New amphibious bus tour launched in Tokyo Bay

A new Tokyo Bay amphibious bus tour was launched Monday to service the expected influx of foreign tourists drawn to the city ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Fuji Kyuko Co. operates the 12-meter-long bus named “TOKYO NO KABA” (Tokyo’s Hippo). The cruise takes it under the Rainbow Bridge that spans Tokyo Bay after winding through the office buildings and entertainment complexes in the nearby Odaiba area.

The bus seats 38 and offers tour information in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai and Indonesian. It was designed by Eiji Mitooka, known for his train and other industrial designs including the luxurious cruise train “Seven Stars in Kyushu” operated by Kyushu Railway Co.

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Japan tourism trade turning more to credit cards

Local restaurants, souvenir shops and even some temples and shrines are hoping to cater to foreign guests with an international custom yet to be adopted in Japan: letting customers pay their bills with credit cards instead of cash.
As the country braces for a further tourism boom in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, major credit card companies are providing local businesses with portable devices so foreign customers can pay at the table — a practice customary in their home countries.

Imperial Palace’s Inui Street opened to public

Inui Street in the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo was opened to the public on Saturday, in time for the autumn foliage season.
Visitors can walk on the road running from the Sakashita gate to the Inui gate between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. until Dec. 10.

Public access to Inui Street is usually allowed twice a year during the best times to see cherry blossoms and autumn colors, but it was closed to the public last autumn and this spring due to work on trees.

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Tokyo Motor Show opens to public

The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the public on Saturday, with about 150 businesses and groups showcasing their latest technology.
Many companies are unveiling electric concept cars to respond to the global shift away from internal combustion engines. Attention is also on artificial intelligence technology that can monitor changes in drivers’ expressions and voices.The event has suffered a decline in the number of visitors, from over 2-million at its peak in 1991, to 810,000 in 2015.

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Universal Studios Japan to resume nighttime parades from 2018

Universal Studios Japan in Osaka will resume nighttime parades from 2018 following a year-and-half hiatus as part of efforts to draw overseas tourists as well as domestic visitors, its operator USJ Co. said Monday.
Using projection mapping, scenes from the Harry Potter, Minions and other movie series will be displayed on floats and a 587-meter-long route to give visitors an immersive experience, with a Transformers float shaped like a robot.

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