(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
Fog above the lake-- a white gull asleep on a large boulder
Suetomi's Kyo Fusen "fuyaki senbei" crackers (Mihoko Takizawa)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: 'Ladies in waiting' sweets look good and have a cracking taste
Editor’s note: This series showcases what we are calling “kawaii” (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.
Brian MacDuckston poses with a bowl of his favorite ramen at Gamushara in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward in May. (Susumu Sakamoto)
American ramen fanatic publishes book of Tokyo's top noodle joints
An American expat has reached a milestone in his quest for the perfect ramen dish by publishing a guidebook featuring reviews of his top 50 noodle shops in Tokyo.
Tokusaburo Takakura binds up sorghum to produce his company's trademark "Nanbu Houki" brooms at a workshop in Kunohe, Iwate Prefecture. (Naoaki Terasawa)
Iwate father and son hoping for clean sweep with handcrafted brooms at Japan Expo
KUNOHE, Iwate Prefecture--Just as Nanbu Tekki ironware from Iwate Prefecture is globally popular, a father and son from this small village could start cleaning up across the world with their high-end “Nanbu Houki” brooms.
Actors who star in “The Last Cop” appear at a special screening in Tokyo to celebrate the completion of the crime drama set in the 1980s. (Junko Saimoto)
NTV, Hulu Japan venture into original content production
Nippon Television Network Corp. (NTV) and streaming video service Hulu Japan have jointly produced an original crime drama set in the 1980s titled “The Last Cop.”
A British couple weds in a traditional Japanese ceremony held at Kamigamojinja shrine in Kyoto's Kita Ward in April. The two were the first couple presented with a marriage certificate signed by the city’s mayor that is now given as part of a campaign to attract foreign weddings to the ancient capital. (Noboru Tomura)
Kyoto's popularity as wedding destination rising for foreign, domestic couples
KYOTO--Offering famed Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, as well as a wide variety of celebratory kimono and traditional Japanese cuisine, Kyoto is becoming an increasingly popular wedding destination, both for foreign and domestic couples.
"Gundam Reconguista in G" ((c) SOTSU・SUNRISE・MBS)
Tsunehiro Uno: 'Gundam' gets real by embracing confusion
Director Yoshiyuki Tomino's latest offering in the long-running Gundam robot-anime series is still causing controversy months after ending its run in March.
A Japan Airlines passenger jet featuring a design by the pop idol group Arashi’s leader, Satoshi Ono, in Tokyo on June 26 (Kaname Ohira)
JAL starts 'Arashi' passenger jet service
Members of popular Japanese pop idol group Arashi have reached new heights on their latest tour.
Melonpan ice cream, a sweet consisting of a melon-like bun and ice cream, is proving very popular among young girls and tourists. (Nahoko Kyotani)
Schoolgirl's ice cream twist on melon bread goes down a treat
KANAZAWA--If schoolgirls think your product is "sweet" and snap it up, then you are on to a winner.
A Bizen ware beer cup, left, and mug (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Bizen ware mugs made using 1,000-year-old technique
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
"Yo-kai Watch" characters ((c) Level-5 Inc./ Yo-kai Watch Project, TV Tokyo Corp.)
Children name 'Yo-kai Watch' characters their favorite over 'Anpanman'
“Yo-kai Watch” characters ended the 13-year reign of “Anpanman” as the best loved among Japanese children, according to a poll released by toymaker Bandai Co. on June 25.
Cat stationmaster Tama celebrated her 16th birthday with a cake April 29 at Wakayama Electric Railway Co.’s Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Tama, the famous stationmaster cat, dies in Wakayama at age 16
KINOKAWA, Wakayama Prefecture--Cat stationmaster Tama, whose global popularity revived a struggling local railway, died June 22 of cardiac arrest.
Visitors to the Taro Okamaoto Memorial Museum take pictures in the garden of large sculptures. (Photo by Lisa Vogt)
Lisa’s Eye on Tokyo: From pineapple cakes to hot jazz, Minami-Aoyama has it all
Mention Minami-Aoyama to fashionistas and the first thing they’d probably think of would be cool and breezy Comme des Garcons.
A scene from the Tokyo tourism promotional video “7-minute Miracle,” which features a cleaning crew as it works with clocklike precision in a bullet train (From the Tokyo metropolitan government's official Youtube channel)
Tokyo tourism video showing 'miracle' train cleaning crew at work goes viral
A short video to promote tourism that shows the clocklike precision with which Japanese custodial crews clean the nation’s bullet trains during stops is a hit with overseas viewers, particularly in India.
A Shinkansen Green Car carriage filled with 40 geisha from Kyoto heads for Tokyo on June 21. (Ryo Kato)
PHOTO: Kyoto geisha take ride in Shinkansen to Tokyo to promote tourism
KYOTO--A troupe of kimono-clad geisha from Kyoto boarded a Shinkansen bound for Tokyo on June 21 to participate in a tourism campaign promoting Japan’s ancient capital.
Masao Wakafuji’s vast collection is on display at his toy museum in Toon, Ehime Prefecture. (Ami Nomura)
Anime fan opens gallery to show off collection of vintage, modern superhero goods
TOON, Ehime Prefecture--A retired postal worker with a passion for anime and “tokusatsu” (special effects) live-action movies and TV shows has opened a gallery to display treasures from his vast collection of figurines, records and other items.
A bottle of Misasa Mist additive-free skin lotion (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Facial lotion made with radium-rich hot spring water a hit
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
A cat shirt Hiroko created for her second son (Provided by Hiroko)
Paws for thought: Customers around world crave homemaker’s ‘cat shirts’
KASHIHARA, Nara Prefecture--One by one, Hiroko sent “not for sale” notices in response to the dozens of e-mails that appeared in her inbox every day.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
Geese on a melting pond his last painting
Mamoribukuro accessory pouches from Ponpindo (Maiko Ito)
CRAFTED IN TOKYO: Simple hand-dyed amulet pouches perfect for small items
The warmth of long-cherished techniques passed down through the generations can be felt in the simple texture of Mamoribukuro amulet pouches from Tokyo’s Ponpindo Design Lab.

More AJW