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Japan Travel 2022


Tony Galiani

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You said "some poor fellow", singular, meaning one guy, no? I wouldn't expect them to send that guy on a regular interior flight, with the risk of contaminating other passengers. That would defeat the point of quarantining.

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He's presumably not the only guy, just the one who went on social media and got picked up by the mainstream press. I believe they are using charter flights to move people around.

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14 hours ago, MeTheSwede said:

I think maybe you are a bit harsh on the Japanese bureaucracy now. With all the hordes of foreigners arriving at this time, it's only natural for every hotel room in Tokyo to get booked. And once you've filled up all the hotels on Honshu, Fukuoka is the next logical step, right?

 

 

 

My friend owns a hotel and was telling me about this. Not just any hotel can join the scheme, there are requirements that many don't meet. It's probably a lack of suitable hotels as well as the numbers arriving.

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Pretty normal of hotels filling up. Especially at the start when the flood gates have just opened.

 

Australia has capped and uncapped arrivals many times due to hotel capacities being reached.

 

I can see Japan doing the same.

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I have seen reference to this in some of the news outlets so I guess this is how things will be for a while.

 

On a personal level, it looks like my dream of going to the Snow and Ice Festival in Hokkaido is not going to happen this February - disappointing but I guess I need to keep that in perspective.  At my university, we are advising international students not to travel home on the winter break as they may not be able to get back to the USA as the situation is so uncertain.  We have had to reopen some dorms and bus routes to facilitate this.  And we are preparing a large number of isolation dorms for the Spring term just in case we have a surge from returning students.

 

Meanwhile, in my video travels, I keep finding more places I want to go to.  Taking a ferry out of Osaka to Kagashima looks really neat.  And, the Asahi Shimbun had an article about Lonely Planet rating Shikoku as the sixth best region of the world to visit:  https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14489483

Don't know how they come up with these rankings but Shikoku had not been on my radar at all.

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

 

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I'm sure they mean the southern coast and the Iya Valley. I did a short trip to Takamatsu, and I wouldn't put that part of Shikoku in anything worth traveling to. It has nothing out of the ordinary, except it's more empty of foreigners and it's just a quick throw away from the line extending from Tokyo to Hiroshima. I enjoyed traveling around Kyushu a lot more.

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1 hour ago, Tony Galiani said:

  And, the Asahi Shimbun had an article about Lonely Planet rating Shikoku as the sixth best region of the world to visit:  https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14489483

Don't know how they come up with these rankings but Shikoku had not been on my radar at all.

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

 

Japan is like an onion you peel. 

 

The first travel you make, you do it as tourist, seeing what 'must' be seen. Thenafter, every time you travel again, you go deeper and deeper. Shikoku is a world by itself. Very different from what you can imagine. It's in my radar for a while, probably for my next stay in Japan (road book in progress). It'll depend whether I'm alone or with my family (my daugther never went to Japan, thus it'll more the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka - Myiajima classic run for her to start discovering)

 

Alone (or only with my wife), I'm scheduling to go to Ise (Mie Prefecture), then by train along the coast to Nachikatsuura (Wakayama prefecture), then somewhere to Wakayama for a boat trip to Shikoku. Nothing is already fixed. I want to ride the Hinotori too, which cope with the 1st phase of the trip ... etc ...

 

JM

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We all have different tastes and wants from our trips and travels.

 

Shikoku has some interesting sights. But the are slow and difficult to get to. And I can see why most would prioritise Honshu over Shikoku sights.

 

But as you travel more, you'll get to see you priorities first and then start looking for more newer sights to see.

 

I've travelled for a month total over two trips and never been to Hiroshima once. Normally on all first time travellers itineraries. Yet I've visited Kagoshima twice.

 

I'd love to visit Matsuyama and Kochi. And a few sights in between, but travel times and needing a car have made me prioritise other sights.

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While I have not travelled much in Shikoku the train trip on the Marine Liner from Okayama to Takamatsu across the bridge is pretty good.  Takamatsu is a great base to take ferry rides out to see contemporary art installations on various islands in the Seto Inland Sea as part of the Setouchi Triennale.  The Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu is one of Japan's top strolling gardens and well worth a visit.  Oh to be able to travel to Japan again...I do miss it!

 

Graeme

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Kochi is really interesting.  We visited the castle and some old town stuff IIRC.  It was about 5 or 6 years ago.  We stayed in the "Japanese Inn" with the in-room really fancy meal etc.  The Nampu train trip was fun as well.  My son had seen that line on his train DVDs as a small kid (he had all sorts of train DVDs from Japan as a kid and knew all about everything).

 

I think we need more Shikoku and Kyushu.  We've been to Kagoshima once -- mainly as I wanted to see the WW2 (kamikaze) museum, which is nearby.  And my son and I took a day trip to Nagasaki once when he was young, about 10 years ago.


We've been to Hokkaido once, once North of Tokyo (more than the burbs) on the same trip as Hokkaido.  Most of our stuff has been Tokyo to Hiroshima (being based in Osaka / Kobe when we go).

 

Lots to see and do.  You could go regularly and visit and not see everything every year for the rest of your life.

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On 11/29/2021 at 3:23 PM, railsquid said:

 

To be extended until further notice, with a review of the situation early next year.

 

In other news, the government is planning to offer free two-week all-inclusive hotel stays at a mystery location of their choice to anyone identified as a close contact of an Omicron case.

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TokyoImperialPalace

I would concur what the others said about everyone having different needs. I often come across posts on the internet saying that "x is nicer to live in that y" which overlooks that people have different tastes and cultures. I grew up in major cities and find the vibrancy and convenience of Tokyo good enough to prefer living here, but I can also understand those that go on day trips to the countryside around Tokyo. For me Shikoku and other similar areas are weekend trips from Kansai. I have traveled to Shikoku but I found the public transport to be more lacking than in other parts of Japan (e.g. countryside) so remember that the lower transport frequencies can really drag on time (spending half day to just see one sight...) and that good planning is required.

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My Sapporo Snow and Ice Festival plans are clearly not going to happen this year.  And no stops at Snaffles or Lucky Pierrot in Hakodate.  (Yes, I have been watching I Will Always Travel For Food!).

 

Anyway, we are in Canada for a few days so that I can at least test my clothing for Hokkaido next year.  This morning it was -5F (which I believe is -28Centigrade or thereabouts).  Definitely need better gloves!  And, yesterday, when I went to the Fredericton Market, it was so cold I decided to use my face mask to protect my face - which fogged up my glasses - and that fog froze instantly!  Never had that happen before.

 

So now I am just traveling to Japan in the warmth of the house via videos.  So far, I have been to Huis Ten Bosch, taken several ferry rides, traveled by plane from Tokyo Haneda to Kobe and am now on the Shimabara Railway at Aino station (though taking a break to type this).

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

 

 

Edited by Tony Galiani
correct a typo
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It’ll happen tony! 
 

growing up in central coastal California I had no idea of what below freezing was. I first discovered it working for a few days in a -20F freezer propping up dead porpoises in life like poses to freeze into so we could cast moulds of them. Learned how any little gap in layers gets felt very quickly! but there if you started to get cold you could just step out of the freezer! I remember the chap I was working with had the same issue with his glasses fogging and freezing up. I’ll have to dig out the picture of the two of us standing there in the freezer with our dozen frozen porpoises all swatted up. It’s perfect for a caption of what is going on here…
 

Later in grad school I went up to Edmonton just after xmas for my best friend’s wedding. Stepped off the plane and basically could not exhale after the first breath. Like -15F and I was dressed for a winter in Berkeley… I was quickly redressed in loaned clothing from groom and friends. 
 

we tried to soap Just Married on the car window after the reception (like 8 at night) and of course no soap would transfer to the window so I got the bright (read dumb) idea of getting some liquid soap from the bathroom and painting it on the windows. Well this worked but by the time I would get 2 letters painted the soap cupped in my hand (bare hand was not going to ruin the nice loaned gloves) would freeze up enough not to work, so back into the bathroom get my hand warm under hot water and some more soap. Well I went back into the reception very proud of myself and my friends mil asked how I was able to soap the windows and I told her and her eyes got big and she grabbed my hands and yanked me into the kitchen and started running cold water over my hands and then ever so slowly raising the temp. After a few minutes I had great pains, before that it was numbed out totally. Luckily no frost bite but did have a black fingernail for a while but it never fell off or anything. That learned me to just not live where it gets that cold…

 

jeff

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I am definitely lukewarm about my wife's desire for us to relocate to her home town in Canada.  Though, oddly enough, she complains about the cold more than I do.

 

Today, I was showing her some snow videos from Hokkaido and Akita and that piqued her interest just a little bit.

 

Stay warm,

Tony Galiani

 

 

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I recently watched Solo Travel Japan's video about his flight from Tokyo to Kobe.  He decided he was hungry and wanted to get something to eat (though actually he is hungry and gets something to eat on just about all of his videos) so he stopped at the Royal Host in Haneda airport.

 

He opted for a platter with hamburger, sausage, chicken, corn, fries and a bowl of rice - for about US$14.  On our trip to Canada we left home early to allow extra time due to weather issues and I did not have time to prepare (read that as I forgot in the rush) the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had planned on.  When we got to LaGuardia I thought we might get something small to share. Checking out the food options:  peanut butter and jelly sandwich for $US8 or a turkey wrap for US$14!  

 

And our planes were fairly dirty - though to be honest I expected that.  These experiences remind me just how different travel is in Japan and why it is sorely missed.

 

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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For anyone interested in the subject, today's New York Times has an opinion piece by Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani of Tohoku University about Japan's management of the current crisis and how it offers plans for managing it in the future.  I found his perspective very enlightening.

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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19 hours ago, Tony Galiani said:

He opted for a platter with hamburger, sausage, chicken, corn, fries and a bowl of rice - for about US$14.  On our trip to Canada we left home early to allow extra time due to weather issues and I did not have time to prepare (read that as I forgot in the rush) the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I had planned on.  When we got to LaGuardia I thought we might get something small to share. Checking out the food options:  peanut butter and jelly sandwich for $US8 or a turkey wrap for US$14!  

 

And our planes were fairly dirty - though to be honest I expected that.  These experiences remind me just how different travel is in Japan and why it is sorely missed.

 

I have a similar experience when returning to the UK. You go from a clean and tidy airport like Haneda, with normal prices at the shops, to somewhere like Heathrow that is dirty and expensive. Heathrow Terminal 5 is the newest one and also the worst in that it seems to take forever for baggage to arrive. I've been waiting by the carousel for an hour before, and it's never been fast. Then as you enter the passport control area it's full of unwelcoming signs. Not exactly a great experience when travelling to a country.

 

The smaller regional airports tend to be better, but still nothing like as nice as the ones in Europe. It's a real shock to the system arriving in the UK and even after all this time it still gets me.

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We've been waiting for Japan to open.  But with our slow house construction, even if they open by the end of the year we won't be able to go this year 😞 due to time-off reasons.  And the company I work for is getting bought so our time-off policies will change 😞 

 

I have been saving up my Chase points to get us there though...

 

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