Apr 17, 2015

Putin ready to discuss isle row but hits Japan's sanctions over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow is ready to hold territorial talks with Japan but that Tokyo’s move to back sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict has effectively halted such discussions. Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine in March ...

Aurora borealis spotted in Japan for first time since 2004

Mar 19, 2015

Aurora borealis spotted in Japan for first time since 2004

The aurora borealis has been photographed by an astronomical observatory in Hokkaido — the first time in 11 years the northern lights have been observed in Japan. According to the Nayoro Municipal Observatory in Hokkaido, staffer Katsuhito Nakajima succeeded in taking an image of ...

Japan's regions scramble to lure Thai tourists

Mar 18, 2015

Japan's regions scramble to lure Thai tourists

by Osamu Nakahi

As the number of travelers from Southeast Asia to Japan grows, due partly to relaxed visa requirements, local and prefectural governments are stepping up efforts to draw Thai tourists by holding promotional events in Bangkok. The number of travelers from Thailand, known as a ...

Mar 10, 2015

Russian-held islands 'shrink' by 33 sq. km

by Masaaki Kameda

The total area of the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan has shrunk by about 33 sq. km — thanks to more accurate mapping techniques by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI). The annual survey by the GSI, released Friday, found that ...

Photographer documents Ainu life

Jan 20, 2015

Photographer documents Ainu life

by Eriko Aoyagi

Taka Maesawa, a photographer from Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, has published a photo book documenting the Ainu ethnic minority for more than 30 years since 1983. “I want people to know about the beautiful Ainu culture and the history of ethnic Ainu who have been discriminated ...

Olympic speedskater Shirahata coaches kids at Kushiro school rink

Jan 20, 2015

Olympic speedskater Shirahata coaches kids at Kushiro school rink

Most school playgrounds in Kushiro, Hokkaido, have been turned into ice skating rinks this week as elementary schools began the new term Monday. Kushiro, which has severely cold winters but relatively light snowfalls, is known as the “City of Ice” and has produced several ...

Jan 3, 2015

JNTO may hold Hokkaido Shinkansen seminars in U.S.

The Japan National Tourism Organization plans to hold seminars in the United States this year to promote the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line that is slated to open in spring 2016. The JNTO hopes the seminars, targeting U.S. travel agencies and media organizations, will lead to ...