Kobe: 6 Tourist Spots in Hyogo Prefecture’s Capital Soon to Welcome Andres Iniesta

21.May.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional football player who has served 21 years for Barcelona and the Spain national team. As captain of Barcelona, Iniesta has become Spain’s most awarded Spanish footballer, and was a main player in ensuring Barcelona’s two treble wins in 2009 and 2015. He’s a much respected and love footballer across the globe.

The 34-year-old legend is set to depart from Barcelona and move to Vissel Kobe.

 

In this article, we take a look at what kind of place Kobe is.

Kobe is located in the western part of Japan in Hyogo Prefecture and is next door to Osaka. It’s just a 30-minute train ride from Osaka Station to get to Sannomiya Station in central Kobe!

Its location makes it a perfect chance for plenty more sightseeing after touring around Osaka.

 

 

梅若善裕さん(@umewaka7)がシェアした投稿


Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is one Japan’s three oldest hot spring locations. A representative hot spring town of the Kansai region, this place has a peaceful and tranquil appearance.   The Kin no Yu (‘Golden Waters’) hot spring is an especially recommended part of the town. It sits in a reconstructed public bathhouse, and there’s also a free footbath at the entrance. Over at Gin no Yu (‘Silver Waters’), the water is transparent, but as  you waft the air the iron oxidises and turns it into a brown colour.   It’s about an hour’s train journey from Osaka Station, making it a great place to relax after a day’s outing in Osaka.    

 

ちーさん(@daifukufujin)がシェアした投稿

Nankin-Machi: Kobe’s Chinatown
Nankin-machi is considered one of Japan’s three big Chinatown locations alongside the ones in Yokohama and Nagasaki. It’s a tourist hot spot with an exotic mood and is home to almost 100 shops and restaurants serving everything Chinese. You can enjoy having a bite to eat while walking the streets, or even just take in the sights on a stroll.

 

 

生田神社さん(@ikuta_jinja)がシェアした投稿


Ikuta Shrine

This historical shrine is one of the oldest in Japan having been around for more than 1,800 years. Its red torii archways and structures are very beautiful. It’s home to a goddess of marriage and brings in droves of people every year from Japan and abroad to pray there. It’s about a 10-minute walk from Sannomiya Station. Do you know the proper manners and etiquette of praying at a shrine in Japan? If not then be sure to check out our step-by-step guide.  

 

■Information
Ikuta Shrine
Address: 1-2-1 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Access: 10-minutes on foot north of Sannomiya Station
TEL: 078-321-3851
Website: https://ikutajinja.or.jp/

 

tomiさん(@tomi_sunday)がシェアした投稿

Kobe Harborland
Harborland is a huge shopping district packed full of restaurants, cafes, a movie theatre, Ferris wheel and more―plenty of an whole day out. It’s a great location to feel the true essence of a Port of Kobe town.

The picturesque nighttime scenery after sunset is a must-see. The myriad of illuminations and lit-up boats are truly a magical sight to behold.

 

■Information
Kobe Harborland
Address: 1 Higashikawasakicho, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00
Access: Directly south of Kobe Station’s JR Kobe Line central exit
TEL: 078-360-3639
Website: www.harborland.co.jp/

 

 

charlieさん(@azmax5267)がシェアした投稿


Nōfuku-ji – Giant Buddha

Nōfuku-ji is home to one of Japan’s three great daibutsu Buddha statues, the others being in Kamakura and Nara. The original Buddha was built by the monk Saichou in 805 but the one that stands there today was rebuilt in 1991. It’s said to absolutely hear the wishes of those that pray to it, so if you have something you want to pray for then be sure to visit.  

 

■Information
Nōfuku-ji
Address: 1-39 Kitasakasegawacho, Hyogo, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Access: 10-minutes on foot from Exit 1 of Chūō-Ichibamae Station via the Kaigan Line
TEL: 078-652-1715
Website: nofukuji.jp/

 

Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower―the symbol of Kobe. Its red and white appearance is unique and striking. There’s an observation deck on the top floor where you can gaze over Kobe atop 108m. Things get romantic at nighttime when the tower it lit up.

 

■Information
Address: 5-5 Hatobacho, Chuo, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
Access: 5-minutes on foot from Kyobashi Station via the Hanshin Expressway No. 3 Kobe Route
TEL: 078-391-6751
Website: http://www.kobe-port-tower.com/

 

Kobe is about to get all the more exciting with the decision of Andres Iniesta’s move.

 

The list of sights to see is endless, from delicious food to the gorgeous nightscape and shrines. Don’t forget to visit Kobe if you’re travelling in the Kansai region.

 

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • MOSHI MOSHI BOX staff recommends Osaka souvenirs!

    18.February.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Osaka is known as a popular sightseeing spot in Japan. So, when you visit Osaka, of course, you will want to buy some souvenirs. But you may wonder, what souvenir is a good souvenir to buy in Osaka.

    In his article, the staff of MOSHI MOSHI BOX who love to travel, will introduce to you some recommended souvenirs which can be bought in and around Osaka Station.

     

     

    7440622854267.LINE

    “Nakanoshima Caramel Scotch recommended by our Spanish staff, Ruki.
    7404545561040.LINE
    It looks like a cookie but it is a snack which includes caramel and almonds.
    The crunchy texture of scotch is superb. The blue box is very cute too.

    ◼︎Information
    Nakanoshima Caramel Scotch
    Available store: Entrée Marche Osaka
    Address: 3-1-1, Umeda, Kitaku, Osakashi, Osaka
    Business hours: 6:00 to 13:00
    TEL:06-6440-1122

     

     

     

    7404622587782.LINE

    “batondor” recommended by our Hong Kong staff Minimal

    ACO GOTOさん(@aco_2612)がシェアした投稿


    A special stick dessert with only eight sticks in a box.
    The taste of the product is very thick compared to “Pockies” which can be bought at convenience stores and it has the flavor of butter. It is a great match with alcohol!

    ◼︎Information
    batondor Hankyu Umeda Store
    Address: B1F, Umeda Honten, 8-7, Kakutacho, Kitaku, Osaka
    Business hours: Friday, Sutarday – 10:00 to 21:00
    Sunday to Thursday – 10:00 to 20:00
    TEL:06-6361-1381
    URL:http://www.glico.co.jp/batondor/index.html

     

     

     

    7403142401141.LINE

    “Fueki Pudding” recommended by our Chinese-speaking staff, Banako


    A pudding using the motif of the good-old Fueki paste container. The container can be used as an accessory case or interior. I am planning to buy it for my friends when I visit Osaka next time.

    ◼︎Information
    Fueki Pudding
    Available venue: Inside Osaka Station
    Price: 700 yen – two pieces (tax not included), three pieces – 1,200 yen (tax not included)
    TEL:06-6648-4678

     

     

     

    7408500413096.LINE

    “Tenten Hitokuchi Gyoza” recommended by the Miss ID Semi-Finalist Midori

    @sonokomatsudaがシェアした投稿


    I always buy this product when I visit Osaka. I don’t cook at all but this gyoza (dumpling) is very easy to make.
    It is recommended to put it into a pot during the cold season!

    ◼︎Information
    Tenten Hitokuchi Gyoza

    Available stores:
    Entrée Marche Osaka
    Available hours: 8:00 to 24:00

    Seven-Eleven Heart in  JR Osaka Station North Store
    Available hours: 7:00 to 24:00

    Seven-Eleven Heart in  JR Osaka Station Access Bridge Store
    Available hours: 7:00 to 23:00

    Seven Eleven Heart in JR Osaka Station Midosuji South Entrance/Exit Store
    Available hours: 7:00 to 23:00

    Seven-Eleven Heart in JR Osaka 11th Gate Store
    Available store: 7:00 to 21:00

    URL:http://www.tenten.co.jp/

     

     

     

    7405367000437.LINE

    “Jagariko Takoyaki Aji” recommended by English-speaking staff, Ellie

    親父からの大阪土産!! #じゃがりこたこ焼き味 #じゃがりこ#大阪土産#カルビー

    NAOROWさん(@ume_naoki)がシェアした投稿 –


    Takoyaki is one of the most famous foods of Osaka. As you might know, Jagariko is a very popular snack among Japanese people but this flavor has a thick flavor of takoyaki.
    It is fairy cheep and it is a very “Osaka-like” product which is suitable to be bought as a gift for your friends!

    ◼︎Information
    Jagariko Takoyaki Aji
    Available stores: Convenience stores souvenir stores throughout Japan.
    Price: 864 yen per box (tax included)
    URL:http://www.calbee.co.jp/shohinkensaku/product/?p=20090928135716

     

     

     

    7419811509291.LINE

    “Rikuro Ojisanno Omise – Yakitate (freshly baked) Cheese Cake” recommended by the curator of MOSHI MOSHI BOX Shiota.

    A tasteful cheese cake famous in Osaka. You can watch the staff of the shop making cheese cakes! It is recommended to warm this cake up before you eat it. Of course, you can also enjoy the product after cooling it down inside a refrigerator.

    ◼︎Information
    Rikuro Ojisan no Omise Daimaru Umeda Store
    Address: 3-1-1, Umeda, Kitaku, West Osaka / Japanese/Western dessert floor, B1F of Daimaru Umeda Store
    TEL:0120-57-2132
    URL:http://www.rikuro.co.jp/

     

     

     

    How did you like our MOSHI MOSHI BOX staff recommended Osaka souvenirs? Please refer to this article when you are not sure which souvenir to buy. Let’s have fun in Osaka, a city which has lots of delicious food and unique items.

     

  • 10 Useful Travel Items You Can Buy in Japan at 100-Yen Shops

    03.May.2018 | FASHION / FEATURES / SPOT

    Japan’s 100-yen shops garner much attention even amongst foreign tourists for their massive range of useful items. Their shelves are also filled with plenty of things you would find convenient to have during your trip in Japan. Let’s take a look at some of the travel goods you can pick up there – at a very reasonable price. You’ll be glad you had some of these!

     

    りーこ ♡ RICOさん(@leeco432)がシェアした投稿

    1.Pouch

    The ¥100 pouch is a convenient little thing to store away items like cosmetics, toiletries and such. If you buy one of the transparent ones, then it becomes even more convenient as you can see the contents and locate what you need without hassle. There’s many to choose from – they come in big and small sizes, and cute-looking ones have been on the increase recently. It’s nice to have so much choice, so pick your favourite!

     

    love.west_rさん(@love.west_r)がシェアした投稿

    2.Zipper Bag

    The zipper bags sold at Daiso, one of Japan’s most popular 100-yen shops, have simple, very smart designs. They’re useful for storing bathroom items, chargers and other cords, and other knick-knacks. They’re popular with people not only for travelling but during everyday life too.

     

    3.Vacuum Storage Bags

    Vacuum storage bags are an old standby in travelling. There’s ones for grabs with cute designs, and the whole vacuum part of it is a lot of fun. You can pack away bulky towels and clothes nice and compactly. The only problem is that the compaction force wears away gradually on long trips, so be sure to have some backups prepared for peace of mind.

     

    Shoko Miyamotoさん(@shsh_0719)がシェアした投稿

    4.Cushion Case

    The cushion case protects your electronic devices from damage. They are a must-have for digital cameras, laptops etc. It’s good to check the feel of your cushion case when choosing one. If you pick one extra cushiony then you can rest assured your devices will be safe. There’s a plethora of designs and sizes to pick from!

     

    5.Wet Wipes

    You can even buy wet wipes at the 100-yen shop, an absolute must-have even in regular life. Can Do’s bacteria eliminating type wet wipes have kawaii designs like ninja and samurai. They’re even sold at Seria, another 100-yen chain. Those with kids will be pleased with this item.

     

    cando/キャンドゥさん(@cando_official)がシェアした投稿

    6. Eye Mask

    We recommend this one for those who struggle to sleep when going on a trip. Can Do have even kawaii-fied eye masks. From standard types to fun, amusing types, sift through the range and pull out one that you like most. They might even make a good souvenir.

     

    🍀なっつん🍀さん(@nattsu_th78)がシェアした投稿

    7.Neck Pillow

    There’s nothing better than being hugged by a neck pillow when sleeping on a bus or plane. They lighten the load on your neck, so there’s plenty of people that make regular use of them. Choose from pillows filled with beads, cotton, and even ones that you can fill with air which are also convenient for carrying around.

     

    つくもはるさん(@haru2422)がシェアした投稿

    8.Raincoat

    If you find yourself in a downfall of rain at your travel destination and are in need of a raincoat but want something cute, then how about taking a trip to Daiso? They sell a mix of different raincoats with cross designs, half-moon designs and more. They’re the perfect thickness too so they’re something you can make use of regularly.

     

    9.Selfie Stick & Remote Camera Shutter

    Selfie sticks have made their way to 100-yen shops recently, and they even sell remote camera shutters! Get all the tools you need for taking memorable photos at the 100-yen shop.

     

    10.Tripod

    Tripods for your smartphone? You betcha! They are compact and not a hassle to carry at all. Can Do tripods are stable, and best of all, you can change the angle of your camera freely. Take some fun pics!

     

    Was this list useful? There’s plenty more convenient and useful items where that came from at Japanese 100-yen shops. Make sure you pop into one and stock up.

     

     

  • 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.

     

     チップ

    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.

     

    お通し

    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.

     

    水

    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.

     

    ピザ

    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.

     

    ビール

    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.

     

    ○○放題

    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!

     

    おしぼり

    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.

     

    ファストフード

    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.

     

    フードコート

    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.

     

    座敷

    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/

  • Five unique “concept hotels” to make your travels in Japan more exciting.

    22.October.2017 | SPOT

    Choosing a hotel is not easy and everybody wants to stay in a nice hotel. In this article, I will introduce to you some unique “concept hotels” in Japan.

     

     

    SAMURAIS HOSTEL ikebukuro (Tokyo / Ikebukuro)

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    The concept of the hotel is “Samurai/Ninja × Art.” The hotel can be enjoyed as an entertainment facility which offers rooms created under the theme of “wall art” and “castle.” Various events using open spaces, body-armor-wearing/photo-taking experience can be experienced. The fee differs depending on the season but the price range per person is 3,000 yen to 6,000 yen per night. It is a hostel where visitors can enjoy the culture of Japan at a reasonable price.

     

    Detailed information:Enjoy a relaxing stay at the new samurai and ninja-themed hostel which has just opened in Ikebukuro

     

    ■Information

    SAMURAIS HOSTEL ikebukuro

    Address: 3-52-12, Ikebukuro, Toshimaku, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-5904-8384

    URL: http://www.samurai-s.co.jp/

     

     

    BOOK AND BED TOKYO(Tokyo / Asakusa)

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    This is hostel that has two different sections that is, “a book shop where you can sleep” and “a bar where you can sleep.” Full-fledged café bar menus such as original cocktails and coffees will be offered to guests staying overnight and to daytime guests.

    Also, cool original pajamas can be rented. It is a special space where you can read books and sleep.

     

    Detailed information: A book store where you can stay overnight, “BOOK AND BED TOKYO” will open in Asakusa

     

    ■Information

    BOOK AND BED TOKYO Asakusa (BOOK AND BED TOKYO ASAKUSA)

    Address: 6F of Pagoda Asakusa, 2-16-9, Kaminarimon, Taitoku, Tokyo

    Access: 5 minutes on foot from Toei Asakusa Line, Asakusa Station

    URL:http://bookandbedtokyo.com/

     

     

    Tune Hakodate Hostel & MusicBal (Hokkaido/Hakodate)

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    A facility that includes a guest house, a share house and a music bar. The music bar has a stage where performers can hold live concerts. Sound engineers, light engineers and DJ booths are installed and they offer craft beers and wines produced in Hokkaido from 500 yen. They also offer organic vegetables and low-sugar menu items. A cheap accommodation which music fans will love.

     

    Detailed information: Vacant building undergoing renovation in Hokkaido’s Hakodate city will reopen as accommodation for travelers

     

     

     

    Hoshino Resort Tomamu (Hokkaido)

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    Hoshino Resort will offer “Kohri no Hotel (Ice hotel)” for a limited time offer (2018,01,13 to 02,28). The size of the Kohri no Hotel (dome-shaped) is 8.5m in diameter and 3.5m in height, with a wall thickness of 15 to 20cm. The beds, chairs and tables installed inside the hotel are all made of ice. They have sleeping bags which can be used in temperatures of up to minus 30 degrees so you don’t have to worry about the coldness. The hotel is very quiet and therefore you can enjoy a unique stay.

     

    ■Information

     “Kohri no Hotel”

    Time: 2018,01,13 to 02,28

    Venue: Kohri no Hotel inside Ice Village

    Detailed information: http://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/topics/1701/

    URL:http://www.snowtomamu.jp/

     

     

    Hotel New Otani (Tokyo)

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    A new room with a whole new concept “Shin Edo Single” was opened. In this room, you can experience a superb stay with a cypress bath which heals and warms your body with its fresh smell and soft texture. The Japanese garden which is 400 years, used to be the compounds of Kiyomasa Kato who is known as a general during the Sengoku Era, the compounds of the Ii family and  Fushimi Palace.

     

    Detailed information:“Shin-Edo Single Rooms” to be offered at Hotel New Otani. Let’s experience a traditional Japanese bath

     

    ■Information

    Hotel New Otani “Shin Edo Single” room

    Address: 4-1, Kioicho, Chiyodaku, Tokyo

    Fee: one night/one room – 45,344 yen (including tax and service fee)

    Reservation/contact: TEL 03-3234-5678 (direct TEL number to room reservations)

    URL:http://www.newotani.co.jp/tokyo/stay/room/main/me26/index.html

     

     

    Did you find a hotel you are interested in? If so, why not make travel plans and visit one of these unique hotels.

    Please check the following article, “Manners you must keep to enjoy hotels in Japan.”

     

    Have a nice trip!

     

  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】 What are Suica and PASMO? Q&As regarding transport IC cards

    22.October.2017 | SPOT

    1: What is a transport IC card?

    Transport IC cards are IC cards which you can use to pay for your fare in mass transit including trains. You can make a payment just by placing the card on the reader of the ticket collector (the part which is lighted up in blue). You can choose either pre-paid cards or cards where the fare is deducted from your bank account. The types of IC cards differ depending on the area but the most common IC cards/electric money systems are “Suica” and “PASMO.” Since the system of using transit IC cards was established, users of the mass transit can ride on trains and buses with a single IC card.

     

    2: Where can I buy a Suica or PASMO?

    Suica cards can be bought at multi-functional vending machines at JR Higashi Nihon Stations and “Midori no Madoguchi” (ticket-selling counters). You can charge 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 3,000 yen, 4,000 yen, 5,000 yen and 10,000 yen at once. A 500 yen deposit must be made at first and this sum will be returned when the card is returned. PASOMO cards can be bought at companies which sell PASMO cards located at train stations/bus stations. It can be bought at vending machines or commuter ticket selling counters too. A 500 yen deposit must be made at first and this sum will be returned when the card is returned. The deposit can be received at the counter of each station and business offices.

    PASMO operators should take a look at the URL below:https://www.pasmo.co.jp/area/transport/

     

    3: Where can I use Suica and PASMO?

    The cards can be used on trains and busses throughout Japan. These cards can be used as electric money at convenience stores and shops inside stations.

     

    4: How can I charge the card?

    Let us discribe the method of charging a PASMO card by looking at the photos.

    Suica cards can be charged in the same way.

     

    ・Insert your PASMO into a vending machine which allows for PASMO (please note that there are some vending machines that sell tickets only).

    IMG_0301 2 copy

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    ・ Press the PASMO button.

    ・Choose the amount you want to charge and insert the cash.

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    ・ Receive the PASMO. Press the issuance button if you need a receipt.

     

     

    5: The balance is short and I can’t get out of the ticket collector! What should I do?

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    In such a case, you can charge your card by using machines such as fare adjustment machines inside the station. The balance will be displayed after you place the card on the ticket collector.

     

    How did you like our Suica and PASMO explanation? Let’s move around smoothly using these IC card systems.

    MMN will upload more Q&As regarding Japan. If you have any question about Japan, please contact us at (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FB)♪

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

  • 【Travel Q&A】What’s the most convenient way to get around Japan? 6 questions about trains, taxis and Uber!

    08.September.2017 | SPOT

    When considering the best modes of transport to take in Japan during your trip, most will agree that trains and taxis are the most convenient. We have compiled and answered a list of common questions and doubts about riding trains, taxis and using Uber in Japan.

     

    1: “I want to be able to use the trains without any problems!”

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    Everyone can agree that trains in Japan are extremely convenient. Before boarding the the train, you’ll need to purchase an IC card. There are different kinds of IC cards for each region in Japan. If you’re in Tokyo, then you’re going to need to get yourself a SUICA card or a PASMO card. (They both work in exactly the same way, so be sure to pick one up at the train station!).

     

    Once you have your card, you’ll need to top it up with cash, which is called “charging” your card in Japan. You can charge your card between ¥1,000 and ¥10,000 at all stations. You can then scan your card by placing it on the “IC” marker at the barriers. This is the best way to pay for your train fair in Japan because it means you don’t have to worry about tickets and can beep in and out quickly and conveniently. You can even use your SUICA or PASMO to pay at convenience stores, restaurants, for taxis, and more.

     

    2: “What’s a good train app for navigating my route?”

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    Japan’s train system is complex and can be confusing at times with its range of different trains and lines, sometimes making your journey difficult. But that’s where apps come in handy – to make your trip around Japan more convenient and therefore stress-free and more enjoyable.

     

    We recommend Google Maps. It sounds like an obvious choice, but it’s super helpful. You can search for whatever location you want to go to in Japan by using and it’ll show you the quickest way to reach your destination.

     

    However, make sure to check which train you are riding on before boarding. There are different trains at that arrive at platforms, the most common of which are the Local (各駅停車 = kakueki-teisha), Express (急行 = kyuukou), and Limited Express (特急 = tokkyuu). The Local trains stop at each station along a line while the Express will stop at fewer stations, and the Limited Express only at major stations. Each train will also be more expensive depending on the type.

     

    3: “Where can I call a taxi?”

    japan-1208843_640

    Most train stations in Japan have taxi bays right next to them, so it’s easiest to use those. But if you’re walking along the street and need to catch a taxi, then simply raise your hand up at any taxi passing by and they will stop for you.

     

    In Tokyo, vacant taxis will have the sign on top of the car lit up, reading “空車” which means ‘vacant.’ Look out for the glowing sign when you want to ride a taxi and stick your hand out!

     

    4: “How much do taxis cost?”

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    Taxis in Japan can be quite expensive. In the Tokyo area, the first 1.052km costs ¥410. The price will then increase by ¥280 every 280m.

     

    In other regions, the first 20,000m costs ¥730, and beyond that depends on which location you are in, but generally it will increase by ¥90 every 280m. It will get expensive if you’re travelling long distance, so it’s best to check how far away your destination is prior to your journey using Google Maps.

     

    Nighttime prices in Japan double between 22:00 and 05:00. If you’re stuck in the middle of the night with a taxi as your only option, then it might be cheaper to stay out having fun until morning!

     

    5: “Can you use Uber?”

    gori0I9A3217_TP_V

    You can use Uber in Japan with no problem at all. However, it is a little more expensive than a taxi. It’s a convenient alternative if you can’t find a taxi to wave down, but in most cases it would be better to take a taxi if you can. But for people who prefer to use payment methods that are much more smooth, Uber might be the most convenient.

     

    6: Can taxi drivers speak English?

    KOGAPAS00292_TP_V

    Unfortunately, most taxi drivers in Japan cannot speak English. However, many taxis in Japan are equipped with Sat Navs which can take you to your place of destination with just the phone number of the location that you are heading to. It’s best to have the phone number of your destination to hand with you if taking a taxi. But if you do not have this, then a map explaining your destination will work nicely too.

     

    Did you find this article useful? Make sure you’re prepared before your trip to Japan to ensure you have the best trip possible in the most efficient way.

     

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will continue to post helpful Q&A that will be useful during your Japan travels. If you have any questions regarding Japan then we’d love to answer them.

    Send us a message over on our Facebook page.

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

     

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  • Enjoy Contemporary Art in Nature with the ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk 2021-‘

    14.September.2021 | SPOT

    The Kobe Tourism Bureau will be opening the limited time ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk 2021-‘ tour on Kobe City’s Rokko Sanjo between September 11 and November 24 2021.

     

    Rokko Mountain was developed as a leisure spot by foreign residents during the Meiji Era, and is still beloved to this day for its magnificent views and abundant nature.

     

    The ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk-‘ tour opened in 2010 in order to convey the charms of Mt. Rokko to as many people as possible while introducing them to contemporary art. Over 400 artist groups have exhibited since its opening, with visitors being able to enjoy the innovative works and scenery which changes with the art.

     

    The ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk-‘ is not only for art fans but also for those who wish to visit Mt. Rokko for sightseeing and leisure, allowing each visitor to experience art with their five senses as the seasons change.

     

    Some pieces are modified by the artist throughout the exhibition period, allowing you to feel the changes of the works each time you visit. Due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions, opportunities to come into contact with nature and art have greatly decreased. In response, the ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk-‘ has started a variety of projects, including online exhibitions and workshops.

     

    Experience this fun combination of nature and contemporary art for yourself at the ‘Rokko Meets Art -Art Walk 2021-!’

  • ‘átoa,’ Part Art Museum and Part Aquarium, Opening in Kobe

    12.August.2021 | SPOT

    Blending living creatures with art, átoa, a new urban aquarium, will open in Kobe’s Shinkocho on October 29, 2021. New images have just been revealed, and we now have an idea of what the interior will look like!

     

    ‘átoa’ comes from a combination of the words ‘aquarium’ and ‘art,’ and as the name suggests, the space will blend over 100 pieces of digital and performance art with 3,000 ocean creatures to provide a never-before-seen experience.  

     

     

     

    The exterior of the Kobe Port Museum looks like a contemporary art gallery

    The stairway leads guests to a cave entrance, making the visit feel more like an adventure

    ‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life’ embodies underwater life 

    ‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits’ welcomes you to a foggy sea of trees

     

    Light cutout show by famed cutout artist Atsumi Sakai

     

    A mysterious walk through a traditional Japanese garden

    ‘PLANETS,’ a journey through the darkness of outer space and the deep sea

    Food & drink offerings worthy of posting on social media

     

    A spectacular view of the Kobe Bay area
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    átoa original products on sale

     

     

    Rokko, the land on which Kobe City sits, is said to have been formed over one million years ago by the upheaval of the Earth and consistent water erosion. The Kobe Port Museum (KPM), where átoa is located, has long attracted visitors with its unique exterior, embodying the ancient origins of the surrounding lands.

    átoa will be divided into eight different zones, each with its own theme and distinctive presentation. Visitors will first enter the ‘Cave of Beginnings,’ where fish-shaped lights reflected on the walls and floor lead you deeper into the space, as if through a kaleidoscope. 

     

    After emerging, ‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life,’ a visual embodiment of underwater life, will greet you. The sound and scents of the sea will surround guests, with a cylindrical water tank at the center of the room filled with zebra sharks, spotted garden eels, and many more underwater creatures. 

     

    On the second floor, enter ‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits,’ a foggy sea of trees straight out of a fairy tale. This is where you can find freshwater fish, amphibians, and adorable tree-dwelling animals not typically found in aquariums, like woodchucks! This is another highlight of átoa: you might find more animals you wouldn’t expect!

     

    The third floor houses both ‘MIYABI’ and ‘PLANETS,’ where guests can enjoy a ‘theatrical aquarium experience.’ Discover Atsumi Sakai’s famed cutout art in the ‘MIYABI’ area, meant to simulate a Japanese garden. Enjoy the magical experience of fish swimming just beneath your feet as you stroll along a glass-covered floor. 

     

    The ‘PLANETS’ area houses AQUA TERRA, one of Japan’s largest spherical water tanks, with a diameter of 3 meters. Guests are welcome to ponder the vastness of both outer space and the deepest stretches of the sea. The area is bathed in the light of countless stars thanks to optical fibers embedded in the floor, while mist will continuously pour from above. 

     

    Housed on the fourth floor, an outdoor exhibit, the ‘SKYSHORE Sky Garden,’ will soothe your soul as you play with only the most adorable marine life, from penguins to otters. This is also where visitors can enjoy the átoa cafe, offering a lineup of Instagram-worthy food and drink. 

    The observation deck ‘ROOF TOP’ also provides a breathtaking view of Kobe. Whether you visit during day or night, take in the views of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park to your heart’s content. A full museum shop will be stocked with adorable plushies and other original products. 

     

  • Pâtissier-Inspired Shaved Ice Flavors Available at Kobe Minato Onsen Ren for Limited Time

    11.August.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    There’s no better way to combat a heat wave than enjoying a cool bowl of shaved ice! Natural hot spring resort Kobe Minato Onsen Ren, overlooking Kobe Port, is releasing a gorgeous new style of this popular summer treat. Called Fluffed Ice, it offers a slightly more sophisticated flavor, and serves as the perfect way to cool off for adults escaping the hustle and bustle of the sweltering city. 

     

     

    Fluffed Ice, uniquely designed by a pastry chef: ¥900 each (Tax Included)

    Setouchi Lemon

    Fukuju (Nada’s Famous Sake)

     

    Strawberry

     

    Uji Green Tea and Hokkaido Azuki

     

     

    By filtering the water and freezing it at a slower rate, the shaved ice is completely pure and free of any and all impurities. Visitors can enjoy four different flavors: Setouchi Lemon, a refreshing blend of acidity and white chocolate; Fujuku, which contains locally-sourced sake and sweet syrup; Strawberry, offering a mix of sweet and sour; and, finally, Uji Matcha and Hokkaido Azuki, elegantly mixing flavors from both northern and southern Japan. The syrup used is made from scratch, and was developed by the pâtissier of Le Pan Kobe Kitano, a bakery and sweets shop nearby.

    During this incredibly hot summer, give this new Fluffed Ice a try!

  • Meiji Marble Chocolate Themed Hotel Room Opens at The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji

    01.August.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    In celebration of Meiji’s popular Marble chocolate, The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji is collaborating with the confectionery brand to offer a Marble themed hotel room for guests. The room opened on July 27.

    Showa retro-style posters, telephone, and other decorations

    Meiji’s colourful Marble chocolate was first released in 1961. It turned 60-years-old in February of this year, meaning it has continued to be enjoyed by three generations. Grandparents have passed them onto mothers and fathers, and them to their own children. Now the whole family can celebrate the chocolate in a themed hotel room in Kyoto.


    Named the Marble Room, the hotel room is decorated in seven colours just like the chocolates themselves. This includes seven individual pillows on the sofa, balloons, wall decorations, and more. There’s even a crane game inside the room where guests can obtain some chocolates for free.

     

    Also inside the room are Showa retro-style posters and a telephone, and guests can watch all of the old Marble commercials on the television which have aired these past 60 years. Guests also receive a free smartphone ring, eco bag, pouch, and other little freebies as part of the plan.

  • Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI: Rent Out a Renovated Japanese House in Niigata

    15.July.2021 | SPOT

    Japanese design company Jiyujin launched its new Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE chain of accommodations this month which offer a single group of guests a one-night stay in an entire house.

     

    The first branch to open is IZUMI which features a fully-renovated Japanese-style house located in the city of Uonuma in Niigata. A gorgeous outlook is offered from the house with an unbroken view of lush forests, rice fields, and Mt. Makihata, which is listed as one of the ‘100 Famous Japanese Mountains.’

    A breathtaking view awaits guests from the open-air bath

    The spacious living room

    Fully renovated from a 150-year-old private house, the building is supported by beautiful wooden beams and columns, and in the middle the oe, a sunken hearth. This, along with the beams and sashigamoi joints, are made from keyaki Japanese zelkova which is an elm-like tree. This species of tree is rare even in a tree-covered region such as Uonuma. The lumber used for this house was cut, preserved, and dried out for a number of decades before being processed into building material for the house. The heart in the middle of the living room is reminiscent of a time when large families would gather around one and serves to recreate that lifestyle.

     

    The Nishiyama region is known for is production of delicious rice. IZUMI in fact looks out over Kabanosawa, a special and important place of rice production in Nishiyama. This vantage point also gives guests an opportunity to appreciate the hot and cold temperatures of the daytime and evening, the rivers, the shape of the land, and the earth the city sits on. The drastic change in temperatures in the day and night are especially noteworthy as this, along with the basin between the mountains, gives rise to a sea of clouds.

     

    IZUMI sits on a hill that overlooks the rice paddies, making it a perfect location for spotting the sea of clouds. Minamiuonuma’s sea of clouds has over a 70% chances of appearing in the autumn and spring seasons.

     

    The number one reason why Japan’s old, long-standing, and precious private houses are demolished is due to the cold getting in and it being too dark inside. Even those who want to see them preserved for tradition, including those who live in them already, would rather live in a modern home. That’s why Jiyujin has begun a renovation project instead of a demolition one. By refurbishing the houses, the ancient framework can be fixed up and preserved while a range of contemporary amenities are incorporate to fit with modern lifestyles. The Satoyama Jujo accommodations are built so they can be used for over 100 years.

     

    For dinner, there are three options for guests. The first is a dinner at SANABURI which earned itself a Michelin star in Michelin Guide Niigata 2020. The second is a meal at a restaurant that earned the status of Bib Gourmand in the same guide. The third is to prepare your own meal in the house. There are plenty of shops around the station nearby where you can buy local ingredients.

     

    After a delicious meal, guests can take a soak in the open-air tub and enjoy gazing out across the fields and the beautiful mountains which stand almost 2,000 meters high.

  • Heidi, Girl of the Alps Anime Fair to Open at Rokko Garden Terrace in Kobe

    06.July.2021 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD / SPOT

    Rokko Garden Terrace has announced an event set to take place this summer. Titled “Mount Rokkō Swiss Fair ~Surrounded by Heidi, Girl of the Alps~,” is set to run from July 16 to August 31.

    Heidi, Girl of the Alps Decorations / Themed Stamp Rally / Merchandise

     

    Heidi, Girl of the Alps themed food

    Swiss-Style Cordon Bleu Alpen Macaroni | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)

    Zuger Kirschtorte Gateau | ¥900 (Tax Included)

    Roast Beef Lunch With Alpen Macaroni | ¥1,600 (Tax Included)

    Yōichi Kotabe Art Exhibits / Cheese Plate / Illustrations

    Mount Rokkō and Switzerland have a lot in common, especially when it comes to both locations being home to towering mountains with cable cars that run up them. At the top of Mount Rokkō, visitors can get a real feel for Switzerland. Rokko Garden Terrace sits up the mountains and has its own observation deck which offers a panoramic view of the Rokkō mountains. It’s here that the event themed on the anime series Heidi, Girl of the Alps will take place, with decorations, art exhibits, photo spots, themed food, merchandise, and more. Fans can also win a plush toy of Josef of the anime series. There will also be an art exhibition of works from the series character designer Yōichi Kotabe and more.

  • Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.

     

    A Visit to the Historical Sea Route

     

     

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people

    Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.

     

    Information

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan

    TEL: 0897-82-0032

    Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00

    National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/

     

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Lip-smacking food aplenty

    If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.

     

    Information

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan

    Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00

    Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php

     

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean


    Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.

     

    Information 

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
    TEL: 0897-74-1065

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/

     

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place

    Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.

     

    Information

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan

    TEL: 0897-84-3710

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)

    Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)

    Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Meet the cute and friendly dolphins

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.

     

    Information

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    TEL: 0897-72-8787

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: On days with bad weath

    Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/

     

    Hakata Beach

    A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters 

     

     

    Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.

     

    Information

    Hakata Beach

    Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198

     

    Imabari Towels

    High quality towels woven with tradition and technique

     

    Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!

     

    Information 

    Imabari Towel

    Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/

     

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Need a bike?

    Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

     

    Information 

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan

    TEL: 0898-41-3196

    Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/

    Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/

     

    Marutomi

    The famous restaurant known to every local

    If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.

     

    Information 

    Marutomi

    2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan

    TEL: 0898-23-2740

    Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00

    Closed: Wednesdays

    Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/

     

    Imabari Castle

    A castle by the sea

    Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.

     

    Information

    Imabari Castle

    Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan

    TEL: 0898-31-9233

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: December 29 – December 31

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/

     

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    A breathtaking spectacle to remember

    Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.

     

    Information 

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan

    No Fixed Holidays

    Open 24-hours a day

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182

     

    Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/

     

    We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.

  • Experience a Front Row Seat of Karuizawa’s Tranquil Forests at HOSHINOYA

    13.June.2021 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Karuizawa has announced a special summer plan for guests called “Mori no Hotori cafe&Bar ~Suijo no Tokutoseki~” (Cafe & Bar by the Forest ~Special Seats on the Water~). The midsummer evening plan is available for one group per day and takes place at the hotel’s cafe and bar which sits by a forest and faces the Kera-Ike Pond. It invites guests to relax under the starry night sky on the water and enjoy the sounds of nature while enjoying drinks and bites to eat.

     

    Japan is known for its summer hot summers. However, Karuizawa enjoys a cooler climate, so evenings dip to around 20°C for a comfortable temperature.

     

    Stargazing on top of the water

    HOSHINOYA Karuizawa is connected directly to Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary. At the entrance, by the Kera-Ike Pond, is the hotel’s Mori no Hotori cafe&bar which is open all year. The cafe/bar fusion is surrounded by Karuizawa’s lush forests, and it’s here that guests can enjoy sitting on specially-prepared seats on the water. It will feel like they are walking on water as they approach their seats where they can take their shoes off and sit on the tatami mats to gaze at the stars.

     

    Calm the heart with an enchanting performance

    When you walk up the stairs that face Kera-Ike from HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, your ears will be met with the enchanting sound of crystal bowls which add a mysterious depth to the natural sounds of the forest, spiriting guests away to another wonderful world.

     

    Indulgent drinks and food

    Guests can pick from a range of drinks and bites to eat scented with fruits, wood, and other natural fragrances of the forest. There arw six drinks to choose from including a gin and tonic made with lindera umbellata, a type of camphor, as well as a whisky made with ripe fruits. Food includes chocolate made from lindera umbellata and kuma bamboo grass, cherry blossom and walut chips, and more.

  • Be Surrounded by Glowing Fireflies With Kissho Yamanaka’s New Hotel Plan

    07.June.2021 | SPOT

    Kissho Yamanaka, a hot spring hotel in Kaga, Ishikawa, is now offering a firefly-viewing experience as part of a new guest plan until June 15. This gorgeous resort, situated by the Daishoji River in the Kakusenkei Gorges, was awarded three Michelin stars in the Ryokan category of Michelin Guide Hokuriku 2021 Special Issue.

    The firefly tour arrives as early summer is soon to begin. As part of the hotel plan, guests can also enjoy a dazzling Firefly Cocktail too.

    Feel the rays of early summertime at Kissho Yamanaka.

  • All About Matsuyama | Final Episode: Introducing the New Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre

    30.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The reception staff are ready and waiting to greet customers with a smile

     

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre finally opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. You’ll find it on the first floor of Matsuyama Mitsukoshi which isn’t even a one-minute walk from Okaido Station. It features an interior fusion combining history and culture with a design inspired by Matsuyama Castle while also throwing in a contemporary feel.

    Six giant screens serve as the perfect place for tourism-related PR of Matsuyama

    The first sight many visitors will lay their eyes on upon entering the information centres are the six screens spanning 1.5 meters high and 4.5 meters across the wall. Here, a variety of promotional material centred on the highlights of Matsuyama will be displayed.

     

    The information centre offers many useful services, including for foreign customers who don’t speak Japanese. There is a translation and interpreting service, money exchange, rental electrical outlets for smart devices, and more. The staff themselves are multilingual, but the interpreting service includes access to a call centre which you can access using the free WiFi or using an iPad. The availability of foreign currency exchange is also extremely beneficial as Matsuyama is a city abundant with long-standing shops that have been around for decades and longer. Another convenience with the centre is easy access to public transport. If you’re looking to travel around the prefecture, we recommend paying a visit to the centre first as it’s sure to provide valuable information. You can even rent mobile batteries for your smartphone to lessen the stress when sightseeing.

    The pictogram shows the many handy services available

    Visitors will also find a comprehensive duty-free counter inside the information centre which covers all stores in Okaido, Gintengai, Matsuchika Town, Dogo Shoten, and Ropeway Shotengai. You must spend over ¥5,000 (before tax) on products to be duty-free eligible. Since it’s a comprehensive service, if you have multiple receipts you can be exempt from tax as long as all your receipts exceed ¥5,000. Participating stores have special stickers plastered up inside so tourists can quickly and easily identify them.

    Stores participating in the duty-free service have stickers and signs to show it

    For example, if you spend ¥500 at participating stores in Dogo Shotengai, ¥1,000 in Okaido Shopping Street, and ¥3,500 in Gintengai Shotengai, and take all three of those receipts adding up to ¥5,000 to the information centre, you can get your items duty free. But keep in mind that the receipts have a validity period on them, so be sure to check opening hours.

     

    The Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre serves as the perfect site for bringing in all kinds of tourists, including foreign travellers, to Matsuyama post-COVID. The information also goes by the cute nickname “Dan Dan info.” Dan dan is an old Ehime phrase meaning “thank you” and ties in with the smiling and hospitable welcome staff wish to greet guests with. It’s exciting to look into the future and see how Matsuyama’s tourism and economic growth will develop in its shopping districts, stores, and elsewhere. Make one of your first stops the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre when visiting the city.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 8: Souvenirs Are Part of Matsuyama’s Fun and Are Everywhere

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    From tasty treats to home and lifestyle goods, Matsuyama has no shortage of souvenirs

    Popular sightseeing spots and delicious food you can’t get anywhere else—these are all part of the fun experience to be had when travelling. To wrap up your time there and memorialise all that’s happened, nothing’s better than picking up a little souvenir. In Episode 8 of All About Matsuyama, we take a look at the many wonderful items you can take home with you as souvenirs from food to traditional handicrafts, special dyed fashion and accessories, and more. MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON has picked out a range of delightful treats like Matsuyama’s famous tartes, jakoten, three-colour botchan dango as well as Tobe ware porcelain which is an Ehime tradition, and iyo-kasuri fabric which is one of Japan’s three main kasuri fabrics.

     

    First on the list is the ‘tarte,’ a speciality product of Shikoku which is more of a sponge cake. They’re made of a soft and fluffy sesame seed-coloured sponge and coarse red bean paste. A famous treat of Matsuyama, you can find these tarts just about anywhere in Okaido Shopping Street, near Dogo Onsen, and elsewhere.

     

    Jakoten is considered a soul food of Ehime Prefecture. It’s made from fish that are blended into a paste and fried. You can find jakoten everywhere in Matsuyama, but every restaurant serves theirs with different textures and flavours. Many places fry them fresh, so be sure to try a bunch to compare the flavours and then you can decide which to buy as a souvenir. There are even places so popular that they have lines outside them before they even open.

     

    The botchan dango is something many of our readers have probably seen or heard about. These three-coloured skewered dango are served bite-sized, cute enough to snap a photo of. The ones sold at Dogo Onsen are something of a speciality. They have their name from Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan. You’ll find them all around Dogo Shotengai.

     

    Tobe ware is a traditional type of porcelain from Tobe in Ehime, known for its smooth touch and durability. This traditional porcelain has been handed down from old times until today, and in recent years, ceramists have been hammering out their own unique shapes, so have become popular as stylish, everyday use lifestyle items.

     

    You can’t talk about Ehime’s traditional craftwork without mentioning iyo-kasuri fabric. Matsuyama used to have huge production output of this fabric type, which stands as one of three of Japan’s most famous kasuri fabrics alongside kurume-gasuri from Fukuoka and bingo-kasuri from Hiroshima. Production has dwindled in modern times, but if you go to Art Labo KASURI Rekishikan, you can learn all about iyo-kasuri. There are lots of gorgeous iyo-kasuri products to buy like cute pouches, bags, and more.

     

    And that’s our list of must-grab souvenirs. There are of course endless other things you can get your hands on, so if you’re lost on what to pick up, try asking at the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre.

     

    Stay tuned for the next and final episode of All About Matsuyama.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 7: Mitsuhama Port is a Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    The Mitsu Ferry, managed by Matsuyama City, has been running for over 500 years

    We’ve covered much about the land in this series, so in Episode 7 of All About Matsuyama, we’re heading to the sea. Mitsuhama Port sits in the western part of Matsuyama, Ehime. Mitsuhama is a port town that flourished during and following the Edo Period as the ‘front door to the ocean.’ Visiting the town is a trip down memory lane as there are still pseudo Western-style buildings from the Meiji and Taisho periods that suffered damage from the war, as well as traditional Japanese houses, and more. The Mitsuhama Shotengai shopping district was once a bustling place for the fishing and trade industries. Today, buildings have been renovated and taken on new managers who have turned places into stylish cafes, galleries, and other businesses, creating a quaint mix of new and old.

     

    Matsuhama Port is a 15-minute car ride from Matsuyama Station, which itself is connected to other must-visit spots we’ve covered in this series such as Matsuchika Town and Gintengai. If you’re looking for a place to walk around, the port area is somewhere you can really stretch your legs. It’s right outside Mitsu Station from where you can see Mitsuhama Shotengai lined with concrete shops. The street has an old-timey Japanese nostalgic feeling to it. The number of young people frequenting the local shops and houses that have been renovated into various stores is on the rise which is changing its image from a former port town to a hip place to go for shopping. In the summer there are firework festivals and events held by the shopping district, so it’s quickly becoming one of Matsuyama’s new tourist spots.

    A luxurious sea bream meshi-zen set meal

    If you’re strolling through Mitsuhama Shotengai, one place we absolutely want to recommend people visit is Taimeshi, a restaurant that set up shop inside a Japanese house that’s registered as a Tangible Cultural Property. They have only one order on the menu as pictured above: the Taimeshi-Zen, a sea bream set meal, which is made even more enjoyable by the restaurant’s elegant decor.

    Mitsuyamayaki is a fast food delicacy of Mitsuhama

    Everyone needs to try the local fried food as well. The most popular is their okonomiyaki, a common food in Japan. However, the type served in Mitsuhama, known as Mitsuhamayaki, is a little different from the Osaka or Hiroshima styles. They load the batter with noodles and garnish with chikuwa fish-paste, an ingredient long-loved in Mitsuhama, and the secret ingredient—fish flakes. Beef is used as the meat filling. The result is the kind of flavours you’d imagine tucking into in a port down. Each restaurant that serves Mitsuhamayaki serves theirs with their own original sauces too, so no two places will be exactly the same. Try several to compare the tastes.

     

    Something else that can’t be passed up when visiting Mitsuhama is the Mitsu Ferry, a boat with a 500-year history that rides up and down the river and is free of charge. Not only has it been used since the Muromachi Period for transporting goods, it also enjoys 40,000 passengers every year having been recognised as a tourist spot in recent years.

     

    Baishinji Station, which is right next to Minatoyama Station and is how you get to the Mitsu Ferry, is known for being the location of the final episode of the 1991 Japanese drama series Tokyo Love Story. There, visitors can also gaze at the gorgeous view of the Seto Inland Sea, pay a visit to Baishinji Garden to enjoy the plum and cherry blossoms, and more.

     

    Matsuyama is vast and full of many places to enjoy. Mitsuhama is one of these locations and is easily accessed by train from the city centre. It’s a tranquil place where you can feel both the preserved old atmosphere and the modern changes. It’s sure to continue growing as one of the city’s must-visit sightseeing spots.

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