NOW AVAILABLE! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan

ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan now available! Reservations are available from the URL below.
Snow Tire Plan 2019

※Snow tires cannot be added as an option, and cannot be added to a reservation. Please make a reservation from the Snow Tire Plan. From November to April in Hokkaido and December to March in the Tohoku area, all cars reserved in heavy snow zones will have snow tires as standard equipment, so all available plans already have snow tires.

Winter Driving in Japan
1. Snowy areas and seasons
2. What are snow tires?
3. Driving on snowy roads
4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan


1. Snowy areas and seasons

Japan is long in the north and south, so depending on the region, the climate can be very different.
When you rent a car, you need to pay attention to the places and times you want to visit and reserve snow tires as necessary.

※All rental cars in areas with heavy snow consistently every year have snow tires equipped as standard, even without the snow tire plan.

■ Heavy snow zone (area where snow is heavy during the winter, snow tires are standard equipment)
Snowfall estimate: November – April (Hokkaido), December – March (other than Hokkaido)
■ Moderate snow zone (snow falls several times during winter; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ Snow zone (possibility of snowfall once or twice a year; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ No-snow zone (area where snow does not fall)
※Even in areas where it does snow much, there is a high possibility of snowfall in mountain areas where the altitude is high.


2. What are snow tires?
SnowTire

A snow tire is a type of tire that can drive without slipping on snowy roads. Since the groove of the tire is deep and the rubber is soft, it is possible to drive even on a frozen road. But don’t let your guard down! It’s like driving on ice, so you need to always be cautious of sliding.


3. Driving on snowy roads

Warning ① Don’t speed
Warning ② Accelerate slowly and calmy
Warning ③ Be careful of sliding on curves
Warning ④ Put more distance than usual between you and other cars
Warning ⑤ Only change lanes if you need to
Warning ⑥ Even if you don’t see snow, be cautious of frozen roads (black ice)

Even if snow is not piled up on the road, it reflects light.
It seems like there is no snow at first glance and it seems to be dry, but this is because the road is frozen.
Be careful because you may slide more than on snow. Slow down for curves.
To stop, you need to use the brakes considerably earlier than usual.


4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019

Now available! Please check the link below for details and to make your reservation.

Snow Tire Plan 2019

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How to Choose a Plan with ToCoo!

ToCoo! offers a variety of unique plans designed to suit customers’ needs. However, it may be difficult to determine which of the many plans is best for you. Here, we will introduce the plans to help meet your needs.

1. If you will use a lot of expressways
2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage
3. If you want to save on hotel accommodation
4. If you want to shorten the procedure time at the rental car outlet
5. If you are concerned about driving on snowy roads
6. If you want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi

1. ToCoo! Expressway Pass Plan for those who will use a lot of expressways

It is a super-value plan that gives you unlimited access to expressways within the rental period. All expressways can be used within the specified range, and there is no additional charge for expressways used during the rental period. 
Using the expressway pass is very easy. To use, simply insert the ToCoo! ETC card into the on-board ETC card reader device installed in the rental car. You can drive smoothly without having to stop and pay at each ETC gate.

 

ToCoo! original unlimited flat-rate expressway pass plans
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Japan’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Hokkaido Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Hokkaido’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Kyushu’s expressways

*ToCoo! Expressway Pass Advantages
① Customizable usage period, from 1-20 days
② Wide coverage. ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu covers all of Kyushu’s expressways, but similar products do not offer the same range.

If you book with ToCoo!, the below rental car company expressway passes are also available.
Hokkaido Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Hokkaido
Kyushu Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Kyushu (some roads are not covered)
Tohoku Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Tohoku (some roads are not covered)

2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage

① Full Coverage Plan

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, you can rest assured that in the event of an accident, you will be exempt from paying the following required amounts.
NOC: 20,000-50,000 yen
Vehicle compensation: 50,000-100,000 yen
Property damage compensation: 50,000 yen
*In addition, towing fees (up to 100,000 yen) will be covered.

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, the cost of an accident will be 0 yen.

What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to breakdown, odor, etc., this is the amount charged to the customer as compensation to the rental car company for lost sales during that period.

What is the compensation amount?
This is the amount the customer must pay in case of an accident.

 

■Full Coverage Plan
This plan is available throughout Japan.
*Some areas may not be available depending on the rental car company.
■Budget Special (Full Coverage Plan)
This plan is exclusive to Budget Rent a Car. It is currently available for reservations in Kyushu, Sendai, and Hokkaido.

② Plan with travel insurance


This plan comes with travel insurance for foreign visitors to Japan (including all rental car passengers) and a convenient map code information service. We will compensate your medical costs if you are sick or injured while traveling. In addition to financial compensation, you can receive services such as Japanese language translation support.

 

■ToCoo! Japan Traveler Support Plan
In addition to travel insurance, this plan includes map code information service, telephone translator support service, and services that provide specified hospitals where payment for treatment is not required.

3. Recommended for those who want to save on hotel accommodation

If you make a reservation with the Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan, the hotel fee for 1 room for 2 people for 1 night will be free.
*Hotels can be selected from the hotel list provided by ToCoo!

■Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan
This plan is only available from Nissan Rent a Car. In order to use this plan, you must use the rental car for at least 4 days.
Hotel List

4. Recommended for those who want to reduce check-in and waiting time at the rental car outlet

During busy periods, check-in and waiting times at car rental outlets tend to be long. You may have to wait from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour. If you make a reservation with the Smart Pass Plan, you can check in online in advance, so you can greatly reduce the time required at the outlet.

■Smart Pass Plan
If you book with this plan and complete the online check-in procedure 4 days before the reserved date, you can depart immediately after a simple procedure at the special ToCoo!-only counter on the rental car start date.

5. Snow Tire Plan for those concerned about winter driving


A lot of snow falls in Japan in winter. Snow tires are standard equipment in winter where there is always a lot of snow like Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since it can still snow in the Kanto region and others, we recommend booking the Snow Tire Plan in the winter.

 

■Snow Tire Plan
This plan includes snow tires where snow tires are not standard equipment, such as the Kanto and Kyushu regions. Snow tires can only be booked from the snow tire plan and are likely to be sold out, so we recommend booking early. The Snow Tire Plan will usually be available around September.

6. Recommended for those who want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi router

There is a plan available exclusively from ToCoo! which includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi rental together with the rental car.

■Driving Package Plan (Free Internet + ETC card rental)
This plan includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi router rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.
■ToCoo! ETC Card Plan
This plan includes free ETC card rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
■ ToCoo! Free Internet Plan
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.

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Rental Car Insurance in Japan

Driving a car during travel exponentially expands the potential of your trip.
However, driving a car also comes with the risk of accidents. Recently, the data in Japan found that the accident rate for tourists was about four times that of locals.

       Tourist Rental Car Accident Trends (Okinawa)

     Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

In the event of an accident while abroad, unexpected difficulties may arise due to language barriers or unfamiliar laws and regulations. To help alleviate that anxiety, keep reading this guide!

1. Insurance and Compensation Services
  ① Basic rental car insurance
   What is the compensation fee?
  ② Compensation Coverage (CDW)
  ③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
2. Required fees in case of an accident
   What is NOC?
3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

NOC, compensation coverage, CDW, etc. are frequently used terms you encounter when renting a car in Japan, but there are many people who are wondering about the details of each one. In this guide, we will discuss the specifics of rental car insurance and compensation coverage and how to select them at booking.

1. Insurance and Compensation Services


① Basic rental car insurance
All rental cars in Japan include basic insurance as below. Please note that each rental car company has different policies, so the compensation details may vary.

Example: Nissan Rent a Car insurance system

Personal Injury  Unlimited coverage for each person (including vehicle liability insurance up to 30,000,000 yen)
*Compensation for injury of a third party
Property Damage Compensation 20,000,000 yen per accident (compensation fee: 50,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to a third party’s car, utility pole, building, etc.
*Customer responsible for 50,000 yen compensation fee
Vehicle Compensation Actual cash value of the vehicle (compensation fee: 50,000 yen), but micro bus, truck, other specific types of car  will have a compensation fee of 100,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to the rental car
*Customer responsible for 50,000~100,000 yen compensation fee
Passenger Compensation Maximum 30,000,000 yen per person
*Compensation for injury, death, or long-term side effects to passengers (including driver) due to accidents while in the car

※Customers are liable for all damages incurred which either exceed the insurance coverage amount or are exempt from coverage.


■ What is the compensation fee?
This is the amount that the customer must pay in the event of an accident which is covered by the basic insurance.


② Compensation Coverage  (CDW)
CDW is an abbreviation for collision damage waiver.
If you purchase compensation coverage, the car rental company will cover the compensation fee you would normally have to pay. In other words, you would not have to pay the above 50,000 yen for property damage compensation and 50,000 to 100,000 yen for vehicle compensation.

*Even if you purchase compensation coverage, all coverage will be voided unless you immediately contact the police.
*Even small scratches that don’t stand out are considered accidents in Japan, so you must report them to the police. In Japan, the definition for accidents includes lightly brushing a wall or the car getting scratched due to negligence when parking.


③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
The following add-on services may be recommended when you pick up the car at the outlet.
*However, please be aware that all ToCoo! reservations already include NOC payment coverage and towing fee coverage service of up to 100,000 yen, so please be careful not to purchase overlapping services.

Rental Car Company Insurance Service Details
Nissan Rent a Car NOC Support Plan NOC payment coverage
Nissan Anshin Support Plan (NAS) Roadside service, etc.
Nippon Rent a Car Extra Coverage Option (ECO) NOC payment coverage
Safety Course Roadside service, etc.
Times Car Rental Super Safety Package NOC payment coverage and roadside service
Toyota Rent a Car Double Protection Package NOC payment coverage and tire trouble
Budget Rent a Car Safety Pack NOC payment coverage, on-board accessory damage compensation, and tire trouble

*The above chart is for reference only, and the services may be changed by the rental car company. Check with your car rental company for more information and terms.

2. Required fees in case of an accident

In the event of an accident, the following amounts usually need to be paid at the rental car outlet.

Compensation fee: 50,000~150,000 yen 
    & 
NOC: 20,000~50,000 yen


■ What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the rental car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to a breakdown, damage, odor, etc., this is the amount charged by the rental car company as compensation for lost sales during that period.

When the vehicle is returned to the originally planned office by itself 20,000 yen
Other situations 50,000 yen

*The NOC amount may vary depending on the rental car company.


3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

All ToCoo! reservations include ToCoo! Additional Support (T.A.S.), which covers Non-Operation Charge (N.O.C.) and up to 100,000 yen in towing fees.
※ T.A.S. is mandatory for all ToCoo! reservations. It is an exclusive service.
If you book with ToCoo! and purchase compensation coverage, you will have to pay 0 yen in case of an accident.
ToCoo! also offers full coverage plans that include compensation coverage, so please choose it when you make your reservation.

Summary
✔ T.A.S. which covers NOC and towing fees is automatically included in all ToCoo! reservations
✔ If you purchase the rental car company’s compensation coverage, the fee for an accident will be 0 yen
✔ Rental car companies also offer their own compensation services, but beware of duplicate services

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Luggage Space Information

Are you trying to figure out what car class would be best for your trip? Use the examples and photos below for your reference! The numbers listed below are maximum, but of course, if you have fewer passengers, you would be able to fit more luggage, even using the extra seats. Finally, please note that since ToCoo! only offers car class reservations, it is not possible to reserve a specific car model.

Important Notes
※Remember to count 1.5 seats for your child seat if you will be traveling with children. For details, please check the Child Seat page.
※A valid International Driving Permit is required to drive any car in Japan. For details, please check the International License page.

Car ClassMax. PassengersMax. Luggage
660cc42~3
Compact52~3
Standard52~3
Station Wagon53~4
SUV53~4
Minivan83~4
Others2~92~4

660cc

Recommended for those traveling on a budget. Because it is a small car, this car class is very fuel efficient. However, it may feel a little cramped for some.

Nissan Dayz

Photo Gallery

Compact

The compact class is a bit larger than the 660 cc class, but it will still probably feel cramped if you have 5 passengers.

Nissan March

Photo Gallery

Nissan Note

Photo Gallery

Nissan Cube

Photo Gallery

Standard

Recommended for both business and leisure. Since the interior is more spacious than the compact, it is considered to be a comfortable class.

Nissan Latio

Photo Gallery

Station Wagon

In general, the station wagon class has a large trunk, so it’s recommended for those with a lot of luggage.

Nissan Wingroad

Photo Gallery

SUV

The SUV class is especially recommended for outdoor activities, like camping, skiing, and surfing. Some SUV models also offer 4WD, so it’s especially good for these types of activities.

Nissan X-Trail

Photo Gallery

Minivan

Recommended for large groups or travelers traveling with lots of luggage. If there are 6 passengers, the minivan will typically fit about 6 pieces of luggage. Please note that when all 8 seats are being used, the luggage space will be quite small.

Nissan Elgrand

Photo Gallery

Nissan Serena

Photo Gallery

Luxury/Sports Car

Luxury and sports car rentals tend to have spacious interiors, and usually, the trunk space is larger than regular car classes as well. There are also some two-seater sports cars which are great for enjoying the drive itself, but not much luggage can fit in a sports car.

Van

Recommended for large groups or people with lots of luggage. However, please note that snow tires cannot be installed on the Hiace models. Also, 10-seater vans (including the driver) require a special International Driving Permit. Please check the International Driving Permit page for details. This type of car has very small luggage space when all the seats are in use, so we recommend to book 2 cars (i.e., 2 minivans) if you have a lot of people and a lot of luggage.

Suitcase Sizing:

 HeightWidthDepthUnit
White Suitcase (Large)725030cm
Gray Suitcase (Large)715028cm
Silver Suitcase (Medium)684526cm
Silver Suitcase (Small)554020cm
Blue Suitcase (Small)554020cm

※The above images were taken in June 2019. Please note that the trunk space may vary by make, model, and year.

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COMING SOON! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019-2020

ToCoo! is getting our Snow Tire Plan for 2019-2020 ready.
 We will start accepting reservations for the plan in the
middle of September.

※Snow tires cannot be added as an option, and cannot be added to a reservation. Please make a reservation from the Snow Tire Plan. From November to April in Hokkaido and December to March in the Tohoku area, all cars reserved in heavy snow zones will have snow tires as standard equipment, so all available plans already have snow tires.

Winter Driving in Japan
1. Snowy areas and seasons
2. What are snow tires?
3. Driving on snowy roads
4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan


1. Snowy areas and seasons

Japan is long in the north and south, so depending on the region, the climate can be very different.
When you rent a car, you need to pay attention to the places and times you want to visit and reserve snow tires as necessary.

※All rental cars in areas with heavy snow consistently every year have snow tires equipped as standard, even without the snow tire plan.

■ Heavy snow zone (area where snow is heavy during the winter, snow tires are standard equipment)
Snowfall estimate: November – April (Hokkaido), December – March (other than Hokkaido)
■ Moderate snow zone (snow falls several times during winter; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ Snow zone (possibility of snowfall once or twice a year; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ No-snow zone (area where snow does not fall)
※Even in areas where it does snow much, there is a high possibility of snowfall in mountain areas where the altitude is high.

SnowTire


2. What are snow tires?
A snow tire is a type of tire that can drive without slipping on snowy roads. Since the groove of the tire is deep and the rubber is soft, it is possible to drive even on a frozen road. But don’t let your guard down! It’s like driving on ice, so you need to always be cautious of sliding.


3. Driving on snowy roads
Warning ① Don’t speed
Warning ② Accelerate slowly and calmly
Warning ③ Be careful of sliding on curves
Warning ④ Put more distance than usual between you and other cars
Warning ⑤ Only change lanes if you need to
Warning ⑥ Even if you don’t see snow, be cautious of frozen roads (black ice)

Even if snow is not piled up on the road, it reflects light.
It seems like there is no snow at first glance and it seems to be dry, but this is because the road is frozen.
Be careful because you may slide more than on snow. Slow down for curves.
To stop, you need to use the brakes considerably earlier than usual.


4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019-2020

Coming Soon!

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Being Prepared for a Natural Disaster in Japan

When you are driving in Japan, do you know what to do if there’s an earthquake or sudden heavy rain?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in Japan in order to be prepared in case of a natural disaster.

1. Earthquake

■ If an earthquake happens when you’re driving
If an earthquake starts while you’re driving, turn on the hazard/emergency lights and check the condition of nearby cars and pedestrians, then move your car to the shoulder and stop.
If you brake suddenly, you could get hit from behind, so gradually reduce your speed before stopping if possible.
Please wait in the car without getting out until the earthquake subsides, then check the earthquake information, damage, etc, from your mobile phone or app.

■ If you get out of the car and evacuate
If there is a tsunami warning issued or the road is damaged and you cannot continue, turn off the engine, close the windows, leave the car key in the ignition and do NOT lock the doors, and proceed to safety.
When you leave the key in the ignition, emergency personnel will be able to move the car if it’s blocking emergency vehicles.

■ When evacuating with the car
It’s very dangerous to move the car when there is an earthquake because there might be congestion, damage to the road, or debris blocking the way. Therefore, please stop the car in a safe place and walk to evacuate.
If there are no buildings nearby and you must evacuate by car, drive very carefully and pay close attention to road conditions because traffic lights and signals may no longer be operational due to power failures.

2. Sudden Heavy Rain

■ If you encounter heavy rain while driving
If it’s raining very hard, stop driving and park in a safe place and wait for the rain to stop.

■ Avoid underpasses
Underpasses are made by digging down from the surrounding road, such as underground roads passing under railways or highways.
During heavy rain, underpasses are dangerous because they can be easily flooded by several meters of water. During heavy rainfall, never attempt to drive into a flooded area.

■ “I think I can make it” driving is extremely dangerous
It’s extremely dangerous to think that you can drive through flooded roads, even if you think it’s shallow. Even a small amount of water can sweep away a car.
If you do drive into a flooded area, it’s possible that cars in front of you will become unable to move and the water level will increase, meaning that you will be stuck.
Avoid driving through any area that has standing water.

3. Heavy Snow

■ If you get stuck on a snow road
If your tires slip on fresh slow and you get stuck, slowly move the car back and forth to stiffen the snow around the tires.
If there’s a sand box on the side of the road, sprinkle some sand around the drive wheel.

■ If you can’t move because of heavy snow
In whiteout conditions such as snowstorms, please turn on the hazard/emergency lights and and safely stop the vehicle.
Since the exhaust pipe might become blocked by snow, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so please remove the snow from the exhaust pipe while you’re waiting for assistance.

4. If Water Gets Into The Car

It’s important to stay calm even if the car engine stops in a flooded area and water gets into the car.
First, remove the seatbelt, open the door, and evacuate. If the water is too high and the door won’t open, evacuate from the window. If the window won’t open, break the side window and evacuate (don’t try to break the sturdy windshield glass).

5. Car Fire

If a fire breaks out while driving, turn on the hazard lights to notify the cars around you that an emergency has occurred.
Next, stop the car on the side of the road and call the 119 emergency phone number from your mobile phone. If you can, try to extinguish the fire as long as you are not exposing yourself to danger.
Depending on the strength of the fire, you may be able to extinguish the flame by choking it with a jacket or water.

6. Safety Information Card – Useful Tool for Tourists Visiting Japan

This tool from the Japan Tourism Agency summarizes information about disaster preparedness, including useful websites and apps, so that tourists can enjoy a safe trip with peace of mind, even in case of a natural disaster. Please use it by all means.

Safety Information Card – 観光庁

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Throw Beans, Get Luck! Japanese Holiday “Setsubun”

Setsubun, or “節分” in Japanese, means the parting of the seasons. Every time the season changes, it’s called Setsubun, but the new year starts in spring according to the lunar calendar, so the most important Setsbun is in spring. It’s said that evil comes out at the turn of the season, so it’s very important to protect against it with a new milestone every year.

This year, Setsubun will be celebrated on Sunday, February 3, 2019. So, what do you actually do for Setsubun?

1. Bean throwing
2. Ehomaki sushi
3. Decorations
4. Summary


1. Bean throwing
On Setsubun, we throw beans while saying “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi,” which means “Devils are outside, luck is inside.” This tradition is called “mame maki,” where “mame” means beans (think edamame) and “maki” means throw. When you do mame maki, you are driving evil out of the house and attracting good luck into the house. Sometimes, the father of the house will dress up as the devil and children will throw their beans at him!

After you finish throwing the beans, you also have to eat some – but not off the ground! You have to eat as many beans as your age so you will get good luck and good health in the coming year.


2. Ehomaki (恵方巻)
You have to eat ehomaki during Setsubun to get good luck, too! Ehomaki means “lucky direction” sushi, and it must have at least 7 ingredients of different colors. This is because you must eat ehomaki while facing this year’s lucky direction, and you are not allowed to speak until you have finished eating the whole roll. You have to stay silent and make your wish for the new year, because luck will escape if you talk. By the way, the lucky direction this year is east by northeast! There are also some people who believe that you should close your eyes while eating, and there are even some who believe you’ll get the best luck if you laugh while eating! During Setsubun season, you can buy ehomaki at convenience stores, supermarkets, and fancy department stores too, so try it out! There are some very interesting flavors, such as all seafood ehomaki and even tonkatsu ehomaki!


3. Decorations
To protect your house, there are some people who put the heads of sardines and decorations of holly on the entrance of their homes so that demons won’t gather. If you say this outside someone’s house, you might be disinclined to go in, too!


4. Summary
Customs and traditions vary depending on the region, but Setsubun is an event where parents can become demons, children can throw beans with delight, and the whole family can play and eat together. If you come to Japan during Setsubun, why not try experiencing the unique mame maki and ehomaki?

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Christmas in Japan

Every December brings the season to celebrate Christmas around the world, and Japan is no exception. Christmas in Japan has many unique characteristics as part of Japan’s culture. This time we would like to introduce to you how Japanese people celebrate Christmas.

 

  • Fried chicken and Christmas cake
  • Who to celebrate with
  • Ending the 25th night

 

Fried Chicken and Christmas Cake

In the United States and elsewhere, Christmas dinner is a roast turkey or ham, but the dish most associated with Christmas in Japan is fried chicken. Since turkey is difficult to find in Japan, it was replaced with chicken instead. Demand for fried chicken in Christmas season in Japan is very high, with fast food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and butcher shops accepting reservation as soon as December 1st. As Christmas draws nearer, fried chicken and roast chicken will be sold at convenience and grocery stores, so you will be able to see the unique Christmas atmosphere.

 

 

 

It is said that eating cake at Christmas is a staple for Japanese people. To produce a sense of Christmas, it is a common practice to arrange fruits and decorate it with Santa and other motifs. Incidentally, on the night of December 25, many cake shops will be selling their goods for half-price,  so if you want to enjoy a more cost-effective Christmas, please time your shopping as such!

The origin of Christmas cake in Japan began with a campaign in 1922 when cake manufacturer Fujiya started selling a cake decorated with cream with the catch phrase “Let’s eat cake at Christmas!” At that time, cake was a luxury good, and ordinary people could not easily buy one, but around the 1970s, the custom to eat Christmas cake spread through every home in Japan. Whipped cream and strawberry Christmas cakes are the most popular in Japan today, but there are a variety of other flavors and decorated cakes.

 

Who to celebrate with

At Christmas time, Japanese people often spend more time with their romantic partner than with their families. So, for Japanese people, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are the two big romantic holidays for lovers.

By the way, it’s the same for children in Japan that Santa Claus brings Christmas presents to good children.

 

 

 

Ending on the 25th night

A happy Christmas will be finished at night on December 25th. The shop displays and Christmas decorations are changed immediately after closing on the 25th, and on the 26th we will enter 100% New Years mode. Of course, the Christmas tree will be put away and the traditional New Years kadomatsu (bamboo decoration) will be brought out.

 

 

 

Summary
While incorporating Japanese customs, Christmas has evolved from the original for many years and Japan’s unique Christmas is now fully established. In December, Christmas songs playing throughout the town are not only Western traditional songs and pop music, but also Japanese original Christmas songs. Also in this season, TV and anime will also be broadcasting their Christmas episodes.

If you visit Japan in winter, why not enjoy a unique “Merry Christmas” in Japan?

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Japan Winter Illuminations 2018-19

In December, streets around the world will light up the city for the holidays and hold various illuminations. The town starts to be colored with various lights and fascinates the people walking by. Every year illuminations with various features are held all over Japan. We will introduce the most popular illumination events held this year.

  1. Blue Cave SHIBUYA
    Yoyogi Park will be lit up for a total length of 800 meters and the magnificent Blue Cave represented by the blue-colored light colors the Shibuya winter streets. Several kinds of illumination with special effects effect will also appear.

 

出典:青の洞窟SHIBUYA PR事務局HP

 

Blue Cave SHIBUYA
Event Period: November 30-December 31, 2018 17:00~22:00 (The lighting time may depend on the day.)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawacho, Shibuya Park Street-Yoyogi Park area
Website: http://shibuya-aonodokutsu.jp/

 

 

 

2. Germany Christmas Market Osaka 2018
This winter, a 27-meter high Christmas tree brightens the Wonder Square of Shin Umeda City. In Germany Christmas Market, you can enjoy German-style Christmas festivities in Japan, including German-style ornaments and candles, sausages and mulled wine. Also, a wooden merry-go-round with about 120 years of history will also be available. During the event, the whole Umeda Sky Building is full of the Christmas spirit.

出典:梅田スカイビルHP

 

Germany Christmas Market 2018
Event Period: November 16-December 25, 2018 17: 00 ~ 22: 30 ※Market is open from 12:00-21:00 (Friday ~ 22:00, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11:00-22:00)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Kita-ku, Oyodonaka Shin Umeda City Wonder Square
Website: https://www.kuchu-teien.com/en/

 

3. Ebisu Garden Place Christmas illumination
At Ebisu Garden Place, an illumination event is held entitled “Baccarat ETERNAL LIGHTS – Form of Joy.” The world’s largest baccarat chandelier of about 5 meters in height, about 3 meters in width, more than 8000 crystals, and more than 250 lights in total. It also features large Christmas trees on Clock Square, set in the city, lit up with a total of about 100,000 lights. You can enjoy a Christmas unique to Ebisu Garden Place.

 

出典:恵比寿ガーデンプレイスHP

 

Ebisu Garden Place Christmas Illumination
Event Period: November 3, 2018~January 14, 2019 Chandelier is lit from 11:00~24:00, Christmas illumination is 16:00~24:00 * Open throughout the day※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu Garden Place Center Square
Website: https://gardenplace.jp.e.adx.hp.transer.com/

 

4. Marunouchi Illumination 2018
This year is the 17th anniversary for the Marunouchi Illumination. The illumination covers about 1.2 kilometers of the streets with 1 million original Marunouchi “Champagne Gold” LED lights. This year, the Nijubashi Square has also been added in to the illumination area, and the “Gate of Light” will be open again this year in the Yurakucho area.

 

出典:丸の内HP

Marunouchi Illuminaton 2018
Event Period: November 8, 2018-17 February 2019 17: 30-23: 00 (17: 00-24: 00 during December)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku Marunouchi Naka-dori, Tokyo Station Area, Otemachi area, etc.
Website: https://www.marunouchi.com/

 

 

 

5. Yomiuri Land Jewellumination (R) ~ Shining Light Pier~
Jewellumination is produced by lighting designer Mikiko Ishii. This season we renewed the whole area with the theme of Light Pier as the ideal village of light, the gemstone illumination of 6 million lights. One of the highlights is the 25-meter high Jewelry Mountain. The slopes spread over the mountainside and you can enjoy sledding. In addition to the fountain show using 216 fountains with a width of 60 m and a height of 15 m, you can also enjoy ‘Starlight Bandet’ and ice skating, which runs like a shooting star across the night sky.

 

出典:遊園地よみうりランドHP

 

Yomiuri Land Jewellumination (R) ~ Shining Light Pier~
Event Period: October 11, 2018 – February 17, 2019 16:00 ~ 20:30 (※ From December 15th to 25th ~ 21: 00)
* Closed January 15-17 and 21-24, 2019※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tokyo-to, Inagi-shi, Yanokuchi 4015-1 Yomiuri Land
Website: http://yomiuriland.com/

 

  1. OSAKA Renaissance of Light 2018
    The main feature of the Osaka Light Symposium 2018 in which the lights are integrated from the city hall around Nakanoshima Park. At the Osaka Municipal Central Public Hall, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening this year. Also in the west side of the Nakanoshima Park Rose Garden, about 1000 lanterns will be put up to celebrate Taiwan’s Lunar New Year (Gen Shosetsu). Nakanoshima Illuminations Street of Zelkova trees with a total length of about 150 meters is synchronized with music and colorful lights.

出典:「大阪・光の饗宴2018」HP

 

OSAKA Renaissance of Light 2018
Event Period: December 14-25, 2018 17:00~22:00 (Some programs are from 16:00~)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Osaka Prefecture Osaka-shi Kita-ku Osaka City Hall/Nakanoshima Park
Website: http://www.hikari-kyoen.com/

 

 

 

  1. 24th Annual Kobe Luminarie
    Kobe, famous for its night view, remembers victims of the Great Kobe Earthquake and entrusts dreams and hopes for the revival and revitalization of the city since 1995. Since then, it has been supported by many people as an event symbolizing Kobe. The theme is changed every year, and LED light bulbs are used for all works including large works of Luminarie street. Furthermore, in order to continue Kobe Luminarie, please consider to cooperate with the venue donation (100 yen per person).

出典:神戸ルミナリエHP

 

24th Annual Kobe Luminarie
Event Period: December 7-6, 2018 (※For details, please refer to the official website)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Hyogo-ken, Kobe City, Chuo-ku
Website: http://kobe-luminarie.jp/

 

 

 

  1. National Showa Memorial Park Winter Vista Illumination 2018
    An oasis of llumination at the National Showa Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo. From the Tachikawa area to the plaza, it is wrapped in light. The theme of the illumination changes every year, directing different expressions respectively. Lighting up the large fountain with the symbolic existence of the champagne glass tower using the approximately 15,000 glasses and the symbolic existence of the park, with the canal in the center, the illuminating world where trees and the water surface shine can enjoy the fantastic world.

出典:国営昭和記念公園HP

 

National Showa Memorial Park Winter Vista Illumination 2018
Event Period: December 8-25, 2018 17:00~21:00 (Admission to ~20:50 ※From 16:00 onwards you can only enter from the Tachikawa gate)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo Midoricho 3173 National Showa Memorial Park Tachikawa entrance – Fureai Hiroba
Website: http://www.showakinen-koen.jp/

 

 

 

  1. Shonan’s Jewels 2018 ~ Light and Color Celebration Enoshima ~
    Enoshima Sea Candle (Enoshima Observatory Lighthouse), which is popular as a symbol of Shonan, is focused on various parts of Enoshima Island as illumination. The main venue glows with colorful crystal beads. From the middle of December, you can enjoy 20,000 winter tulips and illumination competitions

出典:江の島サムエルHP

 

Shonan’s Jewels 2018 ~ Light and Color Celebration Enoshima ~
Event Period: November 23, 2018 to February 17, 2019, 17:00 to 20:00※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Kanagawa Prefecture Fujisawa City Enoshima, Enoshima Sea Candle, Nakatsu Palace Square, etc.
Website: https://enoshima-seacandle.com/

 

 

 

  1. 2018 Sendai Light Pageant
    Sendai ‘s winter scenes that counts the 33rd time this year. With the theme “Lights on everyone, the light of the heart” with about 600 thousand star-like lights. During the period, there are also booths and ice rinks at Gotokudai Park and Citizen Square. Also, from November 1 to the next February 20 entitled “2018 SENDAI Light Pageant in Izumi Park Town,” the main street in the center area of Izumi Parktown will be colored as the pageant of light.

出典:SENDAI光のページェント実行委員会HP

 

2018 Sendai Light Pageant
Event Period: December 14-31, 2018 17:30-22:00 (※ Fridays, Saturdays and December 23-24 are ~23:00, and December 31 is ~24:00)※Please confirm the latest event details with the event organizer or on the official website.
Venue: Miyagi-ken Sendai City Aoba-ku Jozenji-tsu
Website: http://www.sendaihikape.jp/

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Safety Tips: Must-Have App for Travelers in Japan

Do you know what to do in a natural disaster when you’re on vacation?
In a foreign country with unfamiliar customs, culture, and no climate intuition, it can be hard to know what to do in case of trouble. We’re introducing a new app that can help foreign tourists to go safely even in case of emergency.

The app has the following functions.

外国人旅行者向け災害時情報提供アプリ「Safety tips」を大幅に機能向上しました!

Safety Tips
Free

5 Supported Languages: English・Chinese (Simplified/Traditional)・Korean・Japanese

Supported OS
・Android 5.0 or later
・iOS 9.0 or later

✓ Push notifications for emergency earthquake announcements, tsunami warnings, special weather alerts, and volcanic eruption information

✓ Foreigner-friendly medical facility information (information is from the Japanese government tourism office)

✓ Advanced information (details on each type of disaster, first aid methods, etc.)

✓ Evacuation recommendations and instructions

✓ Weather forecast

✓ Earthquake information

✓ Volcanic eruption warnings

✓ Heat stroke advisories

✓ Evacuation shelter information

✓ Transportation information

✓ Medical facility information

✓ Emergency contact information (110, 119, one-click dial embassy phone numbers)

Below is the home screen of the Safety Tips app.

There are many useful functions in case of a natural disaster.

There are explanations for each type of disaster, as well as what to do when right after an event, so please download it so you can travel with confidence.

You can download the app from the QR code below.
QRコード(For iPhone) QRコード(For Android)
For iPhone    For Android

If the QR code doesn’t work, please use the following URL.
・Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.rcsc.safetyTips.android
・iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/safety-tips/id858357174?mt=8

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