Kizuna Japanese subscription box

Kizuna Japanese subscription box This is a promotional post. We were offered the opportunity to try a new subscription box from Kizuna Box from Japan. Of course we jumped at the chance. We were given the option of two different boxes, Read more

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm 2017

Sakura Matsuri Stockholm – Cherry Blossom Festival On April 22nd was the annual cherry blossom hanami festival in Stockholm (“Körsbärsblommans Dag”), Sweden. It's an event organized by the Japanese Association, and we were very happy to see that they - once Read more

Top Japanese places to visit in London

Top Japanese places to visit in London In this post we have collected our top Japanese places to visit in London. The city has so many places that are connected to Japan in one way or another. In our top Read more

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

Review: Japan Travel Guide – The Ultimate Itinerary Planner

whysojapan japan travel guide The Ultimate Itinerary Planner

Japan Travel Guide – The Ultimate Itinerary Planner

We’ve been to Japan a few times now, and before each trip we always try and do some research, so we have a good plan of where we want to go and what we want to do. This can be very time consuming; searching websites, double checking sources, finding out important details are wrong, doing some more research, and so it goes on. This is where a guide would come in handy. The Japan Travel Guide – The Ultimate Itinerary Planner is a great source to turn to before (and during) your trip to Japan. They’ve done all the research for you!

whysojapan japan travel guide The Ultimate Itinerary PlannerAuthors Christopher Crane and Emma Chan have interviewed dozens of expats and experienced travelers to give you all the information you need for sightseeing, fin and interesting experiences and great food. The guide focuses on five areas: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Okinawa. You get tips about traditional and modern Japan, eat and drink, festivals and the cherry blossom viewing, with descriptions, tips and useful information, adresses, opening times prices and more.

Find out about the The Zen Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, a masterful example of Zen landscaping. Learn about the Waterfight Festival in Tokyo, where people fight each other with rotten tomatoes, oranges, colored pigments, and everything in between. Read about Yamachan in Osaka, one of the best takoyaki restaurants.

This is a very useful guide. We found information about well known must-see spots, but we also found great information about things we’ve never heard about before, the hidden gems you really don’t want to miss. The next time we plan a trip to Japan we will sure turn to this guide.

At the moment you can get Kindle edition of the guide for free on Amazon.

Download your copy here:
Japan Travel Guide: The Ultimate Itinerary Planner





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

Tokyo Roar Short Film By Brandon Li

Tokyo Roar

Tokyo Roar is a short film made by filmmaker Brandon Li. Brandon filmed Tokyo Roar while on a month trip in Japan. The video is Brandon’s own impression of both modern and the more traditional side to Japan. I think that Brandon has really captured Japan on film in 4 minutes. It might not be what everyone thinks and see of Japan, but from my experience in Japan it seems pretty spot on. I would say this video, for the most part, shows all the wonderful things in Japan, but it also shows to some part real life of homelessness, loneliness and also what life can be like for many Japanese day in and day out. The first time we watched the video it really hit us how he had catched Japan in the way we see it, and it had us having to watch it again to see even more details that we missed in the first viewing.

Brandon has made many other great videos, which you can check out on his Vimo channel: https://vimeo.com/rungunshoot





Posted on by Paul in Media Leave a comment

Japanese TV Adverts #46 and #47

It’s time for a new lot of Japanese TV adverts. Some of the ads that can be seen in the videos from JPCMHD below are: a fun ad for Fanta, which is a popular drink in Japan (our favourite Japanese flavour of Fanta has to be grape – so nice!), an ad for one of them fancy Toto Japanese toilets which I wish we had in Europe, a funny ad for UFO noodles, an ad showing the Coca-Cola campaign with names on bottles, which we had here in Europe a couple of years ago, a couple of Soft Bank ads with one of them a bit weird, well more than normal. Oh, and a flying train and of course a whole lot more.

As always, please check out this YouTube user for more adverts: http://www.youtube.com/user/JPCMHD

Also check out older posts with Japanese TV adverts under the media category to the right of this post.





Posted on by Paul in Media Leave a comment

Using the Japan Rail Pass

whysojapan Japan Rail Pass

Japan Rail Pass

After visiting Japan a few times and spending all our time just in and around Tokyo we discuss if we should try to venture out from Tokyo on our next trip to Japan. There were a few places we wanted to visit, them being Kyoto, Osaka and Nara. So we went about seeing how much it would end up costing if we were to travel back and forth between Tokyo and said destinations day-by-day. We did decide in the end to book a hotel room in Osaka and have that as our base, since both Kyoto and Nara were not that far away from Osaka. We started to look into how much just a round trip would cost from Tokyo to Osaka and back. We found a couple of sites that can be used to look up train prices for Japan, and the site we ended up using was HyperDia. The price of a one way trip was around 14000¥, which would make a round trip around 28000¥ and that’s without the extra trips, like traveling over to Kyoto and Nara.

whysojapan Japan Rail Pass

Rail Pass

We had heard about the Japan rail pass before, so we decided to look into it. The rail pass has to be bought before traveling to Japan since it’s not available in Japan. The rail pass is available as 7, 14 and 21 day pass where once the pass has started it then continues to your last day, so you can’t divide the days up. We ended up choosing the 7 day pass, which would cost around 29000¥. Depending on which travel agent you buy it from, it may cost a bit more.

whysojapan Japan Rail Pass

How to get the rail pass

We checked where we could get the rail pass for the best price. The best price was from online store http://www.japan-rail-pass.com which was cheaper than buying it in our local Japan travel agent. Once the exchange order was ordered, we got them sent to us by FedEx within 2 days and as an added bonus we got the Japanese railways travel guide and a JR network map.

Exchange order

whysojapan Japan Rail PassYou don’t actually get a pass straight away, you get an exchange order, which you exchange once you get to Japan. It can be done at a lot of major transport hubs, i.e. train stations and airports. Just look out for an exchange office for JR. You will need to show your passport and also decide when you want your ticket to start from. We flew in to Narita airport and decided to go to the exchange office there on arrival. At the exchange office we got a form to fill in while we stood in the queue, which was quite long at the time. We started our pass from the point of exchange so we could use it on the JR NEX train into Shinjuku. The ticket can be used on almost all JR transport systems over Japan. Our first couple of days we stayed in Tokyo, so we used it a lot when and where we could, but to get the full value of the pass, you need to travel out of Tokyo on one of the many bullet trains, to earn the rail passes full value.

Riding The Bullet Train

On the day we decided to travel to Osaka we made our way to Tokyo train station, where we were to get the bullet train from. Beforehand we had checked the time-table via HyperDia. A good function on the site is that you choose which companies to travel with, and since the rail pass only works with JR we uncheck all others. You can either book a seat for free at a JR ticket office or via their booking site. Otherwise you can just get on one of the cars which is marked non-reserved. We didn’t have a problem getting a seat, but maybe if you are traveling on a Japanese public holiday you might want to pre-book seats just in case, which you can do for free.

whysojapan Japan Rail Pass

How to use the Rail Pass

The rail pass differs from a lot of other train cards. It can’t be read by the turnstiles in Japan, so you need to always go to the side of the turnstiles, where you normally can find the station staff – either in a little booth or an office. You need to show your rail pass to the staff before entering and leaving the station. The pass does say to have your passport with you, in case the staff needs to check that the rail pass belongs to you. We had our passports with us, but didn’t need to show them at all.

whysojapan Japan Rail Pass

Final thoughts

If you are going to travel a bit while in Japan and not just use the local routes, more long distances like we did to Osaka, then the rail pass is great value. There are some rules and regulations around the use of the rail pass, like it can’t be used by Japanese residents. Check the official site for all the rules and regulations and you can also find a list of places that are official to sellers of the rail pass: http://www.japanrailpass.net/





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 4 Comments