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?
Naruto Themed Hotel Room Opens at GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135° in Japan
GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in Awaji, Hyogo, opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.
The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas.
The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.
Guests who stay in the Naruto room will receive a free ticket to the popular “Naruto & Boruto Shinobi Zato” attraction at the anime theme park Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island where the hotel is located.
ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot
Naruto Collaboration Room “Hokage no Bessou”
Grand Opening: June 1, 2020
Time: Check In 15:00-18:30 / Check Out 11:00
Capacity: 5 people
Price: From ¥93,000 (Before Tax/Service Charge Charged Separately)
Official Website: https://awaji-grandchariot.com/
Stock Your Kitchen With Japanese Kitchenware Tools by SALON adam et rope’
21.May.2020 | FOOD
SALON adam et rope’ has launched its new “Nihon no Daidokoro Dougu” (Japanese Kitchen Tools) collection which features a curated selection of Made In Japan kitchenware and cookware items from high quality Japanese brands.
Top: ¥12,000 / Middle: ¥12,000 / Bottom: ¥9,000 (Before Tax)
Traditionally, Japanese knives were made by men with men in mind, but these Kasane knives are made by women to fit with the modern age. They are made in such a way to feel comfortable in smaller hands. The handles are made from rare natural wood from the cerasus jamasakura trees of Gifu Prefecture which give them a texture that changes as you continue to use the knives. The blades themselves are made from high-carbon stainless steel which gives them superior sharpness and durability. The blade edge is the result of a new technology developed by Sumikama called “Zero Edge” which makes them thin and sharp.
Left: ¥1,300 / Middle: ¥2,000 / Right: ¥2,800 (Before Tax)
Left: ¥1,000 / Middle: ¥1,200 / Right: ¥2,000 (Before Tax)
These handy stackable containers are made by Kaji Donya, a company based in Tsubame, Niigata. The height of each one is the same which makes them super convenient when stacking inside fridges.
Ceramic Grill: ¥1,400 (Before Tax)
The ceramic grill is a longtime seller at SALON. If you’re grilling bread on it, it leaves the outside crispy and the inside nice and soft. It uses far-infrared rays which means the water content of the ingredients grilled on it is not lost, allowing for the full tasty flavour to stay locked in and the food plump and juicy.
Father’s Day: Otokomae Tofu Celebrates Dad’s Around the World With New Tofu Product
13.May.2020 | FOOD
Japanese tofu company Otokomae Tofu is celebrating Father’s Day this year by releasing its new “Chichi no Hi Tofu” (Father’s Day Tofu) at supermarkets around Japan for a limited time between June 15 and June 21.
When you pour soy sauce over the Father’s Day Tofu, a message of gratitude appears on the tofu’s surface in Japanese. This is a unique, one-of-a-kind tofu experience. There are four messages in total which translate to: “Manly,” “Thanks always, dad. I love you, live a long life,” “You work so hard papa, I love you,” and “Dad.”
Giving your dad some Father’s Day Tofu is sure to make for a Father’s Day to remember!
Chichi no Hi Tofu (Father’s Day Tofu)
Running: June 15, 2020 – June 21, 2020
Price: ¥158 (Before Tax)
Available: Supermarkets in Japan (Except Hokkaido and Okinawa)
Otokomae Tofu Official Website: http://otokomae.com
McDonald’s Japan: Chicken Tatsuta Mentai Cheese & Other Japanese Flavoured Foods Coming to the Menu
09.May.2020 | FOOD
McDonald’s Japan is introducing some mouth-watering new foods to its menu including two which incorporates chicken tatsuta: the “Chicken Tatsuta Mentai Cheese” which is made with walleye pollack roe, and the bite-sized “Hitokuchi Tatsuta”ーthe latter of which is arriving to the side menu.
It is also introducing the “Rice Chicken Tatsuta” burger following the success of the “Rice Burger” which was released at stores for the first time earlier back in February of this year.
These new menu items will be released on May 13, 2020 at all McDonald’s branches in Japan for a limited time.
Chicken Tatsuta Mentai Cheese
Chicken tatsuta is a popular Japanese dish which combines a soft, soy ginger-soaked chicken patty with spicy sauce and stuffs it inside a bun. McDonald’s new “Chicken Tatsuta Mentai Cheese” adds spicy walleye pollack roe mayo and smooth white cheddar cheese to the equation. It will be available all day round, including for the morning menu.
Rice Chicken Tatsuta
The “Rice Chicken Burger” will be available in the evenings only.
Japanese actor Toshiyuki Nishida is appearing in the TV commercials to promote the “Hitokuchi Tatsuta” while comedian Nobuyuki Hanawa and actor Katsumi Takahashi appear in the “Rice Chicken Tatsuta” commercials which feature a re-recording of the song SWEET MEMORIES ~Amai Kioku~ by Seiko Matsuda.
McDonald’s Japan Official Website: http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/
Japan Coronavirus: Room for Rescue Project Provides Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home
01.May.2020 | SPOT
With flights cancelled around the world, it is becoming increasingly harder for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans, extend their stay, and live every day in stress and uncertainty. To lend a helping hand to foreign travellers in this stressful time, three accommodation companies Slacktide Co., Ltd, Shared Value Co.,Ltd. and Life Bonds, LLC, who manage Kaname Inn Tatemachi, Sakura Cross Hotel and BONDS HOUSE respectively, have launched a joint accommodation project called “Room for Rescue” which provides free accommodation to international visitors who cannot return home as a result of the current travel restrictions.
This collaborative project was launched to ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, which could be a reason to avoid visiting Japan again in the future and heavily impact the tourism industry.
Tokyo:Sakura Cross Hotel
Kanazawa: KANAME INN
Currently, three accommodations in Tokyo and one in Kanazawa have opened their doors to stranded foreigners.
Room for Rescue: Request a Room
To apply for a room, you need a valid visa and a cancelled flight ticket which meets Room for Rescue’s criteria. For more information, please refer to the application page. The Room for Rescue project is also looking for more accommodations to join the fight against coronavirus and open their doors to stranded foreigners. If you own an accommodation in Japan and want to help foreign travellers, please apply using the link below.
Become Part of Room for Rescue (for accommodation owners)
If you are an individual who wants to support this project, please consider donating via their crowdfunding page mentioned in the information section below.
Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi: Rent An Entire Kyoto Townhouse to Yourself
01.April.2020 | SPOT
Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi is set to open in the Goshominami area of Kyoto on April 25, 2020. The single-accommodation hotel is a complete renovation of a traditional Kyoto-style townhouse.
Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi comes as the 7th branch of hotels from Kyo no Ondokoro. It’s a single building to rent for up to 4 people, who can enjoy taking a soak in the man-made carbonated spring bath which is kind to the skin and hair, using the soft water shower, and getting ready in the spacious makeup corner. It’s the perfect getaway for girl groups travelling together.
The hotel is in a convenient location for sightseeing in the ancient capital of Kyoto. The building has been completely renovated to adapt to modern lifestyle while still retaining those traditional elements of a Kyoto townhouse that was built during the Meiji Periodーand in an area that’s rich in traditional scenery.
The lounge space sofa seats are inspired by Japanese rock gardens
The lounge space, which connects the second-floor bedrooms and the washitsu Japanese-style room, are furnished with unique round sofas. All the rooms open up to each other so guests can enjoy the company of each other during their travel stay.
Hinoki cypress artificial carbonated spring bath
The round bath is made from hinoki cypress, and the carbonated water lets you stay glowing and nice and warm after you step out of it. The bathroom is also stocked full of amenities like shampoo courtesy of popular brand THREE.
Up to four people can apply their makeup together in the makeup corner
The makeup corner is big enough to sit four people so they can get ready for their day or night out together while chatting.
Colourful art pieces also adorn the walls of the makeup room, Japanese-style room and elsewhere to add a touch of beauty to them.
If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto with the girls then why not book at Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi when it opens on April 25?
Kyo no Ondokoro Marutamachi
Address: 341-2 Shōshōiotabichō, Nakagyō-ku, Kyoto, 604-0873
Grand Opening: April 25, 2020
Price: ¥30,000 per night
Bookings: Opened on March 27, 2020
Offcial Website: https://www.kyo-ondokoro.kyoto/en/
Pan Am to Release Travel Inspired Clothing Collection in Collaboration with MIZUNO
22.March.2020 | FASHION
Japanese sportswear brand Mizuno is collaborating with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) to release a clothing collection called “52 Collaboration with PAN AM” in their “Go to by mizuno” series of lifestyle attire for active adults at the end of March. It will be available in Mizuno stores, Mizuno’s official online shop, and pop-up shops in Japan.
Travel is the theme of the collection, and is the first co-developed line-up from “Go to by mizuno.” It incorporates the functionality of sportswear while promoting the fun and excitement of travel.
What is Pan Am?
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was at the forefront of the airline industry during its 64-year run. It was the first company to adopt the Boeing 707 when it ordered 20 of them for commercial use in 1955. It became the world leading airline in both name and reality in the 1960s. In 1972, Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport) became a hub for Pan Am, and they also set up a company building in Manhattan. The airline is still fondly remembered today, and is sure to be a name mentioned by those who have travelled around the world.
The clothing line-up of 38 itemsーspanning T-shirts, caps, socks, travel bags, and moreーfeatures the Pan Am logo and is made from waterproof and stretchy sports clothing that can be used for everyday wear.
52 Collaboration with PAN AM
17 Mizuno stores (including MIZUNO TOKYO and MIZUNO OSAKA CHAYAMACHI)
Mizuno online shop
Department Stores (Kawanishi Hankyu, Nishinomiya Hankyu, Kintetsu Department Store, Nara, Kashihara, Moriguchi Keihan Department Store, Kobe Hankyu, Kawagoe, Fukudaya Department Store, Utsunomiya)
*Pop-up shops from late March to early May (check official website for shop list)
*Shonan Tsutaya pop-up exhibition (March 20-April 27)
Official Website: https://www.mizuno.jp/52goto/
Popular Yakiniku Restaurant Futago to Open New Branch at THE JUNEI HOTEL in Kyoto
14.March.2020 | FOOD
FTG Company, which operates 74 restaurants inside and outside Japan, is set to open its new restaurant Nikukappou Futago at THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto in Higashiyama, Kyoto on March 27, 2020 where it will serve authentic Japanese wagyu beef and full courses.
THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto is a small luxury tourist hotel housing eleven rooms in total, including its Bamboo Suite. Bamboo can be found throughout all the rooms as part of the hotel’s concept: “A sojourn embraced by bamboo in a moonlit space.” The rooms, as well as the hotel interior overall, showcases beautiful traditional handiwork using bamboo.
Inside Nikukappou Futago
Nikukappou Futago fuses traditional Japanese elements with modern ones. It features half-size eating areas as well as private areas. Customers can expect their private dining experience to include freshly-cooked full courses with high quality Japanese wagyu and seasonal ingredients.
Menu in Japanese *Menu will change monthly
Nikukappou Futago’s concept is “A relaxed adult’s Iki.” The word iki here refers to a range of different meanings in Japanese, like “sophistication,” “breath,” “spirit,” and “life.” The restaurant will work to serve a hospitable service that enables each and every person to enjoy that iki that lives inside them.
Foie Gras & Wagyu Filet Mouthful Bowl
Wagyu Loin & Kyoto Vegetable Shabu-shabu
The course is made with seasonal ingredients and vegetables. Plus, in using a range of cooking methods, the original flavour meat of the meat is intensified.
Wagyu Sirloin Sumiyaki
Enjoy a selection of high-quality rare wagyu cuts like sirloin, filet, loin, and more. You can also enjoy a selection of classic Japanese dishes like yakiniku, shabu-shabu, and sukiyaki, all in one course.
Like the changing seasons in Kyoto, the menu will be altered every month to bring something new. Discover your iki and enjoy a great meal at Nikukappou Futago.
Nikukappou Futago THE JUNEI HOTEL KYOTO
Address: THE JUNEI HOTEL KYOTO Floor 1F, 4-139 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Grand Opening: March 27, 2020
Opening Hours: 17:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Seats: 32 (6 Half-Size Rooms / 2 Private Rooms
Course Price: ¥11,000 (Tax and service charge not included) *Course menu to change each month
Official Website: https://nikutei25.com/
World’s Largest Athletic Tower Banpaku BEAST to Open at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park in Osaka
14.March.2020 | SPOT
Banpaku BEAST is set to open as the largest athletic tower in the world at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park on March 15, 2020, standing 24 meters tall.
The hexagonal tower was created by German-based amusement park attraction developers KristallTurm. It has four floors, each of which is its own “athletic area,” as well as an observation deck. It is a comprehensive workout tower, offering 120 different kinds of athletic activities such as climbing and slacklining, meaning the fun will never end in a single day, and will have you wanting to go back for more.
The tower makes use of its full height; expect to use your entire body during your ascension, ride barrels, bikes, and more. Safety is guaranteed while still offering a heart-racing experience for those thrill-seekers. The facility can be used by both kids and adults alike who want to test themselves and feel refreshed after a good workout.
See Banpaku BEAST in action in the official video above.
Location: Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, Suita, Osaka
Time: Reception 9:30-15:00 / Open 10:00-16:30
Price: General ¥3,500 / Elementary school children and below ¥3,000
*Separate fee charged for entry to Expo ’70 Commemorative Park’s Natural and Cultural Gardens (General ¥260/ Elementary school children and below ¥80)
Access: 5-minutes from Expo Memorial Park Station via Osaka Monorail
Official Website: https://www.se-amuse.jp/bampakubeast/
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Opens Sentō Bathhouse and Sumō-Themed Fusion Accommodation Called ‘DOSUKOI’
09.March.2020 | SPOT
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS is located in the heart of Harajuku’s tourism welcomes travellers from all over the world to immerse in Japanese culture in a way they’ve never experienced before. The cherry blossom-themed accommodation SAKURA is a blooming success throughout the year and ORIGAMI’s mesmerizing and clever designs never fail to make tourists crease their necks in amusement.
The third Japanese culture accommodation has stomped into MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS as a fusion of sumō wrestling and sentō bathhouse culture called ‘DOSUKOI’. The word dosukoi is phrase that sumo wrestlers shout out to get hyped up – perfectly summing up your excitement as you explore this spectacular fusion world from corner to corner. From a giant sumō hand to a historical sentō bathtub with a magnificent mural artwork scenery, the entrance, living room and sentō-style bathing area is overflowing with originality.
The entrance to the living room is themed around a sentō bath. The tiled roof and traditional entranceway noren fabric dividers will be the first thing to welcome tired travellers.
A giant sumō hand overshadows the light on the ceiling, representing the tsuppari striking technique used by sumō wrestlers. The furniture, including the soft sofa, rug and chairs, is white and beige to represent the colour of the sumō ring.
The relaxing room is punctuated with powerful illustrations of sumō wrestlers that cover the wallpaper.
The round bathtub is made from Japanese cypress wood and is large enough to fit 3-4 people – perfect to soak off your tiredness with friends and family. A large wall painting (mural) of a grand ocean view dominated by Mount. Fuji stretches across the wall. A purple curtain is suspended above the circular bath, representing the mizuhikimaku curtain which hangs above a sumō ring.
The dressing area is equipped with a fridge and chair like a traditional bathhouse. DOSUKOI guests will also find complimentary bath salts which are a gift.
The grand mural is an original piece by Kiyoto Maruyama – one of Japan’s three remaining sentō mural artists. This graceful painting was created using a large and smaller brush. As you admire the bold colours and fine details of this rare art, which is fading away as society progresses, you will be sent on a journey back through time.
The spacious sleeping area consists of two levels, each of which has enough room for two people to sleep. The room also has another bed in storage, meaning that up to five guests can stay.
Sink and Toilet
The separate sink area is equipped with a hair dryer. There is also a Japanese Washlet toilet with multiple functions.
Amenities and Extras
The kitchen is fully equipped with cooking utensils, a microwave, refrigerator and all the daily essentials.
After a long, relaxing hot soak, put on a light yokozuna yukata robe and you’ll feel just like a sumō champion. There are also many amenities and items that fit with the DOSUKOI theme.
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS isn’t just a hotel but is also the perfect party space for you and your friends to get together. As the cold days are still with us, how about warming up in a toasty sentō-style bathtub with your friends?
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS -DOSUKOI-
Address: MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Floor 2, 2-18-7, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Access: 8-minute walk from Meiji Jingumae (Harajuku) Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line/ Fukutoshin Line)
MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS Official Website: https://rooms.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/
Winners Announced For The 7th Washoku World Challenge Competition
03.March.2020 | FOOD
The final round for the 7th Washoku World Challenge Competition was held in Tokyo on February 20 and 21, which saw WANG Wei Ping of China, and chef at SUN with AQUA JAPANESE DINING SUNTORY, as the winner.
The two-day event brought together five chefs from Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Donostia-San Sebastian, and New York come together to compete and show their skills create dishes based on the competition’s main theme of “Umami” and this year’s theme of “Texture and Mouthfeel.”
The judges said: “This 7th edition demonstrates that the finalists’ technical level keeps improving every year. Creating Japanese dishes that incorporate the characteristics and unique ideas of other countries’ culinary cultures, while respecting the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine built on the concept of umami, expands the potential of Japanese cuisine. The creations of each one of the finalists embodied this notion.”
Middle Contender: WANG Wei Ping, 1st Place Winner
WANG Wei Ping’s Dish
On the first day, the chefs used the same ingredients to create a “nimonowan.” On the second day, they forged their own original dishes using five or more ingredients which they arranged on a Japanese “hangetsubon” tray.
When reacting to his victory, Wang Wei Ping said: “I thank the owner and other members of my restaurant. After returning to Shanghai, I would like to continue conveying the excellence of Japanese cuisine, which is both healthy and tasty.”
First Place: WANG Wei Ping (China, SUN with AQUA JAPANESE DINING SUNTORY)
Second Place: Yael PEET (USA, Fury’s) *The restaurant will be open this summer.
Third Place: Loh Man HONG (Singapore, FAT COW)
Wojciech POPOW (Poland, Beaverbrook)
– Head Judge: Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA
(Chairman of Japanese Culinary Academy, Owner and chef of Kikunoi, Japanese Cuisine Goodwill ambassador)
– Deputy Head Judge: Mr. Masahiro NAKATA
(Director of Taiwa Gakuen Education Inc. President of Kyoto Culinary Art College)
– Judge: Mr. Hideaki MATSUO
(Owner of Japanese Cuisine KASHIWAYA, Japanese Cuisine Goodwill ambassador)
– Special Judge: Yoshio KOJIMA
Washoku World Challenge
Official Website: https://www.washoku-worldchallenge.jp/7th/en/
Kyoto Aquarium to House 20 Types of Jellyfish With New ‘Jellyfish Wonder’ Area
29.February.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Aquarium is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation and is set to reopen on April 29, 2020.
When it reopens, visitors will be able to visit the new jellyfish area, called “Kurage Wonder” (Jellyfish Wonder), which will span 350㎡ in width and 40 meters in length. It will house the largest number of different species in western Japanーup to 20ーwith around 5,000 individual jellyfish to see, like the northern sea nettle and pacific sea nettle.
The area begins at 10 individual water tanks where you can see how moon jellyfish change and grow. It then moves onto the 6.5 meter circumference “GURURI” panorama tank which offers a 360° view of 1,500 moon jellyfish.
This tank is entered through an arch, which once you pass through leads you under the tank where your vision is filled with the sight of countless moon jellyfish.
The new “Kyoto Jellyfish Research Lab” has also been built where guests can observe the staff breeding and researching jellyfish on a day-to-day basis. Enjoy hearing how the jellyfish are cared for behind the scenes while chatting together with the staff. Various other activities you can participate in will be introduced in the future too.
Discover the wonderful world of jellyfish at the newly-renovated Kyoto Aquarium.
Address: 35-1 Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Reopening: April 29, 2020
Access: 15-minutes on foot west from Kyoto Station’s Central Exit / 7-minutes on foot from Umekōji-Kyōtonishi Station via the JR San’in Main Line
Official Website: https://www.kyoto-aquarium.com/en/