Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Cherry blossoms have begun blooming in northern Okinawa, a few days ahead of the normal seasonal schedule.
Okinawa is home to the first cherry blossoms in Japan each year. The dominant cherry tree variety is the Hikanzakura with deep pink blossoms that are more richly colored than the varieties usually found in mainland Japan.
The 33rd Motobu Yaedake Sakura Festival starts Saturday, and runs through February 6th. The Motobu Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival is known as the earliest cherry blossom festival in Japan. See the Okinawa Story website for a list of other popular Chery Blossom festivals in 2011:
The red crane logo, created in 1959, was gradually phased out and disappeared in 2008. Before that, the logo consisted of the letters JAL stretched out to form wings, but the red crane was introduced when the airline moved from prop planes to jets. The crane logo first appeared on a JAL jet in 1960.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Only 3 days to enjoy free balcony upgrades^, low fares and cash back** on 2011 Mediterranean & Greek Isles vacations — sale ends January 21st!
With savings up to $1,000 per person, free balcony upgrades and up to $100 cash back, our 3-Day Sale shouldn’t be passed up! Enjoy a breathtaking sunset in Venice or see the stunning cliffs in Santorini — all from the comfort of your own balcony. Take advantage of this great offer — contact us today to start planning your next cruise vacation!
* Save up to $1,000 per person based on savings off Launch fares. Savings vary by departure. Fares for other dates may vary. Fares apply to minimum lead-in categories on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares are per person, non-air, cruise- or cruisetour-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two passengers in a stateroom. These fares do not apply to singles or third/fourth-berth passengers. Fares may remain at discounted level after this promotion. Government fees and taxes of up to $65 per person are additional, are subject to change and may be higher for Canadian residents. Princess reserves the right to impose a fuel supplement of up to $9 per person per day on all passengers if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel, even if the fare has already been paid in full. This offer is capacity controlled and may not be combinable with any other public, group or past passenger discount, including shipboard credits. Offer is not transferable and is only available to legal residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the District of Columbia who are 21 years or older and receive this offer. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars. Ask about our new eZAir program. See the applicable Princess Cruises brochure or princess.com for terms, conditions and definitions that apply to all bookings. Please reference promotion code: R31.
**Up to $100 USD Cash Back per stateroom refers to an onboard credit, applies to select 2011 Europe sailings and varies according to category booked and sailing duration. Passengers booked in an Interior or Oceanview stateroom on a 6- to 9-day voyage will receive an onboard credit of $25 per stateroom; passengers booked in an Interior or Oceanview stateroom on a 10+ day voyage will receive an onboard credit of $50 per stateroom; passengers booked in a Balcony stateroom or above on a 6- to 9-day voyage will receive an onboard credit of $50 per stateroom; and passengers booked in a Balcony stateroom or above on a 10+ day voyage will receive an onboard credit of $100 per stateroom. Reservations must be made and deposited between January 19-21, 2011. Deposits made under this promotion are non-refundable and non-transferable. Offer is applicable to first/second-berth passengers only. Third/fourth-berth passengers are not eligible. Passengers with single occupancy will receive the per stateroom credit amount. Onboard credit may be used on a single voyage only and expires at the end of that voyage. Prior to disembarkation, please visit the Passenger Services Desk onboard to redeem any unused onboard credit. Offer is not transferable, is not combinable with other select offers or other onboard credits and applies to legal residents of the United States or Canada who are 21 years or older. Onboard credit is quoted in U.S. dollars. Void where prohibited by law. This promotional piece was created and distributed by an independent travel agency, not by Princess.
^ Free Balcony Upgrades refer to reserving a balcony stateroom for the price of an oceanview stateroom on select sailings on a space available basis at time of booking on select 2011 Europe sailings.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Japan Rail Pass exchange rate for January 13th 2011 through January 19th 2011 - 1 USD = 83.24 JPY
JR Pass prices are updated for the current exchange rate every Thursday.
See http://www.nakastrav … l.com/rail-pass.html for details and current pricing.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan’s largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year. Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,the grounds at Satoland, and the main street in Susukino. For seven days in February 5-11, 2010 ,these statues and sculptures(both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
During the festival literally hundreds of snow and ice sculptures are created in three areas of Sapporo:
Odori Koen - Sapporo’s central park & playground which hosts the artistic snow sculptures (including the vast sculptures made with the assistance of the military), the festival launch, and much of the live music and other entertainment. This section is open all day and illuminated each night.
Satorando/Satoland - a relatively new site that made it’s debut at the 2006 festival replacing the Makomanai JGSDF base. As with the base, it is the only site not located in the center of the city. Satorando/Satoland is just as kinderfreundlich as Makomanai ever was, and even better for adults with hot air balloons, snow mazes and an ice bar.
Susukino - the nightlife area which hosts the ice festival, where sculptures are carved using chainsaws and other power tools on the first day of the festival. Open day and night but best viewed after dark.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. in 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido’s winter events. The Snow Festival is considered to be a festival of international-caliber.