Aichi Expo Tips

Aichi Expo Tips 愛知万博

1. Getting there.

*The best way to get to the main Nagakute Expo site is take the subway from Nagoya station east to the last stop, Fujigaoka (30 minutes, 290 yen). Then change to the Linimo monorail. 15 minutes later (340 yen), you'll arrive at Banpaku Kaijo Station. If you want to go to the smaller Seto site, you'll stay on the Linimo until it gets to Banpaku Yakusa Station, and then take a shuttle bus.
* The other way to get to the Nagakute site is to take a JR train from Nagoya Station (Chuo Honsen Line, Track 7, Rapid Expo Shuttle) direct to Banpaku Yakusa (50 minutes, 780 yen), and then change to the Linimo and go to Banpaku Kaijo Station (5 minutes, 160 yen).

2. Tickets or tokens

Expo Water Fountain.

*Tokens for entry to the Expo (hikikae-nyujoken) are widely available, for example at most convenience stores, for 4600 yen for adults, 2500 yen for juniors (12-17), 1500 yen for children (4-11) and 3,700 yen for seniors (aged 65+). But they must be exchanged for a real ticket at a booth outside the Expo site. This is probably OK if you get there early, but not later in the day when there are queues.
* Real' entry tickets (futsu-nyujoken), at the same prices, are harder to come by, but they can be purchased at major tourist sites, or at discount-ticket stores (kinken shoppu), where the adult tickets in particular may be available for hundreds of yen cheaper. If you decide to book an event online, you will need the 12-digit number on the back of the ticket. However, it's usually unnecessary to book ahead for an event (see below).
* Season pass. If you intend to go to the Expo numerous times, buy a season pass (ranging from 5700 yen for children to 17,500 yen for adults). If you go more than three times to the Expo, it's cheaper to get the pass. Remember to bring two passport-sized photos for this.
* Evening pass. If you enter the Expo after 5:00 pm, tickets are about half price. The Expo is open each day till 10:00 pm. Most concerts take place in the evenings.

3. Go during weekdays to avoid crowds.

(Discount weekday family tickets and discount weekday 4-pack admission tickets can also be obtained for such times.) But if you can't go then.

4. Get there early. Arrive between 8:30 and 8:45 am.

The gates open at 9:00, so you'll have to wait in line a little, but if you're clever this will save you a lot of waiting inside and may allow you to see something that otherwise you wouldn't have time for (see (8) below).

5. Don't take off your belt!

Security is airport-style at the entrances, with (brief) bag searches and metal detectors. Before you get to the guards, you'll see signs telling you to put all metal objects in your bag. But the signs are a little over-enthusiastic, so there's no need to risk your trousers falling down in front of thousands of holiday-makers.

6. No plastic drink bottles.

Expo Water Fountain 2.

Apparently they are a security risk (though flasks seem to be OK). So-called PET bottles will be confiscated at the gate.

You can buy drinks inside the expo site, but there are also many chilled drinking fountains dotted around the site in the rest areas.

Their hand-painted themed porcelain bowls are a charming detail of the Expo.

7. Plan your schedule before you get there.

Check out the English-language site (http://www-1.expo2005.or.jp/en/) for details of upcoming events, and consider making your basic plan around them. All concerts and workshops are free. Such special events generally take place inside the Expo Dome (south end) or Expo Hall (north end).

8. How to get tickets to the events and pavilions you want.

* Same-day reservation tickets (seiriken). Most event and pavilion sites will issue these tickets on a first-come first-served basis on the morning of the day of the event. The earlier you line up for them, the more chance you'll have of securing your place. Note that you can only get one ticket for each person present.
* Same-day reservation machines. These are located throughout the Expo site. Put your Expo entry ticket in the slot and follow the instructions. You should reserve a place at least two hours before the event. Reservation space for popular pavilions such as Toyota's often runs out fast, so again you should do this early in the day. If entrance staff ask for your ticket at the event gate, tell them you made a reservation with the ticket machine.

9. Pick up a free map at the information centre just inside the North gate.

It identifies all sites and pavilions, as well as reservation machines, restaurants, first-aid centres and other amenities.

10. Food.

You're now allowed to bring your own food into the Expo if you wish. On-site food is fairly expensive, and the generic restaurants are churning out very ordinary fare, but many of the eateries in country pavilions offer ethnic cuisine that can add a bit of spice to your day. Highly recommended is the chicken mole (curry with chocolate' sauce, 1400 yen) at the Mexican pavilion. There is also an excellent Natural Food Caf (restaurant no. 40 on the map) outside the NGO Global Village.

11. Children.

Pretty much the whole of the Interactive Fun Zone in the northwest quadrant is devoted to entertaining and informing children, while not boring parents, so give your kids a chance to release some of their energy there. The outdoor play equipment and Robot House are particular highlights.

12. Going home.

The Linimo monorail can get very crowded in the evenings, so if the queues are very long, take the North exit underground beneath the highway out into the parking area, turn right, and walk about 10 minutes alongside the highway to the next Linimo stop, then take it back to Fujigaoka, so you can connect to the Nagoya subway, or forwards to Banpaku Yakusa, so that you can connect to the JR line for Nagoya station.

13. Baggage.

Bags can be stored in the 300 yen lockers located to the right of the North entrance. Oversize objects can be dispatched or kept for you in the luggage delivery/holding office on the left side of the North entrance.

14. Take your time and enjoy yourself!

Leave plenty of space in your schedule to wander round and enjoy the surroundings and lesser events such as Expo Plaza performances. There are numerous shaded places to rest in and sculptures, fountains and gardens to enjoy. The Global Loop, a raised walkway, allows you to travel between site areas quickly and confidently without being jostled by thousands of people. Relax and appreciate each place for what it is, rather than just a stop on a whirlwind itinerary. Don't worry about missing something there are too many places to visit in one day anyway.

Richard Donovan


Books on Japan