With eye on foreign tourists, Kyoto bids to expand nighttime sightseeing
Japan Times -- Sep 18
At 6 p.m. on one weekday in August an enthusiastic audience had almost filled Gion Corner, a theater of some 200 seats at the center of the Gion traditional entertainment district in the city of Kyoto.

Occupying most of the seats were visitors from overseas, who applauded vigorously every time a performance ended and pointed their cameras and smartphones at the stage. Nighttime sightseeing in Kyoto is catching on with foreign tourists, as locals are working to satisfy visitors' hopes of enjoying traditional culture even after sunset.

At the theater, seven traditional performing arts - including kyōmai (Kyoto-style dancing), gagaku (court music) and kyōgen (comic plays) - are presented in turn in a program that lasts about an hour. The program is staged twice each evening, starting at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., with tickets for each performance priced at ¥3,150 ($28) for an adult. The annual number of visitors to the theater topped 80,000 in fiscal 2017, the highest since its establishment in 1962, and foreign visitors accounted for some 70 percent of the total.

The growth in nighttime tourism is also expected to help ease the increasingly serious problem of daytime congestion in Kyoto, which is a highly popular destination for both Japanese and foreign tourists.

In a city visited by more than 50 million people each year, local residents sometimes cannot get on a bus.

In collaboration with online restaurant booking service provider Gurunavi Inc., the Kyoto Municipal Government opened a website showcasing local services that offer hands-on experiences of Japanese traditional tea ceremonies and dances into the evening.

News source: Japan Times
Oct 20
Final preparations were under way Friday for the launch of a joint mission by European and Japanese space agencies to send twin probes to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. (Japan Times)
Oct 20
Scandal-hit KYB Corp. on Friday disclosed the names of 70 government and municipal office buildings that used, or are suspected of having used, substandard earthquake shock absorbers in their construction. (Japan Times)
Oct 20
Police said Friday they have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the stabbing of his grandparents in the city of Wako in Saitama Prefecture. (Japan Today)
Oct 20
The Hiroshima Carp clinched their second Japan Series berth in three years on Friday with a 5-1 victory over the Yomiuri Giants in Game 3 of the Central League Climax Series' final stage. (Kyodo)
Oct 19
An international team of researchers has given the name Godzilla to one of what it calls the modern constellations. The monster is among the most popular film characters created in Japan. (NHK)
Oct 19
Japanese police are questioning staff from the Bulgarian national opera after being notified by the opera company that they are suspected of scrawling graffiti in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. (NHK)
Oct 19
Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is asking people not to disturb others when celebrating Halloween. (NHK)
Oct 19
Yokozuna Hakuho underwent successful endoscopic surgery on his right knee at a hospital in Tokyo on Thursday, sources close to his Miyagino stable said. (Japan Times)
Oct 19
Just two weeks into her appointment, the only female minister in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new Cabinet found herself in hot water Thursday after a weekly magazine alleged that she was paid to use her bureaucratic influence to get a tax break for a business owner in 2015. (Japan Times)
Oct 19
The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will reprimand a 52-year-old judge for his controversial social media post earlier this year, marking a first in Japan. (Japan Times)