Travelling to Japan Again

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺)

I was due to go to Japan at the start of March. Three months later and I’m finally ready to go this Saturday 4th of June. I’ll be leaving from Birmingham, England and will arrive on Sunday at Narita.

Why the three months delay?

A few things I suppose, reservations about quitting my job, missing family, friends and so on but mainly a gigantic earthquake. When it hit I first wondered about my girlfriend and her family who are based in Chiba. They were fine but that I wanted to fly over there myself as you would. I thought it best to wait a while for things to settle down. Wait till food supplies were normal and so on and when it finally came to booking my tickets and health insurance something dawned on me. The (FCO) Foreign and Common Wealth Office were advising against travelling to Tokyo and all areas north east of Tokyo. Well that’s Chiba. If the FCO are advising against it how would that affect my health insurance?

To Japan with no Health Insurance?

The thought of going to Japan with no health insurance is scary indeed. Visitors get hit with the full sum of any medical treatment. That could be thousands! Nope that wasn’t an option. I contacted a few travel insurance firms to see what the state of play was. Turns out if the FCO advise against you going they wont insure you. Not good.

Since then I had been playing a waiting game. Waiting until the FCO say it’s okay, then giving my workplace a months notice. That brings us up to two weeks ago. You see, If you come from the UK  you can stay in Japan for up to six months (yay!) However, towards the end of your first three months you must apply for a visa extension for the remaining three. To avoid the need to do that (and some insurance complications) I decided to delay by another two weeks so I’d be going for three months instead of three months two weeks. No visa extension required and so that brings us up to the present day.

Let’s get going then!

All in all it’s taken three whole months and cut my trip in half. Well, I guess it can’t be helped and I’m still very much looking forward to going. I fly out with Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Germany then on to Japan. On the way back I’m flying with SAS from Japan to Copenhagen, Denmark then on to England. A little odd I know but it worked out cheaper that way. The flight set me back £650 which is not as cheap as I would have liked. I remember the first time I went to Japan a few years ago, I paid £428 for that flight, that was quite a bargain!

About Chris

Chris Kempson is the main author of and sole developer of A twenty something web programmer and self-proclaimed Japanophile currently residing in Chiba and trying desperately to Japanese!


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  • Will

    Good luck with the trip. I went last year (march/April) and flew with KLM from Liverpool to Osaka via Amsterdam. It was I think £480 return (I went for 10 days).
    I really hope things will get better. I am desperate to travel to Japan again.
    If work wasn’t an issue I’d definately be going there for 6 months at a time!

    • Chris Kempson

      Thanks! Sounds like you got a good price then :) Where did you travel in Osaka?

      • Will001

        I was there briefly when I flew in then went there again before flying back. The main place I remember was the Umeda Sky Building with the Floating Garden Observatory. It was great!

  • Jonas

    Cool! I believe we arrived on the same date then (June 5th). I flew with SAS via Copenhagen, and taking the same route on the way home, on July 31st.

    I’m staying in Eda, Yokohama (just about 30 minutes from Shibuya) :)

    • Chris Kempson

      Oh right, yes we arrived on the same day. How was your trip with SAS?

      I was in Shibuya yesterday, though it takes me over an hour to get there. Are you enjoying your stay so far?