All posts by blogsonjapan

Kanji Cheat Sheet: How to Navigate the Japanese Train System

Source: Gaijin Pot

My relationship with the Japanese train system has always been complicated. There are times when I’m able to navigate it well enough to feel almost like a Tokyo native and times where I feel like I can’t even read the English signs.

Coming from Manila, which only has three working train lines, terrible traffic, and barely any sidewalks, acclimating to the Japanese train system was like jumping into the deep end of a shark-infested swimming pool.

I couldn’t understand how one station could have over 30 exits (I’m looking at you Shinjuku Station).

I first visited Japan in the fall of 2016 and despite months of preparing, I still got lost. I couldn’t understand how one station could have over 30 exits (I’m looking at you Shinjuku Station). Sit down and buckle up kids, let’s get into the most commonly seen Kanji in Japanese train stations.

Do you want the express or local train?

English Japanese Romaji
Train 電車 densha
Subway 地下鉄 chikatetsu
(Train) Line sen
Express 急行 kyuukou
Semi-express 準特急 juntokkyuu
Limited Express 特急 tokyuu
Rapid 快速 kaisoku
Local Train 普通列車/各駅停車 futsuu-ressha/kakueikiteisha

Picture this, you’ve just arrived at Shinjuku Station and it’s as busy as ever. You fumble your way around the massive station trying to look for a way to get to your Airbnb/hostel and all you have on hand is the train line, station name, and station exit.

Read the full article on GaijinPot Study!

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Is it safe to visit Japan as the coronavirus cases increase?

Source: Gaijin Pot

By now, most travelers planning to visit Japan or greater Asia have heard of COVID-19 or the coronavirus. On Jan. 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global emergency. Some restaurants in Tokyo have even gone so far as to ban non-Japanese patrons.

While that does sound scary—and a bit outrageous on the restaurant owner’s part—the fatality rate outside China and among non-elderly patients has been relatively low.

The Japan National Tourism Organization. has a multilingual coronavirus hotline for those who think they may be affected. Support is available in English, Chinese, and Korean 24 hours a day.

If you’re living in Japan or planning to visit, you may be wondering how safe it is. What can you do to protect yourself? What about the 2020 Olympics? Will the virus impact travel plans outside of Japan and greater Asia?

Here is the most up-to-date run-down we can give. It is worth noting, however, that because this is a new and fast-spreading virus, what we know now could change in the future.

What’s Japan’s infection rate?

As of Tues, Feb. 25, 851 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Japan. The majority of those cases were from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship on which passengers were quarantined for 14 days in Yokohama Bay. So far, four people in Japan have died due to the virus. In comparison, the total number of deaths in China is over 2,000 at present.

Will the Tokyo 2020 Olympics be canceled?

Photo: Heidi Sarol
The Olympic rings sit in Tokyo Bay.

There was speculation that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games would be canceled due to growing fears of the virus, but both the organizing committee and Government of Japan have denied …continue reading


Tokyo to Osaka: Fast and Creative Ways of Getting There

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

The famous Dotonburi area.
Osaka: cheaper, dirtier and a whole lot friendlier than Tokyo. A vibey city of 2.7 million, it’s bigger than neighboring Kyoto and also more down to earth. Osaka, a port city, was once the business hub of Japan, with merchants from all over selling their wares and serving up good grub. The food culture prevails—Osaka is known as the kitchen of the country. Whether you’re heading from Tokyo to Osaka to chow down, check out Universal Studios Japan, or you’re on a secret mission, here are the fastest and cheapest ways of getting there.
Jump to:

Shinkansen (bullet train)
Regular trains
Summary of options (with comparison table)
Video guide
The reverse route: Osaka to To

The post Tokyo to Osaka: Fast and Creative Ways of Getting There appeared first on Tokyo Cheapo.

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10 Products To Help You Fight Hay Fever In Japan

Hay Fever Products Coat

Temperatures are finally rising, flowers are blooming and we’ll soon be trading our winter clothes for lighter jackets to welcome the most beautiful time of year—spring!

But for some of us, this season comes with an ugly downside: a mandatory shopping spree for hay fever products. Welcoming the warmer months also comes with great fear for millions of people in Japan. The Hay fever fear. They gradually get confronted by constant sneezing, itchy eyes and streaming noses caused by all the pollen they breathe in during spring.

In 2020, the hay fever season started a little earlier than usual thanks to merciful temperatures during this winter. At this very moment, deadly pollen particles are flying almost all over Japan and should stick around until the end of March. While probably the best way to fight spring allergies is to get a prescription from your doctor, here are 10 hay fever products easily available on the Japanese market that will help you fight your allergies this season.

1. Masks

When in need of an urgent hay fever solution, masks are your best friends. They are the most immediate and practical solution as they will simply block the pollen from entering your breathing system.

Reusable cotton masks are an ecological and easily available option in Japan, you can buy them in organic or lifestyle stores such as Bio C Bon or Plaza, or simply by typing “cotton mask” on your favorite online marketplace. Unfortunately, you will have to separate yourself reusable from disposable masks but you will eventually find a cute, simple or even organic cotton mask that you can wash and reuse to taste!

Price: Around ¥1,000-¥2,500
Where to buy: Organic, lifestyle stores, …continue reading