Japan is home to many castles, but which are the most searched for online? Hankyu Travel International has answered this very question by ranking the top 10 most searched Japanese castles over the past year.
Japan’s castles are ever-popular, lauded and enjoyed for their elegant architecture, their natural surroundings which transform with each passing season, and their eventful histories.
In recent years they have enjoyed much social media attention on websites like Instagram and are one of the big tourist spots with foreigners visiting the island nation. Some castles have even incorporated the latest cutting-edge technology, like AR and VR, to provide modern tour guide service. The appearance of the castles change with every era, and for each one the Japanese castle boom never lets up.
1st Place: Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
Himeji Castle hails as Japan’s first designated World Heritage Site. It has also been appointed a national treasure and Important Cultural Property. It continues its reign from last year by once again taking the No. 1 spot. It is known by its nickname Shirasakijou (White Heron Castle) as its graceful exterior is like that of the spread wings of a white heron. Visitors not only enjoy the castle’s appearance but its history too which told by the display items situated up and down its floors, from the basement up to the sixth. Waiting atop the apex is a vantage point to take in the sights and scenery spread around and beyond the castle grounds. What’s more, is that every day from sunset to midnight the castle is illuminated with lights, offering a completely different visiting experience for people in the evening. Besides the main castle, Some of its iconic spots include the Keshou Yagura where Senhime, or Lady Sen, was said to use as a resting place. There is also Okiku’s Well which features in the Japanese ghost story Banshō Sarayashiki.
Himeji Castle Website: https://www.himejicastle.jp/en/
Hankyu Travel Information Page: https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kinki/hyogo/himejijo/?p_baitai=9597
2nd Place: Takeda Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
Takeda Castle is located in Hyogo Prefecture’s city of Asago on a mountain 353.7m above sea level. This ruined castle was abandoned some 400 years ago and is now just home to its old stone walls. Surrounding the castle is a bellowing bed of thick fog which looks like a sea of clouds. This has led the castle to be nicknamed the “castle in the sky,” and in recent years it has enjoyed bustling popularity. In the plaza in front of the Tenku no Shiro Information Center, which is attached to Takeda Station, a special ice cream called “Mofu Mofu Soft” is sold on weekends and during holidays which is wrapped in a big fluffy serving of candy floss to look like the mountain and fog. Its Instagram-worthy appearance makes it popular with tourists. The closest cat park to the castle is about a 20-minute walk, so put on some comfy trainers or mountain climbing shoes and begin your ascent.
Takeda Castle Website: http://www.city.asago.hyogo.jp/takeda/
Hankyu Travel Information Page: https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kinki/takeda_castle/?p_baitai=9597
3rd Place: Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)
In Nagano Prefecture’s special city of Matsumoto you will encounter the famous Matsumoto Castle. It is admired for the beauty in its outer walls which are covered in white plastering and black lacquering. It is also a must-visit for its view of the Japanese northern Alps. Various smartphone apps have been developed related to Matsumoto Castle including a quiz game (国宝松本城クイズ) as well as Street Museum (ストリートミュージアム) which offers a VR experience of the Edo period. There are also people dressed in armour and ninja gear in the castle, so be sure to track one down and have your photo taken with them.
Matsumoto Castle Website: https://www.matsumoto-castle.jp/lang/
Hankyu Travel Information Page: https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/kanto.php?p_baitai=9597#Anc01
4th Place: Nagoya Castle (Aichi Prefecture)
It is said that Nagoya Castle was constructed in order for Tokugawa Ieyasu to unify the whole of Japan. It is just a 10-minute train ride from Nagoya Station. Since June 2018 the Honmaru Palace has been on full display to the public, and visitors can also visit the Jourakuden which was built in full luxury for the third Tokugawa shogun Iemitsu to stay in. The newly-opened Kinshachi Yokocho is also drawing attention, a commercial facility connected to the Nagoya Castle area which recreates the castle town. In 2018, 2.2 million people visited Nagoya castle. The castle has been ranked third place many times and has moved up to 4th this year from its last position in 10th place.
Nagoya Castiel Official Website: https://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp/en/
Hankyu Travel Information Page: https://www.hankyu-travel.com/kokunai/castle/chubu-hokuriku.php?p_baitai=9597#Anc05
Details on 5th-10th place can be found on Hankyu Travel’s official website here. Use this valuable reference when planning your next trip to a Japanese castle.
Top 10 Most Search For Japanese Castles
1st Place – Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
2nd Place – Takeda Castle (Hyogo Prefecture)
3rd Place – Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Prefecture)
4th Place – Nagoya Castle (Aichi Prefecture)
5th Place – Hikone Castle (Shiga Prefecture)
6th Place – Goryōkaku (Hokkaido)
7th Place – Matsue Castle (Shimane Prefecture)
8th Place – Osaka Castle (Osaka Prefecture)
9th Place – Hirosaki Castle (Aomori Prefecture)
10th Place – Inuyama Castle (Aichi Prefecture)
*Ranked from the most searched castles from April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2019.
Fufu Nara: The First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Nara Park is Designed by Kengo Kuma
09.June.2020 | SPOT
Fufu Nara is set to be the first luxury hotel to open inside Nara Park on June 5, 2020. Designed by industry-leading Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the hotel promises a unique dining experience with food served using herbal medicines that can only be tasted here, and guest rooms that are covered in art made by Nara-based artists who use traditional techniques. Both the dining and accommodation experiences aim to immerse guests in the culture of Nara.
Witness the handiwork of Nara’s artists
Nara is a city steeped with beautiful history and culture. This has been captured by the artists who have collaborated with Fufu Nara in the form of paintings, crafts, entrance decorations, and more. A stay at Fufu Nara is an opportunity to witness first hand the deep traditions and techniques of Nara’s art world.
There are 30 rooms in total which are split into five different types. For example, one room type is designed around the old Japanese style of sitting on the floor. Inks and woods are used in the room to enhance that feeling that you’re in Nara, and the colour tones too are chosen to bring to mind the ancient city.
Fufu Nara’s dining concept
Nara Prefecture is closely tied to herbal medicines. Herbal medicine came about in the year 611 during the monarch of Empress Suiko. It is written in the Nihon Shoki that the use of herbal medicine had already been adopted by the time Prince Shōtoku was serving under the Empress. Many different traditional herbal medicines are still used in Nara today, including Angelica root, shakuyaku peonies, fennel, and so on. Traditional herbal medicines have become popular again in the prefecture in recent years.
The food prepared at Nara Fufu makes use of ingredients grown and produced in Nara, from vegetables to herbs and beyond. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all incorporate Japanese and Chinese herbal ingredients.
Spa by sisley
The hotel also has a spa made in collaboration with French luxury skin care brand Sisley. There, guests can enjoy Fufu Nara’s medicated baths.
Address: 1184-1 Takabatakecho, Nara, Nara Prefecture
Grand Opening: June 5, 2020
Price: From ¥77,000 (for 1 night and 2 meals for 2 guests in 1 room) *Tax and service charge included; spa charged separately
Official Website: https://fufunara.jp
Join Kawaii Virtual Traveller Emma on Her Global Sightseeing Tour
While the world is on lockdown, embark on a global adventure from the comfort of your own home with kawaii virtual character Emma.
The newly-launched EMMA Travel project follows the adventures of Emma as she travels from country to country, discovering and learning new things.
Satisfying your thirst for adventure couldn’t have been easier. Emma will be uploading pictures of her adventures to Instagram so you can enjoy travelling without leaving your house. All her travels will be documented in English to cater to foreigners who are eagerly awaiting the chance to visit Japan.
While global lockdown measures are still in place, join Emma as she takes you on a virtual tour of must-visit sightseeing locations.
EMMA Travel Instagram
1→10, Inc. Brings Magical Shores Interactive Land Art to Siloso Beach in Singapore
19.April.2020 | SPOT
Japanese creative studio 1→10, Inc. opened up Singapore’s first ever permanent interactive land art exhibition “Magical Shores” on January 23 this year together with Lighting Planners Associates (LPA), a lighting company based in both Tokyo and Singapore.
Magical Shores spans 400 meters of Sentosa’s Siloso Beach, turning it into an immersive, multi-sensory experience of AI-operated lights and sounds which elevate the beauty of the surrounding natural environment.
Guide To Magical Shores | Siloso Beach, Sentosa:
AI technology responds to visitors on the beach, giving them a breathtaking and unique performance. Sensors are dotted around the area which use sensing data to react based on people’s movement around the beach. The AI is constantly developing as it collects big data about the temperature and climate of Siloso Beach as well as that of people’s movements.
In two of the interactive areas, people can witness the “Circle of Life” beginning with the big bang. After that there is magma, followed by heavy rainfall and eventually flowing water which gives birth to life. Cells divide as plants begin to sprout, fish swim in the sea, and birds and insects sing in the mountains. At the end, life falls, and the process begins again.
Japanese musician Masakatsu Takagi was put in charge of the music and sound design of the exhibition. Takagi is known for having written the music for Wolf Children and The Boy and the Beast. He took inspiration from his music project “Marginalia,” a sound diary where he would record the sounds of birds, insects, the wind, rain, and so on from his studio window. Takagi did field recording on the beach to capture the sounds of nature to use for the art exhibition.
Kuniyuki Takahashi also offered his musicianship to the exhibition. Based in Sapporo, he is an internationally-recognised composer. He also recorded the sounds of Siloso Beach, and together with Takagi, created the perfect soundtrack for Magical Shores.
Magical Shores is currently temporarily closed as a result of the coronavirus but will resume once more as soon as the situation allows it.
Official Website: https://www.sentosa.com.sg/magical-shores
Yowamushi Pedal Anime’s ‘Five Bridges of Amakusa’ Ranks Number One in Places People Want to Visit Most
17.April.2020 | SPOT
Seikatsu Guide, and online website that helps support and promote local regions around Japan, has announced its Top 10 selection for “Places I Most Want To Go And See (Western Japan)” as voted for by people.
Right now, most of us are under lockdown and are prohibited from making trips deemed unnecessary. So why not make a list of places you want to visit for when we can next travel? One of those places should be the Five Bridges of Amakusa in Kumamoto Prefecture.
“Yowamushi Pedal” Anime | Five Bridges of Amakusa in Kumamoto
Taking the number one spot on the list is Five Bridges of Amakusa which is located in Kamiamakusa, Kumamoto. As the name suggests, five bridges make up the landmark, all of which stretch from Misumimachi and connect to Oyano Island, Nagaura Island, Oike Island, and Maejima Island. The bridges are a famous sightseeing spot and have been chosen as one of Japan’s “100 Best Evening Spots” and “100 Best Roads.”
One woman in her 30’s said, “I’ve been there on numerous occasions. It’s a really beautiful place.” A man in his 30’s also commented, “I love the [Yowamushi Pedal] manga. If you’re going as a fan, that scene is really exciting, so I went there on my bike.”
Comment from the person in charge of the Kamiamakusa Planning Committee
“Thank you for honouring us with 1st place in this […] ranking. Five Bridges of Amakusa features as the location for the race in the Yowamushi Pedal movie. It gets its name from its five bridges which connect the islands along National Route 266. The area is also nicknamed ‘Amakusa Pearl Line’ for the abundance of pearls that can be found here. It was also selected as one of Japan’s 100 Roads. It’s a truly beautiful bridge which is also an example of Japan’s fine bridge building craftsmanship.”
They continue: “Amakusa is surrounded by the beautiful ocean and spectacular mountains. Most of the city is located in Unzen-Amakusa National Park. There are islands that sit atop the glistening sea, and there’s the Amakusa Alps which offer a spectacular view. It hails as one of Japan’s best places for nature! There are many fun outdoor activities to experience, like dolphin watching, kayaking, cycling, and more. We have incredible food like kuruma prawns, which are a speciality food here, as well as free range local chickens. You can relax your mind and body with a dip in the hot springs while gazing at the ocean. Please be sure to drop by Kamiamakusa to enjoy everything it has to offer.”
Other places that ranked on the list include the following.
2nd Place – “Manpuku” TV Drama | Porto Europe, Wakayama
3rd Place – STU48 Promotional Video | Chichibugahama Beach, Kagawa
4th Place – “Yatsuhakamura” Movie | Makido Cave, Okayama
5th Place – “Segodon” TV Drama | Tatsumonjizaka Trail (Ryumonjizaka), Kagoshima
Top 10 Ranking: https://www.seikatsu-guide.com/rank_minna/result/11/
Kanucha Resort in Okinawa Announces Spring and Summer Activity Program for 2020
06.April.2020 | SPOT
Located in the city of Nago in Okinawa lies Kanucha Resort, a hotel resort which boasts 2.6 million square meters of land. The resort has revealed its spring and summer program which invites guests to enjoy everything Okinawa has to offerーnot just its breathtaking oceans.
What is Kanucha Resort?
Kanucha Resort sits on the east coast of Nago on the northern part of the Okinawa mainland. It’s surrounded by the vast rolling sea and mother nature, and also faces Oura Bay, which is known for its coral reefs, which includes blue coral. Guest rooms come in nine styles, all of which incorporate gorgeous wooden decor. The resort has a bounty of restaurants, its own golf course, the beach, and over 70 activities to choose from, all of which makes Kanucha Resort a little town of its own. In the past winter months just gone, it also celebrate the 20th anniversary of Okinawa’s largest illumination event, Stardust Fantasia.
Buggy Ride Tours & Buggy Adventure Tours
Experience a different side of Okinawa away from the beaches with an off-road ride through Yanbaru no Mori Forest on a quad bike.
Running: All Year
Meeting Locations: Buggy Ride Tour @ Dokidoki Yambarunture / Buggy Adventure Tour @ Matayoshi Coffee Farm
Ages: 4 years and older
Coral Snorkeling Tour in Banana Boats
Witness the tropical fish swimming around you, and gaze upon the gorgeous coral reefs, as you explore the waters below when you climb off the banana boat.
Running: July 23, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 5 to 65 years
Mangrove Kayak Tour Along the Kesaji River
The Okinawan mainland is home to many mangroves. See them together with the expand of Yanbaru’s nature with a kayak ride along the Kesaji River.
Running: All Year
Time: Subject to change each day depending on how busy it is – please enquire directly
Courses: 150 Minutes (5 years and older) / 90 Minutes (3 years and older)
Star Sommelier to Space Walk
Hear about the moon and space with talks from Hoshi no Somurie® (“Star Sommeliers”) and use a telescope to observe the stars at the planetarium.
Meeting Point: Leisure Counter
Oura Mangrove Kayak
Enjoy a round trip kayak ride around the Oura Mangrove which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Nago.
Running: All Year Round
Time: Please enquire directly
Ages: 3 years old and above (*For guests only)
Meeting Point: Wansaka Oura Park
For more details on the activities available at Kanucha Resort, visit their website here.
Address: 156-2 AbuNago, Okinawa
Reservations: 0980-55-8484 (9:00-18:00)
Access: 1 and a half hours by car from Naha Airport
Official Website: https://www.kanucha.jp/en/
5 Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Hokkaido | 2020 Edition – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Sapporo, Asahikawa, Abashiriーthe list goes on when it comes to incredible places to see the cherry blossoms in Hokkaido. And the best time to see them in Japan’s northernmost main island is May.
Today, we are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts photos of tourist and sightseeing spots in Hokkaido that are rich in nature. She has shared her photos with us along with details of 5 must-visit famous cherry blossom sites in Hokkaido. Let’s take a look.
Tokiwa Park is located in the city of Asahikawa, and is home to around 200 individual cherry trees of various kinds including the Yoshino cherry and ezo yamazakura. Weeping cherries also dangle their graceful branches around the lake, which you can sail through on a boat for an even more memorable cherry blossom experience. Tokiwa Park is also listed as one of Japan’s “100 City Parks,” so it’s one that needs to go on your list of sightseeing spots if you’re travelling to Hokkaido.
Address: Tokiwakoen, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Access: 25-minutes on foot from Asahikawa Station (via JR Line). Alternatively, board the Tohoku Bus and get off at Tokiwa Park (常磐公園).
Official Website: http://www.asahikawa-park.or.jp/
Twin Harp Bridge
This spot is also located in Asahikawa. It gets its name from how the bridge looks like two harps lined up next to each other. Twin Harp Bridge is also a popular place with the locals for celebrating Hanami in the spring season as cherry blossoms bloom in the vicinity of the bridge.
Twin Harp Bridge
Address: 4 Chome Toko 18 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido to 5 Chome Kyokushin 1 Jo, Asahikawa, Hokkaido
Access: 20-minutes by car from Asahikawa Airport / 15-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station
Official Website: http://www.city.asahikawa.hokkaido.jp/files/tosi_kei/index.htm
Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village
Located southeast of Asahikawa, Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village offers views of ezo yamazakura as well as shibazakura moss phlox. Visitors can also have barbeques at the facility for an even better outdoor experience combining great food with cherry blossom viewing.
Kitoushi Forest Park – Family Village (Kitoushi Shinrin Koen Kazokuryokomura)
Address: 5 Gokita-44 Nishi, Higashikawa, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
Access: 40-minutes by car from Asahikawa Station
Official Website: http://www.kazokuryokoumura.jp/
More Information (English): http://www.asahikawa-tourism.com/asahikawa/asahikawa_sites/higashikawa/higashikawa_en.html
Maruyama Park is another famous cherry blossom site where Yoshino cherry trees and ezo yamazakura bloom. Compared to Asahikawa, the cherry blossoms here bloom a little earlier during spring. You’ll catch them from late April to early May. During the cherry blossom season, there is a place where fires can be lit, so you’ll catch people cooking up jingisukan, a type of Japanese mutton dish.
Address: Miyagaoka, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Access: 5-minutes on foot from Maruyama-Kōen Station
Official Website: http://www.sapporo.travel/find/nature-and-parks/maruyama_park/
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park’s rolling hills offer a breathtaking view of shibazakura moss phlox cherry blossoms. The hills themselves aren’t steep, so the spectacle can be enjoyed from both the top and bottom of them. The Shibazakura Festival is also held between May and June.
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park
Address: 393 Higashimokotosuehiro, Ozora, Abashiri-gun, Hokkaido
Access: 30-minutes by cat from Abashiri Station. Alternatively, board the transit bus from Abashiri Station, get off at Higashimokotocho (東藻琴町). The park is a 5-mintue drive from here.
Official Website: http://www.shibazakura.net/
Photo：Mirina has visited many sightseeing spots in Hokkaido, so if you’re looking for more places to visit be sure to follow her on Instagram.
Photos: Mirina Nishio
Travel Virtually to Japan’s City of Komoro in Nagano to See Cherry Blossoms, Soak in the Onsen & More
02.April.2020 | SPOT
Komoro Tourism Bureau has developed the new “Komoro Tourism Channel” using Voicy, a news and media site which reports spoken information online. The channel focuses on the latest information with regards to tourism in Komoro, and focuses on the city’s many different hot springs.
Komoro is a city in Nagano Prefecture. Komoro Castle is home to Kaikoen Park, which was chosen as the 100 best cherry blossom spots in Japan. The city also boasts a wide variety of onsen (hot springs) which offer amazing views and numerous different bathing experiences. Komoro Tourism Channel covers all of this and more.
Komoro is about 2-hours by car via the Nerima Interchange on Kan-etsu Expressway. It’s also accessible from Tokyo via car. You can also reach it in around 24 minutes from Karuizawa Station via Shinano Railway.
Delivering the sounds of the relaxing onsen from Komoro
Komoro has eight water sources which provide water to its hot springs. The city sits 1,400 meters above sea level, from which each of its hot springs offer breathtaking views. The podcast on the hot springs, which is in Japanese, lets you feel like you’re experiencing them from your very own home. More podcasts on Komoro are planned to be released in the future, and QR codes will be implemented are various hotels and tourist facilities in Komoro which when scanned will offer voice guides to those places.
Komoro Tourism Channel: https://voicy.jp/channel/1074
The Komoro Tourism Bureau is coming up with measures to continue promoting the city during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as Komoro Tourism Channel, it is also releasing information on its website, Twitter page, and elsewhere.
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle is a tourist hot spot in Komoro. The castle itself was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most famous castle sites. It is also famous for the castle itself being situated lower than the town around the castle. Kaikoen Park was selected as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom spots, where around 500 trees bloom Yoshino cherries, shidare-zakura, higan-zakura, and more through April every year. The “Komoro-yae-beni-share” tree is an endemic species of cherry tree to Komoro and has a deep pink colour. The park also has towering stone walls and is home to the the front castle gate.
Komoro Castle Official Website (Japanese): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/castle/
Komoro Castle Official Website (English): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/lg_en/
Learn About Ito City in Shizuoka Prefecture in This Breathtaking 8K PR Video
31.March.2020 | SPOT
A new PR video for Ito City in Shizuoka Prefecture was posted on the city’s official YouTube channel on March 2, 2020 as part of Ito City’s digital marketing efforts for 2020, and it’s already garnered over 21 million views in just over two weeks.
The video was directed and editor Yuki Eikawa who has gained much attention across Japan for his touristic PR video work. It captures the most famous sights across Ito including Mount Omuro and Jogasaki Coast, and showcases the city’s food, culture, and incredible natural environments. Check it out below.
ITO City, Shizuoka, Japan in 8K HDR
Learn more about Ito on the city’s official website which has a bounty of useful information for exploring everything Ito has to offer.
See 3,000 Rhododendrons in Full Bloom at the Tsutsuji Garden by Lake Ashi in Hakone
29.March.2020 | SPOT
May is the most colourful time of the year at Hotel de Yama near Lake Ashi in Hakone, when a total of 3,000 rhododendronsーcomprised of 30 different typesーbloom their beautiful flowers in the large Tsutsuji Garden, where one can enjoy a great view of Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi.
Tsutsuji Garden at Hotel de Yama
“Tsutsuji” is the Japanese word for rhododendron. The Tsutsuji Garden at Hotel de Yama was once the villa of Koyata Iwasaki, “the fourth and last president of a unified Mitsubishi.” During that time, numerous varieties of rhododendrons were planted in the garden, which have since been maintained. There are plants amongst them that are over 100-years-old, ones that tower over the human stature, and more; with petals that bloom pink, red, purple, and white.
A combined view of the kaleidoscopic rhododendrons and Mount Fuji
The staff who are experts on the garden have set up two photo frame stands in two of the best spots in the garden for taking picturesque photos. Snap some Instagrammable and memories with the colourful rhododendrons and Mount Fuji together.
Rhododendron Desserts: Saison a colorier – ¥1,634 / Tea Set – ¥2,360 (Before Tax)
Salon de thé Rosage, the dessert restaurant that sits in front of the hotel, is serving up a new special dessert called “Saison a colorier” in line with the full bloom of the rhododendrons. It captures the colourful pink, red, white, and purple appearance of the flowers, and looks like a mini version of the hotel’s garden on your plate. The main part of the dessert is the tea mousse, which has a bright red colour as it is coated beautifully in a strawberry puree nappage. The tea used in the mouse is an original rhododendron blend exclusive to the restaurant.
The white rhododendron dessert is a macaron that’s filled with raspberry sorbet. The red which contrasts with the white is a rhododendron milk tea cream and fresh raspberries. The rest of the plate is adorned with pink jelly and edible flowers. The perfect afternoon tea to finish off your time at Tsutsuji Garden.
Hotel de Yama / Salon de thé Rosage
Address: 80 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Official Website: https://www.hakone-hoteldeyama.jp/en/
Coronavirus in Japan: Kaname Inn Tatemachi in Kanazawa Offers Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home
29.March.2020 | SPOT
Kaname Inn Tatemachi, a hotel in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, has announced a project named “Room for rescue” which will offer free accommodation to foreigners unable to travel back to their home countries from Japan due to lockdowns and restrictions from going outside as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
With flights cancelled around the world, there is no way for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans and extend their stay. They are living their days in constant worry, both financially and mentally. To ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, free accommodation is becoming available to those who meet certain prescribed conditions.
In response to the decreasing number of tourists, Kaname Inn Tatemachi opened its doors to Japanese citizens through Facebook for free accommodation to help support businesses like local restaurants that could no longer make a living. They received a lot of guests, as well as a request from a friend who asked if someone from the Netherlands could stay there because they couldn’t get back to their country. This sparked the “Room for rescue” project for stranded foreign tourists to stay at Kaname Inn Tatemachi for free too.
Kaname Inn Tatemachi is using its own funds to pay for the project and allow free stay. However, doing this long term will put strain on the business, so to help pay for hotel use and staff’s wages, the hotel has opened up a crowd funding page which you can find here.
Room for rescue
Aimed at: Foreign travellers who cannot return home
How to Apply
Send the following details to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
①Write “Room 4 Rescue” as the subject of your e-mail
②Include which country you are from
③Write the names of all the people who wish to stay at the hotel
④Write the number of adults
⑤Write the number of children
⑥Write your check-in time and date
⑦Write your check-out time and date
⑧Attach a screenshot or photo of your cancelled flight details
Application Deadline: March 28, 2020 at 23:59 (JST)
Free Accommodation Stay Time: Until April 15, 2020
3 Must-Visit Cherry Blossoms Spots in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Hirado City | Spring 2020
27.March.2020 | SPOT
Spring has arrived in the city of Hirado, Nagasaki, which has been dyed a cherry blossom pink colour from the blossoming of the cherry trees. A simple glance at the signs of spring there is enough to have one feeling elated. It has also made the news that the budding of the cherry blossoms in Hirado has arrived earlier than usual.
We’ve made a list of 3 popular spots to enjoy Hanami in Hirado this spring.
Jigenzakura is a single sakura tree that stands proud and majestic. Aged 140 years old, the tree is listed as a National Treasure of Hirado. It’s close to the Oshima variety of cherry tree, and was planted by Catholics who migrated to Japan at the beginning of the Meiji Period. A visit to Jigenzakura offers a splendid sight to behold as it blossoms in the ravine. The best time to see it in full bloom last year was March 31.
Address: Kigatsucho, Hirado, Nagasaki (35-minutes from Hirado Bridge)
Nagasaki Tabi Net: https://www.nagasaki-tabinet.com/guide/51690/
Kameoka Shrine / Kameoka Park
Kameoka Park is a famous cherry blossom site that’s adjacent to Hirado Castle. It’s home to around 1,000 sakura trees, which are best seen from the end of March to early April. It also has a very rare type of cherry blossom called the nidozaki-zakura which blooms twice. You can see these around mid-April at Kameoka Park.
Address: 1458 Iwanouechō, Hirado, Nagasaki (7-minutes from Hirado Bridge)
Nagasaki Tabi Net: https://www.nagasaki-tabinet.com/guide/370/
Tabira Park is just over Hirado Bridge, and is a place where you can look out at both Hirado Bridge and Hirado Seto while gazing at the rows of cherry trees.
Address: 823-1 Tabirachō Kotedamen, Hirado, Nagasaki (Next to Hirado Bridge)
Official Website: http://nagasaki-park.or.jp/free/tabira
Hirado is easy to get to, and is a must-visit not just for Hanami, but for the food and its rich history too.
Feel Like You’re Living On Okinawa’s Taketomi Island With HOSHINOYA’s New ‘Workation’ Hotel Plan
27.March.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island in Okinawa rolled out a new hotel plan on March 18 that’s set to run until June 30 this year.
Taketomi Island can be said to be home to landscape of what Okinawa used to be, with the Ryukyuan red roof tiles of its buildings, stone walls, and alleys spread with coral sand. Someone plucks away at a three-stringed sanshinーthe Okinawan precursor to the mainland shamisenーas time flows with gentle ease on the island. Taketomi Island is rich in traditional culture which can be felt throughout.
The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island emulate the island’s traditional architecture. All guest rooms have south-facing windows that can be opened to let in the southern winds, which the local islanders say are lucky. HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island developed its new workation plan in response to the current situation when more people are having to do remote work and work from home. It enables people a private abode where they can work and relax simultaneously. And all the necessary amenities have been prepared for a workation.
The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island are known as guest pavilions, which allow for you feel like you’re living like a real islander. They are equipped with Wi-Fi, printers, pand photocopiers too, making it the perfect work environment. And you don’t have to worry about hay fever as there are no Japanese cedar or cypress trees around.
The pavilions offer a beautiful view of the bright blue sky and sea. The beaches are also open from March, so you can take a dip in the springtime sea too while basking in the warm climate.
Running: March 18, 2020 – June 30, 2020
Price: From ¥278,460 (Before tax/service charge)
People: Up to 2 people per room
*70% off from the normal price. The above-listed price is calculated for 30 days of stay.
HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island
Address: Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa 907-1101
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/taketomijima/en/
*You must select the meal option if you require food