Travel Q&A: 10 Rules & On-the-House Services at Japanese Restaurants

19.April.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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6.All-you-can services

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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

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  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】From Shinjuku to Hakone Hot Spring via Odakyu “Romancecar” Line!

    14.February.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

     

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    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.

     

     

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    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.

     

     

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    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!

    https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

  • 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?

     

    We compared various methods of transportation, taking into account their prices and time taken to get to central Tokyo. Let’s take a look.
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    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)

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    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.

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    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)

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    Was this information helpful? If you’re commuting from Narita Airport, then be sure to use it as reference.

     

    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!
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  • Japan Q&A: Get the most from your Tokyo sightseeing with a 1-Day Travel Pass

    09.February.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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    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♪

    https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

  • 【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?

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    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.

     

    Related article:【Tokyo Stroll】Strolling around Asakusa for half of the day finding the stereo typical sightseeing spots and new spots.

     

     

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    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

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    Praying

    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).

     

    Bell

    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.

     

    Related article:【Tokyo Stroll 】A power spot at the heart of Tokyo? Half a day at Meiji Shrine!

     

    Shrines & Temples

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    “Temizuya”

    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

    1. Come before the shrine, perform a light bow and ring the bell.
    2. Toss your money into the offertory box.
    3. Perform 2 deeper bows (30°-45° angle), bring your hands to the front of your chest, pray, then clap twice.
    4. Finally, bow deeply one last time, and you’re done!

     

    Temples

    Praying at a temple – bowing

    1. Perform a light bow, throw your money into the offertory box and ring the bell.
    2. 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!

     

    Temples

    Incense

    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”?

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    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.

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    We have an article about collecting cute goshuin on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON website so be sure to check it out!

     

    Related Article: 【Tokyo Stroll】 Lost in a world of shrine arches and lucky sand! Head to Anamori Inari Shrine near Haneda airport!

     

    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!

    https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】What is Hatsumode? Q&A regarding Japanese year’s end and New Year’s holiday customs

    30.December.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

     

     

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    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.

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    ・Kadomatsu

    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.

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    ・Kagamimochi

    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.

     

     

     

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    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.

     

     

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    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?

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    ・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.

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    ・Osechi

    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

    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

    04.November.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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”?

    銭湯

    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)

     


    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.

     

    ■Information

    Yuya Wagokoro Yoshinoyu

    Address:1-14-7 Naritahigashi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

    Hours:13:30~22:00

    Holiday:Monday

    TEL:03-3315-1766

    Website:http://yoshinoyu.sakura.ne.jp/index.html

     

    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.

     

    ■Information

    Shimizuyu

    Address: 3-12-3 Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

    Hours: Monday to Friday12:00〜24:00

    Saturday・Sunday・Public holidays 12:00〜23:00

    Holiday:Friday

    TEL:03-3401-4404

    Website: http://shimizuyu.jp/index.html#about

     

     

    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.

     

    ■Information

    Tenjinyu

    Address:2-23-9 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

    Opening time:15:00 ~ 24:30

    Holiday:Friday

    TEL:03-3471-3562

    Website: http://www.tenjinyu.com/index.html

     

    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.

     

    ■Information

    Minatoyu

    Address: 1-6-2 Minato, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

    Opening time:15:00~24:30

    Holiday:Saturday

    TEL:03-3551-0667

    Website: http://www.minatoyu.jp/

     

    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!).

     

    ■Information

    Isshinyu

    Address: 4-9-8 Matsushima, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo

    Opening time:15:30~22:30

    Holiday:Monday

    TEL:03-3651-6313

    Website: http://www.oyunofuji1010.com/gallery/2015/06/post-9.php

     

    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.

     

    ■Information

    Saitoyu

    Address: 6-59-2 Higashinippori, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo

    Opening time:14:00~23:30

    Holiday:Friday

    Website: http://www.saito-yu.com

     

    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!

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Teppanyaki and Yakiniku Restaurant Honten Yamashina Opens in Ginza

    28.July.2022 | FOOD / SPOT

    On July 18, the upscale teppanyaki and yakiniku restaurant Honten Yamashina opened a new location in Ginza! The hybrid restaurant has taken over the entire top floor of GINZA PLACE, which is directly connected to Ginza Station. Overlooking the Ginza 4-chome intersection, it’s a gorgeous place to enjoy some authentic Japanese cuisine. 

    Honten Yamashina mainly uses fully-matured Omi beef, the highest grade available among Shiga Prefecture’s top-tier beef, from Okazaki Farm. The cows are allowed to fatten for a considerable amount of time and live stress-free lives for over 40 months. Less than 1% of all Wagyu cattle are shipped after 24 months of age, and this delectable meat is characterized by its sharp taste and fattiness. 

    Luxurious Wagyu and Sea Urchin Sushi

    Early Summer Plate to Enjoy with Seasonal Flowers

    Selected Extra-thick Beef Tongue Steak Made with Refined Attention to Detail

    Grilled Spiny Lobster Made on a Charcoal Grill

    The Playful Yamashina Wagyu Slider

    Melt-in-your-mouth Sweet Amala Tomato (Vegetable of the Day)

    Hand-selected Omi Beef Steak

    Truffle Omurice

     

     

    Japanese-style Teppanyaki

    Guests can enjoy authentic Japanese teppanyaki cuisine with a modern twist. While sitting at the contour, visitors will enjoy a live performance by Taku Osada, a teppanyaki chef with over 20 years of experience.  

     

    The wide variety of meat can be enjoyed in a number of different ways, whether it be raw, grilled, stewed, or properly cooked. From tongue and rump to filet and sirloin, you won’t leave hungry. Visitors can also enjoy seafood and seasonal Japanese vegetables along with their meat, and the flowers and leaves that adorn each plate will change depending on the time of year.

     

    In addition to rare teppanyaki dishes like skirt steak and 3cm-thick beef tongue, Honten Yamashina also offers some playful dishes such as sliders. As the temperature differs on different parts of the steel cooking plate, each item can be cooked to a temperature that maximizes its specific flavor. Honten Yamashina also has a massive cellar housin over 1,000 bottles of wine and hard-to-find spirits. 

     

    Japanese-style Yakiniku

    For those looking for a more private experience, guests can enjoy yakiniku in a completely separate room. Each private room has a grill that will cook meat to the perfect temperature, and only at Honten Yamashina can you enjoy fully-matured Omi beef. The signature cutlet sandwich is made with chateaubriand cooked at a low temperature and deep-fried in a thin batter, then served on crispy bread with a soft, fluffy interior.

     

    Teppanyaki and yakiniku are typically thought of as meat-based dishes, but the restaurant can accommodate vegetarian guests if contacted in advance. 

     

    When Japan opens up to tourism, will you be visiting this incredible restaurant in the heart of Tokyo?

  • Toy Story Aliens Cafe to Open in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya

    18.July.2022 | FOOD / MOVIE

    The Toy Story Aliens Cafe will be opening for a limited time in Tokyo starting July 23, in Osaka on July 27, and in Nagoya on August 4. Fans of the film series will remember the adorable Alien characters, originally shown as prizes in a crane game. This pop-up cafe will feature themed dishes and merchandise, and Pixar fans should be sure to attend!

     

    Menu

     

    Food

    Space Curry

    Green Pasta

    Alien Burger A (Teriyaki Soy Meat) / Burger B (Tomato Soy Meat) / Burger C (Chicken & Potato)

    Moon Landing?! Potato & Bread

    Kids Plate

    Fruit Bread

     

    Drinks

    Alien Smoothie

    Space Soda

    Melon Milk

    Space Crane Game Cider / Grape Juice

    Hot Tea / Hot Milk

     

     

    Goods

    The food menu includes a tasty black curry, a green pasta featuring broccoli, edamame, spinach, and snap peas, and three types of alien burgers featuring either teriyaki soy meat, tomato soy meat, or chicken and potato. Even the drinks stick to the Alien theme, and the menu includes an Alien Smoothie with a tasty banana yogurt flavor. 

     

    Guests will also be able to purchase event-exclusive merchandise from keychains and stickers to tote bags and letter sets. 

     

    ©Disney/Pixar

  • Retro Cafe Inspired Items Available from Thank You Mart

    28.June.2022 | FASHION / FOOD / SPOT

    THANK YOU MART will begin selling a total of 18 unique items starting in late June. These items were inspired by Japanese cafes during the Showa era, and give off the perfect amount of retro vibes. Most items at THANK YOU MART costs ¥390 (¥429 with tax). 

    The new cafe-inspired items are perfect for those longing for days long past, made with impactful yet subdued colors and classic patterns. The logo looks like something pulled out of the Showa era, so if you’re a fan of classic Japanese style, be sure to grab some of these inexpensive items when they drop later this month!

  • Unique Summer Afternoon Tea Available at Haute Couture Cafe in Tokyo

    27.June.2022 | FOOD / SPOT

    Located along the Meguro River, Haute Couture Cafe is known for serving up some of the best afternoon tea in Tokyo. The location is incredibly photogenic and often pops up on social media, covered in flowers welcoming guests to what feels like a fairy tale land. From July 1 until September 4, visitors to the cafe can enjoy a Peach and Shine Muscat Afternoon Tea set, perfect for summer and incorporating seasonal fruits. 

    The fresh peaches and shine muscat (a type of luxurious grape found in Japan) are delivered from a nearby market daily. By using peaches without heating them, such as in the compote, guests can enjoy the juiciness of the raw fruit in a new way.

    The lineup of delicately prepared and hearty savory dishes includes Peach and Prosciutto Cappellini, and guests wanting to enjoy more can order this as a lunch or dinner course as well. There are six courses in total, including the fresh-squeezed grape and muscat Mont Blanc plan and a Peach Cheesecake plan with a drink included. The cafe also offers anniversary plans, so why not bring your sweetheart?

    The theme of this summer afternoon tea is ‘an adorable purple space.’ Guests will be surrounded by light purple wisteria as they enjoy this colorful spread.

     

    Why not enjoy this summer treat as you look out over the river? 

  • Private Jet Package Now Available in Toyama Offering Spectacular View of Tateyama Mountains

    22.June.2022 | SPOT

    Mizu to Takumi, a company associated with the Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association, has teamed up with SKYTREK to offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the area via private jet. Reservations for the incredible experience began on June 17, 2022.

     

    Offering an entirely new tourism experience in Toyama Prefecture, visitors can see the area’s natural wonders from miles above the Earth. The program also aims to share local culture and more about traditional craftsmanship and cuisine.

    Toyama Prefecture boasts dramatic topography, from the massive peaks of the Northern Alps and the Tateyama Mountains to the deep waters of Toyama Bay. To better allow visitors to see the sights, these private jet tours will be chartered on special courses different from standard airlines.

     

    After the flights, guests will be welcomed to explore Takaoka’s deep history and culture. Kane no Sanzun, a restored and preserved inn, will welcome visitors, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating time.

    Visitors can also book optional excursions to further explore the area, such as a Zen meditation experience at a famous temple in Takaoka, a traditional crafting workshop, and a tour and tasting of the only whiskey distillery in the Hokuriku region.

    Come enjoy a trip to Toyama with a whole new perspective!

  • Airbnb Reveals Top 10 Most Popular Summer Destinations in Japan

    08.June.2022 | SPOT

    Airbnb boasts one of the largest travel communities in the world, filled with users offering up lodging and those eager to visit somewhere new. The Japanese subsidiary of the company has revealed the top spots added to Japanese users ‘Favorites (Wish Lists)’ from May 1 to May 17, 2022. Where will travelers in the country be headed this summer?

     

    Golden Week is long gone and users are starting to think about where to visit during the hottest part of the year. This national ‘Wish List’ might make it easier to pick a spot, with many locations highlighting lesser-known areas!

     

    Gujo Hachiman Villa, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Gifu)

    This completely private rental villa was made for sauna enthusiasts. One lucky pair per day can book this suite along the Yoshida River flowing through Gujo Hachiman, known as the “City of Water and Dance.” Currently booked through the end of August, reservations for September and beyond will be available in early June. Book a stay to enjoy the gorgeous autumn foliage!

    A House Surrounded by Lush Greenery in the Countryside (Tottori)

    Hosted by a family of musicians and architects, this guesthouse invites guests to enjoy gorgeous Nordic-inspired interiors and the serene quiet of the countryside. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect spot.

    Hoshina Satomachi, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Nagano)

    There’s nothing like spending the summer in a traditional Japanese home. Enjoy a barbeque on the terrace and relax on the massive lawn. This is the perfect spot for families with children or pets!

    Coastal Cabin (Chiba)

    You can’t have summer without a pool. This luxurious coastal retreat boasts a 15-meter pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, bonfire space, and a barbeque. Relax by the pool while listening to your favorite songs or soak in the outdoor bath as you watch the waves crash along the shore.

    An Elegant and Peaceful Log Cabin (Nagano)

    Located at 1,300 meters above sea level on the Iizuna plateau, this log cabin is situated in the midst of a dense forest. A perfect space for couples, families, or small groups of friends, guests are welcome to enjoy hiking through this gorgeous landscape in the center of Japan!

  • Cafe ‘Junkissa Bread & Espresso’ to Start Chocolate Fair

    01.June.2022 | FOOD / SPOT

    Specialty cafe chain ‘Bread, Espresso &’ will begin selling special items as a part of its chocolate fair at the Harajuku location, ‘Junkissa Bread, Espresso &’ starting June 1!

    Many of the existing items on the shop’s menu will be available in chocolate versions. The Chocolate Mint French Toast is chilled and perfect for summer, drizzled with chocolate cream and mint sauce. Additional mint can be added to your heart’s content!

    The mint cocoa (pictured top right) features blended mint cream on top with cocoa on the bottom. The two halves blend effortlessly as the top warms and the bottom cools.

    Come enjoy these chocolate treats during the warm summer months!

  • Izu, the Setting for Laid-Back Camp, Now Offering Travel Plans

    24.May.2022 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    JR Tokai Tours has released a new travel plan for fans of Laid-Back Camp Season 2, which aired from January to March 2021. The tour will take place in the Izu area, which was heavily featured in episodes 10, 11, and 12. Guests can enjoy a travel plan with single lodging and original goods starting May 23 until June 29, 2022.

    Original Stickers

     

    The slice-of-life series Laid-Back Camp is currently serialized in COMIC FUZ.

     

    Set in Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures, Laid-Back Camp is a relaxing series following a group of high school girls going camping and enjoying their daily lives. The series is based on the author Afro’s personal experiences and interviews, and since serialization in 2015, the series has attracted fans from around the world. The original comic has sold over 7 million copies. In 2018, the first anime series premiered, inspiring a spin-off Room Camp in 2020 and a second season in 2021.


    Four years after it was announced in 2018, a Laid-Back Camp animated film will arrive in theaters this summer.

  • Cat Illustration Series mofusand Inspires Themed Cafes in Tokyo and Osaka

    18.May.2022 | FOOD / SPOT

    Popular on LINE and other texting apps and illustrated by Jyuuno, mofusand is a curious collection of cute and slightly surreal cats. As with most things that go viral in Japan, these adorable characters will be featured in a themed cafe for a limited time! The Tokyo location will open on May 19 and the Osaka location will welcome visitors starting May 26, 2022.

     

    Cafe Visitor Bonus: Sticker (6 varieties)

    Drink Order Bonus: Coaster (6 varieties)

     

    Menu

    Fried Shrimp Sandwich Plate

    Grilled Vegetable Curry

    Nyanko Burger

    Salmon Mentaiko Cream Pasta

    Taiyaki

    Nyanko Parfait

    Black Cat Pancake

     

    Nyan Lime Nata de Coco

    Green Nyanko Float / Yello Nyanko Float / Blue Nyanko Float

    Nyanko Cafe Latte / Nyanko Milk Tea

     

    Merchandise

    Sticker

    Clear Folder

     

     

    All menu items draw inspiration from the many mofusand characters and are perfect for posting on social media! Special bonuses will be given to those visiting the cafe and making select purchases, and a merchandise corner will be selling limited-edition goods featuring new artwork!

     

    ©mofusand

  • EMOCAL, a Project to Support Japanese Regions, Releases Music Using Local Sound Samples

    14.May.2022 | MUSIC / SPOT

    The EMOCAL project aims to support small-town areas of Japan. As a new initiative in the project, specific soundscapes only found in certain areas of the country have been combined with music to create some unique tracks. A selection of musical artists have collaborated with the project to bring these songs to life!

     


    EMOCAL was created by ZOWA’s original label, CatchyStuck. The project supports local regions and communities by using ASMR soundscape videos recorded in each region to convey their particular charms to all of Japan. The sounds recorded in each place are considered to be very valuable and are intended to serve two purposes: to bring tourism back after the pandemic and to provide fans of ASMR a way to experience these areas from afar.



    Check out each of these unique ambient tracks created by four up-and-coming musicians! Each song is available on viviON’s ASMR platform ZOWA and on Spotify.

     

    Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture / Ikkyuu x Hige Driver, I Love Ikkyuu

    Beard Driver created this ambient track with sounds recorded inside of Ikkyuu, a ramen shop.

    ZOWA: https://zowa.app/play/20019
    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/1RP4RcpJwMrFzoYQbnfDYm?si=f1f1e816adb14db0

     

    Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture / Miyuki no Hama x Powerless, Seiren

    Powerless created this track, inspired by the sounds of waves crashing at Miyuki no Hama, a seaside recreation area 20 minutes from Odawara Station.

    ZOWA: https://zowa.app/play/20016
    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/5DkQ9FeM7jQBacUf7Nbuxc?si=c7d771e73ddd44b6

     

     

    Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture / Wasabi Field x baker, On the silent hill

    Utogi in Shizuoka city is surrounded by incredible nature. Known as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation, baker used sounds recorded in the area to create this ambient track.

    ZOWA: https://zowa.app/play/20017
    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/0oIU4x7MjVKmpouRwEPaXZ?si=04dcb805cea540b7

     

    Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture / Cape Tara x SeA0, Akushu

    Cape Tara is a popular spot featuring an 800-meter-long sandbar at low tide. The sounds captured here were used by artist SeA0, and this track is sure to make you miss the water.

    ZOWA: https://zowa.app/play/20018
    Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/1Utz5j0oB4GmSDOMVdUcXU?si=eafa1949b3ea44d0

  • Idol Group Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku to Open One-Day ‘Ebisen Cafe’ in Omotesando

    27.April.2022 | FOOD / MUSIC / SPOT

    The popular idol group Shuritsu Ebisu Chugaku will open a one-day-only cafe in Omotesando on May 1, 2022! The location will open in conjunction with CookpadTV, which hosts the popular show ‘Shiritsu Ebisu Culinary Institute.’

     

    The members of Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku are passionate about cooking, making this the perfect project. Since October 2021, the girls have streamed their cooking stories and ideas on CookpadLive, and now, they’re ready to put their hearts and souls into each and every item on this cafe menu. Visitors will also be able to purchase original merchandise on-site and see some of the member’s costumes! 


    Reservations for the cookpadLive Ebisen cafe are required, and the lottery for reservations is open now. Some of the menu items and original goods offered at the cafe are also available for purchase on cookpadLive’s official E-commerce site, so don’t worry if you aren’t able to attend in person on May 1!

     

    The cookpadLive Ebisen Cafe will feature a special lunch time, dinner time, and cafe time. The nine members of Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku will appear in three teams for each session.

     

  • BTS Characters ‘TinyTAN’ to Appear at Cafes in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Miyagi

    25.April.2022 | FOOD / MUSIC / SPOT

    The popular BTS chibi characters TinyTAN will be featured at TinyTAN Cafe locations in five cities for a limited time! Nine locations will be open across Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, and Miyagi starting April 21, 2022.

     

    The TinyTAN characters were designed by the seven members of BTS to embody their “second selves.”

    Select Cakes: ¥990

    Fruits Deco Style: Strawberry, Fruits Deco Style: Mango, Fruits Deco Style: White Grape: ¥1,760

     

    The menu is packed with desserts, including seven different types of cakes each inspired by a member of TinyTAN.

    American Sundae Style Chocolate Cookie, American Sundae Style Caramel Nuts, American Sundae Style Pistachio Honey: ¥1,870

    Afternoon Style Tea: ¥3,190

     

    The Afternoon Style Tea includes a base plate that can be customized with guest’s favorite fruits and chocolates. Two types of TinyTAN Select Cakes will also be included to share!

    Ham (2 types) & Scrambled Egg Peanut Butter Sandwich: ¥1,760

    Cafe Style Drink & Cake Set *Prices vary based on drink selection.

     

    Guests can choose from colorful bagel sandwiches, pancakes, and open sandwiches, along with a selection of sweet drinks to match each meal.

     

    Bonuses

    Acrylic Stand (7 varieties, random): ¥1,320

    Sticky Note Roll: ¥880, Acrylic Nameplate (7 varieties): ¥990 each

     

    Original cafe merchandise and special offers will make visiting the TinyTAN Cafe even more exciting!

     

     

    © BIGHIT MUSIC. All Rights Reserved

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