Travel Japan #9: A Day in Okinawa With the Gift of Rain

18.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

The sky weeps!

 

I was greeted by a sudden downfall of rain while in Okinawa, despite the having felt its out-of-season summer. While looking at the darkening colour of the concrete becoming wet I made a firm decision.

 

“Let’s feel positive even when it comes to unexpected weather.”

The water drops falling from the sky are sweet drops. I let my imagination run world with the intention of becoming a small child. I prepare my folded umbrella, one that will lift my mood. If I have just this I can still go on an adventure, so I have to move forward.

I take shelter from the rain in a cute café. I can see that ocean once more from the open terrace. The water is foggy, and the high, white waves come and go against the shore.

The beach is empty from people who went to get away from the rain. It looks a little lonely out there, but I’m also filled with a feeling that I have the vast ocean all to myself.

The tropical fruit juice sold at the café is the place’s everlasting summer. But the mismatched atmosphere of this drink and the condition outside isn’t too bad either. I wipe at the water droplets on the glass while captivated at the decorations on my fancy umbrella.

This is surely a magical umbrella made to add colour to rainy days.

I bite into my juicy orange and my mouth is filled with a sour flavour. The sound of the rain gradually becomes stronger, but that doesn’t concern me either.

The next stop on my adventure is a shop right next to the café. I can hear a sound from somewhere that sounds nostalgic.

It was the sound of music boxes on display here and there. I wonder how long it’s been since I last heard this gentle sound?

I link together the memories of my trip with the music and decide to make my very own music box.

All the glass parts are small like Okinawa.

A coral reef and a lighthouse. I proceed with creating my own little sea world I thought out.

I forget about the passage of time and become immerse in my own world. The sound of the rain continues outside, but even with that all I hear are the music boxes.

 

The rain on this day was like a present from Okinawa. I don’t think I will ever forget the rain, the waves, and the tiny rings of the music boxes.

 

 

Model / Mala Morgan

 

 

Things to Make Me Feel Happy Even On Rainy Days

TOPVALU HOME COORDY Plain Navy Imabari Towel Handkerchief ¥398 (Before Tax) / ¥429.84 (Tax Included) ― 25x25cm

 

This is an Imabari towel handkerchief. It’s soft on the skin and saved me from the sudden downfall of rain. Its simple border and fresh blue and white colour is like the sea of Okinawa.

 

*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/

  • 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

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Matcha Desserts in Sapporo You Just Have To Try

    06.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    We’ve previously covered the best spots to try delicious matcha desserts in Kyoto. Now, with the help of expert dessert Instagrammer Kei, we are going to introduce you to some of the most delicious spots to try matcha desserts in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

     

    If you want to discover more delicious cafés, desserts and drinks in Hokkaido, make sure to check out Kei’s Instagram (@607keih).

     

    KotoniSand, Nishi Ward

    Macchan French Toast: ¥1200

     From dinners to desserts, this café serves up lots of meals based on their delicious thick-sliced bread. Bread flavours include plain, matcha and even coffee. You can order to go or enjoy the eat-in-limited menu. This fluffy french toast is soaked in matcha liqueur and is full of flavour even before trying it with the toppings. Take a bite of it with the red bean paste for a flavour adventure. A limited number of these are sold per day so if you want to try it, make sure to get there early. 

     

    ▼KotoniSand

    Address: 1-1-1 Yamanote 5 Jō, Nishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Official Website: https://kotonisand.business.site

     

    Ame no hi to yuki no hi, Minami Ward

    Gelato Futatsu: ¥450

    Located before Jozankei’s onsen hotspot is a café called Ame no hi yuki no hi. It serves delicious pizzas and a variety of gelato flavours depending on the season. Their matcha ice cream is delicious. They even allow you to order two or three flavours at once so you can enjoy a mix and match of combinations. 

    ▼Ame no hi to yuki no hi

    Address: 2-4-1, Jozankeionsennishi, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:30
    Closed: Thursdays
    Official Website: https://www.amenohitoyukinohi.com

     

    KANON pancakes, Shiroishi Ward

    Matcha Tiramisu Pancake: ¥1500

    This is a famous pancake shop in Kikusui. Tuck into a stack of fluffy pancakes inside the relaxing and soothing restaurant. The Matcha Tiramisu Pancakes are soaked with liqueur, creating a texture that is softer and moister than their standard pancakes. In addition to the matcha liqueur, the pancake is also dusted with matcha powder for a richer matcha flavour. Finally, they are drizzled with delicious brown sugar syrup and topped with walnuts.

     

    ▼KANON pancakes

    Address: 5-5-18 Kikusui 3 Jo, Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo,

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Orders: 16:00)
    No Regular Holidays
    Official Website: https://kanon-pancakes.com

     

    Any cafe, Kita Ward

    Matcha Kintoki: ¥1350

    This shop uses gluten-free ingredients in their food. This pancake dish is made using unpolished rice powder, three pieces of Turkish delight, red bean paste, rice flour dumplings, and cream made from Hokkaido-produced mascarpone and fresh cream. The cream is full of the bitter and delicious flavour of matcha, making the pancake sweet and very delicious. 

     

    ▼Any cafe

    Address: 3-2-24 Kita 18 Jonishi, Kita Ward

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30 (Last Orders: 18:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/any_cafe_sapporo/

     

    If you are looking for delicious matcha desserts in Sapporo, let this article help you decide where to go. When your food cravings kick in, make sure to visit Kei‘s Instagram which is full of the most delicious meals, drinks and desserts in Hokkaido. 

     

    Original Article Contents and Photos by: Kei (@607keih )

  • Tour Tokyo, Pick Strawberries and Enjoy Afternoon Tea On The ichigosan bus

    04.January.2020 | FOOD

    From their popular AWAPA Foam Party event where you can dance in a club filled with foam to their BATHTUB CINEMA event where you can watch a movie with your friends in a bathtub, Afro&Co. never fails to bring us new and creative ways to have fun. They are now collaborating with Saga prefecture to run the ‘ichigosan bus’: a sightseeing bus which will introduce you to wonderful spots in Tokyo with an unexpected strawberry twist to celebrate the first anniversary of Saga prefecture’s strawberry farm ‘ichigosan’. Enjoy strawberry picking inside the bus and then tuck into a strawberry-tastic afternoon tea set and much more. The bus will be running for a five day period from January 1 to 19, 2020.

    ichigosan Afternoon Tea

    ichigosan Panna Cotta

    The ichigosan bus commemorates one-year since Saga Prefecture launched their new brand of delicious succulent strawberries called ‘ichigosan’. The collaboration hopes to spread the delicious flavour of ichigosan strawberries to as many people as possible with the five-day-limited strawberry-tastic bus tour. Hop on the red double-decker bus, which looks just like a London tour bus, to enjoy strawberry picking on floor one and an original strawberry afternoon tea set prepared by a chef from Royal Garden Cafe Aoyama on floor two.

    ichigosan Crêpe

    ichigosan Tart

    This three-experience-in-one tour bus introduces you to the newest famous spots in the city, offers you a fun strawberry picking experience and even comes with a delicious strawberry afternoon tea set. You can book tickets in advance online and there are two kinds of tickets available for on-the-day purchases. As this is the best season to enjoy ichigosan strawberries in Japan, make the most of it on this tour and you will be berry pleased.

  • Beautiful and Delicious Lunches You Have to Try in Fukuoka

    04.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    With the help of moe, we’ve covered the best food spots in Fukuoka to enjoy a beautiful scenery, for desserts and much more. Today, we’re joined by food Instagrammer moe again to introduce you to the top lunch spots in Fukuoka. 

    cafe mii, Asakura

    Curry Plate

    cafe mii is one of those places that very few people know but is very delicious. The curry plate is full of spices and is accompanied by fried vegetables and many other side dishes. As Asakura is known for its delicious vegetables, this is the perfect opportunity to get your fill. The café is relaxing and the perfect spot to enjoy a quiet lunch.

     

    ▼cafe mii

    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 (Last Orders: 14:30)

    Closed: Wednesdays
    Address: Floor 2, 531-2 Tonta, Asakura, Fukuoka
    Website: https://www.instagram.com/cafe_mii/

     

    Cosses, Chihaya

    Plate Lunch

    Cosses is a bakery shop full of pastries and desserts. The Plate Lunch includes a hamburger steak, soup, salad, yoghurt and much more. The thick bread that comes with the set perfectly completes it. The wide shop is full of delicious bread and pastries that would be perfect to bring back to your family.

     

    ▼Cosses

    Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Last Orders: 19:30)
    No Regular Holidays

    Address: Namiki Square Floor 1, 4-21-45, Chihaya, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka

    Official Websitehttp://cosses.orto-cafe.com/

     

    Chocolate Bar, Hirao

    Chicken Curry Risotto

    Whether you’re looking for lunch, dinner or a casual snack, this is the place to go. When you order the Chicken Curry Risotto, you can choose how spicy you want it. Risotto and curry is quite a rare combination, but it is very tasty. After your lunch, you can choose to have a gâteau au chocolat from the main menu. 

     

    ▼Chocolate Bar

    Opening Hours: 

    Lunch Menu:  11:30-15:00 (Last Orders: 15:00)

    Café Menu: 14:00-17:00 (Closed from 17:00 to 18:00)

    Dinner Menu: 18:00-22:00 (Closed from 22:00)
    Closed: Sundays
    Address: 1-11-22 Takamiya, Minami-ku, Fukuoka

    Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/CHOCOLATE-BAR-726314500885075/

     

    Filipepe, Kego

    Dry-Cured Ham and Creamy Lemon Spaghetti

    Filipepe is a hidden Italian restaurant. The Dry-Cured Ham and Creamy Lemon Spaghetti is covered in a refreshing lemon cream sauce. The thinly-sliced cured ham and creamy pasta make the perfect combination. The tongue-tantalizing menu also includes fish, meat and much more.

     

    ▼Filipepe

    Opening Hours:

    Lunch: 11:30-14:00 (Last Orders: 14:00)

    Dinner: 18:00-21:00 (Last Orders: 21:00)
    No Regular Holidays
    Address: Floor 3, 3-1-28 Kego, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka,
    Website: https://www.facebook.com/Filipepe-フィリペペ-699810910145678/

     

    Good up coffee, Hairo

    Homemade Red Bean Paste on Toast

    Good up coffee’s homemade red bean paste on toast is often greeted by a long queue of customers. The fluffy bread is like a giant cushion and is filled with a generous serving of red bean paste. The butter melts, creating a moderate salty touch to the meal. This is a very popular shop and often sells out so if you want to try it, make sure to get there early.

     

    ▼Good up coffee

    Opening Hours:

    Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00-20:00

    Wednesday and Sunday: 12:00-18:30
    Closed: Thursdays
    Address: 1-chōme-15-18 Takasago, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
    Official Website: https://www.instagram.com/good_up_coffee/

     

    KURASUKOTO, Hairo

    Lunch Plate

    Fukuoka’s famous and popular café KURASUKOTO serves parfaits, doughnuts, puddings and other famous desserts as well as delicious lunches. Choose to have meat or fish for your lunch plate and it will be served with lots of healthy vegetables. The café also sells small miscellaneous goods too.

     

    ▼KURASUKOTO

    Opening Hours:11:30-18:00
    Closed: Mondays and Sundays
    Address: Floor 2, 1-11-21 Hirao, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka
    Official Website: https://www.kurasukoto.com/shop-hirao/

     

    Eureka, Sakurazaka

    Duck and Lotus Root Ragout Pasta

    Bistro and café Eureka is an isolated restaurant located out of the way in a residential area. The Duck and Lotus Root Ragout Pasta is available in the lunchtime menu and is served with tasty relishes made from pomegranate and Japanese persimmon. Duck and lotus root is cooked in a delicious ragout sauce with tagliatelle. The meal comes with relishes so your stomach will be left completely satisfied.

     

    ▼Eureka

    Opening Hours:Monday-Thursday: 12:00-20:00 (Last Orders: 19:00)

    Friday and Saturday: 12:00-22:00(Last Orders: 21:00)
    Closed: Sundays
    Address: 1-4-19 Sakurazaka, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

    Official Website:https://www.instagram.com/eureka.sakurazaka

     

    Yamamoto no Hamburg, Ropponmatsu

    Hamburger

    The Kanto region’s popular hamburger restaurant Yamamoto no Hamburg has opened in Fukuoka. Here, you can enjoy a burger served in a large curry bowl fit for a curry soup. The hamburger is surrounded by a hearty serving of sauce and is even topped with a mince cutlet. There is a bottle of Chinese red chile oil on the table for a satisfying meal. 

     

    ▼Yamamoto no Hamburg

    Opening Hours:

    Lunch: 11:30-15:30 (Last Orders: 14:30)

    Dinner: 17:30-22:30 (Last Orders: 21:30)
    No Regular Holidays
    Address: Ropponmatsu Kobo Floor 1, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka

    Official Website:  http://www.yamahan.tokyo/news/

     

     If you’re stuck on where to get lunch in Fukuoka, or love looking at gorgeous food, let moe’s Instagram be your guide. 

    Original article contents and photos by: moe

  • Sanrio Puroland to Run “Sweets Puro very berry sweets Party” Next Year

    02.January.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    Sanrio Puroland (Puroland) will be running its popular dessert-themed event “Sweets Puro very berry sweets Party” from January 10 to March 10, 2020. 

    Puroland’s restaurants will be selling Sweets Puro-limited desserts full of a variety of berries. Restaurant Yakata on floor 4 will be serving a berry and chocolate-themed dessert buffet on select days.

    As the first dessert buffet to be held since Puroland’s renovation, there will be a photo session allowing customers to take photos of the food and characters too. 

    The event will also see the return of the evening main show “Miracle Illusion☆Happiness”, which was last performed in September 2019 and ended with guests longing for more. Hello Kitty and her beloved boyfriend Dear Daniel will also appear in adorable angel costumes. This is a wonderful chance to enjoy delicious desserts, fantastic illumination and beautiful projection mapping.

    The “My Melody Strawberry Illuminations Ichigo Ichie” is another Sweets Puro-limited event to be returning this year following its popularity. This event will run from January 10 to February 14, 2020. From February 15 to March 10, 2020, Hello Kitty’s cute singing voice will echo throughout Puroland as she performs at the illumination show “SPARKLE!! Sweet Lights”.

    After the illumination show, Puro Village will be illuminated entirely in sweet pink illumination. 

    Meet the characters dressed in berry-themed costumes at the “Very Berry Character Hug Time” event and enjoy the Valentine’s Day and White Day-themed event “Special Sweets Greeting” (fee applies). 

    You also can’t miss the dessert house photo spot and dessert-themed character merchandise, which will be available for a limited time only. 

     

    Puroland will be bursting with sweet goodness that you just can’t miss next year.

     

    ©1976, 2009 SANRIO CO., LTD.©1976, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD.

  • 7 Ways to Start Your Morning with Delicious Food in Fukuoka

    02.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Our website has loads of information on delicious desserts and food to try in Fukuoka. Today we’ll be looking at the best places to try a traditional “Morning” according to expert Instagrammer moe“Morning” is a typical breakfast enjoyed by the Japanese and is a great way to start the day. moe has been travelling from head to toe of Fukuoka, taste-testing different breakfasts and photographing them. Here are the findings. 

     

    Full Full Kaze no Mori, Kashii-Kaenmae

    Croque Madame Set and French Toast Set

    Full Full recently opened at Kashii-Kaenmae. The Croque Madame Set or the French Toast Set is the perfect way to start your day. For the croque madame, their delicious bread made from special whole wheat flour is topped with tomatoes, bacon, white sauce and a sunny-side-up egg. The french toast is made from the same round bread used to make their popular Mentai France which is a baguette topped with creamy fish roe. The fluffy bread is topped with a crispy sweet sugar coating that is scorched like a crème brûlée.

     

    ▼Full Full Kaze no Mori

    Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00 (Café Last Orders)
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Address: 7 Chome-4-2 Kasumigaoka, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka

    Official Website: https://www.full-full.jp/

     

    BAKERY TATSUYA, Minami

    Simple yet stylish, BAKERY TATSUYA is white on the interior and exterior. There is space to eat-in so it is possible to enjoy your freshly baked goods upon purchase. There is so much variety that you will be spoilt for choice.

     

    ▼BAKERY TATSUYA

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays, every first and third Tuesday of the month.

    Address: 2 Chome-45-29 Hanahata, Minami Ward, Fukuoka

    Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/BakeryTatsuya

     

    amam dacotan, Ropponmatsu

    Fig Fruit Sandwich and Salted Milk Gelato Croissant 

    amam dacotan’s crusty bread is so delicious that it appeared on TV. The shop is packed with different varieties of bread. Alongside the takeout menu there is also an eat-in-limited menu. The Salted Milk Gelato Croissant is an exquisite balance of sweetness and saltiness that you just have to try.

     

    ▼amam dacotan

    Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00 (Sales end once stock is depleted)

    Closed: Wednesdays
    Address: 3-chōme-7-6 RopponmatsuChūō-ku, Fukuoka

    Website: https://www.instagram.com/amam_dacotan/

     

    Siro coffee, Josei

    Red Bean Jam and Butter Sandwich with a Japanese Tea Latte

    The simple and stylish interior of Siro Coffee has earned its Instagram fame. Treat yourself to a warm red bean paste and butter sandwich to enjoy the sweetness of the paste as it fuses with the saltiness of the butter. Everything is packed into a neat and beautiful small bun. The rich Japanese tea latte is the perfect way to finish off a refreshing meal. 

     

    ▼Siro coffee

    Opening Hours: 12:00-19:00
    Closed: Wednesdays and the first and third Tuesday of the month.
    Address: 2-12-16 Josei, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka
    Official Website: https://www.instagram.com/siro_coffee/

     

    Shirogane Sabo, Hirao

    Platinum Salad Morning

    Shirogane Sabo’s classic pancakes can be simply enjoyed as they are for a buttery flavour or enhanced as you please by adding maple syrup or honey. The Platinum Salad Morning comes with juice, the platinum salad, classic pancakes and coffee. Shirogane Sabo can get quite crowded so it is best to reserve a time slot if you are set on going.

     

    ▼Shirogane Sabo
    Opening Hours:

    Weekdays: 10:00-22:00(Last Orders: 21:00)

    Weekends and National Holidays: 8:00-22:00(Last Orders 21:00)
    Address: 1 Chome-11-7 Shirogane, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka

    No closing days.
    Website: http://s-sabo.com/

     

    Bread, Espresso & Hakata &, Fukuoka Ekimae

    Teppan French Toast

    Mu-Mentai

    A Bread, Espresso & Hakata & opened in Hakata. This branch serves the Fukuoka-limited Mu-Mentai where you can enjoy a heap of creamy fish roe covered in butter and cream. The bread and sandwiches start to sell out past lunchtime so make sure you get there early if you are interested. 

     

    ▼Bread, Espresso & Hakata &

    Opening Hours:8:00-20:00
    No Regular Holidays
    Address: 2-8-12 Hakataekimae, 1F, Hakata, Fukuoka
    Website: https://www.instagram.com/bread.espresso.and.hakata/

     

    Blue Jam, Sawara

    Croissant d’Amande Choco Banana 

    Blue Jam uses carefully-selected natural ingredients in their bread and pastries. The luxurious Croissant d’Amande Choco Banana is a three-in-one almond, banana and chocolate croissant. The melon pan here is also delicious.

     

    ▼Blue Jam

    Opening Hours:8:00-18:00 (Last Orders: 17:30)
    Closed: Sundays
    Address: 3-1-41 Tamura, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka
    Official Website: http://www.bluejam-fukuoka.com/

     

     So, what do you think? moe’s Instagram is full of the most delicious lunches you have ever seen. If you’re struggling on where to go for breakfast in Fukuoka, let moe’s Instagram be your guide. 

    Original Article Information and Photos by:  moe

  • Winter is Coming: Warm Up With Hot Pot at Hot Spring Hotel Hoshino Resorts KAI

    29.December.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    The cold weather is here, and it’s only set to get colder. When winter falls in Japan, one of the best things people like to do is cook hot pot. Hoshino Resorts is offering the same service for guests this winter at 14 branches of their ‘KAI’ onsen ryokan (hot spring Japanese inn) brand hotels up and down Japan, with each hot pot filled with the taste of local cuisine.

     

    Winter is truly the best time to eat hot pot for Japanese people, as they huddle around the table nice and toasty and tuck into their piping hot dinner. We’re showcasing 9 of the hot pots you can enjoy at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter season.

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru: “Gyu Shabu” – Dashi made delicious with plentiful dried tuna

    KAI Tsugaru is situated in Aomori, and this hot pot is made one with one of the prefecture’s most famous ingredients: tuna, which is caught during the autumn and winter seasons. The main player of this beef shabu hot pot is its dashi which is made from the sweet juices of tuna which go deliciously well with the beef. If you’re looking for a hot pot that’s a little different from the usual options, you’ll love this one.

     

    Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 1)
    Plan Name: Ooma no Gaguro Zukushi Kaiseki (大間のまぐろづくし会席)
    Price: From ¥24,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/tsugaru.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga: “Kani Sukinabe” – Zuwai-gani snow crab

    At KAI Kaga, which is located in Yamashiroonsen, Ishikawa, this hot pot they have cooked up is made in a kombu dashi and is filled with legs of zuwai-gani snow crab and a variety of winter vegetables like bok choy and edible chrysanthemums.

    The dish makes full use of the delicious flavour of the crab. It’s also served in kunitani-ware made by a young craftsman and Yamanaka lacquer ware, adding to the originality of this hot pot.

     

    Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 29-January 6)
    Plan Name: Katsu Kani Zukushi no Tagu Zuki Kani Kaiseki (活蟹づくしのタグ付き蟹会席)
    Price: From ¥47,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/kaga.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps: “Yuki Nabe” – Thawing of spring

    The hot pot at KAI Alps in Nagano includes fluffy cotton candy which is based on the snowy mountains of the alps. When you pour the soup over, the cotton candy melts, symbolising the thawing of spring, to reveal the beef and vegetables. The cotton candy adds a light sweetness to the soup as well as fun visual effect.

     

    Running: December 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
    Plan Name: Yuki Nabe Kaiseki (雪鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥25,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/alps.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa: “Ise Ebi & Roast Beef Ryujin Nabe” – The dragon god’s hot pot

    KAI Kinugawa in Tochigi has created a hot pot based around the legend of the Ryuokyo dragon god, capturing its malevolence. It’s cooked over stones heated to almost 800℃.The soup bubbles as the pot begins to boil and cooks the seafood and other local ingredients from Tochigi, making sure to draw every last delicious drop of flavour from them.

     

    Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 28-January 4)
    Plan Name: Ise Uni to Gyuu Roosu no Ryuujin Nabe Kaiseki (伊勢海老と牛ロースの龍神鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥31,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/kinugawa.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara: “Uni & Beef Sukinabe” – Satisfying spices from the mountains and seas

    KAI Sengokuhara in Kanagawa has created a hot pot that’s made with lots of ingredients from the mountains and the seas. By using a bounty of uni, which goes incredibly well with beef, it adds a rich sweetness to the overall flavour. There is also a secret flavour hidden under it all: syrup made from the ao mikan citrus which grows in the city of Odawara. This not only adds an exquisite sourness to the hot pot, but also serves to elevate the sweetness of the uni.

     

    Running: June 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
    Plan Name: Uni to Gyuu no Sukinabe Kaiseki (雲丹と牛のすき鍋会席)
    Price: From ¥46,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/sengokuhara.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito: “Sankai Nabe” – Soaking up the mountains and seas of Ito

    Shizuoka is home to KAI Ito, where guests can enjoy yet another hot pot lavish with ingredients from the mountains and the seas, like splendid alfonsino―which Ito enjoys an abundance of―as well as seasonal vegetables and beef. There are two soups to combine these ingredients with: a bouillabaisse which contains a dashi made from fish from Ito filled with splendid alfonsino and vegetables, and a beef soup.

     

    Running: October 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
    Plan Name: Sankai Nabe (山海鍋)
    Price: From ¥25,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/ito.html

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu: “Tecchiri” – A taste of the Torafugu tiger pufferfish

    KAI Enshu is another hot spring inn, located in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka. Their “Tecchiri” is made with Torafugu tiger pufferfish. None of the flavour of the fugu is wasted in this hot pot, and that is proven as the entire thing is made right in front of customers’ eyes. The zōsui is made with a KAI Enshu-original blend of sencha green tea called souka (爽華), which ensures that element of locality is included in the dish as Shizuoka is famous for its tea.

     

    Running: October 5, 2019 – March 31, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
    Plan Name: Fugu Zukushi Kaiseki (ふぐづくし会席)
    Price: From ¥31,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/enshu.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo: “Kani Sukinabe” – Collaboration between Katsu Matsubagani & Shijimi

    KAI Izumo is situated in Tamatsukuri Onsen, an onsen hot spring in Tamayu, Shimane. Their “Kani Sukinabe” is made with rich snow crab crab which has an exquisite sweetness and is soft in texture. From beginning to end, this hot pot is a crab party in your mouth.

     

    Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 31-January 4)
    Plan Name: Tagu Zuki Katsu Matsubagani Zukushi Kaiseki (タグ付き活松葉蟹づくし会席)
    Price: From ¥45,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/izumo.html

     

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso: “Netakuri Nabe” – Rich miso and cheese

    The base of the soup in KAI Aso, located in Kumamoto, is a mix of milk from Jersey cattle and miso. It contains wagyu Japanese beef and seasonal vegetables. Its appearance is based on the Aso Caldera region of Kumamoto Prefecture and its incredibly vast grasslands.

     

    Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
    Plan Name: Wagyuu to Caciocavallo o Tanoshimu Netakuri Nabe (和牛とカチョカヴァロを楽しむねたくり鍋)
    Price: From ¥46,000
    Reservations: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/aso.html

     

     

    Below is a video which showcases each of these local hot pot dishes, so be sure to check it out if you’re not already watering at the mouth

     

    All of these hot pots are made with only the best local ingredients as expected of KAI, and all are available for the rest of winter only. Guests can experience the local regions not only through the food, but in the tableware each hotel uses. If you’re in Japan this winter, be sure to book with one of the many Hoshino Resorts KAI branches and stay warm with a delicious serving of hot pot.

  • Rakuten Travel Reveals Japan’s Top Hot Spring Locations For Women Travelling Solo

    22.December.2019 | SPOT

    Travel booking website Rakuten Travel has revealed the 2019 ranking for Japan’s most popular onsen, or “hot spring” sites for women travelling alone. Taking the crown at No. 1 is Hakodate Yunokawa Onsen in Hokkaido.

    Night view of Hakodate

    The Le Havre lounge in Hakodate Kokusai Hotel

    Hakodate Yunokawa Onsen placed at No. 3 in last year’s ranking. It rated highly amongst women for it being so close to Hakodate Airport, as well as it being easy to access local tourist and sightseeing spots by train from there like the Hakodate Morning Market (Hakodate Asaichi) and Mount Hakodate, which is listed as one of Japan’s Three Night Views. The area also offers a variety of accommodation options, from long-standing traditional ryokan inns to business hotels.

    Dogo Onsen

    In second place is Dogo Onsen, a hugely popular hot spring location with Dogo Yamanote Hotel having ranked number one in Rakuten Travel’s list for the most leisurely accommodations for women travelling solo.

    Rose Bath at Dogo Yamanote Hotel

    In recent years, the number of plans for women travelling solo as well as services for renting open air baths for one person have been on the increase. Dogo Onsen is a 25-minute train journey from Matsuyama Station via the JR line and a 40-minute bus ride from Matsuyama Airport.

    Hakone Tozan Railway

    Hakone Yumoto Onsen ranks at No. 3. Despite the effects of the earthquake, the hot spring has enjoyed solid popularity, with Rakuen Travel having given travel coupons and offering special plans to help raise money and support the area. It’s only about an hour and a half’s train ride from Shinjuku Station, it offers plans to stay at local hotels, and it’s easy to set up a travel plan to visit there, which is what has led to its popularity.

     

    Yugawara Onsen in Kanagawa came in 4th place, while Yufuin Onsen in Oita came in 5th. Use this list as reference when planning which hot springs to visit in Japan.

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

    15.November.2019 | SPOT

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

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

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

     

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

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Cherry Blossoms

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Locations:

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

    Senmichi, Toyota, Aichi (Senmi Shikizakura no Sato)

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

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

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Matsuri

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

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

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

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

     

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

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

     

    ▼Maple Trees

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Location:  Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

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

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

     

    ▼64th Korankei Maple Festival

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Location: Around Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Light-Up: Sunset to 21:00

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

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

     

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

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

    14.November.2019 | SPOT

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

    29.October.2019 | SPOT

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

    Be sure to check it out.

  • Hoshino Resorts to Open New Facilities in Okinawa, Hawaii & 3 More Places

    28.October.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts opened HOSHINOYA Guguan in Taiwan in June and Iriomotejima Hotel in Okinawa in October this year. It will also open Risonare Nasu in November. The hotel chain has now just announced that it will open 5 more new facilities in 2020, pushing the number of locations they manage up to 45 next year.

    Iriomotejima Hotel

    Risonare Nasu

    Hoshino Resorts prides itself on offering a hotel experience that makes use of local regions as well as offering unique experiences. With their catalogue of facilities now set to increase, the company has a released a video detailing the five new hotels.

    The five new hotels will open in Hawaii, Nagato in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Tsuchira in Ibaraki Prefecture, Kohama Island in Okinawa Prefecture, and mainland Okinawa.

    The Hawaii hotel, named Hoshino Resorts Surf Jack Hawaii, describes itself as an “ohana-friendly retro boutique hotel with a satisfying Waikiki experience.”

    Nagato, Yamaguchi will give rise to the 16th hotel in Hoshino Resorts’ brand of KAI hotels, named KAI Nagato. It will open in the Yumoto Hot Spring area and be inspired by Yamaguchi’s traditional tea houses as well as buke samurai culture. Look forward to bathing in the hot springs of this traditional Japanese inn, steeped in history and culture.

    Over in Ibaraki Prefecture, Hoshino Resorts will open Japan’s biggest cycling resort, named Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura, which we covered earlier this month. It will act as a “base camp” to enjoy cycling, with its core concept being “more an izakaya and less travel-focused where you can enjoy a laid-back time with friends.” It hopes to put a new spin on travel by combining the worlds of cycling and accommodation.

    Okinawa is getting three new hotels. Hoshino Resorts Risonare Kohama will feature 60 rooms each their own private villas. Its concept is “a private beach resort on a remote island swimming with the manta rays” and will offer a beach and resort-like experience to guests with views of the white sand and blue ocean.

    HOSHINOYA Okinawa will be inspired by gusuku which refers to castles in the Ryukyu Islands that feature stone walls, with the hotel itself being enveloped in one. The hotel will be surrounded by the gorgeous ocean and coast, offering that quintessential Okinawan resort experience.

     

    The tables at Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will offer a breathtaking view of Okinawa’s grand seas, with a menu serving food and drink made with Okinawan ingredients.

     

    2020 is looking to be a big year for Hoshino Resorts as it begins expansion. If you’re travelling to Japan, why not check if one of their hotels is near where you’re looking to stay?

  • Taiwanese Bookstore Chain Eslite Opens New Outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo

    27.September.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Eslite Bookstore is one of the prominent bookstore chains in Taiwan that opened an all-new outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on September 27, 2019 that promotes reading, culture and lifestyle.

    This will be the first Eslite Spectrum shopping mall to open outside Greater China. Its concept is “a cultural wonderland for reading and living” under wh ich Eslite has curated Nihonbashi’s rich history and culture to promote to the people of Tokyo.

     

    Eslite Spectrum is always in the front row when it comes to the latest in Taiwanese trends, and it’s a place I never fail to visit when I travel to Taiwan. When I heard they would be expanding to Tokyo, I couldn’t wait for the day of the grand opening to arrive. I made my merry way there, excited and eager to see what kind of place it would be, and what kind of items they would stock.

    The outlet is split into 4 different zones: the bookshop zone, the stationery zone, the miscellaneous item and workshop zone, and the restaurant zone. The bookshop features a line-up of carefully selected reading material and book recommendations.

    One hundred brands from around the world make up the miscellaneous and eating areas. Half of the brands are Taiwanese, meaning you can get your hands on authentic goods from Taiwan itself.

    The building was designed by leading Taiwanese architect Kris Yao, whose concept for the design was “interweaving the old and new.” It’s a stylish, welcoming building with elements of the traditional Japanese aesthetic in there. The store front has indigo blue noren entry curtains, which is both stylish and quintessentially Japanese.

     

    This new branch of Eslite Spectrum is home to stores setting up shop in Japan for the very first time. There are also many shops here selling items exclusive to Nihonbashi. I’m going to showcase four of the places I was particularly interested in.

     

    Kuo Yuan Ye

    Kuo Yuan Ye is a confectionery shop based in Shinlin, Taipei. Since opening, they have continued to use traditional confectionery-making methods, serving sweets with deep, rich flavours.

    As well as having maintained tradition, they have also released products in collaboration with rising designers. I encourage you to try their beautiful line-up yourself to taste their long, delicious history.

     

    Sarutahiko Coffee

    We have covered Sarutahiko Coffee on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON in the past when we visited the branch in Ebisu.

    The first thing that struck me upon visiting this new branch is how different the interior design is to other places. The design and its concept of “coffee and words” were created by book director Yoshitaka Haba. Quotes pulled from the books can be found written all around the cafe. There is also a space underneath the chairs for storing books. No matter where you look in the cafe, it’s nothing less than stylish.

    The cafe has their own special hot cakes and original coffee blends exclusive to Nihonbashi. The hot cakes are topped lavishly with mont blanc, giving it an extremely rich taste and one reminiscent of autumn-time. Both the hot cakes and this original coffee blend are limited-time menu options available until November 14, so you’ll want to get in there quick.

     

    Wonder Chuan

    For the first time ever, long-standing Taiwanese tea store Wonder Chuan arrives on the shore of Japan. The shop takes great care in the growing and brewing of its tea leaves, pouring their heart and soul into every cup.

    The Taiwanese oolong tea drank was a similar colour to matcha. It had a sweet flavour and a much smoother taste compared to Japanese oolong. The shop also serves a selection of cocktails made with oolong tea as well as perform traditional tea-making methods for customers. They even have plans to host their very own Taiwanese tea workshops in the future.

     

    Fujin Tree

    The last place I want to introduce is Fujin Tree, also a first in Japan. This is another one of my favourites, so I was thrilled when this one was coming to Tokyo too!

     

    It’s uncommon to be able to drink wine in restaurants in Taiwan, but the popular Fujin Tree serves Taiwanese cuisine and champagne in style.

    Their dishes are packed full of fresh vegetables and fruit. One of their popular picks is their springstar and century egg with spicy minced pork. It’s a tasty dish with full, rich flavours that goes well with sake. It’s also great with rice. There are many amazing options on the menu, but if you’re spoilt for choice then I recommend this one.

     

    Eslite is the bridge between Japanese and Taiwanese that aims to become a hub for Asian culture. Centred around reading, there are countless experiences to look enjoy here. Discover a new side of Nihonbashi by paying a visit.

     

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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