Airbnb’s Experience-Based Services Expanding in Japan to Promote Culture to Local & Foreign Guests
02.August.2018 | SPOT
Airbnb have announced that they are expanding their experience-based services from select regions of Japan to all regions. These services offer both Japanese and foreigners a chance to get up close to Japanese culture and tradition.
Airbnb opened their “Experiences” services worldwide in 2016. To date, their experience service in Japan could be used in Kanto, Kansai, Fukuoka and Okinawa. Japan already ranks 2nd worldwide in the Experiences category with a recorded 886% increase this June in guests booking these services compared to last year.
These numbers are what led to Airbnb deciding to expand the service to the whole country. Individuals across Japan, interpreting services and more stretching all the way from Okinawa up to Hokkaido can register as an Airbnb Experiences host to network with over 300 million Airbnb travellers.
To celebrate the expansion, a curation page for experiencing world architecture has been set up in co-operation with internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. A new destination has also been added for people to go and visit a building created by Kuma in the town of Yusuhara in Kochi Prefecture. Bookings opened on July 31.
Comment by Yasuyuki Tanabe (Country Manager, Airbnb Japan)
“Experiences at Airbnb are a platform offering a chance for guests around the world to experience local charms and the passion of individuals. Hosts in Japan are able to provide true local experiences through Experiences which give a glimpse into Japan’s rich culture and attraction. By expanding the service, I hope to also promote to the world the hidden charms of regions outside the famous tourist spots.”
Comment by Kengo Kuma
“Airbnb’s platform offers various experiences related to architecture that enable people to see architectural structures, from worldwide famous structures to locally unique ones. As part of that I have curated some local experiences offered by hosts who are rooted in their local region. As well as that, there are many structures I have created in Yusuhara in Kochi Prefecture, also known as the town atop the clouds, which I am extremely happy are now a newly introduced available experience on Airbnb. Travel is a treasure house of inspiration. I hope that by using Airbnb, lots of new inspiration will be born from exchanging and promoting to the people of the world Japanese culture and people’s individuality. Japan also has a lot of assets it can boast to the world. Anyone in Japan can become an Airbnb Experiences host, so I hope lots of people use this opportunity to challenge themselves.”
Stay in a Penguin Themed Hotel Room at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
15.April.2021 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa opened its Penguin Room on April 6, a single new guest room themed around penguins designed in collaboration with Asahikawa Zoo.
Penguin Room Feature ①
Guests are immediately greeted with penguins galore as the enter their room, with penguin plushies by the bedside, on the ceiling, and pretty much everywhere else. It will be like staying with a family of penguins for the duration of their stay.
Penguin Room Feature ②
After a visit to Asahikawa Zoo, guests can head back to their hotel room where a variety of fun penguin-related items are stocked including games, all of which will remind them of their time at the zoo.
Penguin Room Feature ③
The room is also decorated with boards featuring photos and information of animals at Asahikawa Zoo. The boards are handwritten by the zoo staff, something they do every spring season.
Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa previously collaborated with Asahikawa Zoo when a polar bear themed room. Now, penguin lovers can have their dream come true as they spend their time surrounded by penguin decorations in their room. The hotel is just a 30-minute car ride from Asahikawa Zoo, so why not make a plan to experience both if you’re visiting Hokkaido this spring?
Opened: April 6, 2021
Location: Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
Official Website: https://omo-hotels.com/asahikawa/
Japanese Artists Associated With The TEA-ROOM Launch Art Production and Management Company
13.April.2021 | FASHION
Mucha Kucha is announced the launch of a new art production and management project that aims to create a space and opportunities for people to discover the Japanese spirit and value through performances and products created by artists associated with the The TEA-ROOM.
The project brings together seven diverse artists from different backgrounds whose mission is to “Respect and Go Beyond.”
Art Production & Management Project
Participating artists will showcase their experience and personalities in a variety of ways as part of the project in an effort to create new possibilities within Japanese culture while seeking to elevate cultural value.
The TEA-ROOM productions
Art and products
Souryou Matsumura (Tea Ceremony Instructor)
Shiho Sakamoto (Confectioner)
Fumihiko Sano (Artitect/Artist)
Gentaro Yokoyama (Potter)
RYOTA HAGIWARA (Flower Arranger)
Masahiro Inoue (Paperer)
The TEA-ROOM (Art Collective)
Official Website: https://mucha-kucha.co.jp/
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/