Latest Posts

  • Insiders keep on moving

    Our Insider Tour Leaders love to introduce people to their adopted home country, taking them to those great little places that no one has heard of, and explaining those bits of culture that people don’t quite understand. They enjoy sharing experiences and knowledge, and introducing us to the places and people we probably wouldn’t otherwise see. In short, they love Japan – and they are the best at what they do. At the moment, they don't have any travellers to show around, so they're no longer wearing their ‘Tour Leader’ hats – but they are still Insiders, so they can’t help but share what they've been up to. With a love of Buddhism and culture, Richard Farmer is in his element. Heading off from his Kyoto home to the island of Shikoku, he has been walking (and driving) sections of a 1 ...

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  • Training to get faster with Maglev and Shinkansen

    Japan does trains like nowhere else in the world. Most people return from Japan with a bit of secret train obsession  – and it's easy to understand why. Not only are they affordable, but they also run on time, are very fast, and they look great… really great. And for all you train enthusiasts out there, Japan has just announced yet more advancements in train travel. The Maglev has been in development for decades now, but we are gradually getting closer to a passenger-carrying service. According to Mainichi, JR Central has launched a redesign of the train – which aims to carry people between Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027 and Osaka by 2037. The train will have a service speed of 500kmph and will travel the 286km distance from Tokyo to Nagoya in just 40 minutes. Maglev footage courte ...

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  • Four Characters: Yojijukugo and Kyoka Suigetsu

      ‘Kyoka Suigetsu’ (鏡花水月 – literally 鏡 mirror, 花 flower, 水 water, 月 moon) is one of many ‘yojijukugo’ phrases that we could use right now to refer to our love of travel, Japan and the tantalising way in which it sits still, just a little out of reach. But before delving deep into what on earth this combination of seemingly unconnected words has to do with anything, just let us rewind slightly and explain a little bit about what yojijukugo are. The word yojijukugo itself is made up of the following characters: four (四), character (字), wise (熟) and word (語). As the name suggests, yojijukugo are compounds that are generally idiomatic and made up of four kanji characters. Some yojijukugo may feel like puzzles, whose meaning you can roughly guess by knowing the four c ...

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  • Working from forests – National Parks set up Wifi workstations

    Working from forests? Japan has recently shifted from traditional working culture with the pandemic forcing companies to encourage more staff to partake in ‘remote teleworking’. This shift is massive for the country – but the government is taking it one step further and encouraging people to work from Japan's national parks. At the start of the crisis, the government began urging companies to encourage up to 70% of their workforce to work from home, as reported in the Asahi Shimbun. As figures fell short, the government has since offered grants to municipalities that promote teleworking in order to feed rural revitalisation, as mentioned in the Japan Times. More recently, as the government has been looking to revitalise rural economies, the Ministry of Environment has been subsid ...

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  • Picture Perfect

    In pictures, it's safe to say that Japan rarely fails to impress. And recently, the likes of Soranews24 – not to mention the rest of the world wide web – were taken back by some of the images submitted in a photo competition run by a company called ZEKKEI Japan. (Incidentally, 'zekkei' 絶景  means  'superb view' or 'picturesque scenery'  -  quite apt, don't you think?)   With Japan continuing to deal with the pandemic and domestic tourism picking up once again, the competition aimed to inspire travel through photography, with the theme ‘Scenic places we want to go once the pandemic is over’. There were over a thousand entries, which were boiled down to ten stunners – some of which we're sharing here. Although we can’t visit just yet, these pics sure are helping to fuel our wanderlust. ...

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