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Escape the heat island to the great outdoors

Getting high in the highlands
Japan Times - Aug 8, 2010

High in the Northern Alps of Japan there are snowfields in August. Up above the tree line, wherever the bare geology dips into cirques, thick blankets of dirty white stretch out between the peaks and jagged ridges like caught clouds. In summer, these mountains are a patchwork of green, white, and exposed tawny rock. In winter, they are meters deep in snow, smoothly fondant-frosted. But in between, in October, crimsoned foliage brocades the slopes and the snowfields have receded to leave only the unmelted slivers of winters past - some centuries old, perhaps - in the shadowed clefts and recesses where erosion and glaciation have incised and ground away the rock. (Japan Times)
Axed railroads signal nostalgia
Japan Times - Aug 8, 2010

The Miyanoharu Line that connected Oita and Kumamoto prefectures in Kyushu was a scenic wonder when it opened along its entire route in 1954, winding for 27 km through mountains and valleys and across no fewer than seven bridges in the town of Oguni in Kumamoto alone. But back when construction of the railroad started in 1935, Japan was gearing up to wage war in China and those beautiful, arched bridges are believed to have been made of concrete reinforced with bamboo instead of steel bars, according to Keisuke Imao, a freelance writer who specializes in railways and maps. (Japan Times)

Hotel in Japan offers a model train in their guest suite
Asia Sentinel - Aug 6, 2010

Some hotels around the world try to lure you in with perks such as free Internet, free continental breakfast or free night stays for repeat customers. One hotel in Japan though, tries to appeal to unique customers by offering something you won't find in most hotel rooms anywhere. That is a model train. The Washington Hotel, located in Akihabara, Tokyo has a room just made for the model train lovers and offers a suite featuring a detailed model train diorama that matches the surrounding neighborhood. Guests are welcome to either bring their own model trains to use on the model set or they can rent some trains from the front desk. (Asia Sentinel)

Escape the heat island to the great outdoors
Japan Times - Aug 6, 2010
News photo
(Park life: A light lunch at Park Side Cafe in Yokohama.)

Al fresco tables are at a premium at this time of year, especially if the view you want is one of leafy nature rather than city traffic or nearby buildings. Add quality food into that equation and the choices narrow even further. However, one place that fits the bill perfectly is Park Side Cafe, down in the Yokohama suburb of Nakamachidai. We first discovered it some seven years ago, when it was still very new, but it has changed little since then. The elegant building - designed by architect Ken Yokogawa, whose offices are on the second floor - nestles among trees and bamboo. (Japan Times)

Setouchi: the art of island hopping
Japan Times - Aug 6, 2010

Japan's Seto Inland Sea, known for its breathtaking vistas and art-filled island of Naoshima, is the site for the inaugural Setouchi International Art Festival until October 31. Also titled as a "100-Day Art and Sea Adventure," about 78 Japanese and internationally recognized artists and art groups are showing a cornucopia of contemporary artworks on seven islands - Naoshima, Teshima, Megijima, Ogijima, Shodoshima, Oshima, Inujima - and the port areas of Takamatsu (on Shikoku Island) and Uno (on Honshu, near Okayama). For Asia, it's a unique, ambitious undertaking, spearheaded by Soichiro Fukutake, an avid art patron and head of Okayama-based Benesse Inc. The Naoshima Fukutake Art Museum Foundation is also involved, with additional backing from local and prefectural governments. (Japan Times)

Haneda offers glimpse of international hub
Japan Times - Aug 3, 2010

Tokyo's Haneda airport unveiled a new passenger terminal Monday that will handle international flights once its fourth runway becomes operational Oct. 21. The new five-story terminal will open the same day. The terminal, with floor space of 154,000 sq. meters, is just across a runway from Terminal No. 1. A station will be built near the new facility so it can be accessed by bus, train and monorail, with travel times from central Tokyo of 15 to 20 minutes. (Japan Times)

Japan's rice field of dreams
CBS - Jul 28,2010

Rice farming has sustained the people of northern Japan's Inakadate village for two thousand years. Today, the ancient rice fields are the source of food and art. Up close, the stalks of rice look like any other found in a rice paddy. CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton reports there are several varieties planted here, each with different colored leaves. Combine them together and an enormous 15,000 square foot image is revealed. Every year, a local art teacher produces a computerized sketch. It's transferred onto a grid, and mapped with thousands of dots. It's then painstakingly recreated - point by point onto the rice field. Then, it's a family affair as villagers of all generations join in to hand-plant each rice shoot. Three months later, the rice field of dreams comes alive in sweeping images. (CBS)

Volcanic tourism: Miyakejima island residents in Japan hope unique landscape will attract visitors
courier-journal.com - Jul 25, 2010
Dead trees lie in a mountain ravine on Japan’s Miyakejima island in June. The island’s Mount Oyama has erupted about every 20 years since 1940, most recently in 2000.  Residents have organized tours of volcanic sites since February.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />(Yomiuri Shimbun via MCT)
(Dead trees lie in a mountain ravine on Japan’s Miyakejima island in June.
The island’s Mount Oyama has erupted about every 20 years since 1940, most recently
in 2000. Residents have organized tours of volcanic sites since February.)

Ten years after serious volcanic activity began on Mount Oyama, located on Miyakejima island in the Izu island chain, residents are trying to utilize the island's dynamic landscape - sculpted by 13 eruptions over 500 years - to attract tourists and revitalize the community. Volcanic activity has mostly waned since beginning in earnest on June 26, 2000, and residents began returning five years ago. However, emissions of volcanic gas continue, and damage caused by eruptions can still be seen in parts of the landscape. In Miyakemura village, steel bars from a ruined building stand high, and part of a car buried in volcanic ash can be seen underfoot. (courier-journal.com)

'Totoro's home' reopens as park
Japan Times - Jul 26, 2010
News photo
(On location: A restroom facility in a park that opened Sunday in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, has been
modeled to look like the Totoro home in Hayao Miyazaki's movie "Tonari no Totoro" ("My Neighbor Totoro").)

A well-known property in Tokyo dubbed "Totoro's home" reopened as a park Sunday based on a sketch by Hayao Miyazaki, creator of the popular character in the 1988 animated film "Tonari no Totoro" ("My Neighbor Totoro") who cherished the spot filled with trees and plants. There are more than 100 kinds of plants on the 840-sq.-meter property in Suginami Ward, and components from the house that once stood there before it burned down, including red roof tiles, were used for a restroom facility, a local official said, referring to efforts to create an atmosphere that would make visitors feel Totoro would live there. (Japan Times)

By T.S. on Aug 19, 2010
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tag : Japan Travel



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Author:T. SATOH