Spectators enjoy a parade marking 30 years since the opening of Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, on April 11, 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Entrance fees for Disney theme parks to go up in April to reflect upgrades
Admission fees for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will be raised in April, the operator said Jan. 29.
The open air bath on frozen Lake Shikaribetsuko on Jan. 24. It is a key feature of the ice- and snow-block village of Shikaribetsuko Kotan in Shikaoi, Hokkaido. (Kenichiro Shimada)
PHOTO: Ice village on Hokkaido lake offers hot and cold services
SHIKAOI, Hokkaido--A winter village created on the ice of frozen Lake Shikaribetsuko is a cool destination, complete with steaming outside onsen hot spring baths.
Toshima Ward Mayor Yukio Takano, front row center, poses with other cosplayers. (Photo provided by Toshima Ward)
Female otaku stake new anime 'holy ground' in Tokyo's Ikebukuro
With a growing number of Japanese subculture shops cropping up in the area, Tokyo's Ikebukuro district has emerged as something of a "holy land" for female "otaku" geeks, collectively known as "otome" (maiden).
The design of a monument inspired by the Takarazuka Revue performers that was chosen by local residents (Provided by Takarazuka city government)
Winning design of Takarazuka Revue monument chosen by local residents
TAKARAZUKA, Hyogo Prefecture--To mark the 100th anniversary of the first performance by the Takarazuka Revue, voters have selected the design of a statue honoring the all-female musical theater troupe that will be installed near a local train station, according to the city government.
A booth for men in the “Gallery Toto” to be opened at Narita Airport in April is equipped with a urinal and a toilet bowl. (Provided by Toto Ltd.)
Toto set to lift the lid on high-tech 'toilet gallery' at Narita Airport
FUKUOKA--Major toilet manufacturer Toto Ltd. plans to open a gallery at Narita Airport in April where visitors can put to the test some of the most advanced toilets in the world, the company said.
A test run of the “Sairinka” light show is held Jan. 23 at Tokachigaoka Park in Otofuke, Hokkaido. (Kenichiro Shimada)
PHOTO: Hokkaido resort unveils colorful wintry light show
OTOFUKE, Hokkaido--The snow-covered grounds of the Tokachigawa Onsen were bathed in lights from hundreds of illuminated cones ahead of an annual midwinter display that gets under way Jan. 24.
The seated statue of Amida Nyorai (Amitabha) at Taimaji temple in Kyoto’s Yamashina Ward (Noboru Tomura)
Rare exhibition to show hidden treasures of Kyoto temples, shrines
KYOTO--An ancient statue of Buddha, a painting of a dragon and other sacred treasures usually hidden from the public will be shown at 18 temples and shrines in Kyoto Prefecture this spring.
Passengers on the Garinko take photos of drift ice off the coast of Monbetsu in Hokkaido on Jan. 20. (Masatoshi Narayama)
Early arrival of drift ice kicks off icebreaker tours in Hokkaido
MONBETSU, Hokkaido--The early arrival of drift ice off coastal cities in Japan's far north set in motion sightseeing tours of the natural wonders aboard icebreakers.
A group of female figures drawn on the east wall of the stone chamber of the Takamatsuzuka burial mound. The photo, taken in December, shows how restoration work to remove mold is revealing the richness of the original colors. (Provided by the Agency for Cultural Affairs)
A rare chance to view Takamatsuzuka burial mound murals
ASUKA, Nara Prefecture--The Agency for Cultural Affairs is showing off stunning murals that were found deep within a burial mound built 1,300 years ago and are now undergoing restoration.
Tourists take pictures at a railroad crossing near Kamakura Koko-mae Station on the Enoshima Electric Railway Line in Kamakura's Koshigoe district. (Yukiko Oga)
'Slam Dunk' photo op near Kamakura rail crossing draws fans from afar
KAMAKURA, Kanagawa Prefecture--A railroad crossing, which was used as a model for the setting of the anime "Slam Dunk," is enjoying newfound popularity among fans of the TV series, particularly from Taiwan.
A bronze statue of a character of the “Captain Tsubasa” soccer manga and anime in Katsushika Ward in Tokyo (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Local communities erect manga/anime statues with tourists in mind
In the fictional world of comics, Katsushika Ward in eastern Tokyo is home to the long-running comedy manga “Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsujo,” which centers on a daring policeman, Kankichi Ryotsu, and his unique colleagues.
A frozen giant squid on display at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo is more than twice the height of two schoolchildren. (Kotaro Ebara)
Schoolkids get up-close look at rare giant squid of the deep at Sapporo zoo
SAPPORO--A frozen giant squid at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo has been attracting throngs of curious schoolchildren who cannot resist poking and prodding the enormous denizen of the deep.
Aviation fans and photographers watch an Airbus A380 jetliner at Sakura no Yama park in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. (Eiji Hori)
Airplane 'paparazzi' drawn to Narita for convenience, picturesque views
NARITA, Chiba Prefecture--To visitors it may be Japan's main gateway, but Narita Airport is flying high among airplane enthusiasts looking to capture alluring shots of their favorite aircraft.
The Chugan Engetsu Zazo and Bishamonten Ritsuzo statues unveiled at the Kenninji temple in Kyoto on Jan. 7 (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Revered Buddhist statues return to Kyoto temple after 7-decade absence
KYOTO--Two statues dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, one of which is reputed to hold the ashes of Buddha, have returned to Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple after a 70-year hiatus.
The iconic "Picture of Wind and Thunder Gods" by Tawaraya Sotatsu is replicated on Nishijin-ori tapestries. The tapestries are on exhibit at the Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto through Jan. 17. (Noboru Tomura)
Masterpieces depicting gods of wind, thunder reproduced as Nishijin tapestries
KYOTO--An iconic 17th century painting depicting the gods of wind and thunder has been re-created in traditional tapestries here to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Rinpa school of art.
Night-time visitors to the Shorinzan Darumaji temple check out the various sizes of daruma dolls for sale. (Takuya Isayama)
PHOTO: The eyes have it as daruma doll sale draws in the crowds
TAKASAKI, Gunma Prefecture--A temple here that is regarded as the birthplace of one of the most famous good luck charms in Japan drew hordes of visitors eager to increase their fortune on Jan. 6.
A tiger photo sent as requested on Twitter (Provided by the Maruyama Zoo)
Photo requests on Twitter keep Sapporo zookeeper busy
The Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo has a new way of letting people view its animals, without the entry fees, foul odors and crowds.
Kiyoshi Kimura, the president of the operator of sushi chain Sushizanmai, tendered the winning bid of 4.51 million yen for the giant bluefin tuna at the year’s first auction at Tsukiji market in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward on Jan. 5. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
Tsukiji's first auction of 2015 draws 8-year-low bid for bluefin tuna
Pricey appetites for giant bluefin tuna were lackluster at the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market on Jan. 5, with the winner paying 4.51 million yen ($37,400) for the fish, an eight-year low.
Fortunes at the Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, are offered through sheets of papers with the front side in Japanese and the back in three other languages. (Ko Iwaki)
Naritasan Shinshoji temple looks to the present with 'omikuji' fortunes in 4 languages
NARITA, Chiba Prefecture--In a stroke of good fortune for foreign visitors, a temple here has started offering sheets of paper in four languages when temple-goers try their luck at traditional Japanese fortunetelling.
Bank employees count offerings made during the first three days of the new year at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine in Kyoto on Jan. 4. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Fushimi Inari starts counting, converting New Year contributions
KYOTO--A large number of foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar and Thai baht, were placed in offering boxes at Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine here over the first three days of 2015.

More AJW