Travel News – For visitors to Japan –


Tourist information you’ll want to know before planning your trip to Japan, and news on handy services while you’re there.
*The information on these pages is current as of October 2019.

Tokyo ranked the ‘Safest City’ for the third time running

Tokyo has taken out the top place in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index 2019, with Osaka coming in at third place. The capital city of Japan has ranked first for three consecutive surveys in this index of 60 cities conducted once every two years since 2015. In the 2019 edition of this index, cities were given scores out of 100 across a range of indicators including digital, health, infrastructure, and personal security. Tokyo topped the ranks for low petty and violent crime levels, infrastructure to withstand natural disasters, and low risk of computer malware infection, with high scores in other categories.

1. Tokyo 92.0
2. Singapore 91.5
3. Osaka 90.9
4. Amsterdam 88.0
5. Sydney 87.9

More flights to and from Japan in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics


The Japanese government has announced an increase in international departures and arrivals to Haneda Airport from approximately 60,000 to 99,000 flights in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Approximately 50 extra slots per day will be allocated from March 29, 2020 as part of the new summer schedule. Of the 50 additional slots, Australia has been awarded four allocations amongst nine other countries including the United States and China. The new Australian flights to and from Haneda Airport will also include the first midday slot for the route.

Large luggage to require reservations on the Shinkansen


Large suitcases and other bulky items will require luggage reservations to take onboard the Tokaido, Sanyo, and Kyushu Shinkansen lines starting May 2020. The planned changes are part of an effort to increase security measures for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Large luggage is deemed to have a collective length, width, and depth between 160cm and 250cm with reservations required alongside other reserved seat options such as window seats, and internet services. No additional cost is required when reserved beforehand, however, a 1,000-yen fee must be paid if a reservation is not made. If a large luggage item is carried onto a non-reserved seat, then an extra 520 yen to upgrade to a reserved seat must also be paid alongside the additional luggage fee. The luggage will be kept locked up in spaces behind seats at the end of a carriage, or in the luggage space on the deck. There are no current plans to introduce these changes to the Tohoku or Hokuriku lines.

Discover a new side of Japan


The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) spreads the word about the charms of Japan to residents of Australia and New Zealand. Their website provides information handy for travelling around Japan about topics such as Japanese culture, food, skiing, and shopping. Check out the website for the latest information about Japan before planning your next trip over to the land of the rising sun.


Be sure to also check out the official jStyle Facebook page for information about Japanese culture. The page is jam-packed with information about Japanese experiences including traditional Japanese sweets, history, castles, temples, and the beautiful outdoors. You can also find the latest news about events in Australia, such as the Japanese pop culture convention, SMASH!, and the Cherry Blossom Festival welcoming the start of spring. Head on over to the Facebook page and discover a new side of Japan.

Electronic Customs Declaration Gate System at Narita Airport now in operation


The Electronic Customs Declaration Gate System (e-Gate) has been rolled out at Terminal 3 in Narita Airport. With this new system, the customs declaration form can now be filled out electronically on an app rather than on paper. The aim of this new system is to speed up the process and shorten waiting times for the ever-increasing number of inbound passengers. Progressing through customs has now been made simple by filling out the required details on the app, scanning the generated QR code and your passport at the electronic declaration terminal, and then having your face photo taken on the spot. The declaration process can be done whilst waiting to collect your luggage. Once you have completed the process, pick up your luggage, head through the e-Gate, and then verify your identity through the facial recognition system, before proceeding through. The e-Gate is scheduled to be made available in Terminals 1 and 2 at Narita Airport, and other major airports from Spring 2020. For more details, visit the Japan Customs official website. Scan the QR codes found below to download the official app.






In this edition of jStyle we again visit the ski spots so popular with tourists from abroad
and take a close look at Shinjuku, which is in Tokyo city, but depending on where you go will show you many different faces. We also feature Ishikawa Prefecture, which is enjoying lots of attention since being opened up by the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line. From traditional national icons to hidden treasures that beckon the adventurous traveler, jStyle will take you on a journey through an array of destinations ideal for any travellers. And don’t forget to take a look at our travel tips and useful advice on how to use public transport.






The epitome of an otaku is someone with a strong interest, to the point of obsession, in a certain topic. Outside Japan, the term otaku is directed at anime and manga fandom. The degree of interest may range from someone who spends some of their free time reading anime and manga, to the extent they are able to quote from them, to those who spend an inordinate amount of time watching anime, reading manga and collecting memorabilia. Another phenomenon commonly associated with otaku is the practice of dressing up as a favourite character, or ‘cosplay’, but not all otaku enjoy this activity. Some may prefer to watch cosplay performances, or take photos of cosplayers in action.

The anime TV series “I Can’t Understand What My Husband is Saying”, gives a good insight into otaku. The main character, Kaoru, is married to one. Kaoru explains her husband as a lifeform that will die if it is unable to watch anime. The best part about watching this series is trying to figure out how many anime references there are in each the three-minute episode.


Cosplay is short for “costume play”. It is considered a performance artform in which the performers dress up in clothing resembling, or representing, a chosen character. Cosplayers are a subculture whose activities are not limited to stage performance. It is not unusual for cosplayers to dress up for events, or for fun.

Engaging in cosplay is a bit like getting dressed up for Halloween. Costumes are not gender specific. In fact, it is quite common for performers to tweak their costumes to keep the main features and colour of the original character’s appearance, while changing the gender to suit the performer.

Cosplay is also an activity that performers may take quite seriously. Dedicated cosplayers take pride in their work and may spend many hours over weeks hand-making their costumes for an event. The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) is held every year. Preliminary competitions are held around the world. The prize for winning national teams is a trip to Japan, including a week’s accommodation, to take part in the WCS.

Popular cosplayers travel internationally to participate in conventions, host panels, publish photo books and host signing events. They also have fans who will attend an event just for a meet
and greet session with their idol.


Popular events to attend in Sydney frequented by otaku include SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show, Supanova Pop Culture Expo and Oz Comic-Con. Immerse yourself in this wonderful subculture and enjoy the fun!


SMASH! Sydney Manga and Anime Show is our very own pop culture convention dedicated to promoting and gathering together artists, creators and fans of the genre. Founded in 2007, it is now a yearly event that goes for two days over a weekend and has attracted crowds of over 10,000 each year for the last couple of years. The event line up is diverse and the show is jam-packed with activities. SMASH! schedules are usually posted on the event’s website before event day and are sorted according to activity areas and times. Different guest speakers are featured in the Panel Room each day. Throughout the weekend there are many ongoing activities to participate in. Check out the art workshop area to make your own origami, or test your vocals in a karaoke competition or at free singing sessions in the Live DAM karaoke room. SMASH! also runs several competitions over the weekend. In addition to the karaoke competitions, expect quite a few console and card gaming tournaments and cosplay competitions.



Pick up an events guide on arrival and check out the activities you are interested in. Plan your other activities, such as shopping and viewing exhibitions, around them. There are some activities that are extremely popular, such as cosplay events, Maid Café and signing panels. For these events in particular, it is best to plan ahead and arrive at the location ahead of schedule.


Every year a cosplay “maid café” is hosted at the SMASH! show site. It is usually booked up quickly. Your best bet is to make a beeline straight for the café on arrival at SMASH! to book your preferred time for the café experience, before moving on to other activities.


Perhaps the most popular activity at SMASH! is the cosplay events. In fact, most showgoers turn up all dressed up, even if they do not intend to compete.

There are two main cosplay events. The Madman Cosplay Competition is a local comp in which contestants perform a prepared script, or answer a few questions from the emcee about their costume and character.

The World Cosplay Summit (WCS) Australian preliminaries are held at SMASH! The winning team represents cosplayers of Australia at the final WCS event in Japan.


In the Gaming Hall there are a few competition blocks to attend, depending on the games in which you are interested. Registration opens an hour before each competition starts, so if his is your cup of tea, head towards the registration booth in the Gaming Hall. If you do not wish to compete, there are also free-play sessions held across the day.


In addition to booths hosted by major exhibitors such as Madman Entertainment and Hobbyco, there are other vendors operating booths featuring popular culture and anime related merchandise. In the artist’s circle, many artists display their drawings and creations, which are also available for sale. Besides the Maid Café, there are quite a few caterers on site supplying food to the hungry masses, so if you are unable to secure a session at the Maid Café, there is no need to worry about dining.



Who is SMASH!?

SMASH! is a non-profit organisation created and managed by fans for fans. The organisation’s objective is to bring together like-minded individuals and create an open and affordable event that encourages creativity and community spirit.