Originally Posted by Nicholson58
Any advice regarding visiting Japan
? I have heard some horror stories resulting from a lack of understanding of customs
and check-in. We also have been intrigued by the possibility of visiting China
but that sounds like a logistical nightmare.
Having cruised Japan
3 different times I learned a few tricks in dealing with the formidable and ancient Japanese bureaucracy.
- First align yourself with a local yacht club where you will be making your first entry.
- Months before...write a very nice letter to the Commodore (translated to Japanese) about yourselves/your plans and excitement to cruise their country.
- Ask if they can recommend a young translator/student from the club, who would be interested in joining the yacht for the cruise thru Japan. (This is optional to actually do, but shows your commitment at this stage.
- Ask if your yacht would be welcome to berth temporarily once cleared of check in Formalities?
- Make sure you have a valid ‘De-Ratting Certificate with you as Quarantine always ask for it as some sort of Holy Grail for barbarians.
After arrived at club, you are basically counting on the yacht club directors and their incredible hospitality to help clear away the basic roadblock that:
While a foreign registered vessel can transit Japanese waters, they are limited to stopping at approved Import/Export Ports.
To overcome this, the yacht club will organize a meeting with Customs
Be, quiet, patient and respectful as they discuss your risk factor.
Prepare beforehand a very detailed itinerary of your anchorages
every night on the passage
from South Japan till you depart foreign. Show specific anchor
spots/ dates/ reasons and points of interest for shore side excursions.
What is then usually agreed upon by customs is that you follow this specifically and you make a commitment to call the closest customs office when you first go ashore in that region…. They will often visit and check your papers)
Of course your passage
plan will change, but don’t say that as it is only a way to get Customs permission and freedom to stop in other places.
Starting with a local crew/interpreter is a good idea and pleases marine
department… so seriously consider that for the beginning.
I know this sounds convoluted, but it is the Japanese way. Once accepted and trusted, the hospitality is 2nd to none.