5 years on from the tsunami

On March 11th 2016, it was exactly five years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's northern coast. To mark this anniversary, this March at Inside Japan Tours is all about Tohoku: looking back on its troubles, celebrating its charms, and taking stock of how far the region has come in the past five years.

To read all about this beautiful region, including first-hand accounts of the disaster and recovery, visit our dedicated tsunami page:

The Japan Tsunami 5 Years On

Latest News

  • Wednesday, 27th July 2016
    In Business In Japan,

    Japan set to raise minimum wage

    Workers in Japan can expect to see their pay packets boosted after the government announced plans to raise the minimum wage.

    Pay will go up by three per cent for the lowest paid members of staff in the country, as a bid to promote consumer spending is launched.

    The plans will be implemented this fiscal year and are hoped to address criticism that many low-income earners have been left behind when it comes to Japan’s economic policy.

    Prime minister Shinzo Abe is keen to reverse 15 years of deflation with his own brand of Abenomics and raising wages could really help with this.

    Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary, told a press conference: "It is extremely important to stimulate consumer spending by raising the minimum wage, which will help Japan escape deflation and contribute to a positive economic growth cycle."

    Increasing the minimum wage is likely to encourage other wages to rise, which would be good news for the Bank of Japan (BOJ).

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  • Tuesday, 26th July 2016
    In Business In Japan, General Japan News,

    Japan casts spotlight on 8 national parks

    It may be National Park Week in the UK, but the Environment Ministry in Japan is also keen to highlight the beauty of its own natural spaces.

    A panel has been put together to select eight of the nation’s 32 national parks for a groundbreaking project aimed at enticing more foreign tourists to explore them.

    Special tour guides will then be trained in natural attractions and traditional culture to show off the parks.

    In addition to this, accommodation options, such as hotels, in the national parks will also be improved in order to make stays more comfortable.

    One of the eight parks that has been chosen is the Ise-Shima National Park in Mie Prefecture, home to the Ise Grand Shrine.

    It was also the venue for the Group of Seven summit in May, which saw many world leaders descend on Japan to discuss economic policies.

    The Nikko National Park, which crosses the prefectural boundaries of Fukushima, Tochigi and Gunma is also featured.

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  • Monday, 25th July 2016
    In Business In Japan, General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News,

    Japan's tourism sites make provision for Pokemon Go

    Popular tourism sites across Japan are putting measures in place to ensure that Pokemon Go players do not become a problem.

    Some attractions are concerned about the potential for accidents with those playing the app-based game, while others worry that the sanctity of shrines could be compromised.

    At the Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture, two warning signs have been put in place to ensure users of the app don’t wander into areas that are off-limits.

    They also caution against colliding with other visitors, who are enjoying the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site without collecting pocket monsters.

    It is thought that the Tomioka Silk Mill complex contains six Pokemon Go items, making it an alluring spot for devotees of the game.

    An official told Kyodo News: “We haven’t so far seen any troubles but we hope people would not damage cultural properties by inadvertently bumping into them.”

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  • Friday, 22nd July 2016
    In Business In Japan, General Japan News, Japan Entertainment News, Japan Entertainment News,

    Vote opens to choose 88 manga pilgrimage spots

    A vote is underway to find a definitive list of 88 sites across Japan that all manga aficionados should visit.

    The poll has been set up by Kadokawa Corp, a comic book publisher, with a vested interest in tourists turning manga locations into pilgrimage spots.

    Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman of the company, announced the vote and said he hoped it would help to promote tourism to Japan.

    He added: “Some 2,000 fans from around the world have already cast their votes online in the last couple of days.

    “If you would like your favorite spots to be one of the 88 pilgrimages, vote now!”

    The results of the Anime Tourism 88-Stop Pilgrimage project will be announced in the Newtype magazine by the end of the year, as the publication is a partner in the initiative.

    Sites to be featured are real-life places that have provided the backdrops for love affairs and space warfare in the fictional escapades of anime characters.

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