Japanese Manhole covers T-shirts from 47Regions

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Kizuna Japanese subscription box

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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

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tokyo

Things to think of before traveling to Japan, part 1

whysojapan_flying_over_mount_fuji

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.

whysojapan_travelsupermarket_email

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

Moshi Moshi Tokyo App

whysojapan moshi moshi tokyo app

Moshi Moshi Tokyo App

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the go-to person when it comes to all things popular in Tokyo these days with this new app Moshi Moshi Tokyo that has just been released in the iOS app store. It’s available for both iPhone and iPad, but not Android as of yet. I think it is great for those that might like to have a guide book in a regular book size and then just having it on an iPhone or iPad screen is a big bonus. The app is available in three languages, English, French and Japanese. Kyary puts on her guide uniform and is ready to be your personal guide to all her favorite places around Tokyo. You’ll find a mixture of places to see and shops to visit, plus more.

Moshi Moshi Tokyo Guide book

Moshi Moshi Tokyo is also the name of her guidebook that has been available for some time now, but is sadly only available in Japanese. But it can still be a great buy, just for the pictures alone. We got our copy of the book from cdjapan.co.jp and we found it quite a cheap buy. But now that the app is here – and in English, I’m sure next time we are heading to Tokyo we will have it loaded up to our iOS devices without a doubt.

whysojapan moshi moshi tokyo app

The App

Once you have downloaded the app and you have opened it, you come to the library section where you get to chose what language you want to download. Note that it is only in English and French at the moment. I’m guessing that they will add Japanese later on. Here I clicked to download the English version. As stated in the App Store infomation about the app, you’re only getting a sample of the book, which allows you to read up to the first half of Harajuku station. In the future I’m guessing that you will either be able to download the rest of the book via the app library in sections at a set price, or maybe you will be able to download the book in its entirety, once it becomes available. The price and how the book will be available has yet to be announced.

App VS. Book

The app is a copy of the book, but I think between the app and the book is the interactive side to the app that somewhat wins over the book. Of course, that it is in English is great too. The interactive bits I’ve seen of the book so far are clickable boxes that pop up with more info about certain things (i.e. price of her uniform and more), rolling banners of what Kyary thinks of a certion shops, google map links to where the particular shop is located and more.

Final Thougts

I think if the pricing is right for the rest of the book I’m sure it will be a great success. I’m sure even if you’re not going to Tokyo you might end up buying just for all the stuff with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in it. If you are going to visit Tokyo it might be a great read on the plane trip there, helping you to decide where to visit first once you get to Tokyo. The only negative thing I can think of with the app is that all the pricing, shop locations, opening times for different places are as of 2012, which since then might have changed, moved or even shut down, so it would be great if they could do a bit of an update to the information. If you’re unsure, it might be a good idea to do a quick check on the web to see if that place or shop you want to go to is still there.

The app is available from the app store now via the button below or search for moshi moshi tokyo in the iTunes store.

Check our other posts on Kyary Pamyu Pamyu via this link or use the tag Kpp or Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in search box on the left.





Posted on by Paul in Visiting 1 Comment

Video of Tradition And Modernity Journey in Japan today

Tradition And Modernity Journey in Japan today

This is a video of A Journey Between Tradition And Modernity in Japan from Kyoto to Tokyo. The video is beautifully shot with some very nice scenes from both Tokyo and Kyoto. The video is showing two sides of Japan, the modern and busy city Tokyo, and more of the traditional side of Japan in Kyoto. Watch the video and enjoy!

Check out the YouTube site from where the original video comes from and for more information: http://www.youtube.com/user/AmnesiArt





Posted on by Paul in Visiting Leave a comment

Kit Kat opens world’s first store in Tokyo

whysojapan Kit kat store tokyo

Kit Kat Store Tokyo

Kit Kat has just opened it first store in Tokyo. From Jan 17th, anyone in the Tokyo area will now be able to visit the store to stock up on all the goodness that Kit Kat offers. Kit Kat is famous in Japan with many exciting flavours to choose from that can only be found in Japan. Check out our previous post about Kit Kat here: Kit kat and Japan. The new Kit Kat shop, called Kit Kat Chocolatory, is located in the Seibu department store located in Ikebukuro.

The Store

The store has some limited edition flavours that you will only be able to purchase there. Some of them are Sublime Bitter, Special Sakura Green Tea and Special Chilli. The store will the No. 1 place to find the new Kit Kat flavour when others become available on the market. According to It Media the store will aim certain flavours to adult tastebuds for the different seasons. Next time I’m in Tokyo I’m looking forward to visting the store. Check out this review from YouTuber Sharla in Japan from when she visited the store:

 Store information are as follow

1st floor Seibu department store 〒 171-8569 Tokyo Toshima-ku, 1-28-1 Minamiikebukuro
Underground station: Ikebukuro
Opning times: Mon-Sat 10:00 to 21:00, Sundays and holidays Holidays 10:00 to 20:00
Department store Seibu homepage http://www2.seibu.jp/usrinfo/index.html (in Japanese)
More information can be found in the news release from Nestle here: http://www.nestle.com/media/newsandfeatures/japan-kitkat-boutique

Photo credit: Nestle





Posted on by Paul in Food & snacks, Shopping 1 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