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Japan to Urge “Ryokan” Operators to Separate Lodging from Meals (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 16 (Jiji Press)—The Japan Tourism Agency plans to urge Japanese-style ryokan operators to set separate fees for stays and meals, agency officials said Wednesday. The initiative is aimed at meeting demand from foreign travelers staying for long periods who want to make the most of Japanese food culture, dining at a variety of restaurants, and at boosting room occupancy rates for ryok…
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Deepening Summer: Ancient Trees in the Season of HeatTakahashi Hiroshi

As the summer sun beats down, the broad crowns of Japan’s old-growth trees cast long, cooling shadows across the forest floor. The shade of kyoju offer a welcome respite from the season’s heat, soothing the body and spirit. Below we visit three woodland titans during the peak of summertime.
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Fifth Series of Manhole Cards Released (News)

Tokyo, July 31 (Jiji Press)--A fifth series of collectible "manhole cards" will be released on Tuesday, including designs from Aomori, Kumamoto and Ōita Prefectures for the first time. The upcoming batch will contain 52 unique designs of manhole covers from 50 municipalities in 28 prefectures, including designs depicting Aomori's Nebuta Festival, Kumamoto's Higo tsubaki (Japanese camellia) and …
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Japan Outlines Regulations on Casino-Featuring Resorts (News)

Tokyo, July 31 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government released Monday an outline of regulations for so-called integrated resorts, or IRs, that feature casinos, including measures to prevent gambling addiction, with a view to submitting a related bill during an extraordinary session of parliament this autumn. According to the outline, the number of IR visits by Japanese nationals will be restrict…
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Japan to Install Wireless LANs at National Parks (News)

Tokyo, July 24 (Jiji Press)—Japan's Environment Ministry will set up public wireless LAN services at national parks by the end of fiscal 2017, hoping to draw more overseas tourists. Under a project announced last week by the ministry, free wireless connectivity will be available in 63 visitor information centers within the parks, excluding those in Oze and Minami Alps national parks, and in two…
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Japan Starts Using New Pictogram Signs (News)

Tokyo, July 20 (Jiji Press)—Japan has changed some pictogram signs used on street corners and created new ones, mainly to help foreign visitors get around more easily, the industry ministry said Thursday. A total of 16 new signs were added, including for Wi-Fi wireless Internet access and convenience stores. The designs of seven signs were changed, such as that for parking spaces. The use of…
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January–June Visitors Hit Record for Fifth Straight Year (News)

Tokyo, July 19 (Jiji Press)—The number of visitors to Japan in January–June is estimated to have risen 17.4% from a year earlier to 13,757,300, rewriting the first-half record high for the fifth year in a row, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. An increase in the number of flights to Japan, including those operated by low-cost carriers, helped boost in-bound visitor figures…
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Southeast Asian Visitors Pursue the Total Japan ExperienceŌtsuka Tomohiko

Japan is an ever more popular destination for tourists from Southeast Asia. No longer content with Tokyo and Kyoto alone, they are heading further afield and seeking out distinctly Japanese experiences. The travel industry and local authorities should make the most of this trend by working to ensure that all visitors are satisfied.
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Rakuten Joins Hands with US Rental Lodging Website Operator (News)

Tokyo, July 3 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese cybermall operator Rakuten Inc. said Monday that it has reached through an affiliate a business tie-up agreement with HomeAway Inc. of the United States, which operates one of the world's largest rental lodging websites. Rakuten hopes to expand its minpaku rental lodging business by providing HomeAway with information on related properties across Japan…
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A Cultural History of Noodle SlurpingMotohashi Takashi

Why is it that the Japanese, who generally frown on noisy eating, consider it proper and even preferable to suck up one’s noodles with a loud slurping sound? Food writer and soba aficionado Motohashi Takashi probes the origins of this fascinating and occasionally controversial custom with the help of Horii Yoshinori, proprietor of one of Tokyo’s oldest soba shops.
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