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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Japan News This Week 31 January 2016


Japan News.
Japanese End Drought in Sumo Wrestling, Their National Sport
New York Times

Ford pulls out of Japan and Indonesia

Japan begins work on 'world's largest' floating solar farm

In Philippines visit, Emperor asks youth to keep memories of World War II alive
Japan Times

Muddy River
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Japan's most notorious yakuza organized group is in deep decline. Membership has fallen below 10,000 in the Yamaguchi-gumi, the Kobe-based and nation's largest mafia group. In the early 1960s, membership topped 50,000.

An internal split in the Yamaguchi group last summer - a breakaway group in Nagoya took members from the main organization in Kobe - resulted in the drastic decrease.

What this portends for pubic safety remains to be seen.

Source: Asahi Shinbun

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, January 29, 2016

Capt.Line Ferry


The Capt.Line is a high-speed ferry service that shuttles between the Kaiyukan West Pier at Osaka's Kaiyukan Aquarium and Universal City Port at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Citywalk Osaka.

Capt.Line Ferry in Osaka, Japan.

The one way fare for an adult (classed here as an over 12 year old) is 700 yen with the return fare 1,300 yen. Visitors can buy a combined ticket with the boat fare and entrance to the Kaiuyukan for 2,700 yen for persons over 16.

The crossing takes just 10 minutes and sailings begin usually at 9.15am from Universal City Port
 and 9.30am except in December when the first boat is at 9.45am from Universal City Port and 10am from the Kaiyukan.

Check the Capt.Line website for further details and exact sailing times.

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Imperial Palace Sakurada Moat Repairs


For the past few days, the Sakurada Moat (Sakuradabori in Japanese) of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo has had a barge floating in it loaded with all sorts of construction-related equipment.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Marunouchi district in background.
The following sign in front of Sakuradamon Gate explained it all: "We're repairing the stone slabs in Sakurada Moat." Looking it up, it seems that this happens every two or three years.

Sakurada Moat repair information board, Imperial Palace.
Information board for the Sakurada Moat repair work
There are numerous moats - 15 to be precise - around the Imperial Palace, excavated during the rule of the first three Tokugawa Shoguns, Ieyasu (1543-1616), Hidetada (1579-1632) and Iemitsu (1604-1651). who inhabited what was then known as Edo Castle.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, plus barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon district in background.
The Sakurada (literally "cherry blossom field") Moat is the moat that goes from about the "6 o'clock" to "9 o'clock" stretch of the perimeter of the Imperial Palace, or, in terms of landmarks, from Sakuradamon Station ("Sakuradamon" meaning "Sakurada Gate," one of the Palace's nine gates) up to about the National Theater of Japan.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with up-close of a barge doing repair work.
Sakurada Moat of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, with Hanzomon and Kojimachi districts in background.
Sakuradamon Gate has a somewhat bloody role in Tokyo history, having been the scene of the assassination of the Chief Minister of State at the time, Ii Naosuke (1815–1860), on March 24 1860 by disaffected samurai who protested his having signed the 1858 Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States, thus opening up Japan further to Western influence.

Sakuradamon Gate was also where a disaffected Korean nationalist tried to assassinate the Emperor on January 9 1932 by throwing a grenade at him.

Anyway - to return to the present - Sakuradamon Moat is currently a scene of great activity, as the photos show, complete with divers.

Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan, with two divers doing repair work.
Divers in Sakurada Moat, Imperial Palace, Tokyo, doing repair work on the stone walls of the moat.
© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Toyama Starbucks

The large glass branch of Starbucks overlooking the water at Fugan Canal Kansui Park in Toyama was voted the world's most attractive Starbucks by design in 2008.

Toyama Starbucks at Fugan Canal Kansui Park.

Visitors can gaze out over Tenmon Bridge from either behind the large glass windows or from the outdoor terrace. The store is a wireless hotspot.

Fugan Canal Kansui Park is a short walk north from Toyama Station.

Toyama Starbucks, Toyama Prefecture, Hokuriku, Japan.

Kansui Park Starbucks
Kansui Park, 5 Toyama Fugan Canal
Toyama-shi, Toyama Prefecture 930-0805
Tel: 076 439 2630
Hours: 8am-10.30pm

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Matsuyama-shi Station


Matsuyama-shi Station (aka Matsuyama City Station or "shieki") is the other major railway station in Matsuyama city in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku along with JR Matsuyama Station.

Matsuyama-shi Station, Matsuyama, Shikoku, Japan.

Matsuyama-shi Station is nearer to the center of town and its attractions including Matsuyama Castle and is a much more imposing structure than JR Matsuyama Station as it is built into a large Takashimaya department store with a Ferris Wheel on top and the underground shopping arcade Matsuchika Town below. Matsuyama-shi Station is also the older of the two stations having opened in 1888.

Matsuyama City Station is the terminus for rail, tram, and bus services of Iyo Railway (Iyotetsudo), the first private railway company to operate on Shikoku and the third private railway to run trains in Japan.

Matsuyama-shi Station in Matsuyama city, Shikoku Island.

Matsuyama-shi Station has Iyotetsudo trains running on three lines. The 9.4km Takahama Line to Takahama, the 13.2km line to Yokogawara and the 10.7km Gunchu Line to Gunchuko (Gunchu Port).

Matsuyama City Station is also a station on three of Iyotetsudo's five tram lines that circuit the city. The next stop from Matsuyama City Station, Minami-Horibata is on all five lines. The lines are 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. There is no line 4, as 4 is considered an unlucky number.

Highway buses also run from outside Matsuyama City Station to Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuyama, Kochi, Takamatsu and Tokushima. Local Iyotetsudo buses run within the city.

Iyotetsudo also operates the Botchan Ressha, a tourist steam train that runs out to Dogo Onsen. The small steam engines were imported from Germany and were in use from 1887 to 1954. They have now been reintroduced as a tourist attraction and are called Botchan as they are mentioned in Natsume Soseki's novel of that name.

Botchan Steam Train Matsuyama, Shikoku
Iyotetsudo also has airport limousine buses to Matsuyama Airport (410 yen; 23 minutes) and Matsuyama Tourist (Ferry) Port (510 yen; 26 minutes). A one day tram pass is 500 yen.

Iyotetsu Route Map (showing tram, rail and bus routes)

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sapporo Snow Festival 2016


The Sapporo Snow Festival begins on February 5th and runs until February 11th again this year, with snow slide and snow rafting activities continuing this year at the Tsudome Community Dome site until February 18th.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2016, Hokkaido.

This year is the 67th Sapporo Snow Festival, which has its origins back in 1950 when local high school students made six impromptu snow and ice sculptures in the city's Odori Park. In 1955, the Japanese Self Defense Forces helped out to make the large ice sculptures seen today.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010

The main venues to see the ice and snow sculptures are: Odori Park, Tsudome Community Dome and Susukino - the major entertainment and commercial area of Sapporo, south of Sapporo Station. The sculptures at Odori Park are illuminated until 10pm every evening, while those in Susukino continue lit until 11pm.

Among this year's over 200 ice sculptures are ice replicas of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Rail Line due to open on 26 March 2016, plus other attractions in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region of Japan including the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouses and pentagon-shaped Goryokaku fortress in Hakodate, the Nebuta Festival in Aomori, Hirosaki Castle and the Enburi folk dance in Hachinohe.

Internationally-themed ice sculptures include the Globe Theatre in London where William's Shakespeare's plays were performed. From Taiwan there are sculptures of The Queen's Head rock in Yehliu Geopark in Wanli District in New Taipei City and the Pingxi Police Box, a modern new attraction that is lit with 1000's of LEDs. Another large ice sculpture captures the magnificent facade of the former Jesuit Cathedral of Sao Paulo in Macau. Finally don't miss the ice sculptures of popular characters from the anime series Dragon Ball Super.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010

As well as the amazing ice sculptures, other entertainments include an "Ice Queen" contest in Susukino, an international ice sculpture festival with around a dozen teams from such nations as USA (Hawaii & Portland), Korea (Daejeon), Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Finland, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Poland, snow slides, ice mazes and lots of great Hokkaido food and drink such as hot potatoes, seafood and Sapporo ramen.

Around 2 million visitors are expected to attend this year's event. 2.4 million attended the Sapporo Snow Festival in 2014.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2016 (Official Site in Japanese, Chinese, Korean & English)
Tel: 011 211 2376

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010
© JapanVisitor

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The Japanese Spa: A Guide to Japan's Finest Ryokan and Onsen

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Japan News This Week 24 January 2016


Japan News.
Japan Economy Minister Fights Accusations of Selling Favors
New York Times

Japan plans certification scheme for chefs abroad

Star of dolphin-hunting film The Cove to be deported from Japan

Takata air-bag recalls expand after 10th death reported
Japan Times

Battle Stations—Okinawa in 2016
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


In Japan, "the number of people who filed applications for asylum in 2015 jumped nearly 50 percent to a record 7,586, but the government recognized only 27 refugees, the Justice Ministry said Friday."

That is a 0.0035% success rate.

Source: Japan Times

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is Akihabara getting more customer friendly?


Akihabara, Tokyo, by night.
Akihabara by night
Akihabara is an area of Tokyo that showcases much of what has made Japan successful. Forget about cars for a minute (which are all about the city of Nagoya), and Akihabara rules with its emporiums and specialist stores dedicated not only to the electronic goods and home appliances that Japan began excelling in in the 1960s, but also to the games and manga-related goods that have given Japan a "cool" sheen over the past couple of decades.

The manga-related aspect, in particular, of Akihabara draws hordes of young customers who know all they need to know about the products they're after before they go there and for whom the careful, conscientious kind of service that their parents might look for is not as important as price.

With little demand for department-store-style service, Akihabara is therefore marked by a distinct lack of it, with service - even in most of the emporiums - marked by half-heartedness, distractedness and brusqueness.

However, over the past year and a half I think I have come to notice some changes. One major change that anyone can notice is the huge increase in the number of customers from China.

Akihabara, Tokyo, by night, with Sofmap at right.
Akihabara by night, with Sofmap at right.
Even for tourists from mainland China, buying goods in Japan and taking them home is often a cheaper option than buying them in China, and the vaunted quality of Japanese products is another big selling point. So, like the nearby classy shopping street of Ginza, Chinese is just as much heard on Akihabara's streets as Japanese. And with that, the number of stores in Akihabara with Chinese-speaking staff has also increased markedly.

This is just as well for Akihabara, because, like bricks and mortar stores everywhere, they are feeling the effects of online competition, with stores attracting fewer Japanese customers.

With a need to create a reputation among Chinese buyers, and the need to attract Japanese customers who are generally more inclined to shop from home, all-round levels of customer-friendliness also seem to be rising in what was once "take it or leave it" Akihabara. There is less passive aggression, less brusqueness of manner, more attentiveness and more conscientiousness.

Sofmap is one big Akihabara chain that has mostly been an exception to the area's reputation for bad service. Service at Sofmap stores has generally been good from as far back as I can remember, but other stores, including Sofmap's biggest competitor in Akihabara, seem to be pulling their socks up too when it comes to service

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Matsuyama Station


Matsuyama Station in Matsuyama, Ehime, Shikoku is on the JR Yosan Line from Takamatsu Station in Takamatsu. The Shiokaze Express runs through to Okayama on Honshu and takes three hours. Ishizuchi Express trains to Takamatsu take two hours and 30 minutes approximately.

From Matsuyama Station trains run south east to Uwajima.

Matsuyama Station, Shikoku.

Iyotetsu trams run from outside the station to Matsuyamashi Station. There are a number of hotels near Matsuyama Station including the Hotel Sunroute Matsuyama, Business Hotel Mimachi, Guest House CasablancaTerminal Hotel Matsuyama and the New Kajiwara Hotel.

Matsuyama Castle in Shiroyama Park is directly west of Matsuyama Station. Take an Iyotetsu Line tram to the Keisatsucho-mae stop for the ropeway.

Matsuyama Station, Shikoku.

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dobuchi Strait Shodoshima


There is something quite appealing about trivia of superlatives: the biggest, the longest, the fastest, etc. For me at least, these little factoids tend to accumulate in my memory.

Dobuchi Strait Shodoshima.

Of course the biggest and best source for such matters is the famous Guinness Book of World Records, and on my recent visit to the island of Shodoshima, the second biggest island in the Seto Inland Sea, I was able to see one natural feature holding a world record, the narrowest navigable strait in the world, Dobuchi Strait.

Dobuchi Strait Shodoshima.

At first glance on a map Shodoshima appears to be a single island, but is in fact two. The main town of the island is actually spread across two islands, Shodoshima and Maejima. Separating the two is Dobuchi Strait.

The length is about 2.5 kilometers, but the channel narrows to less than ten meters in the middle of the town, less than many rivers. This narrow section has a series of tubular steel arches over it and at night is illuminated. For a 100 yen fee you can go the nearby Town Hall and receive an official certificate commemorating your "crossing" of the strait.

 559-2 Ko, Tonosho-cho, Shozu-gun, Kagawa-ken 761-4192

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Japan News This Week 17 January 2016


Japan News.
Creating a Cuteness Empire in Japan, One Fuzzy Bear Suit at a Time
New York Times

Japan gripped by fate of pop group SMAP

American author's striking account of Chinese guerilla warfare

Japan ‘sponsorship money’ to IAAF may have swayed 2020 Games bid decision: report
Japan Times

Reclamation, Licensing, and the Law: Japan’s Courts Take Up the Henoko Base Issue
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Kyoto is among many things a college town. At its 26 colleges and universities, there are 143,172 students, or roughly 10% of the population of the city. That is the highest number of students of any Japanese city.

The number two city is Nagoya, which has 96,108 students.

Bronze medal goes to Yokohama with 82,517. Both of those cities are larger than Kyoto in terms of population.

Source: Asahi Shinbun

Criminal offenses in Japan continue to plummet. The total of such offenses in 2015 was 1,099,048, which was a 9.3% decrease from the previous year. It is also the lowest total since the of World War II.

The crime occurrence rate - number of reported crimes per 1,000 people - fell to a record low of 8.65. In 2002, it was 22.39.

Source: Jiji Press

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Iwantosuru, iwanbakari - the unspoken in Japanese

言わんばかりに 言わんとする

 The Japanese like to think of themselves as a particularly intuitive people when it comes to communication, relying as much, or more, on subtle visual cues as on spoken words, and on implied meanings as on explicit statements.

Two phrases that reflect this attitude are iwantosuru 言わんとする and iwanbakari いわんばかり. (The "i" of "iwan" is the kanji 言, which refers to speech, speaking, saying. iu 言う is the verb "to say." The negative form of the verb is iwanai 言わない, and iwan 言わん is an abbreviation of that, dropping the final "ai.")

iwantosuru means what one is trying to say, which, as we all know, is not what necessarily comes across to the other person. What we are trying to say may not be conveyed for one of several reasons: poor choice of words on the speaker's part, poor understanding on the listener's part, or ambient factors such as noisiness. All of these are covered by iwantosuru.

Iwantosuru koto wa wakaranai.
(I) don't know what (you're) saying/trying to say.

Boku no iwantosuru koto o sakijinte itta.
He came out with what I was trying/going to say before I even said it.

Then there is the similar phrase, iwanbakari 言わんばかり, which refers to even more intuitive communication, i.e., reading people's physical cues without their necessarily having said anything at all. iwanbakari can be translated as "as if to say; as much as to say; as though." For example:

Ai shiteiru yo to iwanbakari ni me o mite kureta.
He looked me in the eye as if to say he loved me.

Kaere to iwanbakari ni taiou sareta.
I was as good as told to leave.

So, the next time you're not sure what to say in Japanese, just iwanbakari ni itte yo (say it without saying it)!

More about learning the Japanese language.

© JapanVisitor.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kochi Station


Kochi Station in Kochi city in Shikoku is a train station on the JR Dosan Line. The JR Dosan Line runs from Tadotsu Station in Kagawa prefecture, which connects with the Yosan Line and Seto-Ohashi Line for services to Kurashiki and Okayama on Honshu and Kubokawa Station in western Kochi prefecture.

A direct Nanpu express train from Okayama to Kochi takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Kochi Station, Shikoku.

To your right as you exit Kochi Station is one terminus of the Tosaden Kotsu Sanbashi Line, a tram (streetcar line) which runs 3.2km south to Sanbashi-dori-go-chome and is useful for getting to Kochi Castle and the downtown area of Kochi.

Kochi Station, Shikoku.

There are a number of affordable hotels near Kochi Station including the Kochi Pacific Hotel, the Comfort Hotel Kochi and the Hotel Mintoya. Staying in this area allows easy access to the streetcar and JR trains.

Kochi Station, Shikoku.

© JapanVisitor.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Misaki Guest House Shodoshima


Misaki is a traditional minshuku located on the waterfront in the fishing village of Furue in the south east of Shodoshima Island. The eight guest rooms are located in a fairly new but traditional house with dining room and bathrooms in the building right next door where the proprietors live.

Misaki Guest House Shodoshima, Kagawa.

The rooms are spacious and clean and include the standard facilities: telephone, TV, hot water for tea and yukata etc. Toilets and washing areas are on both floors. There is wifi in the next building that can be reached from the entrance hall. I stayed sudomari, without meals but they have a good reputation for the food served. The bathrooms are onsen-style, made of stone, and onsen temperature.

Misaki is ideally situated to access the tourist attractions in that part of the island, the 24 Eyes Movie Village is just 4km away, The Soy Sauce District and museum 2km away, and the starting temples of the Shodoshima Pilgrimage are on the nearby mountainside. Sakate Port and its car ferry from Kobe is a 2 minute drive away and the ferry from Takamatsu at Kusakabe Port is a 10 minute drive. The local bus service to all parts of the island is a 2 minute walk.

Misaki Guest House Shodoshima, Kagawa Prefecture.

Misaki Guest House
156-13 Furue, Shozu, Shodoshima, Kagawa 761-4422
Tel: 0879 82 1332

© JapanVisitor.com

Monday, January 11, 2016

Adult's Day 2016


Today is seijin-no-hi or Adult's Day also known as Coming of Age Day. Adult's Day falls on the second Monday in January and is a national holiday in Japan.

Adult's Day or Seijin no Hi.

Coming of Age ceremonies are held in public halls all over Japan for young 20-year-olds reaching adulthood, legally enabling them to marry without their parents' consent, drive, gamble, smoke, drink and other freedoms.

The voting age has been lowered from 20 to 18 and 18-year-olds will vote for the first time in Upper House elections next summer.

Adult's Day or Seijin no Hi.

Young Japanese women parade in their finest kimono while young men wear western suits or occasionally traditional Japanese hakama and haori.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Japan News This Week 10 January 2016


Japan News.
From Japan, With Style
New York Times

Japan tuna nets a high bid at new year Tokyo auction

Great white shark dies after three days in captivity in Japan

Kensuke Miyazaki to become first ever Japanese MP to take paternity leave
(Editor's note: this article fails to note that Miyazaki's paternity leave is for just one month - what many in Japan have called a meaningless political stunt whose only purpose is to further his and his wife's political careers. Moreover, the article's claim that "Currently, women on average earn 70% of a man’s salary for the same work, placing it a lowly 104th out of 142 countries In the World Economic Forum’s 2014 global gender gap index" is true but oversimple. The global gender gap index is compiled using 14 main criteria, one of which is an estimated comparison of income.)

Tokyo joins Washington in doubting Pyongyang H-bomb claim
Japan Times

War Crimes in Japan-Occupied Indonesia: Unraveling the Persecution of Achmad Mochtar 
Japan Focus

Tokyo police use flying net to capture illicit UAVs
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


International ranking of countries in terms of corruptions, 2014. "The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be...This year's index includes 175 countries and territories."

1) Denmark
2) New Zealand
3) Finland
4) Sweden
5) Norway
5) Switzerland
7) Singapore
8) Netherlands
9) Luxembourg
10) Canada
11) Australia
12) Germany
12) Iceland
14) United Kingdom
15) Belgium
15) Japan
17) Barbados
17) Hong Kong
17) USA

43) South Korea

100) China

Source: Transparency International

© JapanVisitor.com

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Takaoka Municipal Museum


The Takaoka Municipal Museum is located in Kojo Park, the old castle area of Takaoka in Toyama prefecture.

Takaoka Municipal Museum, Takaoka, Toyama prefecture.

The three-story Takaoka Municipal Museum, which opened in 1970, has exhibits on the history of Takaoka Castle, famous people from Takaoka city and traditional arts and crafts from the area. Takaoka is particularly well-known for its lacquer work and metal work. The latter symbolized by the Great Buddha of Takaoka which is made from copper.

The museum's mascot is "Toshinaga-kun" after Maeda Toshinaga (1562-1614), the second head of the Kaga domain, who ruled his rich fief from nearby Kanazawa Castle.

Takaoka Municipal Museum, Takaoka, Toyama prefecture

Takaoka Municipal Museum
1-5 Kojyo, Takaoka-shi, Toyama 933-0044
Tel: 0766 20 1572
Admission: free
Hours: 9am-5pm; closed Monday or the next day if Monday is a public holiday.
Access: Take a Kaetsuno bus for Shimin-hospital/Syokuan-mae from JR Takaoka Station on the JR Hokuriku Line and alight at Ote-machi bus stop, from where the museum is a  5-minute walk.

© JapanVisitor.com

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Marunouchi Shuttle Bus


The free Marunouchi Shuttle Bus runs a loop of 13 stops around the Marunouchi area of Tokyo around Tokyo Station from 10am to 8pm. The bus is sponsored by local businesses and runs about every 15 minutes.

Marunouchi Shuttle Bus, Tokyo, Japan.

The shorter Otemachi route (weekdays only) with 6 stops operates from 8am-10pm. Stops on the Marunouchi Shuttle eco-bus include Yusen Biru, Marunouchi My Plaza, Tokyo Kaikan, Daiichi Seimei, Hibiya, Shinkokusai Biru, Mitsubishi Biru, Shinmaru Biru, Tokyo Sankei Biru, Nikkei Biru, Keidanren Kaiken JA Biru, and Yomiuri Shimbun.


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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Hotels Near Toyama Station


There are a number of good hotels near Toyama Station. This is the best place to stay if you wish to explore the Hokuriku region including Takaoka, Kanazawa, Wajima and Gokayama. You are right at the station for buses, trains and rental car outlets for onward exploring.

Relax Hotel, Hotels Near Toyama Station.

Relax Inn Toyama (1-7-22 Sakuramachi, Toyama 930-0003) is an affordable and comfortable business hotel just five minutes from Toyama Station.

Hotels Near Toyama Station, Toyama Prefecture.

APA Villa Hotel Toyamaekimae has flat-screen TV and wired internet access in all its rooms. Other facilities at the APA Villa Hotel Toyamaekimae include a microwave and an ice machine in the public areas. The air-conditioned rooms have a work desk and a fridge.

The Toyama Excel Hotel Tokyu has 210 rooms with in-room flat-screen TVs and free wired internet. Toyama Excel is just a 3-minute walk from JR Toyama Station. It offers massage services and a daily buffet breakfast with fresh fruits.

© JapanVisitor.com

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Japan News This Week 3 January 2016


Japan News.
Japan and South Korea Settle Dispute Over Wartime ‘Comfort Women’
New York Times

'Comfort women': Taiwan tells Japan to extend compensation

The Guardian view on Japan, South Korea and ‘comfort women’: one step towards healing the wounds of the past

Famed Japan scholar Donald Keene, 93, reflects on golden era as he pens works from Tokyo home documents
Japan Times

Forgotten voices from the Great War: the Chinese Labour Corps
Japan Focus

Last Week's Japan News on the JapanVisitor blog


Japan ranks sixth in overall well-being of children, but 21st in material well-being. According to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, "While Japan ranked top in education and behavior and risks in daily life, it ranked tenth in housing and environment, 16th in health and safety and 21st in material well-being. The results demonstrate the extent of child poverty in Japan."

1) Finland
2) Netherlands
3) Denmark
4) Iceland
5) Norway
6) Slovenia
7) Sweden
8) Austria
9) Ireland
10) Switzerland, Germany

14) United Kingdom

22) Japan

29) Bulgaria
30) USA
31) Romania

Source: JFS

© JapanVisitor.com

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy Year of the Monkey 2016


Happy 2016 to all our visitors. It's the Year of the Monkey in 2016. The kanji character for the Year of the Monkey is (猿; saru).

Happy Year of the Monkey 2016.

Other Monkey years are 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944 1932, 1920 and 1908.

Happy Year of the Monkey 2016.

Nengajo or New Year's Cards bearing the image of a sheep will be arriving at homes throughout the country over the next few days as people traditional pay a visit to a shrine (hatsumode) to pray for good fortune in the coming year.

We wish you all a peaceful and healthy 2015.

Happy Year of the Monkey 2016.

© Japan Visitor

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