Travel Japan #7: A New Adventure Begins on the Southern Island of Okinawa

11.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

I set off on the next part of my trip, crossing the ocean once more and heading in the direction of Okinawa. Okinawa is home to 150 islands, has a tropical climate and expansive beautiful blue beaches. I want to see another side of Japan completely different from Kyoto.

 

I wonder what the Ryukyu Kingdom will show me, which established and prospered an independent culture. When I arrive at the airport, I can already feel the breeze of the southern islands. It’s a breeze that serves as a prologue to what feels like the start of a new story.

With my pink suitcase in hand, I let my imagination run wild as I picture the sights outside the airport. The pink on my suitcase sways to and fro like a little pink boat, and I’m the captain and sole rower of that boat.

I encountered a Shisa, a lion statue and god that protects Okinawa, so I locked eyes with it and expressed some words of gratitude.

 

It feels like something good is going to happen.

I don’t want to leave this place yet. When I gaze at the aeroplane taking off…

…I get a feeling that I can do anything.

The sound of the engine, the force of the airframe seen up close.

 

My body still remembers the great speed at takeoff.

 

People can soar the skies; they can go anywhere in this world. I can feel strong thinking about just that.

As I look for the exit, I feel the calm flow of time here and it’s different from the mainland.

 

I have plenty of time, so I don’t have to rush. I can begin searching for my destination with relaxed steps.

 

The air of the islands in the south makes my heart feel calm so I notice how soft and gentle people’s voices and facial expressions are. It makes me remember how nature and people’s hearts are connected.

I take a seat on the bench and stuff my face with the nut and banana chip mix which is a replacement for my breakfast. My somewhat hazy head starts to become clearer and I see the next place I need to go.

There was a water tank next to the bench.

 

I wonder if the fish inside the tank remember the ocean. The colourful tropical fish inside this water tank, surrounded by tourists, live freely and in an environment with no threats.

“It’s wonderful so live small and comfortably, but I want to see the big wide world.”

 

I wait for the departure as I look at the beautiful fish. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call them precious gems.

I say my goodbyes to the fish and head outside with a kick in my step. A new journey is about to begin. The Okinawan sky is smiling at me.

 

Model / Mala Morgan

 

 

A healthy morning travel breakfast

TOPVALU Smooth Zipper Carry Case M ¥9,800 (Before Tax) / ¥10,584 (Tax Included) – Pink

This carry case is an eye-catching pink colour which makes it easy to spot at the airport when you’re claiming your baggage. It stands on excellent tyres that are quiet when the case is rolled. Its size also means it holds plenty of luggage. Because it has another fastener for expanding the case, you can rest easy that you won’t have to leave anything behind when your luggage inevitably builds up during your trip. I want to pack my memories of Okinawa into it and head to the next town.

 

TOPVALU Nuts & Banana Chip Mix ¥158 (Before Tax) / ¥170.64 (Tax Included) – 31g

My breakfast today was a nuts and banana chip mix. It’s healthy so I’m using them for support up to lunch and as a snack on my trip too. The combination of banana chips and the nuts, which are full of dietary fibres, is a more delicious mix than I had imagined. I’m getting addicted.

 

*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

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:
    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

  • Aman Resorts Founder Adrian Zecha Launches New Ryokan Hotel Brand Azumi

    01.December.2020 | SPOT

    Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman, together with Naru Developments, has announced the launch of their new ryokan hotel brand Azumi. The first Azumi property is set to open in the Seto Inland Sea area of Japan in Spring 2021.

     

    Azumi: A New Ryokan Brand

    Adrian Zecha came across his first ryokan in Japan about 60 years ago and subsequently went on to launch multiple hotel brands, including Aman. Azumi is his latest project to take the hospitable nature of the Japanese-style inn, known as a ryokan, and its traditions while ensuring to pay respect to the region and people in the community in which each property will open.

     

    During the 1950s, Zecha, who was a correspondent and reporter of Asia at the time, encountered ryokan for the very first time while in Japan. He was impressed by the hospitality bestowed to guests staying at the inn which for him felt homely. With that in mind, Azumi maintains an exclusive and sophisticated appearance while at the same time is adamant in understanding that the guest is what makes a ryokan as a person, and so offers a warm welcome and interaction that connects to the local community.

     

    Azumi’s approach aims to respect the traditions and community of each region while at the same time building something that will be passed down through the generations. Shiro Miura of Rokukaku-ya, a shop which values living materials such as wood and stone through Sukiya architecture, has been on the Azumi team since the brand’s inception to create a space that can be enjoyed as a marvel of Japanese architecture while satisfying those travelling from abroad.

    The brand’s name comes from the Azumi people, an ancient seafaring tribe who crossed the ocean and settled in Japan.

    The first Azumi property will open on an island in the Seto Inland Sea which boasts clear blue waters and is known for its abundant natural environment which has made it a big player in Japan’s citrus fruit production as well as the fishing industry.

     

    Azumi will open its doors in Spring 2021, filled with the ideas conceived by the one and only Adrian Zecha.

  • Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up Arrives For 2020-2021

    29.November.2020 | SPOT

    Shiraito Highland Way has announced that this year’s Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up will run from December 19, 2020 to February 14, 2021.

     

    The illumination event will take place at Karuizawa Shiraito Falls, a 3-meter tall waterfall that spans 70-meters in length. The lights will add a warmth to the cool evening and glow under a starry night sky.

     

    The event creates a different atmosphere from the summer light-up, allowing visitors to enjoy the enveloping nature in a way that they normally can’t and see beauty they may not have noticed in the area before. The waterfall is located in Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park, a protected area which means the lights will be set up in a way that’s considerate to the park.

     

    If you’re in Japan this winter then don’t miss out on this year’s Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up which will be split into three sessions: the Christmas Session, New Year Session, and St. Valentine Session. More details below.

  • Tokyo’s Art Aquarium Museum in Nihonbashi Announces Christmas Event

    29.November.2020 | SPOT

    Having only held annual summertime events up to now, Art Aquarium Museum in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, is celebrating Christmas for the first time this year with a series of holiday season festivities.

     

    The Aquarium’s first Christmas tree

    Art Aquarium Museum will display its very first Christmas tree for the event indoors near the entrance. The tree artwork was created by Hidemoto Kimura using 550 colourful crystals that have been made to look like goldfish. Made from venetian glass, he had them shipped himself from Italy. They are strung in 10 different colours which glow and glisten to create a romantic atmosphere.

     

    Artwork Name: Natale di Pesce D’oro
    Running: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Location: Art Aquarium Museum entrance

     

    Pair tickets for Christmas with alcohol


    Pair Ticket (2 People) + 2 Drinks | ¥4,600 (Tax Included)

    Those arriving in twos can buy Pair Tickets which come with two alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages so you can plunge into the magical underwater world of the aquarium while enjoying a drink.

     

    Buy Tickets: https://ticket.artaquarium.jp/en/
    Running: November 24, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Validity Period: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Drinks Menu:

    [Alcohol] COEDO Beer / Marihana / Louis Raison Rouge Délice

    [Non-Alcoholic] Sanpellegrino Pompelmo / Grapefruit

     

    Christmas menu served up in the lounge and cafe

    2-Person Hors d’oeuvre With 2 Drinks | Online Booking ¥4,200, Same-Day ¥5,000 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 18, 2020 – December 25, 2020

    The aquarium’s lounge restaurant is serving an hors d’oeuvre for pairs of Japanese and western food together with two drinks.

    2-Person Christmas Sweets Plate With 2 Drinks | Online Booking ¥3,300, Same-Day ¥3,850 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020

    The cafe is serving up plate of assorted desserts, perfect for a post-aquarium date.

    Christmas Special Cocktail | ¥2,200 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020

    Both the restaurant and cafe are also serving a seasonal cocktail of chocolate, strawberries, cranberries, and champagne jelly for a sweet and refreshing mix.

  • Sendai Stroll: Taking a Walk Around Japan’s City of Trees With Chinese Influencer Etsuna

    27.November.2020 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, is a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. The city has earned the nickname Mori no Miyako, or ‘City of Trees,’ due to the abundant rows of zelkova trees lining many of its streets. It bustles with charm and is enjoyed by locals and tourists for its history, sights, and events, such as its associations with the Japanese regional ruler Date Masamune, the famous Sendai Tanabata Festival, and more. However, there are many other incredible locations that Sendai has to offer that aren’t as well known as the popular sites, so today we are joined by Etsuna who is giving us the latest in what can be found in the city.

     

    Along The Coast

    The coast of Sendai was struck by a tsunami when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck back on in March 2011. Today, the area is continuing its re-development efforts. New facilities have and are being built, including plenty of new spots the area never had before. Sendai is home to a memorial hall for remembering those affected during the disaster which is a must-visit if travelling to Sendai.

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Feel the sea breeze and ocean water of Tohoku against your skin

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium opened in 2015 as the larrgest aquarium in the Tohoku region. The first floor is themed on the waters of Tohoku where many rare aquatic species from the Sanriku Coast are housed. The second floor is centred on sea creatures found in the oceans around the world such as tropical fish, jellyfish, marine mammals, and other familiar faces.

     

    Visitors can even meet ascidians there which are famous in the Sanriku Coast.

    The large fish tanks let in a lot of natural light, recreating the beauty of the Sanriku sea.

    There’s also a special spot where you can get up close to some of the fish!

    The aquarium offers an optional program where visitors can feed the penguins.

    “It’s a pretty big aquarium,” said Etsuna. “It was great to see all of the different things they have on display. I had a lot of fun feeding the penguins too!”

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Address: 4-6 Nakano, Miyagino-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (May change depending ont he season)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-2222
    Access: 10-minutes by shuttle bus (free ride) from JR Nakanosakae Station
    Price: Adults ¥2,200 / Seniors, High School and Junior High School Children ¥1,600 / Elementary School Children ¥1,100 / Infants ¥600 (All Tax-Inclusive)

    Official Website: http://www.uminomori.jp/umino/

     

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market

    Fresh fish at an affordable price

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market is like the kitchen of Sendai. The food shops there were opened by locals. Visitors will find many different bites to eat when visiting. Etsuna visited Sushi Yoshi, a restaurant in the area so popular that there’s always a line.

    The restaurant’s name, Sushi Yoshi, suggests that it’s a sushi restaurant, but they actually serve common delicacies like rice bowls and set meals.

    Maguro Sanshudon | ¥1,500

    This rice bowl contains three kinds of maguro tuna, so much in fact that you can’t even see the rice!

    “You can enjoy delicious fresh fish at a reasonable price. You might have to wait in line, but it’s totally worth it!”

     

     Sushi Yoshi
    Address: 4-3-1 Oroshimachi, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 6:30-13:30
    Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
    TEL: 022-232-8042
    Access: 20-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center

    Learn the story of the disaster

    Inside Arai Station, which is the last stop on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, you can find the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center where visitors can learn all about how the Great East Japan Earthquake affected Sendai through the exhibition rooms and in the communal space.

    The first floor features a panel with a 3D map of how the tsunami inundated the region as a result of the earthquake.

    Up on the second floor is a permanent exhibition showcasing the restoration and restoration efforts of the community as well as real photos from around the time of the disaster.

    There are also staff members there who survived the disaster and can describe their experiences as well as current issues facing Sendai.

    “I got teary when the speaker told me about the hardships they faced at that time,” explains Etsuna. “The people of Sendai are living their lives looking forward, and I have a lot of respect for them.”

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center
    Address: Kutsugata-85 Arai, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / Day after public holiday / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-390-9022
    Access: Arai Station
    Entry: Free

    Official Website: http://sendai311-memorial.jp

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School

    The school that still stands after the earthquake disaster

    On the day of the Tohoku earthquake, many local residents fled to Sendai Arahama Elementary School where 320 people were trapped including the evacuees, children, and teachers, before managing to escape safely to the roof. The school is now open as a memorial to preserve the memories of those who survived.

    The tsunami that struck after the earthquake made it to the second floor of the school. These first two floors have been kept untouched and are as they were on the day.

    There are photos as well as video footage exhibited on the fourth floor where the tsunami didn’t reach.

    From the school building’s roof you can gaze at the peaceful coastline.

    “Seeing the place that was hit by the tsunami up close has really changed my outlook on life. There is green in the surrounding area. I felt life budding all around.”

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School
    Address: Shinborihata-32-1 Arahama, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 9:30-16:00
    Closed: Mondays / Every 4th Thursday of the month / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-861
    Access: 15-minutes by bus from Arai Station
    Entry: Free

     

    Akiu Area

    Akiu Onsen is a spa town known to locals as the ‘living room’ of Sendai. It’s a 30-50 minute bus ride from Sendai Station. It has been nicknamed one of Japan’s Three Baths alongside Bessho Onsen and Nozawa Onsen, both in Nagano Prefecture. It’s another place that Date Masamune frequented many times.

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    A stroll along the gorge path

    Rairaikyo Gorge gets its name from the abundance of enormous rocks that have been eroded by the Natori River and given them strange shapes. The Kanji ‘rai’ used in the gorge’s name literally means ‘many rocks.’ The gorge is home to a 1-km path that people can walk along and soak up the incredible natural environment that offers sights to behold throughout the year. From late October to mid November, when the autumn leaves are in bloom, the area is also lit up in the evenings.

    The heart-shaped hollow in the rocks as pictured above is considered a sacred place for couples.

    Taking a stroll along the path one sees maple trees aplenty. Visiting during the height of autumn graces you with a colourful scene you wouldn’t want to miss.

    “I feel healed having gotten to take a leisurely stroll through nature,” explained Etsuna. “The rocks of Akiu have some interesting shapes.”

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    Address: Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Access: Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Akiu-sha

    A stylish, old fashioned cafe in the hot spring town


    When taking a trip to Akiu Onsen, one hot spot that’s a must-visit is Akiu-sha, a restaurant that was renovated from an old private farm house from the Edo Period. During the day it serves lunch food and drinks while in the evenings it’s used for events like private parties.

    There’s an open garden at the site which is sometimes used for weddings. At the back are vegetable plots tended to by the restaurant.

    Akiu-sha Lunch | ¥1,280 (Before Tax)

    The Akiu-sha Lunch is made with fresh vegetables grown in both their own plot as well as from around Akiu.

    Akiu Saiseki Chocolate | ¥850 (Before Tax)

    A white chocolate dessert inspired by the unique rocks of Akiu. Customers can use the little wooden hammer to break apart the dessert to create a rubble of chocolate.

    The inside of the restaurant is spacious with towering beams holding it up.

    “The vegetables are so fresh, I couldn’t believe how tasty they were! This flavour is unique to this place.”

     

    Akiu-sha
    Address: Nozoki-9-4 Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 (Last Food Orders 14:30 / Cafe Last Orders 16:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays
    TEL: 022-724-7767 (Bookings not possible)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

     

    Akiu Winery

    Taste and compare different original wines

    Akiu Winery in Akiu Onsen was the first winery to open in Sendai. It’s home to an enormous grape field, and inside is the brewery itself as well as a dining area and shop. They serve an array of original wines.

    As well as originals, Akiu Winery also stocks famous wines from Sendai.

    Merlot Red Wine 2018 (Sample) | Koshu Sur Lie 2019 (750ml) ¥2,300 | Steuben Rosé 2019 (750ml) ¥2,000 (All Before Tax)

    Akiu Winery’s line-up of wines are famous in Sendai.

    At the back of the winery is the expansive grape field.

    Craft Grill | ¥1,330

    At the outdoor terrace you can enjoy a BBQ grill together with a glass of wine.

    “The sight of the grape field made me feel like I was in France. You can enjoy a BBQ too so I definitely want people to come here!”

     

    Akiu Winery
    Address: Biwaharanishi-6, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

    Akiu Great Falls

    The Three Great Waterfalls of Japan

    Akiu Great Falls is considered one of Japan’s three most famous waterfalls alongside Kegon Falls in Tochigi Prefecture and Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture. It’s about 15-minutes by car downstream from Akiu Onsen and is also accessible by bus.

    They have a retro shop at the entrance of the waterfall.

    Also located next to the waterfall is Akiu-Otaki Fudoson, a temple surrounded by dense green foliage and enormous gingko trees.

    “Being in nature really relaxed me and took away the day’s stress! It’s quite a walk to the waterfall basin so you get plenty of exercise too.”

     

    Akiu Great Falls
    Address: Otaki Akiumachi Baba, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-398-2323 (Akiu Onsen Tourist Information Center)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station (Running on weekends and public holidays only)

     

    Around Sendai Station

    Sendai Station can be considered as the doorstep of Japan’s Tohoku region. It of course runs JR East’s Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains as well as operates Sendai Subway services and buses. The area around the station is great for finding tasty local delicacies, shopping, and souvenir-buying.

     

    WANOSHOKU NIKAI

    Seri-nabe is Sendai’s new specialty food

    If you’re asked to give an example of a famous speciality food product from Sendai, chances are people will jump straight to the city’s gyutan beef tongue, but what has been the talk of the town recently is seri-nabe. Seri-nabe is a type of hotpot cooked with Japanese parsley (‘seri’) – one of Japan’s seven spring flowers. Miyagi Prefecture boasts as a top class producer of Japanese parsley. The hotpot is served in a simple duck broth which allows the fragrance of the parsley to come through.

    “I can’t get enough of the crunchy texture of the [parsley] roots! It was delicious, I had a refreshing soy sauce soup finished with ramen.”

     

    WASHOKU NIKAI
    Address: 2-5-15 Ichibanchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 17:00-Midnight
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-224-6040

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Bar crawl deep into the back streets

    The side streets of the Sunmall Ichibancho arcade have a retro Japanese vibe to them, packed full of shops that make one feel nostalgic.

    The long, winding alleys feature plenty of Instagram-worthy spots.

    “This is a great spot for enjoying a bar crawl, just having a light drink and then moving onto the next place. Even if you don’t drink there’s tasty food to enjoy too!”

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Address: 2-3-28 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-223-3151

    S-PAL Sendai

    A fashion mall connected to the station

    S-PAL is a fashion mall directly connected to Sendai Station, home to apparel stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, sundry sellers, and more. Here are some sundry stores selling a variety of miscellaneous items perfect as souvenir purchases.

     

    Nakagawa Masashichi

    This is an old-time chain that has been around for 300 years. Specialising in lifestyle goods, this S-PAL branch is the only one in all of Tohoku.

    Its interior design has a retro feel to it with shelves and tables piled with cute bits and bobs.

    Kaya-ori Tea Towel | ¥440 (Tax Included)

    A specialty product of Tohoku, this tea towel is made using the traditional weaving technique of kaya-ori. Exclusive to Tohoku.

     

    IORI

    IORI is another shop you’ll only find in the Tohoku area. They sell imabari towels which are perfect as gifts to yourself or another.

    Handkerchiefs | ¥600 Each (Tax Included)〜

    These handkerchiefs are only sold in Sendai and feature a variety of embroidered motifs like the windsocks of the Sendai Tanabata Festival, kokeshi dolls, the helmet of Date Masamune, and more.

     

    KANEIRI STANDARD STORE

    A select shop stocking stationery and other trinkets that promote the culture and craftsmanship of Tohoku. This store is right next to Sendai Station and has plenty of souvenir-worthy items, so it’s absolutely worth a visit.

    As well as lifestyle goods, the store also sells items made in Miyagi, like kokeshi dolls.

    Matsukawa Daruma | ¥1,300 (Before Tax)

    These Matsukawa Daruma are super cute, especially the blue one which is inspired by the Sendai Domain, also known as the Date Domain.

     

    Dagashiya Zousan

    Dagashiya Zousan sells old-time Japanese sweets and confections, stocked with many popular treats from Tohoku adored by both kids and adults alike.

    The traditional sweets are all packed together along the shelves and up the walls.

     

    The popular souvenir shops of Sendai

    You can’t go home after a fun trip without picking up a souvenir, so here’s s line-up of shops that have been surging in popularity recently in Sendai, all of which sell Sendai-specific items.

     

    Drinkable zunda at Agurienomori Mitte

    Drinkable Zunda | ¥370 (Before Tax)

    Zunda are mashed green soybeans boiled and turned into a sweet paste. They are also a local delicacy. Zunda mochi are very famous, but zunda beverages are popular too. This shop sells a variety of zunda treats to pick from.

     

    Bamboo grass kamaboko at Kanezaki-ya

    There are many makers of sasa-kamaboko, or bamboo grass fish paste, but what makes Kanezaki-ya’s so great is how it retains the original umami flavour and plump texture of the fish.

     

    Zaou cheese at Tohoku Meguri Irotoiro

    Zaou Cream Cheese, Vanilla Cream Spread | ¥557 Each (Before Tax)

    A food select shop selling a range of different ingredients. Their kaou cheese with sweet vanilla is their most popular item.

    “It’s a fashion mall so of course they sell clothes, but they had a bunch of other stuff too, everything from traditional Japanese daruma to food. I really recommend S-PAL Sendai if you’re searching for souvenirs!”

     

    S-PAL Sendai
    Address: 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Restaurant wing open 11:00-22:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-267-2111
    Access: Connected directly to Sendai Station
    Official Website: https://www.s-pal.jp/sendai/ 

     

    “Sendai looking and progressing into the future as it overcomes the effects of the disaster. It’s a place with amazing food, fun shops, and is teeming with nature. If you’ve never been to Sendai before, then be sure to visit and have fun!”

  • Gifts Galore as Roppongi Hills Welcomes the Christmas Market Again For 2020

    27.November.2020 | SPOT

    Christmas has sleighed into Roppongi Hills again this year, beginning with the Keyakizaka-dori Illuminations on November 13. The Christmas Market is also set to return to Oyane Plaza on November 28.

    2020 marks the 14th run of the Roppongi Hills Christmas market which is inspired by the the famous Stuttgart Christmas Market in Germany. Visitors can sift through around 1,500 miscellaneous Christmas goods, enjoy German mulled wine and sausages, and more.

     

    At the West Walk, visitors will also find an enormous 6.5m tall Christmas tree to complement the warm, cosy, festive atmosphere of the holiday season event.

  • sequence SUIDOBASHI: Tokyo’s Next-Generation Hotel Opens November 25

    26.November.2020 | SPOT

    Major real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsui Fudosan Hotel Management will open “sequence SUIDOBASHI,” the third branch of their “sequence” hotel chain, in Chiyoda, Tokyo, on November 25, 2020.

     

    A convenient stay in Tokyo

    sequence SUIDOBASHI is just a 1-minute walk from Suidōbashi Station’s JR Line and a 6-minute walk from its Toei Subway-Mita Line. Its convenient location puts it near the Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex where you can enjoy sports events, concerts, an amusement park, and more. It also means easy access to other places like Akihabara, Kagurazaka, and Otemachi.

     

    Suidobashi is home to many office buildings, and so to blend in with its environment, sequence SUIDOBASHI features monotone colouring with chic and sophisticated design.

     

    An easy check-in with facial recognition technology

    At the hotel entrance is the facial recognition check-in counter. Guests use an app to register in advance and can use facial recognition or a QR code to self check-in easily. The hotel lobby also has a counter table and DJ booth as well as a cafe counter.

     

    One checked-in, guests can enter the hotel to find their rooms or other facilities throughout the building. sequence SUIDOBASHI is the second branch to incorporate facial recognition, which lets the hotel do everything for you from checking-in to entering your room, following sequence KYOTO GOJO. The hotel chain is also the first in Tokyo to incorporate it.

     

    The concept of “MOMENT”

    The hotel is built around the concept of a moment, offering a range of spaces for guests to enjoy different moments like the theatre and the lounge, all of which can be experienced with proper COVID-19 precautionary measures in place.

     

    Bar and dining at KANPAI TERRACE

    The hotel’s bar and dining restaurant KANPAI TERRACE has a spacious open terrace where guests can enjoy a selection of sandwiches, French toast, mains and sides for breakfast and lunch. During bar time, pick from a range of alcohols and pair them with various Japanese, Western, and Chinese foods.

     

    SHUNKAN LOUNGE

    Up on the 2nd floor is the guest-only “SHUNKAN LOUNGE,” a 40m² mini theatres with an enormous 120-inch screen where guests can enjoy sports, entertainment, and more. They can also take food and drink they bought from KANPAI TERRACE in there.

     

    SHUNKAN LOUNGE also has its own art gallery showcasing art themed on the concept of “MOMENT” from young, up-and-coming artists.

     

    Guest Rooms

    There are eight types of rooms to choose from, all of which can accommodate 2+ people. Rooms are compact and functional whether it be for guests’ morning routines or for desk work. The hotel has selected black as the base colour for the backstage area while the bed area uses white which softly illuminates with the light to create a chic contrast in the room design. There are also speckles of orange throughout the room which is the brand’s colour and adds accent to the overall design.

     

    Floors 3-6 and 12 feature bunk bed rooms perfect for friends and families travelling together. The rooms are compact with everything guests need in there including the washrooms with showers and toilets. There’s also a concept room called “Bunk Bed 4 LIVE” which features a projector and BOSE speakers for guests looking for more of a party room.

     

    If you’re looking for a place to stay in Tokyo, why not check out the “next-generation” lifestyle hotel sequence SUIDOBASHI?

  • Japan’s First Icefall Open-Air Bath to Open at Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel in Aomori

    26.November.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel has announced the limited-time opening of its new Hyobaku open-air icefall bath which guests can enjoy this winter from December 18, 2020 to March 22, 2021. The bath overlooks a gorgeous mountain stream, offering an exclusive wintertime view.

     

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel stands alone near the the picturesque Oirase Keiryu mountain stream which lets guests immerse themselves in the undisturbed serenity of nature. The hotel lobby features a grand fireplace created by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto.

     

    The Icefall Bath

    Icefalls are created when glaciers flow over a steep drop. The 14km Oirase Keiryu mountain stream is made up of 14 waterfalls which give rise to icecalls of various shapes and sizes. When light shines through them they turn a striking ice blue, something only visible during winter. The hotel has been offering the icefall bath service since 2017 to allow guests to see the icefall themselves, in the comfort of a warm bath, when the waterfalls freeze.

     

    The Icefall Created Over Time

    The waterfalls begin to freeze in early December which gradually gives rise to the icefall. The harsh cold allows the water to freeze and layer bit by bit overtime which. By mid January, the frozen waterfalls stand 3.5m high and 16cm accross. The icefall is ever-changing as its shape changes depending on the temperature, wind, and light shining through.

     

    Experience an outdoor hot spring experience like never before in Japan during winter at Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel.

  • Tokyo Tower to Begin Morning Tea Gathering On 150-Meter Main Deck

    21.November.2020 | SPOT

    Tokyo Tower is set to host a special morning tea gathering on its 150-meter-high main deck, which overlooks central Tokyo, from November 21, 2020.

    A peaceful morning cup of tea above Tokyo

    Tokyo is a communications tower in the middle of Tokyo which has its own observation deck open to the public which offers an incredible view of the capital. During the day, the tower is very busy with visitors, and so this morning tea gathering aims to offer people a chance to enjoy the tower and its view in peace and quiet, before opening hours, with a cup of Japanese tea.

     

    An open display showcasing Japanese crafts

    The event is cooperating with the Japan-France Tea Ceremony Association who is providing specially-selected traditional Japanese tea-making and serving equipment, all of which were made by traditional Japanese artisans and have been passed down since the Edo Period for an authentic.

     

    Open to foreigners even if you don’t know Japanese or the etiquette of the Japanese tea ceremony

    Don’t worry if you can’t speak Japanese or don’t know the manners or proper etiquette when it comes to the Japanese tea ceremony – the event is open to all, and you can participate without sitting in the traditional seiza positioning. The staff can speak English, French, and Spanish, so foreign tourists won’t miss out on anything.

  • Fuji-Q Highland Begins Christmas Event at Gaspard and Lisa Town

    19.November.2020 | SPOT

    Christmas cheer is here at Fuji-Q Highland, the popular amusement park in Yamanashi, where a special Christmas event is taking place at Gaspard and Lisa Town in the park.

     

    Christmas gift set with original tote bag

    Hot Coffee Set | ¥2,000 (Tax Included)

    Up until Christmas Day, the Gaspard and Lisa Town shop is selling a special hot coffee set to warm visitors this holiday season which comes with coffee, cookies, and a coffee cup sleeve.

    The set comes in a festive tote bag with Gaspard and Lisa celebrating Christmas 2020 around a Christmas tree.

     

    Hot Coffee Set Contents
    ①Drip Coffee (Gaspard or Lisa version)
    ②5 Fujiyama Cookies
    ③Sleeve (Gaspard or Lisa version)
    *Tote bags are available while supplies las

     

    Treats for Christmastime

    Gaspard and Lisa Christmas Jar Sweets | ¥500 (Tax Included)

    At the Les Rêves Salon de thé tea salon, visitors can pick up a jar dessert which contains a sweet and sour tart topped with Gaspard and Lisa shaped cookies. Cafe Brioche is also selling a selection of freshly-made Christmas pastries.

     

    When visitors spend over ¥2,000 in a single transaction at shops in the town they will receive a limited-edition Gaspard and Lisa Christmas coaster.

     

    Send Christmas post to the Gaspard and Lisa creators

    When buying something in the town, customers will be handed a Christmas card that they can send a message in to post in the town’s Christmas postbox. The post will be sent to wife and husband Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben, the creators of Gaspard and Lisa, in Paris, France. Up on the second floor of the town’s shop are also drawings and messages by the two creators delivered for this year’s Christmas event.

     

    Post Collection: November 14, 2020 – December 13, 2020

    Location: Gaspard and Lisa Town Shop

    *1 card per transaction, available while supplies last

     

    Meet Gaspard and Lisa

    Gaspard and Lisa donning Christmas cloaks will make an appearance on Christmas cloaks to light up the Towatomo Tree. Visitors can also enjoy a soup with a cute Gaspard or Lisa sleeve.

     

    Date: December 25, 2020
    Time: From 16:30
    Location: Gasprd and Lisa Town’s Towatomo Tree
    Prices:
    Soup Only – ¥300 (Tax Included)

    Soup & Sleeve – ¥720 (Tax Included)

     

    Wine bottle shaped chocolate

    ~Le Premier~Le chocolate au vin | ¥2,980 (Tax Included)

    The bakers at Highland Resort Hotel & Spa have crafted a new wine bottle-shaped chocolate for the Christmas event. Its sweetness makes it perfect for pairing with wine.

     

    Available: Les Rêves Salon de thé in Gaspard and Lisa Town

     

     

    ©2020 Hachette Livre

  • Hoshino Resorts Tomamu’s Ice Village Will Be Open For Winter 2020-2021

    18.November.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts Tomamu, Hokkaido’s top snow resort where you can stay, has announced that this year’s Ice Village will open from December 10, 2020 to March 14, 2021.

     

    Ice Village opens up at Tomamu in wintertime only and has done so every year since 1998. It boasts 3.2 hectares of land and houses 10 enormous igloos to create a little village of ice. At its lowest, the temperature there can drop to -30°C which is what works the magic behind the Ice Village.

     

    Many events around Hokkaido have been cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic, and so Tomamu has decided to remain open to both guests and non-guests while operating under strict countermeasures against COVID-19. This way, people can still enjoy the wonderful winter season of Hokkaido. This year sees the opening of the Ice Milk Cafe and Ice Fruit shop in the Ice Village where they can order a variety of food and drink to take out onto the Ice Terrace. There’s even the Ice Hotel and Ice Chapel.

     

    Draw fresh milk from the Ice Milk Cafe

    The one-meter tall Ice Milk Bottle lets visitors who order a glass of Ice Milk at the Milk Cafe draw fresh Tomamu Milk which has a distinctly deep flavour during winter. You can also mix the milk on an ice sheet to create gelato.

     

    Ice Milk Cafe

    Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

     

    Enjoy chilled fruits at the Ice Fruit Shop

    Visitors can enjoy a range of whole frozen fruits that have been shaved into smaller pieces as well as frozen fruit beverages. They also serve fruits on skewers you can pick which fruit combinations you like to enjoy out on the Ice Terrace.

     

    Ice Fruit Shop
    Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

     

    Enter a magical frozen world at the Ice Terrace

    Once you’ve ordered your takeout drink or dessert, you can go out onto the terrace to sit at the tables and chairs, which are also made of ice, and enjoy the frozen world around you, like the giant snowflakes.

     

    Ice Terrace
    Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00

     

    Order a crisp drink at the Ice Bar

    The ice bar serves over 50 different alcoholic beverages at the ice counter, with drinks like colourful cocktails served chilled in ice cubes.

     

    Ice Bar

    Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:45)

     

    Dogs are allowed at the Ice Hotel

    Everything at the Ice Hotel, from the ceiling to the walls, is made from ice. It’s available to one group per day and has its own ice bath and hot springs. Dogs are also allowed and get their own pup igloo.

    Running: January 18, 2021 – February 28, 2020
    *Reservations required 7 days in advance

     

    The Ice Chapel made entirely of ice

    A chapel made entirely of ice which represents “the unbreakable love between two pure souls which shall last forever.” From the altar and crucifix, to the wedding aisle and benches, everything is made of ice and snow. Firework displays will take place to congratulate newly-wed couples.

    Running: January 18, 2020 – February 14, 2020

    Visiting Times: 17:45 / 19:45 / 21:45 (10 minutes each)
    Ceremony Times: 14:00 / 17:00 / 19:00 / 21:00

     

    Crafts at the Ice Atelier and shopping at the Ice General Store

    Visitors can craft things made from ice at the Ice Atelier as well as buy a selection of ice and snow-themed items like crafts, accessories, mugs, and more at the shop.

     

    Ice Atelier / Ice General Shop
    Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00

     

    Kids and adults can have fun at the Ice Slide and Ice Rink

    The Ice Slide is the most popular part of the Ice Village where kids and adults alike can slide down and overlook the bustling village. Right next to the slide is the Ice Rink, another bustling spot popular with visitors.

    Ice Slide Opening Hours: 17:00-22:00
    Ice Rink Opening Hours: 17:00-21:45 (Last Entries 21:30)

  • Hotel & Rooms Kyoto Shichijo: Kyoto’s New Hotel Opening in Spring 2021

    18.November.2020 | SPOT

    Solare Hotels & Resorts has announced that the new Hotel & Rooms Kyoto Shichijo will open in Spring 2021. It will be located just a 7-minute walk from the JR side of Kyoto Station’s Central Exit, making it a convenient hub for tourists looking to sightsee in the city.

    The casual yet stylish hotel caters to couples, families, and groups travelling together.

    “Verical Garden” in the Elevator Hall

    Enjoy the open central garden at the hotel cafe

    The hotel takes advantage of the building’s old Kyoto-style townhouse design and incorporates a contemporary feel to its interior. The décor is a merging of traditional and contemporary Japan. Guest rooms are centred on groups 2-3 people with double and twin rooms available, allowing for comfort and relaxation.

    Spacious washroom with wooden décor

    A traditional and modern fusion of stylish mirrors and warm wood

    The washrooms offer a relaxing respite from the day’s travels, incorporating the beauty of traditional Kyoto with the modern. The hotel also has its own cafe on the first floor which serves breakfast and lunch and even turns into a bar in the evenings. It’s open to both guests and non-guests to serve as a hub for travellers and locals to enjoy the fruits of Kyoto together.

     

    If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto next spring or beyond, be sure to check out

  • teamLab’s Rinkan Spa & Tea Ceremony, Ruins and Remains Opens as Permanent Exhibit at Mifuneyama Rakuen

    17.November.2020 | SPOT

    Japanese art collective teamLab opened its teamLab: Rinkan Spa & Tea Ceremony, Ruins and Remains series of artworks at Mifuneyama Rakuen in Kyushu as permanent exhibitions on November 10. The artworks can be enjoyed as part of a set which includes enjoying the exhibits as well as a soak in Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel’s sauna and a complimentary cup of Japanese tea.

     

    Rakan no Yu, a sauna located at Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel, won the Saunachelin Grand Prix two years in a row in 2019 and 2020. The sauna and open-air baths enjoy natural water from Mt. Mifune and are surrounded by the vast nature of the local area.

     

    A sauna and new art experience fusion

    Sitting on the borderline of Mifuneyama Rakuen Park is the 3,000-year-old sacred Okusu tree of Takeo Shrine, which is Japan’s 7th largest. Also in the heart of the garden is another 300-year-old sacred tree. Knowing the significance of this, Japan’s forebears turned a portion of this forest into a garden, utilizing the trees of the natural forest. The border between the garden and the wild forest is ambiguous, and when wandering through the garden, before they know it, people will find themselves entering the woods and animal trails.

     

    Visitors can get their hands on a combo ticket which includes access to teamLab’s exhibition as well as daytime entry to the sauna. These are limited to 40 people per day.

     

    Below are some of the artworks that visitors can experience.

    Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins
    teamLab, 2019, Interactive Digital Installation

    Graffiti Nature – Living in the Ruins of a Bathhouse, Red List
    teamLab, 2017-, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Butterflies Dancing in the Depths of the Underground Ruins, Transcending Space
    teamLab, 2019, Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Forest and Spiral of Resonating Lamps in the Forest – One Stroke, Autumn Mountain
    teamLab, 2018, Interactive Installation, Murano Glass, LED, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

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