There was an election of Tokyo Metropilitan Govenor on Jul.31, and Yuriko Koike has been chosen as the 20th Tokyo Govenor. She is the very first female Tokyo Govenor in the history of Tokyo Metropolice of 70 years (or about 150 year history since the very first year of the modernization of Japan as Edo Metropolice, Tokyo City,and Tokyo Prefecture).
Originally,she was a TV castor and an interpreter of Arabic language, and conducted a lot of coverages and interviews with people in the international community. And she served as a Diet member and Minister of Environment, Minister of National Defense and other cabinet member’s posts for years. Now she is a proponent of the “Non-pole” movement,which is clearing streets of electric poles and put electric wires underground in order to enhance scenic attractions of streets and improve secure and comfortable environments in society. In addition, she made remarks in which she expressed her eagerness of preparing and organizing upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Therefore, some positive changes in tourism- related environments in Tokyo area and circumstances of hosting the huge international sport events in four years may take place from now on.
The popular annual summer event of the fireworks display festival at one of the main rivers of Tokyo, Sumida River was held Jul.30th.
Totally, various fireworks of 20,000 were displayed with various colors and types, some of which were related to sports such as upcoming Olympic games. There were no panic or any accident and visitors there enjoyed the huge summer event.
Tha National Museum of Western Art (NMWA) in Ueno Park in Taito-kum Tokyo was designated as a World Vultural Heritage Site at the UNESCO’s committee in Turkey on Jul.17th.(http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/)
NMWS was establish in 1959 and designed by Le Corbusier ,a Swiss architect who was said to be “the grand master of 20 century’s modern architecture”.
NMWA contains various western art works especially modern or 20 centurys masterpieces and the basic collections are of “Matsukata Collections”. KOjiro Matuskata was a influential business person running major businesses in Meji -early Showa era and collected more than 10 thousand works mainly fron Europe, but some of them were lost in condusions of wars. Still France gave back some of his lost art properties and thus the museum was able to start with old collections. This time, NMWA has become the “first” buildings to be registered as a heritage site, “first” jointly registerated site of more trhan one country (transborder site) ,and “first” such a site in the area of central area of Tokyo (in the scope of the 23 wards of the city). For those remarkable points, the museum is expected to draw attention of a lot of tourists even more from now on.
“Dragon Quest”, the nationwide or even worldwide famousrole playing game series is now celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The first game of Dragon Quest or in “Dorakue”(its Japanese abbreviation),”DQ1” was released in 1986. Since then 10 main games and some spinoff works have been released. And some cartoon ,animation, toy products also have been released and now almost every Japanese knows the game series.
“Dragon Quest Museum”, the special related exhibition to show the history and concept of Dragon Quest will be held Jul.24- Sep.11 at Hikarie Hall in Shibuya Hikarie in Shibuya,Tokyo. (https://dqmuseum.jp/) As a relevant event, the game’s theme music is played as a train melody at the Toyoko lines’ platforms in Shibuya station Jul.5-Sep.12.
The first two days were for business meetings and stage shows and the latter days were for open for public and lay visitors and shows, such as concerts and release of new information about new toy products or TV anime programs.
About 30 toy related businesses,such as toy manufacturers, animation studios, amusement parks, and so forth particiated in the show preparing booths to promote their products and activities. And totally about 160,000 people visited this event.
A tour course in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo has changed its policy and now you don’t have to book prior to the date in advance anymore. The Imperial Household Agency declared and actually started this new policy since this June 25th. (http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/index.html)
Now you can make a on-the-day booking for the tour and the palace started hosting such a tour even on Saturdays (the tour used to be available on only weekdays). In addition, the number and capacity of the tour has increased; a current-day registration is available twice a day for the both of the two tours. One is for the tour in the morning (starts at 10:00am) and the other is for one in the afternoon (starts at 1:30pm). The capacity for current-day registration is 300 people, while that for advance registration is 200 people. One tour takes about 75 minutes. It is supposed this new policy is arranged in order to increase foreign visitors to the palace as a part of promotion of inbound tourism . Actually, about 60% of the visitors to the palace are foreigners. So, the government is pareparing for starting recoreded guiding services coming in various languages as well.
As I wrote in my previous post, some main functions of the Tsukiji Market are going to be relocated to Toyosu in Tokyo, however, a new fish market at the current Tsukiji market area is going to be open on this October 15th. (http://www.tsukiji.or.jp/english/index.html)
The new fish market at Tsukiji will include about 60 intermediate wholesale shops that will keep their business there along with the current outer market with about 400 shops even after the coming relocation as above mentined. Now the Tsukiji market has carried out a new project of promoting its own traditional concepts and business skills called “Tsuki-Waza/ Tsukiji’s crafts and techniques” being created and practiced by the shops there. They host seminars to promote those traditions and techniques as cultural assets of the market as a part of comemmorating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the market area.
Tsukiji market,one of the biggest food markets in the world, is nowadays worldwide famous as the central market of Tokyo dealing fish, vegetables, commodities, and having cafe, restaurants, and stuff. The management of the market declared the market’s opening time for lay visitors to the fish, fruit and vegetable market sections to change. Currently, the opening time is 9:00am and is going to be 10:00am on and from the coming July 1st.
However, the opening time of other facility sections and corners, such as restraurants, sourvenir shops, and others will remain the same as the current one of 9:00am. Some main functions od the market are going to rerelocated to Toyosu this November, so, visiting some sections at the market at Tsukiji is highly advised before the relocation.
Barak Obama, the current US president visited Hiroshima, the very place that the first atomic bomb exploded in human history on May 27th during the period of the G7 Summit held in Ise-Shima as I write in the previous post here. He now has become the very first incumbent US president that visited the historic damaged area in the history after 71 years have passed since the end of WW2.
G7 Summit was held on May 26th and 27th in Ise-Shima area in Mie pref.(http://www.mofa.go.jp/index.html)
The top politicians of the seven countries got together at 10:45 at the entrance to the Ise Shrine, where Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun who is believed to be the highest deity and an ancestor to the Japanese emperors in the Japanese mythology is enshrined. And the top dogs of the states together planted trees in token of the paramount meeting of powers.
The venue of the meeting Ise-Shima has been a very popular tourists’ destination over hundreds of years as a holy area related to the imperial house. Some say Ise-Shima is the spiritual home to the Japanese, and actually a lot of Japanese visit the area for sightseeing or for their religious faith. And main venue of the Summit is in Kashimajima Island that is a small island area known as one mecca of pearl industry of Japan. Some of my relatives live on that island running pearl processing business. All those areas are quite beautiful and worth visiting. The Summit was held for the two days and the politicians discussed the world economy and how they can improve inbalance and disparities and other issues among zones and countries in the world. We hope a lot of people even from outside of Japan come to Ise-Shima to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the historical atmosphere and human industry there.
According to Nikkei’s article on May 27th, picking-your-own farm shops of fruits are becoming more and more popular among foreign visitors especially those who come from Southeast Asian countries.
The article says, you can enjoy picking fruites at those shops withen a certain limited period of time such as 30 minutes or 60 minutes or so during which you can enjoy all- you-can- eat service and after the time you can buy those fruites to go, though service styles vary depending on each shop. The fruites may be strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, grapes, pears, apples, mandrin oranges and so forth. Those fruites are so rare and usually difficult to see in natural or fresh states except for processed or cooked in Southeast Asia, which is the primary reason why those services increasingly attract people from those countries. Those farms shops might be a new eyecatcher for inbound tourism in Japan.
The well-known continual public holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May in Japan, the”Golden Week” is the most popular leisure week on a year. This year 2016, the total number of foreign tourists to Japan in April was about 2,081,800, which is an increase by 18 % compared to the number in the same mounth 2015., according to the official report of JNTO released on May 18th. (https://www.jnto.go.jp/jpn/)
In the GW, not only foreigners but also Japanese people take longer holidays and tend to take travels as well. before the week, the total number of travelers furing the period was estimated to reach about 23860,000. Actually, the number of traveller to or in Kyushu, the northwestern part reduced compared to the number last year due to the Kumamoto Earthquakes on April 14,16 and others, still lthe total number keeps so high.
Hakone Ropeways resumed its service partillay from Togendai station (the ground) to Owakudani station (middle of the mountain) on April 23rd. (http://www.hakoneropeway.co.jp/foreign/en/index.cgi)
The air ropeway service between Togendai-Ubako-Owakudani-Sounzan was partially suspended due to the smoking erupations of the Hakone Mountain in Owakudani area since May 6th 2015 (Togendai-Ubako has been in operation though). However, the erupting situations there now became kind of placated and the line Togendai-Owakudani has been resumed. Still, passengers can’t get on the cargo from Ubako but only from Togendai ,and they are not allowed to get out of the station building at Owakudani. Although there bus services substituting the ropeways are in operation, the buses don’t stop at Owakudani.
And the famous and popular sourvenir of Owakudani, the Black Eggs have now been resumed to be sold since April 29th, as the producing sites of the eggs have become safer. Still, ordinary visitors have not been allowed to get out of the station building there, the black eggs are soled only at the station and places other than the area. The black eggs are believed to be very good to health and if you eat one, your longevity is said to be extended for three years.
Tobu Railway announced its project of adopting classic trains in Kinugawa hot spring resort in Tochigi pref. in next summer 2017(http://www.tobu.co.jp/foreign/en/).
The types of planned trains are SL(steam locomotive) and DL(diesel locomotive). Those old types “retired” from service about 50years ago, but a lot of people still love those good oldies with nostalgic passions. Tobu decided to carry out this reinstatement in order to attract tourists to draw them in Kinugawa overcoming a bad image of the area caused by overflow of the river there last year ue to storms. the trains will run between Shimoimaichi station and Kinugaw-aonsen station (about 12.4km)on KinugawaLine. Each train will have capacity of about 400 passengers and 140 round travels a year at maximum.
The new official emblem design of theupcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020 have been chosen and released on April 25th.
The design is based on Kumi-ichimatsu-mon, a traditional Japanese art design of checkered pattern which became popular and prevalent im the Edo period about 300 hundred years ago. The adopted design was created by an designer Asao Tokoro.
The design consists of various shaped tetragons each of which represents a deffirent culture, nation, people and the total shape represents the diversity and unity of those defferent things and beings. The color is deep blue and the design is thought to be usable for various items and goods such as posters and shirts.