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?

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly

    13.August.2019 | FOOD

    XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA. 

     

    These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels. 

    As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.

     

    *Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline. 

     

    To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ¥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD). 

     

    To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ¥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:

    #旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク

    Four winners will be selected.

     

    Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea. 

  • 4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer

    10.August.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.

     

    If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.

     

    Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties

    This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”

     

    ▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)

    Date: August 11, 2019

    Time: From 19:30
    Location: Hozubashi Bridge
    Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/

     

    Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine

    Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.

     

    ▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Katsura River
    Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/

     

    Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years

    Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival.  Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.

    Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.

     

    ▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Shimasaki Park
    Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/

     

    Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay

    Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.

     

    ▼Ine Fireworks

    Date: August 24, 2019

    Time: 20:15

    Location: Ine, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/

     

     

    Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.

  • Experience Tasting Mount Koya’s Famous Sesame Tofu at ONAKA PECO PECO in Tsukiji

    07.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen is a cafe located in Tsukiji, a district in Chuo, Tokyo. They serve rice balls filled with locally sourced ingredients from various locations in Japan. In the evenings, the rice balls can be enjoyed with delicious sake.

     

    If you visit the cafe right now you’ll be able to try sesame tofu (goma tofu) made by the long-running restaurant Kadohama. Sesame tofu is a meibutsu―or “local speciality”―of Mount Koyo.

     

    While it is possible to buy sesame tofu on Kadohama’s online store, the only places you can eat them out at is at their restaurant on top of Mount Koya or at select branches of department stores such as Mitsukoshi or Isetan. We visited ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen for a taste of this exquisite collaboration.

    Mount Koya is located in the Ito district of northern Wakayama Prefecture and is home to the town of Koya. The region is encased an abundant mountainous landscape. The Japanese Buddhist monk Kūkai opened the sacred mountain around 1,200 years ago. In 2004, Mount Koya which was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004 under the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” category. It has since become a popular tourist destination with Japanese and foreign travellers alike.

     

    Here is the heavenly menu lineup at ONAKA PECO PECO which is packed full of Kadohama’s sesame tofu.

    There are five items which are made with the sesame tofu: an onigiri rice ball, crab soup, cold tofu, pork shabu shabu, and a drink.

    Time to tuck in and try this famous food which has been enjoyed for many years!

    White Vegetables & Steamed Pork Shabu w/ Koji Sesame Tofu Sauce – ¥800

    This dish is garnished with a generous serving of fresh white vegetables and succulent meat. It includes lotus root, enoki mushrooms, cauliflower, and pork. It also comes with a white sauce made with sesame tofu, shio koji, and sesame oil. The sauce has a mild flavour in which you can get the full glorious taste of the tofu. It’s smooth and refreshing so is a perfect pick for the hot summer.

    Sesame Tofu & Plum Cheese-Loaded Rice Ball – ¥250

    This rice ball is a flavourful combination of a sesame tofu and plum paste and lots of cheese.

    This fat rice ball is wrapped in paper like a hamburger. The rich taste of the tofu and cheese reduces the sourness of the plum, giving it a gentler flavour.

    Sesame Tofu & Egg Crab Soup – ¥400

    The soup is an amazing combination with the rice ball. It has a miso soup base filled with green onion, enoki mushrooms, and crab. The elastic-y tofu is cut into big satisfying chunks. Its rich, creamy flavour combined with the crab is to die for.

    Sesame Tofu & Sweet Sake Jelly Drink – ¥350

    The cute white-coloured beverage is a healthy mix of sesame tofu paste and sweet sake. It retains the pulpy texture of the tofu and the aftertaste is super refreshing.

    You can order the drink for takeout so you can take a stroll around the streets of Tsukiji.

    Kadohama Sesame Tofu – Eat In: ¥300 / Takeout: From ¥240

    If you’re looking to enjoy the sesame tofu on its own then you’ve got to try it with either the wasabi and soy sauce or brown sugar. You can also order this to take away too. Each box contains one piece of tofu.

    The cafe is also selling exclusive merchandise as part of the collaboration. The collection includes a t-shirt, sacoche bag, and cap. Each item has a simple design making them easy to incorporate into looks.

    Easy access to Kadohama’s sesame tofu―which is made using traditional cooking methods that have been passed down generations at Mount Koya―can only be enjoyed at ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen. If you’re in Tokyo this summer, then take a trip to Tsukiji district to try this healthy and nutrient-packed tofu.

     

    Model: Ririka Satsuki

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MMN Editorial Team)

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    05.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.

     

    We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.

     

    Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower

    The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.

     

    ▼Kyoto Station

    Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/

     

    ▼Kyoto Tower

    Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)

    *Opening hours subject to change without notice

    Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/

     

     

    Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.

    Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?

     

    ▼Yasaka Shrine

    Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/

     

     

    Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.

     

    Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.

     

    ▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/

     

     

    Ninenzaka

    Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.

     

    ▼Ninenzaka

    Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/

     

     

    Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.

     

    ▼Kiyomizu-dera

    Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php

    Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/

     

    Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.

     

    Photos: Taka

  • Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Offers Luxurious Accommodation Plan & Tea Ceremony Experience For Families

    05.August.2019 | SPOT

    Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, a highly prestigious and magnificent 4-star hotel located in Shinjuku, is now serving an all-new “luxurious” family package which includes a tea ceremony experience and much more. It is currently running from July 20 to September 1.

    The rooms offered in the accommodation plan are the hotel’s popular Wide Twin Rooms located on the Premier Grand club floor. Use of the Club Lounge is included in the package. The Wide Twin Rooms include two roomy queen-size beds which span 1.53 meters wide which allow parents to sleep comfortably with their children. Rooms also feature their own bathroom facilities.

     

    The package also includes a check-in simulation for children aged 6-12 years where they can get a feel for what it’s like to check-in. They will fill in their own check-in cards with parents and receive a ticket for the tea ceremony experience. They will be able to take their card home with them and take a commemorative photo.

    The tea ceremony experience will be held on the hotel’s 10th floor in the “Shofuan,” an authentic tearoom that has been in the hotel since it opened in 1971. Parents and children will receive proper instruction from the tea ceremony teacher before pouring their own tea, allowing them to learn about traditional Japanese culture and etiquette. They will receive a special certificate of completion at the end.

     

    If you’re travelling to Japan as a family this summer then enjoy it in luxury at Hotel Keio Plaza Tokyo.

  • Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700

    04.August.2019 | BUSINESS / SPOT

    NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.

    Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.

    The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.

    The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.

    There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.

    OHYA 1

    From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.

    The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.

    All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to  get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.

     

    A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.

     

    If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?

  • Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour

    31.July.2019 | SPOT

    Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.

     

    Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’

    Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.


    This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.

     

    Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.

  • Visiting Hakone? Pick Up A Freshly Baked Hakone Basque Cheesecake

    29.July.2019 | FOOD

    A brand new Basque Cheesecake shop called Hakone Cheese Terrace opened on July 26th. The carefully balanced rich flavour and smooth texture of these cheesecakes makes them the perfect Hakone souvenir! Basque cheesecake is a type of burnt cheesecake that originated from Basque, Spain.

    Hakone is home to a large number of Japan’s popular tourist spots as well as relaxing hot springs and beautiful nature. Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, Hakone has an extraordinary atmosphere which will heal both your body and mind. Hakone Cheese Terrace opened to enhance the appeal of the nature surrounding Hakone resorts and to contribute to the fascinating culture of the area. 

    The basque cheesecake comes in a mini cup so customers can enjoy this delicious treat while on the go exploring the local area. This is also the perfect souvenir size.

    The cheesecakes at Hakone Cheese Terrace are made mostly from locally sourced ingredients. For a creamy, fresh taste, milk sourced from the south of Hakone is combined with high-quality cream cheese. An original recipe blend is used for a rich flavour and smooth texture.

    The cheesecakes are baked fresh at the shop so you can enjoy your cheesecake at its most delicious stage. Rock salt, black pepper and soy sauce are available as toppings for customers to discover a new flavour.

     

    Come enjoy the flavours of Hakone to your heart’s content at Hakone Cheese Terrace

  • Explore The Hidden Beauty, Culture And Local Cuisine Of Hida Takayama In A Yukata

    18.July.2019 | SPOT

    Shimocho is one of the districts of Hida Takayama and is overflowing with traditional culture that you absolutely must experience. To make the most of your trip, there is a summer yukata-wearing programme running from July 20th which is the perfect opportunity to wear cooling and refreshing Japanese clothes while strolling and exploring the streets. 

     

    This year will be the 7th time the programme has been run. The Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi programme allows visitors to dress in a comfortable and cooling yukata, stroll, explore, try different foods and enjoy the culture of the area. This year’s theme is “romance and yukatas” and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy programme-limited desserts and the rich culture of the district.  

     

    Discover Hidden Beauty with the Stroll Map

    Visitors will be given a map packed with wonderful spots of the area. The map will also include the destinations of 31 shops where you can enjoy special experiences, meals and desserts that are limited to those who take part in the yukata programme. Recommended spots to visit are also drawn on the map in a very cute handwriting-like style, so you can stop by these places easily while enjoying your walk. There are even many places on the map that only a local would know about. 

     

    Some of the special benefits of the programme allow you to enjoy the best regional cuisine that Hida has to offer, including the wonderful experience of restaurants that have been loved by the locals for generations, a beef delicacy restaurant, and much more. Besides food, the programme also gives you the opportunity to witness the beautiful festival floats used during the Takayama festival at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan. You can also enjoy experiencing baking your own senbei crackers and gold panning.  

     

    The programme includes a wide range of experiences for you to enjoy from local shops to food to culture to some new experiences. 

     An old-style café called Sabou Usagi is particularly popular with the locals. Here, the coffee is made using a vacuum coffee maker. With the summer programme, you can enjoy the delicious heart Tiramisù served here.

     

    The stroll map includes a variety of locations such as the Takayama Tourist Information Centre, Hida Takayama Tourism Convention Association, Hida Takayama Travel Hotel Association and much more. The map also includes some of the accommodations available around Takayama, some important train stations and much more. You can easily download this map from the official website. (Japanese only )  

     

    Stroll the Streets in an Elegant Yukata

    Change into a traditional Yukata that matches the beautiful surrounding townscape. There are four shops Yukata rental shops available to pick up your favourite Yukata, so there is no need to worry if you did not come prepared. There are also some accommodations that allow for yukata rental. 

    If you decide to join the Hida Takayama Nippon Natsu Yasumi programme, make sure to share your beautiful memories on Instagram with the hashtag #Hidasummer 

  • 3 Kyoto Tourist Spots to Visit and Cool Down at This Summer

    17.July.2019 | SPOT

    The bustling Kyoto Prefecture is located in the Kansai region of Japan, adored for its historical architecture and richness in traditional Japanese culture for which it brings in tourists every year both Japanese and foreign.

     

    Summertime in Kyoto is renowned for being very hot. We’ve compiled a list of 3 must-visit locations where you can cool down during the summer heat―each of which have beautiful sights―and how to get to them.

     

    Explore the Caverns of Shizushi Limestone Cave Park

    The only limestone caves in Kyoto Prefecture, Shizushi Limestone Cave Park offers an exciting mix of outdoor activities from cave exploration to camping, bird watching and much more. The caves are a designated national monument of Kyoto Prefecture. Many fossils have been collected from the caves that date back to before the Permian period (which ended 252.2 million years ago) including fusulinida and crinoids. The temperature of the caves sits between 12℃-15℃ throughout the year making it a very popular spot for cooling off during times of hot weather.

     

    ▼Shizushi Limestone Cave Park
    Address: Shizushi, Kyotamba, Funai District, Kyoto

    Access: Board a JR bus from Sonobe Station (JR Sagano Line) bound for Enpuku (園福線) and get off at Hinokiyama (桧山). Change onto a Choei (町営) bus. Get off at the Shizushi Limestone Cave entrance (鐘乳洞口) and walk for 5 minutes.

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Website: http://www.kyotamba.org/質志鐘乳洞公園/

     

     

    Beach Swings and Sunsets at Yuhigaura

    Yuhigaura sits on the coast of Kyoto’s Tango area and is known for its iconic sunsets. Every year during summertime, giant swings made from driftwood and other materials are placed onto the beaches. Sitting on these during the evening sunset make for an incredibly picturesque scene.

    And this year they’re serving an original drink called the “Magic Hour” for a limited time.

     

    ▼Yuhigaura
    Address, 390 Aminocho Hamazume, Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture

    Access: Board the Limited Express Hashidate (特急はしだて号) train at Kyoto Station and get off at Yūhigaura-Kitsu-onsen Station (夕日ヶ浦木津温泉)

    Homepage: http://yuukan.com/news/17/?view_oft=0

     

     

    Amanohashidate Sandbar Illuminations

    Last year’s illuminations at the Amanohashidate sandbar brought in over 30,000 people. The sandbar is one of Japan’s three scenic views. The illumination event is held annually with this year’s running from July 13 to September 1. The lights turn the sandbar into a truly magical spectacle.

    A special bar is also open for the light-up where you can get drinks along with several other exciting events surrounding it.

     

    ▼Amanohashidate Light-Up
    Address: Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Running: July 13, 2019 – September 1, 2019
    Event Details:  https://www.facebook.com/amanohashidate.machiakari/

     

     

    Stay cool this summer in Kyoto by hitting up one of these tourist hot spots!

  • 6 Must-Visit Cafes in Hokkaido For Their Kawaii Pancakes

    16.July.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s islands and a popular tourist location with both locals and overseas visitors, enjoyed for its winter sports like skiing, hot springs and more. It is also enjoyed for its cool climate, being the coldest region in Japan. It’s home to many tourist spots and seafood restaurants, but today we’re covering its countless cute cafes.

     

    Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer, posts his visits to the many cafes of Sapporo―the capital of Hokkaido―on his Instagram page

    607keih). Today he will introduce us to 6 must-visit cafes in Hokkaido with the cutest pancakes.

     

     

    Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Susukino, Sapporo)

    This popular little cafe in the district of Susukino showcases its assortment of pancakes in a glass display. The cafe now sells affordable pancake and purin sets. I ordered the “Fruits and Milky & Chocolate Purin” set (¥980).


    The fluffy pancake is made with Fafi’s famous eggs which have a rich flavour and big yolks. The milky cream is sweet and silky smooth. Inside the pancake is delicious pineapple and strawberries which add a deliciously fruity accent.

     

    Their pancakes are noticeably smaller at g-plus but since it comes with a purin in the set you’re sure to be nice and full after. The set is perfect to share too.

     

    ▼Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Japanese: ファフィたまごのパンケーキ g-plus)

    Address: 9-1019 Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 11:30-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)

    Closed: Thursdays & Fridays

    Official Website: https://g-plus.owst.jp/

     

     

    Café ZIKKA (Kiyota, Sapporo)

    Café ZIKKA serves a variety of pastries and desserts. Their elusive strawberry pancakes are a limited-time-only offer. These fat and fluffy pancakes have a distinctly different taste to other places. Heaping with strawberries, the fruit and pancakes marry in the most sumptuous of flavours when eaten with the yogurt ice cream centre. The strawberries also come in a variety of forms including whole, compote and sauce, making for a variety of succulent textures.


    The fresh cream isn’t overly-sweet making for a lighter pancake. It’s also topped with crushed almond for added texture. The size of the pancakes aren’t huge but since it’s served with two and many toppings you’ll absolutely be satisfied afterwards.

     

    ▼Café ZIKKA

    Address: 11-12 Hiraokakoenhigashi, Kiyota Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 11:00-20:00 (10:00-19:00 in January and February)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays)

    Official Website: http://yoshidacoffee.com/index.html

     

     

    Kaze o Kanjite (Motomachi, Sapporo)

    This cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Motomachi Station via the Tōhō Line. Simply exit from Exit 1 of the station, make a right and you’ll arrive right there.

     

    This cafe’s aim is to bring it lots of students to eat their pancakes which are both cheap and delicious. I ordered the berry sauce pancakes.


    The cafe’s homemade strawberry jam contains pieces of fresh strawberry which alone already make the pancakes tantalising enough. They are served with a side of fresh fruits like extra strawberries as well as orange slices. The pancakes served here are so good that I personally count them as the best in Sapporo. That, and the prices are amazing for the huge portions you get. I want more people to get to know about this place, and not just students.

     

    ▼Kaze o Kanjite (Japanese: 風をかんじて)

    Address: Kita House 1F, 17-2-3 Kita 24 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)

    Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays

    Website: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010202/1058705/

     

     

    ROJIURA CAFÉ (Susukino, Sapporo)

    ROJIURA CAFÉ is another cafe located in Susukino round on the backstreet of Round One. They serve pancakes and parfaits right into the early hours of the morning.

     

    Their caramel sauce has salt in it to add a mouthwatering salty flavour that draws out the sweetness of the fresh cream. The nuts only add to this delectable delight of a pancake.

    Fine and fluffy pancakes fit for the gods. Whether it’s a dessert like pancakes or parfaits or even meals, ROJIURA CAFÉ’s doors are open to  you from the evening until the deepest hours of the night.

     

    ▼ROJIURA CAFÉ

    Address: TAKARA6.3, 3 Chome Minami 6 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours:

    [Mon-Thurs] 18:00-03:00 (Last Orders 02:00)

    [Fri-Sat] 18:00-04:00 (Last Orders 03:00)

    [Sun & Holidays] 18:00-01:00 (Last Orders 00:00)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: http://sapporo-rojiuracafe.com/

     

     

    OJ Coffee (Kotoni, Sapporo)

    You’ll find OJ Coffee just a few minutes’ walk from Kotoni Station in Nishi Ward, Sapporo. This cafe serves exquisite coffees and boasts an abundant menu consisting of soba noodles, curries, steaks and more. They also serve pancakes so I decided to give them a go.

    Fluffy, moist and glorious. The pancake is topped with custard and served with a side of fresh cream, both of which aren’t overly sweet and go perfectly with the sweet beaten eggs of the pancakes. Decorated the outside of the plate is an assortment of fruits, maple syrup and other tempting treats for a variety of flavours. The coffee flavoured soft serve ice cream is a great palate cleanser too. The ice cream doesn’t have the bitterness that comes with coffee but it’s very coffee flavoured. It’s close to Kotoni Station so if you’re strolling around Nishi Ward looking for a cafe I highly recommend visiting here.

     

    ▼OJ Coffee

    Address: D Planning Bldg. 1F, Kotoni 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo

    Business Hours: 7:30~22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.oj-coffee.com/

     

     

    Café Blue (Ishiyama-dori, Sapporo)

    Café Blue, built up from a renovated old house, is currently selling a new lemon and yogurt pancake for a limited time.

     

    Their pancakes never fail to be anything less than fluffy. The generously drizzled yogurt sauce is fairly refreshing and sweet while still retaining that yummy yogurt flavour. The lemon curd sauce, too, is refreshing and combines well with the pancakes as lemon always does. The lemon also has honey in it making for a satisfyingly sweet and sour combination.


    The ice cream on top is salt flavoured which bring out all the sweet flavours of the dessert. The crunchy almonds are nice and nutty and bring a great texture to the soft and sticky combinations. When I eat pancakes this is the  kind of thing I’m looking for!

     

    The sauce was refreshing and the pancake overall was delicious and very easy to get down. The yogurt sauce really is amazing!

     

    ▼Café Blue

    Address: 16-9-12 Minami 19 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 9:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Website: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010104/1036972/

     

     

    Did you enjoy Kei’s picks? Be sure to check out their Instagram page for more recommended desserts and foods to try in Sapporo. There’s a wealth of choices on there that will make for great reference when travelling to Hokkaido.

     

    Photo & Text: Kei (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • See Hundreds of Japanese Wind Chimes at Nyoirin-ji Temple Festival in Fukuoka

    13.July.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Fukuoka is a tourist hot spot of Japan, bustling with tourists and travellers both from the island nation and those from overseas, especially from China, Taiwan and South Korea.

     

    Situated on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka offers amazing shopping experiences and serves up some of the most delicious gourmet cuisine at its rows of restaurants. But nothing compares to its bountiful sightseeing splendours.

     

    Rie is an Instagrammer who travels to all the different sightseeing spots Kyushu has to offer which she documents on her Instagram page. Today, she gives us a special look at one her most recommended places to visit in Fukuoka: Nyoirin-ji Temple.

     

    Nyoirin-ji Temple is often nicknamed “Frog Temple” due to the many frogs you can see at the temple grounds, a rare sight at a Japanese temple. It’s located in Fukuoka Prefecture’s city of Ogori which can be reached by catching a Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line train from Tenjin in the heart of Fukuoka and getting off at Mitsusawa Station. From there the temple is just a 15-minute walk.

    Nyoirin-ji Temple is the home of thousands of frogs. A lot of the frog ornaments and items at the temple were collected by the temple’s chief priest.

     

    There’s one ornament which you can take a photo through as seen above, so you should definitely try taking one yourself in your own way. You can even get a goshuin stamp with a frog illustration too if you take your goshuincho stamp book.

    The frogs are a given at the Frog Temple, but a must-see is the Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September. The temple entrance onward is decorated with lots of cute and colourful wind chimes.

    Up the stairs you can walk through a wind chime tunnel which gives you a cool, refreshed feeling even in the hot summer.

    It costs ¥500 for one wind chime which you can write your wish on before hanging up. You can’t take them home however so be cautious of that!

    Nyoirin-ji Temple was built in 729. It is home to a Cintāmaṇicakra statue which is a rare sight in Japan. It is also a registered cultural property of Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s not just a location for kawaii adoration―it has been long been loved by locals since ancient times and has a long history.

    The wind chimes will be strung up until the end of September. Their gentle ring is sure to make you feel at peace, so why not try dressing up in a yukata like Rie and experiencing the festival for yourself?

     

    Rie has many other examples of popular tourist destinations from around Kyushu on her Instagram page. Be sure to give her a follow if you’re planning a trip to Kyushu yourself!

     

    Photos by Rie

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