“Mount Fuji Curry” Arrives at Lava Cafe in Fujisan World Heritage Center
11.May.2018 | FOOD
The Lava Cafe, located in the north block of the Fujisan World Heritage Center in Yamanashi Prefecture, has introduced the new Mt. Fuji Curry to its menu.
The blue coloured curry dish is made to look just like Mount Fuji while the pickles represent the surrounding forest at the base of the mountain Aokigahara, also known as the ‘Sea of Trees.’ This Instagrammable meal is aimed at both Japanese and foreign tourists.
There have been many curry dishes on the market with rice formed in the shape of Mount Fuji, but this dish not only maintains the shape, but the colouring too. It took them over half a year to perfect the dish.
The cafe will also begin serving a ‘mega size’ version of the blue curry from June 22 to bring it closer to the size of Mount Fuji. They also plan to release a spicy red version in autumn to bring to life the scene when Mount Fuji appears red when the sun’s rays shine over it. Make sure you don’t miss out on this one either.
Head to the Lava Cafe to try eating this stunning curry that you can’t get anywhere else!
This Irresistible Tart is Made From Rare and Delicious Heart-Shaped Grapes
11.September.2019 | FOOD
Fruit tart specialist shop Qu’il fait bon will be selling a brand new kind of lovable tart which is made using a rare species of grape sourced from Yamanashi prefecture. The tart is currently selling at Grand Maison, Ginza and Hamamatsu. These will be available for a limited period only.
The tart is covered with incredibly rare “My Heart” grapes, which were developed by the grape research institute Shimura Budou Kenkyusho. Growing and cultivating these grapes was no easy task and took an incredible amount of time. There was only a short window of time available to harvest the produce and even then the harvest was small, so stocking up was very difficult. Despite the challenges, these tongue-tantalizing tarts are being sold this year, however, they are in limited supply.
Shine muscat grapes and loubell muscat grapes were crossbred to create this new kind of grape. The marvellous flavour of both parent grapes can be tasted. The new grapes have a high sugar content, a wonderful scent and the skin is wonderfully crunchy.
Take a bite into the special Yamanashi Grape My Heart Tart and you will be filled with a sophisticated fruity flavour. The adorable heart-shaped grapes are layered perfectly on top of a bed of white wine custard. You just have to try this delicious and beautiful tart!
My Heart Tart (Made using grapes from Yamanashi Prefecture)
Prices*: ¥936 a slice /￥9,363 per whole tart (25cm)
*Prices after tax
Release Period: September 7 ー End of September, 2019
Available at: Qu’il fait bon Grand Maison, Ginza/ Hamamatsu
More Information: http://www.quil-fait-bon.com/mtr/2019-MyHeart.php
Official Website: http://www.quil-fait-bon.com/
Mitama Hot Spring in Yamanashi Ranks in Japan’s Top 100 Night Views & Registers as Night View Heritage
07.September.2019 | SPOT
Located in the beautiful little town of Ichikawamisato in Yamanashi Prefecture is Mitama Hot Spring, a “day-trip” type hot spring, which has just received a double award: it has been listed as one of Japan’s Top 100 night views for the first time, and as a Night View Heritage of Japan.
Mitama Hot Spring is built on the southern tip of the Kōfu Basin―Kōfu being Yamanashi’s capital city－which can be viewed in a breathtaking 180 degree panoramic view from the northern side of the open-air baths. The majority of the hot spring also faces the south which means a breathtaking nighttime view of the city, picturesque against a resplendent sky, as you soak in the warm embrace of the hot spring.
During the day, one’s eyes can roll their gaze across the Yatsugatake Mountains at the front, and in the direction of west is Mount Kita, the second tallest mountain in Japan after Mount Fuji.
Mitama Hot Spring should absolutely be on your bucket list of things to do when visiting Yamanashi Prefecture.
Mitama Hot Spring
Address: 2608 Ōtsuka, Ichikawamisato, Nishiyatsushiro District, Yamanashi Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:00-23:00 (Last Entries 22:00)
*Closed around 5 days a year for inspection and maintenance
Price: General ¥700 / Elementary School Children ¥500 / Toddlers – Free
*General price set to increase to ¥780 this October
Official Website: http://www.mitamanoyu.jp/
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.
Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.
The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.
The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.
There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.
From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.
The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.
All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.
A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.
If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura
Address: 3155-1 Kosuge, Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture (In Japanese: 山梨県北都留郡小菅村3155-1)
Grand Opening: August 17, 2019
Rooms: 4 (10 People)
Price: From ¥25,000 per person (includes one breakfast)
①Approximately 2 hours by car from Tokyo.
②1 hour by bus from Ōtsuki Station via the JR Chūō Main Line, 70-minutes by car from Oume Interchange
③1 hour by bus from Okutama Station via the Ōme Line, 20-minutes by car from Lake Okutama
Reservations: Open from August 1, 2019 via the following website: https://www.ikyu.com/vacation/00050804/
Bring Back Childhood Memories At The Lisa and Gaspard Afternoon Tea Collaboration Café
15.July.2019 | FOOD
From July 25 to August 28, four Afternoon Tea shops will be collaborating with the French picture book Gaspard and Lisa to celebrate the book’s 20th anniversary. The collaboration will only be running at the following branches: AEON Lake Town kaze, Koshigaya, LaLaport Yokohama, Terrace Mall Shonan and Nagoya LACHIC.
Tomboy Lisa Katsu Curry Plate (Drink included): ￥1,491 (after tax)
Lisa’s Tomato Chicken Curry (Kids Drink included) : ￥1,005 (after tax)
The Tomboy Lisa Katsu Curry Plate consists of a European-style curry with a crispy chicken cutlet and carrot marinade. There is also a sweet apple and honey tomato chicken curry which is limited to kids only.
Peach Peach Clown Parfait Straight Out of the Picture Book: ￥1,404 (after tax)
Lisa and Gaspard Strawberry/ Melon Sundae Sodas: ￥864 (after tax)
The menu also includes desserts and drinks from the picture book. For example, the peach peach clown parfait and two flavours of Lisa and Gaspard Sundae Soda. Make sure you order one of these drinks to go with one of the five delicious collaboration meals.
During the collaboration period, the tea shop will be decorated with a special Lisa and Gaspard theme. There will be photo spots and even a book corner with 20 Lisa and Gaspard books (limited to Nagoya LACHIC only).
This is the perfect place to enjoy a special summer meal with your family so please check it out!
©2019 Anne Gutman & Georg Hallensleben / Hachette Livre
Tokyo Dinner: HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE’s Curry in Kōenji is Served With Japanese Stock
Rinko Murata loves all types of curry. In this edition of Tokyo Dinner, she invites the person she wants to meet up with the most to eat the curry she’s been wanting to eat the most.
This month’s notable restaurant she stopped by was HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE in Kōenji, Tokyo. Their curry portions are generous and are good for the stomach and satiety center. They serve a curry flavoured with Japanese dashi, or ‘stock.’
How do you spend your early afternoons when you have time off? Lounging around at home with quality time to yourself sounds like a good plan. Definitely appealing.
But this is a rare opportunity. How about going on a little adventure to try something you can get a kick out of because it’s midday and a weekday?
I know the perfect curry house for your hungry selves. HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE.
As the Japanese name suggests, it’s a curry that can only be eaten at lunchtime, a mysterious dish that doesn’t appear on regular days off.
I land in Kōenji, a place I love the most. Even though iKōenji is Kōenji, the closest station to the restaurant is Higashi-Kōenji Station.
My vision is filled with all kinds of sights.
It’s like being lost in a treasure chest.
This place is actually normally a café and goes by the name Schwarze Katze. It’s open mainly on Friday night, weekends and holidays. “HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE” runs in a rented room in the café and and is open when the café is. It’s kind of luxurious to have the chance to eat my favourite food (curry!) in a place like this.
My heart desires the Wadashi Soboro Curry (¥980) that I mentioned earlier. It also comes with self-service coffee for after your meal. For toppings you can choose whatever you like. Since I was there and didn’t want to get lost on what to pick, I went for all the toppings (¥300).
The water I ordered comes in a plastic bottle. The tables have antique displays. Everything on them was wonderful.
The air was clad in that rich, familiar scent of curry, a special one that I would never get to eat had I not come here.
The instant I hold the curry in my mouth the delicious flavour of the dashi sparks in my mouth like fireworks. The broth has a slight thickness to it and a strong, deep flavour that fades into a soft aftertaste on the tip of your tongue. It’s not at all spicy, and the goodness of the dashi is luxurious like being escorted by a gentleman. And I can’t forget the smell.
My taste buds throb at this new sensation.
Like its name suggests, this is a dish where the Japanese dashi stands out above the ingredient crowd. The restaurant owner has gathered much experience in the kitchen from traditional Japanese cuisine to sushi, ramen, yakiniku, izakaya style and so on. He encountered this place by chance, and with one look he said to himself, “I want to try doing curry.” The Wadashi Soboro Curry came about through his gained culinary experience combined with the aesthetics of the café.
To bring out the full flavour of the dashi so it isn’t drowned out by the curry spices, the owner uses two types of skipjack tuna, kombu, dark sleeper, and dried sea slug, as well as a type of soy sauce called Kaeshi. 15 more ingredients are blended together to create the spices, creating deep and delicate flavours.
Now it’s time for a session with the mountain of ingredients I greedily asked for. It’s enshrined with classics like meat soboro, beefsteak, agedama, bonito flakes, and dried plum in addition to pickled daikon radish, crushed natto, Japanese ginger, and okra. The spinach and onsen tamago egg sit at the foot of the mountain and create a new culinary sight.
The base of the dashi is mobilized with a force of Japanese ingredients with a smell and flavour and that comes together harmoniously in your mouth. I’m spellbound by the flavours that stand out coupled with the pleasant textures of the agedama, daikon and ginger.
Hey, I must have hit every ingredient in there. All correct.
I added a sprinkle of pepper that was on the table and create yet another refreshing aromatic veil.
The compatibility of the pepper with the dish works so well precisely because it uses a Japanese dashi. Wadashi, or Japanese broth, is a staple of Japanese cuisine. The curry and Japanese soul carved into this dish resonates with me. It’s my first time eating it, yet I’m still filled with a sort of nostalgia―a warm embrace.
I also understand why when the shop opens, the customers in the café stand up and change with the next line of customers. The owner has a wonderful sensitivity, and has worked out a way to put his own matchless warmth into each and every bowl. I caught sight of his gentle smile as he was cooking in the kitchen. It left an impression on me.
What a delicious curry to enjoy in such a wonderful place. All five of my senses have reached peak happiness. I grab my post-meal coffee and head onto the streets of Kōenji.
What a wonderful weekday afternoon.
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
HEIJITSU HIRU DAKE
Address: 1-21-21 Umezato, Suginami, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:30-15:00 (Weekdays Only)
Official Twitter: @Heijitsuhirudake
Red Mount Fuji Curry Inspired by Japanese Ukiyo-e Painter Hokusai
15.January.2019 | FOOD
The Mount Fuji Lava Cafe, located in the Fujisan World Heritage Center in Yamanashi Prefecture, released a new Red Mount Fuji Curry on January 12 inspired by the woodblock print Fine Wind, Clear Morning from Hokusai’s Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji series of landscape prints.
Red Mount Fuji Curry: ¥1,500 (Tax Included)
This red hot lava curry gets its vibrant colour from its picante spices and red chili oil. But it’s not simply a bowl of spiciness – it also has typical Japanese flavours like a dashi made from skipjack tuna and kombu. It’s also mixed with grape juice made from grapes grown in Fuefuki, Yananashi for deeper flavour.
Upon ordering this curry you can pick from three different levels of spiciness. Those who order the highest level, dubbed “Mount Fuji’s Peak,” are offer to take part in an eating challenge. If you’re able to devour the hottest version of this curry within 22 minutes and 30 seconds the price of your bill will be wiped and you will receive a free ice cream.
The Red Mount Fuji Curry serves as a follow up to the cafe’s original Blue Mount Fuji Curry which erupted in popularity on Japanese social media.
Red Mount Fuji Curry
Price: ¥1,500 (Tax Included)
Blue Mount Fuji Curry
Price: ¥1,000 (Tax Included)
Address: Fujisan World Heritage Center North Block 2F, 6663-1 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
Opening Hours: 09:30-16:30 (Last Orders 16:00)
No Fixed Holidays.
Popular Smoked Curry Shop Kunkare to Re-Open in Akasaka on November 27
15.November.2018 | FOOD
Popular smoked curry restaurant Kunkare is set to re-open along Hitotsukidori in Akasaka on November 27.
Kunkare was first established in 2011 in the quaint district of Ningyocho, Akasaka. It was the first curry roux restaurant in Japan to serve smoked curry and acquired a patent for its unique cooking method.
In line with the restaurant’s move to Akasaka, they have changed he taste of the curry. It still retains that smokiness but the flavour of the spices has been made more prominent.
All of the other items on the menu have been upgraded too, giving rise to an all-new Kunkare.
Tokusei Curry: ¥1,180 (Tax Included)
The Tokusei Curry (literally “specially made curry”) was always the No. 1 most popular dish when the restaurant was based in Ningyocho. This is an upgraded version served on a specially made and original Hasami ware curry plate.
Irodori Yasai x Curry: ¥850 (Tax Included)
This curry dish comes with colourful and seasonal vegetables and an upgraded smoked curry served with turmeric rice.
Another service to look forward to falls on Saturday every week where Kunkare will serve popular curry dishes from famous restaurants in the local area. The first item on the menu is a keema curry from Kai, a cafe and bar in Fukuoka that has continued to be loved for 19 years and which brings in lines of customers. Limited quantities will be served, so you’d better get in there quick if you want to enjoy some authentic Indian cuisine laced with a Japanese touch – salted rice malt, condiment paste made from yuzu zest and chilli peppers, Japanese pepper and more.
Kunkare is a place where you can expect to try curry you won’t find anywhere else.
Kunkare – Akasaka Branch
Address: Horie Bldg. 1F, 4-1-4 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Closed: Sundays, National Holidays
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10:00-15:00, 17:00-23:30 / Saturdays 11:00-20:00
Access: 3-minutes on foot from Exit A of Akasaka-Mitsuke Station / 5-minutes on foot from Exit 1 of Akasaka Station
Mount Fuji Pancakes Made in Lava Furnace Now Available in Yamanashi Prefecture
These ‘Mount Fuji Pancakes’ are cooked in lava furnaces at Mount Fuji. They’re being sold at The Noborisaka Hotel.
Mount Fuji Pancakes
Price: ¥980 (Tax Included)
Cooking the pancakes in a lava furnace causes the molecules to vibrate due to the far infrared effect. This means it cooks at a high temperature in a short period of time. Because of this, the necessary moisture ceases to evaporate, resulting in a soft, fluffy and deliciously cooked pancake. They’re made with mascarpone which leaves a refreshing taste in your mouth
Strawberry Chocolate Fondue Pancake
Price: ¥1,880 (Tax Included)
Mount Fuji European Style Curry (only 30 served per day)
Price: ¥1,280 (Tax Included)
There’s other dishes cooked in the furnaces too including pizza, steak and fried vegetables. It’s different from cooking in an ordinary furnace. The surface doesn’t burn but the heat, juices and flavour remain inside.
Try this ultimate Mount Fuji meal for yourself.
Fujiyama Onsen: The Hot Spring Facility With a Mount Fuji View Undergoes Renovation
12.July.2018 | SPOT
Fujiyama Onsen is currently undergoing renovation and will reopen on July 14. Located in Yamanashi Prefecture, the site sits at the foot of Mount Fuji.
The facility is being fitted with a new stone sauna where you can have a clear view of Mount Fuji. There’s also a new hammock resting spot as well as hot yoga classes amongst other things. All of these changes transform Fujiyama Onsen from a simple natural hot spring site into a full-day experience.
The fourth and highest floor now has a relaxation area with a picturesque view. There’s also other stone saunas in a quiet area with the lights dimmed for winding down, as well as break rooms called ‘hot rooms.’
Hot rooms are equipped with heated flooring and there’s a reading corner with manga and magazines as well as cushions. Everyone is free to move between the sauna area and hot rooms.
*A separate fee of ¥600 is charged for use of the stone sauna area and hot room space.
The third floor resting area has rooms with tatami flooring and a wide view of Mount Fuji as well as hammocks and a kid’s room. There are 6 hammocks – three chair types and three for laying down.
The menu of the site’s restaurant, Fujiyama Dining, has also been updated. You can look forward to specially made Yamanashi Prefecture chicken and lots of locally source ingredients as well as beer.
Hot Yoga classes begin from July 21. By exercising at high temperatures, you’ll be able to stretch your muscles much easier as well as get rid of any waste in your body. It’s also good for dieting and your skin.
Gaze at Mount Fuji while having a relaxing time at Fujiyama Onsen.
Gold Leaf Keema Curry: Only 5 Available Per Day at New Curry House ‘Tariki Honganji Curry’ in Shimokitazawa
Shimokitazawa in Tokyo is known as the ‘Curry District,’ and for good reason. Not only is it home to countless curry houses, it’s also where the annual Shimokitazawa Curry Festival takes place.
Tariki Honganji Curry is a new curry restaurant opening in Shimokitazawa on July 1. Their name means to prosper as a business by servicing others which is also part of their policy.
Their menu will include a very special Gold Leaf Keema Curry which promises not only to taste delicious but look gorgeous too! Priced at ¥5,000, only five of these curries will be available each day, making it a rare sight. There’s plenty of other choices to choose from if you can’t get your hands on one of these, including the Tariki Hongaji Curry (¥1,500) as well as ordinary curry (¥800).
They are also taking curry recipes from customers which will be served at the restaurant and change each month. Compensation will be given for recipes used.
Additionally, the restaurant is recruiting for their gallery exhibition. The wall can be rented out to be used as a gallery, so if you’re interested be sure to enquire in-store.
Head to Tariki Hongaji Curry and try to get your hands on that Gold Leaf Keema!
Mt. Fuji’s 5th Station Rest House Fujikyu Unjokaku Introduces Foreign Currency Exchange
30.June.2018 | SPOT
Fujikyu Unjokaku is a rest house located at Mt Fuji’s 5th station up Fuji Subaru Line Road, which goes to the highest point of the mountain that’s accessible by transport. The start of this summer’s mountain climbing season begins on July 1, and in conjunction with this, new measures are coming into place.
The number of climbers to Mt. Fuji increases year by year. A survey that was conducted showed that there are around 50 nationalities of people who climb the mountain, and that 1 in 3 people taking the Yoshida Trail are foreigners.
Despite bringing in so many foreign tourists and visitors, many people are unsure of how to book reservations to stay in the mountain lodges and have highlighted how they cannot use their credit or debit cards up there, amongst other things. To tackle these issues, Fujikyu Unjokaku is introducing several services catered toward foreigners climbing Mt. Fuji.
・Foreign Currency Exchange Center – 158 Currencies
Starting from July 1, a manned exchange center will be introduced onto the first floor of Fujikyu Unjokaku which will handle 158 different currencies. If you suddenly realise you need Japanese yen while you’re climbing, then you can have your money exchanged, meaning you no longer need to worry about not having cash on you for shops that don’t take card or if you want to shop up the mountain. They offer superior rates, and you don’t need to present your passport or fill out any documents either making it a very useful and convenient service.
Running: July 1, 2018 – September 10, 2018 (No holidays during mountain climbing season)
・Mobile Payment Service ‘WeChat Pay’ Introduced
WeChat Pay is a mobile payment service that will enable you to book accommodation with Fujikyu Unjokaku and can be used in restaurants and shops.
・Online Accommodation Bookings Now Available
Fujikyu Unjokaku’s capsule hotel service Mt. Fuji Lodge is introducing an online booking system. It’s a popular capsule-style hotel that guarantees privacy with semi-double size individual rooms, a women’s-only space, and more. Bookings will take place on the Fujikyu Unjokaku website and can be made in Japanese or English – with credit and debit cards too. Bookings are also possible via Japanese travel agents as well as non-Japanese online travel agents such as Expedia and Agoda. This will allow easier hotel booking for foreign travelers climbing Mt. Fuji.
Running: July 1, 2018 – September 10, 2018
Booking Page (English): https://goo.gl/PwW2dA
Booking Page (Japanese):https://goo.gl/QzYnFx
・Cyclist Services Improved
There has been a recent demand for more cycling accessibility around the Fuji Five Lakes area. The Mt. Fuji 5th station wants to be recognised as the holy ground for cyclists and so is introducing services aimed at cyclists including free bicycle tool rentals, merchandise related to bicycles and original bicycle safety omamori charms, bicycle stands, a photo spot, a photo panel exhibition of winners of the Mt. Fuji Hill Climb, and more.
Plenty of other services have been revamped for climbers and travelers too, including the restaurant, more souvenirs, increased guarantee of rental spaces for mountain climbing tools and more.
Why not take the challenge of climbing Mt. Fuji this summer?
Ride Down Mount Fuji on a Bicycle with the New Activity Service BonVelo
30.May.2018 | SPOT
The new bicycle activity shop BonVelo will open on June 1, offering a range of exciting activities including ‘Mount Fuji Downhill‘ and ‘Mount Fuji Hill Climb.’
Mount Fuji Downhill has mountain bikes delivered all the way up to Mount Fuji’s 5th station so you can ride down without stopping. This new activity is aimed at people who’ve made the effort to go to Mount Fuji and want to have some fun. Daisuke Imanaka, the first Japanese person to compete in Tour de France, was appointed as the project adviser of this activity, which is sparking much attention.
The shop’s name bon velo is French and means ‘good bicycle.’ Each activity they have on offer makes use of high grade mountain bikes and electronic sports bikes that can ride for you.
For example, if you take on the Mount Fuji Downhill Subaru Line course, a mountain bike will be delivered to the 5th Station at the entrance of the Yoshida Trail on Mount Fuji. From there, you will cycle down to the bottom, offering a truly special experience that you can’t easily get anywhere else.
In some other courses, like the Hill Climb course, you’ll get to use an e-bike. Since they are equipped with a motor, you won’t have to exert yourself, meaning even bike beginners or novices can enjoy themselves. You can even enjoy your ride as a couple or with friends.
Another great aspect is that there are plenty of activities for people of all levels, as well as people of all ages.
Experience the thrill of cycling down Mount Fuji yourself!