Experience a 360° Virtual Tour of Japan With This 2018 Good Design Award-Winning Video
08.October.2018 | SPOT
The Japan National Tourism Organization released a 360° interactive video titled “JAPAN -Where tradition meets the future” back in January which won the 2018 Good Design Award.
The project began in response to the increasing number of foreign visitors to Japan. It combines elements of Japanese culture including tradition, nature and the modern into one video that viewers can experience in 360°.
Below is the latest video in the series which incorporates “lesser known nature spots throughout Japan outside of Tokyo and Kyoto.”
[360°VR] JAPAN – Where tradition meets the future | JNTO
It is rare for a promotional video to win the Good Design Award. It received high praise for the following reasons:
“There’s a lot of VR content out there, but this video features unique ways of presenting VR. It captures the charm of Japan from a foreign perspective and is enjoyable right through to the end.”
*Translated from Japanese
This videos feature lesser-known areas of Japan including Okoshiki Beach in Kumamoto Prefecture, Hakusui Dam in Oita Prefecture and Senpirono Falls on Yakushima island as well as more famous spots like Dotonbori in Osaka, Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima Prefecture, Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto and more for a total of 29 locations.
A useful new service has also launched from the project creators called Travel Plan Maker for travellers in Japan where you can pick up to 10 places from 122 locations to create your own ideal travel plan.
Top 30 Attractions in Japan by International Travelers 2018 – TripAdvisor
15.June.2018 | SPOT
TripAdvisor have announced the top 30 best attractions across Japan in 2018 as voted by international travelers. The list features the regular line-up of famous spots like shrines, temples and castles to more niche locations that even Japanese people aren’t familiar with.
This marks the 10th time this ranking has taken place. Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine in Kyoto has clocked in at number one for the 5th year in a row. As of June 2018, the TripAdvisor page for the shrine has over 20,000 reviews, 70% of which are in languages other than Japanese. More than 25 languages have been recorded on the page, proving the shrine’s popularity overseas as a representative spots in Japan. Moving from 3rd place to 2nd place this year is Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and in 3rd place is Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine).
There are several newcomers to the list this year, including Byodoin Temple which people may recognise as being printed on the back of 10 yen coins.
Sanzen-in Temple has a gorgeous garden that is beautiful throughout all four seasons.
Nezu Museum in Tokyo also made the list this year which is home to many national treasures and cultural assets. It first ranked last year for its entertainment facilities, but this year it’s earned popularity amongst foreign tourists for its greenery and tranquillity.
7 places ranked in Kyoto, as well as 6 in Tokyo, and 2 each in Hiroshima, Nara and Kanagawa. 1 place ranked in each Ishikawa, Wakayama, Hyogo, Chiba, Kagoshima, Tochigi, Kagawa, Aichi, Gifu, Toyama, and Nagano.
Check the list for yourself, and why not use it for reference when you come to Japan?
Top 30 Attractions in Japan by International Travelers 2018
Numbers in brackets denote the location’s ranking last year. Asterisks denote newcomers to the list.
1st Place (1) – Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine (Kyoto)
2nd Place (3) – Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima)
3rd Place (4) – Miyajima (Itsukushima Shrine) (Hiroshima)
4th Place (5) – Todai-ji Temple (Nara)
5th Place (7) – Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Tokyo)
6th Place (14) – Kenrokuen Garden (Ishikawa)
7th Place (10) – Koyasan Okunoin (Wakayama)
8th Place (8) – Kinkakuji Temple (Kyoto)
9th Place (9) – The Hakone Open-Air Museum (Kanagawa)
10th Place (13) – Himeji Castle (Himeji)
11th Place (30) – Sanjusangendo Temple (Kyoto)
12th Place (11) – Nara Park (Nara)
13th Place (26) – Naritasan Shinsho-ji Temple (Chiba)
14th Place (-) – Samurai Museum (Tokyo)
15th Place (-) – Shiratani Unsuikyo Valley (Kagoshima)
16th Place (-) – Senso-ji Temple (Tokyo)
17th Place (-) – Nikko Tosho-gu (Tochigi)
18th Place (-) – Ritsurin Garden (Kagawa)
19th Place (25) – Ryogoku Kokugikan (Tokyo)
20th Place (12) – Eikando Zenrinji Temple (Kyoto)
21st Place (16) – Hase-dera Temple (Kanagawa)
22nd Place (-) – Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings (Tokyo)
23rd Place (-) – Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Aichi)
24th Place (-) – The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses (Gifu)
25th Place (29) – Kyoto Station Building (Kyoto)
26th Place (-) – Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Toyama)
27th Place (*) – Byodoin Temple (Kyoto)
28th Place (*) – Nezu Museum (Tokyo)
29th Place (-) – Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park (Nagano)
30th Place (*) – Sanzen-in Temple (Kyoto)
*Taken from reviews, numbers of posts and unique algorithms on TripAdvisor between April 207-March 2018.
Japan Q&A: Get the most from your Tokyo sightseeing with a 1-Day Travel Pass
When you’re in Tokyo, the main method of transportation for getting around the city’s 23 wards is via the subway – specifically, via JR, Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway. Each of these services offer their own affordable 1-day travel tickets that can be used across all lines, making them a useful tool to have. Let’s take a look at some of the questions regarding 1-day passes.
5 Must-Haves For Tokyo Sightseeing!
To make the most of your Tokyo trip, we recommend one of the following five 1-day passes for efficient travelling. You and board and get off as many times as you like, so there’s no need to worry about extra fees – you can tour all of the sightseeing spots at your own leisure.
- JR East Japan – Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (“Tokunai Pass”)
The “Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass” is a day ticket that allows unlimited rides on local and rapid JR East trains around the 23 special wards of Tokyo. You are free to sit in any seats excluding reserved seating, and can even board the shinkansen within the designated area. The Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass can be purchased inside JR East Japan stations, ticket windows, the Travel Service Center (View Plaza), and travel agencies. It’s ￥750 for adults and ￥370 for children.
- Tokyo Metro 24-hour Ticket
This ticket enables unlimited rides on all Tokyo Metro lines. Costing just ￥600 for adults and ￥300 for children, tickets can be bought in advance or on the day at ticket vendors located in all stations. Not only can you visit Tokyo’s 23 special wards, but the ticket also covers the commuting distance of Saitama and Chiba too, making it convenient for amusement and business. With this in hand, you can travel to any of the major areas.
- Toei One-Day Pass (“Toei Marugoto Kippu”)
A Toei One-Day Pass gives you unlimited access to the Toei Subway, Toei buses, Toei Streetcar (Toden), and Nippori-Toneri Liner. It’s ￥700 for adult and ￥350 for children. An additional fee is required for night buses to make up the difference – ￥210 for adults (￥206 with IC Card) and ￥100 for children (￥103 with IC Card). Tickets can be bought in advance or on the day at a ticket vendor located inside all stations.
- Common One-Day Ticket for Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro
The Common One-Day Ticket allows unlimited use of the Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro Subway Lines for an entire day. It costs ￥900 for adults and ￥450 for children. Tickets are available to purchase from automatic ticket vending machines at all Toei Subway and Tokyo Metro Subway stations, as well as Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. This ticket allows free travel from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport to Tokyo’s 23 special wards and the commuting distance of Saitama and Chiba. This one’s a real bargain!
- Tokyo 1-Day Ticket
As well as the Toei Subway, Toei buses, Toei Streetcar (Toden), Nippori-Toneri Liner, and all Tokyo Metro lines, the Tokyo 1-Day Ticket can also be used on the JR Lines around Tokyo. You can ride and get off at all the major locations in Tokyo for one whole day. At just ￥1,590 for adults and ￥800 for children, this ticket is very affordable. Available at automatic ticket machines at all stations. We recommend this one for people looking to travel across a wide distance.
Tokyo Sightseeing With Private Railways? Take These 2 With You!
Private railway free passes are a super handy tool to have if you’re heading somewhere JR and subway tickets don’t cover. They’re convenient for access from the inner city to the Shitamachi areas, and are pefect for exploring those hidden, tucked-away gems.
- Tokyo Exploratory Ticket (Tokyo Tansaku Kippu)
Not only does this ticket give discounts on round-trip ticket fares from Keio Line, Inokashira Line, Tobu Isesaki Line and Tsukuba Express to the inner city, it also offers unlimited rides with Toei all day. That includes Toei buses, Toei Streetcars (Toden), Nippori-Toneri Liner, and of course the Toei Subway. If you hold a Tokyo Exploratory Ticket, you can also receive discounts and gifts from facilities along each Toei line. These services are located at all manned stations on all lines. Please be aware that prices and the system changes depending on which station you purchase the ticket from.
- Tokyo 1DAY Kippu
This ticket comes as a set: a round-trip ticket from all stations on the Keikyū Main Line to Shinagawa, and unlimited rides with Toei. If you hold a Tokyo 1DAY Kippu, prepare to receive discounts and gifts at popular facilities and spots around Tokyo. This ticket can be purchased at all stations on the Keikyū Main Line barring Sengakuji Station and costs ￥900 from Shinagawa, ￥1,130 from Yokohama, and ￥1,700 from Yokosuka-Chūō.
Was this article helpful? Be sure to get the most out of your Tokyo trip by getting the right ticket for you.
MMN will continue to answer your questions about Japan in our “Japan Q&A” series. If you have any questions regarding Japan, then please be sure to get in touch with us on Facebook♪
TripAdvisor’s Recommended Free-Entry Tourist Spots in Japan for 2017
12.November.2017 | SPOT
TripAdvisor have compiled their 2017 list of the best free tourist spots to visit based on comments and ratings on the service’s website over the past year. The list tallies 20 must-visit locations, all of which will have people baffled that they are actually free.
Coming in at number 1 this year is the “Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.” Comments pointed towards the building’s observation deck being free as one of the highlights of the building. This has resulted in many tourists making their way to the building for a look themselves. A few years ago you would never see people lining up at the elevators, but now it’s not uncommon to see rows of people close to 50 meters on weekdays at noon.
Some other remarkable locations that ranked on the list are facilities related to beer brewery, specifically in Hokkaido, Shizuoka, Aichi, Kyoto and Osaka. This includes the Asahi Beer factories in Hokkaido, Suita (Osaka), Nagoya (Aichi), as well as “Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji” in Shizuoka and “Suntory Kyoto Beer Factory” in Kyoto, all of which can be toured for free. At three of the Asahi Beer factories and the Suntory Beer Factory you’re allowed to sample up to three beers for free after the tours, so there’s often a lot of people! “Baird Brewery Garden Shuzenji” underwent reconstruction in 2014. There are free tours available on weekends and national holidays. You have to pay to try the samples here, but there’s a beer garden encased in the bliss of nature and you’re free to take snacks!
The Nozawa Onsen Public Baths (soto-yu) made its first ever appearance on the list. The people of the village offer the hot spring town’s 13 open air baths as community property. One comment said “You can enjoy 13 open air baths. There are many hot spring sources so I’m also thankful for that. Each of the baths have their own charm too you can enjoy each one of them individually. The water is pretty hot, but that’s what hot springs are all about!” (translated from Japanese)
Another new entry to the ranking is the “TOTO MUSEUM” which exhibits the history of the toilet company. TOTO was established in 1917 making this year the company’s 100th anniversary. To celebrate, the company opened the museum at its headquarters in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka in 2015. At the museum you can learn about the history of the business and the development of its products as well as how TOTO became architects of the plumbing industry.
With such a big list, there’s plenty to be enjoying during your trip in Japan, whether it’s the government building, TOTO MUSEUM, a beer factory and even the hot springs. Be sure to bookmark this list as reference during your travels.
Taiwanese Bookstore Chain Eslite Opens New Outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Eslite Bookstore is one of the prominent bookstore chains in Taiwan that opened an all-new outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on September 27, 2019 that promotes reading, culture and lifestyle.
This will be the first Eslite Spectrum shopping mall to open outside Greater China. Its concept is “a cultural wonderland for reading and living” under wh ich Eslite has curated Nihonbashi’s rich history and culture to promote to the people of Tokyo.
Eslite Spectrum is always in the front row when it comes to the latest in Taiwanese trends, and it’s a place I never fail to visit when I travel to Taiwan. When I heard they would be expanding to Tokyo, I couldn’t wait for the day of the grand opening to arrive. I made my merry way there, excited and eager to see what kind of place it would be, and what kind of items they would stock.
The outlet is split into 4 different zones: the bookshop zone, the stationery zone, the miscellaneous item and workshop zone, and the restaurant zone. The bookshop features a line-up of carefully selected reading material and book recommendations.
One hundred brands from around the world make up the miscellaneous and eating areas. Half of the brands are Taiwanese, meaning you can get your hands on authentic goods from Taiwan itself.
The building was designed by leading Taiwanese architect Kris Yao, whose concept for the design was “interweaving the old and new.” It’s a stylish, welcoming building with elements of the traditional Japanese aesthetic in there. The store front has indigo blue noren entry curtains, which is both stylish and quintessentially Japanese.
This new branch of Eslite Spectrum is home to stores setting up shop in Japan for the very first time. There are also many shops here selling items exclusive to Nihonbashi. I’m going to showcase four of the places I was particularly interested in.
Kuo Yuan Ye
Kuo Yuan Ye is a confectionery shop based in Shinlin, Taipei. Since opening, they have continued to use traditional confectionery-making methods, serving sweets with deep, rich flavours.
As well as having maintained tradition, they have also released products in collaboration with rising designers. I encourage you to try their beautiful line-up yourself to taste their long, delicious history.
We have covered Sarutahiko Coffee on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON in the past when we visited the branch in Ebisu.
The first thing that struck me upon visiting this new branch is how different the interior design is to other places. The design and its concept of “coffee and words” were created by book director Yoshitaka Haba. Quotes pulled from the books can be found written all around the cafe. There is also a space underneath the chairs for storing books. No matter where you look in the cafe, it’s nothing less than stylish.
The cafe has their own special hot cakes and original coffee blends exclusive to Nihonbashi. The hot cakes are topped lavishly with mont blanc, giving it an extremely rich taste and one reminiscent of autumn-time. Both the hot cakes and this original coffee blend are limited-time menu options available until November 14, so you’ll want to get in there quick.
For the first time ever, long-standing Taiwanese tea store Wonder Chuan arrives on the shore of Japan. The shop takes great care in the growing and brewing of its tea leaves, pouring their heart and soul into every cup.
The Taiwanese oolong tea drank was a similar colour to matcha. It had a sweet flavour and a much smoother taste compared to Japanese oolong. The shop also serves a selection of cocktails made with oolong tea as well as perform traditional tea-making methods for customers. They even have plans to host their very own Taiwanese tea workshops in the future.
The last place I want to introduce is Fujin Tree, also a first in Japan. This is another one of my favourites, so I was thrilled when this one was coming to Tokyo too!
It’s uncommon to be able to drink wine in restaurants in Taiwan, but the popular Fujin Tree serves Taiwanese cuisine and champagne in style.
Their dishes are packed full of fresh vegetables and fruit. One of their popular picks is their springstar and century egg with spicy minced pork. It’s a tasty dish with full, rich flavours that goes well with sake. It’s also great with rice. There are many amazing options on the menu, but if you’re spoilt for choice then I recommend this one.
Eslite is the bridge between Japanese and Taiwanese that aims to become a hub for Asian culture. Centred around reading, there are countless experiences to look enjoy here. Discover a new side of Nihonbashi by paying a visit.
Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Eslite Spectrum Nihonbashi
Address: COREDO Muromachi Terrace 2F, 3-2-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Fuji Tree is open 11:00-23:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: http://www.eslitespectrum.jp
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/
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/
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!
6 Must-Visit Cafes in Hokkaido For Their Kawaii Pancakes
Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s islands and a popular tourist location with both locals and overseas visitors, enjoyed for its winter sports like skiing, hot springs and more. It is also enjoyed for its cool climate, being the coldest region in Japan. It’s home to many tourist spots and seafood restaurants, but today we’re covering its countless cute cafes.
Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer, posts his visits to the many cafes of Sapporo―the capital of Hokkaido―on his Instagram page（
607keih）. Today he will introduce us to 6 must-visit cafes in Hokkaido with the cutest pancakes.
Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Susukino, Sapporo)
This popular little cafe in the district of Susukino showcases its assortment of pancakes in a glass display. The cafe now sells affordable pancake and purin sets. I ordered the “Fruits and Milky & Chocolate Purin” set (¥980).
The fluffy pancake is made with Fafi’s famous eggs which have a rich flavour and big yolks. The milky cream is sweet and silky smooth. Inside the pancake is delicious pineapple and strawberries which add a deliciously fruity accent.
Their pancakes are noticeably smaller at g-plus but since it comes with a purin in the set you’re sure to be nice and full after. The set is perfect to share too.
▼Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Japanese: ファフィたまごのパンケーキ g-plus)
Address: 9-1019 Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 11:30-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)
Closed: Thursdays & Fridays
Official Website: https://g-plus.owst.jp/
Café ZIKKA (Kiyota, Sapporo)
Café ZIKKA serves a variety of pastries and desserts. Their elusive strawberry pancakes are a limited-time-only offer. These fat and fluffy pancakes have a distinctly different taste to other places. Heaping with strawberries, the fruit and pancakes marry in the most sumptuous of flavours when eaten with the yogurt ice cream centre. The strawberries also come in a variety of forms including whole, compote and sauce, making for a variety of succulent textures.
The fresh cream isn’t overly-sweet making for a lighter pancake. It’s also topped with crushed almond for added texture. The size of the pancakes aren’t huge but since it’s served with two and many toppings you’ll absolutely be satisfied afterwards.
Address: 11-12 Hiraokakoenhigashi, Kiyota Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 11:00-20:00 (10:00-19:00 in January and February)
Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays)
Official Website: http://yoshidacoffee.com/index.html
Kaze o Kanjite (Motomachi, Sapporo)
This cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Motomachi Station via the Tōhō Line. Simply exit from Exit 1 of the station, make a right and you’ll arrive right there.
This cafe’s aim is to bring it lots of students to eat their pancakes which are both cheap and delicious. I ordered the berry sauce pancakes.
The cafe’s homemade strawberry jam contains pieces of fresh strawberry which alone already make the pancakes tantalising enough. They are served with a side of fresh fruits like extra strawberries as well as orange slices. The pancakes served here are so good that I personally count them as the best in Sapporo. That, and the prices are amazing for the huge portions you get. I want more people to get to know about this place, and not just students.
▼Kaze o Kanjite (Japanese: 風をかんじて)
Address: Kita House 1F, 17-2-3 Kita 24 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays
ROJIURA CAFÉ (Susukino, Sapporo)
ROJIURA CAFÉ is another cafe located in Susukino round on the backstreet of Round One. They serve pancakes and parfaits right into the early hours of the morning.
Their caramel sauce has salt in it to add a mouthwatering salty flavour that draws out the sweetness of the fresh cream. The nuts only add to this delectable delight of a pancake.
Fine and fluffy pancakes fit for the gods. Whether it’s a dessert like pancakes or parfaits or even meals, ROJIURA CAFÉ’s doors are open to you from the evening until the deepest hours of the night.
Address: TAKARA6.3, 3 Chome Minami 6 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
[Mon-Thurs] 18:00-03:00 (Last Orders 02:00)
[Fri-Sat] 18:00-04:00 (Last Orders 03:00)
[Sun & Holidays] 18:00-01:00 (Last Orders 00:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: http://sapporo-rojiuracafe.com/
OJ Coffee (Kotoni, Sapporo)
You’ll find OJ Coffee just a few minutes’ walk from Kotoni Station in Nishi Ward, Sapporo. This cafe serves exquisite coffees and boasts an abundant menu consisting of soba noodles, curries, steaks and more. They also serve pancakes so I decided to give them a go.
Fluffy, moist and glorious. The pancake is topped with custard and served with a side of fresh cream, both of which aren’t overly sweet and go perfectly with the sweet beaten eggs of the pancakes. Decorated the outside of the plate is an assortment of fruits, maple syrup and other tempting treats for a variety of flavours. The coffee flavoured soft serve ice cream is a great palate cleanser too. The ice cream doesn’t have the bitterness that comes with coffee but it’s very coffee flavoured. It’s close to Kotoni Station so if you’re strolling around Nishi Ward looking for a cafe I highly recommend visiting here.
Address: D Planning Bldg. 1F, Kotoni 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo
Business Hours: 7:30~22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.oj-coffee.com/
Café Blue (Ishiyama-dori, Sapporo)
Café Blue, built up from a renovated old house, is currently selling a new lemon and yogurt pancake for a limited time.
Their pancakes never fail to be anything less than fluffy. The generously drizzled yogurt sauce is fairly refreshing and sweet while still retaining that yummy yogurt flavour. The lemon curd sauce, too, is refreshing and combines well with the pancakes as lemon always does. The lemon also has honey in it making for a satisfyingly sweet and sour combination.
The ice cream on top is salt flavoured which bring out all the sweet flavours of the dessert. The crunchy almonds are nice and nutty and bring a great texture to the soft and sticky combinations. When I eat pancakes this is the kind of thing I’m looking for!
The sauce was refreshing and the pancake overall was delicious and very easy to get down. The yogurt sauce really is amazing!
Address: 16-9-12 Minami 19 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 9:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Did you enjoy Kei’s picks? Be sure to check out their Instagram page for more recommended desserts and foods to try in Sapporo. There’s a wealth of choices on there that will make for great reference when travelling to Hokkaido.
Photo & Text: Kei (@607keih)
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
See Hundreds of Japanese Wind Chimes at Nyoirin-ji Temple Festival in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a tourist hot spot of Japan, bustling with tourists and travellers both from the island nation and those from overseas, especially from China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Situated on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka offers amazing shopping experiences and serves up some of the most delicious gourmet cuisine at its rows of restaurants. But nothing compares to its bountiful sightseeing splendours.
Rie is an Instagrammer who travels to all the different sightseeing spots Kyushu has to offer which she documents on her Instagram page. Today, she gives us a special look at one her most recommended places to visit in Fukuoka: Nyoirin-ji Temple.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is often nicknamed “Frog Temple” due to the many frogs you can see at the temple grounds, a rare sight at a Japanese temple. It’s located in Fukuoka Prefecture’s city of Ogori which can be reached by catching a Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line train from Tenjin in the heart of Fukuoka and getting off at Mitsusawa Station. From there the temple is just a 15-minute walk.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is the home of thousands of frogs. A lot of the frog ornaments and items at the temple were collected by the temple’s chief priest.
There’s one ornament which you can take a photo through as seen above, so you should definitely try taking one yourself in your own way. You can even get a goshuin stamp with a frog illustration too if you take your goshuincho stamp book.
The frogs are a given at the Frog Temple, but a must-see is the Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September. The temple entrance onward is decorated with lots of cute and colourful wind chimes.
Up the stairs you can walk through a wind chime tunnel which gives you a cool, refreshed feeling even in the hot summer.
It costs ¥500 for one wind chime which you can write your wish on before hanging up. You can’t take them home however so be cautious of that!
Nyoirin-ji Temple was built in 729. It is home to a Cintāmaṇicakra statue which is a rare sight in Japan. It is also a registered cultural property of Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s not just a location for kawaii adoration―it has been long been loved by locals since ancient times and has a long history.
The wind chimes will be strung up until the end of September. Their gentle ring is sure to make you feel at peace, so why not try dressing up in a yukata like Rie and experiencing the festival for yourself?
Rie has many other examples of popular tourist destinations from around Kyushu on her Instagram page. Be sure to give her a follow if you’re planning a trip to Kyushu yourself!
Photos by Rie
Address: 1728 Yokoguma, Ogori-shi, Fukuoka
Access: 15-minutes on foot from Mitsusawa Station via the Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line