Japan Travel Planning Newsletter – 1 July 2018

Japan Travel Planning

Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 1 July 2018, which includes information to help you plan your trip to Japan, top travel deals and articles about Japan.

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Key Japan Planning Information

Major Upcoming Events in Japan

Gion Matsuri Festival in Kyoto – 17 and 24 July 2018

View this post on Instagram

#gion #matsuri #festival

A post shared by Wing for life (@wingforlife) on

Gion Matsuri in Kyoto is the festival of Yasaka Jinja Shrine, one of the biggest ‘matsuri’ in Japan and will be held on 17 and 24 July 2018.  If you are planning to be in Kyoto on either date then ensure that you pre-book to get the best experience.

There are two Yamahoko Junko procession during Gion Matsuri: the larger Saki Matsuri on July 17, and the smaller Ato Matsuri on July 24. Festival area streets are closed to traffic for three days before each procession.

Visitors to either procession will see numerous, huge traditional floats – or ‘Yamahoko’ – on show. There are two types of floats to see: Yama and Hoko. These beautiful Yamahoko are crafted from wood and decorated with gorgeous Nishijin textiles. The floats are rather large: the Yama measures some 25 meters in height and weighs some 12 tons. It takes a dozen people to pull each float.

For the larger procession that takes place on July 17, twenty-three Yama and ten Hoko will make their way through the downtown area between 9:00 am and 11:30 am.  For the smaller Ato Matsuri (Latter Festival) Yamahoko Float Procession on July 24, 2018, the procession starts at 9:30am.

There is a great option to purchase reserved seating for Gion Matsuri, including an English audio guide and optional lunch package through Voyagin.  Click on this link to see the details and to make your booking. Be aware that this tour package usually sells out so get in quickly to lock in your booking.  The seats are located on Oike-dori Street, so you can see the floats up close.

The Mt Fuji Climbing Season – 1 July to 10 September 2018

Best Mt Fuji Climbing Tour

The Mt Fuji Summit Climbing Season opens today (1 July 2018) and closes on 10 September 2018.  Voyagin has a great affordable climbing tour package with prices starting from $US 204 per person which includes:

  • A stay in a mountain lodge – with options for Standard, Superior and Best
  • Round trip bus transfer from either Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station
  • Professional guide
  • Two meals
  • Entrance to an onsen facility after the hike

To keep it as easy as possible, after you have added your tour to your cart, during checkout you can also add a hiking gear rental add on for $US 100, which includes clothing, backpack, raincoat, walking sticks and headlamp.

Click on this link to see the details and to make your Mt Fuji Climb Tour Booking through Voyagin  

Voyagin is also offering a discount coupon code for Mt Fuji Climb tour options – use code pretravellerfuji at checkout to get a $US10 discount on your trip.

Everything Sumo!

The next Grand Sumo Tournaments are as follows.

Sumo Throwdown!
Sumo Throwdown!

Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya – 8-22 July 2018

  • 8 – 22 July 2018 in Nagoya. Click here to order tickets through Voyagin.  Official ticket sales commenced on 24 May 2018 and quickly sold out.
  • You can also order tickets through Viator which include your entry tickets, an English speaking guide, transportation to the venue and an optional add on dinner package.

Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo – 9-24 September 2018

  • 9 – 24 September 2018 in Tokyo. Click here to pre-order tickets through Voyagin.  Official ticket sales commence on 4 August 2018.
  • Note that we have had some group members not be successful in pre-ordering tickets through Voyagin for the July tournament – to give yourself the best option for success for the highly popular September sumo tournament in Tokyo I recommend that you pre-order as soon as possible through Voyagin to be at the top of their list for tickets for your preferred day. Also be aware that in the event that Voyagin is unable to secure your pre-ordered tickets, they will quickly provide a full refund.

Grand Sumo Tournament in Fukuoka – 11 – 25 November 2018

For more information about how to purchase your sumo wrestling tickets check out my article on How To Buy Sumo Wrestling Online Tickets In 2018.

Featured Japan Tours

Amami Island 3D2N Stay—Amazing Culture & Nature Tour

Amami Island Traditional Accommodation
Amami Island Traditional Accommodation

Many people who sign up to the JTP Facebook group and email list express an interest to ‘get off the beaten track’ for their Japan trip.  In reality most first time visitors to Japan stick closely to the Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka-Hiroshima route and never really have the opportunity to explore a less touristed part of Japan. The Amami Islands are a truly ‘off the beaten tourist track’ destination which located to the southern side of Japan, approximately halfway from Kagoshima (at the southern tip of Kyushu Island) and Okinawa.

The Amami Islands share a similar subtropical climate with their neighbor Okinawa, however, the local culture, food and art of Amami are quite distinctive, making Amami unique within Japan. The lack of intensive foreign influence throughout the centuries (as was the case with Okinawa) and the jungle-covered mountainous landscape are some of the reasons why Amami Islands are often considered a hidden paradise, sharing the name ‘Galapagos of Japan’ with the Ogasawara Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Voyagin is offering a great 3 day 2 night package tour to Amami Island which includes accommodation in a traditional Den-Paku House with modern amenities, a private guide and vehicle to explore the island, some meals and a great range of outdoor and cultural activities.

Flights to Amami are not included in this package, but can be booked with JAL or Vanilla Air from Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kagoshima or Okinawa. Click here to see the flight options and airfares to Amami Island.  As an example, you can fly direct from Tokyo to Amami Island with Vanilla Airline for $US 379 return – the flying time is 2:40 hrs each way.

This package is a special promotional deal which starts from $US 1381 per person for a party of 4, or $US 1550 per person for a party of 2.

Click here to check out further details about the Voyagin Amami Island Tour Package and to make your booking

Top Japan Travel Deals This Week

Expedia (USA only)

Cover-More Travel Insurance (Australia only)

Tokyo Treat – Final Chance to Order the July Camping Subscription Box!

  • We recently received our July Tokyo Treat Subscription Box and had a great time with our children exploring the different flavours and textures provided in the ‘camping’ box.  
  • Subscribing to a box of this nature provides a great way to start to familiarise with what to expect in Japan, and also helps to build everyone’s excitement about an upcoming trip – or to reminisce over a trip which is over.

Top Articles This Week From the Facebook Group

The Last Japanese Mermaids by Messy Nessy Chic

​For nearly two thousand years, Japanese women living in coastal fishing villages made a remarkable livelihood hunting the ocean for oysters and abalone, a sea snail that produces pearls. They are known as Ama, and if you’ve dipped into Messy Nessy’s archives, you will have already met the few ladies still left in Japan that still make their living (well into their 90s) by filling their lungs with air and diving for long periods of time deep into the Pacific ocean, with nothing more than a mask and flippers.

In the mid 20th century, Iwase Yoshiyuki returned to the fishing village where he grew up and photographed these women when the unusual profession was still very much alive. After graduating from law school, Yoshiyuki had been given an early Kodak camera and found himself drawn to the ancient tradition of the ama divers (ama means sea woman) in his hometown. His photographs are thought to be the only comprehensive documentation of the near-extinct tradition in existence. Click here to check out the article. 

The Essential Guide To 10 Days In Japan For First Time Visitors by Pretraveller

As a first time visitor to Japan it can be difficult to put together a 10 day itinerary which will work for you. There are so many choices and options! To help you to develop your own itinerary I have put together three sample itineraries for first timers which can then be easily tailored to suit your particular trip.  Click on this link to check out the article. 

​​​​​​Awestruck in Japan: 12 Natural Wonders to See This Summer by Japan Cheapo

​​When you think of Japan, you may think of the metropolis that is Tokyo, or the stunning Temples of Kyoto, but Japan has some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world.

​​If you’re looking to reconnect with nature and see something truly incredible, there are plenty of awe-inspiring sights you’ll be putting straight on your bucket list. From ice-blue pools in Hokkaido to the turquoise seas of Okinawa, with ancient forests and sand-dunes in-between; Japan is an incredible myriad of natural wonders. Although some may be more of a struggle to reach than others, they are all incredible displays of the power of nature that you’ll never forget.  Click on this link to check out the article. 

What To Do In Tokyo: North, South, East And West Districts by Pretraveller

​​Trying to decide what do in Tokyo is a challenge!  The city has a multitude of places and activities to do, and depending on our interests you have many themes to choose from – from futuristic, historic, cultural and kuwaii (cute)!

Tokyo is metropolis which is quite large in size and has many different neighbourhoods so you need to plan ahead to make the most of your time.  I decided to reach out to the travel blogging community to be able to present a comprehensive list of what to do in Tokyo, so as a result this article has contributions from over 25 travel bloggers, who have each done a different itinerary when we each visited Tokyo!   The list has been structured by district of Tokyo so you can easily cluster together activities in similar areas when you put together your itinerary.   Click on this link to check out the article. 

UPDATED POST!   How To Buy Tokyo Baseball Tickets Including Yomiuri Giants Tickets In 2018 by Pretraveller

Baseball is the most popular amateur and professional sport in Japan and we can confirm that Japanese baseball games are an amazing experience! After hearing about the Japanese love of baseball, we definitely wanted to attend a baseball game during our family trip to Japan. We ended up attending a sold-out match between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers played at the Tokyo Dome. We loved how much the crowd got into supporting their teams, the chants and drums and the sheer excitement each time a run was scored! If you are sports nuts like us or simply want a glimpse into modern Japanese culture, attending a Japanese baseball game should be high on your Japan travel bucket list.

It’s easy to watch baseball games in Tokyo or within a short distance of the city. In this article we will introduce you to 5 Japanese baseball teams – 2 baseball teams in Tokyo itself and 3 baseball teams near Tokyo. We will briefly talk about the records for each of the teams; and provide details on match schedules, team locations, home grounds, and how to get to each of the venues. Most importantly we will also tell you how and where to buy baseball tickets in Japan for each of the 5 teams, so you can choose a match that fits into your itinerary and therefore experience Japan Baseball for yourself.  Click on this link to check out the article.

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Please leave a comment to let me know your feedback!

Thanks Anne.
PS. If you have any questions you are welcome to ask questions in the Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group

More from Anne Sutherland-Smith

Japan Travel Planning Newsletter – 2 December 2018

Welcome to the Japan Travel Planning fortnightly newsletter for 2 December 2018,...
Read More