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!

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

  • 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

    IMG_0297 2 copy

    ・ Press the PASMO button.

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

    IMG_0300 2 copy

    ・ 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?

    IMG_0302 2 copy

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

     

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

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

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

  • 【TRAVEL Q&A】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?

    cigarettes-383327_1280

    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?

    N912_washitu_TP_V

    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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  • Japan Coronavirus: Room for Rescue Project Provides Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home

    01.May.2020 | SPOT

    With flights cancelled around the world, it is becoming increasingly harder for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans, extend their stay, and live every day in stress and uncertainty. To lend a helping hand to foreign travellers in this stressful time, three accommodation companies Slacktide Co., Ltd, Shared Value Co.,Ltd. and Life Bonds, LLC, who manage Kaname Inn Tatemachi, Sakura Cross Hotel and BONDS HOUSE respectively, have launched a joint accommodation project called “Room for Rescue” which provides free accommodation to international visitors who cannot return home as a result of the current travel restrictions.

    This collaborative project was launched to ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, which could be a reason to avoid visiting Japan again in the future and heavily impact the tourism industry.

    Tokyo:BONDS HOUSE

    Tokyo:Sakura Cross Hotel

    Kanazawa: KANAME INN

    Currently, three accommodations in Tokyo and one in Kanazawa have opened their doors to stranded foreigners.

     

    Room for Rescue: Request a Room

    https://kaname-inn.com/room-for-rescue/

     

    To apply for a room, you need a valid visa and a cancelled flight ticket which meets Room for Rescue’s criteria. For more information, please refer to the application page. The Room for Rescue project is also looking for more accommodations to join the fight against coronavirus and open their doors to stranded foreigners. If you own an accommodation in Japan and want to help foreign travellers, please apply using the link below.

     

    Become Part of Room for Rescue (for accommodation owners)
    https://kaname-inn.com/room-for-rescue/contact/

     

    If you are an individual who wants to support this project, please consider donating via their crowdfunding page mentioned in the information section below.

  • Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi: Rent An Entire Kyoto Townhouse to Yourself

    01.April.2020 | SPOT

    Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi is set to open in the Goshominami area of Kyoto on April 25, 2020. The single-accommodation hotel is a complete renovation of a traditional Kyoto-style townhouse.

    Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi comes as the 7th branch of hotels from Kyo no Ondokoro. It’s a single building to rent for up to 4 people, who can enjoy taking a soak in the man-made carbonated spring bath which is kind to the skin and hair, using the soft water shower, and getting ready in the spacious makeup corner. It’s the perfect getaway for girl groups travelling together.

    The hotel is in a convenient location for sightseeing in the ancient capital of Kyoto. The building has been completely renovated to adapt to modern lifestyle while still retaining those traditional elements of a Kyoto townhouse that was built during the Meiji Periodーand in an area that’s rich in traditional scenery.

    The lounge space sofa seats are inspired by Japanese rock gardens

    The lounge space, which connects the second-floor bedrooms and the washitsu Japanese-style room, are furnished with unique round sofas. All the rooms open up to each other so guests can enjoy the company of each other during their travel stay.

    Hinoki cypress artificial carbonated spring bath

    Amenities

    The round bath is made from hinoki cypress, and the carbonated water lets you stay glowing and nice and warm after you step out of it. The bathroom is also stocked full of amenities like shampoo courtesy of popular brand THREE.

    Up to four people can apply their makeup together in the makeup corner

    The makeup corner is big enough to sit four people so they can get ready for their day or night out together while chatting.

    Colourful art pieces also adorn the walls of the makeup room, Japanese-style room and elsewhere to add a touch of beauty to them.

     

    If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto with the girls then why not book at Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi when it opens on April 25?

  • Pan Am to Release Travel Inspired Clothing Collection in Collaboration with MIZUNO

    22.March.2020 | FASHION

    Japanese sportswear brand Mizuno is collaborating with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) to release a clothing collection called “52 Collaboration with PAN AM” in their “Go to by mizuno” series of lifestyle attire for active adults at the end of March. It will be available in Mizuno stores, Mizuno’s official online shop, and pop-up shops in Japan.

    Travel is the theme of the collection, and is the first co-developed line-up from “Go to by mizuno.” It incorporates the functionality of sportswear while promoting the fun and excitement of travel.

     

    What is Pan Am?

    Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was at the forefront of the airline industry during its 64-year run. It was the first company to adopt the Boeing 707 when it ordered 20 of them for commercial use in 1955. It became the world leading airline in both name and reality in the 1960s. In 1972, Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) became a hub for Pan Am, and they also set up a company building in Manhattan. The airline is still fondly remembered today, and is sure to be a name mentioned by those who have travelled around the world.

     

    Collaboration Items

    The clothing line-up of 38 itemsーspanning T-shirts, caps, socks, travel bags, and moreーfeatures the Pan Am logo and is made from waterproof and stretchy sports clothing that can be used for everyday wear.

  • World’s Largest Athletic Tower Banpaku BEAST to Open at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park in Osaka

    14.March.2020 | SPOT

    Banpaku BEAST is set to open as the largest athletic tower in the world at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park on March 15, 2020, standing 24 meters tall.

    The hexagonal tower was created by German-based amusement park attraction developers KristallTurm. It has four floors, each of which is its own “athletic area,” as well as an observation deck. It is a comprehensive workout tower, offering 120 different kinds of athletic activities such as climbing and slacklining, meaning the fun will never end in a single day, and will have you wanting to go back for more.

    The tower makes use of its full height; expect to use your entire body during your ascension, ride barrels, bikes, and more. Safety is guaranteed while still offering a heart-racing experience for those thrill-seekers. The facility can be used by both kids and adults alike who want to test themselves and feel refreshed after a good workout.


    See Banpaku BEAST in action in the official video above.

  • MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Opens Sentō Bathhouse and Sumō-Themed Fusion Accommodation Called ‘DOSUKOI’

    09.March.2020 | SPOT

    MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS is located in the heart of Harajuku’s tourism welcomes travellers from all over the world to immerse in Japanese culture in a way they’ve never experienced before. The cherry blossom-themed accommodation SAKURA is a blooming success throughout the year and ORIGAMI’s mesmerizing and clever designs never fail to make tourists crease their necks in amusement. 

     

    The third Japanese culture accommodation has stomped into MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS as a fusion of sumō wrestling and sentō bathhouse culture called ‘DOSUKOI’. The word dosukoi is phrase that sumo wrestlers shout out to get hyped up – perfectly summing up your excitement as you explore this spectacular fusion world from corner to corner. From a giant sumō hand to a historical sentō bathtub with a magnificent mural artwork scenery, the entrance, living room and sentō-style bathing area is overflowing with originality.

     

    Living Room

    The entrance to the living room is themed around a sentō bath. The tiled roof and traditional entranceway noren fabric dividers will be the first thing to welcome tired travellers. 

    A giant sumō hand overshadows the light on the ceiling, representing the tsuppari striking technique used by sumō wrestlers. The furniture, including the soft sofa, rug and chairs, is white and beige to represent the colour of the sumō ring. 

    The relaxing room is punctuated with powerful illustrations of sumō wrestlers that cover the wallpaper. 

     

    Bathroom

    The round bathtub is made from Japanese cypress wood and is large enough to fit 3-4 people – perfect to soak off your tiredness with friends and family. A large wall painting (mural)  of a grand ocean view dominated by Mount. Fuji stretches across the wall. A purple curtain is suspended above the circular bath, representing the mizuhikimaku curtain which hangs above a sumō ring. 

    The dressing area is equipped with a fridge and chair like a traditional bathhouse. DOSUKOI guests will also find complimentary bath salts which are a gift.

    The grand mural is an original piece by Kiyoto Maruyama – one of Japan’s three remaining sentō mural artists. This graceful painting was created using a large and smaller brush. As you admire the bold colours and fine details of this rare art, which is fading away as society progresses, you will be sent on a journey back through time. 

     

    Bedroom

    The spacious sleeping area consists of two levels, each of which has enough room for two people to sleep. The room also has another bed in storage, meaning that up to five guests can stay. 

     

    Sink and Toilet

    The separate sink area is equipped with a hair dryer. There is also a Japanese Washlet toilet with multiple functions. 

     

    Amenities and Extras

    The kitchen is fully equipped with cooking utensils, a microwave, refrigerator and all the daily essentials. 

    After a long, relaxing hot soak, put on a light yokozuna yukata robe and you’ll feel just like a sumō champion. There are also many amenities and items that fit with the DOSUKOI theme. 

    MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS isn’t just a hotel but is also the perfect party space for you and your friends to get together. As the cold days are still with us, how about warming up in a toasty sentō-style bathtub with your friends?

  • Kyoto Aquarium to House 20 Types of Jellyfish With New ‘Jellyfish Wonder’ Area

    29.February.2020 | SPOT

    Kyoto Aquarium is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation and is set to reopen on April 29, 2020.

    When it reopens, visitors will be able to visit the new jellyfish area, called “Kurage Wonder” (Jellyfish Wonder), which will span 350㎡ in width and 40 meters in length. It will house the largest number of different species in western Japanーup to 20ーwith around 5,000 individual jellyfish to see, like the northern sea nettle and pacific sea nettle.

    The area begins at 10 individual water tanks where you can see how moon jellyfish change and grow. It then moves onto the 6.5 meter circumference “GURURI” panorama tank which offers a 360° view of 1,500 moon jellyfish.

    This tank is entered through an arch, which once you pass through leads you under the tank where your vision is filled with the sight of countless moon jellyfish.

    The new “Kyoto Jellyfish Research Lab” has also been built where guests can observe the staff breeding and researching jellyfish on a day-to-day basis. Enjoy hearing how the jellyfish are cared for behind the scenes while chatting together with the staff. Various other activities you can participate in will be introduced in the future too.

     

    Discover the wonderful world of jellyfish at the newly-renovated Kyoto Aquarium.

  • Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop Opens in Haneda Airport

    27.February.2020 | SPOT

    Tokyo Toyko, a website that provides information on things to do in Japan’s capital, opened its own souvenir shop, called Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop, in EDO KOJI on February 22, 2020, which is located on the fourth floor of Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal.

    As part of an effort to promote the appeals of Tokyo to the world, Tokyo Metropolis is carrying our PR work and branding with the catchphrase “Tokyo Tokyo Old meets New.”

    Happy Daruma / Mamehapi

    Edo Kimekomi Waving Cat

    The “Tokyo Omiyage Seisaku Project” aims to develop products in collaboration with Tokyo Metropolis and local businesses with the “Tokyo Tokyo” brand. To date, 50 products (excluding colour variations) have been produced, from traditional crafts to stationery, food, and moreーall embodying the spirit of Tokyo.

    The shop design features illustrations of Asakusa and Shibuya, two a symbols of Tokyo that have been around since the Edo Period and are and hub of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture respectively. The shop is also planning to hold workshops, where you can learn to make your own daruma and origami.

     

    If you’re travelling to or from Haneda Airport, then be sure to pay a visit to Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop where you can pick up souvenirs that combine traditional and contemporary culture.

  • Raise Your Own Sky Lantern at New Greenpia Tsunan in Niigata

    25.February.2020 | SPOT

    New Greenpia Tsunan, a resort facility in Tsunan, Niigata, is holding an exciting sky lantern event every day until March 31, 2020.

     

    The sky lantern event is held every winter at New Greenpia Tsunan, and has returned again for 2020. It began in 2012 as a means of showing respect for and praying for the revival of disaster-stricken areas, such as the areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the Nagano and Niigata earthquake, and so on. Every year, couples and families come together to put their prayers and wishes into the lanterns before letting them go into the night sky. The countless lanterns raised at once soar up high and light up the black cloak of the night like burning stars.

    For 2020, the event will also sell lantern t-shirts, handkerchiefs, hand towels, cookies, and other themed items.

     

    If you’re travelling in or around Niigata in Japan this year, then don’t miss New Greenpia Tsunan’s very special winter event.

  • ART LAB KYOTO: The New Shop Opening at Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art

    14.February.2020 | SPOT

    ART LAB KYOTO is the new museum shop set to open at Kyocera Museum of Art on March 21, 2020 in line with the revamp currently undergoing at the museum, with design work being co-created by Japanese architects Jun Aoki and Tezzo Nishizawa.

    Kyoto is known as a hub of Japanese culture, managing to maintain traditions while constantly evolving. ART LAB KYOTO will embody everything about this idea when it opens after the museum’s revamp. The spacious shop will not only sell merchandise related to the exhibitions, but books and goods related to art from Kyoto both traditional and contemporary, items in collaboration with external artists, original and exclusive sweets, and more. ART LAB KYOTO will also host events promoting the diversity of art and culture in Kyoto.

  • Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences

    26.January.2020 | SPOT

    Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.

     

    Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.

     

    “Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll

    Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.

     

    Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing

    One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.

    You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.

     

    Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery

    The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.

    After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.

     

    See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train

    Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.

    You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.

     

    Sky Bus

    Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.

     

    Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.

  • You Can Take Your Pets to These Hotels and Accommodations in Japan

    20.January.2020 | SPOT

    Online travel booking website Rakuten Travel has released this year’s list for the most popular hotels and accommodations you can stay at with pets in Japan. The list is based off travellers’ reviews taken from the website. This list has been updated and published every year since 2014, making this its 6th run.

    Placing number one on the list for the first time is Yutsura, a ryokan Japanese-style inn which opened in Shizuoka in April 2018 and can be rented by one person or group for one night. Up to six people in a single group can stay there along with up to 5 small dogs weighing 5kg or less. It’s highly favoured amongst travellers who want to take their dogs on the road due to the extent the inn caters for pets. Guests can enjoy having the dogs in their rooms as well as feed their pets there, all without being a bother to other guests.

    Nipponia Sawara Merchant Town Hotel in Chiba Prefecture came in second place. You can feel the history of this hotel accommodation which is renovated from a traditional storehouse and townhouse. It allows up to three pets in a room which collectively weigh 25kg. There are three types of rooms to choose from, including one with a dog park. It also offers various services, including a free night for one dog, snacks and amenities for dogs, and more.

    In third place is Dog Pension R65 in Shizuoka Prefecture which allows not only big and small dogs, but cats and other pets too. It offers large footbaths for dogs to use, dog parks, and many other services that cater to pets. The hotel also offers cottage-type accommodation rooms separate from the main building too if you’re looking to spend some peaceful time away with your beloved companion.

     

    If you’re looking to travel around Japan with your pet, be sure to check if a hotel allows animals. Check the link below for the full Top 10 list.

  • Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience

    17.January.2020 | SPOT

    Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.

    This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.

    Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.

    The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.

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