6 Ski Resorts in Hokkaido ― Winter Sports in Japan
Wintertime in Hokkaido means winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding. Every year, people from around Japan and overseas roll up to one of Hokkaido’s many popular snowy ski resorts, such as Niseko, Tomamu and Rusutsu.
Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu
Niseko Grand Hirafu is Japan’s largest winter resort, covering a huge area with an enormous amount of powder snow. It is the biggest of the four ski resorts in the Niseko area and boasts some of the largest quantity of powder snow around the world, gaining huge popularity from skiers overseas. There are 30 courses to pick from in addition to 15 lifts and 2 ski centers which are decked out in the latest facilities. Everything accommodates skiers of all levels from beginner to professionals. Enjoy gazing at Mount Yotei―one of the 100 famous mountains of Japan―while having the best snow experience you could imagine.
Rusutsu Resort is a gigantic ski resort formed around Isola Mountain, the East Mountain and the West Mountain. Guests can enjoy plenty of space to ski in a magnificent location. There are 37 courses spanning 42km. Beginners can feel at ease at the wide open snow barn while intermedite and advance skiers can go straight for the freedom park or even the side country park which takes advantage of the natural shape of the mountain. There’s even sled dogs, ski mobiles, ice fishing and more. If you’re looking for lots of activities then Rusutsu Resort is the place to go.
Niseko Annupuri Kokusai Ski Area
This is the best ski resort in the Nisekoi area for beginners and families. There are 13 courses catered towards beginners that are spacious, simple and not scary. We recommend the Long Cruise when the weather’s nice which stretches 4,000 meters! After skiing you can enjoy a nice hot soak in the natural hot springs or open air baths to warm up!
Sapporo Teine hosted several events for the 1972 Winter Olympics. The ski resort is located on Mt. Teine elevated 1,023m. It’s split into the upper Highland Zone and middle Olympia Zone with 15 courses to choose from which people of all ages can enjoy, including kids and adults alike. From the top of the mountain you can catch sight of the Sapporo towns and Ishikari Bay. It’s easily accessible by car just 40-minutes from central Sapporo.
Kiroro claims to have the snowiest winter valleys on earth and boasts an abundance of powder snow with a 5m depth at the top of the mountain. This dreamlike world of silvery snow has 21 varied courses for beginners to expwerts. Beginners can choose from 3 different 2km beginner courses. There’s also a ski school for children from the age of 3 where they can learn the ins and outs of skiing. There’s also hot springs, a pool and more to enjoy in addition to skiing. There’s also an indoor entertainment facility which can be taken advantage of during in all weathers.
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
Hoshino Resort Tomamu has a total of 29 courses for beginners to experts, with each course balanced perfectly for every skill level. It is the only ski resort in Hokkaido that has individual lanes for each level where you can enjoy safe and fun slope skiing. There’s also a 4,020m snow cart course―the longest in Japan―as well as lots of activities to pick from like snowmobiling, snow rafting, sledding night snow cruises and more. The resort is easily accessible from New Chitose Airport, Asahikawa Airport and Tokachi–Obihiro Airport too, making it a great choice when planning your trip.
Did you enjoy this list? Be sure you get the full Hokkaido experience by getting involved with the winter sports!
Kobe: 6 Tourist Spots in Hyogo Prefecture’s Capital Soon to Welcome Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional football player who has served 21 years for Barcelona and the Spain national team. As captain of Barcelona, Iniesta has become Spain’s most awarded Spanish footballer, and was a main player in ensuring Barcelona’s two treble wins in 2009 and 2015. He’s a much respected and love footballer across the globe.
The 34-year-old legend is set to depart from Barcelona and move to Vissel Kobe.
In this article, we take a look at what kind of place Kobe is.
Kobe is located in the western part of Japan in Hyogo Prefecture and is next door to Osaka. It’s just a 30-minute train ride from Osaka Station to get to Sannomiya Station in central Kobe!
Its location makes it a perfect chance for plenty more sightseeing after touring around Osaka.
Arima Onsen is one Japan’s three oldest hot spring locations. A representative hot spring town of the Kansai region, this place has a peaceful and tranquil appearance. The Kin no Yu (‘Golden Waters’) hot spring is an especially recommended part of the town. It sits in a reconstructed public bathhouse, and there’s also a free footbath at the entrance. Over at Gin no Yu (‘Silver Waters’), the water is transparent, but as you waft the air the iron oxidises and turns it into a brown colour. It’s about an hour’s train journey from Osaka Station, making it a great place to relax after a day’s outing in Osaka.
Nankin-Machi: Kobe’s Chinatown
Nankin-machi is considered one of Japan’s three big Chinatown locations alongside the ones in Yokohama and Nagasaki. It’s a tourist hot spot with an exotic mood and is home to almost 100 shops and restaurants serving everything Chinese. You can enjoy having a bite to eat while walking the streets, or even just take in the sights on a stroll.
This historical shrine is one of the oldest in Japan having been around for more than 1,800 years. Its red torii archways and structures are very beautiful. It’s home to a goddess of marriage and brings in droves of people every year from Japan and abroad to pray there. It’s about a 10-minute walk from Sannomiya Station. Do you know the proper manners and etiquette of praying at a shrine in Japan? If not then be sure to check out our step-by-step guide.
Harborland is a huge shopping district packed full of restaurants, cafes, a movie theatre, Ferris wheel and more―plenty of an whole day out. It’s a great location to feel the true essence of a Port of Kobe town.
The picturesque nighttime scenery after sunset is a must-see. The myriad of illuminations and lit-up boats are truly a magical sight to behold.
Nōfuku-ji – Giant Buddha
Nōfuku-ji is home to one of Japan’s three great daibutsu Buddha statues, the others being in Kamakura and Nara. The original Buddha was built by the monk Saichou in 805 but the one that stands there today was rebuilt in 1991. It’s said to absolutely hear the wishes of those that pray to it, so if you have something you want to pray for then be sure to visit.
Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower―the symbol of Kobe. Its red and white appearance is unique and striking. There’s an observation deck on the top floor where you can gaze over Kobe atop 108m. Things get romantic at nighttime when the tower it lit up.
Kobe is about to get all the more exciting with the decision of Andres Iniesta’s move.
The list of sights to see is endless, from delicious food to the gorgeous nightscape and shrines. Don’t forget to visit Kobe if you’re travelling in the Kansai region.
7 Recommends Cafés & Tourist Spots in Itoshima, Fukuoka
Itoshima is a city situated in the northwestern part of Fukuoka Prefecture that’s currently gaining rapid popularity as a location for great Instagram photos. It boasts many gorgeous locations surrounded by the sea and nature. It’s also packed full of local gourmet restaurants and eateries and is known as a hugely popular tourist spot particularly with Japanese women. We have compiled a list of recommended tourist spots for you to check out if you’re travelling to Fukuoka.
Itoshima is about a 30-minute drive from central Fukuoka. The Itoshima Peninsula faces the Genkai Sea with the beautiful stretch of coastline graced by rich and plentiful nature. It’s here you will run into cafes sat against the radiant sunset, delicious food made with ingredients sourced in Itoshima, and many other things.
This holy place is home to Sakurai Shrine, which has been designated by the prefecture as cultural property. It is popular for its beautiful sunset. During the summer solstice, people admire the setting sun between the twin rocks which makes for a picturesque and romantic scene.
Palm Tree Swing
The photogenic palm tree swing of the Itoshima Peninsula looks out across the east coast. It’s a popular area that bustles in the summertime with BBQs and people swimming in the sea. The swing is free to use so people travel from all across the country to snap a photo on the swing for their Instagram pages.
London Bus Café
The London Bus Café is a cute iconic café with a colourful and cute European appearance. Many people take photos with the sea and blue sky behind them. As evening starts to set in in it’s easier to get backlighting, so if you’re looking for better photos it’s best to go early after midday. Once you’ve taken a photo you can relax in the café on the second floor.
Suginoya is a sake brewery with a lot of history in Itoshima. It even won the gold award in an international beer festival. Their beer has a distinct mild and mellow flavour and is the representative local beer of Fukuoka in name and reality. Their most popular food item are their freshly made croissants which are a satisfying balance of crunchy outside and a fluffy and buttery outside. They also serve pizzas and sausages among other light meals making it a great lunch location.
The angel’s wings are gathering much attention with Instagram girls in Japan right now. Look out for the shopping complex known as PALM BEACH THE GARDENS. After arriving there, head down onto the sandy beach in front of you. Look for the road opposite the sea and you’ll find the angel’s wings painted on the wall.
The shopping center PALM BEACH THE GARDENS is decked out with a range of restaurants, cafes and general stores. It’s a place where you can look out across the beach while eating or enjoying yourself in a café. It’s a great spot to stop by once you’ve visited the angel’s wings and beach.
This cafe is a regular stop-off for people driving around Itoshima. Located along Shima Sunset Road, CURRENT is popular for its Italian inspired food and atmosphere. It’s situated slightly high up meaning you get to enjoy a full ocean view from the terrace seats. Their lunch plates come with generous servings with amazing flavours.
There are many cafés lining the coast in Itoshima but cafés actually on the beach are few in number. Bistro&Cafe TIME is stylish and has an open and spacious wooden deck terrace allowing for a relaxing café experience. Their authentic desserts looks so delicious you’ll find yourself reaching for your camera to snap a photo without realising. They have a lunch menu too.
Did you enjoy this list? Make sure to take lots of wonderful photos if you visit Itoshima – there’s plenty of opportunities to do so!
6 Delicious Desserts in Sapporo ― The Gourmet City of Hokkaido
Sapporo is the fifth most populous city of Japan and the capital of Hokkaido. It’s a location bustling with tourists from around the world every year who come to enjoy its lush natural environment, fabulous food and amazing art.
The city also has a whole range of popular sweets and desserts. Here’s our list of 6 of them you have to try when visiting Sapporo.
Saturdays Chocolate Factory Cafe
Saturdays Chocolate Factory Cafe is a local chocolate brand that started in Sapporo. They delicately craft chocolate in chocolate using carefully selected ingredients from around the world. The shop interior is stylish like that of a general store, with chocolate decked out in cosmetic-like packaging. Enjoy a variety of chocolate and drinks sat at the counter or on the benches.
KANON PANCAKES is a popular pancake cafe that opened in 2012. The cafe has a high ceiling and a relaxing space with table seats and window seats where you can enjoy yourself even on your own. Their pancakes will satisfy your belly and are the perfect picture for your Instagram feed. They have a range of different pancakes to try, so tuck in!
WORLD BOOK CAFE
This spacious cafe has huge bookshelves lining the interior just like a bookshop with books on world travel and more. Displayed on the walls are illustrations of famous figures. The cafe is so relaxing you’ll want to stay there for a lengthy period of time. Enjoy a cup of fragrant coffee and pick from a line-up of delicious sweets or something from the food menu. They also offer a book borrowing service that lets you keep the book for 2 weeks, so if you couldn’t finish the book you were reading in the cafe then take it with you!
The Sapporo branch of Rokkatei is just a 5-minute walk from the south exit of JR Sapporo Station. They are famous for their crispy biscuit snacks called Marusei Butter Sandwich which they also have an ice cream version of. This version is made with vanilla ice cream, white chocolate and raisins. This dessert can only be eaten in the Sapporo and Obihiro branches.
This mochi shop uses komochi from the city of Nayoro in Hokkaido, a white, chewy kind of mochi that doesn’t dry out and get hard easily. They are made with adzuki and black soy bean both from Tokachi. They stock a whole range of different mochi using ingredients from Hokkaido, with prices starting at a resonable ¥140. They also serve matcha for ¥200 when you eat in, meaning you can kick back and enjoy some authentic traditional Japanese confections.
This bar style shop is open until 2am where you can enjoy sake together with a parfait. Their sweet parfaits are irresistible, combined with pear and yogurt. It’s the sister shop to the restaurant Risotteria GAKU which has boasted popularity for 10 years in Sapporo and Asahikawa. If you’re a fan of parfait or even of Risotteria GAKU then you’ve got to eat at Parfaiteria PaL.
Did you enjoy this list? Which do you want to try the most? Be sure to check out these places if you’re in Sapporo!
Photo Opportunities in Harajuku This Summer – Showcased by “Harajuku girls” Yuna Yabe & MIOCHIN
Yuna Yabe and MIOCHIN bring the second entry to their featured article series. In the first article, they visited 6 different second hand clothing stores in Harajuku. This time, they head to various photogenic places around Harajuku. The locations they visited were submitted by their followers on social media who were asked to recommend Instagram-worthy locations in Harajuku. They took plenty of photos, so let’s see how their trip went!
Instagram Worthy Spots in Harajuku Recommended by People
Yuna Yabe and MIOCHIN go through Harajuku almost every day. But just because they’re always there, they may still be unaware or not know about some spots. So here’s some spots recommended by their followers!
Yuna: “This is from @killer_princess2. Doesn’t it look amazing?! It’s completely black! You’ll be able to take a super cool picture if you wear a monotone outfit! Personally, I definitely want to go and see this.”
Yuna: “This is from @misa.s.world. Is it a shop display? What an extremely cool place! It made me think that although I’m in Harajuku almost every day there’s still place I don’t know ahout.”
MIOCHIN: “This is from @kanon_thx. This is the World Clock monument at the MOSHI MOSHI BOX Harajuku Tourist Information Center managed by the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Project. It’s a famous spot for photos in Harajuku. It’s easy to find and colourful so I definitely recommend it!”
MIOCHIN: “This is from @twintail.g__. The colourful graffiti is cute! It looks like a place where you could take an Instagram photo if you match outfits with a friend♪”
Thank you to everyone who submitted recommendations. Yuna and MIOCHIN will now set off into Harajuku to take some pictures!
Visiting the Recommended Places!
The first place they went to is the “Now Is Forever” graffiti located just a short walk from Family Mart on Shibuya Cat Street. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call this place the most popular with people visiting Harajuku for taking Instagram photos. It’s a bit of a walk form the station, but its colours make it stand out so it’s very easy to find and an easy location for snapping shots for your page.
Next, they headed in the direction of Takeshita Street with the “Now Is Forever” to the back of them. They went through Cat Street and took the first left to find the black concrete wall.
Yuna: “When I looked at the photo of this that a follower sent, I really wanted to come here! It’s simple but you don’t really see walls like this, so I recommend it to people!”
When taking a photo of something black, you can make the black colour more compact and take a better photo by lowering exposure. Depending on what app or device your using the interface will be different, but most use a sun icon for exposure.
Harajuku’s streets are narrow and there’s a lot of obstructions, but if you take advantage of that you can take some very different looking photos from other people. This photo is made gorgeous with the flower bed in a blurry foreground.
Yuna: I put on the VSCO C1 filter on my app. Normally I’m the type to not add flashy things, but the VSCO filters look natural and stylish so I recommend them!
The brick wall at MICO Jingumae*, a commercial complex in Cat Street, is also a recommended spot. It’s easy place to take simple photos in full outfits. *Address: 4-25-4 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
When taking a photo try to make skilled use of blank spaces. By adding stamps later on it’s easy to incorporate more of your style into it!
MIOCHIN: “I used the LINE Camera app and added stamps. The colourful stamps are cute and stand out because the photo has a simple background!”
This street has a European vibe to it. From Cat Street it’s close to Omotesando Crossing along Meiji-dori. Walk along the little path beside Laforet Harajuku.
This street goes by the names Mozart Street and Fontaine Street. The two of them discovered a water fountain in front of the building with the beauty salon. Despite being smack in the middle of Harajuku it had an exotic atmosphere.
Did you enjoy this trip? Yuna and MIOCHIN went to stroll around photogenic spots in Harajuku and there were many they hadn’t been introduced to yet. Part of Harajuku’s appeal is how shops, displays and graffiti/illustrations change every day. No matter when you go, you’re sure to have a great time. Why not visit yourself this summer?
This series can also be enjoyed on YouTube. Be sure to check it out below!
Senbero: Get Drunk in Tokyo Izakaya for Just ¥1,000!
Have you ever heard the Japanese word senbero? It’s a combination of the words sen meaning ‘1000’ and berobero meaning ‘drunk.’
Recently, izakaya in Japan, especially in the Tokyo area, have been offering senbero services that let you get drunk for just ¥1,000. Let’s take a look at some of the best cost performance locations in Tokyo so you can get your money’s worth!
Motsuyaku Ban (Yutenji)
This place is known for having invented lemon sour, a standard Japanese cocktail made with shochu, soda and syrup. The lemon sours here cost ¥300 while the motsuyaku, or grilled giblets cost just ¥100. They serve a range of other items too such as innards stew, pig tail and more. You can get full quickly with just ¥1,000 here. We recommend this place if you want to eat a lot while drinking.
This yakitori restaurant is can be found in Kichijoji. You’ll know it by the red lanterns that dangle around the outside of the building. It’s famous with both locals and those outside the neighbourhood. You can enjoy grilled chicken skewers from ¥80 each. A lot of izakaya sell skewers in sets of two, but Iseya offers a range of sets. The cheapest alcohol they sell is shochu at ¥220, so this place it for those who wants to drink little by little while enjoying some delicious yakitori.
Sakaba Fukuro (Ikebukuro)
This famous pub has been open for more than 50 years. Their lemon highballs are ¥200 each and their Hoppy are ¥220 each. They serve izakaya classics like innards stew and chicken cartilage karaage as well as other dishes like whale. Food prices range from ¥300 to ¥800 so it might be a good idea to order several dishes with people and share.
This place is popular for its super thick cut ham cutlet. Food and drink both average at around ¥300. You can also get shochu highballs and sours for ¥300 each too, making this easy on the wallets of those who want to drink a lot. If you make this your second stop on your drinking crawl you can make drinks within ¥1,000 easily!
Sake Tachinomi Kitaya (Akabane)
You’ll spot Kitaya by its deep blue entrance curtain and glowing red lanterns. They offer plates upon plates of creative dishes at the first floor counter. The food menu changes daily too, so you can look forward to enjoying a different experience each time. They sell fresh tuna straight from the famous Tsukiji fish market every morning at a mind-blowing ¥160!
Senbero isn’t only cheap, it also offers up a very satisfying izakaya experience. Be sure to try out lots of different izakaya while in Japan while looking for the best value for your money.
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #6 – ‘Angelus’ in Asakusa Loved by Osamu Tezuka
In this sixth instalment to her café series, Ema Tanioku stopped by Angeles, a café in Asakusa with a history spanning over 70 years.
Angeles is known for its history of famous frequenters including legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy). This wonderful location is always bustling with customers and is known to be full even during holidays.
When people think of Asakusa, they imagine Sensoji Temple and the district’s old-fashioned architecture. However, Angeles breaks that mould and instead takes on the form of a European-style place of worship. It’s different from all the rest and looks warm and welcoming from the outside.
Even if you have no plans to go into the café, the desserts on display look so invitingly delicious you’ll find yourself stopping in your tracks.
“They look so tasty…”
Time to go inside!
You’ll be spoilt for choice because they all look so good.
The café has three floors. It’s like an atrium where you can look down below from the top floor.
People who want to kick their feet up and read in the café or relax and space out can head to the second floor which has a hiding-place-like area. There’s a different atmosphere wherever you decide to sit, so it can be fun finding which part fits for you!
‘Angeles’ refers to a devotion in memory of the Annunciation in Christianity signalled by the ringing of church bells. Looking around at the decor you’ll see things like crosses and doves as well as signs of peace dotted about.
Ema ordered the Almond Purin (¥930).
In the middle of the bowl is a melon that looks as if it’s been sliced. It’s also plated with various fresh fruits like banana strawberry as well as tinned pineapple and peaches and finished with a side of fresh cream. All of that hides vanilla ice cream underneath. And of course the highlight of the dessert, the purin, also tucked away!
First thing’s first: munching down the strawberry! The fresh cream is a perfect complement to the fruits. Combine and gobble it all up.
And finally, the star of the plate. The purin! It has quite a sweet flavour and is supple so it’s very tasty.
The café’s number one recommendation on the dessert menu is the above.
The flavour of the Angelus (¥330) dessert hasn’t changed for over 50 years. It comes in either black or white. The black Angeles is made with coffee flavoured butter cream and coated with sweet chocolate. The white Angeles is made with ordinary butter cream and coated in white chocolate.
Neither are overly sweet and they’re at an easy-to-eat size. They were exquisite!
Angelus‘ speciality is their Dutch Coffee (¥620). Dutch coffee is made by dripping ice water dripped over the coffee to extract the maximum flavour. It even looks refreshing, making it perfect for the summertime heat. If you’re a coffee enthusiast then you’ve got to try this.
Ema was contemplating that although she’s sat there there in that moment, what kind of people were talking about what kinds of things 70 years ago? The thought simply excited her ♪
“Though the generations will change, this place will continue remaining the same and probably continue to be loved by lots of people. As time flows so does the delicious taste of what they have to offer. More places like this will come to be one by one. I wonder what kind of cafe will I encounter next?♡”
5 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido | 2020 Edition – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Sapporo, Asahikawa, Abashiriーthe list goes on when it comes to incredible places to see the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. And the best time to see them in Japan’s northernmost main island is May.
Today, we are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts photos of tourist and sightseeing spots in Hokkaido that are rich in nature. She has shared her photos with us along with details of 5 must-visit famous cherry blossom sites in Hokkaido. Let’s take a look.
Tokiwa Park is located in the city of Asahikawa, and is home to around 200 individual cherry trees of various kinds including the Yoshino cherry and ezo yamazakura. Weeping cherries also dangle their graceful branches around the lake, which you can sail through on a boat for an even more memorable cherry blossom experience. Tokiwa Park is also listed as one of Japan’s “100 City Parks,” so it’s one that needs to go on your list of sightseeing spots if you’re travelling to Hokkaido.
Address: Tokiwakoen, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Access: 25-minutes on foot from Asahikawa Station (via JR Line). Alternatively, board the Tohoku Bus and get off at Tokiwa Park (常磐公園).
Official Website: http://www.asahikawa-park.or.jp/
Twin Harp Bridge
This spot is also located in Asahikawa. It gets its name from how the bridge looks like two harps lined up next to each other. Twin Harp Bridge is also a popular place with the locals for celebrating Hanami in the spring season as cherry blossoms bloom in the vicinity of the bridge.
Twin Harp Bridge
Address: 4 Chome Toko 18 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido to 5 Chome Kyokushin 1 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Access: 20-minutes by car from Asahikawa Airport / 15-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station
Official Website: http://www.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/files/tosi_kei/index.htm
Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village
Located southeast of Asahikawa, Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village offers views of ezo yamazakura as well as shibazakura moss phlox. Visitors can also have barbeques at the facility for an even better outdoor experience combining great food with cherry blossom viewing.
Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village (Kitoushi Shinrin Koen Kazokuryokomura)
Address: 5 Gokita-44 Nishi, Higashikawa, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
Access: 40-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station
Official Website: http://www.kazokuryokoumura.jp/
More Information (English): http://www.asahikawa-tourism.com/asahikawa/asahikawa_sites/higashikawa/higashikawa_en.html
Maruyama Park is another famous cherry blossom site where Yoshino cherry trees and ezo yamazakura bloom. Compared to Asahikawa, the cherry blossoms here bloom a little earlier during spring. You’ll catch them from late April to early May. During the cherry blossom season, there is a place where fires can be lit, so you’ll catch people cooking up jingisukan, a type of Japanese mutton dish.
Address: Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Access: 5-minutes on foot from Maruyama-Kōen Station
Official Website: http://www.sapporo.travel/find/nature-and-parks/maruyama_park/
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park’s rolling hills offer a breathtaking view of shibazakura moss phlox cherry blossoms. The hills themselves aren’t steep, so the spectacle can be enjoyed from both the top and bottom of them. The Shibazakura Festival is also held between May and June.
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Address: 393 Higashimokotosuehiro, Ozora, Abashiri-gun, Hokkaido
Access: 30-minutes by cat from Abashiri Station. Alternatively, board the transit bus from Abashiri Station, get off at Higashimokotocho (東藻琴町). The park is a 5-mintue drive from here.
Official Website: http://www.shibazakura.net/
Photo：Mirina has visited many sightseeing spots in Hokkaido, so if you’re looking for more places to visit be sure to follow her on Instagram.
Photos: Mirina Nishio
Go Skiing This Golden Week in Japan at Nekoma Ski Resort
25.March.2020 | SPOT
Nekoma Ski Resort, which is located on the northern slope of the Urabandai area, is holding a special spring ski event from March 30, 2020 called “Haru Nekoma ~Nekoma GO! GO! GO!”
The spring season at Nekoma Ski Resort is the time to enjoy the compacted snow berms, with lots of different kinds of berms to try out. So skiers can enjoy the snow berms that pile up in the early morning, the resort is open from from as early as 5:55, and there’s also snow lifts, so they can maximise their piste riding experience to the fullest. Skiers can enjoy the full view of Mount Bandaiーwhich is officially listed as one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japanーas well as Lake Inawashiro too as they hit the downhill ski trails.
Haru Nekoma ~Nekoma GO! GO! GO!
Running: March 30, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Times: [Weekdays] 7:30-15:00 / [Weekends & Public Holidays] 5:55-15:00
Lift Price: [1 Day Ticket] Adults ¥3,818 / Junior & High School Students ¥3,091 / Elementary School Students ¥1,909 (Before Tax)
Note: Dates and times subject to change depending on weather conditions
Ride the springtime pistes of Alts Bandai too
For the 2019-2020 season, you can ride the snow footpath that connects Nekoma Ski Resort to Alts Bandai. Go through the gate leading to it, walk through the Japanese beech trees for about 15 minutes, and you’ll arrive at the pistes in the deepest part of Alts Bandai which opens up to a spectacular view of Mount Bandai and the town of Inawashiro. Alts Bandai will be shut from March 29, but since there is still plenty of snow to ski down in the high-up pistes even in April, some of the lifts will still be operated. Enjoy a springtime walk and a springtime ski with the beautiful scenery before you with this special ski route.
Running: From March 20, 2020 until the snow melts
Gate Times: 10:00-13:30 (Last entries from Nekoma Ski Resort at 12:00)
Available Courses: Frozen 1, 2, 3 / Peak Lower 3 / Peak Lower 4
Note: A valid day ticket from Nekoma Ski Resort is required
Bask in the springtime weather at the foot of the pistes in the Nekoma Terrace which has its own bar. After an early morning ski, take a break and relax at the terrace with a drink in hand and soak up the scenery around you as the temperature warms through the day.
Spring Nekoma Terrace
Price: Alcohol ¥454 / Soft Drinks ¥182 (Before Tax)
Location: Nekoma Ski Resort Centre House
Spring discount tickets are also available, which can also be used at Alts Bandaiーwhich has the biggest pistes in Japanーuntil March 29. Ride across 189 hectares and enjoy 26 courses.
Spring Discount Tickets
Available: February 1, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Valid: March 1, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Price: Adults (20-23 Years) ¥20,000 / Junior & High School Students ¥10,909 / Elementary School Students ¥10,000 (Before Tax)
Sold at: Alts Bandai / Nekoma Ski Resort Official Homepage / Alts Bandai and Nekoma Ski Resort sites
Nekoma Ski Resort: https://www.nekoma.co.jp/en/
Hoshino Resorts to Open New KAI Poroto Ryokan in Hokkaido in Winter 2021
20.March.2020 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts, which manages 42 ryokan inside and outside Japan serving Japanese tradition and culture, signed a partnership agreement with the town of Shiraoi in Hokkaido on June 28, 2018, which would have them open a hot spring ryokan there. It has been revealed that the new facility will be named Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. Built by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura, the site will open its doors in winter 2021 as the 19th branch of Hoshino Resorts’s hot spring ryokan brand KAI, of which it operates 16 in Japan. It will be the third branch of KAI in Hokkaido, following from Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu in Shimukappu village and Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.
Hot springs in Shiraoi, Hokkaido include moor springs, a type of organic spring water that is rare globally. KAI Poroto faces Poroto Lake, which is enveloped in nature and home to creatures such as wild birds. All rooms at the ryokan enjoy a view of the lake, as well as a chance to see the trees and flowers bloom and change in different colours throughout the seasons.
KAI’s aim is to offer Japanese hospitality that can only be experienced in that town or city, and during that season, as well as to give guests a comfortable experience in a Japanese-style accommodation. At KAI Poroto, they are set to offer a completely new experience tied to Ainu culture in collaboration with the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park currently in development in Shiraoi.
Upopoy is scheduled to open at Lake Poroto on April 24, 2020. “Upopoy” is a word in the Ainu language that means “singing in a large group.” The museum is the first national museum in Japan to be dedicated to the indigenous Ainu people. It will serve as the national center for the revival and development of Ainu culture, something which is on the verge of extinction, and it will do this by showcasing Ainu culture and history through exhibitions, hands-on programmes, performances, and more.
Hiroshi Nakamura is the architects that designed Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. “Poroto” is also a word in Ainu to mean “large lake.” The ryokan’s lobby, which is decorated with Japanese white birch, offers a view of the lake and Mount Tarumae. There are also small bath houses called kashi which have been made using Ainu architectural methods, as well as open-air baths that have you feeling like you’re taking a dip in the lake.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto
Address: 1-1018-1 Wakakusacho, Shiraoi, Shiraoi District, Hokkaido
Construction Work Start: Mid-May 2020 (subject to change)
Grand Opening: Winter 2021 (subject to change)
Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/
6 Must Try Soft Serve Ice Creams in Hokkaido – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPONHokkaido is home to some seriously sumptuous desserts, not to mention their matcha range. Today we’re looking at 6 unmissable ice creams you can try around Sapporo, because if Hokkaido is known for anything, its the soft serve ice cream.We are joined once again by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English.
UMIERE 2nd in TanukikojiUMIERE is credited with lighting the fire on the popularity of mokomoko, or ‘fluffy,’ soft serve ice cream. Their second branch, UMIERE 2nd, recently reopened after a revamp. As part of their renewal, they have introduced a number of new menu items like shiratama white flour dumplings.Macaron Soft Parfait – ¥718I ordered the Macaron Soft Parfait, which is a tower of organic soft serve ice cream, macarons, chocolate sauce, and sponge cake filled with sliced strawberries. The ice cream itself is both refreshing yet rich. As you continue to scoop up mouthfuls from the ice cream cup, the other ingredients gradually reveal themselves: the fresh cream, the strawberries, and the sponge, just like a parfait.The cafe enjoys a relaxed atmosphere and is a great place to pop into if you’re looking for a hideaway.▼Umiere 2nd (ウミエール)Address: Marufuku Bldg. Floor 2F, 4-Chome-9, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 11:00-18:30No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 011-211-4738
JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO in Shindohigashi
When talking about coffee in Hokkaido, the name that’s likely to pop up is Morihico. And when talking about their most popular menu item sold at their chain cafe JB ESPRESSO, it’s their variety of cute ice creams.JB Soft Cream Pudding à la Mode – ¥450Based on the Japanese “purin à la mode,” a type of Japanese custard pudding served with an assortment of other desserts, this ice cream is custard pudding flavoured and is drizzled in caramel, topped with whipped cream, and crowned with a cherry. And the caramel isn’t just sauceーit’s crunchy like caramel chocolate, giving the ice cream a variety of scrumptious textures.JB Soft Cream Mix – ¥420The mixed ice cream is one of the specialities of JB, combining milk and chocolate flavours. The milk ice cream is made with milk from Jersey cattle, so is rich in flavour while still being smooth and refreshing. The chocolate is also rich, made from three types of Spanish chocolate.▼JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO (ジェービー エスプレッソ モリヒコ)Address: 16-1-1 Kita 34 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 9:00-22:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 011-788-2133
Kinotoya Bake (Pole Town Branch) in Odori Park
Kinotoya Bake is located in Pole Town, accessed by walking towards Tanukikoji from Odori Park. They don’t sell cooked confections or take like the Kinotoya brand is known for, but rather tarts, apple pies, and ice creams.Gokujo Milk Soft – ¥410The name of this ice cream alone screams Hokkaido, as the prefecture is known for its Gokujo, or “first-rate” milk. It’s pretty big as you can probably tell from the photo! This full-bodied milky cream, which is smooth like fresh cream, is the one I’d recommend from the various different ice creams made with Hokkaido milk. And because of its size, your belly is sure to be satisfied afterwards!▼Kinotoya BakeAddress: Pole Town, 3-Chome, 2 Minami Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 10:00-20:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0120-24-6161
TEA SIGN in PARCO Odori ParkTEA SIGN is famous in Sapporo for its tapioca, and at the PARCO branch, they sell it with milk tea flavoured ice cream.Tapioca Milk Tea Soft Cream – ¥520You can really taste the flavour of the tea leaves. The ice cream is moderately sweet with a strong black tea taste. The ice cream means it offers a different kind of tapioca experience from your usual tapioca milk tea.▼TEA SIGN (ティーサイン)Address: PARCO (Floor B2F), 3-Chome-3, Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 10:00-20:00No Fixed HolidaysOfficial Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teasign_japan/
TSURU CAFE in Miyanomori
TSURU CAFE is a stylish little cafe in Miyanomori where they serve cooked confections, cakes, and many popular ice cream flavours. As well as the cafe side of TSURU, they also sell artwork and other things by creators.Flavour Soft Strawberry – ¥830The “Flavour Soft Strawberry” is a speciality of TSURU CAFE. This towering dessert is layered with ice cream, fresh strawberries, meringue, and strawberry sauce. The milky ice cream is refreshing, and the sweet taste of the strawberries is divine. The flavours are simple, but every thing in the dessert is delicious. The strawberry sauce is served on the side so you can pour over the amount that suites your taste.▼TSURU CAFE (ツルカフェ)Address: 5-2-8 Miyanomori 2 Jo, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: [Mon-Sat] 10:00-20:00 / [Sun & Holidays] 10:00-19:00Closed: WednesdaysOfficial Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Cafeteria/TSURU-CAF%C3%89-676596185685718/
COCOBON in Shin-Sapporo
COCOBON is a super popular fruit and ice cream shop that opened in Shin-Sapporo just last year. The ice cream and fruits are mixed together as soon as you put your order in.Walnut Chocolate – ¥400I ordered the Belgian chocolate ice cream with walnuts and chocolate cereal. The Belgian chocolate is sweet and its texture is amazing together with the walnuts. If you love chocolate, you’ll love the rich flavour of this ice cream.The shop actually closes when all the stock is sold out, so if you’re planning a trip here, be sure to arrive nice and early so as to not miss out.▼COCOBON (ココボン)Address: 8-7-30 Aobacho, Atsubetsu Ward, Sapporo, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 11:00-17:00Closed: Mondays & TuesdaysEnquiries: 011-887-8984Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cocobonnoinsta/?hl=jaDid you enjoy these ice cream scoops? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.
Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
*Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.
*Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.
9 Must Try Desserts and Sweets in Hokkaido & at New Chitose Airport – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPONWe at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON know our readers love desserts and sweets as much as we do, and that’s why we make sure to never go too long without writing about the latest must-try treats in Japan, like our recent article on matcha desserts in Sapporo.We return to you once more with the 9 must-try delectable delights at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, and at various locations across Hokkaido. If you’re heading to Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and are using this airport, or are travelling throughout Hokkaido, then you can’t miss out on these irresistible picks.Today, we are joined by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English. Enjoy!
GINRYU・BonBon BERRY | New Chitose Airport
GINRYU・BonBon BERRY is a revamp of the original shop, GINRYU. Located on the second floor of New Chitose Airport Terminal, the new shop has teamed up with BonBonBERRY, another store right next to Atami Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.
The shop specialises in Tokachi Ginryu strawberries, a variety of strawberry produced in the town of Otofuke. They have a distinct appearance and taste, with their beautiful white inside, low acidity, and high sugar content.Omocchiizu Strawberry Skewer – ¥432This skewered dessert is made up of strawberries, cheese-filled sticky rice cake, and strawberry baumkuchen. This is the ultimate strawberry indulgence!Strawberry Bavarois – ¥740Bon Bon Soft – ¥500The Strawberry Bavarois and soft serve ice cream look super cute too. The high sugar content of the Ginryu strawberry makes them perfect for any kind of dessert.The shop is stocked full of other great sweet treats too, so be sure to check out their strawberry range.▼GINRYU・BonBon BERRYAddress: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2FOpening Hours: 8:00-20:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-29-4480Official Website: https://www.ginryu-bonbonberry.com/
Chocolatier Masale | New Chitose Airport
Chocolatier Masale is a standout name in Hokkaido. This leading chocolate company have multiple branches – in addition to the Sapporo shops, they have sites in both the lobby and gate lounge of New Chitose Airport.Mousse Glacee White Chocolate & Hokkaido Milk – ¥410Exclusive to the departure lobby branch of Chocolatier Malase, this chocolatey dessert is an ensemble of ice cream made from mousse-packed Hokkaido milk and covered in chocolate. It’s finished with cracked freeze-dried strawberries which give a fruity kick to the smooth taste of the ice cream and delightful chocolate.▼Chocolatier Masale – New Chitose Airport Departure Lobby (ショコラティエマサール 新千歳空港出発ロビー店)
Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2FOpening Hours: 8:00-20:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-29-4115Official Website: https://www.masale.jp/
siretoco sky sweets | New Chitose Airportsiretoco doughnuts were created in the town of Nakashibetsu in Hokkaido. The New Chitose Airport Terminal branch is immensely popular for its cute mini animal doughnuts which are steamed instead of being dropped into hot oil, making them a healthier doughnut option.Happy New Year Lucky Rat – ¥420 / Rich★Cream Cheese – ¥390The doughnut on the left celebrates 2020 and the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac. It’s white chocolate and strawberry chocolate flavoured. It’s also not too sweet and has a soft and fluffy texture. The cheese doughnut has a very cheesy flavour indeed. All the animal faces are also made by hand, so each and every one is unique. Both are really cute looking.▼siretoco sky sweets (シレトコ スカイ スイーツ)Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2FOpening Hours: 8:00-20:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-46-2109Official Website: https://www.rakuten.co.jp/yoitoko-style/
Cafe Owl | Lake ShikotsuHandmade Baked Purin – ¥500Cafe Owl is situated in Shikotsuko Onsen, a popular tourist spot about a 55-minute transit bus ride from New Chitose Airport. It has a warm atmosphere to it with its log house-like appearance. Their food menu has just two things on it: pizza and purin (Japanese custard pudding). I ordered a purin and cup of coffee as a set.The photo doesn’t show how big the purin actually is – it’s like a cake slice. It has a refreshing taste and isn’t overly-sweet so can be chowed down easily.▼Cafe Owl (カフェアウル)Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 9:00-17:00Closed: WednesdaysEnquiries: 0123-25-2590Tabelog Page: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0107/A010701/1023567/
Pennennolde | Lake ShikotsuAtsuma Honeysuckle Rare Cheese & Cocoa – ¥380 / Walnut Chocolate Ganache – ¥380This cafe is also located in Shikotsuko Onsen. Their main meal is muffins, which are served warm inside their very relaxed space. The honeysuckle cheese muffin is thick and sticky, and doesn’t have an unpleasant smell from the cheese. It’s simply delicious. The chocolate ganache too is melted which only adds to the nice texture of the walnuts.The muffins can be ordered for takeout too, so you can take them with you to enjoy the local sights.▼Pennennolde (ペンネンノルデ)Address: Bangaichi, Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 10:00-17:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-25-4115Official Website: http://r.goope.jp/pennennolde/
Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui | Lake ShikotsuRaspberry Chocolate Soft Cream – ¥500This cafe is close to Lake Shikotsu. They sell soft serve ice cream from the famous Iwase Farm located in the city of Sunagawa. This flavour is made with rich chocolate ice cream and is topped with freeze-dried raspberries, creating a great balance between the two.This small place has its own eat-in area too, so you can kick back and relax while you enjoy the taste of some Hokkaido soft serve ice cream.▼Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui (北のうまいもん店碧水)Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, HokkaidoOpening Hours: Not knownClosed Days: Not knownEnquiries: 0123-25-4115Official Website: Not known
Doremo LeTAO | ChitoseChocolate Noisette Berry – ¥1,540Doremo LeTAO is just a 15-minute walk from Chitose Station. Their “Chocolate Noisette Berry” is packed fully of rich chocolate, nuts, and berries.Berry Mascarpone – ¥1,650The “Berry Mascarpone” comes with four pancakes drizzled in berry sauce, mascarpone, custard, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. The pancakes have soft meringue inside them, but are still light to eat, so you can rest assured you won’t have a heavy stomach afterwards.▼Doremo LeTAO (ドレモルタオ)Address: 6-1-1 Asahinochi, Chitose, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 11:00-18:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 050-5570-2975Official Website: https://www.letao.jp/shop/doremo.php
Mirtillo | Osatsu
Mirtillo is a gelato shop on the outskirts of Osatsu in Chitose. It’s a tricky place to reach without a car, but it still stands as an incredibly popular gelato store. They have 16 flavours of gelato including several limited-time options.Waffle Parfait – ¥1,000I tried their “Waffle Parfait,” which lets you pick from two gelato of your choice along with toppings. The combination of the crunchy waffles with the gelato is delicious. Added together with the blueberry sauce and fruits, you get a variety of tastes and textures.The blueberries are actually all grown on site.▼Mirtillo (ミルティーロ)Address: 2 Osatsu, Chitose, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 11:00-18:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-23-5323Official Website: http://mirtillo.tank.jp/
Donut Chaya Honwaka | EniwaHonwaka Cocoa – ¥140 / Autumn Chestnut – ¥220Honwaka is a doughnut shop about 1.5km from Eniwa Station. I got to try some of their seasonal autumn flavours: the fluffy and flavourful “Honwaka Cocoa,” and the chestnut and chestnut cream-loaded “Autumn Chestnut.” The chestnut cream is just the right amount of sweetness and has a really delightful chestnut flavour.The store offers limited-time seasonal flavours with each passing season, so be sure to check out my Instagram to see more.▼Donut Chaya Honwaka (ドーナツ茶屋 ほんわか)Address: 7-18-4 Koganeminami, Eniwa, HokkaidoOpening Hours: 11:00-17:00No Fixed HolidaysEnquiries: 0123-25-5346Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/donutschaya.honwaka/Did you enjoy these dessert picks? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.
Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
*Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.
*Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.
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.
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.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: 330 Shiteicho Nakadachiuri Shinmachi-dori (West side of Gosho), Kamigyo, Kyoto
Official Website (English): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/en/
Plan Page (Japanese): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/lp/spring2020/index.html
Star Wars Theme Cafe Opens in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido & Fukuoka
With The Rise of Skywalker concluding the Skywalker saga of the Star Wars film franchise, fans are left craving more from the galaxy far far away.
If you’re one of those people, and need a fix before season two of The Mandalorian, which is coming in late 2020, then you’ll want to hit up the all-new Star Wars-themed cafes now open for a limited time at branches of OH MY CAFE across Japan in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka.
We visited the Tokyo branch of the cafe which is located inside Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku. Here’s our report of this must-see cafe for Star Wars fans, a museum-like space chock-full of concept art.
Ready to greet you as you walk into the cafe is none other than Darth Vader. This life-size recreation of the Sith Lord is really striking, but don’t worryーthough he is realistic, he won’t use his Force choke on you, he only wishes for you to have a nice meal.
Plastered across the cafe walls are pieces of concept art used during the production of the Star Wars film series.
Here’s a galactic showcasing of the cafe’s menu. There are 7 food items and 5 drinks to choose from, all inspired by the franchise and its characters.
<STAR WARS> Far Far Away Galaxy Black Curry – ¥1,590
A signature dish of the cafe, this black curry features the Star Wars logo which is actually an edible wafer. The space design is bamboo charcoal-cooked rice which is mixed with spicy sauce and topped with peanuts for stars.
<BB-8> Seafood BB-8 Gratin – ¥1,690
Fans of BB-8 won’t be able to resist this delicious gratin, served with salad and French bread for a full belly.
<Yoda> Root Leaf Stew – ¥1,590
This stew is inspired by Yoda living his final years in his little shack in Dagobah during Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s packed full of vegetables and will no doubt be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.
<R2-D2 & C-3PO> Buddy Burger Plate – ¥1,990
This set of two chicken burgers comes with an R2-D2 seasoned with béchamel sauce and a C-3PO burger seasoned with meat sauce. You can take the flags home with you too. We recommend sharing this between two people.
Portion Bread – ¥500
This is the one I was most interested in personally, because I was curious to know from its appearance how it would taste. It’s the portion bread that Rey tries eating in the film. At first glance it looks crunchy, but to my surprise it was soft with a subtle sweet flavour.
Lightsaber Drinks – ¥600 Each (w/ Coaster ¥1,300)
From the left, the flavours are Darth Vader blood orange, Luke Skywalker ramune, and Yoda melon. When you draw your straw from the paper wrapping, it turns into a lightsaber!
<STAR WARS > Jet Black Coffee – ¥600 (w/Bottle ¥1,750)
These limited edition bottles of black coffee feature the famous Star Wars opening crawl credits. Which one you get is randomーa must-have for all fans!
After enjoying some Star Wars food and drink, it’s time to check out the cafe’s exclusive merchandise. There are 13 types of merch in total all bearing artwork from across the film series.
Folder – ¥350
I recommend picking up one of these folders made in collaboration with the cafe. It has illustrations of the food and drinks being sold there.
Tote Bag – ¥3,500
This tote bag has illustrations of characters from Star Wars and how they are all connected.
There’s plenty of other must-grab merch too, from music to stationery and more.
Customers who spend over ¥1,000 (excluding tax) on any of these exclusive items will receive the above-pictured limited edition bag. These are limited in stock so are available while supplies last.
There’s plenty of places inside for fans to take great photos, so make sure you snap lots.
Also, if you book a table in advance and order something from the menu, you’ll receive one of these 25 possible A5 folders, so be sure to book before you go!
© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
*All listed prices are pre-tax. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.
“Star Wars” at OH MY CAFE
■Tokyo: OH MY CAFE TOKYO (Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku) / January 18, 2020 – February 23, 2020
■Osaka: kawara CAFE&DINING Shinsaibashi / January 17, 2020 – February 23, 2020
■Nagoya: kawara CAFE&KITCHEN Nagoya PARCO / January 23, 2020 – February 25, 2020
■Hokkaido: Cafe Interlude, Coach & Four Shinkawa-dori / January 24, 2020 – February 24, 2020
■Fukuoka: kawara CAFE & DINING KITTE Hakata / January 24, 2020 – February 26, 2020
“Star Wars” OH MY CAFE Official Website: https://sw.ohmycafe.jp/
3 Breathtaking New Rooms to Open at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
25.January.2020 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa, a branch of Hoshino Resorts’ hotels for tourists and travellers, has announced that it is opening three new room types to guests from April 1 to make their stay and travels that much better. They are the “Double Room,” “Superior Room,” and “Family Room.”
OMO7 Asahikawa opened in Hokkaido April 2018 as the first branch of Hoshino Resorts’s “OMO” brand of city tourism hotels. The hotel offers not only a great sleep, but enjoys the benefit of its location with must-see sights surrounding it, and all of this to make guests’ stay the best it can be.
The hotel’s Studio Rooms, formerly named the DANRAN Room before the renovation, have received praise from guests that have stayed there for offering everything they needed while being compact, as well as it being easy to kick back and relax in them. It was revealed that in 2019, the average number of people staying in a single room at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa was higher than the average of that in other city hotels in Asahikawa, as well as the hotel being popular for catering to tourist and sightseers’ needs.
The hotel has now renovated 111 of its rooms in response to it being used by a lot of people because of its catering towards tourists’ needs. It has also added the three new types of roomsーDouble, Superior, and Familyーwhich incorporate the well-received functionality of the Studio Rooms. That’s 226 room renovations out of the hotel’s 237 rooms.
All beds have storage space underneath them. Those travelling in big groups like families will especially benefit from this if they have a lot of luggage as they can save on plenty of space in rooms.
New rooms are furnished with new sofas and tables for maximum comfort amongst friends and family where they can talk about their trip while enjoying local drinks and snacks.
Also, in the Superior Rooms and Family Rooms, where there is a small amount of guests, beds can be folded and turned into spacious sofas.
The OMO brand promises “a reasonable price for your travels,” and this rings true: the new Family Rooms start at ¥5,500, allowing an affordable stay so you can spend more on the local sights.
Room bookings will open on February 3, 2020, so if you’re visiting Hokkaido, be sure to check out Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.
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.
Kyoto Tower VR Bungy Jump
Running: February 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Time: 12:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:45)
Location: Kyoto Tower Observation Deck – Floor 1F (the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower)
・VR Bungy Ticket: ¥800 (Tax Included)
・Observation Deck & Bungy Set Ticket (Tax Included): Adults: ¥1,400 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,600)/High School Students: ¥1,300 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,450)/Elementary & Junior High Students: ¥1,100 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,350)
*Ages 7+ only
*Set tickets are available to purchase on floor 1F of Kyoto Tower
*Run times subject to change
*Ticket charges applied for ages 7+; those aged below 7-years-old are not permitted to use the VR system
*An entry ticket to the Kyoto Tower observation deck is not necessary to experience the VR system
Official Website: https://vr-bungee.com/
Matcha Desserts in Sapporo You Just Have To Try
We’ve previously covered the best spots to try delicious matcha desserts in Kyoto. Now, with the help of expert dessert Instagrammer Kei, we are going to introduce you to some of the most delicious spots to try matcha desserts in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
If you want to discover more delicious cafés, desserts and drinks in Hokkaido, make sure to check out Kei’s Instagram (@607keih).
KotoniSand, Nishi Ward
Macchan French Toast: ¥1200
From dinners to desserts, this café serves up lots of meals based on their delicious thick-sliced bread. Bread flavours include plain, matcha and even coffee. You can order to go or enjoy the eat-in-limited menu. This fluffy french toast is soaked in matcha liqueur and is full of flavour even before trying it with the toppings. Take a bite of it with the red bean paste for a flavour adventure. A limited number of these are sold per day so if you want to try it, make sure to get there early.
Address: 1-1-1 Yamanote 5 Jō, Nishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
Official Website: https://kotonisand.business.site
Ame no hi to yuki no hi, Minami Ward
Gelato Futatsu: ¥450
Located before Jozankei’s onsen hotspot is a café called Ame no hi yuki no hi. It serves delicious pizzas and a variety of gelato flavours depending on the season. Their matcha ice cream is delicious. They even allow you to order two or three flavours at once so you can enjoy a mix and match of combinations.
▼Ame no hi to yuki no hi
Address: 2-4-1, Jozankeionsennishi, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:30
Official Website: https://www.amenohitoyukinohi.com
KANON pancakes, Shiroishi Ward
Matcha Tiramisu Pancake: ¥1500
This is a famous pancake shop in Kikusui. Tuck into a stack of fluffy pancakes inside the relaxing and soothing restaurant. The Matcha Tiramisu Pancakes are soaked with liqueur, creating a texture that is softer and moister than their standard pancakes. In addition to the matcha liqueur, the pancake is also dusted with matcha powder for a richer matcha flavour. Finally, they are drizzled with delicious brown sugar syrup and topped with walnuts.
Address: 5-5-18 Kikusui 3 Jo, Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo,
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Orders: 16:00)
No Regular Holidays
Official Website: https://kanon-pancakes.com
Any cafe, Kita Ward
Matcha Kintoki: ¥1350
This shop uses gluten-free ingredients in their food. This pancake dish is made using unpolished rice powder, three pieces of Turkish delight, red bean paste, rice flour dumplings, and cream made from Hokkaido-produced mascarpone and fresh cream. The cream is full of the bitter and delicious flavour of matcha, making the pancake sweet and very delicious.
Address: 3-2-24 Kita 18 Jonishi, Kita Ward
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30 (Last Orders: 18:00)
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/any_cafe_sapporo/
If you are looking for delicious matcha desserts in Sapporo, let this article help you decide where to go. When your food cravings kick in, make sure to visit Kei‘s Instagram which is full of the most delicious meals, drinks and desserts in Hokkaido.
Original Article Contents and Photos by: Kei (@607keih )
Beautiful and Scrumptious Strawberry Desserts You Have to Try in Sapporo This Winter
In Japan, strawberries are the perfect winter treat. In this feature, we’re going to look at the most mouthwatering strawberry desserts in Sapporo with the help of Hokkaido dessert expert Kei,（@607keih） whose Instagram is full of the most delicious dessert pictures you have ever seen.
MIRAI.ST, Sapporo Station
Strawberry and Pistachio Shortcake Parfait: ¥1650
Dig through the rich pistachio ice cream to discover layers of whipped cream, sponge cake and strawberries. You will also come across pistachio panna cotta and crispy biscuit which contributes a wonderful texture. The fusion of strawberry shortcake and pistachio is divine. Finally, the strawberry jam leaves you with a sweet and tangy aftertaste for a refreshing finish.
Address: Shikishima Bldg. B1, 3 Chome−3, Kita 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Fridays and Saturdays: 11:00-24:00
No Regular Holidays
Official Website: https://miraist.com/
INITIAL SAPPORO, Susukino Station
Natsumizuki Strawberry Parfait: ¥1800 *Only 10 sold per day.
This parfait is made using Natsumizuki strawberriesーa type of strawberry that is not available to buy at the market. With a sugar content between 18 and 18 degrees Brix, these strawberries are especially sweet and juicy. Below the mountain of strawberries is pistachio soft-serve ice cream followed by chocolate soft-serve ice cream and crispy feuilletine. Sweet and tangy fruits such as blueberries and blackcurrants garnish the parfait and will leave you feeling refreshed. The balsamic flavour on the strawberries accents the flavour perfectly.
Address: DRESS Floor 2, 5−36-1F, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
No Regular Holidays
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/initial_sapporo?lang=ja
Matcha cafe RIQ, Susukino Station
This parfait is also made using Natsumizuki strawberries. A Christmas biscuit, chocolate ice cream and berry ice cream hide the sponge cake core. It tastes just as marvellous as it looks. This is a great way to get your strawberry fill.
▼Matcha cafe RIQ
Address: T5 Building Floor 2, 5 Chome, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Opening Hours: 11:00-23:30
No Regular Holidays
Official Website: https://www.riq-jp.com/
Umiere, Bus Center Mae
Strawberry Open Sandwich: ¥400
Umiere’s delicious open sandwich has returned. A slice of bread is smothered in whipped cream and layered with strawberries – simple yet beautiful. The whipped cream perfectly balances out the sweetness of the strawberries. The bread is very fluffy and delicious.
Address: 5 Chome, Kita 3 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
No Regular Holidays
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/umiere6/?hl=ja
Berry Berry Crazy, Susukino Station
Strawberry Parfait: ¥ 1570
All throughout the year, strawberries sourced from Urakawa in Hokkaido are on the menu at Berry Berry Crazy. Fresh strawberries fill the centre of the parfait along with sponge cake, cream, milk gelato, strawberry jelly and crispy dough. The parfait comes with strawberry sauce and condensed milk on the side to add as you please.
▼ Berry Berry Crazy
Address: Floor 2, 5 Chome−20, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Opening Hours: 12:00-17:00
Daytime-Only Menu: 18:00-24:00 (Last Orders: 23:30)
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/berryberrycrazy/?hl=ja
Nagayama Rest, Bus Center Mae
Basque Cheesecake and Strawberry Winter Parfait: ¥1580
Basque cheesecake is trending in Japan and now you enjoy it in a parfait. Basque cheesecake makes up the centre of the parfait and is surrounded by fresh strawberries, soft-serve ice cream, mascarpone cream, meringue, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chip cookies and much more. It is moderately sweet and goes great with a cup of coffee.
Address: Nagayama Memorial Park, 6 Chome-2, Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo
Opening Hours: 11:00-22:00
Closed: Every second Wednesday of the month.
These desserts are perfect to satisfy any strawberry-lover exploring Sapporo so if you’re ever in the area you should definitely try one.
Kei’s Instagram page is a wealth of recommendations for meals and desserts in Hokkaido, so be sure to check it out if you’re planning to travel there.
Original Article Contents and Photos by Kei (@607keih)
*The information on the desserts mentioned in this article are subject to change at any time. For the latest updates, please refer to the links provided in this article.
Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners
一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.
A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.
②Instagram Photo Contest
Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.
③Coupons, Goods & Experiences
Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.
・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)
This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.
Official Website: http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/
・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.
Official Website: http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/
Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.
Japan Shopping Festival 2019-2020
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Official Website: http://jsf.japanshopping.org/