The Difference Between Narita and Haneda Airports

For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of Japan, you may be searching to find out what the difference is between the 2 airports in the Tokyo area: Narita and Haneda.

Simply, here are the main differences.

Narita: Bigger airport with more international flight choices, but further away from central Tokyo.

Haneda: Smaller airport with less international flight choices, but closer to central Tokyo.

Narita Airport is actually located in Chiba prefecture, not in Tokyo. Transportation will take about 1.5hrs to reach central Tokyo which may sound like a bit of a hassle, however there are more airlines that fly in and out of Narita, compared to Haneda. Therefore you will have more choice in airlines, flight schedules and price.
Airport transfer is pretty easy. The most popular methods would be either the limousine bus or the Narita Express train. If you have a JR Pass, you can use the pass to ride this train. Seats must be reserved for the Narita Express, so please make a reservation prior to your ride.

Narita Limousine Bus: https://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/bus_services/narita/index
Narita Express: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

Haneda Airport is located within the Tokyo prefecture, so transportation can only take more or less than 30min, depending on your destination. You will have choices of the limousine bus, Keikyu train line or the monorail (the monorail doesn't really run towards the more popular areas). This airport was initially meant for domestic flights, so you will actually have more options than Narita when it comes to arranging them.

Haneda Limousine Bus: https://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/bus_services/haneda/index
Keikyu Line: http://www.haneda-tokyo-access.com/en/
Tokyo Monorail: http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp/english/

Using the limousine bus to transfer from Haneda to Narita Airport

When you are traveling in Japan using domestic flights, sometimes it is necessary to transfer from one airport to the other, in the Tokyo area. This article explains the method of using the limousine bus to transfer from Haneda Airport to Narita Airport.

You will first need to purchase tickets at the ticketing machines on the 1st floor (there will be choices in language). You can also purchase them at the information counter right next to the machines.

Choose your destination...

Choose your destination...

Choose your bus time...

Choose your bus time...

Choose the number of passengers...

Choose the number of passengers...

You can pay by either cash or credit card.
Once you receive your tickets, head to bus station #7.

Luggage can be stored in the trunk (a worker will do it for you).

Luggage can be stored in the trunk (a worker will do it for you).

Each bus has a restroom, so it's worry-free!

Each bus has a restroom, so it's worry-free!

The bus ride is roughly about an hour without traffic.
If you are traveling the other way around (Narita to Haneda), you can purchase limousine bus tickets at the designated counters.

Riding the Tohoku Shinkansen (Bullet Train)

The Shinkansen (also known as the bullet train), is a network of high-speed railway lines which is operated by JR (Japan Railway). The Tohoku shinkansen connects Tokyo and Aomori prefecture in a route length of 674 km (419 miles) which is the longest shinkansen line in Japan.

The Shinkansen offers seats in two classes; ordinary and green. All shinkansens offer ordinary seats which are the regular seats. It provides general comfort and a generous amount of leg room. The green car offers larger seats and more leg room than the ordinary seats. Green cars are a little more expensive but are usually less crowded, therefore quieter.

Most Shinkansens offer both non-reserved and reserved seats. All seats in the Green Cars are reserved. Some Shinkansens only carry reserved seats like Hayabusa, Hayate, and Komachi trains. Advance reservations are necessary for these reserved seats but will only costs a few hundred yen as a fee.

Tickets for the Shinkansen can be purchased through the JR ticketing offices (Midori no Madoguchi), Travel service center (View Plaza) or the ticket vending machines located at stations. A Shinkansen ticket contains several fees; the base fare and the Shinkansen supplement. The base fare is the basic fare to be paid to get to your destination. The Shinkansen supplement is the fee for using the Shinkansen. Those tickets are provided as two separate tickets. Seat reservation fees and green car fees may also be applied based on your request.

After purchasing your ticket,

1.      Pass through the regular ticket gate. You insert only your base fare ticket into the ticket slot to pass the gate. Don’t forget to pick up your ticket after you pass the gate.

2.      Follow the sign and make your way towards the Shinkansen platforms.

3.      Pass the Shinkansen ticket gate. This time, you insert your base ticket and supplement ticket together into the ticket slot. You also need to pick up both tickets after you pass.

1.      The overhead electronic display will show the upcoming train departures and their platform numbers. Find your platform number and access your platform.

2.      Find displays on your platform (on the ground or over your head) that indicate which cars are reserved and non-reserved. Find your car according to your ticket.

3.      Find your seats if you have a reserved seat. Seats are numbered and lettered in the same style as on airplanes.

4.      You will arrive at your destination.

It's always nice to have a meal during your Shinkansen ride. Boxed lunches are sold at any major stations, and there are tons to choose from. Try purchasing one for yourself, and enjoy the local taste while enjoying the views pass by.

How to read train time tables

If you are not familiar with riding trains, subways and/or buses where you live, it may be a little difficult or confusing to figure out time tables when you travel Japan, where trains and buses are the main forms of transportation. Here, you will find some easy steps on how to figure out which train you can catch.

Below is an example of a time table for the bullet train in Japan. This is for the West-bound trains, so you will be looking at this if you are in Tokyo for example, trying to reach destinations such as Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, or Hakata. The top half and bottom half are 2 separate tables.

You can download the most updated JR Sanyo bullet train timetables here: http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/

You can download the most updated JR Sanyo bullet train timetables here: http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/

Yes, the numbers are tiny.
On the very left is the list of stations:

Timetable_Crop.jpg

The train will depart at the very top, in this case, Tokyo. Let's say you are departing Tokyo Station, and want to arrive in Shin-Osaka. If you look towards the right of TOKYO, you will see numbers such as 600, 616, 626... These are the departing times from Tokyo. Keep in mind they are listed in military time (1500 would be 3:00pm).

Let's say you are interested in getting on the 6:26 train. Above the 626, you will see "H" and the number 501. "H" stands for HIKARI, which is the name of this bullet train. 501 is the train number. You can see what the other alphabets stand for, at the very bottom of the time table. If you look downwards from 6:26, you will see the times of which the train will depart at the other stations. Right after Tokyo would be Shinagawa (6:34 departure), then Shin-Yokohama (6:46 departure), and so on. If you see a check mark, that means that this train will not stop at that station. Other logo marks are explained at the bottom of the timetable.

Keep going down, and you will see that the list of times will end at 9:30 at Shin-Osaka. This will be the last stop for this particular train. If your destination is beyond Shin-Osaka, this train will not work for you.

Now let's say you wanted to arrive at Okayama at around 2:00pm (14:00). Find OKAYAMA on the list of stations on the left, and move towards the right. Try to find a time close to 1400. The closest I can find is 1415. If you look upwards from the 1415, you can find the departing time from Tokyo which is 1050 (Nozomi #107).

Once you figure it out, it's pretty simple.
If you are planning to use a Japan Rail Pass, keep in mind that the pass is not valid for NOZOMI and MIZUHO bullet trains, so avoid any trains with an "N" or "M" at the top.

If you want to figure out how to get from one station to another which may require transfers, you can also depend on this website: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/ 
Enter your departing and arriving stations, and your ideal departure or arrival time, and it will give you detailed instructions on how to get there.

Shipping Your Luggage to/from Hotels and Airports

When traveling from one place to another within Japan, sometimes your luggage can become a huge hassle (especially for those who want to take a large suitcase to fill with shopped goods!). You will come across many obstacles such as stairs going up and down, long walking distances and narrow aisles to walk through.

The best option we usually recommend would be to ship out your luggage, which will allow you to only carry an overnight bag and conveniently, your big luggage will be waiting for you at your destination. Here are a couple of examples:

1. HOTEL TO HOTEL
You are planning to travel from Tokyo to Osaka by bullet train, but your luggage can get in the way due to limited space on the train. Bullet trains do not provide any extra space for big suitcases either. At times like this, just ship out your luggage in the morning, and retrieve it the next day at your destination.

2. HOTEL TO AIRPORT
You are spending your last few nights in Osaka, but need to get back to the airport in Tokyo by bullet train etc before boarding your international flight back home. In such cases, you can ship out your luggage and have it reach the airport directly. There is an office located inside the airport designated only for shipping and picking up luggage. Just stop by before checking in for your flight and pick up your suitcase! 
*For airport shipping, you must ship out your luggage 2 days prior to your pickup date*

Prices are determined by weight, size and destination, and delivering companies will vary. Hotels will usually have a form (shipping label) for you to fill out, which you can write in English. Be sure to have the address and phone number of your destination!

Naritasan / Shinshoji Temple

There is a place we recommend for a visit when you have a long layover at Narita Airport.
SHINSHOJI TEMPLE at NARITASAN.

The location is easy to access: only 2 stations away on the JR or Keisei line from Narita Airport (Terminal 1). From there, it's in walking distance.

This is the 2nd popular temple in the country where people go to pray for New Year's day (hatsumode), and it attracts roughly 2900000 people. It is also a popular spot among visitors from overseas, especially because the streets and small buildings that lead to the temple from the station has an old, historical mood as if you had slipped back in time, and is very enjoyable even for just a stroll. Keep in mind that there are long hills, so it may be a little hard if you have any physical disabilities.
Along these streets are small souvenir shops and restaurants for you to stop by. One of the famous delicacies of the area is the eel. Some restaurants perform the cutting of live eel at the front of the shop, which may be slightly shocking for foreign visitors, however people seem to always take pictures and videos!

At the entrance of the temple, there is a very steep flight of stairs. You can take a longer path that goes around it if you are unable to climb these stairs.

At the top of the stairs, you will be greeted by the main building, along with the pagoda. In the rear is a beautiful garden as well.

Check their official website (in English) to find detailed information!
http://www.naritasan.or.jp/english/

"Baseball" Shrine in Saitama Prefecture

As a Japanese travel agency, we receive inquiries for all types of travel plans to Japan.
One of the interesting inquires we received in the past was from a baseball referee, who wanted to take his junior team to visit Japan.

We would think that there are many young Japanese baseball players who dream of visiting the US, the home of major league baseball, but in this case it's the opposite. We did some research on any unique places in Japan to take a baseball team for sightseeing, and found this "baseball shrine". One of our agents went for an inspection.

This shrine is called the "Yakyu- Inari Jinja", and is located in Yakyu-cho, Higashi-matsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture. "Yakyu-" (野球)in Japanese means baseball, and although the kanji characters are different, they referred the term "baseball" to the name of the area "Yakyu-"(箭弓).

Naturally, this shrine has many visitors who are involved with baseball. Most of the ema have hand-written wishes that are related to baseball as well. Typically, emas are small wooden plates shaped in a pentagon, but at this shrine, they sell baseball bat-shaped emas. Even the amulets are shaped like bats and gloves.

Our client was very excited when he saw a photo of these bat-shaped amulets.

Feel free to contact Amnet for any unique travel inquiries you have!
http://www.travelwithamnet.com/contact-us/

Difference in Shinkasens: Nozomi, Hikari, Kodama, Mizuho, Sakura

The bullet trains Nozomi, Hikari, Kodama, Mizuho and Sakura runs in either or both sections of the railway networks called the Tokaido Shinkansen Line and/or Sanyo Shinaknsen Line, which are divided into different sections with different companies that regulate them. 

The Tokaido Shinkansen is the swift Japanese bullet train line that run between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka. Regulated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), the 3 Shinkansens that run throughout the Tokaido line includes the Nozomi (the fastest among the 3 bullet trains), Hikari, and the Kodama. 

The Sanyo Shinkansen is another network of swift bullet trains between Shin-Osaka to Hakata (Fukuoka City), which are 2 of the biggest Cities toward the west areas of Japan. The locomotive services throughout the Sanyo area is controlled by the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) excluding the area of Shin-Osaka which is regulated by the JR Central. 5 of the Shinkansens that run throughout the Sanyo line includes the Kodama, Nozomi, Hikari (3 of which also run in the Tokaido areas), Mizuho and Sakura. 

Nozomi Bullet Train
*Not valid for JR pass holders

The Nozomi is the swiftest train among the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansens. Its stopping points are limited to the amplest of train stations between Shin-Osaka and Hakata. Nozomi's fastest train edition, the N700 series travels from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka (a distance of 515 km) in roughly 2 hours & 22 minutes, sustaining its rate of movement at 168 mph (270 km/h). 

Two Nozomi Shinkansens passing one another at Himeji Station, Hyogyo Prefecture. Photo by: Flickr@LASZLO ILYES

Two Nozomi Shinkansens passing one another at Himeji Station, Hyogyo Prefecture. Photo by: Flickr@LASZLO ILYES

Sanyo Shinkansen's N700 series operated under JR Central. The photo was taken at Nishi-Akashi Station, Hyogo Prefecture in 2016. Photo by Flickr@hans-johnson

Sanyo Shinkansen's N700 series operated under JR Central. The photo was taken at Nishi-Akashi Station, Hyogo Prefecture in 2016. Photo by Flickr@hans-johnson

Mizuho Bullet Train
*Not valid for JR pass holders

The Mizuho bullet trains include the JR West & JR Kyushu's N700-7000 & N700-8000 series running between Shin-Osaka & Kagoshima-Chuo. These series include train sets of 8 cars by its quickest travel time at 3 hours & 45 mins, a few of them being 25 minutes faster than the Sakura bullet trains.

Hikari Bullet Train
*Valid for JR pass holders

Hikari are swiftly traveling locomotive service running within the Tokaido & Sanyo Shinkansen lines. This train makes more stops compared to the Nozomi, but it reaches destinations faster than the Kodama shinkansen, which makes even more stops. 

*Hikari is the quickest bullet train that the JR pass covers.

Kodama Bullet Train
*Valid for JR pass holders

The train name "Kodama" is interpreted as the word meaning "echo". This train comes to a halt at all stations that the Nozomi passes on its route inside the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. This makes this locomotive service the slowest of all shinkansens, and are used mainly to transfer between minor stations such as Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture. Train goers within exclusive towns, such as Tokyo & Osaka popularly travel on the Nozomi or Hikari transportation suppliers, making smaller amounts of stopping points. 

Kodama Shinkansen's N700 series reaching speeds up to 186 mph (300km/h).. PHOTO BY FLICKR@Yuya Tamai

Kodama Shinkansen's N700 series reaching speeds up to 186 mph (300km/h).. PHOTO BY FLICKR@Yuya Tamai

Sakura Bullet Train
*Valid for JR pass holders

Regulated by the JR Kyushu, the Sakura Bullet Train travel within Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo. The Sakura route and destination are similar to that of the route the Hikari takes where both of the trains stop in Shin-Kobe, Okayama, Hiroshima, Kokura, Hakata, Kumamoto and Kagoshima etc. 

Models

*N700 series
These series reach the maximum speed of 186 mph (300 km/h). Its "tilting capability", with the max tilt of one degree of the train due to its tracks, allows for the train to keep a stable speed of 168 mph (270 km/h) when passing curves. It also has the fastest acceleration ability.

*700 series
These series reach the maximum speed of 177mph (285km/h). These series are the only trains without a smoking room, only when running in links of 8 cars.

Number of Cars

The bullet trains will run in links of either 8 cars or 16 cars. Depending on how many cars there are, your boarding location at the platform will differ. Please make sure to refer to the printed signs on the ground or the panels above your head, as they will indicate your boarding locations.

Overall Contrast

The difference between bullet trains that are valid with the JR pass (Kodama, Hikari, Sakura) and the invalid trains (Nozomi, Mizuho) is that the valid JR pass locomotives tend to have more stopping points, which stops at minor stations when compared with the Nozomi or Mizuho services. Although the extent of its maximum speeds are roughly identical, the time towards the destination differs as one group of trains stop less than the other. 

Here is an example of how many stops these trains make between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka:

NOZOMI: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka
HIKARI: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, Nagoya, Gifu-Hashima, Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka
KODAMA: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Odawara, Atami, Mishima, Shinfuji, Shizuoka, Kakegawa, Hamamatsu, Toyohashi, Mikawa-Anjo, Nagoya, Gifu-Hashima, Maibara, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka

The Shinkansen progress from the 1968s traveling roughly at 200 km/h to todays bullet trains traveling at the maximum speeds of 300 km/h. The "a" in the N700A series stands for advanced which is an improvement version of the N700 series. PHOTO BY FLICKR@PROMoto Club4AG Miwa

The Shinkansen progress from the 1968s traveling roughly at 200 km/h to todays bullet trains traveling at the maximum speeds of 300 km/h. The "a" in the N700A series stands for advanced which is an improvement version of the N700 series. PHOTO BY FLICKR@PROMoto Club4AG Miwa

Hokutosei Train Hotel in Regards to its Predecessor

One may be able to relish in an euphoric traveling experience in a building at the heart of Tokyo metropolis, the Hokutosei Train Hotel. 

The Hokutosei Train that the Train Hostel Hokutosei is based off of. Photo by: Flickr@elminium

The Hokutosei Train that the Train Hostel Hokutosei is based off of. Photo by: Flickr@elminium

Just last year in August, the Night train, or bed equipped limited express train called the Hokutosei (北斗星 - translated in English as the Great Dipper), closed its services, yet its train ambiances may be relived once again having its predecessor's furnishing intact on the night train style stationary hotel called the "Train Hotel Hokutosei". The sleeper-train modeled hotel opened in the town of Bakuro, Nihonbashi region of Tokyo Prefecture on December 15, 2016. 

The Train Hotel Hokutosei consists of identical interior as its ancestrally-based Hokutosei Night Train where travelers are able to sleep towards a tranquil & reminiscing journey both in the physical realm and the dream world, similar to the like-wise levitated sensations that may be possible from the recreating efforts by the locomotive hotel at Bakuro. The Train Hotel Hokutosei consists of the same type of beds and couches used within the Great Dipper Night Train, as well as its bunk beds and half-sized private rooms utilizing the "Shindai Royal" or royal bed. 

Most possibly similar to the dinning areas of the Hokutosei Hotel, this section of the train carrier is attributed with the interrior designs of the Hokutosei Train Hotel. Photo by:Flickr@hirotomo t

Most possibly similar to the dinning areas of the Hokutosei Hotel, this section of the train carrier is attributed with the interrior designs of the Hokutosei Train Hotel. Photo by:Flickr@hirotomo t

In the lounges are where the train-oriented dining hall's chairs and tables are in use. The hotel also re-utilizes sensitive components of information guidance displayed on bathroom doors based on a helpful idea from its previous locomotive generation. 

The hotel has a total of 78 beds with the price of 2500 yen for a one-night stay per customer. Although the hotel has gathered English speaking staff in preparation for valued foreign customers, so far the advanced booking of patrons are filled mostly with guests that are most possibly native Japanese railroad fans. 

Location for the Hokutosei Train Hotel

An example towards the Hokutosei Train Hotel using the Sobu Train Line from Tokyo Station:

It takes around 5 mins by the Sobu Line, from Tokyo Station to Bakurocho Station. The hotel is directly connected to this station, from exit #4.

Booking Information:

http://stayathokutosei.rwiths.net/r-withs/tfs0010a.do?f_lang=en

Official Website in English:

http://trainhostelhokutosei.com/en/

Reference:

http://www.asahi.com/articles/photo/AS20161202000751.html

Shinkansen, differences in Reserved and Non-reserved Seats

In relation to a Japan Guide article about shinkansen seats, while all purchased green-sha seats are reserved accordingly for individual guests, in ordinary seats individual travelers can choose to sit in the non-reserved sections of the bullet train, on shinkansens that offer them. The Tohoku Shinkansen and Hokkaido's Hayabusa, Hayate and Komachi passenger transports as well as the Hokuriku Shinkansen named Kagayaki do not provide non-reserved seats. In contrast, all shinkansens provide a reserved seating. 

A subduing colored manner from shinkansen's reserved seats. Photo by: Flickr@Andrew Smith

A subduing colored manner from shinkansen's reserved seats. Photo by: Flickr@Andrew Smith

For Futsusha seats or ordinary cars, customers can often choose to purchase a reserved or non-reserved seat. 

Non-reserved Seats (Jiyuseki)

Conforming to a Japan Talk column about Shinkansen seats, Jiyuseki are under a first come, first choice policy meaning that whoever occupies a seat first through the time which one would reside on the seat is considered to sit through that particular spot until arriving at one's destination point. 

People traveling in groups may not be able to sit together when using the jiyuseki during peaking shinkansen seasons when the demand for the bullet trains are high. Also, during these times of high seasons, such as holidays (Obon, Golden Week, Silver Week, Oumisoka [Japanese new years], Sanrenkyu [Three day weekend], etc.) Jiyuseki voyagers may want to prepare for the crowded line while passengers wait to board the bullet trains. 

Photo of the jiyuseki front by a passenger, where the guest mentions that the nonreserved seat was sold out for purchase due to its high demand on this particular train ride. Photo by: Flickr@Masaaki Komori

Photo of the jiyuseki front by a passenger, where the guest mentions that the nonreserved seat was sold out for purchase due to its high demand on this particular train ride. Photo by: Flickr@Masaaki Komori

Non-reserved seats cost less than the reserved seat. For instance, on the Nozomi Shinkansen for the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen lines, train journeyers going from Shinagawa to Kyoto, at the total expedition time of around 2 hours, would pay a basic fare of 8,210 yen which is considered to be the price of a futsusha carrier. An additional charge of 5,700 yen would be added if one gets a ticket for the reserved section of the Nozomi Shinkansen, on the same trip prior, totaling up to the price of 13,910 yen. 

A unique seat design from the seat's reverse view by Tsubame Shinkansen, directed by the Kyushu Railway Company. Photo by:Flickr@POHAN CHEN 

A unique seat design from the seat's reverse view by Tsubame Shinkansen, directed by the Kyushu Railway Company. Photo by:Flickr@POHAN CHEN 

Reserved Seats (Shiteiseki)

Shiteiseki are often more calming than the non-reserved areas. While both reserved and non-reserved seatings offer soft seats and a luggage storage area, where one may place their luggage(s), there are much less contenders wanting to place their respective baggage(s) in shiteiseki locations. 

Reserved seats are predetermined as each attending guests for the trip must occupy their designated areas. 

These seats also cost more then non-reserved seats. For example, for the Hikari and Kodama shinkansen traveling on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen lines, a trip from Tokyo to Shin-yokohama cost are the added amount from the basic fee of 500 yen & the surcharge of the reserved seat's super-express of 860 yen finalizing the price to be 1,360 yen for a reserved seat ticket (at distance of 28.8 km). From Tokyo to Nagoya at the stretch of 366 km cost a total of 6,260 yen for a non-reserved ticket, but if one were to purchase a reserved seat, the customer would be paying 10,880 yen for the same trip. 

Some reserved seats can even turn around at the opposite direction from the original direction for family travelers etc. Photo by: Flickr@kyler kwock

Some reserved seats can even turn around at the opposite direction from the original direction for family travelers etc. Photo by: Flickr@kyler kwock

*Seat reservations for designated seats charge more than non-reserved seats, and yet Japan Rail Pass users can make reservations for free. JR Pass holders can get their tickets at the "Midori no Mado Guchi" ticket offices, these ticket offices are characterized by a green sign, located at respective train stations. 

*The basic seat fee is determined by seasons, or by the volume of people using the bullet train, which makes the fees vary from 320, 520, 720 yen.

*The shinkansen fees are determined by the distance traveled and other surcharges that may be included depending on the type of seating purchased etc. 

JR Shinkansen, differences in Futsusha & Green-sha

In accord with the informative web column on Japan Guide, 3 out of the 4 main islands of Japan are linked by a system of highly swift railway trains called the Shinkansen (新幹線), or referred as bullet trains in English. The maximum performance in which some of these trains travel, while customers are boarded, is referenced at averaging speeds of 320km/h or 200mph. The Shinkansen, like relatively all train services in Japan, are known for its timely manner (scheduled arrivals), comforting travels (in terms of travelers inside experience a generally quiet atmosphere) safety record (in its 50 years history there has not been any fatality of passengers caused by colliding accidents or by the train leaving its tracks) and for its concise productivity and/or efficiency. 

The JR Tokai's 500 series model, according to the author of the picture, was the first bullet train which reached the speed of 300km/h and its narrow body became less-imperative towards traveling users as a more wider & newer version of the Shinkansen, the 700 series, which came out with the same swiftness as its ancestral model, the 500 series. Photo by: Flickr@ykanazawa1999 

The JR Tokai's 500 series model, according to the author of the picture, was the first bullet train which reached the speed of 300km/h and its narrow body became less-imperative towards traveling users as a more wider & newer version of the Shinkansen, the 700 series, which came out with the same swiftness as its ancestral model, the 500 series. Photo by: Flickr@ykanazawa1999 

Cost-reduced Japan Rail Passes make traveling on the Shinkansen an optimum choice in terms of expenditure and for safe traveling. 

A JR pass allows one to travel on the Hikari Shinkansen, the second fastest of commercial bullet trains, as many times as one pleases throughout the designated time in which they have selected until the pass's expiration date. 

Futsusha (Ordinary Seats)

Ordinary Seats, or Futsusha in Japanese, are the common seats that exists in all operating bullet trains. These sitting areas are comparable to the seats of the economy class on commercial airplanes. Futsusha seats are ordinarily cozy offering a sufficient amount of foot space. These seats are most often provided in either reserved or non-reserved seats. All ordinary seats are arranged in sequences of 3x2 (google maps view of what a typical ordinary seats for the Tohoku Shinkansen looks like). 

The unoccupied version of an ordinary cabin (futsusha) on the JR East Shinkansen from last month. Photo by Flickr@Luke Lai 

The unoccupied version of an ordinary cabin (futsusha) on the JR East Shinkansen from last month. Photo by Flickr@Luke Lai 

Green-sha (Green Car) 

Green-sha are similar to that of the business class on commercial airplanes, and likewise provide roomier and cozier seat settings in comparison with the standard seating (futsusha).

The Green car are organized in arrays of 2x2 (glimpse of what the green-sha generally looks like on the Tohoku Shinaknsen). 

This photo, of the Hikari Shinkansen Green Car area, is from 2013 where a few total of 9 to 10 people were on board for this section and a warm steamy towel was given as the seated customers began their spacious trip. Photo by: Flickr@camknows 

This photo, of the Hikari Shinkansen Green Car area, is from 2013 where a few total of 9 to 10 people were on board for this section and a warm steamy towel was given as the seated customers began their spacious trip. Photo by: Flickr@camknows 

All of the green-sha seats are reserved. 

A newer seat setting has also been introduced by certain bullet trains called Gran Class. These carriers are established in configurations of seats with a 2x1 pattern, and are relatable to those of the first class sections of commercial airplanes. 

Shinkansen Prices

Futsusha bullet train prices, on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen (railway line operating between Tokyo & Shin-Osaka), ranges (based on surcharges & distance of travel) at around 170 yen (from Tokyo to Shinagawa, at the distance of 6.8 km) to 11,660 yen (from Tokyo to Hiroshima, at the distance of 894.2 km) as basic fare prices (not including surcharge). 

*For Green cars an additional charge of above the price of 2,250 yen is applied on top of the cost mentioned above. 

*Note that the prices are intended for a one time travel to and from the respective locations. 

*Travelers using wheel chairs can be accommodated on most of the Shinkansens and limited express trains by contacting the station, two days before one's journey, in which one plans to board.

Decorative Japanese Manholes, Promoting its Cities

Japanese manhole covers are among one of the uniquest of the countries in regards to the states efforts to promote its art work and its success. The decorations on the orb-shaped picturesque caps connect with its area presenting itself as an image or symbol of its residing region. 

The manhole covers, starting from the top left hand corner going across, are from different locations in Nara, Osaka, Tokyo, Miyajima, Himeji, Okayama, Himeji, Disneyland and Sapporo.「Photo by: Flickr@Ruth Hartnup」

The manhole covers, starting from the top left hand corner going across, are from different locations in Nara, Osaka, Tokyo, Miyajima, Himeji, Okayama, Himeji, Disneyland and Sapporo.「Photo by: Flickr@Ruth Hartnup」

According to a Japan Times article by Mizuho Aoki, heavily designed Japanese manhole covers have become popular in Japan along with its free collectible cards released during April of this year (to further promote the sewage coverings) by Japan's Sewage Promotion Platform, the GKP or referred in Japanese as the Gesuido Kho Purattoformu. 

The GKP organization produced many more of its collectibles adding on 30,000 additional edition due to the cards towering fame. 

The story behind the cover's decorative turn started in the 1980s when Japan's cities started to encourage a positive image for Japan's sewage systems. 

The manhole artists, who are the manhole cover manufactures, sends their blue print manhole drawings to its affiliated city where town representatives pick out there most preferring design and authorizes its production. 

The unintimidating fugu portraited capping in the city of Shimonoseki is an appropriate identification for the city, known as the fugu capital of Japan and is notable for its natively collected fugu produce, being the heftiest in Japan.「Photo by: Flickr@x768」

The unintimidating fugu portraited capping in the city of Shimonoseki is an appropriate identification for the city, known as the fugu capital of Japan and is notable for its natively collected fugu produce, being the heftiest in Japan.「Photo by: Flickr@x768」

Manhole enthusiasts or fans, who collect photos and information about the coverings, test their knowledge by hypothesizing on why particular images were chosen to represent itself as manhole designs, where the portraits are most usually correlated to its area. Decorations on manholes differ by city to city in Japan. The manhole's art corresponding to its city is very unique compared to other countries with beautiful manhole craftsmanship. 

Manhole partisans have a variety of ways in capturing the recordings of the circular art covers from taking pictures to some going to lengths by making inked paper-imprints of the circular subterranean covers. 

An example of Hakodate, Japan's subsurface rounded closing depicts one of the cities notable seafood edibles, the squid, which can be eaten relatively fresh as it mimics a dancing motion as its served with soy sauce there.「Photo by: Flickr@Photocapy」

An example of Hakodate, Japan's subsurface rounded closing depicts one of the cities notable seafood edibles, the squid, which can be eaten relatively fresh as it mimics a dancing motion as its served with soy sauce there.「Photo by: Flickr@Photocapy」

In an article from Colossal on Japanese manholes by Johnny Strategy, describes a further reason behind the start to a more frequently produced artful underground covers. The website writing indicates that the explanation for the evolution of Japanese manhole configurations were attributed with the municipalities' efforts to satisfy the public while there were concerns on the city's raising taxes toward pricey sewage operations. 

The Colossal composition further illustrates that, in behalf of artist contenders and pictured issues that followed one after another, the flush aesthetic coverings took its startling leap toward a favorable trend. 

The archaic-appearing manhole in Kumihama, a town in Kyoto Perfecture, perhaps accredited by the Damyojin Cape, resembling that of a dragon soaring on the sea-surface at a certain angle. Legend has it that the avatar of a dragon lives in this area. 「Photo by: Flickr@OKFoundryCompany」

The archaic-appearing manhole in Kumihama, a town in Kyoto Perfecture, perhaps accredited by the Damyojin Cape, resembling that of a dragon soaring on the sea-surface at a certain angle. Legend has it that the avatar of a dragon lives in this area. 「Photo by: Flickr@OKFoundryCompany」

A few years ago roughly 6000 visually technical manhole lids were reported all over Japan by the "Japan Society of Manhole Covers". One of their discovery includes a classification for pictured sewage cover's design, the most common being tree illustrations, following optic representations of landscapes, flowers and birds - the pictorial iconographies all encourage the wellness and the individuality of their respective towns thus advertising their municipal area in its own exclusive manner. 

The cute manhole in Hiroshima portrays the logo of its professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.「Photo by: Flickr@midorisyu」

The cute manhole in Hiroshima portrays the logo of its professional baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.「Photo by: Flickr@midorisyu」

An editorial on the Kuriositas website "about the art of Japanese Manhole", introduces a quote from English Philosopher, Jermey Bentham, where he casts in writing that "stretching [one's] hand up to reach the stars, too often [one] forgets the flowers at [its] feet." The cited words is meant to interconnect with the description of how Japan's structural elaborations plays a part to the little aspects of the city's overall structures and perhaps leave one marveled by seeing the humbling circular decorations on the ground. The ornate, but self-effacing manhole perhaps is, in this case, one of the prime examples of Japan's thorough designs that exist throughout its establishment. 

Evidently, it's perhaps the creative expenditure put into the manholes and its competition between respective artists and cities that have incited devotees and have cultivated into its own faming culture.

Hakone Trip to the Setsugetsuka Hotel for a 1 Night Stay

My refreshing trip towards Hakone started off with my journey to Japan on the American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Business class for American Airlines #27 offers herringbone seating. The reverse seats allow amplified privacy and comfort for each attending individual. 

The personal area is decently roomy where the visions from seated attendees are most generally out of sight from one another. 

The personal area is decently roomy where the visions from seated attendees are most generally out of sight from one another. 

This is a photo taken place before seating. Its orderly and well-suited presentation potentially makes the traveler feel as though they are in the caring hands by dutiful flight attendants. 

This is a photo taken place before seating. Its orderly and well-suited presentation potentially makes the traveler feel as though they are in the caring hands by dutiful flight attendants. 

Traditional Washoku meal based on luxurious Tsukemono or "pickled things" in addition with tasty Ikura sprinkles etc. 

Traditional Washoku meal based on luxurious Tsukemono or "pickled things" in addition with tasty Ikura sprinkles etc. 

The spacious environment provides a calming atmosphere which adds on to a gentle yet solid taste to Japanese cuisines. 

The spacious environment provides a calming atmosphere which adds on to a gentle yet solid taste to Japanese cuisines. 

Hakone Trip Day 1

Shinjuku Station is where my friend and I began our travels toward the Setsugetsuka Hotel in Hakone. The Odakyu Department store in Shinjuku is worth the experience through the populated areas to get your hold on Ekiben or railway boxed meals.  

The freshly prepared bentos with colorful fall scenery offers one with vast numbers of visual sensations with its aroma induced choices. 

The freshly prepared bentos with colorful fall scenery offers one with vast numbers of visual sensations with its aroma induced choices. 

Ekiben (駅弁) are sold at Japanese train stations and even inside Express trains or "fast trains".

Ekiben (駅弁) are sold at Japanese train stations and even inside Express trains or "fast trains".

The choice has been set and I enjoyed myself with quality nutritious season-referenced meals. 

The choice has been set and I enjoyed myself with quality nutritious season-referenced meals. 

I ate my fulfilling meals from bentos on the Romancecar, which is Odakyu's train service with limited stops connecting Shinjuku Station with popular tourist areas like Hakone, Enoshima and Kamakura.

*Note that, in the Romance car, seating for passengers must be reserved. 

Boarding the Romancecar from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto. 

Boarding the Romancecar from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto. 

The photo when I transferred trains from the Romancecar to the Hakone-Tozan Train in order to get to Gora Station. Traveling to Gora Station took around 40 minutes from when I boarded on to the Hakone-Tozan. Taking the train from Shinjuku to Hakone takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes of travel time.

The photo when I transferred trains from the Romancecar to the Hakone-Tozan Train in order to get to Gora Station. Traveling to Gora Station took around 40 minutes from when I boarded on to the Hakone-Tozan. Taking the train from Shinjuku to Hakone takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes of travel time.

After Arriving at Gora Station, a 2 minute walk took me directly to Setsugetsuka Hotel (雪月花 hotel meaning four seasoned hotel or seen as snow moon flower). The hotel is located in the mountain where one can experience a traditional style of Japanese Spa life. 

After Arriving at Gora Station, a 2 minute walk took me directly to Setsugetsuka Hotel (雪月花 hotel meaning four seasoned hotel or seen as snow moon flower). The hotel is located in the mountain where one can experience a traditional style of Japanese Spa life. 

There are 3 private open-air baths (private baths stationed outside) available as onsens (hot springs). The onsen was beyond satisfactory as I dipped myself into warm relaxation. The water from the baths are naturally produced by a volcanic lake in the mountains. Other Photos: (1) (2)

There are 3 private open-air baths (private baths stationed outside) available as onsens (hot springs). The onsen was beyond satisfactory as I dipped myself into warm relaxation. The water from the baths are naturally produced by a volcanic lake in the mountains. Other Photos: (1) (2)

There is an outdoor and an indoor bath. Located outside are offerings of ice pops and Yakult drinks that are freely available for recreation. 

There is an outdoor and an indoor bath. Located outside are offerings of ice pops and Yakult drinks that are freely available for recreation. 

This hot bath is a carbonated hot spring having two of its kind here (one for men and one for women in separate locations). 

This hot bath is a carbonated hot spring having two of its kind here (one for men and one for women in separate locations). 

The room offered a vibrant green scenery of vegetation from its patio. The geta (traditional Japanese flip-flops) and cozy to wear clothing, samue (worn by Japanese Zen Buddhist monks are also worn casually as clothing) were provided in the room along with free wifi, a flat screen television, hair dryer, air conditioning, etc. If the footwear/clothing size(s) do not match or one wishes to wear another type of garment, like the Yukata (which is a causal version of the summer kimono), one may visit the lobby area to acquire them. Yukatas offered by the hotel come in a variety of different colors and sizes. 

The room had two beds with 3 extra futons or voluminous quilted mattresses. 

The room had two beds with 3 extra futons or voluminous quilted mattresses. 

The patio includes a private bath. The other half of the patio photo shown: here.

The patio includes a private bath. The other half of the patio photo shown: here.

The dinner time is predetermined at either 17:30 or 20:00. Customers have the choice of choosing a time they wish to meal upon registration. *Note that dinner would not be prepared after 20:00. 

Dinner came with 2 options, the Kaiseki, an artistically prepared Japanese multi-course meal, or the shabu shabu, a Japanese style hotpot with boiled vegetables and thinly sliced meat one would dip to boil quickly and then eat with a preference of ponzu sauce, a citrus based soy-sauce, or sesame sauce.

Both meals were visually complex in design and presentation with several courses containing more seafood than meat. 

The two courses were heavy in terms of quantity, and qualified by my standards of being breath taking quality cuisines.  

Complimentary coffee, ramen noodles and dessert times: 

Setsugetsuka Hotel provides free coffee from 6:00-24:00, dessert from 17:30-18:30 and ramen noodles from 22:30-24:00. 

The restaurant presents itself with settings from both modern and traditional styles of Japanese display. Edo-like fashioned Japanese black pine is painted on the smooth wooden surface beyond the transparent glass wall. More of the restaurant table and the left side of the open area view beyond the glass barrier photo is shown: here.

The restaurant presents itself with settings from both modern and traditional styles of Japanese display. Edo-like fashioned Japanese black pine is painted on the smooth wooden surface beyond the transparent glass wall. More of the restaurant table and the left side of the open area view beyond the glass barrier photo is shown: here.

Nutritious japanese delicacy based from shrimp, egg to nebulous crystal appearances of mouthwatering deliciousness.  

Nutritious japanese delicacy based from shrimp, egg to nebulous crystal appearances of mouthwatering deliciousness.  

Beloved sashimi with its politely dynamic flavors enhances umani synergy with soy sauce.  

Beloved sashimi with its politely dynamic flavors enhances umani synergy with soy sauce.  

A photo from the restaurant menu in Japanese shown here.

From my experiences, tempura produced by luxurious eateries tend to have a thin batter covering to balance and lift the root tastes of fish and vegetable although I rarely visit expensive restaurants such as this place.

From my experiences, tempura produced by luxurious eateries tend to have a thin batter covering to balance and lift the root tastes of fish and vegetable although I rarely visit expensive restaurants such as this place.

Habitually produced Japanese hotpot warmed my body and soul along with an organic savory delight.

Habitually produced Japanese hotpot warmed my body and soul along with an organic savory delight.

The dessert here was extraordinary. My sense of taste vouches for them. 

The dessert here was extraordinary. My sense of taste vouches for them. 

I checked in at the hotel at 15:00 and then checked out the next morning at 11:00. 

After checking out of Setsugetsuka hotel, I walked a few minutes to Gora Station in order to ride the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. A board sign of Gora Station photo shown here.

After checking out of Setsugetsuka hotel, I walked a few minutes to Gora Station in order to ride the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. A board sign of Gora Station photo shown here.

*Note that the Hakone railway would be closed during 2017 from January 10th (on Tuesday) through April 14th due to improvement in construction etc. 

The Hokone Tozan's cable car connects Gora Station to its final reaching point of the Souzan Station, at the mountain height of 767 meters (2,516 ft). It takes the cable car 10 minutes to get to Souzan Station traveling a total distance of roughly 1.2 kilometers. 

The Hokone Tozan's cable car connects Gora Station to its final reaching point of the Souzan Station, at the mountain height of 767 meters (2,516 ft). It takes the cable car 10 minutes to get to Souzan Station traveling a total distance of roughly 1.2 kilometers. 

After arriving at Souzan Station, we took the Hakone Ropeway Service so that we can reach the Togendai Station.

After arriving at Souzan Station, we took the Hakone Ropeway Service so that we can reach the Togendai Station.

For information on Hakone Ropeway Service one may visit their website by clicking here.

Togendai Station is reached in order for people to behold the lake Ashi as well as its volcanic fumes from Owakudani's volcano and on clear and sunny days, the grand beauty of Mount Fuji may be witnessed.  

Owakudani area is where a volcanic eruption by Mount Hakone from 3000 years ago created a crater. Today there is volcanic activity in the area of Odawakuni Valley where hot spring and fumes may experienced. Delicate individuals who possess asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, people using heart pacemaker and pregnant women should avoid this area for its high volcanic activity.  

Website information/map of Hakone & Owakudani by clicking here.

The Hakone Shrine was witnessed across the lake Ashi, a crater lake from a volcanic eruption of 1170 CE, on a cooling misty day. This site is popular due to its view of Mount Fuji from this very angle on bright sunny days.

The Hakone Shrine was witnessed across the lake Ashi, a crater lake from a volcanic eruption of 1170 CE, on a cooling misty day. This site is popular due to its view of Mount Fuji from this very angle on bright sunny days.

On lake Ashi are Hakone Sightseeing Cruises and I took the one called the Royal 2. It possibly resembles a profiting sea captain's pirate ship. 

On lake Ashi are Hakone Sightseeing Cruises and I took the one called the Royal 2. It possibly resembles a profiting sea captain's pirate ship. 

For information on Routes, Ports & Docks regarding the touring ships at lake Ashi visit this site here.

In this photo we are traveling to Hakone Shrine after my lovely boat trip. Dense beautiful forests were around my field of vision.

In this photo we are traveling to Hakone Shrine after my lovely boat trip. Dense beautiful forests were around my field of vision.

The soft matcha-colored frequency from the crowding forests would be difficult to head to the Hakone Shrine; therefore, it is pointed out by the torii gate positioned in lake Ashi and two other gates are placed at the main street on Moto-Hakone. 

The path further past the torii gate seen above eventually leads, with flanked lantern paths, to the Hakone Shrine where the shrouding of fog gives off a serene atmospheric gift.

The path further past the torii gate seen above eventually leads, with flanked lantern paths, to the Hakone Shrine where the shrouding of fog gives off a serene atmospheric gift.

Lastly, my partner and I found our way back to the Moto-Hakone port and secured our boarding onto the Hakone-Tozan bus to the Hakone-Yamato Station which was roughly 40 minutes of travel time. Then we took the Romancecar back to Shinjuku Station. 

The Hakone trip was high quality as I was able to enjoy Hakone's soothing hot springs, sensual & exotic nourishment to its calming nature from flourishing greenness.  

 

Website link on how to purchase and get to Hakone from Shinjuku:

https://matcha-jp.com/en/1560

Google Maps:

Traveling from Gora Station to Setsugetsuka Hotel 

Website link regarding the Setsugetsuka Hotel:

https://www.odakyu-travel.co.jp/eng/search/faci.php?faci_cd=4641016410

4000 Yen Priced Round Trip Tickets Between Narita Airport and Tokyo for Foreign Visitors

Narita Express (N'EX) Tokyo Round Trip Tickets

JR East Japan Railway Company is offering discounted round trips between Narita Airport Terminals 1, 2, 3 and Tokyo (including Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Yokohama, Omiya and Ofuna Station) for foreign visitors (limited to non-Japanese passport holders). 

N'EX at the Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. Photo by: Flicker@t-mizo

N'EX at the Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. Photo by: Flicker@t-mizo

N'EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket prices for Adults (ages 12 and up) is 4000 yen and for children (ages 6-11), 2000 yen. 

Without purchasing N'EX Tokyo Round Trip Tickets, regular round-trip costs for adults (age 12 and over) vary from 6,040 yen to 9,420 yen. 

The round trips are of "direct access" to and from Narita and Tokyo with approximately 1 hour travel time without any transfers. 

There are an abundance of trains that the valued clients using N'EX can take with trains operating at intervals of roughly 30 minutes

N'ex's seats have power outlets, reclined seatings & rotation settings as well as a wide enough table for a laptop. Photo by: Flicker@Steven Johnson

N'ex's seats have power outlets, reclined seatings & rotation settings as well as a wide enough table for a laptop. Photo by: Flicker@Steven Johnson

Conditions

*When purchasing these discounted tickets, the passenger would have to make seat reservations. This can be done at the JR East Travel Service Center located at Narita Airport's Terminal 1, 2, or 3.

*If one forgot to reserve a seating, one may take a seat on a vacant seat on the train until a person who has that particular seat reserved appears, one would kindly give the seat to the individual who has reserved the seat beforehand during ticket purchasing. (Although, there are cases where family costumers without reservations whom sat on reserved express train were told kindly to sit in non-custom seats towards the back of the express train. Please take note in reserving seats.) 

*The ticket's expiration date is 14 days. One may buy more than one ticket as long as the ticket date of one's one or more purchases do not interact with the ticket's validity of 2 weeks. For example, I may buy a ticket and then another one that does not interact with the 14 days of the first ticket's validation through expiry.

*These tickets can be purchased one month prior before a person uses their round-trip ticket. 

Passageway inside N'ex have panel maps to notify the passenger's current location. Photo by: Flickr@Devin Lieberman

Passageway inside N'ex have panel maps to notify the passenger's current location. Photo by: Flickr@Devin Lieberman

There are 4 locations where one may Purchase the N'EX Tickets at the Narita Airport Terminals:

Narita Airport Terminal 1:

JR East Travel Service Center   Business hours: 8:15am-7:00pm [Mon.-Sun.]

JR Ticket Office (Midori-no-madoguchi)   Business hours: 6:30am-8:15am, 7:00pm-9:45pm [Mon.-Sun.]

Narita Airport Terminal 2 & 3:

JR East Travel Service Center   Business Hours: 8:15am-8:00pm [Mon.-Sun.]

JR Ticket Office   Business Hours: 6:30am-8:15am, 8:00am-9:45pm [Mon.-Sun.]

Drinks, snacks and meals such as a bento may also be purchased while passengers travel towards their respective destinations. Photo by: Flickr@Devin Lieberman

Drinks, snacks and meals such as a bento may also be purchased while passengers travel towards their respective destinations. Photo by: Flickr@Devin Lieberman

Official site for East Japan Railway Company's Narita Express:

www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex

JR East InfoLine for Telephone Inquires:

050-2016-1603  *10:00am-6:00pm *Seat Reservations not accepted during call

Japanese UFO Catcher Pro Technique, the Illusion Spin, and other Trick Tips

Arcade center, Club Sega, in the Akibahara District, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix

Arcade center, Club Sega, in the Akibahara District, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix

Japanese U.F.O. catchers comes with variety of prizes including stuffed animals, chocolate, ice cream, jewelries to boxed anime figures. Anime figures which come in boxed packages are popular in Akihabara, Tokyo. The video listed below shows us a specialized move, called the illusion spin, for acquiring boxed-shaped anime figures. 

The U.F.O. catcher special move "The Illusion spin" is shown by the video above at the 3:32 mark.

At the back streets of Akihabara, the Japanese television program, Hirunandesu, interviews a UFO catcher veteran, Naoya Igarashi (五十嵐直也), with 20 years of experience as a crane game player. Over the span of 20 years, he had spent a total of 10,000,000 JPY (roughly $100,000 USD) solely on UFO catchers.  

Igarashi-san's occupation is that he is a professional UFO catcher recognized by the Japan Crane Game Association (日本クレーンゲーム協会). The 20 year veteran was given a first class recognition by the association after passing its Nippon First Class Crane Game Exam. 

Boxed shaped prizes are popular and very difficult to obtain by crane games. Despite the high skill level in order to win an anime figure, Igarashi-san precisely calculates where the crane's arm is going to hit and he guides the mechanism as the boxed-prize fluidly falls into the chute for the win, in a technique called the "Illusion Spin" which starts at the 3:32 time in the video above. 

More Crane Games from Club Sega in Akihabara, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix  

More Crane Games from Club Sega in Akihabara, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@IQRemix  

Other Tips on UFO Catchers

An article, on the Pseudomacro website about UFO Catcher tips, holds that in maneuvering the claw of the crane game it helps to think "outside the standard idea of how claws are meant to function", since the strength of the crane game's claw/grip is remarkably limited. A lot of times, the claws themselves isn't enough to conquer the prize into the chute. 

*Rather than the power of the grip of the claw, the outward/downward force of it is much better equipped with power; therefore, depending on the machine and scenario, one may try moving the prized item little by little rather than trying to scoop the item prize. One can try moving the item into the chute with the outward force of the grip/claw if possible. 

*Remember one is most likely to not get a prize first try unless a player beforehand or an arcade staff had positioned the item to a convenient location for item capture. 

Lots of Capybara-san dolls in a glass container at the Sega arcade in Shibuya, Tokyo. Photo by: Flickr@Chuck

*It may be a good idea for one to embrace themselves in having to spend more than a couple of tries in wining a preferable prize, and one may have to get to know the workings of the machine to increase one's chances for seizing a prize. 

*It may be important and helpful to set a limit for oneself before starting to play the crane game if one find themselves very into the game, so to speak, and having to spend more than one's anticipation. For example, one may want to set a number of tries, perhaps a couple of tries, to see if the particular machine is winnable for the number of tries the individual has set forth. If not, then be confident and walk away. For me, I would not want to spend money than I planned to invest, worse yet, without a prize to take with me. Although the experience itself may be worth while, I personally would feel sad if I invested too much money into the machine. 

*When I went to an arcade at Daiso in Ikeda, Osaka, I asked the facility staff to better position the item for me inside the UFO catcher by nicely asking the staff member, "Item wo Toriyasui basho ni oitekure masuka?" The arcade personnel was very kind to do so and they would, almost always, position the item in a preferable location for better/convenient tries on the crane game. If the staff does place it in a good position, one can politely inform one's gratitude just by saying thank you towards the kind arcade officer. 

"The corridor of the UFO Catchers." Photo by Flickr@Aaron Lai

"The corridor of the UFO Catchers." Photo by Flickr@Aaron Lai

The experience playing the crane game is generally for fun. It's great to avoid getting bitter of the experience due to unwanted results. Especially if one is a beginner such as myself. It may hinder one's true potential or it can hinder one from functioning at their one hundred percent ability. One may take it step by step and if one is not feeling it, one may stop for the moment and look forward to play it for another occasion. Remember to have fun and it's okay to mess up, but be wary not to invest too much into it if one does not take kindly to huge spending on UFO catchers.  

Suntory's Distillery Tour, for Quality Whiskey Tour and Tasting, in Kyoto

It was Amnet's honor in guiding beloved customers, out of all our valuable clienteles, into the Suntory's Whiskey Production Resort located at approximately 10 minutes of walking distance from the Yamazaki train station.

Photo of the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery.

Photo of the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery.

The Yamazaki Distillery

The Yamazaki Distillery became the birth place for Japan's first commercial whiskey distillery in Shimamoto, Osaka Prefecture on 1932. 

The distillery became popular both in Japan and over seas after the release of Japanese whiskey-themed morning drama, Massan, gained fame. 

Neatly stacked whiskey barrels seen in the process at the Yamazaki Distillary Tour. Here is a closer look at one of the whiskey barrels.

Neatly stacked whiskey barrels seen in the process at the Yamazaki Distillary Tour. Here is a closer look at one of the whiskey barrels.

Suntory's fine distillery services include a tour regarding the craftmen's hard fought efforts in creating a diverse population of reputable whiskeys

With many different types of copper pot stills here, Suntory is able to produce whiskeys of various types.

With many different types of copper pot stills here, Suntory is able to produce whiskeys of various types.

The distillery tour shows how the whiskey inside the barrels, over time, goes through chemical changes from reddish wine-like color (right) to a much darker appearance and concentration (left) as time passes.

The distillery tour shows how the whiskey inside the barrels, over time, goes through chemical changes from reddish wine-like color (right) to a much darker appearance and concentration (left) as time passes.

Following along would be a precious experience for unblended whiskey tasting. Unblended whiskeys are not for sale, and they are the main ingredients responsible for creating Suntory's Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskeys.

*The cost for tasting the unblended whiskey is included in the tour.

The reviews from the website, Tripadvisor, indicate that the tours are given in Japanese. Audio guides of various languages are given in accordance to the individual. 

With another review from the site cited above, it mentions the friendly service there as the staff is of excellent nature and their English translations were of great ability. With this particular review's introduction being that this reviewer have been to other whiskey distillery tours, and nothing was new to the reviewer in regards to what is to be expected at a distillery tour. Although, the review further delivers that this particular tour is unique in a way that it "makes you appreciate Suntory Yamazaki Whiskey." At the end of the tour, whiskey tour clienteles were able to taste up to 4 glasses of whiskey. 

4 different whiskey tasting of different types and flavors with snacks and other treats on the side. Some of which include the White Oak Cask Malt, the Wine Cask Malt and the Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey.

4 different whiskey tasting of different types and flavors with snacks and other treats on the side. Some of which include the White Oak Cask Malt, the Wine Cask Malt and the Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey.

The Yamazaki Distillery Tour consists of a duration of 80 minutes, and costs 1000 JPY per person. 

The Yamazaki tour requires that attendees make prior reservations before one's visit. As well as the participators for the whiskey tasting (included) tour having to meet the requirement of being 20 years of age or above, which is Japan's minimum legal drinking age as of November 2016.

*Reservations may be booked up to 3 months ahead so please be wary for future seeking go-ers. One may make reservations online as well as by telephone. 

The other service which the Suntory Distillery offers is the Yamazaki Whiskey Museum where reservation is also necessary upon visitation, unless the valued attendee has applied for the Yamazaki Distillery Tour. In which case, reservation for this department does not have to be done for one's visit. 

Inside the museum are video panels that showcase the history of Japanese whiskey and their distillery. Additionally, there is a tasting counter where one can taste whiskeys from throughout the countries, and compare their fragrance, with many different types of whiskeys procured through distinctive distillation/aging techniques with a fee included on the menu.

Whiskey tasting counter and server at the whiskey museum. 

Whiskey tasting counter and server at the whiskey museum. 

The wooden and glass furnishings that the whiskeys are stored in adds a tranquil feel for the whiskey tasting experience. 

*Note that there are only parking spots of motor coaches and people with disabilities. 

 

Location

5-2-1 Yamazaki, Mishima-gun, Shimamoto-cho 618-0001, Osaka Prefecture 

Open hours:

9:30 am to 5:00 pm (except for plant shutdowns)
Facility is closed over the New Years holiday. 
 

Price: 

Yamazaki Distillery Tour (1000 JPY)

The Story of Yamazaki (2000 JPY) 

How to get there:

<From Osaka>

•Take the JR train from Osaka Station to Yamazaki Station (about 25 minutes).

•Or one may take the Hankyu train from Umeda Station to Oyamazaki Station (about 40 minutes). 

<From Kyoto>

•Take the JR train from Kyoto Station to Yamazaki Station (about 15 minutes).

•Or take the Hankyu train from Kawaramachi Station to Oyamazaki Station (about 25 minutes).

*The distillery is located about 10 minutes on foot from JR Yamazaki Station and Hankyu Oyamazaki Station.
 

Online Reservations for:

Yamazaki Distillery Tour

Yamazaki Whiskey Museum

For more information visit: 

http://www.suntory.com/factory/yamazaki/

*Or one may contact the Yamazaki Distillery Information Desk at:

+81 75-962-1423

Fish Pedicure in Shinjuku

Enjoyed and experienced by some, out of the many important and valued customers of Amnet travels, the Osso, is the name of a fish pedicure and day spa business located roughly 8 minutes in walking distance from the Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. 

Video description mentions that it feels like electricity running through the feet.

Before the fishes nibbling processes begin, the attendees are welcomed into separate changing areas, and are welcomed to store one's belongings in a secure location. Shortly after, the guests are given comforting robes to wear; a quick feet washing begins for everyone's sanitary precautions. There upon, the visitors are welcomed onto a seating. Below, the customer's feet will be dipped into sanitary water with delicate blue UV lighting. In this phase, the relaxing and pleasant sensations of light-tickling or even mild to above ticklish sensations begin to take hold from the feet, as tiny friendly swimmers gather around the visitor's feet for a feasting, creating a unique and rejuvenating experience. 

Different from the doctor fish tanks at Osso, this is a seemingly photo of blue UV lighting. Photo by: Flickr@Kullez

Different from the doctor fish tanks at Osso, this is a seemingly photo of blue UV lighting. Photo by: Flickr@Kullez

There are even doctor fish cafes in Japan.

The passengers of this rare feet refreshing stationary adventure say that the fishes leave the voyager's with softer feet and this treatment works as a feet pedicure. 

From the Yelp review regarding Osso, language barriers aren't a huge problem. A staff member understood what service the fish pedicure seeking customer wanted to get regardless of the differences in language. Also, the staff here is of friendly and pleasant atmospheric aura. It would most possibly be a breeze and a joyful experience ordering and visiting the feet remedy faculty.

The gurra rufa or fish doctor are used in this unique feet pedicure where the tiny fishes nibble on dry lifeless particles of the skin for food where as the fish doctors in the wild feeds on algae collection that stick onto the surface exposed by their view/sensory in aquatic environment. 

Photo by: Flickr@moritzholzinger

Photo by: Flickr@moritzholzinger

The skin-exfoliators exist naturally in the fresh waters of rivers, streams and other non-salt based bodies of water in the Middle East mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Oman.

In Turkey, they are protected under law from commercial exportation or unethical business practices by acquiring mass numbers of these skin alleviating kissers from exportation. 

The garra rufa's can be quite ticklish as customers relate their experience of fish pedicure as somewhat electricity like and can take some time to get used to. Besides the getting used to part, the fish doctor's hungry mind set will leave one's feet in rejuvenation. One may feel at ease towards the non-harmful fishes, and may look forward toward its unique/refreshing feet cleansing service. 

Location: 

1 Chome-6-12 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan

How to get there:

Take Tokyo's main train line, the Yamanote-sen also called JR's Yamanote line, to arrive at Shinjuku Station. 

From Shinjuku Station, it will take 8 minutes on on foot to get to Osso, the beauty & day spa.

Open Hours: 

The facility as a whole, is open 24 hours.

Price:

The price is around 2000 JPY depending on the course/treatment.

Descendants from Samurai Surnames

According to a 2012 UC Davis study, people carrying the last names of what once was Japan's feudal ruling class tend to be in large numbers in top portion for society's classification of hierarchy. 

Ken Watanabe starring in the movie The Last Samurai. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox

Ken Watanabe starring in the movie The Last Samurai. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox

The study by Gregory Clark (University of California Davis) and graduate student Tatsuya Ishii came to the conclusion that people with less common samurai corresponding last names, for instance, Sugieda or Shinmi are more likely to appear to be classified as in the upper class category when compared with last names that are more common in Japan, for example, Japan's top 2 recognized last names like Suzuki and Sato. 

1890s Samurai. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox 

1890s Samurai. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox 

This is a statistical study. It is not intended to disrespect or harm the individual's worth by the person's last name or of their surname. Meaning that if one has a common last name in Japan or etc., that does not determine where a person is or is seen as being in a particular level on the social rankings of society. If one is considered as standing in the lower class in terms of individual assets and etc., it does not deter the person's ethical standings and self value. Regardless of social category, people have different abilities and biological reaction that puts emphasis on each individual's unique set of skills in certain areas of expertise, for example, people may work more exceptionally in certain profession than in other areas of occupation.  

edo samurai with make-up. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox

edo samurai with make-up. Photo by Flickr:@madmrmox

Shinmi and Sugieda are the surnames listed in a 1812 genealogy (study of family history) of samurai families that were complied by bureaucrats who worked below the Tokugawa shoguns. The Tokugawa Clan were comprised of noble class samurai whom ruled Japan from 1603-1867.

In Prof. Clark's book, "The Son Also Rises," holds that the descendants' riches is generally influenced by what your ancestors were doing past centuries ago.

Edo Period Japan. Photo by Flickr:@urbz 

Edo Period Japan. Photo by Flickr:@urbz 

Along with other upper classes, the samurai's lost their legal benefits and authorization in Japan during the country's postwar constitution, which holds that all people are legally equal. 

In the Japanese study, the organization picked out family names from 1812's data and matched them with a modern Internet database called the World Names Profiler. The study concluded that people with the rare samurai names were plentiful when the surnames were correlated with the names of corporate managers, doctors, lawyers and University Professors. 

Japan's 7 gods of fortune. Photo by Flickr:@Steve 

Japan's 7 gods of fortune. Photo by Flickr:@Steve 

In Prof. Clark's research, history in Japan and China portrays that drastic social reform such as Japan's Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the Communist Revolution in China did not change the individual's social status and wealth of those who seemed likely to have the most impact upon. 

On contrast, Satoshi Miwa, a board member of the organization and the Professor associate at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Education, said he was not acquainted with the research regarding social rank that was solely focused on family names. He adds, that the findings for the conclusions of UC Davis's study persuasive.

Samurai with Authority Prepared for Battle. Photo By Flickr:@madmrmox 

Samurai with Authority Prepared for Battle. Photo By Flickr:@madmrmox 

Whether or not the study portrays the statistics of which family names are more likely to be found in the upper echelons of an organized community and it's connection to what one's ancestors were doing, this idea does not apply to every individual based on whether one's past generations had a less common surname today of what used to be of high samurai origin. 

I believe knowledge based on experience has a lot to do with your current goals along with one's standing and ethical approach on whether one is considered to be in or if one is willingly having the abilities to pursue the ladders of the social strata.

References:

http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/The%20Son%20Also%20Rises/Japan%202012.pdf

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/03/04/samurai-spirit-progeny-of-japans-warrior-elite-retain-edge-today/ 

Japan's Owl Cafe Trend

Akihabara is filled with goods and services that deal with Japanese manga and its pop culture of comic books, anime figures, anime fashion, idols and etc; yet aside from the Japanese manga/music community, there is a calming place away from the busy streets of Akihabara, known as animal cafes that have been trending in this decennium. 

Below is a video of some tourists visiting an owl cafe located in Osaka.

Animal cafes range from reptiles, cats to rabbit cafes, but there is a particularly unique pet cafe known as the owl cafe in Akihabara (Tokyo), called the The Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe. This cafe is located roughly 5 minutes away in walking distance from the Akihabara Station (a transit stop).

A close picture of a cute and gentle owl with marble eyes. Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

A close picture of a cute and gentle owl with marble eyes. Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

In the owl cafe, owls show their interests towards the attendees by the owls natural soft glances towards the valued visitors, and many say it's very relaxing to interact with the owls in a therapeutic kind of approach.  

With a total of around 25 well-behaved different owls, these owls vary from different size and breed. 

Reservations at the Tokyo Owl Cafe fully booked on this particular day. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

Reservations at the Tokyo Owl Cafe fully booked on this particular day. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

The stationary etiquette owls makes the total space of around 400 square feet sized Akibahara Fukurou cafe a very pleasant and spacious enough environment for the visitors and their owl companions. Although I heard that these places can get crowded due to its popularity, one can possibly make reservations for a certain owl cafe in Akihabara ahead of time by gaining support from this link below: 

https://www.viator.com/tours/Tokyo/Owl-Cafe-Experience-in-Akihabara/d334-23033P1

Information surrounding the owl caretaker/proprietor at Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe:

The one who takes care of the owls there is the owl proprietor and his name is Shinsaku Yabe. Mr. Yabe says that owls are more than a pet; they are more like a friend or a person to him. The owl caretaker shares from his experience by speaking that each individual owl has their own unique characteristics. He goes on revealing that when a person sees the picture of the owls or read about them, they to not see its personality for themselves. He advises that people may visit his owls at the cafe if they would like to visit. Mr. Yabe would be very pleased.

The owl cafe caretaker mentions, "It's all about feeling." Getting to know the owls allows Shinsaku Yabe to name the delicate feathery creatures in accordance to each and individual owl. For example, a frosty-snowman looking owl with the mixed colors of tree bark and snow was named "Snowman." 

An image of the barn-owl turning its head.  Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

An image of the barn-owl turning its head.  Photo by Flickr@Tim Brennan

The experience with these owls can become mentally soothing and better yet it can heal your spirit. The calming euphoria that one may undergo during this experience is possibly one of the reasons why people re-visit the owl cafe. 

Quan Mckirly, author of a CNN article about the Akibahara owl cafe, writes about how one customer revisits the cafe because it is very rare to see the owls, and how civil these hoofs can be.

One would not see an owl in the town of Akihabara, but when a person enters the Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe, you would see an abundance amount of owls at a single cafe, and that experience itself is very unique. Some people have visited the owl cafe 60-70 times. According to Mr. Mckirly, there has not been any recorded instances where a customer mentions the well known famous movie line, "Owl be back" even with many visits the cafe has received. The line is influenced from the movie Terminator and it's famous monologue of, "I'll be back."

Visitors come back to visit the cafe not just for the owl's rarity. The customers perhaps gets the euphoric effects from the pleasant atmosphere the owls provide; similar to when a person who enjoys nature visits the quiet green grasslands of the prairie. 

On the website, Time Travel Turtle, it mentions that the price of the Akibahara owl cafe is 1500 yen per hour (around $14.50) with its method of payment being a cash only transaction. 

People are able to interact with the owls with the quality time and extent by siting at one of the prepared tables, allowing oneself to a sound experience of petting the complexly designed soft soothing feathers as the owls may call upon its client with a soft murmur. 

Picture of eager and friendly southern white-faced owls. Photo by Flickr@Yuki Hirano 

Picture of eager and friendly southern white-faced owls. Photo by Flickr@Yuki Hirano 

Picture taking, Feeding and small advice for Owl Cafe attenders:

Towards the end of the session, the owl cafe personnel can take some pictures of the clients and their friendly owl companion(s) as the customers wish. 

Also, there is no need for the owls to eat food which is intended for the customer because food for owls such as frozen mice can be obtained at the cafe.

The Akibahara owl cafe puts its efforts mainly with its owl related services compared to the services of cafe & coffee; therefore, it can be a good idea to bring coffee or even snacks of your own in unison with the cafe's rules and regulations. 

An elegant owl on top of a beautiful lady. Photo by Flickr@TheMarcusChance

An elegant owl on top of a beautiful lady. Photo by Flickr@TheMarcusChance

How might the cafe owls feel about the situation that they are in:

Customer visitors may be sympathetic towards the owl's state of mind and perhaps wonder, "Shouldn't these owls deserve more freedom?" 

To a certain relief, from information I have gained from the web of the owl cafe sources listed below, are that the owls at the Akibahara Fukurou Cafe are treated with loving care and kindness. Mr. Yabe takes the owls home every night for dinner meals of mouses. The CNN article by Mckirly, contemplates whether Mr. Yabe gets any sleep at all because owls are nocturnal creatures who naturally do not sleep in the night. 

Owls looking sleepy in the owl cafe. Photo by Flickr@Toukou Sousui 淙穂鶫箜

Owls looking sleepy in the owl cafe. Photo by Flickr@Toukou Sousui 淙穂鶫箜

The Origin of the Owls at the Cafe:

The owls are from a breeder of Mr. Yabe's trusted friend and are mostly from Europe. The owls that reside at Mr. Yabe's cafe work place are used to human interaction and care from a young age. The Owls are cross bred with native owls in Japan, so the owls at the cafe vary in breed. 

Subtly calming to observe and spend quality time along with their cute oval physique and seemingly very soothing feathery touch, it is not a surprise why so many are fond to spend time with the well-behaved, respect-deserving puffers.  

Although this article itself is generally based on a particular owl cafe, one has many options of owl cafes to attend to each slightly and greatly different in there own way I presume, just as the owls themselves. 

 Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe Address:

67 Kanda Neribeichō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to, 101-0022, Japan

Open hours:

11:00am until 6:00pm or 8:00pm

Price:

1500 yen (roughly $14.50) per hour and limited to one reservation of a hour. 

How to get there:

Get oneself at the Akihabara Station, from there you would walk for 5 minutes towards the north-east direction where the cafe is located in 67 Kanda Neribeicho. The Fukuro Cafe is on the ground floor at the quiet street area of the town. This cafe has pictures of owls to make the cafe easier to find. 

Source: 

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/09/travel/tokyo-akiba-fukuro-owl-cafe/

http://www.timetravelturtle.com/2015/02/tokyo-owl-cafe-akiba-fukurou/

Kyoto's Tourism Problem

 Glimpse of Japan's steady economy in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by flickr@ Sam Ng

 Glimpse of Japan's steady economy in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera. Photo by flickr@ Sam Ng

Japan's current economically sustained tourist empire took 20 seemingly long years to rise into economic power. What may have contributed towards its slow economic progress was the frightful stories of expensive Japanese foods including the horrifyingly priced tales of $200 melons.

Photo of South East Asia Exchange Rate taken in 2011. Photo by: Flickr@Nick Hubbard

Photo of South East Asia Exchange Rate taken in 2011. Photo by: Flickr@Nick Hubbard

Now with Japan's exchange rate with foreign countries, including the United States, softening; for example, with USDJPY rate going from the all time high of 306.84 in December of 1975; to the lowest of 75.74 in October of 2011. During the all time lowest, in my understanding, 1 dollar was worth 75.74 yen which makes it much cheaper to exchange USD to JPY than it was in the last few decades. This makes traveling from America to Japan using US currency much cheaper than it was. 

Japan is a travelers hot-spot. In 2016, Japan has even reached the tourists goal of 20 million visitors according to the website company Mirco-Adviors. A great number of 20 million tourists have visited Japan. 

Japan's government set a new goal of tourists visitors to 40 million by 2020's Olympic event that Japan is privileged in taking responsibility in hosting.

Many tourists visiting the Kiyomizu-dera temple in 2015. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

Many tourists visiting the Kiyomizu-dera temple in 2015. Photo by Flickr@John Gillespie

The advancement in Japan's economy and its portrayal today motivates many tourists now to visit Japan. 

With great number of tourists, comes greater responsibility.

And not all tourists are in accordance or knowledgeable of Kyoto's etiquette. Therefore, it's perhaps difficult for some tourists to be in accordance with Japan's mannerism with tourists being in an environment different from their own; not accustomed with the different etiquette which may be complex according to each country in their own way. 

For all people to corporate with the manners of Kyoto, the Kyoto Government issued a guide on etiquette how-tos according to CNN's article author, Maggie Hiufu Wong. This article how-tos is called Akemahen of Kyoto, which is translated as the "Do-Nots of Kyoto" which was published last year in June. 

The Akimahen of Kyoto lists easy to understand steps on how to use public bathrooms without dirtying the premises that could have been evaded from dirtiness. The people of Kyoto are having difficulty getting through to the people of the tourism spots there; therefore, they created the "Don't of Kyoto", a colorful cartoon style list of etiquette informing a list of not-to-do guide.

The Guide to Kyoto how-tos:

http://www.city.kyoto.lg.jp/sankan/cmsfiles/contents/0000186/186286/TG106_WEB_engKYO.jpg

A portion of Kyoto's Akimahen guide. Photo by flickr@Tjeerd Wiersma

A portion of Kyoto's Akimahen guide. Photo by flickr@Tjeerd Wiersma

Some of the list from the guide are that it informs the audience that one can be fined 1,000 yen by smoking outside, one can be fined 30,000 yen for littering, one should take off your shoes when stepping foot onto the tatami mat (a Japanese style mat that is traditionally made from rice straws), one should wait in line and to not cut in front of others, one should not take pictures near a train, one should also be polite when asking for a photograph of Japanese locals and many other how-tos shown on the colorful information sheet. 

In Japan, tipping may be generally unacceptable depending on the person and situation. Also, opening taxi doors as a taxi cab customer is not necessary because the taxi doors open automatically unless it is the passengers seat you wish to go into; in which case the taxi personnel will open the door for you. 

Bicycle riding while being intoxicated puts one at a mighty deterrent/penalty of million yen (roughly 10,000 dollars) or one would have to spend 5 years in prison.

Respectively, California law treats drunk bicycle riders as drunk automotive drivers when caught with the total fine of around $3,600; 6 months of prison with many other penalties that are accompanied with the penalties prior. 

The guides on manners of Kyoto city's website are placed out onto public streets, areas and restrooms of Kyoto as stickers etc. in hopes to restore the traditional image of Kyoto Tourism. 

Typical morning day at nice and well established Gion district in Kyoto. Photo by Flickr@Moyan Brenn 

Typical morning day at nice and well established Gion district in Kyoto. Photo by Flickr@Moyan Brenn 

Following the etiquette as the City of Kyoto informatively gives out will not only preserve Kyoto's style of sparkling environment; but could also have a positive effect to a lawful person in which the law abiding tourist or person can avoid oneself from penalties not intended by the initiator. 

 

Sources:

http://www.city.kyoto.lg.jp/sankan/cmsfiles/contents/0000185/185184/%28keiji%29youshiki.pdf

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/currency

https://skift.com/2015/06/18/japan-is-more-popular-than-ever-with-tourists-but-it-may-not-be-ready/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/30/travel/kyoto-etiquette-guides/

http://dui.findlaw.com/dui-charges/drunk-biking.html

http://dui.drivinglaws.org/resources/dui-laws-state/penalties-dui-california.htm