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Japan - The Ryokan Experience

New National Theatre, Tokyo, opens season with Puccini classic
Japan Times - Jan 27, 2012

The New National Theatre, Tokyo, (NNTT) is opening its 2012 opera season with a classic by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The Puccini piece, "La Boheme," is especially popular with Japanese opera fans and this time around it will be directed by Jun Aguni and conducted by Germany's Constantin Trinks. The piece is set in Paris in the 1830s and centers on the love story of poet Rodolfo (Ji Min Park), and seamstress Mimi Veronica Cangemi). It will be both Cangemi and Park's first performances at the NNTT. Cangemi is an Argentinian soprano and has performed on some of the most celebrated stages in the world. Park is a tenor who hails from South Korea. (Japan Times)
47 prefectures in 100 days to woo back tourists
Japan Times - Jan 26, 2012
(Tourist attraction: Jamie Lafferty and Katy Morrison visit the Koyasan area in Wakayama Prefecture
in November during their trip around Japan under the Travel Volunteer Project.)

While tourism in Japan has been sluggish since the March 11 calamity, a British couple recently completed a 100-day tour of all 47 prefectures to help bring foreign travelers back to the country. Their journey blogs have been accessed more than 50,000 times in the last four months. Jamie Lafferty, a 28-year-old writer, and Katy Morrison, a 29-year-old photographer, made the journey as part of the Travel Volunteer Project initiated by a travel agency in central Japan. Magellan Resorts & Trust Inc. in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, launched the initiative to show the world through foreigners' eyes that Japan remains a safe and attractive destination. (Japan Times)

Japan - The Ryokan Experience
totaltele.com - Jan 26, 2012

Ryokans are Japanese-styled inns from centuries ago and are more than just a place to stay. They offer the visitor a chance to experience traditional Japanese lifestyle; from tatami (rice mats) covered floors and futon beds to Japanese styled baths and local cuisine presented in an authentic manner. They are a window into life in Japan in the old days. Ryokans originated sometime in the 17th century, and their primary purpose was to serve those travelling along Japanese highways such as the famed Tokaido road between Tokyo and Kyoto. They are typically stationed in a quiet, idyllic setting, often next to natural hot springs. While there are quite a few city ryokans in urban areas, seek out the ones next to the hot springs, known as onsen ryokan, for a tranquil Japanese holiday. The key to having a great time at a ryokan is to understand Japanese traditions beforehand. A quintessential ryokan experience would start when hosts greet their visitors at the street door. After the customary bowing, your shoes are replaced with slippers. According to Japanese tradition, it is considered impolite to ask for your shoes before the stay is over. Tea is served in a large entrance hall, where people can sit and talk, after which guests are shown to their rooms. (totaltele.com)

Japan to recommend Mt. Fuji, Kamakura for cultural World Heritage
Mainichi - Jan 25, 2012
Mt. Fuji is pictured. The government has decided to recommend it for registration as
UNESCO World Heritage sites.)

The Japanese government decided Wednesday to recommend that Mt. Fuji and the ancient capital Kamakura be added to the list of cultural World Heritage sites, aiming to see them registered by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2013. The government will file its recommendations with the Paris-based UNESCO World Heritage Center by Feb. 1. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will decide whether to formally register the sites in the middle of 2013. Mt. Fuji as a cultural World Heritage candidate covers a 70,000-hectare area in Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, including five major lakes, the Shiraito Falls and the Miho-no-Matsubara pine grove. (Mainichi)

Narita part of U.K. open-skies deal
Japan Times - Jan 25, 2012

Japan and Britain have agreed to add Narita International Airport, the country's largest international gateway, to their open skies agreement as a result of bilateral civil aviation talks, the transport ministry said Tuesday. The addition of Narita will take effect in summer 2013, when the combined number of departures and arrivals at the airport is to be raised to 270,000 a year, the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said. Signatory countries to such agreements are basically obliged to permit each other's airlines to set the number of flights to the other's airports and open new routes to them without restrictions. (Japan Times)

2012 foreign tourist target: 9 million
Japan Times - Jan 25, 2012

Tourism minister Takeshi Maeda said Tuesday that the government aims to attract more than 9 million foreign visitors in 2012, exceeding the past record of 8.61 million set in 2010. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the estimated number of foreign visitors in 2011 dropped 27.8 percent from a year earlier to 6.22 million due to the March 11 disasters and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Japan Times)

Japan's isle of white in Sapporo
adelaidenow.com.au - Jan 23, 2012
(Dancers on a snow stage at the Sapporo Snow Festival.)
(A snow sculpture of the Great Sphinx of Giza at the Sapporo Snow Festival.)

Wild and remote, cold and barely inhabited, Hokkaido is unlike any other place in jam-packed Japan. Most of the country's northernmost island consists of wilderness, hot springs, forests and national parks, all contributing to a palette of striking mountain and coastal scenery. The island's capital, Sapporo, began in the 19th century as an administrative centre designed to discourage foreign incursions, but American and European advisers helped chart its future economy. Possessing few ancient historic relics like Nara, Hiraizumi and Kyoto do Sapporo instead has wide streets, mostly modern architecture and lots of parks, gardens and scattered green belts. But it's mid-winter, when the greens shed their colour and up to 6m of snow tumbles down, that Sapporo really shines, attracting two million visitors to the glittering Sapporo Snow Festival. (adelaidenow.com.au)

Cherry blossoms to stick to script
Japan Times - Jan 21, 2012

The cherry blossom viewing season is likely to start at around the same time as usual in many parts of the nation this year because temperatures are expected to rise around late February, Weather Map Co. said Friday. According to a forecast by the private Tokyo-based firm, the year's first cherry blossoms will appear on March 23 in Shizuoka Prefecture, followed by Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Kochi prefectures a day later. Elsewhere, the "someiyoshino" species of cherry tree is expected to bloom on March 25 in Tokyo, March 27 in Nagoya and March 28 in Osaka. (Japan Times)

Foreign tourists to get fixed-rate expressway pass
Japan Times - Jan 21, 2012

Central Nippon Expressway Co. says it will offer a fixed-rate toll pass for foreign drivers to promote tourism in central Japan. The all-you-can-ride pass is good for seven days and will be available between March 21 and June 30. The pass for the Japan Alps route across Nagano, Aichi and Gifu prefectures will cost \7,000, while the pass for taking the Sea of Japan route across Toyama, Fukui, Shiga, Gifu and Aichi prefectures will cost \9,000. (Japan Times)

Japan tourism struggles to recover after disasters
CNN - Jan 18, 2012

More than 10 months after the Fukushima meltdown and Japan is still dealing with the fallout - this time the key industry of tourism is reeling from the catastrophe. According to government figures released Tuesday, the number of foreign nationals entering Japan dropped 24.4% from a record of 9.45 million in 2010 to 7.14 million in 2011. New entries of foreign nationals - a figure that excludes working or studying expatriates that may have returned after home leave - made a similarly dismal showing. The Immigration Bureau of the Justice Ministry said new entrants fell from 7.92 million in 2010 to 5.45 million in 2010, slumping 31.2%. (CNN)

Osaka - Hokkaido
Chibi Moku - Jan 17, 2012

We wanted to make a ski & snowboarding video this year. This is our journey traveling from Osaka to Hokkaido by train, to make it happen. Luckily, some cool guys up in Niseko & Sapporo helped us out. Grand Hirafu in Niseko. This is an international playground of skiers and snowboarders. Amazing talent constantly just coming down the hill. Sapporo Kokusai. We got some sick local & national snowboarders. A super cool group of guys who endured a light blizzard, then rocked out on the kicker non-stop. (Chibi Moku)

France's Louvre to show art and solidarity in Japan
Tokyo Times - Jan 29, 2012

The world-renowned and most visited Louvre Museum of France is due to bring more than 20 art works to Japan as a show of solidarity with the Japanese in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on March 11 and which triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. The announcement on Friday was made by Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities at the Louvre museum. Louvre which is home to the world's greatest masterpieces will hold the exhibit in Japan specifically in the severely hit areas from the March disaster. The exhibit dubbed as "Meeting, Love, Friendship, Solidarity in the Louvre collections" will run from April 20 to September 17 in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. (Tokyo Times)

By TS on Jan 30, 2012
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tag : Cool_Japan, News



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Author:T. SATOH