Japan Travel Guide
Have you ever been on a high-speed train and, out of nowhere, felt the urge to dip your feet into a nice warm bath while you watch scenery wizz by the window? Most likely your answer is "no," but now you can do just that, thanks to Japan Rail's introduction of luxury foot-baths on their trains this July.
To start, the JR East services will sport the luxury foot-baths for the high season of summer travel. Passengers on the Tokyo to Shin-Aomori route and other cities northeast of the capital will be able to relax while soaking their feet in a traditional bath.
Last week, we brought you the latest safety video from Virgin America, but they aren't the only ones having a little fun. This week, the Japanese are injecting some humor into a safety video; the airline StarFlyer has created a clever safety vid involving ninjas.
There's no singing, dancing, or rhyming, but there are ninja-related tips on how to keep yourself safe and sound when flying on any of the airline's sleek black planes.
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As is well known and widely acknowledged, Japan is a land of crazy. The plain assertion doesn't really require any proof, but if it did there are entire websites devoted to the insanity that pervades the Land of the Rising Sun. Even their zoos and aquariums are batshit, allowing you to do everything from shake hands with otters to watch Santa Claus play with dolphins.
Somewhere in between shaking otters hands and Santa Claud on a dolphin, there's this very cute bit of travel advertising from Japan's Sunshine Aquarium. The tourist attraction is kind of a hike from the nearest station, and aquarium officials wanted to make sure people could find it. The solution? An augmented reality app where penguins guide tourists along the right path. Because Japan, of course.
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In the famously busy "Shibuya Scramble" intersection
So you may have already heard that Tokyo beat out both Madrid and Istanbul in its bid to host the XXXII Olympics in 2020. Granted that's still quite some time away, but a seven-year advance notice means plenty of time to come to love Japan if you don't already.
Save Friday, 24 July – Sunday 9 August 2020 to your iCal for the actual Olympic Games, and get psyched along with us as we brainstorm what the 2020 Olympics will mean for an already awesome metropolis:
· The cutest Olympic mascots yet!
London's "Wenlock and Mandeville" mascots were disappointing, not to mention vaguely sperm-y, and Sochi's look like long-lost Disney rough drafts. Beijing's 2008 Olympic mascots came closest to the concept of cute, but surely Tokyo in 2020 will make us forget all about decades of creepy characters. Kawaii!
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Peach may have been the first, but they sure weren't the last LCC to make a base in Japan, as Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Air Asia threw their hat into the ring with a joint venture with ANA, named Air Asia Japan. Now, in a fun twist in the always dynamic airline industry, Air Asia Japan will flip over to complete ANA control and be renamed and rebranded as Vanilla Air.
Why that name, in particular? According to the airline's president Tomonori Ishii, "Vanilla Air" was chosen because vanilla "...is popular and loved by everyone in the world" and "it is a very cute name." So too is the name "Peach," but thus far there are no plans to merge Vanilla and Peach, now both budget carriers under the wings of ANA.
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It's hump day and, thus, time for a little extra motivation for the rest of the week. Dreaming about a trip around Japan should do the trick, and luckily National Geographic just launched a contest to not only fly one person and a guest to Japan on Delta, but also to send them out on a Japan Rail trip with a train pass.
There's no essay or video required to enter, just your details. Click here to enter.
Grand prize is the trip for two, which includes airfare, train tickets, hotels in both Tokyo and Kyoto, and a city tour of Tokyo. Good luck!
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There’s some moving and shaking in the world of low cost carriers this week, as AirAsia Japan is going under the knife for a little bit of work. They’ll still be around to whisk you off to here and there and, depending on where you want to go, their new destinations may even be more appealing than their former spots.
All Nippon Airways—ANA to their friends—are getting ready to try something new with AirAsia Japan. The new focus will be on warm and sunny destinations, as the carrier wants to do a little more travel to resort and leisure locations. Spots like Guam and Hawaii have been mentioned, but that's just the beginning of the possibilities.
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While scrolling through Buzzfeed, like we do, we came across this picture gallery describing a tiny island just off Japan's main coast called "Bunny Island." Yes. The Japanese have an entire island where tourists can interact with wild yet tame fluffy rabbits that so overrun the area that it's reasonable to call the place "Bunny Island." Because of course Japan has that.
The island is technically named "Rabbit Island" - Okunoshima - and it has kind of a dark past. During World War II it was used to produce chemical weapons which the Japanese turned against the Chinese. Over six kilotons of mustard gas and tear gas were produced at a chemical weapons facility built on the island. As the war wound down, evidence of the project was largely destroyed or covered up. Today the island is a pristine park with a resort hotel, clear swimmable water, a golf course, and bunnies.
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Last summer we gave you a guide for visiting baby otters at various zoos around the United States. You guys seemed to like the post, which makes sense since it was about baby otters. But what if you're a person who wants to hang out with cute otters, and now it's a whole new summer?
If you're lucky, and you're indulging in Japan Travel, then there's a fairly straightforward solution: go visit the Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park. Not only do they have otters, but they have otters that will actually shake your hand and interact with you. Just so everyone's on the same page before we get to the nitty-gritty details: there's a place in Japan where you can go, pay a $5 charge, and then an adorable otter will take your finger and say hi. Damn, some things are better in Japan.
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Once again Hugh Jackman is proving celebs really are just like us, especially when it comes to navigating Japanese culture.
While on a break from filming The Wolverine in Japan last year, Jackman managed to embarrass himself and upset the locals at an onsen, or natural hot spring spa. It took him nearly an hour to figure out the small towel they handed him at the hot spring was meant to cover his private parts, not his forehead.
High-speed trains now run the tracks on several continents as passengers eagerly board the sleek cars to zip from here to there in just hours—or minutes. Now it looks like japan is taking the idea of high speed rail to the next level, as they’ve just completed the first tests of trains that break 300mph.
The country's bullet trains have been doing their thing for many years now, but it’s time for an upgrade. New L0 Series trains are taking things to the next level as they’re removing traditional constructs—like wheels—in favor of magnetic levitation technologies. The Central Japan Railway Company is behind the new designs and new speeds, as they hope to slash current train timelines by more than half, even those of the current bullet trains.
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: Kyoto, Japan.
This week's Travel Cat is from Jaunted's editor, Cynthia (me!). I just returned from a few weeks spent in Seoul, Kyoto and Osaka and, while trying to make it to as many of the UNESCO sites in Kyoto, Japan, met this kitty. He was having a chill afternoon alongside The Philosopher's Path, a picturesque walking and biking path in the city's northeast, near Ginkaku-ji Temple.