Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Saving Money on Transportation

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

This is an article about Transportation in Japan that I’m putting under the “Saving Money” category. Hopefully you’ll find this useful if you visit Japan or live in Japan.

Trains in Tokyo are unbelievably convenient and reliable and a great alternative to Taxis. They are rarely off schedule and have stations in every major location throughout the city. Here are a list of websites where you can buy affordable tickets.

Tokyo Metro Passes – visit the site here
JR East Rail Passes – visit the site here

If you would like a quick train pass that works on all trains in Tokyo, you could always purchase a SUICA card (very convenient). This can be filled with any amount of money and all you do is swipe through all train gates, use if on most vending machine, easy pay in convenience stores and more. In the end, you can keep it as a souvenir – more info on SUICA here.

* I focus on Tokyo because that’s where the majority of visitors go during their visit to Japan.



Japan Train Station

Japan Train Station



Come Visit Japan! Here’s why…

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Japan is a country with the promise of bright lights and the gadgets of tomorrow. But this country has more secrets within its borders than a thousand history books can give you. Japan is a traveler’s paradise, a treasure trove of knowledge and a kingdom just waiting to be explored. You may think you know about the Japanese culture; the books, technology and food, but until you’ve wondered the streets, seen the people and stumbled across the oasis of untouched landscapes you can’t begin to imagine the pure beauty of the country.

A country like no other, Japan is a must for any traveler seeking to explore the hidden beauty offered to those who are willing to find it. From the moment you step foot on Japanese soil there’s no doubt that you’ll wonder that even with a thousand lifetimes how you’ll ever manage to explore every last hidden treasure. But there’s no need to worry, the country has it covered. If you fancy a change of scenery the high speed modernized rail system will take you from the city of fine dining and classic shops to a world of peace, tranquility and historic beauty.


Perhaps the best detail about the country is its ability to keep its history intact. Japan may seem like a technologically super-powered country, and it is, but what lies behind the walls of the cities is what truly represents Japan. A quick trip out into the country will show you an entirely different world. You can take a step back in time and witness the living settlements of Ancient Japan, see how its people value their ancient customs and beliefs in a way that cannot be compared. Farmers tend their crops and children run in the mountains while mere miles away the latest technology is being developed.

As a country with more than 100 volcano’s and a landscape made up of the most breath-taking mountains there’s no way you can get enough. Over 6,000 islands lay waiting for you to explore, all being almost completely untouched. If you don’t fancy a hotel break in the city then you can always find a locally run hostel nestled deep within the vast array of islands. Your only issue then is finding the very best accommodation for you, hunting down that secret that no other traveler has ever found. has some of the most secluded and beautiful spots ever seen, something a little different that you can guarantee will bring back the most amazing memories for years to come.

So whether you want to pick up the newest phone, scale an active volcano, spend some time with the locals or taste some truly authentic cuisine, Japan is the place to be. It’s no wonder the emigration rates are rock bottom with every unique opportunity the country gives its population. You can even try your hand at a bit of sumo wrestling, still the national sport in Japan. A wealth of cultural experiences awaits those who dare visit one of the most amazing countries in the world.

Article provided by one of the any writers from

The Island of the Dragon Princess

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Legend has it that a beautiful dragon princess once flew from Japan heading towards Singapore to visit her prince. Along the way, she stopped to rest in the crystal-clear waters of the South China Sea. She was taken in by the charms of the place and made a decision to stay instead of continuing her journey to Singapore. She took the form of an island in hopes of offering shelter and comfort to passing travellers. Locals named the island “Pulau Tioman” or Tioman Islands.

Beautiful Sunset, Japamala Resort on Tioman Island

Just a flight away

Tioman Island is a small Island located off the east coast of the Peninsular Malaysia. If you are looking to escape the bustling city, Tioman Islands may be the best place to go. Flights from Japan leave everyday to Singapore and from there it is a short boat ride. There you will find miles of white sandy beaches, a wonderful array of flora and fauna, clear blue waters that teem with marine life and also beautiful underwater gardens.

A prominent landmark in this island is its scenic twin peaked mountain, Gunung Nenek Semukut. This attraction alone brings visitors from far and wide and can be seen from all sides of the island.

Activities on the island

The island is a haven for water sports enthusiasts as well as nature lovers. A variety of activities can be done such as scuba diving, water-skiing, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing and windsurfing.

If you wish to get good look at the island’s underwater gardens but refuse to get messy and wet in the process, you can always ride in the island’s glass-bottomed boat which sails around the island. The crystal-clear waters make the experience all the more memorable and breathtaking.


Whether you are seeking to do water sports, get in touch with nature, or just relax and escape a busy work life, Tioman Islands is no doubt one of the best locations to visit.

With friendly locals, picturesque views, wonderful array of marine life and lush rainforests, it is no wonder that the island has been acclaimed an ecological paradise and a geological wonder.

5 Important Things You Must Do Before Traveling To Japan

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

When you travel to Japan, you are given the chance to see a country that is rooted in their tradition and culture. In addition to that, this country has also welcomed technology and modernization with open arms. A mix of culture and technology– that is one combination you will not get to see in any other countries.

(1) Learn Basic Japanese.

Japanese is quite a difficult language to learn. Attempting to do this in just a few months is not possible. However, not knowing any Japanese terms at all can become quite a hassle when you travel to Japan. Learning basic Japanese words for simple terms like- Hello, Where is this, Thank you, Excuse me, sorry and the likes can turn your Japan trip from a nightmare into a wonderful dream. Here are some free resources to help you out. Keep in mind that not all Japanese speak fluent English. These terms will definitely come handy wherever you go.


(2) Plan Your Itinerary

If you wish to make the most out of your Japan trip, then you must plan your itinerary well. Once you have received your ticket and you already know how many days you will be staying in this wonderful country, then it is time to let the good times roll. Determine what places you will visit then schedule all the attractions on the same city on a day. You can also try calculating the travel time. There are lots of websites and mobile apps that you can use to plan your itinerary the most efficient and effective way possible. Here are some travel guides I’ve written to give you more insight on different areas of Japan.


(3) Know The Do’s and Don’ts.

Each and every country has their own culture. What is acceptable to US may not work well in Japan. This is why you should do your research first before the scheduled trip. In this way, you will be able to avoid disrespecting the culture and traditions of Japan. If you plan on visiting their temples, then know what appropriate dress to wear. If you wish to socialize with their people, then know what you should and should not do. If you wish to eat in Japanese restaurants, then know what is their eating etiquette.


(4) Buy Travel Insurance.

No matter how long or short your stay in Japan will be, having international travel insurance is highly recommended. By having this type of insurance, you will have protection when you travel abroad. There are actually many types of travel insurance that we have today– travel health insurance, personal belongings insurance or travel investment insurance. It is best that you know the difference between these types so that you can determine which type you would need the most.


(5) Finalize Bookings.

Aside from flight booking, you may also wish to book your accommodation in advance. In order to find and book a great place to stay in, you must finalize your bookings a few months prior to the scheduled trip. There are actually many types of accommodation in Japan– Ryokan or traditional Japanese hotels, western hotels and guest houses. For a more fruitful Japan experience, it is recommended that you try out all these types of accommodation.


9 Must Know Tips for First-Time Travelers to Japan

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Traveling to any foreign destination is always exciting. And traveling to Japan is doubly so. Japan is a very interesting country – it is the land of anime, avant-garde fashion, sumptuous and healthy food, amazing modern cities, fantastic natural landscapes, years of history and tradition as well as unique festivals.


It is always advisable to learn about any destination beforehand so you will be prepared for the difference in culture and custom, and this is especially true for first time travelers to Japan, which could be very different from what you see in movies and television.

  1. First thing to remember is to pack light. Japan is a very small country and space is at a premium. You do not want to be lugging bulky bags when you are in Japan. Coin lockers in train stations and other places are quite small and could only accommodate small bags. Likewise, you have to go up and down flights of stairs to reach train terminals where wheeled luggage will be of no use.
  2. Always carry your passport with you because you never know when you will be stopped and requested to show your identification.
  3. Always have the Japanese name of your hotel written down so you can show it to the taxi driver. And remember that when riding a taxi, the driver will open and close the back door for you. Always enter the taxi from the left side. You can open the front passenger door yourself if you are to sit by the driver.
  4. When you reach Japan, you should be carrying cash or travelers’ checks, as the country is a cash society. The city might be very modern but very few establishments in Tokyo accept credit cards unless you are staying in a big hotel or dining out in a large restaurant. Very few ATM machines in Tokyo and Kyoto and most places in Japan accept foreign cards except Citibank branches and Seven Eleven convenience stores. In busy areas, ATMS are open until 9 p.m. only and most of them are closed during the weekend. You need cash for most of your purchases, taxi and bus fares and admission tickets to tourist spots. Keep in mind that Japan adds a 5% consumer tax on goods, which will be added to the price of the item you buy.
  5. You can save a lot on transportation expenses while you tour the various districts with a Japan Rail Pass, which is available in 7-, 14- and 21-day stays. This should be bought in your home country as it cannot be bought in Japan. The pass is only for non-Japanese residents. You can use the pass on the Hiroshima-Miyajima ferry, and all buses and trains operated by Japan Railway, including bullet trains. It cannot be used on the Nozomi Super Express.
  6. If you have to work while traveling it would be better to get an Internet or 3G hotspot dongle as finding free WiFi in Japan can be very difficult.
  7. Tipping is not expected and is actually not common in Japan. If there are special occasions when you want to give a tip for a special service, place new and crisp bills in an envelope.
  8. Always have tissue papers with you as some public restrooms do not provide this courtesy. While there are plenty of free tissues (some form of advertising) handed out along major streets, you should always have some with you.
  9. Just like doing research to learn about the country and its culture, it would be a very good idea to carry a phrase book with you. Useful phrases to know include sumimasen, which is the most common word to use for excuse me or pardon me. You should also know sayonara (goodbye), konnichiwa (hello), ohayō gozaimasu (good morning), arigatou gozaimasu (thank you very much), konbanwa (good evening), and oyasumi nasai (more of good night or goodbye for late evening greeting or parting). If you need to go to the bathroom, say Toire wa doko desu ka?.

Some other phrases that are worth memorizing are the following:

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu … Please do your best and treat me well.
Kore okudasai … I’ll have this, please.
Hajimemashite … It’s nice to meet you.
Wakarimasen … I don’t understand.

Demo, (the Japanese word for ‘But’), if you need documents translated in Japanese, your phrasebook will not be enough. What you need is the services of a professional translation service to do it for you.

Another good thing to learn are the numbers. Here’s a video to help you out.

Enjoy your visit!

Author Bio: Ronnie Avelino is working for Day Translations, Inc., a global interpreting and certified translation services provider with headquarters in Tampa, Florida, US, and offices worldwide. Its dedicated team of specialized and trained certified Japanese translators and interpreters are available 24/7 around the world to satisfy their customers’ translation and interpreting needs.