Hinamatsuri Doll Festival

Hinamatsuri, also known as Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, is an annual festival in Japan held to celebrate the health and happiness of female children and femininity in general.

The main tradition associated with the Hina Matsuri doll festival involves mounting an altar covered with a dankake (a red carpet) on which several platforms of hina-ningyō (ornamental dolls) in the traditional court dress of the Heian period are placed.

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Gotokuji Temple: Birthplace of Maneki-neko

Gotokuji temple (護国寺 in kanji) is well known across Japan as the supposed origin of Maneki-neko, the “beckoning cat” figurine which is said to bring good fortune and success to its owner if kept in their bedroom or place of study.

Many people across the world mistakenly believe that this good luck talisman is Chinese in origin due to its popularity among Chinese and Vietnamese communities. However, the birthplace of Maneki-neko is undoubtedly in Japan, and one of the most popular legends links it directly to Gotojuki.

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Driverless Shinkansen: JR East announces tests in 2021

As part of its Change 2027 program, JR East has announced that it will conduct a series of driverless Shinkansen test runs in late 2021, using a 12-car E7-series bullet train.

The 5-kilometer trial runs, which will take place in October and November in Niigata Prefecture northwest of Tokyo, are intended to collect data that can support JR East’s long-term plan to introduce driverless Shinkansen trains on its rail network.

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Thanksgiving in Japan

Although you might already be aware that the holiday is celebrated across the world in territories as diverse as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Liberia, and Puerto Rico, you may not know that there is also a Thanksgiving in Japan.

If you’re planning to travel around Japan in November using the JR Pass, you may first want to brush up on this traditional national holiday and whether you can expect to be served turkey at a Japanese Thanksgiving dinner.

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