by Bryce Marley-Jarrett
Today we have some of our favourite photos we have taken across Japan with some great information about their locations and tips for you to get the most out of your future trips to Japan. Some of Japlanning's favourites for 2016 are right here.Read More
by Devon Sponheimer
Today Japlanning are back with our latest hotel review from Devon with her most recent stay at a Japanese business hotel the Sotetsu Fresa Inn. Read on for Japlanning's latest hotel review in Kyobashi, just a few minutes walk from Tokyo Station.
The Sotetsu Fresa Inn’s have locations in the Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba districts. They currently have 15 locations and will expand to 50 locations by 2019. Their hotel name stands for FREsh, Sense, Amenity, as they want the experience they provide to be always ‘fresh’, with a ‘sense’ of comfort and ‘amenity’.Read More
by Bryce Marley-Jarrett
Today on Japlanning we are getting personal, we have had Devon, one of our main reporters and editors, and also had our Techhead Sam give his favourites. Now it’s time for me, Bryce - the founder of Japlanning, to get down to it and reveal what, make my top-10 about Japan -- and what better time to post this than when I’ve just gotten home from Tokyo for a quick Japlanning research trip.
We love Japan. I’m sure that is obvious, however I have avoided writing this article since the start, not because I don’t love Japan, no, this article has just seemed so daunting! Where do I start, and how do I keep it down to just ten? (I’m sure there will be bonuses.) However, no more stalling; I give you my personal ten things I LOVE about Japan.Read More
Well we're in Japan at the moment here is the daily highlight for you to feel like you're right along with us!
Today we checked into our last night in Japan, by staying at the best. We checked into the spectacular Park Hyatt Tokyo, where the service was first class from the opening of the taxi door. This incredible hotel, has gorgeous decor and amazing plants, fresh everywhere.
After check in and seeing our spectacular view, which promises views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day, we were off to the other side of Tokyo to go a little higher, that's right we climbed the highest tower in the world, Tokyo Sky Tree.
We went up to the highest point 451.2 metres. and a few of the team were a little tense about the height and drop down! The tower offers two observation decks, the main at 350 metres the Tembo Deck then the Tembo Galleria at 450 metres.
After we made it back down safely a reward was in order, at the 100% Chocolate Cafe, then we trekked around Asakusa and Kappashiba-dori for some amazing Japanese knives.
We have spent our final night indulging at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, with some decedent food and breathtaking views. A good nights rest seems guaranteed.
Tomorrow is Japlanning's last day in Japan, for the meantime, so will have further updates and regular posts again next week. Get ready for our latest and greatest finds in Tokyo and beyond from this trip, as well as some great reviews on many hotels in Japan.
Today we bring you a guest post by Japlanning.com's techhead, Sam, discussing the 'best thing' about Japan.
Allow me to begin with a confession: although I've travelled to a few spots around Asia, along with a few other countries such as the USA, NZ and France, and have always had keen desires to travel around the globe, I'd never really considered venturing to Japan.
Well, recently I had the opportunity of travelling with the team at Japlanning over to the land of the rising sun, and now I just cannot understand why it hadn't occurred to me as a place to visit.
Upon our return, I came to realise that I wasn't alone in my blind-sighted-ness towards Japan - as many of my friends and day-job colleagues were surprised of how much I'd enjoyed the trip, or that I'd gone in the first place. Once the standard "how was the food?", "was the language barrier much of a problem?", "did you eat whale?" questions were out of the way, I almost always found myself trying to answer a variation of the following question: What was the best thing about Japan?
After I realised that this was becoming a pattern, I decided to have a little fun with it, and challenged myself to give a different answer each time I was asked!
Eventually I may have taken too long to come up with a response, or may have reused an answer or two (die-hard Japan fans - please don't hurt me!), however, here's my list of the unique treasures that make Japan an unmissable destination for my future vacations:
- vending machines; Where else can you find an alleyway lined on both sides with vending machines and capsule dispensers? Not to mention every street corner and about every 20 metres down any main street. Oh, and whether you’re looking for a cool drink, a hot meal, hot soup(!!), gadgets, or even a can of hot coffee, these guys have you covered!
- it’s like walking through living history. Amazing temples, castles and shrines dating back hundreds and hundreds of years. In Tokyo, this may be positioned next to a skyscraper or other modern building, mall, which creates an amazing juxtaposition of old and new; yesteryear and today.
Having come from suburban Melbourne, it’s refreshing going somewhere where it’s not a challenge to find a building more than 100 years old.
- crazy high-tech gadgets! Forget the history, let’s skyrocket to tomorrow (ironically, just next door)! Also, umm, yes Sony, I do want to try your latest noise cancelling mega bass headphones in an airplane simulator machine!
- the world's largest metropolis; it's really any architecture lover/geeks Mecca.
- a polite, dignified and respectful culture and people (which just makes it awesome watching them kick loose in a Izakaya bar at night)
- just how helpful those people can be; "you want to know where the Dōtonbori is? (Sure, it's out of my way, but I'll take you there!)"... said any japanese person we asked. A colleague always reminds me of the time he dropped his umbrella cover inside Shinjuku Station, during peak hour, and was chased down by a passerby who saw it happen to return it (anyone who’s seen Shinjuku during peak hour will understand how crazy this is!)
- disaster recovery; how the country was ravaged by major earthquakes and tsunami recently, but you can't tell it had ever happened in the major cities. Bonus points for having an earthquake museum where you can visit to learn about staying safe during disasters.
Oh, and, during an earthquake, many vending machines will start automatically dispensing their wares (I only assume to make sure people stay hydrated?)
- theme parks; ok, who doesn't love a day or more at Disney? Oh, and the Universal in Osaka. Not to mention that Japan has the best parks and rides of anywhere in the world!
- speaking of theme parks, themed restaurants! Did you want your dinner served by a ninja, or a lunatic from an asylum?
- zero crime! (Well, almost) we left some property alone for a few hours outside a 7-11 while checking out a temple, and when we got back... It was all still there, completely untouched (Also, see Japlanning’s previous post on travelling alone and the crime stats in Japan).
- one of the worlds' largest rail networks; Comprising of various types of trains (Shinkansen, light rail/tram and standard trains), classes and operators, yet it is very easy to navigate, reliable and quite painless to get around (unlike that back at home!)
- train station melodies; Amazingly, most stations have their own little jingle which is played as the train arrives and departs. They’re catchy and awesome.
- over commercialisation of everything; So many people are fascinated with the lights of the city. It seems like nearly every building in Tokyo literally lights up with advertising at night.
- mascots; It’s cute when something has one, right? So, why not have one for everything! (and they do)
- food! With more michelin starred restaurants than anywhere in the world, and so many unique culinary treats to be had, any food lover should consider finding themselves a 2nd home here.
- cat cafés; (or neko kafe) a cafe where you're surrounded by kitties. It's amazing and I want to bring them all home with me.
- love hotels; no longer does a “romantic” rendezvous for an hour or two have to be to located at some dive-ey, unclean, hotel! No, the Japanese have perfected the art of, what I like to call, hooker consumption!
Bonus points for attending a themed venue, like something out of a TV show aimed at toddlers or straight from a horror movie.
- 100 yen shops; A magical shop where you can buy amazing souvenirs (and just about anything else that you can think of) for one low price (yep, you guessed it, 100¥... +tax).
- the toilet; Oh, the toilet. And the variations that you get on features available. And that it’s not just in your hotel room, no, no, no; train stations, street/public toilets, malls, department stores, AND ON BOARD TRAINS. Just about everywhere you go will have a super high-tech toilet machine. It’ll be honoured to accept your waste, so go ahead.
I could go on forever, however, to surmise, Japan has managed to go from a place I’d never considered, to a place I can’t wait to get back to (and am going soon!)
When not travelling the world or dreaming of Japan, Sam works by day as a technical manager and programmer. He’s a fan of all things less than 141 characters, and you can tweet him here.
So now that we’ve got some of Sam’s favourite things, what was yours?
Tell us in the comments below!