Shorter pieces shedding light on the creativity underlying Japanese culture and technology and on lives and lifestyles in Japan.

What’s Next on the Ghibli Storyboard?

Less than three years after Miyazaki Hayao announced that The Wind Rises (2013) would be his last feature animated film, the legendary director and animator is quietly at work on a new project. Studio Ghibli producer and chairman Suzuki Toshio, Miyazaki’s longtime collaborator, offers a tantalizing glimpse of the studio’s near- and long-term future as it grapples with the challenges of a new era. In the meantime, fans will have ample opportunity this summer to immerse themselves in the world of Studio Ghibli with the opening of the Ghibli Expo in Tokyo and a special exhibit, All Aboard! The Cat Bus to the Ghibli Forest, at the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka.

Ghibli Museum, Mitaka (Photo Gallery)
Adults Also Welcome on the Cat Bus to the Ghibli Forest
Ghibli Expo: Three Decades of Studio Ghibli Films
What’s Up at Studio Ghibli? Catching Up with Producer Suzuki Toshio

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Frights and Fun at Japan’s Haunted Houses

Gomi Hirofumi is a pioneering producer of haunted houses, whose creations have thrilled and terrified audiences up and down the country. Enter a world of fear and let a cooling shiver run down your spine as the summer ghost season heats up.

“Baby in Hell”: The Latest Haunted House Attraction of a Horror Maestro
Gomi Hirofumi and Japan’s Scariest Haunted Houses

Insider’s Guide to Shintō Shrines

Amid all the change that has swept Japanese society in modern times, the position of the Shintō shrine remains rock-solid. There is always something drawing local residents to the neighborhood shrine, whether it be an annual celebration like New Year’s Day or just the hope of warding off bad luck. Foreign tourists also feel the pull of these hallowed spots, which somehow instill a sense of awe in even the most casual visitor. Through images and words, this series offers information and insights that will challenge your preconceptions and make your own shrine visit that much more meaningful.

“Temizuya”: The Cleansing Ritual
“Shimenawa”: The Sacred Rope
“Sandō”: The Worshipper’s Path
Torii: Gates to the Sacred Spaces
Your Virtual Guide to the Shintō Shrine

Japan’s Rail Network

Japan is a railfan’s delight, boasting not only leading-edge technologies like those featured in the Shinkansen and the maglev but also an increasing number of unique rail services in localities around the country.

“Dragon Quest” Theme Rings Out on Shibuya Trains (Video)
Tokyo’s New Restaurant Train Offers Haute Cuisine on Wheels
Kyoto Railway Museum (Photo Gallery)
Kyoto Railway Museum: A Showcase of Japan’s Rail Heritage

Learning and Loving the Japanese Language

Some 4 million people are studying Japanese around the world. Whether you’re an anime and manga fan who wants to get closer to the real thing, a lover of arts, crafts, and other traditional culture, or a person who wants to live in Japan or work at a Japanese company, there are many reasons to learn. In this series we present diverse approaches to the language and stories from those who have tackled it successfully.

Kyoto’s Museum for Kanji Lovers

Japanese Approaches to an Eco-Life

As one way to help preserve the environment, many Japanese today are looking to the past, seeking inspiration in traditional cultural aspects like reverence for nature or taking careful care of things to extend their useful lives. Their ecologically friendly lifestyles hint at ways to safeguard the health of the global environment for future generations.

Lessons from the Bees: The Rooftop Hives of Central Tokyo
Keeping Mount Fuji at the Peak of Beauty
Cooking Up a Do-It-Yourself Lifestyle
Saving Electricity to Save Yen
(Re)Built to Last
A Breezy Style of Green Urban Living

Visiting Japan’s Remote Communities

There is more to Japan than huge cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Some would say that the best of the country can be found in tiny villages far from the urban centers. While battling depopulation, the hardy residents live their lives, largely forgotten by the rest of the nation. journeys to discover Japan’s timeless mountain and island communities.

Shimoguri-no-sato: A Japanese Shangri-la

"Bentō": A Feast for the Eyes and Stomach

Bentō, or box meals, contain a fine balance of rice and other dishes, carefully thought out down to the colors and layout of the food. The bentō eaten in Japan include homemade meals, those sold at convenience stores, and the luxurious variety offered by upscale Japanese restaurants. Explore the fun of bentō for insights into Japanese food culture.

Show Me Your “Bentō”! Part 1: Under the Cherry Trees
Power Lunch at Japanese Schools
The Local Flavors of Popular Railway Box Meals
My “Bentō,” My Pride
Your Own Japanese-Style Box Meal

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