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Hakone: One of the first and best tourist spots

Hakone: One of the first and best tourist spots
Asahi - Sep 18, 2010 

For centuries Hakone served as way station for travelers between the eastern and western parts of the country. It was also the site of a roadblock manned by shogunate troops. They served a dual purpose--keeping firearms out of the capital of Edo and keeping the wives and daughters of feudal lords in. The women were held hostage to guarantee the loyalty of the provincial warlords, a system that remained in place until the Meiji Restoration in the second half of the 19th century. (Asahi)
(The trails in Sengokuhara highlands in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, are a major draw.)

Shedding some light on shadows
Japan Times - Sep 17, 2010
News photo
(On screen: Jiro Takamatsu's "Shadow" (1977) uses different light intensities
to emphasize shadows of human figures.)

What follows you around nearly everywhere but you never notice? It may sound like a joke from a Christmas cracker but the answer is, of course, your shadow. Not only shadows of the human figure, but also shadows of trees, buildings and everyday objects surround us all the time - though we barely notice them. The National Art Center, Tokyo's current exhibition, simply titled "Shadows," aims to encourage museum-goers to be more aware of shadows in art, and perhaps also in life, by exploring the work of 100 artists from different periods and cultures working in various media. (Japan Times)

Essential guide to Kyoto
Sydney Morning Herald - Sep 12, 2010

Kyoto has a bundle of monthly markets. A small fair, laden with traditional Japanese curios, including ceramics and kimonos, is held on the grounds of To-ji temple on the first Sunday of each month (1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku). On the 21st, the same venue hosts the sprawling Kobo-san bric-a-brac market, where a raft of art, clothes, pottery, food and second-hand bits and bobs is up for grabs. On the 15th, Chion-ji temple (103 Tanaka-monzen-cho, Sakyo-ku) holds Tezukuri-ichi market — home to an amazing range of handcrafted jewellery, toys and furniture. Tenjin-san market offloads exquisitely preserved old ornaments, wood prints and tea ceremony paraphernalia at Kitano Tenman-gu shrine on the 25th day of the month (Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-ku). (Sydney Morning Herald)

Tokyo, Japan: guide to climbing Mount Fuji
telegraph.co.uk - Sep 11, 2010
Tokyo, Japan: guide to climbing Mount Fuji
('According to legend, Fuji was the abode of a fire goddess who would be jealous of other
women in the vicinity (until 1868 only men were allowed to make the climb)')

The perfectly formed peak of Mount Fuji is notoriously shy, so any sighting has to be counted as a blessing. We got ours when we least expected it - about three quarters of the way up the ash-strewn path that leads to its summit. We - I had somehow persuaded my wife and two teenage children to join me - had just trekked for two hours through the thick forest undergrowth that characterises the lower part of the trail and were beginning to leave behind the heavy mist and cloud that had accompanied us thus far. (telegraph.co.uk)

Visits by foreign tourists to Tokyo fall for 1st time in 2009
AP - Sep 8, 2010

The number of visits by foreign tourists to Tokyo dropped in 2009 for the first time since the Tokyo metropolitan government began compiling such data in 2004, sliding 10.8 percent to 4.76 million, a recent survey showed. The Tokyo government's Tourism Division under the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs attributed the decline to the economic slowdown following the global financial crisis since late 2008 and to the spread of the new H1N1 strain of influenza in the reporting year. (AP)

Holiday and a health check: Nikko woos medical tourists
Yomiuri - Sep 3, 2010

Dokkyo Medical University and the World Heritage-listed Nikko Toshogu shrine are teaming up to help the nation's tourism agencies and hospitals cash in on the growth of medical tourism. The university in Mibu, Tochigi Prefecture, and the shrine in Nikko in the prefecture will jointly establish the International Society of Tourism Medicine (ISTM) to look into ways of attracting people to visit Japan for medical checkups. Every year, about 60,000 foreigners visit Nikko, which counts the shrine and the Kinugawa onsen resort among its top tourist attractions. Hotels in the resort offer medical service packages, which include a hotel stay and a complete medical checkup. (Yomiuri)

By T.S. on Sep 24, 2010
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Author:T. SATOH