The Sixth Old House of Natsume Soseki in Kumamato, located in the Kitasendanbatamachi district in Chuo Ward, is little changed from more than a century ago. (Masamitsu Oku)
Fans of Soseki pushing to preserve novelist's last residence in Kumamoto
KUMAMOTO--Fans of renowned Meiji Era (1868-1912) novelist Natsume Soseki are campaigning to preserve the last place he called home here before he moved to London to study.
A Kawagoe Discount Pass for adults (Provided by Tobu Railway Co.)
Discount train ticket for foreign travelers welcomes visitors to Kawagoe
Tobu Railway Co. has begun selling a Kawagoe Discount Pass, a special train ticket limited to foreign travelers who plan to visit Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, known for its historic buildings.
Designs of bronze statues that will be set up at the Todoroki Athletics Stadium ((c) Fujiko Pro Obake no Q-taro/ (c) Fujiko Pro・Fujiko Studio Provided by Kawasaki city government)
Doraemon, other statues to mark reopening of Kawasaki Athletics Stadium
KAWASAKI--Statues of Doraemon, Perman and other characters created by manga giant Fujiko F. Fujio will welcome visitors when the renovated Todoroki Athletics Stadium reopens soon in the city’s Nakahara Ward.
The three-story pagoda at Kiyomizudera temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama Ward on Feb. 24 (Noboru Tomura)
Famed Kiyomizudera temple pagoda gets fresh coat of historically correct paint
KYOTO--Using traditional "ni" red paint, the ancient capital’s Kiyomizudera temple has nearly wrapped up a 17-month restoration project of its 17th-century, three-story pagoda.
A "hina" doll display featuring guinea pigs at the Children's Zoo in the city-run Chikozan Park in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture (Provided by the Sayama city government)
Adorable guinea pigs strike a pose as 'hina' dolls at Saitama zoo
SAYAMA, Saitama Prefecture--A cast of cuddly guinea pigs are assembling on stage at a local zoo here to play the part of traditional dolls displayed on a three-tiered stand for Hina Matsuri (Girls' Day) on March 3.
Twenty-eight lambs have been born at the Mother Farm in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, over the last month. (Rei Kishitsu)
PHOTO: Lambs raise the cuteness level at Chiba farm
FUTTSU, Chiba Prefecture--Nonstop squeals of “kawaii” (cute) meant there was no silence for the lambs.
Copies of the Fast Skytree Ticket (Provided by the Tobu Tower Skytree Co.)
New tickets give foreigners a fast track up iconic Skytree
Visitors and foreign residents can now bypass long lines at Tokyo Skytree tower in the capital's Sumida Ward and head straight up to the observation deck to enjoy the sweeping view.
An illustration of the 3-D CG theater to open near the west exit of Yokohama Station this spring (Provided by UrbanCreates Co.)
World's first permanent 3-D CG theater to open in spring near Yokohama Station
YOKOHAMA--A permanent theater devoted exclusively to 3-D CG imagery will open this spring near the west exit of Yokohama Station, according to Sotetsu UrbanCreates Co. and other companies.
A female conger spotted garden eel (Heteroconger hassi) lays her eggs at 12:11 a.m. on April 20, 2014. (Provided by the Sumida Aquarium)
Tokyo aquarium scores a world first with footage of conger species laying eggs
An aquarium in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward captured the first video footage ever of conger eels laying eggs, a feat that expands greatly on the knowledge of the little-understood sand-dwelling species.
A Reeves’ turtle tries to kiss a Japanese common toad in the Kitakyushu Firefly Museum in Kita-Kyushu. (Provided by Kitakyushu Firefly Museum)
PHOTO: The day a male turtle's advances were spurned ... by a toad
KITA-KYUSHU--A male turtle planted a kiss on a female toad at a museum here, though the yearning appears to be unrequited.
Sightseers scan the lost and found board at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market in December 2014, when, being the busiest time of the year, many items that have been found are seen listed under dates in December. The list includes items such as frozen shrimp, surf clam salad, octopus, imitation crab and fresh vegetables. (Toshiyuki Takeya)
Missing a fish? You might want to check Tsukiji market's lost and found
A Buddhist text, wads of cash and even a soft-shelled turtle--these are some of the items that have appeared on the lost and found list at the main gate of the Tsukiji Inner Market.
Spacious capsule compartments designed for taller foreigners at Lodge Moiwa 834 in Niseko, Hokkaido (Hiroyuki Yamamoto)
Cozy capsule hotel to cater to taller foreigners at Hokkaido ski resort
NISEKO, Hokkaido--A hotel offering a bed and no frills in oversized oven-like cubicles will open at this popular ski area on Feb. 21 to accommodate foreign guests.
Visitors to the Nakanoshima Fishing Port in Osaka will be able to eat fresh fish on a wooden deck. (Masaki Yamamoto)
Date spot ‘fishing port’ offering catch of the day to open in central Osaka
OSAKA--Instead of the usual fish market offering seafood on ice, a unique "fishing port" will open in central Osaka on Feb. 18 showcasing live fish from seven ports and a restaurant for customers to enjoy their purchases.
Mark Major shows off the lineup of Outsider Brewing beers at Hops and Herbs in Kofu. (Hideki Kitami)
Aussie crafts beer to reinvigorate nightlife in Kofu
KOFU--In an area known for its grapes, an Australian is trying to resuscitate the nightlife scene with hops and malt.
A traditional bunraku puppet performance at the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka's Chuo Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Osaka moves to trap tourists with hefty discounts to cultural attractions
OSAKA--Osaka Prefecture's cultural and tourist hot spots will get a whole lot more attractive to summer vacationers.
A clione swims in waters off Shari, Hokkaido, on Feb. 13, as a diver looks on. (Takuya Isayama)
Drift ice angel makes early appearance in waters off Hokkaido
SHARI, Hokkaido--A sea slug butterfly known for its graceful manner of swimming was spotted by divers on Feb. 13 off the Shiretoko region here.
A set of 300 smartphones and tablets all running on the Android operating system have been arranged to form a chorus at the Omotesando Hills commercial complex in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in an event that continues until Feb. 15. (Louis Templado)
Forget texting, Google event offers chance to conduct a chorus of 300 Androids
Smartphones and tablets can be a real workout for the fingers at times. Imagine orchestrating 300 of them, as they perform such classics as “My Grandfather’s Clock” and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”
Foreign guests dance with geisha during an "ozashiki" dining session at the Ichinoyu Honkan inn in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, in January. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
Historic Hakone inn offers taste of old Japan, geisha included
HAKONE, Kanagawa Prefecture--A well-established ryokan in this popular hot spring resort area is offering a special accommodation plan targeted at foreign guests that includes traditional “ozashiki” dining with a geisha performance.
Kimitaka Kisaki watches a child who received a baked sweet potato in Tokyo's Meguro Ward. (Hikaru Uchida)
Get your stone-baked sweet potatoes at 'dekotora' art vehicle
Modern artists Kimitaka Kisaki and Hiromichi Yamawaki have designed a gaudily customized "dekotora" (decorated truck) that also serves as a functioning platform for selling baked sweet potatoes from.
An artist’s rendition of the interior of the “jikido” dining hall to be rebuilt at the Yakushiji temple in Nara (Provided by the Yakushiji temple)
Yakushiji temple to reconstruct stunning dining hall for priests
NARA--Yakushiji, one of Japan's most famous ancient temples, is to rebuild a dining hall for priests that existed over 1,000 years ago, completing decades of renovation work that will restore the site to its original glory.

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