10 Must Visit Tourist Spots in Karuizawa – Where the Reality TV Show on Netflix “Terrace House” Was Filmed
The town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture has seen an increased in foreign visitors partly due to it being the filming location of Terrace House: Opening New Doors, a Japanese reality TV show available on Netflix which takes six strangers, men and women, and places them in a house to live together.
In this article we have compiled a list of tourist hot spots in Karuizawa and around Nagano that appear in the show.
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Suwa Grand Shrine
This is the shrine the cast members go to as their first shrine visit of the year. It’s located near the Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza a shopping area. The huge sacred tree there is enveloped by moss. It’s a very mysterious place. During summer the shrines bustles with people there for the fireworks and festivals. It’s an important shrine loved by locals as a cultural property.
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This is the shrine where member Shion prayed for Tsubasa’s victory. The centre of the shrine sits on the border of Nagano Prefecture and Gunma Prefecture. It’s known as a branch shrine of the three Kumano Sanzan shrines in Wakayama. The sacred Shina no Ki tree is a popular ‘power spot’ for marriage and good fortune. You can also see the shape of a heart depending on which angle you look at it from, so be sure to try finding it.
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Senga Falls is where Noah and Mayu went on a date together. You can relax your mind and body by heading on the “Seseragi no Michi” hiking course which follows the mountain stream. You’re sure to feel healed not only by the waterfall but the surrounding lush greenery too.
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This is where Taka and Seina went on a date. It’s been a familiar tourist spot of Karuizawa since many years ago.There are many shops lining the street including those specialising in Karuizawa carving. You can also enjoy food like bread and jam, something which was taken on after foreign tourists started visiting for summer, as well as sausages and more. We recommend looking through the variety stores too.
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Karuizawa Shaw Memorial Church
The Shaw Memorial Church is where Shohei confessed his love to Seina. This beautiful chapel is hidden away in the peaceful forests of Karuizawa where the gorgeous scenery of all four seasons can be enjoyed. The sight of the building’s magnificent stained glass will fill you with warmth. If you’re interested in seeing it yourself then don’t forget to book.
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Karuizawa Livery Yard
This is a horse riding club where Noah and Yui went on a horse riding date together. As well as being able to ride the horses, those who take a lesson there are also offered an optional plan for an additional fee to go walking in the forest. How does a horse ride in Japan sound?
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The camp that everybody went to in the show is located here. It’s a camping site hidden away in the forest with 14 cottages and villages that can house up to 45 people per day. If you’re looking to spend a relaxing time out in nature then consider going here.
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Shion and Tsubasa visited this temple on one of their dates. The temple is a registered national treasure and famous tourist spot in Nagano Prefecture. It has been loved by locals and tourists since ancient times. The busy Nakamise Street is packed with food you can buy and eat while walking around. They also offer guides of the shrine grounds in multiple languages.
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Shohei and Seina visit Otomeko Park during their date. The park is decked out with many public facilities including a cultural facility with a public hall and gym, a tennis court, a wild bird forest, and other forests you can walk around. The scenery is beautiful whatever season you visit.
Have you seen Terrace House yet? Whether you have or not, hopefully this list of tourist spots offers an incentive to visit and enjoy the sights of Karuizawa and Nagano.
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!
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!
Travel Q&A: Where Can I Buy Cheap, Standard Souvenirs in Tokyo?
Tokyo has to be one of the most fun cities for finding souvenirs. But you might be left spoilt for choice wondering where to go. So we’ve compiled a list of shops where you can buy great Japanese souvenirs at a low price all situated in easy-to-find locations
These shops aren’t just used by foreign tourists, they’re used by Japanese people too, so you can rest assured you’ll be getting good quality items at a good price!
You’ll find this drug store easily with its trademark yellow sign. They sell high quality Japanese cosmetics, medical supplies, daily necessities and more priced lower than their regular prices elsewhere. Most of the time you’ll be able to spot this shop surrounding the major stations in Tokyo. It’s a very popular shopping spot, with Japanese people young and old going there daily. Get your hands on popular cosmetics by Shiseido for a low price or stock up on medicines amongst many other things.
There’s no one in Japan that doesn’t know about this discount store. It’s so popular there’s over 30 branches in Tokyo alone. They sell pretty much anything you can thick of from snacks, food and drinks to clothes, cosplay toys, merchandise, daily necessities and much more. You’ll get lost in the maze of shelves all of which overflow with different items. If you’re looking for something a little different for a souvenir, then look nowhere else.
We even made an article on popular souvenirs in Don Quijote which you can read here.
If you’re seeking out kawaii stationery you can’t find outside of Japan as well as other convenient Japanese everyday use items then Tokyu Hands is the place to go. They have branches in Tokyo, Shibuya, Ginza, Shinjuku and elsewhere, making it a great place to stop by when you’re shopping or sightseeing. They stock a lot of products but it’s not like a discount store such as Don Quijote where everything is scattered around, so you can feel more relaxed as you search for a souvenir.
Like Tokyu Hands, LOFT stocks a lot of different products. Japanese people use this shop often for birthday presents for friends and family. There’s over 25 branches in Tokyo including Shibuya and Shinjuku making it another easy place to get to. They also have lots of Japan-made kawaii stationery which makes it a very popular spot amongst foreign tourists.
If it’s electronics you want, then no place is better than Yodobashi Camera. This huge chain sells all kinds of high tech Japanese equipment from PCs to cameras and other electronic items.
Japanese merchandise for characters like Hello Kitty and My Melody is very popular overseas too. KIDDY LAND sells a huge range of character goods including plenty that cannot be found overseas. There’s 8 branches in Tokyo including Harajuku, so if you’re a lover of iconic Japanese characters then you’re going to love this place.
Make use of our list and find the perfect souvenirs for yourself, your family and your friends!
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.
Kacey Musgraves Delves into the Kawaii World of Harajuku
Kacey Musgraves is a Grammy Award-winning American singer and songwriter. In preparation for her highly-anticipated Japanese debut, the country music star took a trip to Japan. A self-described lover of Japan, the artist took to the country’s hub of pop culture―Harajuku―and strolled around its endless list of hot spots. We trailed behind to document her ingenuous experience of Japan’s center of youth culture.
If you can go sightseeing wearing something Japanese, then you’ll enjoy Harajuku even more. That being said, the first place Kacey headed to was the MOSHI MOSHI Kimono Salon. This tourist facility is a combination of the Taisho Roman aesthetic and Harajuku’s kawaii culture to create an entirely new concept: ‘Harajuku Roman.’
The American star stood before the colorful kimono spoiled for choice on which to pick out. The kimono on display are abundant in different design designs, including material shimmering with glitter. They’re perfect for the colorful town of Harajuku!
Kacey reached for a vibrant green kimono with tree peonies and peafowls on it.
She looks just like a doll as she gets her kimono fitted. The obi belt she opted for is seriously eye-catching!
The obi’s silhouette is made to look like bunny ears. This way of tying is an original method by the store staff. She looks perfect from behind too.
Kacey’s eyes sparkle as if to say, ‘Look! This is the most beautiful fan I’ve ever seen!’
She looks like a real princess!
She’s now off to Takeshita Street while looking up at her folding fan.
Takeshita Street is bustling with people shopping and looking for the latest fashion items. There’s a lot of foreign tourists there too.
“America is very neutral with its clothing, but Japan is very colourful. I really like that freedom,” said Kacey.
In that case, she absolutely has to see the giant cotton candy you can get at TOTTI CANDY FACTORY.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call TOTTI CANDY FACTORY the hottest spot for sweets in Harajuku. It enjoys a countless number of customers every single day.
The shop’s interior can be called a candy dream world, packed to the brim with colorful treats. Kacey made up her own bag of candy from the clear cases which are overflowing with candies, gummies and much more.
How many Kacey faces would it take to fill the size of one of these? This light rainbow coloured cotton candy was a dream to eat.
Next on the list was a bit of window shopping. From one end of the street to the other the fun never stops at Takeshita Street, lined with clothing stores and general good stories which Kacey perused with great interest.
At this point, Kacey is all about Takeshita Street and everything it has to offer. To finish up, she takes a commemorative photo at the street’s entrance.
Now to hurry along to THAT restaurant, where all the monsters come out!
You guessed it, the KAWAII MONSTER CAFÉ Harajuku. Acting as navigators in the café were Ooyama Mio and MIOCHIN who are popular for their creative fashion sense. They leave an impact lined up next to a Kimono-donned Kacey and the café’s kitsch design. The three of them hit it off and started taking selfies!
After that they had a girl’s chat! They talked openly about their mutual fashion interests and Kacey’s impression of Japan.
Of course, she enjoyed the photogenic food too, with both her tongue and her eyes. The table was filled with food straight out of Wonderland, like the rainbow coloured pasta (¥1,300) and makizushi (¥1,150).
We lost count of how many photos the three of them took together! The last thing to do at the café now was experiencing the show which takes place at the central ‘Sweets Go Round,’ a symbol of the café.
They were invited up by the monsters and dance to the music!
Kacey was completely enveloped in Harajuku culture.
The final photo of the day! Kacey’s love for Japan increased during her time here. She will return in July to perform at Fuji Rock Festival. Be sure to stay up to date to see her Japan debut and what she has planned for afterwards.
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.
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA to Open in Hakone This November
21.September.2019 | SPOT
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA is a new hot spring and guest house facility set to open in the town of Sokokura in Hakone on November 26. The building is being renovated from an old guest house that has enjoyed a long history of hot springs since the Edo period.
Sokura Onsen is about a 90 minute car drive from the city centre and is considered one of Hakone’s “7 Hot Springs,” a list that has been around since the Edo period. The place is said to have been used and loved by many military commanders back in the day for the high water yield gifted by the water source.
When the building was first constructed it was known as “Tsutaya Ryokan” and became a famous guest house with not only locals but travellers who would arrive all the way from Tokyo. ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA combines history of both Sokura Onsen and Tsutaya Ryokan.
The renovated building was built 29 years ago. Though it has been revamped, it still maintains a nostalgic air to it in the style of a traditional guest house. It’s home to 6 spacious ryokan-type rooms and 46 compact rooms.
There is a space where one can gaze at the river after taking a dip in the hot springs, as well as a lounge with tables which encourages you to socialise with people you have just met. There are male and female open-air baths and indoor baths as well as a cooking space and laundry service for those looking to stay longer.
The facility offers a retro environment in which each guest can relax and enjoy their own time as they please. Throughout the guest house is original old-fashioned furniture that has been upcycled, including kotatsu tables and shelves, to give that sense of traditional Japanese culture. This has been combined with contemporary art to create a fusion of the old and new.
It is a harmonious combination of a traditional Japanese hot spring ryokan, or inn, and a guest house, which means travellers from abroad will be able to enjoy the beauty of the country’s traditional culture.
Escape the noisy city and enjoy peace and tranquillity surrounded in the colours of autumn at ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA (Sokokura no Yu Tsutaya Ryokan)
Address: 240-1 SokokuraHakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0403
Arrival: 10-minutes on foot from Miyanoshita Station or 12-minutes on foot from Kowakidani Station, both via the Hakone Tozan Line
Grand Opening: November 26, 2019 (Bookings begin in late October)
Official Website: https://hakone-tsutaya.com/
Autumn 2019: Maple Trees and Roses Adorn Karuizawa Lake Garden in Full Bloom
18.September.2019 | SPOT
Karuizawa Lake Garden is a natural garden that displays creative harmony between humans and nature, where one can enjoy its bountiful selection of plants throughout all four seasons along with the lake across a 33,000m² area.
This year’s autumn season at the garden is scheduled from October 12 to November 4 where you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the red and yellow leaves simultaneously alongside colourful roses.
Beautiful Japanese maple trees aren’t the only thing you can enjoy during the fall season at Karuizawa Lake Garden. Soak in the sight of an abundance of autumnal plants and inhale the floral scent of the many roses. They will open across eight areas, including the main Rose Garden, by the waterside.
Welcome the autumntime this year at the incredible Karuizawa Lake Garden.
Karuizawa Lake Garden Autumn Season
Running: October 12, 2019 – November 4, 2019
Address: Address: Lake New Town, Hotchi, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefectur
Autumn Season Opening Hours: 9:00-16:00 (Last Entries 15:30)
Official Website (Japanese): http://www.karuizawa-lakegarden.jp/
Warm The Cockles Of Your Heart This Christmas at HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
This holiday season, Hoshino Resorts is set to hold a Christmas event at HOSHINO Karuizawa Area, a place managed by the company which brings together people who love culture and nature. It will run from November 16 to December 25.
The event’s theme is “A Town Where Happiness Shines.” From mistletoe illuminations to xmas desserts and more, you’re sure to have the cockles of your heart warmed this year at this happiness-filled festival.
At Harunire Terrace, where 16 shops line the cosy wooden terrace, the columns and overhangs will be adorned in Christmas garlands, and mistletoe-shaped illuminations will dangle from tree branches.
You can spot a lot of mistletoe in Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary. Even in wintertime the plant does not wither, instead keeping its green leaves, which in folklore has led it to be viewed as a symbol of immortality.
Mistletoe is known in many cultures as a symbol of happiness. In the Western world, lovers who stand under mistletoe are expected to kiss. The warm illuminations are set to light a warm and romantic atmosphere to all those who attend.
As well as the illuminations, there will also be mistletoe lanterns hiding in the trees to celebrate romantic love this Christmas. Get ready to count down with everybody at the event as when you reach zero, all of the lanterns will turn on at the same time. There will even be mini live performances where you can sing along to Christmas songs.
Christmas Sweets at Hoshino Resorts Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court
Order the “Episode de Noel” at Hoshino Resorts Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court for a delicious Christmas sweets dessert course of 4 treats.
This is just a peek inside the stocking of what’s to come at the festival. There will be a hot chocolate bar, fresh s’mores, kids events, photo spots, a Christmas market, and more. Ride your sleigh into HOSHINO Karuizawa Area this winter.
HOSHINO Karuizawa Area Christmas 2019
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Time: 16:00-23:00 (Times differ for certain events)
Location: HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
Location: Harunire Terrace
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Location: Harunire Terrace, Woods
Running: December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st-25th
Running: December 13, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Price: ¥3,500 (pre-tax and service charge)
HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
Address: Hoshino Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefecture
Access: 15-minutes by car from Karuizawa Station (via JR Hokuriku Shinkansen)
Official Website (English): http://www.hoshino-area.jp/en
teamLab Now Holding Digital Art Exhibition at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto
With the increase in number of collaborations between contemporary digital art and traditional and historical Kyoto sites, teamLab is getting in on the action with its new digital art exhibition “Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine.”
We are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who recently attended the exhibition and who has provided photos for us.
Shimogamo Shrine is a shrine located between the Kamo River and Mount Kōya. It was registered it as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The shrine is associated good luck in marriage and welcomes sightseers from Japan and around the world. It can be reached by the 205 Bus from Kyoto Station and getting off at either Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) or Tadasu Forest (糺ノ森前). It’s also about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station.
This marks the third run of teamLab’s “Digitized Forest” exhibition at Shimogamo Shrine, and this year’s exhibition has been made even bigger. It is running until September 2, 2019.
Floating by the Rōmon Gate of the shrine are spheres of light which change colour and emit various musical tones unique to the colour when touched by a person. They also react to the other spheres around them, changing to the same colour and letting out the same tone, creating a chain reaction.
Egg-shaped orbs of light can be found dotted around the Tadasu Forest by the shrine which illuminate the trees. Like the light spheres, when the eggs are pushed they change colour and play a musical noise specific to that colour, the sound and tone spreading through the forest.
These objects of light can also be found at Mitarashi Pond where they float on the water. The orbs shine brightly and then fade slowly as if breathing. If pushed by people or blown by the wind they will change colour and emit sound.
The best part about teamLab’s art exhibitions is how visitors become part of the exhibition itself by interacting with the installations, offering a much more engaging experience than simply looking. Visit Shimogamo Shrine before the exhibition ends to see digital art meet a traditional Japanese shrine at night.
If you’re looking for more sightseeing recommendations for Kyoto then be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram!
Photos by まっちゃん
Address: 59 Shimogamo Izumikawachō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/english/
Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto Art by teamLab – TOKIO INKARAMI
Running: August 17, 2019 – September 2, 2019
Time: 18:30-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Location: Shimogamo Shrine
Price: Weekdays ¥1,300 / Weekends ¥1,500
*Free entry for elementary school children and below. Must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 20+.
Official Website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/shimogamo/
Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly
13.August.2019 | FOOD
XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA.
These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels.
As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.
*Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline.
To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ￥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD).
To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ￥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:
#旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク
Four winners will be selected.
Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea.
MILK, HOJICHA, MATCHA Bubble Teas
Price: ￥650 (before tax)
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Available at: XFLAG STORE + HANEDA
Address: Haneda Airport Terminal 1 South Wing, floor 3 (3-3-2 Haneda Airport, Ota Ward, Tokyo)
*Bubble teas sold may differ in appearance to the images in this article.
* The MILK Bubble Tea (cup) is also available at XFLAG STORE SHINSAIBASHI. Both the HOJICHA and MATCHA Bubble Tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA.
XFLAG STORE Portal Website: https://xfl.ag/soratapi
4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer
10.August.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.
If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.
Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties
This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”
▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)
Date: August 11, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Hozubashi Bridge
Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/
Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine
Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.
▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival
Date: August 14, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Katsura River
Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/
Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years
Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival. Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.
Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.
▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival
Date: August 14, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Shimasaki Park
Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/
Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay
Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.
Date: August 24, 2019
Location: Ine, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/
Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.
Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.
We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.
Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower
The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.
Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/
Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)
*Opening hours subject to change without notice
Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/
Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.
Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?
Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/
Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.
Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.
▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/
Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.
Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/
Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php
Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/
Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.
Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.
The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.
The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.
There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.
From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.
The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.
All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.
A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.
If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura
Address: 3155-1 Kosuge, Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture (In Japanese: 山梨県北都留郡小菅村3155-1)
Grand Opening: August 17, 2019
Rooms: 4 (10 People)
Price: From ¥25,000 per person (includes one breakfast)
①Approximately 2 hours by car from Tokyo.
②1 hour by bus from Ōtsuki Station via the JR Chūō Main Line, 70-minutes by car from Oume Interchange
③1 hour by bus from Okutama Station via the Ōme Line, 20-minutes by car from Lake Okutama
Reservations: Open from August 1, 2019 via the following website: https://www.ikyu.com/vacation/00050804/
Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour
31.July.2019 | SPOT
Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.
Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’
Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.
This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.
Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.
Akiyoshidai Stars Accomodation Plan
Visiting Hakone? Pick Up A Freshly Baked Hakone Basque Cheesecake
29.July.2019 | FOOD
A brand new Basque Cheesecake shop called Hakone Cheese Terrace opened on July 26th. The carefully balanced rich flavour and smooth texture of these cheesecakes makes them the perfect Hakone souvenir! Basque cheesecake is a type of burnt cheesecake that originated from Basque, Spain.
Hakone is home to a large number of Japan’s popular tourist spots as well as relaxing hot springs and beautiful nature. Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, Hakone has an extraordinary atmosphere which will heal both your body and mind. Hakone Cheese Terrace opened to enhance the appeal of the nature surrounding Hakone resorts and to contribute to the fascinating culture of the area.
The basque cheesecake comes in a mini cup so customers can enjoy this delicious treat while on the go exploring the local area. This is also the perfect souvenir size.
The cheesecakes at Hakone Cheese Terrace are made mostly from locally sourced ingredients. For a creamy, fresh taste, milk sourced from the south of Hakone is combined with high-quality cream cheese. An original recipe blend is used for a rich flavour and smooth texture.
The cheesecakes are baked fresh at the shop so you can enjoy your cheesecake at its most delicious stage. Rock salt, black pepper and soy sauce are available as toppings for customers to discover a new flavour.
Come enjoy the flavours of Hakone to your heart’s content at Hakone Cheese Terrace.
Hakone Cheese Terrace
Address: 54 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Access: 3-minute walk from Motohakone Minato, 1-minute walk from Hakone Jinja Iriguchi (Hakone Shrine entrance), Hakone Tozan Bus.
Opening Hours: 9:00 ー 16:00
Official site: https://hakone-cheese-terrace.com/
Don’t Miss The Beautiful Blooming of Karuizawa Lake Garden This Summer
22.July.2019 | SPOT
Over the summer, Karuizawa Lake Garden is holding a range of events for parents and children to immerse themselves in the beautiful nature, smell the fragrant lilies, and experience the popular false anemone, water lilies and many more gorgeous flowers. Approximately 33,000m2 of space is covered with the Karuizawa’s most beautiful plants and even a lake.
At Karuizawa, roses are particularly beautiful during the summer O-Bon festival season, flourishing more than ever in Karuizawa’s unique climate. As the roses bloom for the second time in the year during mid august, this is a particularly beautiful sight. ♪
The entire garden consists of eight areas where you can enjoy different sceneries. The rose garden, for example, consists of roses and a whole range of plants that flower at different times of the year, so you can enjoy the variation in appearance of the garden throughout the year. Different flowering plants and roses surround a waterfront in the rose garden. You must come witness just how beautiful it looks during the summer.
Address: Lake New Town, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku District, Nagano
Opening hours: 9am ー 5 pm (Last entries: 4:30pm)
※ The opening hours of the garden vary according to the season, so please confirm these times by visiting the garden’s official website.
※ The garden will close one hour earlier than the usual time on Wednesdays for maintenance.
Entry fees: Vary depending on the season.
3 Kyoto Tourist Spots to Visit and Cool Down at This Summer
17.July.2019 | SPOT
The bustling Kyoto Prefecture is located in the Kansai region of Japan, adored for its historical architecture and richness in traditional Japanese culture for which it brings in tourists every year both Japanese and foreign.
Summertime in Kyoto is renowned for being very hot. We’ve compiled a list of 3 must-visit locations where you can cool down during the summer heat―each of which have beautiful sights―and how to get to them.
Explore the Caverns of Shizushi Limestone Cave Park
The only limestone caves in Kyoto Prefecture, Shizushi Limestone Cave Park offers an exciting mix of outdoor activities from cave exploration to camping, bird watching and much more. The caves are a designated national monument of Kyoto Prefecture. Many fossils have been collected from the caves that date back to before the Permian period (which ended 252.2 million years ago) including fusulinida and crinoids. The temperature of the caves sits between 12℃-15℃ throughout the year making it a very popular spot for cooling off during times of hot weather.
▼Shizushi Limestone Cave Park
Address: Shizushi, Kyotamba, Funai District, Kyoto
Access: Board a JR bus from Sonobe Station (JR Sagano Line) bound for Enpuku (園福線) and get off at Hinokiyama (桧山). Change onto a Choei (町営) bus. Get off at the Shizushi Limestone Cave entrance (鐘乳洞口) and walk for 5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Beach Swings and Sunsets at Yuhigaura
Yuhigaura sits on the coast of Kyoto’s Tango area and is known for its iconic sunsets. Every year during summertime, giant swings made from driftwood and other materials are placed onto the beaches. Sitting on these during the evening sunset make for an incredibly picturesque scene.
And this year they’re serving an original drink called the “Magic Hour” for a limited time.
Address, 390 Aminocho Hamazume, Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: Board the Limited Express Hashidate (特急はしだて号) train at Kyoto Station and get off at Yūhigaura-Kitsu-onsen Station (夕日ヶ浦木津温泉)
Amanohashidate Sandbar Illuminations
Last year’s illuminations at the Amanohashidate sandbar brought in over 30,000 people. The sandbar is one of Japan’s three scenic views. The illumination event is held annually with this year’s running from July 13 to September 1. The lights turn the sandbar into a truly magical spectacle.
A special bar is also open for the light-up where you can get drinks along with several other exciting events surrounding it.
Address: Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto
Running: July 13, 2019 – September 1, 2019
Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/amanohashidate.machiakari/
Stay cool this summer in Kyoto by hitting up one of these tourist hot spots!