The soles of the feet of a 13th-century wooden statue feature gold paint and black-lacquered tenon joints at Hashidera Hojoin temple in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture. (Noboru Tomura)
13th-century statue has gold paint even on soles of its feet
UJI, Kyoto Prefecture--Specialists doing restoration work on a 13th-century wooden statue here got a shock when the Buddhist sculpture was removed from its base. The figure of Jizo surprisingly had gold paint even on the soles of its feet, attesting to the fine detail and craftsmanship of Kamakura Period (1192-1333) artisans.
Shiromaru Dam, constructed in 1963, allows fish to swim up and down a fish ladder that drops some 27 meters over its 330 meters length. (Photo by Lisa Vogt)
Lisa’s Eye on Tokyo: Okutama, an ideal place to get away from city life
In my car I was singing the Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” at the top of my lungs as I swerved left and right up the winding roads of Okutama. Then, an intriguing sign caught my eye. I recognized the two kanji letters. The first was fish and the second was road. Sakanamichi? Fish road?
The top page of Tokyo Shima Meguri Jinja Meguri (Tokyo islands tour shrines tour) (Photo by Akira Fujiu)
Tourism website offers prayer of hope to struggling shrines on southern Tokyo isles
Priest Yasuhiko Matsue is delighted that his shrine, located on Kozushima island in the Izu island chain, has been included on a tourism website promoting local shrines on islands far south of Tokyo.
Aekunijinja shrine in Iga, Mie Prefecture, has handed down the legend of Koka Saburo, who is closely associated with the roots of ninja. (Provided by Guillaume Lemagnen)
FROM AROUND JAPAN/ Mie University: Studying the art of the stealthy ninja
When I heard about Mie University's research program of the traditional Japanese art of ninjutsu in 2012, I jumped on the first plane for Japan.
An artist’s rendition of the sightseeing train “Nagara” (Provided by Nagaragawa Railway Co.)
Gifu spruces up new sightseeing train to get tourism back on track
SEKI, Gifu Prefecture--Intent on firing up the local tourism industry, Nagaragawa Railway Co. will start a new sightseeing train service from spring featuring cars in an eye-catching color and traditional interiors.
Moses Maiga touts for customers at his Moses' Kebab stall in the Ameyoko shopping street in Tokyo's Taito Ward. (Sokichi Kuroda)
Ameyoko offers ethnic food fix amid tourism boom in Tokyo's 'shitamachi' area
When Moses Maiga opened his kebab stall in 2003 in the Ameyoko shopping street in Tokyo's “shitamachi” lower town area, the Ghanaian paved the way for the corner's transformation into a bustling ethnic food market.
From "Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day" ((c) Anohana Project)
Creating heaven on Earth for anime fans with locations tied to favorite films
"Pilgrimages" by anime fans to locations featured in their favorite films and shows are a boon for both local tourist officials and film production studios, and so the two are combining resources to encourage the flourishing trend.
The black castle on a sunny September day (Brittany Partin)
FROM AROUND JAPAN/ Matsue Castle: Nailing down history at the black fortress
Matsue Castle, also known as "Chidori-jo" (Plover castle) as its sweeping roofs resemble a plover bird taking flight, has been the star of many of my scenic photos taken from both near and far.
Nicola, the first restaurant to introduce authentic pizza to Japan after World War II in Roppongi, specializes in a wide range of Italian food. (Photo by Lisa Vogt)
Lisa’s Eye on Tokyo: FUSSA: Where East meets West over pizza and planes
Only the locals and people in the know can read the kanji for Fussa, which literally means “the birth of something lucky.” If someone you know is expecting a baby, a JR ticket from Fussa Station makes for a nice little token. (Token has a double meaning: it can mean ticket, and it can also mean souvenir--perfect, isn’t it?)
The old Shinonome beach of Tokyo’s Koto Ward is inundated with fishing enthusiasts seeking goby and other species in 1961. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
TOKYO NOW AND THEN: A new land reels in its fishing past
It was once fish and the scent of the ocean, and not concrete, that was the dominant feature of the Ariake district of Tokyo's Koto Ward.
Participants on a Crucycle tour of Tokyo look at the iconic Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward. (Louis Templado)
2020 Olympics drives change in Tokyo guided bike tours
Tokyo is gearing up for the world’s biggest sporting event with a host of initiatives to satisfy tourists’ demands, the latest being Crucycle, a new boat and bike guided tour.
The "shunga" exhibition at the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo has been drawing big crowds since September. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Edo Period erotic art draws huge, excited crowds in Tokyo
There were as many women as there were men and a significant number of couples. Some were silent, deeply absorbed in the art, while others were giggling and chatting excitedly.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum ranked as most popular in Japan for 2nd year in row
HIROSHIMA--TripAdvisor, the U.S. website that presents tourist reviews, selected the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum as the top museum in Japan for the second straight year.
You can enjoy even more peace and quiet at Oze National Park in early September as it is then less crowded. (Ashly Schanback)
FROM AROUND JAPAN/ Oze National Park: Oozing love for Oze's natural beauty
I can't get enough of Oze National Park, or what is affectionately and simply known as Oze.
An Eizan Electric Railway Co. (Eiden) train runs at a slow speed through the “maple tunnel” on the night of Nov. 16 in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Nighttime Kyoto train runs through fiery 'tunnel’ of red maples
KYOTO--Passengers aboard the Eizan Electric Railway Co. (Eiden) train here were treated to a seasonal trip through an illuminated “tunnel” of autumn leaves on the evening of Nov. 16.
Dressed as their favorite characters from anime and video games, cosplayers join the Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival on Oct. 31. According to the organizers, about 14,000 cosplayers participated in the two-day event that ended Nov. 1. (Takayuki Kakuno)
Tokyo's Ikebukuro a haven for female 'otaku' culture
On weekends, young women in Tokyo flock to the base of the 240-meter-high Sunshine 60 building, once touted as the tallest skyscraper in Asia. It sits close to the site of the former Sugamo Prison, where Class-A war criminals were hanged after World War II.
Children visit a train diorama made almost entirely of candy at the Otemae Seika Gakuin confectionery academy in Osaka on Nov. 4. (Eijiro Morii)
Giant diorama a fantasyland for railway fans, sweets lovers alike
OSAKA--Making all eyes smile and every mouth water, a giant train diorama on display here is a childhood wish come true, made almost entirely of sweets.
A mascot for sweet potato, Yakiemon makes an appearance in the market section of the Namegata Farmers Village on Oct. 27. (The Asahi Shimbun)
Sweet potato theme park offers taste of things to come
NAMEGATA, Ibaraki Prefecture--A theme park dedicated to all things sweet potato has opened in this city, where the root vegetable is a local specialty.
Participants in the Nov. 14 event at Matsue Castle push a mock battering ram to break open the front gate. (Shigeru Imoto)
Visitors clash in mock feudal battle at Matsue Castle
MATSUE--Visitors to Matsue Castle here on Nov. 14 could take a time machine back hundreds of years and experience a mock battle from the days when it served as a feudal stronghold.
Kyoto's Kiyomizudera temple and its surrounding maple trees are illuminated as a streak of blue light is projected above the main hall on Nov. 13. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Kyoto's Kiyomizudera temple shines in seasonal highlight
KYOTO--The Kiyomizudera temple here basks in the gentle nighttime glow of seasonal illuminations showcasing the beauty of both the sacred site and the reddening autumn leaves.

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