Kaguya Reisebüro
Messages from customers

I received a happy message from one of my client.
Thank you!

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.

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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.

Long time no see! Red flowers of Kinchakuda 

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.

Concierge for your travel

For all who are planning a trip to Japan.  **Information as of September 20

** Addendum to September 12 → Even now(20.SEP) there is still no new information about it.

Today we have received more news.
The lifting of the cap on the number of visitors per day to Japan, the lifting of the ban on individual travel, and the visa waiver for visitors to Japan are being considered.
But don’t panic, because all kinds of backlash can be expected. Please wait for official information.

************

!! Please do not be misled by the Fake News about Individual Travel without a tour guide. !!

As of September 7, the following Japanese government guidelines are in effect.

1 A travel agency licensed in Japan will create an itinerary that takes into account the prevention of corona infection. It is not possible to change the itinerary on the spot according to the traveler’s will.
2 A licensed Japanese travel agency or their partner travel agency in the home country will arrange round-trip tickets and arrange accommodations in advance.
3 Travel agencies will inform travelers in advance of the thoroughness of infection control measures and the purchase of private travel insurance and obtain their consent.
4 You must always maintain contact between the travel agent and travelers and keep them informed of your movements.
5 If a traveler is infected with Corona, the travel agency should inform the travelers of the correct behavior and take them to a medical facility for consultation if necessary.
Travelers coming to Japan must book not only hotels but also airline tickets through travel agencies.
The travel agency then issues a document called an ERFS, and the traveler goes to the Japanese Embassy with this document and their passport.
This is best done a month before the trip. It would have to be at least two weeks. Embassy work takes time. Please also note that currently embassies can only be visited by appointment.

!! This information was added on the latest!!!

It is possible for a licensed foreign travel agency and a licensed Japanese travel agency to work together.
But not everything can be arranged by a foreign travel agency.
In simple terms, a foreign travel agency arranges airline tickets and Japan Rail Passes.
Japanese travel agencies then arrange hotels, guides and restaurants.
And both travel agencies always share information about their customers to help them travel safely.

Travelers cannot book hotels or even airline tickets themselves. They cannot book directly with airlines or through OTAs (such as Opodo, Expedia, etc.). Entry into Japan may otherwise be denied.

The guidelines may change in the future.
Dear Japan lovers, please do not panic.
Please get the right information.

I am working with my business partner in Vienna, Japan Plus Touristik.
We hope that everyone who loves Japan will feel comfortable here.
Japan is always waiting for you.

Mag.Mariko SUGIE
Kaguya Travel Agency LLC

 

For all who are planning a trip to Japan.   CHANGES FROM JUNE 10, 2022

For all who are planning a trip to Japan.

Japanese group travel has resumed.
Only travel agencies registered with the Japanese Government Quarantine System (ERFS) are allowed to receive foreign visitors.
It is also mandatory to be accompanied by a tour guide during the trip.
Wearing a mask and purchasing travel insurance are also mandatory.

First of all, only approved Japanese travel agencies can register with ERFS.
My small travel agency is one of them.

And the tour guide to accompany the trip does not have to be a qualified Japanese tour guide.
However, they must speak perfect Japanese and be able to contact the authorities.
Of course, I can also arrange for a tour guide.

Last week, my small travel agency registered with the ERFS system.
I can issue an “acceptance certificate” for you and your clients.
Those who receive the certificate will be processed individually for a visa.
It takes 5 business days (or longer) to issue a visa.

Group tours can take place with a minimum of one person. Since a tour guide is required, this would be expensive but good for sightseeing trips, etc.
I can plan trips for you to all areas of Japan, including places that are not so well known as destinations. Because of the Corona pandemic, some things have changed in Japan regarding tourism, but you don’t have to worry. I can personally see the situation in the various travel areas and give you the best possible advice.

Mag.Mariko SUGIE
Kaguya Reisebüro LLC

 

What is the difference between temples and shrines?

There are many temples and shrines in Japan. Do you know what the differences are?
Simply put, they differ in religion.
Temples are Buddhist institutions, while shrines are Shinto institutions.
There are about 77,000 Buddhist religious organizations and 86,000 Shinto religious organizations.
These figures do not include small, locally managed organizations.

In Japan, Shinto is older than Buddhism.
It is what is called animism, in which the sun, moon, fire, water, and other common objects are the objects of worship.
Prayers for a good harvest are especially important.
At shrines, there are priests wearing white kimonos and blue, purple, or white hakama (old Japanese pants), and miko (female priests’ assistants) wearing white kimonos and red hakama.
Incidentally, the highest-ranking priest is the emperor.

The torii gate at the entrance of a shrine is another sign that it is a shrine.
The method of worship is to bow twice, clap twice, and bow once before the God.
Most shrines use this method of worship, although the method differs in Izumo and other areas.

It is said that Buddhism was introduced to Japan around the 6th century.
At that time, Japan already had Shintoism, so Buddhism was a new religion that came from abroad.
Buddhism is based on the belief in Buddha.
In temples, there are priests wearing black kimonos. Depending on the sect, they may be skinheads.
People often think of Buddhism as “Zen,” but Zen Buddhism is one type of Buddhism.
Buddhism is something much larger.

The manner of worship is to bow in front of the Buddha statue, then join hands, and bow once again.
No Kashiwa-de (clapping hands) are used.

By the way, some Japanese often say that the Japanese are not religious, but there is an interesting statistic.
According to the Japanese government’s 2020 statistics, there are 87,924,087 Shintoists and 83,971,139 Buddhist believers.
The total for both is 171,895,226.
And the population of Japan is about 125,710,000.
The total number of Shinto and Buddhist believers is greater than the population.

Professor Tsunetada Mayumi, from whom I learned Shinto, said, “Shinto is not a religion, but a tradition”.
Shinto has been in Japan for so long that it has become so ingrained in the way of thinking and living that the Japanese themselves are unaware of it.
And it is very natural for Japanese people to believe in Buddhism and Shinto at the same time.

About the food on board

The Nippon Maru is well known for its delicious food. Since it is a Japanese ship, the Japanese food is of course highly recommended, but the Western food is also of a high standard and in no way inferior to the traditional dishes. Many of the dishes are prepared with specialties from the ports of call, which only makes your cruise all the more memorable. So look forward to it!

If you suffer from food allergies, you can inform the crew in advance. The kitchen will gladly take this into consideration. Unlike European restaurants, however, “likes and dislikes” cannot be taken into account, because in Japan “you eat what’s on the table”. That is the Japanese way.

You can always order alcoholic beverages to accompany your meal for a reasonable additional charge. Both wine and sake are selected to pair well with the menu on board. So feel free to try them out! House wine is also served, which is quite affordable and highly recommended.

Also, if you get hungry at night, you can have a small midnight snack on board. The snacks are also delicious. For example, refreshing udon noodles are offered. But you shouldn’t eat too much, not that you won’t feel hungry for the wonderful breakfast the next morning!

There are also several cafes on the ship. Each café has its own opening hours, so be sure to check them out in advance in the ship’s newspaper. In the cafes you can buy both snacks and drinks. Again, though, be careful not to eat too much so that you have enough left over for your main meals!

At this point, I would like to give you some personal advice: I myself got seasick once aboard the Nippon Maru and was unable to eat any of the meals. So if you get seasick, it is advisable to bring your own medicine! I still regret very much that I forgot mine at that time….

Click here for information on the Nippon Maru!

A temple with a beautiful green garden

Kyoto has 17 World Heritage cultural properties, one of which is Saihoji.
The nickname for this temple is “KOKEDERA(Moss Temple)”.
This is because there is a very beautiful moss-covered Japanese garden here.
Visitors come to this temple on the outskirts of Kyoto for its beautiful garden.

KOKEDERA is a Zen temple, and before seeing the garden, visitors first do sutra copying and pray to the Buddha.
And the gardens are beautifully maintained, and people enjoy strolling through them.

Only people with reservations are allowed to visit this beautiful temple.
Making a reservation is difficult, and during the tourist season, it becomes even more difficult.
In the past, this temple could be visited at any time, just like any other temple.
However, too many tourists caused damage to the beautiful garden.
Furthermore, noise is not appropriate for this quiet temple.
And now only those who have made reservations can come here.
However, there are a few days a year when child visits are possible.
In this way, KOKEDERA maintains its elegance.

My small travel agency can help you with reservations and explain the etiquette.
Reservations are difficult to make, but can be challenging.

Concierge for your travel

I boarded the Nippon Maru.

Because of Corona, cruise ships have developed a negative image in Japan, which is unfortunate, but it is also true that they have a strong following.
The Nippon Maru used to sail around the world, but now it cruises around Japan.
Most of the clients are older Japanese. They are cruise fans.
Cruise lines take all possible measures to protect their customers from corona.
What a surprise, twice a corona test! Despite the fact that most of the clients have been vaccinated!
First, about a week before boarding the ship, you will have your first inspection. A test kit is sent to your home.
And on embarkation day, the clients first go to the Rose Hotel in Yokohama.
This is also the corona testing area, where everybody waits for the test results.
A delicious Chinese lunch box will be served, and a quartet of musicians perform.
The staff of the Nippon Maru all wear masks and face shields at the same time, and there are disinfectants throughout the ship.
Of course, all the clients wore masks.
There are two dining rooms on board, as well as cafes where you can relax, but all of them keep a good distance from each other.
Every infection control measure you can think of has been taken.

And when it comes to cruise travel, food is very important.
I was very pleased with the food on the Nippon Maru.
The staff who serve us are also very kind. They are Japanese and Filipinos, and of course they speak good Japanese.
The wine selection is done by the famous sommelier Shinya Tasaki.
I was fortunate enough to hear Mr. Tasaki speak at an onboard event.
He does his best work by discussing with the Nippon Maru chefs.
Of course, the chefs provide their clients with the best cuisine.

Japan is an island nation, and cruise travel takes advantage of that.
My small travel agency makes arrangements for the Nippon Maru.
All the documents are in Japanese, but I can help my clients.
You can talk to me about anything that concerns you.

Japan Cruise on the Nippon Maru

Demolition is scheduled for next year. The Nakagin Capsule Tower, a famous building

The unique work of the famous architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower, still stands in Ginza 8-chome, Tokyo, and can be seen from the Tokyo Metropolitan Highway.
It was decided to demolish the building next year because it is very old and no major repairs have been made since it was built in 1972.
The Nakagin Capsule Tower will only be visible for a short time.

In a capsule of about 10 square meters, the most modern bathrooms, shelves and other necessary items were built into the capsule like a puzzle. There are 140 of them attached to the tower.
The round window is a feature of the building, which was inspired by a tea room.
Each capsule was supposed to be removable, so that when it became obsolete, a new capsule could be inserted or the entire capsule could be transported.
In fact, however, no capsules were removed.

Each capsule has its own owner and there is a management company. There were differing opinions because of the high cost required for repairs.
They had sought sponsors to maintain the site, but were unable to do so due to the Corona pandemic and had to make the difficult decision to sell the property.
The exact schedule for demolition next year has not yet been determined.
So there is still a chance to visit the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

My small travel agency can arrange an English speaking tour of the Nakagin Capsule Tower.
We will be able to offer the tour in October 2021, but we are not sure if we can do it in November, so we need confirmation.
If anyone is interested in joining the tour, please contact us as soon as possible.

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Regular Tour every Wednesday)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Regular Tour every Wednesday)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Private tour)

Nakagin Capsule Tower(Private tour)

Kakigori(Shaved Ice), Japanese summer sweets

Summer in Japan is very hot.
Over 30-35 degrees Celsius is normal and it can get as hot as 40 degrees Celsius.
The humidity is high, so air conditioning is essential.
I would not recommend traveling to Japan in the summer.

But if you are in Japan in the summer, be sure to try the summer foods.
It will be a little cooler that way.

Kakigori(Shaved Ice) is one of the most popular summer foods in Japan.
It is a sweet treat made of shaved ice topped with fruits and syrup.

Kakigori has a long history.
In an essay written by a writer a thousand years ago, she describes eating kakigori.
A thousand years ago, there were no freezers, so the ice that formed in winter was stored in primitive refrigerators called “himuro.”
They were brought to the imperial palace in the summer and eaten with sweet syrup.
The syrup is said to have been extracted from a sweet-tasting plant.

Over a thousand years, Japanese kakigori has evolved and can be enjoyed in a variety of flavors.
There is also a store that specializes in kakigori.
They are very tasty, so you should not eat too many of them.

●In my small travel agency, I can make restaurant reservations.I will suggest a restaurant that suits your needs.
https://kaguyareisebuero.com/contact/

●In my online Japanese course, you can talk in Japanese about a topic of your choice. Depending on your needs, I can also supplement this with English or German.
https://kaguyaclass.com/

Tokiwaso Manga Museum in Toshima-ku, Tokyo

In Toshima-ku, Tokyo, there used to be a famous residence where famous manga artists such as Osamu Tezuka, Fujiko Fujio Ⓐ, Fujiko F. Fujio, Shotaro Ishinomori and Fujio Akatsuka lived. Unfortunately, the Tokiwa-so was demolished in December 1982 due to age. It was a two-story wooden building constructed in 1952, shortly after World War II.
Today, a small monument stands on the site.

After that, local citizens who loved the Tokiwa-so began to talk about the possibility of restoring it. Many donations were collected, and on July 7, 2020, the restored site was opened as the Tokiwaso Manga Museum of Toshima City. It was originally scheduled to open in March of that year, but the opening was postponed due to the Corona pandemic.

The reconstruction of the Tokiwaso is extremely elaborate, and every detail is reproduced exactly as it was then. It is truly “otaku.” (Here: faithful to the original) The community restrooms and kitchens give the illusion that the young manga masters will come in at any moment. Famous works were created in each room, which served as a place for manga artists to work and live. Even the scenery you see from the windows has been designed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

By the way, special exhibitions are often held on the second floor of the Tokiwaso Manga Museum. You should not miss these, as there are some valuable manuscripts on display. Until September 5, 2021, the exhibition “Tokiwaso and Tezuka Osamu: The Time of Kimba the White Lion” will be on display. You can see Tezuka Osamu’s precious handwritten manuscripts up close.

Osamu Tezuka, as you know, is a manga master known for many works such as “Astro Boy”, “Kimba the White Lion”, “Black Jack” and “Phoenix”. I believe that almost all manga artists and animators working in Japan respect Tezuka Osamu.

Currently, the Tokiwaso Manga Museum has a system in which reservations have priority.
Reservations can be made through the website.

Toshima City Tokiwaso Manga Museum
https://tokiwasomm.jp/

●In my online Japanese course, you can talk in Japanese about a topic of your choice. Depending on your needs, I can also supplement this with English or German.
https://kaguyaclass.com/

Why are tattoos frowned upon in Japan?

There are many hot springs in Japan and they are very popular with tourists.
But most of the time people with tattoos are not allowed to bathe in the big baths.
Why is that?

Japan has a long history of tattooing.
In ancient times, tattoos were known to be used as amulets in Japan.
And in the Edo period (1603-1868), there were people who had tattoos as fashion statements.
Even in old ukiyo-e paintings, there are pictures of men with tattoos, which are very beautiful.
But tattoos were also used to denote sinners. For this reason, some people rejected tattoos.

Japan used to be a closed country, but it opened up during the Meiji period.
The Japanese government of the Meiji period considered tattoos an international embarrassment and banned them.
But there were also people who got prohibited tattoos.
For example, the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia).
Tattoos thus became the symbol of the Yakuza.

For the operators of a hot spring it is impossible to reject yakuza directly.
For this reason, they decided to ban tattoos.
This is to protect the guests.

Meanwhile, some hot spring facilities welcome tattooed guests.
There are also facilities where small tattoos are not a problem as long as you cover them with a sticker.
If you have a tattoo, you should check beforehand.

My small travel agency can arrange accommodations that meet your needs.
https://kaguyareisebuero.com/contact/

 

●In my online Japanese course, you can talk in Japanese about a topic of your choice. Depending on your needs, I can also supplement this with English or German.
https://kaguyaclass.com/

 

Nagoshi no Harae

Every year at the end of June, a “CHINOWA” is placed at the shrine.
It is a ring made of plants and is large enough for one person to pass through.
The plant is CHIGAYA. It is a tough grass in the Japanese rice family.

The worshippers pass through the CHINOWA once to the left, once to the right, and once again to the left, before proceeding to the shrine.
In this way, the impurities of the past six months are purified.
On June 30th, there is a ritual called “Nagoshi no Oharae” (summer purification ceremony), where the priests offer prayers.
They pray for everyone’s health.

 

Jindai-ji

Jindaiji Temple is located in Chofu, a suburb of Tokyo.
Nearby, there is the Jindai Botanical Garden.
Therefore, you should take lots of time here to enjoy the walk.
This temple was founded in 733.

The specialty of this place is soba noodles.
There are many soba restaurants around the temple.
The soba here is exceptional.

 

 

Azaleas at Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine is an old shrine in Tokyo.
It is so old that we do not know when it was founded.Supposedly, it was 1900 years ago.

By the way, this shrine is most beautiful in April.
The azaleas bloom in abundance, looking like red and pink candies.
Every year, many visitors come here, but this year was different.
That’s why it’s so quiet.

To make studying kanji more fun, we’ve uploaded kanji videos to YouTube.

2021 Kawazu-Zakura

The cherry blossoms of 2021 bloomed earlier than usual.
The Kawazu Zakura, famous for its early blooming cherry blossoms, also bloomed earlier than usual.

Kawazu is a quiet town in the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture. The Kawazu Zakura is a cherry blossom that was born here.
Kawazu is a quiet town on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Every year, the area is crowded with many people.

This year, however, the Sakura Festival in Kawazu has been cancelled.

The cherry blossoms are very beautiful, but there were no people to enjoy their beauty and it was very quiet.

In addition to Kawazu, there is another place where you can enjoy Kawazu Zakura.
It is Minami-Izu.
In Minami-Izu, a Sakura Festival was held, albeit on a smaller scale.

Messages from customers

I got a nice message from my customers.
Thank you very much!

It was originally booked for a different destination, but due to the coronavirus situation, it was changed to a safer destination.
Shimoda in Shizuoka Prefecture is safe. The area is also designated as a UNESCO GEO Park.
My client enjoyed the beautiful sea and the lovely daffodils.

The beautiful photos were taken by client.

・・・・・
Schliesslich war alles gut. Mir hat es sehr gefallen in Shimoda.
Gestern war ich am Shirahama Strand und heute am Narzissen Festival.
Ich danke Ihnen für all Ihre Bemühungen.
・・・・・

Messages from customers

I got a nice message from my customers.

Thank you very much!

They are two ladies travelling to Fukui.
Autumn is the season for crabs. They enjoyed the food and sightseeing.
The lovely photos were taken by customers.

 

・・・・・・

Sehr geehrte Frau Sugie,

ich wollte mich kurz melden.
Wir sind wieder zurück in Tokio!
Die Reise nach Fukui und Kanazawa war sehr schön, alles hat gut geklappt!
Die Stadt Fukui hat mich an Deutschland erinnert und das 21 Museum in Kanazawa ist grossartig!

Vielen Dank für Ihre Bemühungen!

Messages from customers.

I got a nice message from my customers.

Dear German family living in Tokyo. Thank you very much!

They traveled around Shikoku in a rental car.These lovely pictures were taken at that time.

・・・・・・
Vielen herzlichen Dank für die Organisation unserer Reise. Hinter uns liegen sehr schöne Tage!
Besonders Ihre Hinweise auf das Deutsche Haus in Naruto und auch der tolle Ryokan an der Kazurabashi waren wertvoll.
Die Hotels haben uns gefallen und auch das Mietauto war gut.
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