Tokyo 2020 Olympics with the Japan Rail Pass

Some would consider it the trip of a lifetime: attending the 2020 Olympic Games in the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan. Tourists are already scrambling find tickets. The games, often simply called Tokyo 2020, are scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 of that year. Over twelve thousand athletes from two hundred and seven countries are expected to participate in thirty-three types of summer sports.

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The Tokyo Monorail: Haneda Airport Transfer

The Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line, often called simply the Tokyo Monorail, began operation in 1964. It was the first commercial monorail system in the world. The elevated straddle-beam monorail line parallels the coast of Tokyo Bay. Travelers can enjoy seaside views, and on clear days, Mount Fuji is visible in the distance.

Haneda Airport is ideal for travelers wishing to reach Tokyo, as it is much closer to the city center than Tokyo’s Narita Airport. It is also the busiest airport in Japan. The Tokyo Monorail is there to ease this inherent congestion and make travel to and from the airport an excursion in itself.

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The JR Chuo-Sobu Line: Crossing Tokyo East to West

Do you have plans to visit Tokyo? If you do, you’ll likely be using Japan’s extensive commuter train system to get around. The railways in Japan are quick and efficient, as well as affordable – especially if you take advantage of the Japan Rail Pass, which allows to ride it for free!

When traveling in Tokyo, common train lines include the 60 kilometers that make up the Chuo-Sobu Line. This line runs east and west across Tokyo, between Chiba Station and Mitaka Station. It is the single JR line that crosses the circle of the Yamanote Line, and it serves as a major artery for local commuters as well as other travelers.

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Taking the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line in Tokyo

The Keihin-Tohoku Line is a busy train line connecting the cities of Saitama, central Tokyo and Yokohama, among others. The line’s name is derived from Tokyo, Yokohama, and Tohoku Main Line when written in Japanese characters. The train line has been in operation for well over 100 years, having taken on its first passengers in 1914.

Your Japan Rail Pass is valid on most trains along the JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, as it is owned by JR East. Where will your travels take you – to Tokyo, Yokohama, or elsewhere? When will your trains depart, and when are the stations the most crowded? Check out this handy travel guide for more information.

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Akihabara Station and District Guide

Akihabara Station is located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. The area is known as a lively shopping district, with many stores specializing in electronics and otaku, the diehard anime and manga fandom. Akihabara was named for the Akiba, a local shrine formerly found there. Akiba was the god of fire, and Akihabara means “autumn leaf field.”

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Shibuya Station Travel Guide

Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s 23 wards, famous for the shopping and entertainment district centered around Shibuya Station. Many of Japan’s fashion trends are born on the streets of Shibuya.

Shibuya is also a station with a long history. Shibuya Station opened in 1885 as a stop along what is now called the Yamanote Line. It was also the afternoon rendezvous of the famous dog Hachiko, now immortalized in bronze statues, film, and print. Continue reading “%s”

Studio Ghibli Museum: Access and tickets

The Studio Ghibli Museum was established by Hayao Miyazaki, a master of Japanese anime. You may recognize Miyazaki as the animation director behind award-winning, acclaimed childhood films such as My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Spirited Away (2001). The museum is an interactive experience suitable for the entire family. It identifies itself as “a portal to a storybook world.” Continue reading “%s”

Cherry blossoms in Tokyo: Best spots and 2018 forecast

Japan is world famous for its sakura, or cherry blossom, season. In early spring, thousands of trees across Japan burst forth in shades of red, pink, and white, washing the land in color. Many families enjoy hanami at this time, picnics or parties for the purpose of viewing the flowers.

Tourists also flock to Japan during the cherry blossom season. Tokyo is a prime viewing location due to its abundant parks and green spaces. If you’d like to see Tokyo in bloom, when should you plan your vacation? What are the best spots for cherry blossom viewing? And, how can you use your Japan Rail Pass to get the most out of your trip?

This guide is designed to help you answer those questions and plan your own hanami experience. Don’t forget also to check our cherry blossom travel tips!

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Ikebukuro Station Travel Guide

Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station is one of the busiest train stations in the world, second only to Shinjuku Station. The station has a long history, having opened in 1903. In 1903, around 28,000 passengers used the train station each day. Today, that number is over two million, including local commuter as well as tourist traffic.

Ikebukuro is the main station in the north-west of Tokyo. This shopping and entertainment district boasts unique shops and indoor theme parks, many of which cater to the anime and manga fandom. Use this guide to find your way around Ikebukuro Station.

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Shinagawa Station Travel Guide

Shinagawa Station is among the oldest train stations in Japan, having opened its doors in 1872. Interestingly, the station became operational four months prior to the inauguration of the first railway in Japan.

While none of the original structure remains, Shinagawa Station continues to play a role in the rail history of Japan. The introduction of the Shinkansen bullet trains to Shinagawa helped alleviate the congestion of other busy Tokyo stations. In less than a decade, Shinagawa will be among the first stations in the world to host the innovative, gravity-defying maglev train.

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