While the ongoing rainy season means staying indoors to some people, for others, it is a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful tapestry of ajisai (hydrangeas), whose colors vary from white to blue to pink to purple - and all shades in between.
Sakura (cherry blossoms) may get the glory, but there are many hydrangea-viewing events happening through the month (until the end of July in some northern regions).
In Kyoto, the 1,284-year-old Gansenji Temple in the southern city of Kizu, was founded by prominent Buddhist monk Gyoki, and is famous for its hydrangea garden, which is beautifully set against a three-story vermillion pagoda.
The resignation Monday of Yuko Obuchi, Japan's industry minister, was a heavy blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the cabinet he named last month. And there are concerns in the government and ruling parties that Obuchi is only the first in a string of coming cabinet resignations. (Nikkei)
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto met with the head of an anti-Korean group on Monday as he considers cracking down on hate speech rallies in the western Japan city, but they ended up having a shouting match in which they more or less just insulted each other. (Kyodo)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday arrested two male suspects for allegedly dumping a large quantity of adult video (AV) material inside a park in Nishinari Ward, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 17). (Tokyo Reporter)
Empress Michiko celebrated her 80th birthday on Monday. In a statement distributed to media by the Imperial Household Agency, the empress said she hoped the world could find peace ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year. (Japan Today)
The Nagano prefectural government's disaster response headquarters said Thursday it has decided to end its search this year for missing hikers on Mt. Ontake due to the growing risk of secondary accidents. (The Japan News)