What to expect after the New Year?

What to expect after the New Year? It will be wave after wave, a busy month followed by another all the way till the golden week. After all the snow related festivals throughout Hokkaido ending mostly in February, come March will be one of the best time to visit Nara and Kyoto, as such all the focus will be switched to Shinkansen plans going to these nearby places. Depending on the weather, everyone will be anxiously wanting to know when the Sakura(cherry blossom) will bloom in order to book their trips for Sakura viewing. I will keep you posted as and when the Met office releases their predictions. They revised their predictions twice this year and tour operators were not impressed.

Below are some of the good sources for trips to Nara and Kyoto. It would be the right time for you to start looking out for package tours though for Shinkansen plans you can reserve it even a day before the trip but it is not advisable. Overnight trips to Nara starting from 14,400yen for twin occupancy and to Kyoto with many hotels starting from 24,500yen for twin occupancy with return Shinkansen ticket included.

ACE JTB Kyoto ACE JTB Nara ACE JTB Kyoto & Nara KNT Nara

Below are dates of some of the major events held in Kyoto and Nara;
- January 13, light up at 6pm. Wakakusayama Hill Grass Burning Ceremony
- February 3, starting 6pm. Kasuga-taisha Shrine Mantourou Lantern Festival
- March 1~14. Todaiji Shunie Omizutori
- March 14~23. Kyoto Higashiyama Hanatoro

Okinawa Islands packages depart from Naha

During my absent for the entire week I sneaked to Okinawa for part pleasure part work and celebrated my X'mas in Naha city. It is not the best time of the year to go to Okinawa, so there weren't much but airfares were dirt cheap though. I had a lot of walking and regretted not choosing a flight package plan that includes rental car.

Spending most of my time along Kokusai-dori, I picked up the below pamphlets in a local agencies, they are package plans for Miyako island, Ishigaki, Iriomote and Yoron with flights originating from Naha. Flights are operated by Japan Transocean Air (JTA) or Ryukyu Air Commuter (RAC). These package offers are nowhere to be found in Tokyo. Compared to similar package plans with Tokyo departures, the below offer more choices of accommodation and with prices available for single and twin occupancy. It offers choice of up to a maximum of 3 nights accommodation included in the plan however you can extend your stay up to 14 days without inclusion of accommodation.

LIBRE Ishigaki LIBRE Miyako

It is ideal for those who are planning a long stay or to stop for a few nights in both Naha and Ishigaki or Miyako. To make your reservation, you are required to purchase them at least 10 days in advance. Bookings can be made online at

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Is there any average price for each city?

Trying to answer to question posted to me whether there is an average or a common price lets say going from Haneda to Sapporo and return. In my own opinion, the average price should come from the so-call OEM tariff. I wonder what the acronym stands for in ticketing terms. OEMs are package fares released half-yearly covering almost all routes in Japan. Both JAL and ANA have its own version. I am not at liberty to disclose the e-copy but I found the below pamplets offering almost what is found in the OEM. There are 2 parts in the OEM with "fixed stay plans" and "select plans". Fixed stay plan meaning that you will fly in and out using the same city whereas under the "select plan" option, open-jaw tickets are used. With an open jaw ticket you can choose to fly out using a different airport within the same region.

ANA TabiJyozu JAL TabiJyozu Success Tours

Pertaining to the length of stay, you are allowed up to a maximum of 14 days stay with the exception of JAL fixed stay plans only up to a maximum of 8 days. Prices are available for single person, twin sharing and 3 or more again with exception of flights to smaller islands in Okinawa. Child fare are also available. In the OEM you will also find optional bus tours and rental car option too.

Many agents do reference the prices derived from the OEMs to make comparision to see which has better price as such I would think that it should served as giving the average price for each city.

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