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Universal Studios / Universal Studios Japan / Japan Travel / Osaka Travel / Geek Travel / Harry Potter / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Hogsmeade / Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
While the world is still buzzing from last month's debut of the new Diagon Alley park at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Japan is celebrating their own piece of the pie.
On July 15, 2014, Universal Studios Japan opened their own version of the original Harry Potter park, Hogsmeade, which first swung open its doors in 2010 in Orlando.
All told, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter cost Universal Studios Japan ¥45 billion ($442.2 million) to construct, but they're hoping it'll rake in ¥5.6 trillion ($55 billion) over the next 10 years.
Universal Studios Japan debuted in 2001 and quickly became the second most visited amusement park in Japan, after Tokyo Disneyland. This Hogsmeade addition may be missing one or two things (like the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster) from the Orlando park, but it makes up for the edits with a few new additions (and the park's "Jaws" area is still intact!).
We’ve all been there: you’re running around town all day, making phone calls, sending emails, taking full advantage of the mobility smartphones have given us. But with more features and ever-larger screens comes ever-decreasing battery life, and sooner rather than later you’re looking at a thin red sliver that’s left of what was a fully-charged device just hours ago.
Seeking refuge in a coffee shop, a hotel lobby, or crouching next to a random socket is one option, but this taxi we rode in Tokyo recently will literally keep you on the move, offering free charging for both iPhone and Android with a little Lichtenstein pop art-inspired imagery to go along with the despair you feel when “Please connect your charger” appears on your screen.
Japan Travel / NRT / Tokyo Travel / Airports / Free Stuff / Layovers / → All Tags
Let's face it; some airports are absolutely better than others when it comes to making the most of layover time, whether that means awesome eateries, the best retail diversions, or just plain comfy seating. One such airport that routinely kills it when it comes to transit fun is Singapore's Changi, but now Tokyo's Narita is eager to steal some of that thunder with a scheme similar to that of Changi's transit vouchers.
While the program isn't as cool as Changi's, Narita will offer international travelers free vouchers to redeem for complimentary items or discounts at selected restaurants and vendors throughout Terminals 1 and 2. A quick and easy stop at the tourist info desks in the Arrivals area can score you tidbits like a 5-10% discount, or free drinks, or other goodies at any of the 36 pre-security restaurants and shower rooms.
The program begins July 1, 2014 and runs through March 31, 2015.
Free WiFi / Japan Travel / WiFi / Travel Tech / → All Tags
Finding free Wifi and avoiding high-priced connectivity fees have long been a challenge for travelers to Japan, but a solution is in the works as the Japanese government is currently trialing a program designed to provide foreign visitors with free public Wi-Fi.
The plan is to make it real easy on visitors by issuing them a Wifi card with a user name and password to access the system. When you arrive at the airport, there will be a counter at which you present your passport to get a wifi card. This counter has yet to become permanent in many airports, so be sure to ask where it is when you arrive. There are also locations within the cities, such as department stores, that can issue the cards.
McDonalds / FIFA World Cup 2014 / World Cup Travel / World Cup / McDonalds-Around-the-World / Brazil Travel / Australia Travel / Japan Travel / → All Tags
World Cup fever is heating up with the first game's kick-off happening in less than 2 weeks. It's not just Brazil that's getting all excited for the world's largest soccer tournament - McDonalds is getting into the excitement with some really special burgers that are worldly in their own sense.
The Golden Arches is celebrating the world's most popular sport by creating a few new menu items with an international sport flair. Each new burger will be named after a country and feature some ingredients and flavors of that country all served up between a bun that looks like a soccer ball. All of the 800 restaurants in the host country will sell sandwiches "from" Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and U.S.A., and the fun isn't limited to Brazil since new snacks can be found on the menus in Japan and Australia.
Airplanes / Cartoon Travel / ANA / Japan Travel / Pokemon / Airplane News / Livery / HND / CTS / Sapporo Travel / Tokyo Travel / → All Tags
It's a 'Hello Kitty' world now.
As Taiwan's EVA Air continues to promote their fleet of six Hello Kitty jets (5 A330s, 1 777) and Japan Airlines gets in on the action with one Kitty-fied 777, ANA is slowly saying fond farewells to their once robust fleet of Pokémon planes.
The idea to paint up an aircraft in Pikachu and other characters goes all the way back to 1992, with a contest ANA hosted to welcome children's drawings as design concepts. No plane was painted with Pokémon until 1998, however; the first was a 747 on domestic routes, which flew for 17 years before heading into retirement.
Airlines / ANA / 787 Dreamliner / HND / TOY / Japan Travel / DOH / DBX / Boeing / 787 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Dreamliner / Airplanes / → All Tags
Ah, the Dreamliner, Boeing's most advanced commercial aircraft and the darling of aviation geeks. As of today, 17 airlines operate some sort of regular service with the airplane, and the upcoming release of the 787-9 with improved range will increase destination options.
Although most of the airlines put their 787s on long routes, there are some exceptions; one airline in particular takes the top prize for the shortest regular 787 route. The launch customer, Japanese airline ANA, flies the Dreamliner between Tokyo-Haneda and Toyama, a scheduled flight of approximately 40-60 minutes from take-off to landing.
Skymark Airlines / Airlines / Airline News / Airbus / Japan Travel / A380 / → All Tags
The very first A380s will be arriving soon aboard a carrier in Japan, as Skymark Airlines is getting ready to take some of these big birds high into the skies. The very first test flights sporting their livery and look just took off, and it will be later this year when the planes will be first packed, or not so packed, with people.
Things will be a little different for these planes when Skymark Airlines climbs into the cockpit, and we’re not talking about their plans for the uniforms of their flight attendants. These A380s won’t have any traditional economy seats at all. The carrier plans to load the double-decker with premium economy and business class seats only, so get ready to stretch those legs.
Airplane News / Airplanes / ANA / Japan Travel / Avgeek / 747 / Boeing / → All Tags
Well, it's been a good run. Today marks the end of Boeing 747 service on Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA). The double-decker Queen of the Skies first took to the skies for ANA in 1976, flying Tokyo-Sapporo and Tokyo-Fukuoka.
ANA flew 47 of the jumbos, and its 38-year career ended with a domestic flight from Naha to Tokyo-Haneda. That final aircraft will now make its funeral flight to the recyclers.
Flight Attendants / Skymark Airlines / LCCs / Japan Travel / Uniforms / Airline Uniforms / A330 / A380 / → All Tags
Japan's third-largest airline, Skymark, is raising eyebrows this month after raising hems for flight attendants. A newer, shorter uniform is supposed to celebrate the launch of A330-300 flights from Tokyo-Haneda.
The miniskirt outfit are mod 1960s-inspired, and feature a form-fitting royal blue dress accented with a bright yellow neckscarf and a stylish wedge cap. No doubt they will turn heads when walking through any airport, but that's just the issue. The uniforms are facing opposition and criticism as they seem to sexualize Skymark flight attendants more than allow them to do their jobs in a professional manner (don't ask for help lifting your bag into the overhead bins!).
Business Class Travel / Japan Airlines / Japan Travel / NRT / 777 / Seats / → All Tags
Last year, Japan Airlines launched their new business class cabin, but it's only just now beginning to take to the skies. And while we always get pretty excited for flat-bed seats, we're even more excited to announce these newly outfitted birds are bringing their bells and whistles to US routes.
Japan Airlines seeks to tick all the boxes for travelers hoping to cross the Pacific in comfort. The seats are aubergine-hued, lie-flat, with dual mode mattresses, large entertainment systems, direct aisle access for each, and lots of nooks and crannies to store your stuff.
A roaming Jaunted associate got lucky and scored the new cabin on a recent flight from Chicago-O'Hare to Tokyo-Narita; he was left quite impressed with the entire seat and comfort of the cabin. He only took a few photos, but here they are.
Spring Travel / Japan Travel / Spring Festivals / Nature Travel / Events / Festival Travel / Tokyo Travel / → All Tags
The other day, we were going on and on about the lovely cherry blossoms set to show up very soon in Washington, DC, and today we still have the blooms of spring on our minds. However, this time we’re going across the globe to check out on the cherry trees that call Japan home.
Plenty of the trees that now dot Uncle Sam’s backyard originally came from Japan, so it’s not surprising that the country really knows how to do the spring thing. There’s even a word for checking out the blooms and the blossoms; Hanami is the Japanese word to specifically describe this act.