A once in a generation event is happening in Japan and you can cash in on it if you know where to look. On May 1, 2019, the Heisei era gives way to Reiwa, and with it, countless merchants will celebrate by offering discounts afforded to only a select few. Keep reading to find out how you can save in 2019!
How Can “Reiwa” Be Translated? Limited Time Discounts!
Following the announcement that Japan’s era would be changing in 2019, nine members of the country’s elite society were selected to choose a new era name from submissions dropped in a proverbial hat — Reiwa (令和) was chosen as the winner.
But why does this matter to you? When the era changes, it’s a pretty big deal in Japan. Not only do you get a bonus national holiday, but companies get in on the celebration with discounts for anyone who has the kanji “rei” (令) or “wa” (和) in their name.
But wait! I’m a foreigner in Japan. How can I get in on these discounts? More on that in a bit. First, here is a sample of what you can save on in Japan.
5 Ways to Save by Adding Reiwa Kanji to Your Name
Yunessun Onsen, Hakone
First up, we have 50% off at Yunessun Onsen in Hakone. It’s normally ¥3,500 a visit but if go by April 26 you can get in for 1,750 yen! What’s even better is that if you have both kanji in your name (令 and 和), the visit is free!
What makes this a great deal: Onsens are an amazing experience; don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. If you want to relax and feel pure bliss as the warm water washes away your stress, I highly suggest that you check this place out. For half-price, you really can’t get a better deal on such a traditional Japanese experience.
How much you can save: ¥1,750–3,500
Discount Period: April 1–26, 2019
How to cash in: You can get your discount voucher here.
Manhattan Table at Washington Hotel, Shinjuku
Next up is 10–20% off at Washington Hotel located throughout Japan’s major metropolises.
The deal they’re offering is 10% off your dinner bill if your name includes one matching kanji, and 20% off you’ve got both.
What makes this a great deal: Manhattan Table is an amazing restaurant try while in Japan. If you’re looking for authentic Japanese cuisine with a 25-story view of Tokyo’s skyline, this is the place to go. Getting 20% off can make a huge difference if you’re balling on a budget.
How much you can save: ¥550–2000
Discount Period: April 26–May 31, 2019
How to cash in: More information can be found here.
Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado, Shinjuku
Amazing onsen and high-class dinners can wear you out! The Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado is offering to let you stay at a discount for the right name. If you book with the hotel while the promotion is on and have both kanji for Reiwa (令和) or Heisei (平成) in your name, you get a free night! Got only one kanji? Don’t worry, you will still get an “upgrade” ticket (not sure exactly what the upgrade is, but who doesn’t want an upgrade)!
What makes this a great deal: If you’ve never stayed in a capsule hotel before, this is the time to experience it. Capsule hotels are a great time and a story to tell others. This is one of the best deals we’ve shown so far and will save you about ¥7,000. We highly suggest checking this place out.
How much you can save: ¥700–7,000
Discount Period: April 1–30, 2019
How to cash in: Click here to find out more.
Yomiuri Land Amusement Park
Want to check out an amusement park while in Tokyo but don’t want to bother with the lines at Tokyo Disneyland? Yomiuri Land is offering a kanji discount that will get you on their roller coasters for free.
What makes this a great deal: With a 4-star rating on Tripadvisor, Yomiuri Land is no second-rate amusement park. You can enjoy 44 rides and attractions as well as a water park open for summer months — and best of all it’s only 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station.
How much you can save: ¥5,400
Discount Period: April 2–7, 2019
How to cash in: More information can be found here
CREO-RU Takoyaki in Osaka
Now here is my favorite, free takoyaki in Osaka! Who doesn’t love these delicious little balls of octopus joy! The deal is the biggest one on our list and works out like this:
- If you have either kanji (令 or 和), you get to eat all the takoyaki you can handle for 1 hour for free.
- If you have the reverse order of kanji (和令), you get to eat all the takoyaki you can handle for 1 day for free.
- If you have the exact order of kanji (和令), you get to eat all the takoyaki you can handle for 1 month for free.
I mean who doesn’t love free takoyaki? If you haven’t had the chance to try one of Japan’s best street foods, you don’t know what you’re missing. You can save on a whole dinner with this deal let alone a whole month’s grocery bill! If you can manage it, I say you should try the super spicy takoyaki!
How much you can save: ¥700–63,000 (3 meals / day x 30 days x ¥700)
Discount Period: April 1–May 1, 2019
How to cash in: You can find out more by clicking here
Now, that’s a lot of deals for just having some kanji in your name. The deals above are only a few of what are out there, so I’m sure if you look around you will find so much more!
How to Change Your Name to Kanji
Now, I’m sure you’re asking “how can I get in on these amazing discounts and deals?” Well worry not, we’ve got you covered.
- Find your Japanese resident card. A resident card is pretty much the standard ID for all international people living in Japan. If you’re living in Japan, you most likely have this already. The procedure for changing your name is very similar to renewing your visa.
- Put together some documents certifying your identity (pretty much your passport and resident card.)
- Head over to your regional immigration office. They’re usually open between 9am–12pm and 1pm–4pm on weekdays.
- Once you get there, fill out a form called an Application for Indication of Name Using Kanji Characters on the Residence Card. You can find the form here with English translation. It will save you some time if you fill out the form before you go. If you can’t speak Japanese very well I recommend bringing along a person who can speak on your behalf.
You should be able to get your updated residence card the day you go to fill out your application. If not, it might take a few days but you will just need to go back to pick it up. The procedure is as I said, very similar to renewing your visa or changing your address on your residence card, so there is no need to feel intimidated.
Ring in the New Era with Reiwa Discount Deals!
As you can see, there are lots of benefits to changing your name to include Reiwa kanji. With many discounts this month, you will have the chance to save money, plus you will finally get to have a sweet Japanese name and your own kanji.