Quick Takes – August 28th, 2019

Welcome to this week’s Quick Takes. It’s been a while, and there is plenty of news to discuss here. Let’s dig in.

  • Tight on funds and still want some fun? Free tours are for you: Travelling in Japan does not always require spending. If you are into historical buildings and religious relics, almost all Jinjas (Shinto temples) are free to the public. Also, there are free factory tours of products, from airplanes to ice lollies. All you need is to book a tour. The articles here presents a few that you can try.
  • Tokyo Olympics essentials: Tokyo Olympics is happening next year. If you have scored a ticket, great for you! Of course, there is a lot of planning that need to be done. Figuring out accommodations, how to get to the stadiums, as well as spending time around Tokyo on days without Olympic events. The article here is a quick and dirty guide to some of these questions.
  • The Royal Express goes to Hokkaido in 2020: The Royal Express will go to Hokkaido by 2020, courtesy of JR Hokkaido and Tokyu Corporation. Tokyu operates the luxury line from Yokohama and tour in Izu Peninsula. The new branch line will operate from Sapporo in Hokkaido, and tour in Tokachi and Shiretoko area for four days and three nights. The new line will start service by August 2020 as a roughly weekly service (4 trains per month). Since it is a cruise line, you might want to check your local travel agencies specialize in Japan for more details as well as bookings.
  • JR West to run express train between Shin Osaka and Nara for a limited time: Traveling between Osaka and Nara can be cumbersome on JR, which requires a transfer on the way. This will change temporarily this autumn, where JR West will run a limited express train between Shin Osaka and Nara stations. It will be operating on weekends and holidays, and one train each way. The timing of the trains is associated with connections to Shinkansen, which suggests a day trip arrangement for the traveler.
  • ecbo cloak in all prefectures: If you read Quick Takes for a while already, then you would know that ecbo cloak is our favourite luggage storage service. They are now present in every prefecture in Japan! Granted most of their locations are at major cities, but it’s still a major feat for a startup to expand this fast.
  • teamlab in Nagasaki: Multimedia art group teamlab had been quite active these days, with exhibitions everywhere in Japan and the World. And in Nagasaki, their  Future Park project is running at the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture. It will end by September 1st, and it’s a great interactive exhibit that is very children-oriented. So if you are in Nagasaki within the next two weeks, this exhibit would make a pleasant trip~
  • Hakodate got the WBF Hotels treatment: Recently there are new hotels opening in Hakodate. Most of them are from the major business hotel chains, and Hotel WBF Hakodate Watatsumi no Yu is the latest one. Situated on the opposite side of the famous fish market, 5 minutes away from Hakodate station, it will open by this October. While it’s the second hotel WBF operates in Hakodate, it boasts natural hot spring on-premise, and food sourced locally.

That’s all for this week. Does anyone score ticket(s) to the Olympics? What would be your plan for the Games? Let us know by replying / in the comments. As always, I read all your mail/comments.

See you all next week!