Members of the Kofun ni Kofun Kyokai (Kofun excitement association) in front of a replica "kofun" tomb in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture (Yuki Okado)
‘Kofun’ ancient burial mounds attract new admirers
Fans of "kofun" are clamoring to get up close to the huge burial mounds for powerful figures from ancient Japan that are scattered throughout the country.
Various “maneki-neko” beckoning cats are on display at a festival in Ise, Mie Prefecture. (Yoshihiro Ogino)
Good luck cats grace Ise Jingu in 'search' for owners
ISE, Mie Prefecture--Thousands of cute cats are holding forth at the sacred Ise Jingu shrines.
The Dankazura, a raised section of the main approach to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture (Tamotsu Sugao)
Walkway to Kamakura shrine to get 1st face-lift in 800 years
KAMAKURA, Kanagawa Prefecture--A busy walkway leading to Kamakura’s famed Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine is set to receive its first full-scale renovation in more than 800 years.
Byodoin temple’s Phoenix Hall in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, after restoration work wound up Sept. 8 (Mari Endo)
PHOTO: Kyoto's Phoenix Hall resplendent after full restoration
UJI, Kyoto Prefecture--The renowned Phoenix Hall at Byodoin temple here has been restored to its original 11th-century glory after a two-year restoration project.
A volcano appears in the “Hi no Tori” (Phoenix) series in 1967. (Tetsuro Chiran)
Tezuka exhibition featuring Mount Aso opens in Kumamoto
YUNOMAE, Kumamoto Prefecture--An exhibition focusing on Mount Aso in the works of manga legend Osamu Tezuka has opened at a museum here in Kumamoto Prefecture where the volcano is located.
Pedestrians glance up at the good luck golden frog on the wall of the JR Hakata Station terminal in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward. (Shoma Fujiwaki)
Hakata travelers crane necks to spot 'lucky' golden frog on station wall
FUKUOKA--A figurine of a golden frog obscurely perched high on a wall outside JR Hakata Station here has become an Internet sensation, fueled by rumors that good luck will come to anybody who spots it.
Local elementary students walk on the Haneda Nihonbashi Bridge at Haneda Airport's International Terminal in Tokyo's Ota Ward during the bridge's opening ceremony Aug. 28. (Hiroyuki Kamisawa)
Half-sized Nihonbashi bridge welcomes travelers at Haneda’s international terminal
Inspired by Japan's most famous bridge, a new wooden replica has been built inside Tokyo's Haneda Airport to give travelers a taste of the past.
Love, a South American sea lion at Takeshima Aquarium in Gamagori, Aichi Prefecture, strikes a pose of "reflection" after failing to perform a trick. (Yoshinobu Matsunaga)
PHOTO: Sea lion strikes pose of regret after flubbing trick
GAMAGORI, Aichi Prefecture--On a recent summer day, a sea lion was frolicking and putting on a show for a delighted crowd gathered at Takeshima Aquarium.
The “Sun” exhibition room of the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art in Nagi, Okayama Prefecture (Shunji Matsuo)
Okayama museum in the spotlight at home and abroad
NAGI, Okayama Prefecture--When it opened 20 years ago, operators of the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art (Nagi-MOCA) never expected it to rank among the country's top scenic views.
A Japan Tourism Agency official explains the current situation of foreign travelers at a seminar in the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nakagyo Ward. (Satoru Sunouchi)
Kyoto looks to duty-free shops for tourism boost
KYOTO--This ancient capital has relatively few duty-free shops compared with Tokyo and Osaka, despite the ancient capital's reputation among foreign visitors as a must-see destination. Now it wants to change that.
Female cosplay fans dressed in traditional Japanese clothes take photographs at a building in the Konoike-Shinden Kaisho facility in Higashi-Osaka. The building is designated by the government as an important cultural property. (Satoshi Daiguji)
Cultural properties serve as backdrops for cosplay fans in Osaka
HIGASHI-OSAKA, Osaka Prefecture--In late May, cosplayers clad in traditional Japanese clothes were striking poses here in the city's historical Konoike-Shinden Kaisho facility in the Konoike-Motomachi district.
The symbolic whale used to celebrate the Kujira-bune Gyoji festival in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, on Aug. 15 (Susumu Sakamoto)
PHOTO: Revelers celebrate symbolic capturing of whale at Mie festival
YOKKAICHI, Mie Prefecture--Onlookers cheered as a little boy riding an elaborately decorated ship float harpooned his target, a representation of a whale, at the annual Kujira-bune Gyoji festival here on Aug. 15.
A “yokai” goblin puts a scare into a child on an Arashiyama Line train on Aug. 13 in Kyoto. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: ‘Yokai’ goblins invade Arashiyama Line in Kyoto
KYOTO--Performers in “yokai” goblins costumes entertained passengers--and terrified a few youngsters--on a train connecting Kyoto’s urban center and Arashiyama Station on Aug. 13.
The "grassland slide" that instills fear at the Mother Farm in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, on Aug. 13 (Kyota Tsutsumi)
Thrill seekers head to Chiba for slide of their lives
FUTTSU, Chiba Prefecture--Just looking at the 45-meter-long balloon slide at a dude ranch here makes even adults tremble, its operator says.
Computer-generated image of the launching ceremony of Battleship Yamato (Provided by the Kure Maritime Museum)
Museum creates CG reproduction of launching ceremonies for iconic battleships
KURE, Hiroshima Prefecture--Using cutting-edge shipbuilding technologies, the Imperial Japanese Navy battleships Yamato and Musashi were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed.
The Tower of Sun at Expo '70 Commemorative Park is illuminated after dusk during the “Illuminight Banpaku” event, which runs through Aug. 17. (Noboru Tomura)
PHOTO: Glowing Tower of Sun illuminates Osaka nights
SUITA, Osaka Prefecture--Sightseers and local residents enjoyed the cool evening breeze on Aug. 8 while checking out the opening of summertime's “Illuminight Banpaku” event at Expo '70 Commemorative Park.
Accompanied by a guide, second from right, trekkers hike one of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, in June. (Haruhiro Hirahata)
Localities hosting pilgrim trail still hope to cash in on World Heritage status
TANABE, Wakayama Prefecture--Ten years have passed since a portion of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes gained UNESCO World Heritage status, but the site is still struggling to significantly increase the number of visitors.
Colorful “fukinagashi” streamers adorn the city of Sendai during the Sendai Tanabata Festival on Aug. 6. (Kengo Hiyoshi)
PHOTO: Sendai ablaze in color as famed festival begins
SENDAI--The quake-hit downtown area of this northeastern city turned into a rainbow paradise as the annual Sendai Festival kicked off Aug. 6.
A new W7 Series Shinkansen train makes a test run on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line tracks along the Sea of Japan coast in Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, on Aug. 5. (Yosuke Fukudome)
Hokuriku Shinkansen line's new bullet train goes for a test run
ITOIGAWA, Niigata Prefecture--Excited train fans gathered atop a hill here for their first view of West Japan Railway Co.'s latest bullet train as it zoomed along the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, set to start operations in spring 2015.
Women visit Imamiyajinja shrine in Kyoto's Kita Ward. (Mizuo Watanabe)
Wish for 'Prince Charming' draws women to Kyoto's Imamiyajinja shrine
KYOTO--Seeking romance worthy of a fairy tale, young women from across Japan visit Imamiyajinja shrine here in Kyoto’s Nishijin district to buy a lucky amulet that might help them snag a rich husband.

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