Travel Q&A: Best Ways to Enjoy Summertime in Japan

24.July.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Japan is noted for is distinct season changes. Every time a new season rolls in, people change their outfit colours, and stores sell products related to the season.

 

Summertime in Japan runs through July and August. We’ve compiled a list of things you should get involved in during the summer season when you arrive in the land of the rising sun.

 

Natsumatsuri

The natsumatsuri, or ‘summer festival’ is an important part of the summer experience in Japan. Throughout July and August many exciting festivals take place up and down the country. Most take place annually and are a time to celebrate shrine deities, the four seasons, and history. There are even festivals that take place across several days.

Summer festivals mean the yatai start rolling out, or food stalls, where they sell freshly made hot takoyaki, sweet desserts and more. Buying something from a yatai and strolling around while eating is one of the best parts of a Japanese summer festival. It’s also fun to see the food being prepared on hot iron plates right in front of you.

There are other yatai beside food carts too. There’s lots of game stalls where you can try scooping a goldfish or have a hand at yo-yo fishing. For these two games you use a poi which has a thin piece of paper attached, or a fish hook, to try and catch your own gold fish or water balloon respectively. Whatever you can scoop up you get to take home. These games are enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

 

Summer festivals are held all around the country and all have their own unique charms, so make sure to look up if the city or town you’re visiting is holding any. It’s an opportunity to experience a Japanese tradition, so if you’re going to Japan in summer then don’t miss out.

 

Firework Festivals

During firework festivals people dress up in yukata and go to watch the sky light up beautifully with their friends, families or lovers. These are another special part of Japanese summers. Firework festivals are held all around Japan and each have their own unique themes and captivating fireworks. Feel part of the fun by getting yourself a yukata and heading to one!

 

 

Beer Gardens

You can’t have a summer without a cold refreshing beer! When you think of places to drink in Japan, izakaya tend to be the standard option, but why don’t you try something a little different? Beer gardens in Japan are often held on rooftops during the summer where people drink and eat great food with friends and family.

 

MMN

Shaved Ice

Kakigori, or ‘shaved ice’ is a summer pastime in Japan which sees ice shaven thinly and topped with sweet syrup or honey. They’re the perfect combatant to the hot weather. More recently you often see shaved ice in Japan topped with fruit, and the number of strange and unique flavours has been on the rise.

 

We hope you enjoyed our list. Be sure to make use of it and have the best summer in Japan!

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  • 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!

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  • 【Travel Q&A】Step-By-Step Guide to Praying Etiquette at Japanese Shrines & Temples

    31.December.2017 | SPOT

    Visiting shrines and temples is one of the must-do activities when visiting Japan to really experience the traditional culture. But did you know there are certain rules to follow when praying at a shrine? But do not worry, it’s actually quite simple. We will walk you through the process step by step so you know exactly what to do when you arrive at a shrine or temple during your trip to Japan.

     

    1:Shrines? Temples? What’s the difference?

    浅草寺

    First of all, let’s clear up the difference between a shrine and a temple. Temples came from countries such as China and India to spread Buddhism. They are places to worship Buddha and are installed with statues of Buddha. Buddhist monks live to spread the teachings of Buddhism. Inside the temples are bhikkhu (monks), bhikkhuni (female monks), temple masters and more who enshrine the image of Buddha.

     

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

     

     

    日枝神社

    On the other hand, shrines originated from primitive, scared altars such as “iwakura” (sacred rocks) and other places where the gods are said to live – places where people cannot enter. They were temporarily erected during special occasions. Shrines that you see today were not originally a permanent structure. Their origin is different from those of temples that came from abroad. Shrines originated in Japan and their history there goes back further than Buddhism, making them much different from temples.

    Related article:Visit Temples and Shrines, and Collect Goshu-in!

     

     

    2:So, how do I pray?

    There are several steps to follow when praying at a temple or shrine in Japan. These steps may also differ from temple to shrine, so be sure to check properly before starting.

     

    Shrines & Temples

    お祈り

    Praying

    The general starting point is to throw some money into the offertory box. Most people throw in a ¥5 coin. This is because “5 yen” in Japanese is pronounced “go-en,” which is a homophone with the word for “good luck” (ご縁).

     

    Bell

    If there’s a bell positioned above the offertory box, then be sure to ring it by shaking it back and forth. This is done to call the gods to the shrine.

     

    Can I take photos

    Many places will not allow you to take photos. Be sure to check thoroughly whether there is a warning sign or not. Even if you see people taking photos, make sure to check for yourself.

     

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

     

    Shrines & Temples

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    “Temizuya”

    The first thing you’ll find when arriving at a shrine and many temples is the “temizuya” (water purification basin). This is where you wash your hands and rinse your mouth to cleanse yourself before praying.

     

    There are several steps to follow:

    1) Hold the ladle with your right hand and wash your left hand – then do the opposite.

    2) Take the ladle with your right hand and scoop some water. Pour the water into your left hand and rinse your mouth with it. Make sure to never bring the ladle to your mouth. Spit the water next to the fountain, never directly back into it.

    3) With the ladle still in your right hand, rinse your left hand one last time. Done.

     

    Praying at a shrine – bowing and clapping

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

     

    Temples

    Praying at a temple – bowing

    1. Perform a light bow, throw your money into the offertory box and ring the bell.
    2. Bring your hands to the front of your chest, pray, and perform a final light bow.

     

    What’s the best way to tell if you’ve come to a shrine or temple, I hear you asking? If you passed under a “tori” on your way in, you’re at a shrine. They’re usually red and look like big gates with two main pillars. If you passed under a “sanmon,” you’re at a temple. These are often complete with a roof and look like mini-temples in their own right. The praying process at shrines and temples are much different so be sure to check where you are first!

     

    Temples

    Incense

    Some temples have an incense holder stationed outside, where you can purchase your own bundle of “osenko” (incense) to burn. If you’re lighting your own incense, be sure to put out the fire by hand and never blow it out. But before you do, make sure you wave some of that incense smoke onto you as it’s said to have healing powers! If there’s a weak part of your body, too, then be sure to try it out.

     

     

    3:What’s a “Goshuin”?

    御朱印

    Goshuin

    The must-do popular thing right now is collecting “goshuin” (red seal stamps). These stamps are given at shrines and temples to show that you have visited those places. In addition to the shrines’ and temples’ unique seals, specially trained writers will write the name of the shrine or temple, the date at which you visited and sometimes other information, all in calligraphic writing. One of the reasons for the goshuin popularity is for the artistry behind it all as the penmanship and designs are different depending on which place you visit. Whether you visit the same place twice or just the date is being written for you, each and every goshuin entry has its own unique characteristics and feeling put into the characters depending on the person writing for you, meaning your entry will be the only one of its kind in the world. You will require a goshuin stamp book to receive a stamp entry. They are sold at many of the popular shrines and temples.

    穴守稲荷神社

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

     

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

     

    Was our guide useful? We hope you use it for reference when visiting shrines and temples in Japan.

     

    MMN will continue to answer questions related to Japan and Japanese culture. If you have any questions about Japan then be sure to hit us up on our Facebook page!

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  • Travel Q&A: Japanese Sento Bath Houses & 6 Recommended Ones in Tokyo

    04.November.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Sento have a different atmosphere compared to Onsen, or “hot springs” in Japan, and we’re here to explain what exactly that is.

     

    1: What’s a “Sento”?

    銭湯

    Sento are public baths located in the towns and cities of Japan whereas the Onsen is a spa where people can relax. One of the big differences between Onsen and Sento is the water. Onsen use hot water from hot spring sources and so the water contains natural ingredients. Sento on the other hand use tap water heated using a gas boiler or firewood. Sento also usually come as an old and traditional-styled electric bath or an outdoor-style bath. They are generally cheaper than Onsen.

     

    2: What should I be aware of in a Sento?

    Sento are used by people of all ages, so it is also called a “public bath.” There are some important rules to be aware of when using them.

     

    The first thing is getting naked. You must first take off all your clothes before entering the bathroom. This is a basic rule in Japan. You can take a washcloth with you to both hide your private parts and to wash with. Before you soak in the bath, you must first wash and rinse your body. And remember to never put your washcloth in the bath, and of course that also means you cannot wash your clothes in the Sento. Use the basin a chair to clean yourself and then return them put to their original place for the next person to use. When you enter the dressing room after bathing, you need to wipe your body with your washcloth so as to prevent getting the dressing room floor from becoming wet.

     

    3: How much is the entrance fee to a Sento?

    Sento prices are fixed everywhere. Those ages 12+ pay ¥460, 6-12 pay  ¥180 and under 6’s pay ¥80.

     

    4: I need more information!

    If you want to know more information about Sentos, you should check out the Tokyo Sento Association website here: http://www.1010.or.jp

    You can also check out the rules of using Onsen here: http://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/ja/70040

     

    5: What are some recommended Sentos in Tokyo?

    Let’s take a look at 6 different Sento in Tokyo.

     

    Yuya Wagokoro Yoshinoyu (Suginami Ward, Tokyo)

     


    This Sento has a modern, fashionable and traditional Japanese “wa” style. There are both inside and outside baths as well as a sauna available to use in both the women and men’s bath for an additional fee. In the outside bath, there are carbonated springs, tubo-yu, and a cold water bath. Tubo-yu has a good effect on your skin and is great for stiff shoulders and and lower back pains.

     

    ■Information

    Yuya Wagokoro Yoshinoyu

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

    Hours:13:30~22:00

    Holiday:Monday

    TEL:03-3315-1766

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

     

    Shimizuyu (Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo)

    This is a very fashionable Sento. Its guests are often fashionable young people and business people. All water in this here is soft water and has a high concentration of carbonated springs. Silk baths are available too. They serve draft beer, Belgian beer, ice cream and snacks. They also sell towels, lotions and underwear so you can go there practically empty-handed.

     

    ■Information

    Shimizuyu

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

    Hours: Monday to Friday12:00〜24:00

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

    Holiday:Friday

    TEL:03-3401-4404

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

     

     

    Tenjinyu (Shimbamba Station, Tokyo)


    This Sento was renewed in 2009 and designed by specialised designers. It is a space where you can feel comfortable and calm with its warm interior decorations and lighting. The most popular bath is the “Kuroyu” which uses hot water pumped up from 100 meters underground. Ingredients from the Paleozoic era are melted in the water. That plus a multitude of minerals makes it good for making your skin look beautiful. Experts say that the water is one of the 3 most densest Japan.

     

    ■Information

    Tenjinyu

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

    Opening time:15:00 ~ 24:30

    Holiday:Friday

    TEL:03-3471-3562

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

     

    Minatoyu (Hatchobori, Tokyo)

    The bathroom uses dark stones and tiles, so it has a luxurious feeling and calm atmosphere. Just above the bathtub is a colonnade making the atmosphere is very open. The water in the bathtub uses soft water. There’s an electric bath, a silk bath and 2 kinds of saunas.

     

    ■Information

    Minatoyu

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

    Opening time:15:00~24:30

    Holiday:Saturday

    TEL:03-3551-0667

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

     

    Isshinyu (Shin-koiwa Station, Tokyo)

     


    The highlight of this Sento is the lovely tile picture on the bathroom wall. In the women’s bathroom there is a mosaic tile depicting animals carrying a Japanese shrine known as a “mikoshi.” It was originally designed to make the children there feel happy. There are two big bathtubs: the circular bathtub is a bubble bath, and the square bathtub has water pillows (like a water bed!).

     

    ■Information

    Isshinyu

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

    Opening time:15:30~22:30

    Holiday:Monday

    TEL:03-3651-6313

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

     

    Saitoyu (Nippori Station, Tokyo)

    This Sento has bath water that has a good effect on skin making it popular with female customers. There are beer servers in the Sento, so you can enjoy sipping a refreshing beer after taking a bath. There are five different baths including a high concentration artificial carbonated spring bath, a water bath, an electric bath, a high temperature bath, and an outside bath.

     

    ■Information

    Saitoyu

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

    Opening time:14:00~23:30

    Holiday:Friday

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

     

    How did you like our Q&A about Sento? A visit to a Sento is a must if you really want to “soak in” Japanese culture!

  • 【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)♪

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  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】Where can I buy cigarettes in Japan? Q&As regarding cigarettes

    16.October.2017 | SPOT

    Below are the rules and information RE: cigarettes in Japan.

     

    1:Are Japanese cigarettes expensive?

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    The price of ordinary cigarettes in Japan is about 30% of cigarettes in the U.S. The cheapest cigarettes in Japan are around 200 yen and the most expensive ones are around 480 yen.

     

    2:Where can I buy cigarettes?

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    They can be bought at super markets and convenience stores. Also, you can by cigarettes using vending machines. However, you need a special card called “Taspo” and identification in order to use a cigarette vending machines.

     

    3: What is the age limit for smoking in Japan?

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    People older than 20 years old can smoke cigarettes in Japan. Make sure to carry a photo included identification such as passport since some stores will want to confirm your age before selling you cigarettes.

     

    4:Where can I smoke cigarettes?

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    I’m sure that there are a lot of foreign people who think they can smoke anywhere. But some districts in Japan prohibit smoke while walking. However, ever since this law was established, the number of smoking spaces has increased and almost all the stations in Japan have smoking spaces near the ticket gates so don’t worry! Also, you can find many smoking spaces inside shopping malls, and beside convenience stores and vending machines.

     

    Was our Q&A article helpful? Make sure to abide by the rules noted above when you smoke in Japan.

    MMN will continue answering your questions, so if you have anything you want to ask or need more information on something then just drop us a message on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Facebook page and we will be happy to help! https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】What are the rules you should remember when you take a bath in Japan? Q&As regarding staying at inns or having a bath at home

    13.October.2017 | SPOT

    Below are the rules you should remember when you visit inns or your friend’s house in Japan.

     

    1: Why do I have to take my shoes off before entering a house?

    靴

    You will see shoes lined up neatly when you visit your friend’s home in Japan. This means that first-off, you have to take off your shoes before entering the house! In Japan, the custom is to take your shoes off when entering a home. This custom has existed for many years in Japan. Japanese people in the past ate their meals while sitting on tatami mats and slept on the same tatami mats. (Some people still prefer to sleep on the floor.) Because of this custom Japanese people want to have clean floors in their homes. It is now common to use a dining table and beds but this custom which has been passed down over many years will not be changed so easily. So try to become accustomed to wearing no shoes in a home while you are staying in Japan.

     

     

    2: Slippers in toilets? Why?

    すりっぱ

    Japanese people tend to think toilets are a special space separated from the other rooms in the house and thus they prepare special “toilet slippers.” Please note that you should wear these slippers while you are inside the toilet. Also, many restaurants in Japan have special “toilet slippers,” so use these when you enter the toilet. In addition, be sure to take your “toilet slippers” off when you leave the toilet.

     

    3: What are the rules for using tatami rooms?

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    Many ryokans (Japanese inns) have tatami-mat rooms. Japanese people are very particular about cleanliness so do not forget to take off your slippers before entering a tatami room.

     

    4:What should I be aware of when I use a hot spring?

    温泉

    Below are the rules you must keep in mind when you use a hot spring bath in Japan.

     

    1) Being naked in a hot spring bath is nothing unusual.

    Take off your clothes before using a hot spring and put them in one of the lockers provided. If you are embarrassed about becoming naked in front of strangers, use a towel to hide your personal spots. You must get used to being naked because using bathing suits in a hot spring is prohibited.

     

    2) Wash your body

    The first thing you will see as soon as you enter a hot spring bath are mirrors all lined up. Take a small seat and sit in front of one of the mirrors. It is prohibited to take a bath without washing your body! Be sure to scrub down and get clean before soaking in the bath!

     

    3) Now, let’s take a bath!

    Hot springs in Japan have many effects such as skin-cleansing effect and nerve pain/back ache relieving effect. Be careful because some hot springs are quite hot. Also, keep in mind that you must not put your towel in the bath water.

     

     

    Was our Q&A article helpful? MMN will continue answering your questions, so if you have anything you want to ask or need more information on something then just drop us a message on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Facebook page and we will be happy to help! https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

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  • Travel Japan: Turtle Rock, Oshinkoshin Waterfall & Other Must-Visit Sites in Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula

    18.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and is the northernmost location in Japan to have been so. Even in a place such as Hokkaido, which strikes all with its marvellous natural landscape, Shiretoko is said to be home to many secluded locations. Many of these have not been touched by the hands of man―they have been left as they are―and so one can discover sights, animals and much more that they cannot anywhere else.

     

    We are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts her experiences travelling to Hokkaido’s many sightseeing spots located in pockets of nature. She has provided us with photos of her trip to the Shiretoko Peninsula and its must-see spots.

     

    The Shiretoko Five Lakes

    The Shiretoko Five Lakes are situated inside an old-growth forest from which you can admire the grand Shiretoko mountain range in the back. Many wild animals live here such as the brown bear and black woodpecker. The view is one would expect from a World Heritage Site, with gorgeous scenery to soak up in every direction.

     

    ▶︎The Shiretoko Five Lakes

    Address: Onnebetsumura, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

    Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

    Cape Chashikotsu, located on the Utoronishi side, can be seen from Shari and looks just like a giant turtle which is where it gets its nickname “Turtle Rock” from.

     

    ▶︎Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

    Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

     

    Oshinkoshin Waterfall

    Oshinkoshin Waterfall is listed as one of Shiretoko’s “8 Sights.” This towering waterfall rolls down the rocks and splits into two separate waterfalls halfway down which has given it the nickname “Two Beautiful Falls.” The are stairs that enable you to walk beside the waterfall halfway up, letting you get nice and close to the water. There is also an observation deck atop the waterfall from which you can see many sights such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Shiretoko mountain range. The waterfall is also listed as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls.

     

    ▶︎Oshinkoshin Waterfall

    Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

    The Road To Heaven

    This long stretch of road spans 18km and has been dubbed the “Road To Heaven” as when observed from uphill looks like it disappears into the clouds. Situated on one side of the farmlands, one can enjoy a quiet and breathtaking view of the road. It’s also a popular road with bikers and travellers riding bicycles. It’s also a must-see from the observation deck close by.

     

    ▶︎The Road To Heaven (Japanese Name: 天に続く道)

    Address: Minehama, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? There are countless places to visit in Japan, and some of the best are the quiet, secluded ones. If you get the opportunity to visit Hokkaido, put the Shiretoko Peninsula on your list of must-visit places.

  • Top 4 Must-Visit Places in Ishikawa to Keep Cool This Summer – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    17.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Ishikawa Prefecture was formerly split between Kaga Province and Noto province and is still sometimes thought of as two peas in a pod. What was once Kaga Province in the now southern part of Ishikawa consists of six cities and towns including Kaga, Komatsu, Nomi, Kawakita, Hakusan, and Nonoichi.

     

    Kaga Province is home to many waterfall spots widely known as great places for keeping cool in the hot sun. Providing as great sightseeing experiences, one can bask in the negative ions of the waterfalls and overcome the summer scorch.

     

    Watagataki Waterfall

    Watagadaki gets its name from its appearance which is likened to falling torn cotton (wata being the Japanese word for the material). You will arrive right next to the waterfall when you descend down the path beside it, at which its great tumbling sound will fill you with a feeling reminding you that you are enveloped in nature.

     

    ▶︎Watagataki Waterfall (綿ヶ滝)

    Address: 1-4 Shimoyoshitanimachi, Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 076-274-9544 (Hakusan Tourist Centre)

    Access: 50-minutes south of Japan National Route 157 via Hakusan Interchange / 60-minutes from Kanazawa Station

     

    Nanatsudaki Falls

    Nanatsudaki Falls is comprised of seven smaller waterfalls which it gets its name from. It has long been a place of worship. Six of the waterfalls are found upstream, where the water rolls beautifully over the rocks which have formed over tens of thousands of years as a result of the movement of the earth’s crust. The surrounding trees boast lush green verdure or red and yellow autumnal leaves depending on the season, offering different spectacular sights to behold whatever time of the year you visit. There’s a path you can walk along where the upper six waterfalls are so you don’t have to worry about falling in!

     

    ▶︎Nanatsudaki Falls (七つ滝)

    Address: Nagatakimachi, Nomi, Ishikawa

    Enquiries: 0761-51-2308 (Nomi no Satoyama Fan Club)

    Access: 25-minutes by car from Nomi-Neagari interchange

     

    Tsuruga Falls

     

    The water at Tsuruga Falls flows down five levels, and the biggest waterfall at the back splits into two separate waterfalls. Collectively the waterfalls tower up 30 meters high which is an incredible sight to see when up close. Tsuruga Falls gets its name from the splitting waterfall at the back which is said to look like the legs of a crane.

     

    ▶︎Tsuruga Falls (鶴ヶ滝)

    Address: Yamanakaonsen Aratanimachi, Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 0761-78-0330 (Yamanaka Onsen Tourist Association)

    Access: 15-minutes by car from Yamanaka Onsen Bus Terminal

     

    Junigataki Waterfalls

     

    The name origin of Junigataki Waterfalls lies in its twelve separate falls which flow from the Gotani River. The incredible crashing sound of the water cannot be put into words; it’s an overwhelming spectacle that will have you wanting to go back more than once. In summertime it’s common to see families and young people playing in the water from up at the top of the waterfall down to the lake below. The waterfalls are a quite a distance from the city of Komatsu, but there are roads that lead right to it so it’s very accessible.

     

    ▶︎Junigataki Waterfalls

    Address: Nunohashimachi, Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 0761-22-4111 (Komatsu City Hall)

    Access: 45-minutes by car from JR Komatsu Station

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? If you’re in Japan this summer visiting Ishikawa then be sure to pay a trip to one of Ishikawa’s many waterfalls to cool yourself off.

  • Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly

    13.August.2019 | FOOD

    XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA. 

     

    These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels. 

    As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.

     

    *Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline. 

     

    To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ¥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD). 

     

    To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ¥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:

    #旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク

    Four winners will be selected.

     

    Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea. 

  • Seafood Heaven at Shizuoka’s New Restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo

    11.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Atami Ginza Shopping District in Shizuoka’s seaside city of Atami is enjoying a new boom of bustling customers this year, and they’re sure to continue pouring in with the opening of its new seafood entertainment restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo. The eatery opened its grand doors on August 8, offering fresh, flavourful seafood dishes. In the evenings, the restaurant turns into Osakana Sakaba where they serve gorgeous sake.

    Atami is home to many fishing harbours, including those in Ajiro, Izuyama, and Hatsushima. Atami’s waters are a treasure trove of sea life, offering a bounty of seafood such as mackerel, salmon, shrimp, Splendid alfonsino, shellfish, and more.

    The restaurant uses a previously vacant building which has been renovated for the opening. Their menu concept is “Atami nostalgia” which will fuse together traditional Atami food with new spins. Food is prepared in an open kitchen in a variety of ways including sashimi, grilled, steamed, and so on.

    Splendid Alfonsino Rice Bowl – ¥2,780 (Before Tax)

    The absolute must-try on their menu is their Splendid alfonsino rice bowl. It’s topped generously with huge cuts of horse mackerel, mackerel, and Splendid alfonsino, all caught fresh from neighbouring harbours.

    The restaurant also serves the ginormous Japanese spider crab which is a local speciality in the city of Izu. They are kept fresh in tanks in the restaurant. In the evening, when the restaurant turns into a bar, you can have this crab served however you like: as sashimi, grilled, or even steamed. As well as fresh seafood, they also serve vegetables and other meat, all sourced locally. Tofu, desserts and other food is too.

     

    Japan is known for its exquisite seafood. If you’re travelling to Shizuoka this summer, be sure you pay a visit to the new Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo.

  • 4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer

    10.August.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.

     

    If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.

     

    Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties

    This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”

     

    ▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)

    Date: August 11, 2019

    Time: From 19:30
    Location: Hozubashi Bridge
    Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/

     

    Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine

    Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.

     

    ▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Katsura River
    Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/

     

    Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years

    Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival.  Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.

    Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.

     

    ▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Shimasaki Park
    Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/

     

    Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay

    Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.

     

    ▼Ine Fireworks

    Date: August 24, 2019

    Time: 20:15

    Location: Ine, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/

     

     

    Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.

  • Stay Cool This Summer in Kyoto at These 4 Nature Spots

    09.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    When talking about seasons in Kyoto, a lot of people are sure to point towards autumn when the leaves turn fiery red and sun yellow. But did you know that in Kyoto enjoys cool and truly beautiful summers?

     

    If you’re in the old capital this summer, or are planning to catch the sun there with a trip next year, then you’ll want to add the 4 spots in this list into your schedule, each abloom with magical foliage and verdure.

     

    We are joined by Macchan, a Japanese Instagrammer who snaps photos of sightseeing spots around Kyoto lush with greenery.

     

    Giouji Temple

    Giouji Temple is a modest thatched hut wrapped in a bamboo thicket and maple trees. The temple is detailed in the epic The Tale of the Heike in which the dancer Gio fled to the temple from her home in the capital with her mother and sister after falling out of love with Taira no Kiyomori.

     

    A visit here ensures you can enjoy the summer with more than just your eyes as you listen to the dancing of the bamboo thicket and the cries of the cicadas.

     

    Giouji Temple
    Address: 32 Sagatoriimoto Kozakachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.giouji.or.jp/en

     

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple with a history spanning 1,200 years. A memorial service for those who died without kin is taking place on August 23 and 24 at the riverbed of the temple’s west wing where candles will be lit in their honour. Lanterns are also lit in the surrounding area along the streets.

     

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji

    Address: 17 Saga Toriimotoadashinocho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto

    Official Website: http://www.nenbutsuji.jp/index.html

     

    Fushimi Port Park

    Fushimi Port Park is a huge park home to a gymnasium and sumo area. They also have a hiking course. The sea does not reach here, but there is a canal which boats go up and down, and this is where the park gets its name. It has a bounty of trees and plants, so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful stroll in nature then be sure to visit.

     

    Fushimi Port Park

    Address: Yoshijima Kanaidocho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.kyoto-park.or.jp/fushimi/

     

    Kan’in-no-miya Residence

    This residence was built for and used by the Kan’in-no-miya family in 1710, with Prince Naohito as its founder―the son of Emperor Higashiyama. The family lived in the house until 1877 after which they moved to Tokyo. Following the war, it was liberated and became a park, and today it is used to exhibit photography and paintings. The residence is famous for its peach trees, making it a popular spot in spring. However, in summertime, it’s much quieter, adding grace to the tranquillity of the surrounding green landscape. What’s more is that despite it being such a prestigious location, it’s free to enter! Don’t tell too many people about this secret spot.

     

    Kan’in-no-miya Residence

    Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo War, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://kan-in-nomiya-teiato.jp/eng/

     

     

    Macchan has visited many incredible spots around Kyoto, so if you’re in need of recommendations be sure to give them a follow.

     

    Photos: @macchan358

  • Become Poop and Travel Through the Body in Kyoto’s Bizarre Exhibition

    05.August.2019 | SPOT / Uncategorized

    The Toei Kyoto Studio Park―a theme park in Kyoto modelled after the Edo period of Japan―is set to hold an exhibition from next month titled “A Bizarrely Great Adventure Through the Body” in which you can travel through a giant model of a body to learn all about faeces.

    The event is themed on the best-selling children’s book series Grossology by Sylvia Branzei which gives humorous but straightforward descriptions of bodily functions and various medical conditions.

    Stinky Poop (Unchi Kusai), the ninja mascot of the event, will join visitors on their adventure as they experience the gross potential of the human body: burps, farts, bodily odours, and more.

     

    A total of fifteen attractions will make up the event where kids and adults can discover the “secrets” of the human body.

    Sneeze Shutter

    At the Sneeze Shutter you will learn why we sneeze by firing balls―the “foreign substance” entering the nose―into the giant nostrils which will cause it to become itchy. If you can get five balls into the nose it will let out a sneeze and blown out the balls.

    The Kidney Game

    At the Kidney Game you will help deliver urea, sugar, and other materials necessary for the kidney to the blood vessels to understand how the kidney functions.

    Poop Fortune Telling

    Sit on a real toilet and a poo character will appear on the monitor to tell you your fortune that day.

    Poo Exhibition

    Learn all about poo at the display board which features lots of interesting information.

    Burp Kid

    Why do we burp when we drink fizzy beverages? Burp Kid will explain it to you.

    Take a photo with the giant poo

    At the end of your trip to the event, take a commemorative photo next to the giant poo pile and butthole.

     

    This is just a snippet of what there is to see at Kyoto’s bizarre poo exhibition. Visit to learn all about something we all do but don’t talk about!

  • Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    05.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.

     

    We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.

     

    Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower

    The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.

     

    ▼Kyoto Station

    Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/

     

    ▼Kyoto Tower

    Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)

    *Opening hours subject to change without notice

    Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/

     

     

    Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.

    Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?

     

    ▼Yasaka Shrine

    Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/

     

     

    Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.

     

    Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.

     

    ▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/

     

     

    Ninenzaka

    Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.

     

    ▼Ninenzaka

    Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/

     

     

    Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.

     

    ▼Kiyomizu-dera

    Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php

    Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/

     

    Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.

     

    Photos: Taka

  • Once Every 33 Years a Secret Door at Tenjō-ji Temple in Kobe is Opened

    04.August.2019 | SPOT

    The Buddhist temple Tenjō-ji is located on Mount Maya at the heart of the mountainous area of Mount Rokko. This month, something very special is happening at the temple. An elusive door housed there is opened only once every 33 years, and this month from August 1 to 15, it is open.

    Tenjō-ji is the only temple in Japan that has a building dedicated to Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha. Its long history begins with Hōdō Sennin, an Indian high priest who build the temple at the behest of Emperor Kōtoku. In Japan, Maya-bunin is worshipped as as symbol of easy childbirth and child-rearing. Mount Maya, the mountain on which Tenjō-ji sits, is named after her.

    Mount Maya, located in Kobe’s Nada ward, is a 702 meter tall mountain and one of the major peaks of Rokkō Mountains. It is close to the town areas of Kobe, and from the mountain peak one can see Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and more, making it a popular tourist destination. It’s also frequented by Kobe locals who visit with their families to eat bento, as well as couples looking to catch a glimpse at the gorgeous nightscape atop the mountain apex.

    Inside the secret door now open at the temple until August 15 are three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. This is very much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan right now, you won’t want to miss this extremely special occasion. If you do, you’ll have to wait another 33 years!

     

    While it is open there will be talks and faith healing by the priests three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), exclusive celebratory merchandise, limited-time goshuin stamps, and more.

  • Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700

    04.August.2019 | BUSINESS / SPOT

    NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.

    Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.

    The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.

    The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.

    There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.

    OHYA 1

    From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.

    The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.

    All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to  get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.

     

    A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.

     

    If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?

  • Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour

    31.July.2019 | SPOT

    Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.

     

    Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’

    Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.


    This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.

     

    Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.

  • Visiting Hakone? Pick Up A Freshly Baked Hakone Basque Cheesecake

    29.July.2019 | FOOD

    A brand new Basque Cheesecake shop called Hakone Cheese Terrace opened on July 26th. The carefully balanced rich flavour and smooth texture of these cheesecakes makes them the perfect Hakone souvenir! Basque cheesecake is a type of burnt cheesecake that originated from Basque, Spain.

    Hakone is home to a large number of Japan’s popular tourist spots as well as relaxing hot springs and beautiful nature. Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, Hakone has an extraordinary atmosphere which will heal both your body and mind. Hakone Cheese Terrace opened to enhance the appeal of the nature surrounding Hakone resorts and to contribute to the fascinating culture of the area. 

    The basque cheesecake comes in a mini cup so customers can enjoy this delicious treat while on the go exploring the local area. This is also the perfect souvenir size.

    The cheesecakes at Hakone Cheese Terrace are made mostly from locally sourced ingredients. For a creamy, fresh taste, milk sourced from the south of Hakone is combined with high-quality cream cheese. An original recipe blend is used for a rich flavour and smooth texture.

    The cheesecakes are baked fresh at the shop so you can enjoy your cheesecake at its most delicious stage. Rock salt, black pepper and soy sauce are available as toppings for customers to discover a new flavour.

     

    Come enjoy the flavours of Hakone to your heart’s content at Hakone Cheese Terrace

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