Travel Japan #2: A Peaceful Breakfast Basked in the Sun at Kyoto’s Kamo River

01.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

I left my room, and what stood in front of me calling like some outside force was the riverbed of Kamo River, a symbol of Kyoto. My plan for the day is still a blank sheet. If I listen carefully I can hear the calm flow of the stream. Where I’m meant to go will become clear in my mind’s eye, I’m sure of it.

 

I didn’t know the reason, but I felt that if I inhaled the morning air with all I had I would come to know.

 

“Where should I go first?” Thinking that, I set off to begin the story of my trip with all the freedom in the world.

 

The surface of the river is like a mirror, reflecting Kyoto’s changing seasons all year round. No matter the season, the world through that streaming looking glass is sure to be beautiful.

Standing under the bridge was like being in a hiding place. It made me think of the first time I felt excitement when I was little.

“I wonder what I’m searching for on this journey?”

 

These are the words I thought this to myself while walking back and forth. This was a city that I instantly grew attached to.

 

Is it something I want to find myself; or is it something I want somebody else to find for me? Someone I don’t know from in a city I don’t know in a country I don’t know.

 

The answer can only be found by working up the courage to knock on the door. Hints are hidden amongst the people and scenery I have yet to encounter in Kyoto.

I laid out my blanket at the riverside and gazed across the Kamo River.

 

I took my breakfast out of my bag.

 

Bread and milk: my morning meal whenever and wherever I am. It’s a very natural cycle just like the blue sky, white clouds and unchanging scene before me.

I feel myself becoming hydrated at the silky taste of my almond milk.

 

I stuff my cheeks slowly with bread and a Danish pastry while painting a picture of the day I will have today.

It was the flowing river that laid it out to me as if singing me a sing.

 

It said, “When you get going, still with that curiosity inside you, you’ll meet a you who you haven’t met before.”

 

As if someone had gently flicked a switch in my mind, my half-asleep body began to move.

 

I decide to set off after eating my breakfast. The map of my trip lies in my heart.

 

Model/ Mala Morgan

 

 

Incorporate beautifying foods into your breakfast.

TOPVALU 35% Reduced Sugar Soy Flour Danish Panettone:¥128 (Before Tax) / ¥138 (Tax Included) *Includes 2

TOPVALU Fluffy Onion Cheese Bread:¥98(Before Tax) / ¥105 (Tax Included) *Includes 1

 

Food from ÆON’s TOPVALU range makes my breakfast tasty and refreshing. The danish pastry is fermented over a long period of time before being folded repeatedly to give it its moist texture.. The crunchy texture brings a satisfied smile to your face when chowing them down.

 

This bread contains sliced onion and black peppered ham dressed with mayonnaise as well as a sprinkling of shredded and melted Gouda cheese. The fluffy bread is just heavenly.

 

TOPVALU Almond Milk (Left):¥88円 (Before Tax) / ¥95(Tax Included) – 200ml 

TOPVALU Sugar Free Almond Milk (Right):¥88円 (Before Tax) /¥95(Tax Included) – 200ml

 

Packed with vitamin E, the highlight of this almond milk is its low calorie count. Its subtle sweetness and smooth texture complements the bread perfectly.

 

We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

 

🎁 5% Coupon:
https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

 

ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

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  • Travel Japan #1: An Organic Morning Welcomes Me to Kyoto

    16.January.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT / Uncategorized

    Passing over the crystal blue ocean and through the snowy white clouds, I finally arrived in the country I had longed to visit.

     

    The destination I chose is a town in located in the west of Japan, one steeped in history. The first morning to welcome me in Kyoto came through the steam of my mug which rose beautifully, almost transparent. It all appeared mysterious. Just what was I going to discover on this trip?

     

    This is the story of one girl who came to visit Japan from her home country.

    The morning coffee I will drink in my hotel room is like a good luck charm. It’s a requisite ritual of all my mornings, something that gives me a bit of courage.

     

    “I hope today is like no other.”

    Whispering this quietly to myself, I pour the hot water into the filter.

     

    As the water slowly drips I smell the rich notes of the coffee.

     

    The heat from the mug warms me up from the inside like a gentle caress.

    Right now, in this moment, I want to tear the view outside the window and put it in my coat pocket.

     

    I sip my coffee as I feel gratitude for the beautiful morning and anticipate the adventure that is about to begin.

    The light, the warmth and the smell. Just quietly admiring this scene – that’s my morning ritual.

     

    “I have to get going already,” I murmur. I look to myself in the future a little.

     

    I wear a small handbag with my mint coloured coat. Let’s put this morning scene in one of them, because it was a fitting and refreshing start to the start of my trip.

    I swing my eyes to the view outside the window once more and leave my room.

     

    “I feel that I’ll have become a different me when I return to this room.”

     

    Model: Mala Morgan

     

     

    These are the organic items for my morning in Japan.

    TOPVALU GURINAI – Organic Original Blend Drip Coffee:¥298 (Before Tax) /¥321 (Tax Included) 64g(8g×8count)

    The green items sold by AEON’s private brand TOPVALU are good for both me as well as the environment. Organic drinks are like good luck charms that make your body healthy and beautiful from the inside. This organic drip coffee has a full-bodied flavour, and it’s easy to make, making it perfect for mornings when travelling.

     

    TOPVALU ORGANIC ORANGE 100 – 100% Straight Organic Orange Juice:¥298 (Before Tax) /¥321 (Tax Included) 750ml

    If my body craves fruit the moment I wake up, I sometimes go for orange juice. The refreshing sour taste of 100% organic orange juice makes me feel a little indulgent. Organic oranges that have been squeezed within 24 hours of picking are rich and very delicious.

     

    We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

     

    🎁 5% Coupon:
    https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

     

    ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

  • Travel Japan #3: A Peaceful Mind and Time at Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto

    08.February.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    I began my walk through the streets of Kyoto which since long ago have been at the height of prosperity in Japanese history. I understand the marvel and easing of the heart from strolling around the numerous majestic temples.

     

    The fallen maidenhair tree leaves which had changed colour beautifully were spread across the ground like a carpet leading up to a sacred place. Each step felt precious and cleared my mind.

    And there I stood before it, overwhelmed at its magnificence.

    This is Higashi Honganji Temple. Inside is a portrait of Shinran, a Japanese Buddhist monk and founder of the Jōdo Shinshū sect of Buddhism. The temple grounds are home to historical architecture, every piece of which stirred my soul as somebody who does not know Japan.

    Despite it being my first time here I felt like I had returned once more. I wonder why?

    I gave a respectful bow to this temple and its long history while feeling the breath of the people who once lived here.

    My heart feels at peace when placing my hands together.

     

    The act of praying may be one that has you facing yourself.

    I drank my genmaicha tea and hydrated myself from the dry air while strolling through the temple grounds.

     

    Kyoto is a mysterious place. It has a tolerance to accept anything. It was like the old buildings were talking to me―like they knew me from long ago.

    In response and in a trance, I snapped a photo with my camera.

     

    I wanted to burn the beauty of this temple into my memory so I will never forget it.

    I was captivated by the sight of the falling leaves. I stood under the maidenhair and gazed as they fluttered. I wonder if somebody else from another time stood here and felt the same as I did as they looked on at Kyoto in fall.

    The just-right bitterness and gentle sweetness of my almond chocolate stirs my imagination. The yellow leaves of the maidenhair dyed the path a golden road.

     

    The grand temple and the maidenhair tree. My existence at this moment piles on top of Kyoto’s unimaginably long history as a single instant.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    Add rich taste to your walk

    TOPVALU Almond Chocolate Bitter 70%: ¥198(Before Tax)  ¥213 (Tax Included) – 70g

    A box of ÆON’s private brand TOPVALU 70% almond dark chocolate is always hidden in my bag. The flavour is moderately sweet and has just the right amount of bitterness perfect for those times when I’m lost in thought. I feel that every time I taste the almond in this chocolate now I will remember the carpet of maidenhair leaves.

     

    TOPVALU Organic Genmaicha: ¥78(Before Tax) ¥84 (Tax Included) – 500ml

    This tea is made from 100% organic tea leaves grown in Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a refreshing blend of green tea and flavoursome rice. The healthy ingredients in this tea are good for the body and when they hit every nook and cranny inside me make me want to take a walk anywhere in Kyoto.

     

    We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

     

    5% Coupon:
    https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

     

    ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Handmade Christmas Chocolate Santa and Snowman Released at ATELIER de GODIVA in Kyoto

    13.December.2019 | FOOD

    GODIVA Japan released two new chocolate products at the Daimaru Kyoto branch of ATELIER de GODIVA, a chocolate shop which combines GODIVA’s skilful craftsmanship with chocolate artistry. Named “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Santa Claus” and “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Snowman,” the two chocolate artworks were released on Wednesday and are available until December 25.

    Each and every one of these chocolate sculptures are handmade in-store by the shop’s chefs. They are exclusive to ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto and the perfect Christmas treat to adorn any Christmas party this holiday season.

    These cute Christmas-exclusives not only taste delicious, but are fun to look at. Santa is sat in a chimney ready to deliver the presents while the snowman is sat next to a Christmas tree looking warm with its scarf.

    Both of these are limited in stock and won’t be available ever again after they sell out, so don’t miss out.

  • Kabuki Cat Mascot Claws Its Way into koe donuts kyoto Collaboration Set

    29.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    From old shrines and temples to cuisine, Kyoto enjoys a rich arts and culture scene. The former capital is also famed for preserving Japan’s traditional stage drama known as KabukiEvery year, Minamiza Theatre located on Shijō Street in Kyoto holds a grand Kabuki performance called THE FESTIVE KAOMISE PRODUCTION to commemorate its debut. This year, the performance will run from November 30 – December 26.

     

    To celebrate, koe donuts kyoto will be selling collaboration doughnuts themed around the official Kabuki character “Kabuki Nyantaro” during the same period.

    Kabuki Nyantaro’s adorable face decorates some of the doughnuts and can even be seen on the packaging too. This set is exclusive to koe donuts Kyoto.

     

    Enjoy a traditional Kabuki performance with some delicious Kabuki Nyantaro doughnuts to complete your Kyoto experience.

     

    ©2017, 2019 SANRIO/SHOCHIKU APPROVAL NO. G603142  著作(株)サンリオ

  • 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.

  • Andy Warhol Exhibition in Kyoto: Select Major Artworks Revealed

    20.November.2019 | SPOT

    An exhibition centred around Andy Warhol, the American artist who was at the forefront of the pop art movement, is set to roll up to the Kyocera Museum of Art in Kyoto from September 19, 2020. Around 200 pieces of art will be showcasedーover 100 of which have never been displayed in Japan beforeーas well as 15 video art pieces.

    Three Marilyns (1962), Andy Warhol. The Andy Warhol Museum. *First showcasing in Japan

    All of the pieces to be shown at the exhibition are the property of The Andy Warhol Museum, which is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the US, where Warhol was born.

    The Last Supper (1986), Andy Warhol. *First showcasing in Japan

    Tunafish Disaster (1963), Andy Warhol. *First showcasing in Japan

    Peacock (1957), Andy Warhol. *First showcasing in Japan

    The line-up displays Warhol’s diverse works, including his highly treasured Three Marilyns, as well as Tunafish Disaster from his Death and Disaster series, the enormous The Last Supper piece, Peacock which makes use of the Japanese style of gold leaf art, and more.

    Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera) (1956), Andy Warhol.

    The exhibition will also turn its attention to Warhol’s connections to Kyoto which haven’t been discussed before. It will feature Warhol’s sketch of Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto which he drew during his trip around the world.

     

    *All pieces are property of The Andy Warhol Museum

    © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • The Perfect Souvenir: Kyoto’s Famous OTABE Confections in Velvety Matcha Chocolate

    17.November.2019 | FOOD

    If you’re in Kyoto looking for a delicious elegant souvenir for your people back home then BijuuCo.,ltd. is your port of call. Their irresistible desserts vary from their well known sweet bean paste-filled Yatsuhashi to their Kyo-Baum. They will be releasing the mouthwatering Matcha Chocolate OTABE from November 20, 2019.

    The rich aroma of the matcha chocolate will be the first thing to entice you. The matcha Yatsuhashi is made from specially selected water and Koshihikari rice, which is famed as Japan’s best rice. The soft and chewy texture of the Yatsuhashi dough gently embraces a velvety, melt-in-the-mouth matcha chocolate ganache filling. These OTABE confections are bursting with the flavours of Kyoto and are only available to purchase for a limited period.

    OTABE combined with Kyoto’s famous matcha chocolate is matcha match made in heaven. If you’re ever in Kyoto, you must try it.

  • Autumn in Aichi: Cherry Blossoms and Maples at Obara Shikizakura Matsuri & Korankei Maple Festival

    15.November.2019 | SPOT

    Early November marks the opening of the autumn cherry blossoms in Obaracho, Toyota. By the time mid-November rolls around, close to 10,000 shikizakura cherry blossoms bloom a pale pink until the end of the month.

    The Yoshino cherry bears its pink petals in springtime, but the shikizakura blossoms twice a year: first in spring, then in autumn. They are considered one of the most beautiful flowers of autumn, especially when they bloom against the gorgeous and vibrant red maple leaves. The Obara Shikizakura Matsuri began on November 1, and right now, you can witness this spectacle for yourself.

    The shikizakura trees planted in Obara have been there since Kansei era (1789-1801). With the helping hand of locals, the trees have become one of Japan’s most famous shikizakura spots. They were designated as Chiku (District) Trees in 1978 and can be seen throughout the entire district. Some of the trees are over 100 years old and as such registered as Natural Monuments of Aichi prefecture.

     

    This is a spot we highly recommend visiting when travelling to Aichi.

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Cherry Blossoms

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Locations:

    441-1 Johei, Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi (Obara Fureai Park)

    Senmichi, Toyota, Aichi (Senmi Shikizakura no Sato)

    Access: Take the Toyota Oiden Bus bound for Kaminigi (上仁木行き) and get off at Obaraokusa (小原大草) or Kaminigi (上仁木)

    Details:  http://www.kankou-obara.toyota.aichi.jp/

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Matsuri

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Locations: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato, Obara Fureai Park, and elsewhere in the region

    Notes: The Kururin Bus can be boarded for free on weekends and public holidays while the festival is on

    Official Website: https://www.aichi-now.jp/spots/detail/132/

     

    The Korankei Maple Festival is also taking place this month where you can witness around 40,000 maple trees bearing their gorgeous autumn foliage.

    The trees are being lit up every night for the month of November. Watch the sun set before the illuminations are turned on, creating an enchanting atmosphere with the warm, radiating lights against the night sky.

     

    ▼Maple Trees

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Location:  Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Access: Ride the Meitetsu Mikawa Line to Toyotashi Station, change onto Meitetsu Bus, and alight at Korankei (香嵐渓)

    Official Website:  http://asuke.info/korankei/

     

    ▼64th Korankei Maple Festival

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Location: Around Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Light-Up: Sunset to 21:00

    Access: 20 minutes from Sarugata Green Road Interchange / 20 minutes from Toyota-Kanpachi Interchange

    Official Website: http://asuke.info/event/nov/entry-705.html

     

    Witness two of Japan’s most celebrates treesーthe cherry blossom and the mapleーflower together in one place in Aichi.

  • See the Breathtaking Autumn Foliage of the Former Shizutani School in Okayama

    14.November.2019 | SPOT

    The Former Shizutani School, recognised as the oldest school existing for commoners in Japan, has reached its peak season for autumn foliage. Speficially, for the Chinese pistache tree, which is a symbol of the school.

    Shizutani School first opened in 1670 during the Kambun era. In 2015, it was registered as an Educational Heritage Site from Early-Modern Japan. The majority of the site is listed as an Important Cultural Property, including the temple, Shizutani Shrine, as well as the auditorium which is considered a national treasure.

     

    The school’s surrounding natural landscape enjoys the blooming of many different flowers throughout the entire year which people flock to see. It’s especially famous for autumn, a season during which the enchanting red and yellow hues boas their beautiful blossom.

    The three colours reflect from the lacquered flooring of the auditorium, rippling like ocean waves.

    The beautiful contrast between the reds and yellows of the pistaches can be enjoyed during autumn-time only. The best time to see them is from now until November 20, so if you’re travelling to Okayama, be sure to pay the Former Shizutani School a visit.

  • Chat and Eat Japanese Sweets With a Real Maiko at Hoshinoya Kyoto

    07.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Hoshinoya Kyotoーa Japanese inn in Arashiyama where all rooms offer a river viewーhas announced a new event titled “Maiko Salon” which will run next year from February 4 to March 4 which offers female guests the chance to chat with a maiko (an apprentice geisha).

    Maiko Salon is a women-only get-together that offers female guests to chat casually with a real maiko. The clothes that a maiko wears, including the kanzashi ornate hairpin, kimono, obi sash, obidome sash clip, okobo footwearーeverything, from head to toeーis carefully crafted by an expert artisan. This is why maiko have been called “walking pieces of traditional craftsmanship.” At the Maiko Salon, you have the opportunity to wear such craft made in Kyoto and enjoy a sophisticated womanly party.

    For example, the table runners are made with Nishijin-ori, a type of fabric made in Kyoto’s district of Nishijin that has a history spanning over 1,000 years. The walls will also be decorated with obi cloth art panels with Maiko motifs.

    Learn all about the Hanamachi geisha district through womanly conversation

    Being entertained by geisha, known in Japanese as Ozashiki Asobi, is associated with maiko and geisha serving and entertaining men, and as being very private and inaccessible without being introduced by someone else. But since 2018, Hoshinoya Kyoto has been holding this women-only occasion for women to learn more about the culture in a casual environment. It’s a chance to learn more about maiko and their lifestyle through womanly topics like skincare, makeup and so on. There will also be a dance performance, after which attendees can ask about the practises of a maiko, what they think of their work, and so on.

    Edible Kanzashi Ornate Hairpins

    An original Japanese confection made to look like kanzashi ornate hairpins has been whipped up in 5 flavours by Kameya Yoshinaga, a long-standing Japanese confectionery maker which first opened almost 200 years ago. Enjoy together with sparkling wine during your time with the maiko.

  • Starbucks to Release Two Anniversary Drinks in Kyoto and Hyogo for Only 10 Days

    06.November.2019 | FOOD

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is commemorating 20-years since opening their Kyoto and Hyogo Prefecture branches with a 10-day-limited anniversary project which will run from November 12 to November 21. The barristers of both prefectures rose to the challenge to come up with three anniversary drinks and a vote took place to decide on a winning drink for each prefecture. The winners were announced as the Kyoto Erai Matcha Matcha Frappuccino® and the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®.  

    *  Update: Starbucks Coffee Japan has just announced that the 20-year commemoration drink sales period has been postponed. The new drink launch date and limited period is yet to be announced. For more information, please follow this link (Japanese only) : https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3224.php 

    One sip of the Kyoto anniversary drink will send your taste buds on a journey to Kyoto. The ideas for the drink originated from the Kyoto Porta West branch. The barristers of Kyoto took it in their hands to interpret the culture of Kyoto in the form of a Starbucks drink by infusing the essence of Kyoto’s historical temples and elegant flavours. The taste of Starbucks’ popular Matcha Cream Frappuccino® can be tasted in the drink. Just seeing the green colour is enough to trigger memories of the Zen Buddhist temple Saiho-ji, which is famous for its moss garden to the extent that it is even called “Koke-dera”, meaning “moss temple”.

     

    The whipped cream creates a contrast with the green matcha which will definitely spark memories of Ryoan-ji Zen temple in some keen Kyoto travellers. The drink is dusted with matcha and dark mocha powder, creating the image of green and brown leaves. The milk base fully enhances the matcha flavour. A creamy cloud of whipped cream and dusting of bitter matcha are layered to create a wonderful flavour adventure which is bound to take your taste buds on a journey off the beaten track.

    Stretching from the north to the south of the Japan, Hyogo Prefecture is the largest prefecture in the Kinki region and is home to many towns which are bursting with originality. Hyogo’s barristers created their drink based on the concept of increasing love for Hyogo Prefecture’s unique towns. The idea for the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino® came from the barristers of the Himeji Minami branch. 

     

    The Port of Kobe opened in 1868 and has since flourished as the gateway to the world. Foreign culture including western confectionary has since spread across Japan with Kobe as its starting point. Considering Kobe’s history with western culture and the cold winter days that lie ahead, chocolate was chosen as the main flavour. Chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and chocolate whipped cream decorate the drink in diversity. The drink is even topped with chocolate sauce and dark mocha powder, making the perfect luxury Frappuccino® to tempt all chocoholics. After just one sip, you will immediately fall in love with the top-class chocolatey flavour. 

     

    If you’re in Kyoto or Hyogo, make sure to stop by a Starbucks to get your fill of cultural flavours.

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Spots to Visit Before Autumn 2019 Ends

    03.November.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

     

    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. So if you’re in the ancient capital for autumn this year, why not experience the season in an entirely new lightーat night?

     

    Jitokuin Temple

    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.

     

    ▼Jitokuin Temple

    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

    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.

     

    ▼Nariaiji Temple

    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

    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.

     

    ▼Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park

    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

     

     

    Yokokuji Temple

    Normally, the Joshoin at Yokokuji Templeーalso known as Yanagidani Kannonーonly opens on the 17th of every month. But for a special autumn event, it is now open every day up until December 1. 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. For more details on this event, click here.

     

    Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week

    Running: November 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019

    Time: 9:00-16:00 (Joshoin open 10:00-15:00)

    Location: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)

    Entry Price: ¥300

    Full Ticket: ¥1,100→¥1,100 (Includes entry to multiple areas)

    Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/

     

     

    Take the time to enjoy an autumnal Kyoto this year at one of the city’s seasonal events.

  • 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.

  • Limited Booking For Sebastian Masuda’s Artistic Kawaii Room Opens Soon

    29.October.2019 | SPOT

    Booking.com is one of the world’s largest accommodation booking websites that connects people from all over the world with many unique places to stay. For the first time ever, Booking.com has announced a very special stay at ‘KAWAII Japanese Room – Addicted to Tokyo.’ Designed in collaboration with no other than art director and icon of Japan’s kawaii pop culture Sebastian Masuda. The stay is available exclusively through Booking.com with only a handful of  booking dates available which are: November 13-14, 14-15 and 15-16. 

     

    One significant pattern which can be seen in the room is that of a traditional jūnihitoe, which is a set of formal kimono garments worn by court-ladies in Japan. The designs and patterns have been fused with a vivid pop colour scheme and created in a modern graphics style for a new form of experimental art. The main concept of the room is “Addicted to TOKYO”. Once you step into the room, you will be immersed in a world of vivid colours and patterns where abstract wonder is fused with traditional features. A stay here is bound to be stay you will never forget. The room is located at the MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA apartment hotel and was remodeled specifically for this purpose. Reservations will open worldwide at 7pm JST (11am in Amsterdam). Only three reservations – one for each night – will be accepted and it is first-come, first-served.  

    The room is filled with Japanese-style room features such as tatami flooring, sliding doors, zabuton floor cushions, and a raised tatami-floored seating area. There are two beds and a large open space in the room. Once you enter, you will be immersed in a world of patterns.  Using Japanese celebratory culture as a starting point, Masuda has created a space which reflects the atmosphere of an exciting Japanese celebration. Although there are many traditional features to the room, there are also animal patterns and patterns that make the word “TOKYO”, creating a room full of impact. One of the most iconic decorations in the room is the bear which rests on the pink tatami flooring. The bear’s unique design resembles origami, reflecting the cute yet edgy culture of Tokyo fashion. 

    In the room you’ll find KAWAII Japanese Room-limited design yukata. These unisex yukata are designed with a range of patterns and colours that can be seen around the room. You can use them as pyjamas and can even take them back home with you.

     

    You cannot leave the accommodation without checking out the giant mushroom display located on the MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA roof. Those staying in any room at MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA during the limited period as well as those staying in the KAWAII Japanese room both have access to see this glorious masterpiece

     

    If you are not one of the lucky few who get a chance to stay at the KAWAII Japanese Room- Addicted to TOKYO, you could book another room in the hotel during the same period to witness Masuda’s iconic mushroom masterpiece. This is the perfect place to experience a full-on kawaii experience right in the centre of Tokyo. The first 100 people to visit the rooftop between 3pm and 9pm on each day between November 13 and 15 will receive an original hand towel. 

     

    Be sure to check it out.

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