Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Five Castles Designated as National Treasures in Japan

jts-logo.jpg It is said that there were almost 25,000 castles one time in Japan, big or small. Today only 12 remain with the original Main Tower (Tenshu). Four of them and Nijo Castle in Kyoto are designated as National Treasures, regardless that Nijo Castle lost its Main Tower by a lightning strike in 1750.

1. Himeji Castle, Himeji City

Known as the White Heron Castle, Himeji Castle has attracted tourists and photographers from all over the world. Himeji Castle is also designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. As informed via the JTS Bulletin News October 2010, the 5-year major restoration of the Main Tower started in 2010, and now the Main Tower is completely covered with the roofed scaffolding. An observation facility, Egret’s Eye View, is built inside to let the visitors see the restoration process. Please advise your clients to make reservations online to secure the admission to the Egret’s Eye View as they limit the admission occasionally.

Castle Visitor’s Hours: 9:00 am-4:00 pm (Castle area closed at 5 pm),
until 5:00 pm from April 27 to Aug. 31.
Closed: Dec. 29 & 30
Admission to Castle: 400 yen ($4.80)
Admission to the Egret’s Eye View is additional: 200 yen ($2.40)
Access: 5 min. by bus or 15 min. walk from JR Himeji Station.

http://www.himejijo- … uri.jp/en/index.html

2. Nijo Castle, Kyoto City

Nijo Castle is also designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Originally this castle was built as an official residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun Ieyasu in 1603. The Ninomaru Palace, a National Treasure, is well preserved with elaborate architectural design and gorgeous interior decorations. There are three beautifully landscaped Japanese gardens in the property.

Hours: 8:45 am-4:00 pm (The gate closed at 5 pm)
Closed: Dec 26-Jan 4; every Tuesday in Dec, Jan, July and Aug
Admission: 600 yen ($7.20)
Access: About 15 min. by bus from JR Kyoto Station to Nijo-jo-mae Bus Stop, or by subway with one transfer.

http://www.city.kyoto.jp/bunshi/nijojo

3. Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture

Constructed in the 16th century, Matsumoto Castle is one of the oldest surviving Japan’s castles. The six-story Matsumoto Castle against a backdrop of Japan Alps is amazingly beautiful. Seasonal events in the precinct are scheduled, such as the Castle lightning-up during cherry blossom season, Takigi-Noh (Bonfire Noh performance) and Japanese drum (taiko) performance.

Hours: 8: 30 am-5:00 pm (enter by 4:30 pm), until 6 pm during Golden Week (April 28-May 6, 2012) & summer season (Aug 4-19, 2012)
Closed: Dec 29-Jan 3
Admission: 600 yen ($7.20)
Access: 15 mn.walk from JR Matsumoto Station. Or 10 min. by bus.

http://welcome.city. … nts03+index.id+3.htm

4. Hikone Castle, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture

The construction of the castle began in 1603 and it took almost 20 years to build the whole castle. The 3-story Main Tower, a National Treasure, was built around 1606 and the top floor provides breathtaking view of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake.

Hours: 8:30 am-5:00 pm, year-round
Admission: 600 yen ($7.20), including the admission for Genkyuen Garden
Access: 10 min. walk from JR Hikone Station. Hikone Station is 5 min. from Maibara Station by JR rapid train. Maibara is 30 min. from Nagoya Station, or 40 min. from Shin-Osaka Station by Shinkansen, Bullet Train.

http://www.hikoneshi.com/en/

5. Inuyama Castle, Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture

Inuyama Castle was constructed in 1537 and the Main Tower is considered Japan’s oldest. The castle stands on the steep cliffs overlooking Kiso River. The external corridor on the top floor provides superb view of Kiso River, and mountain ranges over the city.

Hours: 9:00 am-5:00 pm (enter by 4:30 pm)
Closed: Dec 29-31
Admission: 500 yen ($6.00)
Access: 20 min. walk from Inuyama Station. Inuyama Station is 25 min. from Meitetsu Nagoya Station by limited express train on Meitetsu Railways.

http://ml.inuyama.gr.jp/en/

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Disney Art of Animation Resort - Book from March 23 2012

disney_parks.jpg Book Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Beginning on March 23 2012!

The newest Resort hotel at the Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, is available for bookings beginning on March 23.

This value property consists primarily of family suites that immerse you into the magical worlds of classic Disney and Disney•Pixar films.

The wings dedicated to popular films “Cars,” “The Lion King,” and “The Little Mermaid” will now be opening sooner than initially planned. Here’s the official schedule:

  • “Finding Nemo” (Grand opening) – Opens May 31
  • “Cars” – Opens June 18
  • “Lion King” – Opens August 10
  • “Little Mermaid” – Opens September 15

The three-story resort will immediately put you into the worlds of their favorite Disney characters and animated films – book your vacation right away!

See more about Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, find more about vacationing with Disney, or contact Naka’s Travel Service to book your Disney vacation today!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Explore Japan by Rail: JR Pass Rates March 22 2012

The Japan Rail Pass, which is issued by the JR (Japan Railway) Group, offers travelers excellent value for money and convenience. The Rail Pass enables the almost unlimited use of JR trains and its affiliated bus and ferry services within various areas of Japan. The Japan Rail Pass can also be used for the Tokyo monorail to Haneda Airport and the Narita Express to Narita Airport.

The Japan Rail Pass is available only to people from abroad who wish to travel to Japan as “temporary visitors” for sightseeing. The pass must be purchased before entering Japan.

Japan Rail Pass exchange rate for March 22nd 2012 through March 28th 2012 - 1 USD =82.75 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.

jrrail.jpg

Japan’s four major islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are covered by an extensive and reliable network of railways. About 70 percent of Japan’s railway network is owned and operated by the Japan Railways (JR), while the remaining 30 percent belongs to dozens of other private railway companies, especially in and around metropolitan areas.

The Japan Railways Group, more commonly known as JR Group (JRグループ), is made up of six regional passenger railway companies, which are JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu, and one nationwide freight railway company, JR Freight. Together they operate a nationwide network of urban, regional and inter-regional train lines, night trains and shinkansen (bullet trains).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Norwegian Cruise Lines - Free Balcony Upgrades - All Ships, All Destinations

ncl_logo.jpg Free Fleetwide Balcony Upgrades Start Today.

Book Before March 31st.
Extended until April 15th!!!

CATCH THIS OFFER TODAY BEFORE IT SAILS AWAY.

Norwegian Cruise Line just extended the Fleetwide Free Balcony Upgrade offer until April 15. This is your last chance for free upgraded views of white sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, picturesque fishing villages or towering glaciers. See the world the Norwegian Way™ for your best vacation ever.

HURRY. OFFER WILL END APRIL 15.

  • Free Balcony upgrades - all ships, all destinations.
  • Over $400 in onboard savings with the NCL electronic coupon book. Take advantage of some of the most popular amenities at sea with an e-coupon booklet worth over $400 in onboard savings. Once booked and checked in online, you will be given electronic coupons for spa treatments, time on the internet, and even a free dinner at one of our specialty restaurants.

For information and booking cruises worldwide please contact us or see the Cruise with Naka’s page at:

http://www.nakastrav … eatured-cruises.html

About Norwegian Cruise Line

Since 1966, when we pioneered the very first Caribbean cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line has been the industry leader for innovation. From the first cruise line private island to Blue Man Group to our award-winning Freestyle Cruising, we do things differently. You’ll feel it with the passion and dedication of every team member you meet, you’ll see it in our commitment to the environment and you’ll know it when you experience the best cruise vacation you’ve ever had. Come aboard our fleet of 11 ships and let us show you what Freestyle Cruising is all about.

*Promo Code: WAVE12. Free upgrade refers to a better available accommodation within the meta (i.e. Interior for the price of a lower Interior category or Oceanview for the price of a lower Oceanview category or Balcony for the price of a lower Balcony category or Mini-Suite for the price of a lower Mini-Suite category)

Promo Codes: UPFLEET, UPEUROPE, UPWSTCST, UPNOREST, UPCARIB.
Cross-Meta upgrade refers to selected sailings during defined booking window which have the option to book a specific Oceanview category for the price of a specific Interior category or book a specific Balcony category for the price of a specific Oceanview category or book a specific Mini-Suite category for the price of a specific Balcony category. Excludes 1 and 2 Day Sailings. Offer based on a first come, first served basis. Rates are subject to category availability. Upgrade varies per ship, sail date, category booked. Offer excludes Studios and Luxury Accommodations. Reduced deposit available in select markets during defined booking window. Reduced Deposit is 50% off standard deposit. Reduced deposit does not apply to Luxury Accommodations/Specialty Suites: Categories S1-S7 and S9. Offer is for New Individual FIT Reservations Only. Qualifying New Individual FIT reservations can be moved into existing Group and count towards Tour Conductor Credits. Offer is NOT combinable with existing group block rates. E-coupons will only be valid for ships/sailings embarking on or before 12/31/2012. One E-coupon booklet per reservation delivered with e-documents. Guests who cancel and rebook must accept this promotion’s Terms and Conditions. Government taxes, fees and onboard service charges are additional. IMPORTANT NOTICE: NCL reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement without prior notice should the closing price of West Texas Intermediate Fuel increase above $65 per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index). In the event a fuel supplement is charged, Norwegian Cruise Line will have sole discretion to apply the supplementary charge to both existing and new bookings, regardless of whether such bookings have been paid in full. Such supplementary charges are not included in the cruise fare. The fuel supplement charge will not exceed $10.00 per passenger per day. Offers are based on availability, are capacity controlled and apply to selected sailings. Offers are subject to change and can be cancelled at any time per Norwegian Cruise Line’s discretion. Other restrictions may apply. Combinability with other offers is subject to change and can be cancelled at any time per Norwegian Cruise Line’s discretion. Promotion valid in United States, Canada, and international select markets. Norwegian is not responsible for typographical errors or omissions. Ships’ registry: BAHAMAS and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ©2012 NCL Corporation Ltd.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Explore Japan by Rail: JR Pass Rates March 15 2012

The Japan Rail Pass, which is issued by the JR (Japan Railway) Group, offers travelers excellent value for money and convenience. The Rail Pass enables the almost unlimited use of JR trains and its affiliated bus and ferry services within various areas of Japan. The Japan Rail Pass can also be used for the Tokyo monorail to Haneda Airport and the Narita Express to Narita Airport.

The Japan Rail Pass is available only to people from abroad who wish to travel to Japan as “temporary visitors” for sightseeing. The pass must be purchased before entering Japan.

Japan Rail Pass exchange rate for March 15th 2012 through March 21st 2012 - 1 USD =82.03 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.

jrrail.jpg

Japan’s four major islands, Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are covered by an extensive and reliable network of railways. About 70 percent of Japan’s railway network is owned and operated by the Japan Railways (JR), while the remaining 30 percent belongs to dozens of other private railway companies, especially in and around metropolitan areas.

The Japan Railways Group, more commonly known as JR Group (JRグループ), is made up of six regional passenger railway companies, which are JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu, and one nationwide freight railway company, JR Freight. Together they operate a nationwide network of urban, regional and inter-regional train lines, night trains and shinkansen (bullet trains).