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

  • Tuesday, 30th August 2016
    In General Japan News,

    Japan's top 20 castles, according to TripAdvisor

    Himeji Castle in Hyego Prefecture has been voted the best castle in Japan, according to domestic users of the TripAdvisor website.

    The review-based service has released a list of the top 20 castles across the country over the past 12 months, putting last year’s third place structure in first position, reports Japan Today.

    Known as the White Heron Castle, Himeji consists of 83 buildings and its bright white façade is said to give the impression of a great bird taking flight.

    Back in 1993 when it was inscribed onto the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List, Himeji Castle was one of the first monuments in Japan to gain the honour.

    Built in 1333, it is one of the best surviving examples of prototypical Japanese architecture and has been lovingly restored on numerous occasions over the years.

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  • Thursday, 25th August 2016
    In General Japan News, Japan Travel News,

    Japanese government aims to beat Tokyo-Osaka maglev train target

    The government of Japan is poised to sink a large sum of money into a new high-speed train link between Tokyo and Osaka.

    A total of three trillion yen (£22.6 billion) is to go to the Central Japan Railway Company in a bid to bring forward the completion date of the maglev route.

    Initial estimations suggested it would be finished in 2045, but government sources have suggested that increased investment could mean eight years is shaved off the development time.

    The new plan will see 1.5 trillion yen handed over to JR Central in both the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, as part of a scheme, known as zaito locally and considered something of a second budget.

    Officially called the fiscal investment and loan programme, it is designed to offer long-term investment at a low rate of interest to projects that will benefit the public.

    The original decision by the government to offer three trillion yen for the maglev link has been updated in light of the Bank of Japan’s current negative interest rate policy.

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  • Wednesday, 24th August 2016
    In General Japan News, Japan Travel News, General Japan News,

    Japan's first Muslim hotel opens to the public

    A hotel aimed at attracting Muslim visitors has opened at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan.

    The accommodation takes the specific needs of the followers of Islam into consideration, providing a prayer room and an entirely halal menu.

    Sitting at the bottom of Japan’s most famous mountain at the beauty spot near Lake Kawaguchi, it offers stunning views, as well as a tailored experience.

    Traditional dishes have been adapted to ensure that pork is not used, with beef and unfermented seasonings featuring heavily instead.

    Prayer mats are also on hand and each of the rooms in the Syariah Hotel Fujisan in the Yamanashi Prefecture town of Fujikawaguchiko has an arrow pointing out the direction of Mecca.

    Shigeru Yamashita, president of the hotel operator, told the Japan Times he had renovated the vacant house and made it into a hotel for Muslims, as an increasing number of tourists to the area are coming from Indonesia and Malaysia.

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  • Tuesday, 23rd August 2016
    In General Japan News, Japan Travel News, General Japan News, Japan Travel News,

    Orlando Bloom in Japan to promote new Dreamliner route

    Actor Orlando Bloom has been in Japan promoting a new route between London Heathrow and Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

    The flight, which will be serviced by a 787-9 Dreamliner, is being operated by British Airways and represents a comfortable way to travel to the country.

    Bloom was joined by a selection of the airline’s crew at the Kaminarimon monument outside Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.

    As well as a photo call with the iconic plane, the new route was marked with a Q&A session with the Lord of the Rings actor.

    He spoke about his career, love of travel and the fascination he had with Japan as a country and its culture, reports Japan Today.

    At the British Airways launch event, which included VIPs and specially invited guests, Bloom even went to the effort of speaking some Japanese.

    He added that he would like to learn more of the language, but already has a handful of useful phrases under his belt.

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