Quick Takes – January 10th, 2019

Welcome to this week’s Quick Takes! In this issue, going to Beppu via JR just become easier, new trains for Joetsu Shinkansen, departure tax for everyone, and more.

  • Joetsu Shinkansen to receive new trains: JR East had announced new schedules for March onwards, and one of the biggest change is for Joetsu Shinkansen (上越新幹線)、from Tokyo to Niigata. The Shinkansen service will receive E7 trains, currently running in the JR East/West joint operating Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線). A total of 10 E7 trains will phase into the Joetsu Shinkansen by mid-March. The trains are identical to their brethren in Hokuriku, bring with them the luxurious Gran Class, smoother rides, individual power sockets for all seats, full electric wheelchair support in the cabins and toilets,/ and so on. The tradeoff is that incumbent double-decker E4 trains will be phased out gradually by 2020, ending the era of double-decker high-speed trains in Japan.
  • Japan had launched a new tax for tourist and Japanese leaving Japan. The 1000 yen new departure tax will be applicable for all passengers leaving Japan on plane and sea. It will be charged to your ticket directly, and the tax dollars will be used for promotion for travelling in Japan.
  • Beppu City (別府) want your stay to be a lot easier and enjoyable. Teaming up with JR Kyushu and Yamato Transport, the team will offer free luggage delivery service to your hotel in Beppu. The service normally charges from 1000-1300 yen per luggage, but from now to March 31st, it’s free if you 1/ purchase a JR Kyushu pass through overseas travel agents or JR Kyushu’s website, and 2/ reserve your seat to Beppu trains on the website as well. A coupon will be sent via e-mail. Present the coupon to the Yamato Delivery service counter at JR Beppu station, and you are set to go. Opening hours of the service counter are from 9 am – 14:15 pm daily (more info in this pamphlet).
  • Fujikyu Shizuoka Bus fare drop in January and February: Fujikyu Shizuoka Bus had announced a fare sale for their Tokyo – Fuji / Fujinomiya highway bus line, from January 15 to February 28th. The fare reduction is in the range of 800-1000 yen per way per head. Just make a reservation through either booking sites (kousokubus.net, for example) or ticket booth at the bus terminus, up to 1 day before departure. Fujinomiya is known for one of the start position for climbing Mount Fuji, and about as close to the volcano as you can get. Fuji is as close to Mount Fuji as Fujinomiya. So, while it is not yet the time to go climb the Holy Mountain, Fujinomiya and Fuji are both worthy locations to visit for the glory of Mount Fuji (with a discount for the bus ride to boot).

That’s it for this week! See you next week for more news on Japan travel!