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2017 Visitor Spending Breaks the ¥4 Trillion Barrier

Foreign visitors to Japan in 2017 spent a total of ¥4.4 trillion while here, the highest-ever level. While this marks the fifth straight annual rise, the per capita figure has fallen for two years running. Can Japan hit its ¥8 trillion target for 2020?
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Japan Sees Fifth Straight Year of Record Visitor Numbers in 2017

Foreign visitors to Japan totaled 28.7 million in 2017, climbing 19.3% from 2016 and marking a record high for the fifth straight year. East Asian tourists dominate the rankings, pointing to the need to boost visitors from other parts of the globe.
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Custodian of the Cherries: Sixteenth-Generation Japanese Gardener Sano Tōemon

Master gardener Sano Tōemon has laid out and cared for countless Japanese gardens in Japan and overseas. The 90-year-old veteran landscaper is particularly revered for his knowledge of flowering cherries, earning him the honored title of sakuramori, guardian of the beloved trees. In this interview Sano shares his views of sakura, traditional landscape gardening, and cultural change in Japan.
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Snapshots with Creepy Creatures: Japanese Town Introduces “Yōkai” Benches (Japan in Photos)

Visitors to Fukusaki in Hyōgo Prefecture can snap selfies with creepy yōkai on seven new benches to be placed around the town. It is the birthplace of folklorist Yanagita Kunio (1875–1962), who gathered tales about supernatural creatures passed down through oral tradition. A first bench with the figure of a water-dwelling kappa was built outside Fukusaki Station last year. The new benches incl…
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Huis Ten Bosch Unveils Sphere-Shaped Aquatic Hotels (News)

Sasebo, Nagasaki Pref., March 7 (Jiji Press)—The operator of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan, unveiled what it claims to be the world's first movable sphere-shaped aquatic hotels on Tuesday. The operator, Huis Ten Bosch Inc., plans to offer overnight trips using the hotels, towing them with ships from the theme park to a nearby uninhabited island…
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A Golden Field of Flowers in the Heart of Tokyo (Japan in Photos)

Tourists stroll through a field of yellow canola flowers skirted by blossoming plum trees at Tokyo’s Hama-rikyū Gardens on March 4, 2018. Some 300,000 canola plants will be in bloom through the end of March. (© Jiji)
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Ban on Entry to Mount Aso Crater Areas Lifted (News)

Kumamoto (Jiji Press)—An entry ban for areas around a crater of Nakadake, one of the peaks comprising Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, was lifted on Wednesday, about three and a half years after it was imposed following a rise in the peak's volcanic activities. Up until the introduction of the ban in August 2014, about 1 million people visited the major tourist spot a year.…
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JAL Ties Up with Japanese Private Lodging Website Operator (News)

Tokyo, Feb. 8 (Jiji Press)—Japan Airlines said Thursday that it has formed a capital and business alliance with Hyakusenrenma Inc., a minpaku private lodging website operator. The tie-up with the Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture-based minpaku broker is aimed at increasing demand from foreign tourists for flights to local cities in Japan at a time when an increase in the number of Japanese passengers c…
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Hakkōda Mountain Snow Trees Defaced with Graffiti (News)

Aomori, Jan. 17 (Jiji Press)—Famous snow trees in the Hakkōda mountains in Aomori, northeastern Japan, part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, have been smeared with graffiti in fluorescent pink spray paint, it was learned Wednesday. Part of the graffiti found on the frozen snow-covered trees and nearby ground reads "Happy Birthday" in English and Chinese letters, according to Hakkōda Rop…
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New Trend in Inbound Tourism: Back to Basics with “Minshuku”Himeda Konatsu

Minshuku around the nation are attracting fewer Japanese customers, but they are popular among non-Japanese tourists, for whom the human connection and the flexibility they offer are major selling points.
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