Tokyo Winter Illuminations 2018 – Shinjuku Minamilumi Illuminations to Return to Shinjuku Station South Exit

04.September.2018 | SPOT

The Shinjuku Minamilumi illuminations are making their sixth return to the south exit of Shinjuku Station again this year from November 14.

“Minamilumi” is a portmanteau of minami no illumination (‘south illuminations’) and minna de miru illumination (‘illuminations to watch with everyone’).

Each pedestrian area around the south exit will be decorated with different illuminations. Full details for each illumination exhibition will be available from October.

Each location is within walking distance from the other, so you can spend a nice relaxing time strolling and seeing the different lights that will welcome the winter. Mark it in your diary and be sure to see them all.

 

■Information

Shinjuku Minamilumi Illuminations

Areas: Shinjuku Southern Terrace / Takashiyama Times Square / Shinjuku Maynds Tower / JR South Shinjuku Bldg. / JR Shinjuku Miraina Tower / Suica’s Penguin Park

Closest Stations: Shinjuku Station (JR Line, Odakyu Line, Keio Line, Toei Shinjuku Line, Oedo Line) / Shinjuku-Sanchome Station (Fukutoshin Line)

Running: November 14, 2018 – January 14, 2019

Illumination Times: 5:00pm-12:00am

*4:30pm-12:00am in December.

*Illumination areas, content and details subject to change.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Experience VR Dragon Quest at VR ZONE SHINJUKU

    30.April.2018 | SPOT

    Japan’s biggest VR entertainment facility VR ZONE SHINJUKU introduced Dragon Quest VR to its establishment on April 27, 2018. An opening event was held prior to its introduction on April 25 to up the excitement.

    ドラゴンクエストVR2

    Taking to the stage at the opening event was Square Enix producer Ryutaro Ichimura, Takamasa Hamano of Bandai Namco Amusement, and Yuji Horii, the creator of Dragon Quest. Horii spoke joyfully, saying “It’s been 30 years since Dragon Quest was born. This world that is laid before me is something out of a dream.”

    VR ZONE SHINJUKU

    The centre tree in the middle of the venue illuminated with the shout of Lynn. Projection mapping was used to display Yggdrasil, a quintessential sight of the Dragon Quest series.

    ドラゴンクエストVR3

    Guests were able to get involved in VR activities after the stage talks. The moment everyone hooked themselves up to the VR they were blown away by how much it looked like they were in the world of Dragon Quest, and how expansive the green plains were.

    ドラゴンクエストVR5

    If you’re a Dragon Quest fan then enter the world yourself with Dragon Quest VR at VE ZONE SHINJUKU!

     

    ■Information

    Dragon Quest VR

    Address: VR ZONE SHINJUKU, 1-29-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku

     

    Booking: https://vrzone-pic.com/activity/dragonquestvr.html

     

  • Experience Japanese Culture #4 – Searching for a Film Camera in Shinjuku’s Used Camera Shops

    30.May.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    This is Yuri ‘Yurippa’ Suganuma’s featured article series in which she takes us on her adventures to cultivate new hobbies.

     

    Yurippa has been interested in photography for some time now, but she’s been unsure which camera she should buy. So, she decided to head to some used camera stores,  Lucky Camera Shop andChuko Camera Box in Shinjuku to find the perfect camera that best suits her. Was she able to find the right one…? Let’s find out!

    中古カメラ 新宿 yurippa_film01

    The first place Yurippa stopped by was Lucky Camera Shop. It’s located next to Isetan Shinjuku and has a kind of foreign, non-Japanese air to it. When Yurippa saw the eye-catching red exterior of the shop, it was loved at first sight. In any case, time to head in!

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film03

    The store is lined with cameras made in lots of different countries including Japan, Germany and the US. Lucky Camera Shop puts a lot of effort into stocking foreign-made cameras and mechanical cameras with everything built in. They have a varied line-up, including famous Leica cameras.

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film04

    The Leica parts were all expensive – the bodies and lenses were both over ¥100,000 ($915)!

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film05

    Yurippa was shown a camera she was interested in from inside the showcase. The left was a single-lens reflex Olympus OM-1 and the right was a Barnack Leica. 35mm films are all the rage right now, and these were some of the first models to use them. Both are at a nice, compact size.

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film06

    Yurippa was blown away looking through the viewfinder of the Olympus OM-1. ‘You can see things easily, so much so that everything looks even more beautiful through the viewfinder!’ she said.

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film07

    Next, Yurippa also tried the Barnack Leica. It’s a valuable camera that has you feeling a little nervous touching it. She said surprised at how quiet the shutter was, to which the shop assistant explained, “This is a different single-lens reflex to that of the OM-1. There’s no mirror inside so the shutter is quiet.” Yurippa learned much about how cameras are put together differently, as well as the diverse number of types available.

     

    ■Information

    Lucky Camera Shop

    Address: Gomeikan Bldg. 1F, 3-3-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-3354-7898

    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00

    Access: 5-minutes on foot from JR Shinjuku Station / 1-minute on foot from Shinjuku Sanchome Station

    Website: http://lucky-camera.com/

     

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film08

    The next shop Yurippa headed to was Chuko Camera Box. It’s a used camera store located along Shinjuku Electric Street (Shinjuku Denki-gai). The showcase is crowded with cameras, and the shop has an atmosphere to it like a secret hideout.

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film10

    “It’d be great to have a camera that’s small and easy to use. One that I can take out and snap a photo with straight away. That’d definitely be fun!” said Yurippa while looking in earnest for a camera.

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film11

    She continued to search with these keywords in mind, focusing on auto-focus film compact cameras. And then, she found it. In her hands was the Genba Kantoku from Konica. You can snap a photo just by pressing the shutter. It has auto-focus, flash and auto-load. “It’s a little big, but it’s affordable and seems easy to use!”

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film12中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film13

    Chuko Camera Box is famous for its friendly store clerk and regular customers. Yurippa learned that the Genba Kantoku was formerly used for recording at construction sites. It’s durable and can get wet or be dropped and has an excellent lens. She’s finally made her purchase!

     

    ■Information

    Chuko Camera Box

    Address: 1-13-7 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo

    Tel: 03-5339-2701

    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:30

    Access: 2-minutes on foot from Shinjuku Station

    Website: http://camerabox.web.fc2.com

     

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film14

     

    Yurippa loaded her Genba Kantoku right away with 35mm film. Simply take out the film tip and close it on its back. Film cameras can seem tricky, but there are easy-to-use ones like this too!

    中古カメラ 新宿yurippa_film15

    Yurippa was hugely satisfied finally getting her hands on her long-sought film camera. In the second part of this article, she will develop and print the photos that she has taken with her Genba Kantoku at a photo shop.

     

    How about getting yourself your own film camera and to start up photography yourself?

    Profile

    Model: Yuri Suganuma @yurippa93

    yuri_profile

    Yuri Suganuma is a model with a high fashion sense that has been picked up by various magazines. She receives much love and support from girls of the same generation as her to whom she is known by her nickname “Yurippa.” She has a huge influence across her social media. Recently, she has stepped into other fields outside of modelling, such as appearing in TV shoots and in music videos. She is skilled in make-up and involved in the development of cosmetics.

     

    Photographer & Writer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

  • Sanrio Puroland & Round-Trip Train Ticket Set to be Sold at Shinjuku Station!

    30.March.2018 | SPOT

    Sanrio Puroland is a theme park where you can meet some of the world’s most iconic characters including Hello Kitty and My Melody.

     

    The closest station to the park is Tama-Center Station which is often perceived as being quite a trip, but it’s very easy to get to. Just hop on the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station and it’s just one stop. It takes about 35-minutes.

     

    小田急サンリオピューロランドツアー

    If you’re planning a trip to Sanrio Puroland, then consider the new ticket set that’s coming out on April 1, 2018. The super affordable Odakyu Sanrio Puroland Tour contains both a round-trip train ticket as well as a passport ticket into Puroland.

     

    The tour can be paid for at the Odakyu Travel Center in Shinjuku Station’s West Hub, which was refurbished this month.

     

    Have a fun trip and affordable trip to Sanrio Puroland with this new ticket set!

     

    ■Information

    Odakyu Sanrio Puroland Tour
    On Sale: April 1, 2018
    Location: Odakyu Travel Center Shinjuku West Hub, Hakone Tabi Ichiba

    *Near Odakyu Line ticket gates at Shinjuku Station West

    Price: Adults (18 years and above) ¥3,200 / Children (3-17 years) ¥2,400

    Website: https://www.puroland.jp

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  • Winners Announced For 4th Gemstone Animation Creator Contest

    12.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME

    GEMSTONE is an audition project created by TOHO CO., LTD. and ALPHABOAT which seeks to find the best creators. The 4th GEMSTONE project was announced in August and sought submissions of short animations themed on Shinjuku.

     

    The judge line-up for the contest included anime film and television director Kobun Shizuno, who worked on the Detective Conan film series from 2011-17 as well as the Godzilla CG kaiju film series from 2017-18. It also included animator Yasuhiro Kimura who worked on Three Leaves, Three Colors and the Golden Wind arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After several months of submissions and judging, the winners and their prizes have finally been announced.

    “GEMSTONE” refers to the talent selected by TOHO and ALPHABOAT for the audition project, which ranges from animators to illustrators, composers, singers, actors, and so on. The two companies will help open doors to winners’ career paths.

     

    The first competition was themed on Godzilla, and asked for video or illustration submissions. The theme of the second was “With Japan!” and requested submissions for an original character, and the third asked for video submissions to promote Nisio Isin’s 100th story Veiled Man Kasetsu.

     

    Let’s take a look at the winners of Gemstone Creators Audution Vol. 4.

    First Place Prize – 1 Million Yen

    Title: kaijushojo / Creator: Yosuke Tani

    Story: A spirit resides in Shinjuku. A girl in the city challenges herself to battle with the spirit.

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “It’s visually stunning. For someone like me, who was raised in Shinjuku, I felt I wanted the theme in the much more at points, but when I considered that this had to be made in such a short time frame, it’s incredible. If he’s making these by himself, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I think all the praise from everyone comes from the overwhelming quality of the visuals.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It has the highest level of quality out of all the submissions. I chose this one for both that and how interesting it was to watch. It was so much fun watching the characters’ animation. I felt it was a work with a high level of completion and of satisfaction.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 700,000 Yen

    Title: Dramatic / Creator: 作田綾乃

    Story: A lone street musician singing in Shinjuku whose voice reaches somebody.

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “This wasn’t made by just one person, but the overall package is woven together incredibly skilfully. I personally feel this work surpasses all the rest. In terms of the visual quality, there’s a lot that could be cleaned up and there are many points still to be learned, but the drama is on point with music as the core focus. The development is solid throughout, and I admire how well put together everything us right to the end.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I have to give credit to them having created an animation centred around an original song at just 19 years-old. Amongst all the other many works which all used Shinjuku as the location, it feels like a realistic piece of drama which covers musicians visiting Tokyo. And even though it’s 5-minutes long, it by no means felt long; it was a seamless watch.”

    Runner-Up Prize – 300,000 Yen

    Title: tellphone / Creator: 亀井樹

    Story: Where’s my lost smartphone? “The ending of a story is a beginning.”

     

    Judge Comments

    Kobun Shizuno said: “I was impressed by the amazing quality of the visuals, but the structure of the story lost me. We see the characters line up, and you think something interesting is about to unfold, but the older brother’s cheeks turn red and that’s the end. It was a weak conclusion. If they did away with the part in the middle and made the ending stronger, I think it would have been an incredible piece of work worthy of being higher up in the list.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I liked the concept of this one the most. The joke about finding a lost smartphone with location information was amusing. It was very relevant of the current times. But the disappointing part was when we meet the shopkeeper at the end, and then it just ends. I wanted to see what unfolded after we met them too. Since they went ahead and included something that can track something’s location, it would have been even more interesting if they’d tied in locations in Shinjuku and developed the story more.”

     

    Judges’ Overall Comments On The Competition

    Kobun Shizuno said:

    “I was so surprised at the level of quality in the submissions, as people had such a short amount of time to create their works when the submissions opened.”

     

    Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It was really refreshing and a lot of fun to get to see the works of such a young generation.”

     

    Kazutaka Yamanaka, producer at TOHO, praised the line-up of works as wonderful considering the short time they were given. He felt however that the dramatic elements of most works could have been enrichened had they added a little more references to Shinjuku in them, like including people of different races walking the streets, or the low-lying parts of Shinjuku.

     

    The winning submissions and worthy mentions can all be watched over on the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel here.

     

    © TOHO CO., LTD.

  • Seven Days War Anime Film Release Promoted With Themed Cafe in Shinjuku

    10.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD / MOVIE

    To celebrate the December 13th release of the upcoming anime film Seven Days War, a themed cafe will open at EJ Anime Theater in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The cafe will collaborate with popular creator Pantovisco who has over 680,000 followers across his social media.

    The collaboration was born from Pantovisco’s being able to relate to the theme of Seven Days War which focuses on the heart of today’s youth.

    The cute menu line-up features Seven Days War-inspired food and desserts with Perochi and his friends joining in with the fun.

    There’s also a drinks menu with a line-up of colourful beverages and lattes which you can get various latte art drawings on.

    And for every food item ordered on the collaboration menu, you’ll receive an original sticker selected randomly from several designs.

    And if you order a drink, you’ll get a special card introducing various characters from both Seven Days War and the world of Pantovisco.

     

    ©2019 Osamu Souda・KADOKAWA / Seven Days War Production Committee

    ©Pantovisco

  • Shonen Jump Izakaya: Dine Like a Hero in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho District

    26.November.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    Otona no Jump Sakaba (“Grown-Up’s Jump Bar”) is an izakaya-style eatery which opened in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beloved manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump.

     

    Every week, kids and adults alike anticipate the release of their favourite manga series in the serialised magazine. The adults who grew up with the classic series get to eat like a hero at the bar, with meals and decorations inspired by various series including Dragon BallKinnikumanFist of the North StarSaint Seiya: Knights of the ZodiacSakigake!! OtokojukuRokudenashi Blues, City Hunter, and more.

     

    The bar has now announced its plans for an end-of-year party, with tickets going on sale on December 2, 2019 for the first 1,000 people who sign up.

    The New Year party plan comes with a choice of two different small pot meals.

    Fans can also get their hands on a 2020 schedule book featuring designs of the series characters for different celebratory days throughout next year. This is the only chance to get this exclusive item.

    ©Yude Tamago/Shueisha ©Akira Miyashita/Shueisha ©Tsukasa Hojo/NSP 1985 ©Masami Kurumada/Shueisha ©Bird Studio/Shueisha ©Buronson・Tetsuo Hara/NSP 1983 ©Masanori Morita/Shueisha ©Ryūji Tsugihara/NSP 1982 ©Koichi Endo/Shueisha ©Masaya Tokuhiro/Shueisha

    Inside the bar you’ll find wall posters, giant figurines, treasured items of manga artists, and more. You can even read actual Jump manga from the 80s.

    ©Bird Studio/Shueisha ©Buronson・Tetsuo Hara/NSP 1983

    As well as the above-mentioned New Year meals, there are lots of dishes inspired by various Jump series too. Those who purchase one of these Jump meals will receive a free exclusive sticker.

  • Sanrio Characters Get Together for the Last EGG&SPUMA Collaboration Cafe in Tokyo

    12.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Sanrio is collaborating with EGG & SPUMA cafe which is located on the 8th floor of the shopping centre Lumine EST Shinjuku. The Sanrio Characters Cafe is set to open on November 15 and will remain open for a limited time only.

    This will be the last time that Sanrio will collaborate with EGG & SPUMA and to really make it special, the menu is grander and packed with even more of your favourite Sanrio Characters. If you are a Sanrio fan, you definitely won’t be able to resist the adorable atmosphere.

    From dinner to dessert to drinks, the menu will leave you spoilt for choice. If you’re looking for something to fill you up, then the Pompompurin Cheese Burger is for you. Pompompurin sits on the plate in burger form wearing a cute beret. Kiki and Lala’s themed dish is a tower of soufflé pancakes made to resemble a cute tree, and My Melody’s dish is a Melty Strawberry Soufflé Pancake garnished with a pink ribbon. 

    Of course, EGG & SPUMA Collaboration Cafe will be whisking up their highly popular Tea Party Set again but this time, the Sanrio presence is very intense.

    The special Sanrio-style Tea Party Set is a grand three-tier course full of intricate design. The fun feast on the first tier features a colourful jelly treat which takes on the appearance of a capsule toy machine, and playful pup Pochacco in the form of a panna cotta dessert. The second tier serves up EGG&SPUMA’s popular soufflé pancakes covered in an irresistible berry sauce. The third tier will treat you to a ribbon-shaped strawberry milk crêpe and mini chocolate cakes with My Melody and Kuromi playing on top.

    Order from the collaboration menu to receive a cafe-limited drink coaster. 

    *There are eight possible designs. Each customer will receive one coaster upon their order and they are unable to choose the design they receive.

     

    Make sure to stop by for a top up on your kawaii levels!

  • Witness the Breathtaking Illuminations and Tokyo City Night Lights at Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019

    10.November.2019 | SPOT

    Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019 is set to run from December 1 to 25.

    The event will take place at Shinagawa Season Terrace, a towering office building in Tokyo, where the rolling grass lawn will be lit up beautifully with enchanting blue lights. They offer a breathtaking view against the city nightscape of Tokyo’s skyscrapers. Last year’s event saw nearly 17,000 people in attendance.

    2019 marks the 4th run of the event, and this year, the long staircase leading up to the lawn will also be lit up, welcoming visitors to see the illuminations from their first step upon arrival. The lights will flicker in 10 different patterns from the first floor (ground floor) up to the second.

     

    Entry is free, and visitors will be able enjoy an unbroken view of the structural spectacle that is Tokyo Tower too. If you’re in Tokyo this December, be sure to mark Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019 in your calendar for the holiday season.

     

    *Pictured photos are for illustrative purposes only

  • Vote at Shinjuku Station For Meiji’s Best Chocolate Snack in the 2019 National Election

    06.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    The 2019 National Election for Meiji’s long-selling chocolate brands Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato is running up until December 2, with Jun Matsumoto and Akihiro Miwa representing each snack respectively, where the people of Japan can vote for their favourite of the two.

     

    The final promotional campaign for the election will take place at Shinjuku Station’s Metro Promenade where there will be digital posters of both candidates and a chance for people to cast their votes. It will run for three days from November 8 to 10.

    Visitors at the event are able to become part of the digitised poster to help support their favoured snack alongside the leader of the New Kinoko Party Jun Matsumoto, or Akihiro Miwa, the leader of the New Takenoko Party, as well as cast their votes.

    Those who participate in the poster voting will receive a box each of the snacks and stickers of the elected leaders. Only 330 will be given out per day. Those who post a picture of themselves at the event on social media will also receive the first-ever Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato packaging covers. The Kinoko no Yama cover will feature Shinjuku Alta while the Takenoko no Sato cover will feature Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower.

    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Takenoko no Sato, the all-new Double Nuts Cake flavour will be available for a limited time.

  • 4 Best Winter Illumination Events in Japan | 2019 Edition

    04.November.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Winter is almost here, which means the wintertime illuminations are set to warm the streets of Japan once again this year with their radiance. Here are 4 must-visit illuminations taking place in and around Tokyo this year.

     

    Meguro River Minna no Illumination 2019 in Nakameguro

    This year, Meguro River will be decorated with an unmissable illumination display to warm the heart. What’s more is that 100% of the energy for the illumination will be produced by recycled oil.

     

    As Shinagawa will also be lit up at the same time, visitors will be able to treat themselves to a glorious view of 410,000 cherry blossom-coloured lights. The beautiful illuminations along the riverbank of Meguro River will also be the largest illumination project along the Yamanote Line with a total length of 2.2km of riverbanks covered (counting both sides of the river).

    Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/266636

     

    ▼Meguro River Minna no Illumination 2019

    Locations: Gotanda Fureai Mizube Hiroba (2 Chome-9-11 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa City, Tokyo)

    Gotanda Minami Park and Meguro Riverside (2 Chome-8-8 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa City, Tokyo)

    Running: November 8, 2019 – January 1, 2020

    Times: 17:00 – 22:00 

    *The illumination project will still run in rainy weather but will be postponed in stormy weather.

    Website: http://www.minna-no-illumi.com/ 

     

     

    Tobu Zoo Winter Illuminations 2019-2020

    The “Illumination Show” will make use of the biggest LED display in Japan’s Kanto region, combining music with CG visuals, and illuminated decorations will twinkle in front of it. This year, the display will also feature new full-colour lasers. Three magical and dynamic shows will light up the area, including the Amatsuki Live Illumination show.

    Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/260368

     

    Tobu Zoo Winter Illuminations 2019-2020

    Running: October 26, 2019 – February 11, 2020

    *Open on weekends and public holidays in November including Saitama Day on November 14, 2019

    *Open every day from December 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020

    *Open on weekends and public holidays only from January 6, 2020

    Opening Hours: 17:00-20:00 (Until 21:00 on December 24-25, 2019)

    Location: Throughout Tobu Zoo (110 Suka, Miyashiro, Minamisaitama-gun, Saitama)

    Price: Please check the official website or at the zoo

    Event Page: http://www.tobuzoo.com/event/teiki/illumination/

     

     

    Roof Star Garden at GINZA SIX

    Ginza’s biggest shopping centre GINZA SIX is set set to light up its rooftop garden with an enchanting illumination event titled Rooftop Star Garden. Standing at 56 meters high, the rooftop garden is the “closest place to the stars” in Ginza. This will be GINZA SIX’s first ever illumination event and it will shine a bright spotlight against the nightscape of Ginza’s streets.

    Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/259779

     

    Rooftop Star Garden

    Location: GINZA SIX Garden (Building Rooftop)

    Address: 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

    Running: November 26, 2019 – February 24, 2019

    *Will close during bad weather or during invitation-only events

    Time: Sunset to 23:00

    Entry: Free

    GINZA SIX Official Website: https://ginza6.tokyo/

     

     

    Omotesando Hills Christmas 2019

    This winter’s lights at Omotesando Hills will be provided with contemporary design studio we+.The illuminations at the main large staircase of the atrium will take on the theme “Christmastime seduced by water magic.” “The water-based illuminations will constantly change colour and appearance.

    Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/255660

     

    Omotesando Hills Christmas 2019

    Running: November 13, 2019 – December 25, 2019

    Illumination Time: 11:00-23:00

    Omotesando Hills Official Website: https://www.omotesandohills.com/en/

     

     

    Did you enjoy our picks? Seeing the illuminations is a must when travelling to Japan during wintertime. Choose your location and take your friends, family and loved ones.

  • 2019 Kobe Luminarie Winter Illuminations to Light Up Kobe This December

    09.October.2019 | SPOT

    The 25th Kobe Luminarie light festival will take place from December 6 to 15. The theme of this year’s festival is “25 Years, Guided by the Light of Hope” (Original Italian title: Da 25 anni, guidati dalle luci della speranza).

    Kobe Luminarie is an illumination festival that has been held annually since 1995 in commemoration of the Great Hanshin earthquake which hit Kobe that year on January 17. The event has continued as a symbol of hope for Kobe and has also become a festival associated with the winter season. Last year’s festival saw around 3.43 million people in attendance.

    The “Light Bulbs” make a comeback radiating their warm light

    Formerly the doorstep to foreign culture, Nakamachi-dori, lined with countless tasteful stores, will be lined with around 270 meters’ worth of decorations. The entrance decoration, named Frontone, stands almost 22 meters tall with three towering gates each connected to each other. The Sparri Ara is a wide wall of lights which runs 50 meters from Frontone all the way to Kyomachisuji Crossing. And as a special instalment to the 25th run of the festival, the light bulbs used at the first festival will be strung up to create another wall illumination from Itomachi to the East block which will be dubbed the “Memorial Zone.”

    The event’s largest light dome

    In the eastern amusement park plaza, Cassa Armonica―an illuminated church structure set up every year―will be enveloped in a large 21 meter high dome featuring an arch for the first time standing 4 meters tall in the memorial area

     

    Over in the floral clock area, the Sparri Ara wall lights twinkle beside the wisteria trees. The lights will change and transform to the sound of the music. Attendees will also be able to pick up small gifts too as well as take pictures at the various photo spots.

     

    Earthquake Talk Booth

    Talks will be held discussing the origins of Kobe Luminarie and why it started. Earthquake survivors will also talk about their real experiences.

    International Creative Director and Executive Producer Daniel Monteverde, who has been working with Luminaire for 20 years, made the following comment: “The city of Kobe will bustle once again this year, which will mark 25 years. People will fill the streets and look to the sky while they wait for the chime of the bell to signal the illuminations. We hold the memories of the people we lost 25 years ago close to our hearts. I hope we can convey our hopes and dreams and our story to our children and the young people who will bear the next generation. I hope people will be proud of Kobe which has recovered from the earthquake.”

     

    He continues: “The Kobe Luminarie lights will shine once more for Hyogo, for Japan, and for the world. These lights are a symbol of each and every person’s devotion, their efforts, and their love. I pray that the Luminarie lights will send a message of hope to the world and continue shining in our hearts for the rest of time.” * Full comment translated from Japanese

  • BEAMS fennica to Release Gorgeous Collection in Collaboration With Ainu Crafts

    06.October.2019 | FASHION

    fennica is a fashion label associated with BEAMS that combines traditional Japanese handicraft with new and old designs collected from Northern Europe. The label has announced that it will collaborate with the Akan Tourism Association (法人阿寒観光協会まちづくり推進機構) non-profit organisation to release an all-new collection that incorporates traditional Ainu crafts.

    Terry Ellisーthe London-based director of fennicaーand Keiko Kitamura observed Ainu culture in the Lake Akan area in Kushiro, Hokkaido, and have used the creative beauty of young craftsmen and craftswomen who are in charge of next-generation Ainu culture. Overtime they have worked together with the artisans to create an original collection entitled “Ainu Crafts from Lake Akan: Tradition and Innovation” which will be sold on the fifth floor of the Shinjuku branch of BEAMS Japan in the fennica studio and B Gallery from October 12.

    The collection incorporates silver jewellery with Ainu patterns, wood-carved cutlery, hamper bags made with traditional materials, and many other lifestyle items familiar to Ainu culture. During the showcasing, there will be other exhibitions related to Ainu in the gallery, as well as talks, live performances, and more.

     

    A special webpage went live on October 1 talking about this collaboration.

    The collection’s director Terry Ellis commented: “When I was walking around Takiguchi’s store Ichigen No Mise, my attention focused on this cutlery. I felt the folklore in its simplicity. Though it’s an item to be used, the craftsmanship is incredible. You can’t just stop at one, you want to collect more and decorate with them.” *Translated from Japanese

     

    Keiko Kitamura, also a director for the collection, commented: “Akan is a rare kind of place, with mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. It has its own shapes and colours because of the light, colours and sounds which change intensely with time and soak into your body. And Ainu art is distinct from the traditional craftsmanship of other countries and regions because in almost all categories you can still produce it even today. There are [Ainu] people who are still continuing to make art for their family to this day. Their still being here is something valuable.”

     

    She continues: “Japan’s handiwork is in danger of vanishing across all areas of the country. Even if there are no successors, there are people who have been beside them watching, and people who were once involved in the past. So we may barely just make it. Because if this handiwork comes to a stop, it will be no more. We feel a sense of duty to protect this wonderful work.”

  • New York-Style Cafe & Restaurant Sarabeth’s Celebrates 7 Years in Japan With Special Event in Shinjuku

    04.October.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    It has been seven years since Sarabeth Levine took her New York-based cafe and restaurant Sarabeth’s to Japan back in 2012. To celebrate, the establishment will hold a special one-night event with a commemorative menu.

    “Fermented Foods” is the theme of the event, which will see an incredible line-up of premium dishes. There will also be a talk by Sarabeth Levine herself who will be in attendance.

    The menu line-up features a range of healthy fermented foods, like pancakes and Eggs Benedict, while drinks options include lemonade with fermented syrup, goishicha tea from Aichi Prefecture, and more. There will also be Sarabeth cookies which you can take home with you.

  • Tobu Zoo Winter Illuminations 2019-2020: A Fusion Of Lights & Music

    03.October.2019 | SPOT

    Tobu Zoo is set to turn on 3 million LED lights for its winter illumination event that will run from October 26 to February 11 next year.

    Tobu Zoo has lots of surprises lined up for this year’s event, including an illumination installation made in collaboration with male Japanese singer Amatsuki, which will bring together lights and music. This will include a giant LED display showing music videos from Amatsuki in addition to exclusive and original videos, a 50 meter long light tunnel with Amatsuki-inspired decorations and his music playing, and more. Full details are to be announced in the coming weeks.

    “Illumination Show” Giant LED Display (Location: In front of Heartful Garden)

    The “Illumination Show” will make use of the biggest LED display in Japan’s Kanto region, combining music with CG visuals, and illuminated decorations will twinkle in front of it. This year, the display will also feature new full-colour lasers. Three magical and dynamic shows will light up the area, including the Amatsuki Live Illumination show.

    Heartful Garden (Location: Heartful Garden)

    The zoo’s Heartful Garden spans 8,000 m², and it’s here that bright and beautiful flower topiary installations will be set up.

    Theatrical Projection Mapping (Location: Tobu Zoo HOLA! Event Stage) *Running from November 30, 2019

    The zoo’s 1,300 capacity event stage HOLA! will make use of breathtaking ‘theatrical projection mapping’ which will be projected onto the stage and the ceiling

     

    The theme of this year’s projection mapping event is an animal musical which will serve up an incredible entertainment show for the audience. Various animals will make an appearance in the form of projection mapping to tell a story with dance and music.

    Cherry Blossom Illuminations (Location: East Gate, Swan Pond)

    Gorgeous cherry blossom-coloured lights will be strung on the Yoshino cherry trees lining the Swan Pond, creating a pink panorama right before your eyes.

    Amusement Park Illuminations (Location: Around the amusement park)

    Lights will also twinkle around the attractions in the amusement park, creating a different atmosphere than daytime, and there will also be various photo areas themed on fairy tale worlds including Cinderella, Princess Kaguya, The Little Mermaid and more.

    Enjoy a romantic evening with the warm, cosy lights at Tobu Zoo.

  • New Food Truck Taiyaki Tainoya to Open in Shinjuku Serving Fish-Shaped Cakes

    21.September.2019 | FOOD

    Taiyaki Tainoya is a food truck set to open in front of the first floor entrance of Flags on September 20 which is connected directly to Shinjuku Station’s south-east exit.
      
    Taiyaki – ¥200 (Tax Included)
    The truck will sell taiyaki, a classic Japanese confection which comes in the form of a crispy fish-shaped cake filled with bean paste. The cakes sold here will be made using Tokachi beans from Hokkaido which have a distinct luxurious sweetness to them.
    The taiyaki here are made with takeout and gift-giving in mind, so they have been made nice and crunchy so they don’t fall apart or become mushy.
    The bean paste isn’t overly sweet so is easy to enjoy. The beans, which have a strong aroma, are cooked in sugar beet from Hokkaido, and contain a hint of moshio, which is salt you get from burning seaweed.
    The sweet bean paste has such a smooth texture that you wouldn’t believe that’s what it is. If you’re a lover of adzuki bean paste or aren’t good with sweet things, then this is a bean paste you’re going to love.
    For an extra ¥30, you can have the taiyaki packed in a cute gift box if you’re thinking of giving it to someone. There are six colours to choose from for all occasions, be it a home party or for clients. They are also wrapped with noshi paper and contain message cards. There are seven of these to pick, so you can write your own words to the person.
    If a simple taiyaki isn’t enough for you, you can also top it with a rich soft-serve ice cream. Pick between Hokkaido Vanilla or Uji Matcha flavours.
    If you’re getting off at Shinjuku Station, be sure to head out the south-east exit of the JR Line section to find Taiyaku Tainoya.

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