【TRAVEL Q&A】Seven things you should know before traveling to Japan

28.August.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

For those of you who really want to travel to Japan but have never been and feel a bit worried, MMN will introduce to you “Seven things you should know before traveling to Japan.”

 

1:Do I need a visa?

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Japan has agreements with 68 countries (2017, July)that exempt citizens of these countries from having to apply for a visa to enter Japan. Nationals of all other countries are required to have a visa.

▶Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan:http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html

 

2:Do I need to be vaccinated before going to Japan?

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No! There are no requirements for travelers from any countries regarding vaccination certificates.

 

3:Can I use my credit cards? What is the best way to carry money in Japan: Travelers Checks, cash or credit cards?

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Although most stores and restaurants will accept VISA, MasterCard and American Express cards, travelers should keep in mind that there are smaller shops that may not have merchant account capabilities. More than 26,000 post office ATMs exist at various locations throughout Japan, and labels on the doors will indicate whether that particular post office has an ATM machine or not. Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Visa Electron networks are accepted, as are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards.

 

Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so carrying cash is not a real problem. Travelers Checks are also an option, although it is wise to have these available in either Japanese yen, or US dollars. Travelers Checks cannot be accepted by establishments other than major hotels and banks, as establishments must have currency exchange capabilities in order to accept these.

 

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    Kuo Yuan Ye

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    Sarutahiko Coffee

    We have covered Sarutahiko Coffee on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON in the past when we visited the branch in Ebisu.

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    Wonder Chuan

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    Fujin Tree

    The last place I want to introduce is Fujin Tree, also a first in Japan. This is another one of my favourites, so I was thrilled when this one was coming to Tokyo too!

     

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    Eslite is the bridge between Japanese and Taiwanese that aims to become a hub for Asian culture. Centred around reading, there are countless experiences to look enjoy here. Discover a new side of Nihonbashi by paying a visit.

     

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA to Open in Hakone This November

    21.September.2019 | SPOT

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    It is a harmonious combination of a traditional Japanese hot spring ryokan, or inn, and a guest house, which means travellers from abroad will be able to enjoy the beauty of the country’s traditional culture.

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  • teamLab Now Holding Digital Art Exhibition at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    31.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    With the increase in number of collaborations between contemporary digital art and traditional and historical Kyoto sites, teamLab is getting in on the action with its new digital art exhibition “Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine.”

     

    We are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who recently attended the exhibition and who has provided photos for us.

     

    Shimogamo Shrine is a shrine located between the Kamo River and Mount Kōya. It was registered it as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The shrine is associated good luck in marriage and welcomes sightseers from Japan and around the world. It can be reached by the 205 Bus from Kyoto Station and getting off at either Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) or Tadasu Forest (糺ノ森前). It’s also about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station.

     

    This marks the third run of teamLab’s “Digitized Forest” exhibition at Shimogamo Shrine, and this year’s exhibition has been made even bigger. It is running until September 2, 2019.

    Floating by the Rōmon Gate of the shrine are spheres of light which change colour and emit various musical tones unique to the colour when touched by a person. They also react to the other spheres around them, changing to the same colour and letting out the same tone, creating a chain reaction.

    Egg-shaped orbs of light can be found dotted around the Tadasu Forest by the shrine which illuminate the trees. Like the light spheres, when the eggs are pushed they change colour and play a musical noise specific to that colour, the sound and tone spreading through the forest.

    These objects of light can also be found at Mitarashi Pond where they float on the water. The orbs shine brightly and then fade slowly as if breathing. If pushed by people or blown by the wind they will change colour and emit sound.

     

    The best part about teamLab’s art exhibitions is how visitors become part of the exhibition itself by interacting with the installations, offering a much more engaging experience than simply looking. Visit Shimogamo Shrine before the exhibition ends to see digital art meet a traditional Japanese shrine at night.

     

     

    If you’re looking for more sightseeing recommendations for Kyoto then be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram!

     

    Photos by まっちゃん

  • Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly

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    XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA. 

     

    These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels. 

    As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.

     

    *Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline. 

     

    To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ¥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD). 

     

    To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ¥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:

    #旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク

    Four winners will be selected.

     

    Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea. 

  • 4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer

    10.August.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.

     

    If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.

     

    Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties

    This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”

     

    ▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)

    Date: August 11, 2019

    Time: From 19:30
    Location: Hozubashi Bridge
    Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/

     

    Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine

    Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.

     

    ▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Katsura River
    Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/

     

    Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years

    Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival.  Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.

    Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.

     

    ▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Shimasaki Park
    Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/

     

    Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay

    Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.

     

    ▼Ine Fireworks

    Date: August 24, 2019

    Time: 20:15

    Location: Ine, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/

     

     

    Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.

  • Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    05.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.

     

    We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.

     

    Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower

    The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.

     

    ▼Kyoto Station

    Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/

     

    ▼Kyoto Tower

    Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)

    *Opening hours subject to change without notice

    Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/

     

     

    Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.

    Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?

     

    ▼Yasaka Shrine

    Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/

     

     

    Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.

     

    Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.

     

    ▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/

     

     

    Ninenzaka

    Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.

     

    ▼Ninenzaka

    Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/

     

     

    Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.

     

    ▼Kiyomizu-dera

    Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php

    Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/

     

    Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.

     

    Photos: Taka

  • Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700

    04.August.2019 | BUSINESS / SPOT

    NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.

    Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.

    The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.

    The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.

    There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.

    OHYA 1

    From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.

    The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.

    All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to  get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.

     

    A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.

     

    If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?

  • Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour

    31.July.2019 | SPOT

    Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.

     

    Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’

    Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.


    This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.

     

    Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.

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