Who's planning to go to Saitama for Worlds 2019?

livetoskate

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Apologies if this isn't right place to post, but I'm very excited about going to the world skating championships next spring in Saitama, Japan. But it looks like the tickets aren't on sale yet, and most of the hotels around the arena are either booked up or not taking reservations yet. Does anyone have any hotel recommendations, tips on getting there from Narita, etc.? There's a place called Metropolitan and another Rafre hotel that are walking distance to Saitama Super Arena, but online it says there are no rooms available for that week.
 
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essence_of_soy

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Speaking from experience when I attended in 2014, I stayed in Kanda at a capsule hotel one station up from Tokyo Station. Door to door, it only takes an hour each way to the arena in Saitama.

If you are prepared to stay in Tokyo instead, my advice is to bring a good book to read on the train. Sometimes express trains will only mean a few stops instead of thirty. The trip goes very quickly, though, and Tokyo is clean, comfortable, and safe.

Getting to and from the airport is very easy. There is a counter on the basement level at the airport (after heading through customs, etc) where you can buy tickets for the Narita Express into Tokyo. I believe buying online is an option as well.
 

cohkaix

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Also sharing previous experience from WC 2014: Saitama is like a satellite city which is about 30-45 min away (by train) from Tokyo. The Arena itself is pretty much next to JR Saitama- Shintoshin station (you get to see the stadium when the JR train is approaching the station, and it's literally 3-5 min walking to the stadium from the JR station). So basically it's not a problem if you stay in Tokyo and travel by train to the arena during each competition day. Actually, the website of Saitama Super Arena offers some good access info (including that from Narita Airport):

https://www.saitama-arena.co.jp/e/access/train.html

By the above website, I think places such as Ueno in Tokyo would be a suitable choice (you can take 'Skyliner' of Keisei Main Line from Narita) to stay, or try to find hotels near 'Nippori' station, or 'Akabane' station will also be on the main line to the arena. As for the hotel, you can always try the chain hotels such as 'Toyoko-inn' or 'Super hotel'(that are usually quite close to the train station and not so pricy.) But keep in mind that it's Tokyo and the rooms are of relatively smaller size.

The other thing to consider is that, the up-coming Saitama WC will as well in overlap with the famous 'Sakura season' of spring time in Japan. So it's definitely a good idea to plan early on if you're seriously thinking about going for the event!
 

livetoskate

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Thank you all for the advice! Kind of an odd question, but are there bathrooms on the train or at the train stations? An hour on a train sounds uncomfortable if there aren't any. I looked a little at air bnb but since I'll be alone, I would prefer to stay in a hotel. Studying Japanese diligently and hoping to get tickets!
 

essence_of_soy

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Thank you all for the advice! Kind of an odd question, but are there bathrooms on the train or at the train stations? An hour on a train sounds uncomfortable if there aren't any. I looked a little at air bnb but since I'll be alone, I would prefer to stay in a hotel. Studying Japanese diligently and hoping to get tickets!
Yes. There are bathrooms at almost all Tokyo subway stations. They are always spotless, too.

Electronic display monitors above each train carriage door will indicate where bathrooms, stairs and exit points are at each station.

The station at Saitama is huge, and is next door to a major shopping centre.

From experience, about 40 - 50 percent of the Japanese I encountered understood very basic English. Speak slowly and clearly, and you should be okay. Otherwise, especially at restaurants and cafes, there are picture menus you can use to order.

There are some great travel tips videos on YouTube to access, too.
 
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livetoskate

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Update: I went ahead and reserved a room at the Uruwa Pines hotel on booking.com, where you don't get charged immediately and can cancel all the way up to 2 days before your arrival date with no cancellation fee. There's still no word on ticket sales but I'm anxious since the tickets could get snapped up quickly. There's a link on the Japanese Skating Federation page, but all it says is the dates and location so far.
 

muffinplus

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I think it will be difficult to get tickets, aren't they limiting the number non Japanese buyers can get

I think it's always challenging buying tickets from Japan
 

livetoskate

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Thanks rosewood! So I wonder when we'll be able to actually buy the tickets on the website. The prices seem ok, and I'm intent on going. :)
 

DimaToe

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I would love to go, especially because it’s in Japan, the food 🤤, the people😍, but it’s in Japan, so it seems like tickets would be impossible to get. I honestly might try to make my way to Saitama around that time of year anyways. It would be great to meet any of the Japanese posters on FSU during that time.
 

rosewood

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Thanks rosewood! So I wonder when we'll be able to actually buy the tickets on the website. The prices seem ok, and I'm intent on going. :)
The Japanese page has a phone number and I just called the number. The person I talked on phone said ticket information for people outside of Japan will be posted on the English page later. They are not ready for posting it yet. And I asked when it will be. The person's answer was "We can't tell when it'll be at this point." So you need to wait for a while.

(As for people in Japan, the Japanese page says people can apply for a lottery from September 22nd to October 3rd for 5 days tickets, and October 11th-17th for 1 day tickets. And they use Lawson-Ticket for selling their tickets. I guess there will be ticketing information (for people in Japan) on this page at some point.)
 

Japanfan

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(As for people in Japan, the Japanese page says people can apply for a lottery from September 22nd to October 3rd for 5 days tickets, and October 11th-17th for 1 day tickets.
I know that skating is hugely popular in Japan, but didn't know about the lottery system for tickets.

I went through the system for the Olympics and found it to be a hugely stressful experience. I ended up getting a few tickets through the lottery and then had to hunt down a few more for other events I'd like to see. I found the tickets through someone in Korea, and she gave them to me in person at the event. It proved to be very time-consuming in addition to stressful.
 

Sugar64

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I wish those outside of Japan could apply for the lottery too. It doesn't seem fair that we have to wait till after all of the good seats are gone. I've heard there's a limit for tickets too, two per application, is that true?
 

livetoskate

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The Japanese page has a phone number and I just called the number. The person I talked on phone said ticket information for people outside of Japan will be posted on the English page later. They are not ready for posting it yet. And I asked when it will be. The person's answer was "We can't tell when it'll be at this point." So you need to wait for a while.

(As for people in Japan, the Japanese page says people can apply for a lottery from September 22nd to October 3rd for 5 days tickets, and October 11th-17th for 1 day tickets. And they use Lawson-Ticket for selling their tickets. I guess there will be ticketing information (for people in Japan) on this page at some point.)
Thank you again for this information. I guess I'll be visiting their webpage everyday starting at the end of this month.
 

livetoskate

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Just checked the English website and the tickets aren't for sale yet. Nothing new. I'll keep checking every couple of days. Meanwhile, my efforts to learn Japanese are going ok. I can say such useful things such as, I don't take milk or sugar with my coffee!
 

livetoskate

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So it's now Oct. 2nd and the tickets are still not available for purchase on the English website. I wonder if the best seats are going to the local fans first, and then the rest of us get the leftovers?
 

essence_of_soy

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Just checked the English website and the tickets aren't for sale yet. Nothing new. I'll keep checking every couple of days. Meanwhile, my efforts to learn Japanese are going ok. I can say such useful things such as, I don't take milk or sugar with my coffee!
When I went to Russia for worlds, the best I could say was 'Your submarine has been overrun with hamsters."
 

Sugar64

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The results for the lottery in Japan will be announced Oct. 10. I think individual tickets go on sale in Japan Oct. 11. I haven’t heard anything about when the rest of the world can get tickets!
 

essence_of_soy

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The Japan Open in Saitama looked like a sell out. I wonder if there will be any tickets left for the World Championships at all for foreigners to purchase.
 

YukiNieve

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I have quite a few skating friends in Japan and only 1 won the lottery for the all event tickets.
It is very, very hard to get tickets for the skating competitions in Japan.
 

Sugar64

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My mom and sister entered the lottery for me but I wasn’t able to get the All-Event package. :cry::cry: They started a lottery for single day tickets yesterday and the results come out Oct. 24.

I asked my mom if she would call JSF to ask when the rest of us will be able to buy tickets. I’ll post when I hear back from her.
 

aftershocks

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What is it exactly about the sport of figure skating that makes it so very popular in Japan? I do not think it's a recent phenomenon either, but only a flowering escalation and a booming experience over the past 15 years or so. Sapporo, Japan was awarded the Olympic Winter games in 1940, but the sporting event was obviously cancelled due to WWII. It took 32 years before Sapporo was finally selected again to host a Winter Olympics.
 

BreakfastClub

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I went to Saitama worlds in 2014, we stayed in the Ueno area of Tokyo, 5 minute walk from Ueno station and it was super easy to get to Saitama on the train (frequent trains from Ueno and a short ride) and the Saitama station and the arena right are next to each other. Saitama is like a suburb so not much there, is definitely more interesting to stay in Tokyo.

Don’t worry about transportation or trains. I’ve been all over Japan from Hokkaido to rural parts of Kyushu and Shikoku and it’s hands down the best and most reliable train system in the world, in addition to being the cleanest country on the planet. It’s easy to get around in English, all the trains are signed in Romanji names and have some English instruction and most people working in the service sector can read/write it and speak basic English (enough words for the most basic of transactions) even in remote towns and especially in Tokyo. Even if there is no English skill the Japanese will still go out of their way to try to help through pointing and hand signals, their commitment to service and hospitality is so unflailing.

That said skating tickets are very hard to get and I went with someone who had some connections and knew who to communicate to get a few of the very limited non-citizen tickets for us. If I remember correctly there was still a snafu and last minute scare that we didn’t get tickets. Make sure any reservation you make is non-refundable until you’re sure you have tickets unless you want to visit Japan regardless (which I wholeheartedly recommend, it’s an amazing country!)
 

JasperBoy

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I am going! I signed on with a tour group so everything is laid on. Unfortunately, their spaces sold out within days, so they cannot take anyone else.
I am really looking forward to experiencing the madness of Japanese fandom, as well as having some tours of Japan before and after the competition.
 

livetoskate

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Breakfast club, thanks for the information. This doesn't look promising but I really want to go. Luckily my hotel reservation could be canceled without a penalty. Jasperboy, I envy you! Well if I can't go to worlds, at least I'll have more funds for US nationals and whatever is going on in Canada next year. Maybe I'll go to 4CC. Anyone know where Skate America will be next fall?
 

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