Hotel Okura Tokyo fully booked during 2020 Olympics

Hotel Okura Tokyo, the flagship hotel of one of Japan’s top hotel chain operators, has been fully booked during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics thanks to stays by officials connected with the International Olympic Committee.

All 508 guest rooms of the Tokyo hotel will be fully occupied during the Summer Games, Chizu Nakashiro, an official of Okura Nikko Hotel Management, a hotel-operating subsidiary of Hotel Okura Co., said at a promotional event in Kuala Lumpur last week.

About half of guest rooms at Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba, located in one of the most popular destinations for foreign tourists in Tokyo, have also been booked by IOC officials, said Nakashiro, who is in charge of international sales for the hotel operator.

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Sony opens experimental ‘park’ in Ginza

In what appears to be an unusual mix, tech giant Sony Corp. opened a “park” in the middle of the Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district on Thursday with four subterranean levels.

Ginza Sony Park was built at the site where the Sony Building, a former landmark, once stood. The ground floor consists of greenery and looks like a standard park, but the four underground floors consist of shops and free space.

Some of the shops sell food and goods, but much of the facility’s 3,807 sq. meters of floor space is designed to let people hang out freely.

For now, a roller skating rink has been set up on the second basement floor that can be used for free until Sept. 24.

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July 2018 foreign visitors to Japan hit record

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in July hit a record for the month, supported by growing ranks of individual travelers from China.

The Japan National Tourism Organization says an estimated 2.8 million foreign nationals visited the country last month, up 5.6 percent from a year earlier.

Officials say visitors from mainland China made up the largest group at 880,000.

They say more flights from Thailand and Vietnam operated by low-cost carriers also helped.

The number of travelers from South Korea was down 5.6 percent to 610,000, making the first decline in 26 months. The number from Hong Kong dropped 3.3 percent.

Officials say despite the overall increase, some tourists apparently decided not to come to Japan after torrential rain caused disasters in the western parts of the country.

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Visitors to Japan top 20 million at fastest pace

20 million foreigners have visited Japan so far this year. It’s the earliest in any year this milestone has been reached.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga revealed the new record to reporters on Monday in the town of Teshikaga in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture.

Suga said the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted tourism as a centerpiece of its strategy for regional revitalization and growth. He said that as a result, the number of foreign tourists topped 20 million last Wednesday. He said it’s the fastest pace ever.

The Japan National Tourism Organization says the previous earliest record for 20 million visitors was September 15th last year.

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Fukushima beach opens for first time in 8 years

Several beaches ravaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan have been reopened for bathing for the first time in 8 years.

Haragamaobama beach in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, was opened to the public on Saturday.
Seawalls on the beach were badly damaged by the tsunami 8 years ago. But the reconstruction work has been completed.
A ritual was held to pray for safety, and a group of local residents released balloons into the sky before the beach was officially declared open.
Children then jumped into the water all at once.Local diners have opened beach houses to offer shaved ice with syrup on top, as well as other food and drinks.
A woman in her 30s said she is happy to once again be able to swim in the sea, where she would come every year before the disaster.A teenage boy said he has been looking forward to the opening of the beach. He said he wants to fully enjoy himself with his friends.
Four beaches in Fukushima Prefecture have reopened since the disaster including in Iwaki and Soma.

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