March 22, 2019 — The cherry blossoms officially opened in Tokyo on March 21, five days earlier than average. Because the weather is forecast to remain relatively warm, we expect the best viewing period in Tokyo to start already around the 27th. In Kyoto, the blossoms are forecast to start opening on March 26 and to reach full bloom in the early days of April.
Japan’s most beloved flowers are often associated with April, but they’ll be at their most beautiful in Tokyo before that, says forecast.
With Christmas and New Year’s over, it’s time to start looking forward to spring, and in Japan, that means looking forward to cherry blossoms. Sure, we got a sneak preview thanks to some unusual weather back in October, but the true sakura season doesn’t start until April…or wait, is it March? May? As beautiful as Japan’s cherry blossoms are, they’re also tremendously fickle as to when they’ll make their appearance. Thankfully, though, the Japan Meteorological Corporation has just released its forecast of when the flowers are expected to bloom this year, with March 18 being the first predicted date for sakura to bloom (outside of tropical Okinawa Prefecture).That March 18 debut date, however, is for Kochi, on the island of Shikoku. If you’re looking to get your sakura fix in Japan’s capital, March 22 is when the cherry blossoms will start to bloom in Tokyo, Japan Meteorological Corporation says, which is four days earlier than average for the city. On the other hand if you want to see sakura in Japan’s previous capital, Kyoto, you’ll need to wait until March 25.
A minibus decorated with All Nippon Airways Co.’s signature blue and white logo motors across the tarmac at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary bus, with a person sitting in the driver’s seat — except no one is really operating the vehicle.
Reporters got a glimpse Tuesday of an autonomous airport bus experiment in progress. It is part of Japan’s first series of experiments on automatic vehicle-control systems designed to carry passengers within an airport’s restricted zone.
The project at Haneda is being developed by six companies, including ANA, NEC Corp. and Aichi Steel Corp.
The move to go autonomous comes at a time when Japan is grappling with a shrinking labor force amid rising tourist numbers from abroad.
As more flights are expected to arrive at and depart from Haneda in the coming years, the goal is to effectively and efficiently carry out operations for the ground crew, said Tadakatsu Yamaguchi, an ANA official.
Those tasks include moving passengers between aircraft and terminals as well as unloading and loading their luggage.
A railway operator in northern Japan has launched an annual steam locomotive service in the eastern part of Hokkaido Prefecture.
Hokkaido Railway Company operates the steam locomotive, commonly referred to as the Winter Wetlands line, that makes one roundtrip journey every day between Kushiro and Shibecha Stations.
A departure ceremony was held at Kushiro Station on the season’s opening day on Saturday.
With the sound of a whistle, the 5-car locomotive, carrying 280 passengers, chugged away from Kushiro Station.
Travelers ate dried squid and fish snacks prepared on coal stoves in the train carriages.
After the train entered the marshlands, passengers got to view the snowy landscape, and took photographs of a pair of red-crowned cranes.
Central Japan Railway Co. has said that its N700S bullet train model will go into service on the Tokaido Shinkansen in early July 2020, just before the start of the Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
The railway operator plans to introduce a total of 40 N700S trains over three years to fiscal 2022, which ends in March 2023, with total investment estimated at ¥240 billion, according to the firm’s announcement on Friday. Each train will have 16 cars.
The new model, which is now undergoing test runs, is equipped with a lithium-ion battery system enabling it to travel a certain distance in case of power outages, the first such feature for a shinkansen. Power outlets for passengers will be available at every seat, and the model has more security cameras than the trains now in service