Best Tokyo Illuminations: December 2018 to February 2019

01.December.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Every year during Japanese wintertime the streets are lit up with big, bright and beautiful illuminations. They are of course held all the way up to Christmas but can be enjoyed all the way into February. Here’s our list of must-see Tokyo illuminations this year.

 

Keyakizaka Illuminations (Running until December 25)

Around 700,000 LED lights will decorate the trees of Keyakizaka street, bringing to light that charming feeling of Tokyo wintertime. This marks the 15th year of the street’s illuminations, and this year’s theme is “LIVE veil.” Passersby will be greeted with the glow of crisp blue and snow white LED lights. The bridge located in the centre of Keyakizaka street will make for a great photo with Tokyo Tower in the background. These are the perfect illuminations to visit if you’re sightseeing in Tokyo!

 

Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/128726

 

■Information

Roppongi Hills Christmas 2018
Location: Roppongi Hills (Roppongi Keyakizaka-dori, 66 Plaza, West Walk, Roppongi Hills Arena, Oyane Plaza, and elsewhere)

Website: http://www.roppongihills.com/

 

Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2018 (November 8 – December 25)

The Marunouchi area is currently hosing an event titled Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2018 in collaboration with famous Japanese singer Yuming who is celebrating her 46th anniversary this year since her debut. A Christmas tree called the “Knit Tree” made in collaboration with the singer is currently on display at the Marcube on the first floor of the Marunouchi building, the main vneue for this event. The tree is decorated with dazzling illuminations as Yuming’s songs provide the soundtrack to the room.

 

■Information

Marunouchi Bright Christmas 2018

Running: November 8, 2018 – December 25, 2018

Locations: Marunouchi Building, Shin-Marunouchi Building, Nijubashi Square, Marunouchi Brick Square, Marunouchi Oazo, and elsewhere

Website: https://www.marunouchi.com/event/detail/14018/

 

 

Illumination Island Odaiba 2018 (November 16 – December 25)

Ten facilities in the Odaiba area including the shopping mall, hotels and transportation facilities are joining in with Illumination Island Odaiba 2018. Daiba Memorial Tree boasts as the biggest live tree in the city standing almost 20 meters high and 10 meters wide. The branches, which stretch an enormous 200 meters, are wrapped with 220,000 light, creating a captivating scene.

 

■Information

Illumination Island Odaiba 2018

Running: November 16, 2018 – December 25, 2018

Participating Facilities: 10

Website: https://rurubu.jp/redirect/article/4683/

©Sotsu・Sunrise Inc.

 

Megurogawa Minna no Illumi 2018 (November 9 – January 6)

Meguro River is famous for its cherry trees which line stretch 4km along the waters and bring beautiful cherry blossoms in spring. This winter, Megurogawa Minna no Illumi 2018 (‘Meguro River: Illuminations for Everyone’) is seeing the path along the river decorated with lights which will reflect off the water’s surface. The Fuyu no Sakura® (‘Winter Cherry Blossoms’) flower viewing spot which was a huge hit last year has made an appearance again this year. People are enjoying the ‘winter cherry blossoms’ーthe pink illuminationsーfrom the comfort of one of the three garden igloos which all have different interiors. Sitting in one of these means you don’t have to worry about wind, rain or cold weather.

 

Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/137108

 

■Information

Megurogawa Minna no Illumi 2018

Locations: Meguro River / Gotanda Fureai Waterside Square (2-9 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo)

Illumination Period: November 9, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Illumination Time: 17:00-22:00 (Will go ahead during rain)

*Closed during storms. Additionally, illumination time will begin at 17:30 on November 9 only.

Entry: Free

Access: 6-minutes on foot from Osaki Station and Gotanda Station via JR Lines

TEL: 03-5330-7675

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

 

Shinjuku Minamilumi Illuminations (November 14 – February 14)

The Shinjuku Minamilumi illuminations have made their sixth return to the south exit of Shinjuku Station again this year. “Minamilumi” is a portmanteau of minami no illumination (‘south illuminations’) and minna de miru illumination (‘illuminations to watch with everyone’). Each pedestrian area around the south exit is currently adorned with many different illuminations. Each location is within walking distance from the other, so you can spend a nice relaxing time strolling and seeing the different lights that will welcoming this year’s winter.

 

Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/125425

 

■Information

Shinjuku Minamilumi Illuminations

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

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

Running: November 14, 2018 – January 14, 2019

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

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

*Illumination areas, content and details subject to change.

 

Omohara Beer Forest Illuminations (November 15 – February 28)

The Omohara Beer Forest―located on the sixth floor rooftop of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku―is currently hosting an illumination event. The illuminations have brought a mix of natural light and gentle fairy lights to central Harajuku. 16,000 illuminations bask the surrounding space and trees with warm light. A space surrounded by trees will give rise to 16,000 illuminations with warm light. Opening hours have been extended to 11:00pm from the usual 9:00pm for the Christmas and New Year periods. A perfect place to stop by after work or shopping.

 

Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/135593

 

■Information

Omohara Illuminations

Running: November 15, 2018 – February 28, 2019

Location: Omohara Beer Forest (Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku 6F Rooftop, 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)

Time: 17:00-23:00 (Last Entries 22:30 – subject to changes during New Year’s Holiday)

Website: https://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/

 

Illuminations are a big part of Japan’s winter culture, so take your friends and loved ones this year.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Japan’s Biggest Ferris Wheel Lights Up at Blue Grotto Illumination Event in Osaka

    16.September.2018 | SPOT

    Blue Grotto Osaka is an illumination event now taking place until September 30 at Redhorse Osaka Wheel, Japan’s tallest Ferris wheel which is located at LaLaport EXPOCITY in Suita, Osaka.

     

    Blue Grotto is an illumination event that first appeared in Nakameguro in winter 2014. It made a return in winter 2016 in Shibuya and again in December 2017 which almost 2.7 million people turned up to. The event also made its Hokkaido debut in Sapporo this year in February. It has established itself as one of Japan’s staple illumination events enjoyed by people from both Japan and those coming from overseas.

    The first time to be held in Osaka, you can look forward to gazing at the entrancing blue lights as you are lifted up up 123 meters high in one of the carriages for a full 18-minute turn. While riding the wheel you can also choose from a selection of specially prepared pasta dishes.

    The pasta is made in collaboration with Nisshin Foods under their Blue Grotto brand and is named Blue Grotto Bolognese.

    You can also get your picture taken inside the BLUE CUBE photo spot. The interior is fitted with mirrors and magical blue lights that create an infinitely illuminated blue world.

     

    If you head to the Redhorse Marumie Plaza on the second floor of the wheel entrance you can also check out some exclusive Blue Grotto merchandise.

     

    If you’re in Osaka this month then don’t miss out this chance to enjoy gorgeous illuminations, an amazing view and some delicious pasta.

     

    ■Information

    Blue Grotto OSAKA
    Location: Redhorse Osaka Wheel (EXPOCITY, 2-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita-shi, Osaka)
    Time: 18:30-23:00 *Subject to changes
    Running: September 11, 2018 – September 30, 2018
    Website: https://aodo.jp/

    Ferris Wheel Restaurant
    Running: September 11, 2018 – September 30, 2018
    Time: 18:30-23:00
    Price: ¥1,000 (Tax Included)

    *Includes Ferris wheel ticket and Blue Grotto Bolognese tasting for one person.

     

    Redhorse Marumie Plaza (Redhorse Osaka Wheel 2F Entrance)
    Running: September 11, 2018 – September 30, 2018
    Time: 10:30-23:00

     

  • Tranquil Illuminations Using Traditional Crafts at Hoshino Resort Aomoriya

    22.January.2018 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resort Aomoriya is a hotel where you can fully experience the culture of Aomori. From April 6th to May 31st, the residence will hold an event titled “Haru no Kirokaro Sanpo”.

    *kirokaro is a word in the Aomori dialect meaning ‘to look around with curiosity’ (kyoro kyoro in standard dialect

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    This year, 3 new flower arrangement displays are being introduced to the resort using traditional Aomori handicrafts. The displays are also designed for you to enjoy a peaceful stroll. “Wadasa no Kadou” will use the same technique used for the nebuta floats at Tohoku Sandai Matsuri to create the image of flowers from Japanese umbrellas. “Neputa no Kadou” is an arrangement that was created by artists from the Hirosaki Neputa Festival. “Akari no Kadou” will use traditional “Tsugaru Kanyama-yaki” pottery to create tranquil illuminations.

    Once the chilly days of Aomori’s springtime have passed, flowers will bloom at the end of April. To experience the spring even more, traditional Aomori crafts will be used where the flowers of nature bloom too. Japanese umbrellas creating the image of apple flowers will be set up, as well as hanging lanterns with flower patterns and designs, illuminating Aomoriya.

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    “Wadasa no Kadou”
    Japanese umbrella arrangements will laid out with apple flowers using a technique called roubiki that is used when making nebuta floats. The lights will be transparent from the wax sections, highlighting the colours even more.

     

     
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    “Neputa no Kadou”
    A design created by artists from the Hirosaki Neputa Festival will be set up and illuminate. To make it three-dimensional, these artisans’ work will mix together ink and dazzling colours before being lit up.

     

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    “Akari no Kadou”

    The hanging lanterns will be made of traditional “Tsugaru Kanayama-yaki,” a type of pottery. The illuminations and patterns will be original designs related to Aomori, including the apple, nebuta, and yawatauma.

    Experience peaceful illuminations and enjoy Aomori’s traditional culture at Hoshino Resort Aomoriya.

     

    ◼︎Information

    Haru no Kirokaro Sanpo

    Running: April 6, 2018 – May 31, 2018

    Price: Free

    Time: 17:00-22:00

    *Please note that in case of rain, some parts of the event will close.

     

    Hoshino Resort Aomoriya

    Address: 56 Furumagiyama, Misawa-shi, Aomori Prefecture (236 guest rooms)

    Homepage: http://noresoreaomoriya.jp/

     

    Hoshino Resorts: http://www.hoshinoresort.com/

     

  • “Frozen Planetarium” Urara Shiraito Illuminations to be held in Karuizawa

    04.January.2018 | SPOT

    Shiraito Highland Way Inc. will hold an event titled Urara Shiraito Illuminations at car park 1 of the famous Karuizawa tourist spot Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park. The event, which is a recognised heritage site for Japan’s nightscape, will run every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between February 2 and March 11, 2018.

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    Shiraito Highland Way is a toll road that first opened in 1963 and stretches across 10km. It’s a forest path where one can see the true face of Karuizawa and is home to Shiraito Falls and Ryuugaeshi no Taki, two popular tourist spots. The event ties in with Shiraito Falls Illusion that will be held in Karuizawa in July and is a registered heritage sight for Japan’s nighttime scenery. In Japan, it’s rare for two locations to be recognised as heritage sights for the country’s nightscape two years in a row. Because of this, Shiraito Highland Way is strengthening its image as a tourist destination for Japan’s night view.

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    Urara Shiraito Illuminations will have installed a 5m tall and 50m wide screen where enchanting images of the sun, deep green forests, and glowing clouds will be projected against the dark nighttime sky. As well as being an event that can be enjoyed at night, it will also give you the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature in a new light and in a way you may not have noticed during the day.

     

    The event will be held in car park 1 of Shiraito Highland Way, which is located in Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park. That means the light quantity, tones and production methods will be considered for the illuminations as based on the national park laws highlighted by the Ministry of the Environment.

     

    As a gift to attendees, if you speak the words “Drive & Love” at the toll station, you will receive a disposable hand warmers completely free. On Saturday February 10th, you can also get hot drinks and hot towels, and sweets from Karuizawa Chocolate Factory will be given out to the first 200 people.

     

    Plan a trip to the enchanting Urara Shiraito Illuminations to have yourself a truly extraordinary experience..

     

    ■Information

    Urara Shiraito Illuminations

    Location: Shiraito Highland Way Car Park 1

    Running: Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from February 2 – March 11, 2018

    Time: 16:00-19:00 each day

    Price: Free – you just need to pay the toll booth fee.

    Website: http://www.karuizawa-shw.com/access/index.html

     

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  • Tokyo Disney Resort Reveals Its Spooky Halloween Programme and Character Costumes

    20.August.2019 | FASHION / SPOT

    Get ready for some spooky fun as Tokyo Disney Resort® transforms for the 52-day-long horrifically exciting Disney Halloween from September 10 to October 31. Head to DisneySea to be captivated by the new harbor show Festival of Mystique, or get spooked out of your skin at the Spooky “Boo!” Parade at Disneyland. Today, we will be revealing the spooky looks of both parks.

    Tokyo DisneySea Festival of Mystique Costumes

    Working with the main theme of a medieval European halloween, inspiration has been taken from the living creatures and waves at the port town Porto Paradiso. 

    Mickey Mouse’s costume inspiration comes from the the bones and scaly body of a sea creature. He will also be seen wearing a broach decorated with beautiful jewels. 

    Minnie Mouse’s costume resembles that of a medieval princess. You will see her in a fancy hat that bears beautiful pearls. Her costume is covered in scales on the chest and on the back which really suits her.

    Tokyo Disneyland’s Spooky Boo! Parade Costumes

    Disney friends have joined forces with a group of spooky spirits. You just can’t miss out on this rare chance to see your favourite Disney characters disguised as ghosts and skeletons. The strange and unusual atmosphere is sure to send a chilling shiver down your spine. 

    Mickey and Minnie will be completely refreshing their colourful look. Mickey’s necktie and Minnie’s skirt are very mysterious and particularly intriguing.  Please come check them out!

     

    Enjoy the beautiful costumes and the fun range of events this Halloween at Tokyo Disney Resort.

     

    ©️Disney

  • Travel Japan: Turtle Rock, Oshinkoshin Waterfall & Other Must-Visit Sites in Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula

    18.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and is the northernmost location in Japan to have been so. Even in a place such as Hokkaido, which strikes all with its marvellous natural landscape, Shiretoko is said to be home to many secluded locations. Many of these have not been touched by the hands of man―they have been left as they are―and so one can discover sights, animals and much more that they cannot anywhere else.

     

    We are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts her experiences travelling to Hokkaido’s many sightseeing spots located in pockets of nature. She has provided us with photos of her trip to the Shiretoko Peninsula and its must-see spots.

     

    The Shiretoko Five Lakes

    The Shiretoko Five Lakes are situated inside an old-growth forest from which you can admire the grand Shiretoko mountain range in the back. Many wild animals live here such as the brown bear and black woodpecker. The view is one would expect from a World Heritage Site, with gorgeous scenery to soak up in every direction.

     

    ▶︎The Shiretoko Five Lakes

    Address: Onnebetsumura, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

    Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

    Cape Chashikotsu, located on the Utoronishi side, can be seen from Shari and looks just like a giant turtle which is where it gets its nickname “Turtle Rock” from.

     

    ▶︎Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

    Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

     

    Oshinkoshin Waterfall

    Oshinkoshin Waterfall is listed as one of Shiretoko’s “8 Sights.” This towering waterfall rolls down the rocks and splits into two separate waterfalls halfway down which has given it the nickname “Two Beautiful Falls.” The are stairs that enable you to walk beside the waterfall halfway up, letting you get nice and close to the water. There is also an observation deck atop the waterfall from which you can see many sights such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Shiretoko mountain range. The waterfall is also listed as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls.

     

    ▶︎Oshinkoshin Waterfall

    Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

    The Road To Heaven

    This long stretch of road spans 18km and has been dubbed the “Road To Heaven” as when observed from uphill looks like it disappears into the clouds. Situated on one side of the farmlands, one can enjoy a quiet and breathtaking view of the road. It’s also a popular road with bikers and travellers riding bicycles. It’s also a must-see from the observation deck close by.

     

    ▶︎The Road To Heaven (Japanese Name: 天に続く道)

    Address: Minehama, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

    Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? There are countless places to visit in Japan, and some of the best are the quiet, secluded ones. If you get the opportunity to visit Hokkaido, put the Shiretoko Peninsula on your list of must-visit places.

  • Top 4 Must-Visit Places in Ishikawa to Keep Cool This Summer – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    17.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Ishikawa Prefecture was formerly split between Kaga Province and Noto province and is still sometimes thought of as two peas in a pod. What was once Kaga Province in the now southern part of Ishikawa consists of six cities and towns including Kaga, Komatsu, Nomi, Kawakita, Hakusan, and Nonoichi.

     

    Kaga Province is home to many waterfall spots widely known as great places for keeping cool in the hot sun. Providing as great sightseeing experiences, one can bask in the negative ions of the waterfalls and overcome the summer scorch.

     

    Watagataki Waterfall

    Watagadaki gets its name from its appearance which is likened to falling torn cotton (wata being the Japanese word for the material). You will arrive right next to the waterfall when you descend down the path beside it, at which its great tumbling sound will fill you with a feeling reminding you that you are enveloped in nature.

     

    ▶︎Watagataki Waterfall (綿ヶ滝)

    Address: 1-4 Shimoyoshitanimachi, Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 076-274-9544 (Hakusan Tourist Centre)

    Access: 50-minutes south of Japan National Route 157 via Hakusan Interchange / 60-minutes from Kanazawa Station

     

    Nanatsudaki Falls

    Nanatsudaki Falls is comprised of seven smaller waterfalls which it gets its name from. It has long been a place of worship. Six of the waterfalls are found upstream, where the water rolls beautifully over the rocks which have formed over tens of thousands of years as a result of the movement of the earth’s crust. The surrounding trees boast lush green verdure or red and yellow autumnal leaves depending on the season, offering different spectacular sights to behold whatever time of the year you visit. There’s a path you can walk along where the upper six waterfalls are so you don’t have to worry about falling in!

     

    ▶︎Nanatsudaki Falls (七つ滝)

    Address: Nagatakimachi, Nomi, Ishikawa

    Enquiries: 0761-51-2308 (Nomi no Satoyama Fan Club)

    Access: 25-minutes by car from Nomi-Neagari interchange

     

    Tsuruga Falls

     

    The water at Tsuruga Falls flows down five levels, and the biggest waterfall at the back splits into two separate waterfalls. Collectively the waterfalls tower up 30 meters high which is an incredible sight to see when up close. Tsuruga Falls gets its name from the splitting waterfall at the back which is said to look like the legs of a crane.

     

    ▶︎Tsuruga Falls (鶴ヶ滝)

    Address: Yamanakaonsen Aratanimachi, Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 0761-78-0330 (Yamanaka Onsen Tourist Association)

    Access: 15-minutes by car from Yamanaka Onsen Bus Terminal

     

    Junigataki Waterfalls

     

    The name origin of Junigataki Waterfalls lies in its twelve separate falls which flow from the Gotani River. The incredible crashing sound of the water cannot be put into words; it’s an overwhelming spectacle that will have you wanting to go back more than once. In summertime it’s common to see families and young people playing in the water from up at the top of the waterfall down to the lake below. The waterfalls are a quite a distance from the city of Komatsu, but there are roads that lead right to it so it’s very accessible.

     

    ▶︎Junigataki Waterfalls

    Address: Nunohashimachi, Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Enquiries: 0761-22-4111 (Komatsu City Hall)

    Access: 45-minutes by car from JR Komatsu Station

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? If you’re in Japan this summer visiting Ishikawa then be sure to pay a trip to one of Ishikawa’s many waterfalls to cool yourself off.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #11 – ‘Hatoya’ in Asakusa

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Hatoya which is located in Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Arcade.

     

    The streets of Tokyo’s historical district of Asakusa are packed to end with cafés. You can be spoiled for choice, but Hatoya stood out to me in particular as it’s an especially old café. Business there began back in 1927 but the actual building was built back in the Taisho period, meaning its history spans more than 90 years ago!

     

    The outside appearance of the shop is smart and chic so it’s very easy to spot. I couldn’t tell by looking from the outside, but the inside is full of old decorations and odds and ends which make you feel the history of the café.

    One reason why I wanted to visit this place so much is because I was drawn to their logo. It’s really retro-kawaii so I just couldn’t resist!

    You should take some photos too if you visit.

    It was time to head inside. It’s really comfy and cozy in there; the atmosphere was nice and relaxed.

    Framed on the wall is a map of the Asakusa area during the Taisho era. Hatoya became famous back then because people could buy coffee for a mere 5 sen (a single sen is one-hundredth of a yen).

     

    When business first began at Hatoya, because the café was opposite the stage door of a theatre, all of the famous actors and actresses would pop in. Some include famous Japanese comedian Roppa Furukawa and film actor Kiyoshi Atsumi who played Tora-san in the film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo.

    I ordered the café’s popular hotcakes which cost ¥600. They have been making these same hotcakes since before the war.

    They were nice and fluffy and had a deliciously gorgeous brown colour. The flavour was out of this world when the butter melted from the heat of the hotcakes and mixed together with the syrup.

     

    The portion might look like a lot but they are fluffy and have a light flavour so can be finished with no problem.

    And is the café’s signature milkshake (¥500).

     

    It’s so refreshing that you can knock it back all in one go. It has a simple flavour but it tasted so good!

    I also ordered the ¥600 cream soda, my favourite beverage.

    I’ve been to many cafés, and have covered many in this series, but this is the first I have dined at with such a deep history. I found myself enthralled by the stories of the owner who has continued to treasure the café and maintained it all the same since it opened. I feel like I have learned about a world I never knew about. The next time I go to Hatoya with a friend I’ll be sure to let them in on its history. I encourage you to visit too!

     

    Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
    Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ema Tanioku

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

  • STRAWBERRY MANIA: Harajuku’s Cutest & Tastiest Strawberry Ice Cream | Food Review

    13.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Hey, readers. It’s Midori again, from MMN’s editorial team.

     

    Summertime in Harajuku means the cafes and ice cream shops start serving up some seriously kawaii and tasty ice creams. It’s always nice to grab a cone to enjoy while walking around shopping, but relaxing in a cafe to enjoy it is fun too♡

     

    If the latter sounds like your kind of thing, then I’ve got a new recommendation for you. I visited STRAWBERRY MANIA recently, cafe located along Takeshita Street in Harajuku that specialises in strawberry desserts.

    You’ll find it right above the 7-Eleven on Takeshita Street. Look for the strawberries!

    There’s also a sign outside showing a few of the desserts. Go up the staircase right next to it and you’ll come to the cafe entrance.

    No matter where you turn while you’re here, your eyes will be met with strawberries. It looks so cute♡

    The shopfront showcase is shelved with lots of succulent strawberry treats. The chef whips up other desserts to order besides these too. Everything’s almost too cute to eat!

     

    For the strawberry soft serve ice cream you can pick between three flavours: milk, strawberry or mixed. I couldn’t pick between them so I went for mixed.

    The combination of the bright red strawberry ice cream and pure white milk ice cream makes for a beautiful colour contrast.

    It’s also topped with a huge fresh strawberry.

     

    I took no time at all in taking a spoonful. The strawberry ice cream has a really rich flavour. It’s sweet but has that sour kick too, like you’re eating a real strawberry. The milk ice cream has a milder sweetness and a real milky taste, the kind you’d imagine if it was sold at a farm with cows.

    Everything is packed snug into the cone right down to the bottom, making it a filling treat. It can be ordered for takeout if you like, and if you do that you can get your ice cream straight away so you don’t have to wait for seats.

     

    They serve other things besides soft serve too, like shaved ice and parfaits. There’s so much to choose from, I think you’ll be spoiled for choice! Be sure to visit if you’re in Harajuku.

  • Seafood Heaven at Shizuoka’s New Restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo

    11.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Atami Ginza Shopping District in Shizuoka’s seaside city of Atami is enjoying a new boom of bustling customers this year, and they’re sure to continue pouring in with the opening of its new seafood entertainment restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo. The eatery opened its grand doors on August 8, offering fresh, flavourful seafood dishes. In the evenings, the restaurant turns into Osakana Sakaba where they serve gorgeous sake.

    Atami is home to many fishing harbours, including those in Ajiro, Izuyama, and Hatsushima. Atami’s waters are a treasure trove of sea life, offering a bounty of seafood such as mackerel, salmon, shrimp, Splendid alfonsino, shellfish, and more.

    The restaurant uses a previously vacant building which has been renovated for the opening. Their menu concept is “Atami nostalgia” which will fuse together traditional Atami food with new spins. Food is prepared in an open kitchen in a variety of ways including sashimi, grilled, steamed, and so on.

    Splendid Alfonsino Rice Bowl – ¥2,780 (Before Tax)

    The absolute must-try on their menu is their Splendid alfonsino rice bowl. It’s topped generously with huge cuts of horse mackerel, mackerel, and Splendid alfonsino, all caught fresh from neighbouring harbours.

    The restaurant also serves the ginormous Japanese spider crab which is a local speciality in the city of Izu. They are kept fresh in tanks in the restaurant. In the evening, when the restaurant turns into a bar, you can have this crab served however you like: as sashimi, grilled, or even steamed. As well as fresh seafood, they also serve vegetables and other meat, all sourced locally. Tofu, desserts and other food is too.

     

    Japan is known for its exquisite seafood. If you’re travelling to Shizuoka this summer, be sure you pay a visit to the new Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo.

  • Stay Cool This Summer in Kyoto at These 4 Nature Spots

    09.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    When talking about seasons in Kyoto, a lot of people are sure to point towards autumn when the leaves turn fiery red and sun yellow. But did you know that in Kyoto enjoys cool and truly beautiful summers?

     

    If you’re in the old capital this summer, or are planning to catch the sun there with a trip next year, then you’ll want to add the 4 spots in this list into your schedule, each abloom with magical foliage and verdure.

     

    We are joined by Macchan, a Japanese Instagrammer who snaps photos of sightseeing spots around Kyoto lush with greenery.

     

    Giouji Temple

    Giouji Temple is a modest thatched hut wrapped in a bamboo thicket and maple trees. The temple is detailed in the epic The Tale of the Heike in which the dancer Gio fled to the temple from her home in the capital with her mother and sister after falling out of love with Taira no Kiyomori.

     

    A visit here ensures you can enjoy the summer with more than just your eyes as you listen to the dancing of the bamboo thicket and the cries of the cicadas.

     

    Giouji Temple
    Address: 32 Sagatoriimoto Kozakachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.giouji.or.jp/en

     

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple with a history spanning 1,200 years. A memorial service for those who died without kin is taking place on August 23 and 24 at the riverbed of the temple’s west wing where candles will be lit in their honour. Lanterns are also lit in the surrounding area along the streets.

     

    Adashino Nenbutsu-ji

    Address: 17 Saga Toriimotoadashinocho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto

    Official Website: http://www.nenbutsuji.jp/index.html

     

    Fushimi Port Park

    Fushimi Port Park is a huge park home to a gymnasium and sumo area. They also have a hiking course. The sea does not reach here, but there is a canal which boats go up and down, and this is where the park gets its name. It has a bounty of trees and plants, so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful stroll in nature then be sure to visit.

     

    Fushimi Port Park

    Address: Yoshijima Kanaidocho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.kyoto-park.or.jp/fushimi/

     

    Kan’in-no-miya Residence

    This residence was built for and used by the Kan’in-no-miya family in 1710, with Prince Naohito as its founder―the son of Emperor Higashiyama. The family lived in the house until 1877 after which they moved to Tokyo. Following the war, it was liberated and became a park, and today it is used to exhibit photography and paintings. The residence is famous for its peach trees, making it a popular spot in spring. However, in summertime, it’s much quieter, adding grace to the tranquillity of the surrounding green landscape. What’s more is that despite it being such a prestigious location, it’s free to enter! Don’t tell too many people about this secret spot.

     

    Kan’in-no-miya Residence

    Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo War, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://kan-in-nomiya-teiato.jp/eng/

     

     

    Macchan has visited many incredible spots around Kyoto, so if you’re in need of recommendations be sure to give them a follow.

     

    Photos: @macchan358

  • Tokyo Station Top Souvenir and Bento Rankings 2019

    09.August.2019 | Uncategorized

    Tokyo Station is a hive of thriving shops and restaurants. If you are wondering where to start, exit the ticket barriers and head to GRANSTA Marunouchi to discover a new world of bento lunches, souvenir gifts and much more. Still stuck on where to go? Lucky for you, GRANSTA Marunouchi shoppers have voted for their favourite bento meals, sweet souvenirs and general souvenirs. We have summarised the top three winners of each category.

     

    A total of 69 shops have risen to the challenge, submitting a total of 73 of their top items. This year, a total of 4,500 voters took part in the survey, which is 2,000 more than last year. There were 10 winners in each of the three categories of Bento Meals, Sweet Souvenirs, and General Souvenirs. Today, we are presenting you with the top three of each category. (The prices below are the prices after tax has been applied)

     

    ▶︎Bento Meals Category

    1st place: Asakusa Imahan Sukiyaki (Tokyo-limited)

    Asakusa Imahan was founded in the 28th year of the Meiji era (1895) and still serves delicious traditional Japanese food. The Sukiyaki Bento is filled with a range of nutritious vegetables and luxurious Japanese Black wagyu beef, which is a shop specialty. Enjoy the wonderful sukiyaki flavouring of the vegetables and meat. 

    Price: ¥1,450 Shop: Asakusa Imahan (浅草今半)

     

    2nd place: Salted Salmon Roe and Salmon Belly Bento 

    *Limit of 150 sold per day.

    Price: ¥1,280 Shop: Ekibenya Matsuri (駅弁屋 祭 )

    Salmon belly flavoured with natural fat is fried and topped with salmon roe coated in a soy sauce dressing. This exquisite bento is full of flavours that go well together.

     

    3rd place: Shoro Sando

    *Limit of 200 sold per day 

    Price: ¥648 Shop: Tsukiji Shoro (つきぢ松露 )

    The faintly sweet flavour of the tamagoyaki seasoned and flavoured egg is the perfect match with the mayonaise.

     

    ▶︎ Sweet Souvenirs Top 3 

    1st place: Maple Pie Sandwich Biscuit (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,944 (box of 8) Shop: The Maple Mania  

    Maple cream is combined with maple sugar and sandwiched between two delicious and crispy pie crusts. The box takes on the appearance of a red brick, making it the perfect Tokyo Station souvenir. 

     

    2nd place: Tokyo chocolate Sablé (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,080 (box of 12) Shop: Marché du Chocolat 

    The packaging features a beautiful illustration of Tokyo Station. There are two chocolate sablé flavours: raspberry and hazelnut.

     

    3rd place: My Captain Cheese Set (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,080 (box of 8 packets)  Shop: MY CAPTAIN CHEESE TOKYO 

    Although having just opened in April 2019, this shop quickly made the rankings. From the outer packaging to the flavour, the efforts put into the making of this souvenir are clear. This brand new sweet cheese-flavoured treat is a new GRANSTA-limited souvenir.

     

    ▶︎ General Souvenirs

    1st place: Karuizawa Royal Blend

    Limit of 30 made per day 

    Price: ¥1,122 (whole loaf)/ ¥ 561 (half loaf) Shop: BOULANGERIE ASANOYA 

    The recipe used to bake this bread was deeply loved by the Kazoku; the rich and noble family class that existed during the Showa Era of Japan. This thick and fluffy loaf is made with lots of fresh cream for a rich flavour.

     

    2nd place: Suica Penguin Mamegui Wrapping Cloth and Suica Baumkuchen cake (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Prices: Mamegui Wrapping Cloth: ¥648/ Baumkuchen: ¥ 540  Shop: Mamegui (まめぐい)

    The Suica penguin, who is the mascot on the Suica smart travel card, is printed on this round Baumkuchen cake. Wrap it in the hankerchief-sized tenugui cloth and it will be the perfect petit present for your friend.  

     

    3rd place: Lemon and Shiikuwasha Lemon Vinegar (Tokyo Station-limited)

    Price: ¥1,728 (250ml) Shop: Nomusu Ekisupuresu Tokyo (飲む酢エキスプレ・ス・東京)

    This dessert vinegar has a refreshing lemon flavour. The slight bitterness of the Shiikuwasha vinegar makes it a wonderful dessert flavour. 

     

    If you are overwhelmed by the vast selection of bento lunches or souvenirs, referring to these rankings is a safe option. Have fun shopping at Tokyo Station!

  • Experience Tasting Mount Koya’s Famous Sesame Tofu at ONAKA PECO PECO in Tsukiji

    07.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen is a cafe located in Tsukiji, a district in Chuo, Tokyo. They serve rice balls filled with locally sourced ingredients from various locations in Japan. In the evenings, the rice balls can be enjoyed with delicious sake.

     

    If you visit the cafe right now you’ll be able to try sesame tofu (goma tofu) made by the long-running restaurant Kadohama. Sesame tofu is a meibutsu―or “local speciality”―of Mount Koyo.

     

    While it is possible to buy sesame tofu on Kadohama’s online store, the only places you can eat them out at is at their restaurant on top of Mount Koya or at select branches of department stores such as Mitsukoshi or Isetan. We visited ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen for a taste of this exquisite collaboration.

    Mount Koya is located in the Ito district of northern Wakayama Prefecture and is home to the town of Koya. The region is encased an abundant mountainous landscape. The Japanese Buddhist monk Kūkai opened the sacred mountain around 1,200 years ago. In 2004, Mount Koya which was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004 under the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” category. It has since become a popular tourist destination with Japanese and foreign travellers alike.

     

    Here is the heavenly menu lineup at ONAKA PECO PECO which is packed full of Kadohama’s sesame tofu.

    There are five items which are made with the sesame tofu: an onigiri rice ball, crab soup, cold tofu, pork shabu shabu, and a drink.

    Time to tuck in and try this famous food which has been enjoyed for many years!

    White Vegetables & Steamed Pork Shabu w/ Koji Sesame Tofu Sauce – ¥800

    This dish is garnished with a generous serving of fresh white vegetables and succulent meat. It includes lotus root, enoki mushrooms, cauliflower, and pork. It also comes with a white sauce made with sesame tofu, shio koji, and sesame oil. The sauce has a mild flavour in which you can get the full glorious taste of the tofu. It’s smooth and refreshing so is a perfect pick for the hot summer.

    Sesame Tofu & Plum Cheese-Loaded Rice Ball – ¥250

    This rice ball is a flavourful combination of a sesame tofu and plum paste and lots of cheese.

    This fat rice ball is wrapped in paper like a hamburger. The rich taste of the tofu and cheese reduces the sourness of the plum, giving it a gentler flavour.

    Sesame Tofu & Egg Crab Soup – ¥400

    The soup is an amazing combination with the rice ball. It has a miso soup base filled with green onion, enoki mushrooms, and crab. The elastic-y tofu is cut into big satisfying chunks. Its rich, creamy flavour combined with the crab is to die for.

    Sesame Tofu & Sweet Sake Jelly Drink – ¥350

    The cute white-coloured beverage is a healthy mix of sesame tofu paste and sweet sake. It retains the pulpy texture of the tofu and the aftertaste is super refreshing.

    You can order the drink for takeout so you can take a stroll around the streets of Tsukiji.

    Kadohama Sesame Tofu – Eat In: ¥300 / Takeout: From ¥240

    If you’re looking to enjoy the sesame tofu on its own then you’ve got to try it with either the wasabi and soy sauce or brown sugar. You can also order this to take away too. Each box contains one piece of tofu.

    The cafe is also selling exclusive merchandise as part of the collaboration. The collection includes a t-shirt, sacoche bag, and cap. Each item has a simple design making them easy to incorporate into looks.

    Easy access to Kadohama’s sesame tofu―which is made using traditional cooking methods that have been passed down generations at Mount Koya―can only be enjoyed at ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen. If you’re in Tokyo this summer, then take a trip to Tsukiji district to try this healthy and nutrient-packed tofu.

     

    Model: Ririka Satsuki

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MMN Editorial Team)

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Become Poop and Travel Through the Body in Kyoto’s Bizarre Exhibition

    05.August.2019 | SPOT / Uncategorized

    The Toei Kyoto Studio Park―a theme park in Kyoto modelled after the Edo period of Japan―is set to hold an exhibition from next month titled “A Bizarrely Great Adventure Through the Body” in which you can travel through a giant model of a body to learn all about faeces.

    The event is themed on the best-selling children’s book series Grossology by Sylvia Branzei which gives humorous but straightforward descriptions of bodily functions and various medical conditions.

    Stinky Poop (Unchi Kusai), the ninja mascot of the event, will join visitors on their adventure as they experience the gross potential of the human body: burps, farts, bodily odours, and more.

     

    A total of fifteen attractions will make up the event where kids and adults can discover the “secrets” of the human body.

    Sneeze Shutter

    At the Sneeze Shutter you will learn why we sneeze by firing balls―the “foreign substance” entering the nose―into the giant nostrils which will cause it to become itchy. If you can get five balls into the nose it will let out a sneeze and blown out the balls.

    The Kidney Game

    At the Kidney Game you will help deliver urea, sugar, and other materials necessary for the kidney to the blood vessels to understand how the kidney functions.

    Poop Fortune Telling

    Sit on a real toilet and a poo character will appear on the monitor to tell you your fortune that day.

    Poo Exhibition

    Learn all about poo at the display board which features lots of interesting information.

    Burp Kid

    Why do we burp when we drink fizzy beverages? Burp Kid will explain it to you.

    Take a photo with the giant poo

    At the end of your trip to the event, take a commemorative photo next to the giant poo pile and butthole.

     

    This is just a snippet of what there is to see at Kyoto’s bizarre poo exhibition. Visit to learn all about something we all do but don’t talk about!

  • Lolita Singer Luna Haruna Announces Surprise Solo Live Performance at Most Recent Concert

    05.August.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    Tokyo singer and lolita fashion model Luna Haruna finished her premium solo summer concert at SHIBUYA TAKE OFF7 on August 4. The concert title Lupa and Aries no gastronomie was named after her single Lupa to Aries which was released earlier this year in June and is so far only available on streaming services. Haruna performed once in the afternoon and once in the evening with a live band. She performed a total of 28 songs, including some brand new hits.

     She launched into her concert with her hit songs Stertear, Kimi Iro Signal, Stella Breeze and Overfly. She then performed her two new fairytale-themed songs Lupa to Aries and Kaiten Mokuba live for the first time. 

    Afterwards, she turned to her fans and said:

    “I challenged myself to something completely new this time. I want to show you all a side of me you have never seen before.”

    What the fans heard next was an unexpected surprise. 

    She announced that she will be performing at Mt.RAINIER HALL SHIBUYA PLEASURE PLEASURE, Tokyo on November 16. The venue, packed with fans, could not contain their excitement, responding to the glorious news with cheers of joy that echoed throughout the entire room. 

    Her recent release Kaiten Mokuba follows the same fairytale theme as Lupa to Aries. The beautiful harmonies created by the strings pierce through the strong and pressing beat of the song. This gothic fairytale song is appropriately titled Kaiten Mokuba (Carousel) to further emphasise the distorted feeling of being spun around in endless circles. Luna is an artist who represents the lolita scene for lolita fans worldwide. This fairytale video is where her true self comes alive. Her new, mysterious visuals are a fusion of lolita fashion and Alice in Wonderland themes. 

     

    Luna Haruna Music Video: Kaiten Mokuba 

    The head-spinning music video shows Luna in different lolita fashion outfits. Each outfit explores the depths of a different character from Alice in Wonderland. Watch Luna spin her way through five Alice in Wonderland-themed lolita dresses including the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and of course, Alice.  

    Luna will also be singing the theme song for the upcoming anime film Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Fine, which will premiere on October 26. This isn’t the first time Luna has been involved in the Saekano anime series. She performed the theme songs Kimi Iro Signal and Stella Breeze, which were the TV anime’s first and second anime openings respectively. 

     

    The anime film opening will be written by Miku Sawai, who wrote the lyrics for the TV anime’s first and second ending theme songs Colourful and Sakura Iro Diary respectively. Miku Sawai and Luna Haruna have become massive sensations in the news for their anime hits. Just what kind of chemical reaction will unfold when these two heroines collaborate on the anime film’s opening theme song? Please keep your eyes peeled for future updates. 

     

    Photos: ©美澄

  • Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    05.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

     

    ▼Kyoto Station

    Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/

     

    ▼Kyoto Tower

    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

    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?

     

    ▼Yasaka Shrine

    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

    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.

     

    ▼Ninenzaka

    Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/

     

     

    Kiyomizu-dera

    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.

     

    ▼Kiyomizu-dera

    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.

     

    Photos: Taka

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