Today I found this Ultraman statue at Shinbashi station in the Yamanote line. Next to the statue there was a stand where you can get a stamp to certify that you have found the statue. It seems that it is a promotion to collect the Ultraman characters stamps. If you manage to get all the stamps you will be able to have a chance to get several prizes. These kind of marketing promotions are known in Japan as スタンプラリー (Stamp Rally). To participate in them you have to use the official passbook and then collect all the stamps.
Until today I knew about rabbit island and cat island but I didn’t know about a small village in Miyagi prefecture where there are more than one hundred foxes walking around the streets, parks and temples. I have immediately added the village to the places I should visit in Miyagi.
The following photos were taken by briedis during his last visit to the village. My favourite photo is the one with the Shintoist shrine dedicated to the fox goddess Inari, two stone foxes on the sides and a real fox in the back looking at the camera
This is another post to compile the best photos I have taken during 2014, this time with my Instagram. To select the photos I have used Iconsquare by filtering the photos which had more than 300 likes. For those of you that ask me on Twitter, I’m still using an iPhone 4 to take the photos I publish on Instagram. I was thinking to move to an iPhone 6 but I eventually didn’t make up my mind.
In this year that is coming to an end I’ve still been rocking with my passion for photography. In my instagram @kirainet you can follow the photos that I take with my iPhone 4 and that I publish almost daily. In this post I am compiling the photos that I have taken during the year with my Nikon D800 and my Fuji X100. I took some of them in Kanagawa, but almost all of them were captured strolling around the streets of my beloved Tokyo.
I wish you all have a very happy Xmas and an awesome year 2015!
Last 1st of August the movie Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen) opened in movie theaters across Japan. It quickly became the highest grossing live-action Japanese movie release of the year.
It was the second of the trilogy of Rurouni Kenshin live-action movies. The action is set in Kyoto during the 19th century where an ex-member of the Shinsengumi plans a covert operation. Battosai finds out about what is going to happen in Kyoto and once again has to fight them using his double bladed sword.
Just one month later, on September 13th, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no saigo-hen, the third movie of the trilogy was released. The movie again has been a huge success and right now it still is the highest grossing movie of the week.
Since I looked up Tokyo bay for the first time in Google Maps in 2005, I have always been wondering what is that tower that comes out of the sea, more or less on the middle of the bay.
If you zoom in this is what you get:
Its name is 風の塔 “Tower of the Wind” and was built by Kajima Corporation. It seems like an antenna but it turns out that it is a ventilation system for the highway that crosses the bay under the sea. The name of the highway is Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line and it is actually a combination of a bridge and a tunnel. The Tower of the Wind can’t be visited, but the rest area 海ほたる Umi-hotaru “The Sea Firefly”, which is right at the end of the tunnel, can be accessed by anyone.
The other day we cross Tokyo bay using the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, we passed under the Tower of the Wind and we stopped at The Sea Firefly to have a coffee and take photos. To best way to access the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line from the center of Tokyo is to go to Odaiba first using the Rainbow Bridge.
Crossing the bay under the sea. Speed limit 80km/h (50mph).
When we arrived to the rest area 海ほたる Umi-hotaru “The Sea Firefly” we parked our car and walked around for a while. We had the sensation that we were on a boat. The building has several floors, all of them full of shops, restaurants and, of course, a Starbucks.
That thing by the sea that looks like a monument is part of the machinery that was used to drill the highway tunnel.
This is a guest blog post written by Matt Baxer from Cheapo Japan, I follow his blog/site since a while ago. He is very good at finding ways to not only survive but also to move around Japan very cheaply. I asked him to compile his top 10 tricks for cheap travelling in Japan, here is the result!
By Matt Baxer / Cheapo Japan
Many say Japan is too expensive a country to travel in, but there are some great ways to keep costs down. Cheapo Japan is here to show you the best tricks for travelling in Japan cheaply. Here are my top 10 tips:
1 – Get a free guide
There are a huge number of volunteer networks all over Japan with people who want to practice their English by guiding tourists around famous sites, explaining the historical and cultural meanings behind the sites. Ask at any tourist information center in a big city for help on how to set up these free tours.
2 – Stay in capsule hotels
When in a big city such as Osaka or Tokyo, you are never too far away from a capsule hotel. These offer little pods in which you can sometimes sleep for as low as 2500 yen (about 25 dollars). It’s very cramped, but capsule hotels often have free spa facilities, so you will be too sleepy to care!
3 – Get a bento, rather than going to a restaurant
There are so many cheap bento shops around Japan, selling bento boxes from as cheap as 399 yen (about 4 dollars). Look out for chains such as Origin Bento (オリジン弁当) and Hotto Motto (ほっともっと). There are also many independent bento shops, particularly in business areas.
4 – Go for a Gyudon
Gyudons are to Japan what the hamburger is to America. It’s a basic rice bowl with meat on top. They are very cheap and come to your table in under 30 seconds. Matsuya (松屋), Yoshinoya and Sukiya have gyudons starting at 300 yen. Be sure to fill up your water bottle for free when you go to these places as well!
5 – Use buses and budget airlines rather than Shinkansen trains
They may be super cool and fast, but Shinkansen (bullet) trains are also super expensive. Instead use a bus company such as Willer Bus for journeys within one of the islands. For journeys between islands, LCCs such as Jetstar and Vanilla Air will save you a bunch of money.
6 – Get a take-out at lunch
Many rather expensive restaurants are battling for customers at lunchtime, and have therefore started to sell cheap ‘1 coin’ (500 yen) lunches. Walk around any shopping area and you will soon find one of these.
500 yen (1 coin) pizza!
7 – Stay in a mountain hut
Buy any hiking map for Japan and you will surely see lots of mountain hut and camp site signs. These are certainly not 5-star accommodations, but they provide a great way to save money over often crazily expensive Ryokans. Many mountain huts are also free, so you just turn up with a sleeping bag and sleep up in the quiet mountains!
8 – Don’t pay for a rental phone or internet
Free Wifi access is available at all 7-Eleven and Family Mart convenience stores, as well as subway stations, bus stops and JR stations. Rather than paying for a rental mobile phone, you can just use Skype or such from one of these numerous Wifi spots.
9 – Eat like a king
Lots of traditional Japanese restaurant chains, such as Yayoiken (やよい軒) or Ootoya (大戸屋ごはん処) offer reasonably priced set meals, with free rice bowl refills and drinks. Look out for these signs outside a restaurant: 食べ放題 (all you can eat) orご飯のおかわりが無料 (free rice).
10 – Shop in 100 yen shops
You can buy almost anything in a 100 yen shop, from envelopes to hot drinks. There are also an increasing number of ‘300 shops’, which have a larger range and are great places to buy cheap souvenirs.
Daiso es one of the most popular 100 yen shops in Japan
For more tips and advice for travelling in Japan on a budget, visit Cheapo Japan.
Do you have any other tips that you would like to share?