Top 20 Best Onsen & Public Baths in Japan for 2018 Ranked by TripAdvisor
07.December.2018 | SPOT
The internet’s biggest travel website TripAdvisor® has released its top 20 best public baths in Japan for this year as ranked by its users.
Hoheikyo Hot Spring
This marks the seventh run of this ranking. Crowning the list is Hoheikyo Onsen in Hokkaido which has up from second place last year to first place. Five facilities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Okinawa, Ehime and Yamanashi have also ranked for the first time. The comments posted by travellers show that the number of people using hot springs during their trip is increasing.
But the one to note is Dogo Onsen for which two separate facilities have been listed.
Dogo Onsen Bekkan Asuka no Yu (Ehime)
Dogo Onsen Honkan (Ehime)
Dogo Onsen Bekkan Asuka no Yu came at No. 7 having only just held its grand opening in December last year. Dogo Onsen Honkan came at No. 15, a place that has a connection with Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan.
A whole range of different baths made it onto the list including sand baths, carbonated springs, dark brown water and more. The 20th place Jakotsuyu in Asakusa, Tokyo is also worth a mention.
Top 20 Best Day Use Onsen in Japan 2018
1. Hoheikyo Onsen, Hokkaido
2. Ramune Onsen Kan, Oita
3. Tenzan no Yu, Kyoto
4. Kurama Onsen, Kyoto
5. Healthy Land Tamatebako Onsen, Kagoshima
6. Busshozan Onsen Tempyoyu, Kagawa
7. Dogo Onsen Bekkan Asuka no Yu, Ehime
8. Maenohara Onsen Sayano Yudokoro, Tokyo
9. Odaiba Tokyo Oedo-Onsen Monogatari, Tokyo
10. Sai no Kawara Rotenburo, Gunma
11. Ryujin no Yu, Okinawa
12. Fuji Chobo-no-yu Yura, Yamanashi
13. Tenzan Tohji-kyo, Kanagawa
14. Saraku, Kagoshima
15. Dogo Onsen Honkan, Ehime
16. Yachigashira Onsen, Hokkaido
17. Miharashi no Yu, Tokyo
18. Enoshima Island Spa, Kanagawa
19. Takegawara Onsen, Oita
20. Jakotsuyu, Tokyo
Be sure to use this list as reference when considering what hot springs to visit in Japan.
Top 20 Best Day Use Onsen in Japan 2018: https://tg.tripadvisor.jp/news/ranking/best-public-bathes/
TripAdvisor Official Website: https://www.tripadvisor.com/
TripAdvisor Announces Top 20 Best Museums & Best Art Museums in Japan for 2018
18.October.2018 | SPOT
Restaurant and travel website TripAdvisor® has released its lists for the Top 20 Best Museums in Japan 2018 and Top 20 Best Art Museums in Japan 2018 as ranked by its users.
Taking the number one spot for art museums is Teshima Art Museum in Kagawa Prefecture and for museums the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki Prefecture.
The Teshima Art Museum is located on the island of Teshima in the Seto Inland Sea just a 30-minute ferry ride from Takamatsu. It’s home to a single piece of artwork – a concrete shell structure devoid of pillars that’s made in the image of a water droplet just as it’s about to land. The structure takes in natural light, sounds and wind from the surrounding area, combining man-made artwork with nature.
The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum is based in the city of Nagasaki and was built in remembrance of the Nagasaki atomic bombing which occurred on August 9, 1945. It houses permanent exhibitions as well as occasional temporary exhibitions all giving historical background to the atomic bombing and postwar nuclear weapons. The museum also has a library with books and picture books relating to peace, nuclear weapons and other relevant topics, as well as a museum shop.
There are twenty each of museums and art museums ranked on TripAdvisor’s list, all must-visits celebrated for their individual and unique exhibits. The art museums are also not only revelled for what they have on show but for their architecture and gardens where one can enjoy nature through all four seasons; many users commented on how they lose track of time and find themselves healed from visiting. A number of facilities related to the disasters of the war ranked in the lists, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Top 20 Best Art Museums in Japan 2018
1. Teshima Art Museum (Kagawa)
2. Fujishiro Seiji Museum (Tochigi)
3. Nezu Museum (Tokyo)
4. Otsuka Museum of Art (Tokushima)
5. Ghibli Museum Mitaka (Tokyo)
6. Adachi Museum of Art (Shimane)
7. Okada Museum of Art (Kanagawa)
8. Pola Museum of Art (Kanagawa)
9. Hiroshi Senju Museum Karuizawa (Nagano)
10. The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo)
Top 20 Best Museums in Japan 2018
1. Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (Nagasaki)
2. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima)
3. Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo)
4. Motorcar Museum of Japan (Ishikawa)
5. Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History (Fukuoka)
6. Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (Fukui)
7. The Museum Meiji-mura (Aichi)
8. Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Aichi)
9. National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka)
10. Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo (Shimane)
If you’re looking to visit a museum while you’re in Japan then be sure to check out TripAdvisor for reference.
Top 20 Best Museums & Best Art Museums 2018
TripAdvisor (English): https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
Top 20 Best Castles to Visit in Japan 2018 – TripAdvisor
23.August.2018 | SPOT
TripAdvisor® is the world’s biggest travel website for locating the best places to stay, eat and have fun. The rankings for each location are determined by the public who rate and review the places they visit.
The website has just published its 2018 ranking for the best castles to visit in Japan.
This marks the 6th run for best castles in the country. Included this year are 11 castles and 9 castle ruins.
Coming in top place for the 3rd year in a row is Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture. It boasts as the first castle in Japan to be registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle underwent significant renovation from 2009 to 2015. Known for its distinct white walls, the castle has been attracting much popularity in recent years.
In 2nd place is Nijo in Kyoto which has gone up three places from last year.
Ranking at 3rd place is Matsuyama Castle located in Matsuyama, the capital of Ehime Prefecture. This castle came in 3rd place last year too.
Matsumoto Castle was chosen for 4th place. It also goes by the name “Crow Castle” due to its black exterior – quite the opposite of the white walls of Himeji Castle.
Oka Castle came in 5th place, the highest ranking of the castle ruins. All that’s left of it now are stone walls, but it is known as the castle which served as a model in pianist Rentaro Taki’s song Kojo no Tsuki (‘The Moon Over the Ruined Castle‘). This is noted in the Japanese comments on TripAdvisor, with people describing the contrast between the moon and castle as breathtaking as mentioned in the song.
Inuyama Castle in Ehime Prefecture came in at 7th place, moving up the list significantly. It’s one of the 12 original castles of Japan and known for its castle tower being designated as a national treasure.
Castles are an important part of Japanese culture and an incredible immersive experience of the country’s history. Make use of this list to visit at least one during your trip!
TripAdvisor® has unveiled the most popular theme parks around the world as ranked by international travelers. The top 10 list for Japan list includes theme parks that have ranked before as well as two new entries – located in Wakayama Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture.
1. Universal Studios Japan, Osaka
2. Tokyo DisneySea, Chiba
3. Tokyo Disneyland, Chiba
4. Adventure World, Wakayama
5. Nagashima Spa Resort, Mie
6. Fuji-Q Highland, Yamanashi
7. Tokyo One Piece Tower, Tokyo
8. Mega Web, Tokyo
9. Amanohashidate View Land, Kyoto
10. Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura, Tochigi
Taking this year’s number one spot is Universal Studios Japan for the second year in a row. In second place is Tokyo DisneySea which has moved up one spot from last year. in Third is Tokyo Disneyland which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.
Not only did Universal Studios Japan clock in at number one in Japan, it also ranked in the top 25 worldwide as well as third place in the whole of Asia. Comments praised it for being the best place for Disney movie lovers and as a place to enjoy seeing many different characters. There was also excitement about the renewal and introduction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which gives guests the chance to see the inside of Hogwarts Castle. Those who have attended it commented that it’s just like stepping into the movies.
Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland also made it in fourth and fifth place respectively for the most popular theme parks in Asia. Travelers in the comments commend both parks for allowing even adults to forget their age and enjoy their time there.
The top 3 theme parks of Japan this year have not changed from last year. Adventure World in fourth place however has made it onto the list for the first time. Located in the town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Adventure World is known for housing giant pandas, but it also has a fun amusement area enjoyed by kids and adults like with a Ferris wheel, rollercoaster and more. It was also selected as number eight in the most popular theme parks in Asia.
Another theme park on the list for the first time is Amanohashidate View Land in Kyoto. Coming in ninth place, this park offers a gorgeous panoramic view of Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s three scenic views.
If you’re coming to Japan then be sure to schedule a day to visit one of the country’s top 10 theme parks.
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/
Kusatsu Onsen’s Emerald Green Pudding is a Must-Try After a Dip in the Hot Springs
Kusatsu Onsen is a hot spring resort in Gunma Prefecture that is one of Japan’s three principle hot spring locations. The site opened its new Japanese custard dessert (known as ‘purin’) shop, Kusatsu Onsen Pudding, on August 24, which serves the most incredibly smooth purin you have ever tried, each inspired by the hot springs.
Once you’ve stepped out of the nice warm hot springs of Kusatsu Onsen you can refresh yourself with a delicious purin packed full of love from the shop which has created a flavour you can only try by travelling to Gunma and going there. Each and every dessert is made fresh in the shop to further elevate its exclusivity as a local speciality.
Kusatsu Onsen Pudding also makes sure to use local and regional ingredients where it can to help support manufacturers and producers. Their purin is also made with a special type of milk sourced from in Gunma known as Haruna milk. The milk is made as delicious as can be by ensuring cows are raised on a healthy natural diet of grass on green pastures in Gunma bathed in plenty of sunlight.
The Yuhata purin is inspired by the hot spring areas where mineral deposits are harvested, its jelly taking on a gorgeous emerald green colour. It’s lemon and lime flavoured, the perfect flavour to enjoy when stepping out of the hot water, and one which goes surprisingly well with purin.
The staple purin of the store, this purin is based on yumomi, a method used for cooling the hot water with paddles from which cold water gushes forth. This velvety delight is made with lots of fresh cream and high-quality vanilla beans from Madagascar for added punch.
A pun on the word fromage, with furo in Japanese meaning “bath,” the Furomage purin uses a rich cream cheese base which has a seriously smooth texture. It’s topped off with strawberry jelly for the perfect combination, packing a perfect balance between sweet and sour.
Yuhata Soft (Milk/Yuhata/Mixed)
Choose from the Yuhata soft serve ice cream which is ramune flavoured and inspired by the flowing water of the hot springs or the Haruna milk-mixed vanilla flavoured Milk soft serve. If you can’t pick, then choose mixed for a bit of both. A satisfyingly refreshing pick for when you’re done in the hot springs.
The shop has plans to sell purin made using bamboo steamers in the near future, so you’re pudding can be steamed like yourself after a dip in the water! The wooden spoons used to eat the desserts are also made in the image of the paddles used in yumomi too.
Kusatsu Onsen Pudding
Address: 407 Kusatsu, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00
Official Website: https://www.kusatsuonsen-purin.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