Travel Japan #5: Experiencing Everyday Life in Japan at a Supermarket in Kyoto

25.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

After getting to know some Kyoto history I wanted to know more about today’s Kyoto. The enormous and modern terminal of Kyoto Station contrasts with the temples I’m so interested in. The two co-exist in harmony. I could see Kyoto Tower through the glass – it stood tall like it was watching over this ever-changing city. I will change my perspective today and walk the streets like the locals who live here in Kyoto.

My destination is undecided. It’s nice to surrender yourself to the flow of the people once in a while and head towards your goal as in Amidakuji (Ghost Leg lottery). Because I’ve learnt on my trip that you can encounter wonderful things by chance on occasion.

The glass walkway is like a tunnel into the future.

I look at my reflection in the window and see I have become more of an adult.

Stood there I gaze for a long time up at Kyoto Tower. As I stare I think about how the city changes, people change, the days transition, but how there are also things I want to stay the same.

The next place I head to is Aeon Mall, a shopping centre close to Kyoto Station. This is a foreign supermarket to for me, so I get excited. It’s like sifting through a toy box.

 

An ordinary day for the people living in this country is an extraordinary day for me.

Each and every thing in there is something I’ve never laid eyes on before.

 

I walk around, forgetting about the passage of time, and get a glimpse into the simple yet happy lifestyle of people.

There’s a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the mall, something I had been yearning for.

I wonder if my friends would laugh if I told them that the sushi coming round on a conveyor belt is like something out of a Tim Burton movie?

I feel like the protagonist of that film as I eat the sushi that rolls on by.

I visited a general store where everything is sold for ¥100.

I bought a letter set from here and wrote a letter to my precious friend.

 

To my beloved friend,

 

Japan is a really wonderful place.

I’m determined to absorb everything I see and experience in the limited time I have here.

I don’t know what I will discover on this trip, what I am heading towards.

It’s hard to describe in words, but I will continue my travels.

 

Model: Mala Morgan

 

 

Aeon Mall Kyoto: A Japan-packed shopping mall 10 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station

Aeon Mall Kyoto is just a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Its shelves are lined with daily necessities, you can dine there, buy souvenirs and more. On Weekends and national holidays there are free shuttles bus that runs every 15 minutes from Kyoto Station’s Hachijoguchi Exit which is very convenient for travellers with heavy luggage.

 

I really recommend visiting if ever you’re in Kyoto.

 

Aeon Mall Kyoto

Address: 1 Nishikujō Toriiguchichō, Minami Ward, Kyoto

Business Hours: Different for each store. Please visit the mall’s website below to check opening hours.

Website: http://kyoto-aeonmall.com/

 

KOHYO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 1F)

KOHYO is a supermarket that sells various Japanese goods. I get my hands on a range of daily necessities and ingredients as I feel with my own skin what it’s like to real live life in Japan.

 

Business Hours: 9:00-22:00

Website: http://www.kohyo.co.jp/

 

Kaiten Sushi Uogashi (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 4F)

Kaiten Sushi Uogashi is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant that sells over 20 types of seafood everyday. The ingredients change each day. I reconfirm that I really am in Japan as I tuck into my delicious sushi.

 

Business Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

Website: http://www.maruchu-sushi.com/

 

DAISO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Kaede Building Floor 4F)

DAISO stocks new products every single day. There are ¥100-type stores in every country, but the ones in Japan really are something special! They have so many items that make for perfect souvenirs. It’s an irresistible place for girls who love shopping so I’ve got to tell my friends about it.

 

Business Hours: 10-00-21:00

Website: http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

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

  • 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:
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    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

  • Travel Japan #4: Magic Items to Heal My Tired Skin and Body

    21.February.2019 | FASHION / FEATURES

    After my stroll around Kyoto I head back to my hotel for a break and think back over my day. My curiosity is piqued – I want to know more about the history of this place.

     

    Laid sprawled across my bed I picture myself walking through the city, the seasons changing, giving a sideways look at an elegant temple. The vivid cherry blossoms of spring, the cool riverbeds in summer, the autumnal orange hues, and the snow-beds of winter. All of these moments provide a spectacle that cannot be overlooked.

     

    I feel that more wonderful things are still yet to occur. It’s nighttime, and my mind wanders at these thoughts, so I can’t sleep.

    I take out the Kyoto guidebook from my baggage. I trace the path I traveled today in my head which vividly brings the sights I saw to my mind’s eye.

    I let my body sink gently into the bed and absorb myself in reading, checking all the nooks and crannies of the book.

    This ancient city boasted by the island country of Japan, which I crossed the sky and sea to arrive at, is more wonderful than I expected. The orderly townscape makes me sit up and feel tense, in a good way.

     

    My mind becomes clear. It feels as if I have been looking far into the distance for a long time.

     

    “I feel the path I am heading for is beyond that beautiful landscape.”

     

    My heart beats fast at that hope.

    I walked a lot today, so I give myself a treat.

     

    I bask in the aromas of the cool sheets I place on my legs and heal my body to the core.

    I add to that a touch of permeating organic oil that’s both moist and gentle on the skin. When my skin is happy my heart too benefits.

    The night is still young. I enjoy some me-time with my makeup-less skin and heart. Resting like this is another important part of travel.

     

    I flick through the guidebook over and over again and visualise the routes of the places I want to visit. A magic-imbued miracle occurs and I feel this room directly connecting to the places I wish to go to.

    Afterwards I enjoy a late-night retro movie. I am sure my coming to love alone-time is thanks to this trip. I also feel I have become a little stronger than I was. I try praising myself as my heart throbs at my favourite scenes which I watch over and over.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    Give your tired body the luxury time it deserves

    TOPVALU Leg & Calf Adhesive Cooling Sheet
    ¥460 (Before Tax) / ¥496 (Tax Included) – 18 Sheets (14cm x 10cm)

     

    On days where my legs become swollen from walking I like to massage my legs in the bath. I then use ÆON TOPVALU’s calf sheets which refresh my legs with the power of their aroma and give them care for the next day. I step into a new world with this body.

     

    TOPVALU GURINAI Organic  geo organics Moisturizing Lotion
    ¥1,800 (Before Tax) / ¥1,944 (Tax Included) – 150ml

    TOPVALU GURINAI Organic geo organics Pure Oil Macadamia
    ¥1,800 (Before Tax) / ¥1,944 (Tax Included) – 27ml

     

    This Geo Organics certified skin location uses orange fruit extract as its base which moisturises and is astringent. It steadily permeates the skin and leaves it glowing. I use it together with the organic certified Pure Oil Macadamia. It maintains a balance of normal bacterial flora of the skin and contains lots of palmitoleic acid which is said to enhance barrier function. The power of the macadamia nuts also grants lively skin. I don’t want to mess up tending to my skin even when traveling.

     

    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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  • Premium Hotel MGallery to Open New Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle This November

    03.August.2020 | SPOT

    MGallery, a collection of over 5,000 luxury boutique hotels in 110 countries worldwide, landed in Japan for the first time last year with the opening of the 5-star KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery in Kyoto. Now, the brand has announced the opening of the new “Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery” (Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo-jo Bettei) which will open on November 28, 2020.

    Situated just a short 1-minute stroll from Njio Castle Station, this small, 25 room hotel, aims to offer luxury at the highest level.

    Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery was designed by Yukio Hashimoto, who has worked on countless hotels and facilities around the world. The hotel lobby and all guest rooms face a gorgeous Japanese-style garden where guests can enjoy its beautiful sights through all four seasons.

     

    The hotel takes inspiration from Nijo Castle, a structure which has seen both the end of the shogun as well as the start of modern Japan. As you enter the hotel, from the front door through and through the main entrance, guests will find themselves in their own private domain before they reach the breathtaking Japanese garden in front of them. All 25 of the guest rooms are crafted with high quality, sophisticated interiors.

    On the first floor of the hotel, guests will find a restaurant and bar. The restaurant cooks up creative French dishes made delicately with seasonal ingredients while the bar serves up MGallery’s iconic “mixology” cocktails.

    Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery also offers a range of activities which can’t be experienced anywhere else, including private trips to local shrines and temples that the hotel has connections with.

  • Kyoto Aquarium Begins Special Opening Service For After 3 o’clock

    02.August.2020 | SPOT

    Kyoto Aquarium is now holding a special “off-peak” opening service after 3:00pm where visitors can receive free novelties amongst other things. The service began on July 23 and will run until September 30 this year.

    The service comes as a measure against the spread of COVID-19. Normally, the aquarium can become crowded during the day, and to spread the number of visitors out, they are offering a special service for those visiting after 3:00pm. This means that visitors can enjoy the aquarium at a more relaxed pace and take their time.

    But that’s not all. On days when the aquarium closes at 6:00pm, visitors will receive a free original Kyoto Aquarium seal made to promote the new jellyfish exhibition area which opened on July 16, 2020. And on days when it closes at 8:00pm, visitors will not only receive a free folder, but can get a serving of the aquarium’s mini soft serve ice cream at three times the amount as usual, or  a free mini drink.

  • Shibuya’s New Hotel sequence MIYASHITA PARK Connects the People to the City

    01.August.2020 | SPOT

    sequence MIYASHITA PARK is a new mixed-use hotel set to open inside MIYASHITA PARK on August 1, 2020.

    sequence’s concept is to connect the people with the city. It offers a space for everyone whether they want a quiet time alone, whether they are sightseeing, having a work-do, celebrating a party or festival, and more. This is centred around the hotel’s three notions: “SMART,” “OPEN,” and “CULTURE.”

    The hotel is inspired by the local concept of “PARK MIND” which offers guests a place to relax after a long, busy day, like in a park. It has collaborated with Tokyo-based designers and creators to bring this to life in room designs. Furniture and fittings are simple while still being of high quality.

    The fourth floor entrance connects seamlessly to Miyashita Park and is home to a lobby lounge as well as the new VALLEY PARK STAND cafe and bar. Up on the fifth floor is the breakfast dining restaurant Dōngxī Restaurant & Sakaba. Up on the 18th floor, guests can enjoy a panoramic view of Shibuya, as well as dine at the entertainment restaurant SOAK whose design and concept mixes together history and the future, the West and the East. There is also art from artists coordinated by The Chain Museum.

  • Chawanmushi Recipe: Savoury Dessert Made With Carrots, Cream Cheese & Mirin

    31.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Together with soy sauce and miso, mirin is a fundamental condiment in the Japanese kitchen and for many recipes for Japanese food. It’s a sweet rice wine that has lower alcohol content and higher sugar content when compared to sake, adding a sweet flavour to dishes.

     

    Today, we’re taking a look at a recipe that uses “Mikawa Mirin,” a brand of mirin made from high quality rice, to make carrot and cream cheese chawanmushi. Chawanmushi is a savoury egg custard dessert eaten in Japan.

     

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

    Chawanmushi is made using mirin and has a smooth texture to it as well as a subtly sweet flavour. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer’s day.

     

    Ingredients (Serves 1)


    ●Chawanmushi
    60g carrots
    240ml dashi
    20ml soy sauce
    120ml Mikawa Mirin
    8g sugar
    18g cream cheese
    1 egg

     

    ●Okra-an
    Okra
    30ml dashi
    0.5g salt
    3ml Mikawa Mirin

     

    Method

    We will start by making the chawanmushi.

    1. Slice the carrots and boil them until they become soft.

    2. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and lots of mirin and cook through the dashi.

    3. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on a medium heat, then cool with ice. Add the cooled carrots, cream cheese, and 20ml of the dashi into a blender and bend.

    4. Add the egg to the mix and steam the mix for 12 minutes on a medium heat.

     

    While the chawanmushi is cooling, we’ll make the okra-an.

    5. Mix together the okra-an dashi, mirin, and salt together. Add watered potato starch and thinly sliced okra. Leave to cool in the refrigerator.

    6. Add the okra-an to the cooled chawanmushi and tuck into your cute two-layered dessert.

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

    The dessert is an enjoyable mix of the sticky texture from the okra-an and smooth chawanmushi. It’s great to have not only at lunch or dinner, but at home parties with friends too.

     

    –How’s the taste?


    Misa Kimura: “It works really well with the mirin. The chawanmushi is like a sweet treat. It’s super easy to make too, so I think I’ll be making it at home!”

     

    Mirin is indispensable to any Japanese cupboard and can be used in many ways, whether it be a classic Japanese dish or a dessert like this one.

    Mikawa Mirin 700ml: ¥1,122 (Tax Included)

    This authentic brand of mirin is made using a traditional method of Japanese brewing which blends in the delicious taste of rice. It’s so delicious that you just want to drink the whole bottle. A high quality mirin, it has a distinct sweetness, colour, and texture. It has a rich flavour, and the taste of the rice elevates the flavours of its ingredients.

     

    Mikawa Mirin Official Website: http://www.mikawamirin.jp/
    Official Online Store: http://mikawamirin.jp/product/product_step1.php?m=n
    Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikawamirin

     

    Recipe


    This recipe was conceived by ITEMAE, a famous restaurant serving Japanese cuisine that is listed in the Michelin Guide.

     

    Model: Misa Kimura
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

  • Inari Sushi Restaurant Tsurigitsune to Open in Osaka International Airport’s North Terminal

    31.July.2020 | FOOD

    Japanese food and confectionery company Bijuu is opening a new restaurant called Tsurigitsune inside Osaka International Airport’s North Terminal on August 5, 2020. The restaurant will specialise in inari sushi, a type of sushi packed into pouches of deep-fried tofu.

     

    Bijuu is known for producing and selling such products as Kyoto’s famous coarse sweet red bean paste-filled yatsuhashi otabe crackers.

    Tsurigitsune will serve “Kyo Dashi Oinari,” a type of inari sushi made with fried tofu Saga Tofu Morioka—a long-standing tofu shop in Sagano, Kyoto—soaked in lots of sumptuous Kyoto-style dashi. The restaurant will also serve a special type of sweet otabe cracker which cannot be eaten anywhere else.

    Kyo Dashi Oinari (Includes 15) | ¥3,240 (Tax Included)

    The dashi that the Kyo Dashi Oinari are soaked in take up all the delicious flavour of kombu, sababushi smoked mackerel, iwashibushi pilchard, and katsuobushi dried bonito, all of which serve to add that authentic Kyoto flavour.

    Tanto Otabeyasu | ¥930 (Tax Included) *Served 6:30-10:00

    As well as Kyo Dashi Oinari, Tsurigitsune’s menu includes a line-up of dishes that celebrate the flavour of dashi, including soba, dashimaki tamago omelette, and more.

     

    If you’re travelling to Osaka, why not get an authentic Kyoto experience too by dining at Tsurigitsune?

  • 4 Must-Try Colourful & Kawaii Cream Sodas in Kyoto

    30.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    The rainy season in Japan, known as Tsuyu, is finally coming to a close, which means the real summer is right around the corner. And what better way to stay cool in Japan during the summertime than with a glass of coo, refreshing cream soda?

     

    We’ve compiled a list of 4 must-try cream sodas in Kyoto recommended by Tiara on Instagram, who posts photos on her Instagram of drinks and desserts she tries around the Kanto region of Japan, and who has kindly provided us with photos on this occasion too.

     

    and C Kyoto | Kita-ku

    Yellow Cream Soda / White Cream Soda / Red Cream Soda / Blue Cream Soda

    and C Kyoto is a stylish bar, cafe, and second hand clothes store located right by Hirano Shrine. They serve four different colours of their cream soda which look super cute when lined up in a row.

     

    and C Kyoto
    Address: 30 Hirano Kamihatchōyanagichō, Kita-ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 12:00-23:00
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andc102/

     

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO | Gion Shijo

    Mango Passion / Classic Blue / Amaou Strawberry

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO is located along the Kamo River and is famous for its gelato. They also sell some super refreshing cream sodas topped with their tasty gelato.

     

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO
    Address: 134 Saitocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 13:00-20:00 (Temporary hours due to COVID-19)
    TEL: 075-585-5200
    Official Website: http://www.babbi.co.jp/showcase/gelateria-kyoto/

     

    Kissa Zou | Imadegawa

    Pudding a la Mode / Lemon Squash & Elephant Cookie

    This cute cream soda comes with an elephant-shaped cookie. The custard pudding has a rich eggy flavour.

     

    Kissa Zou
    Address: 440-3 Santeichō, Kamigyō-ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kissa_zou/

     

    Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden | Arashiyama

    Cherry Blossom Cream Soda

    This old cafe is renovated from an old family estate which was built at the end of the Edo Period and is designated as a cultural property of Kyoto. This beautiful cafe coincides with the gardens and has gorgeous thatched roofing.

     

    Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden
    Address: 45-15 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
    TEL 075-432-7940
    Official Website: https://bread-espresso.jp

     

    Tiara has lots of other delicious dessert recommendations over on her Instagram, so be sure to follow her if you’re travelling in the Kansai region and are in need of a sweet treat.

     

    Original Text & Photo: @happy_pinkrose_tiara

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *The information about the items on this list are correct at the time of publishing. For the latest information, please visit each cafe’s official websites and social media pages.

  • Tokyo Neko Neko: Cat Shaped Desserts and Pastries Served at Ginza’s New Bakery

    28.July.2020 | FOOD

    ALL HEARTS COMPANY, a Japanese company that develops bakeries and patisseries across Japan, opened its new bakery and confectionery shop Tokyo Neko Neko in Ginza, Tokyo on July 22, 2020. The shop has replaced Heart Bread ANTIQUE, another bakery also run by ALL HEARTS COMPANY, which was previously at this location.

    At Tokyo Neko Neko, they are serving cat-shaped pastries and desserts including Tokyo-exclusive products from their Neko Neko Bread brand and Neko Neko Cheesecake shop. This is the second branch to open following the opening of Kyoto Neko Neko last month.

     

    A stylish bakery


    Tokyo Neko Neko’s pastries and interior design takes on a completely different look from Kyoto Neko Neko, with the walls acting as a canvas to display their food like an art museum. The bakery’s line-up centres on seeing as well as eating, adding an extra level of deliciousness to the products. If you’ve visiting Tokyo, you don’t want to pass up on the opportunity to visit Tokyo Neko Neko.

     

    Tokyo Neko Neko Bread

    Tokyo Neko Neko’s cat-shaped bread is palm-sized and so is a perfect gift and takeaway snack. The outside is crunchy while the middle is kept nice and moist. The secret behind the bread’s tastiness is the use of fermented butter which they get from France. The use of lots of almond cream adds a tasty kick too.

    Tokyo Neko Neko Bread – Plain: ¥1,000 (Before Tax)

    Made using croissant pastry and loaded with fermented butter.

    Tokyo Neko Neko Bread – Caramel Almond: ¥1,200 (Before Tax)

    Caramel almonds and almond slices are added to this version, also made with lots of fermented butter.

    Tokyo Neko Neko Bread – Praline Rose: ¥1,200 (Before Tax)

    This flvour is filled with praline rose, a traditional French confection of caramelised sugar-coated almonds.

     

    Tokyo Neko Neko has lots of other tasty foods to offer too, like their Neko Neko Cheesecake, Neko Neko Butter Sandwiches, and more.

  • Tokyo Banana’s New Disney Sweets Collection Looks Delicious

    27.July.2020 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    Japan’s popular confectionery souvenir shop Tokyo Banana is collaborating with Disney for one week from July 29 to August 7 at the Hankyu Umeda branch of Tokyo Banana in Osaka.

     

    Officially named the “Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana,” the line-up brings together the iconic Disney characters and centres them around the company’s brand concept which is to bring happiness to all who see and taste their products.

    Mickey Mouse Pancake Sandwich: ¥1,080 for 4 / ¥1,382 for 6 (Tax Inclusive)

    A box of “Mickey Mouse Pancake Sandwiches” contains baked, deliciously fluffy treats filled with soft cream. They come in two shapes: Mickey’s face and the iconic Tokyo Banana. The Mickey ones contain caramel cream and roasted almonds while the Tokyo Banana designs are filled with banana milk cream and chocolate chips.

    Mickey Mouse Chocolate Sandwich: ¥1,080 for 12 / ¥2,160 for 24

    The “Mickey Mouse Chocolate Sandwich” are crunchy cat tongue biscuits which have Tokyo Banana’s distinct milky flavour. They are made to be like a delicious banana milkshake you can eat and contain rich chocolate.

     

     © Disney

  • Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku: Go Glamping With Hot Springs and Kobe’s Night Sky

    25.July.2020 | SPOT

    The new glamping facility Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku is set to open inside Minotani Green Sports Hotel in Kobe, Hyogo on August 7, 2020.

     

    Located in the lush green abyss of Kobe’s Minotani area, Glamp Dome is just 20-minutes from Kobe-Sannomiya. Guests can look forward to a glamorous camping experience inside on of the huge dome tents set up on site from which they can enjoy Kobe’s sunset and subsequent night sky. The facility promises a luxury camping experience like no other.

     

    Your dome tent and a private BBQ space

    The half-dome tents are 7 meters in circumference. They are fitted with air conditioning and can be used throughout all four seasons. Each one has its own private BBQ space too so you can enjoy a close-knit meal together with friends and family without having to interact with other guests.

     

    The Ginga Hot Spring’s water is directly from the water source

    Ginga Hot Spring’s water spurts out from 1,200 meters underground. The facility offers a variety of bathing experiences, from the open-air hot spring to utaseyu where water falls onto your back, and more, as well as a resting area, sauna, and so on.

     

    It is said that if water pH levels are over 7.5 then it is good for your skin. The water at Ginga Hot spring is 8.5, making the water quality very high.

     

    The unique foot bath bar

    At Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku, guests can enjoy a bar experience with pouring their own drinks while getting a foot bath from the facility’s hot spring water sauce. Open from 19:00-21:00, there’s also campfires, fire pits for private domes, and other services.

    Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku also offers high quality ingredients for a gourmet camping BBQ experience, from premium Japanese black wagyu steak to seafood and more.

    Menu
    ・Japanese black wagyu steak
    ・Domestic smoked beef
    ・Skillet of the day日
    ・Acqua pazza
    ・Dessert skillet
    ・Baguette

     

    Hotel amenities

    Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku also offers hotel-style amenities like towels, toothbrushes, hair dryers, gowns, and more. All domes are also fitted with Wi-Fi and plug sockets.

     

    When Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku opens, it will also be bookable on Resort Glamping, a booking website for glamping facilities and resort villas across Japan. If you’re ever travelling to Kobe, why not stay there in style with this very special glamping experience?

  • teamLab’s Interactive Digital Art Exhibition to Open at Takeo Hot Springs in Kyushu This July

    21.July.2020 | SPOT

    teamLab’s annual digital art exhibition teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live, which is held every year from summer to autumn at Mifuneyama Rakuen’s Takeo Hot Springs, is collaborating with Rakan no Yu, a new sauna facility which opened at the Kyushu-based hot spring facility and won first place in Sauna Chelan 2019.

     

    The exhibition will open in the 500,000 square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park on July 22, 2020 to both guests and non-guests of Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel, Onyado Chikurintei, and other surrounding accommodations. Set tickets to enjoy both Rakan no Yu and the teamLab exhibition went on sale on July 20 and are limited to 40 people per day.


    Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats – Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond​
    teamLab, 2015, Interactive Digitized Nature, 13min 24sec, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    The water of Rakan no Yu is pure, low-alkali hot spring water with no colour, smell, or taste. It’s known for its superior moisturising effect, leaving the skin nice and smooth. Rakan no Yu won first place in Sauna Chelan 2019. Sauna Chelan is considered the “Michelin” ranker of the sauna world.

    In June 2020, a dry sauna and new baths were added to Rakan no Yu’s women’s open air baths. Guests can enjoy the meditation sauna, indoor and outdoor baths, hot springs, and more in both the men’s and women’s sections.

    Ever Blossoming Life Rock
    teamLab, 2017, Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock
    teamLab, 2017, Digitized Nature

    This year marks teamLab’s sixth collaboration with Mifuneyama Rakuen. Their teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live is held every year at the site, and this year they have 22 art pieces to showcase. Takeo Hot Springs opened in 1845 and is registered as a national monument.

    Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley

    teamLab, 2017, Interactive Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Floating Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Fire
    teamLab, 2019, Interactive Installation, Murano Glass, LED, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    teamLab’s incredible interactive digital art will react to people’s presence and movement throughout the 500,000 square meter space.

     

  • Japan’s Best Hot Springs and Spas For 2020 Ranked by Tripadvisor

    19.July.2020 | SPOT

    Tripadvisor® has posted its list for this year’s most popular hot springs and spas in Japan for day trips as ranked by its users over the past year.

     

    This is the 9th run of this particular list, which is normally announced each winter, but due to the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers have been looking to find somewhere to relax, and so the website decided to release the list earlier this time. Tripadvisor® also ranked the best hot spring regions as well as foot baths.

     

    This year’s list has a diverse line-up of locations, from huge new facilities to old ones with history. Half of the places in the list are situated in the Kanto region of Japan—more than the previous lists. Those in the ranking are listed not only for the hot springs, but for the services on offer like massage, dining, rest, and more, all of which adds to them being great for day trips.

     

    Hot Springs & Spas Popular With Japanese People For Day Trips – 2020 Edition

    1st Place: Busshozan Onsen (Takamatsu, Kagawa)
    2nd Place: Miharashi no Yu (Hashijo-machi, Tokyo)
    3rd Place: Hōheikyō Hot Spring (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
    4th Place: Shika no Yu (Nasu, Tochigi)
    5th Place: Tenzan Tohji-kyo (Hakone-machi, Kanagawa)
    6th Place: Hoshino Onsen Tombo-no-yu (Karuizawa, Nagano)
    7th Place: Lamune Onsen (Taketa, Oita)
    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)
    9th Place: Maenohara Onsen Sayano Yudokoro (Itabashi, Tokyo)
    10th Place: Miyazawako Onsen Kirari Bettei (Hanno, Saitama)
    https://tg.tripadvisor.jp/news/ranking/best-public-bathes/

     

    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)

    Spadium Japon is a large-scale public bath facility with 15 different types of baths and saunas. It has transparent onsen, which is rare in the Kanto region, and the water is known for its sodium salt. Tripadvisor® users praise the facility for offering all-day services and how big it is, likening it to a theme park.

     

    Special Mentions

    Tripadvisor® also listed some special mentions of popular hot spring “chiku,” or districts, where you can walk around and try out lots of different types of hot springs, as well as foot baths. The foot baths in Oita Airport and Kagoshima Airport are free to use, making them a great way to kill some time while waiting for departure.

     

    Top 5 Hot Spring Chiku Popular With Japanese People

    1st Place: Kinosaki Onsen (Toyooka, Hyogo)
    2nd Place: Yu no Mine Onsen (Tanabe, Wakayama)
    3rd Place: Kurokawa Onsen (Minamioguni, Kumamoto)
    4th Place: Ginzan Onsen (Obanazawa, Yamagata)
    5th Place Gero Onsen (Gero, Gifu)

     

    Top 3 Foot Baths Popular With Japanese People

    1st Place: Oita Airport Foot Bath (Kunisaki, Oita)
    2nd Place: Lake Kussharo Sunayu (Teshikaga, Hokkaido)
    3rd Place: Kagoshima Airport Foot Bath (Kirishima, Kagoshima)

  • HIKES IN JAPAN Releases Information Page For Foreign Travellers Climbing Japan’s Mountains

    18.July.2020 | SPOT

    Yama-kei Publishers, a Japanese media company which reports on nature in Japan, has posted an information page over on the English version of “HIKES IN JAPAN” for foreigners to read if they’re thinking of climbing mountains in Japan. It has also added 11 new courses to its mountain climbing and hiking guide, bringing the number of courses up to 100.

    Before the Hike: Trip Plan and Travel Accident Insurance

    The website offers a trip plan that’s required when hiking in the Japanese mountains and gives information on travel accident insurance you should sign up for in case of emergency.
    https://hikesinjapan.yamakei-online.com/information/l.php

     

    Manners and Precautions While Hiking

    There are rules and proper manners that need to be followed when climbing mountains in Japan. Read and follow these 11 simple steps, including some that might be different to mountain climbing in your own country.

    https://hikesinjapan.yamakei-online.com/information/m.php

     

    Dangers on the Trail and Emergency Measures

    Hiking is a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. There may also be dangers unique to Japan that you won’t be able to anticipate from home. This section summaries the dangers of hiking in Japan that you need to be aware of, as well as what to do in case of an emergency.
    https://hikesinjapan.yamakei-online.com/information/n.php

     

    100 Mountain Climbing & Hiking Courses

    HIKES IN JAPAN lists specially selected courses for hikers and mountain climbers with necessary information including when to travel, distances, how difficult a climb is, and so on.

    If you’re thinking of tackling Japan’s mountains, then HIKES IN JAPAN will prove indispensable in your trip planning.

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