1. There’s a new airline, a new low-cost airline
We’re always excited when a new airline takes to the skies. Vanilla Air starts flying on December 20. Based at Tokyo (Narita), it’ll fly to Okinawa (Naha) from December 20 and Sapporo (Shin-Chitose) from January.
It’ll also offer flights from Tokyo (Narita) to Taipei (Taoyuan) (from December 20) and to Seoul in March.
2. Osaka Castle will be super illuminated
Thanks to 3D Projection Mapping Osaka Castle will be enveloped in flames, split in two and besieged by butterflies. Oh, and a waterfall will flow through it. Between December 14 and February 16 12 projectors will blast 3D images onto the five-story castle keep.
3. There are new places to stay
New, fancy, hotels will open in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Okinawa. Check out the full list here (it’s pretty long).
4. There’s a new pop festival
The first official International Cool Japan Awards and POP Matsuri (festival), will take place in Osaka from March 21-30.
Categories will include manga, anime, cosplay and gaming and during the festival numerous events will be held throughout the city exploring the many facets of Japanese pop culture, from exclusive cosplay pilgrimage tours, special live concerts, subculture fashion, karaoke and more.
5. The bullet train is celebrating a milestone birthday
It’s 50 years old but still very, very fast. October 1 marks the 50th anniversary of shinkansen bullet trains. The Tokaido Shinkansen line was originally conceived in 1940 as a 150 km/h (93 mph) dedicated railway between Tokyo and Shimonoseki.
Construction of the line began on April 20 1959 and was completed in 1964, with the first train travelling from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka on October 1 1964 at 210 km/h (130 mph). PTG Tours is offering 14 and 26-day rail-themed holidays in October 2014.
6. There’s a new 3D fantasy adventure film starring Keanu Reeves
47 Ronin is inspired by styles as diverse as Miyazaki and Hokusai. Directed by Carl Erik Rinsch, the plot goes like this. “After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honour to their people.” It’s out in the UK on December 26.
7. There’s a new Harry Potter Wizarding World that’ll be, er, wizard
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open at Universal Studios in Osaka in late 2014. Japan’s “Wizarding World” will include a reconstruction of Hogwarts, the school of “witchcraft and wizardry,” as well as Hogsmeade, rides and themed food. Natch.
(Featured image: mrhayata)