Someone recently asked what kind of Japan train travel deals are available for people living in Japan, as the Japan Rail Pass and some other passes are only for people with a tourist visa. Lucky for those of us living here, there are numerous options to save anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand yen, depending on where you want to go, when and how you want to get there. The only caveat is that most information for these is in Japanese.
When I think of summer in Japan, aside from sticky heat and screaming cicadas, I think of festivals. Fireworks festivals. I'm reminded of spreading out a tarp and arranging myself around it with friends or family, passing around snacks and waving a hand fan back and forth as the loudspeakers crackle to announce the start of the bright-colored designs in the sky. The smells of noodles and other goodies on the grill, crepe batter being carefully laid out on a griddle, and sweet cotton candy mingle with smoke from the fireworks as the night goes by.
Have you ever wondered how Japanese people travel in the summer? A survey on Travel.jp asked Japanese folks several questions about their summer travel plans, including where they plan to go and what activities they want to do. I expected to see many of the answers listed, but a few of them were surprising, and the survey was interesting in itself.
Traveling Japan by train is one of the fastest, easiest and most efficient ways to get around the country, but it can be a bit pricey if you take the shinkansen (bullet train) without a rail pass of some kind. Although I support the use of public transportation, and, in general, Japan’s system is well worth using, I’ve also found that driving can be a cheaper way to get around, depending on what part of Japan you are in and where you’re going.
Archery, in a volcano? I thought it was some kind of joke when I first heard about it, or a translation mistake. Images of arrows flying over fiery lava flashed through my mind as I tried to understand what my friend was proposing we do.
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo in the near future and wondering how much time you might need to explore and see the sights? Luzmar wrote in with this very question, which I’ve addressed below along with some questions and tips that anyone might want to consider when visiting Tokyo.
One popular tourist spot in Japan, located about two hours southwest of Tokyo, is Hakone (箱根, はこね), a mountainous area in Kanagawa prefecture known for its hot springs, greenery and spectacular views of Mt. Fuji. While I wouldn’t normally recommend going to the main tourist locations in Japan, Hakone is a lovely, quiet area if you avoid the most touristy spots, or at the very least, avoid the common ways tourists travel the region.
It’s early this year. Two days earlier than last year and 11 days earlier than the average year, the rainy season, known as “tsuyu (梅雨)”, has spread its cloak of high humidity and unpredictable downpours over Okinawa. It won’t be long until it hits the main islands (Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku), likely ahead of schedule (it usually begins in those parts of Japan around early June).
Exploring Japan by train is usually an efficient and convenient of getting around, particularly if you plan to visit some of Japan’s major cities.
We’re in the midst of Golden Week (GW) here in Japan, as hundreds of thousands travelers journey to every corner of the country or head overseas to popular international cities or exotic locales. Going against the grain, I’m writing this from home in Shizuoka.