Rob Dyer The Real Japan

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If you want me to do your trip planning for you click here.

LATEST Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Updates

For the latest - and official - information on developments with Coronavirus and how this is affecting travel in and out of Japan, I recommend using JNTO's advisory page.

This is regularly updated and reliable.


4th May 2022: My Covid-19 test result

PCR Test Result Rob Dyer The Real Japan

I was just finishing my yoga class earlier this evening, when I got a 'ping' notification on my phone.

I got mail.

I managed to wait until the class was over, but grabbed my phone and anxiously looked at my email.

Subject line: Test results for Robert Dyer

Message: Please click on the following link to download your results.

Link clicked, message reads: "Enter your date of birth and mobile phone number to download your test result".

I downloaded the result, scrolled down, and saw this...


NEW POST! Japan Video Diary: May 2022

Japan Video Diary The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Finally, after more than 2 years of being stuck outside the country, I've been granted a special visa to return with my wife to Japan. 

This is the longest period I've been away from Japan since I first arrived in 2000. I had to apply for a special visa through the Japanese Embassy in London. 

But I could hardly go without giving you the chance to join me - at least virtually. 

I’m sharing my journey via a series of Video Diaries I'm posting on the blog. I'll also be livestreaming on YouTube, so you can join me as I make my way around Japan.

Join me for a chat, ask questions and get answers when I go live.

READ (AND WATCH) MY DIARY: Japan Video Diary: May 2022

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NEW POST! Mobal SIM Card Review: The Best Unlimited SIM in Japan?

Mobal Japan SIM card The Real Japan Rob Dyer

So you're (still!) planning a trip to Japan and you're looking at the options for staying connected during your travels. Smart move.

You'll want to be able to share your photos on social media (and back them up), check Google maps, read TripAdvisor reviews, use messaging apps, consult official site websites, etc. 

And you're wondering if a Japan SIM card is right for you? 

And maybe if a Mobal SIM card in particular might be the best option? 

Whether it's mobile data + voice or data only, my hands-on review of Mobal's Japan Unlimited SIM card tells you all you need to know and if this could be the best Japan SIM card for you. 

READ: Mobal SIM Card Review: The Best Unlimited SIM In Japan?

NEW POST! 3 Hidden Kyoto Walks To Get You Off The Beaten Path

hidden Kyoto Mount Oiwa shrine bamboo grove The Real Japan

Kyoto is a city rich in history. However, much of the physical evidence of that history has long since disappeared. It is also a deeply sacred place.

With its narrow streets, mix of old and new architecture, peaceful rivers, and surrounding nature, it is a city that holds on to its past tightly, while embracing the future.

Curious to explore Kyoto beyond the well-trodden tourist routes and sights?

Want to get a glimpse of hidden paths that have each played a part in shaping Kyoto's venerable past?

Then this guide to three short but historical trails, each leading to an abandoned Shinto shrine, is a great place to start your journey into hidden Kyoto walks...

READ: 3 Hidden Kyoto Walks To Get You Off The Beaten Path

NEW VIDEO! To Hagi from Kobe by Shinkansen and Bus, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Join me as I travel by shinkansen and bus from Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture to Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture. There's a lot of tarmac along the way, but if you want to see what The Real Japan looks like, warts and all, here it is.

The town of Hagi, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, is the home to samurai houses and merchants' quarters dating back to 1604.

A place where traditional crafts, such as the Hagi-yaki pottery that the town is famous for, and regional specialities like the whitebait caught in the Matsumoto river which divides the town, are maintained to this day. 

READ MORE: about Hagi and the surrounding Chugoku region in this post

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Japan Opens to Parents of Foreign Residents

Welcome Narita Airport The Real Japan Rob Dyer

It's STILL not tourist visas (and has technically been possible for a short while) but Japan has begun granting visas to a wider range of people.

Japan has begun granting visas to a wider range of people, including family members "within the first degree of kinship to foreign residents" who want to come to Japan to visit their family, as well as family members within a second degree of kinship to Japanese nationals and permanent residents.

First-degree kinship is defined as children and parents, while second-degree kinship refers to siblings, grandparents and grandchildren. There are further exceptions for family members as well.

At least they're beginning to SLOWLY open up the options. And, for the avoidance of doubt (or misguided posting on Twitter), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last week that Japan still has no *immediate* plans to open its borders for tourists.

The Japan Times has the full details HERE.

If you're in the USA, the Visas Japan website has updated details on the Japan online visa for US citizens and the different types of visas available.

If you have questions about planning a Japan trip in 2022 or beyond, then my Japan Travel Services are tailor-made for you.

In the meantime, I'll keep you updated on the re-starting of international tourism just as soon as the news comes through.

LEARN MORE: The Real Japan Travel Planning Services

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