Experience Traditional Japanese Culture Through Buddhism at Kohgen Festival in Meguro & Nakameguro
23.April.2018 | SPOT
Kohgen is a festival focused on Buddhism held at shrines and temples in Japan where people can experience traditional Japanese culture. The next events are set to take place at Shokakuji Temple in Nakameguro on May 5 and Ryusenji Temple, Gohyakurakanji Temple and Banryuji Temple in Meguro on May 6.
Kohgen works towards allowing people to feel the true essence and root of Japan’s rich culture. The festival takes place over a huge distance every year, with 2018 marking its eighth run.
On Saturday May 5 at Shokakuji Temple, there will be performances from young rakugo entertainers in their 20s and 30s in the main hall, a chance to hear three priests chanting Buddhist sutras, and a string of experienced-based workshops like making goshuincho shrine and temple stamp books, ascetic practices and more.
On Sunday May 6 in Meguro, there’ll be a talk show by a Buddhist picture artists at Ryusenji Temple, an opportunity to learn about philosophy with a chief priest at Gohyakurakanji Temple, and ikebana flower arranging, calligraphy, and a viola performance at Banryuji Temple. There’s plenty more scheduled too, with each temple having its own particular events.
Also, for 2018, those who haven’t bought tickets can enter the festival too. There are free events happening at the tent area, and a catering area where you can enjoy food.
In addition, ghost story telling priest Daiun Miki has also been invited to Shokakuji Temple in Nakameguro. He’ll be telling one of his ghost stories.
For more details on this fun-packed festival, make sure to check the official Kohgen website.
DJ Arisa Komiya from OMOTENASHI BEATS Celebrates First Overseas Performance at Anime Festival in Singapore
03.December.2019 | MUSIC
Last October, Zepp Divercity, Tokyo was filled with excitement and thrill as the Anime Rave Festival Vol.2 took place, which saw the appearance of a brand new DJ at the scene: Arisa Komiya from OMOTENASHI BEATS.
What’s more, it hasn’t even been two months since the DJ released her CD full of non-stop anisongs called SUPER OMOTENASHI BEATS vol.1 × DJ Arisa Komiya on October 2 and she has already leaped across a border for her first ever overseas performance at Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2019, which flies the flag for Japanese culture and aims to spread the love for Japanese music. The festival was held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Arisa Komiya took to the stage on the second day of Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2019. The floor shook in beat to the thudding fans and the entire evening was a great success. The DJ’s kicked off her overseas debut at C3AFA AKIBA STAGE, which was met with a swarm of hiphop fans. Next, she performed on the LUMICA stage, which saw a sea of penlights sway in beat, each fan unshakable with admiration. Komiya left the venue being assured of her strong fanbase in Singapore.
DJ Arisa Komiya is sure to continue performing in Japan and overseas. Keep an eye on her and OMOTENASHI BEATS because they are sure to have a lot in store for everyone.
SUPER OMOTENASHI BEATS vol.1 × DJ Arisa Komiya
Release: October 2, 2019
A 35-Track Mix CD of Non-Stop Anisongs by Love Live! Sunshine!! School Idol Group Aqours Member DJ Komiya Arisa.
CD: ¥2,338 (Before Tax)
CD + Blu-ray: ¥4,074 (Before Tax)
*Blu-ray includes the NONSTOP MIX BACKGROUND MUSIC VIDEO and MAKING VIDEO
Purchase Here: https://omotenashibeats.jp/discography/shop.php?id=1030637
OMOTENASHI BEATS Official Website: https://omotenashibeats.jp/
5 Temples in Kyoto Announce Exclusive Viewings For Their Secret Cultural Assets
05.September.2019 | SPOT
The history of Yamashina dates back over 1,400 years when Kyoto, then known as “Heian-kyō,” was the official capital of Japan. Located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, Yamashina is rich in history, abound with nature, and has maintained a traditional industry that has gone unbroken since ancient times.
This year, with the arrival of Japan’s new emperor and the opening of a brand new era, five of Yamashina’s great temples are set to unveil several cultural assets, which until now have never been shown to the public.
They are as follows.
Anshoji Temple’s Wooden Jūichimen Kannon Statue (Important National Treasure)
Kajū-ji Temple’s Sliding Door Panel Artwork – “Eight Views of Ōmi” & “Tatsuta River Autumn Leaves” (Important National Treasures)
Zuishinin Temple’s Gold Lacquered Fan Inkstone Case & 4-Panel Folding Screen
Bishamon-do Temple’s Imperial Prince Flag & Tortoise Shell Doors
Honkokuji Temple’s Kyōzō (Important National Treasure)
Get away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and steep yourself in its history with this very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Anshoji Temple, Kajū-ji Temple & Honkokuji Temple: 9:00-16:30 (Last Entries 16:30)
Zuishinin Temple: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Bishamon-do Temple: [Until November 31] 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30) / [From December 1] 8:30-16:30 (Last Entries 16:00)
Anshoji Temple: ¥500 / Kajū-ji Temple: ¥400 / Bishamon-do Temple: ¥500
Zuishinin Temple: ¥500 (¥700 during illuminations at 6pm-8:30pm)
Honkokuji Temple: ¥500 (+¥500 to view the Kyōzō)
More details can be found over on Totteoki Kyoto Travel: https://totteoki.kyoto.travel/ (Japanese)
Witness the Sengoku Period Parade at the Kazutoyo Festival in Kisogawa
01.September.2019 | SPOT
The town of Kisogawa in Nagoya, Aichi is just 30-minutes by car from Nagoya Station, which is set to welcome the 36th annual Kazutoyo Festival on September 15.
The city of Ichinomiya was the birthplace of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a famous military commander during the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568-1600). Every year, the bustling Kazutoyo Festival recalls the Sengoku Period, a time of war and upheaval in Japan which lasted over a thousand years, as well as the helmet and armor-clad commander.
The festival also has mini live performances, as well as an anime show which can be enjoyed by children. There’s also food, horse riding, and other fun activities.
Experience a unique cultural autumntime festival this year at the Kazutoyo Festival in Kisogawa.
36th Kisogawa Kazutoyo Festival
Date: September 15, 2019
Main Location: Ichinomiya Shiritsu Kuroda Elementary School (Kojo-26-2 Kisogawacho Kuroda, Ichinomiya, Aichi)
Sub-Locations: Aeon Mall Kisogawa (25-1 Kisogawacho Kuroda Minamihatsukaike, Aichi Prefecture) & APiTA Kisogawa Shop (51-4 Kisogawacho Kuroda, Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture)
Sengoku Period Parade
Time: From 10:00
Course: Sotowariden Crossing→Kisogawa Ginza Shotengai→Kuroda Elementary School
Enquiries: Kisogawa Kazutoyo Festival Planning Committee (0586-87-3618)
teamLab Now Holding Digital Art Exhibition at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto
With the increase in number of collaborations between contemporary digital art and traditional and historical Kyoto sites, teamLab is getting in on the action with its new digital art exhibition “Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine.”
We are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who recently attended the exhibition and who has provided photos for us.
Shimogamo Shrine is a shrine located between the Kamo River and Mount Kōya. It was registered it as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The shrine is associated good luck in marriage and welcomes sightseers from Japan and around the world. It can be reached by the 205 Bus from Kyoto Station and getting off at either Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) or Tadasu Forest (糺ノ森前). It’s also about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station.
This marks the third run of teamLab’s “Digitized Forest” exhibition at Shimogamo Shrine, and this year’s exhibition has been made even bigger. It is running until September 2, 2019.
Floating by the Rōmon Gate of the shrine are spheres of light which change colour and emit various musical tones unique to the colour when touched by a person. They also react to the other spheres around them, changing to the same colour and letting out the same tone, creating a chain reaction.
Egg-shaped orbs of light can be found dotted around the Tadasu Forest by the shrine which illuminate the trees. Like the light spheres, when the eggs are pushed they change colour and play a musical noise specific to that colour, the sound and tone spreading through the forest.
These objects of light can also be found at Mitarashi Pond where they float on the water. The orbs shine brightly and then fade slowly as if breathing. If pushed by people or blown by the wind they will change colour and emit sound.
The best part about teamLab’s art exhibitions is how visitors become part of the exhibition itself by interacting with the installations, offering a much more engaging experience than simply looking. Visit Shimogamo Shrine before the exhibition ends to see digital art meet a traditional Japanese shrine at night.
If you’re looking for more sightseeing recommendations for Kyoto then be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram!
Photos by まっちゃん
Address: 59 Shimogamo Izumikawachō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/english/
Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto Art by teamLab – TOKIO INKARAMI
Running: August 17, 2019 – September 2, 2019
Time: 18:30-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Location: Shimogamo Shrine
Price: Weekdays ¥1,300 / Weekends ¥1,500
*Free entry for elementary school children and below. Must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 20+.
Official Website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/shimogamo/
A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll
It’s been a while since our last date with Yutaro. He’s been very busy with film shoots. He had some spare time today so we paid a visit to Nihonbashi for our next date. “ECO EDO Nihonbashi: Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses” is an event held every year in the Nihonbashi area which takes the Edo period cultural idea of “coolness”―an in, to enjoy being cool during the summer－and puts a modern spin on it. There are many exciting things to look forward to, including the art aquarium which proves massively popular every year.
We gave ourselves more time to arrive at the meeting place to be in the safe side, but it seems Yutaro-kun was already there waiting for us!
Nihonbashi Information Center | IPPIN CAFÉ “Sparkling Herb Tea” – ¥518 (Tax Included)
“Here, you must be boiling.” Yutaro-kun kindly offers a cup of IPPIN CAFE’s limited-edition sparkling herb tea. It’s a delicious mix of fizzy soda and lemon, a perfect refreshment for the summer. Since he ordered takeout the drink came with a goldfish straw. Goldfish are a staple sight during Japanese summer festivals so it’s very fitting for the occasion!
With our drinks in hand, it’s time to head to Nihonbashi for our Edo summer date!
Wind-Chime Forest Path
Lining the path between Fukutoku Shrine and Fukutoku Garden is the Wind-Chime Forest Path where around 200 Edo-style wind chimes dangled. This year, during the evenings, the path is illuminated with beautiful lighting.
When the breeze rolls past the wind chimes ring one by one－a cool and refreshing sound.
“I hear each one of these Edo wind chimes are individually handmade by craftsmen.”
When you hear the sound of the wind chimes it makes you feel cool like a gentle breeze of the wind.
After strolling along the Wind-Chime Forest Path we make our way towards this year’s ECO EDO Art Aquarium event.
The moment we step instead Yutaro is already dazzled by all the goldfish: “Wow! I knew about this place from what I’d seen online, but this my first time here! This art aquarium really is something!”
The full title of the event is “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium.” Goldfish were a huge part of the common culture in Nihonbashi during the Edo period. This event recreates that and brings that “coolness” aspect while combining it with contemporary art by having people observe the fish in lots of different artistic environments.
“This is the biggest fish tank, apparently it has 3,000 fish swimming inside!”
“Seeing the light reflect on the water from the illuminations lets you see the fish in a different light, doesn’t it?”
Looks like Yutaro-kun is having a lot of fun taking photos.
He’s equally interested in just about every fish tank!
These other fish tanks have a different aesthetic to them. Their Japanese-style designs make for great photos.
“This one’s beautiful, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”
It really does look like one. When you take a peek instead you can glimpse all kinds of colourful fish gently swimming around.
“There’re goldfish swimming on the ceiling too. So cool! This aquarium is incredible. It brings together the great culture of Edo and contemporary art.”
The Art Aquarium bustles every single year with visitors, but this year will mark its last run. It’s being held at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, so if you have the chance to go then please do.
We of course checked out some local Nihonbashi treats too! We stopped by morozoff for some cheesecake after the aquarium.
morozoff Kamadashi Cheesecake (Goldfish) – ¥270 Each (Tax Included)
These cute cheesecakes with their goldfish designs are available for a limited time only. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste. They perfect with iced tea.
“Got some! Let’s eat them while we head back.”
Goldfish Lantern Walkway
Our first date in Nihonbashi was so much fun. While on the date Yutaro-kun spoke about the new live-action film he’s in, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.
“It’s a romance film with mind games to try and make the other person confess their love. I play the character Tsubasa. His number one highlight scene is the kabedon scene. That was my first day shooting, so I was super nervous, but I got along well with the other actors, and the atmosphere on set was harmonious, so I was able to relax for the shoots. Tsubasa is a genuine guy who will believe things that have been said to him in earnest. You’ve definitely gotta check out all his scenes throughout the film!”
“A lot of the cast are the same age as me, so we were all energetic together in the waiting room. There’s a scene at the end where all the cast get together. It took 3 days to shoot so we ended up getting along really well.”
“This film has made me realise that love comes in many shapes, and that mind games happen in a variety of ways between guys and girls. There’s cute scenes that express that small bit of pride that teenagers have, the embarassment they feel, when they get butterflies, scenes that will warm your heart. The film has various elements to it so I thoroughly enjoyed watching it myself. I hope that couples in love in their teens and twenties watch it, and I also hope that married couples watch it and crack up laughing too.”
“In the film it’s summer break, and they go and see fireworks and stuff. It’s definitely one to watch durnig the summer. You’re gonna come watch it too, right? Shall we go?”
An offer we cannot refuse! We’ll definitely go and see it with you, Yutaro-kun!
Writer: Yuki Yokoo
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2019 ~Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses~
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Area
TEL: 03-3242-0010 (Nihonbashi Information Center)
Event Page: https://www.nihonbashi-tokyo.jp/en/ecoedo2019/
ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall Floor 5F (Entrance at 4F), COREDO Muromachi 1, 2-2-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Art Aquarium 11:00-19:00 / Night Aquarium From 19:00
[Sun-Fri] 11:00-22:00 (Last Entries 22:00) [Sat & days prior to public hoiday] 11:00-23:30 (Last Entries 23:00)
Access: Directly connected to Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae Station, accessible on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Hanzomon Line / Directly connected to Shin-Nihombashi Station / 8-minutes on foot from East Exit of Kanda Station JR 8-minutes on foot from Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Film
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Adapted from the manga of the same name by Aka Akasaka (Shueisha/Weekly Young Jump)
Cast: Sho Hirano (King & Prince), Kanna Hashimoto, Hayato Sano, Natsumi Ikema, Nana Asakawa, Mayu Hotta, YUTARO, Takashima Masahiro, Jiro Sato
Official Website: https://kaguyasama-movie.com/
Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.
Kyoto’s Sweet and Salty Matcha Cheese Tea is an Enlightening Flavour Discovery
15.August.2019 | FOOD
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo opened at Kiyomizu Gojozaka at the foot of the famous Kiyomizudera Temple as Kyoto’s first ever cheesecake shop to sell its delicious cheesecakes in a cute jar. On August 13, they released a mouthwateringly rich Matcha Cheese Tea which will enlighten you with a new way to enjoy matcha.
The Matcha Cheese Tea harnesses Kyoto’s unbeatable Uji matcha which is full of rich and fresh flavour. A light cloud of fluffy cheese foam floats on top of the drink, adding a salty accent to the overall flavour. A traditional tea combined with a sweet and salty cheese flavour ー this brand new flavour discovery will leave you feeling refreshed and enlightened. The recipe for the cheese foam consists of cream cheese carefully selected by the cheesecake shop’s specialists. This is then blended with a small amount of salt to accent the flavour.
If you mix the matcha milk tea with the cheese foam, the rich matcha mixes with the saltiness of the cream cheese, creating a sweet salty flavour that you will not be able to get enough of. As the flavour is not too overpowering, you can enjoy this drink endlessly and will feel refreshed even on a hot summer’s day.
Matcha Cheese Tea: ￥460
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo recommends three different ways to drink the Matcha Cheese Tea to enjoy three different levels of flavour combinations.
① First off, drink just the matcha milk tea so you can experience the true authentic flavour of Kyoto’s famous rich Uji matcha tea.
② Next, move your straw so that you taste just the cheese foam on its own. The fluffy foam will gently slide over your tongue and spread a mild and sweet flavour all over your mouth.
③ Finally, it’s time to mix everything. The saltiness of the cheese foam and the sweetness of the matcha milk will create a new salty sweet flavour that you will want to try again and again.
Whether you are a Japanese local or a foreigner, this drink is a fun new way to enjoy matcha. If you are new to matcha, this is a good way to try the flavour without being too overwhelmed.
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo (清水チーズ工房)
Address: 569-10, Shiraitocho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 11:00 ー 17:30
No fixed closed days.
Official Website: http://kiyomizu-cheese.com/
Awa Odori Festival 2019 Kicks Off in Tokushima With Spectacular Traditional Dance
14.August.2019 | SPOT
The Awa Odori Festival is the largest dance festival in Japan and is held every year in Tokushima Prefecture from August 12 to 15 as part of the Obon festival. This year, the first day welcomed over 380,000 spectators who gathered to witness the groups of traditional dancers.
This year marked the first Awa Odori Festival of the current Reiwa era which began on May 1, and so to commemorate the occasion, new elements were introduced. The biggest of these were four areas that showcases performances of Souodori which saw over 1,000 people dance along the 100 meter long dance floor.
The first day of the festival was held at the Konyamachi Theater along the bustling shopping streets of Tokushima. This spacious location made for easy access and guaranteed you could watch the procession. While the people in packed-out outdoor theatre were looking left and right to see when the show was about to start, the clock struck 10pm, at which musicians began playing their instruments. The orchestra was made up of over 400 people who played enchantingly in perfect order. As they split into groups on the left and right side of the theatre, the crowd caught the first glimpses of the dancers. Out they came in different groups, starting with female dancers, then male dancers, and then more female dancers, this time dressed in happi coats. The crowd cheered them on, especially when they spotted somebody they knew.
The dancers made up in the free areas included groups of workers, students and various others. But in the paid premium area spectators were able to watch the “famous” group.
The premium area was located in front of the town hall and packed full of people. The famous group are made up of dancers with incredible skill.
There was also a group for people in the crowd or onlookers to join in if they wanted to as well. Many celebrities also took part including comedians Hayashiya Sanpei II and Kazuya Kojima, actresses Sachiko Kokubu, Tomoko Fujita and Wakako Shimazaki, and more.
Awa Odori Festival 2019
Running: August 12, 2019 – August 15, 2019
Official Website: https://www.awaodori.tokushima.jp
Harajuku Summer Festival 2019 to Take Place at Togo Shrine
GLOBAL PRODUCE, a Japanese event organiser, is set to sponsor Harajuku Summer Festival 2019 which will be held at Togo Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo on August 23. Bringing together professional event producers, the festival will combine elements of traditional Japanese culture with the latest trends.
Food trucks and stalls will open in the dozens, including appearances from the shaved ice shop Kooriya bebe which makes its fluffy shaved ice from the natural spring waters of Mount Fuji―perfect for the hot weather―as well as Ichika, a cafe known for its tapioca Japanese tea lattes made with high quality tea leaves from Kagoshima. Current popular restaurants will also serve up delicious summertime food. There will even be the Harajuku Bon Odori 2019 dance event, and the marchers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will also be present.
Tokyo Bijin Project will make their first ever live appearance, a group of shining Japanese women with “wisdom, dignity and compassion” who are set to speak out for other strong women. They will talk leadership, interpretation, attending to people, the spread of Japanese culture, and more.
If you are in Japan for the summer then make sure you attend all of the different summer festivals you can.
GLOBAL PRODUCE presents Harajuku Summer Festival 2019 at Togo Shrine
Date: August 23, 2019
Time: 19:00-21:00 (Reception open from 18:30)
Location: Togo Shrine (1-5-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)
Togo Shrine Official Website: http://www.togojinja.jp/
Stay Cool This Summer in Kyoto at These 4 Nature Spots
When talking about seasons in Kyoto, a lot of people are sure to point towards autumn when the leaves turn fiery red and sun yellow. But did you know that in Kyoto enjoys cool and truly beautiful summers?
If you’re in the old capital this summer, or are planning to catch the sun there with a trip next year, then you’ll want to add the 4 spots in this list into your schedule, each abloom with magical foliage and verdure.
We are joined by Macchan, a Japanese Instagrammer who snaps photos of sightseeing spots around Kyoto lush with greenery.
Giouji Temple is a modest thatched hut wrapped in a bamboo thicket and maple trees. The temple is detailed in the epic The Tale of the Heike in which the dancer Gio fled to the temple from her home in the capital with her mother and sister after falling out of love with Taira no Kiyomori.
A visit here ensures you can enjoy the summer with more than just your eyes as you listen to the dancing of the bamboo thicket and the cries of the cicadas.
Address: 32 Sagatoriimoto Kozakachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.giouji.or.jp/en
Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple with a history spanning 1,200 years. A memorial service for those who died without kin is taking place on August 23 and 24 at the riverbed of the temple’s west wing where candles will be lit in their honour. Lanterns are also lit in the surrounding area along the streets.
Address: 17 Saga Toriimotoadashinocho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nenbutsuji.jp/index.html
Fushimi Port Park
Fushimi Port Park is a huge park home to a gymnasium and sumo area. They also have a hiking course. The sea does not reach here, but there is a canal which boats go up and down, and this is where the park gets its name. It has a bounty of trees and plants, so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful stroll in nature then be sure to visit.
Fushimi Port Park
Address: Yoshijima Kanaidocho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.kyoto-park.or.jp/fushimi/
This residence was built for and used by the Kan’in-no-miya family in 1710, with Prince Naohito as its founder―the son of Emperor Higashiyama. The family lived in the house until 1877 after which they moved to Tokyo. Following the war, it was liberated and became a park, and today it is used to exhibit photography and paintings. The residence is famous for its peach trees, making it a popular spot in spring. However, in summertime, it’s much quieter, adding grace to the tranquillity of the surrounding green landscape. What’s more is that despite it being such a prestigious location, it’s free to enter! Don’t tell too many people about this secret spot.
Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo War, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://kan-in-nomiya-teiato.jp/eng/
Macchan has visited many incredible spots around Kyoto, so if you’re in need of recommendations be sure to give them a follow.
Explore The Hidden Beauty, Culture And Local Cuisine Of Hida Takayama In A Yukata
18.July.2019 | SPOT
Shimocho is one of the districts of Hida Takayama and is overflowing with traditional culture that you absolutely must experience. To make the most of your trip, there is a summer yukata-wearing programme running from July 20th which is the perfect opportunity to wear cooling and refreshing Japanese clothes while strolling and exploring the streets.
This year will be the 7th time the programme has been run. The Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi programme allows visitors to dress in a comfortable and cooling yukata, stroll, explore, try different foods and enjoy the culture of the area. This year’s theme is “romance and yukatas” and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy programme-limited desserts and the rich culture of the district.
Discover Hidden Beauty with the Stroll Map
Visitors will be given a map packed with wonderful spots of the area. The map will also include the destinations of 31 shops where you can enjoy special experiences, meals and desserts that are limited to those who take part in the yukata programme. Recommended spots to visit are also drawn on the map in a very cute handwriting-like style, so you can stop by these places easily while enjoying your walk. There are even many places on the map that only a local would know about.
Some of the special benefits of the programme allow you to enjoy the best regional cuisine that Hida has to offer, including the wonderful experience of restaurants that have been loved by the locals for generations, a beef delicacy restaurant, and much more. Besides food, the programme also gives you the opportunity to witness the beautiful festival floats used during the Takayama festival at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan. You can also enjoy experiencing baking your own senbei crackers and gold panning.
The programme includes a wide range of experiences for you to enjoy from local shops to food to culture to some new experiences.
An old-style café called Sabou Usagi is particularly popular with the locals. Here, the coffee is made using a vacuum coffee maker. With the summer programme, you can enjoy the delicious heart Tiramisù served here.
The stroll map includes a variety of locations such as the Takayama Tourist Information Centre, Hida Takayama Tourism Convention Association, Hida Takayama Travel Hotel Association and much more. The map also includes some of the accommodations available around Takayama, some important train stations and much more. You can easily download this map from the official website. (Japanese only )
Stroll the Streets in an Elegant Yukata
Change into a traditional Yukata that matches the beautiful surrounding townscape. There are four shops Yukata rental shops available to pick up your favourite Yukata, so there is no need to worry if you did not come prepared. There are also some accommodations that allow for yukata rental.
If you decide to join the Hida Takayama Nippon Natsu Yasumi programme, make sure to share your beautiful memories on Instagram with the hashtag #Hidasummer
Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi Programme
Running: July 20 ー September 8, 2019
Location: Shimocho, Takayama (in the general area of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, Kamiichinomachi, Takayama, Gifu)
Official Website: https://hida-natsu.jp/
See Hundreds of Japanese Wind Chimes at Nyoirin-ji Temple Festival in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a tourist hot spot of Japan, bustling with tourists and travellers both from the island nation and those from overseas, especially from China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Situated on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka offers amazing shopping experiences and serves up some of the most delicious gourmet cuisine at its rows of restaurants. But nothing compares to its bountiful sightseeing splendours.
Rie is an Instagrammer who travels to all the different sightseeing spots Kyushu has to offer which she documents on her Instagram page. Today, she gives us a special look at one her most recommended places to visit in Fukuoka: Nyoirin-ji Temple.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is often nicknamed “Frog Temple” due to the many frogs you can see at the temple grounds, a rare sight at a Japanese temple. It’s located in Fukuoka Prefecture’s city of Ogori which can be reached by catching a Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line train from Tenjin in the heart of Fukuoka and getting off at Mitsusawa Station. From there the temple is just a 15-minute walk.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is the home of thousands of frogs. A lot of the frog ornaments and items at the temple were collected by the temple’s chief priest.
There’s one ornament which you can take a photo through as seen above, so you should definitely try taking one yourself in your own way. You can even get a goshuin stamp with a frog illustration too if you take your goshuincho stamp book.
The frogs are a given at the Frog Temple, but a must-see is the Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September. The temple entrance onward is decorated with lots of cute and colourful wind chimes.
Up the stairs you can walk through a wind chime tunnel which gives you a cool, refreshed feeling even in the hot summer.
It costs ¥500 for one wind chime which you can write your wish on before hanging up. You can’t take them home however so be cautious of that!
Nyoirin-ji Temple was built in 729. It is home to a Cintāmaṇicakra statue which is a rare sight in Japan. It is also a registered cultural property of Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s not just a location for kawaii adoration―it has been long been loved by locals since ancient times and has a long history.
The wind chimes will be strung up until the end of September. Their gentle ring is sure to make you feel at peace, so why not try dressing up in a yukata like Rie and experiencing the festival for yourself?
Rie has many other examples of popular tourist destinations from around Kyushu on her Instagram page. Be sure to give her a follow if you’re planning a trip to Kyushu yourself!
Photos by Rie
Address: 1728 Yokoguma, Ogori-shi, Fukuoka
Access: 15-minutes on foot from Mitsusawa Station via the Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line
Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Desserts You Must Try While in Kyoto
Kyoto is renowned for its historical architecture and richness in traditional Japanese culture, but did you know it’s also home to some extremely cute and delicious desserts? Their sweets and desserts are actually pretty popular, some of which contain motifs and little nods to the city.
Today, Instagrammer meme takes us on a tour in Kyoto to try out 4 popular desserts.
JEREMY&JEMIMAH is a shop selling cute and colourful cotton candy. Their staple Wata-Hako cotton candy comes in 10 different flavours! In the photo we have yuzu, rose and matcha flavours. Of the two branches of the store, there is one along Furukawacho Shopping Street where you order your cotton candy for takeout, and another in Yasaka that serves cotton candy on long sticks.
We picked up a few different ones since there are so many flavours and designs. It was fun lining them up to take a picture.
We took them home to eat and they stayed nice and fluffy the whole way back. The yuzu one tasted a little herbal, like it was healthy for you.
▼JEREMY&JEMIMAH (Furukawacho Shopping Street Branch)
Address: Furukawacho Shopping Street, 444-3 Hachikenchō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
Official Website: http://www.jeremyjemimah.com/
ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK
At ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK, you can order these iced dessert matcha and houjicha lattes which are topped with yatsuhashi―a confection sold in Kyoto―shaped into various sights across the city including Kyoto Tower, Hōkanji Temple, Daimonji, a Torii gate, and more.
I ordered the matcha latte. The drink itself isn’t sweet at all so you can enjoy the full original rich and bitter flavour of the matcha. The fresh cream however is quite sweet so you can mix it into the drink as much as you want to get your desired flavour.
There are lots of great spots in the area such as the Hōkanji Temple pagoda and Yasaka Shrine so you can snap some great sightseeing photos♡
▼ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK
Address: 370 Yasaka Kamimachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rocca.truck/
We also visited Jumondo which sells Kyoto-style dango, or “sweet dumplings.” We shared three different orders amongst three people: Danraku (団楽) which comes as a set with a drink, Dandan (だんだん) which comes with matcha, and Zenzai to Aburi Kuri Kinton (ぜんざいと炙り栗きんとん).
Once you order, the dango are made fresh so are served hot and chewy. Each dumpling is on the small side so are nice and easy to eat.
The Danraku comes with five different dumplings including sweet soy glaze, mashed sweet bean paste, soy sauce and black sesame seed, fried, and white miso. The Dandan comes with three types of your choice and a wafer filled with mashed sweet bean paste. The Zenzai to Aburi Kuri Kinton with mashed sweet potatoes with sweetened chestnut dango. The final one comes with matcha which can be served hot or cold.
Everything was tasty but my personal favourite was the yuzu flavoured white miso dumpling.
The one that everybody raved about was the Zenzai which is a thick soup that the dango are placed into. These dumplings are bigger, not too sweet and light. The soup went really well with the dango, it was super tasty.
Address: 76 Tamamizuchō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://jumondo.jp/index.html
Kyo Yasaka Pudding
Yasaka is a particularly popular tourist spot in Kyoto, and that’s where the cute purin shop Kyo Yasaka Pudding is located.
Purin is a type of custard purring sold in Japan. The first pudding we picked up was the store’s recommended option named after the store itself, the Kyo Yasaka Pudding. It contains a transparent lemon and honey flavoured jelly inside which there are small and colourful agar agar balls and mango jelly balls.
It has an enjoyable texture and a refreshing sweetness that I’ve never experienced before with other purin. It’s very tasty!
There are five flavours to choose from, the others being hard, smooth, matcha and black soy bean, and houjicha black soy bean. All are served in tiny cute jars. Not only do they look great, they taste amazing too. Each is made with ingredients sourced in Kyoto including the milk, Uji matcha, houjicha, and black soy beans.
They also sell soft serve ice cream topped with candy balls, very Kyoto-like! You can choose from vanilla, matcha, or a mix of both. I think it’ll be really fun if you can snap a photo of your ice cream with one of Yasaka’s stylish locations in the background! Speaking of which, there was a cute illustration on the wall of the store so we took our photo there.
Be sure to pay a visit to Kyo Yasaka Pudding to pick up your own pudding whether as a souvenir or for yourself.
▼Kyo Yasaka Pudding
Address: 87-4 Hoshinochō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://kyo-yasaka-pudding.co.jp/
Kyoto is full of shops selling desserts and sweets perfect to walk around and munch on while you walk its ancient streets, or to take home as a souvenir. Enjoy all the tasty things you can during your visit to this beautiful city♡
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga