Surge In Visitors To Japan Attributed To S. Korean Tourists

Surge in visitors to Japan attributed to S. Korean tourists

The surge of foreign visitors to Japan in the first half of this year to a record 13.76 million is primarily attributable to a rise in South Korean tourists, particularly those arriving on low-cost carriers.

"More young (South Korean) people are enjoying brief personal trips (to Japan) casually using LCCs," said Shin Seo Kyung, deputy director of Korea Tourism Organization's Tokyo office.

Tokyo Aquarium Clinches 'world First' With Flying Penguins Show

Tokyo aquarium clinches 'world first' with flying penguins show

When visitors enter the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district from July 12, they won't believe their eyes at the latest feature--and with good reason, as the "flying penguins" are a clever optical illusion.

The display appears to show penguins flying through the sky, thanks to a strategically placed rooftop water tank that perfectly shows through a view of high-rise buildings and blue sky.

Chichibu Hots Up As Tourist Draw With 'onsen' Hot Spring Park

Chichibu hots up as tourist draw with 'onsen' hot spring park

CHICHIBU, Saitama Prefecture--Visitors arriving here by train don't have to go much farther for a relaxing and fun day out, thanks to an "onsen" theme park directly connected to Seibu Chichibu Station.

Offering hot spring baths, local specialties and souvenirs in one place, Matsuri no Yu, or "festival bath," is a large two-story facility with a total floor space of about 3,700 square meters.

Mario Kart Lookalikes On Public Roads Spur Safety Concerns

Mario Kart lookalikes on public roads spur safety concerns

Convoys of go-karts evoking the hit Nintendo Co. Mario Kart series have become a head-turning sight among Tokyo's traffic, but the rental companies behind the vehicles, with a customer base comprised mostly of foreign tourists, face growing scrutiny over safety concerns.

Rental operators let customers drive often-crowded public roads in the low-slung vehicles while dressed as characters including those from the popular racing video games from the Mario franchise.

Makeover For Manga-covered Kitaro Trains On Way Next Year

Makeover for manga-covered Kitaro Trains on way next year

YONAGO, Tottori Prefecture--The manga-covered Kitaro Train cars running on the JR Sakai Line are to be given a spooky makeover featuring six "yokai" monster illustrations, West Japan Railway Co.'s (JR West) Yonago branch has announced.

The train cars are currently illustrated with characters from the "Gegege no Kitaro" horror manga and anime series including Kitaro, Sunakake-Baba, Konaki-Jiji, Nezumi-Otoko, Neko-Musume and Medama-Oyaji.

Online Poker: Behind The Scenes

Online poker: behind the scenesOnline poker is a phenomenon which has changed the nature of the game forever. It brought poker into the mainstream, allowing easy access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as opposed to a trip to the casino or setting up a physical tournament. In an industry worth £4.5 billion in the UK alone, online poker is a serious money maker for online casinos. So how do they manage to keep current customers interested and entice new players at the same time?

Shimane Silver Mine To Open Danger Zone To Regain Luster

Shimane silver mine to open danger zone to regain luster

ODA, Shimane Prefecture--Deep in a mountain, where falling rocks and sheer drops are constant dangers, lies "the heart" of the former Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine.

This particular area produced the bulk of the silver that made the mine famous around the world centuries ago. And it is here where Oda government officials again hope to turn around the fortunes of the city.

Lisa's In And Around Tokyo: Tomigaya--for Chocolate, It Hits The Sweet Spot Every Time

Lisa's In and Around Tokyo: Tomigaya--For chocolate, it hits the sweet spot every time

Such mysterious names! Bamboo Shoot's Village, Mushroom's Rural Settlement and Small Branch? And, English names that give no hint of the product, like Look, Black Thunder and Koala's March?

Well, Choco Baby, Pocky, and Toppo lend a little connection to its naming as you might be able to imagine the outline of the product. Tirol chocolate? Now we're getting somewhere--finally, a name that conjures up a connection. The Swiss are famous for consuming about 10 kilograms of chocolate per person each year. Wait, the Tirol Alps are in Austria. Well, close enough.

Peach Aviation Plans First Bitcoin Service For Air Travelers

Peach Aviation plans first bitcoin service for air travelers

In a first--and perhaps lonely--attempt in Japan, budget airline Peach Aviation Ltd. plans to let passengers use digital currency bitcoin to buy flight tickets by the end of the year.

Targeting overseas visitors to Japan, Peach Aviation said it will work with BITPoint Japan Co., a Tokyo-based company that runs a bitcoin exchange, to introduce the bitcoin-paying system for the airline's website. The commission is expected to be cheaper than the 440 yen ($3.93) for credit card payments.