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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Japan Rail Pass

Japan’s rail network is considered to be one of the most efficient in the world, spanning its four major islands, with a total length of about 20,000 kilometers of railway. Beyond the convenience of being able to travel far and wide, train travel in Japan also has a reputation for frequent service, punctuality, safety and high speed. Imagine Shinkansen ‘bullet’ trains, travel up to speeds of 300km/hr! Not to mention high standards for modern facilities, comfort and cleanliness, Japan Rail Pass holders can look forward to spacious seating accommodations.

What Japan Rail Pass validities are available?

  • Select your pass based on how many rail days suit your itinerary; 7, 14 or 21 consecutive days beginning on the date the pass is first used.
  • Ordinary Class (comparable to standard class) or Green Class (comparable to first class).
  • Adult or Child fares are available, where children 6-11 years pay half the adult fare and children under 6 years of age travel free if not occupying a seat, and accompanied by an adult in possession of a Japan Rail Pass.

Am I eligible to purchase a Japan Rail Pass?

You are eligible to purchase this pass if you are a tourist visiting Japan from abroad, under the entry status of “temporary visitor”, or a Japanese national who can show they have residency abroad. It’s important to note that a Japan Rail Pass cannot be purchased in Japan so be sure to arrange your Exchange Order prior to your trip.

What is an Exchange Order?

Once your pass is paid for, the customer will receive an Exchange Order, which they will ultimately exchange in Japan for the actual Japan Rail Pass. The Exchange Order must be exchanged for this pass within 3 months from the date the Exchange Order was issued. At the time of exchange, the customer must specify the date that they want to start using the pass. It can be any date within one month from the date the actual pass is received. Once the Pass has a starting date written on it, the date cannot be changed.

Do I need a seat reservation when traveling with a Japan Rail Pass?

Shinkansen ‘bullet’ trains and most limited express and ordinary express trains have reserved Green Class seats and both reserved and non-reserved Ordinary Class seats. To find a non reserved seat, simply show your pass when boarding. However if you prefer to make a seat reservation, possible without additional payment, visit any Travel Service Centre or Reservation Office called “Midori-no-madoguchi” at a JR station in Japan. At one of these locations simply show your pass and receive a reserved-seat ticket before boarding, thereby guaranteeing you a seat on the train of your choice. It is especially recommended to obtain a seat reservation over holidays and during rush hour, as seat reservations can be difficult to secure. Here are some examples:

  • December 29 to January 5 (The New Year holiday period is the most popular travel time for Japanese people)
  • April 29 to May 5 (Due to holidays, there is large-scale travel throughout Japan for leisure and recreation.)
  • August 13 to 15 (The “O-bon” season)
  • In major cities avoid traveling during the morning and evening rush hours (7:30-9:30 and 17:00-20:00).

Tourist Attractions

Apart from being the capital city of Japan, Tokyo is also the nation’s center for business and finance. Tokyo is a large metropolis that includes 23 special wards that have been merged with the Tokyo city, thus forming the Greater Tokyo. However, Tokyo offers an interesting blend of futuristic cityscapes, historic sights and cultural entertainments. The Imperial Palace is the biggest tourist attraction in Tokyo. The incredible Tokyo Metro Transportation system is a glimpse of technological advancement of Japan in the field of science. Ginza is Asia’s biggest shopping paradise, better known for the Kabukiza Theater and Shinbashi Enbujo, where traditional Japanese art forms are performed. Akihabara or the electric town has the largest collection of electronic shops in the world. Shinijuku is a prime business area in Tokyo and also contains the Tokyo City Hall. Other popular destinations in Tokyo include Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Higashi Gyoen Garden in Imperial Palace, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Disney Resort, Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena, Biccamera Yurakucho Branch, Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Sumo Museum, Ryogoku Fireworks Museum, Kanda Myojin Shrine, Meiji Jingu Shrine and the National Theatre of Japan.

Winter Resort Work In Japan

Qualifications and Requirements

There is a special arrangement between the Japanese government and other countries for a special working holiday visa. If you are a citizen of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, U.K., Korea, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and France between 18 to 30 years old, you will initially qualify for this opportunity.

Only those applying for ski patrol positions are required to have a first aid certificate. There are no other strict qualification requirements to get a resort job in Japan. Naturally though, if you do have special ski instructor certifications, you have a greater chance of getting accepted for a position with a higher rate.

Language requirements are set at a minimum. You should have completed a year of language study. This is understandable considering that you will be interacting with both local and foreign tourists. Learning should not be a problem though since there are several programs online that you can take to master the tongue. You can also supplement your conversational skills when you are already in the country. There is nothing more effective than learning by using the language.

Work Conditions

Usually, winter resorts require employees to report for work 40 to 48 hours a week. On very busy seasons like December or February, staff and instructors may have to work 7 days a week. Overtime work however is compensated at 125% the hourly rate.

Hourly pay will differ per resort. Ski instructors in Hokkaido are often paid more than those in other locations. If you get a spot in Hokkaido you might land a generous rate of 1000 yen. Other resorts pay around 650 to 700 yen.

Applicants who get accepted for work in Japan are covered by work insurance so you don’t need to worry about this. This is not, however the same as travel insurance for which you need to pay for yourself.

Wonderful Japan Trip

Since, this Tokyo Disneyland is one of the main attractions in Japan, I am bringing my whole family with me so that the children will be able to see the difference. My wife is also excited about this trip and she’s preparing the things already. The children are also excited about our vacation because this will be their first time in an Asian country. Hopefully, after this trip in Tokyo, we can still go to Hongkong Disneyland as well as other tourist spots in Asia. But for now, Tokyo Disneyland is our main destination to have fun and enjoyment.

After my family and I visited the beautiful Tokyo Disneyland, I suggested that we visited Mt. Fuji. We were a bit disappointed since it’s not one of the popular tourist spots in Japan like we thought. We then decided to visit Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavillion located in Kyoto. It is the most famous of all the tourists attractions in Japan. Some of my friends were shocked when I told them that Mt. Fuji is not the most famous attraction in Japan but Kinkaku-ji. This temple was said to be built originally in 1933 and served as home for retired Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga. It became a Buddhist temple when the retired leader died. The temple is famous for having pillars over the lake which was designed to emphasize its place between heaven and earth.

It was also said that this Buddhist temple was reconstructed back in 1955 after a young Zen Buddhist set fire inside it. Reports said that the man despised beautiful things like the temple that’s why he tried to destroy it. After the reconstruction, the temple became beautiful and spectacular. It’s really stunning being wholly covered with gold leaf with a phoenix on top. Therefore, the Temple of the Golden Pavillion is another must-see attraction in Japan aside from Mt. Fuji. So, if I were you, I would start saving money for a chance to see this remarkable Japanese creation.