Visit Japanese Family Homes and Learn to Cook Authentic Japanese Food With airKitchen
30.May.2019 | FOOD
airKitchen is an online service gaining popularity by inviting foreigners travelling to Japan to experience what it’s like to cook at home there.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been on the rise in recent years, and with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, that number is predicted to continue increasing. One shift happening amongst travellers to the country is their desire for more experience consumption over material consumption. This shift has been noted by the Japanese government and companies who are pushing to offer more experience-based content to foreigners.
One such company doing just this is the online platform service airKitchen whose popularity is only continuing to increase. By using the website, foreigners can choose from a long list of Japanese hosts who will teach them how to make many different Japanese dishes in their very own homes. Bookings and payment can both be done via the company’s official website. airKitchen launched in April 2018 and by April this year it already has over 4,000 users.
airKitchen’s popularity can be accredited to it satisfying overseas visitors’ desire to experience everyday Japanese life. They will cook authentic Japanese food in a common Japanese-style kitchen. In 2013, Washoku (“Japanese Food”) was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The appeal of Japanese food is on the rise and is sure to become even more popular.
airKitchen Introductory Video
Some of the most popular foods taught on the website include gyoza, bento and sushi. A total of three hours are allotted for each experience which includes both the cooking and eating time. The price for each service varies but the average is ¥5,000 per person. The biggest ratio of nationalities come from Europe and Australia and range from couples to families.
If you’re travelling to Japan, why not book with airKitchen yourself and get a taste of everyday Japanese home life?
New Sake ‘&Soda’ Made Exclusively to be Mixed with Soda Water
29.September.2022 | FOOD
Shiragiku Sake Brewery will release a special sake made exclusively to mix with soda water on October 1, 2022. The beverage will be available in Okayama Prefecture.
The company’s interest in creating a new sake culture led them to develop &Soda, a delicious sake made to be mixed with soda. This may be helpful for those who don’t know much about sake, or who may feel intimidated by the many different types. Being able to mix it with soda will make sake drinking feel more casual.
Sake Made Exclusively for Mixing with Soda Water, ‘&Soda’
“Many people may like to mix sake with soda water or drink it on the rocks. By doing this, however, a nice sake may lose its flavor, and the drinker might be wasting a nice sake for the sake of a more easy-drinking beverage. &Soda was made exclusively to be mixed. Using Asahi Rice, a specialty in Okayama Prefecture, and water from the brewery, we’ve created a sake that has the proper aroma and sweetness. These characteristics will come through even after being mixed! The alcohol content has been increased to 18 percent, and the package will make the product easy to find and understand,” a statement from the brewery reads.
For more information on how to enjoy &Soda, please see the special website below!
Sake Made Exclusively for Mixing with Soda Water, ‘&Soda’
Release Date: October 1, 2022
Official Site: http://www.andsoda.jp/
Japan’s Largest Sake Event TOKYO SAKE FESTIVAL to be Held in Shinjuku in October
Japan’s largest sake event, TOKYO SAKE FESTIVAL 2022, will run from October 4 until October 6 at the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building’s Triangle Square.
The event’s aim is to make sake more mainstream around the world, with the first festival taking place in 2020. Tokyo Sake Festival blends sake with entertainment, showing off the very best of Japanese culture to those who may be new to craft sake. For the third year, former NMB48 member Yui Takano will serve as ambassador. Takano is known for leaving her idol career to manage the sake specialty store Yui Sake Shop.
Tokyo Sake Festival 2022 is bringing together forty carefully selected sake breweries from around Japan, including Inoue Seikichi, winner of the Champion Sake award at IWC 2022. Tonoike Sake Brewery, winner of Kura Master 2022’s President’s Award, will also be in attendance. The full lineup can be found on the official website.
Popular influencers and artists from Raphael to BOYS AND MEN and Ukon Takafuji will take the stage during the event, so be sure to swing by if you’re a fan of Japanese spirits!
TOKYO SAKE FESTIVAL 2022
October 4: Part 1 13:30-16:30 / Part 2 18:00-21:00
October 5: Part 1 13:30-16:30 / Part 2 18:00-21:00
October 6: 16:00-19:00
Venue: Shinjuku Sumitomo Building Triangle Square
(2-6-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo)
Buy Tickets/Details: https://tokyosakefestival.bitfan.id/
Teppanyaki and Yakiniku Restaurant Honten Yamashina Opens in Ginza
On July 18, the upscale teppanyaki and yakiniku restaurant Honten Yamashina opened a new location in Ginza! The hybrid restaurant has taken over the entire top floor of GINZA PLACE, which is directly connected to Ginza Station. Overlooking the Ginza 4-chome intersection, it’s a gorgeous place to enjoy some authentic Japanese cuisine.
Honten Yamashina mainly uses fully-matured Omi beef, the highest grade available among Shiga Prefecture’s top-tier beef, from Okazaki Farm. The cows are allowed to fatten for a considerable amount of time and live stress-free lives for over 40 months. Less than 1% of all Wagyu cattle are shipped after 24 months of age, and this delectable meat is characterized by its sharp taste and fattiness.
Luxurious Wagyu and Sea Urchin Sushi
Early Summer Plate to Enjoy with Seasonal Flowers
Selected Extra-thick Beef Tongue Steak Made with Refined Attention to Detail
Grilled Spiny Lobster Made on a Charcoal Grill
The Playful Yamashina Wagyu Slider
Melt-in-your-mouth Sweet Amala Tomato (Vegetable of the Day)
Hand-selected Omi Beef Steak
Guests can enjoy authentic Japanese teppanyaki cuisine with a modern twist. While sitting at the contour, visitors will enjoy a live performance by Taku Osada, a teppanyaki chef with over 20 years of experience.
The wide variety of meat can be enjoyed in a number of different ways, whether it be raw, grilled, stewed, or properly cooked. From tongue and rump to filet and sirloin, you won’t leave hungry. Visitors can also enjoy seafood and seasonal Japanese vegetables along with their meat, and the flowers and leaves that adorn each plate will change depending on the time of year.
In addition to rare teppanyaki dishes like skirt steak and 3cm-thick beef tongue, Honten Yamashina also offers some playful dishes such as sliders. As the temperature differs on different parts of the steel cooking plate, each item can be cooked to a temperature that maximizes its specific flavor. Honten Yamashina also has a massive cellar housin over 1,000 bottles of wine and hard-to-find spirits.
For those looking for a more private experience, guests can enjoy yakiniku in a completely separate room. Each private room has a grill that will cook meat to the perfect temperature, and only at Honten Yamashina can you enjoy fully-matured Omi beef. The signature cutlet sandwich is made with chateaubriand cooked at a low temperature and deep-fried in a thin batter, then served on crispy bread with a soft, fluffy interior.
Teppanyaki and yakiniku are typically thought of as meat-based dishes, but the restaurant can accommodate vegetarian guests if contacted in advance.
When Japan opens up to tourism, will you be visiting this incredible restaurant in the heart of Tokyo?
Address: GINZA PLACE 11F (5-8-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/honten_yamashina/
Long-Established Sake Brewery in Yamagata Prefecture Helps Create SAKE COLA
13.July.2022 | FOOD
Aiming to create a new kind of drinking culture, Aika in Gunma Prefecture has started preorders for SAKE COLA, a new cola liquor, on the crowdfunding site Makuake.
People love cola for its strong carbonation, sweetness, and distinctive spicy flavor. SAKE COLA has a complex, multi-layered aroma and refreshing sweetness offering a unique taste that no one has tasted before.
In creating SAKE COLA, the company attempted to keep the authentic sweetness of sake. To this end, they decided to work with Rokkasen, a long-established sake brewery in Yamagata.
Rokkasen’s authentic rice-based shochu Goujoppari is brewed in the cold like sake and distilled like a ginjo sake. It has a beautiful citrus aroma and tastes similar in sweetness despite having zero sugar.
Using Goujoppari as a base, malted rice is used to produce a mild, natural sweetness, and the spices added to the drink meld with the citrus scent to create a flavor defying imagination.
The flavor and aroma of SAKE COLA spread in the mouth, with the spices and herbs lingering on the tongue. The spices were mixed by Hayashi Oki, who studied in Alsace, France before working as a pastry chef at one of Tokyo’s top patisseries.
Mace, the key spice, is characterized by its sweet and somewhat pungent aroma. It’s used to recreate the caramelized taste that is found in most cola.
Along with that, tonka beans, containing the natural sweeteners Vanillin and Coumarin, were blended into the mix to create a soft, lingering flavor. Customers are sure to enjoy it from the first sip to the last.
SAKE COLA can be enjoyed at any time. It’s perfect for enjoying as an aperitif, and it can also be enjoyed with a meal, like beer or wine.
Like whiskey, it can also be enjoyed while relaxing after a meal. At Christmas time, it can be added to warm red wine or served as an affogato with ice cream and a splash of liqueur. How would you like to try this unique creation?
The Japanese Craft Sake Cola
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
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.
Anime Series Chibi Maruko-chan Inspires New Sake from Hatsukame Brewery in Shizuoka
Last year, Hatsukame Sake Brewery, a staple in Shizuoka Prefecture, released a collaborative special edition sake featuring Papa Hiroshi from the anime series Chibi Maruko-chan. The collab makes sense, as the anime series takes place in Shizuoka Prefecture. Bottles sold out incredibly fast, so it’s no wonder that the brewery has now opened orders for the 2022 batch! The special products will be available on June 4, just in time for Father’s Day. Customers can choose from the Junmai Ginjo or Junmai Daiginjo varieties.
Junmai Ginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
Junmai Daiginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
The Junmai Ginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022 was made with water, rice, and yeast from Shizuoka, where the series takes place. With a refreshing aroma and a gentle sweetness derived from the Homarefuji rice, the flavor is sure to arouse your palate!
The original label featured on the bottle shows Papa Hiroshi enjoying local sake with tuna sashimi from Shizuoka with Mt. Fuji in the background. All bottles will come with a paper box featuring a similar design. The turtle on the label is the symbol of Hatsukame Brewing! It’s recommended that customers drink their sake with local tuna–it’s the perfect combination.
The Daiginjo variety is made from rare Aiyama rice, known as the ‘Diamond of Sake Rice.’ Polished and carefully prepared by hand, the aroma of the sake is reminiscent of tropical fruits. The final product has a rich sweetness.
Last year’s label showed Papa Hiroshi in a Kimono watching the first sunrise over Mt. Fuji. Be sure to grab a bottle to experience the taste of Shizuoka! Only 223 bottles will be available, so be quick!
©さくらプロダクション/日本アニメーション ©Hatsukame Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. ©Nexus Co., Ltd.
Junmai Daiginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
Now available to order
Release Date: June 4, 2022 *After the release date, orders will be shipped within 3 weeks from the order date.
Where to Buy: Saketsunagi Online Shop https://saketsunagi.base.shop
Limited Edition Sake Released Alongside NFT Art to Share the Value of Japanese Spirits with the World
Two incredible new Junmai Daiginjo bottles, the highest-quality sake, have been released in limited quantities. Hitou ASCENDING and Touka ILLUMINATING were made by sustainable means and incorporate NFT art to share the process of sake creation with the world.
While sake companies keep traditional Japanese production methods alive, some are seeking to solve problems in the sake industry by turning to current technology, like the blockchain and NFTs. In this age of convenience and automation, this particular sake maker is aiming to show the true value and authenticity of Japanese craftsmanship to the rest of the world.
Certain types of sake can only be made and enjoyed at certain times of the year, as they are not suitable for storage at room temperature and can only be consumed for a brief period to get the best taste. Many sake fans around the world might not be aware of this, so the new NFT collaboration aims to educate!
The bottles contain unique ukiyo-e NFT art prints of a dragon and phoenix on the bottle, respectively. Those who purchase a bottle will also find the year of production and bottle number etched onto the glass with lacquer. Be sure to keep the bottle even after the delicious sake is gone!
Rice / Tobe Rice
In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, farmers have been cultivating this unique brand of Koshihikari rice without the help of pesticides or fertilizers for over two decades. The rice is called the best in all of Japan, and one-third of its yield is used to make sake.
Water / Pure Groundwater
The Japan Median Tectonic Line, also known as the ‘Dragon’s Vein,’ is a massive fault line that is home to numerous sacred sites, including Suwa Grand Shrine, Toyokawa Inari Shrine, Tenkawa Benzaiten Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine, and the Koyasan Mountain. The groundwater found here is some of the purest found in Japan and flows from the Bungui Pass in Ina, Nagano Prefecture. The pass has been featured in many publications as one of the most famous power spots in Japan.
Brewing / Ono Brewery
While dealing with some of the harshest winter weather in Japan, the brewery has continued to create sake the old-fashioned way–with human hands. For the creation of these two bottles, the brewers took on the challenge of making a very small amount of sake, something they had never done before. Based on the concept of “making the most of the environment,” the rice was prepared in a special room with no air conditioning under the watchful eye of the master brewer.
Bottle Art/ Ukiyo-e Artist, Shun
The art displayed on the bottle is printed in a unique way, allowing it to be put on display separately. The Japanese-style art is perfect for the collaboration and was inspired by one specific hope: that a new path will open to those who work hard after the many difficulties and troubles caused by the pandemic.
Bottle Making / Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works
The circular label symbolizes the moon (water) and the sun (fire), each representing a world where different values are not only accepted but welcomed. Hand-painted and made with pure platinum and gold leaf by the talented craftsman at Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works in Shiojiri, Nagano, these advanced painting techniques are sure to impress.
Each Bottle Features the Brewing Year, Number Printed in Lacquer
Marked with a unique serial number, all proceeds from the sales of these special sakes will be used to maintain and promote sustainable agriculture, support sake brewers, and bring traditional Japanese craftsmanship to the world.
Junmai Daiginjo – ‘Hitou ASCENDING,’ ‘Touka ILLUMINATING’
Official Site: https://hitoutouka.com/
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!