March 25-September 25, 2005 in the Nagoya area of Central Japan Theme: Nature’s Wisdom, Global Harmony (Supported by Technology)
New York, NY, June 10, 2005 … The World Expo 2005 Aichi, which began March 25 and continues through September 25, 2005 is now in full swing, with extended summer hours ? 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. “We are not yet half-way through the 185-day run, and there’s still so much for visitors to see and experience,” notes Yasuko Gotoh, Executive Director of the Japan National Tourist Organization’s New York Office. Japan is welcoming visitors from around the world to the first World Exposition of the 21st Century, being held in the Eastern Hills outside Nagoya in Nagakute town and Seto City.
This is the first World Expo to be held in Japan since the Osaka World’s Fair of 1970. “At that time, it was a chance for Japan to see the world, to see what the West was doing, to see people with blond hair,” notes Mari Christine, a Tokyo-based radio personality and spokesperson for the EXPO. “This time, it’s a chance for the world to see Japan ? its new technology juxtaposed against its thriving traditional culture and its environmental consciousness coupled with its natural beauty.” Explains Christine, “Westerners know of Japan as the country that produces cars, computers, and baseball players. They don’t necessarily know how much the environment and the appreciation of the seasons and nature’s life cycle are a part of what Japan has, protects, and contributes to the world.”
In this regard, the theme of the EXPO is “Nature’s Wisdom: Global Harmony.” It is the first World EXPO to be completely sustainable. All the food, dishes, and utensils are biodegradable or recyclable. In fact, only homemade bento boxes can be brought into the Expo, but they must leave with the visitors.
Environmental Layout and Transport
The exhibition area is divided into two parts. The 395-acre Nagakute Area ? the place for Global Exchange -- is encircled by the Intelligent Multimode Transit System “IIMTS” shuttle (?200). The IMTS are a network of unmanned, automated minibuses, connecting the North Gate, the West Gate, the Convention Center (Messe) and the Expo Plaza with its Dome Hall and Koi-Pond and all six Nagakute Area Global Commons. Visitors can travel from north to south within this area by an air-cable gondola (?600 one-way). They can also take this wire-strung gondola from the Nagakute Area to the much smaller ? 37-acre -- Seto Area.
The Nagakute Area celebrates the past and future of the Earth, technology from the traditional to the cutting edge, and the cultures of the world. The Seto Area is the spiritual heart of EXPO 2005 and is the area where people will interact closely with nature and each other. Originally, the Seto Area was the intended location of EXPO, but because of it’s delicate environment ? as a breeding ground for the protected Go-Hawks ? an indigenous bird ? only 7,000 visitors will be allowed in the Seto Area per day. Instead, the EXPO site expanded to the Nagakute region, taking over what had been a Youth Park with a baseball stadium and playgrounds. At the conclusion of EXPO, when the pavilions are dismantled, like Seto, the Nagakute site will also become a nature preserve. In other words, in contrast to all previous EXPOs, all the infrastructure and superstructure located within the EXPO site will be torn down, recycled or presented as a gift to the participating countries. The area will return not to its original state ? but to a state even more environmentally pure.
In the center of the Nagakute Area is a 55-yard high wooden promenade that loops around the world ? or at least around the global pavilions -- in 1.6 miles. Visitors can stroll around by foot or take a bicycle taxi (?300) or Global Tram (?500). The fact that this “Global Loop” is elevated above the ground, not only makes for spectacular views, but it facilitates barrier-free movement throughout the venue while embodying the EXPO’s “Don’t tread on the land” philosophy. The center planks of the thoroughfare are made of timber from Japan, but the outside frame is formed of wood from the rainforests of Southeast Asia. This symbolizes how Japan is surrounded by it’s Asian neighbors and is a part of a global village.
The Official Mascots for EXPO 2005 are the little green, fuzzy characters Morizo and Kiccoro. In Japanese, the word mori means forest. Morizo is the spiritual creator of the forest who has been living there since ancient times. Kiccoro is the cute child of the forest who thrives when we take care of his home.
Solar powered structures and a 164-yard-long by 16-yard-high wall of plants known as the Bio Lung (cooling the surrounding air in summer) are some of the Expo’s exciting energy innovations. The NEDO Technorium features next generation robots, fuel cells running off compost, photovoltaic power generation, NaS batteries and recycled biomass as well as many other futurist conversion initiatives.
Robots and more: Big Attractions from the Future
Box-shaped robots sweep the streets and child-care robots with camera eyes announce roll calls for nursery school children. In the Corporate Pavilion Zone, robot spotting is unavoidable. At the Toyota Pavilion visitors are greeted by a robot jazz trio playing trumpets. At the NEDO Pavilion, a robot created by NEC System Technologies, armed with taste buds, analyzes ingredients in foods and performs tastings. At the Mitsubishi Pavilion, a hospitality robot understands human speech and holds conversations ? in Japanese, English, Korean, and Mandarin -- complete with hand gestures and body language. Beyond robots, the Hitachi Pavilion features a virtual reality safari of endangered specials, using 3-D headsets and hand sensors for interaction. The Mitsui-Toshiba Pavilion offers a glimpse into the “Futurecast” system, where visitors’ faces are scanned on entry and instantly used in the “Grand Odyssey” animated movie shown inside. The “JAMA” Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Ferris wheel (?700) presents the theme, “People, Vehicles & Planet Earth Heading into the Future”. From the rising cabins of the “Wonder” Wheel, visitors witness six scenes from the past to the future unfolding before their eyes.
Woolly Mammoth: Big Attraction from Prehistory
The head and tusks of a 50,000-year-old woolly mammoth, excavated from the permafrost near the Arctic Ocean in the Russian republic of Sakah, is on view in its own freezer. It will be returned to its original location, still in its frozen state when the Expo concludes.
Country Pavilions in the Global Common
What do the countries of the world have to offer? Spain’s Pavilion showcases its fresh food, its artistic tradition from Goya to Dali to Picasso, with the exterior designed in flamboyant Spanish tile. The German Pavilion features a ride in a drop-shaped vehicle through a storm. The Canadian Pavilion focuses on the Wisdom of Diversity, with sections devoted to the Geosphere, the Bisoshpere and the Ethnosphere. The Andean Amazonian Pavilion, bundles the rich cultures of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela into a showcase of folk arts and crafts and performances. The USA Pavilion is introduced by Benjamin Franklin on the occasion of his 300th Birthday. Through an interactive sensor-round experience Franklin indoctrinates all with the American philosophies of liberty, freedom, and ingenuity, evidenced in the next room as visitors come face to face with live feed from the Mars Rover. The Japanese pavilions are among the most effective at conveying the Wisdom from Nature Theme. For example, the exterior of Japan’s Nagakute Pavilion is bamboo, and inside there is nonstop media about the progress of environmental efforts, deep sea exploration, native peoples, and a fragrant, soft-floored room devoted to reforestation.
Each night, the central Koi-pond is illuminated as a giant Japanese snow monkey emerges in an Earth and water time and space fantasy choreographed by Robert Wilson. Other scheduled guests include: performers Yo-Yo Ma and Laurie Anderson, fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto, and even Nobel laureates. Tea ceremonies will be held in the Japanese garden with 21 different services offered on weekends. There will also be international traditional performing folk arts from Latin America, Africa, and Asia, including, Kabuki and Noh theater from Japan. A complete events’ schedule is on the Expo website at: http://www-2.expo2005.or.jp/en/event/index.html
High Tech Transportation to the Expo
Access to the EXPO was made even more convenient by the opening of the new Centrair or Central Japan International Airport, on February 17, 2005, just one month before the EXPO http://www.cjiac.co.jp/foreign/english/procurement/index.html andhttp://www.centrair.jp/en/). The fastest route from the airport is to take the train to Kanayama Station and transfer to the Expo Shuttle service (68 minutes, ?1920). However, if you are coming from the main Nagoya train station, you have three options:
- You can board special Expo Shuttle trains to Banpaku Yajusa station (3 times per hour, 38 min.), and there transfer to the Tobu Kyuryo Linimo, a magnetic levitation linear motor car to Banpaku Kaijo station, located near the North Expo Gate (2 min). Special discount return tickets cost ?1300 with a ?200 discount on the gondola service.
- You can take the Higashiyama subway line to Fujigaoka (25 min.) and transfer to the Linimo there (12 min, ?630 one-way).
- Direct “lower tech” bus service (?1000/1500 one-way/return). Bus service is also available from varying cities for varying fees
It’s a good idea to become familiar with traveling to Expo, because you will surely want to go back for at least a second day. It’s nearly impossible to get a total experience of the Fair in one day. In fact two to three days is most recommendable.
Expo 2005 Tickets
Tickets for the Expo can be obtained online through JTB International’s website at:http://expo1.jtb.co.jp/eng/, or by email or phone to JTB USA email@example.com, 800-223-6104 or Kintetsu International Travel Consultants: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 800-422-3481. One-Day Ticket Prices:
¥4,600 yen for adults (18-64)
¥3,700 yen for seniors (65 and up)
¥ 2,500 yen for juniors (12-17)
¥1,500 yen for children (4-11)
Nagoya City (http://www.ncvb.or.jp/index_e.html), about ten miles west of the Expo Site, is the hub city of Japan’s third largest urban metropolis ? after Tokyo and Osaka. Western-style hotels are plentiful (http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/city.php?city_eng_text=Nagoya) but may be booked or available at only premium prices for the duration of the Exposition. Therefore, JNTO suggests some other alternatives:
- Airport Hotels: There are two hotels in or at the airport. The upscale Centrair Hotel (www.centrairhotel.co.jp/ryokin/), is inside the terminal and the tourist class Comfort Inn Centrair www.japanhotel.net/2005/hotel.asp?HotelID=579), is just 500 yards outside the terminal.
- Homestay Option: There is a special program offering homestays for Expo visitors in the homes of ordinary Nagoya families. Costs are only 1000-3000 per night with two meals, but the application process is fairly bureaucratic ? you must be sponsored by an organization such as a university and you must mail your application at least one month in advance ?http://www.expohomestay.jp/english/index.html
- Other Cities along the train or bus route to Expo:
In the following cities, accommodations may be less expensive and more plentiful, and travelers may discover some local culture.
- Gifu Prefecture: Just North of Nagoya, Gifu Prefectures many cities and numerous hotel rooms are accessible to Expo. The Prefecture maintains an English-language website detailing the availability of accommodations at major Gifu hotels through the end of Expo: http://www.kankou-gifu.or.jp/expo_e/ The accommodations themselves will explain the transportation options to Aichi Expo.
- Okazaki City (http://www.city.okazaki.aichi.jp/kurasi/english/index.htm -- Click on sightseeing and Leisure) is 50 minutes from the Expo site on a single train line. The City of Okazaki has been selected to host the Expo delegations from Sweden, Argentina, and the Republic of Guinea Bissau. Okazaki has produced a very involved local multi-lingual volunteer organization to assist its international visitors.
- Toyohashi City http://www.city.toyohashi.aichi.jp/) is conveniently located on the Shinkansen bullet train line, just 20 minutes from Nagoya. A sister city to Toledo, Ohio they have an American Coordinator of International Relations who can be contacted through the website at: http://www.city.toyohashi.aichi.jp/en/jet.html
- Inuyama City: Nonstop bus service from Inuyama Station takes one hour and departs at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. The last bus returning from EXPO to Inuyama departs at 8:30 p.m. Price is 15,000 yen one way, 21,000 yen round-trip. Arrives at the East Gate. http://www.city.inuyama.aichi.jp/e_index.html
- Seto and Toyota Cities where the Expo is taking place may or may not have availability, but you can check online and their websites at: http://www.city.seto.aichi.jp/e/main_e.html and http://www.city.toyota.aichi.jp/e/index.html respectively.
- Kyoto City (http://raku.city.kyoto.jp/sight_apr.html), Japan’s present day culture capital, home to 1600 temples and shrines unscathed from World War II, is only 40 minutes West of Nagoya by bullet train. Kyoto is not just a good jumping off point for the Expo, but a not-to-be missed destination itself.
Packages The Japan National Tourist Organization’s website contains information on package tours to Expo at: http://www.japantravelinfo.com/hotnews/popup_03_2005/3-expo_03_05.html andhttp://www.japantravelinfo.com/hotnews/hotnews_01_2005.html#4 Companies offering special Expo 2005 Aichi package deals include in alphabetical order. (Websites not linking to the Expo tour have not been included.)
Artisans of Leisure: email@example.com, 800-214-8144
*Japan & the World’s Fair: A Private Luxury Tour with Tokyo Kyoto, and Expo 2005 http://www.artisansofleisure.com/tour/Japan_tours_luxury_travel.php
East & West Travel Corporation: firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-398-5777
*Japan’s Golden Course with World Expo
ESI Tours: email@example.com, 808-955-0490
*Aichi 2005 Expo Package Tour
Explorient Travel Services. 800-785-1233
*Japan Expo Spectacular http://www.explorient.com/Packaged%20Tours/
General Tours: firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-221-2216
*Visit Expo 2005 www.generaltours.com
IACE Travel: 866-735-4223
*Expo 2005 Aichi Japan Tour 5 Night 7 Days http://www.iace-usa.com/scripts/IACE/vb_bridge3.dll?VBPROG
JALPAK International: email@example.com, 800-221-108
*2005 World Expo Flex Tour http://www.jalpak.com/e/tours/jp_special_pkg/2005worldexpo.htm
JNA Travel Center: firstname.lastname@example.org, 626-309-1000, www.jnatravel.com/index.html
*Imperial Japan & Aichi Expo (7 days) http://www.jnatravel.com/english/Imperial7D.htm0
*Hokuriku & Aichi Expo Discovery (8 days) or (7 days) http://www.jnatravel.com/english/HOKURIKUEXPO8dayse.htm (8 Days) http://www.jnatravel.com/english/HOKURIKUEXPO7dayse.htm (7 Days)
JTB USA, Inc., email@example.com, 800-685-5824
*Master Pottery Making and Aichi Expo -- http://www.jtbusa.com/enhome/default.asp and http://www.jtb.co.jp/japannow/Features/Features31.html
Kintetsu International Travel Consultants. firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-843-6403
*Aichi Expo & Kyoto 8 Days
*Exploring Japan with Ichiban?Tokyo, Aichi Expo, and Kyoto 8 Days
Kobayashi Travel, email@example.com, 800-935-5418 or 808-593-9387
*Aichi World Expo & Izu Tour
Nippon Express Travel, Tel-415-421-1822
*Aichi Expo package to Nagoya
The 5-Day/3-Night New York-Nagoya package including air and hotel start sat $975.
Details are at: http://www.nipponexpresstravel.us/aichi/aichi.htm
Pacific Bestours, firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-688-3288
*Japan Affordable “B”: Japan’s Popular Cities with Mt. Fuji and Expo
Pacific Protour Inc., 201-782-1882
*Japan Pro B: Tokyo ? Mt.Fuji ? Hakone ? Inuyama or Gifu ? EXPO ? Kyoto ? Nara ?
Hiroshima ? Kurashiki -- http://pacificprotour.com/tours/protours/itinerary/jpb.htmR&C Hawaii Tours Inc., 808-942-3390
*Nihon-kai & Aichi Expo Tour
Solutions Travel Service, 310-320-8880
*N12 Days Tour Japan, Aichi Expo and Hong Kong
A Touch of Class Tours, email@example.com, 800-203-0438
*Best of Japan & Aichi Expo
X.O. Tours, 626-820-5251
*Aichi Expo Nature’s Wisdom Tour
Tips and Recommendations
- There are lots of neat souvenirs to purchase ? such as the detailed, plastic model of the up-and-coming Maglev Shinkansen bullet train, but most vendors do not accept credit cards, so bring enough cash.
- For visitors who are not traveling to Expo on a tour package that includes direct transportation to and from the site, JNTO recommends purchasing the Japan Rail Pass. The regular pass, available in 7, 14, and 21-day varieties, includes unlimited travel on all Japan Rail Trains for one set price. The 7-day price is almost equal to the cost of one round-trip bullet train ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto. The pass allows travelers to easily combine their Expo adventure with an even greater adventure further a field in Japan. The Japan Rail Pass can be purchased from any authorized Japanese travel company. Further information is available at www.japanrail.com.
For more information on Expo 2005 Aichi Japan, visit the official websites at http://www-1.expo2005.or.jp/en/ and http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/expo2005/ and Aichi Prefecture’s site at: www.pref.aichi.jp/expo/e/index.html. For information on: the USA Pavilion s visithttp://www.uspavilion.com/, and on Canada’s Pavilion s visit: http://www.expo2005canada.gc.ca/en/. Some good unofficial sites include: Japan-Guide:http://www.japan-guide.com/expo/, http://www.expo2005.com/ For more information on travel to Japan, visit the Japan National Tourist Organization’s websites at http://www.jnto.go.jp/ and http://www.japantravelinfo.com One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250, New York, NY 10020