Friday, April 15, 2011
Travel Safety Updates: Japan is Open for Safe Travel
The first month after the most major earthquake in the northeastern Japan has been an important recovery time for Japan, despite that international media release floods of extensive coverage on post-catastrophe situation. Thanks to international relief supports and Japan’s resilience and hard-working effort enables the country to recover the infrastructure as well as commercial activities at a surprisingly fast pace. Following the British and Canadian governments’ ease on travel restrictions to Japan, on April 14, the US Department of State has reduced the travel alert to Japan only within the 50 miles radius of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which excludes major cities such as Tokyo and Yokohama, and Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. You can view Today’s Japan through live cameras and YouTube videos. As international organizations release clearer figures and assessment, the current situation has reached a reasonable safety level for international travelers, with detailed data as of April 15.
Can We Visit Japan Today? – YES!
The majority of regions in Japan including popular leisure travel destinations, are outside the areas affected by tsunami, earthquake and radiation, and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas continues to operate as usual. The greater Tokyo area has already retrieved the usual condition, and there are no more periodical blackouts. The other regions are unharmed, and safe and normal as before.
How is the Radiation Level? – NOT DANGEROUS!
Except for the proximate areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is not within radiation contamination concern area, located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other international organizations confirm that the radiation level in the atmosphere is within a reasonable safety level to human health. The accident in Fukushima is now categorized as level 7 with the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). However, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) estimates the amount of radiation released to the atmosphere is as a mere 10% of the Chernobyl accident. Since the INES category doesn’t have anything higher than level 7, both incidents fall into the same category in spite of the huge difference in the radiation levels and the size and structure of the accidents. See more details here. In addition, please see the daily updates on radiation level in major cities in Japan here.
Are Food and Water Safe? – YES!
There is no shortage of food or water, and products distributed to the public are all safe.
Is Public Transportation Working? – YES! J
apan’s sophisticated public transportation systems have been recovered to the regular service levels everywhere, except for the tsunami-affected regions.
Since the 3.11 earthquake, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to release updates on its website, including radiation conditions, transportation, events and other travel-related information. Daily updates are also available online at JNTO’s North American website.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sendai Airport was back in business as a Japan Airlines 737-800 from Tokyo Haneda landed Wednesday at around 8 a.m. local time. This was the first commercial flight since the airport was inundated on March 11 by the earthquake-triggered tsunami.
With bullet train service to Sendai suspended and partial road closures still affecting transportation, the re-opening of Sendai Airport to commercial domestic flights provides for much-needed additional access to an area hit hard by the March 11 earthquake in Japan. The opening of the airport will greatly ease travel for volunteers and others from Tokyo and western Japan to disaster-hit areas and should accelerate relief activities there.
Much of the credit for restoration of the airport to operational status must go to a team of United States Air Force Special Operations forces, the 353rd Special Operations Group, who have been working to restore the airport for over a month:
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The British Foreign Office has revised its travel advice for Japan as the country continues to recover from the March 11th earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.
The Foreign Office has lifted its advisory against all non-essential travel to Tokyo following a decrease in radiation risk from the crippled Fukushima reactor.
The British government continues to advise avoiding non-essential travel to areas northeast of Tokyo affected by the quake, including the 80-kilometer radius of the plant some 220 kilometers from Tokyo.
In its revised travel advice for Japan the Foreign Office said: “We no longer advise against non-essential travel to Tokyo.”
“Although the situation at Fukushima will remain of concern for some time, the risks are gradually declining as the reactors cool and as facilities to stabilize them are established,” the British embassy said in the travel advisory posted on its web site:
Friday, April 8, 2011
Tickets for Hawaiian Airlines’ new Honolulu-Osaka flights are now on sale!
Daily flights between Osaka Japan and Honolulu Hawaii are scheduled to begin from July 12th 2011. The airline will begin flying to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport from Honolulu on July 12. The inaugural return flight to Hawaii will take off the following day.
Hawaiian Airlines began flying to Japan last November when it launched a route between Honolulu and Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport.
The flights are scheduled to begin with a Boeing 767 plane to Osaka that seats 264 passengers, but are expected to change to flying a 294-seat Airbus A330 aircraft on the route.
The flight will add about 100,000 new seats to Hawaii each year and will make it easier for the airline to attract travelers connecting from other cities.
Contact Naka’s Travel Service to book your flights to Osaka now!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
You may not know it, but Japan isn’t the only place to see cherry blossoms in the spring!
Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates spring in Washington, DC, the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival runs from March 26th through April 10th 2011.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington. Mayor Ozaki donated the trees in an effort to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan. 12 varieties of cherry blossom trees - 3,020 trees total were donated to the people of Washington D.C.
Take a look at what Washington D.C. looks like in cherry blossom season:
Interested in a trip to the East Coast? Check out Naka’s Travel’s tours to the mainland: