Top 5 Japanese Snow Festivals Taking Place in 2019

04.January.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

People often travel to Japan in the spring for the cherry blossoms or fall for the gorgeous colours as the leaves turn yellow and red. But if you’re coming here in winter then we recommend hitting up one of the many snow festivals that take place across the country. Here are 5 festivals set to take place this new year.

 

Sapporo Snow Festival – Hokkaido

Taking place in the heart of Sapporo, the annual Sapporo Snow Festival stretches across a 1.5km area and brings in millions of people from both Japan and overseas who go to see its hundreds of huge ice sculptures and snow statues.

 

◼︎Information

Odori Park: February 4, 2019 – February 11, 2019 (Illuminations until 22:00)

Tsudome: January 31, 2019 – February 11, 2019 (9:00-17:00)

Susukino: February 4, 2019 – February 11, 2019 (Illuminations until 23:00 but until 22:00 on February 11)

Website: http://www.snowfes.com/english/

 

 

Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival – Akita Prefecture

The Yokote Kamakura Festival is centred around the deity of water and has been running for more than 450 years. Around 100 igloo-like structures called “kamakura” are built where people sit and enjoy sweet rice wine and mochi. When the kamakura are lit up it creates a very magical atmosphere.

 

◼︎Information

Running: February 15, 2019 – February 16, 2019 (18:00-21:00)

Locations: Yokote City Hall Road Park and Yokote Park, Hagurocho Bukeyashiki Street, Futabacho Street, Yokote East, Yokote, Akita Prefecture

Website: https://www.yokotekamakura.com/01_event/04_winter/kamakura_time.html

 

Yunishikawaonsen Kamakurasai – Tochigi Prefecture

Taking place at Yunishigawa Onsen, this event was designated as a Night View Inheritance site in 2009. It sees hundreds of candles lit up across the entire area that create a mysterious atmosphere.

 

◼︎Information

Address: 1042 Yunishigawa, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture

Running: January 26, 2019 – March 3, 2019

Candle Lighting: 5:30pm-9:00pm

*Subject to cancellation depending on weather conditions.

Closed: Wednesdays & Thursdays

TEL: 0288-22-1525

Website: https://www.tochigiji.or.jp/event/1064/

 

 

Tsunan Snow Festival – Niigata Prefecture

Located in Tsunan, Niigata this snow festival is host to the snowboard straight jumping competition SNOW WAVE. The festival is also iconic for the 3,000 or so sky lanterns that are lit and sent up into the clouds. The lanterns that rise into the night sky together with the fireworks is a must-see spectacle.

 

◼︎Information

Running: March 8, 2019 – March 9, 2019 (11:00-20:00)

Location: New Greenpia Tsunan

Sky Lanterns: 1,000 to fly on March 8 and 2,000 on March 9.

Website: https://snowfes.info/

 

 

Yamanakako Fujisan Snow Festival

Whether it’s the hover crafts that ride on top of the snow or the snow slide, the Yamanakako Fujisan Snow Festival is a must-visit. From early to mid-February you can see the sun setting above the peak of Mount Fuji, a sight which has been called “Diamond Fuji.” A romantic scene will also unfold when lots and lots of ice candles are lit up.

 

◼︎Information

Running: Late January 2019 – Mid February 2019 (9:00-16:00)

Location: Yamanakako Koryu Plaza Kirara

*Full details TBA.

*Fireworks scheduled for the days on which the ice candles are lit up.

Website: http://www.vill.yamanakako.yamanashi.jp.e.kh.hp.transer.com/snowfes/

 

No matter what season you visit Japan during there is always something to be enjoyed. Don’t pass up the opportunity to experience one of its many snow festivals during wintertime.

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  • DJ Arisa Komiya from OMOTENASHI BEATS Celebrates First Overseas Performance at Anime Festival in Singapore

    03.December.2019 | MUSIC

    Last October, Zepp Divercity, Tokyo was filled with excitement and thrill as the Anime Rave Festival Vol.2 took place, which saw the appearance of a brand new DJ at the scene: Arisa Komiya from OMOTENASHI BEATS.

    What’s more, it hasn’t even been two months since the DJ released her CD full of non-stop anisongs called SUPER OMOTENASHI BEATS vol.1 × DJ Arisa Komiya on October 2 and she has already leaped across a border for her first ever overseas performance at Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2019,  which flies the flag for Japanese culture and aims to spread the love for Japanese music. The festival was held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

    Arisa Komiya took to the stage on the second day of Anime Festival Asia Singapore 2019. The floor shook in beat to the thudding fans and the entire evening was a great success. The DJ’s kicked off her overseas debut at C3AFA AKIBA STAGE, which was met with a swarm of hiphop fans. Next, she performed on the LUMICA stage, which saw a sea of penlights sway in beat, each fan unshakable with admiration. Komiya left the venue being assured of her strong fanbase in Singapore. 

     

    DJ Arisa Komiya is sure to continue performing in Japan and overseas. Keep an eye on her and OMOTENASHI BEATS because they are sure to have a lot in store for everyone.

  • Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners

    26.November.2019 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.

    ①Questionnaire Campaign

    A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.

     

    ②Instagram Photo Contest

    Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.

    ③Coupons, Goods & Experiences

    Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.

     

    ④Special Events

    ・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)

    This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.

     

    Official Website:  http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/

     

    ・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

    From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.

     

    Official Website:  http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/

     

    Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.

  • Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More

    26.November.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).

     

    From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.

     

    Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts

    Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.

    In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.

     

    Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020

    Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/

     

     

    Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!

     

    Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/

     

     

    Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow

    Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.

    The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.

     

    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020

    Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
    Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html

     

     

    Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate

    Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.

     

    The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.

    The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.

     

    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

    These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.

  • TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).

    The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.

     

    The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.

    *Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).

    Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

    A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.

    Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280

    A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

    You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

    The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.

     

    59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
    Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)

     

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.

  • Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

    Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.

    The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.

     

    Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.

    The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.

    If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!

  • Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine

    02.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.

     

    In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.

     

    Amano Pearl

    When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.

    Accessory – ¥2,200

    This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.

    The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.

     

    ▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/

     

     

    Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.

    Hanabana – ¥864

    Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.

    Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200

    The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.

    Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.

     

    If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.

     

    ▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/

     

     

    Uoharu

    Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.

    Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour

    The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.

    Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.

     

    ▶Uoharu

    Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)

    Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/

     

     

    Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.

    Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160

    Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.

    At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.

     

    ▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie

    Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)

    *Products may sell out before 17:00

    *Opening hours subject to change for January

     

     

    So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | Yokokuji Temple’s Autumn Event Schedule Announced

    30.October.2019 | SPOT

    Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Nagaokakyo and has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.

     

    For autumn-time this year, the temple is set to hold an event titled “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. With a seasonal schedule that includes illuminations in the gardens to a flower display at the temple water basin, if you’re looking for the must-visit locations in Kyoto this autumn, then you’ll want to add Yokokuji Temple to your list.

     

    Jodoen Garden Illuminations

    Last year’s popular light-up event is making a return for 2019, with gorgeous illuminations developed by light designer Yuuki Kogawa which will brighten the area with an enchanting and mystifying aura different from a usual visit to the garden.

     

    Dates: November 8th, 15th, 22nd-23rd

    Time: 17:30-18:30  (Reception open from 17:00)

    Price: ¥2,500 (Includes limited edition goshuin stamp)

    No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)

    Bookings: https://yanagidani.jp/contact/

     

    Special Opening of the Joshoin

    Normally, the Joshoin only opens on the 17th of every month, but for this autumn week event, it will be open every day. It’s an area normally limited to officials and those in the imperial family. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty.

     

    Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin

    At every temple and shrine in Japan there is a water basin which you are to use to cleanse yourself before entering. The Hanachomizu has become hugely popular on social media since the name first appeared 3 years ago, where leaves and flowers are placed into the basin. It has become adopted at temples across the country, with the one at Yokokuji Temple starting the trend. When it was first posted onto social media, it received reactions from over 80,000 people both in Japan and overseas. The flowers used change with the seasons, from hydrangeas to maple leaves.

     

    Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More

    Visitors will be able to pick up limited-edition goshuin stamp books which never fail to sell out whenever they are released. Goshuin are collectable stamps/seals at temples around Japan. They are ¥500 each and limited in stock.

    This is just a small peek into what’s to come during Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week. If you’re in Kyoto, make sure you pay a visit to Yokokuji Temple.

  • 3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019

    17.October.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.

     

    Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.

     

    KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.

     

    Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals

    Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.

    The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto

    Support Fund: ¥300

    Official Website: http://jitokuin.com

     

    Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours

    Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.

    During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November

    Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Price: ¥500

    Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/

     

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.

    This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto

    Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100

    Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp

     

     

    See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.

  • isetan Urban Market KYOTO: Big Name Brands to Gather Inside a Traditional Kyoto Townhouse

    10.October.2019 | FASHION / FOOD / SPOT

    isetan Urban Market is a popular fashion store located inside LUCUA 1100, an apparel building directly connected to the JR side of Osaka Station. The shop is set to depart Osaka and head northeast to a traditional townhouse in Kyoto where it will open a new store named isetan Urban Market KYOTO which will open on October 12 for a limited time.

    “Have Fun, Be Happy” is the concept of this shop, where a diverse range of items from some of Japan’s popular brands will be sold including clothing, accessories, food lingerie, cosmetics, and more.

     

    More than half of these brands are setting up shop in Kyoto for the first time

    little $uzie

    A long list of brand names will make an appearance at the pop-up shop, such as little $uzie and ch!iii which are huge at isetan Urban Market, as well as other talked-about brands like MALION vintage, Paso, Celvoke, and many more.

    BELPER

    The shop will also see the likes of BELPER, an up-and-coming brand established by Yuichi Ozaki who won the top prize at the Bilbao International Competition. A confectionery store from Shizuoka will also make an appearance which is so popular it has people lining up outside it two hours before opening.

    ASOKO

    ASOKO is selling the above-pictured line “TODAY AND.” made exclusively for Kyoto.

    FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET

    As well as designers, Osaka’s fruit and vegetable store FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET will also be in attendance selling produce from contracted farmers from around Japan. There will also be a fruit and vegetable market on October 13 and 27 where sandwiches and other delicious foods will be sold.

     

    Tradition and contemporary come together at the townhouse

    Visitors will be able to relax and enjoy a mix of traditional and contemporary design at the townhouse, including with its garden and courtyard. The design was carried out by NOTA&design which is managed by NOTA_SHOP, a select shop in Shigaraki, Nagano.

     

    Enjoy a fun and relaxing time this autumn at isetan Urban Market KYOTO.

  • Stroll the Edo Streets as an Elegant Samurai and Make Tea in the Feudal Lord’s Residence

    04.October.2019 | SPOT

    Sakura, Chiba is home to important cultural heritage and even what is also known as the “Samurai Town”. Now you can stroll around the beautiful old streets of Sakura dressed as a Samurai, attend a relaxing zen session and even take part in a tea ceremony as part of a limited period tourist plan. The Samurai tour is mainly aimed at foreigners, however Japanese people who are curious about samurai culture are also more than welcome to join. 

     

    Sakura Castle Samurai Stroll

    In 2016, Sakura became one of the four cities of the Hokuso region to be designated as a Heritage site under the title “An Edo Travelogue through Four Hokuso Cities” for its preservation of the old Edo culture. Old buildings full of secrets can be spotted all over the town, creating the old atmosphere of the Edo period. Embrace the elegant remnants of the Edo period with a relaxing stroll in Samurai clothing. Who knows what you might discover.

    Your relaxing stroll will be led by a tour guide who knows a lot about the history of Sakura. This is a wonderful opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the historical Samurai house (Bukeyashiki). Your tour guide will also show you Hiyodorizaka, which is a natural path lined with a dense forest of tall bamboo trees where Samurai are said to have often pass by. Every year, the bamboo and wooden sword martial arts sessions in the program are also very popular. 

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 26

     November 9, 23

     December 14, 21

    January 11, 25

    February 8, 22

    March 12, 28

    April 9, 25

    May 9, 16

     

    ◇ Times: 9:30 ー 12:30

     *The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.

    ◇ Prices:

    ¥6,500 per person (Includes lunch voucher and entry to the samurai house)

    * ¥6,000 per person when you purchase tickets as a group of 3 or more.

    ◇ Tickets

    Reservation Website: https://www.govoyagin.com/ja

    Apply Directly to Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL: 043-486-6000

    Email: sakurashi-kankou@catv296.ne.jp

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

    Zen Meditation and Tea Ceremony in the House of a Feudal Lord

    There are also guided zen meditation and tea ceremony sessions which are available for a limited period only. These guided zen meditation and tea ceremonies will take place in the Kyuhottatei ー one of Japan’s most preserved traditional-style feudal lord residences. This luxurious Edo-style mansion was built 130 years ago and is classified as an Important Cultural Property.  

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 16,

    November 7, 19

    December 6, 18

     

    ◇ Times: 9:00 ー 12:30

     *The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.

     

    ◇ Prices:

    ¥10,000 per person (Includes lunch voucher, entry to the Kyuhottatei and tea ceremony participation fee.)

     

    ◇ Tickets

    Please enquire directly to the Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL:  043-486-6000

    Email Address: sakurashi-kankou@catv296.ne.jp

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

    If you are curious about Edo Samurai culture, you won’t be disappointed by this program.

  • Japan’s Biggest Cycling Resort Hotel Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura to Open in Ibaraki

    03.October.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts is set to open Japan’s biggest cycling resort, named Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura, at PLAY atré TSUCHIURA on March 19, 2020. The establishment will open right when PLAY atré TSUCHIURA celebrates its 2nd anniversary―after having opened back in 2018―and will be the fourth cycling hotel by Hoshino Resorts to open. It will act as a “base camp” to enjoy cycling, and the start point to the 180km Tsukuba Lake Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road cycling course.

     

    PLAY atré TSUCHIURA is a 49-minute train ride from Tokyo and is directly connected to the station, making access very easy. It is home to Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road, one of Japan’s prominent cycling courses that runs past many gorgeous natural landscapes, including Lake Kasumigaura and Mount Tsukuba. It is becoming one of Japan’s foremost cycling facilities, catering to the needs of all cyclists.

    1F BIKE BASE / Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura

    2F & 3F

    This cosy and casual hotel is the perfect choice for travellers looking to cycle and go sightseeing in Japan.

  • 5 Temples in Kyoto Announce Exclusive Viewings For Their Secret Cultural Assets

    05.September.2019 | SPOT

    The history of Yamashina dates back over 1,400 years when Kyoto, then known as “Heian-kyō,” was the official capital of Japan. Located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, Yamashina is rich in history, abound with nature, and has maintained a traditional industry that has gone unbroken since ancient times.

     

    This year, with the arrival of Japan’s new emperor and the opening of a brand new era, five of Yamashina’s great temples are set to unveil several cultural assets, which until now have never been shown to the public.

     

    They are as follows.

    Anshoji Temple’s Wooden Jūichimen Kannon Statue (Important National Treasure)

    Kajū-ji Temple’s Sliding Door Panel Artwork  – “Eight Views of Ōmi” & “Tatsuta River Autumn Leaves” (Important National Treasures)

    Zuishinin Temple’s Gold Lacquered Fan Inkstone Case & 4-Panel Folding Screen

    Bishamon-do Temple’s Imperial Prince Flag & Tortoise Shell Doors

    Honkokuji Temple’s Kyōzō (Important National Treasure)

     

    Get away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and steep yourself in its history with this very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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