Japan is home to a multitude of observation decks atop high-rise buildings and towers, with Tokyo Skytree being the tallest and most famous. Most of the high-rise buildings are in the biggest cities, but the many towers are often found on the coast with views along the seashore.At 289 meters in height5, the observation deck on top of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is taller than most of the others,

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Ramen vs Udon vs Soba – Japan’s food scene is on another level, as many travellers to this wonderful country can attest. With condensed cities housing thousands of food options, to lone villages served by single multi-generational restaurants, every eating experience is a unique and wonderful one.

There are many staples that are rooted in Japanese food culture, with noodles playing a huge part in defining it from history many centuries ago to where it is now. The Japanese boast an immeasurable number of traditional noodle dishes that are all equally as wondrous and appealing as each other, but to cover them all would take more than just an article!

Instead, we’d like to concentrate on the three most popular types of noodles that the Japanese people use, and highlight the most popular Japanese dishes which use these noodles: Ramen vs Udon vs Soba.

As all noodles generally take on a similar shape and colour, we get that it might be confusing to differentiate between them. We’ll explain their basic composition, how they’re different to each other, and what dishes they’re commonly used for.

We bet you’ve eaten at least one of the dishes we’ve described below! And if not, well what are you waiting for? Get to know the differences between Ramen vs Udon vs Soba now!

What are Ramen Noodles?

Ramen Japan Afuri Restaurant

Ramen noodles are unquestionably Japan’s most iconic types of noodles. They’re depicted everywhere, from Japanese dramas to pop culture such as anime and manga, to being sold as instant versions at super markets, and ramen restaurant chains are even opening up halfway across the world!

Ramen noodles are wheat-based noodles characterised by their …continue reading


How the Pandemic Has Changed Classroom Learning for the Visually Impaired

Rie Kiyono started teaching her community English class in Tokyo’s Takadanobaba area on a Saturday morning by reviewing and reciting the alphabet and numbers with her students. It looked just like a typical English class—except that all her students have visual impairments. She started by turning on her voice recorder and calling each student’s name based on their seating arrangements.

Kiyono started her English class for the visually impaired at the Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Association of the Blind back in 2005 and her class has grown ever since—until the pandemic started. Due to the effects and protocols necessary during the outbreak, her class was paused.

© Photo by Laksmi Wijayanti

Kiyono and her students are waiting to resume their classes again.

According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities face added risks during a pandemic that has made them less independent. Mostly using their sense of touch to navigate and relying on sighted attendants, the students found these two things becoming potential risks for coronavirus infections.

Jin K., who didn’t want to have his last name mentioned, and Kazuhiro Takemoto said that they started going out less to avoid commuting. The reason for this is because they find it difficult to socially distance themselves from other people. For example, they cannot always tell if others around them are implementing the coronavirus safety measures—such as keeping masks on at all times— and if they’ve distanced themselves far enough.

During the pandemic, Kiyono refrained from having her students make contact with anything via touch, which is challenging since they used to touch the materials used for her lessons, if they were available, such as a pop-up map of different cities in the world. This used to be a valuable learning experience. She and her …continue reading


Crown Prince Fumihito leaves the Imperial Palace after being formally declared first in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne, Tokyo, Japan, 8 November 2020 (Photo: Pool/Carl Court).

Author: Kumiko Nemoto, Senshu University

As in ancient Rome, where the adoption of a male heir in favour of a female successor was common, Japan is likely to rely on adoption to preserve the male line of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne. The possibility of an empress in a future Japan may be slim after the June 2021 meeting of experts on the imperial succession.

The meeting was convened by then prime minister Yoshihide Suga, who is said to prioritise preserving the male line to the throne. Attendees opposed allowing an empress to take the throne as well as the idea of imperial succession from the matrilineal lineage. This stance was based on the belief that female succession would divide Japan and delegitimise the nature of the imperial system.

The current Imperial Household Law of 1947 relies on patrilineal lineage, allowing only sons to become emperor, and requiring female members to leave the Imperial Palace after they marry commoners. The expert meeting came up with a two pronged solution to the lack of male successors in the Japanese imperial family: the adoption of a male successor and allowing current female members to remain in the royal family after marriage to commoners so they can assist the emperor.

The adoption proposal is popular among conservative politicians. The adoptee would be selected from the 11 former imperial family branches, which were forced to leave the Imperial Household by the United States in 1947.

But the Japanese public is unlikely to be convinced that male succession must be preserved.

Conservatives see the unbroken male bloodline as imperative to the maintenance of the Japanese throne. They claim that an empress would make Japan’s imperial system illegitimate, …continue reading


Latest technology to “provide healing and surprise”.

There are a lot of clean, modern public toilets in Japan, but some of them are so exceptional they become legendary. One of these legendary toilets can be found inside Tokyo Station, where the new “Gransta Tokyo” commercial facility opened up to the public in August last year.

This refurbished area includes the “Square Zero” event space, within the ticket gates around the north passage, where exhibits promoting regional areas and festivals are displayed.

▼ When we visited the event space, the gods Fujin and Raijin were hanging about to promote Aomori’s Nebuta festival.

The new area is sparklingly beautiful, with unusual decorative elements like this clock that shows all the numbers as “0”. This is a hat-tip to the fact that Tokyo Station is the zero-mile marker for a number of train lines around Japan.

Zero miles is also zero kilometres, so you’ll be able to find a number of “zero kilometre posts” scattered around Tokyo Station, if you keep an eye out for them.

However, we’re not here to talk about zero-mile or zero-kilometre markers today, as we’re here to visit the unique toilet, which is known as the “Tokyo Station Waterscape Toilet“. As the name suggests, this public loo is all about enjoying the beauty of water, and this one uses the latest technology to “provide healing and surprise”.

The bathroom is easy to spot on the B1 level of …continue reading


Source: Grape

Here is exciting news about Akihabara, one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Japan!

The NPO Akihabara Tourism Promotion Association is currently running the Akihabara Hybrid Tour project for one month only. The association has also announced that from October 18th to October 31st, the tour content will also be broadcast online. This hybrid tour is a combination of a real and virtual tour that is suited for the new normal of COVID prevention measures.

*The details have not yet been announced, for updates please check their website.

Why is the tour “hybrid”?

This tour is a combined real and virtual tour, so it is being branded as a “hybrid experience.”

To put it simply, participants will move around Akihabara physically, but they will experience each of the attractions virtually. Participants can enjoy touring Akihabara without worrying about the risks of the pandemic.

A driver will take tourists around Akihabara on this electric tricycle, which seats two. The driver will only be doing the driving, while the tour guide will be provided remotely by National Government Licensed Guide Interpreters. This tour experience is currently planned to be offered only in Japanese and English.

When participants arrive at the attraction, they will wear VR goggles that look like this:

They will experience the various maid cafes, facilities, stores, and more through their VR goggles in this new style tour. There are two courses to enjoy Akihabara differently. Where do you think they will take you?

Gourmet Course

In this course, you will “visit” many popular restaurants and cafés virtually. Fruits de Saison フルーフ・デゥ・セゾン is a café where you can enjoy delicious and fresh seasonal fruit. I used to work as a maid in Akihabara, and I sometimes dropped by this café. It was a long time ago, …continue reading


Source: Gaijin Pot

If you’re looking to work in Japan, check back here each week as we look through our database of top jobs in Japan posted to GaijinPot and showcase some of the most interesting ones.

You can apply directly to these companies by creating a profile on GaijinPot Jobs!

Medibang Inc.

Overseas Marketing and Localization

  • Company: Medibang Inc.
  • Salary: ¥3.0M ~ ¥4.5M / Year Negotiable
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Native level
  • Japanese: Business level
  • Application: Overseas applications OK

MediBang specializes in translating, localizing and distributing Japanese manga (comics) and games to the global market.

As a Marketing Coordinator, you will be working closely with clients and stores to plan promotions, sales and store events to increase sales. Promotions include advertisement on social media, sending out newsletters, engaging influencers, etc.

You will also review and edit English translations of Game scenarios, scripts and manga to ensure accuracy and quality when needed.

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Apply Here


Full-Time Contract Academic English Teacher

  • Salary: ¥270,000 / Month Negotiable
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Native level
  • Japanese: Conversational
  • Application: Must currently be in Japan

Sapix Yozemi Group is looking for a full-time Academic English Teacher for one of its schools located in Yoyogi, Shibuya in Tokyo. The ability to teach SSAT, SAT and TOEFL is a plus but not an absolute requirement.

Graduates of U.S./U.K. Universities/Colleges are preferred. Candidates must be committed to the position for at least three years.

Benefits include housing allowance, health/social insurance and transportation fees fully covered.

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Customer Service and Inside Sales for …continue reading


Dainichisan Fudo-ji, temple 10 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage is located in a residential district of Nishimuta, south of Kurume in Fukuoka. The sun had just risen as I arrived.The honzon of the temple is a Fudo Myo, but the main hall was locked and I figured it was too early to disturb the priest, but there were a couple of other Fudo statues in the grounds.The flames of one were sporting a thick

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Rescue workers and Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers search for missing people at a landslide site caused by a heavy rain in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, 11 July 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato).

Author: Justin Whitney, Nagoya University

In the aftermath of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power disaster (known as 3.11), Japan’s overwhelmed bureaucrats realised that disaster management planning had to change. In a nation famous for communal cohesion, the role of the individual and self-help have become the mantra for disaster first response.

The assumptions after the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake were that public administrators, formal emergency responders and robust infrastructure would enable the nation to cope with a major disaster. But 3.11 highlighted just how limited the government was in its ability to cope with calamity. In the immediate wake of 3.11 — as radioactive clouds threatened to approach greater Tokyo — officials realised the seriousness of the situation. Former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan acknowledged that had an evacuation order been called, it would have entailed the impossible task of relocating 50 million people — almost half the population of Japan.

Compounding the situation was the impact that the 3.11 calamity had on Tokyo. The nation’s largest city was effectively paralysed. More than five million workers in Tokyo became kitaku nanmin (refugees unable to return home) due to power outages, public transport disruption and severe traffic jams. Those who were able to walk home did so. Others remained in their offices or attempted to crowd into train stations.

3.11 ultimately swept away a government-centric approach to disaster response. It was clear that disaster planning was not fit for purpose, especially when a city like Tokyo was its locus. Triggered by this sobering realisation, the government sought to plug its capability gap through an unprecedented drive to harness all aspects of society. A three-word mantra coined before 3.11 — jijo, kyojo, kojo (self-help, mutual help and government help) — became the central concepts of emergency management planning.

For …continue reading