Learn About Shimane Prefecture’s Oki Islands with Japanese Model Saki Shibata

15.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

On March 2, 2019 Japanese model Saki Shibata, along with nine others, carried out a research project entitled “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” (隠岐のお気に入り研究所) to come up with a travel plan for the Oki Islands.

The Oki Islands are part of Shimane Prefecture. There are over 180 islands in total, sixteen of which are named, but only four of which are inhabited by humans. These can be visited via a ferry or high-speed boat.

 

The islands were formed almost 6 million years ago from volcanic activity. In September 2014, the islands were designated a UNESCO Global Geopark for their rich land and unique flora and fauna, history and culture. Visiting the islands offers the opportunity to experience unique nature you can’t anywhere else in Japan. It is a place to enjoy characteristic culture of a different locale.

 

If you flip over a map of Japan you will also see that the Sea of Japan side of the islands are in the centre of the country. The Oki Islands also used to bustle with people as the doorstep to Japanese trade.

Saki Shibata visited the Oki Islands for the first time last year. She saw the bright red and immense Matengai Cliffs formed by the volcanoes’ magma, the sea waves, felt the breeze in her hair and more. See her full nature-packed trip here.

 

An island local proposed her desire to show the wonder of the Oki Islands to the people of the world, and so the “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” was formed. Saki, having already experienced those charms, was appointed Research Leader, and recruited other fellow members to join. She would convey her experiences and time spent on the islands for everybody to learn more about them so they could think up a travel plan together.

The event began with project leader Saki Shibata greeting everybody. She spoke about her memories of the Oki Islands and expressed enthusiasm to create a wonderful travel plan to the participants. Her talk was accompanied by slideshows with which she presented photos taken during her trip last year.

Saki played back through her mind how overwhelmed she was by the islands’ nature and how warm and welcoming the locals were. All the other research members were absorbed in her talk and listened intently.

After Saki said her piece, a member of the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Association―which seeks to promote the charms of Oki Islands―spoke about Oki.

 

A “geopark” is a location with valuable geological features and forms and promotes the well-being of people living there through education and tourism.

 

Japan has nine officially-designated UNESCO Global Geoparks, one of them being the Oki Islands. Check out the video above which includes drone footage showcasing the expanse of nature there. It makes you want to see it with your very own eyes.

The group subsequently went on to creating a travel plan for the Oki Islands. Each member wrote down where they wanted to visit in Oki amongst other things.

They asked questions to the Geopark associate such as whether you can fish squid there, do skydiving and so on. When the group were asked what they had written down, all 9 of them had said they wanted to try eating Okigyu, or “Oki Beef.” Local food is an absolute must to include on any travel plan.

Saki and her fellow research members’ original plan is complete, full of ways to feel the full power of Oki’s nature.

After learning about Oki, everybody got to try specialty products from the island. They lapped up the flavours of Oki while listening to Saki speak more about her time there.

Oki is famous for “Haruka,” a type of Iwagaki oyster. They are a brand of oyster raised in the beautiful waters of Nakanoshima in the town of Ama. They also tried other local delights such as turbo sazae rice balls, seaweed miso soup, sake lees crackers and kojouyu miso, fukugi tea and more.

Obsidian

Salted Polvorón Cookies (Oki Kisen Shoji) / Sake Lees Crackers (Oki Brewery) / Sake Lees Soap (jimono) / Fukugi Mist (jimono) / Fukugi Tea (Amacho Sakura no Ie)

At the end of the event, Saki and the members were given an obsidian key ring and batch of Oki souvenirs from the associate. Though the event took place in Tokyo, everybody was able to get their fill of Oki.

If you read this article and are interested in the Oki Islands, then we have some good news. All of the specialty products and souvenirs shown can be bought at Rito Kitchen Nihombashi who carried out this event. These aren’t easy to get your hands on unless you visit the islands, so if you’re in Tokyo, be sure to visit and enjoy the flavours of the Oki Islands.

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  • Explore the Beautiful Agriculture of Tokunoshima Island with Saki Shibata

    06.February.2019 | FASHION / SPOT

    Saki Shibata loves travel, both in her personal and work life. She was recently appointed ambassador of the Tokunoshima Island Gem Project.

    Her position runs until March 31, and during that time she is going to introduce to all of us the “gems,” or things made on the island, as well as its allures and charms.

    Saki receives her official ambassador certificate. “I will put my all into promoting the appeals of Tokunoshima. Let’s all work hard, together!” she says with enthusiasm and a smile.

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    しばさき 柴田紗希さん(@shibasaaki)がシェアした投稿

    To know the products, Saki must first learn about the people making them and where. She gets her hands on a tourist guidebook of Tokunoshima and studies. The island is approximately 470km south of mainland Kagoshima. It takes about an hour to get from there to the island in a plane. It’s also famous for triathlons and bullfighting.

    The main produce farmed on Tokunoshima is sugarcane. You can see sugarcane growing all over the island, and there are lots of different products made from sugarcane in souvenir shops.

    There is a rare and unusual product made from the island’s sugarcane “Shima no Napoleon.” It’s a type of sugarcane shochu sold on the island, outside of which only Amami Ōshima has special approval to make it, a neighbouring island. Saki saw the alcohol in shops and restaurants on Tokunoshima.

    Sugarcane shochu demands delicate control and management in the production process. Multiple types of storage vessels are used to contain it. Saki felt even more so just how special Shima no Napoleon is when she saw the place it was being made.

    There are plenty more special products being made from the sugarcane too. This includes additive-free cookies. They are sold in various flavours and are made on Tokunoshima. The manager said that the cookies came about from a desire to stock more products in the island’s souvenir shops using things available on the island. Much trial and error was put into crafting the best possible cookies.

    You can get them in stylish pouches or high quality packaging for that proper souvenir feel. The box type is really cute!

    The manager also kindly showed us around the factory. He has a wonderful smile!

    Saki was healed by the harmonious and peaceful atmosphere of everybody working.

    The next place Saki headed to was Tomita, an industrial association in Tokunoshima where they make raw peanuts. Tokunoshima is a producer of peanuts which has earned them the name Jimame, or “land of legumes.”

    The reason they sell the peanuts raw is because they want people to eat them with the flavour of their choosing at home. They also come with some simple recipes. Also, when planted, the raw peanuts give rise to sprouts in just a few days. People planting their own peanuts is something they want to encourage too.

    Let’s take a look at some of the other wonderful products. The Papaya Spice, a product of Okayama, goes well sprinkled lightly on meat, helping to bring out the meat’s full flavour. It’s packed with papaya enzymes and is supposed to be good when dieting.

     

    The Buta Miso is an accompaniment to a meal and is made from Berkshire pig, ginger, peanuts and other ingredients.

    If you want to visit Tokunoshima but haven’t got time then we’ve got some good news for you! If you’re in Tokyo between February 9 and March 8 this year, all of the “gems” you’ve seen up to now and more can be bought at Rito Kitchen in Nihonbashi. These are available for a limited time only, so head on over ASAP and enjoy the flavours of Tokunoshima.

     

    ■Information

    Rito Kitchen Nihonbashi

    Address: YUITO Nihonbashi Muromachi Nomura Building Floor B1F, 2-4-3 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-6225-2095

     

    Here are the products that Saki was most interested in when visiting Tokunoshima.

     

    The first is Shima no Hachimitsu, or “Island Honey” made by Shigeaki Maeda. This raw honey contains no sugar or additives. It has a very organic flavour that lets you taste the nature of Tokunoshima.

    Mr. Maeda handles every part of the manual labour effort when creating his honey, from collecting bees to operating the centrifuge to packaging. He understands customers may become worried as the concentrated honey solidifies when it’s stored below 14℃ (though this does not affect its quality, he explains), so he sells it from springtime.

    Contact:Shigeaki Maeda #201 5553-8 Kamezu Tokunoshima-cho Oshimagun Kagoshina

     

    This is called a Great Green Turban. You often see them spanning 20cm on Amami Ōshima, and you can even prep and cook them. Saki made them herself during her stay and enjoyed pasta and curry.

    Blue Shell, a Great Green Turban workshop, uses their mother-of-pearls to create beautiful stamps. Each and every one is handmade by the owner Umeyama, so all of them have their own unique forms and shapes.

     

    You can’t miss out on products made with oranges native to Tokunoshima either. The Dressing Candy, a brand of ponzu, is made with orange juice and fine powder and uses absolutely no agrochemicals. It’s a product that’s hard to get your hands on anywhere else.

     

    The 100% orange juice too is full of nutritional value and has even been called a “high power food.”

    Tokunoshima Airport is nicknamed Kodakara Kuukou, or “the airport treasured with children.” This comes from the high birth rate up and down the island. When you exit the airport you see women dubbed Nesugatayama as they look like the mountains when laying down. The airport is supposed to give you very good luck!

    Try discovering the beautiful charms of Tokunoshima yourself too like Saki, the ambassador of the Tokunoshima Island Gem Project, and be sure to visit Rito Kitchen too to enjoy the natural flavours of the island if you can’t make the trip.

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】Head to Vegetable Corporation in Motoasakusa for Coffee, music, and something for all five of your senses

    26.January.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Having appeared in many magazines such as “mer”, popular model Shibasaki is here today to start her “MY BOOM” pick-up plan. Since returning from her exchange in Korea, Shibasaki has been enlightened by delicious coffee. On this very day, she stepped foot into coffee bean and beer specialist shop “Vegetable Corporation”, which also provides music.

     

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    The shop is easily accessible. It is only a 5-minute walk from Inarichō station (Tokyo Metro Ginza line) and Shin-okachimachi Station (Toei Ōedo line). It can be reached within a 10-minute walk from Tawaramachi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza line), Kuramae Station (Toei Ōedo Line) and Ueno station (JR Yamanote line).

     

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    Shop owners Ryota Mikami and Syotaro Hayashi also own the music label Vegetable Record. Straying from an original format, the dream of entertaining many people with their music was the foundation for their new business. This is where the latest technology is fused with analogue, and coffee beans are sold with download codes alongside craft beer.

     

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    You can purchase coffee beans with an album download code or create your own personalized pack. The package label is decorated with their album artwork, creating a product that stimulates all five of your senses. Of course, there is the option of purchasing just the beans on their own.

     

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    You can also buy roaster coffee beans from Fukui prefecture that were specially selected by COZY COFFEE. You can enjoy the changing flavour of coffee that has been freshly brewed and when it cools. The deeply roasted coffee beans come in six varieties. You can taste the coffee before making a purchase whilst simultaneously enjoying the wonderful music – there’s no rush here. Relax and enjoy carefully choosing your dream beans at your own pace.

     

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    Shibasaki got right on the coffee tasting. As her preferences lean towards light flavours, she was recommended the Dominica Princess.

     

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     “The flavour spread through my entire mouth. The scent of rum was amazing! The aftertaste was refreshing like black tea. Non coffee-lovers would be alright with this!” said Shibasaki, affixing her seal of approval.

     

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    Next, Shibasaki experienced the changing flavour of coffee by trying it at different temperatures. It was time to try a freshly brewed coffee. Not only can you purchase coffee beans here, but also drip coffee (tax included price: ¥500). You can take out the drip coffee, so we recommend you enjoy a nice stroll around the area with a cup of coffee in one hand.

     

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    This is one of the popular items on the menu – the walnut and honey toastie (kurumi to hachimitsu no hottosando). The price including tax is ¥600. If you’re feeling rather peckish, you could try this dessert-like toastie.

     

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    The toastie is filled with juicy honey and the texture is like apple pie. It was so tasty that Shibasaki couldn’t help but exclaim “yum!” after just her first mouthful. By the way, this menu goes great with coffee and beer!

     

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    In addition, the signboard menu’s craft beer includes VERTERE craft beer, which is the best beer out of the 23 from Okutama’s breweries.

    These are different to ordinary beers – the fruity dessert beer is particularly popular. Shibasaki took advantage of it being midday and drank a glass.

    You can taste vanilla beans and orange in the brunch cream (price including tax: ¥700). It is more bittersweet than bitter to make a glass you can enjoy. Shibasaki’s verdict: “You can taste the fruity flavour so much that you won’t even think it is beer! It was so easy to drink! Even those who do not like beer will be able to easily gulp it all down”.

    She was very impressed.

     

    ※The brunch cream is currently sold out and therefore further sales are being postponed. For the latest updates, please check the store’s Instgram account. (https://www.instagram.com/vegetablecorporation/)

     

    カセット真顔差し替え

    Not only can you purchase their music through coffee beans and craft beer, but also CDs and cassette tapes. From the analogue generation to the digital native generation, Vegetable Cooperation is devoted to music and cannot stop loving it. How about spending a moment of supreme bliss at Vegetable Corporation yourself?

     

    ■Information

    Vegetable Corporation

    Address: 1st floor Matsushima Building, 1-14-7, Motoasakusa, Taitō ward, Tokyo

    Opening hours:11:00 〜 23:00 (Saturdays, Sundays & national holidays: 10:00 〜 23:00)

    Fixed holidays: None

    Access:A 5-minute walk from Inarichō station (Tokyo Metro Ginza line) and Shin-okachimachi Station (Toei Ōedo Line). A 10-minute walk from Tawaramachi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza line), Kuramae Station (Toei Ōedo Line) and Ueno station (JR Yamanote line)

    URL:http://www.vegetablerecord.com

     

    Model: Saki Shibata @shibasaaki

    モデル下

    Through her nickname “Shibasaki”, the much loved, multitalented model Saki Shibata has reached out to girls and women of all ages. Born an Aichi girl, Shibasaki grew to become a fashion model, featuring on the front cover of magazine “mer”. Her activity extends to broadcasting on the local radio and on Internet TV. Although time passes and trends change, you can always count on our Shibasaki to stay by your side. This is why many, many girls support her.

     

    Writer:Ryoichi Komaba

    Photographer :Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translator: Samantha Fernandes

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】Step into the Showa area at Uenosakuragi Atari, Yanesen. Introducing Kabaya Bakery & Yanaka Beer Hall.

    30.August.2017 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The essence of the Showa era lingers in the district of Yanesen. In the nearby residential area called “Uenosakuragi”, a new tourist spot by the name of “Uenosakuragi Atari” has been born. Model Saki Shibata pays a visit and expresses her love for the area, as the real authentic essence of Japan can be felt here. Today, we’re joining Saki-chan as she takes a stroll around the elegant and old Japanese-style neighbourhood.

     

    A living space you can share

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    After a short walk from Yanesen, we stumbled upon the residential area “Uenosakuragi Atari”, where a residential complex that was built 80 years ago had been refurbished. Many institutions sit snug in the complex, including a beer hall, bakery, salt and olive stores, rental spaces and much more.

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    Uenosakuragi Atari is only a 10-minute walk from JR Nippori station, JR Ueno station, Tokyo Metro Nezu station and Sendagi station. You can also get there quickly from Shibuya station and Harajuku station!

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    These three buildings were once used as a place of residence and was built in the 13th year of the Showa era. Whilst the outside retains its authentic appearance from the past, the inside has been renovated. Looking at the outside of the building, you would see a building from long ago. As you inspect the shops, each step you take reveals the extent of its beauty.

     

    When the council stumbled upon the old building, they pondered over whether it should be turned into a new car park, or whether it should serve as a new apartment complex. At that moment, the idea of renovating it came to mind. This is how the renovation came to be.

     

    From children to the elderly, people join together here to enjoy the neighbourhood. Uenosakuragi was created as a place where one can live in harmony with others.

     

    The bakery locals love

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    The love for Kayaba Bakery spreads not just amongst the tourists, but also the locals. This is the bakery of the famous coffee shop Yanaka Coffee.

     

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    The wheat used to make the bread is grown in Japan. Enjoy the soft and springy texture of this cutely-shaped bread – all of them look so delicious! The variety looked so good that Saki-chan took ages to decide which one to buy!

     

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    Small breads and small prices – that’s why we recommend you to buy lots and try lots! Look at Saki-chan, sat on a bench outside, stuffing her cheeks with the store’s popular “Jyagapan” (potato bread). The scent of rosemary from the bread wafting through the air will definitely catch you off guard.

     

    Breakfast, lunch or a quick snack – if you’re peckish and looking for a petit treat, this sweat bread is perfect!

     

     

    ▼ Store information

    Kayaba Bakery

    Address:Atari 2-1F, 2-15-6, Uenosakuragi, Taito, Tokyo

    Opening hours: 9:00〜19:00

    Closed: Mondays

    Telephone number: 03-5809-0789

    http://www.kayaba-bakery.com

     

     

    >>next page

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    A cosy autumn morning boat ride all to yourself

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    Sweet wagashi treats just for you

    While on the boat, guests are treated to a cup of matcha and some seasonal Japanese wagashi confections, like hard candies shaped like HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s logo and other colourful sweets made to look like maple leaves, ginkgo leaves, and more. These confections are made exclusively for the boat ride by Kameya Yoshinaga, a Japanese sweets shop that has been around since 1803, while the matcha is provided by Rishouen Chasho, a tea shop in Uji, Kyoto who have picked out specially selected leaves just for HOSHINOYA Kyoto.

     

    The roofed Kingfisher boat

    The boat guests will ride is owned by HOSHINOYA Kyoto and is called “Hisui” (Kingfisher). A switch can change the rooftop colour from white to transparent so you can look up and see the gorgeous blue sky.

     

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

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

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

    31.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

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

     

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

     

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

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

     

    Ingredients (Serves 1)


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

     

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

     

    Method

    We will start by making the chawanmushi.

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

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

     

    –How’s the taste?


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

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

    Recipe


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

     

    Model: Misa Kimura
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

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    Hotel amenities

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

    21.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley

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

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

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

     

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

    19.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

     

    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)

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

     

    Special Mentions

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

     

    Top 5 Hot Spring Chiku Popular With Japanese People

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

     

    Top 3 Foot Baths Popular With Japanese People

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

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

    18.July.2020 | SPOT

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

    Before the Hike: Trip Plan and Travel Accident Insurance

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

     

    Manners and Precautions While Hiking

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

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

     

    Dangers on the Trail and Emergency Measures

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

     

    100 Mountain Climbing & Hiking Courses

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

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

  • teamLab’s Acorn Forest Exhibition to Open in Saitama’s Higashi-Tokorozawa Park

    17.July.2020 | SPOT

    teamLab’s upcoming new digital art exhibition teamLab: Resonating Life in Acorn Forest is set to open in Higashi-Tokorozawa Park in Saitama on August 1, 2020. The interactive display will react to and change from the presence of people.

     

    The Kadokawa Culture Museum calls the collection of oaks and other deciduous broadleaf trees of Musashino the “Musashino Woods.” These Musashino Woods transition through the greens of spring and summer, display beautiful autumnal leaves from fall until early winter, and are home to ripe acorns in autumn.

     

    Deciduous broadleaf forests were widespread in Japan during the Jomon Period. These forests were home to acorn-bearing trees, and acorns were a major food source for the Jomon people. During the Jomon Period, many people existed alongside the acorn forests, living easily with this abundant food source.

     

    teamLab’s Digitized Nature art project uses non-material digital technology to transform nature into art without having a physical impact on it.

     

    teamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest will transform the acorn forests of Musashino into an interactive art space which changes due to the presence of people.

    Autonomous Resonating Life – Liquified Light Color, Sunrise and Sunset / teamLab, 2020, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    With sunrise, the ovoids begin to reflect the world around them. When pushed down by a person or blown by the wind, the ovoids fall back and then rise releasing a resonating tone. The ovoids around it also respond one after another, continuing to resonate with the same tone.

     

    As the sun sets, the ovoids shine by themselves. When an ovoid is pushed by a person or blown by the wind it falls down and then rises, a sound resonates out, and it emits a light color specific to the sound.

    Resonating Trees / teamLab, 2014, Interactive Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    The trees shine brightly. The light of each tree is autonomous, slowly blinking.

     

    The light transmitted from Autonomous Resonating Life – Liquified Light Color, Sunrise and Sunset causes the trees’ lights to change color, and a tone specific to that color resonates out. The light of a tree is transmitted to the surrounding trees one by one, as the sound is continuously emitted.

     

    When a light resonates from the trees in the distance, it signifies the presence of people. Perhaps people will become more aware of the existence of others in the same space.

  • Gaze at Japan’s Setting Sun Over the Horizon at Oedo Onsen Monogatari Shiomiso

    13.July.2020 | SPOT

    Oedo Onsen Monogatari Hotels & Resorts reopened “Oedo Onsen Monogatari Shiomiso” on July 10, 2020 after the hot spring hotel underwent some revamps.

    To commemorate the reopening, the hotel is now holding a dinner buffet and all-you-can-drink plan until August 31, 2020.

     

    Take a dip in the famous Senami Onsen

    Oedo Onsen Monogatari Shiomiso is home to Senami Onsen, a hot spring which first opened back in 1904 after the area was excavated for oil and the hot water shot out from the ground. Also known by the name “Netsu no Yu” (Hot Water), the hot spring has continued to offer rich quantities of water for over 100 years. Japanese poet and pioneering feminist Yosano Akiko wrote a poem about the place in 1937.

    The water is thick and transparent, and also has chloride in it, which helps prevent sweat from evaporating, leading to moisturised skin. You also don’t feel cold after leaving the water, and the water has sterilising properties. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing experience while gazing out across the Japanese sea at the evening  setting sun.

     

    Choose the right room for your trip

    There are a number of different rooms to pick from that cater to all kinds of travels, such as the ocean view Japanese-style rooms which accommodate 2-5 people, rooms with a terrace, Japanese-style rooms with open-air baths, and more.

     

    All-you-can-drink summer drinks and a gourmet buffet

    The new restaurant serves up a menu by legendary Japanese chef Takaharu Takashina, with seasonal ingredients sourced in Niigata Prefecture. The restaurant serves a Japanese and Western fusion buffet, a diverse breakfast assortment, and more. There’s sushi, fried foods, fish from the Japan sea, exquisite rice, and much more to enjoy.

     

    Affordable summer all-you-can-drink

    The all-you-can-drink plan comes with evening buffet as a set and is running until August 31, priced at just ¥1,500. Cool down from the summer heat with a refreshing beer, highball, or other beverage to enjoy with your meal.

     

    All-You-Can-Drink Plan

    Running: Until August 31, 2020

    Time: 60-minutes max in the evenings

    Menu: Beer, Shochu, Highball, Sours, and more.

  • Take a Summer Trip to Karuizawa in Style at Hoshino Resorts BEB Karuizawa

    12.July.2020 | SPOT

    “BEB” is a brand of hotel established by Hoshino Resorts which aims to support young people travelling by being cost-effective as well as make travelling more fun for the younger generation. This year, BEB5 Karuizawa is promoting a spending a fun and stylish summertime.

     

    Enjoy the outdoors in a wide, open space

    The indoor “Yagura Room” is fitted with spacious sofas and bed spaces where people can chat together, read a book, and enjoy their free time. There’s also “TAMARIBA,” a 24-hour public space with a garden, lounge, cafe, and library. A cool breeze sweeps through the tall windows, letting in cool air on a hot summer’s day. Guests can kick back and enjoy some relaxation. The cafe even sells wine so guests can treat themselves to an evening drink or have a little drinking get-together with friends.

     

    Summer resort rental items

    Guests can experience the true thrill of summertime in Karuizawa with a selection of rental items including straw hats, a bug catching net, portable speakers, electric fans, and more. These can be rented from July 13, 2020 to August 31, 2020.

     

    The lush green outdoors surrounds the hotel

    BEB5 Karuizawa is located in one corner of the Karuizawa Hoshino Area which is home to a bright green forest. Located laong the bath is Harunire Terrace which is home to 16 unique shops, and there’s even a hot spring which flows directly from the water source.

    Hoshino Onsen Tonbo no Yu

    There are plenty of things for guests to do outside, including participating in a nature tour hosted by wild flora and fauna specialists Picchio, having a picnic at the benches by the flowing water, and more.

     

    Karuizawa is one of Japan’s best places for a summer retreat. Just a one hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, it’s an easy place to access from the country’s capital.

  • Wine and Dine at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto’s Luxurious New ‘Champagne Garden’

    11.July.2020 | SPOT

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened its limited-time “Champagne Garden” on July 3 at its first floor outdoor terrace restaurant Brasserie. Running until September 6, customers can enjoy free-flow French Bollinger champagne and cocktails.

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened back in October 2016 as a luxury hotel, home to the famous Sekisuien Gardens which have a history spanning back 800 years and are mentioned in the The Tale of the Heike epic. The hotel’s first floor restaurant Brasserie has towering 9-meter tall windows that look out onto these gardens, while inside customers can enjoy dining in a stylish environment.

    The champagne served in the Champagne Garden is produced by the French Champagne house Bolligner, a company that started by Jacques Bollinger in 1829. Fermented in oak barrels, the champagne has sophisticated and complex flavours. In 1884, Bolligner received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.

    At the Champagne Garden, guests can enjoy four different types of canapé made by the restaurant’s head chef Koga together with a glass of Bolligner. They can also order rosé wine, cocktails, or soft drinks too, all of which are free-flow. And since the restaurant faces the garden, guests can enjoy the view of the greenery throughout all four seasons, in central Kyoto.

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto reopened on July 1 after closing temporarily due to COVID-19. The hotel has launched its “Lead With Care” program which ensures guests and staff are at the top of the priority list for safety against the coronavirus.

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