Traditional Japanese Purin Shop Zenkoji Purin with Tearoom Opens in Nagano
01.July.2018 | FOOD
Zenkoji Temple is one of the most important and popular temples in Japan and one of Pure Land Buddhism. A new purin shop will open close by the temple. It will serve traditional style purin, a type of Japanese custard and caramel dessert, as well as being the first purin shop to have its own tearoom. It’s located in an old oil house that has been around for 280 years since the Edo Period.
The shop has both a tearoom and tea house garden, offering a traditional Japanese space for people to relax and enjoy their purin. Their goal is to let locals and tourists experience tradition with a twist.
The purin sold here uses carefully selected ingredients grown in the natural environment of Nagano. For example, the milk used―called Azumino Gyunyu―has a mellow and deep flavour to it.
Customers can also look forward to drinking tea such as houjicha made by people with great knowledge and experience that has accumulated over the years. They also do their best to make the purin fresh to order. As of now there are 5 different expertly made flavours available, so be sure to try them all!
Solo One-Day Hot Spring Plan Offers Complete Relaxation and Rejuvenation in Karuizawa
12.October.2021 | SPOT
Karuizawa Hoshino Area, a place known for bringing nature and culture lovers together, will be offering a new one-day hot spring spa plan from November 4, 2021, until March 19, 2022. This is the perfect way to unwind from the stresses of the past year while getting away from crowds and responsibilities. Because it’s only one day, it’s perfect for those who can’t take a long vacation, but who are still desperate for some relaxation! The package will include access to hot spring baths, body care, a choice of lunch and drinks, and plenty of skincare amenities.
Tonbo-no-Yu Hot Spring, open since the Taisho era, will serve as the main location for the getaway. The springs themselves are bicarbonate and chloride springs with soft and thick waters in which to achieve the perfect soak and detox. Getting out of the water will leave a veil of salt on your skin, moisturizing it and cleansing every inch of your body. The open-air bath is surrounded by trees, while the indoor baths offer excellent views through oversized windows.
Five Luxuries to Enjoy on the One-Day Getaway
[Power Up] Proper Bathing Instructions for the Best Hot Springs Experience
For those looking to maximize their hot spring experience, a comprehensive bathing guide will be provided to all guests, including breathing exercises and techniques for a great facial massage. The plan includes rental towers, and guests can feel free to enter the springs as many times as they like. At the reception desk, guests will also be given a bottle of Apple Vinegar Water to help them stay properly hydrated while soaking.
[New] Gentle Skin Care while Relaxing in the Spring
Those participating in the one-day plan will be given OSAJI amenities to use during their stay. The brand is made up of safe and organic products approved by dermatologists, to be applied before and after bathing.
[Power Up] Improve Gut Health with Healthy Beverages
When guests get out of the bath, a warm brown rice amazake will be waiting, shown to improve the intestinal environment and boost natural immunity. By using brown rice, the drink contains larger amounts of Vitamin E and dietary fiber than traditional amazake. This tasty drink will be served at Cafe Hungry Spot, adjacent to the springs.
Relieve Stiff Joints with Attentive Body Care
At Tokoyo, located within the Harunire Terrace in the Karuizawa Hoshino Area, guests will get a 30-minute body care treatment with their choice of foot massage or shoulder and neck massage. Unwind and let go of all of your stress.
Choose From Six Different Restaurants for Lunch
For lunch, six restaurants in the Hoshino area are at your beck and call, from Japanese cuisine to Italian. There’s no need to make reservations in advance; choose what you’re craving the day of, and don’t stress!
Solo One-Day Hot Spring Spa Plan
Running: November 4, 2021 – March 19, 2022 (Excluding Dec. 29 – Jan. 3 and Jan. 11 – 20)
Reservations: https://www.hoshino-area.jp (Reservations required by 18:00 the day before)
Location: Tonbo-no-Yu, Karuizawa, Nagano
KYARY PAMYU PAMYU meets IMABARI: A Visit to the Historical Sea Route
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
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.
Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan
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.
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.
Murakami Suigun Museum
Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
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.
Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan
Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan
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.
Dolphin Farm Shimanami
Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: On days with bad weath
Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/
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.
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
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!
Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/
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.
Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan
Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/
Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/
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.
2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan
Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00
Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/
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.
Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan
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.
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.
The North Face and ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon to Co-Develop Mountain Resort
14.November.2020 | SPOT
The North Face is set to collaborate with ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, which opened in Nagano’s city of Omachi in July, to develop a new mountain resort where guests can enjoy outdoor activities. The first part of the collaboration will see activities offered which have been made under the supervision of athletes contracted to The North Face. The activities will make full use of Omachi’s gorgeous natural environment which is surrounded by stunning mountains.
The North Face has had a high affiliation with this region for a long time. The brand created an original uniform for the staff that work along Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a 37km mountain sightseeing route. It also opened the outdoor clothing and equipment shop The North Face Gravity in Hakuba.
ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, too, embraces the outdoors of this region as it sits embedded within the lush natural landscape of Omachi. It hails as one of Japan’s best mountain resorts which offers guests the chance a sojourn amongst nature. One of the brand’s concepts is cultivating real human communication which it offers through its hospitable service, aiming to increase the number of smiles to those who visit.
The North Face x ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon
The collaboration will see the two companies coming together to serve up a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year to encourage more families to spend time outside. The hotel will offer equipment that can be used for the activities, and there’ll also be workshops for people to create their own items that can also be used. They will also work to increase sustainability with local businesses and groups in Omachi in an effort to revitalise the local region.
The hotel is also offering a workation plan for guests to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city to work somewhere more quiet and peaceful. The plan takes into account well-being and is a way for people to up their creativity and motivation. Guests can work and relax at the same time with Wi-Fi and electrical outlets available as well as off-work treats like the open-air baths, spa, gym, and more. The hotel will also offer other plans this winter which include snow biking, family skiing, and more.
The Best Place to Gaze On Japan’s Night Sky: Sky Paradise Sea of Clouds Harbor in Nagano
02.September.2020 | SPOT
This autumn, the Star Village Association in Achi, Nagano is hosting the special limited-time event “Sky Paradise Sea of Clouds Harbour” from October 25 to November 23 which offers one of the best views of Japan’s starry sky and the sea of clouds of the far-off southern alps.
The site is located at Ropeway Heavens Sonohara in Fujimidai Highland, surrounded by the bountiful nature of Nagano Prefecture. The 15-minute gondola ride is 2,500 meters long and takes you up to the observation deck 1,600m above sea level. Your prize is a view of the sea of clouds which stretches to the distant southern alps of Japan – truly is a sky paradise.
The other prize is the starry night sky. This spot placed first in the Ministry of the Environment’s list of the best places to see Japan’s night sky. From here, one can watch the sky of twinkling lights change to warm morning light. During October, the trees and verdure below are dyed in the colours of autumn, and when November rolls around you can spot the snow-capped peaks of the southern alps.
Sky Paradise Sea of Clouds Harbor (Japanese Name: 天空の楽園 雲海Harbor)
Running: October 25, 2020 – November 23, 2020
Gondola: Ascension 5:30-7:00 / Descent until 16:30
Observation Deck Lift Operating Times: 5:45-16:00
Location: Ropeway Heavens Sonohara in Fujimidai Highland
Address: 3731-4 Chisato, Achi, Shimoina-gun, Nagano
Price: Adults ¥3,600 / Children ¥1,800 / Infants – Free
Official Website: http://sva.jp
Animal Crossing: New Horizons to Host Kanda Shrine’s Summer Festival In-Game
29.August.2020 | ANIME&GAME
Noryo Matsuri is a popular summer festival held every August at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo, bringing in over 40,000 visitors every year to enjoy a variety of fun and exciting activities like the big bon-odori dance to anime songs, live performances, events in collaboration with anime series and more. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled this year due to COVID-19.
However, that isn’t stopping the festival from being held in some sort of form. In fact, the festival organisers are teaming up with Animal Crossing: New Horizons to bring the festival to the Nintendo Switch title in Japan.
Players can even get their hands on some original Kanda Shrine outfits, as well as visit Kanda Shrine Island by using Luna’s dreaming service in game (until September 30).
Kanda Shrine Noryo Matsuri x Animal Crossing
Release Date: August 28, 2020 at 10:00 (JST)
Official Website: https://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/atumori/
Dreaming Service: August 28, 2020 – September 30, 2020
Dreaming Service ID: DA-0760-0601-9410
Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden: Heal Your Mind, Body and Soul in Nagano While Staying Safe From COVID-19
27.August.2020 | SPOT
Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden in Omachi, Nagano, is open for business throughout Japan’s Obon season and is taking mandatory bookings to ensure visitors’ protection from COVID-19 while following precautions against the Three Cs as laid out by the World Health Organization—crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces.
Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a place that embraces beauty and healing while incorporating La CASTA’s brand concept of “the life force of plants and healing.” Guests are invited to use all five of their senses to relish the natural wonder of the garden, with its abundance of plants and trees and natural waterfall which flows from the northern alps.
The garden has its own “Healing Cafe” too which is an open-style cafe, allowing diners to enjoy the gift of nature throughout the seasons while enjoying a drink or dessert. A must-try during summer is their “Herb Cordial Lime & Lemongrass,” a refreshing herb soda that enjoy the sour citrus flavour of lime and the taste of lemongrass. There’s also the “Chamomile Milk” gelato ice cream.
The garden also has its own aromatherapy workshop inside the La CASTA Factory where visitors can make their own blends of oils using different products and scents.
What better way to de-stress during these turbulent times than getting close with nature in a safe, protected environment?
Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden
Address: 9729-2 Tokiwa, Omachi, Nagano
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Until 16:00 in October and November)
Official site: http://www.alpenrose.co.jp/garden
New Summertime Drinks and Desserts Released at Atami Purin in Japan
16.July.2020 | FOOD
Japanese dessert shop Atami Purin introduced its Summer 2020 menu on July 7. Atami Purin is known for the visual aspect of desserts which it serves up at its four shops, all located in Atami, Shizuoka.
Midsummer Mango Pudding: ¥400 (Tax Included)
Enjoy that tropical vibe with the Midsummer Mango Pudding, a mix of rich mango Japanese-style pudding known as purin, and sweet and sour blood orange.
Atami Pudding Ice Cream: ¥450 (Tax Included)
Atami Colourful Soda: ¥500 (Tax Included)
Other treats on the menu include an ice cream that looks just like a Japanese purin dessert, colourful sodas made with lychee and salt, and plenty of other refreshing picks.
Atami Purin 1
Address: 3-14 Tawarahonchō, Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture
Atami Purin Cafe 2nd
Address: 10-22 Ginzachō, Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture
Nagisa no Atami Purin
Address: ATAMI BAY RESORT KORAKUEN, 10-1 Wadahamaminamichō, Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture
Drive-In Atami Purin Shokudo
Address: 10-1 Kamitaga, Atami, Shizuoka
Kyoto’s Famous Kifune Shrine Celebrates Tanabata With Bamboo Lamp Light-Up
07.July.2020 | SPOT
Kifune Shrine, which is dedicated to the god of water Takaokami no Kami, is currently holding evening illuminations with Tanabata bamboo lamps until August 15, 2020.
About Kifune Shrine
Kifune Shrine is one of Kyoto’s foremost historical shrines. Records show that the shrine was already built in 677 during the reign of Emperor Tenmu. It is located near the source of Kamo River and is dedicated to the god of water who is said protect Kyoto’s water sources. The area is also known for kawadoko which is where Kibune’s restaurants build platforms over the river where visitors can enjoy their meal as the water flows beneath them.
Kifune Shrine and Tanabata
Tanabata is said to originate from the Suijinsai Festival (Water God Festival), with the stars themselves as the god of water. At Kifune Shrine, which is dedicate to Takaokami no Kami—the god of water—people not only pay their respects to the blessing of water, but hold Tanabata events as well as the Kifune Water Festival.
For this year’s Tanabata event, bamboo lamps will be lit up with wishes written on them by people.
Tanabata Shinto Rituals and the Kifune Water Festival
Tanabata Shinto rituals and the Kifune Water Festival will be held on July 7 where people will express their gratitude to the god who watches over Kifune’s waters as well as pray for water’s blessing throughout the year.
Kifune Shrine Tanabata Bamboo Lamp Light-Up
Running: July 1, 2020 – August 15, 2020
Time: From sunset to 20:00
Location: Kifune Shrine, 180 Kuramakibunecho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Official Website: http://kifunejinja.jp
Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden Opens 20,000m² Sasarikyu Garden For Free
11.June.2020 | SPOT
Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden has is opening the Sasarikyu area of its gardens for free from June 5 to October 31 this year. The area spans almost 20,000m² and is home to an arbour and over 120 varieties of bamboo grass.
Opening the gardens in June means that visitors will get to see the bamboo grass at its most beautiful. Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden wants more people to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and so decided to make it a free experience for visitors.
It’s an opportunity to see the vivid green leaves of the bamboo free which, on a clear day, glistens brightly at the shine of the early summer sun. On a rainy day during the rainy season, it offers a completely different spectacle: the twinkle of the leaves as a result of the dew. In addition to the bamboo grass, rows of hydrangeas also blossom in the garden at the start of summer, and in autumn, the area takes on gorgeous red and yellow hues.
Another charm of Sasarikyu is the tea ceremony arbour that sits amongst the verdure. This arbour, which was designed by Japanese architect Kiyoshi Yasui, continues the tradition of sukiya style of building known as sukiya-zukuri which was first established in Kyoto.
The Tateshina Plateau sits enveloped by the Yatsugatake, a collection of towering inactive volcanoes. In this expanse lies Sasarikyu, a botanical garden of kuma bamboo grass with over 120 varieties from both Japan and overseas. It is the only bamboo grass garden of its kind in the world and aims to contribute to the region’s culture by drawing out the unknown when it comes to bamboo grass.
Bamboo grass area (13,200m²)
Sasarikyu is not just a botanical garden. It is also home to the world’s largest tsukubai basin called Zuigetsusen, as well as an azekura-zukuri style statue of the god of wealth, Hashiri Daigoku. It also has Jōmonka, a style of building from the middle of the Jōmon period in Japanese history which has bamboo grass-thatched roofs.
Sukiya Arbour Garden Area (6,600m²)
The sukiya arbour was designed by Kiyoshi Yasui who helped carry out major renovations to the Katsura Imperial Villa, as well as helped dismantle and reconstruct two national treasures of Japan: the Joan and Taian tea houses.
Another highlight of the gardens is an area where medicinal herbs area grown. The herbs there are ones mostly seen in Nagano Prefecture. It not only serves as an area with specimens of such herbs, but also offers gorgeous scenery too when the flowers bloom through the seasons.
Sasarikyu Free Opening
Running: June 5, 2020 – October 31, 2020 (Subject to change depending on season and weather)
Address: 1017-11400 Tamakawa Azaharayama, Chino, Nagano (Japanese Address: 場所：笹離宮 長野県茅野市玉川字原山11400番地1017)
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:00)
①15 minutes by car from Suwa-minami Interchange
②30 minutes by car from Suwa Interchange
③20 minutes by car from Chino Station
Official Website: https://tateshina-sasa.com/sasarikyu/
Grapes For Wine Now Being Picked at Shiojiri Station’s Platforms
Shiojiri is a city in central Nagano with a population of 67,000 (as of April 2020). As a tourist destination, it’s a place that goes under the radar, but it’s actually home to the best quality grapes for wine in Japan, and also boasts 17 wineries (as of April 2020).
Shiojiri is a place with many tourist attractions, such as the historical town of Narai-juku whose streets still echo the Edo Period, Kiso-Hirasawa lacquerware, the Hiraide ruins which are one of Japan’s three biggest ruins, Takabotchiyama which has become known for appearing in anime and Japanese drama series in recent years, the local dish “sanzokuyaki” (large fried chicken), and more.
In 1988, the city of Shiojiri began growing grapes at Shiojiri Station to promote the city’s grapes and wine. It has gone on to become famous as the only station in Japan with grape production. They grow Merlot and Niagara grapes.
The station encourages volunteers to help pick the grapes. The first picks of this year’s season began on May 29, and the efforts are being posted about on the city’s official social media accounts and website. The Merlot wine made from the grapes picked in August last year is also ready and will be posted about soon too.
Platforms 3 & 4
Shiojiri Tourism Association Official Website: https://tokimeguri.jp/
Travel Virtually to Japan’s City of Komoro in Nagano to See Cherry Blossoms, Soak in the Onsen & More
02.April.2020 | SPOT
Komoro Tourism Bureau has developed the new “Komoro Tourism Channel” using Voicy, a news and media site which reports spoken information online. The channel focuses on the latest information with regards to tourism in Komoro, and focuses on the city’s many different hot springs.
Komoro is a city in Nagano Prefecture. Komoro Castle is home to Kaikoen Park, which was chosen as the 100 best cherry blossom spots in Japan. The city also boasts a wide variety of onsen (hot springs) which offer amazing views and numerous different bathing experiences. Komoro Tourism Channel covers all of this and more.
Komoro is about 2-hours by car via the Nerima Interchange on Kan-etsu Expressway. It’s also accessible from Tokyo via car. You can also reach it in around 24 minutes from Karuizawa Station via Shinano Railway.
Delivering the sounds of the relaxing onsen from Komoro
Komoro has eight water sources which provide water to its hot springs. The city sits 1,400 meters above sea level, from which each of its hot springs offer breathtaking views. The podcast on the hot springs, which is in Japanese, lets you feel like you’re experiencing them from your very own home. More podcasts on Komoro are planned to be released in the future, and QR codes will be implemented are various hotels and tourist facilities in Komoro which when scanned will offer voice guides to those places.
Komoro Tourism Channel: https://voicy.jp/channel/1074
The Komoro Tourism Bureau is coming up with measures to continue promoting the city during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as Komoro Tourism Channel, it is also releasing information on its website, Twitter page, and elsewhere.
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle is a tourist hot spot in Komoro. The castle itself was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most famous castle sites. It is also famous for the castle itself being situated lower than the town around the castle. Kaikoen Park was selected as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom spots, where around 500 trees bloom Yoshino cherries, shidare-zakura, higan-zakura, and more through April every year. The “Komoro-yae-beni-share” tree is an endemic species of cherry tree to Komoro and has a deep pink colour. The park also has towering stone walls and is home to the the front castle gate.
Komoro Castle Official Website (Japanese): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/castle/
Komoro Castle Official Website (English): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/lg_en/
Starbucks to Open New Branch Along Nakamise Street in Nagano Near Zenkoji Temple
20.March.2020 | FOOD
Starbucks Coffee Japan is set to open a new branch in Japan on March 26, 2020. It will open along Nakamise-dori, a street that leads to Nagano’s famous Zenkoji Temple.
It will open as the Kōshin’etsu region’s first Starbucks Regional Landmark Storeーa Starbucks branch unique to Japan that’s built as a symbol of that area which promotes that region’s culture to customers. They enable coffee-loving visitors to discover or rediscover the wonder of a region’s history, culture, craftsmanship, and industry, while building a connection with the region through those discoveries. The branches incorporate various local design elements into them.
The new branch, called Starbucks Coffee Shinshu Zenkoji Nakamise-dori, neighbours the Niou Gate of Zenkoji Temple. It’s a place where you can sit down with a delicious cup of coffee and relax while feeling the history of the place. The coffee shop’s design and decor also takes inspiration from local history and culture, their concept behind “Busy and Quiet, Light and Dark.” It’s situated a little away from the hustle and bustle of Nakamise-dori, and houses two spacious floors.
The sliding doors and skylight let in a soft light which also casts shadows in places, mimicking the beauty of shade found in a Japanese-style house. The ceiling and walls at the entrance are made from Japanese red pine, while the bar uses five different types of wood from Nagano Prefecture like hornbeam and katsura. The stone lanterns which were in the original building have been put at the entrance, and the great beams on the second floor have been left as they are. All of this preserves the feeling of the local region while small Starbucks touches are added here and there, resulting in a unique Starbucks experience.
Starbucks Coffee Shinshu Zenkoji Nakamise-dori
Grand Opening: March 26, 2020
Address: 483 Motoyoshicho, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 7:00-21:00
No Fixed Holidays
Starbucks Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/