New ANA air pass with unlimited Japanese house rentals, multiple flights now taking applications

An amazingly affordable way to see Japan and live like a local.

Back in the fall, All Nippon Airways (a.k.a. ANA) got our wanderlust pumping when they announced a partnership with Japanese accommodation provider Address. Address offers members unlimited nights in its properties, which are refurbished homes across Japan, for a flat monthly fee, and its tie-up with ANA adds two sets of extremely affordable round-trip airplane tickets every month.

As of January 17, ANA and Address have begun accepting sign-up applications for the program, which launches on January 31. The ANA air add-on is a 30,000 yen addition to Address’ usual 40,000-a-month membership fee, meaning that for just 70,000 yen (US$640) you’ve got somewhere to stay for a whole month in Japan, plus the transportation means to check out at least three different parts of the country.

The round-trip air ticket can be used on designated flights on nine domestic routes flown by ANA, which connect Tokyo’s Haneda Airport with Shin Chitose (Sapporo), Tottori, Takamatsu (Kagawa), Fukuoka, Oita, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima airports. That variety makes trips to all four of Japan’s main islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu) viable options, and is especially nice since some of the regions serviced by those airports cam be particularly inconvenient to reach by train.

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New Japanese passport to have ukiyoe art

Japan will start issuing passports featuring art by ukiyoe master Katsushika Hokusai for people applying as early as February.

The new passport has 24 landscapes from the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” series from the 19th century. The prints serve as background for the visa pages used for entry and exit stamps. The design of the front page remains the same.

The Foreign Ministry decided to redesign the passport four years ago. It wanted to incorporate the latest anti-forgery techniques as the country prepares to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The ministry says the complicated design will not only strengthen counterfeit-prevention measures but also help to introduce Japanese culture.

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Japan is about to start testing its fastest ever bullet train, which can reach speeds of up to 400kph.
The Alfa-X train will be put into service in 2030, with plans to run it at 360kph. This will make it faster than China’s Fuxing Hao service linking Beijing and Shanghai in four hours and 18 minutes.
Alfa-X’s first test journey will take place on Friday 17 May, running overnight between Aomori and Sendai. It’s the first of several trial runs that will be conducted over the next three years.
The plan is to use the super-fast shinkansen to create a high-speed connection to Sapporo, the biggest city on the northernmost island of Hokkaido, from the main island of Honshu.
“The development of the next-generation shinkansen is based on the key concepts of superior performance, a high level of comfort, a superior operating environment and innovative maintenance,” East Japan Railway Co said in a statement.

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Japan Has WORLD’S Most Powerful Passport

Japan has the most powerful passport in the world, according to a new index.
The country has scored the number one position in the ranking for the third year in a row.
Compiled by residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the world’s passports based on data from the International Air Transport Association (Iata) and the firm’s research department.
The Index put Japan at the top of the list thanks to the impressive number of countries it offers access to visa-free or where it’s possible to get a visa on arrival: 191.
Singapore kept its place at number two, with a score of 190, while South Korea dropped to join Germany in third place with 189.

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New bullet train to start rolling on July 1

A Japanese railway says that a new bullet train model will be put into service on the Tokaido Shinkansen line on July 1, in time for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Shinkansen bullet trains began their service in 1964, right before Tokyo hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games that year.

Central Japan Railway says that the N700S is the first model the company has rolled out in five years. The company plans to introduce five of the trains before the games this summer and 40 by March 2023.

The N700S features a range of new security measures. Each carriage is fitted with six surveillance cameras, while the current model has two.

It can also draw power from built-in lithium-ion batteries to continue running in the event of a power outage.

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