Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fukushima’s Hawaii girls go on tour

Hawaii in Japan? If you’ve seen the film Hula Girls then you already know why a remote mining town in Japan boasts a local troupe of hula dancers and a Hawaiian resort , but if you haven’t then you might find this article from the Telegraph interesting.

Spa Resort Hawaiians (スパリゾートハワイアンズ), located in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, opened on January 15, 1966 as the Joban Hawaiian Center, becoming the first theme park in the country.

The resort was a response to the decline of the mining industry in Japan and its impact on the small mining town of Iwaki. The Joban Mine had become the Japan’s largest mine in 1944, but as Japan’s economy shifted from being powered by coal to oil in the 1960s, the mining company president hit upon the idea of using the area’s hot springs to open a Hawaiian themed resort. Instead of hiring outside dancers, the company decided to create its own, and initially trained 18 daughters of the mining company employees. In the very close-knit mining community, entire families would work at the Resort.

The 2006 film Hula Girls was based on the story of the founding of the resort.

The resort has been closed since the Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 11th 2011, but the Hula Girls have gone on tour to campaign for the safety of the resort and attract tourist back to the Fukushima area.

Read the full text of the Telegraph article here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Silverleaf Service now available on Rocky Mountaineer


New SilverLeaf Service is now available for Rocky Mountaineer Luxury Rail vacation packages. Guests now have the opportunity to experience a journey through the wild beauty of Western Canada and the majestic Canadian Rockies in a single level dome coach, boasting panoramic views, entertaining on-board commentary, and delicious hot meal service at their seat.

Traveling on Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West rail journey between Vancouver, British Columbia and Banff, Alberta, guests will journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world including the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The partially-domed SilverLeaf coach boasts panoramic views through oversized windows and allows guests to move around the coach and interact with other passengers without missing any of the scenery passing by. Delicious hot meals for breakfast and lunch along with additional Onboard Attendants make this an experience to remember.

  • Enjoy panoramic views from the oversized windows of the single-level dome coach - 167% larger viewing area than RedLeaf service
  • Relax in reclining dome-level seats which can rotate to accommodate groups of four
  • Enjoy temperature-controlled comfort
  • Overnight in moderate hotel accommodation in Kamloops or Quesnel with luggage delivered direct to your hotel
  • Includes transfers to and from the train on your package tour

SilverLeaf is available as an upgrade from Rocky Mountaineer RedLeaf Service.

See http://nakastravel.com/rocky-mountaineer.html for more information on Rocky Mountaineer Luxury Rail vacation packages.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tokyo-Sendai Shinkansen Resumes Operation


Monday, April 25th - 2011

Life is gradually returning to normal in Japan - bullet train services on the JR East Tohoku Shinkansen Line resumed between Tokyo and Sendai on Monday for the first time since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11. Operation resumes just in time for Golden Week, Japan’s traditional early May holiday.

The Tohoku shinkansen service to Fukushima was restored earlier, but the section connecting it to the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture was suspended until Monday.

According to JR East, the March 11 natural disasters mangled rail track, cracked elevated bridges and in general incurred damage at about 1,200 separate places along the full length of the Tohoku shinkansen track. About 85% of the trouble spots were repaired as of April 18, and the bullet train operator said it aims to restart service from Sendai to Ichinoseki on April 30.

Beginning April 29, the cutting-edge E5-type train “Hayabusa” will make two roundtrips a day, one between Tokyo and Shin-Aomori and the other between Tokyo and Sendai. Five thousand yen from each of the luxury “Gran Class” seat ticket sales will be donated to disaster victims.

The Japan Rail pass gives visitors to Japan an economical and convenient way to travel throughout Japan on JR rail, bus and ferry services. Please see http://www.nakastrav … l.com/rail-pass.html for current rates and information.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Japan Airlines Fuel Surcharge Increase


JAL International Fare Fuel Surcharge from June to July 2011

Japan Airlines (JAL) has requested for approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) to increase the current level of fuel surcharge on all international passenger tickets issued between June 1 and July 31, 2011.

In April this year, JAL began setting fuel surcharge levels bimonthly based on the 2-month average price, instead of quarterly based on 3-month average price, of Singapore kerosene-type jet fuel.

The price of Singapore kerosene-type jet fuel during the two month period of February and March 2011 averaged US$126.60 per barrel. With reference to the fuel surcharge benchmark list for the fiscal year of 2011 (see below), this corresponds to Zone G of fuel surcharges which range from 2,500 yen on a Japan - Korea ticket to 25,000 yen on a Japan - USA ticket per person per sector flown, on tickets purchased in Japan.

This level of surcharge will be applied to all international passenger tickets issued between June 1 and July 31, 2011.

Hawaii-Japan Current Fuel Surcharge: $127.00

Hawaii-Japan New Fuel Surcharge $185.00

Monday, April 18, 2011

True Travel Tales - 1

Our True Travel Tales come from clients who write in to share their experience of how Travel Guard’s travel insurance plans and travel assistance services came to the rescue during unexpected travel travail.

More information on travel insurance plans offered through Naka’s Travel Service, online quotes and enrollment is available at:


A Cozumel Christmas Cancellation

Paul  and  Nancy  L.  of  Commerce,  Michigan  had  their  big  winter  family  vacation  all  planned.  Their destination? Cozumel, Mexico where they had planned several scuba diving excursions and their children had planned to swim with the dolphins.

Then, it happened. The day they were supposed to depart, severe winter weather hit, and their flight was cancelled. Because of the severity of the storm, the best the airlines could offer was to re-route them on a flight that would depart 36 hours later which would mean the family would have to spend a night in Cincinnati, and a night in Atlanta at their expense, before leaving for Cozumel. 

“We would have arrived 3 days late for our 7 day vacation,” said Paul. “Obviously not worth going through with.”

As you might imagine, having their long-awaited tropical trip cancelled on the day of departure was devastating for the family. 

“The only thing that kept us from going off the deep end of despair was the knowledge that we had a travel insurance plan through Travel Guard,” said Paul. 

With a simple call to Travel Guard, Paul and Nancy were able to set things in motion to be completely reimbursed for the non-refundable parts of their winter trip. Within a short amount of time, the couple had the full reimbursement in their hands.

“The  claim  process  was  very  clear  and  uncomplicated,” exclaimed Paul. “We received a check for $5,125 which covered every  non-refundable  expense  we  had  incurred  and  each person I spoke with at Travel Guard was understanding and helpful. The service they provided has earned them a lifetime customer. We had never before purchased trip insurance. Now I can say we will never again plan a trip without trip insurance.”


This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. (NAIC#19445). Coverage may not be available in all states. Travel assistance services provided by Travel Guard.     1186_005   02/03/11