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Visitors to Japan Top 10 Million This Year at Fastest Pace (News)

Tokyo, May 19 (Jiji Press)—The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan this year exceeded 10 million on Saturday, crossing the threshold at the fastest pace on an annual cumulative basis, Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner Tamura Akihiko said Friday. In January–April, the number of visitors to the country grew 16.4% from a year before to 9,116,000, the Japan National Tourism Organization s…

Gion Festival Organizer Raises over ¥10 Million via Crowdfunding (News)

Kyoto (Jiji Press)—The Gion Festival organizer in Kyoto has raised over ¥10 million through crowdfunding to cover patrolling and other costs for the festival which boasts a history of more than 1,100 years. A giant yamahoko float parades through the streets of central Kyoto on July 17, 2016, during the yamahoko junkō (float parade) event of the annual Gion Festival. Twenty-three floats took pa…

“Maiko” Theater Gaining Popularity in Kyoto (News)

Kyoto (Jiji Press)—A recently opened theater in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward featuring maiko, young female entertainers, is becoming a popular tourist attraction for visitors from abroad. A maiko posed to welcome guests. (© Coco/Pixta) At the Maiko Theater, launched in late 2016, audiences can enjoy dance performances by maiko and eat and drink with the apprentice female entertainers, who are i…

Inns and Outs: Five “Ryokan” in Tokyo

Tokyo, a city known for its high tech and blazing neon, still has traditional inns tucked away in its back streets that can provide travelers with comforts from an older age. A night at one of these establishments is a great way to top off a long day of seeing the sights. Photographer Andō Seita takes us on a tour of five ryokan that offer guests distinct ways to experience the metropolis.

“Sentō” Paradise: Ten Great Japanese Public BathhousesMachida Shinobu

Sentō expert Machida Shinobu has visited over 3,000 public bathhouses around Japan. Here he compiles a list of 10 establishments that is sure to please any sentō aficionado.

The Story of “Sentō”: A History of Public Bathhouses in JapanMachida Shinobu

Public bathhouses have long been popular in Japan, for reasons of community as much as hygiene. But when did they first emerge and how have they changed over the years? This article provides an overview of the history of sentō.

Shiki-Shima Luxury Sleeper Train Goes into Service (News)

Tokyo, May 1 (Jiji Press)—The Train Suite Shiki-Shima luxury sleeper operated by East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, went into service with some fanfare on Monday with Japan now into its Golden Week holiday period. At 11:40 am (2:40 am GMT), Shiki-Shima left central Tokyo's Ueno Station for a four-day, three-night tour of the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaidō and the Tōhoku region. The lu…

Refining Hospitality: “Omotenashi” and Foreign Visitors to JapanŌtsuka Tomohiko

Japan is opening its doors wide to foreign travelers, with the aim of welcoming 40 million international tourists annually by 2020. Yet many visitors from religiously diverse Southeast Asia can stumble into the shadows of the nation’s widely touted hospitality. A journalist reflects on the state and true meaning of Japanese omotenashi.

Japan’s Top Restrooms

“Toilet hunter” Maritomo has been seeking out Japan’s most fun and unusual restrooms for over a decade. Here she presents 12 of her favorites, which demonstrate how creativity can transform the most humble of spaces.

Ginza Six Shopping Complex Targets Tourist Yen (Japan in Photos)

On April 20, the Ginza Six shopping complex opened in central Tokyo. The new facility features flagship stores from top international brands like Christian Dior, as well as such famous Japanese companies as Ishiya of Hokkaidō, which is known for its Shiroi Koibito chocolates. There are 241 outlets in total in what is the biggest shopping complex in Ginza. It is located on the main Chūō-dōri street…

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