Learn About Shimane Prefecture’s Oki Islands with Japanese Model Saki Shibata
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.
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.
Rito Kitchen Nihombashi
Address: Nihombashi Muromachi Nomura Bldg., 2-4-3 Nihombashi Muromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
For details on Oki UNESCO Global Geopark please visit: http://www.oki-geopark.jp/
Explore the Beautiful Agriculture of Tokunoshima Island with Saki Shibata
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
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.
Rito Kitchen Nihonbashi
Address: YUITO Nihonbashi Muromachi Nomura Building Floor B1F, 2-4-3 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Shibasaki got right on the coffee tasting. As her preferences lean towards light flavours, she was recommended the Dominica Princess.
“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.
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.
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.
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!
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/)
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
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)
Model： Saki Shibata @shibasaaki
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.
Photographer ：Kayo Sekiguchi
Translator： Samantha Fernandes
【Tokyo Stroll】Step into the Showa area at Uenosakuragi Atari, Yanesen. Introducing Kabaya Bakery & Yanaka Beer Hall.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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
Address：Atari 2-1F, 2-15-6, Uenosakuragi, Taito, Tokyo
Opening hours: 9:00〜19:00
Telephone number: 03-5809-0789
Hirosaki and Hakodate to Begin Winter Tourism Campaign with Snow Miku Starting December 2022
26.November.2022 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT
The cities of Hirosaki and Hakodate in Hokkaido have announced that they will team up with Hatsune Miku’s popular iteration Snow Miku to promote tourism in the area this winter. A number of activities will begin in December 2022.
[Snow Miku x Hirohako] Collaboration Project
■Hirohako Winter Tourism Campaign Poster Featuring Snow Miku
・Period: Mid-November~February 28, 2023
・Locations: Facilities in both cities, tourist facilities, hotels, shopping areas
■Snow Miku Illustration Contest Exhibition Event
Over 50 illustrations have been submitted under the theme of Snow Miku and Hakodate / Snow Miku and Hirosaki. These will be on display through the winter!
・Running: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Venues: Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center (Hirosaki)
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse (Hakodate)
■Snow Miku Photo Spot
Snow Miku panels featuring shamisen and apples from Hirosaki will be on display, while the Hakodate version will include references to squid fishing and footbaths.
・On Display: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: JR Hirosaki Station, Chuohirosaki Station (Hirosaki)
JR Hakodate Station, Hakodate Airport (Hakodate)
■Digital Stamp Rally Using the Mikunavi App
A number of panels will be installed at five checkpoints in Hirosaki and Hakodate. A total of 1,000 people–500 in each city–will win original merch including a Snow Miku mask case and decorated masking tape. All you need to do is check in!
・Available: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: (Hirosaki) Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center, Hirosaki City Machinaka Information Center,
Hirosaki Tourist Information Center, Hirosaki Castle Information Center, Tsugaru-han Neputa Village
(Hakodate) Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, Yunokawa Hot Spring Footbath, Goryōkaku Tower,
Hakodate Green Plaza C Block (Hakodate Lumi-Pop), Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward
■Hirohako Winter Tourism Campaign Theme Song and Music Video
The tourism theme song will get a new music video that will be broadcast on YouTube, at local tourist facilities, and on TV and radio!
・On Air: December 1, 2022~
・Theme Song: Mahou no Keshiki (Lyrics/Composition: ryuryu)
■Snow Miku Welcome Announcements to be Broadcast at Tourism Facilities, etc.
A one-minute welcome announcement by Snow Miku will air at tourist facilities!
・Running: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: Tourist areas in both cities
■Snow Miku Filters Using AR
When each barcode is scanned with a smartphone, Snow Miku will appear on the screen! Visitors can take pictures with Snow Miku to commemorate their winter trip to Hirosaki and Hakodate.
・Available: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
Hirosaki x Hakodate x Snow Miku Tourism Campaign
Beginning December 2022
Private Jet Package Now Available in Toyama Offering Spectacular View of Tateyama Mountains
22.June.2022 | SPOT
Mizu to Takumi, a company associated with the Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association, has teamed up with SKYTREK to offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the area via private jet. Reservations for the incredible experience began on June 17, 2022.
Offering an entirely new tourism experience in Toyama Prefecture, visitors can see the area’s natural wonders from miles above the Earth. The program also aims to share local culture and more about traditional craftsmanship and cuisine.
Toyama Prefecture boasts dramatic topography, from the massive peaks of the Northern Alps and the Tateyama Mountains to the deep waters of Toyama Bay. To better allow visitors to see the sights, these private jet tours will be chartered on special courses different from standard airlines.
After the flights, guests will be welcomed to explore Takaoka’s deep history and culture. Kane no Sanzun, a restored and preserved inn, will welcome visitors, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating time.
Visitors can also book optional excursions to further explore the area, such as a Zen meditation experience at a famous temple in Takaoka, a traditional crafting workshop, and a tour and tasting of the only whiskey distillery in the Hokuriku region.
Come enjoy a trip to Toyama with a whole new perspective!
Travel to Toyama by Private Jet
Available: June 17 – October 26, 2022
Travel Period: June 22 – October 31, 2022
Airbnb Reveals Top 10 Most Popular Summer Destinations in Japan
08.June.2022 | SPOT
Airbnb boasts one of the largest travel communities in the world, filled with users offering up lodging and those eager to visit somewhere new. The Japanese subsidiary of the company has revealed the top spots added to Japanese users ‘Favorites (Wish Lists)’ from May 1 to May 17, 2022. Where will travelers in the country be headed this summer?
Golden Week is long gone and users are starting to think about where to visit during the hottest part of the year. This national ‘Wish List’ might make it easier to pick a spot, with many locations highlighting lesser-known areas!
Gujo Hachiman Villa, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Gifu)
This completely private rental villa was made for sauna enthusiasts. One lucky pair per day can book this suite along the Yoshida River flowing through Gujo Hachiman, known as the “City of Water and Dance.” Currently booked through the end of August, reservations for September and beyond will be available in early June. Book a stay to enjoy the gorgeous autumn foliage!
A House Surrounded by Lush Greenery in the Countryside (Tottori)
Hosted by a family of musicians and architects, this guesthouse invites guests to enjoy gorgeous Nordic-inspired interiors and the serene quiet of the countryside. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect spot.
Hoshina Satomachi, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Nagano)
There’s nothing like spending the summer in a traditional Japanese home. Enjoy a barbeque on the terrace and relax on the massive lawn. This is the perfect spot for families with children or pets!
Coastal Cabin (Chiba)
You can’t have summer without a pool. This luxurious coastal retreat boasts a 15-meter pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, bonfire space, and a barbeque. Relax by the pool while listening to your favorite songs or soak in the outdoor bath as you watch the waves crash along the shore.
An Elegant and Peaceful Log Cabin (Nagano)
Located at 1,300 meters above sea level on the Iizuna plateau, this log cabin is situated in the midst of a dense forest. A perfect space for couples, families, or small groups of friends, guests are welcome to enjoy hiking through this gorgeous landscape in the center of Japan!
Izu, the Setting for Laid-Back Camp, Now Offering Travel Plans
24.May.2022 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT
JR Tokai Tours has released a new travel plan for fans of Laid-Back Camp Season 2, which aired from January to March 2021. The tour will take place in the Izu area, which was heavily featured in episodes 10, 11, and 12. Guests can enjoy a travel plan with single lodging and original goods starting May 23 until June 29, 2022.
The slice-of-life series Laid-Back Camp is currently serialized in COMIC FUZ.
Set in Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures, Laid-Back Camp is a relaxing series following a group of high school girls going camping and enjoying their daily lives. The series is based on the author Afro’s personal experiences and interviews, and since serialization in 2015, the series has attracted fans from around the world. The original comic has sold over 7 million copies. In 2018, the first anime series premiered, inspiring a spin-off Room Camp in 2020 and a second season in 2021.
Four years after it was announced in 2018, a Laid-Back Camp animated film will arrive in theaters this summer.
Laid-Back Camp Season 2 Model Trip Plan
Release Date: May 16, 2022
Trip Dates: May 23 – June 29, 2022 *Some dates are excluded.
Official Site: https://www.jrtours.co.jp/
EMOCAL, a Project to Support Japanese Regions, Releases Music Using Local Sound Samples
The EMOCAL project aims to support small-town areas of Japan. As a new initiative in the project, specific soundscapes only found in certain areas of the country have been combined with music to create some unique tracks. A selection of musical artists have collaborated with the project to bring these songs to life!
EMOCAL was created by ZOWA’s original label, CatchyStuck. The project supports local regions and communities by using ASMR soundscape videos recorded in each region to convey their particular charms to all of Japan. The sounds recorded in each place are considered to be very valuable and are intended to serve two purposes: to bring tourism back after the pandemic and to provide fans of ASMR a way to experience these areas from afar.
Check out each of these unique ambient tracks created by four up-and-coming musicians! Each song is available on viviON’s ASMR platform ZOWA and on Spotify.
Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture / Ikkyuu x Hige Driver, I Love Ikkyuu
Beard Driver created this ambient track with sounds recorded inside of Ikkyuu, a ramen shop.
Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture / Miyuki no Hama x Powerless, Seiren
Powerless created this track, inspired by the sounds of waves crashing at Miyuki no Hama, a seaside recreation area 20 minutes from Odawara Station.
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture / Wasabi Field x baker, On the silent hill
Utogi in Shizuoka city is surrounded by incredible nature. Known as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation, baker used sounds recorded in the area to create this ambient track.
Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture / Cape Tara x SeA0, Akushu
Cape Tara is a popular spot featuring an 800-meter-long sandbar at low tide. The sounds captured here were used by artist SeA0, and this track is sure to make you miss the water.
Official Site: https://catchystuck.jp/ambient/
Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar Opens on Japan’s Southernmost Island
30.March.2022 | SPOT
The Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar, located at Hoshino Resort Risonare Kohamajima on Japan’s southernmost island, is holding a special stargazing event until April 20, 2022. Visitors can enjoy a cocktail as they gaze at the countless twinkling stars overhead.
Kohama Island is located within the Yaeyama Islands. With a warm climate, it’s comfortable to spend long hours outside, even at night. Kohamajima was also the first island in Japan to be protected by the IDA (International Darkness Association), meaning that no bright manmade lights can interfere with stargazing. Visitors can see 84 of 88 constellations!
Enjoy a Boundless Starry Sky
The Banyan Tree Terrace will bring guests together to feel the sea breeze and taste colorful mojitos as they enjoy the pleasant weather. Why not spend a relaxing time in a fantastic space lit with faintly glowing candles as you stargaze?
Taste Colorful Mojitos
A limited number of colorful mojitos will be available at a bar counter set up on the terrace for this event only. You can also enjoy Okinawan original mojitos with made with Okinawa lime, brown sugar instead of sugar, non-alcoholic mojitos for children, and tropical fruit mojitos with pineapple and passion fruit.
Munch on Snacks Perfect to Pair with Cocktails
Guests can also enjoy a snack set with salty nuts perfect for enjoying with alcohol!
Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar
Open: March 1 – April 20, 2022
Location: Banyan Tree Terrace
Official Site: https://risonare.com/kohamajima/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Collaborates with Popular Shimane Manju for LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her major label debut, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is staying active in 2022. In conjunction with the nationwide tour, the “LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project” was launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities, and has been attracting major attention. Kyary’s tour made it to Shimane on March 12, and the details of her next collaboration have been revealed!
Kyary will be teaming up with Nakaura Foods and their delicious local delicacy Dojou Sukui Manju. Known as the representative treat of the San’in region, the name is a reference to the mask worn during local performances of the Yasugibushi folk song. The steamed buns were developed by Nakaura Foods in 1967 and have been loved by locals ever since. In the 2000s, the company began experimenting with new flavors by teaming up with other local creators.
The company’s logo is being reimagined for the project, inspired by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s 2013 Furisodeshon music video.
The name of the popular product has also been changed to Kyary Sukui Manju! Each box has a pop design and would make a perfect souvenir for Kyary fans.
A collaborative T-shirt is also on sale featuring the new logo and the singer’s 10th-anniversary logo. A special LINE collaboration is also underway, and 50 people who order the new Kyary-themed treats from the official Nakaura Foods online store will be entered to win a shirt!
Dojou Sukui Manju (Shimane) x LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Sales Period: March 12 – April 8, 2022
Where to Buy:
Nakaura Foods Official Online Store
Nakaura Foods Stores in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture and Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture
Where to Purchase: LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project Online Shop
Available until March 25 at 23:59
Commemorative Kyary Sukui Manju T-shirt Gift Campaign
Application Period: April 8, 2022
How to Enter:
- Add Nakaura Foods as a friend on LINE and get the campaign keyword.
- Enter the keyword when purchasing Kyary Sukui Manju from the Nakaura Foods online store.
- 50 winners will be selected by drawing to receive a special collaborative T-shirt!
Booking.com Reveals 4 Best Lodgings with Outdoor Baths for Snow Viewing
16.March.2022 | SPOT
Booking.com Japan has revealed its top four picks for the Japanese accommodations with the best outdoor baths and snow views!
Zao Kokusai Hotel (Zao Onsen, Yamagata Prefecture)
Located 900 meters above sea level and surrounded by the gorgeous natural beauty of the Zao mountains, this resort has long been renowned for its spectacular view of seasonal scenery. During winter, guests can enjoy a fully spring-fed open-air bath while gazing at the snow-capped mountains. The milky white waters of the Zao Hot Springs have high sulfur content which will improve the texture of your skin. The resort also has a bath large enough to accommodate up to seven people at a time and a private bath for families or lovers.
Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa (Date, Hokkaido)
The Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa is surrounded by nature and contains one of the largest open-air baths in Japan, along with 20 unique fragrant baths for guests to enjoy. In winter, the surrounding trees seem to glisten with snow, and visitors are sure to find plenty of peace and relaxation while lounging beneath the grey skies.
Akakura Kanko Hotel (Myoko, Niigata Prefecture)
This highland resort sits on a 1,000-meter peak, offering unmatched views of Niigata Prefecture. The natural hot spring flows from the inside of Mt. Myoko, with healing waters perfect for soaking in during the cold winter months. The large baths are also equipped with a sauna and deck, and those wanting to view the scenery from their room can enjoy guest accommodations with private baths as well!
Satoyama Jujo (Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture)
Winning a design award for its facilities, Satoyama Jujo has a different feel when compared to most hotels and ryokan. Booking.com recommends it for travelers looking for new experiences! In the open-air bath, visitors can relax while enjoying a panoramic view of Mt. Makihata, one of Japan’s 100 most famous peaks. Guests can also enjoy the starry skies at night. This is a perfect location for couples!
Each season in Japan offers uniquely beautiful scenery. How would you like to enjoy winter in one of these luxurious baths?
Three Japanese Tourism Instagram Accounts to Follow for Travel Inspiration
07.March.2022 | SPOT
The pandemic has changed our lives forever. People have spent the last two years missing travel as they spend more and more time at home, and while many are ready to travel again, it can be difficult to know if it’s the right time to return to normalcy. To make the situation a little easier, many local tourism associations in Japan are posting images on Instagram to inspire people to give traveling another try. These three Instagram accounts are our personal favorites, and once Japan opens to tourists again, you won’t want to miss visiting these areas!
[Official Kumamoto Tourism Association] Motto, motto, Kumamoto!Instagramでこのプロフィールを見る
もっと、もーっと！くまもっと。【熊本県観光公式】(@kumamotto.official) • Instagram写真と動画
Discover the charms of Kumamoto on this local Instagram account featuring photos from four unique local photographers. Many will know the area as the home of the character Kumamon. The images capture the daily lives of Kumamoto residents and include local food and gorgeous scenery. The postings also include the location of the photo and comments from the photographers, making things feel more personal.
[Official Hokkaido Tourism Association] GoodDay HokkaidoInstagramでこのプロフィールを見る
GoodDay北海道(@goodday_hokkaido) • Instagram写真と動画
Hokkaido is an area rich in gourmet seafood and dairy, but its spectacular landscapes are reason enough to visit. GoodDay Hokkaido shows off both the common and uncommon elements of Hokkaido life, often introducing little-known areas. Each photo is vividly colored, and followers can see different seasons at every time of day as they scroll through the feed. See the best images from Japan’s northernmost island each and every day on your smartphone!
[Ome / Okutama] UmetamaInstagramでこのプロフィールを見る
うめたま｜OME&OKUTAMA TOKYO(@umetama.official) • Instagram写真と動画
Umetama is an account that introduces places of interest in Ome and Okutama, two of Tokyo’s most scenic towns. Each can be reached in about an hour by train from Shinjuku Station. Visitors can enjoy a gorgeous day trip from the Tokyo center, with the area featuring plenty of campsites and hiking trails. There are tons of stargazing spots, and visitors are often surprised that such incredible nature is so close to Japan’s hectic capital. Those with kids will find plenty to do here, so start taking notes while you scroll through the Umetama page!
More and more young people are finding the appeal of Ome and Okutama, and the area has become the perfect relaxation spot for those seeking refuge from their busy lives. In addition, the craft beer bar Ome Beer, located near Ome Station, sells local alcohol, including Okutama’s popular craft beer ‘Vertere.’ See the lesser-known side of Tokyo on this picturesque account.
Remember how wonderful it is to travel? Hopefully, Japan opens for tourism again soon, and you can visit all of these gorgeous locales.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Announces ‘LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project’ to Support Rural Areas
20.January.2022 | Uncategorized
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her major label debut, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is back in the news. The artist will perform at this year’s Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the United States, and recently released her first full-length album in three years ‘Candy Racer’ in October 2021. On January 16, Kyary embarked on the largest tour of her career, ‘Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 10th ANNIVERSARY JAPAN TOUR 2022 CANDY WAVE,’ which will see the singer performing 30 shows across Japan.
In conjunction with the nationwide tour, the “LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project” was launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities. The 30 stops on the new tour include many that Kyary has not visited before, and were chosen based on the singer’s desire to perform for fans who may not typically be able to attend one of her shows.
This initiative aims to bring attention and support to local industries and to inspire more tourism to rural areas.
This project is a new attempt to enliven local communities by collaborating with companies that have roots in the rural locations where these concerts will be held. These company’s logos have been reimagined, paying homage to the artwork associated with Kyary’s previous song releases. T-shirts designed with each of these collaborative logos will be on sale for a limited time, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the local community for development and social contributions.
For the encore of the first live show, Kyary wore a collaboration logo T-shirt inspired by Suzuhiro Kamaboko, a company in Kanagawa Prefecture. The artist also introduced the project and its aim to the excited audience. More collaborations will be announced through July 2021.
Check out the ‘LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project’ website for more details!
Comment from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
“This tour is to commemorate my tenth anniversary, and as I travel all over Japan to express my gratitude to those who have supported me over the past decade, I also want to do something for everyone else. I’m happy to support these local companies and I’d like to work with them to revitalize the entire country. We’ll be engaging in all sorts of collaborations around Japan, so look forward to it!”
January 16, Kanagawa Performance: Suzuhiro Kamaboko
Suzuhiro Kamaboko, a long-established fish paste store in Odawara that has been in business for 156 years, has agreed to take part in the project. Their normally navy blue brand logo has received a major makeover in colorful pink, green, and purple hues.
The T-shirts featuring the new collaboration logo on the front and the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 10th anniversary logo and ‘LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project’ logo on the back are now available for purchase!
*Otono Kuni (From 4th Album ‘Japamyu,’ 2018)
Streaming Links: https://lnk.to/otonokuni
January 29, Gunma Performance: Oginoya Kamameshi
Oginoya, the largest Ekiben shop in Japan, was established 136 years ago in Yokokawa, Gunma Prefecture.
Their main dish, Touge no Kamameshi,’ has been sold for over 60 years and often makes appearances at events all over Japan. The company’s logo has been reborn through the lens of Kyary’s popular song Tsukematsukeru. A special kamameshi dish will also be prepared for the project, and will be sold in limited quantities at the Gunma concert venue on January 29, Kyary’s birthday!
*Tsukematsukeru (1st Single, 2012)
Streaming Links: https://lnk.to/tsukematsukeru
May 20, Fukushima Performance: Kourakuen
Kyary will appear in commercials for Kourakuen as part of the project. The company started as a small diner in Aizuwakamatsu and is now is a national chain of ramen restaurants serving over 54 million people a year! The new logo and collaboration details will be revealed at a later date, so keep an eye out!
LOCAL POWER JAPAN project
Maybe Baby (Written and Composed by Yasutaka Nakata)
Streaming Links: https://lnk.to/KPP_MaybeBaby
5th Full Album ‘Candy Racer’ (Produced by Yasutaka Nakata)
Buy the CD: https://nippon-columbia.lnk.to/CANDYRACER
Tour Details: https://kpp10.jp/japantour2022/
Lawson Ticket: https://l-tike.com/kpp10th/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Explores Tomakomai, Hokkaido in New Tour Video
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is introducing potential travelers to the charms of Tomakomai, Hokkaido in a new two-part tourism video on her YouTube channel.
In the new videos, fans can see Kyary in a new light very unlike her onstage persona. Along with her tour guides, she travels for two days around this gorgeous city on Japan’s northernmost island.
The first video begins with her visit to a Red Eagles Hokkaido hockey game, quickly followed by tons of outdoor activities like canoeing and horseback riding. The singer enjoys plenty of local dishes and captures some spectacular views of Lake Utonai.
Who is the one who invited Kyary to Tomakomai anyway? Fans will have to watch to find out. Whether living in Japan or dreaming about visiting someday, these videos are sure to inspire a future trip.
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu presents Around Japan
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Tomakomai Tour ~A Beautiful Trip to Tomakomai~
Release Date: December 16, 2021 (Part 1) ／ December 23, 2021 (Part 2)
Where to Watch: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Official YouTube Channel
Tomakomai City Tourism Website:
Model Shibata Saki’s Trip to Mie Prefecture to Air on BS12 for 2 Consecutive Weeks
18.November.2021 | SPOT
On November 18 and November 25, national free broadcasting service BS12 will air ‘NEXT TRIP: A Luxury Resort Trip to Ise and Shima.’ The host for the excursion will be popular model Shibata Saki (nicknamed Shibasaki), who is a well-known figure to women of all ages.
NEXT TRIP is a new travel program that helps travelers figure out where to go next. The theme of the series is “Where should I go once the world settles down?” From visiting popular city spots to faraway resorts in Japan and abroad, the show aims to introduce people to locations they haven’t discovered yet, showcasing what the world has to offer. Those watching should keep a lookout for spectacular scenery, gourmet local food, outdoor activities, and so much more.
[Part 1] November 18, 2021, 9:00 – ‘NEXT TRIP: A Journey to Ise’
In this episode, Saki Shibata travels to Ise, Mie Prefecture, first visiting Ise Shrine to pay her respects. The shrine is one of the holiest and important sites in the Shinto faith and was said to be established in the year 4 BCE. After visiting the Inner Shrine on a bright and sunny morning, Shibata travels to the ancient Okage Yokocho street to find some souvenirs and enjoy a local cafe to enjoy Ise’s famous rice cakes and traditional Japanese sweets. For lunch, she visits a very retro western-style building. At the nearby Ise Ninja Kingdom, guests can wear ninja costumes, and Shibata does just that! As the day comes to an end, Shibata opts to stay at a luxurious ryokan, Ikyuu, and highlights the incredible dinner and other services the lodging offers.
Air Date: November 18, 2021 / 9:00-10:00
[Part 2] November 25, 2021, 9:00 – ‘NEXT TRIP: A Luxury Resort Trip to Ise and Shima’
The second part of the trip begins with cycling. Visiting the famous Married Couple Rocks on the coast of Futami, Shibata sets out for Shima. After enjoying the breathtaking view from the ‘Mailbox in the Sky’ on the Ise-Shima Skyline, she stays at a resort overlooking the Shima coast. Guests are welcome to take a leisurely stroll around the grounds and enjoy a luxury cruise or dinner. The sunset is something Saki Shibata will surely never forget.
Air Date: November 25, 2021 / 9:00-10:00
Where do you want to travel in Japan once the world settles down?