The English consulting firm Henley & Partners released its global passport index for 2020. This ranking measures the number of countries a passport holder is permitted to visit without acquiring a visa. Japanese passport holders are able to enter 191 countries without a visa, placing it in the number one spot for the second year in a row.
1st: Japan (191) 2nd: Singapore (190) 3rd: Germany, South Korea (189) 4th: Italy, Finland (188) 5th: Spain, Luxembourg, Denmark (187) 6th: Sweden, France (186) 7th: Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands, Ireland, Austria (185) 8th: United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Greece, Belgium (184) 9th: New Zealand, Malta, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia (183) 10th: Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
Kurashiki Bikan historical quarter is a famous sightseeing spot with a retro atmosphere in Kurashiki City, Okayama. There are two main streets along the Kurashiki River. The rustic houses and weeping willow trees that line the Kurashiki River create an emotional atmosphere which makes you feel as if you have gone back in time to ancient Japan. There are stylish cafes and shops that have been renovated from townhouses and warehouses so you can enjoy cafe hopping and shopping.
Opening hours during the Golden Week period will be according to the calendar.
April 28 (Tue) Business as normal（10:00～20:00） April 29 (Wed) Closed (holiday) April 30 (Thurs) Business as normal（10:00～20:00） May 01 (Fri) Business as normal（10:00～20:00） May 02 (Sat) Business as normal（10:00～13:00） May 03 (Sun) Closed (holiday) May 04 (Mon) Closed (holiday) May 05 (Tue) Closed (holiday) May 06 (Wed) Closed (holiday) May 07 (Thurs) Business as normal（10:00～20:00）
We will accept “inquiries” and “registrations” from our website at all times.
The other day, I had the opportunity to go to Shikoku, which is made up of the Ehime, Kochi, Kagawa and Tokushima Prefectures. In the centre of Matsuyama city in Ehime Prefecture you’ll find Matsuyama Caste, perched on top of Mt. Katsuyama, towering over the surrounding area. It was built by Kato Yoshiaki who was one of the Seven Spears in the battle of Shizugatake. There are ropeways and lifts for tourists, so the inner citadel is easily accessible. At the top of the mountain you can also enjoy the beautiful fresh air and superb views.
Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture is one of Japan’s leading resort areas. Many celebrities have vacation homes here and it is also a popular area for retirees. As it is cool in summer, it is well known as a summer retreat. Golf and other outdoor activities are very popular. It snows in winter and is bustling with visiting couples and families enjoying the skiing and hot springs. There is also a famous shopping street, so visitors can relax and refresh in stylish cafes and beautiful, lush green streets. Visiting this town is a real treat.
Currently, the Narita (Tokyo) to Vladivostok route is operated by a Russian airline, but new services will start in February by JAL and March by ANA. There are numerous of ways to get from Japan to Vladivostok including a ferry from Sakaiminato. The first station on the Siberian Railway route that runs to Moscow is also located in Vladivostok. Why don’t you visit Vladivostok, the closest European destination from Japan?
Operations during the year-end and New Year season will be as follows: [Operations until the end of the year] Until 1:00 p.m., December 28th (Sat.), 2019. [Operations from the beginning of the New Year] From 10:00 a.m., January 4th (Sat.), 2020. We will accept “inquiries” and “registrations” from our website at all times.
The 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan came to a close on November 2nd. In the final match, which was between South Africa and England, South Africa won the championship by a score of 32-12. During the period of scheduled matches, from the opening match on September 20th between Japan and Russia and for a period of 44 days thereafter, a large number of people from overseas came to Japan in order to watch the rugby matches. Japan won against Russia, Ireland, Samoa, and Scotland and lost to the champion, South Africa. However, Japan advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time in history. In Japan, soccer and baseball are popular sports, but through the latest World Cup, the popularity of rugby is increasing. The next time, we shall see meet in France in 2023!
The return of oden to convenience stores in Japan is a signal that fall is coming, and for many this means relief from the oppressive heat and humidity that kills the appetite. In fact it’s rather good timing, as autumn foods are especially delicious; they even have an old adage for it: Shokuyoku no Aki, or “autumn is the season for eating”. Most famous fall food in Japan is oden, the king of autumn dishes. Ingredients of this simmering hot pot vary throughout the country, but most commonly you will find daikon radishes, boiled eggs, konnyaku, tofu and processed fishcakes. Other famous foods include matsutake mushroom, kaki (persimmon), kuri (chestnuts), yakiimo (roasted Japanese sweet potato). There are many fantastic fall foods from which to choose, each with their distinct flavor and regional variation. The great thing about Japanese autumn food is the fact that, to reflect the still pleasant weather, it ranges from hearty and hot to fresh and delicate. Why not try some oden or roasted sweet potatoes from your closest supermarket or convenience store?
In all Japan, especially in Tokyo, hot summer days continue. Japanese summer is, first of all, famous Japanese summer festivals, or Matsuri. From small local festivals near residential areas, to big events that go on for several days. Beautiful paper lanterns, Mikoshi (people carrying portable shrines through the streets), delicious street food and fun games, Bon Odori dance that everyone can join – Japanese festivals are full of fascinating activities that you can only experience in summer. There’s always a lot of couples who enjoy the festivals dressed in yukata, traditional Japanese summer clothing. When the night comes, most festivals have fireworks going off, and when they stop, festival is also coming to its end. Seeing a young man shyly talking to a girl in yukata, who came to the festival alone, and smiling all the way home from this adorable summer moment. It’s already august, and summer is soon coming to an end, but summer festivals are still being held all over Japan. If you’re in Japan, you should definitely try going to one of them, and create some more great summer memories for yourself too.