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?

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    03.August.2020 | SPOT

    MGallery, a collection of over 5,000 luxury boutique hotels in 110 countries worldwide, landed in Japan for the first time last year with the opening of the 5-star KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery in Kyoto. Now, the brand has announced the opening of the new “Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery” (Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo-jo Bettei) which will open on November 28, 2020.

    Situated just a short 1-minute stroll from Njio Castle Station, this small, 25 room hotel, aims to offer luxury at the highest level.

    Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery was designed by Yukio Hashimoto, who has worked on countless hotels and facilities around the world. The hotel lobby and all guest rooms face a gorgeous Japanese-style garden where guests can enjoy its beautiful sights through all four seasons.

     

    The hotel takes inspiration from Nijo Castle, a structure which has seen both the end of the shogun as well as the start of modern Japan. As you enter the hotel, from the front door through and through the main entrance, guests will find themselves in their own private domain before they reach the breathtaking Japanese garden in front of them. All 25 of the guest rooms are crafted with high quality, sophisticated interiors.

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

    31.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

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

     

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

     

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

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

     

    Ingredients (Serves 1)


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

     

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

     

    Method

    We will start by making the chawanmushi.

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

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

     

    –How’s the taste?


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

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

    Recipe


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

     

    Model: Misa Kimura
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

  • Inari Sushi Restaurant Tsurigitsune to Open in Osaka International Airport’s North Terminal

    31.July.2020 | FOOD

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    Kyo Dashi Oinari (Includes 15) | ¥3,240 (Tax Included)

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    Tanto Otabeyasu | ¥930 (Tax Included) *Served 6:30-10:00

    As well as Kyo Dashi Oinari, Tsurigitsune’s menu includes a line-up of dishes that celebrate the flavour of dashi, including soba, dashimaki tamago omelette, and more.

     

    If you’re travelling to Osaka, why not get an authentic Kyoto experience too by dining at Tsurigitsune?

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    25.July.2020 | SPOT

    The new glamping facility Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku is set to open inside Minotani Green Sports Hotel in Kobe, Hyogo on August 7, 2020.

     

    Located in the lush green abyss of Kobe’s Minotani area, Glamp Dome is just 20-minutes from Kobe-Sannomiya. Guests can look forward to a glamorous camping experience inside on of the huge dome tents set up on site from which they can enjoy Kobe’s sunset and subsequent night sky. The facility promises a luxury camping experience like no other.

     

    Your dome tent and a private BBQ space

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    It is said that if water pH levels are over 7.5 then it is good for your skin. The water at Ginga Hot spring is 8.5, making the water quality very high.

     

    The unique foot bath bar

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    Menu
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    ・Domestic smoked beef
    ・Skillet of the day日
    ・Acqua pazza
    ・Dessert skillet
    ・Baguette

     

    Hotel amenities

    Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku also offers hotel-style amenities like towels, toothbrushes, hair dryers, gowns, and more. All domes are also fitted with Wi-Fi and plug sockets.

     

    When Glamp Dome Kobe Tenku opens, it will also be bookable on Resort Glamping, a booking website for glamping facilities and resort villas across Japan. If you’re ever travelling to Kobe, why not stay there in style with this very special glamping experience?

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

    21.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley

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

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

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

     

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

    19.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

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

     

    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)

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

     

    Special Mentions

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

     

    Top 5 Hot Spring Chiku Popular With Japanese People

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

     

    Top 3 Foot Baths Popular With Japanese People

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

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

    18.July.2020 | SPOT

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

    Before the Hike: Trip Plan and Travel Accident Insurance

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

     

    Manners and Precautions While Hiking

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

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

     

    Dangers on the Trail and Emergency Measures

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

     

    100 Mountain Climbing & Hiking Courses

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

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

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

    17.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

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

    13.July.2020 | SPOT

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

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

     

    Take a dip in the famous Senami Onsen

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

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

     

    Choose the right room for your trip

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

     

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

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

     

    Affordable summer all-you-can-drink

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

     

    All-You-Can-Drink Plan

    Running: Until August 31, 2020

    Time: 60-minutes max in the evenings

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

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

    12.July.2020 | SPOT

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

     

    Enjoy the outdoors in a wide, open space

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

     

    Summer resort rental items

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

     

    The lush green outdoors surrounds the hotel

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

    Hoshino Onsen Tonbo no Yu

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

     

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

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

    11.July.2020 | SPOT

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

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

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

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

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

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