Rape blossom maze in Fukushima in full bloom

FUKUSHIMA, May. 14 – A maze of rape blossoms, created on a farmland in the Kaihama district of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is attracting visitors from outside the region. Takayuki Ueno, a 45-year-old local farmer, borrowed a farmland damaged by the tsunami and has been cultivating rapeseed and soybeans. Every year since 2013, he has been making the field open to the public after the blossoms bloom in late April in hopes of offering a place for children to enjoy. Some 10,000 people, including families with children, visit the place every year. This year, he created two mazes of rape blossoms on a 2.2-hectare … Continue reading

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Japan prepares heart-shaped watermelon for Mother’s Day gift

FUKUOKA, May. 13 — If you’re looking for Mother’s Day gift ideas, give a heart-shaped watermelon. Heart-shaped watermelons appeared for Mother’s Day display at Iwataya Department Store in Fukuoka’s busy shopping district. One heart-shaped watermelon prices at 10,800 yen ($98). The department store sells some 20 pieces every year.

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Japan’s bipartisan lawmakers seek rice, sake export expansion

TOKYO, May. 9 — A bipartisan group of Japanese lawmakers is seeking to expand exports of rice and sake, brewed using Japanese-grown rice, as the domestic consumption of the staple food has continued sliding. The group held a meeting on May 8 to discuss its major activities in the year starting April 1. “We believe we should move forward expediently in expanding rice and sake exports to support the Japanese agriculture,” said Seishiro Eto, the chairman of the group and former deputy speaker of the parliament’s lower house. The Japanese agricultural exports broke the 800 billion yen barrier last year for the first time, as washoku or traditional Japanese food … Continue reading

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Japan’s Tohoku region wants more visitors after 2011 disaster

TOKYO, April. 30 — The government is helping to create a new business model to recover inbound arrivals of foreigners in northern Japan, which was hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. It has been seven years since the disaster struck the northeastern coast and triggered meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. In post-quake reconstruction efforts, the Japanese reconstruction agency chose 10 projects this year that aim to rebuild local economies and boost the number of foreign travelers. They include seasonal events such as fruit-picking in spring and fireworks festivals in summer, and a variety of tours in footsteps … Continue reading

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Wakayama growers prepare to export new strawberry Marihime

WAKAYAMA, May. 9 — Strawberry growers in central Japan are readying the first commercial exports of their new strawberry “Marihime” to Asian neighbors. Wakayama prefecture’s agricultural research center developed the new strawberry breed and registered it in 2010. “This strawberry taste sweet and a little sour,” an official from the local government explained. In Tokyo, it was sold at 12,960 yen per box at fruit shops. “We hope we can sell it overseas as well,” the official said. Fruit is generally expensive in Japan, and people often buy melons, grapes and strawberries as a gift for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and parties. Japan exported 890 tons of strawberries, … Continue reading

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