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Seoul(Gimpo)

on September 13th, 2023 (JST) current information.
Furthermore, the details under "Visa" and "Passport" are for Japanese nationals.
This information is likely to change suddenly, so please contact the relevant official authority (e.g., embassy) for the latest information.

Immigration and Visa

Visa

No visa is required for stays of up to ninety days for tourism, but visitors aged 18 to 64 must receive Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) by 72 hours before departure. (Application is temporarily not required during the Visit Korea Year Campaign that will run until December 31, 2024). Authorization is valid for 3 years and you do not generally need to be re-authorized during that period.

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months from the application date.

Quarantine

When visiting from Japan, it is prohibited to bring the following items into South Korea.

  • a. Animals, livestock products, meat, ham, sausages, jerky, or other processed meats, young deer horns, bones, or other animal products, eggs, egg whites, powdered egg, or other processed egg products, milk, cheese, butter, or other dairy products
  • b. Live plants, fruit, vegetables, agricultural products, forest products, flowering plants, wood, herbal medicine*1
  • c. Pyroideae (e.g., apple trees, pear trees), Rutaceae (e.g., tangerines, oranges), grape vines, pine seedlings, etc.
  • d. Soil
  • e. Live pathogenic bacteria or noxious insects (including pets)

Customs

Bringing in e-cigarettes

The scope of tax exemptions on e-cigarettes for travelers is up to 200 cigarettes or 20 ml of liquid. For all other types of e-cigarettes, up to 110 g.

For bringing and possession of tax-free cigarettes

  • Liquor: 2 bottle (less than 1L and under $400)
  • Tobacco: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of other types
  • Perfume: 60ml

Time difference and Daylight Saving Time

Time difference

There is no time difference between Japan and South Korea. Neither is daylight saving time observed, so the time in South Korea is the same as Japan throughout the year.

Climate

Climate

South Korea’s climate can be considered nearly identical to the northern to central regions of Honshu in Japan. There are four distinct seasons and a rainy season. Usually, visitors from Japan can wear the same type of clothing as they wore in Japan at the time of their departure. Winter is quite cold, so precautions against the cold must be taken. Generally, the disparity between cold and warm temperatures is more extreme than Japan.

Monthly Average temperature & Precipitation in Seoul and Tokyo

  • Monthly average temperature and precipitation

    The average maximum temperature in Tokyo and Seoul, The average minimum temperature in Tokyo and Seoul

    month The average maximum temperature in Tokyo The average minimum temperature in Tokyo The average maximum temperature in Seoul The average minimum temperature in Seoul
    Jan. 10℃ 2℃ 2℃ -6℃
    Feb. 10℃ 2℃ 3℃ -4℃
    Mar. 13℃ 5℃ 8℃ 0℃
    Apr. 18℃ 10℃ 15℃ 5℃
    May 23℃ 15℃ 24℃ 12℃
    Jun. 25℃ 18℃ 27℃ 15℃
    Jul. 28℃ 23℃ 28℃ 22℃
    Aug. 31℃ 24℃ 30℃ 22℃
    Sep. 27℃ 21℃ 26℃ 15℃
    Oct. 23℃ 15℃ 20℃ 8℃
    Nov. 17℃ 10℃ 13℃ 2℃
    Dec. 13℃ 5℃ 4℃ -3℃

    The average precipitation in Tokyo and Seoul

    month The average precipitation in Tokyo The average precipitation in Seoul
    Jan. 50mm 30mm
    Feb. 60mm 40mm
    Mar. 120mm 50mm
    Apr. 130mm 80mm
    May 130mm 100mm
    Jun. 170mm 150mm
    Jul. 160mm 330mm
    Aug. 150mm 340mm
    Sep. 210mm 130mm
    Oct. 160mm 50mm
    Nov. 90mm 60mm
    Dec. 50mm 30mm

Currency and Exchange Rate, Tax, Currency exchange, Tip

Currency and Exchange Rate

South Korean banknotes and coins

The unit of currency is the won, abbreviated as W. As of September 28, 2023, W100 is equal to approx. JPY11. There are four denominations of banknotes: W50000, W10000, W5000, and W1000. There are seven types of coins: W500, W100, W50, W10 (new and old), W5, and W1.

Tax

Consumption activities are subject to a 10% value added tax (VAT). The minimum purchase amount for receiving a tax refund is W30000 before tax. Foreign tourists can receive a tax refund by completing a procedure at a store with a TAX FREE symbol. You cannot get a refund for food and drink costs at restaurants that are not eligible for a tax refund. Note that some places are only open in a limited capacity or are closed entirely due to the pandemic or other reasons, and it is best to check before going.

Tip

Tipping is not required. A service charge is added in advance to expenses such as meal charges at upscale establishments and room fees at hotels. It is acceptable to tip when receiving a special or excessive service.

Voltage and plug

Voltage

A 220V outlet

In South Korea, the voltage is 220V and outlets are mostly the same shape as Europe, type SE (that also fit type C plugs). In Japan, the voltage is 100V and outlets are type A, so a plug adapter or transformer is needed when using Japanese electronics there. Japanese electronics that are also compatible with 220V only require a plug adapter and not a transformer.

Video and DVD

Video and DVD

The DVD region code is 2 in Japan and 3 in South Korea. When buying DVDs, get ones that are region free (all region). DVDs cannot be played on store-bought DVD players with a different region code. The region code can be changed on computers, but usually only up to 5 times.

Blu-ray system

For Blu-ray, both Japan and South Korea are region A, so Blu-rays bought in South Korea can be played normally in Japan.

Mail

Mail

International postage rates to Japan are as follows.

International Postal Fees to Japan

  • Postcards sent by airmail are W430.
  • Sealed Letters up to 10g sent by airmail are W570.
  • A parcel up to 2kg sent by surface mail is W15500, a parcel up to 500g by airmail is W21000, and packages up to 500g sent by EMS is W23500.

Since July 14, 2022, a separate postal fee is now required for international airmail. The fee is W100 per 100 g when sending airmail to Japan. You can buy stamps at post offices as well as some stationery shops. It is best to send parcels by EMS (Express Mail Service) from the post office (or from certain department stores and souvenir shops that will ship it for you).

Phone Call

How to phone

Telephoning Japan from South Korea

Ex. When calling (03) 1234-5678 or (090) 1234-5678
STEP1

dial 001 or 002 (International telephone identification numbers)

STEP2

81 (Country Code, Japan )

STEP3

3 or 90 (Remove the first 0 for area codes and mobile telephone numbers)

STEP4

1234-5678 (Other parties telephone No.)

Telephoning South Korea from Japan

Ex. When calling Seoul (02) 123-4567
STEP1

International Telephone Company No.

  • 0033 (NTT Communications)
  • 0061 (SoftBank)
  • Not required for mobile phones.
STEP2

010 (International Identification No.)

STEP3

82 (Country Code, South Korea)

STEP4

212(Area code, remove first 0)

STEP5

1234-5678 (Other parties telephone number)

  • Pre-registration to World Call is required for NTT DoCoMo.

Holiday / National holiday

Holiday / National holiday

South Korean national holidays include those according to the Gregorian calendar and those according to the lunar calendar. Dates of holidays according to the lunar calendar change each year. There are three: the Korean New Year (lunar New Year), Buddha's birthday, and Chuseok (similar to the Bon festival of the lunar calendar in Japan).

2024

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • February 9 to 12: Solstice holidays (Solstice Day is February 10)
  • March 1: March First Day (Independence Movement Day)
  • May 5: Children's Day
  • May 27: Buddha's Birthday
  • June 6: Memorial Day
  • August 15: Gwangbokjeol (Liberation Day)
  • September 16 to 18: Chuseok holidays (Chuseok Day is September 19)
  • October 3: Gaecheonjeol (National Foundation Day)
  • October 9: Hangeul Proclamation Day
  • December 25: Christmas Day

Language

Language

The official language is Korean. Hangul, a system of phonetic characters created in the 15th century.

Business hours, etc

Business hours

Banks

Mon. to Fri. 9:00 to 16:00, closed on Sat., Sun., holidays. Money can be exchanged during business hours.

Post Office

Mon. to Fri. 9:00 to 18:00, closed Sat., Sun., holidays. Government offices are also closed on Saturdays.

Shops

Generally open around 10:00 to 20:00. Many buildings devoted to fashion-related shops are open until very late at night. Many shops close on the Chinese New Year and on Chuseok.

Restaurants

Generally open around 10:00 to 23:00. Many shops close on the Chinese New Year and on Chuseok.

Age Limit

It is prohibited to sell tobacco or alcohol or allow entry into casinos to persons under 19 years of age.

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