More foreign tourists heading to Japan’s rural villages

MIYAZAKI, Jan. 1 – Foreign tourists visiting rural areas in Japan are on the rise. As the Japan National Tourism Organization statistics show, the estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan topped 30 million in 2018, and repeat visitors is also increasing. Foreign tourists with a clear intention to have deeper experiences in Japan are traveling to the countryside to enjoy nature, the unique landscape, tradition, culture and local specialties. Breathtaking scenery Shiiba, a village in Miyazaki Prefecture, is recently attracting foreign visitors with Sennin no Tanada, meaning rice terraces of the hermit. Also referred to as the Machu Picchu of Shiiba, because of the resemblance of the landscape to … Continue reading

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New Year pink & white rice cake flowers await spring in Japan

TAKAYAMA, Dec. 17 ― It is at peak to make traditional rice cake flowers, called hana-mochi, to prepare New Year’s celebrations in Gifu prefecture. Farmers are attaching pink and white rice cakes, which represents flowers, on to a real branch. It’s simply because there was a difficult time to decorate fresh flowers for New Year’s celebrations in the snowy Hida Takayama region in northern Gifu. “There are several ways to display hana-mochi,” says an official from a farmers’ cooperative from the region. “You can place them with other fresh flowers like an ikebana (Japanese floral arrangement), or place them in your favorite vase,” he smiles. Hana-mochi will be later made … Continue reading

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Climate change to cut crop output, cost $42 bln a year: report

TSUKUBA, Dec. 12 ― Climate change will lower average global output on key crops such as wheat, soybeans and maize, causing an annual loss of 42.4 billion dollars, according to a Japanese report that studied climate impacts on staple crops. The Tsukuba-based National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), together with the National Institute for Environmental Studies and the Meteorological Research Institute, released the report on Dec. 11. The report highlighted the agriculture sector is vulnerable to climate change and it’s now seen much more as an economic issue than a narrow environmental one. Maize production would have a loss of 22.3 billion yen a year, the biggest loser among … Continue reading

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Japan’s vegetable imports increase in 2018 due to bad weather

TOKYO, Dec. 7 ― Japan’s fresh vegetable imports are likely to break the 900,000-ton barrier in 2018 for the first time in six years, amid a fall in domestic output affected by the bad weather, government data has shown. Fresh vegetable import volume in the first ten months of 2018 totaled 804,863 tons, according to data from the finance ministry. That already exceeded the annual 800,000-ton barrier in the last decade. Japanese trading companies said that falling vegetable output as a result of heavy rainfall in the north and drought in west raised domestic prices, driving the food manufacturing sector to shift to imported produce. “The type of contracts is … Continue reading

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Japan’s gross agricultural production totals 9.3 trillion yen in 2017, marking three consecutive years of increase amid recovery in rice prices

TOKYO, Dec. 26 – Japan’s gross agricultural output totaled 9.2742 trillion yen in 2017, up 0.8 percent or 71.7 billion yen from the previous year, increasing three years in a row, the agriculture ministry said on Dec. 25. The farm production marked the largest amount since 2000 in terms of value. One of the main factors behind the increase was the recovery in prices of rice for human consumption, as many rice farmers shifted to production of rice for feed. However, decline in farm population and aging of farmers remain a problem, indicating an urgent need to strengthen the nation’s farm production. The 2017 output topped 9 trillion yen as … Continue reading

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