Sponsored Link


Bookmark and Share

Fiery Nara festival promises to spark some good luck for its visitors

Japan battles gridlock in the sky
aviationweek.com - Mar 2, 2012

Japan's airspace, already among the most congested in the world, is facing new pressure as more flights are funneled into Tokyo airports. Airlines and aviation authorities are hoping that a far-reaching air traffic modernization effort can ease the bottleneck and allow additional service to the nation's capital without causing gridlock. Traffic saturation at Tokyo's Narita International and Haneda airports has meant strict limits on new flights, which has been a bone of contention for overseas airlines in particular. But expansion at both facilities is enabling more slots for international service, as well as the rapid emergence of domestic low-cost airlines. Within five years, traffic at the two airports is expected to rise by 20%. (aviationweek.com)
Low-budget airlines swarm in Japan
UPI - Mar 2, 2012

A new discount airline in Japan, Peach Aviation Ltd., launched its business this week with two more low-cost services soon to follow, industry analysts said. Peach began with flights between Kansai and Nagasaki, Kyodo news reported Friday. Peach, partly owned by All Nippon Airways Co., plans to cut costs by charging for meals, blankets and other extras -- in essence, minimal service for minimal prices. Stressing its no-frills approach, the airline describes its service as "flying trains." Quick on its heels, JAL, the Qantas Group and trading house Mitsubishi plan to launch a low-cost airline in July called Jetstar Japan Co. Not to be outdone, AirAsia Japan Co., another discount service, is expected to open in August. (UPI)

Fiery Nara festival promises to spark some good luck for its visitors
Japan Times - Mar 2, 2012

Shuni-e, a ceremony consisting of a series of rituals that have celebrated the coming of spring for over 1,000 years, will take place at Nara's Todai-ji Temple this month. The rituals are performed to bring good fortune to all of those who visit. During the two-week-long event, the Otaimatsu (fire ceremony) will be performed. Visitors gather in the temple's Nigatsu-do Hall after sunset and wait for a priest to emerge on the balcony above. The priest then holds out torches over the crowd, who touch the sparks that fall from those torches to receive good luck. On the final day, the last ritual to take place is the Omizutori (water ceremony). The temple's priest draws water from a well in the temple that only fills up during this time of year and passes it to visitors. (Japan Times)

Walk me through Japan
Wall Street Journal - Mar 2, 2012

In the suburbs of Nakatsugawa, about 300 kilometers west of Tokyo, a wooden signboard carries notices of the kind common in travelers' haunts across Asia, such as the right prices to pay for porters and transport. But in famously orderly Japan, where crime against visitors is almost unknown, it's a surprise also to see warnings against muggers and drug dealers. But these notices are merely reproductions of edicts from the Tokugawa shoguns once in control of traffic on Japan's ancient Nakasendo, a footpath-highway between Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo). Their relevance expired 150 years ago along with the shogunate itself, but some sections of the old route have remained unchanged since its creation in the 17th century. (Wall Street Journal)

Cherry blossom festivals a rite of spring
CNN - Mar 1, 2012
(Flower lovers will know spring has arrived in the nation's capital when cherry blossoms
adorn the Tidal Basin and surrounding sites such as the Washington Monument.)

It was a simple ceremony on the northern bank of Washington's Tidal Basin, attended by only a few people. First lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador to the United States, planted two Yoshino cherry trees, part of a gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the United States. One hundred years later, those two trees -- still standing -- and thousands more will be at the center of Washington's annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, starting March 20 and continuing through April 27. Diplomats still honor the friendship symbolized by the gift of the cherry trees. At press conference Thursday, Kazuhide Ishikawa, the charge d'affaires of the Embassy of Japan, emphasized his country's commitment to "deepening our bond and friendship for another 100 years." (CNN)

Doll displays celebrate Japan's girls
Japan Times - Mar 2, 2012
(Welcome to the doll house: Visitors look at a hina doll display at Konosu City Hall.)

Japanese families have traditionally used dolls to decorate their homes ahead of March 3 Girls' Day celebrations. Known as the hina matsuri (doll festival) it's a time to pray for the health and welfare of the nation's daughters. If you don't have hina dolls in your home, don't worry. You can still take part in the tradition if you head out to Konosu, Saitama Prefecture. Konosu, which has a history as a doll-making center that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), vows to impress visitors with its gigantic set made up of a 31-step, red-carpeted staircase decked with 1,807 traditional ornamental dolls. (Japan Times)

Budget airline Peach launches in Japan
BusinessWeek - Mar 1, 2012

Peach Aviation Ltd., backed by All Nippon Airways Co. (9202), began flights in Japan today, becoming the first of three budget carriers to start operations in the country this year. The debut Peach service took off from Osaka's Kansai International Airport at 7:17 a.m. today, headed for Sapporo, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The Osaka-based airline is selling tickets for less than a third of the price offered by full-service carriers ANA and Japan Airlines Co.

The carrier is offering one-way tickets to Sapporo for as little as 4,780 yen ($59) including tax on April 1. JAL and ANA tickets the same day for the almost two-hour trip cost from 16,000 yen. (BusinessWeek)

Tokyo Sky Tree construction work finished
Asahi - Feb 29, 2012

After a two-month delay caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, construction on the 634-meter Tokyo Sky Tree was completed on Feb. 29. Obayashi Corp., which was in charge of the project in Tokyo's Sumida Ward, plans to hand over the tower to Tobu Tower Sky Tree Co. later in the day. Work on the tower started in July 2008. In March 2010, Tokyo Sky Tree became the tallest tower in Japan when its height exceeded the 333 meters of Tokyo Tower. In March 2011, Tokyo Sky Tree was recognized as the tallest tower in the world, topping the 600-meter Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China. (Asahi)

Across Japan with just a smartphone for money
telegraph.co.uk - Feb 27, 2012
(Michael Fitzpatrick had no trouble at the station - an Oyster-like
system has been operating for years on all Tokyo trains)

Over 70 million people in Japan own tap-and-go phones, and their use is on the rise. The country's rulers and other vested interests have pushed the new technology hard so a robust network is now in place. However, despite the availability of this technology, this is still a country that loves cash - and plastic cards, particularly the dreaded foreign visa/debit card, can be looked on askance. So where better to set a challenge to test this new payments set-up? Could I get from one side of Japan to the other and survive, if not thrive, while packing no plastic or cash, just my trusty keitai mobile? The first test is a taxi to the railway station. This was easy, as most of Japan's cabbies carry an e-wallet reader and require no tip. Ditto the station, where an Oyster-like system has been operating for years on all Tokyo trains. I just swiftly pass my glossy, AU smartphone over the gate as I go. (telegraph.co.uk)

Michelin crowns three-star French restaurant as Japan leads
BusinessWeek - Feb 27, 2012

Michelin today awarded a third star to one more restaurant in France, taking the total to 26 in the home of the guide, which drops further behind Japan for top- rated establishments. The new accolade goes to Flocons de Sel, housed in a chalet in the mountains of Megeve, in the Rhone-Alpes region of southeastern France. Chef Emmanuel Renaut is known for modern seasonal dishes such as a mille-feuille made with vegetables. Ten more restaurants were awarded a second star, taking the total to 83, and 58 gained their first, making 485. The 26 three-star total compares with 32 in Japan: 17 in the Tokyo region and 15 in the west of that country. Japan took the lead last year, when it had 26 three stars, versus 25 in France. (BusinessWeek)

Japan hopes for record numbers of Singaporean tourists
Tokyo Times - Feb 27, 2012

Japanese authorities intend to set a new record of tourists coming in from Singapore and organized a special campaign centered on Japanese food to achieve the goal. Hida beef, seasonal fruits, Hitomebore rice and other specialties are displayed at Japan's booth at the three-day tourism fair Singapore Expo, as part of the national campaign "Japan Next" which is trying to get foreign tourists back to Japan. The Japanese government is hoping to attract up to 200,000 tourists from Singapore this year, which would be a new record. The previous high , 180,000 tourists, was reached in 2010, before the natural disasters which caused a dramatic drop of Japan's tourism industry. (Tokyo Times)

Fun dining at Japan's street food stalls
guardian.co.uk - Feb 25, 2012

Japan is famed for its elaborate fine dining, but tough economic times means that street-food culture is flourishing in cities such as Kyoto and Tokyo. Street food has never flourished in Japan. The Japanese still see it as rude to eat on the go. But that's starting to change. Sushi started as Tokyo street food, and the best places to eat it are still down by the city's Tsukiji fish market. At one tiny stall, with four stools, I tried chirashi - "scattered sushi". It was the off-cuts of the sushi (mine arrived with salmon, tuna and salmon roe) artfully presented on a donburi. A Tokyo speciality, and - right on the doorstep of Tsukiji - the freshest leftovers I've ever tasted. The best places for ramen - the delicious Japanese noodle dish - are also on the squares down by the fish market. Inoue for instance (4-9-16 Shin Ohashi Dori, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo), serves a light ramen based on chicken stock - a real treat to eat among the shoppers and market workers. (guardian.co.uk)

Japan's Sky Tree tower gets its own promotional perfume
BBC - Feb 22, 2012
(The Tokyo Sky Tree was named by a public vote)

As Japan's tallest tower nears completion, the Tokyo Sky Tree is being promoted with a new perfume. Cosmetics company Shiseido will release Tokyo Sky Tree Parfum as a limited run of 634 bottles, matching the tower's 634 metres. The tower, the tallest in the world, is due to be completed this month and opened to the public in May. The tower will carry TV signals for some of the country's major broadcasters. It will have two observations decks open to the public. It was certified as the tallest freestanding tower by Guinness World Records in November 2011 after overtaking Guangzhou's Canton Tower. Other promotional activities include the creation of a children's character known as "Sorakara-chan". (BBC)

What to do in Kyoto
New Zealand Herald - Feb 22, 2012

It's quitting time in Japan and I am facing a great wave of humanity determinedly descending the train station steps at Kyoto. So many people come at me over the next few minutes, it proves impossible to turn against the crowd to get just metres away to my own platform. What a welcome. The crowds should not have been too surprising, though. Bustling and historic Kyoto is Japan's seventh largest city, on the central island of Honshu, and offers many fascinating places to visit. Twenty per cent of the nation's treasures are found here. Navigating my way around the streets the next day by hired bike, it occurs to me that a great deal of these treasures must be the well-looked-after temples I am passing. The ultra-efficient trains offer a speedy means of getting to and fro for commuters (the commercial centre of Osaka is just half an hour away) but biking is a great way for tourists to cover a lot of ground at leisure. Given that Kyoto appears to be dead flat, the terrain accommodates even the laziest or unfit of riders. (New Zealand Herald)

Japan's island paradise Okinawa expands EV role in eco-tourism
theautochannel.com - Feb 22, 2012

The name Okinawa means "rope in the open sea," and the island archipelago in southern Japan offers tropical beauty that lassos in more than 5 million tourists annually. Over the past year, the Japanese prefecture has offered a new lure for visitors: Nissan LEAF electric cars. Setting its island-style pace aside, Okinawa touts one of the country's most aggressive EV infrastructures, with 220 Nissan LEAF rental cars and 27 quick-chargers at 18 locations. Starting this month, Nissan and JTB Travel are jointly offering a tablet application called "Camploo - Okinawa! Campaign 2012". The app highlights spring training activities for some of Japan's most popular baseball teams. (theautochannel.com)

Some like it hotter
Sydney Morning Herald - Feb 20, 2012

One of Japan's four main islands and the most southerly, Kyushu was, until recently, somewhat overlooked as a tourist destination, a Cinderella to the more obvious attractions of the main island of Honshu. But travellers are beginning to go further afield: enthusiasts come here in search of the Imari and Arita pottery the area is famous for, while the more energetic go hiking, cycling and climbing. True hedonists visit the villages where rotenburo - open-air, natural hot-spring pools - bubble from the volcanic earth, drawing visitors from all over Japan and, increasingly, from abroad. Aso Station is the closest the train gets to the area; from here, I join locals on a bus that trundles for about an hour around zigzag bends into the mountains through a thick, white mist to Kurokawa Onsen, a spa village in a steep valley. Sanga Ryokan is set on the hillside, several buildings scattered among the trees. Streams tumble over boulders and find a dozen paths down the hill. Mayu, the charming, kimono-clad daughter of the house, is the sole English speaker. (Sydney Morning Herald)

A trip to southern Japan, where the ancient weaves through the modern
northjersey.com - Feb 18, 2012
The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto is a Zen Buddhist temple, one of many UNESCO
World Heritage sites scattered throughout an otherwise modern city.)

Our gondola car crested a mountaintop and - suddenly - Mount Fuji appeared before us. We let out an involuntary "aah" as the car swung over a deep valley. After staring at the snow-topped Fuji, Japan's tallest mountain, for a minute or two, we looked to the valley below, where lazy plumes of sulfuric steam escaped from fissures in a volcanic mountainside. The gondola ride over the mountain was one of the peak experiences of my recent nine-day trip to Japan with my children, both students in their early 20s. Last spring's earthquake and tsunami, which devastated northeastern Japan, cut foreign tourism by an estimated 30 percent in 2011, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. But traveling through the southern part of the country - from Tokyo in the east to Hiroshima in the west - we saw no effects of the disaster. Instead, we got a taste of the way Japan weaves modern innovations into a centuries-old culture, as we savored a variety of sights and experiences. (northjersey.com)

By TS on Mar 5, 2012
Bookmark and Share

tag : Cool_Japan



Sponsored Link
Sponsored Link
The Latest Articles
Monthly Archives
Sopnsored Link
Sponsored Link
Link List
Free Area
Link Area
ONLINE Counter
Latest Comments
Latest Trackback




Author:T. SATOH