If you're looking for some mundane distractions to get you through the holiday period, Shukan Taishu (May 6-13) has got just the thing. Its "Reiwa Commemorative Edition" introduces unusual rides. Okinawa, for example, sports an "Ostrich Land," where you can hop a ride on the back of one of its giant birds. Not to be outdone, a park in Tochigi has camels for the same purpose, as does another in Chiba offering elephant rides. At Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama, visitors from age 10 (who can prove they can swim for a distance of 25 meters) may emulate the "boy on a dolphin" theme and ride atop a friendly beluga whale.

Two-wheeled Segway personal transporters are available for inexpensive rental at Showa Memorial Park in the city of Tachikawa. And, starting from 7 a.m., the first 100 visitors on a first-come, first-served basis are able to go aloft aboard a hot-air balloon at the Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park in Saitama Prefecture.

Asahi Geino (April 25) rates the 31 most significant railroad developments of the Heisei Era (1989-2019). In first place was Japan Railways' 1992 introduction of the Shinkansen's 300 Nozomi limited express series, which shaved 19 minutes off the journey between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, to just two hours and 30 minutes. After a decade of service, the model was phased out in 2012. In 2003, Okinawa Urban Monorail, Inc. finally brought rail service to the last of Japan's 47 prefectures. While an extension is in the works, the two-car trains currently run between Naha Airport to Shuri, making 13 stops along its route. Readers are invited to watch a 27-minute "mid-air stroll" video in southern Okinawa by going to www.yui-rail.co.jp/navi/en.