Travel Japan #6: Casually Blazoned on a Laundry Trip During My Kyoto Travels

06.March.2019 | FASHION / FEATURES

As I continue to travel Tokyo and come into contact with its history I have gradually wanted to blend into the city. So I decided to take a break from being a traveler and become a local.

 

I found a small laundry while I was taking a stroll around and made that my port of call. Its yellow curtains and blue washing machine inside matched the colours of my clothes. The blue also reminded me of the colour of the sky when I was on the plane while the yellow made me recall the carpet of maidenhair leaves burned so vividly into my memory I can see it with my eyes closed.

 

I put on some casual clothes and set out aimlessly to imitate living here.

I place my favourite laundry detergent into my basket and set off to the launderette. This is actually my first time using one of these big washing machines.

I couldn’t understand all of the instructions written in Japanese but I was sure it would go fine. I’m all about being optimistic when it comes to many things.

My detergent is additive-free and comes in a white bottle. Washing your clothes with something natural like this makes you feel eco-friendly. Its faint fragrance is refreshing.

The washing machine let out a bellowing sound like a watchdog living on a faraway star and began spinning.

I wait leisurely for the washing to be done. I look back at my trip in Kyoto so far with the sound of the washing machine as my background music.

 

I was a crybaby and timid when I was younger. I was even scared of having to walk by myself someday when I went to a place I wanted visit. But now my chest burst with curiosity knowing that I will enjoy discovering and encountering things even if I’m on my own.

There are things I don’t yet understand but my heart learns every day. One may have an innocent heart but it’s good for your heart to become strong like an adult’s.

I take out my bath towels from the washing machine. They are fluffy as if they’re brand new. I think to myself that they’re kind of like the hairs of a sacred animal. My imaginative power is like that of a child, and using it I gently brush the tips of my fingers against the white creature and proceed to fold it neatly.

 

I feel new as I pile up these little adventures. I put my arms through the sleeves of my washed shirt and set off to a new destination.

 

 

Model / Mala Morgan

 

 

Live your travel destination with a trip to the launderette

TOPVALU Free From Laundry Detergent ¥378 (Before Tax) / ¥408.24 (Tax Included)Quantity: 800ml

The Laundry Detergent is made with five additive-free bleaching agents. Its fragrance is subtle so is perfect for me as someone who doesn’t like plainness.

 

TOPVALU Free From Fabric Softener Price: ¥348 (Before Tax) / ¥375.84 (Tax Included) Quantity: 600ml

The Fabric Softener is a safe product that can be used even with baby clothing. The happy feeling I get that comes from drying laundry might be thanks to the natural smell of this fabric softener.

 

HOME COORDY soft bath towels ¥1280(Brfore Tax)/¥1382.40(Tax Included) Size:60×120 cm

HOME COORDY’s soft bath towels have become a necessity during my travels. They are as white as freshly-fallen snow. Whether it’s the morning-time or evening, they make me feel healed.

 

*Tax-inclusive prices are displayed up to the second decimal point.
*In the case that multiple items are purchased, the fraction below the decimal point will also be added to calculate the consumption tax.

 

 

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 #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

  • 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

  • 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/

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI: Rent Out a Renovated Japanese House in Niigata

    15.July.2021 | SPOT

    Japanese design company Jiyujin launched its new Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE chain of accommodations this month which offer a single group of guests a one-night stay in an entire house.

     

    The first branch to open is IZUMI which features a fully-renovated Japanese-style house located in the city of Uonuma in Niigata. A gorgeous outlook is offered from the house with an unbroken view of lush forests, rice fields, and Mt. Makihata, which is listed as one of the ‘100 Famous Japanese Mountains.’

    A breathtaking view awaits guests from the open-air bath

    The spacious living room

    Fully renovated from a 150-year-old private house, the building is supported by beautiful wooden beams and columns, and in the middle the oe, a sunken hearth. This, along with the beams and sashigamoi joints, are made from keyaki Japanese zelkova which is an elm-like tree. This species of tree is rare even in a tree-covered region such as Uonuma. The lumber used for this house was cut, preserved, and dried out for a number of decades before being processed into building material for the house. The heart in the middle of the living room is reminiscent of a time when large families would gather around one and serves to recreate that lifestyle.

     

    The Nishiyama region is known for is production of delicious rice. IZUMI in fact looks out over Kabanosawa, a special and important place of rice production in Nishiyama. This vantage point also gives guests an opportunity to appreciate the hot and cold temperatures of the daytime and evening, the rivers, the shape of the land, and the earth the city sits on. The drastic change in temperatures in the day and night are especially noteworthy as this, along with the basin between the mountains, gives rise to a sea of clouds.

     

    IZUMI sits on a hill that overlooks the rice paddies, making it a perfect location for spotting the sea of clouds. Minamiuonuma’s sea of clouds has over a 70% chances of appearing in the autumn and spring seasons.

     

    The number one reason why Japan’s old, long-standing, and precious private houses are demolished is due to the cold getting in and it being too dark inside. Even those who want to see them preserved for tradition, including those who live in them already, would rather live in a modern home. That’s why Jiyujin has begun a renovation project instead of a demolition one. By refurbishing the houses, the ancient framework can be fixed up and preserved while a range of contemporary amenities are incorporate to fit with modern lifestyles. The Satoyama Jujo accommodations are built so they can be used for over 100 years.

     

    For dinner, there are three options for guests. The first is a dinner at SANABURI which earned itself a Michelin star in Michelin Guide Niigata 2020. The second is a meal at a restaurant that earned the status of Bib Gourmand in the same guide. The third is to prepare your own meal in the house. There are plenty of shops around the station nearby where you can buy local ingredients.

     

    After a delicious meal, guests can take a soak in the open-air tub and enjoy gazing out across the fields and the beautiful mountains which stand almost 2,000 meters high.

  • Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.

     

    A Visit to the Historical Sea Route

     

     

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people

    Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.

     

    Information

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan

    TEL: 0897-82-0032

    Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00

    National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/

     

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Lip-smacking food aplenty

    If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.

     

    Information

    Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area

    Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan

    Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00

    Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00

    Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php

     

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean


    Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.

     

    Information 

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
    TEL: 0897-74-1065

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/

     

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place

    Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.

     

    Information

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan

    TEL: 0897-84-3710

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)

    Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)

    Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Meet the cute and friendly dolphins

     

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.

     

    Information

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    TEL: 0897-72-8787

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: On days with bad weath

    Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/

     

    Hakata Beach

    A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters 

     

     

    Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.

     

    Information

    Hakata Beach

    Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198

     

    Imabari Towels

    High quality towels woven with tradition and technique

     

    Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!

     

    Information 

    Imabari Towel

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

     

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Need a bike?

    Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.

     

    Information 

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan

    TEL: 0898-41-3196

    Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/

    Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/

     

    Marutomi

    The famous restaurant known to every local

    If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.

     

    Information 

    Marutomi

    2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan

    TEL: 0898-23-2740

    Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00

    Closed: Wednesdays

    Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/

     

    Imabari Castle

    A castle by the sea

    Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.

     

    Information

    Imabari Castle

    Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan

    TEL: 0898-31-9233

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: December 29 – December 31

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/

     

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    A breathtaking spectacle to remember

    Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.

     

    Information 

    Kirosan Observatory Park

    Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan

    No Fixed Holidays

    Open 24-hours a day

    Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182

     

    Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/

     

    We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.

  • Experience a Front Row Seat of Karuizawa’s Tranquil Forests at HOSHINOYA

    13.June.2021 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Karuizawa has announced a special summer plan for guests called “Mori no Hotori cafe&Bar ~Suijo no Tokutoseki~” (Cafe & Bar by the Forest ~Special Seats on the Water~). The midsummer evening plan is available for one group per day and takes place at the hotel’s cafe and bar which sits by a forest and faces the Kera-Ike Pond. It invites guests to relax under the starry night sky on the water and enjoy the sounds of nature while enjoying drinks and bites to eat.

     

    Japan is known for its summer hot summers. However, Karuizawa enjoys a cooler climate, so evenings dip to around 20°C for a comfortable temperature.

     

    Stargazing on top of the water

    HOSHINOYA Karuizawa is connected directly to Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary. At the entrance, by the Kera-Ike Pond, is the hotel’s Mori no Hotori cafe&bar which is open all year. The cafe/bar fusion is surrounded by Karuizawa’s lush forests, and it’s here that guests can enjoy sitting on specially-prepared seats on the water. It will feel like they are walking on water as they approach their seats where they can take their shoes off and sit on the tatami mats to gaze at the stars.

     

    Calm the heart with an enchanting performance

    When you walk up the stairs that face Kera-Ike from HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, your ears will be met with the enchanting sound of crystal bowls which add a mysterious depth to the natural sounds of the forest, spiriting guests away to another wonderful world.

     

    Indulgent drinks and food

    Guests can pick from a range of drinks and bites to eat scented with fruits, wood, and other natural fragrances of the forest. There arw six drinks to choose from including a gin and tonic made with lindera umbellata, a type of camphor, as well as a whisky made with ripe fruits. Food includes chocolate made from lindera umbellata and kuma bamboo grass, cherry blossom and walut chips, and more.

  • Be Surrounded by Glowing Fireflies With Kissho Yamanaka’s New Hotel Plan

    07.June.2021 | SPOT

    Kissho Yamanaka, a hot spring hotel in Kaga, Ishikawa, is now offering a firefly-viewing experience as part of a new guest plan until June 15. This gorgeous resort, situated by the Daishoji River in the Kakusenkei Gorges, was awarded three Michelin stars in the Ryokan category of Michelin Guide Hokuriku 2021 Special Issue.

    The firefly tour arrives as early summer is soon to begin. As part of the hotel plan, guests can also enjoy a dazzling Firefly Cocktail too.

    Feel the rays of early summertime at Kissho Yamanaka.

  • All About Matsuyama | Final Episode: Introducing the New Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre

    30.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The reception staff are ready and waiting to greet customers with a smile

     

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre finally opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. You’ll find it on the first floor of Matsuyama Mitsukoshi which isn’t even a one-minute walk from Okaido Station. It features an interior fusion combining history and culture with a design inspired by Matsuyama Castle while also throwing in a contemporary feel.

    Six giant screens serve as the perfect place for tourism-related PR of Matsuyama

    The first sight many visitors will lay their eyes on upon entering the information centres are the six screens spanning 1.5 meters high and 4.5 meters across the wall. Here, a variety of promotional material centred on the highlights of Matsuyama will be displayed.

     

    The information centre offers many useful services, including for foreign customers who don’t speak Japanese. There is a translation and interpreting service, money exchange, rental electrical outlets for smart devices, and more. The staff themselves are multilingual, but the interpreting service includes access to a call centre which you can access using the free WiFi or using an iPad. The availability of foreign currency exchange is also extremely beneficial as Matsuyama is a city abundant with long-standing shops that have been around for decades and longer. Another convenience with the centre is easy access to public transport. If you’re looking to travel around the prefecture, we recommend paying a visit to the centre first as it’s sure to provide valuable information. You can even rent mobile batteries for your smartphone to lessen the stress when sightseeing.

    The pictogram shows the many handy services available

    Visitors will also find a comprehensive duty-free counter inside the information centre which covers all stores in Okaido, Gintengai, Matsuchika Town, Dogo Shoten, and Ropeway Shotengai. You must spend over ¥5,000 (before tax) on products to be duty-free eligible. Since it’s a comprehensive service, if you have multiple receipts you can be exempt from tax as long as all your receipts exceed ¥5,000. Participating stores have special stickers plastered up inside so tourists can quickly and easily identify them.

    Stores participating in the duty-free service have stickers and signs to show it

    For example, if you spend ¥500 at participating stores in Dogo Shotengai, ¥1,000 in Okaido Shopping Street, and ¥3,500 in Gintengai Shotengai, and take all three of those receipts adding up to ¥5,000 to the information centre, you can get your items duty free. But keep in mind that the receipts have a validity period on them, so be sure to check opening hours.

     

    The Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre serves as the perfect site for bringing in all kinds of tourists, including foreign travellers, to Matsuyama post-COVID. The information also goes by the cute nickname “Dan Dan info.” Dan dan is an old Ehime phrase meaning “thank you” and ties in with the smiling and hospitable welcome staff wish to greet guests with. It’s exciting to look into the future and see how Matsuyama’s tourism and economic growth will develop in its shopping districts, stores, and elsewhere. Make one of your first stops the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre when visiting the city.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 8: Souvenirs Are Part of Matsuyama’s Fun and Are Everywhere

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    From tasty treats to home and lifestyle goods, Matsuyama has no shortage of souvenirs

    Popular sightseeing spots and delicious food you can’t get anywhere else—these are all part of the fun experience to be had when travelling. To wrap up your time there and memorialise all that’s happened, nothing’s better than picking up a little souvenir. In Episode 8 of All About Matsuyama, we take a look at the many wonderful items you can take home with you as souvenirs from food to traditional handicrafts, special dyed fashion and accessories, and more. MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON has picked out a range of delightful treats like Matsuyama’s famous tartes, jakoten, three-colour botchan dango as well as Tobe ware porcelain which is an Ehime tradition, and iyo-kasuri fabric which is one of Japan’s three main kasuri fabrics.

     

    First on the list is the ‘tarte,’ a speciality product of Shikoku which is more of a sponge cake. They’re made of a soft and fluffy sesame seed-coloured sponge and coarse red bean paste. A famous treat of Matsuyama, you can find these tarts just about anywhere in Okaido Shopping Street, near Dogo Onsen, and elsewhere.

     

    Jakoten is considered a soul food of Ehime Prefecture. It’s made from fish that are blended into a paste and fried. You can find jakoten everywhere in Matsuyama, but every restaurant serves theirs with different textures and flavours. Many places fry them fresh, so be sure to try a bunch to compare the flavours and then you can decide which to buy as a souvenir. There are even places so popular that they have lines outside them before they even open.

     

    The botchan dango is something many of our readers have probably seen or heard about. These three-coloured skewered dango are served bite-sized, cute enough to snap a photo of. The ones sold at Dogo Onsen are something of a speciality. They have their name from Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan. You’ll find them all around Dogo Shotengai.

     

    Tobe ware is a traditional type of porcelain from Tobe in Ehime, known for its smooth touch and durability. This traditional porcelain has been handed down from old times until today, and in recent years, ceramists have been hammering out their own unique shapes, so have become popular as stylish, everyday use lifestyle items.

     

    You can’t talk about Ehime’s traditional craftwork without mentioning iyo-kasuri fabric. Matsuyama used to have huge production output of this fabric type, which stands as one of three of Japan’s most famous kasuri fabrics alongside kurume-gasuri from Fukuoka and bingo-kasuri from Hiroshima. Production has dwindled in modern times, but if you go to Art Labo KASURI Rekishikan, you can learn all about iyo-kasuri. There are lots of gorgeous iyo-kasuri products to buy like cute pouches, bags, and more.

     

    And that’s our list of must-grab souvenirs. There are of course endless other things you can get your hands on, so if you’re lost on what to pick up, try asking at the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre.

     

    Stay tuned for the next and final episode of All About Matsuyama.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 7: Mitsuhama Port is a Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    The Mitsu Ferry, managed by Matsuyama City, has been running for over 500 years

    We’ve covered much about the land in this series, so in Episode 7 of All About Matsuyama, we’re heading to the sea. Mitsuhama Port sits in the western part of Matsuyama, Ehime. Mitsuhama is a port town that flourished during and following the Edo Period as the ‘front door to the ocean.’ Visiting the town is a trip down memory lane as there are still pseudo Western-style buildings from the Meiji and Taisho periods that suffered damage from the war, as well as traditional Japanese houses, and more. The Mitsuhama Shotengai shopping district was once a bustling place for the fishing and trade industries. Today, buildings have been renovated and taken on new managers who have turned places into stylish cafes, galleries, and other businesses, creating a quaint mix of new and old.

     

    Matsuhama Port is a 15-minute car ride from Matsuyama Station, which itself is connected to other must-visit spots we’ve covered in this series such as Matsuchika Town and Gintengai. If you’re looking for a place to walk around, the port area is somewhere you can really stretch your legs. It’s right outside Mitsu Station from where you can see Mitsuhama Shotengai lined with concrete shops. The street has an old-timey Japanese nostalgic feeling to it. The number of young people frequenting the local shops and houses that have been renovated into various stores is on the rise which is changing its image from a former port town to a hip place to go for shopping. In the summer there are firework festivals and events held by the shopping district, so it’s quickly becoming one of Matsuyama’s new tourist spots.

    A luxurious sea bream meshi-zen set meal

    If you’re strolling through Mitsuhama Shotengai, one place we absolutely want to recommend people visit is Taimeshi, a restaurant that set up shop inside a Japanese house that’s registered as a Tangible Cultural Property. They have only one order on the menu as pictured above: the Taimeshi-Zen, a sea bream set meal, which is made even more enjoyable by the restaurant’s elegant decor.

    Mitsuyamayaki is a fast food delicacy of Mitsuhama

    Everyone needs to try the local fried food as well. The most popular is their okonomiyaki, a common food in Japan. However, the type served in Mitsuhama, known as Mitsuhamayaki, is a little different from the Osaka or Hiroshima styles. They load the batter with noodles and garnish with chikuwa fish-paste, an ingredient long-loved in Mitsuhama, and the secret ingredient—fish flakes. Beef is used as the meat filling. The result is the kind of flavours you’d imagine tucking into in a port down. Each restaurant that serves Mitsuhamayaki serves theirs with their own original sauces too, so no two places will be exactly the same. Try several to compare the tastes.

     

    Something else that can’t be passed up when visiting Mitsuhama is the Mitsu Ferry, a boat with a 500-year history that rides up and down the river and is free of charge. Not only has it been used since the Muromachi Period for transporting goods, it also enjoys 40,000 passengers every year having been recognised as a tourist spot in recent years.

     

    Baishinji Station, which is right next to Minatoyama Station and is how you get to the Mitsu Ferry, is known for being the location of the final episode of the 1991 Japanese drama series Tokyo Love Story. There, visitors can also gaze at the gorgeous view of the Seto Inland Sea, pay a visit to Baishinji Garden to enjoy the plum and cherry blossoms, and more.

     

    Matsuyama is vast and full of many places to enjoy. Mitsuhama is one of these locations and is easily accessed by train from the city centre. It’s a tranquil place where you can feel both the preserved old atmosphere and the modern changes. It’s sure to continue growing as one of the city’s must-visit sightseeing spots.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 6: Feast Your Eyes Upon the City’s Food

    28.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

     

    One of the biggest attractions to anyone travelling abroad, or even domestically, is the food. In Episode 6 of All About Matsuyama, we give you a mouth-watering tour of Matsuyama’s food scene. Every area of the city is bursting with flavours to be savoured, so here’s our list of places we can’t recommend enough, all located around Okaido Shopping Street, Matsuyama Gintengai, and Matsuchika Town.

     

    Higiriyaki

    Higiriyaki is a sweet local treat from Matsuyama with chewy skin and filled with hot adzuki bean paste

    The first delectable treat MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON recommends begins at a shop in Okaido Shopping Street. The ‘higariyaki’ is a local food that was first created during the Taisho period in Japan and is also the name of the shop that sells them. It’s said that the first higariyaki was made at Zenshoji Temple which is located in front of Matsuyama Station. The temple is nicknamed “Ohigiri-san,” and the dessert’s name derives from the Higiri Jizo god that is worshiped there. Its dough is made with high quality wheat flour and eggs and is stuffed with an azuki bean paste recipe that has been preserved and passed down since it was first created. You get to see the higiriyaki being made fresh before you when ordering one.

     

    Noma Kajuen noma-noma

    Every cup of their refreshing juice is freshly squeezed

    Noma Kajuen noma-noma is a juice and gift shop managed by Noma Kajuen, a fruit grower in Ehime which ships tasty mikan oranges around Japan. noma-noma not only serves fresh juice but ice creams, parfaits, drinkable jelly, and other takeout items too – all made with mikan. They have plenty of fruity gifts too, so don’t pass up the opportunity to try some sweet Ehime mikan.

     

    Roken Manto

    The only place left making steamed bread with koubokin yeast fungus

    Next on the menu is Roken Manto which is famous in Matsuyama for its steamed bread. This bread is made with koubokin yeast fungus and has been since 1931. No preservatives or other additives are used so they don’t have a shelf life – you can only buy and eat them from here. The bread was adapted in Kurashiki from the Chinese steamed bun to cater to Japanese palettes. Fillings include pinto beans, raisins, cheese, cocoa, and more. None are overly sweet so make for a nice easy bite. They are particularly popular with male customers who you often see in droves buying them in the evenings and late into the night.

     

    Nabeyaki Udon Asahi

    A bowl of their sweet udon will leave you feeling happy

    We’re moving locations now – towards Matsuyama Gintengai. Nabeyaki Udon Asahi is a famous udon bar in Matsuyama known for its sweet tasting nabeyuki udon, something of a soul food to the locals. The restaurant opened in 1947 and has been frequented by locals since. Their udon is simple but delicious, made with a sweet broth, chewy noodles, kamaboko fish paste, chikjuwa fish paste, and boiled egg. The restaurant itself has a retro vibe to it which serves as the perfect setting for your bowl of udon. It will definitely have you wanting a second visit. One thing to note is that the restaurant closes once all noodles have been served, so we recommend visiting in the early afternoon.

     

    Usuzumi Yokan

    The quality of the adzuki beans elevate this dessert to sublime new heights

    The usuzumi yokan is a famous sweet of Matsuyama which was first made over 1,000 years ago when Empress Jito visited Dogo. Its surface has a sheen to it, and inside are white beans made to look like cherry blossom petals, giving it an extravagant appearance. It’s a sweet famous across Japan having won awards at national confection competitions. You can order them to have-in at this cafe if you like – and their gorgeous Tobe ware plates are available to buy too. Both would be great as souvenirs bought together.

     

    Tonkatsu Katsuyoshi

    The crunchy, mouth-watering tonkatsu is nice and light and not fatty at all

    Last up on our list takes out to Tonkatsu Katsuyoshi in Matsuchika Town. They serve up some seriously succulent and juicy meat covered in a crunchy layer and served with an in-house sauce. Their menu is long, and all set meals come with a bowl of grated Japanese yam soup. Matsuchika Town is full of popular eateries with lots of takeout items to enjoy, so we recommend visiting there before moving away from the station area.

     

    Matsuyama is loaded with restaurants so you’ll never go hungry. The places on this list, and many others, are waiting for your arrival.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 5: A Shopping Paradise at Every Turn

    28.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Five unique shopping districts loved by Matsuyama locals

     

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

     

    When visiting Matsuyama, some of the must-visit hot spots include places like Dogo Onsen and Matsuyama Castle. While it’s true you’re sure to enjoy a satisfying sightseeing experience visiting these worthwhile locations, if you’re looking for an even truer Matsuyama experience, you’ll want to hit up the city’s shopping districts. In Episode 5 of All About Matsuyama, we’re looking at five different shopping districts, each with their own unique characters, and all loved by the locals.

     

    The five places we’re looking at are: Okaido Shopping Street, a bustling street and the biggest shopping district in all of Ehime; Matsuyama Gintengai which is lined with a diverse bounty of stores; Matsuchika Town which is the only underground shopping centre in Shikoku; Ropeway Shopping Street, a beautiful street with an inherently ‘Japanese’ feel to it; and Dogo Shotengai which connects the local station to the main Dogo Onsen site. All five of these places should be listed alongside Matsuyama Castle and Dogo Onsen as tourist hot spots.

     

    Let’s begin with Okaido Shopping Street. Located right by Okaido Station, the street runs 483 meters from Shiden Street to Chifunemachi Street. It’s an enormous, brightly-lit arcade with plenty of things to enjoy throughout the day from the morning farm market to the wine and dine experiences to be had in the evenings. No matter the hour, Okaido Shopping Street is bustling, so if you’re looking for some fun in Matsuyama, this is the place.

     

    Next on the list is Matsuyama Gintengai, which runs from Chifunemachi Street to Matsuyama City Station. It connects directly to Okaido Shopping Street and is split into four districts: Sanchome and Yonchome. This 600 meter space is frequented by young and old shoppers alike, with delectable desserts to tuck into and lifestyle items to adorn your days with.

     

    Matsuchika Town can be accessed via an elevator from Matsuyama Gintengai. It’s connected to Matsuyama City Station and is the only underground shopping district you’ll find in the whole of Shikoku, one of the five main islands of Japan. It’s on the smaller side when compared to Okaido and Gintengai, but as well as various stores, it has a well-known rest and meeting spot which is a symbol of the shopping centre.

     

    Ropeway Shopping Street is a 500 meter road that runs from Matsuyama Ichibancho—which is across from the same Shiden Street that links to Okaido Shopping Street—to the Matsuyama Ropeway cable car station that goes to Matsuyama Castle. It’s home to many old-time shops stocking second-hand books, Japanese instruments, and more. It’s also a barrier-free shopping centre which is something of a rarity in Japan.

     

    The final site on this list is Dogo Shotengai, which is about 10-minutes by train from Okaido Station. It’s an L-shaped arcade that runs 250m from Dogo Onsen Station. It’s known colloquially as Dogo High Collar Street for its smart and chic Meiji Roman vibe. There are many people who walk around the area from the surrounding hotels in yukata. It really has that ‘hot spring town’ vibe.

     

    And that’s our list of five unique shopping districts adored by the locals. Be sure to jot them on your list of places to go when travelling to Matsuyama.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 4: Japan’s Famous Bathhouses Dogo Onsen & Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu

    27.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Dogo Onsen is registered as an Important Cultural Property of Japan

     

    Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu incorporates Asuka Period-style architecture

     

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

     

    In Episode 3 of All About Matsuyama, we head to Dogo Onsen, another famous location that should be added to your Matsuyama bucket list adventures.

     

    Dogo Onsen is Japan’s oldest hot spring, located along Dogo Shotengai, a shopping district that runs 250m from Dogo Onsen Station. Dogo Shotengai is known colloquially as Dogo High Collar Street for its smart and chic Meiji Roman vibe. Dogo Onsen is a 3-story hot spring facility in the heart of Dogo which became the first public bathhouse to be registered as an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1994.

     

    Conservation and repair work began on Dogo Onsen in January 2019 in order to preserve the bathhouse which boasts a long history spanning over 120 years. It is the first public bathhouse in Japan to operate as an Important Cultural Property while undergoing large-scale reparation.

     

    The preservation work is scheduled to take 7 years during which the Dogo Reborn Project is taking place. The Phoenix from Osamu Tezuka’s manga of the same is watching over the revitalization of Dogo Onsen which will be ‘reborn’ like a phoenix. The project is holding a range of events such as light-ups, projection mapping, animations that people can watch, and more.

    Please note however that project mapping is temporarily suspended until May 31, 2021 due to COVID-19.

     

    Dogo Onsen’s history spans more than 120 years. Its on-site sister location, Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu, opened in 2017. This bathhouse is constructed in the style of the Asuka Period. Asuka-no-Yu, like the main Dogo Onsen building, is home to Bijin no Yu, a rare kind of water with a soft texture which flows from the source and is neither heated nor cooled.

     

    Dogo Shotengai, which links together Dogo Onsen and Dogo Onsen Annex Asuka-no-Yu, is an L-shaped arcade and runs from Dogo Onsen Station. It has a roof which means you can walk from the station straight to the bathhouse without getting wet on a rainy day. There are around 60 shops to look around, and if you wear a yukata, you’re sure to enjoy the real Dogo experience. Head back in time in Japanese history with a visit to the Dogo area.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 3: Matsuyama Castle’s History Overlooking the City Throughout History

    27.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Matsuyama Castle from high above

    Matsuyama’s shitamachi castle town

     

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

     

    In Episode 3 of All About Matsuyama, we’re taking a look at Matsuyama Castle, an absolutely indispensable location when travelling to Matsuyama which has and still watches over the development surrounding shitamachi castle town.

     

    Matsuyama Castle sits at the heart of Matsuyama. It was built in 1603 on top of Mount Katsuyama which stands towering at 132 meters tall. At the foot of the mountain are two enclosures: Ninomaru and Sannomaru. The castle grounds are so big that you wouldn’t be able to see everything in a single day. It’s also home to only one of 12 existing original castle towers in Japan, is featured in Japan’s Top 100 Castles list, and was selected as one of the 100 Most Beautiful Historical Sites in Japan. It also ranked as the third best castle in Japan in a 2020 list. You clearly can’t pass up a visit to Matsuyama Castle when travelling to Matsuyama!

     

    There are several ways to get to Matsuyama Castle. You can take the walking route upwards which takes about 30 minutes, but many people take the Ropeway or lift. You can buy a ticket for the Ropeway at the station outside Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping District. You will be greeted by Matsuyama Castle’s mascot character Yoshiaki-kun.

     

    Matsuyama Castle was built following the Battle of Sekigahara by Katō Yoshiaki who was awarded for his service as a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The main tower is the only part that has been preserved in its original form. Other parts of the keep have been restored throughout the years due to fires. Several parts of the castle have been designated as Important Cultural Properties including the main tower which can be accessed by visitors who can see what the castle was like when it was first built.

     

    The castle is surrounded by a towering 14-meter stone wall which, though was built in order to prevent enemies from infiltrating, has an air of beauty to it. Two stone walls were built on the mountain slope to stop people from entering via the hillside too. This wall is considered a nationally precious example of Japanese history and is a must-see when visiting Matsuyama Castle.

     

    It’s rare for a castle like this in the middle of a city to have such a history. The view from the very top of the castle keep, which is an extra 30 meters on top of the 132m tower, is a wonderful sight to behold as you gaze across Matsuyama. Many people visit the castle during the daytime, but the castle is actually one of the city’s most beautiful night time spots too. Whichever time of the day you decide to visit, you’re sure to learn much about Matsuyama’s history.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 2: Bargain Shopping Experience With machipay

    26.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan— in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    Machia in Matsuyama Gintengai offers support for the machipay Service

    In Episode 2 of All About Matsuyama, we’re looking at ‘machipay,’ a special service exclusive to Matsuyama that opens opportunities for a great value shopping experience.

     

    Matsuyama’s shopping districts serve as the foundation of the lives of those residing in Matsuyama. Even visiting as a tourist for shopping and sightseeing you can enjoy an inherently ‘Matsuyama’ experience. Something that will make that experience even better is using the city’s machipay service which combines points, electronic money, and coupons all in one place. The service was created for both locals living in the city as well as tourists to create a more convenient shopping experience.

     

    The machipay card and app feature three functions: Points, Electronic Money, and Shopping Coupons. It is compatible at countless popular stores around Matsuyama including Okaido, Gintengai, Matsuchika Town, Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping Street, and elsewhere. Every ¥100 of electronic money spent using the service nets you one point, and one point is equivalent to ¥1. Putting money on the card and paying with it means you’ll start collecting lots of points which can be used at these various stores. Coupons offered around the shopping districts and its stores can also be saved onto your machipay app, making it a very handy shopping companion.

     

    But shopping isn’t the only way to earn machipay points. Attending events in the city, getting involved in voluntary work, and other activities that involve living in or like the people of Matsuyama will also garner you points.

     

    The “machica Card” which is used for the service is sold at the machia shop (pictured above) in Matsuyama Gintengai everyday from 10:00-19:00. There’s also an app. As of April 30, 2021, there are 1,200 stores in Matsuyama that are participating in the service.

     

    If you’re planning a trip to Matsuyama, make sure to use machipay.

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