Being Prepared for a Natural Disaster in Japan

When you are driving in Japan, do you know what to do if there’s an earthquake or sudden heavy rain?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in Japan in order to be prepared in case of a natural disaster.

1. Earthquake

■ If an earthquake happens when you’re driving
If an earthquake starts while you’re driving, turn on the hazard/emergency lights and check the condition of nearby cars and pedestrians, then move your car to the shoulder and stop.
If you brake suddenly, you could get hit from behind, so gradually reduce your speed before stopping if possible.
Please wait in the car without getting out until the earthquake subsides, then check the earthquake information, damage, etc, from your mobile phone or app.

■ If you get out of the car and evacuate
If there is a tsunami warning issued or the road is damaged and you cannot continue, turn off the engine, close the windows, leave the car key in the ignition and do NOT lock the doors, and proceed to safety.
When you leave the key in the ignition, emergency personnel will be able to move the car if it’s blocking emergency vehicles.

■ When evacuating with the car
It’s very dangerous to move the car when there is an earthquake because there might be congestion, damage to the road, or debris blocking the way. Therefore, please stop the car in a safe place and walk to evacuate.
If there are no buildings nearby and you must evacuate by car, drive very carefully and pay close attention to road conditions because traffic lights and signals may no longer be operational due to power failures.

2. Sudden Heavy Rain

■ If you encounter heavy rain while driving
If it’s raining very hard, stop driving and park in a safe place and wait for the rain to stop.

■ Avoid underpasses
Underpasses are made by digging down from the surrounding road, such as underground roads passing under railways or highways.
During heavy rain, underpasses are dangerous because they can be easily flooded by several meters of water. During heavy rainfall, never attempt to drive into a flooded area.

■ “I think I can make it” driving is extremely dangerous
It’s extremely dangerous to think that you can drive through flooded roads, even if you think it’s shallow. Even a small amount of water can sweep away a car.
If you do drive into a flooded area, it’s possible that cars in front of you will become unable to move and the water level will increase, meaning that you will be stuck.
Avoid driving through any area that has standing water.

3. Heavy Snow

■ If you get stuck on a snow road
If your tires slip on fresh slow and you get stuck, slowly move the car back and forth to stiffen the snow around the tires.
If there’s a sand box on the side of the road, sprinkle some sand around the drive wheel.

■ If you can’t move because of heavy snow
In whiteout conditions such as snowstorms, please turn on the hazard/emergency lights and and safely stop the vehicle.
Since the exhaust pipe might become blocked by snow, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so please remove the snow from the exhaust pipe while you’re waiting for assistance.

4. If Water Gets Into The Car

It’s important to stay calm even if the car engine stops in a flooded area and water gets into the car.
First, remove the seatbelt, open the door, and evacuate. If the water is too high and the door won’t open, evacuate from the window. If the window won’t open, break the side window and evacuate (don’t try to break the sturdy windshield glass).

5. Car Fire

If a fire breaks out while driving, turn on the hazard lights to notify the cars around you that an emergency has occurred.
Next, stop the car on the side of the road and call the 119 emergency phone number from your mobile phone. If you can, try to extinguish the fire as long as you are not exposing yourself to danger.
Depending on the strength of the fire, you may be able to extinguish the flame by choking it with a jacket or water.

6. Safety Information Card – Useful Tool for Tourists Visiting Japan

This tool from the Japan Tourism Agency summarizes information about disaster preparedness, including useful websites and apps, so that tourists can enjoy a safe trip with peace of mind, even in case of a natural disaster. Please use it by all means.

Safety Information Card – 観光庁

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Throw Beans, Get Luck! Japanese Holiday “Setsubun”

Setsubun, or “節分” in Japanese, means the parting of the seasons. Every time the season changes, it’s called Setsubun, but the new year starts in spring according to the lunar calendar, so the most important Setsbun is in spring. It’s said that evil comes out at the turn of the season, so it’s very important to protect against it with a new milestone every year.

This year, Setsubun will be celebrated on Sunday, February 3, 2019. So, what do you actually do for Setsubun?

1. Bean throwing
2. Ehomaki sushi
3. Decorations
4. Summary


1. Bean throwing
On Setsubun, we throw beans while saying “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi,” which means “Devils are outside, luck is inside.” This tradition is called “mame maki,” where “mame” means beans (think edamame) and “maki” means throw. When you do mame maki, you are driving evil out of the house and attracting good luck into the house. Sometimes, the father of the house will dress up as the devil and children will throw their beans at him!

After you finish throwing the beans, you also have to eat some – but not off the ground! You have to eat as many beans as your age so you will get good luck and good health in the coming year.


2. Ehomaki (恵方巻)
You have to eat ehomaki during Setsubun to get good luck, too! Ehomaki means “lucky direction” sushi, and it must have at least 7 ingredients of different colors. This is because you must eat ehomaki while facing this year’s lucky direction, and you are not allowed to speak until you have finished eating the whole roll. You have to stay silent and make your wish for the new year, because luck will escape if you talk. By the way, the lucky direction this year is east by northeast! There are also some people who believe that you should close your eyes while eating, and there are even some who believe you’ll get the best luck if you laugh while eating! During Setsubun season, you can buy ehomaki at convenience stores, supermarkets, and fancy department stores too, so try it out! There are some very interesting flavors, such as all seafood ehomaki and even tonkatsu ehomaki!


3. Decorations
To protect your house, there are some people who put the heads of sardines and decorations of holly on the entrance of their homes so that demons won’t gather. If you say this outside someone’s house, you might be disinclined to go in, too!


4. Summary
Customs and traditions vary depending on the region, but Setsubun is an event where parents can become demons, children can throw beans with delight, and the whole family can play and eat together. If you come to Japan during Setsubun, why not try experiencing the unique mame maki and ehomaki?

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Japanese New Year

In Japan, the time period of January is called “o-shou-ga-tsu, Oshougatsu in Japan is an event for the family, much like Chinese New Year.  Most Japanese people will be at home with their families come together to celebrate the New Year.

  • The o-souji (house cleaning)
  • New Year’s Decorations
  • nengajo (New Year’s cards)
  • Huge bellsand toshikoshi soba” (year-crossing soba)
  • Events and customs

■The o-souji (house cleaning)

The o-souji ritual used to start on December. It has a practical and a spiritual significance. This major house cleaning is thought as a ritual to give a pleasant welcome to God on New Year’s Day.They will associate a big annual clean with spring, in Japan it’s done in the last days of the year – pretty much everywhere. Homes, schools and offices all get a thorough going over that creates a clean slate for the year ahead.

■New Year’s Decorations

After finish the house cleaning, it will start to decorate their houses with special decorations on December 28th and 30th. Please be carefully they would not do it on December 29th because that is apparently also not a good day to put up decorations because the number nine has the same sound as “suffer” (ku 苦) in Japanese, so it is also considered to be bad luck.

Let’s get to know the different Japanese new year decorations!

Kadomatsu

Kadomatsu are placed in  pairs in front of the gate or front doors of homes to welcome the Shinto gods.

Shime-Kazari

Shimekazari will put it on top of the house entrance to prevent bad spirits from entering and to invite the Shinto deity, to descend and visit.

A round rice-cake

Japanese people will  and place these at very visible places around their homes for decoration. Placing them in different rooms is said to bring more luck, as each room will welcome Shinto gods come and stay.

■nengajo (New Year’s cards)

People say ”あけましておめでとうございます(akemashite omedetou (gozaimasu)” which is meaning congratulations on the new year. They will  send New Year’s cards called ”nengajo ”to their family or someone treated well by.  Although with the growth of the Internet and cell phones, the number of people who send nengajo is decreasing yearly,  The receiver can know your feeling during you hand writing. However, do not send the New Year’s cards to anyone who has had a death in the family during the year.

■Huge bellbsound and toshikoshi soba” (year-crossing soba)


New Year’s Eve is called “Oomisoka” in Japanese. At Buddhist temples, huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires. Most people believe that huge bells are hit 108 times during midnight to get rid of all evil desires. So that we will eat the “toshikoshi soba” when we hearing the huge bells sounds and wish for a long lasting life. You can still listen the huge bells sounds even while you’re staying at home  because you can see it at the TV shows.

■Events and customs

The first sunrise

 

It is an event to worship the first sun rising on New Year’s Day, which is the beginning of the year since it is believed that the Shinto gods of the year appear with the first sunrise. So, people pray for good luck when the first sun rises.

First visiting to the Shrine

At the beginning of the year, people go to the shrine and pray for the safety and happiness of the new year. Some people leave their home to visit the shrine on the night of the 31st, or at the midnight, and some people just go there in the morning on January 1st or afternoon. Shrines are very crowded at this time of year. The money which you can put into the wooden box for good luck is well known as the more money you put into it, the more luck you will get. On the other hands, some people believe if you put 5 Yen, it is super lucky. Since the pronunciation of 5 Yen which is ‘go en’ sounds similar to the word ‘ご縁(go en)’ which means luck.

Osechi dish

It is a celebration meal that Japanese people have between January 1st and 3rd. Japanese people believe that Osechi dishes bring good luck in the sense of celebration. It is filled with grilled, boiled and pickled foods in a multitiered Japanese food box. It is made up of dishes which could be preserved longer time so that it  can allow housewives who are busy with cooking take a rest around some days at the New Year.

Otoshidama

Originally, this began with the custom to give some left over rice cakes to children. but today it has become an event for adults to give money to children. It’s a small bag of money that children receive from their parents, grandfathers, grandmothers and relatives.

Kagami-mochi

 

You should eat Kagami-mochi which were offered to the Shinto gods after some days from the New Year day!  People cut this rice cakes and put them into some red bean soup or Ozoni which is Dashi soup(Soup types and other ingredients might be changed up to the location.). They eat this praying for keeping good health of the new year. People eat this mostly on January 11th or 20th.

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일본의 크리스마스

매년 12월은 전 세계가 크리스마스를 축하하는 시즌인데요. 일본도 예외는 아니랍니다.
혹시 일본의 크리스마스 문화에 대해 아시나요? 일본만의 형태로 변화해온 흥미로운 크리스마스 문화, 이번 포스팅에서 소개드리고자 합니다.
  • 프라이드 치킨과 크리스마스 케이크
  • 누구와 함께
  • 25일 밤이 지나면

 

프라이드 치킨과 크리스마스 케이크

미국등에서는 크리스마스 저녁식사라 하면 칠면조나 햄 등의 통구이로 알려져있지만, 일본에서 크리스마스에 가장 사랑받는 요리는 프라이드 치킨이라해도 과언이 아니랍니다. 칠면조를 쉽게 구할 수 없었던 일본에서 칠면조를 대체한 것이 바로 이 치킨인데요. 일본의 크리스마스 시즌엔 프라이드치킨 수요가 급증하여, 켄터키 프라이드 치킨 등 패스트푸드나 음식점에서는 12월이 시작됨과 동시에 예약 접수를 시작한다고 해요. 편의점이나 슈퍼에서도 프라이드 치킨이나 로스트 치킨이 빽빽히 진열되어 있어 독특한 크리스마스 분위기를 엿볼 수 있답니다.

크리스마스 케이크를 먹는 것은 한국과 비슷하게 일본에서도 기본이라 여겨진답니다.  크리스마스 분위기를 연출하기 위해 산타 데코레이션 등 화려한 장식의 케이크를 보실 수 있습니다.( 참고로! 25일 저녁이 되면 크리스마스 케이크의 재고처리를 위해 반값 세일도 열리니, 그 시간대를 노려 싸게 구매하는 것도 절약의 팁이라면 팁입니다.)

일본에서 먹는 크리스마스 케이크의 발상은 1922년 양과자 메이커 “후지야”의 캐치프레이즈로 거슬러 올라갑니다. “크리스마스엔 케이크를 먹자”라는 캐치프레이즈와 함께, 생크림으로 데코된 케이크를 발매한 후지야. 당시, 케이크는 고급음식으로 일반 서민들은  접근하기 힘든 음식이었는데요.  1970년대 이후에는 서민들이 크리스마스 케이크를 먹는 것이 보편화 되었답니다. 현재 크리스마스 케이크로 가장 많이 볼 수 있는 것은 생크림 딸기 케이크지만, 그 외에도 다양한 맛과 데코의 케이크를 보실 수 있습니다.

 

누구와 함께

크리스마스가 되면, 일본에서는 가족보다 연인과 데이트하며 로맨틱한 분위기로 보내는 경우가 많습니다. 일본인들에게 크리스마스와 발렌타인데이는 연인들을 위한 2대 이벤트로 자리잡고 있답니다. 아이들에게는 산타클로스가 착한 아이에게 선물을 가져다 준다는 날로 알려져있는게 일본에서도 같다고 하네요.

 

 

25일 밤이 지나면

즐거웠던 크리스마스는 12월25일의 밤이 지나면 언제 그랬냐는 듯 끝나버립니다. 가게의 진열과 크리스마스 장식품들은 25일의 폐점을 끝으로 일제히 모습을 감추고, 26일에는 바로 새해모드로 들어갑니다. 집에서도 물론, 장식된 크리스마스 트리가 정리되고 새해 문앞에 새우는 일본의 소나무 장식 ‘카도마츠로 꾸며진답니다.

 

 

끝내며

기존 크리스마스 문화에 일본 전통적 관습을 도입해나가면서 독자적인 문화를 진화 시켜온 일본의 크리스마스. 이젠 일본의 독자적인 크리스마스 문화로 정착된 것 같네요. 12월이 되면 서양의 크리스마스 캐롤 뿐만아니라, 일본만의 크리스마스 캐롤이 들려오고, 방송에서도 크리스마스를 테마로 한 에피소드를 방영하는 것 등을 보면 말이죠.

겨울에 일본을 찾으신다면, 일본만의 ‘메리 크리스마스’를 즐겨 보시는건 어떨까요?

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Christmas in Japan

Every December brings the season to celebrate Christmas around the world, and Japan is no exception. Christmas in Japan has many unique characteristics as part of Japan’s culture. This time we would like to introduce to you how Japanese people celebrate Christmas.

 

  • Fried chicken and Christmas cake
  • Who to celebrate with
  • Ending the 25th night

 

Fried Chicken and Christmas Cake

In the United States and elsewhere, Christmas dinner is a roast turkey or ham, but the dish most associated with Christmas in Japan is fried chicken. Since turkey is difficult to find in Japan, it was replaced with chicken instead. Demand for fried chicken in Christmas season in Japan is very high, with fast food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and butcher shops accepting reservation as soon as December 1st. As Christmas draws nearer, fried chicken and roast chicken will be sold at convenience and grocery stores, so you will be able to see the unique Christmas atmosphere.

 

 

 

It is said that eating cake at Christmas is a staple for Japanese people. To produce a sense of Christmas, it is a common practice to arrange fruits and decorate it with Santa and other motifs. Incidentally, on the night of December 25, many cake shops will be selling their goods for half-price,  so if you want to enjoy a more cost-effective Christmas, please time your shopping as such!

The origin of Christmas cake in Japan began with a campaign in 1922 when cake manufacturer Fujiya started selling a cake decorated with cream with the catch phrase “Let’s eat cake at Christmas!” At that time, cake was a luxury good, and ordinary people could not easily buy one, but around the 1970s, the custom to eat Christmas cake spread through every home in Japan. Whipped cream and strawberry Christmas cakes are the most popular in Japan today, but there are a variety of other flavors and decorated cakes.

 

Who to celebrate with

At Christmas time, Japanese people often spend more time with their romantic partner than with their families. So, for Japanese people, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are the two big romantic holidays for lovers.

By the way, it’s the same for children in Japan that Santa Claus brings Christmas presents to good children.

 

 

 

Ending on the 25th night

A happy Christmas will be finished at night on December 25th. The shop displays and Christmas decorations are changed immediately after closing on the 25th, and on the 26th we will enter 100% New Years mode. Of course, the Christmas tree will be put away and the traditional New Years kadomatsu (bamboo decoration) will be brought out.

 

 

 

Summary
While incorporating Japanese customs, Christmas has evolved from the original for many years and Japan’s unique Christmas is now fully established. In December, Christmas songs playing throughout the town are not only Western traditional songs and pop music, but also Japanese original Christmas songs. Also in this season, TV and anime will also be broadcasting their Christmas episodes.

If you visit Japan in winter, why not enjoy a unique “Merry Christmas” in Japan?

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Japan Winter Illuminations 2018-19

In December, streets around the world will light up the city for the holidays and hold various illuminations. The town starts to be colored with various lights and fascinates the people walking by. Every year illuminations with various features are held all over Japan. We will introduce the most popular illumination events held this year.

  1. Blue Cave SHIBUYA
    Yoyogi Park will be lit up for a total length of 800 meters and the magnificent Blue Cave represented by the blue-colored light colors the Shibuya winter streets. Several kinds of illumination with special effects effect will also appear.

 

出典:青の洞窟SHIBUYA PR事務局HP

 

Blue Cave SHIBUYA
Event Period: November 30-December 31, 2018 17:00~22:00 (The lighting time may depend on the day.)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho, Shibuya Park Street-Yoyogi Park area
Website: http://shibuya-aonodokutsu.jp/

 

 

 

2. Germany Christmas Market Osaka 2018
This winter, a 27-meter high Christmas tree brightens the Wonder Square of Shin Umeda City. In Germany Christmas Market, you can enjoy German-style Christmas festivities in Japan, including German-style ornaments and candles, sausages and mulled wine. Also, a wooden merry-go-round with about 120 years of history will also be available. During the event, the whole Umeda Sky Building is full of the Christmas spirit.

出典:梅田スカイビルHP

 

Germany Christmas Market 2018
Event Period: November 16-December 25, 2018 17: 00 ~ 22: 30 ※Market is open from 12:00-21:00 (Friday ~ 22:00, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11:00-22:00)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Kita-ku, Oyodonaka Shin Umeda City Wonder Square
Website: https://www.kuchu-teien.com/en/

 

3. Ebisu Garden Place Christmas illumination
At Ebisu Garden Place, an illumination event is held entitled “Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS – Form of Joy.” The world’s largest baccarat chandelier of about 5 meters in height, about 3 meters in width, more than 8000 crystals, and more than 250 lights in total. It also features large Christmas trees on Clock Square, set in the city, lit up with a total of about 100,000 lights. You can enjoy a Christmas unique to Ebisu Garden Place.

 

出典:恵比寿ガーデンプレイスHP

 

Ebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination
Event Period: November 3, 2018~January 14, 2019 Chandelier is lit from 11:00~24:00, Christmas illumination is 16:00~24:00 * Open throughout the day※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu Garden Place Center Square
Website: https://gardenplace.jp.e.adx.hp.transer.com/

 

4. Marunouchi Illumination 2018
This year is the 17th anniversary for the Marunouchi Illumination. The illumination covers about 1.2 kilometers of the streets with 1 million original Marunouchi “Champagne Gold” LED lights. This year, the Nijubashi Square has also been added in to the illumination area, and the “Gate of Light” will be open again this year in the Yurakucho area.

 

出典:丸の内HP

Marunouchi Illuminaton 2018
Event Period: November 8, 2018-17 February 2019 17: 30-23: 00 (17: 00-24: 00 during December)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi Naka-dori, Tokyo Station Area, Otemachi area, etc.
Website: https://www.marunouchi.com/

 

 

 

5. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination (R) ~ Shining Light Pier~
Jewellumination is produced by lighting designer Mikiko Ishii. This season we renewed the whole area with the theme of Light Pier as the ideal village of light, the gemstone illumination of 6 million lights. One of the highlights is the 25-meter high Jewelry Mountain. The slopes spread over the mountainside and you can enjoy sledding. In addition to the fountain show using 216 fountains with a width of 60 m and a height of 15 m, you can also enjoy ‘Starlight Bandet’ and ice skating, which runs like a shooting star across the night sky.

 

出典:遊園地よみうりランドHP

 

Yomiuri Land Jewellumination (R) ~ Shining Light Pier~
Event Period: October 11, 2018 – February 17, 2019 16:00 ~ 20:30 (※ From December 15th to 25th ~ 21: 00)
* Closed January 15-17 and 21-24, 2019※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Inagi-shi, Yanokuchi 4015-1 Yomiuri Land
Website: http://yomiuriland.com/

 

  1. OSAKA Renaissance of Light 2018
    The main feature of the Osaka Light Symposium 2018 in which the lights are integrated from the city hall around Nakanoshima Park. At the Osaka Municipal Central Public Hall, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening this year. Also in the west side of the Nakanoshima Park Rose Garden, about 1000 lanterns will be put up to celebrate Taiwan’s Lunar New Year (Gen Shosetsu). Nakanoshima Illuminations Street of Zelkova trees with a total length of about 150 meters is synchronized with music and colorful lights.

出典:「大阪・光の饗宴2018」HP

 

OSAKA Renaissance of Light 2018
Event Period: December 14-25, 2018 17:00~22:00 (Some programs are from 16:00~)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Osaka Prefecture Osaka-shi Kita-ku Osaka City Hall/Nakanoshima Park
Website: http://www.hikari-kyoen.com/

 

 

 

  1. 24th Annual Kobe Luminarie
    Kobe, famous for its night view, remembers victims of the Great Kobe Earthquake and entrusts dreams and hopes for the revival and revitalization of the city since 1995. Since then, it has been supported by many people as an event symbolizing Kobe. The theme is changed every year, and LED light bulbs are used for all works including large works of Luminarie street. Furthermore, in order to continue Kobe Luminarie, please consider to cooperate with the venue donation (100 yen per person).

出典:神戸ルミナリエHP

 

24th Annual Kobe Luminarie
Event Period: December 7-6, 2018 (※For details, please refer to the official website)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Hyogo-ken, Kobe City, Chuo-ku
Website: http://kobe-luminarie.jp/

 

 

 

  1. National Showa Memorial Park Winter Vista Illumination 2018
    An oasis of llumination at the National Showa Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo. From the Tachikawa area to the plaza, it is wrapped in light. The theme of the illumination changes every year, directing different expressions respectively. Lighting up the large fountain with the symbolic existence of the champagne glass tower using the approximately 15,000 glasses and the symbolic existence of the park, with the canal in the center, the illuminating world where trees and the water surface shine can enjoy the fantastic world.

出典:国営昭和記念公園HP

 

National Showa Memorial Park Winter Vista Illumination 2018
Event Period: December 8-25, 2018 17:00~21:00 (Admission to ~20:50 ※From 16:00 onwards you can only enter from the Tachikawa gate)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo Midoricho 3173 National Showa Memorial Park Tachikawa entrance – Fureai Hiroba
Website: http://www.showakinen-koen.jp/

 

 

 

  1. Shonan’s Jewels 2018 ~ Light and Color Celebration Enoshima ~
    Enoshima Sea Candle (Enoshima Observatory Lighthouse), which is popular as a symbol of Shonan, is focused on various parts of Enoshima Island as illumination. The main venue glows with colorful crystal beads. From the middle of December, you can enjoy 20,000 winter tulips and illumination competitions

出典:江の島サムエルHP

 

Shonan’s Jewels 2018 ~ Light and Color Celebration Enoshima ~
Event Period: November 23, 2018 to February 17, 2019, 17:00 to 20:00※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Kanagawa Prefecture Fujisawa City Enoshima, Enoshima Sea Candle, Nakatsu Palace Square, etc.
Website: https://enoshima-seacandle.com/

 

 

 

  1. 2018 Sendai Light Pageant
    Sendai ‘s winter scenes that counts the 33rd time this year. With the theme “Lights on everyone, the light of the heart” with about 600 thousand star-like lights. During the period, there are also booths and ice rinks at Gotokudai Park and Citizen Square. Also, from November 1 to the next February 20 entitled “2018 SENDAI Light Pageant in Izumi Park Town,” the main street in the center area of Izumi Parktown will be colored as the pageant of light.

出典:SENDAI光のページェント実行委員会HP

 

2018 Sendai Light Pageant
Event Period: December 14-31, 2018 17:30-22:00 (※ Fridays, Saturdays and December 23-24 are ~23:00, and December 31 is ~24:00)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Miyagi-ken Sendai City Aoba-ku Jozenji-tsu
Website: http://www.sendaihikape.jp/

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Safety Tips: Must-Have App for Travelers in Japan

Do you know what to do in a natural disaster when you’re on vacation?
In a foreign country with unfamiliar customs, culture, and no climate intuition, it can be hard to know what to do in case of trouble. We’re introducing a new app that can help foreign tourists to go safely even in case of emergency.

The app has the following functions.

外国人旅行者向け災害時情報提供アプリ「Safety tips」を大幅に機能向上しました!

Safety Tips
Free

5 Supported Languages: English・Chinese (Simplified/Traditional)・Korean・Japanese

Supported OS
・Android 5.0 or later
・iOS 9.0 or later

✓ Push notifications for emergency earthquake announcements, tsunami warnings, special weather alerts, and volcanic eruption information

✓ Foreigner-friendly medical facility information (information is from the Japanese government tourism office)

✓ Advanced information (details on each type of disaster, first aid methods, etc.)

✓ Evacuation recommendations and instructions

✓ Weather forecast

✓ Earthquake information

✓ Volcanic eruption warnings

✓ Heat stroke advisories

✓ Evacuation shelter information

✓ Transportation information

✓ Medical facility information

✓ Emergency contact information (110, 119, one-click dial embassy phone numbers)

Below is the home screen of the Safety Tips app.

There are many useful functions in case of a natural disaster.

There are explanations for each type of disaster, as well as what to do when right after an event, so please download it so you can travel with confidence.

You can download the app from the QR code below.
QRコード(For iPhone) QRコード(For Android)
For iPhone    For Android

If the QR code doesn’t work, please use the following URL.
・Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.rcsc.safetyTips.android
・iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/safety-tips/id858357174?mt=8

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Rental Car Airport Counter Guide

By pressing the icon of the rental car company next to the airport, you can see the information on the airport counter below.

New Chitose Airport (Domestic Terminal)  
New Chitose Airport (International Terminal)
Narita International Airport (Terminal 1)  
Narita International
Airport (Terminal 2 & 3)
Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 1  
Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2
Chubu Centrair International Airport  
Kansai International Airport  
Fukuoka Airport International Terminal
Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal
Kagoshima Airport International Terminal
Naha Airport 相關圖片

 

 


New Chitose Airport (Domestic Terminal)

The check in counter is on the 1st floor of the domestic terminal building.
Please go to the “Car Rental Counter” shown on the map.


出典:新千歳空港ホームページ

 

 


New Chitose Airport (International Terminal)
Please check in at the information counter on the first floor. Go out from the arrival gate and proceed left, and go to the first floor with the escalator on the left at the end. When you get to the center, there is an information counter on the right, where the “?” mark is shown below.

出典:新千歳空港ターミナルビルホームページ

 

 


Narita International Airport (Terminal 1)

The reception counter is in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor.
The “14” on the map shows the counter location.

出典:成田国際空港公式WEBサイト

 

 



Narita International Airport (Terminal 2 & 3)
* If you arrive at Terminal 3, please use the rental car counter in Terminal 2 (domestic).

The counter is in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor of Terminal 2.
The “9” on the map is the counter location.

出典:成田国際空港公式WEBサイト

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 1 (Times, Orix, and Nissan)

Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 3,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国際線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Domestic Airport Terminal 1 (Nippon, Toyota)
Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 5,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国際線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2 (Nippon, Orix, Nissan)

Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 3,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国内線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2 (Times, Toyota)

The rental car counter is located next to the Information Desk 4 with the orange “4” displayed in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国内線旅客ターミナルホームページ


Chubu Centrair International Airport

After arrival, please go to the 2nd floor information counter in the Access Plaza, where the red “?” mark is shown in the middle of the map below. The information counter hours are from 9:00-18:00.
※If you arrive outside of the business hours, please go directly to the outlet from the 1st floor Access Plaza.

出典:中部国際空港ホームページ


Kansai International Airport

Please go to the reception counter of the rental car company you have reserved. The counters are located on the 1st floor of the Aero Plaza, 3 minutes on foot from the arrival exit. It is shown as “23” on the map  below.
※There are no rental car counters in Terminal 2. Please go directly to the outlet from the 1st floor Aero Plaza.

出典:関西国際空港ホームページ

 

 



Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Toyota)

There is free transfer service to the outlet provided by the rental car companies (required time: about 3 minutes).
※Please go to the 1st floor joint car rental information desk in the airport for guidance about the free transfer service. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Nissan)

There are free courtesy bus service between the airport and outlet.
Please come to the counter at arrival lobby located in the international terminal.

You can call for courtesy bus using a phone at the counter if our staff is not there. 

*It may take from 30 minutes up to 60 minutes to pick up and drop off depends on traffic condition.

*You can also use the airport free shuttle bus which runs between International terminal and Domestic terminal
and our Fukuoka Airport outlet is just 3 minutes on foot from the domestic terminal.
This shuttle bus operates every 5 minutes and it is about 15 minutes between the international and domestic terminal.

There is free transfer service to the outlet provided by the rental car companies (required time: about 3 minutes).
※Please go to the 1st floor joint car rental information desk in the airport for guidance about the free transfer service. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Times)

Please come to the special counter in the international terminal. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below. If staff are not present, please use the dedicated telephone at the counter. The staff will provide free shuttle service from the airport to the outlet (about 3-5 minutes).
Phone number: 092-432-7070

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Nippon)

1.Please go to the car rental counter on the left of the arrival gate.
2.After checking in, the staff will provide free transfer service to the outlet from the 3rd floor shuttle area.
※If there is no one at the counter, please call 0120-65-0919 (toll free).

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Budget)

Please go to the rental car counter on the first floor of the international terminal to register at the counter (the red “?” mark as shown below). Then, please wait at the International Terminal 3F exit, next to the police box. (If there is no one at the counter, please call + 81-92-735-8886.)

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Toyota)

There is no transfer service available. From the domestic terminal south side, it is about 5 minutes on foot. If you are coming from the north arrival gate, it is about 10 minutes on foot.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Toyota)

There is no transfer service available.
From the south domestic terminal exit, please cross the traffic light in front of you and walk for about 3 minutes.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Times)

There is free transfer service available.
After arrival, please call the outlet (092-629-5656) and wait at the meeting spot, the Domestic Terminal North Exit rental car only shuttle area. The staff will pick you up in 5-10 minutes.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Nippon)
There are two Nippon outlets, so please be careful. 

Nippon Rental Car Fukuoka Airport-Daiichi (1)
There is no transfer service.
3-minute walk from the Arrival Area South. 1-minute walk from the subway exit 4.

Nippon Rental Car Fukuoka Airport-Daini (2)
After arrival, please call the toll-free number 0120-59-0919. Please proceed to the front parking lot near the Arrival Area North. The staff will pick you up at the car rental 「Pick-up & Drop-off zone」.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 

Kagoshima Airport International Terminal


Nissan Rent a Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Nissan Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-2121

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

 


BUDGET Rent A Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
BUDGET Rent A Car phone number: 0995-58-3543

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 


TOYOTA Rent a Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
TOYOTA Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-2306

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

 


Times Car Rental

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Times Car Rental phone number:0995-58-3888

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 


Nippon Rental Car
There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Nippon Rental Car phone number: 0995-58-2539

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 


Sky Rent a Car
There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter, exit the airport at exit ① shown on the map below, and go ahead 30 meters to the right to the meeting place.
Sky Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-9330

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Naha Airport

There is no reception counter in the airport. The rental car company will pick you up from the airport. If you arrive on an international flight, please go to the domestic terminal to the “Rental Car Pickup” place designated on the map below after getting your luggage. Go out of the exit and cross the pedestrian crosswalk. You will see the 11-B sign for “Rental Car Shuttle Bus Stop,” so please wait there for transfer service.

出典:那覇空港国内線ターミナルホームページ

 


BUDGET Rent A Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. The rental car company will pick you up from the airport. Please call the rental car outlet when you arrive. If you arrive on an international flight, please go to the domestic terminal to the “Rental Car Pickup” place designated on the map below after getting your luggage. Take the exit #1 on the JAL side of Naha Airport and cross the pedestrian crosswalk. You will see the 11-B sign for “Rental Car Shuttle Bus Stop,” so please wait there for transfer service.
BUDGET Rent A Car phone number: 098-856-2200

出典:那覇空港国内線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

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All About Telephone Translator Support

1. What is Telephone Translator Support? 
2. When can I use Telephone Translator Support?
3. How can I use Telephone Translator Support?
4. Important notes


1. What is Telephone Translator Support?
24-hour Telephone Translator Support can respond to every place and situation in case of trouble or need for help. With this service, you can travel safely and securely in Japan.
Supported languages are Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.
Telephone Translator Support is not exclusive for rental car situations. It can be used in any situation, as you can see below.

<Questions during shopping>

<When you need an interpreter at a restaurant>

<When you need directions>

*The Telephone Translator Support cannot respond to any inquiries other than for translation purposes.


2. When can I use Telephone Translator Support
The service is available 24/7 if it is within the rental car usage period.
There is no limit on the number of times of use.


3. How to use Telephone Translator Support
① Please check whether or not your reservation includes Telephone Translator Support. You can confirm it from the ToCoo! options section of the Reservation Confirmed mail. If Telephone Translator Support is included in the ToCoo! options, your reservation has the service included.

② Call the dedicated Telephone Translator Support phone number and tell the operator your reference number.
*We will send the phone number and reference number to you by email 1-3 days before your rental car start date.
*The translation service is only for telephone correspondence, so it can’t be used with WiFi phone services such as Line phone, WhatsApp phone, etc.

③ Describe the situation to the operator and tell them what you need translated, then hand the phone to the other party.

④ After finishing with the interpreter, please hang up the phone.


4. Important notes

① Translation service can only be used when you are physically facing the person who you would like to translate. It is not possible to interpret for people who are not with you at the time of the phone call.

② Telephone Translator Support cannot be used as a customer service line. The translators cannot respond to any inquiries about ToCoo services, problems (such as car trouble), or any other negotiations.

③ You can’t use telephone translation service if you don’t have the reference number. If you do not receive an email with the dedicated telephone number and reference number by 1 day before the car rental service begins, please contact us from the following Inquiry Form.

④ Any call charges will be paid by the customer.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the Inquiry Form on our website.

 

 

 

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All About ETC Cards & Expressway Passes

This article will explain all about the ETC system. Not sure which ETC card is right for you? Keep reading and find out!


What is an ETC card?

It’s a card that can be used with the ETC system. If you use the ETC system, you don’t need to understand Japanese, you don’t need to use cash, and you don’t have to stop at toll gates, so it’s a very convenient system. The ETC card reader device is equipped as standard in all rental cars in Japan, so all you have to do is put the ETC card into the ETC device and you’re good to go! There are many different types of ETC card passes and services available, so keep reading and we’ll go through the main ones.


What is an expressway pass?

An expressway pass is a special ETC card with the pass preloaded onto it so that you can use the expressways as much as you want. There are various kinds of ETC passes, but there are 4 that you can reserve from ToCoo! Also, you can’t reserve just an ETC pass on its own, so make sure to book the rental car with it.


Each ETC option covers a different area! Keep reading to find out more.

Area Unlimited ETC Card Pickup Place
ETC Card  Nationwide × Post Office/Hotel
TEP  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
TEP Hokkaido Hokkaido Post Office/Hotel
TEP Kyushu Kyushu Post Office/Hotel
HEP Hokkaido Rental Car Outlet
KEP Kyushu Rental Car Outlet


About the ETC Card Types


1. ETC Card (nationwide)
You can book a standalone ETC card without any expressway passes. After you return the ETC card at the end of your reservation, your actual used toll fees will be charged to the credit card you register.  After the ETC card is returned, we will confirm the toll road usage details with NEXCO, the highway provider in Japan. If you rent a ToCoo! ETC card, you can pick it up from your hotel or a post office, but please note that rental car companies don’t offer delivery service for packages,  so you can’t get it from the outlet.
We recommend the Free ETC Card Plan!
Check it out here! → ToCoo! ETC Card Plan

ETC System Area


2. ToCoo Expressway Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo Expressway Pass, or TEP, is a special ETC card that is only offered by ToCoo! It’s an unlimited expressway pass for all of Japan. TEP can only be reserved from the TEP plan, and the TEP fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s super convenient.  All you have to do is pick it up from your hotel or a post office and basically forget about it until your return date! Total driving freedom.  You can pick up the TEP ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.

Check out the plan here! → ToCoo Expressway Pass Plan


TEP Coverage Area

4. ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass is a special ETC card similar to TEP, but unlike TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added on as an option to almost any reservation. Just like TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s extremely convenient. You can pick up the TToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.
★ What’s the difference between TEP and the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass? The difference is that the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added onto any existing plan. Because of that, it’s also a little more expensive than TEP.

More info here! → ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass

ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass Coverage Area

5. TEP Hokkaido (Hokkaido)
It’s similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Hokkaido, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Hokkaido! You can reserve it under the TEP Hokkaido plan. You can pick up the TEP Hokkaido ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet. One advantage of TEP Hokkaido is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it!

Check out the plan here! → TEP Hokkaido


TEP Hokkaido Coverage Area


5. TEP Kyushu (Kyushu)
Similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Kyushu, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Kyushu! You can reserve it under the TEP Kyushu plan. For the ToCoo! ETC card to use for TEP Kyushu, hotel and post office pickup is available. In addition, some TEP Kyushu plans have the special option for ToCoo! ETC card pickup at the  rental car outlet! For details on where to receive the ToCoo! ETC card, please check the email from ToCoo! One more advantage of TEP Kyushu is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it.

Check out the plan here! → TEP Kyushu

TEP Kyushu Coverage Area

6. Hokkaido Expressway Pass (Hokkaido)
The Hokkaido Expressway Pass (HEP) is an unlimited expressway pass that can only be used in specific Hokkaido expressway. This pass is only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Also, if you use HEP, you have to pick up and return the car to the exact same outlet. If the outlet offers HEP, you can get it when you pick up the car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for HEP! If you want to use HEP, please book the HEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.

Check out the plan here! → Hokkaido Expressway Pass

出典:HEPホームページ

7. Kyushu Expressway Pass (Kyushu)
Kyushu Expressway Passis an unlimited expressway pass that can be used only on specific Kyushu expressways. This pass is also only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Something to watch out for is that it doesn’t cover all the expressways in Kyushu. Please check the map below and make sure that the roads you plan to use will be covered before booking it, so that you can avoid an unpleasant surprise when you return your car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for KEP! If you want to use KEP, please book the KEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.。

Check out the plan here! → Kyushu Expressway Pass

出典:NEXCO

Summary

It might seem a bit complicated, but we hope this has been helpful. Check your travel schedule and choose the best ETC card for you! As always, if you have any further questions, let us know down below or from the inquiry form on our website.

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