The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE -

Q My hus­band and I are try­ing to ar­range rail travel in Ja­pan for six days from Kobe air­port to Hiroshima; Hiroshima to Osaka; Osaka Ky­oto re­turn; Osaka to Kan­sai air­port. We will very likely use rail travel for other small jour­neys. I’m con­fused as to which Ja­pan Rail Pass to buy. A The Doc has been a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Ja­pan and can con­firm that the Ja­pan Rail Pass is one of the world’s best value and most con­ve­nient passes of its type. And there is no more ef­fi­cient way to see the coun­try, es­pe­cially by bul­let train (or shinkansen as the Ja­panese call it). How­ever, Re­becca Honda of the Ja­pan Na­tional Tourist Or­gan­i­sa­tion (jnto.org.au) says that, based on your itin­er­ary, buy­ing a pass may not be worth­while, un­less you do plenty of other small jour­neys. “My ad­vice is to buy sec­tor fares in Ja­pan,” says Honda. “Reser­va­tions for the shinkansen (Shin-Kobe to Hiroshima, Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka) and the JR Haruka Limited ex­press to Kan­sai Air­port can be made as soon as you ar­rive at any ma­jor JR sta­tion in Ja­pan – in your case it will be Shin-Kobe sta­tion. If you want to save some money, and depend­ing on where in Osaka you’re stay­ing, you could take the Nankai Ltd Ex­press rapid train or the Nankai Air­port Ex­press which cost 1390 yen and 890 yen one way re­spec­tively, from Namba to the Kan­sai air­port.” But if you do elect to buy a seven-day Ja­pan Rail Pass, which costs 28,300 yen, an “or­di­nary” class pass is suf­fi­cient. The only shinkansen the Ja­pan Rail Pass can­not be used on is No­zomi. How­ever, Hikari run fre­quently (one an hour) and are only a lit­tle slower than No­zomi: 75 min­utes Kobe to Hiroshima com­pared with 66 min­utes on No­zomi. Q I’m trav­el­ling to the US for my daugh­ter’s wed­ding and would like to know about tak­ing Vegemite into the coun­try. Over the past six months I have had a cou­ple of in­stances where Vegemite has not gone through cus­toms, both in the post and on a flight. Are there any re­stric­tions on tak­ing Vegemite to the US? A Spread the word: Mark Shee­han of Visit Amer­ica (visi­ta­mer­ica.com) says that per­mis­sion to im­port Vegemite into the US ap­pears to be “at the dis­cre­tion” of cus­toms of­fi­cers. “It’s a bit like gam­bling,” he says. “Don’t bet more than you can af­ford to lose, so I’d not rec­om­mend you fill up a sea-go­ing con­tainer with Vegemite.” For­tu­nately, at least the last time the Doc checked, there was no ref­er­ence to “death to Vegemite traf­fick­ers” on US im­mi­gra­tion forms, so the worst that will hap­pen is that you will have to sur­ren­der your jar or tube. If you’re re­ally des­per­ate, and you’re vis­it­ing San Fran­cisco, head to a shop at 1017 Bush St called Aus­tralia Fair (aus­trali­afair­inc.com), which sells 455g jars of the stuff, made now by the US multi-na­tional, Kraft. What sto­ries do our read­ers have to tell us about im­port­ing Aus­tralian ex­ot­ica, such as Vegemite, into for­eign coun­tries? Email at [email protected]­chol­i­day.com.au

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