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.”
Naruto Themed Hotel Room Opens at GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135° in Japan
GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in Awaji, Hyogo, opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.
The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas.
The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.
Guests who stay in the Naruto room will receive a free ticket to the popular “Naruto & Boruto Shinobi Zato” attraction at the anime theme park Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island where the hotel is located.
ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot
Naruto Collaboration Room “Hokage no Bessou”
Grand Opening: June 1, 2020
Time: Check In 15:00-18:30 / Check Out 11:00
Capacity: 5 people
Price: From ¥93,000 (Before Tax/Service Charge Charged Separately)
Official Website: https://awaji-grandchariot.com/
Experience Japanese Culture at Home With Live Streams From Japanese Artists and Monks
23.May.2020 | SPOT
Japan Culture and Technology, a company which offers Japanese experiences taught by professionals in their respective industries, has launched an online service on WABUNKA EXPERIENCE which lets you experience traditional Japanese culture from the comfort of your home.
WABUNKA EXPERIENCE is led by leading artists and offers memorable experiences of Japanese traditional culture, such as calligraphy, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and so on, at impressive sites in Tokyo or Kyoto.
Now people can learn about Japanese art, culture, and ways of thinking from home with the launch of their new online service. Expert Japanese artists and monks will be streaming workshops live from temples and cultural facilities in Kyoto and Tokyo. Since travel is strictly limited right now, this is the perfect opportunity for foreigners to learn more about Japan and Japanese culture.
The commemorate the launch of the online service, it will be offered at a special price. Check out the website below and learn about the programs currently on offer, from online meditation to flower arrangement, tea ceremony, and more.
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: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
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)
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
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?
Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi
Address: 341-2 Shōshōiotabichō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto, 604-0873
Grand Opening: April 25, 2020
Price: ¥30,000 per night
Bookings: Opened on March 27, 2020
Offcial Website: https://www.kyo-ondokoro.kyoto/en/
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.
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.
52 Collaboration with PAN AM
17 Mizuno stores (including MIZUNO TOKYO and MIZUNO OSAKA CHAYAMACHI)
Mizuno online shop
Department Stores (Kawanishi Hankyu, Nishinomiya Hankyu, Kintetsu Department Store, Nara, Kashihara, Moriguchi Keihan Department Store, Kobe Hankyu, Kawagoe, Fukudaya Department Store, Utsunomiya)
*Pop-up shops from late March to early May (check official website for shop list)
*Shonan Tsutaya pop-up exhibition (March 20-April 27)
Official Website: https://www.mizuno.jp/52goto/
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.
Location: Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, Suita, Osaka
Time: Reception 9:30-15:00 / Open 10:00-16:30
Price: General ¥3,500 / Elementary school children and below ¥3,000
*Separate fee charged for entry to Expo ’70 Commemorative Park’s Natural and Cultural Gardens (General ¥260/ Elementary school children and below ¥80)
Access: 5-minutes from Expo Memorial Park Station via Osaka Monorail
Official Website: https://www.se-amuse.jp/bampakubeast/
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.
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.
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.
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?
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS -DOSUKOI-
Address: MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Floor 2, 2-18-7, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Access: 8-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae (Harajuku) Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/ Fukutoshin Line)
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Official Website: https://rooms.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/
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.
Address: 35-1 Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Reopening: April 29, 2020
Access: 15-minutes on foot west from Kyoto Station’s Central Exit / 7-minutes on foot from Umekōji-Kyōtonishi Station via the JR San’in Main Line
Official Website: https://www.kyoto-aquarium.com/en/
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.
Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop
Location: EDO KOJI – Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal (Floor 4F)
Address: 2-6-5 Hanedakuko, Ota Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 8:00-21:00 (Open all year round)
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.
Sky Lantern Event
Running: Everyday until March 31, 2020 (Except select days where the site is closed or booked)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan (12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata)
Time: Weekdays – From 18:00 / Saturdays & Days Before Public Holiday – From 18:00 & 20:00 / March Onward – From 18:30
Booking: Bookings available until 17:00 on the day at New Greenpia Tsunan
Price: ¥1,500 (1 lantern)
Official Website: https://new-greenpia.com/
*In the case of stormy weather, the event will not proceed on that day
URBAN SENTO: The New Brand Making Japanese Bath House Clothing Stylish
22.February.2020 | FASHION
“JAPAN MADE PROJECT” is a project launched by Japanese apparel shop URBAN RESEARCH which aims to revitalise regions around Japan by building local communities with businesses and creators around the country while also looking to take a step back to reconsider what is appealing about each of those regions.
As part of this new project, URBAN RESEARCH has announced its plans to establish “JAPAN MADE PROJECT TOKYO” on March 20, 2020. Focusing on Tokyo, this branch of the project will see the launch of “URBAN SENTO.” This will focus on the potential of sento, or “bath houses,” in the city, which will also include a new line of bath house clothing made in collaboration with Kosugi-yu a sento located in the Tokyo district of Koenji.
Public bath houses play an important part in Japanese culture by contributing to people’s mental health and creating communities. This is especially so in a city as busy as Tokyo. That’s where URBAN SENTO comes in, which will encourage the rediscovery of the city’s appealing culture through sento.
Pre-sales for the new clothing line opened on the URBAN RESEARCH online store on February 14, 2020. It features a collection of must-have items for the bath house, whose message is to spread the bath house lifestyle.
To ensure the clothing is comfortable as bath-wear, the collection is made from high quality cotton provided in collaboration with HAAG, a brand managed by Smile Cotton. This cotton is nice and soft and does not rub against the skin. Smile Cotton’s materials are even endorsed by the Japan Atopic Dermatitis Patients Association.
Crew Neck T-Shirt – ¥7,700 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black
One Piece – ¥13,200 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black
Short Pants – ¥12,100 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black
ZIP Parker Hoodie – ¥16,500 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black
Pouch (Medium Size) – ¥3,080 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Navy/Orange
The mesh pouch can be taken into the bath with you. Put your shampoo or other bath products in with you and take a dip.
Miscellaneous Items: IKEUCHI ORGANIC x URBAN SENTO
The bath towels you can use at Kosugi-yu are made by IKEUCHI ORGANIC. They come in two sizes and are incredibly soft on the skin.
Oragnic 120 Bath Towel – ¥5,060 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Grey
Oragnic 120 Face Towel – ¥1,980 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Grey
Kimura Soap x URBAN SENTO
The products used for cleaning yourself at Kosugi-yu, as well as what’s used for washing the towels, is soap provided by Kimura Soap. This pure soap, crafted by artisans by cooking in kettles, is friendly to the environment and the skin. It can be used at the bath house, in the bath at home, or even for your laundry.
Body Soap (Hinoki Cypress/Lavender) – ¥1,980 (Tax Included)
This body soap gently lathers your skin in bubbles and leaves your skin filling refreshed. Both the hand soap and body soap feel good to use.
The a video and main visual were released for URBAN SENTO, which feature Japanese music artists Yusuke Emoto and Aoi Nogi as the models.
JAPAN MADE PROJECT TOKYO “URBAN SENTO”
Pre-sales: Opened February 14, 2020
Available: URBAN RESEARCH online store
*Only a select number of items are available in the pre-sale
General Sale: March 20, 2020
Available: URBAN RESEARCH online store / URBAN RESEARCH Jinnan / URBAN RESEARCH Namba CITY / URBAN Famima!! Toranomon Hills Business Tower
*Store list subject to change
Official Website: https://media.urban-research.jp/news/61847/
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.
ART LAB KYOTO
Address: Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art Floor B1F (124 Okazaki Enshojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto)
Grand Opening: March 21, 2020
Closures: Open every day until April 30, 2020 except March 23. The schedule commencing May will be posted at a later date on the official website.
Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00
Official Website (English): https://kyotocity-kyocera.museum/en/