Visit the Abandoned Hotel, Tenjō-ji Temple & More at Mount Maya in Kobe
11.June.2019 | SPOT
A new category added to the Cool Japan Award―which is run by the Cool Japan Association―is “National Park,” which was claimed by Mount Maya in Kobe in May this year for its nighttime scenery.
Mount Maya is one of the major peaks of the Rokkō Mountains in Nada, Kobe and stands at a towering 702m high. Located close to the main city of Kobe, those who reach its apex will be able to see many different sights such as Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Maya is popular not just with tourists and sightseers, but Kobe locals too who visit it with families to eat bento, or those who take their special somebodies to observe the nightscape.
Located on Mount Maya is Tenjō-ji, a temple which the mountain’s name has its origins in. This year marks the run of a special event which is held at the temple once every 33 years. Visitors can also go on a guide walk to an abandoned hotel which is normally off limits to the public.
Let’s take an in-depth look at all the exciting things one can do at Mount Maya.
Tenjō-ji Temple, Mount Maya
The originator of Mount Maya’s name
Tenjō-ji can be found wrapped in nature at the peak of Mount Maya in its National Park. Visitors can enjoy all weathers atop the mountain as the seasons change, but if you go on a clear day, you’ll be able to observe as far as Awaji Island, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, and Shōdoshima. The history of this temple―the only one in Japan to have been built by Maya-bunin―dates back to the year 646 when the high priest of India accepted Emperor Kōtoku’s request to build it. Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha, is prayed to as a guardian of safe childbirth and child rearing. This is where Mount Maya gets its name.
The door to three hidden Buddhist statues opened once every 33 years
Once every 33 years, a door is opened at the palace to reveal three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. For the duration of its opening this August, Buddhist sermons will be given three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), and visitors will be able to obtain an exclusive goshuin stamp.
Running: August 1, 2019 – August 15, 2019
Time: 10:00-16:00 (Until 17:00 for this event)
Tour guide walk to Mount Maya’s historic ruins
~Stroll around and trace the history of Mount Yama~
As well as the temple, Mount Yama formerly bustled with people looking to dine and as well as stay in the accommodation there. After the war and earthquake disasters, a campaign began to restore life to Mount Maya, one part of which is a tour guide walk to the historic ruins.
This includes a trip to the former Tenjō-ji temple site as well as the abandoned hotel which is off limits to the general public.
Mount Maya’s Nightscape
~An internationally recognised landscape~
Mount Maya has been awarded the Cool Japan Award 2019 in the new National Park category for its gorgeous evening view from which one can see Kobe’s streets, the port and more.
If you’re planning a trip to Kobe be sure to use this article as reference!
Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences
26.January.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.
Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.
“Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll
Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing
One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.
You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.
Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery
The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.
After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.
See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train
Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.
You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.
Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.
Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: 330 Shiteicho Nakadachiuri Shinmachi-dori (West side of Gosho), Kamigyo, Kyoto
Official Website (English): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/en/
Plan Page (Japanese): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/lp/spring2020/index.html
Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience
17.January.2020 | SPOT
Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.
This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.
Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.
The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.
Kyoto Tower VR Bungy Jump
Running: February 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Time: 12:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:45)
Location: Kyoto Tower Observation Deck – Floor 1F (the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower)
・VR Bungy Ticket: ¥800 (Tax Included)
・Observation Deck & Bungy Set Ticket (Tax Included): Adults: ¥1,400 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,600)/High School Students: ¥1,300 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,450)/Elementary & Junior High Students: ¥1,100 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,350)
*Ages 7+ only
*Set tickets are available to purchase on floor 1F of Kyoto Tower
*Run times subject to change
*Ticket charges applied for ages 7+; those aged below 7-years-old are not permitted to use the VR system
*An entry ticket to the Kyoto Tower observation deck is not necessary to experience the VR system
Official Website: https://vr-bungee.com/
Gintama Diner: Tokyo’s Gintama Themed Cafe Heads to Animate Branches Across Japan
Animate Cafe, a chain of cafes that collaborate with popular anime and game franchises, is teaming up with Gintama to open the Gintama Diner for a limited time at the following branches: Ikebukuro 3, Kobe Sannomiya, and Nagoya 2.
The cafe will be inspired by American diners, and will run from December 19 to January 7 next year. Each cafe has its own system for being able to dine there. The Ikebukuro 3 and Kobe Sannomiya branches are all reservation-only, with each daily reservation going through a lottery system for a chance to have a place allocated. The Nagoya 2 branch has the same system for December 19-20 only, otherwise it is first-come, first-served.
Thick-Cut Bacon Burger – ¥850
Yorozuya Gin-chan’s Sakata Parfait – ¥850
Gin’s Strawberry☆Milk – ¥600
The menu features dishes, desserts and drinks inspired by the characters of the series. The bacon burger comes with a side menu item of your choice, with each being based on a specific character’s favourite side menu item. The parfait too is bright and vivid like the Yorozuya members.
When fans order from the themed menu, they’ll receive one of eight possible coasters featuring original designs.
Big Acrylic Stands (Diner ver.)
Squishy Trading Pin Badges
Trading Acrylic Keyrings (Diner ver.)
Fans will also be able to pick up some exclusive cafe merchandise they won’t find anywhere else, including acrylic stands, pin badges, key rings, and moreーall featuring a diner design.
©️Hideaki Sorachi/Shueisha・TV Tokyo・Dentsu Inc.・BNP・Aniplex
*All listed prices include tax
Gintama x Animate Cafe
Running: December 19, 2019 – January 7, 2020
・Animate Cafe Ikebukuro 3
・Animate Cafe Kobe Sannomiya
・Animate Cafe Nagoya 2
How to Enter
You must reserve a place for dining at Animate Cafe Ikebukuro 3 or Animate Cafe Kobe Sannomiya where you will be entered into a lottery and randomly allocated a slot. This applies to Animate Cafe Nagoya 2 for only December 19-20, weekends and public holidays, otherwise this branch is first-come, first-served.
Cafe Website: https://cafe.animate.co.jp/event/gintama1912
Hello Kitty Greets Fans with Song and Dance Every Day at the HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX
The official Hello Kitty theatre and restaurant HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX on Awaji Island saw a grand opening full of excitement and emotion in August 2019. Hello Kitty is now greeting fans with song and dance every day at the new event HELLO KITTY GREETING SHOW which started on December 1.
Hello Kitty, who realised her dream of becoming a pianist, will perform on stage, showing off her beautiful voice and flawless dancing. The show is interactive and invites the audience to join her fun world.
After the show, there is the chance to have your photo taken with the star herself in the greeting event.
If you’re a fan, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to get closer to Hello Kitty.
© 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G603369
HELLO KITTY GREETING SHOW
11:00－20:00 (Up to three performances per day)
①From 11:00 (Lunch), ② From 1500 (Cafe), ③ From 18:00 (Dinner)
* Last Entries
Lunch/ Dinner: Up to 1 hour after opening
Cafe: Up to 30 minutes after opening
①Reservations can be made via the homepage here (*Discount applied to all advanced reservations)
②Reservations can also be made at the restaurant on the day depending on the number of available tables
Allotted Time: Approx. 1.5 – 2 hours.
HELLO KITTY SHOW BOX
Address: 177-5 Nojimahirabayashi, Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture
Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners
一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.
A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.
②Instagram Photo Contest
Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.
③Coupons, Goods & Experiences
Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.
・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)
This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.
Official Website: http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/
・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.
Official Website: http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/
Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.
Japan Shopping Festival 2019-2020
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Official Website: http://jsf.japanshopping.org/
Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More
26.November.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).
From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.
Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts
Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.
In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.
Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020
Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/
Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!
Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/
Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow
Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.
The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.
Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020
Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html
Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate
Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.
The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.
The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.
Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://shourotei.com/
These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.
TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).
The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.
The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.
*Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).
Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.
Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!
Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480
A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.
Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280
A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.
Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680
You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.
Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO
The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.
59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara
Address: 1-28 Hayakawa, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture (West side of of Odawara Fishing Port)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Subject to change depending on the season)
Access: By train – 10 minutes on foot from JR Hayakawa Station / By car – 2 minutes from Seishō Bypass Hayakawa Interchange or 4 minutes from Odawara-Atsugi Road Odawara-Nishi Interchange
Official Website: https://www.totoco-odawara.com
Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government
12.November.2019 | SPOT
Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.
The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.
Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.
The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.
If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!
Enter via Feed Posts
・Follow the official Tokyo Tokyo Instagram account @tokyotokyooldmeetsnew
・Add hashtags #MYTOKYOIS and #TokyoTokyo to your post
・Add spot or location info to the photo or video you took, and post
Enter via Stories
・Follow the official Tokyo Tokyo Instagram account @tokyotokyooldmeetsnew
・Use the #MYTOKYOIS sticker or add the hashtag #MYTOKYOIS using the text tool / hashtag sticker
・Add spot or location sticker of the photo or video you took, and post
#MY TOKYO IS Campaign Website
Starbucks to Release Two Anniversary Drinks in Kyoto and Hyogo for Only 10 Days
06.November.2019 | FOOD
Starbucks Coffee Japan is commemorating 20-years since opening their Kyoto and Hyogo Prefecture branches with a 10-day-limited anniversary project which will run from November 12 to November 21. The barristers of both prefectures rose to the challenge to come up with three anniversary drinks and a vote took place to decide on a winning drink for each prefecture. The winners were announced as the Kyoto Erai Matcha Matcha Frappuccino® and the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®.
* Update: Starbucks Coffee Japan has just announced that the 20-year commemoration drink sales period has been postponed. The new drink launch date and limited period is yet to be announced. For more information, please follow this link (Japanese only) : https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3224.php
One sip of the Kyoto anniversary drink will send your taste buds on a journey to Kyoto. The ideas for the drink originated from the Kyoto Porta West branch. The barristers of Kyoto took it in their hands to interpret the culture of Kyoto in the form of a Starbucks drink by infusing the essence of Kyoto’s historical temples and elegant flavours. The taste of Starbucks’ popular Matcha Cream Frappuccino® can be tasted in the drink. Just seeing the green colour is enough to trigger memories of the Zen Buddhist temple Saiho-ji, which is famous for its moss garden to the extent that it is even called “Koke-dera”, meaning “moss temple”.
The whipped cream creates a contrast with the green matcha which will definitely spark memories of Ryoan-ji Zen temple in some keen Kyoto travellers. The drink is dusted with matcha and dark mocha powder, creating the image of green and brown leaves. The milk base fully enhances the matcha flavour. A creamy cloud of whipped cream and dusting of bitter matcha are layered to create a wonderful flavour adventure which is bound to take your taste buds on a journey off the beaten track.
Stretching from the north to the south of the Japan, Hyogo Prefecture is the largest prefecture in the Kinki region and is home to many towns which are bursting with originality. Hyogo’s barristers created their drink based on the concept of increasing love for Hyogo Prefecture’s unique towns. The idea for the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino® came from the barristers of the Himeji Minami branch.
The Port of Kobe opened in 1868 and has since flourished as the gateway to the world. Foreign culture including western confectionary has since spread across Japan with Kobe as its starting point. Considering Kobe’s history with western culture and the cold winter days that lie ahead, chocolate was chosen as the main flavour. Chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and chocolate whipped cream decorate the drink in diversity. The drink is even topped with chocolate sauce and dark mocha powder, making the perfect luxury Frappuccino® to tempt all chocoholics. After just one sip, you will immediately fall in love with the top-class chocolatey flavour.
If you’re in Kyoto or Hyogo, make sure to stop by a Starbucks to get your fill of cultural flavours.
Kyoto Erai Matcha Matcha Frappuccino®
Price:¥590 (Tall, Before Tax)
Available at 33 Starbucks Cafes across Kyoto Prefecture
*Sales will end once stock has been fully depleted.
Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®
Price:¥590 (Tall, Before Tax)
Available at 54 Starbucks Cafes across Hyogo Prefecture
*Please be aware that not all Starbucks Cafes sell the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®. Sales will end once stock has been fully depleted.
Release: Please follow this link for updates on the new sales period and start date (Japanese only):https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3224.php
Starbucks Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/en/
Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine
The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.
When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.
Accessory – ¥2,200
This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.
The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.
▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/
Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch
Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.
Hanabana – ¥864
Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.
Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200
The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.
Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.
If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.
▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/
Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.
Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour
The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.
Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.
Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)
Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)
Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/
Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch
Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.
Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160
Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.
At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.
▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch
Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie
Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)
*Products may sell out before 17:00
*Opening hours subject to change for January
So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!
Kyoto Sightseeing | Yokokuji Temple’s Autumn Event Schedule Announced
30.October.2019 | SPOT
Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Nagaokakyo and has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.
For autumn-time this year, the temple is set to hold an event titled “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. With a seasonal schedule that includes illuminations in the gardens to a flower display at the temple water basin, if you’re looking for the must-visit locations in Kyoto this autumn, then you’ll want to add Yokokuji Temple to your list.
Jodoen Garden Illuminations
Last year’s popular light-up event is making a return for 2019, with gorgeous illuminations developed by light designer Yuuki Kogawa which will brighten the area with an enchanting and mystifying aura different from a usual visit to the garden.
Dates: November 8th, 15th, 22nd-23rd
Time: 17:30-18:30 (Reception open from 17:00)
Price: ¥2,500 (Includes limited edition goshuin stamp)
No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)
Special Opening of the Joshoin
Normally, the Joshoin only opens on the 17th of every month, but for this autumn week event, it will be open every day. It’s an area normally limited to officials and those in the imperial family. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty.
Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin
At every temple and shrine in Japan there is a water basin which you are to use to cleanse yourself before entering. The Hanachomizu has become hugely popular on social media since the name first appeared 3 years ago, where leaves and flowers are placed into the basin. It has become adopted at temples across the country, with the one at Yokokuji Temple starting the trend. When it was first posted onto social media, it received reactions from over 80,000 people both in Japan and overseas. The flowers used change with the seasons, from hydrangeas to maple leaves.
Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More
Visitors will be able to pick up limited-edition goshuin stamp books which never fail to sell out whenever they are released. Goshuin are collectable stamps/seals at temples around Japan. They are ¥500 each and limited in stock.
This is just a small peek into what’s to come during Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week. If you’re in Kyoto, make sure you pay a visit to Yokokuji Temple.
Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week
Running: November 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Time: 9:00-16:00 (Joshoin open 10:00-15:00)
Location: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)
Entry Price: ¥300
Full Ticket: ¥1,100→¥1,100 (Includes entry to multiple areas)
Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/
3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019
17.October.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.
Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.
KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.
Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals
Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.
The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto
Support Fund: ¥300
Official Website: http://jitokuin.com
Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours
Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.
During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November
Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.
This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.
Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto
Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100
Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp
See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.
Official Website: http://www.kyotoside.jp/