Return to the Japan Alps May 2024

The concept of Hitou 秘湯ひとう

Literally, it means secret onsen. But it is a bit more..... in comparison to the famous onsen towns like Kusatsu, Hakone, Yufuin, Gero...these are the secluded ones.

And ofc this being Japan, there's an official association of Hitous (founded in the 70s iirc):

To be on that list, the ryokan needs to be relatively small, located off the beaten path, has natural onsen (obviously), Japanese in style, etc.
Basically the farther away, the older, the smaller, the better.

Well I have booked one today!
Very excited coz it will be my first time in a Hitou 😁
 
Ooooh today I got notification that my JTTP preliminary inspection was completed, phew!

The Japan Trusted Traveler Program

Well basically you get to use the auto gates at Narita/Haneda/Chubu/Kansai airports.
At times this can save quite some time waiting in the immigration queue!

This program has been around for many years but only in 2022 they relaxed the requirements and now (almost) everyone can apply...with an AU passport and a Platinum credit card.
Yep that's all you need! Plus having been to Japan at least twice in 12 months and no record of deportation, obviously!

I did in fact try to apply last year, but severely underestimated how long the preliminary inspection was going to take 🤢Had to withdraw the application...
Well this time I applied in early March and only got it today, so you know....

Now I just need to complete the secondary inspection in Japan, and the card is valid for 3 years.
Hopefully next trip I can use the auto gates in Narita!
 
Ooooh today I got notification that my JTTP preliminary inspection was completed, phew!

The Japan Trusted Traveler Program

Well basically you get to use the auto gates at Narita/Haneda/Chubu/Kansai airports.
At times this can save quite some time waiting in the immigration queue!

This program has been around for many years but only in 2022 they relaxed the requirements and now (almost) everyone can apply...with an AU passport and a Platinum credit card.
Yep that's all you need! Plus having been to Japan at least twice in 12 months and no record of deportation, obviously!

I did in fact try to apply last year, but severely underestimated how long the preliminary inspection was going to take 🤢Had to withdraw the application...
Well this time I applied in early March and only got it today, so you know....

Now I just need to complete the secondary inspection in Japan, and the card is valid for 3 years.
Hopefully next trip I can use the auto gates in Narita!
Thanks for posting as this is good information to know, I have this type of entry for SG and TW and it saves time. I was in Japan 3 weeks back and will be there again in 2 weeks so I will defiantly look into this.
 
Thanks for posting as this is good information to know, I have this type of entry for SG and TW and it saves time. I was in Japan 3 weeks back and will be there again in 2 weeks so I will defiantly look into this.

I've heard mixed reviews of this card but thought worth a try (apparently a lot of Japanese people never heard of it and you might have trouble getting tax refund, especially in smaller shops).
Hate being stuck in the immigration queue...

Just know that you need plenty of time! Last year I think I did one month in advance and that was not enough! Till I got back I didn't get approved for the prelim, ended up cancelling it.

Cost is 2200 Yen and you need to buy revenue stamps for payment, they don't accept anything else - only for the secondary inspection, prelim is free.
 
Just know that you need plenty of time! Last year I think I did one month in advance and that was not enough! Till I got back I didn't get approved for the prelim, ended up cancelling it.

Cost is 2200 Yen and you need to buy revenue stamps for payment, they don't accept anything else - only for the secondary inspection, prelim is free.
Thanks for the reminder! I got a new passport recently so I could not apply for this earlier, might be too late for me to get approval for the next trip though if the timelines are similar to your application.

I did not enter an arrival date for my upcoming trip in the application form so I can still use the same application on the next trip after that (within the 6 month expiry period).
 
Thanks for the reminder! I got a new passport recently so I could not apply for this earlier, might be too late for me to get approval for the next trip though if the timelines are similar to your application.

I did not enter an arrival date for my upcoming trip in the application form so I can still use the same application on the next trip after that (within the 6 month expiry period).

I also heard some people got theirs approved fairly quickly, which was why last year I did it when I did....
But yeah two months is certainly my experience.
Oh so you are going twice in 6 months? I am very jealous!
 
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Well guys I'm going to call it a day soon.
Last night there's a baby in row 10 crying non stop.....I moved myself from 12A to 18C? Anyway the very back.... Thank God it was not full!

That baby looked like only a few months old, is it even a good idea to fly at that age? I mean, clearly the baby was not felling great...
 
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I always like the CI interior!
20240514_205635.jpg

Especially the lamp!
20240514_205835.jpg

Problem was, I was in 12A and there's a crying baby at 10C&D....hmmm...the baby looked no more than 3 months old...as mentioned above I moved myself to 18C to get away from the noise 🤢
It helped, a little. I was not the only one moved to the very last row btw!

Several of us exchanged looks/even stories after deplaning...nothing more bonding than some mutual misery!
 

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