Welcome to this week’s Quick Takes! We have news on transportation news, as well as expansion of a hotel chain, and the move of Tsukiji Market.
- The heavy rainstorm in Japan last month had wreak a lot of havoc on train infrastructures. Most of the rail lines affected are in western part of the country. Sanyo/San’in Main Lines running along Western Honshu had suffered lots of damages. This week, JR West Hiroshima division had announced their projections on the repairs. The resume of service from Hiroshima to Kure on September 9th is among the most notable of these repairs. Getting Kure back in action is important, as it is one of the gateways to Shikoku (via ferry to Matsuyama). It is also a favourite tourist spot for WWII naval battle fans. The famous Yamato Museum is located in Kure, with many artifacts and historical records from the ill fated battleship. Also, on September 1st, JR Shikoku will resume full operation of its Yosan line. The line runs between Takamatsu to Matsuyama, and had not run from end to end after the rainstorm.
- Some of you might have used the JR‐EAST Train Reservation service to book Shinkansen reservations before. JR East had announced this week expansion of the service to cover trains lines that are more tourist oriented. This includes most of the services listed as “Joyful Trains”, such as most of the SL (steam locomotive) lines, as well as special theme trains, such as the Pokémon With You Train. From September 5th, tourist can book their tickets on these train lines as recent as three days ahead (i.e. from September 8th onwards).
- ecbo cloak, the luggage storage service with shops, cafes, JR stations and post offices as their fronts, announced their expansion to Nagoya area. There are four locations for tourists to book in Nagoya: two smartphone repair shops and two comic cafes. There are more locations in the area ready for bookings, which users can now book on their website.
- One of my favorite chain hotels in Japan, Tokyu Stay, had announced this week massive expansion, from 2018 4th quarter to 2020. A wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyu Group, Tokyu Stay had strong presence in Tokyo area (18 hotels in total), and had started their expansion into major cities since last year, with their Kyoto, Sapporo and Hakata branches. Their latest plan calls for opening of nine hotels from November of this year to summer of 2020, just in time for the Olympics. Of particular interest are their venture into markets that competitor Toyoko Inn had little or no presence in. For instance, Tokyu Stay Kanazawa and Hakodate will be opened right next to Toyoko Inn’s existing branches. Tokyu Stay Takayama will have no competition from Toyoko, and will be a big onsen hotel with 200+ rooms, a first in their chain. It will be quite interesting to see how Toyoko Inn parries these direct challenges.
- After much delay, the move of Tokyo’s main fish market – Tsukiji Market, had been finalized. The new Toyosu Market, will start operation replacing Tsukiji by October 11th. Tsukiji market authorities will suspend tour of the Inner Market (where tuna auctions are held), by mid September. This is to make time for preparations of the move. Meanwhile, the Outer Market, where most of the eateries are, will not move, though some restaurants will move to Toyosu. A competition is now going on for a new name, after the inner market move.
That’s it for this week! Would you book the Pokémon online? Or would it be a trip to Tsukiji before it goes to Toyosu? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!