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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 …

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…

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 …

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…

Western Japan Town Working to Revive D51 Steam Locomotive (News)

Wakayama (Jiji Press)—The town of Aridagawa in Wakayama Prefecture is working to revive a Class D51 steam locomotive for display at a local railway park. The D51 827 locomotive, made in 1943, was used mainly for freight trains linking Gifu and Aichi Prefectures from 1946 until it was decommissioned in 1973. Achiha Co., a transport company based in Osaka offering rolling stock transportation …

Japan Enacts Deregulation Bill to Increase Tour Guides (News)

Tokyo, May 26 (Jiji Press)—Japan enacted Friday a bill aimed at coping with a sharp increase in the number of visitors to the country by scrapping an interpreter license requirement for paid tour guides for foreigners. With another bill to revise the travel agency law, the amendment bill to the licensed guide-interpreter law was approved by a majority vote chiefly by the ruling coalition and th…

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.

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