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On January 1, 2024 at 16:10, a severe earthquake occurred on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture.
The town of Wajima, famous for its morning market, was badly damaged.
It was New Year’s Day and many young people were returning home. So they fled with their elderly parents on their backs.
Sadly, some people died under the old houses.
Also affected is Kagaya in Wakura Onsen, a very famous ryokan in Japan. Unfortunately, this ryokan was also damaged by the earthquake and will remain closed in January.
Kagaya was a favorite place of former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui. That is why he invited a branch of Kagaya to Taiwan. Of course, we, the employees of the Japanese travel industry, also have great confidence in this ryokan.
After a severe earthquake, the guests of the ryokan were brought to safety by the staff. All the guests thank them.
The choice of hotel in Japan is very important as it can sometimes be a matter of life and death.
There is now a wide choice of accommodation in Japan. Rental apartments without a reception are generally nice, but there are no staff to help you in an emergency.
Many of the houses that collapsed were older buildings. Before staying in a hotel that has been converted from an old private house, you should be aware of the safety.
The Japanese are a supportive people, but in an emergency situation they are primarily concerned with themselves and their families.
It should also be noted that the first messages are only in Japanese. Some information is available in English, but only after the Japanese news is published.
I have no intention of scaring you. Japan is a country with many natural disasters, and the Japanese people have been living with them for centuries. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons can occur anywhere in Japan.
The Japanese live with nature and accept it. The earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture changed the topography of Wajima. Now the Japanese are in mourning. But a new city is being built there. But a new city will be built there in the future.
Not all Ishikawa prefectures are inhospitable for travelers. Traveling is still not possible in northern Ishikawa prefecture, but it is not a problem in the south.
〇My information box also contains information that cannot be made available to the public.
From next year, the way to climb Mount Fuji will change drastically.
Yamanashi Prefecture will restrict access to the Yoshida-guchi trail on Mount Fuji next summer,
by erecting a barrier near the fifth station, which will be closed from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., to prevent climbers from climbing stages overnight.
The barrier will also be closed if the number of climbers exceeds 4,000 in one day. A toll will also be charged.
Below is the message about it. It is in Japanese, so please translate it using Google or other means.
Many uncivilized mountaineers have become a big problem recently.
Hasty ascents of Mount Fuji, campfires and camping on trails where it is actually forbidden, etc.
Some even walked over the ropes that block access to the other side. The scene was broadcast on a news program, and the foreigners who crossed the access ban drew the ire of the Japanese people.
He said it was at his own risk, which further angered the Japanese.
This is what the Japanese hate the most. Everyone lives with the help of someone else.
If this disrespectful foreigner actually got lost, the Japanese police would be looking for him and his country’s embassy would have a lot to do.
Ken Noguchi is a Japanese mountaineer and environmental activist.
He has worked on various mountain restoration projects around the world, including Mount Everest, Mount Fuji and Manaslu.
He and other Japanese who love the mountains asked Yamanashi Prefecture to protect Mt. Fuji.
Think also of the Japanese religions.
Mt. Fuji has long been an object of faith for the Japanese, a mountain where gods dwell.
The Japanese are angry about the desecration of their sacred mountain.
The detailed rules for climbing Mt. Fuji next year will be discussed at the council meeting in mid-February.
My small travel agency will provide this information.
Please use our concierge service or our information box.
I received a happy message from one of my client.
These guests were very interested in Shinto and wanted to pay an official visit to the shrine.
So I took them to Nitta Shrine in the south of Tokyo.
This shrine was founded in the 14th century and is still held in high esteem by the locals.
The priest is an official of the Shinto shrine authority and used to be a university professor.
He answered my customers’ questions with precision.
After the prayer, customers received souvenirs such as o-fuda (wooden prayer cards that resemble icons).
The nice photos were taken by the customer.
Letzte Woche sind wir wieder in die Schweiz zurückgekehrt. Etwas mehr als sieben Wochen durften wir Ihr wunderschönes Land entdecken.
Meiner Frau und mir ist es ein Anliegen, Ihnen noch einmal ganz herzlich zu danken für Ihre Hilfe bei der Übersetzung des Fahrzeugausweises und der Organisation des Besuches dieses wunderschönen Schreines und der sehr interessanten Begegnung mit dem Priester. Wir denken gerne und oft daran zurück und die überreichten Geschenke schmücken jetzt unsere Wohnung.
Sixty-seven percent of Japan’s land area is forested.
As a result, there are many wild animals.
The most dangerous wild animal is probably the bear.
According to a survey by the Ministry of the Environment, brown bears inhabit about 55% of Hokkaido, and black bears inhabit about 45% of Honshu.
In 2023, it is said that there are very few nuts for bears to feed on, and many bears have been sighted.
In search of food, bears are coming to areas where humans live.
Especially in the Hokkaido, Tohoku, and Hokuriku regions, there have been many reports of bear attacks.
Some people have been seriously injured or killed by bears.
Bears appear not only on well-maintained hiking trails, but also in private homes.
Bears are not only large but also physically strong animals.
It is said that bears can run at speeds of up to 50 kilometers per hour, making it impossible for humans to run away from them.
In addition to its sharp claws and fangs, the bear has the power to blow off a human’s jaw with a single blow.
Bears have a habit of targeting the face first, so in addition to contusions to the face, some people suffer horrific injuries that are hard to describe.
Doctors who have treated them say that the conditions are often horrific.
Hiking and climbing can feel great, but without adequate information it can be dangerous.
Furthermore, be careful when traveling in rural areas.
Be sure to get local information before you go.
What to do if you meet a bear
(There is a button to change the language in the upper right corner of the site.)
News video (in Japanese. Please set the subtitles to translate to view)
I’ve been a tech enthusiast for a long time. From the days of dial-up connections, I’ve been carrying around small computers all over the world. Do any of you remember a device called a “modem coupler”?
Nowadays, with the development of Wi-Fi, things have become incredibly convenient. Moreover, you can easily connect to the internet using just a smartphone, without the need for a computer. Thinking back to the days of struggling with dial-up connections, it feels like a dream.
By the way, what do you do when you travel abroad? Do you rely on each mobile carrier’s roaming services or swap out SIM cards to use your smartphone in foreign countries?
Recently, something called “eSIM” has emerged. While you still switch out SIM cards, it’s done online, and there’s no need to physically replace the tiny SIM card inside your smartphone. Everything is done on your smartphone. However, since it’s still a relatively new technology, eSIM-compatible devices are limited. Nevertheless, more and more devices are becoming compatible, so if you’ve recently upgraded your smartphone, why not check it out? Your next trip could be even more comfortable.
Here’s a link for more information about eSIM:
You can get a small discount through this link.
Also, before making a purchase, be sure to confirm that your smartphone is eSIM compatible.
As a small travel agency in Tokyo, we offer you special assistance to truly enjoy Japan. Our concierge service aims to make your trip to Japan an exceptional experience.
We guide you to Japan’s hidden treasures.
We take you to hidden and spectacular places, as well as local tourist attractions that have remained undiscovered by foreign tourists. We provide you with truly fascinating information that you won’t find in every guidebook.
Experience the local culture.
We offer you information on how to navigate local areas, attend local events, and enjoy festivals. We want to help you immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture to create deeper travel memories.
Discover delicious food.
From restaurant recommendations to exquisite gourmet offerings from all over Japan, we assist you in selecting and reserving culinary experiences that match your taste and preferences.
Suggestions for comfortable accommodations.
We provide you with information about hotels and inns. By selecting accommodations that suit your style, we ensure your stay is comfortable. Many accommodations only accept bookings in Japanese, but we can also open up these options for you.
Adaptation to Japanese etiquette.
We provide you with information about Japanese manners and customs. Our goal is to support you in interacting with locals and ensuring you feel comfortable during your stay in Japan.
We assist you in emergencies during your trip to and within Japan. We are always here for you, allowing you to enjoy your journey without worries.
Convenient travel itineraries.
We create efficient and fulfilling travel itineraries. Our aim is to propose a plan that optimizes your limited time and allows you to fully enjoy the charm of Japan.
Seamless travel with Japanese lessons.
We offer basic Japanese courses tailored for traveling in Japan, helping you communicate better.
We are here to provide you with an exceptional travel experience in Japan. We offer customized support tailored to your preferences and interests. Let’s create an unforgettable journey together.
Why are we establishing this concierge service?
We advise our customers on a variety of matters.
These are complex questions that a regular travel agency cannot answer.
Compared to the past, it has become much easier for customers to book hotels and flight tickets online by themselves.
Additionally, there is a community of travelers exchanging information.
Unfortunately, this has led many travel agencies to become mere booking agents.
This wouldn’t suffice for travelers who have many questions.
The role of a travel agency is to professionally address customers’ desires.
Our concierge service is what a travel agency should be.
Our task is to ensure our customers have a safe and enjoyable journey.
Each customer has their own travel wishes. We help them realize those wishes.
There are many temples and shrines in Japan.
Many Japanese people visit them, especially at New Year, to wish themselves good luck.
In tourist areas, many worshippers also visit them outside the New Year.
Many try OMIKUJI after they finish the prayer.
Omikuji is one of the traditional forms of fortune telling in Japan. It is usually practiced at shrines and temples. Omikuji is a way to learn about one’s destiny and a prediction of the future, and many people look forward to it.
To draw an omikuji, you must first go to a place in a shrine or temple where omikuji is available. There, you may have to pay a certain fee or put money in a box. Usually, it costs between 100 and 300 yen to draw an omikuji. Then you get a small paper strip from the box or container provided.
The paper strip, also called an omikuji, is usually printed with characters or information. Each character represents a particular fortune or message. “Daikichi,” for example, means “the greatest luck” and represents good fortune and success. “Kyo,” on the other hand, represents bad luck or trouble and urges caution.
After you draw an omikuji, you can read its contents to learn its meaning. Omikuji may contain advice or prophecies related to good luck, health, love, and work.
Even if you are not satisfied with the result of your omikuji, there is no need to worry. The omikuji is just an indication, and you can change your future through your actions and efforts. If you receive an omikuji that indicates bad luck, you can tie it to a string connected to the omikuji stand at the shrine or temple. The shrine priests or temple monks will take care of it appropriately so that you will be protected from bad luck. However, remember to heed the message and be careful in your actions.
Here are some words frequently found in Omikuji:
大吉 Daikichi (Great Blessing): The best of luck.
吉 Kichi (Good Luck): A favorable good fortune.
中吉 Chukichi (Medium luck): Your luck may improve depending on your efforts.
小吉 Shokichi (Little luck): Neither good nor bad luck.
末吉 Suekichi (Future luck): Look to the future.
凶 Kyo (Misfortune): There may be trouble or misfortune. Be careful.
I studied Shinto at a university specializing in that field, and worked as a miko (shrine maiden) at a large shrine in Nagoya. During that time, I also sold omikuji, and they were very popular. The faces of the visitors were always cheerful, and they seemed very happy.
Although omikuji is widely accepted as part of Japanese culture and beliefs, it is also a pleasure for foreigners. If you have the opportunity to visit Japan, I highly recommend the Omikuji experience. You will be able to enjoy the anticipation of your happiness and future. Usually, the Omikuji is only in Japanese, so it is helpful to have a guide or someone who speaks Japanese to explain it to you. Recently, some temples, such as Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, have started offering omikuji in English.
There is a history book called ‘Nihon Shoki’ (Chronicle of Japan) that was written about 1,300 years ago. In it, a gay couple named ‘Shinonohafuri’ and ‘Amanohafuri’ is described. This is probably the oldest surviving record of LGBT people in Japan. Additionally, homosexuality is also mentioned in famous classical literature such as ‘The Tale of Genji.’ Historically, Japanese attitudes toward homosexuality may have been very tolerant.
In recent times, a singer and actor named Akihiro Miwa is very famous. While biologically male, he has always presented himself as a beautiful woman. His relationship with the writer Yukio Mishima was also well-known (Yukio Mishima was married and had children). Mishima once said to Akihiro Miwa, ‘Your shortcoming is that you are not in love with me.’ The Japanese consider this episode a fine piece of literature.
Akihiro Miwa ↓
Incidentally, Japanese people usually travel as married couples or families, but it is also common for male-to-male and female-to-female friends to travel together and stay in the same room. For hotel and ryokan employees, it does not matter whether their customers are couples or simple friends. It is a misconception that a hotel that is not LGBT-friendly will refuse to accommodate guests. First of all, there is a ‘Ryokan Business Law’ in Japan that makes it very difficult for hotels to refuse accommodation.
Hotels and ryokans are prohibited from refusing accommodation except in the following cases: (Ryokan Business Law, Article 5).
When it is clear that the person who intends to stay is suffering from a contagious disease.
When it is apparent that the person intending to stay is likely to commit an illegal act or an act that disturbs public morals.
When there is no room in the accommodation.
You may be troubled by the term ‘public morals’ in item 2. Specifically, for example, you can interpret that a person who intends to stay at the accommodation is involved in one of the following:
If a person intending to stay overnight in an accommodation is a member of a crime syndicate, etc.
When engaging in behavior that causes significant inconvenience to other guests.
When violent demands or requests for an unreasonable burden are made regarding accommodation.
Are you a member of a crime syndicate? Are you a danger to others? If not, the hotel cannot refuse your accommodation due to the law.
In Japan, it is nice to relax in an onsen (hot spring). We hope you will enjoy it. In onsen ryokan, you can bathe in separate large baths for men and women. Please note that people with tattoos may be denied bathing.
Click here for an article about tattoos ↓
Female and male visitors to major public baths use the baths according to their gender at birth. If you experience any inconvenience or are unable to use the main baths due to your tattoo, do not be discouraged. Some ryokans have private baths or rooms with small outdoor baths. These private spaces allow you to relax without any worries.
My small travel agency can arrange such ryokans for you, and if you have any concerns, we can discuss them with you. I hope you enjoy your wonderful trip in Japan.
Since Japan is often mistakenly seen as reluctant to recycle, I would like to discuss this.
Currently, Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores charge for plastic bags. Some stores still offer them for free, but there have been debates on this issue.
How much resources can we save by reducing the use of plastic bags? Of the petroleum consumed in Japan, only 2.7% is used to produce plastics, and of that, plastic bags in turn account for 2.2%. In other words, plastic bags consume only 0.05% of petroleum. Even if this percentage were reduced to zero, it would have little impact on resource savings. This is because the material for plastic bags, polyethylene, is derived from naphtha, which is a byproduct of petroleum refining and was previously treated as waste. Even if the use of plastic bags is discontinued, it would have little effect on petroleum consumption.
In addition, waste incinerators in Japan are capable of withstanding high temperatures of over 800°C. Waste heat from the incinerators is used to generate electricity and heat water, and nearly 90% of the waste heat is recovered as energy.
The recycling rate for PET bottles in Japan was 86.0% in 2021. In comparison, the recycling rate for PET bottles in Europe in 2019 was about 57.5% (although this is already somewhat outdated data). PET bottles for beverages have plastic labels that can be easily peeled off. The Japanese remove the labels and caps and forward the PET bottles for recycling.
In Japan, candy is often sold in multiple packages. This is also due to the climate in Japan. Due to the high humidity, extra packaging is required in some cases to protect the products from moisture. Therefore, it is not possible to eliminate packaging completely.
People in Japan make it a point to look at environmental issues on a scientific basis, rather than emotionally, and find better solutions.
*The work of Japanese economist Nobuo Ikeda was used as a reference.
The best time to travel to Japan is a frequently asked question. I will be happy to give you all the information you need on this.
The New Year period, Obon (mid-August) and Golden Week (a consecutive holiday period in late April to early May) are vacation periods when Japanese people travel, so I can’t recommend it because it is very crowded everywhere, both on trains and planes.
Also, late July to mid-September gets very hot, and the risk of heat stroke increases. In addition, August and September is also typhoon season.
Flight and train delays, as well as cancellations, are more frequent, and in areas with strong typhoon effects, it can even be dangerous.
If you plan to travel during this time, always keep an eye on current weather and traffic conditions.
In general, spring and autumn are considered good times to travel to Japan. There are no objections there.
Before the rainy season begins, the climate is pleasant, and in late November to early December you can also enjoy the autumn foliage color.
In winter, depending on the destination you choose, you can travel without any problems, and there are fewer tourists, so you can make your stay pleasant.
You can also enjoy a quiet trip during the rainy season if you choose to stay in a particular region.
Staying in an onsen (hot spring)-ryokan(Hotel) is also a recommended idea. By the way, there is no rainy season on Hokkaido Island, so you don’t have to worry so much about rain.
I hope this information can help you plan your trip.
Japan has its own charm in every season, and you will be able to enjoy it no matter what time you come.
Take good care of yourself and enjoy your wonderful trip in Japan!
I would like to give you basic information about Japan that is often asked by our customers.
By May 1, 2023, the population of Japan is about 124.5 million people.
The area of Japan is about 377,972 square kilometers. Japan is an elongated country with a north-south extension of about 3,000 kilometers and an east-west extension of about 400 kilometers.
Germany is said to have a population of about 83.4 million people and an area of about 357,022 square kilometers, while Switzerland has a population of about 8.8 million people and an area of about 41,290 square kilometers. Austria has a population of about 8.91 million people and an area of about 83,879 square kilometers.
Don’t you think Japan is a pretty big country? Japanese people themselves often think that Japan is a small country, but in fact it is not so small.
Besides, many people have the image of a metropolis like Tokyo in their minds, so they tend to think that Japan does not have much nature.
The forest area of Japan is about 25,125,000 hectares, which is about 68% of the land area of Japan.
Japan has a long coastline due to its island location. The length of this is about 35,000 kilometers.
This is about 87.3% of the distance one would travel from Berlin to orbit the earth.
By the way, if you are considering a trip to Hokkaido, you should know that the area of Hokkaido is about 78,000 square kilometers.
The Czech Republic has an area of about 78,866 square kilometers. So Hokkaido is slightly smaller than the Czech Republic.
I recommend you to consider the size of Hokkaido before planning your trip.
There are even Japanese travelers who do not know the size of Hokkaido and travel there without awareness, which often causes astonishment among people in Hokkaido.
Japanese people say “Itadakimasu” by clenching their hands before eating. This is part of etiquette and is taught from childhood.
“Itadakimasu” means something like “I am about to receive my meal,” but has Buddhist validity.
Since ancient times, the Japanese have valued the life of plants and animals as if they were their equals.
Therefore, before each meal, people join their hands to the life of the rice, wheat, vegetables, fish, meat, etc. that they will eat.
It means, “From now on, I will live through them”.
We thanks to the life of the animals and other things.
This is the Japanese way of thinking.
That’s why children are scolded severely if they leave food or don’t like their favorite foods anymore. Because it is an action that wastes the life of someone or something.
The Japanese love to eat.
In Japan, there are many restaurants with Michelin stars. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat well.
Perhaps it is because people have always been told to eat everything with enjoyment and gratitude.
Many travelers may want to use a rental car to explore the Japanese countryside.
First, you will need a driver’s license, but not every international driver’s license is valid in Japan. There are several types of international driver’s licenses. The one that is valid in Japan is an international driver’s license based on the Convention on Road Traffic.
Austria, for example, issues a Geneva-style international driver’s license that allows you to drive in Japan. But Serbia and Bulgaria, in turn, do not issue them, so people from those countries are not allowed to drive in Japan.
There is another unique experiment.
Driver’s license holders from countries whose driver’s license systems are recognized as equivalent to Japan’s have valid driver’s licenses in Japan.This means that you can drive in Japan with the license you normally use in your home country.
These countries are the Swiss Confederation, the Federal Republic of Germany, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Principality of Monaco and Taiwan.
However, a Japanese translation of this driver’s license is required, which is issued by a Japanese official.
The original of this document must be carried, copies are invalid.
Of course, the original driver’s license from the home country must also be carried.
My small travel agency can assist in obtaining translation documents for the driver’s license.
I can also arrange rental cars and suggest deals depending on the season they are available.
Curry is an Indian dish, but it is also commonly eaten in Japan.
Japanese curry has undergone its own development and is different from Indian curry.
In the 19th century, shortly after Japan opened to the outside world, curry was introduced to Japan.
Curry was introduced to Japan by the British. Since India was a British colony, curry was also available in the United Kingdom.
However, it also needs a mention of the Indians who contributed to the development of curry in Japan.
In Shinjuku, Tokyo, there is a historic restaurant called Nakamuraya.
A supporter of the Indian independence movement named Ras Bihari Bose had defected to Japan.
This was in the year 1915.
While Nakamuraya gave him shelter, Bose taught him how to make curry.
Today, Nakamuraya still serves delicious curry.
Curry was also put on the menu of the Japanese Navy.
The Royal Navy had curry on their menu, and it seems they imitated it.
Now the Maritime Self-Defense Force has adopted this tradition.
Every Friday, the officers of the Maritime Self Defense Force eat curry.
When you’re serving on a submarine, you lose your sense of the days of the week.
That’s why they always eat curry on Fridays to get a sense of the days of the week again.
Maritime Self-Defense Force curry can be eaten in Yokosuka and Kure.
There are also packaged ready-to-eat meals available.
There is a small JSDF store in Ichigaya where you can buy them.
When it comes to Japanese food, sushi and ramen are very famous.
However, you should also try curry.
I received a happy message from one of my client.
My client is a family who loves Japanese cars and flowers, and they had a great time in Japan with their rental car.
Residents of Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, and Taiwan can drive in Japan with their own driver’s license (original of course), provided that they have Japanese translation of the documents together with them.
I was asked to arrange for the Japanese translation of these documents and also to use the travel advisory services of my small travel agency.
I assisted the client with information on flower blooms, recommended places to visit, car rental arrangements, and other travel assistance.
The nice photos were taken by the customer.
Wir sind wieder zu Hause, der Flug war sehr lang, aber alles hat sehr gut geklappt. Wir haben es in Japan sehr geniessen können. Es hat uns erstaunt, wie gut alles funktioniert hat, trotz der anderen Sprache und Schrift. Wir haben nie zuvor ein Land gesehen, in dem alles so gut organisiert und übersichtlich ist, wie in Japan. Die Menschen sind sehr freundlich und hilfsbereit.
Falls mir jemand sagt, er gehe nach Japan werde ich ihnen gerne Ihre Mail-Adresse angeben für Tipps und Hinweise. Sie haben uns sehr geholfen, vielen lieben Dank dafür.
It was about 10 years ago, I think.
I took was on a flight from Vienna to Narita (Tokyo).
There was a foreign woman sitting next to me and we were talking in English.
She said she was an engineer living in Israel who was going to be in Japan for the first time on a business trip.
There were also Japanese tourists on the plane. Presumably they had been sightseeing in Vienna.
The Israeli woman then noticed that one of the tourists was wearing a mask.
Masks were not common in Europe or Israel at that time, which obviously struck her as odd.
I explained to her that the man with the mask probably had a cold.
He wears a mask in order not to pass on his cold to others.
She was very surprised.
He is not wearing the mask for himself, but for others!
I was surprised that she was surprised, because for us it was a normal thing.
And the Japanese have the same intention with the masks during the Corona pandemic.
We think that we might be infected with Corona and if we pass it on to others, it would be our fault.
The Japanese saw a supercomputer (Fugaku) generated simulation of droplet transmission,
examining the scientific risk of corona transmission when wearing or not wearing a mask.
Then, in another experiment, the type of mask was tested.
In Japan, masks made of nonwoven fabric are recommended.
N95 masks should be kept on hand for physicians, and the general public should wear nonwoven masks.
And as it is typical for Japanese people, they like cute things, so colorful masks and masks with beautiful patterns are sold.
It is a good souvenir from Japan.
I received a happy message from one of my client.
The clients are a group of three friends.
They enjoyed their trip to Japan, including a traditional Japanese onsen ryokan.
The nice photos were taken by the customer.
Ich möchte mich erst mal sehr bei Ihnen und der Osaka/Kyoto-Reiseführerin für den tollen aufenhalt in ihrem wunderschönen Land danken. Für mich war es eine sehr tolle erfahrung un d ich weiß jetzt schon das ich ich wieder ihr tolles land besuchen werde.
Gerne werde ich mich wieder an sie wenden wenn ich ich wieder nach Japan kommen möchte, denn Ihre vorbereitungen waren wundervoll und immer sehr gut vorbereitet. Auch wenn es hin und wieder zu verständigungsprobleme gekommen ist haben sie alles immer sehr gut organisiert und sich um unser wohl sorgen gemacht, auch dafür bedanke ich mich sehr bei Ihnen.
Japanese-style ryokan are charming and nice, but there are manners to be aware of.
Even Japanese people (especially young people) may not know the manners if they do not have a chance to stay at a ryokan.
If you have any questions, don’t be shy to ask the ryokan staff.
Let’s start with an explanation of tatami rooms.
It is natural to take off your shoes and slippers before entering the room, but please do not put your bag with wheels on the tatami.
Tatami will be damaged and replacing tatami will cost a lot of money.
It is best to place them on wooden flooring or in the entrance space.
The space slightly higher than the tatami where a vase or a hanging scroll is hung is called “Tokonoma” (alcove) and is a shelf for decoration.
It is bad manners to put your bag here.
Most of the time, flowers are arranged and the room is clean, so it is best to look at them and enjoy them.
A tea set is provided on the table.
Put the tea leaves in a Kyusu (teapot), pour hot water, wait a little, and pour it into Yunomi (cup).
If there is a container with a hole in it, it is used to store used tea leaves.
There are usually sweets available, so don’t hesitate to eat them.
Nakai-san (ryokan room attendants) sometimes come to your room, so it would be embarrassing if you leave your belongings in a mess.
It is a good idea to leave valuables in the safe.
Futons are prepared by Nakai-san when guests are not in their rooms for bath or meals.
Sleeping on futons on tatami mats is a unique feature of Japanese-style rooms.
You do not need to put the futon away after you have finished using it.
At ryokans, all guests wear yukata (light cotton kimono).
A yukata, obi, and, depending on the season, a tanzen (jacket) are provided in the room.
The yukata is like a uniform in a ryokan, and is worn in the room, when sleeping, and even when going to the bath.
Yukata is worn in the room, when sleeping, and even when going to the bath.
Most ryokans are fine to wear a yukata for meals as well, but in rare cases, it is not allowed in high-class ryokans.
Yukatas are the property of the ryokan, and should be folded near the futon before checking out.
Amenities include hand towels with the ryokan’s name on them and a toothbrush set.
Towels with the ryokan’s name and toothbrushes can be taken home with you.
However, large items such as bath towels are ryokan equipment and should be returned after use.
Tipping is also not a common practice these days, but my grandmother used to give a 1,000-yen bill wrapped in a piece of paper to the Nakai-san.
Perhaps because I was small, she thought it would cause trouble for the ryokan.
In Japan, there is also a culture of “Kokorozuke” (Tipping).
I received a happy message from one of my client.
Due to the coronavirus situation, Japan has long had restrictions on accepting foreign travelers, but these have finally been relaxed.
We had a few ZOOM conversations about how to enter Japan, etc., and then she applied for a trip to Japan.
This customer is a woman traveling alone.
It was her first time in Japan, but she liked it very much.
She was able to enjoy Japan in autumn.
The nice photos were taken by the customer.
Es war heute ein wunderschöner und interessanter Tag, an dem ich schon so viel gesehen habe, dank Ihrer Planung und Energie.
Vielen Dank nochmal, auch für sämtliche Erklärungen, Reservierungen und Fürsorge, dass ich auch die ganze Zeit hier in Japan gut organisiert bin und überall einfach hinkomme. Sie haben absolut an alles gedacht!
Dank der wunderbaren Organisation, Fürsorge und Voraussicht verbringe ich einen sehr „easy-going“ Urlaub.
Ich fühle mich sehr wohl hier in Japan.
Kinchakuda is a park located in Saitama Prefecture. Kinchaku means a bag with a narrow top. It is so called because the topography resembles a Kinchaku.
To get there, take the Seibu Line from Ikebukuro in the direction of Chichibu. The nearest station is called Koma.
Koma has a history of being settled in 716 by people from Koukuri (a country that used to be on the Korean Peninsula).
That was about 1300 years ago.
Kinchakuda is famous for its Higanbana(Lycoris radiata), which bloom in late September each year, numbering about 5 million. The entire area becomes like a red carpet.
In other seasons, you can enjoy cherry blossoms and rape blossoms, and hiking is also available, making it a good place to visit from Tokyo on weekends.
By the way, due to the corona pandemic, Higanbana have been mowed down for the second year in a row.
For safety reasons, this was done to keep everyone from coming, since every year many people come to see the flowers that look like a red carpet.
The locals are very proud of their hordes of Higanbana, so it saddens me to think how they must have felt when they mowed the flowers.
And this September, for the first time in many years, the Higanbana were open to the public.
Higanbana at Kinchakuda, which has not been seen for a long time, is as beautiful as before.
An admission fee of 500 yen is required only when Higanbana is in bloom. Body temperature measurement and hand sanitizing are also conducted at the entrance.
Then, in the park, each person should take care of each other by wearing a mask and taking social distance.
Higanbana bloom for only a week or so, and its blooming time depends on the weather.
If you are near Tokyo or Saitama at this time of year, it is best to check the information on the blooming of Higanbana before you visit.
It is recommended that you plan your trip leisurely.