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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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Mizukaze Luxury Sleeper Train Makes Debut (News)

Osaka, June 17 (Jiji Press)—The Twilight Express Mizukaze luxury sleeper train of West Japan Railway Co., or JR West, made its debut in the city of Osaka on Saturday. With the Sea of Japan as a backdrop, the Twilight Express Mizukaze rolls past a group of trainspotters in the town of Kami, Hyōgo Prefecture, on June 17. (© Jiji) After the departing ceremony at Osaka Station, the first train …
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JAL “Sky Museum” Tops Tokyo Tourist Spot Rankings (News)

Tokyo, June 10 (Jiji Press)—Japan Airlines' hangar and exhibition areas open to the public on a reservation basis, collectively called Sky Museum, topped the rankings of popular tourist spots in Tokyo, the metropolitan government's Transportation Bureau has said. The runner-up was 333-meter Tokyo Tower in Minato, followed by Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Shinjuku, according to the Tokyo 100…
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Yamanashi Cities Pour Energies into Wine Resort Plan (News)

Kōshu, Yamanashi Pref., June 9 (Jiji Press)—In Yamanashi Prefecture, the top producer of wine made only from grapes grown in Japan, three cities have come together to create a wine resort plan. The cities of Kōshu, Fuefuki and Yamanashi, which host a total of some 60 wineries, are collaborating to promote the area as a resort where tourists can stay at ryokan Japanese-style inns with onsen hot …
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Nara Prison to Be Converted to Hotel (News)

A former juvenile prison in the city of Nara, built in 1908 and designated as an important cultural asset, will be converted into a hotel, according to the Justice Ministry. A handout photo released by Japan's Justice Ministry shows a general view of the former Nara juvenile prison. (Via Jiji Press photo) The move is part of the Japanese government's strategy to utilize public facilities fo…
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