Travel Q&A: 10 Rules & On-the-House Services at Japanese Restaurants
Restaurants in Japan have a very different list of rules, on-the-house services and etiquette standards compared to other countries. If you enter a restaurant when in Japan without knowing some of these things you might make a mistake!
We’ve put together a list of 10 important points to learn before dining out in Japan.
1.Don’t give tips
The fact that you don’t need to give tips as restaurants in Japan can be bewildering to some foreign tourists. In Japan, there’s normally no service charge, unless it’s a high-end restaurant, in which case it’s possible that a service charge will be added. If you force a tip on the staff, they will get told off by their superiors later, so keep that in mind.
2.Watch out for ‘Otooshi’
Otooshi, also known as tsukidashi, are small appetizers served at bars and establishments that sell alcohol, particularly izakaya. They will be served event if you didn’t order them, and you can be charged for them. There are numerous reasons they give for serving ootoshi, such as ‘proof that we have taken your first order’ and ‘something to eat while you wait for the first food to come out.’ Lots of tourists not accustomed to this practice have felt cheated.
3.Water is free
When you sit down at a restaurant in Japan, you’ll be served water. Many tourists are surprised at the fact that cold water is served all year round the majority of the time in Japan. There are also establishments that serve free hot green tea instead of water.
4.The unexpected things are expensive (or cheap)
It’s not rare for things like delivery pizza or Korean pork belly BBQ, which are extremely cheap and common foods in other countries, to be expensive in Japan. On the other hand, you can eat Japanese foods like sushi, tempura and ramen at a very cheap price.
5.You order alcohol first at an izakaya
It’s not a set rule, but generally when you go to an izakaya, ordering a drink gives you plenty of time to read through the menu. Beer is often ordered before anything else. There’s even a set phrase for it, toriaezu biiru (‘[I’ll have] beer for now’). Try saying it in Japanese when you’re at an izakaya.
Restaurants in Japan often have all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink services. If you pay a set price, you can eat or drink as much as you like. Many places offer this service, including, but not limited to, izakaya, yakiniku restaurants, and sushi bars. We recommend this to people who want to pay a little to get a lot!
7.Oshibori are free
Oshibori, or moistened towels, are given for free at Japanese restaurants. They are wet towels used to wipe your hands and face before a meal. Depending on the restaurant, you may be given a cold or hot towel. Staff at izakaya will also hand them to you. A lot of tourists praise this service as high quality.
8.Rules and menus are different at fast food restaurants
International restaurant chains like McDonald’s and Subway are of course in Japan too. If you’re a tourist bored of Japanese food, you’ll probably want to eat something familiar like fast food. In those times, you’ll be baffled by the differences between a fast food joint in your own country and in Japan. For example, in the case of McDonald’s, the Japanese large-sized drinks are smaller than the medium-sized drinks in the US. There’s also no self-service. Instead, the staff will pour the drink for you.
9.You cannot take food into restaurants (though there are exceptions)
One rule that puzzles a lot of people from Asia that come to Japan is the rule that states you cannot enter a place with food or drink. However, select establishments, such as food courts in large shopping malls, will permit you to do so. Be sure to do some research beforehand.
10.Take your shoes off on tatami
At izakaya and traditional Japanese restaurants, they implement customary Japanese style seating and tatami flooring. If you’re dining at a place with tatami mats, you must take your shoes off before stepping on it. The table seats and tatami are split into different areas even if it’s the same restaurant, so even if it’s OK to wear your shoes at table seats, you’ll need to take off your shoes when using tatami in most cases.
Did you learn something new? Sit alongside the locals when you come to Japan and enjoy some delicious Japanese cuisine!
If you have any questions you want answering about Japan, then please be sure to get in touch with us on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Facebook page!
【TRAVEL Q&A】From Shinjuku to Hakone Hot Spring via Odakyu “Romancecar” Line!
Hakone, Kanagawa is one of the most popular “onsen” (hot spring) towns in Japan. The area is popular among both Japanese people and tourists from foreign countries since it is close to Tokyo and has many sightseeing spots such as Ahinoko (lake), Owakudani (valley) and Hakone Chokoku no Mori Museum.
There are several ways to go to Hakone but I recommend using the “Odakyu Romancecar” (limited express train) run by Odakyu Dentestu which departs from Tokyo. It takes about an hour and 40 minutes and you can go to Hakone direct. In this article, I will inform you of how to ride on the “Odakyu Romancecar” to go to Hakone.
1: How to ride Odakyu Romancecar?
Let’s get tickets first. The tickets you must buy are “Joshaken (normal fare)” and “tokkyuken (limited express surcharge).” The “Joshaken” is an Odakyu Dentetsu limited ticket and the fare differs according to the station that you will get off at. “Tokkyuken” is a ticket you must buy when riding on a limited express train which means you must buy this ticket in addition to the “joshaken.” There are three ways to buy these tickets.
1) Making a reservation/purchasing the ticket via the Internet
2) Making a reservation/purchasing the ticket at a ticket counter/ticket vending machine
3) Making a reservation on the telephone.
Making a reservation by telephone is not recommendable for those of you from foreign countries since English-speaking staff are not available.
2: How to but a ticket via the Internet?
Using e-Romancecar is recommended when using the Internet to buy a ticket. As a matter of course, you can use a credit card on this web site. You can ride the Romancecar by just by handing out the printed sheet or showing the screen of your smart phone to the staff at the ticket counter. If you are planning to just make a reservation (not paying the fare) on the web site, you must pay the fare by using the ticket vending machine or at the ticket counter before getting on the Romancecar. It is recommended that you buy your ticket beforehand if the date that you are going to Hakone is decided.
3: How to buy a ticket/make a reservation via the ticket counter at the station?
The ticket counter is normally open from 6:30 to 21:00. The ticket vending machines can be used any time (except for when the trains are not running) but credit cards cannot be used. You can purchase tickets for up to 8 persons at once using the vending machine. So, those of you who are planning to go to Hakone with a group of more than 9 people you must purchase your tickets at the ticket counter.
4: Let’s get on to the Romancecar!
Now let’s learn how to get on a Romancecar. There are several types of Romancecars available – MES (Type 6000), VSE (Type 50000), EXE (Type 30000) and LSE (Type 7000). The fares for all types are the same. You can eat a limited-“bento” (box lunch) if you make a reservation 3 days (AM) before you ride the Romancecar.
Why not experience a ride on the “Romancecar” and enjoy the hot springs in Hakone. Wishing you a pleasant trip! MMN will introduce to you many kinds of “Q&As in Japan.”
If you have any questions, feel free to send a message to MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON’s FB account!
Travel Q&A: What’s The Cheapest Way to Get to Central Tokyo From Narita Airport?
10.February.2018 | SPOT
Airports in Japan are typically quite a distance from the heart of Tokyo metropolis. There are various ways of getting to the center of the capital including by train, bus and taxi.
But which is the cheapest?
1: By Train
JR Narita Express (N’EX) – 54 minutes
Narita Airport→Tokyo Station (￥1,320〜¥3,020)
The JR Narita Express, also known as N’EX, conveniently connects Narita International Airport with major urban areas in Tokyo including Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Yokohama. All seats are reserved, but if you purchase a ticket to ride in the Ordinary Cars (not the first class Green Cars), you can ride at a cheap price.
Website: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/ (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean)
Keisei Skyliner – 40 minutes
Narita airport→Nippori Station (¥2,465)
To board the Keisei Skyliner, purchase a ticket from the ticket office or automatic ticket machine by the ticket gates at Narita International Airport. All seats are reserved, so you are guaranteed a seat. From Nippori Station, you can board the Yamanote Line and head to central Tokyo, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and other major urban areas in the city.
Website: http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/ (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean)
Limited Express via Keisei Main Line – 1 hour 16 minutes
Narita Airport→Nippori Station (¥1,025)
This method of transportation takes the longest amount of time, but it’s also the cheapest. There are no station changes on the way. Before you reach Nippori Station you will stop at Oshiage Station, where you could get off to stop by Tokyo Skytree and Asakusa.
For other routes, visit the Narita Airport website below where you can search how to get from Narita Airport to your destination.
http://access.narita-airport.jp/en/index.html (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean)
2: By Taxi (￥29,050 approx.)
Narita Airport→Tokyo Station – 2 hours 34 minutes approx.
Compared to other methods, the price of commuting via taxi is expensive, but you don’t have to worry about having to buy a ticket and there are also no waiting times. You can also stop off somewhere you like on the way and enjoy yourself until you reach your hotel or accommodation.
3: By Limousine Bus (¥2,800)
Narita Airport Terminal 2→Tokyo Station Yaesu Central Exit – 1 hour 35 minutes approx.
The limousine buses arrive every 20 minutes or so at Tokyo Station and Narita Airport. You can book a seat in advance or on the day. The bus also goes through many popular tourist spots such as Ginza, Shibuya and Asakusa. It takes longer than the train, but you’ll arrive at your destination without worry of getting lost or getting off at the wrong stop.
Website: http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/route/index.html (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean)
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will continue to answer frequently asked questions about Japan. If you have any questions about Japan, then be sure to send us a message via the official MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Facebook page!
Japan Q&A: Get the most from your Tokyo sightseeing with a 1-Day Travel Pass
When you’re in Tokyo, the main method of transportation for getting around the city’s 23 wards is via the subway – specifically, via JR, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. Each of these services offer their own affordable 1-day travel tickets that can be used across all lines, making them a useful tool to have. Let’s take a look at some of the questions regarding 1-day passes.
5 Must-Haves For Tokyo Sightseeing!
To make the most of your Tokyo trip, we recommend one of the following five 1-day passes for efficient travelling. You and board and get off as many times as you like, so there’s no need to worry about extra fees – you can tour all of the sightseeing spots at your own leisure.
- JR East Japan – Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (“Tokunai Pass”)
The “Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass” is a day ticket that allows unlimited rides on local and rapid JR East trains around the 23 special wards of Tokyo. You are free to sit in any seats excluding reserved seating, and can even board the shinkansen within the designated area. The Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass can be purchased inside JR East Japan stations, ticket windows, the Travel Service Center (View Plaza), and travel agencies. It’s ￥750 for adults and ￥370 for children.
- Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket
This ticket enables unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines. Costing just ￥600 for adults and ￥300 for children, tickets can be bought in advance or on the day at ticket vendors located in all stations. Not only can you visit Tokyo’s 23 special wards, but the ticket also covers the commuting distance of Saitama and Chiba too, making it convenient for amusement and business. With this in hand, you can travel to any of the major areas.
- Toei One-Day Pass (“Toei Marugoto Kippu”)
A Toei One-Day Pass gives you unlimited access to the Toei Subway, Toei buses, Toei Streetcar (Toden), and Nippori-Toneri Liner. It’s ￥700 for adult and ￥350 for children. An additional fee is required for night buses to make up the difference – ￥210 for adults (￥206 with IC Card) and ￥100 for children (￥103 with IC Card). Tickets can be bought in advance or on the day at a ticket vendor located inside all stations.
- Common One-Day Ticket for Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro
The Common One-Day Ticket allows unlimited use of the Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro Subway Lines for an entire day. It costs ￥900 for adults and ￥450 for children. Tickets are available to purchase from automatic ticket vending machines at all Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro Subway stations, as well as Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. This ticket allows free travel from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport to Tokyo’s 23 special wards and the commuting distance of Saitama and Chiba. This one’s a real bargain!
- Tokyo 1-Day Ticket
As well as the Toei Subway, Toei buses, Toei Streetcar (Toden), Nippori-Toneri Liner, and all Tokyo Metro lines, the Tokyo 1-Day Ticket can also be used on the JR Lines around Tokyo. You can ride and get off at all the major locations in Tokyo for one whole day. At just ￥1,590 for adults and ￥800 for children, this ticket is very affordable. Available at automatic ticket machines at all stations. We recommend this one for people looking to travel across a wide distance.
Tokyo Sightseeing With Private Railways? Take These 2 With You!
Private railway free passes are a super handy tool to have if you’re heading somewhere JR and subway tickets don’t cover. They’re convenient for access from the inner city to the Shitamachi areas, and are pefect for exploring those hidden, tucked-away gems.
- Tokyo Exploratory Ticket (Tokyo Tansaku Kippu)
Not only does this ticket give discounts on round-trip ticket fares from Keio Line, Inokashira Line, Tobu Isesaki Line and Tsukuba Express to the inner city, it also offers unlimited rides with Toei all day. That includes Toei buses, Toei Streetcars (Toden), Nippori-Toneri Liner, and of course the Toei Subway. If you hold a Tokyo Exploratory Ticket, you can also receive discounts and gifts from facilities along each Toei line. These services are located at all manned stations on all lines. Please be aware that prices and the system changes depending on which station you purchase the ticket from.
- Tokyo 1DAY Kippu
This ticket comes as a set: a round-trip ticket from all stations on the Keikyū Main Line to Shinagawa, and unlimited rides with Toei. If you hold a Tokyo 1DAY Kippu, prepare to receive discounts and gifts at popular facilities and spots around Tokyo. This ticket can be purchased at all stations on the Keikyū Main Line barring Sengakuji Station and costs ￥900 from Shinagawa, ￥1,130 from Yokohama, and ￥1,700 from Yokosuka-Chūō.
Was this article helpful? Be sure to get the most out of your Tokyo trip by getting the right ticket for you.
MMN will continue to answer your questions about Japan in our “Japan Q&A” series. If you have any questions regarding Japan, then please be sure to get in touch with us on Facebook♪
【Travel Q&A】Step-By-Step Guide to Praying Etiquette at Japanese Shrines & Temples
31.December.2017 | SPOT
Visiting shrines and temples is one of the must-do activities when visiting Japan to really experience the traditional culture. But did you know there are certain rules to follow when praying at a shrine? But do not worry, it’s actually quite simple. We will walk you through the process step by step so you know exactly what to do when you arrive at a shrine or temple during your trip to Japan.
1：Shrines? Temples? What’s the difference?
First of all, let’s clear up the difference between a shrine and a temple. Temples came from countries such as China and India to spread Buddhism. They are places to worship Buddha and are installed with statues of Buddha. Buddhist monks live to spread the teachings of Buddhism. Inside the temples are bhikkhu (monks), bhikkhuni (female monks), temple masters and more who enshrine the image of Buddha.
On the other hand, shrines originated from primitive, scared altars such as “iwakura” (sacred rocks) and other places where the gods are said to live – places where people cannot enter. They were temporarily erected during special occasions. Shrines that you see today were not originally a permanent structure. Their origin is different from those of temples that came from abroad. Shrines originated in Japan and their history there goes back further than Buddhism, making them much different from temples.
Related article：Visit Temples and Shrines, and Collect Goshu-in!
2：So, how do I pray?
There are several steps to follow when praying at a temple or shrine in Japan. These steps may also differ from temple to shrine, so be sure to check properly before starting.
Shrines & Temples
The general starting point is to throw some money into the offertory box. Most people throw in a ￥5 coin. This is because “5 yen” in Japanese is pronounced “go-en,” which is a homophone with the word for “good luck” (ご縁).
If there’s a bell positioned above the offertory box, then be sure to ring it by shaking it back and forth. This is done to call the gods to the shrine.
Can I take photos：
Many places will not allow you to take photos. Be sure to check thoroughly whether there is a warning sign or not. Even if you see people taking photos, make sure to check for yourself.
Shrines & Temples
The first thing you’ll find when arriving at a shrine and many temples is the “temizuya” (water purification basin). This is where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth to cleanse yourself before praying.
There are several steps to follow:
1) Hold the ladle with your right hand and wash your left hand – then do the opposite.
2) Take the ladle with your right hand and scoop some water. Pour the water into your left hand and rinse your mouth with it. Make sure to never bring the ladle to your mouth. Spit the water next to the fountain, never directly back into it.
3) With the ladle still in your right hand, rinse your left hand one last time. Done.
Praying at a shrine – bowing and clapping
- Come before the shrine, perform a light bow and ring the bell.
- Toss your money into the offertory box.
- Perform 2 deeper bows (30°-45° angle), bring your hands to the front of your chest, pray, then clap twice.
- Finally, bow deeply one last time, and you’re done!
Praying at a temple – bowing
- Perform a light bow, throw your money into the offertory box and ring the bell.
- Bring your hands to the front of your chest, pray, and perform a final light bow.
What’s the best way to tell if you’ve come to a shrine or temple, I hear you asking? If you passed under a “tori” on your way in, you’re at a shrine. They’re usually red and look like big gates with two main pillars. If you passed under a “sanmon,” you’re at a temple. These are often complete with a roof and look like mini-temples in their own right. The praying process at shrines and temples are much different so be sure to check where you are first!
Some temples have an incense holder stationed outside, where you can purchase your own bundle of “osenko” (incense) to burn. If you’re lighting your own incense, be sure to put out the fire by hand and never blow it out. But before you do, make sure you wave some of that incense smoke onto you as it’s said to have healing powers! If there’s a weak part of your body, too, then be sure to try it out.
３：What’s a “Goshuin”?
The must-do popular thing right now is collecting “goshuin” (red seal stamps). These stamps are given at shrines and temples to show that you have visited those places. In addition to the shrines’ and temples’ unique seals, specially trained writers will write the name of the shrine or temple, the date at which you visited and sometimes other information, all in calligraphic writing. One of the reasons for the goshuin popularity is for the artistry behind it all as the penmanship and designs are different depending on which place you visit. Whether you visit the same place twice or just the date is being written for you, each and every goshuin entry has its own unique characteristics and feeling put into the characters depending on the person writing for you, meaning your entry will be the only one of its kind in the world. You will require a goshuin stamp book to receive a stamp entry. They are sold at many of the popular shrines and temples.
We have an article about collecting cute goshuin on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON website so be sure to check it out!
Was our guide useful? We hope you use it for reference when visiting shrines and temples in Japan.
MMN will continue to answer questions related to Japan and Japanese culture. If you have any questions about Japan then be sure to hit us up on our Facebook page!
【TRAVEL Q&A】What is Hatsumode? Q&A regarding Japanese year’s end and New Year’s holiday customs
The year’s end and New Year’s holiday of 2017/2018 for most people will be from the 29th of December to the 3rd of January. In this article, I will introduce to you some year’s end/new year’s holiday customs in Japan.
What do you have to be aware of when traveling during the year’s end/New Year’s holiday?
Many stores and facilities are closed during this season. Make sure to check out the websites of the places that you want to visit beforehand.
What is hatsumode?
“Hatsumode” is a New Year’s custom where people visit shrines and temples to wish for a good year. After offering prayers at temples/shrines, many people buy paper fortunes or amulets. To offer a prayer, visit shrines or temples. Each shrine/temple is considered to have different “powers” such as prosperity in business and success in academic learning so make sure to check out which shrine/temple suits your wishes. It is also fun to buy food/goods at stalls and it is recommended to eat some food like yakitori (grilled chicken), yakisoba (stir-fried noodles) and cotton candy. Don’t forget to wear warm clothes when visiting a shrine/temple.
Detailed information RE how to offer a prayer：https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/68492
Some customs during New Year’s holidays
There are some traditional decoration items for the New Year’s holidays.
Kadomatsu is a New Year’s decoration made of bamboo and pine tree branches and it is often decorated at the entrance of the house. Kadomatsu is thought to be an earmark decoration at the entrance of a house so that the Gods can come to one’s house directly.
Many Japanese believe that the Gods visit one’s house on New Year’s Day and kagamimochi is an item to welcome the gods. It is said that kagamimochi should be prepared before the 28th of December. The Gods will come to your house when the sun rises on the New Year’s Day so make sure to prepare it before the 28th. Kagamimochi must continue to be decorated until the 11th of January.
Shinkansen bullet trains are very cworded!
Since many Japanese people meet with their family members during New Year’s holidays, shinkansen bullet trains can become very crowded. Therefore, it is recommended that you make a reservation in good time.
What are hatsuuri and fukubukuro?
The word “hatsuuri” means the first sales in the New Year. Many stores sell fukubukuros (lucky bags with random products). By purchasing such a bag one can try their luck. Usually, you cannot see what is inside the fukubukuro but some fukubukuros includes expensive items which means you have a chance to buy something expensive at a very low price.
What do Japanese people eat during year’s end and during the New Year’s holidays?
・Toshikoshi Soba (buckwheat noodles)
“Toshikoshi soba” is a food which Japanese people eat on New Year’s Eve for good luck. The origin of this custom is unknown, but some people say this custom has the meaning of “severing bad luck by eating easy to break buckwheat noodles” or “wishing for longevity by eating long noodles.” You can eat these buckwheat noodles warm as in “kakesoba” or cold as in “zarusoba.” However, make sure to finish your noodle dish before New Year’s Eve ends because it is said that eating toshikoshi soba after crossing over into the New Year brings bad luck.
Osechi is a multitiered box filled with food which brings good luck. Each food/ingredient brings a different kind of luck such as a rich harvest, perpetual youth and longevity and prosperity of descendants.
Ozoni is a shoyu/miso flavored soup with mochi (rice cakes) inside. The shape of the mochi and ingredients differ depending on the house or the local area.
How did you like this introduction to New Years customs? Let’s have a wonderful trip during this coming holiday season.
Travel Q&A: Japanese Sento Bath Houses & 6 Recommended Ones in Tokyo
Sento have a different atmosphere compared to Onsen, or “hot springs” in Japan, and we’re here to explain what exactly that is.
1: What’s a “Sento”?
Sento are public baths located in the towns and cities of Japan whereas the Onsen is a spa where people can relax. One of the big differences between Onsen and Sento is the water. Onsen use hot water from hot spring sources and so the water contains natural ingredients. Sento on the other hand use tap water heated using a gas boiler or firewood. Sento also usually come as an old and traditional-styled electric bath or an outdoor-style bath. They are generally cheaper than Onsen.
2: What should I be aware of in a Sento?
Sento are used by people of all ages, so it is also called a “public bath.” There are some important rules to be aware of when using them.
The first thing is getting naked. You must first take off all your clothes before entering the bathroom. This is a basic rule in Japan. You can take a washcloth with you to both hide your private parts and to wash with. Before you soak in the bath, you must first wash and rinse your body. And remember to never put your washcloth in the bath, and of course that also means you cannot wash your clothes in the Sento. Use the basin a chair to clean yourself and then return them put to their original place for the next person to use. When you enter the dressing room after bathing, you need to wipe your body with your washcloth so as to prevent getting the dressing room floor from becoming wet.
3: How much is the entrance fee to a Sento?
Sento prices are fixed everywhere. Those ages 12+ pay ¥460, 6-12 pay ¥180 and under 6’s pay ¥80.
4: I need more information!
If you want to know more information about Sentos, you should check out the Tokyo Sento Association website here: http://www.1010.or.jp
You can also check out the rules of using Onsen here: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/ja/70040
5: What are some recommended Sentos in Tokyo?
Let’s take a look at 6 different Sento in Tokyo.
Yuya Wagokoro Yoshinoyu (Suginami Ward, Tokyo)
＼＼\\٩( ‘ω’ )و //／／
— ゆ家和ごころ♡吉の湯 (@yoshinoyu1010) 2017年7月13日
This Sento has a modern, fashionable and traditional Japanese “wa” style. There are both inside and outside baths as well as a sauna available to use in both the women and men’s bath for an additional fee. In the outside bath, there are carbonated springs, tubo-yu, and a cold water bath. Tubo-yu has a good effect on your skin and is great for stiff shoulders and and lower back pains.
Shimizuyu (Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo)
This is a very fashionable Sento. Its guests are often fashionable young people and business people. All water in this here is soft water and has a high concentration of carbonated springs. Silk baths are available too. They serve draft beer, Belgian beer, ice cream and snacks. They also sell towels, lotions and underwear so you can go there practically empty-handed.
Tenjinyu (Shimbamba Station, Tokyo)
This Sento was renewed in 2009 and designed by specialised designers. It is a space where you can feel comfortable and calm with its warm interior decorations and lighting. The most popular bath is the “Kuroyu” which uses hot water pumped up from 100 meters underground. Ingredients from the Paleozoic era are melted in the water. That plus a multitude of minerals makes it good for making your skin look beautiful. Experts say that the water is one of the 3 most densest Japan.
Minatoyu (Hatchobori, Tokyo)
The bathroom uses dark stones and tiles, so it has a luxurious feeling and calm atmosphere. Just above the bathtub is a colonnade making the atmosphere is very open. The water in the bathtub uses soft water. There’s an electric bath, a silk bath and 2 kinds of saunas.
Isshinyu (Shin-koiwa Station, Tokyo)
The highlight of this Sento is the lovely tile picture on the bathroom wall. In the women’s bathroom there is a mosaic tile depicting animals carrying a Japanese shrine known as a “mikoshi.” It was originally designed to make the children there feel happy. There are two big bathtubs: the circular bathtub is a bubble bath, and the square bathtub has water pillows (like a water bed!).
Saitoyu (Nippori Station, Tokyo)
This Sento has bath water that has a good effect on skin making it popular with female customers. There are beer servers in the Sento, so you can enjoy sipping a refreshing beer after taking a bath. There are five different baths including a high concentration artificial carbonated spring bath, a water bath, an electric bath, a high temperature bath, and an outside bath.
How did you like our Q&A about Sento? A visit to a Sento is a must if you really want to “soak in” Japanese culture!
Winter Vegan Food to be Served Up at BOTANIST Tokyo in Harajuku This Holiday Season
25.October.2020 | FOOD
BOTANIST’s flagship shop BOTANIST Tokyo will be serving up a special Northern European-themed holiday season menu at its second floor BOTANIST Cafe from October 31, 2020. The line-up is made with the wish in mind that everyone can live with hope in mind as we draw closer to the end of 2020 and ready for the start of the New Year.
All food on the seasonal holiday menu is vegan and promised to be filling, delicious, and healthy.
White Mushroom & Meatball Pasta | ¥1,250 (Tax Included)
A vegan pasta with must-have meatballs covered in a lip-smacking tomato sauce. The pasta is made from rice flour.
Shiitake Patty & Shimeji Sauce Hamburger | ¥1,500 (Tax Included)
A vegan burger with a patty made from shiitake mushrooms and doused in an aromatic shimeji mushroom sauce. It’s served with hot hasselback potatoes which are seen in the cuisine of North Europe as well as cauliflower.
Five Mushroom Soy Potage | ¥510 (Tax Included)
A rich potage made from five varieties of mushroom including shiitake, eryngii, shimeji, and hen-of-the-wood. It has a full-bodied flavour and is nothing short of delicious.
Vegan Doughnut Holiday Cake | ¥600 (Tax Included)
A Christmas cake where you can pick two vegan doughnuts from a selection of flavours. It’s filled with soy cream which goes perfectly with the chewy rice flour doughnuts.
Christmas Set To Go
Christmas Set To Go: ¥2,200 (Tax Included) / Uber Eats: ¥2,600 (Tax Included)
A Christmas set that can be ordered to go or via Uber Eats. Perfect for get-togethers with friends and families.
BOTANIST Botanical Winter Coffret
BOTANIST Botanical Winter Coffret (Premium Hair Care Set) | ¥8,690 (Tax Included)
At BOTANIST Tokyo’s first floor shop, they have announced the release of a new hair care collection called BOTANIST Botanical Winter Coffret which will hit shelves on October 31, 2020.
BOTANIST Tokyo’s vegan winter menu will arrive on October 31, 2020 which is the final day of their vegan autumn menu. Check out their autumn food line-up here.
Address: 6-29-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo (1st Floor – Shop / 2nd Floor – Cafe)
TEL: 1st Floor: 03-5766-3777 / 2nd Floor: 03-5766-3778
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00
Official Website: https://shop.botanistofficial.com/
Sanrio Themed Cafe Celebrates Characters’ Monthly Magazine ‘Ichigo Shimbun’
23.October.2020 | FOOD
Sanrio is once again collaborating with the EGG & SPUMA cafe located on the 8th floor of Shinjuku Lumine EST to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Ichigo Shimbun, a monthly magazine published by Sanrio which includes information about the latest character merchandise, the Sanrio Character Awards, and more. The limited-time cafe will run from November 1, 2020 to late January 2021.
Sanrio fans can expect a very special menu line-up of food, drinks, and desserts based on their favourite characters from the Sanrio roster.
There will in fact be two different menus served on separate occasions. The first menu will welcome a soufflé omelette topped with a potato salad Pochacco while the second will see an adorably pink My Melody cream stew.
There will also be an incredibly cute two-tiered afternoon tea set with desserts and savoury items.
For drinks, there is a Hello Kitty strawberry milk, Cinnamoroll milk, and milk caramel pudding Pompompurin.
© 2020 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. L613344
And everyone who orders from the collaborative menu will receive one of eight possible coasters as thanks for visiting.
Ichigo Shimbun 45th Anniversary CAFE
Location: EGG & SPUMA, Shinjuku Lumine EST Floor 8F, 3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo
Running: November 1, 2020 – Late January 2021
Opening Hours: 11:00-21:00 (Last Orders)
Official Website: http://salt-group.jp/shop/egg-spuma/
Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto to Open in Hokkaido in January 2022
21.October.2020 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts, Japan’s premiere hotel management company boasting over 40 properties both inside and outside Japan is set to its new onsen ryokan (hot spring Japanese style inn) Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto in January 2022 following the completion of a partnership agreement with Shiraoi, Hokkaido on June 28, 2018.
KAI Poroto comes as the 19th property for the KAI brand, following KAI Nagato (opened in March 2020), KAI Kirishima (scheduled to open in January 2021), and KAI Beppu (scheduled to open in summer 2021). It will also be the third KAI property to open in Hokkaido, following RISONARE Tomamu in Shimukappu and OMO7 Asahikawa in Asahikawa. The new property will be designed by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura.
(Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP)
Guests will be able to enjoy Shiraoi onsen water at KAI Poroto. The water comes from a “moor spring” which contains organic minerals derived from plants. This type of water is rare throughout the world. KAI Poroto faces the shores of Lake Poroto and is surrounded by the natural forests of Hokkaido where many species of wild bird live. All guest rooms boast a lake view where changes in scenery throughout the seasons can be enjoyed.
KAI Poroto will is cooperating with both the town of Shiraoi as well as “Upopoy”, the National Ainu Museum and Park, which has the aim of becoming a “symbolic space for ethnic harmony”. The facility will respect Ainu culture and provide a place of accommodation for guests to experience it.
Upopoy: A symbolic space for ethnic harmony
A symbolic space for ethnic harmony by the name of “Upopoy opened in Shiraoi, Hokkaido on July 12, 2020. This national centre serves as a base for the reconstruction and development of Ainu culture, which is in danger of survival. The main facilities are the National Ainu Museum and the National Ainu Park. The National Ainu Museum is the first national museum in Japan centred around indigenous Ainu people and the history and culture of the people as expressed through their perspective. This is expressed in a variety of different exhibits. The National Ainu Park is a field museum, where Ainu culture can be taught through a number of programs. Experiences on-site include the Ainu traditional dance, which is registered as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, wood carving, and embroidery workshops, as well as food and traditional performing arts experiences. “Upopoy” means “to sing (in large numbers)” in the language of Ainu.
Designed by Hiroshi Nakamura
Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura is behind the design of KAI Poroto. “Poroto” means a large lake in the Ainu language and KAI Poroto boldly draws this lake into its premise. In the lobby of the birch forest, guests will be greeted by a magnificent view of the lake, which leads to Mount Tarumae. Guests can also relax in the lounge while watching the flames in the fireplace, something which was at the centre of Ainu people’s lives. On the surface of the lake, a bathhouse called Kashi, which is built using traditional Ainu construction methods, stands like a village. The open-air bath makes one feel as if you are immersed in the lake. The design has been created in a way that is modern, inspired by the lifestyles, nature, and family of Ainu people.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto
Address: 1-1018-1 Wakakusa, Shiraoi, Hokkaido
Grand Opening: January 2022
Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/brand/kai/
Pokémon Cafe and Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Cafe Reveal New Desserts Including Polteageist Tea Set
Pokémon Cafe and Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Cafe are releasing a new teatime menu at their respective branches on October 24, 2020.
Polteageist & Sinistea Tea Party! Fruit Tea Set ~Apple Flavoured~ | ¥1,188 (Tax Included)
Polteageist & Sinistea Tea Party! Fruit Tea Set ~Strawberry Flavoured~ | ¥1,188 (Tax Included)
Pokémon Cafe is serving up two different fruit tea sets based on the Ghost-type Pokémon Polteageist and Sinistea. Customers are free to pour in their desired amount of fruit syrup which changes the colour of the tea. The sets come with a cute cookie too.
Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Cafe
Left: Polteageist’s Tea Party! Fruit Tea ~Mixed Berry Flavour~ / Right: Polteageist’s Tea Party! Fruit Tea ~Peach Orange Flavour~ | ¥700 Each (Before Tax)
Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Cafe is also going to serve up some Polteageist themed fruit teas as well as a selection of desserts like macarons and financier almond cakes which have Pokémon tail and ear designs.
After ordering one of the Polteageist fruit teas, customers can place their cups under the Polteageist tea pot as pictured above and activate the pot to dispense their drink, so it’s like Polteageist really pouring tea for you.
Left: Swirlix Strawberry Macaron | Middle: Pikachu Vanilla Macaron | Right: Galarian Ponyta Pistachio Macaron – ¥500 Each (Before Tax)
Treat yourself to one of the super cute Swirlix, Pikachu, or Ponyta macarons each with designs that tell you instantly which Pokémon they’re inspired by.
Polteageist Fruit Tea and & Pikachu Macaron Set
Customers can order a tea and macaron combination set too.
Pikachu Glass Parfait Set | ¥1,500 (Before Tax)
An adorable set of Pikachu parfaits, one being caramel banana flavoured and the other chocolate.
Pikachu Tea Party Assortment – Pika Pika Pikavee Set | ¥2,800 (Before Tax)
Another set to share between friends and family, this time with two Pikachu glass desserts as well as Pikachu and Eevee cupcakes.
Pikachu Tea Party Assortment – Ghost Type Set | ¥2,800 (Before Tax)
This set comes with the Pikachu glass desserts as well as Ghost-type Gengar and Litwick mousse cakes.
The Polteageist teapot and Sinistea teacup used at the Pokémon Cafe and Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Cafe will also be released at Pokémon Center Online in Japan on December 5, 2020.
© 2020 Pokémon.©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Pokémon, ポケットモンスター, and ポケモン are registered trademarks of Nintendo, Creatures Inc., and GAME FREAK inc..
Pokémon Cafe (Nihombashi, Tokyo)
Address: Nihombashi Takashimaya SC East Bldg. 5F, 2-1-2 Nihombashi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:30-22:00
No Fixed Holidays (Except when Nihombashi Takashimaya SC is closed)
Pokémon Cafe (Shinsaibashi, Osaka)
Address: Daimaru Shinsaibashi Honkan 9F, 1-7-1 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
Business Hours: 10:00-21:30
No Fixed Holidays (Except when Daimaru Shinsaibashi is closed)
Pikachu Sweets by Pokémon Café
Address: Sunshine City Alpa Floor 2F, 3-1-2 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
Official Website: https://www.pokemoncenter-online.com/cafe/pikachu_sweets/
*Opening hours subject to change, please check in advance before travelling.
*Food served and duration subject to change without notice.
*Photos are for illustrative purposes only.
*Seat reservations are taken online only – phone reservations not available.
World’s First Mario Cafe and Shop Opens at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) announced earlier this month that its new Nintendo-themed area SUPER NINTENDO WORLD will open in spring 2021. While the grand opening of SUPER NINTENDO is still a while away yet, USJ has everyone covered, as the new and first of its kind Mario Cafe & Store officially opened inside the park’s Hollywood Area on October 16, 2020.
The cafe and shop is dream come true for fans of the Mario bros as they enter into a world inspired by the video game series with Mario and Luigi and level decorations in every corner. It can be easily spotted thanks to the red and green “M” and “L” letters on the windows symbolising Mario and Luigi as well as the Mario and Luigi hats. Gamers can enjoy this exciting space while they wait for the official opening of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD.
Themed food and merchandise line-up
Decorations are instantly recognisable with Question Blocks and Pipes on the walls, Mario Mushroom-coloured tables, and more.
The food line-up includes dishes, drinks, and desserts like pancake sandwiches made to look like Mario and Luigi’s hats, fruit dream soda inspired by the brothers’ moustaches, and a selection of original merchandise which reads “WHOSE CAP?” on it like T-shirts and more. You can see more of what’s on the menu here.
SUPER NINTENDO WORLD
Grand Opening: Spring 2021
Official Website: https://www.usj.co.jp/web/en/us
Japan’s Elephant Zoo Ichihara Elephant Kingdom to Receive Revamp For Spring 2021
20.October.2020 | SPOT
Ichihara Elephant Kingdom is the home to the largest number of elephants in Japan. The zoo has announced major renovations set for completion next spring which will allow for the elephants to live an even more enjoyable life.
Ichihara Elephant Kingdom is located in central Chiba and is home to 12 elephants. It’s also home to around 80 other species of animals like red pandas, beavers, capybaras, hippos, and more. The zoo also has a variety of attractions, like the Elephant Ride which sits behinds where the elephants live, and the Elephant Lift where you can ride up and down an elephant trunk. The Head of Ichihara Elephant Kingdom, Sayuri Sakamoto, served as the writer for the 2005 Japanese drama film Shining Boy & Little Randy. One of the zoo’s Asian elephants, Randy, was also a model for the film.
The renovations will introduce a new home for the elephants as the current one is seeing wear over time, as well as a new large-scale pond for the elephants to play in, a playground, and more. The zoo has always ensured a safe distance between visitors and the elephants so people can enjoy watching them will making sure the elephants stay happy. It is now creating new spaces to continue that service.
The water pond the zoo is building for the elephants is called Elephant Splash, and they are launching a crowdfunder on October 27, 2020 to ask for people’s help with funding the project. It will allow a new space for the elephants to play which visitors are sure to enjoy too, like seeing the 1- and 2-year-old Ramu and Momoka splashing around.
The crowdfunding project has nine different tiers including tickets to an evening cherry blossom party at the park, a chance to ride the elephants, and more. The campaign will end on January 15, 2021, the same date as Ramu’s birthday.
Ichihara Elephant Kingdom
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00 (Last Entries 15:00)
About 5 minutes from Ichihara-Tsurumai interchange of Ken-O Expressway
About 65 minutes from Tokyo station,
About 80 minutes from Yokohama station,
About 35 minutes from Haneda airport
to Ichihara-Tsurumai Bus Terminal.
About 5 minutes by our free shuttle bus from Ichihara-Tsurumai Bus Terminal.
About 10 minutes from Takataki station of Kominato railway by the zoo’s free shuttle bus.
Official Website: http://www.zounokuni.com/english/
Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival 2020 Begins This November
19.October.2020 | SPOT
The Fujikawaguchiko Tourism Association will host this year’s Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival, which will be the 22nd run, to help support the tourism industry in the northern region of Fuji which has seen a great impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With much less people travelling to Japan during the pandemic, and the virus having continued for a long time, the Fujikawaguchiko Tourism Association is instead focusing on travellers within the country by hosting various events that can be enjoyed at Fujikawaguchiko.
All the necessary precautions will be taken at this year’s festival, including taking people’s temperature upon arrival, the mandatory wearing of face masks, alcohol gel being available at the site, and more. This will protects not only the locals but sightseers too, and so cooperation is being asked of everyone visiting.
At this year’s festival, visitors can look forward to the popular Momiji Tunnel of maple trees which will be lit up at sunset until 10:00pm. The beautiful autumn colours can be enjoyed with Mount Fuji in the background. There will also be food, souvenirs, and a variety of activities to be enjoyed.
The Momiji Tunnel is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Yamanashi during autumn and is nothing less than Instagram-worthy.
22nd Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival
Location: Around Lake Kawaguchi
Running: November 7, 2020 – November 29, 2020
Opening Hours: 9:00-19:00 (Light up is from sunset to 22:00)
Access: 25 mins from Kawaguchiko Station by bus (nearest bus stop: Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Stop)
*Please observe social distancing and government guidelines in relation to COVID-19.
*Fujikawaguchiko is a World Heritage Site and recognised as a place of natural beauty. Please take your trash home with you.
Disney: Twisted-Wonderland Mobile Game Gets Themed Cafes in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya
LEGS, INC. has announced that it will open three cafes themed on the mobile game Disney: Twisted-Wonderland at OH MY CAFE branches in Tokyo and Osaka on November 20 and in Nagoya on November 27.
Disney: Twisted-Wonderland is a Japanese mobile game that was released on March 18, 2020. The concept, character designs, and scenario for the adventure rhythm game were conceived by Yana Toboso, the creator of the popular Black Butler manga series. The game is centred on the villains of Disney.
The cafe’s theme places customers in the food hall of Night Raven College, the magic training school where the game is set. It will be adorned in decorations inspired by the game’s food hall, and coupled with that, the cafe will serve up food and drink that actually appear in the game. There’s also exclusive merchandise for players to get their hands on.
There are four different lunches to pick from, all of which are low in salt content and so are a healthy option for wizards and witches flying into the cafe.
<Lunch Option A>
Deluxe Menchi Katsu Sandwich | ¥1,990, with plate ¥4,290 (Before Tax)
The most popular item on the food hall’s menu is the non-fried menchi-katsu meat cutlet sandwich.
<Lunch Option B>
Salmon Cream Stew | ¥1,990, with plate ¥4,290 (Before Tax)
A cream stew packed with salmon and vegetables and served with slices of baguette for dipping.
<Lunch Option C>
Tomato Base Squid Ink Pasta | | ¥1,990, with plate ¥4,290 (Before Tax)
A colourful tomato-based veggie pasta in squid ink and served with fruity yoghurt.
<Lunch Option D>
Four Mushroom Risotto | ¥1,990, with plate ¥4,290 (Before Tax)
A creamy, mild-flavoured risotto served with four different kinds of mushrooms.
Character Drinks (7 Flavours) – Heartslabyul, Savanaclaw, Octavinelle, Scarabia, Pomefiore, Ignihyde, Diasomnia | ¥890 with coaster ¥1,790 (Before Tax)
A selection of colourful tinted waters inspired by seven different characters seen in the game.
Superdeformed Series Art Example
Pattern Series Art Example
Magic-wielding players can get their hands on a selection of merchandise both at the cafes, and from November 20, via the OH MY CAFE STORE website. There are two different designs for the merch line-up as pictured above.
Customers who book a table in advance (¥650 before tax per person) at the cafe will receive one of 22 possible lunch mats, and if they order a drink, one of 22 coasters.
Disney: Twisted Wonderland @ OH MY CAFE
OH MY CAFE TOKYO
Address: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Running: November 20, 2020 – January 31, 2021
kawara CAFE&DINING Shinsaibashi
Address: Shinsaibashi Opa Floor 9F, Nishi-Shinsaibashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
Running: November 20, 2020 – February 2, 2021
kawara CAFE&KITCHEN Nagoya PARCO
Address: Nagoya PARCO, 3-29-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi
Running: November 27, 2020 – February 9, 2021
Official Website: http://twst.ohmycafe.jp
Tokyo Midtown Announces Winter Event ‘MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS’
18.October.2020 | SPOT
Tokyo Midtown has announced that its winter event ‘MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS’ will run from November 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021.
“ANOTHER WORLD” is the concept for this year’s rendition of the annual event, which will see new winter illuminations, Christmas decorations, the opening of an ice rink, and plenty of other fun experiences for people to enjoy throughout the entire day, right into the evening.
MIDTOWN WINTER LIGHTS
A highlight of the event will be the “MIDTOWN WINTER LIGHTS,” warm illuminations to light fires in hearts during the cold winter season that will create a dazzling spectacle the likes of which cannot be missed.
Path of Light – An Illuminated World
The pedestrian walkway will welcome a strip of gorgeous golden lights affixed to towering trees to guide your way. More golden lights than ever before are being prepared this year to pull visitors into a romantic and dreamy world.
SNOW LIGHT GLOBE – A World of Snow
The SNOW LIGHT GLOBE is a giant 3-meter tall and 4.5-meter wide snow globe inside which glistens sparkling snow, crystals, and aurora. The lights are ever-changing throughout the day, presenting itself differently every time you look at it.
STEP LIGHT – A Colourful World
STEP LIGHT is a fun and interactive illumination display with lights that light up when you step on them, creating a colourful walkway.
Running: November 19, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Time: 17:00-23:00 (Until 24:00 around the plaza)
Location: Midtown Garden
MIDTOWN ICE RINK – A World of Ice
MIDTOWN ICE RINK is something people in Tokyo look forward to every winter. This year, the rink is opening in November. It’s one of the biggest ice rinks in Tokyo and provides real ice for people to skate on, welcoming everyone from children and beginners to pros. The rink will be open into the evening too when it will be lit up so people can enjoy a little night skating session.
Running: November 19, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Time: 11:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:00)
*Opens at 17:00 on November 19 and is closed on January 1
*Opening hours subject to change depending on weather
Location: Tokyo Midtown
General (High School Students and older) – Weekdays ¥2,000 / Weekends & Public Holidays ¥2,500
Children (Junior High School Students and younger) Weekdays ¥1,500 / Weekends & Public Holidays ¥2,000
Midtown Christmas Trees
Various Christmas trees will be set up in the Tokyo Midtown garden area, indoors, and elsewhere to set in the holiday season mood.
Running: November 19, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Present Christmas Tree – A World of Fantasy
The Tokyo Midtown garden will welcome a mysterious kind of Christmas tree for the first time every this year—one which sprouts presents. 25 presents will be grown, and in December one will be given out each day.
Location: Midtown Garden
Santa Tree – A Miniature World
Around 1,800 individual Santa Claus ornaments will make up the 4-meter tall Santa Tree inside the Tokyo Midtown Galleria
Location: Galleria 1F Tree Shower
Choose! Choose! AR Tree – An Original World
Tokyo Midtown also has something for people to enjoy at home. They can use an app that makes use of AR tech so that a Christmas tree can appear when you go to take a photo which you can decorate with an assortment of ornaments. There’s over 1,000 possible combinations. More details about this will be posted on the event website in early November.
MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS
Running: November 19, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Official Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com
Gaze at the Starry Sky in a Hot Swimming Pool This Winter at HOSHINOYA Okinawa
17.October.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Okinawa has announced its new “Hoshizora Hot Pool” experience where guests will be able to stay warm in the hotel’s warmed-up swimming pool while gazing up at the winter night sky. It will run from December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2020.
Okinawa enjoys a mild winter each year; it’s uncommon for the temperature to dip below 15℃. Winter is a time where all of us enjoy being in the warmth of indoors, but in Okinawa you can enjoy being outside even during the cold season. And that’s where Hoshizora Hot Pool comes in as the end of the year approaches, a time when there are many events and celebrations to be had.
The outdoor pool at HOSHINOYA Okinawa can be heated and so is perfect during the winter season. Guests are invited to soak in the infinity pool, where you can hear the sounds of the waves, and where it looks like the sea and sky become one. Almost all 88 of the constellations can be seen in Okinawa, and since the sky is clear during the winter nights, it’s the opportune time to be turning your gaze skyward.
Glowing lanterns make for a romantic atmosphere
When the sun sets, lanterns are lit by the poolside and breathe a warmth light to the cool evenings. The lights sway back and forth, reflecting off the water to create a magical atmosphere.
Hot cocktails by the pool
Guests will also be able to order from the bar once the lanterns are lit from the evening with a selection of refreshing drinks made with fresh fruits to hot cocktails to warm the body.
Float beneath the starry sky to the sounds of the waves
Guests can enjoy floating in the pool as an endless tapestry of stars unravels itself overhead. The Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will be open for business in the evening too. Guests can order some fruity desserts, rent lanterns, and more.
Hoshizora Hot Pool
Address: 474 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Running: December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Price: Free (Drinks from the bar however must be paid for)
Time: Open 24 hours (But only adults can use the pool after sunset)
Bar Opening Hours: Sunset until 22:00
*Available to HOSHINOYA Okinawa guests only
Opening Hours: 19:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00
Price: Dessert Set for Two = ¥2,728 (Before Tax)
*Available to guests and non-guests
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com
Ibaraki Prefecture Announces Official Tours of Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura
17.October.2020 | SPOT
Ibaraki Prefecture has been promoting the areas of Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura with a variety of events and programs since 2018. For 2020, one of the programs the prefecture has announced is ‘Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020’ which invites people on a trial tour around Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura.
About Mount Tsukuba
Mount Tsukuba is the doorstep to tourism in Ibaraki Prefecture, known for its iconic double peaks which has it listed officially as one of the “100 Most Beautiful Mountains in Japan.” The mountain offers 10 different courses for climbers, all of which boast gorgeous views and scenery throughout all four seasons. It also has a famous shrine halfway up the mountain known as Tsukubasan Shrine which is considered the physical enshrinement of the mountain itself. The shrine has long been a place of worship for people.
About Lake Kasumigaura
Lake Kasumigaura is the second-largest lake in Japan after Shiga Prefecture’s Lake Biwa. It is loved by locals and tourists for its beautiful natural environment and the expanse of its breathtaking view. It also has its own cycling route, Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road, which is an official National Cycling Route that has become a popular route with cyclists in recent years.
During the autumn season on weekends, the area offers a special long-ride cycling tour as an opportunity for people to soak up the local area, as well as kids programs, concerts for parents and their children, and other activity programs and guide tours. Bookings are now available online.
A Look at Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020
Mount Tsukuba and Lake Kasumigaura – 2 Day 1 Night Sports Experience Tour
Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020 is offering a special sports tour for elementary school kids where a guide will take them to climb Mount Tsukuba and canoe around Lake Kasumigaura, amongst other activities.
A Photogenic Tour in the Small Town by the Lake Shore
atacamaki, a ‘slow photographer’ and resident of Kasumigaura, will be taking photographers on a two day trip around the lake and surrounding area with rental bicycles to teach them how to shoot photos like a pro.
Concert in Tsukuba Forest
A concert will be held for children in the forest where they can lay down on the grass and be at one with nature as they enjoy the performance. The performance will be played by Akashi Yamada, the forest instructor and a singer-songwriter.
Cycling Along the Kokai River and Near Chikusei With Tsukuba Mounta in the Background
A local guide will give parents and children a tour of Tsukuba and all the must-see spots. The 37km cycling tour will offer plenty for people to see and encourages beginners to cycling.
A Long Cycling Tour Around Lake Kasumigaura, Kitaura, and Tsukuba
The program also offers a two-day long distance cycling tour of 100km.
Mount Tsukuba PLAY 2020
Mount Tsukuba PLAY Special Site: https://mount-tsukuba.com/play
Tokyo’s New Art Cafe WHAT CAFE Opens in Tennozu
Warehouse TERRADA opened up the new art cafe ‘WHAT CAFE’ in Tennozu, Tokyo, on October 15, 2020.
Left: Overlap of paint (dot3) by Soichi Yamaguchi | Right: Ichijiteki ni Inu, Ichijiteki ni Hito, Ichijiteki ni E by Dan Isomura
WHAT CAFE will serve as a hub to support artists in Japan’s art industry by functioning as both a gallery and cafe in a 800㎡ space. The gallery will change out the artwork from time to time to allow for more artists to showcase their works to visitors throughout the year. There will be hundreds of pieces shown in an entire year.
Left: Peel off the paint “No.125” by Haruna Shinagawa | void #35 by KIKUCHI Ryo
Tokyo’s Tennozu area is looking to become a major stop for art in Japan and is currently home to various art facilities like the pigment lab PIGMENT TOKYO and Japan’s biggest gallery complex TERRADA ART COMPLEX.
If you’re interested in contemporary art in Japan, and are visiting Tokyo, then you won’t want to miss a stop to Tennozu. Be sure to stop by WHAT CAFE.
Address: 2-1-11 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
*No fixed holidays but the facility may be closed for certain events
Official Website: https://cafe.warehouseofart.org