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  • Friday, 27th November 2015
    In General Japan News,

    Miyakejima markets itself as top rock climbing destination

    Miyakejima Island is trying to rebuild its tourism industry after the huge eruption of Mount Oyama in 2000, which saw the entire population evacuated.

    The island, which is part of the Izu group and can be found to the southeast of Honshu, is using its world-class rock climbing to lure tourists back.

    Prior to the eruption, some 79,000 people visited Miyakejima Island in 1999, but by 2014 the figure stood at just 34,000.

    The island’s population of 3,800 was evacuated as the volcano looked likely to blow and was not allowed to return until 2005, with just 2,700 people deciding to set up home in the shadow of Mount Oyama once more.

    Attracting tourists back is now a priority and a feature in a rock climbing magazine describing Miyakejima Island as “a location with undiscovered rocky stretches” gave locals an idea.

    They decided to market their island as the next big rock climbing destination and have built an indoor climbing wall to reinforce this message.

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  • Thursday, 26th November 2015
    In General Japan News, General Japan News,

    Japanese fans visit Buddhist shrine resembling rugby star

    Fans of Japanese rugby have been flocking to the Seki Zenkoji Temple in Nagano in Gifu Prefecture to see a Buddhist statue they believe resembles one of the national team’s players.

    Ayumu Goromaru was among the sportsmen who helped Japan beat South Africa 34-32 in the biggest upset of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

    He says his now famous kicking style was inspired by Jonny Wilkinson, as he attended a coaching session run by the former England international more than ten years ago.

    Fans in Japan believe its origins are much closer to home, however, as a statue in a temple appears to be displaying the same trigger pose.

    Since the World Cup, there has been an upsurge in visitors to the temple in central Japan, with many being young rugby fans.

    Shunkai Sato, the chief priest, told Agence France-Press: “At weekends, more than 1,000 people pay homage a day.”

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  • Wednesday, 25th November 2015
    In General Japan News, General Japan News, Weather In Japan,

    Hokkaido experiences heavy snowfall

    Winter has definitely arrived in Japan, as temperatures across the city fell today (Wednesday) and heavy snowfall occurred in Hokkaido.

    The island’s capital, Sapporo, had 44 centimetres of snow by 11am, making it the most amount the city has experienced at this time of year for 62 years.

    That is according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which is carefully monitoring conditions in Japan, where blasts of cold air have been felt.

    Hokkaido is used to cold and snowy conditions, as it is Japan’s northernmost island and sees plenty of prevailing winds from Russia.

    So wintry is this part of Japan in fact, it has become famous as something of a wonderland at this time of year and is celebrated through a series of festivals.

    Around two million people are expected to descend on Hokkaido for the Sapporo Snow Festival, which will run from February 5th to 11th next year.

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  • Tuesday, 24th November 2015
    In General Japan News, General Japan News, Weather In Japan, Japan Entertainment News,

    Japan?s escape room experiences now available in English

    Anyone travelling to Japan and looking for a different kind of activity may wish to take part in one of the escape room experiences that have been sweeping the nation.

    Up until now, the games have only been available in Japanese, but the craze is now being opened up to English and Chinese speakers, reports Japan Today.

    An escape room is an immersive experience that requires participants to solve problems using their lateral thinking skills.

    The phenomenon is an example of life imitating art, as it relies on similar principles to those used in video games.

    Groups of visitors are required to explore the surroundings they find themselves in and work out how to escape with the resources at hand during a set timeframe.

    While some of those that have been set up are all about problem solving, others include a backstory and theme to build the atmosphere.

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