly new to this fascinating place. We answer as much as we can here + several questions you may have about our tours.
Still confused? Feel free to give us a call now on (+44) (0)20 3817 5974 or contact us 🙂
ABOUT THE DRAGON TRIP
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 age, 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!
Who travels with us?
All sorts! We thought this was an important question too, so read about our customers – in all their diversity – in full detail here.
- 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.
BOOKINGS, PAYMENTS & REFUNDS
How can I book my trip?
All you have to do is email us with your full name at firstname.lastname@example.org and send in your deposit ($300/£200/€300) to guarantee a place in the tour of your choosing. The full amount will be due 60 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 GB£200 or US$300 is required in order to confirm your booking, and the remaining amount is due 60 days prior to your departure.
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 £ 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 $ bank account details:
- HSBC Account Name: The Dragon Trip
- Account Number: 7454 4436
- Sort Code: 40 12 76
- Branch Address: HSBC Bank Plc, 455 Strand, London, WC2R 0RH
- Swift Code: HBUKGB4B IBAN: GB37HBUK40127674544436
Euro € bank account details:
- HSBC Account name: THE DRAGON TRIP
- Account type: FGN CURRENT
- Sort Code: 401276
- Account number: 76228606
- Bank Identifier Code: HBUKGB4B
- International Bank Account Number: GB77HBUK40127676228606
What is the refund policy?
You are entitled to a full refund for any reason up to 10 days after you make a booking, after this period, all payments are non-refundable. If you have paid or booked within 60 days of your trip departure date no refunds will be granted from The Dragon Trip and refunds must be pursued with your travel insurance provider.
What happens if there is an unforeseen emergency?
Examples of this would include:
– Terrorist attack
– Civil unrest
– Bad Weather
The Dragon Trip will only pay up to the original costs outlined in the itinerary, but will not pay any additional costs* in excess of 40 RMB per person. 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.
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 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 anytime 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’re are available upon arrival for over 60 countries including the UK, US, Canada Australia and EU countries.
INSURANCE & MEDICAL
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. We recommend using World Nomads as your 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.
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?
- Tokyo House Inn, Tokyo – Shinjuku-ku, Okubo 1-12-27, Shinjuku, Tokyo, 169-0072, Japan (Tel: +81 0362 0551 21)
- WeBase Hostel, Kamakura – 4 Chome-10-7 Yuigahama Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture 248-0014, Japan (Tel: +81 3-3847-8111)
- Fuji Hakone Guesthouse, Hakone – 912 Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0631, Japan (Tel: +81 460-84-6577)
- Backpackers Hostel K’s House, Kyoto – 418 Naya-cho, Shichijo-agaru, Dotemachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City 600-8142, Japan (Tel: +81-75-342-2444)
- Wabisabi Hostel, Hiroshima – 7-28 Noboricho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0016, Japan (Tel: +81 82-225-7823)
- Capsule Hotel Asstill Dotonbori, Osaka – 2 Chome-2-20 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan (Tel: +81 6-6484-0005)
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?
Suitcase is OK, but a backpack/hold-all is much more convenient.
- 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
- Sensible walking shoes
- Swimming costume
- Lightweight waterproof
- 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 work?
Your non-Japanese phone is unlikely to work but it’s possible to buy a SIM out there or use wifi for internet.
FOOD & MONEY
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!
- If you can’t find what you’re after, email us: email@example.com
- 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
- Typical Group size is 20 people. Minimum group size is 3 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.