Shibuya Station to Get Makeover – Easier Transfers

Shibuya Station is used by more than 3 million people daily, but its labyrinthine layout and the distance between the lines passing through the station can make changing trains a test of endurance. A major renovation project that started this spring should make getting around the huge terminal station easier-although it will not be completed until fiscal 2027.

Since Shibuya Station opened in 1885, the addition of new lines has involved major expansion and remodeling work wherever space allowed. The end result is the station’s current maze-like structure and a patchwork of train facilities cobbled together in the heart of Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district. Because there was not enough land for the Saikyo Line platforms alongside existing platforms, they were constructed about 350 meters south. Transferring to other lines requires traversing a long connecting walkway.

This major overhaul of Shibuya Station could finally begin because the platforms of the Tokyu Toyoko Line were shifted underground when the line started direct connections with the Fukutoshin Line in March 2013, which created a vast open area. Preliminary construction work for the new platforms of the Saikyo Line in this space-350 meters from where they currently stand-started in April.

August is Ghost Month! The Scariest Places to Visit in Japan

In Eastern countries such as China and Japan, the month of August is one to celebrate. The “Hungry Ghost Festival” is known all around the world which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. In celebration of ghosts, here are the most haunted places to visit in Japan.

1. Amidaji (Temple of Amida)

Located in Dan-no-ura in the Shimonoseki Strait, Amidaji is a legendary haunted place. A dead samurai is known to haunt the area. The story is quite famous and it has been adapted into a movie, Masaki Kobayashi’s film “Kwaidan.”


2. Aokigahara

Aokigahara is best known in Japan as the “Suicide Forest.” Located at the bottom of Mt Fuji, the area is frequently visited as a spot for suicide. This has caused a widespread belief that the place is haunted. In 2010, a record of 54 people were said to have committed suicide at Aokigahara.


3. Hashima Island

Also known as Gunkanjima which translates to “Battleship Island”, Hashima is a 60,000 square meter cluster of concrete ruins off the coast of Nagasaki. It has been abandoned since 1974 when the coal mines on the island were shut down. The island was closed to visits until Hashima was re-opened to the public in 2009.


4. Himuro Mansion

The famous game “Fatal Frame” was allegedly based on the true events that conspired at the Himuro Mansion. According to legend, the mansion was a site of a brutal family murder and sacrifice. Onlookers claim to have seen bloody hand prints on the well, a wandering girl in a kimono and sprays of blood appearing out of nowhere.


5. Akasaka Mansion

Located in Tokyo, Akasaka is a well-known tourist spot. Tourists sleeping at the mansion claim to have been stroked on the face. Some have even been violently ripped from their beds.


Fire breaks out at world famous sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro

A fire broke out on Monday morning in a Ginza building housing the Michelin Guide 3-star sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Police said the fire started at around 11:30 a.m. in the B2 floor of the 9-story building at Ginza 4-chome. According to TV media, the fire started in a storeroom for restaurant supplies. Firefighters were quoted as saying that a sushi chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro on B1 floor had been using straw to smoke bonito and that the straw most likely ignited after he returned it to the storeroom.

Firefighters said the ceiling of the storeroom was destroyed but there were no injuries caused by the fire which took about an hour to extinguish.

Sukiyabashi Jiro has received 3 Michelin stars for six years in a row.

Japan PM Visits Meiji Shrine

Japan’s prime minister has visited Tokyo’s main Shinto shrine, which has strong imperial connections, in an apparent attempt to appeal to his right-wing supporters.

Shinzo Abe, who recently started his second stint as Japan’s leader, visited the Meiji shrine today, becoming the first premier to do so since his 2007 visit. The shrine commemorates Emperor Meiji, a symbol of Japan’s militarisation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Abe has said he hopes to visit the Yasukuni war shrine, which honours war criminals among others. His visit to the Meiji shrine could be a move to avoid angering China, which has expressed concerns about Abe’s rightist policies.

Japan’s World War II government used Shinto as an official religion to push militarism and waged war in the emperor’s name.

Grand reopening rehearsal lights up Tokyo Station

Moving images of musical instruments, steam locomotives and other objects were projected onto the facade of Tokyo Station on Friday night as its grand reopening ceremony approaches on Oct. 1.

The light show was a rehearsal for a special 10-minute music and movie performance that will take place on Saturday and Sunday as the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building, as it is formally known, prepares to wrap up five years of restoration work.

The red-brick building, designated in 2003 as an important Cultural Property of Japan, was built in 1914 but partially damaged during air strikes in 1945. Restoration work began in 2007.

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Tokyo Tower shrinks with broken spire replacement

Tokyo Tower is standing a bit shorter than its listed 333-meter height because an antenna at the top is being replaced after being bent by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

According to Nippon Television City Corp., which manages the iconic landmark, the tip had been trimmed to about 315 meters by Monday after work to replace it began on July 10. But work to install the new antenna has added about 9 meters since, bringing it back up to about 324 meters as of Friday, an NTC spokeswoman told The Japan Times.

“It is the first time that the tower has been shorter than 333 meters” since its grand opening in 1958, she said. The tower will be returned to its original height by late August.

Tokyo Tower served as a broadcast tower for NHK and other TV stations until analog TV broadcasts ceased with the conversion to digital signals. Since the wobbling caused by the March 11 quake bent the antenna, NTC had to reinforce the damaged segment until it could be repaired. Nevertheless, the spokeswoman said its replacement was inevitable since all TV broadcasts have shifted from analog to digital. Despite the replacement work, the tower’s observatories and facilities are functioning as usual, she added.

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Japan opens new worlds tallest tower in Tokyo – Tokyo Sky Tree Tower

The worlds tallest tower and Tokyos biggest new landmark, the Tokyo Sky Tree, has opened to the public.

Nearly 8,000 visitors were expected to take high-speed elevators up to the observation decks of the 2,080-foot tower Tuesday to mark its opening.

It is recognized by Guinness World Records as the tallest tower, beating out the Canton Tower in China, which is 1,968 1/2 feet. The worlds tallest structure is Dubais Burj Khalifa, which stands 2,717 feet. Thats in a different category because its a skyscraper, not a tower.

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Tokyo’s Sanja Matsuri Festival

People in Tokyo have enjoyed the climax of the annual 3-day early summer festival featuring 3 portable shrines. The event was held for the first time in 2 years.

The “Sanja Matsuri” is one of the capitals largest festivals with a 700-year history and is held in the Asakusa district of downtown Tokyo.

Last year, following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, the organizers decided to cancel most parts of the festival, including the parade.

On Sunday, men and women wearing “happi” coats carried 3 golden portable shrines on their shoulders to take different routes for the 3 shrines that each weigh about one ton.

Thousands of onlookers cheered the participants and took photos of the parade.

A woman who carried one of the shrines said the town looked deserted last year. She said she feels even happier than before to take part in the festival after one years absence.

The organizers representative, Nobuhisa Yoshioka, said the Tokyo Sky Tree will open soon and Tokyo will have a new tourist attraction along with traditional events like this festival. He said he hopes the festival will encourage people to find ways to boost the economy.

Tokyo Sky Tree Tower Uses Anti-Quake Technology

A Tokyo developer took visitors up the worlds tallest freestanding broadcast structure on Tuesday, a 634-meter 2,080-foot tower with special technology meant to withstand earthquakes that often strike Japan.The Tokyo Skytree is the worlds second-tallest structure behind the 828-meter 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai, according to owner Tobu Tower Skytree Co.The needle-like radio and television tower opens to the public on May 22.

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