• TAKETOMI, Japan - Photo taken May 16, 2019, shows Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, home to the Iriomote wild cat, a nationally protected species. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
    2019.05.22 | Okinawa
  • SHINGU, Japan - Green luminescent mushrooms nicknamed "forest fairies" in a western Japan mountain offer visitors a touch of fantasy, with this year's observation tours starting Saturday. The species of fungi called Mycena lux-coeli with a cap measuring 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter glows in rainy conditions due to the work of an enzyme that oxidizes luciferin, a light-emitting compound. It can only be found in Japan. The mushroom was first discovered on Hachijo Island in the Pacific in 1951 and on Mt. Mesame on Ugui Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture in 2001. Currently, it can also be found in Mie, Hyogo, Oita and Miyazaki prefectures. A local group will host the tours every weekend from Saturday to July 14 as well as Sep. 1 to 29. The admission fee is 500 yen ($4.50) per adult and reservations should be made at least two days in advance. The mountain is off-limits except for the mushroom observation tours due to environmental conservation. "The glowing mushrooms are usually seen in rainy conditions in the summer and fall. I'd like visitors to experience the dreamy world," said Shigeru Nishigaito, a 79-year-old tour guide. ==Kyodo
    2019.05.10 | Wakayama
  • OITA, Japan - An enormous wooden "lucky cat" has been set up at one of this year's Rugby World Cup host cities in southwestern Japan, to welcome tourists ahead of the event's kickoff in September. The woodcarving of the 10-meter-long cat named "Giant Lounging Lucky Cat Fukunyan" is on display in the center of Oita, which is to host three preliminary matches and two quarterfinals. The cat is shown lying down with its forepaw holding up a sign with the word "TRY!" The cat was originally created in memory of the late sculptor Fumio Asakura, who was born in Oita Prefecture in 1883 and left many works featuring cats after studying at Tokyo University of the Arts. It is in the style of a "manekineko" beckoning cat, a common figurine in Japan that is regarded as inviting good luck. Graduate students of the university took part in making the cat, which will be on display through the end of the World Cup in November. "I hope overseas guests will talk about it as a rare statue," said Tsuyoshi Takahashi, a prefectural official in charge of promoting the sporting event. It was first displayed at the sculptor's museum in the city of Bungoono in the prefecture last autumn. ==Kyodo
    2019.04.23 | Oita
  • TOKYO, Japan - Flowers of around 3,000 Azalea trees are in full bloom at Nezu Shrine in Tokyo on April 21, 2019. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
    2019.04.23 | Tokyo
  • NANBU, Japan - A tulip festival begins at the Tottori Hanakairo flower park in Nanbu, western Japan, on April 13, 2019. The event runs through May 6. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
    2019.04.15 | Aomori
  • TOYAMA, Japan - A sightseeing route featuring tall snow walls that runs through the Tateyama mountain range in central Japan opened Monday for this year's tourist season. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which is closed over most of the winter, connects the town of Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture and the city of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture in the Northern Alps by bus and cable car. The sightseeing route is open through Nov. 30 each year and visitors can walk through a pathway next to the snow walls called the "Yuki no Otani Walk" created by snow removal work. Kansai Electric Power Co. said it started using new battery-powered buses instead of trolley buses to run through a tunnel that forms part of the sightseeing route. The pathway for tourists walking around the snow walls, as tall as 16 meters each side of the road this year, was closed Monday due to snowstorms. The bus service for part of the route, between Bijodaira, at an altitude of 977 meters, and Murodo at an altitude of 2,450 meters, both in Tateyama, was also closed due to bad weather. The operator of the route said it aims to attract 1 million visitors this year, up around 20,000 from the previous year, considering the growing number of foreign tourists. ==Kyodo
    2019.04.15 | Toyama
  • HITACHINAKA, Japan - File photo taken in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, in October 2018 shows reddening kochia plants at a seaside park in the eastern Japan city. (Kyodo)
    2019.04.11 | Ibaraki
  • AJIGASAWA, Japan ー Photo taken at JR Ajigasawa station in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, on April 6, 2019, shows famed "ugly" Akita dog Wasao, appointed its sightseeing stationmaster. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
    2019.04.10 | Aomori
  • TOKYO - General ticket sales for Rugby World Cup 2019 will restart on May 18, with seats at all 48 matches on offer, the local organizing committee said Tuesday. Sales of the tickets on a first-come, first-served basis will begin online at 6 p.m. Japan Standard Time and are expected to continue until late July. The organizers will offer the tickets that were originally allotted to World Rugby to sell to its relevant parties. The window for the current general sales, which opened in January, will close on March 31. Another round of sales is scheduled to start again in August, according to the organizing committee. The Official Ticket Resale Service, which allows people to resell tickets they cannot use, is scheduled to launch on May 31. According to the organizers, about 1.29 million, or more than 70 percent of the 1.8 million tickets for the Sept. 20-Nov. 2 tournament have already been sold. About a third of the purchases have been made from outside Japan. The World Cup will involve 20 teams playing across 12 cities stretching from Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido to Kyushu in the southwest. Japan's Brave Blossoms begin their campaign against Russia on Sept. 20 in Tokyo. ==Kyodo
    2019.03.26 | Tokyo
  • ONAN, Japan - File photo taken Nov. 23, 2018, in Onan town in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, shows an illumination event near the now closed JR Uzui Station, dubbed "the station in the sky" due to its location around 20 meters above ground. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
    2019.03.15 | Shimane
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