Sponsored Link


Bookmark and Share

Skis, goggles, hats - and radiation monitors: thousands crowd the slopes during Fukushima's ski season

Skis, goggles, hats - and radiation monitors: thousands crowd the slopes during Fukushima's ski season
telegraph.co.uk - Jan 1, 2012
Coniferous trees are covered with ice and now at Japan's one of the most popular ski resorts
Zao Ski Resort in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.)

It seemed to be a typical festive winter scene, with crowds of smiling skiers of all ages dressed in colourful hats and goggles making their way down snow-covered slopes. But the setting is perhaps less predictable: for the ski scene was unfolding in Fukushima, a region of Japan that has become synonymous globally as home to the world's worst nuclear crisis in decades. Last week, thousands of skiers took to the snow-covered slopes of Fukushima for the official seasonal start of the ski season in resorts across the mountainous region following heavy snowfall. However, there were clues that this was no ordinary ski season - in particular, the daily postings of radiation readings in the region alongside the more standard snow reports as well as the regional authorities monitoring food safety levels. (telegraph.co.uk)
Yakushima seeks environment-tourism balance
Japan Times - Jan 1, 2012
(Hikers walk on wooden steps leading to the Jomon Sugi cedar tree on Yakushima Island
in Kagoshima Prefecture.)
(Visitors take photos of the tree, estimated to be more than 2,000 years old.)

Yakushima Island off Kagoshima Prefecture in 1993 became the country's first natural site to be entered on UNESCO's World Heritage list, together with the Shirakami Mountain Range in northeastern Japan. Known for its many large cedar trees and hot springs, Yakushima is still enjoying a boom in tourism 18 years after registration. The increase in the number of visitors, however, has caused the island's environment to deteriorate, and the local town government has been exploring ways to make tourism compatible with environmental protection. The number of visitors to the famous Jomon Sugi cedar tree on the island's 1,396-meter Mount Miyanoura, the highest peak in the Kyushu region, reached about 90,000 in 2010, a threefold increase from 2000. (Japan Times)

Dream over for free flights to Japan
Wall Street Journal - Dec 27, 2011
(Visitors anxious to see attractions like Japan’s cherry blossoms will have to pony up the cash for their
own flights to the country as the plan to offer 10,000 free flights to Japan has been canceled.)

Back in October, Japan's national tourism agency floated a plan that seemed an ideal remedy to boost flagging visitor numbers in the wake of the March 11 disasters. Free flights to Japan in 2012. A full 10,000 of them. Now, as the country crunches through the detail of tight budget numbers for next year, the hope many had for visiting Japan in 2012 has evaporated into a pipe dream: There won't be any free flights next year, period. The budget for them has not been approved. Whatever tourism authorities thought a good idea, Japan simply can't afford it, the government's budget planners have concluded. The Tokyo-based Japan Tourism Agency didn't sugar-coat the decision in a statement on its website late Dec. 26: "The project titled 'Fly to Japan!' (to offer flight tickets to 10,000 foreigners with high potential to communicate Japan's attractions), which had been covered in a number of media in autumn this year, was not approved as a governmental draft budget of FY 2012." (Wall Street Journal)

Airline passengers face random frisks
Japan Times - Dec 27, 2011
(Grope zone: Passengers wait near a security checkpoint at the international departures
lobby of Narita airport last week.)

The transport ministry is thinking of launching random body searches at international airports in April to bolster counterterrorism measures, airport sources said Sunday. Departing passengers who set off metal detectors during screening are usually asked to submit to a body search. Under the proposed procedure, about 10 percent of all passengers would be randomly selected for body and baggage checks, the sources said. Exactly how people would be searched was not specified. (Japan Times)

Hot springs: From the most luxurious to the simply historic
CNN - Dec 21, 2011
(View from the private bath of a Bettei Senjyuan guest room outside Minakami, Japan)

There's nothing like soaking in the hot springs while soaking in the culture of a place that loves its bathing. If you're traveling first class, why not head to Japan or Iceland to enjoy a country whose people celebrate the waters and can pinpoint their various healing properties? If domestic travel is more your speed and budget, there are delightful natural spas to be had in the United States. And to spend even more time in nature but less in dollars, camping near a historic hot springs may be the way to go. While Japanese ryokans have traditionally served the weary traveler looking for an inn and a soak, some modern ryokans are offering a more luxurious experience. "The finest ryokans are now very refined establishments which are the epitome of Japanese "omotenashi," a spirit of hospitality that takes into account all aspects of the guest's experience," says Japan expert Duff Trimble. One Trimble's favorite ryokans, Bettei Senjyuan, offers more than the opportunity to rest and mingle. Located just outside of the town of Minakami, about two hours from Toyko, Senjyuan has private rooms with outdoor baths, spa treatments and public baths fed from nearby Mount Tanigawa. (CNN)

Will 2012 be the year of the LCC? / New low-cost carriers slash fares on lucrative routes; customers set to win
Yomiuri - Dec 20, 2011

The low-cost carrier (LCC) boom has reached Japan and three such airlines affiliated with All Nippon Airways and Japan Airways are set to begin services in 2012. Looking to create new demand, the LCCs are expected to poach customers from each other flying on the lucrative Sapporo or Fukuoka routes, according to observers. Based at Kansai International Airport, ANA affiliate Peach Aviation will start services in March 2012. The LCC has announced flights from Kansai International and Fukuoka airports will range from 3,780 yen to 11,780 yen for a one-way trip, while flights between Kansai International Airport and New Chitose Airport near Sapporo will range from 4,780 yen to 14,780 yen. The prices will be offered through March 24. Peach Aviation's cheapest tickets will cost less than half those offered by major airlines on the same routes. (Yomiuri)

Festive lights prevail, with restraint
Japan Times - Dec 20, 2011
(All aglow: Trees at the Roppongi Hills complex in Minato Ward, Tokyo, glitter with white and blue
LED lights on Dec. 13. Below, a garden at nearby Tokyo Midtown is covered with blue LED lights.)

Every winter places set themselves aglow with illuminations as part of the festive mood for Christmas and New Year's. Major shopping malls and amusement parks in particular go out of their way to put up dazzling arrays, and in recent years people have likewise taken to decorating their homes and gardens. Illuminations may be widespread now, but the nation does not have a long history of the activity. And while the practice continues to spread, this year is seeing restraints placed on power consumption amid the nuclear crisis and reactor shutdowns at most of the nation's atomic plants. (Japan Times)

Cultures mingle amid Atami's hot springs
Japan Times - Dec 18, 2011
(Different strokes: Among things to see in Atami is the Kiun-Kaku residence built in 1919,
and its garden (above), and the Riviera-style seafront.)

She was on a train from Tokyo to Atami in the summer of 1959 when the English travel writer Ethel Mannin "saw what I had read about and been told about but felt unable to accept until I had seen it for myself." What the mortified Ms. Mannin beheld was the passenger in the seat opposite her stand up, remove his trousers and shirt, and then settle down for the rest of the journey in short underpants and a singlet. Though the days of blithely peeling off layers of clothing on trains may have gone, shedding garments is what Atami is all about. And, given the countless opportunities it offers to soak in its scalding waters, a stay at this major hot-spring resort in Shizuoka Prefecture presupposes a degree of exposure. (Japan Times)

By TS on Jan 4, 2012
Bookmark and Share

tag : Travel



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