Sakura Miku Appointed Official Character of Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival

09.March.2019 | SPOT

It has been announced that Sakura Miku―an alternative design of Hatsune Miku―has been appointed as the official mascot character for this year’s Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival which will take place from April 20 to May 6.

Hirosaki Park is one of Japan’s most prominent cherry blossom sites. The park blooms cherry blossoms from its 2,600 or so cherry trees, of which there are 52 varieties, which bring in over 2 million tourists every year for the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. Next year’s festival 2020 will be the event’s memorial year when it celebrates its 100th run.

The event’s main visual features a bright pink Sakura Miku with the cherry trees of Hirosaki Park behind her. This picture will be pasted around the park during the festival.

 

A stamp rally will take place during the event from April 20 for tourists who can get their hands on an original postcard by taking part.

 

Take part in this year’s festivals for which lots is being planned.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival Begins on October 18

    13.October.2019 | SPOT

    This year’s Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival is set to take place in Hirosaki, Aomori from October 18 to November 10.

     

    The festival is held annually every autumn and has been since 1962. It has become a festival deeply tied to autumntime Hirosaki, with 1,000 vivid chrysanthemum trees set to bloom at Hirosaki Park this year in addition to 2,600 cherry blossom trees, which in springtime were pink and will now turn red and yellow for the autumn season.

    After the sun sets during the event, the castle, park and surrounding areas will be lit up with enchanting illuminations, reflecting off the trees and surface of the moat, lending even more beauty to the area.

  • Character cafés are an exciting experience in Japan which sees a café collaborate with well-known anime series, game series or other franchise by decorating the café interior with designs and illustrations based on them and meals and drinks inspired by them.

     

    Before continuing this article be sure to check out our August 2019 list of character cafés as some of them are still running.

     

     

    Fate/Grand Order Cafe in Omotesando

    The third run of the Fate/Grand Order themed cafe, with designs produced by Sanrio, is taking place at OMOTESANDO BOX CAFE&SPACE from September 5 to 29.

    When you book a table in advance (¥650 before tax per person) and order from the menu you’ll receive one of the above possible 16 lunch mats. And if you order a drink you’ll get one of the 16 coasters. You’ll get one of either piece of these exclusive items per item you order from the menu.

    Master & Mash Snow Field Meatballs – ¥1,490

    This dish is piled with filling sauteed meatballs and mushrooms. The cream sauce is made to look like a snowy field. It’s served with a side of jam for a succulent sweet and sour kick.

    Brynhildr & Sigurd Croquembouche Parfait – ¥1,390

    Croquembouche is often served at weddings in Italy at France. Here, it has been turned into an easy-to-eat parfait. It’s topped with salt ice cream, yogurt mousse and more, all in refreshing colours.

     

    To find out more details and what else they have on the menu, click here.

     

    © TYPE-MOON / FGO PROJECT

     

    Fate/Grand Order Design produced by Sanrio – 3rd Collaborative Cafe

    Running: September 5, 2019 – September 29, 2019

    Location: OMOTESANDO BOX CAFE&SPACE (Pine Under Flat Floor B1F, 5-13-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)

    Official Website: https://fgo-sanrio-cafe.jp/

    *Reservations now open via the official website

     

     

    Love Live! & Sanrio Open Collaborative Cafes in Tokyo and Osaka

    Multimedia project Love Live!―which has spawned an anime series, manga, game, movie and more―has teamed up with Sanrio to open themed cafes in Tokyo and Osaka on August 16 and September 27 respectively.

     

    The menu features a bounty of flavourful food and drink which incorporates popular flavours, luscious taste, and hearty servings. You get a special illustration with every meal.

    An Unlikely Combination Food Plate – ¥1,390 (Before Tax)

    An interesting assortment of a mini omurice, soy sauce ramen, and a fresh tomato caprese salad. It also comes with the pictured postcard which features a blackboard design.

    Deliciousness Ensemble! Invigorating Dessert Plate – ¥1,390 (Before Tax)

    This dessert set is one fit for the gods, adorned with an apple topped castella, mini pancake laced with salted caramel ice cream, an tea-flavoured jelly. This also comes with the pictured postcard featuring different characters.

     

    Fans of both franchises can pick up plenty of exclusive merchandise too, featuring the characters from Love Live! dressed like the Sanrio cast. There are bonus items for customers who book a table in advance too. Don’t miss this first ever collaboration between Love Live! and Sanrio♡

     

    To find out more details and what else they have on the menu, click here.

     

    Love Live! Series x Sanrio Characters Cafe

    Tokyo Cafe
    Running: August 16, 2019 – October 14, 2019
    Location: HARAJUKU BOX CAFE&SPACE (Lucessimo Bldg. Floor 2F, 4-28-28 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)

     

    Osaka Cafe

    Running: September 27, 2019 – October 27, 2019
    Location: UMEDA BOX CAFE&SPACE( (Umeda LOFT Floor 1F, 16-7 Chayamachi, Kita Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture)

     

    Reservations: ¥500 (Before Tax)
    Official Website: https://lovelive-sanrio-cafe.jp/

     

     

    TV Anime Given Themed Cafe – Listen To The Characters’ Voices As You Dine

    Six branches of CAFFÈ & BAR PRONTO in Japan are set to collaborate with the ongoing yaoi anime series Given from September 13 to 23.

     

    The theme of the collaboration is “After Band Practice.” The cafes will serve up food inspired by the series as well as sell exclusive merchandise. The voice actors for the four main characters also recorded lines for the cafes which will play during your time there.

    Bright Red Tomato Pasta – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)

    Pancake Of The Day – ¥1,296 (Tax Included)

    To find out more details and what else they have on the menu, click here.

     

    ©︎Natsuki Kizu・Shinshokan / Given Production Committee

     

    TV Anime Given x Enter Bell at PRONT

    Running: September 13, 2019 – September 23, 2019

    Locations: PRONTO Sapporo Pole Town / PRONTO IL BAR Ochanomizu Sola City / PRONTO Ikebukuro Sunshine-dori / PRONTO Nagoya Marunouchi / PRONTO Meitetsu Gifu Station / BEERTERIA PRONTO Osaka Dojima

     

    General Reservations

    ・Running: August 21, 2019 at midnight (JST) to September 23, 2019 at 23:59 (JST)

    ・Price: ¥1,188 (Tax Included) for one person. Includes one seat and drink.

    *To make a reservation and receive the voice reminder you must have a Bandai Namco ID (free to register)

     

    Official Website: https://bpnavi.jp/enterbell/given/

     

     

    Chibi Maruko-chan Themed Menu & Merch Arrives at Tower Records Cafe Omotesando

    To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Chibi Maruko-chan anime series, Tower Records Cafe in Omotesando is collaborating with the franchise to turn its establishment into all things Maruko-chan for a limited time from September 5 to 29. Also, 22 branches of Tower Records as well as the Tower Records online store will sell collaborative merchandise.

    Maruko-chan’s Hamburger Plate – ¥1,500

    The collaboration will be split into two different periods with different food and merchandise line-ups. The Maruko-chan Hamburger Plate, however, will be available for the cafe’s entire duration. Hamburgers are Maruko-chan’s favourite meal, and this one is served with vegetables and a rice ball with her adorable face on it.

     

    Collaboration Period ①

    Nagasawa-kun’s Onion Soup Pasta – ¥1,500

    Served with a whole onion, this soup seeped vongole pasta is inspired by the onion-head himself Nagasawa-kun.

    Noguchi-san’s Birthday Cake – ¥1,200

    Celebrate Noguchi-san’s birthday (September 9) with this very special blueberry and milk crepe birthday cake.

    The exclusive merchandise takes on a music theme with original designs. Pick from 7 different items including a towel, tote bag, phone case and more.

     

    To find out more details and what else they have on the menu, click here.

     

    *All prices are tax-inclusive. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

    *Please enquire with shop staff about any food allergies.

    ⒸSakura Production/Nippon Animation

     

    Chibi Maruko-chan x TOWER RECORDS CAFE

    Running: September 5, 2019 – September 29, 2019

    Period ①: September 5, 2019 – September 17, 201

    Period ②: September 18, 2019 – September 29, 2019

    *The menu line-up and free gifts will be different for each period

     

    TOWER RECORDS CAFE Omotesando
    Address: Imon Harajuku Bldg. 2F, 6-3-9  Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-21:30 (Last Orders 20:30)
    Official Website: http://tower.jp/restaurants/cafe/omotesando

    *No reservations, however during busy times numbered tickets will be handed out. Details on numbered tickets will be announced on the cafe’s official Twitter page: @TRC_Omotesando

     

    Chibi Maruko-chan x TOWER RECORDS Collaboration Merchandise
    Release Date: September 5, 2019 (*Pre-orders now open)
    Available: At 22 Tower Records branches and the online store
    Tower Records Online: https://tower.jp
    Collaboration Page: https://tower.jp/chibimaru

     

    Hatsune Miku Music Cafe Opening in Tokyo & Fukuoka

    The Hatsune Miku Music Cafe has returned for the third run and is now open in Akihabara, Tokyo and Hakata, Fukuoka.

     

    The music cafe will be supported by VOCALOID music label KARENT. VOCALOID fans can look forward to dining while listening to music from their favourite characters―Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, MEIKO and KAITO―on high quality speakers and giant monitors.

    Miku’s Leek Record Curry – ¥1,200 (Tax Included)

    Luka’s Pink Peach Soda – ¥750 (Tax Included)

    There’s lots more merchandise, food and drinks as well as this too. You can see the full line-up on the official website. And for more details, click here.

     

    © Crypton Future Media, INC. www.piapro.net

    *The rate of consumption tax is set to increase from 8% to 10% in Japan from October 1, 2019 and so the prices listed here will increase
    *Photos are for illustrative purposes only

     

    ▼Hatsune Miku Music Cafe – 3rd Run

    ・Ani ON STATION AKIHABARA
    Address: Daidoh Limited Bldg. 1F, 3-1-16 Sotokanda, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

    Running: August 23, 2019 – October 6, 2019
    *Closed on September 1, 2019
    *Regular hours will not run on October 6, 2019 due to the DJ event

     

    ・Ani ON STATION Hakata Bus Terminal
    Address: Hakata Bus Terminal 7F, 2-1 Hakataekichuogai, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture
    Running: August 28, 2019 – September 29, 2019

     

    Entry Price: ¥500 (Tax Included)

    Cafe Website: https://bandainamco-am.co.jp/cafe_and_bar/anionstation/special/miku_cafe3/
    Ani ON STATION Official Website: https://bandainamco-am.co.jp/cafe_and_bar/anionstation/

     

     

    BT21 Cafe Serves World Food in Shibuya, Umeda, Nagoya and Sapporo

    LEGS COMPANY has opened four BT21 themed cafe called “BT21 CAFE 2019 WORLD” in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo. BT21 are the LINE messenger app characters created by K-pop group BTS. The cafe will serve up many different dishes of food from around the world, all with motifs from the BT21 character line-up.

    Japanese Food Plate: Temari Sushi (Salmon, Duck, Minced Tuna, Fried Tofu, Shrimp Avocado) & Meat Udon – ¥1,490

    Brazilian Food Plate: Churrasco, Mashed Potato & Feijoada – ¥1,490

    Enter the cute world of BT21 and their world food line-up. Click here for more details.

     

    *All listed prices are pre-tax. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

    ©BT21

     

    BT21 Cafe 2019 WORLD

    Locations/Dates:

    • SHIBUYA BOX CAFE&SPACE SHIBUYA 109 (August 22, 2019 – September 29, 2019)
    • UMEDA BOX CAFE&SPACE (August 22, 2019 – September 23, 2019)
    • NAGOYA BOX CAFE&SPACE (September 4, 2019 – October 6, 2019)
    • TOWER RECORDS CAFE at Sapporo PIVOT (September 5, 2019 – October 20, 2019)

    *Cafes closed on September 30, 2019

     

    Reservations

    ・Price: ¥650 (Before Tax)

    Official Website: http://box-cafe.jp/

    The BT21 Cafe is reservation-only

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? Be sure to visit all the character cafés you can while in Japan this month! Stay tuned for next month’s entry.

  • Witness the Sengoku Period Parade at the Kazutoyo Festival in Kisogawa

    01.September.2019 | SPOT

    The town of Kisogawa in Nagoya, Aichi is just 30-minutes by car from Nagoya Station, which is set to welcome the 36th annual Kazutoyo Festival on September 15.

    The city of Ichinomiya was the birthplace of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a famous military commander during the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568-1600). Every year, the bustling Kazutoyo Festival recalls the Sengoku Period, a time of war and upheaval in Japan which lasted over a thousand years, as well as the helmet and armor-clad commander.

    The festival also has mini live performances, as well as an anime show which can be enjoyed by children. There’s also food, horse riding, and other fun activities.

     

    Experience a unique cultural autumntime festival this year at the Kazutoyo Festival in Kisogawa.

  • Hatsune Miku Music Cafe Opening in Tokyo & Fukuoka

    21.August.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD / MUSIC

    The Hatsune Miku Music Cafe is set to return for the third time this month. It will open in Akihabara, Tokyo on August 23 and in Hakata, Fukuoka on August 28.

     

    The music cafe will be supported by VOCALOID music label KARENT. VOCALOID fans can look forward to dining while listening to music from their favourite characters―Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, MEIKO and KAITO―on high quality speakers and giant monitors.

    Customers are able to request songs be played by picking from the record shelf. The huge discography will include the cafe’s official theme song and music video Jazz Chorus no Natsu Takenawa which is written and composed by buzzG.

     

    Fans can look forward to character-inspired food and drinks and can get their hands on a range of exclusive merchandise with designs illustrated by Kisaragi Yuu.

    And if you gather enough stamps on your stamp card―one per visit―you’ll be able to get priority access to a DJ event on October 6.

     

    Merch

    Leek Bag – ¥1,500 (Tax Included)

    Multi Pouch (6 Designs) – ¥2,800 (Tax Included)

     

    Food Menu

    Miku’s Leek Record Curry – ¥1,200 (Tax Included)

    “Jazz Chorus no Natsu Takenawa” Summer Sky Jelly From the Starry Heavens – ¥600 (Tax Included)

     

    When ordering something from the food menu you can receive one of 18 possible mini acrylic stands, chosen randomly.

     

    Drinks Menu

    Rin & Len’s Yellow Mango Milk – ¥750 (Tax Included)

    Luka’s Pink Peach Soda – ¥750 (Tax Included)

     

    There’s lots more merchandise, food and drinks as well as this too. You can see the full line-up on the official website.

     

    © Crypton Future Media, INC. www.piapro.net

    *The rate of consumption tax is set to increase from 8% to 10% in Japan from October 1, 2019 and so the prices listed here will increase
    *Photos are for illustrative purposes only

  • A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    It’s been a while since our last date with Yutaro. He’s been very busy with film shoots. He had some spare time today so we paid a visit to Nihonbashi for our next date. “ECO EDO Nihonbashi: Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses” is an event held every year in the Nihonbashi area which takes the Edo period cultural idea of “coolness”―an in, to enjoy being cool during the summer-and puts a modern spin on it. There are many exciting things to look forward to, including the art aquarium which proves massively popular every year.

     

    We gave ourselves more time to arrive at the meeting place to be in the safe side, but it seems Yutaro-kun was already there waiting for us!

    Nihonbashi Information Center | IPPIN CAFÉ “Sparkling Herb Tea” – ¥518 (Tax Included)

    “Here, you must be boiling.” Yutaro-kun kindly offers a cup of IPPIN CAFE’s limited-edition sparkling herb tea. It’s a delicious mix of fizzy soda and lemon, a perfect refreshment for the summer. Since he ordered takeout the drink came with a goldfish straw. Goldfish are a staple sight during Japanese summer festivals so it’s very fitting for the occasion! 

     

    With our drinks in hand, it’s time to head to Nihonbashi for our Edo summer date!

    Wind-Chime Forest Path

    Lining the path between Fukutoku Shrine and Fukutoku Garden is the Wind-Chime Forest Path where around 200 Edo-style wind chimes dangled. This year, during the evenings, the path is illuminated with beautiful lighting. 

    When the breeze rolls past the wind chimes ring one by one-a cool and refreshing sound.

    “I hear each one of these Edo wind chimes are individually handmade by craftsmen.”

    When you hear the sound of the wind chimes it makes you feel cool like a gentle breeze of the wind.

     

    After strolling along the Wind-Chime Forest Path we make our way towards this year’s ECO EDO Art Aquarium event.

    The moment we step instead Yutaro is already dazzled by all the goldfish: “Wow! I knew about this place from what I’d seen online, but this my first time here! This art aquarium really is something!”

     

    The full title of the event is “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium.”  Goldfish were a huge part of the common culture in Nihonbashi during the Edo period. This event recreates that and brings that “coolness” aspect while combining it with contemporary art by having people observe the fish in lots of different artistic environments.

    Super Oiran

    “This is the biggest fish tank, apparently it has 3,000 fish swimming inside!”

    “Seeing the light reflect on the water from the illuminations lets you see the fish in a different light, doesn’t it?”

    Looks like Yutaro-kun is having a lot of fun taking photos.

    He’s equally interested in just about every fish tank!

    These other fish tanks have a different aesthetic to them. Their Japanese-style designs make for great photos.

    Kaleidorium 3D

    “This one’s beautiful, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”

    It really does look like one. When you take a peek instead you can glimpse all kinds of colourful fish gently swimming around.

    Ceiling Kingyo

    “There’re goldfish swimming on the ceiling too. So cool! This aquarium is incredible. It brings together the great culture of Edo and contemporary art.”

     

    The Art Aquarium bustles every single year with visitors, but this year will mark its last run. It’s being held at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, so if you have the chance to go then please do.

    We of course checked out some local Nihonbashi treats too! We stopped by morozoff for some cheesecake after the aquarium.

    morozoff Kamadashi Cheesecake (Goldfish) – ¥270 Each (Tax Included)

    These cute cheesecakes with their goldfish designs are available for a limited time only. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste. They perfect with iced tea.

    “Got some! Let’s eat them while we head back.”

    Goldfish Lantern Walkway

    Our first date in Nihonbashi was so much fun. While on the date Yutaro-kun spoke about the new live-action film he’s in, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.

     

    “It’s a romance film with mind games to try and make the other person confess their love. I play the character Tsubasa. His number one highlight scene is the kabedon scene. That was my first day shooting, so I was super nervous, but I got along well with the other actors, and the atmosphere on set was harmonious, so I was able to relax for the shoots. Tsubasa is a genuine guy who will believe things that have been said to him in earnest. You’ve definitely gotta check out all his scenes throughout the film!”

     

    “A lot of the cast are the same age as me, so we were all energetic together in the waiting room. There’s a scene at the end where all the cast get together. It took 3 days to shoot so we ended up getting along really well.”

     

    “This film has made me realise that love comes in many shapes, and that mind games happen in a variety of ways between guys and girls. There’s cute scenes that express that small bit of pride that teenagers have, the embarassment they feel, when they get butterflies, scenes that will warm your heart. The film has various elements to it so I thoroughly enjoyed watching it myself. I hope that couples in love in their teens and twenties watch it, and I also hope that married couples watch it and crack up laughing too.”

     

    “In the film it’s summer break, and they go and see fireworks and stuff. It’s definitely one to watch durnig the summer. You’re gonna come watch it too, right? Shall we go?”

     

    An offer we cannot refuse! We’ll definitely go and see it with you, Yutaro-kun! 

     

    Model: Yutaro

    Writer: Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    TALENT PROFILE

    Yutaro

    Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.

  • Awa Odori Festival 2019 Kicks Off in Tokushima With Spectacular Traditional Dance

    14.August.2019 | SPOT

    The Awa Odori Festival is the largest dance festival in Japan and is held every year in Tokushima Prefecture from August 12 to 15 as part of the Obon festival. This year, the first day welcomed over 380,000 spectators who gathered to witness the groups of traditional dancers.

     

    This year marked the first Awa Odori Festival of the current Reiwa era which began on May 1, and so to commemorate the occasion, new elements were introduced. The biggest of these were four areas that showcases performances of Souodori which saw over 1,000 people dance along the 100 meter long dance floor.

    The first day of the festival was held at the Konyamachi Theater along the bustling shopping streets of Tokushima. This spacious location made for easy access and guaranteed you could watch the procession. While the people in packed-out outdoor theatre were looking left and right to see when the show was about to start, the clock struck 10pm, at which musicians began playing their instruments. The orchestra was made up of over 400 people who played enchantingly in perfect order. As they split into groups on the left and right side of the theatre, the crowd caught the first glimpses of the dancers. Out they came in different groups, starting with female dancers, then male dancers, and then more female dancers, this time dressed in happi coats. The crowd cheered them on, especially when they spotted somebody they knew.

     

    The dancers made up in the free areas included groups of workers, students and various others. But in the paid premium area spectators were able to watch the “famous” group.

    The premium area was located in front of the town hall and packed full of people. The famous group are made up of dancers with incredible skill.
    There was also a group for people in the crowd or onlookers to join in if they wanted to as well. Many celebrities also took part including comedians Hayashiya Sanpei II and Kazuya Kojima, actresses Sachiko Kokubu, Tomoko Fujita and Wakako Shimazaki, and more.

  • Harajuku Summer Festival 2019 to Take Place at Togo Shrine

    14.August.2019 | BUSINESS / SPOT

    GLOBAL PRODUCE, a Japanese event organiser, is set to sponsor Harajuku Summer Festival 2019 which will be held at Togo Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo on August 23. Bringing together professional event producers, the festival will combine elements of traditional Japanese culture with the latest trends.

    Food trucks and stalls will open in the dozens, including appearances from the shaved ice shop Kooriya bebe which makes its fluffy shaved ice from the natural spring waters of Mount Fuji―perfect for the hot weather―as well as Ichika, a cafe known for its tapioca Japanese tea lattes made with high quality tea leaves from Kagoshima. Current popular restaurants will also serve up delicious summertime food. There will even be the Harajuku Bon Odori 2019 dance event, and the marchers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will also be present.

    Tokyo Bijin Project will make their first ever live appearance, a group of shining Japanese women with “wisdom, dignity and compassion” who are set to speak out for other strong women. They will talk leadership, interpretation, attending to people, the spread of Japanese culture, and more.

     

    If you are in Japan for the summer then make sure you attend all of the different summer festivals you can.

  • Support Japan’s National Rugby Team With Cherry Blossom Popcorn & Cheetos

    02.August.2019 | FOOD

    To promote support of the Brave Blossoms―Japan’s National Rugby Union Team (JNRU)―Mike Popcorn and Cheetos are teaming up with them to release limited edition packaged products on August 26.

    Mike Popcorn Japan National Rugby Team Salted Sakura Shrimp – ¥125 (Before Tax)

    The JNRU are known for their trademark cherry blossom emblem and red and white striped uniforms, so Mike Popcorn are releasing salted sakura shrimp flavour popcorn with these very motifs.

    Cheetos Japan National Rugby Team Pollock Roe Cheese – ¥125 (Before Tax)

    Cheetos are a global brand sold in over 40 countries worldwide. This exclusive flavour forms a tight scrum of ingredients, perfectly combining rich cheese and delicious Pollock roe into a crunchy snack. Like with Mike Popcorn, Cheetos have created a beautiful packaging with cherry blossom flowers as well as Chester Cheetah showing his support by donning the iconic jersey.

     

    Which pack do you want to try most to show your support for Japan in the Rugby World Cup?

     

    ©JRFU

  • See Hundreds of Japanese Wind Chimes at Nyoirin-ji Temple Festival in Fukuoka

    13.July.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Fukuoka is a tourist hot spot of Japan, bustling with tourists and travellers both from the island nation and those from overseas, especially from China, Taiwan and South Korea.

     

    Situated on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka offers amazing shopping experiences and serves up some of the most delicious gourmet cuisine at its rows of restaurants. But nothing compares to its bountiful sightseeing splendours.

     

    Rie is an Instagrammer who travels to all the different sightseeing spots Kyushu has to offer which she documents on her Instagram page. Today, she gives us a special look at one her most recommended places to visit in Fukuoka: Nyoirin-ji Temple.

     

    Nyoirin-ji Temple is often nicknamed “Frog Temple” due to the many frogs you can see at the temple grounds, a rare sight at a Japanese temple. It’s located in Fukuoka Prefecture’s city of Ogori which can be reached by catching a Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line train from Tenjin in the heart of Fukuoka and getting off at Mitsusawa Station. From there the temple is just a 15-minute walk.

    Nyoirin-ji Temple is the home of thousands of frogs. A lot of the frog ornaments and items at the temple were collected by the temple’s chief priest.

     

    There’s one ornament which you can take a photo through as seen above, so you should definitely try taking one yourself in your own way. You can even get a goshuin stamp with a frog illustration too if you take your goshuincho stamp book.

    The frogs are a given at the Frog Temple, but a must-see is the Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September. The temple entrance onward is decorated with lots of cute and colourful wind chimes.

    Up the stairs you can walk through a wind chime tunnel which gives you a cool, refreshed feeling even in the hot summer.

    It costs ¥500 for one wind chime which you can write your wish on before hanging up. You can’t take them home however so be cautious of that!

    Nyoirin-ji Temple was built in 729. It is home to a Cintāmaṇicakra statue which is a rare sight in Japan. It is also a registered cultural property of Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s not just a location for kawaii adoration―it has been long been loved by locals since ancient times and has a long history.

    The wind chimes will be strung up until the end of September. Their gentle ring is sure to make you feel at peace, so why not try dressing up in a yukata like Rie and experiencing the festival for yourself?

     

    Rie has many other examples of popular tourist destinations from around Kyushu on her Instagram page. Be sure to give her a follow if you’re planning a trip to Kyushu yourself!

     

    Photos by Rie

  • From Wine to Hydrangeas Taste the Regional Shaved Ice Flavours of Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    10.July.2019 | FOOD

    Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand KAI is offering guests the opportunity to explore different regional shaved ice desserts that are served with delicious regional syrups and toppings. Shaved ice is a traditional summer dessert that was even mentioned in the famous work The Pillow Book, which was written by Sei Shonagon during her time as Empress Consort Teishi’s court lady during the 990s and early 1000s of the Heian period.

    The concept of KAI expresses both originality and the thirst for experimenting to make something new. The event offers a range of original flavours, embracing the Japanese tradition of eating flavoured shaved ice to battle the heat of summer. From wine-flavoured shaved ice in Nagano, to Hydrangea shaved ice at Hakone, this is the perfect opportunity to try a range of shaved ice desserts that are full of vibrant colours. These regional flavours are sure to spark your curiosity for discovery in that region. 

    Wine Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano)

    The cone-shaped region of Kikyogahara, which is located next to Matsumoto city, is well known for its wine production. This area produces around 50 different kinds of Kikyogahara wine. The flavoured syrup for this shaved ice comes from concord grape wine sourced from Kikyogahara. Each porcelain bowl for the dessert is handmade. Customers can enjoy the smooth, rounded feel of the grape pattern on the bowl as they dig into their dessert. As the alcohol is burned out of the dish, even those who do not like alcohol can enjoy this mature dessert. From the carefully prepared wine syrup to the handmade bowl, you will be able to feel all the hard work put into the making of these luxurious desserts. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.

    Hydrangea Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone

    Due to the altitude differences at Hakone, you can enjoy the beautiful hydrangeas for an even longer time than other areas of Japan. There is a Hydrangea train (Ajisai Densha) that runs up the mountains providing passengers with the beautiful view of blooming flowers, creating the perfect summer memories. Observing the large groups of flowers in full bloom fills you with such a refreshing feeling. Their beautiful colours are expressed in the colour of this hydrangea shaved ice.  

    Strawberry Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi)

    Tochigi prefecture has been Japan’s no.1 producer of strawberries for 50 years straight. This shaved ice is served in a strawberry-shaped bowl and is served with sweet yet slightly sour strawberry syrup and a topping of bittersweet matcha sauce. Here, you can enjoy a cool evening up 1,300 metres high overlooking beautiful scenery from inside the establishment whose spectacular interior that boasts Tochigi’s traditional art of Kanuma Kanoko craft. 

    Tomato Flavoured Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sonomoto, Oita)

    As tomatoes thrive during the summer, this tomato shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down. This shaved ice is sweet and slightly sour and the vibrant red colour is enough to refresh you. Tomatoes are low in calories and contain an abundant range of healthy nutrients. They are also high in vitamin C which is good for your skin and is known for helping prevent illness. Tomatoes are also a good supply of vitamin E, which is good at slowing the effects of aging. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your shaved ice as a refreshing breeze rolls by. This is the perfect way to enjoy a cool summer with a healthy and delicious dessert. 

    Neputa Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru (Owani Onsen, Aomori)

    The Neputa Shaved Ice represents the Hirosaki Neputa Festival that takes place in the summer at the old castle town of Hirosaki. To represent Tsugaru Vidro coloured glass, which is an important part of Tsugaru culture, red, blue and green coloured jelly pieces decorate the top of the shaved ice. These colours also represent the vibrant colours of Neputa festival. This Instagram-worthy dessert shows off the best of the fresh colours of Tsugaru. 

  • Hatsune Miku, Kizuna AI & Other Anime and Virtual Characters Performing at DIVE XR FESTIVAL

    10.July.2019 | ANIME&GAME / MUSIC

    The DIVE XR FESTIVAL will be held at Makuhari Messe on September 22 and 23. It will be supported by SoftBank.

    “XR” is an acronym compiling together mixed reality, augmented reality and virtual reality. The DIVE XR FESTIVAL is a crossover music festival that will bring together anime and game characters, online virtual singers, VTubers, AI and more into one place.

    Kizuna AI

    Hatsune Miku

    The first names announced for the lineup include Trickstar, UNDEAD and Knights from the idol game Ensemble Stars―for which an anime adaptation began airing on July 7―as well as ARP, a dance vocal group who focus on performing live and who also received an anime series, the most popular virtual YouTuber Kizuna AI who has over 2.6 million subscribers, and internationally beloved virtual singer Hatsune Miku.

    HIMEHINA

    Luo Tianyi

    Also joining them is the number one most watched VTuber duo HIMEHINA, Microsoft AI artist Rinna who has over 8 million subscribers (as of June 2019), and China’s number one virtual singer Luo Tianyu who will make her Japan debut at the event.

     

    The line-up consists of a whopping 25 names spanning the XR categories. Experience the future of live music entertainment at the DIVE XR FESTIVAL. Tickets are available via all Japanese ticket vendors.

  • During the summer holiday period between July and September, Aquamarine Fukushima is holding a range of events and supporting children to learn about marine life independently. Come join in the festival fun with goldfish scooping games, quoits, and much more. There will also be a fair from August 11 to 15. 

    Aquamarine Fukushima Rare Creatures Picture Book <Complete the pictures!>

    Dates: July 13 ー September 1

    Aquamarine Fukushima is displaying rare creatures and ecological systems. The children can write the name of the new creatures they discover in their own picture book. Once they have completed the picture book, it will be an original record of discoveries. As the children record the features of the animals and other organisms they discover, adults will also find this information beneficial when looking around the exhibitions. 

     

    How to take part: Pick up an application form at the entranceway on floor 1 of the aquarium main building (Honkan). The answers will all be distributed in one place. (Subject to change).

     

    Summer Aquamarine Fukushima: Children’s Answer Room

    Open: July 20 ー September 1 

    Here, all the answers to the children’s puzzles about Aquamarine life are presented in panels and explained in easy terms. Along with the picture book where the children can record interesting life forms, this is the perfect way to support independent exploration. 

     

    Goldfish scooping and Fun Fair

    You can purchase goldfish that were bred at the aquarium, or catch them yourself at the goldfish scooping area. There is also a games corner where you and your children can enjoy a range of fun activities such as quoits. 

    The goldfish building, which just opened last year, will be bringing back its 60cm-large Goldfish Nebuta lantern. To raise spirits during Japan’s O-bon lantern festival, the aquarium will be open for much longer so that a lantern event can be held in the evening. 

     

    Iwaki Traditional Vegetable Marché

    Open: August 17 ー 18 (11:00 ー 14:00)

    Head to the Aquamarine Aguri located outside Aquamarine Fukushima to purchase everyday vegetables as well as Japanese vegetables that have been grown through the cooperation of Iwaki farmers and Iwaki city. The traditional Iwaki marché sells mainly traditional summer vegetables such as okuimo potatoes, yardlong beans, beefsteak plants, kojiroi cucumbers, and much more. From local vegetables to healthy goods, everything is produced at Aquamarine Fukushima. 

     

    Iwaki Fireworks Festival 

    Enjoy the sight of fireworks soaring through the sky before your very eyes from the Aquarium grounds. This large-scale fireworks event will run until 9 pm on August 3.

     

    Running: August 11 ー 15 (8pm) . 

    ※ Last entries: Up to 1hr before closing time. 

     

    Come visit Aquamarine Fukushima for a perfect fun-filled day with the family!

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