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Japan & South Korea
Japan Luxury Cruise - Frequently Asked Questions
April 5 - 19, 2025 

With such a rich and varied itinerary and many aspects to touring Japan, so different than any other destination, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start preparing for your Japan Cruise. We are here to help. Below, you'll find some useful information that you'll need as you get ready for your Japanese adventure.


Japan is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, 14 hours ahead of New York, 15 hours ahead of Chicago, and 17 hours ahead of Los Angeles. Japan does not use daylight saving time, so in summer the time difference is one hour less. Because Japan is on the other side of the international date line, you lose a day when traveling from the United States to Asia: if you depart the United States on Tuesday, you'll arrive on Wednesday. Returning to North America, however, you gain a day, which means that you arrive on the same day you left. In fact, it can happen that you arrive in the US at an earlier hour than you departed from Japan. When it is noon on Wednesday in Tokyo, it is 10:00PM on Tuesday in New York and 7:00PM on Tuesday in San Francisco.




There are many beautiful things to bring back with you from Japan, so make sure you have space left in your suitcase. For the flight to Japan, most airlines restrict the checked-in luggage to the maximum weight of 50 lbs., plus the carry-on luggage up to 17 lbs., and we enforce the same guidelines. We are not visiting any venues that require formal dress, however, some people do dress up when we dine at the high-end restaurants on the ship, but this is optional. Please make sure that you have comfortable walking shoes. 


Visitors to Japan require a current passport, valid for at least 6 months from the date of entering the country and with a minimum of two blank pages. Citizens of the US, Canada, and Australia do not require a visa to enter Japan for stays up to 90 days. All foreign nationals entering Japan are required to provide fingerprint scans and to be photographed at the port of entry. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, your driver's license and your credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a trusted person and another one in your suitcase. 


The tour starts on Saturday, April 5, 2025 in Tokyo, Japan. Depending on your location you will depart Friday, April 4, 2025 or Thursday, April 3, 2025. With the Door-to-Door package, the Silversea's executive private transfer service will pick you up from your doorstep and transfer you to your home airport. Your international flight to Tokyo, Japan is included in the tour's price (Door-to Door package, major airports only, otherwise an air credit and economy class only). On arrival in Tokyo, you will be met by a uniformed chauffeur for your private transfer to the ship's boarding point.

This tour ends in the morning of Saturday, April 19, 2025 in Tokyo, Japan. Your departing flight will most likely depart sometime during the day on April 19, 2025, and you will have a private airport transfer in accordance with your departing flight's time (Door-to-Door package only).


To avoid paying the single supplement, we will try to match you with a roommate of similar age. Otherwise, there are some single suites available on this tour, but since the price for a single suite carries a 75% surcharge, we expect that most of our travelers will be matched with a roommate. However, Sights and Soul Travels cannot guarantee roommate matching on the Silversea cruises.


The Japan tour group is limited to the maximum of 16 women + the Tour Director. The minimum group size is 11 women + the Tour Director. In addition to the Tour Director, the tour guests will be assisted by the Silversea staff (almost 1 :1 ratio of staff to cruise passengers) and expedition guides.


Traveling in Japan presents no health concerns. Japan requires no vaccinations to enter the country. Water and ice are considered safe to drink. Prescriptions can be filled at Japanese pharmacies only if they're issued by a Japanese doctor. To avoid hassle, bring more prescription medications than you think you'll need, clearly labeled in their original vials, and be sure to pack them in your carry-on luggage. But to be safe, bring copies of your prescriptions with you, including generic names of medicines in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name. Over-the-counter items are easy to obtain, though name brands are likely to be different from back home, some ingredients allowed elsewhere may be forbidden in Japan, and prices are likely to be higher.


The water is safe to drink anywhere in Japan, although some people claim it's too highly chlorinated. Bottled water is also readily available.


Western-style toilets in Japan are usually very high-tech. Called Washlets, these combination bidet toilets have heated toilet seats, buttons and knobs directing sprays of water of various intensities to various body parts, and even lids that raise when you open the stall. But alas, instructions are usually in Japanese only. Listen to the voice of experience: Don't stand up until you've figured out how to turn the spray off. Use of restrooms is free in Japan, and though many public facilities supply toilet paper, it's a good idea to carry a packet of tissues, because some may not. In parks and some restaurants, especially in rural areas, don't be surprised if you go into some restrooms and find men's urinals and private stalls in the same room. Women are supposed to walk right past the urinals without noticing them. Some toilets in Japan, especially those at train stations, are Japanese-style toilets: They're holes in the ground over which you squat facing forward toward the end with a raised hood. Although these Japanese lavatories may seem uncomfortable at first, they're actually more sanitary because no part of your body touches anything.


One of the greatest delights of traveling in Japan is that the country is safe and the people are honest. If you lose something, say on a subway or in a park, chances are that you'll get it back. That being said, crime, especially pickpocketing, is on the increase, and there are precautions you should always take when traveling: stay alert and be aware of your immediate surroundings. Be especially careful with cameras, purses, and wallets in congested areas like Narita airport, subways, department stores, or tourist attractions. While it is true that Japan is earthquake-prone, in reality, most earthquakes are too small to detect. If you're indoors, take cover under a doorway or against a wall and do not go outdoors. If you're outdoors, stay away from trees, power lines, and the sides of buildings; if you're surrounded by tall buildings, seek cover in a doorway. If you're near a beach or the bay, evacuate to higher ground in case of a tsunami. 


Japan is a perfectly safe country for women to travel. Despite rather conservative societal norms, women are treated with respect, and any social barriers that exist are not likely to be felt by women travelers.


During the luxury Japan cruise, we'll be traveling by bus to our land excursions, and we'll be covering quite a lot of ground by foot. To be able to enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 4 miles throughout the day. You need to be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes, you need to be able to climb stairs, get in and out of vehicles without assistance and manage your own luggage without assistance.


Both Kyoto and Tokyo have a humid subtropical climate that is mild with no dry season, and it is constantly moist, meaning year-round rainfall. Summers can be hot and humid, with the average high temperature around 77°F during the day, and the average low temperature is 64°F shortly after sunrise.


Japan's cities have Internet access available in internet cafes, hotel lobbies and in some public places. Internet access in rural areas may be available, but it varies widely. Cellular phone coverage is generally very good in Japan's cities and metropolitan areas, although expect limited coverage in remote or mountainous areas. All guests onboard Silversea Muse will be granted free, unlimited standard Wi-Fi for 1 device at the time. Standard Wi-Fi is provided at regular satellite speed, ideal for emailing, web surfing, chat or similar, but not suitable for video, audio calls, or streaming. Premium WI-FI access is available at an additional charge and is suitable for all kinds of applications, including video and audio call and streaming. Telecommunications via satellite is a significantly different experience compared to high-speed connections on shore. The signal travels in a similar manner to radio waves but at much greater distances. That is why onboard Internet access is inconsistent and cannot be guaranteed at all times. Satellite communications are also affected by weather and the ship’s location. On board, guests may make and receive phone calls, text messages and other select data services on their own cell phone. Guests will be billed by their home cell phone provider and calls or messages will appear as roaming charges on their bill. Before leaving home, you should contact your provider to confirm that a roaming agreement with Silversea has been established. Silver Muse is also equipped with a phone system that allows guests to make direct-dial calls from their suite whilst at sea. Calls will be billed to the guest’s onboard account.


Both 110-volt (U.S. current) and 220- volt (European current) outlets are provided in all suites, accommodating small appliances without the use of adapters or electric converters. A hairdryer is provided in each suite.


English is widely understood in major hotels, restaurants, and shops, but it's hit-or-miss elsewhere. Even though Japanese study English at school, the emphasis is on grammar, rather than live communication, so you may run into some problems. 


While onboard the Silversea Muse, cash, credit cards and travelers checks can be used. Upon embarkation, you will be asked to register your credit card number and expiration date, which must be valid through the final day of the voyage. All charges for services provided and products purchased onboard must be settled in cash (U.S. dollars), by travellers cheques in U.S. dollars, or the registered credit card before final disembarkation from the ship. A 2% transaction fee will be charged for all cash advances. Foreign transaction fees are possible Authorization holds may be made on credit card purchases.

The currency in Japan is yen, symbolized by ¥.  Most Japanese pay with either credit cards or cash, and because the country has such a low crime rate, you can feel safe walking around with money. Because most bank ATMs in Japan accept only cards issued by Japanese banks, your best bet for obtaining cash is at the airport, at 7-Eleven convenience stores, and at post offices. All banks in Japan displaying an AUTHORIZED FOREIGN EXCHANGE sign can exchange currency and traveler's checks, with exchange rates usually displayed at the appropriate foreign-exchange counter. Traveler's Checks are still useful for Japan, and they have a better exchange rate than cash and also offer protection in case of theft. 


All gratuities are included in the cost of the Silversea Japan cruise. When you are on your own for the pre and post-cruise nights, no tipping is required. At the conclusion of the tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director a gratuity. We recommend $15 per person per day if you feel that her services enhanced your experience of visiting Japan.


Japan is a shopping paradise with a wealth of stores selling everything from traditional souvenirs and local food to the latest electronics and hottest fashion brands. Both domestic and foreign brands are represented, as are stores for all budgets, from the 100 yen shops to high-end fashion boutiques. Large cities sport several shopping districts, each with their own unique character. Things that people like to bring back from Japan are: candy & snacks, genuine Japanese folding fans, two-toe socks, yukata sets, ceramics, stationery goods, Japanese amulets (omamori), and chopsticks.