Himeji City Guide, Hidden Kyoto videos, Sumo Experiences Quiz, Hiroshima Google Map, Suica cards



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Himeji City Guide: Secret City of Sake, Swords & Samurai

Himeji Castle Himeji City Guide featured The Real Japan

I've added a new city to my ongoing series of Japan City Guides: Himeji.

World famous for its UNESCO World Heritage 'white heron' castle, Himeji is often relegated to a day trip for those staying in neighbouring Kansai.

But beyond its magnificent castle lies a secret city.

One with a history steeped in crafts and traditions, that rewards greater exploration.

Sake, swords and the iconic samurai have all played their part in shaping this small but important city.

In this new Himeji City Guide, local resident and passionate advocate Gerard O'Sullivan guides us through Himeji's past and present, unveiling a vibrant city also offering a vast hidden Buddhist temple, a buzzing contemporary food scene and year round festivals.

Hidden Kyoto: Himukai Daijingu Shrine and Ana no Iwato Cave

Himukai Daijingu Shrine & Ama no Iwato Cave

Join me on this peaceful summer walk through the quiet mountains of hidden Kyoto as we explore the historic Himukai Daijingu Shrine - thought to enshrine the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

We'll also go deeper into the forest to discover the 'power spot' of Ama no Iwato Cave.

There are two versions of the video.

One that includes information captions at key points during the video, as well as a location map using Google Earth.

The other, has no on-screen captions.

Neither have narration nor music.

Best Sumo Experiences Quiz

sumo experiences Grand Sumo Tournament tickets and tour

A couple of weeks back I published a new post guide to 7 of the best sumo experiences in Japan.

Based on what you're reading, sumo is (understandably) still a major attraction for visitors to Japan - first-time or repeat.

I already had a general guide, Visiting A Sumo Tournament (which I update annually), but even more people like to attend sumo experiences and tours. So I created a post dedicated to those.

To make it easier for you to choose which sumo experience best meets your needs, I've created a quick Sumo Experience Quiz.

Answer just a few quick questions and I'll give you my recommendation for the best sumo experience for you. 😀

(Feel free to share with friends or family - there's no email required)

Hiroshima Google Map Waitlist

Hiroshima city guide Miyajima The Real Japan Alessandro Stech unsplash

I'll soon be releasing my new range of interactive Google Maps, starting with my Hiroshima City Guide.

If you're planning to (re)visit Hiroshima, then instant access to my personally curated and interactive Google Map will save you both time and money.

I've included all my Hiroshima tips, recommendations, and unpublished spots inside covering the best hotels, restaurants, historic atomic bomb sites, attractions, day trips, cafes and a lot more.

Includes Unlimited Free Lifetime Updates!

Simply hit the button below to join the waitlist to get this first map at a special, subscriber-only price before the price increases.

NOTE: You will need a Gmail address to access the map when it becomes available, so be sure to use your Gmail email address to join the list.

UPDATE! Suica Card Availability

Klook Suica card

SIMCard Geek has sold out of all their supply of physical Suica cards for now.

If Suica cards are new to you, then this post introduces the Suica pre-payment cards (handy for payments instead of using cash): How To Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese.

International sales have broadly been temporarily suspended (due to a shortage of chips used in the cards).

However, Klook, seems to still have stock of the cards and is still selling them on their website HERE.

It also looks like you can still buy these from ticketing machines at JR stations and vending machines on arrival at Narita or Haneda airports.

25 Days Until Japan Rail Pass Price Increases - TRJ Tips

Japan Rail Pass shinkansen featured The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The clock is ticking down to the imminent significant price increases for the Japan Rail Pass.

It's now just 25 days until the increases come into effect on 1st October. If you're travelling in Japan this year and are planning on buying Japan Rail Passes, you have until the end of this month to order yours at the current bargain rates. Order by 28 September to beat the price increase.

Here's a few handy 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
  • After the updated price goes live, it will no longer be possible to order vouchers at the old rates

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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 Booking.com 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 JRPass.com. 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 Booking.com's Car Rental portal.

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