Sunday, June 17, 2018

Plan your trip to the Fuji Rock, Nagaoka Fireworks Festival and Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale

I believe many of you are now excited about the Fuji Rock this coming July because it's the 20th year of Fuji Rock since it was moved to Naeba. Most of you have already prepared for the festival and have done bookings for accommodations, transportation and the festival tickets and for those of you who haven't made arrangement yet, please let us know how we may help you. 

The Fuji Rock Festival will be held from 27 - 29 July 2018. There will be a pre-concert activity on the eve of the 26 July so come early and participate in the activities. Here's the artist line up for the 3-day Fuji Rock Festival.


The line up of artists coming to the Fuji Rock
The Fuji Rock Festival '18 will end on the night of 29 July 2018.

After you have fully enjoyed the Fuji Rock, you might want to go to a fireworks festival in Nagaoka on 1 - 3 August 2018 . The Nagaoka Matsuri is an annual fireworks festival held in Nagaoka, a city located 25 minutes from Yuzawa by bullet train. The festival will feature one of the largest fireworks displays in Japan which will take place around the Shinano River. Here is the schedule of activities during the festival:
1 August - Traditional dancing and shrine float parades
2 August - Fireworks show
3 August - Fireworks show



Fireworks display along Shinano River in Nagaoka

The festival has been held at the beginning of August every year in Nagaoka for over 70 years, inspiring people around Japan and the world.

Yuzawa is the final destination from Nagaoka during the festival so better book your hotel in Yuzawa for the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival. Please let us know if you need any assistance on booking, we will be glad to help you.

Also this summer, you might want to visit the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2018. It is one of the world's largest international art festivals held every three years at the Echigo-Tsumari region encompassing Tokamachi City and Tsunan Town. Work of art are dotted all around the area and can be enjoyed all year round. The Triennale has presented and developed artworks representing the relation between humans and nature, spanning form the wisdom nurtured by local people to co-exist with nature to technologies and civil engineering methods developed over generations to cultivate rice fields and changes of river flows for producing rice. 


Art display at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale
The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2018 will be held from 29 July to 17 September 2018. 

Therefore after you have enjoyed the Fuji Rock and before going to the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival, you might want to spend sometime at the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale to maximize your time and fully enjoy your stay in Japan. 

Please let us know if you need help on booking your accommodations and transportation to the different events above. We will be glad to provide assistance.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Canoeing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Camping in Lake Daigenta

At Canyon Daigenta. located in Yuzawa, Canoeing is one of their outdoor events. They have a nice small lake where you can row around with rented boat. The lake has a very clean water coming from the mountains which are all around with greenery. You will see fish that follow you while you row around the lake. The scenic canyon also contains camp grounds and hiking trails. Summer and Fall seasons are the best times where most people go to Canyon Daigenta.

Daigenta Area Map

The Canyon Daigenta is 15-minute drive from Echigo-Yuzawa with a scenic view of greenery all around on the way to the place. It's Summer time and therefore it's a good season to go and do outdoor activity.

The road towards Canyon Daigenta 

Today was a bit cloudy with some rain shower but it was still perfect to do canoeing at Daigenta. As soon as we arrived at the location, we immediately went to the information to register and pay the fee for the canoeing. We were then led by the guides toward the lake which was for about 3-minute walk. We were then given instruction about the wearing of life jacket and the do's and don'ts of canoeing. After 5 minutes of instruction giving we were provided of a boat with a paddle and we were ready to go. The guides were at the vicinity with their boats to check on us for support and guidance. We did the canoeing for about 40 minutes and the experience was delightfully relaxing.

The path towards the lake Daigenta


The greenery around the lake.


Canoeing at the Lake Daigenta


Canoeing at the Lake Daigenta
Aside from canoeing, Canyon Daigenta is also offering Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP). Lake Daigenta is just a perfect place to do  SUP. The water is flat and calm which paddlers both beginners and experts would enjoy.

Visitors preparing to do SUP at Lake Daigenta
 
You can also camp out at Canyon Daigenta. They have varieties of tent with different sizes if you need one. Alternatively, you can bring your own. The camping area is wide and perfect for families and group of friends who would like to enjoy camping in nature.

Camping ground at Canyon Daigenta

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Preliminary preparation on the use of electronic money at the Fuji Rock!


At Fuji Rock, you can use various electronic money inside and outside the venue with nearly all eating and drinking establishments and shops accept them; there are very few who don't. Within the venue, Rakuten Edy and Nanaco can be charged. If you use other card, please make sure to charge in advance before coming to the venue.

Advance Preparation


It is necessary to pre-register and set up your credit cards and various mobile phones (Apple Pay, Osaifu-Ketai). If you have a compatible card and corresponding model, then you can set it up easily for free. Let's check the corresponding company card!

iD compatible card issuing company (in alphabetical order)
* AEON Bank * NTT Docomo  * Orient Corporation * Credit Saison *JFR Card *Cedyna *Softbank Payment Service *Daiwa House Financial *Persona *Pocket Card *Sumitomo Mitsui Card *UC Card *Japan Post Bank *Life Card * VJA Group
[As of the end of May 2018]

The details of iD compatible card company is here.
The details for Apple Pay (iD) setup is here.

QUICPay compatible card issuing campanies (in alphabetical order)

* APLUS *American Express *Epos Card *Orient Corporation *Credit Saison *KDDI Financial Service *JCB Group *Shuzugin Saison Card *Jacks *SBI Sumishin Net Bank *Cedyna *Seven Card Service *Seven CS Card Service *Daiwa House Financial *Takashimaya Credit *Toyota Finance *West Japan Railway Company *Nissenren *Viewcard *Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS *UCS Card *UC Card *Rakuten Card *Resona Card *YJ Card *KDDI Prepaid Card *Mizuho Bank (Debit Card)
[As of the end of May 2018]

The details of the card companies that support QUICPay is here.
The details for setting up Apple Pay (QUICPay) is here.

During the event, we will also support Apple Pay's setup at the "iD, QUICPay" booth at the venue. Please visit us.

Available electronic money







* Kitaca *PASMO *TOICA *manaca
*ICOCA *SUGOCA *nimoca *はやかけん

Pre-payment (charge is required for your IC card, various mobile phones and smartphone. If you choose Osaifu-Keitai, you can charge the set up from credit card.

How to charge electronic money?
Rakuten Edynanaco | suicaWAON


How to use electronic money

Pay with Smartphone

1. Set up your Smartphone in advance.
2. Please pre-register and install Osaifu-Keitai, Apple Pay, Google Pay - whichever is compatible with your smartphone.
3. When paying, tell the payment method to the staff and hold the smartphone to the reader.
4. Payment complete!

Pay with IC Card
1. Prepaid type is charged to the IC Card in advance.
2. When paying, tell the payment method to the staff and hold the IC card over the reader.
3. Payment complete!

* Rakuten Edy and nanaco can be charged at the venue. If you use other cards, please charge in advance before coming to the venue.

* Payment with electronic money and cash cannot be combined, therefore please confirm the remaining charge beforehand.

* There may be times (about 1 to 2 minutes) wherein the terminal can not be used due to the center communication timing.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* [iD] logo is a trademark of NTT Docomo, Inc.
* [QUICPay] and [QUICPay+] are registered trademarks of JCB Co., Ltd.
* [Rakuten Edy] is a trademark or registered trademark of Rakuten Edy Co., Ltd.
* [Rakuten Edy (Rakuten Eddy)] is a Rakuten group's prepaid type electronic money service.
* [nanaco] is a registered trademark of Seven Card Service Co., Ltd.
* [Suica] is a registered trademark of East Japan Railway Company.
* [WAON] is a registered trademark of AEON Co., Ltd.
* [Kitaca] is a registered trademark of Hokkaido Railway Company.
* [PASMO] is a registered trademark of PASMO Corporation.
* [TOICA] is a registered trademark of Tokai Railway Company.
* [manaca (Manaca)] is a registered trademark of Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd. and MIC Co., Ltd.
* [ICOCA] is a registered trademark of West Japan Railway Company.
* [SUGOCA] is a registered trademark of Kyushu Railway Company.
* [nimoca] is a registered trademark of Nishi-Nippon Railroad Co., Ltd.
* [Hayakaken] is a registered trademark of Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau.
* [Apple Pay] is a trademark of Apple Inc. registered in the United States and other countries.
* [Google Pay] is a trademark of Google LLC.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Camp Book 2018

Kandatsu - a popular ski resort in Yuzawa where you can enjoy fine powder snow on a winter time is also the venue for this year's new music event which Pod Snowsports sister company went to. The music festival is called "The Camp Book".



First held in Kitakaruizawa in 2017 attended by 3,000 people, the Camp Book is a campus music festival where adult and children come together to listen to cool music while spending time in nature. This year, the event was held in Kandatsu on 9 - 10 June 2018 with the theme, "Be in Campus, Learn Together and Play Together".

The Camp Book is a venue where you can dance as you like, laugh with friends, eat as much as you want and sleep on your favorite time. There's always a child in us where we can learn something important from the Bestplay. At the Camp Book, everyone camps out.

During the festival, there was a market area where a lot of nice shops selected by "The Camp Book" were installed. There were special food booth utilizing local ingredients and night outdoor cinema with live sound from the main stage. There were local and international musicians who performed at the event which made the festival more enjoyable.

In addition, there were workshops and kid's space where both young and adult can enjoy. There are indoor and outdoor activities for everyone.

You can find below the timetable of the different activities held during the event.


The 2-day festival was a lot of fun. We camped out at the hilly ground of Kandatsu Ski Resort surrounded by fresh green with a refreshing cold winds. We had spent a wonderful time in nature together with family and friends bringing out the child in us. We have enjoyed listening to the music played outdoor and ate our favorite food while spending time in nature.

Kandatsu Ski Resort is located in Yuzawa. It is about 10-minute drive from the Echigo-Yuzawa station. We went to the location using a private car but the resort offers a shuttle bus ride from Echigo-Yuzawa station.


We arrived at the venue in the morning of Saturday and we were welcomed by the organizers of the event upon entering the site. We were provided a wristband upon registration as a proof of being participants to the event. After the registration, we started to walk to get to the campsite. There was a transportation provided for those who brought a lot of stuff going up to the campsite but we decided to walk and climbed up the site for about 20 minutes.




Upon arrival at the campsite, we looked for space to install our tent and we stood up our tent at the upper part of the hill where we could see everyone below. We have had fun while building our own tent like all other participants did.





The activities started in the afternoon. There were live performances at the three different stages at the Camp Book namely The Park, The House and The Yagura. The Park was the main and bigger stage where live band performances were held while The House were for music and dancing activities and The Yagura was for acoustic performances and other activities.




The indoor activities included Ping Pong where many sports enthusiast went to play while others enjoyed the outdoor wall climbing. The children enjoyed the kids area where they could play while others joined the different workshops such as wood cutting, drawing, painting and a lot more.






There was a kid's space for children to enjoy bicycle riding and a space to enjoy and discover the tricks of Kendama, a traditional Japanese skill toy.



There were shops especially chosen by the Camp Book organizers which feature locally made products and services. There was a mobile bookstore where you can buy some of your favorite reading books and there was a wedding store. A real wedding ceremony of a couple was held at the event which was witnessed by the participants.





And of course, the food will always be a part of the event. Selected locally made food products were featured on the stall provided by the organizers where you can buy your favorite food and delicacies.


The night of the event was spent slow through a film viewing at the Park and a TCB Disco at The House until the early morning featuring some of the great DJs locally and internationally.


The indoor and outdoor activities continued during the second day of the event. There were live performances at The Park and The Yagura which were enjoyed by both young and adult participants of the event.


We started to uninstall out tent before lunch time and left the venue around 3 in the afternoon. The Camp Book 2018 was a lot of fun and we hope to participate again in the next year's festival.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fuji Rock Pro Tips



Hello again everyone!

In the end of July, Japan's biggest music festival, Fuji Rock Festival, was held again here in Snow
Country at the Naeba Ski Resort. According to a ranking of 250 worldwide music festivals by Festival Insights, Fuji Rock is the third-best music festival in the world, and is the only Asia-based festival even ranked among the Top 50. Fuji Rock is a big deal, and it is held here in the heart of Snow Country.

In 2018. the Fuji Rock Festival will be held July 27-29, so I want to give you some tips so you can make your trip to Fuji Rock the best one possible.

1. PLAN EARLY

The best advice I can give you for anything related to Fuji Rock is to plan early. In 2017, approximately 125,000 visitors attended Fuji Rock, so this place is very busy and crowded during the Festival. If you wait until the last few weeks before the festival is going to be held to start making plans, you will be left with just the last few hotel rooms, less-convenient train times, and perhaps no Fuji Rock Buses from around Japan to the festival.

I recommend you start thinking about your trip to Fuji Rock approximately 6 months in advance and contact us as early as you can to start making bookings. Many hotels inform us of their rates for Fuji Rock by March or April. We can help you plan your transportation even before the hotel rates have been established.

2. PRE-BOOK YOUR TRANSPORTATION

Very closely related to #1 is my recommendation to pre-book your transportation. This is very important if you want an easy ride to the festival.

Shuttles

Fuji Rock Festival runs plenty of special shuttles from all around Japan straight to the festival and back at the end. Shuttles leave from a variety of locations around Tokyo. In 2017, those locations included Haneda Airport, Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Ikebukuro Station, and more. If you are traveling in Osaka or Kyoto, Fuji Rock offers buses from there as well. Be sure to let us know where you're traveling, and we will let you know where the nearest bus is.

In 2017, the shuttle buses sold out approximately one month before the Festival was held.

Shinkansen (Bullet Trains)

Reserved seats on bullet trains also sell out before the festival starts. The most popular times end up being sold out about a week or two in advance, but some of the less convenient times (early morning and late in the evening) run out of tickets closer to the festival.

Also, you can ride the shinkansen without a reserved seat, but during Fuji Rock Festival, you will need to be prepared to stand the whole ride. The unreserved seats are limited in number, but you will be able to stand in the unreserved train cars.

Local Trains

If you find yourself with more time than yen, you could also ride local trains from wherever you are in Japan to Echigo-Yuzawa Station. You cannot reserve seats on these local trains, but the ride to Yuzawa from Tokyo is beautiful on the local trains. So if you have the time this might be a great option for you.

3. COME TO THE PRE-FESTIVAL NIGHT

On the Thursday preceding the festival, Fuji Rock holds a one-night zen-ya-sai, which means pre-festival night. This night is low-key introduction to the atmosphere and excitement of Fuji Rock, opening with traditional Japanese dancing, fireworks, and a free concert. If you come one day early to the festival, you also don't have to miss anything on the first full day of the festival, since you will have already traveled, checked in (or set up your tent), and gotten a full night's sleep. 

4. TRY CAMPING

If you're having trouble finding accommodations within your budget, why not try camping at Fuji Rock? The campgrounds are adjacent to the festival site, so you will be closer to the festival than you would be at any hotel.

Do be aware that the end of July is part of the rainy season in Japan, but it doesn't rain every year at the festival. We rent camping gear on our main page, so you can be sure you'll stay dry with our inspected and clean equipment.



5. PLAN YOUR DAYS AT THE FESTIVAL

So many bands play at Fuji Rock Festival, that it might seem a bit overwhelming, or you may not know where to go when. The organizers release a concert schedule about a month before the festival begins. I recommend you look closely at that schedule and plan where you will go and what you will do so you don't miss a show you are looking forward to!

6. USE OUR FUJI ROCK MAP

We have put together a map for all things related to Fuji Rock Festival. As you put together your plans to attend Fuji Rock, please look closely at this map and choose times and locations for your buses or trains, and look at the locations of your accommodations and the various stages.