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Washington D.C.

on March 1st, 2024 (JST) current information.
Furthermore, the details under "Visa", "Passport" and "Note When you travel to the United States" 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 usually required for tourism or business trips within ninety days. However, entry to the US is often denied for those entering and exiting frequently, or those staying in the US for a long time. Those traveling with a visa waiver must obtain electronic travel authorization from ESTA (excluding entry by land).

Passport

It is preferable to have a passport that is valid for at least 90 days from the date of entry.

  • Note for travel to the United States

Note When you travel to the United States

ESTA

When using the visa waiver program to travel to or through (via) the U.S. without a visa by air or sea, you must obtain travel authorization from ESTA online (not possible on your phone). Do not forget this, as you may be refused boarding onto the plane or denied entry into the U.S. if you fail to obtain travel authorization from ESTA before your trip. When you obtain ESTA authorization, it is valid for two years and you can travel to the U.S. multiple times (you do not need to renew it every time you change your schedule or visit somewhere). The final permission for entry is given by the immigration inspector at the first port of entry.
Apply for and obtain travel authorization from ESTA soon after your plans to travel to the U.S. have been fixed. (It is strongly recommended that you complete the procedure at least more than 72 hours before leaving your country). You can no longer receive instant authorization after application, so it is best to complete the process early. The application can be made by a relative, travel agency (for a fee), or other third party. You can now use the mobile app of ESTA.

ESTA term of validity

Generally 2 years. However, if your passport expires before the authorization term ends, your ESTA authorization also expires. You will need to re-apply if there has been any change in your name, gender, or nationality.

ESTA registration fee

Fee: $21

Changes in the visa waiver program

According to 2015 changes in the visa waiver program and the enactment of the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, individuals who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, or Cuba on or after January 12, 2021, cannot travel to the U.S. using the visa waiver program. Relevant travelers must apply for a visa using the regular method at the American Embassy. For more information, see the American Embassy visa waiver programpage.

  • Visa, passport, and other information is subject to change without notice. Be sure to check with the Embassy, Consulate, or travel agency.

Quarantine

When visiting from Japan, it is prohibited to bring the following items into the United States.

  • a. Fruit, vegetables, plants, seeds, foods, insects, plant products
  • b. Meat, processed meat, animals, animal or wild animal products (foods that contain eggs or meat extracts are also prohibited)
  • c. Disease agents, cell cultures, snails
  • d. Soil (or in farmland or pastureland)
  • Alcohol such as absinthe with the alcohol content of 70% or more cannot be brought in to the country.
  • Examples of food products that contain meat extract are cup noodles, furikake rice seasonings, curry roux, snack foods, and instant soups.

Customs

Bringing in e-cigarettes

The scope for tax exemption is 200 cigarettes, same as for regular cigarettes.

If you want to enter in less than 18 years of age

Children entering the country without both parents may be asked to present a consent form for the trip (in English) from their parents or the non-accompanying parent. For more information, inquire with the American Embassy.

For bringing and possession of tax-free cigarettes

You must declare cash amounts US$10,000 or more. For travelers who are 21 or older, tax is exempt for 1 L of alcohol for personal consumption or gifts up to $100 in value. Tax is exempt for up to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars. All food products containing vegetables, fruit, meat, or meat extracts are not allowed to be brought into the country.

Time difference and Daylight Saving Time

Time difference

There are four time zones in mainland U.S. Washington D.C. is in the Eastern Time Zone (EST) and is 14 hours behind Japan. (It is 10PM the previous day in New York when it is noon in Japan.) In summer, almost all states use Daylight Saving Time (summertime) and the clocks move forward an hour. The time difference between Japan and Washington D.C. becomes an hour shorter. Daylight Saving Time is from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. When traveling, be careful of the changes in the time difference.

Climate

Climate

The weather in the Eastern U.S. is known for changing several times a day. The latitude of DC is similar to Sendai in Japan. You can generally think of the weather in the Sendai region, but spring and fall are slightly shorter and summer and winter are longer. Also, there is a large temperature difference between indoors and outdoors in summer and winter, so it is good to adjust your temperature with layers of clothing.

  • Monthly average temperature and precipitation

    The average maximum temperature in Tokyo and Washington D.C., The average minimum temperature in Tokyo and Washington D.C.

    Month The average maximum temperature in Tokyo The average mimimum temperature in Tokyo The average maximum temperature in Washington D.C. The average mimimum temperature in Washington D.C.
    Jan. 10℃ 2℃ 7℃ -2℃
    Feb. 10℃ 2℃ 8℃ -1℃
    Mar. 13℃ 5℃ 14℃ 3℃
    Apr. 18℃ 10℃ 18℃ 7℃
    May 23℃ 15℃ 23℃ 13℃
    Jun. 25℃ 18℃ 28℃ 18℃
    Jul. 28℃ 23℃ 31℃ 22℃
    Aug. 31℃ 24℃ 30℃ 21℃
    Sep. 27℃ 21℃ 26℃ 16℃
    Oct. 23℃ 15℃ 18℃ 10℃
    Nov. 17℃ 10℃ 13℃ 5℃
    Dec. 13℃ 5℃ 9℃ 0℃

    The average precipitation in Tokyo and Washington D.C.

    Month The average precipitation in Tokyo The average precipitation in Washington D.C.
    Jan. 50mm 80mm
    Feb. 60mm 70mm
    Mar. 110mm 90mm
    Apr. 130mm 80mm
    May 130mm 90mm
    Jun. 160mm 90mm
    Jul. 160mm 90mm
    Aug. 150mm 80mm
    Sep. 210mm 90mm
    Oct. 160mm 80mm
    Nov. 90mm 70mm
    Dec. 40mm 70mm

Currency and Exchange Rate, Tax, Currency exchange, Tip

Currency and Exchange Rate

US banknotes and coins

The unit of currency is dollars ($) and cents (¢). $1 is JPY149 (as of March 18, 2024). There are six denominations of banknotes: $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Note that many smaller shops do not accept $50 or $100 bills. There are six types of coins: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and 100¢ (100¢ is $1), but the 50¢, and 100¢ coins are not widely distributed.

Tax

There is a sales tax applied when making purchases and a hotel tax applied when staying at hotels. The rate (%) varies with the state or city. When eating at a restaurant, you will also be charged tax that is equal to or higher than the sales tax. The rate is low or 0% (depending on the state) for perishable foods (excluding processed foods) at supermarkets and other stores.

Tip

It is customary to tip when receiving any type of service, for example at restaurants, in taxis, or when staying at hotels (e.g. to the porter or housekeeping staff). The amount differs depending on whether a special request was made or the level of satisfaction with the service, but the following values serve as references. Tips should be at least $2 and you should tip in bills if possible.

  • Restaurants: 20% of the total before tax. If a cover charge is included in the price, no tip is required.
  • Taxis: Tips are about 15% to 20% of the fare (at least 2 USD).
  • Hotels: Tip porters $2 to $5 per piece of luggage. Tip well if you have a lot of luggage. Leave $2 to $5 on the pillow for housekeeping staff.

Voltage and plug

Voltage

The voltage is 120 V. Plugs are three-pin. Although Japanese products with 100 V, two-pin plugs can be used as is, it should be noted that there is a minor voltage difference. Extended use of appliances such as hair dryers or chargers may result in overheating, so special measures should be taken, such as breaking up usage into shorter durations of time.

Video and DVD

Video and DVD

The TV and video system is NTSC in both Japan and the US. However, the DVD region code is 1 for the US and 2 for Japan. Therefore media that does not include both region codes or the label 'All codes' is not cross-compatible.

Blu-ray system

Blu Ray region code is A in both Japan and the US, so media from both countries can be played on media players in the other country.

Mail

Mail

Postal fees

Airmail to Japan is $1.55 for letters and postcards.

Post office hours

Hours vary slightly between towns/cities. Post offices are generally open from around 9:00 to 17:00 on weekdays.Postal boxes are blue. Note that postal boxes labelled EXPRESS MAIL are for domestic express delivery.

Phone Call

How to phone

Telephoning Japan from the United States of America

Ex. When calling (03) 1234-5678
STEP1

dial 011 (International telephone identification numbers)

STEP2

81 (Country Code, Japan)

STEP3

3 (Remove the first 0 for area codes)

STEP4

1234-5678 (Other parties telephone No.)

Telephoning the United States of America from Japan

Ex. When calling Los Angeles (213) 123-456
STEP1

Phone carrier identification number

  • 0033 (NTT Communications)
  • 0061 (SoftBank)
  • Not required on a mobile phone
STEP2

010 (International Identification No.)

STEP3

1 (Country Code, The United States of America)

STEP4

213 (Area Code)

STEP5

123-4567 (Other parties telephone No.)

  • For the three cell phone carriers, hold down 0 until + appears, then add the country code and the phone number your wish to dial.
  • Pre-registration to World Call is required for NTT DoCoMo.

Holiday / National holiday

Holiday / National holiday

Note that some states have different holidays. Shops that claim to be open year-round are almost always closed on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Also, many stores have different hours during the summer holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

2024

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • 3rd Monday of January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February 12: Lincoln's Birthday*1
  • 3rd Monday of February: Presidents' Day
  • Last Monday of May: Memorial Day
  • June 19: Juneteenth*1
  • July 4: Independence Day
  • 1st Monday in September: Labor Day
  • 2nd Monday in October: Columbus Day*1
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • 4th Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • *1.Some states have different holidays.
  • When a holiday falls on a Saturday, the Friday before it is treated as a holiday by the federal government, and when a holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is treated as a holiday.

Language

Language

Mostly English, although it is not the law. Spanish is used in many places across the US.

Business hours, etc

Business hours

Below are guidelines for general business hours. Hours vary with the type of business and location. Supermarkets are open around 7:00 to 22:00. It is not rare for stores to close at around 19:00 in the countrysied.

Banks

Mon. to Fri. 9:00 to 17:00.

Department Stores/Shops

Mon. to Sat. 10:00 to 21:00, Sun. 12:00 to 18:00.

Restaurants

Coffee shops and other cafes are open from the morning. Breakfast is from 7:00 to 10:00, lunch from 11:30 to 14:30, and dinner from 17:30 to 22:00. Bars are open until late at night.

Age Limit

The drinking age throughout the USA is 21 years. You may need to show your ID when you buy alcohol, depending on the location. You also need ID at places where alcohol is served, such as live music venues.
Young drivers are frequently involved in traffic accidents in the USA, so some large car rental companies do not rent cars to drivers under 25 years, and most require a surcharge if you are between 21 and 25 years.

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