Monday, May 21, 2007

Tsukiji Wholesale Market

Tsukiji Wholesale Market

Tsukiji Central Wholesale Market is a large wholesale market for fish, fruit and vegetables in central Tokyo. It is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the collection and distribution of fruit, vegetables, flowers, meat and fish in metropolitan Tokyo. Tsukiji Market is best known as one of the world's largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day.
The sight of the many kinds of fresh fish, shellfish and other seafood and the busy atmosphere of scooters, trucks, sellers and buyers hurrying around, make Tsukiji Market one of Tokyo's major tourist attractions. However, since Tsukiji Market is a site where serious business is conducted, it is important for visitors not to interfere with the action by not bringing any large bags and not obstructing traffic along the narrow lanes.

A visit is most recommended in the early and busy morning hours before 9am. Note however, that the spectacular tuna auctions, held around 5am, have been closed to tourists as of May 2005 due to the interference caused by the sheer number of spectators and cases of misbehaving tourists (visitors touching tuna, obstructing people at work and causing distraction by flash photography).
A visit to Tsukiji Market is best combined with a sushi breakfast at one of the several restaurants which are located in the market. Most of them open around five in the morning and close around noon.
The market is closed on Sundays, holidays and certain other days (see links below for a calendar).

How to Get There

Tsukiji Market is best accessed from Tsukijishijo Station on the Subway Oedo Line or Tsukiji
Station on the Subway Hibiya Line.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tokyo Tour - Meiji Shrine

MeiJi Shrine

Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) is a shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. In Shinto, it is not uncommon to enshrine the deified spirits of important personalities.
Emperor Meiji was the first emperor of modern Japan. He was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1868 at the peak of the Meiji Restauration when the power was switched from the feudal Tokugawa government to the emperor. During the Meiji Period, Japan modernized and westernized herself to join the world's major powers by the time Emperor Meiji passed away in 1912.

The Meiji Shrine was completed in 1920, and rebuilt after being destroyed in World War Two. It is located in a wooded park area next to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. Various events and festivals are celebrated at the shrine throughout the year.

How to Get There
The approach to Meiji Shrine starts a few steps from Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Line or Meiji-jingu-mae Station on the Subway Chiyoda Line.

Japan Tour - Great Buddha of Kamakura

Place of Interest for Japan - Great Buddha of Kamakura

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha that is located on the grounds of the Kotokuin Temple. With a height of 13.35 meters, it is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan (the largest is located in the Todaiji Temple in Nara).
The statue was cast in 1252 and originally located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were washed away by a tsunami tidal wave in the end of the 15th century, and since then the Buddha stands in the open air.

How to Get There

The Great Buddha is located a 5 minute walk from the Enoden Railway Hase Station, the third station from Kamakura main station. The Enoden is a streetcar-like train that connects Kamakura with Enoshima and Fujisawa. Its terminal station in Kamakura is located just west of JR Kamakura Station.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Japan Train Tickets Charges

Special Tickets

A whole variety of one day passes is available for the Tokyo area. One day passes are sold at train stations and vending machines and are valid on one calendar day.

• Tokyo Free Kippu (1580 Yen)
Unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro) and JR trains in the central Tokyo area on one calendar day. It is also valid on buses and streetcars operated by Toei.

• Toei and Tokyo Metro One-Day Economy Pass (1000 Yen)
Unlimited use of all subway lines (Toei and Tokyo Metro) on one calendar day.

• Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Ticket (710 Yen)
Unlimited use of Tokyo Metro subway lines on one calendar day. Note that this covers only eight of Tokyo's twelve subway lines, i.e. the ones operated by Tokyo Metro.

• Toei One-Day Economy Pass (700 Yen)
Unlimited use of Toei subway lines, buses and streetcars on one calendar day. Note that this covers only four of Tokyo's twelve subway lines, i.e. the ones operated by Toei.

• Tokunai Pass (730 Yen)
Unlimited use of JR trains in the central Tokyo area on one calendar day.

• Holiday Pass (2300 Yen)
Unlimited use of local and rapid JR trains in the greater Tokyo area (including Yokohama and Kamakura) on one calendar day. It can only be used on Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and certain holiday seasons. Click here for more details.
Prepaid cards don't give you any discounts, but they make the process of taking trains easier, as you do not always need to buy a ticket before riding a train. Prepaid cards can be purchased at vending machines.

• Passnet (1000, 3000 or 5000 Yen)
Passnet are prepaid cards that can be used on almost all trains and subways in the Tokyo area with the prominent exception of JR trains. They are available for 1000 Yen, 3000 Yen and 5000 Yen. To use Passnet, insert the card into the ticket gates, and the required fee will be withdrawn automatically. If the remaining amount on the card is not sufficient anymore, you can use it at vending machines to buy another ticket.

• Suica (from 500 Yen)
Suica is the prepaid card that can be used on all JR trains in the Tokyo area. To use Suica, you do not insert your card into the ticket gate slot, but only hold it close to the Suica sensor, which is attached to the ticket gate. The required fee will then be automatically withdrawn. If you purchase a Suica card, the minimum amount is 500 Yen. If the card gets empty, you can recharge it.

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Japan Tokyo Other Railway Companies

Japan Tokyo Other Railway Companies

Other railway companies

Most other railway companies, besides JR East and the two subway companies, connect Tokyo with the metropolis' outer regions and surrounding prefectures. Their lines typically start at one of the stations of the JR Yamanote Line. Many of the private railway companies also operate department stores usually at their train lines' major stations.

Tokyu Railways Serving southwestern Tokyo and Kanagawa.
Tobu Railways Serving Saitama and Tochigi. Connection to Nikko.
Seibu Railways Serving the Tokyo Tama Region and Saitama.
Keio Railways Serving the Tokyo Tama Region.
Odakyu Railways Serving Kanagawa. Connection to Hakone.
Keisei Railways Serving Chiba. Connection to Narita Airport.
Keikyu Railways Serving Haneda Airport and Kanagawa.

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Japan's Subways

Japan Subways


Tokyo's subway network is operated by two companies, the Toei Subways with four lines, and Tokyo Metro (formerly known as Eidan Subways) with eigth lines. Together, they densely cover central Tokyo, especially the area inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and Shitamachi.

Note, that at their terminal stations, the trains of some subway lines continue to operate on the tracks of different companies on suburban train lines. For example, the Chiyoda Subway Line is directly connected with the suburban Odakyu Line at Yoyogi-Uehara Station, and some trains on the Hibiya Subway Line continue to run on the tracks of the Tokyu Toyoko Line at Nakameguro Station.

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Japan Tokyo Basic Orientation Continued

Major JR train lines in Central Tokyo

The map on the left shows Tokyo's major railway stations and the five JR lines that are most relevant to people who travel within central Tokyo.

Yamanote Line
Circle line that connects all major city centers.
Keihin-Tohoku Line
Runs parallel to the Yamanote Line on the eastern half of the circle.
Chuo/Sobu Line
Runs across the Yamanote circle (local slow service).
Chuo Line (Rapid)
Runs across the Yamanote circle (rapid service). Connects Tokyo and Shinjuku.

Saikyo/Rinkai Line
Rapid service parallel to the Yamanote Line on the western half of the circle. Connects to Daiba.
Tokaido Shinkansen trains stop at Tokyo and Shinagawa, while bullet trains to the north stop at Tokyo and Ueno.

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Japan Tokyo Basic Orientation

Basic Orientation in Tokyo

Tokyo is covered by a dense network of train, subway and bus lines, which are operated by about a dozen different companies. The train lines operated by JR East and the subway lines are most convenient for moving around in central Tokyo.

Tokyo's most prominent train line is the JR Yamanote Line, a circle line which connects Tokyo's multiple city centers. The city's twelve subway lines are operated by two companies and run largely inside the Yamanote circle and the areas around Ginza and Shitamachi. Most of the countless suburban train lines commence at one of the six major stations of the Yamanote Line (Tokyo, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Shinagawa).

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