Travel Q&A: Best Ways to Enjoy Summertime in Japan
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Travel Q&A: 10 Rules & On-the-House Services at Japanese Restaurants
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
【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?
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.
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
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).
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.
Shrines & Temples
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
- Come before the shrine, perform a light bow and ring the bell.
- Toss your money into the offertory box.
- Perform 2 deeper bows (30°-45° angle), bring your hands to the front of your chest, pray, then clap twice.
- Finally, bow deeply one last time, and you’re done!
Praying at a temple – bowing
- Perform a light bow, throw your money into the offertory box and ring the bell.
- 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!
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”?
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.
We have an article about collecting cute goshuin on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON website so be sure to check it out!
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!
Travel Q&A: Japanese Sento Bath Houses & 6 Recommended Ones in Tokyo
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”?
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)
＼＼\\٩( ‘ω’ )و //／／
— ゆ家和ごころ♡吉の湯 (@yoshinoyu1010) 2017年7月13日
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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).
・ Press the PASMO button.
・Choose the amount you want to charge and insert the cash.
・ 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?
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)♪
【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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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/
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA x my route Launch Collaborative Campaign
Japanese company @YOKOHAMA is helping to promote the regional development of Yokohama by collaborating with GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA using the multimodal mobility service app “my route” with the launch of a campaign.
The campaign is taking place for residents of Yokohama, running from February 8 to 28. All people need to do is download and open the app and fill out the form. Fifty lucky people will have the chance to win a free ticket to GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA, an amusement park themed on the popular Gundam franchise.
my route is an app that lets users search for the most affordable way to travel as well as letting them book and buy tickets. @YOKOHAMA’s portal site is also now linked to the app, offering information about local stores, events, and other information regarding Yokohama.
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA Collaboration Download Campaign
Running: February 8 – 28 2021
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA
Open: December 19, 2020 – March 31, 2022
Location: Yokohama, Yamashita Futo
Address: 279-25, Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Access: Minato Mirai Line
7-minute walk from Motomachi-Chukagai Station (Minatomirai Line)
Yokohama BAYSIDE BLUE Bus: 3-minute walk from Yamashitafuto Bus Stop
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA Official Website: https://gundam-factory.net/
Special Edition Website: https://www.at-yokohama.net/topics/article20210208_02.html
Made in OME: Japan’s Millennials Promote Micro Tourism Project For Ome in Tokyo
29.January.2021 | SPOT
Ome—a city located in western Tokyo that’s about an hour’s train ride from the populous Shinjuku. It’s a place enjoyed by many for its hiking and river swimming locales, as well as its architecture, in which one can still feel the influences of Japan’s Edo period, and kindness of the locals.
MATINOEKI OUME, an Ome-based company, recently launched its “Made in OME” project which aims to revitalise the city. The project will create a new kind of Ome through the eyes of the millennial generation. Its goal is to polish and refine the appealing aspects of Ome to offer up new tourism opportunities while bringing in new fans to the city.
Made in OME’s first step towards that is teaming up with DJ and YouTuber Yuna Yabe and illustrator and streamer MIOCHIN, two models signed to ASOBISYSTEM who will represent the millennial generation as the navigators of this journey as they participate in workshops with local producers and manufacturers, developing a variety of products such as sweets made with ingredients from Ome, like baumkuchen and chocolate rolls, and more.
You can catch their activity live over on MIOCHIN’s official Instagram page. Visit Made in OME’s official website below for more details.
The two of them will host a free ‘monitor tour’ on February 21, 2021. These monitor tours aim to have people developing a strong relationship with new products from Ome. Participants will learn about the history and culture of Ome via local producers and manufacturers with products such as sake and indigo dyeing. Made in OME plants to expand their range of tourist monitor tours in the future.
Local Ome residents will also be invited to the tour in the evening of the same day. Learn all there is to know about Ome at Made in OME’s website which is available in English, Japanese, and Chinese.
MATINOEKI OUME opened in November 2016. Its focus is on livening up the city of Ome and getting more people to learn about its wonders by offering information on famous tourist spots, stocking a bounty of local products, and more.
MATINOEKI OUME Official Website: https://www.matinoeki-oume.com/
FANCL Ginza Square Opens Onsen Hot Spring That You Can Walk Into Wearing Your Clothes
22.January.2021 | SPOT
FANCL has brought the hot spring experience to its flagship site FANCL Ginza Square for a limited time with a variety of content that makes visitors feel like they’ve come to a Japanese onsen. The experience, named Tabi Suru Square Yu, is running until February 11, 2021.
Café au Lait / Fruit au Lait / Soy Milk Aojiru – ¥300 Each
Reiwa Honzen (FANCL Ginza Square Floor 9F)
Lunch Sana Winter Seafood Bento | ¥3,500
Winter Dinner Seafood Course | From ¥9,000
FANCL BROWN RICE MEALS (FANCL Ginza Square Floor B1F)
Hiroshima Oyster & Spinach Risotto Parmesan Cheese Galette Lunch Set | ¥1,850
Tomato Cream Pasta Lunch Set ¥1,850
Original Hand Towel
FANCL Ginza Square Onsen Essentials Set | ¥3,668
Breathing exercises at SUU-HAKU
At Tabi Suru Square Yu, visitors can enter a room that fully recreates the experience of being in a hot spring. The room is set at the same temperature, is filled with the same aromas, and is decorated in the same way. Visitors sit on one of the relaxation sheets to soak up the experience – effectively getting into a hot spring without having to change their clothes.
A variety of classic drinks and dishes sold at hot springs in Japan will also be sold, and visitors can get involved in the breathing exercises on offer.
YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN: Japan’s First Permanent Inner-City Cable Car Opens in April
20.January.2021 | SPOT
Japan is set to get its first ever permanent city cable car in Yokohama on April 22 called the YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN.
The YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN is a cable car system that will offer locals and tourists a chance to enjoy Yokohama from a new perspective whether during the hot summers or during the cool evenings when the city lights wake up.
The system will be connected directly to Sakuragichō Station and Shinko Pier for easy, quick access to enjoy Yokohama Minato Mirai from up high.
If you’re planning a trip to Yokohama at some point, be sure to take a ride on YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN, officially opening on April 22, 2021.
YOKOHAMA AIR CABIN
Opening: April 22, 2021
Operating Hours: 10:00-22:00
Price: General ¥1,000 / Children ¥500
Hoshino Resorts BANTA CAFE Releases Video of Magical Beachside Illuminations
19.January.2021 | SPOT
The incredible beachside Hoshino Resorts BANTA CAFE, which offers guests a breathtaking ocean view along the Okinawan coast, released a video on the official Hoshino Resorts YouTube page showcasing the cafe’s ongoing illumination event, “Illumi Banta,” which is running until February 28, 2021. Guests can enjoy some limited-time menu options and then take a romantic stroll along the beach with a warm lantern in hand.
Okinawa is known for its warm climate, rarely dipping below 15°C in the chilly season of winter. There are many celebratory days enjoyed every year around Christmas and New Years, and so BANTA CAFE decided to get in on the action with Illumi Banta, which has been running since December 1 last year—while following the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to ensure everyone stays safe. The spacious cafe is mostly outdoors so visitors can enjoy their time without worry.
A seat at the cafe in on a clear evening guarantees a front row seat to a beautiful orange sunset that sinks into the horizon. Normally, the cafe closes as sunset arrives, but for this event, opening hour have been extended into the night.
BANTA CAFE is located in the village of Yomitan where the beautiful ocean is surrounded by coral reef, enormous rocks, and a rich natural environment. It’s a must-visit if travelling to Okinawa.
Running: December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021 (Except February 1st-5th)
Time: 18:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)
Address: 560 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 10:00 to one hour after sunset (from 08:00 on weekends and holidays)
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/en/
Nagasaki’s 112 Year Old Hotel Nampuro Opens Terraces With Panoramic Ocean and Sky Views
19.January.2021 | SPOT
The 112-year-old Hotel Nampuro in Nagasaki is set to open the new Sky Terrace and Ocean Terrace this month. These vistas offer breathtaking, unbroken views of the sea and sky that make it feel as if you’re floating on the ocean with rolling skies ahead that stretch to the horizon.
Observation Terrace (1)
Observation Terrace (2)
Infinity Pool-Style Open-Air Bath
Beautifying Bubble Baths
Jacuzzi Bath (Male Only)
Hinoki Sauna & Steam Sauna
Iyashi Onsen Cafe
Rental Open-Air Bath
The observation terrace offers an incredible panoramic view of the great Ariake Sea that offers a picturesque spectacle at all times of the day. Guests can enjoy seeing the morning, noon, and night skies which merge together with the ocean for an unbeatable result. There’s also a “no talking” rule on the terrace so guests can fully soak up what’s in front of them as they take a luxirous soak in the warm baths.
The infinity pool-style open-air bath offers a refreshing view while making it seem as if you are part of the ocean. The silky bath uses delicate micro bubbles which become an air cushion and promote good blood circulation using massage. The jacuzzi bath relaxes the entire body with stimulating bubbles, while the children’s bath allows kids to get in on the fun too. Both saunas are a change to unwind fatigue and the tired body. The steam sauna is set at a lower temperature than your usual high-temperature dry sauna which ensures it doesn’t have as much strain on the body so guests can sweat it out comfortably. The freshly-brewed coffee available at the hot spring is also exclusive to the hotel’s Onsen Cafe.
Hotel Nampuro Observation Terraces – Sky Terrace & Ocean Terrace
Address: 2-7331-1 Bentenmachi, Shimabara, Nagasaki
Official Website: https://www.nampuro.com/world/english/
Universal Studios Japan Announces Easter Universal Celebration 2021
13.January.2021 | SPOT
Universal Studios Japan is set to spring into Easter starting on March 12 with the announcement of Universal Easter Celebration 2021. This year, which marks the 20th anniversary since USJ opened, will see the park’s cute and iconic characters once again lull guests into an unforgettable Easter dream at Universal Wonderland and Minion Park.
Universal Easter Celebration
USJ will see colourful pastel decorations cover the Universal Wonderland and Minion Park areas, and the characters too will be dressed in their seasonal Easter costumes. A special Easter rendition of the Wonderland Seasons Joy show will also take place to commemorate the park’s 20th anniversary with song and dance.
Wonderland Seasons Joy ~Easter Ver.~
Minion Park Easter
The park will also introduced a special egg hunt after Elmo and the Minions dropped some of their eggs. If you manage to find them all you get a limited-edition gold medal. USJ is also taking the Easter festivities online too with a special celebratory live stream called Let’s Cooking! Kawaii Easter Party
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21) Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2021 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. TM & © 2021 Sesame Workshop © 2021 Peanuts Worldwide LLC TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment Universal Studios Japan TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
Universal Easter Celebration
Running: March 12, 2021 – June 27, 2021
Location: Universal Studios Japan
Official Website: https://www.usj.co.jp/web/en/us
200 Varieties of Japanese Iris to Bloom at Odawara Flower Garden
10.January.2021 | SPOT
The plum blossoms of Odawara Flower Garden, which is located in Odawara, Kanagawa, are at the height of their blossom right now. The park’s Keiryu no Baien (“Mountain Stream Plum Garden”) area boasts the largest collection of plum blossoms in Japan’s Kanto region, with 480 trees spanning 200 species.
480 individual Japanese ayame plum blossoms of 200 varieties will adorn the garden once again this year. The event has a different theme each year, with this year’s focusing on the interweaving of red and white coloured flowers on each tree branch.
Visitors will be able to see the beautiful colour combination from many different iris varieties such as the murui-shibori which sometimes sees red safflowers come to life, the wachigai which witnesses wonderful variegated flowering, the impeccably beautiful maki-tateyama, and more.
2021 Keiryu no Baien
Running: January 23, 2021 – March 7, 2021
Location: Odawara Flower Garden
Address: 3798-5 Kuno, Odawara, Kanagawa
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
*No holidays for the duration of the event – open every day
Keiryu no Baien Guide Tour
Takayuki Otsubo, the president of the garden, is also an advisor on the management of its plants. He will be offering a detailed tour for the event.
Date: February 21, 2021
Times: 10:30 / 13:30 (1 hour each)
Capacity: 30 per slot (first-come, first-served)
*Tour will be held seated indoors if it rains
Keiryu no Baien Flowers and Kimono Girls
A kimono rental and fitting service will be available at the event so visitors can take photo next to the gorgeous flowers while adorned in traditional Japanese dress.
Date: February 13, 2021
Time: 9:30-16:00 (Bookable slots)
Price: ¥3,000 (Tax/Rental/Fitting included)
No. of People: 15 (Booking required)
Bookings: By phone call by February 7, 2021
*Must be at least 140m tall
*Visitors are asked to do their own makeup
*Male kimono are available in limited quantities
The Odawara Flower Garden cafe, Cafe Hibiscus, is serving a selection of plum blossom themed meals and drinks for the festival. This includes the above-pictured new soba noodle dish, which is topped with plum pulp grown in Odawara as well as kamaboko fish cake, shrimp fritters, and spring onion. The broth in particular is worth of note which the staff went to great lengths to create. There’s also plum blossom ice cream too made with nanko plums, as well as other delicious bites.
Plum Blossom Festival Soba Noodles – ¥600 (Tax Included) / With Drink ¥700 (Tax Included)
Plum Ice Cream – ¥380 (Tax Included)
Location: Cafe Hibiscus
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:30)
*No holidays for the duration of the event – open every day
Plum Blossom Souvenirs
A selection of plum blossom-themed souvenirs will be available like umeboshi dried plum, plum jelly, and more.
Available: From early January 2021
Location: Entrance souvenir corner
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Odawara Flower Garden
Address: 3798-5 Kuno, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.seibu-la.co.jp/odawarafg/
Super Nintendo World Releases Virtual Tour of Entire Theme Park Area
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) announced last month that its highly-anticipated new Super Nintendo World area will open on February 4, 2021, which also happens to fall on the day of USJ’s 20th anniversary.
Super Nintendo World comes as the world’s first theme park area to be based around Nintendo’s characters and games, combining innovative ideas with cutting-edge technology.
With just one month left until the grand opening, USJ has launched a special website for Super Nintendo World which offers a virtual tour through each part of the new theme park area. Mario fanatics are sure to be delighted by the adornments from Bowser’s Castle to Pipes, Mushrooms, Question blocks, and more, as well as familiar faces like Goombas, Thwomps, Yoshi—the list goes on.
Accessing the site will bring you to an overview of the map. As you scroll down the website takes you on a virtual journey to each of its iconic attractions, all of which are designed to make you feel like you’re really in the world of Super Mario.
Universal Studios Japan – Super Nintendo World
Grand Opening: February 4, 2021
Virtual Tour: https://super-nintendo-world.usj.co.jp/
Official Website: https://www.usj.co.jp/web/en/us/super-nintendo-world
teamLab Reconnect Project Combines Art With the Sauna Experience in Roppongi
06.January.2021 | SPOT
Art collective teamLab has announced the opening of teamLab Reconnect: Art with Rinkan Sauna Roppongi which will run for half a year starting this March in Roppngi, Tokyo.
Since 2019, teamLab has been combining saunas with digital art to create wholly new and unique sauna experiences never before seen.
teamLab Reconnect’s aim is not to offer a luxury and high-end venue for seeing artwork, but to put visitors into a luxurious state to experience the art. Through contrast bath therapy, where visitors are placed in a hot sauna followed by cold water and then relaxation, they can open their minds and senses to a variety of artworks and in essence become part of the art itself. teamLab hopes this will enable visitors to realise their own existence―their mind, body, and environment―and in turn ‘reconnect’ with the world and time.
teamLab, 2021, Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
teamLab Reconnect will welcome a variety of new artworks based on teamLab’s new art project ‘Supernature Phenomenon’ which captures different natural phenomena in nature.
Proliferating Immense Life – A Whole Year per Year
teamLab, 2020, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
This artwork captures the life cycle of flowers. It is not a pre-recorded image that is played back; it is created by a computer program that continuously renders the work in real time. The interaction between people and the installation causes continuous change in the artwork, meaning previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur.
Since opening their sauna in Mifuneyama Rakuen in Kyushu back in 2019, which won the SAUNACHELIN two years in a row in 2019 and 2020, teamLab has gone on to create new works of sauna art such as teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live and teamLab Ruins and Heritage: Rinkan Spa & Tea Ceremony.
teamLab Reconnect: Art with Rinkan Sauna Roppongi
Location: teamLab Reconnect, 5-10-25 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Running March 2021 – August 2021
Official Website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/reconnect/
hotel androoms Announces Opening of New Kyoto Shijo Branch in March
06.January.2021 | SPOT
Solare Hotels and Resorts has announced that a new branch of hotels androoms will open in Kyoto Shijo on March 6, 2021. In the run up to its grand opening, the company has opened a website where guests can book hotels with Solare Hotels and Resorts at the cheapest possible price. The website will begin rolling out more information about each hotel on the site through the year.
hotel androoms Kyoto Shijo is located a convenient 5-minute walk from Kyoto Station’s Karasuma Line section and 7 minutes from the Central Exit in the JR section, placing it within close distance to many of Kyoto’s sightseeing spots.
The hotel offers seven different room types from standard to double to premium twin. One room can house a maximum of three people, accommodating groups and families. It also promises to be packed with a variety of exclusive services you won’t find at other hotels.
Specialty coffee by Unir Kyoto
hotel androoms Kyoto Shijo will welcome the opening of a new branch of Unir inside the hotel which serves coffee made from specially-selected coffee beans. The coffee is hand-roasted on site with baristas pouring their love and skill into every cup.
Breakfast delivered right to your room
The morning time is your time and should be used as you please without you having to rush around, so says the hotel, and so it offers a breakfast delivery service which must be booked in advance.
Relax and unwind in the modern-style baths
Those looking for a little relaxation can look forward to pushing all their stresses aside in a modern bathing area which is inspired by a cave. It’s open from 3pm-2am and again from 6am-10am.
If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto and want a hotel with easy access to all the hot spots then be sure to consider hotel androoms Kyoto Shijo.
hotel androoms Kyoto Shijo
730 Ebisunocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Book Here (English): https://www.hotel-androoms.com/en/aks/
Tokyo Welcomes New KISS,TOKYO Bench at Shibuya River Street
02.January.2021 | SPOT
What is being dubbed as a new sightseeing spot in Shibuya, “KISS,TOKYO,” an artistic bench, appeared at Shibuya River Street on Christmas Day. The street runs from SHIBUYA STREAM towards Daikanyama.
“KISS,TOKYO” is a project and nod towards those who love Tokyo, taking inspiration from the “I♡NY” slogan and logo. Japan isn’t a country where kisses are used as greetings like other places around the world, but the bold notion of “KISS,TOKYO” expresses the feeling of love wards the people and city. It’s a mark to welcome visitors to the capital of Japan.
The bench was made in cooperation with the Shibuya City Tourism Association and Tokyu and under a crowdfunder.
A pop-up shop is now open at WIRED SHIBUYA selling merchandise with the KISS,TOKYO logo on it. It will run until January 31, 2021.
If you’re planning a trip to Shibuya, make sure you get a photo with the city’s new sightseeing and tourist spot.
Location: Shibuya River Street (3-22 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
Running: December 25, 2020 – January 31, 2021
Location: WIRED SHIBUYA (3-27-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
KISS,TOKYO Official Homepage: https://kiss.tokyo/