Quick Takes – December 20th, 2018

Hello everyone, welcome to another edition of Quick Takes. This week, we have light show in Hakone, new organization to standardise vacation rental in Japan, Hokkaido Shinkansen speeding up, and more.

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum Light Up: Being the first open air museum in Japan, Hakone Open-Air Museum had plenty of open space for different kind of exhibition. From now to January 6th, the museum will have night time light up event: colourful spotlights will project a new image to the statues presented in the museum, which includes great artists like Henry Moore and Pablo Picasso, among others. The opening hours for the light up is 16:45 to 1800 hrs.
  • Pocket Change expand operation to Ikebukuro and Okayama: Pocket Change, the up-and-coming foreign exchange machine which can handle multiple currencies and exchange as cash and/or IC card credit, had been continuously expanding their coverage. On December 7th, two new terminals are added to their lineup. The new locations are the Bookoff on Ikebukuro Sunshine 60 Avenue, as well as travel agency H.I.S.’s Takayama Station branch.
  • All Nippon Airways accepts PayPal for air fare: ANA is now accepting Paypal for payment of international flights. Major markets in Americas, Europe and Asia will have the payment option available at booking. Pretty straight forward, this one.
  • Vacation Rental operators organize business organization: In the wake of the Minpaku laws coming into effect in June, the vacation rental scene had more or less return to a sort of normalcy. Yet, for rental owners, there’s still lots of work to make sure their lodgings are abiding the law. Thus, the major vacation rental platforms had team up in a new organization called Japan Association of Vacation Rental (JAVR in short). The association will aim for establishing business standards according to the law, educate operators and clients alike, and promote vacation rental under the new rules.
  • Hokkaido Shinkansen speed up in March: One of the weakest link for Hokkaido Shinkansen is it’s speed: it only runs up to 140 km/h for the run through Aomori and Hakodate, through the Seikan Tunnel. Total run time from Tokyo to Shin Hakodate-Hokuto is now four hours and two minutes. But recent tests had revealed that running the Shinkansen up to 160km/hr should have no issue to infrastructure, as well as the schedule for the freight trains. Thus, when the annual Spring schedule changes happens in March, Hokkaido Shinkansen’s run time will reduce by 4 minutes, for a total of three hours and fifty eight minutes. Might not be much, but with hundreds and hundreds of miles of tracks separating the two cities, 4 minutes reduction is a technological feat.

That’s it for this week, see you in the next issue! Tomorrow we will have update to the NYE transportation guide, so stay tuned!