As Japan struggles to get its groove back, the capital beckons as a bright bargain. Lee Hannon visits.
The bright neon lights of Tokyo may dim this year, but the flicker of hope that Japan will remain a top tourist destination still glimmers.
It's been more than a year since the land of the rising sun faced its darkest days after World War II, after a massive earthquake and deadly tsunami killed tens of thousands of people as it washed away entire towns and villages. Tourists in Japan left as quickly as multinational corporations evacuated their workers.
Latest statistics show Chinese tourists are returning in record numbers to Japan. Some 138,400 visited in January alone, up 39.6 percent from the same period last year pre-quake.
The numbers went into freefall following the March earthquake and only began to stabilize last September. Japanese businesses and tour operators say the rapid increase in visitors from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan is offering some much needed optimism in a country still struggling to get back on its feet.
It is a mathematical algorithm, not just common sense, that Japan's nearest neighbor would return first and there's no wonder.
The country still has a lot to offer: shopping for electronics, a visit to Mount Fuji or the ancient temples in Kyoto, or - for the more adventurous - the ski slopes in the north.
US President Barack Obama has left the United States for his first trip to Japan in about 3-and-a-half years. Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold a summit meeting on Thursday. (CNN )
Shortly after arriving in Tokyo Wednesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama enjoyed an informal dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a top-rated sushi restaurant in the posh Ginza shopping district. (Jiji Press )
The education ministry conducted national academic achievement tests on Tuesday for all final-year students at primary and middle schools across the country. About 2.24 million students at about 30,000 schools took Japanese and mathematics exams. (The Japan News )
Police in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, admitted Wednesday that they mistakenly arrested a woman in her 20s over her suspected involvement in a blackmail case which occurred in January of this year. (Japan Today )
Tokyo High Court ordered the state and a former Maritime Self-Defense Force officer on Wednesday to pay 73 million yen in compensation for the 2004 suicide of a junior crewman of an MSDF destroyer after bullying by the officer. (Jiji Press )
The Imperial Household Agency announced this week that it has received over 100,000 applications from individuals seeking to participate in the first ever public opening of parts of the Imperial Palace. (Japan Today )
A former judge from the Ministry of Justice is alleged to have installed a camera inside a women's toilet inside a ministry building in Kasumigaseki, people with knowledge of the matter announced on Monday, reports Sports Nippon (Apr. 22). (Tokyo Reporter )
Police in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested an unemployed 38-year-old man for attempted murder after he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her and her parents. (Japan Today )