Best sumo experiences, Japan Rail Pass increases, 17th trip to Japan, Ohazassu podcast



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7 Best Sumo Experiences You Can Book Instantly

sumo experience Asakusa Ryogoku Walking Tour Sumo Wrestler

When it comes to sport in Japan, there's nothing quite as iconic as giant sumo wrestlers throwing each other around (and out of) a circular dohyō ring.

Watching an actual sumo bout, or getting closer to the ancient traditions and rules that govern the sport, such as visiting wrestlers morning training, are rare opportunities for visitors to glimpse inside this exclusive world, providing a fascinating window into a Japanese tradition. 

If you're considering including the great sport of sumo in your plans or need to book something on the quick, here's my new guide to 7 of the best sumo experiences out there that you can book instantly.

68 Days Until Japan Rail Price Increases

Japan Rail Pass old new designs The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Earlier this year the JR Group of companies (that's those which sell the popular Japan Rail Pass) recently announced a 'price revision' to the JR Passes which sees increases of around 70% on some tickets.

It's a huge increase but, honestly, this just goes to show what fantastic value the pass is at present.

Under the plans, a 7-Day Ordinary Class Adult pass increases from ¥29,650 to ¥50,000 (a 69% increase). Other than the new prices further details on the new scheme are still to be confirmed.

It's now just 68 days until the changes are expected to come into effect on 1st October.

Here's some useful bullet points:

  • The pass can be activated 3 months after issue date
  • At activation time in Japan, a starting date up to 30 days in the future can be selected
  • Keep your exchange date + 3 month activation window in mind when placing the order. For example, if your exchange date is Nov 25th - then you should order on Aug 27th or after.

If you're travelling in Japan in 2023 and are planning on buying Japan Rail Passes, then you have until the end of September, to order yours at the current bargain rates.

Valuable Insights From a 17th Trip To Japan (Includes 28 Day Itinerary)

trip to Japan Take-no-michi Bamboo Path Kyoto The Real Japan

Take-no-michi Bamboo Path in Muko, Kyoto | Photo: Mats Franzen

Mats Franzen, resident of Stockholm, Sweden, has been a frequent traveller to Japan and also a long-time subscriber to The Real Japan.

Last month he visited Japan for the 17th time with his wife, and posted some thoughts and photos from his trip in The Real Japan Private Facebook Group*.

I enjoyed reading his reflections and photos so much that I asked Mats to turn them into a blog post so I could share them with you.

Their itinerary included Hakone, Kyoto, Naha, Nara, Odawara, Seragaki and Tokyo.

Here then are Mats' valuable reflections on his 17th trip to Japan, warts and all. I hope it inspires you.

* You're welcome to join my Private Facebook Group (It's open to subscribers only and you'll need to confirm your subscriber email address).

Ohazassu Podcast - Japan Travel Tips

Ohazassu Podcast logo

A new 'life in Japan' podcast started recently, run by John, an Australian guy living in Japan.

And I really like it.

He describes the show as a "Shootin' the mornin' buriizu podcast based in Japan. News, lifestyle, food, travel, language and potentially irrelevant topics. New episodes *almost* every weekday."

The second episode included some Japan travel tips, including some good advice on using IC cards like Suica (see item below), and included a brief mention of The Real Japan as a good source for travel information.

(It was entirely unsolicited, John contacted me to say he'd mentioned my site.)

Jump to 11:30 to listen to the specific section on travel in Japan.

Last Few Physical Suica Cards Remaining

Suica card The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Sales of physical Suica travel cards have recently been hit by a chip shortage.

(For the uninitiated, Suica cards are rechargeable emoney cards used mainly for travelling in and around Tokyo on JR and non-JR trains, metro and buses + more.)

If you are planning to buy a Suica card anytime soon, then SIMCard Geek (my recommended supplier) - have less than 100 cards remaining.

If you need physical Suica cards, you should buy them now before they all sell out.

SIMCard Geek offer free, worldwide delivery.

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Book Your Trip: Japan Travel Essentials

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Book Your Trip: Japan Travel Essentials

Click to See My Recommendations

Book Your Flight
Find the best flight by using Skyscanner. It's my go-to flight search engine because it has the most comprehensive global search options.

Book Your Accommodation
I frequently use as they consistently offer the cheapest rates and most flexible cancellation options for hotels and guesthouses. Use Hostelworld if you're looking for budget-priced options.

Book Your Japan Rail Pass
The best official agent by a country mile is Clear and easy to use website. Excellent customer service.

Book Your WiFi
I never travel in Japan without pocket WiFi. Get Ninja WiFi for unlimited internet everywhere, use Google Maps, supports up to 10 devices.

Book Your SIM Card or eSIM
Order your physical
SIM Cards or eSIMs to stay connected and in touch while in Japan.

Book Your Hire Car
Rent a car in Japan without speaking or reading Japanese via's Car Rental portal.

Ready To Book Your Trip?
Check out my Recommended Japan Travel Resources. The list covers all the essentials. It’s filled with carefully selected travel resources. And I only include the best travel resources - those I use myself or recommend to my clients.

Need Help Planning Your Trip?
Japan Travel Store includes essential travel items as well as my books, travel guides and more.

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