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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.
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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.
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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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Nagoya Embraces Legoland Mania (News)

Nagoya, April 1 (Jiji Press)—Legoland Japan, an outdoor theme park featuring miniature Japanese cities made with millions of Lego bricks as well as a number of amusement rides, opened in Nagoya on Saturday. The park has seven areas: Factory, Bricktopia, Adventure, Knight’s Kingdom, Pirate Shores, Miniland and Lego City. Visitors can enjoy more than 40 different types of attractions and view …
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Narita Airport to Introduce Self-Service Baggage Drop Machines (News)

Narita, Chiba Pref., March 28 (Jiji Press)—Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, on Tuesday unveiled self-service baggage drop machines for international flights. Narita Airport unveils its new self-check-in baggage machine on March 28, 2017. (© Jiji) Set to be introduced on Thursday, the baggage machines, along with self-check-in devices, are expected to help sho…
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5,805 Foreigners Refused Entry to Japan in 2016 (News)

Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)—The number of foreign visitors who were refused entry to Japan in 2016 rose 25.9% from the previous year to 5,805, the Justice Ministry said Friday. The figure surpassed 5,000 for the first time in eight years. By nationality, 1,683 Indonesians were turned away, the largest group, up 86.8% after inflows of visitors from the country surged under a visa waiver prog…
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Robotic Phone to Be Rented to Visitors to Japan (News)

Tokyo, March 22 (Jiji Press)—Railway operator Keikyū Corp., electronics maker Sharp Corp. and two other companies said Wednesday they will join hands in a rental service for a robot-shaped mobile phone, "RoBoHoN," mainly targeting visitors to Japan. RoBoHoN, released by Sharp last year, will be available for rent at Tokyo International Airport at Haneda from April 25. The handset can take pi…
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Yōmeimon Gate Reopens to Public at Nikkō’s Tōshōgū Shrine (Japan in Photos)

The Yōmeimon gate at Tōshōgū Shrine in Nikkō, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reopened to the general public on March 10, 2017, after four years of extensive repairs. Some 500 sculptures were restored on the structure, one of the most prominent buildings of the sprawling shrine, which is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shōgun of the Edo period (1603–1868). (© Jiji)
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Japan Govt Adopts Bill to Allow “Minpaku” Private Lodging Biz (News)

Tokyo, March 10 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government adopted at a cabinet meeting Friday a bill to set rules on the emerging minpaku business, which makes vacant rooms in private homes available as accommodation for tourists, particularly from abroad. The bill, if enacted, will officially lift a ban on such business across the country. "We hope to offer a variety of accommodation services to…
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Visitors to Hiroshima Peace Museum Hit Annual Record (News)

Hiroshima, Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)—The number of visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in fiscal 2016 has already hit a record annual high, the operator said Friday. The number of visitors in the fiscal year ending March 31 has already exceeded the previous one-year record high of 1,593,280, marked in fiscal 1991, said the operator of the museum in Hiroshima Prefecture. So far in fiscal 2…
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