Getting around

*This article below is written as at 2013 and is only intended as a basic guide to relevant information. J-style makes no representations as to the suitability of the information.

A quick guide to where, when and how long for domestic flights and train travel.

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* Japan’s Major International Airports *

NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

A few domestic flights do leave from Narita, but most domestic flights leave from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (95min. from Narita by the Airport Limousine bus).

Travelling to and from Tokyo

Trains

Narita Airport has two key rail connections operating between central Tokyo Station and the Narita Airport terminals. JR East’s Narita Express (N’EX) is the fastest option (60 min., ¥2,940). The Keisei Sky Liner is the best choice for travel to
Nippori (36 min., ¥2,400).

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Buses

Airport Limousine buses stop at most major hotels and certain landmarks on the way to central Tokyo (75 – 155 min., ¥3,000).

Taxis

Taxis can be expensive depending on your destination. Central Tokyo costs approx.
¥15,000 to ¥24,000 by taxi.

KANSAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Travelling to and from Osaka and Kyoto

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Trains

The Haruka limited express service travels from Kansai Airport Station to Kyoto Station

(75 – 95 min., ¥3,280), Shin-Osaka Station (50 -70min., ¥2,770) and Tennoji Station (32 – 50 min., ¥2,170) .

The Kansai Airport Rapid travels to Osaka Station (65 min., ¥1,160).

Nankai Electric Railway operates the fast Rapi:tα train (34min., ¥1,390) from Namba to Kansai Airport Station at 7am, 8am and 9am only on weekdays.

Buses

Buses travel to Osaka Station (60 min., ¥1,500);
Kyoto Station (90 min., ¥2,500); Namba Station (50 min., ¥1,000).

Taxis

¥18,000 to Shin-Osaka Station; ¥16,000 to Namba Station; ¥32,000 to Kyoto Station.

MIE

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Above: Watch the fascinating sunset of Meoto Iwa

Ise Shrine and Amaterasu Omikami

Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, one of the most sacred destinations in Japan, is linked with the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano via the Kumano Kodo. Ancient legends state that the Japanese Imperial family is descended from the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami, who is enshrined in the Inner Shrine or Naiku at Ise. In keeping with traditional beliefs in cycles of death and renewal, the shrine is rebuilt every twenty years, with 2013 marking the occasion when the deities are transferred from their old homes to the new ones.

The Wedded Rocks and other Marvels

The sacred Meoto Iwa or the ‘Wedded Rocks’ on the coast near Futama are said to represent the Japanese creator spirits, Izanami and Izanagi. The rocks are joined by a sacred rope or ‘shimenawa’, examples of which can be seen at many Shinto shrines around Japan.

Iga Ueno, which is midway between Osaka and Nagoya, will satisfy both lovers of military and literary history. In addition to being the birth place of the famous poet, Matsuo Basho, Iga Ueno is home to a castle which boasts the highest stone walls in Japan.

Rice Cakes and Rare Beef

A visit to Mie Prefecture is not complete without trying Akafuku mochi, a pounded rice cake with a wonderfully chewy consistency, which is beautifully complemented by sweet red bean paste.

While this delicacy is readily available throughout the prefecture, a visit to the Oharai Machi shopping precinct near the entrance to the Inner Shrine at Ise is highly recommended.

Mie prefecture is also noted for its Matsuzaka beef, which hails from cattle fattened on beer and massaged to improve the texture of the meat.

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WAKAYAMA

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Above: Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine

Wakayama and the Kumano River

The main shrine of Kumano, Kumano Hongu Taisha, has been a focal point for travellers for hundreds of years. The modern shrine sits high above the Kumano
River for good reason. In 1889 the river broke its banks destroying the original
shrine, except for the 30 metre high stone gates which can still be seen today.
Pilgrims once rafted down the mighty Kumano River and modern day travellers can follow in their wake by boating, rafting and kayaking along the world’s only UNESCO World Heritage listed river pilgrimage route.

The Mount Koya Temple Precinct

The scared temple precinct of Mount Koya, the home of esoteric Buddhism, is located on a plateau almost 900 metres above sea level. The deeply forested terrain is dotted with hundreds of temples and temple lodgings. Staying at these lodgings provides an insight into the daily life of a monastery and the chance to sample beautifully prepared vegetarian shojin ryori (temple food) traditionally eaten by pilgrims because of its cleansing properties. Visitors can also learn calligraphy from a Buddhist monk or attend morning services at the temple.

Waterfalls and Beaches

Another must-see is Nachi Shrine, located at the base of the spectacular Nachi Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Japan. The southern part of Wakayama prefecture faces the ocean and the coastal town of Shirahama not only boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Japan, but is also one of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country. When not enjoying glass bottom boat rides and visiting aquariums, visitors can sample delicious mandarins, persimmons and ume plums, for which the prefecture is famous, not to mention the local seafood.

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