Japan's year-end exodus continues
NHK -- Dec 30
Japanese travelers are crowding highways, train stations and airports as they head to their hometowns and leisure spots for the New Year holidays.

Airline companies say domestic flights departing Tokyo's Haneda Airport were near capacity on Friday.

Japan Railways Group companies say that reserved seats for outbound Shinkansen trains are almost fully booked for Saturday, and they say congestion is expected to continue throughout the day.

Expressway operators say traffic jams will likely continue in some areas on Saturday. They say congestion of 30 kilometers on the Tomei Expressway, and 20 kilometers on the Kanetsu expressway, is expected for Saturday morning.

年末年始をふるさとや海外で過ごす人たちで、空の便を中心に混雑のピークを迎えています。 鉄道では、東海道・山陽新幹線が下りの「のぞみ1号」で自由席の乗車率が140%になったほか、東北、山形、上越、北陸の各新幹線の一部列車で乗車率が100%となっています。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
Dec 17
A famous hot spa resort is offering an online map showing "onsen" spots available for tattooed tourists traveling to the region for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. (Kyodo)
Dec 14
Traditional female entertainers in Kyoto have started offering early New Year greetings. (NHK)
Dec 14
The northern Japan town of Kutchan in the popular Niseko ski resort area is to introduce a lodging tax after the town assembly passed an ordinance on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Dec 11
Japan may have assimilated so many western cultural influences, yet it still remains exotic and enigmatic. (newsonjapan.com)
Dec 05
The Lower House approved a bill Tuesday to designate a one-off national holiday period to celebrate next year’s Imperial succession, creating a 10-day block of vacation for many from late April. (Japan Times)
Dec 05
For almost the last 50 years, there have been 29 stops on the Yamanote Line, with the most recent addition being Nishi-Nippori in 1971. The Yamanote Line station family is set to grow to an even 30 soon, though, with construction currently taking place for a new station to be slotted between the existing Shinagawa and Tamachi Stations, and planners have finally announced the name of the new stop. (soranews24.com)
Dec 05
An increasing number of national parks and other scenic areas in Japan are collecting voluntary entry payments from visitors for environmental protection and infrastructure improvements, including the creation of pathways and the installation of bathrooms. (Japan Times)
Dec 01
The rate of rental car accidents involving foreign drivers in Osaka Prefecture is four times higher than those involving Japanese drivers, according to recent data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. (Japan Times)
Nov 24
The Japanese city of Osaka will host the 2025 World Expo. The city won a 3-way race over 2 rounds of voting at the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on Friday. (NHK)
Nov 23
Officials at Japan Airlines apparently started asking passengers on an overbooked flight if they were willing to take other planes only about 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time. (NHK)