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

  • Thursday, 27th October 2016
    In General Japan News,

    Prince Mikasa dies aged 100

    Japan's Prince Mikasa has passed away aged 100, the Imperial Household Agency has confirmed.

    The prince was the oldest member of the Imperial family, and was one of five remaining heirs to the throne. Now, just four heirs are left, several of whom are in later life, raising questions as to the future of the crown.

    Indeed, the Japan Times reports that the shortage of young male heirs is a potential concern, with Crown Prince Naruhito at 56 years of age, Prince Akishino, 50, and Prince Hitachi, 80. Prince Hisahito, meanwhile, is ten. 

    Currently, the government is looking into whether public duties can be reduced for Emperor Akihito, 82, who has suggested he may wish to abdicate owing to his age.

    Born on December 2nd 1915, the prince served as an officer of the Imperial Army in China during the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese war. 

    A figurehead for peace, Prince Mikasa was critical of Japanese aggression during the war. Once the conflict was over, he stressed the importance of peace, and continued to do so throughout his life. 

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  • Wednesday, 26th October 2016
    In General Japan News, Events In Japan,

    Professional shogi world rocked by cheating accusations

    You may be forgiven for not knowing what shogi is, but in Japan, the variation of chess is a pretty big deal. That’s why shock waves have been sent through the country after a top-ranked player was suspended from an important tournament.

    Hiroyuki Miura was due to face Akira Watanabe in the Ryuo Championship earlier this month when the Japan Shogi Association stepped in. On October 12th, just three days before the competition was due to start, it accused Miura of cheating.

    The accusation suggested that the player could have been assisted by software to ensure he won his games. Despite such a serious claim, no hard evidence has been brought forward since Miura was prevented from playing in the seven-game tournament and people have started to question the investigation process.

    Miura is the holder of the ninth dan, the highest ranking position in the world today. He was going to come up against Watanabe, the title holder for the Ryuo Championship in what was expected to be an exciting face-to-face.

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  • Tuesday, 25th October 2016
    In General Japan News, Events In Japan, Events In Japan,

    Tokyo Police to create pedestrian zone for Halloween

    The Shibuya district of Tokyo is a popular area to celebrate Halloween and the local police have announced plans to create a pedestrian zone outside the train station to ease crowds.

    Last year, the force had difficulties coping with the influx of costume-clad revellers around the area of the famous Scramble Crossing, leading to disruptions in traffic flow.

    This year, the space directly outside Shibuya Station, adjacent to the famous section of road, will be made into a pedestrian zone.

    The move should mean that those heading out on the evenings between October 28th and 31st should find it easier to get to their destination.

    Shibuya’s famous crossing has become iconic due to the fact that all of the lights at this busy junction turn red at the same time, bringing all vehicles to a standstill.

    Among the problems at Halloween is that often those without a specific event planned will hang out near the crossing taking pictures and causing congestion.

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  • Monday, 24th October 2016
    In General Japan News, Events In Japan, Events In Japan, Japan Sports News,

    Junko Tabei, pioneering Japanese mountain climber, dies at 77

    Junk Tabei, the first woman to climb Everest, has died of cancer aged 77 in Saitama, after a lifetime of scaling peaks across the world.

    The Japanese mountaineer defied the expectations of women in her culture and climbed the highest mountains in more than 70 countries.

    She summited the world’s tallest peak in May 1975 and by 1992, she had ticked off the six next highest ascents across the globe.

    Tabei was diagnosed with cancer of the abdomen in 2012 and died on Thursday (October 20th) in hospital.

    Despite her illness, she completed her last climb in July, as she accompanied survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

    They made it to the top of Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and a famous symbol of the country throughout the world.

    She was originally from Fukushima Prefecture, making the disaster that rocked the region a cause close to her heart.

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