Travel | 3

With the classification of COVID-19 downgraded to Category 5, many families are considering travel during the first spring break since the change. However, due to rising prices and the influx of travelers, accommodation costs within Japan have also surged.

The main store of Niku no Mansei, an iconic Western-style barbecue restaurant in Akihabara, has announced it will close next month.

Foreign tourists visiting Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, known as "Little Edo," have surged to about 6.2 times the number of the previous year.

Hokkaido has drafted a proposal for an "accommodation tax" to be levied on guests staying at hotels and inns, with charges ranging from 100 to 500 yen depending on the accommodation rate.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen extension, set to open on March 16, has brought significant changes to Fukui Station, one of the new stops. A life-sized dinosaur monument in front of the station gives a prehistoric ambiance, with a Tyrannosaurus also being constructed.

At Himeji Castle, a World Heritage site in Hyogo Prefecture, an event recreating a daimyo procession from the Edo period took place, captivating tourists with a glimpse into the past.

Local celebrity Masaharu Fukuyama drew large crowds in Nagasaki on Saturday, flocking to Dejima, an artificial island off Nagasaki that served as a trading post for the Portuguese (1570–1639) and later the Dutch (1641–1854), to see the local-born actor appear in traditional attire with singer Masaharu Fukuyama and actor Lisa Nakamura.

The plum blossoms are reaching their peak earlier than usual in Kofu due to the warm winter. Furoen Garden, a famous plum spot, is witnessing early blooms in over 2,000 plum trees in various colors, including red, white, and pink, spanning 30 different varieties.