Tokyo is huge, and if you want a better idea of what it takes to travel in Japan’s mega-metropolis, please download our guide: Need To Know Tokyo. There’s a ton of information in there from when to go, to what to see, to where to eat.
As part of our clients’ Japan tours, Global Basecamps nearly always includes one vital piece of equipment. Tokyo’s Pasmo Card is an incredibly diverse tool for travel in the capital; the pass is valid all over the greater Tokyo area’s extensive ground railway and subway systems, can be used to pay for most taxis, and is even accepted at most vending machines and convenience stores. Sounds like an amazing travel tool, right? It just got even better.
Most urban areas in Japan feature similar passes, and as of last month, these passes will now all be valid in each other's cities! That means that with the one card we provide you with for travel in Tokyo, you will be able to travel similarly in Japan’s most popular cities, such as Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Sapporo! Needless to say, this is a boon for Japan’s domestic and international travelers, especially since the process to use and recharge the cards with yen is easily outlined in multiple languages.
At Global Basecamps, we talk a lot about “Cultural Japan Tours,” but what does that entail, exactly? Is Japanese culture the ancient, the samurai, the castles, the tea ceremonies, and the ryokans? Or is Japanese culture the modern, the bright billboards, the manga, the bullet trains, and the pod hotels? The answer, of course, is both. But whenever tradition and modernity can meet and become something new, that is what really excites us about culture in Japan.
Few things are more timeless in Japan than fish, and the Tsukiji Fish Market could be described as fish central for Tokyo tours, as well as one of the biggest fish markets in the world. The market accepts a limited number of casual observers daily, and early risers will find a bustling, vibrant, coordinated dance of fishmongers, restaurant owners and sushi chefs negotiating for the day’s best catch. For Japanese food enthusiasts, this experience is almost like getting a peek behind the curtain, or watching the foundations being laid at a construction site.
There was a buzz around the office here at Global Basecamps last week. As a San Diego-based company, we are so happy to get word from Japan Airlines that they will be debuting the first non-stop flights from San Diego and Boston to Tokyo. According to Japan Airlines’ press release, “JAL will begin serving the eighth most populous U.S. city, also the city with the largest Asian community currently without a direct flight to Asia, with four flights a week from December 2012 and daily from March 2013 to/from Narita [Airport].” Surely, many Southern Californians will welcome this news as an opportunity to skip a commute to LAX for any direct flights to the Asian capital.
Japan Airlines definitely had the Japanese business sector in mind when they created this route, as San Diego is the home to research institutions, universities and is closer to Tijuana, Mexico, where many Japanese companies conduct business, but this doesn’t mean that western travelers can’t take advantage of the new daily flights for their next ecotour! Not only will this make travel to Japan easier for Southern Californians, but Tokyo’s Narita Airport is also one of the major hubs for travel in Asia. That ecotour in Vietnam could only be one airport transfer away!