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Top Japanese places to visit in London

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Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo As a person who love all things art and crafts I've hunted down the best shops that I could find during my travels in Tokyo. Here's a guide to my personal favourites. Read more

Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

Japan Candy Box This is a promotional post. The Japan Candy Box was kindly sent to us to try and review for Why So Japan. We've been wanting to try a Japanese themed box for a long time now and thanks Read more

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Things to think of before traveling to Japan, part 1

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Things to think of before traveling to Japan

Before traveling to Japan eveyone thinks different, but I would like to share what things I think of before traveling to Japan. Of course, lots of things are obvious, but while planning what can be a big trip, it’s easy to forget different things, especially if you have never been to Japan before. I can remember the first time we decided to book Japan as our next holiday destination. The amount of research we did, even then, I’m sure we missed a bunch of things, and we probably still do. But as we are planing our next trip I thought I would share the things that we think about before we leave for Japan.

Visa before you buy your tickets?

Before you buy your tickets to Japan it’s importet to make sure your passport will be valid for the whole trip. It’s also important to check if you need some sort of Visa to entry Japan, which you might need to apply for before you buy your flight tickets. For us, we did not need to apply for any extra document, since we were entitled for the Visa Exemption Arrangements. Check with this site for more info about travel Visas: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essential/visa.html

Booking your flight

Booking our flight we wanted to get the best deal as possible, so I kept my eye on flight prices to and from Japan. I ended up using a flight comparison site called Travel Supermarket, which is available in different languages. A great function they have is a price agent, which emails you every day with the cheapest prices and fastest flights. Now we wanted to balance the price to the amount of flight time, since we diden’t really want to be flying for 22 hours if we did not need to. We knew that we could get a flight for about 12-14 hours, so now it was just to keep an eye on the lowest flight time prices. Most of the time we found the flights that took more hours waiting at some airport for transfer were cheaper than ones with less transfer time. In the end we got a great deal, so our next trip to Japan from Europe will only take around 13 hours. It seems like we bought the tickets at the right time, because had we bought them a week later we would have had to pay a lot more for them, which might of ended up us have to take the longer timed tickets, just keep the price down.

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Landing in Japan

We have only flown into Narita airport, which is the primary international airport for greater Tokyo. Traveling from the airport you have a few different choices. We have always gone with the JR Nartia Express (NEX) train, which has been handy for us, since we normally stay in Shinjuku, which is one of the station NEX stops at. This means we don’t need to change trains with our luggage or anything, which is great. It’s not the cheapest way of getting into Tokyo, but it is one of the easiest, being a direct route for us to Shinjuku. Other train services that available are JR Sobu Line, Keisei Skyliner, Keisei Limited Express. A few different bus services are available too, and of course you could jump in a taxi too, but that will cost a bit, since the airport is about 60 km away from central Tokyo. A great site that I used to research what would be the best transportation for us can be found on this link here: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2027.html

Hotel

Finding a hotel can be a pain because of the choice. There are a lot of hotels in Tokyo to choose from. A site that we always use is Booking.com. You can search for all different sorts of hotels, from the cheapest to the dearest ones. One thing we always do when we choose a hotel is to read the reviews for the hotel both on Booking.com and TripAdvisor.com. We also check around for the best prices. Booking.com might not always be the best price, sometimes it does pay to book direct via the hotel’s own homepage. Things we think of when booking our hotel are: is breakfast included in the price, if not how much does it cost? Is free wifi available throughout the hotel? In Japan you can choose if you want a smoking or non-smoking room, so this might be important to some people. Check-in and check-out times is something we also look into, and if you get to the hotel before check-in, can they store your luggage for you, and other hotel amenities.

Read part 2 click here.

Photo credit: El Scrapeo飛行機から富士山が見える





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Other 1 Comment

Why So Japan loves Pintrest

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Follow us on Pintrest!

Why so Japan is now on Pinterest! We will use our Pinterest account in a couple of different ways. First you will able to keep up with all the updates from the blog directly by following our Pinteres account. We will also be pinning all thing Japanese – from music and food to fashion and more.

You can find the latest pins from us via the blog (on the lower righthand side of the site) or you can click directly to our account via this link here: http://www.pinterest.com/whysojapan/





Posted on by Paul in Other Leave a comment

Panorama photos of Tokyo

Panorama photos of Tokyo

I’ve seen lots of panorama photos before and I’ve taken a few of my own while in Japan (and other places that I’ve been to around the world). Most of them have been taken with a smartphone that gives you a simple way of catching your very own panorama view of whats in front of you. But I’ve never ever taken a gigapixel panorama photo and I doubt I ever will, because you need to own some very expensive camera equipment. Thats what’s great with 360cities, they’ve done the hard work for us viewers. Taking the photo is just the beginning of taking a 360° panoramal. It’s also all the work in front of the computer that probably takes a lot of time.

The company behind these very popular gigapixel photos is 360cities.net. There have take lots of gigapixel photos in different places around the world, but the two I would like to share with you are both taken in Tokyo.

Tokyo tower

The first panorama was taken from on top of the Tokyo Tower. The photo was taken in September of 2012 and it gives you a great 360° panorama photo from the top of the tower all over the city.
Link to the Tokyo Tower panorama: http://360gigapixels.com/tokyo-tower-panorama-photo/

whysojapan gigapixel Panorama photos of Tokyo

Roppongi Hills Mori Tower

The second panorama is also a 360° photo and it was taken from Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. It was also shot in September of 2012 and it also gives you a great view of Tokyo from high up.
Link to the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower: http://360gigapixels.com/tokyo-gigapixel-roppongi-hills-mori-tower/

whysojapan gigapixel Panorama photos of Tokyo

Both of the panorama photos give you a high quality picture, so high that you can see people going about their normal day to day life on the streets. It’s fun to scan the photos for intressting things going on around in Tokyo on the day(s) of the photos.

Check out http://360gigapixels.com/ for more around the world. Some of the other places that can be found on 360gigapixels.com are London, Czech capital city of Prague, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and more.

 





Posted on by Paul in Other, Visiting Leave a comment

Maru – the famous cat from Japan

World famous Japanese cat Maru

The cats have taken over the internet with their cuteness and one of the most popular cats is, of course, from the land of kawaii – Japan. Meet Maru, a male Scottish Fold, who has charmed the world with his cute looks and adorabe personality.

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Photo from Maru’s blog: http://sisinmaru.blog17.fc2.com

Maru on YouTube

Maru’s owner has a blog and a YouTube account where she posts photos and videos regularly.

Maru likes to lazy around, jump into boxes, and be generally mischievous. The videos are with sound, but you never hear any humans speak and you never see the owner. The feeling of the videos are very Japanese, clean and simple, and the title cards are in both Japanese and English.

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Photo from Maru’s blog: http://sisinmaru.blog17.fc2.com

Book: “I am Maru”

The YouTube videos are very popular. Every time a new video is being uploaded millions of people watch it. Maru is so popular that he’s even got his own book out, titled “I am Maru”.

Get the book here: I am Maru at Amazon

Maru facts

The name Maru means “round shape” and it fits him very well. His charming features are described as “round face and white socks”. His favourite hobby is “trouble making” and his special skill is “sliding into any open box”.

Official YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/mugumogu

Official blog: http://sisinmaru.blog17.fc2.com





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Other Leave a comment

Timeout Tokyo

whysojapan timeout

Timeout Tokyo

Timeout is a company that keeps you up to date with whats going on in some of the biggest cities all over the world. For Japan there are two versions and you can reach both of them by going to timeout.jp. There you can choose to either view the Tokyo version or the Kyoto version.

Via Timeout Tokyo/Kyoto you can find whats going on in the cities, from gigs to cinemas listings to events going on and what pubs to visits or museums to go to. Timeout is definitely a good site to check whats on.

A big plus – the page is English too, so maybe give it a try on your next trip to Japan.

Check out the site at http://www.timeout.jp





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Media, Other Leave a comment