Aoi festival in Kyoto drawing crowds

Aoi Matsuri or the Hollyhock Festival is one of 3 main annual festivals held in Kyoto. It dates back to about 1,400 years ago when Emperor Kinmei ordered a horse race through the streets of the capital to pray for a bountiful harvest.

On Monday, participants followed the ancient route from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to Kamigamo-jinja Shrine.

About 500 people wearing ancient costumes and hollyhocks paraded through the streets of Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto. The procession is part of a traditional festival that attracts thousands of visitors every year. (NHK)

Japan’s Meteorological Agency says it appears the annual rainy season has begun in Okinawa and the Amami islands in the southwest. (NHK)

Tours using “restaurant buses” that allow participants to enjoy cuisine and visit farms that produced food used in the meals, as well as sightseeing spots, are catching on in Japan about a year after the service was launched in the city of Niigata in April last year. (Jiji)

Japanese makers of models are showing their latest products at a trade fair in Shizuoka City. (NHK)

Making payments with integrated circuit-embedded cards in Japan is expected to become easier for visitors from abroad as efforts have begun to introduce contactless payment systems that are globally common. (Jiji)

The Japanese government will consider measures for safe driving of go-karts permitted to run on public roads following an increase in the number of accidents involving the vehicles, transport minister Keiichi Ishii said Tuesday. (Jiji)

Double-decker trains are to disappear from Japan’s Shinkansen networks. (NHK)

Heavy congestion is reported on Japan’s roads, railways, and airlines as people return from their hometowns and domestic travel destinations at the end of the Golden Week holidays. (NHK)

A UNESCO advisory body has made a recommendation to put the island of Okinoshima, an ancient religious site in Japan, on the World Heritage list, the country’s Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday. (Jiji)

A sightseeing trolley that runs through a picturesque gorge in Toyama Prefecture, central Japan, has begun operating for the season. (NHK)

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