Read all About it: The 8 Best Websites for Japan News

japan news

Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan or you just want to stay up on the latest Japan news, there are a lot of sites to help you follow current events, trends, the latest in technology, and entertainment. Plus, if you’re learning the language, you can boost your reading and speaking skills by reading the news in Japanese.

Here are eight great sites to help you stay current on the latest Japan news.

Japan Today

Read Japan Today for up-to-date information on sports, tech, and national news. You can even check out housing options and events, or sign up for the newsletter.

Want to work in Japan one day? You can job hunt on the site, but be prepared, you will need more than a basic level of Japanese proficiency to understand the job listings.

If you’ve been taking Japanese lessons for a while, go ahead and try your hand at reading the classified section!

Japan News Review

While the this site covers a wide range of topics, Japan News Review is a great resource for in-dept financial news.

Bookmark the Japan News Review, and keep up with business news and the Japanese economy.

The Japan News

The Japan News covers current events in Japan and around the world. It’s also a great way to look at new in the U.S. from another perspective.

From pop culture to editorials, you can get information on anything newsworthy.

You can also click on the Japanese edition if you want to read the news in Japanese. This is a great way to challenge yourself and practice your language skills.

The Japan Times

If you want a site that feels more like an online community, then The Japan Times is the perfect site for you.

The website is easy to navigate and you can see what people are saying about the different news stories.

NHK World

NHK World Radio Japan focuses on international news and trending stories from around the globe.

Get the on-air reporting app and listen to Japanese news on the go!

News on Japan

From food and culture to entertainment and technology, find out what’s going on in Japan with News on Japan.

If you’re learning to read in Japanese, you can get a side-by-side look at the news in Japanese and English by clicking on the kanji button on the site menu.

Kyodo News

Kyodo is a news agency in Japan; follow Kyodo News for an in-depth look at what’s happening across the country, both nationally and internationally.

Click on the kanji link at top of the page to practice reading in Japanese.

Japanese Newspapers

If you’re learning Japanese, you should spend some time reading  Japanese Newspapers.

Check out one of several dozen online Japanese newspapers. Find a newspaper that interests you and start practicing. Reading the news is one of the best ways to get accustomed to reading the language.

While you could get news about Japan from American news sites, the best way to catch up on Japanese news is from publications within Japan.

These eight sites will keep you in the know with the latest Japan news, and help you practice your Japanese language skills. Check out the websites and let us know which one you like best!

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Jet Set to Japan: The Top 10 Japan Travel Blogs

Jet set to Japan

If you’re studying Japanese, you may be preparing for an upcoming trip to Japan. Traveling to Japan is an unforgettable experience, but if you want to make the most of your trip, you have to prepare in advance.

Here are 10 Japan travel blogs to help you plan ahead for your upcoming trip.

1. Only in Japan

Only in Japan covers nearly every popular and traditional aspect of the country and culture. From manga to beaches to backpacking, you will be well prepared for your trip if you read this blog regularly.

With a vast range of information to help you prepare for your trip, Only in Japan has earned a reputation as one of the go-to Japan travel blogs

2. Japan Travel Mate

If you’re interested in the nation’s history, Japan Travel Mate gives you a taste of everything there is to see and do in Japan.

Japan Travel Mate is a photo-based blog, so you can get a pretty accurate idea of what you will see and experience while you’re in Japan.

3. Japan Travel Guide

Traveling on a tight budget can be challenging. Luckily, Japan Travel Guide is an excellent resource for the budget-conscious jet setter.

This Japan travel blog breaks down how much you can expect to pay so you will know exactly how much money to save. It also offers a lot of great tips to help you save money on your trip.

4. Schauwecker’s Japan Travel Blog

Schauwecker’s Japan Travel Blog offers visitors a lot more than just a look at the best tourist spots. This blog covers things like the progress made since the tsunami that rocked northern Japan in 2011.

Besides travel tips, this blog also helps you stay up to date on the latest news.

If you’re looking for an unconventional travel experience, you can find some real gems on this site.

5. The Poor Traveler

For an honest and humorous look at traveling in Japan (and other places), check out The Poor Traveler.

These two bloggers seem to encounter some strange, unexpected situations.

Visit their site to read about the reality of traveling to Japan and other Asian countries on a limited budget.

6. FlipKey

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, or anywhere else for that matter, FlipKey is a very helpful, reliable resource.

If this will be your first time in Japan, make sure you start with the 30 Tips for First Time Travelers to Japan blog post. It covers all the basics on how to interact with people, and proper etiquette while staying in Japan.

7. Three Weeks in Japan

This travel blog recounts the adventures of Robert, the blog writer who started the site in 2009.

While the site covers many different travel destinations, there are some great Japan-specific blog posts.

Make sure to check out the Three Weeks in Japan article for details about northern and southern areas, so you can plan to go to the beaches in the summer or visit the mountains before the snow falls.

This blog gives you a great idea of just how much you can do in a short amount of time in Japan.

8. Zooming Japan

Zooming Japan takes a more practical approach to traveling in Japan. It gives you advice on learning the language, and helps you prepare so you don’t experience (as much) culture shock.

9.This Beautiful Day

If you’re planning to stay in Tokyo during your trip to Japan, make sure you check out This Beautiful Day.

From food to transportation and accommodations, this Japan travel blog provides useful  information on things to do in the capital.

10. Just One Cookbook

You may be wondering why a cooking blog is on this list, but Just One Cookbook is a great travel resource, and you’ll already be ahead of the game when it comes to Japanese cuisine.

If you’re going to spend time in Kyoto, Just One Cookbook has a set of blog posts dedicated to the city. This thriving city was actually the nation’s capital until 1869, so it has a very rich history and you can still see a mix of traditional and modern-day architecture.

Whether you’re traveling to Japan for business or pleasure, get the most out of your trip by planning in advance. These Japan travel blogs will help you plan a fun, safe, and budget-friendly trip to Japan.

Another great way to learn about Japan is by reading about current events in Japan. Here are the eight best websites for Japan news

Photo by Laurenz Bobke

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Blast From the Past: 6 Japanese Toys From Your Childhood

6 Japanese Toys

When you’re taking Japanese lessons, it’s fun to learn about certain aspects of Japanese culture. Japanese pop culture has made a significant impact in the United States and worldwide.

From electronic game consoles to action figures, Japan has had a long-standing influence on the worldwide toy market. You probably remember a lot of the items on this list, but never really knew their true origin.

Go ahead and embrace your inner child, it’s time to get nostalgic. Here are six popular Japanese toys you may remember from your childhood.

1. Nintendo®

Before today’s popular gaming consoles with real-life graphics and motion sensors, there was an Italian plumber named Mario who set out to save his beloved Princess from the forces of evil. The Nintendo® Entertainment System, which was created by the Nintendo Company in Kyoto, Japan, was released in North America in 1985. The game console was released along with the Super Mario Bros game, which became the best-selling video game of all time.

Since it’s creation, the Nintendo® brand has sold more than 4.3 billion video games, and the company has launched several popular game consoles like the Game Boy, Nintendo 64, and  Nintendo Wii.

You may remember some of Mario’s friends like Donkey Kong and Zelda, in fact, they were probably an important part of your childhood.

2. BeyBlades


Photo by Dennis Amith

Beyblades are relatively more recent than a lot of the toys on this list, but the spinning, top-like contraptions bring us back to a simpler time. In the digital age full of iPads and electronic devices, Beyblades’ simple design took the toy market by storm.

The tops were made of plastic and metal, and with a limitless amount of color variations, they were very popular to collect. You could also square off with friends and compete to see who’s BeyBlades could stay spinning the longest.

According to the New York Times, the original wave of Beyblades were released in the early 2000s and were based on the Japanese fighting tops called bei-goma. The toys were reintroduced in Japan in 2008, with some more modern, high-tech upgrades. Since then, the toys have taken off in the United States.

In addition to the tops, there are also electronic Beyblade games and a Beyblade series on DVD.

3. Power Rangers

Power Rangers

Photo by Kikomachi

With several TV series, movies, spinoffs, and action figures, the Power Rangers are one of the most popular franchises in history. If you were a fan of the show, you probably had multiple action figures, complete with weapons, vehicles, and other super-hero type gadgets.

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” TV show started in the United States in 1993, and was based on the Japanese show “Super Sentai.” Action figures were created as a result of the show’s popularity, and new toys continued to be developed as other shows were created. The Power Rangers action figures were manufactured by Bandai, a toy company which was founded in Japan.

Although the show has been around for 20+ years, the toys are still popular. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Power Rangers toys generated $80 million in revenue in 2012.

4. Tamagotchi


Photo by Robyn Lee

Another Bandai product, the egg-shaped digital toys called Tamagotchi hatched in 1996, selling more than 40 million units worldwide. Aki Maita created the original virtual pet in Japan, and she did her market research in shopping districts in Tokyo.

The digital toys were widely popular and many brands released their own similar products. You may have had a love-hate relationship with your own Tamagotchi, but one thing is for sure, the electronic virtual pet probably gave you one of your first early lessons in responsibility.

Good news for you Tamagotchi fans, if you own an iPhone you can download the Tamagotchi classic app, which is also available for the new iWatch. Maybe you’ll have better luck taking care of your digital pet this time around!

5. Hello Kitty

hello kitty

Photo by Katey

One of the world’s most famous cats (or maybe not a cat, but we don’t need to get into the specifics), Hello Kitty was introduced in Japan in 1974. Created by the Sanrio toy company, Hello Kitty’s image has been used on toys, stationary, stickers, accessories, apparel, and even a toaster that imprints her face onto your bread.

The Sanrio company has been around in Japan since the 1960s, but the franchise has expanded to the United States and worldwide. Besides Hello Kitty, you may  remember some of Sanrio’s other characters like Keroppi, Badtz-Maru, and Pochacco.

6. Pokémon

Maybe you remember the cards, maybe you remember the games, but when it comes to Pokemon, you definitely remember the madness!

Pokémon was created in 1996 when Satoshi Tajiri collaborated with Nintendo to create the video game. Nintendo released a Game Boy game, and a few months later the first Pokemon trading cards appeared in Japan. Three years later, the cards made their way to store shelves in the United States.

Since the release in 1996, Pokémon has been turned into an animated show, a movie, action figures, plush toys, and more. You may not be able to catch them all, but you probably caught Pokémon fever as a child.

These are just some of many toys created in Japan that became worldwide sensations.

How many of these toys do you remember? Which ones were your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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15 Japanese Vocabulary Words for Travelers

15 Japanese Vocabulary Words for Travelers

Japanese vocabulary

You don’t have to master the entire Japanese language to be able to communicate on a basic level with native Japanese speakers. When it comes to basic communication, a few essential words and phrases can help you get by on your trip to Japan. Whether you’re taking Japanese lessons or planning a trip to Japan, here are the Japanese vocabulary words you should know.

Traveling to Japan

Whenever you travel to a new country, you need your passport. The Japanese word for passport is pasupoto (pah-soo-pohh-toh).  You will take a hikoki (airplane) to travel to Japan, and you will fly into the kuko (airport). When you arrive, grab your sutsukesu (suitcase) from the baggage claim.

Getting Around Town

Once you leave the kuko (airport), you can find a takushi (taxi), ride the basu (bus), take the densha (train), or ride the chikatetsu (subway). If you’re taking the bus, train, or subway, you will need to purchase a kippu (ticket). You can pay for your taxi, bus, or train with okane (money).

Make sure you count your money before you leave! Learn to count in Japanese with this infographic: Japanese numbers 1 – 10.

At the Hotel

Once you figure out which type of transportation to take, you will want to go to your hoteru (hotel). The concierge can help you check in to your rumu (room), and make sure you get your  (key) to open the door. When you get to your room, make sure the beddu is comfortable, so you can get some rest after your long day of traveling!

These 15 words will help you get around during your trip to Japan. While you’re exploring, you will run into lots of native Japanese speakers; make sure you’re prepared with these essential Japanese phrases.

Japanese vocabulary for travelers

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