Book Traditional Japanese Cultural Experiences Online Easily With Deeper Japan
21.June.2019 | SPOT
Deeper Japan has officially gone live, a service that enables users to quickly and easily book an array of activities in traditional Japanese culture.
The service removes the difficulties that foreign travellers face when trying to gain access to activities and experiences in Japan’s traditional culture by letting them simply book online on its English website. The website offers a careful selection of rich Japanese cultural experiences. By linking up directly with artists and artisans at the front line of their craft, users don’t have to worry about barriers in language, culture or values – they can build mutual understanding through coming into contact with another culture on their trip. The plan incorporates a system that only allows several guests at a time in the activity so that they can enjoy a richer experience with the artist.
There is a growing interest amongst foreigners in Japanese cultural in recent years, and more so more people wanting to experience true Japan―not a simplified version whipped up for tourists.
The list is long but some experiences include observing forging with a swordsmith, repairing pottery, creating bonsai trees, preparing Buddhist cuisine at a temple, Okinawan karate, Japanese archery, Nishijin-ori textiles, and more. Now foreign visitors to Japan can look forward to experiencing things that were not made immediately accessible to them before.
The website is also partnered with various hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo and Park Hyatt Tokyo. Guests staying at those hotels can hook up with an artist or artisan and relax while experiencing certain activities in a private room in the hotels. The service is also partnered with the NPO Marugoto Rikuzentakata Project―which was set up after the destruction of the coastal town of Rikuzentakata in southeastern Iwate Prefecture by the Great East Japan Earthquake―amongst other organisations to help preserve traditional Japanese culture.
Book your traditional Japanese culture experience today!
Official Website: https://deeperjapan.com/
Travel Japan #5: Experiencing Everyday Life in Japan at a Supermarket in Kyoto
After getting to know some Kyoto history I wanted to know more about today’s Kyoto. The enormous and modern terminal of Kyoto Station contrasts with the temples I’m so interested in. The two co-exist in harmony. I could see Kyoto Tower through the glass – it stood tall like it was watching over this ever-changing city. I will change my perspective today and walk the streets like the locals who live here in Kyoto.
My destination is undecided. It’s nice to surrender yourself to the flow of the people once in a while and head towards your goal as in Amidakuji (Ghost Leg lottery). Because I’ve learnt on my trip that you can encounter wonderful things by chance on occasion.
The glass walkway is like a tunnel into the future.
I look at my reflection in the window and see I have become more of an adult.
Stood there I gaze for a long time up at Kyoto Tower. As I stare I think about how the city changes, people change, the days transition, but how there are also things I want to stay the same.
The next place I head to is Aeon Mall, a shopping centre close to Kyoto Station. This is a foreign supermarket to for me, so I get excited. It’s like sifting through a toy box.
An ordinary day for the people living in this country is an extraordinary day for me.
Each and every thing in there is something I’ve never laid eyes on before.
I walk around, forgetting about the passage of time, and get a glimpse into the simple yet happy lifestyle of people.
There’s a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the mall, something I had been yearning for.
I wonder if my friends would laugh if I told them that the sushi coming round on a conveyor belt is like something out of a Tim Burton movie?
I feel like the protagonist of that film as I eat the sushi that rolls on by.
I visited a general store where everything is sold for ¥100.
I bought a letter set from here and wrote a letter to my precious friend.
To my beloved friend,
Japan is a really wonderful place.
I’m determined to absorb everything I see and experience in the limited time I have here.
I don’t know what I will discover on this trip, what I am heading towards.
It’s hard to describe in words, but I will continue my travels.
Model: Mala Morgan
Aeon Mall Kyoto: A Japan-packed shopping mall 10 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station
Aeon Mall Kyoto is just a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Its shelves are lined with daily necessities, you can dine there, buy souvenirs and more. On Weekends and national holidays there are free shuttles bus that runs every 15 minutes from Kyoto Station’s Hachijoguchi Exit which is very convenient for travellers with heavy luggage.
I really recommend visiting if ever you’re in Kyoto.
Aeon Mall Kyoto
Address: 1 Nishikujō Toriiguchichō, Minami Ward, Kyoto
Business Hours: Different for each store. Please visit the mall’s website below to check opening hours.
KOHYO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 1F)
KOHYO is a supermarket that sells various Japanese goods. I get my hands on a range of daily necessities and ingredients as I feel with my own skin what it’s like to real live life in Japan.
Business Hours: 9:00-22：00
Kaiten Sushi Uogashi (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 4F)
Kaiten Sushi Uogashi is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant that sells over 20 types of seafood everyday. The ingredients change each day. I reconfirm that I really am in Japan as I tuck into my delicious sushi.
Business Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)
DAISO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Kaede Building Floor 4F)
DAISO stocks new products every single day. There are ¥100-type stores in every country, but the ones in Japan really are something special! They have so many items that make for perfect souvenirs. It’s an irresistible place for girls who love shopping so I’ve got to tell my friends about it.
Business Hours: 10-00-21:00
About ÆON Group
ÆON Group is a retail corporate group based in Japan that has established 21,742 branches (as of February 2018) in 13 countries across Asia.
Its private brand TOPVALU sells high-quality products at an affordable price. The TOPVALU GURINAI range for example stocks a myriad of products crafted with the utmost care through various production techniques, and of the ingredients used only the best are selected.
The GURINAI range is divided into three parts that give customers the opportunity to easily purchase organic products and ingredients. ‘TOPVALU GURINAI Organic’ offers organic foodstuffs marked with the official organic stamp of approval. ‘TOPVALU GURINAI NATURAL’ provides fresh meat that, as a general rule, is farmed using no chemicals. ‘TOPVALU GURINAI free from’ stocks processed foods with additives, raw materials and ingredients taken into strict consideration.
ÆON Group Private Brand TOPVALU: https://www.topvalu.net (Japanese only)
Kyoto Travel: Enjoy Food, Discover Art in a Traditional Japanese Building & More
The colours of autumn are now hitting Kyoto, Japan’s ancient city steeped in history, culture and tradition and one visited by countless tourists―both Japanese and foreign―every year.
The staff at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON took a trip to Kyoto to gather information. The theme of the research is “Discover own your Kyoto,” where we introduce little-known places to you in Japan’s former Imperial capital that are not yet known by many people.
This is the second article in the series where we consider a trip to Tokyo for adults. We have a list of recommended spots where adults can go to enjoy a quiet and peaceful time while strolling through traditional places.
1: “Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art” – Appreciate Claude Monet in a traditional western-style building
The Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art is a western-style house that was built around the Taisho and early Showa periods and was turned into a museum. It was formerly used as a villa.
On either side of the museum sits the Underground Jewelry Box―an underground building built to turn the villa into a museum, and the Dream Box―a gallery, both built by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Both buildings house permanent art exhibitions as well as periodic exhibitions. The second floor of the museum also has a café. We received special permission to tour the site but it is normally off-limits.
The inside of the building has a retro style to it. The doors, lamps and stained glass windows create an otherworldly atmosphere. The stained glass window pictured above has been there since the building was first built.
Inside the Underground Jewelry Box, paintings such as those from Claude Monet’s lauded Water Lilies series line the undressed concrete walls. These are housed here permanently but the pieces may be switched for certain events.
When we visited there was an event happening titled “Viewing the Kimono in Junichiro TANIZAKI’s Literary Works.” The exhibition looks at how Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki depicted women and their fashion and examines the way they dress. On display are kimono recreated from his works. The exhibition is ongoing until December 2, 2018.
The designs revive those used in the time. Dot patterns are used as is lace. The outfits are also finished with baskets and boots too. Every kimono there will have you thinking just how stylish the women of that time were. You can really get a sense of the fashion back then.
The second floor café has a terrace where you can enjoy an unbroken view of the cityscape. When you’ve had your fill of art, head up and indulge in some tea and cake while enjoying the scenery.
2: “Yanagimachi” – A restaurant renovated from a townhouse
Next on the list is Yanagimachi, a restaurant located in Fukuchiyama. The surrounding area of the city is rich in agricultural produce and livelihood is still surrounded by the grace of the forest today.
Situated within this “Forest of Kyoto” is Yanagimachi, a restaurant that was renovated from a traditional townhouse built in the Meiji period. Despite being in the middle of Fukuchiyama it’s located in a place that still has that old fashioned Japanese castle town atmosphere. The entrance can be found on the side as you walk across the stone paving.
When you walk in, it doesn’t feel like a building from the Meiji period at all – it’s so modern!
We ate food made using vegetables harvested locally, amazing chicken and fish. The sashimi included pickled mackerel, greater amberjack, porgy and young Pacific bluefin tuna. Their huge portions of karaage fried food are also one of their specialties.
This photo above is another one of the restaurant’s famous foods: kamosuki. The fat of the duck is smooth and melts in your mouth. The locally harvested Kujo green onions are sweet and went perfectly with the duck.
Discover the taste of Kyoto by trying this food yourself – food you can’t find anywhere else, served in a restaurant hidden and tucked away from the world.
Did you enjoy this “adult” trip to Kyoto? Kyoto is home many hidden gem locations. Try finding your own “Discover own your Kyoto” too and discover new things to enjoy in the city.
Sayuri Mizuno / MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Chief Editor
The Japanese government has announced that it will begin rolling out new 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen bills and a new 500 yen coin in the first half of 2024. They recently published the new designs of each, so let’s take a closer look.
Q1. Which bills are changing, and what people and illustrations are going on them?
10,000 yen bill
Pictured on the front of the 10,000 yen bill is Japanese industrialist and “Father of Japanese Capitalism” Shibusawa Eiichi. He is known for founding around 500 businesses and enterprises during his lifetime including Dai-ichi Bank, Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
On the back is Tokyo Station, a piece of historical architecture known for its red brick building.
5,000 yen bill
On the front of the 5,000 yen bill is Japanese educator Tsuda Umeko who was a pivotal figure in modern education for women during the Meiji period.
Draped across the back of the note is the Japanese wisteria, a plant that has maintained its prominence throughout Japanese history. It even appeared in the Kojiki―Japan’s oldest surviving chronicle―and the Man’yōshū, the country’s oldest surviving collection of waka poetry.
1,000 yen bill
Japanese physician and bacteriologist Kitasato Shibasaburō is on the front of the 1,000 yen bill. He is lauded for having helped discover a method to prevent tetanus and diphtheria as well as for discovering the infectious agent of bubonic plague just days before Alexandre Yersin managed the same feat.
On the back is The Great Wave off Kanagawa, an ukiyo-e painting by Hokusai and one of the most famous and recognisable pieces of Japanese art in the world.
500 yen coin
The new 500 yen coin’s two-coloured, three-layered design ensures prevention again counterfeit coins. The bills too incorporate the latest anti-counterfeiting measures.
Q2. Will I be able to use my old coins and bills?
The Japanese Ministry of Finance has announced that current money will no longer be usable once the new bills and coin roll in. They have warned people to be wary of fraud, so be on the look out if you’re handed ol money.
Q3. Will the size of the new bills and coin change?
They will stay the same as the current bills and 500 yen coin.
If you have any questions or queries related to Japan then please get on touch with us on Facebook!
Short video platform TikTok launched its new global travel campaign #TikTokTravel on June 7 in 100 countries and regions around the world.
The campaign encourages users to capture and share their travel moments on the service. There are currently over 400,000 videos on TikTok with the hashtag #travel and with a combined view count exceeding 1.7 billion. Clips include people trying out street food from around the world, experiencing new cultures―the list goes on.
Various global tourism brands are also jumping aboard this campaign as a way to promote travel and tourism in their respective countries.
#ThisisJapan is another of the travel hashtags to inspire travellers from around the world to capture their time in Japan.
The campaign also includes an in-app challenge using the theme song Summer made in TikTok Spotlight, a feature made to support artists and musicians around the world. Users can also utilise a feature called “MV Mode” which lets users create a video using only photos.
If you participate in the #TikTokTravel hashtag by June 13 you will be entered for a chance to win a GoPro. Get involved today!
TikTok Official Website: http://www.tiktok.com
Travel booking service Rakuten Travel has unveiled the 2019 rankings for the top leisure hotel picks among female travellers! The ranking list displays hotels with combined leisure facilities that were ranked a 4.5/5 stars or more. This list is based on the most highly rated accommodation plans associated with they keyword search “single traveller” in Rakuten Travel’s keyword search.
So which hotel comes in first place?
1st place: Dogo Onsen Old England Dogo Yamanote Hotel (exterior & guest room)
Dogo Onsen was also ranked first place last year in December as the top hot spring hotel for solo female travelers. The hotel’s theme is traditional Britain. The interior is filled with a very old-style British atmosphere which female travellers find particularly appealing! This place caters a lot for the needs of solo travellers.
This hotel is also situated in a hot spring hot spot (no pun intended). The main building for the Dogo hot springs and other sightseeing spots are within walking distance so even a single traveller can easily enjoy a stroll to and from these spots at their own pace.
From the carefully designed wallpaper to the comfy queen-size bed, these rooms are so relaxing. If you want to check out later, you can change your breakfast plan to a lunch plan, giving you even more time to relax. Guests have stated that the entrance, lobby, hallways and guest rooms are mesmerizing. If you love antiques, this is the place for you! Many commented that the extension phone located in front of the elevator was so beautiful that they couldn’t hold in their surprise!
2nd place: Hotel Nikko Alivila (outdoor pool & guest room)
In second place comes Hotel Nikko Alivila, Okinawa, which is just a 70-minute drive from Naha airport by car. This large white-walled resort is located in a village called Yomitan (Nakagami District, Okinawa).
From this hotel, you can perfectly enjoy the picturesque clear and beautiful Nirai beech as it spreads before your very eyes. An exotic Okinawa island atmosphere fills the resort, courtyard, corridors, and lobby, where you can relax and enjoy an extraordinary experience. It is also very easy to access the hotel from the airport via the direct limousine bus!
3rd place: Setre Glover’s House Nagasaki (lounge & guest room)
In third place comes Setre Glover’s House, Nagasaki. The hotel was once a residential area where foreigners lived in private residential housing. The western style-style design of the area’s past still influences the hotel today, creating a very pleasant western private housing atmosphere. The lounge contains around 270 books that guests are welcome to read as they relax. There is an all-you-can-drink drinks bar which serves soft drinks and alcoholic beverages for free.
The single traveller plan aimed at female solo travellers even provides you with the space of a two-person room all to yourself! Organic shampoo and other luxurious amenities are also provided, making the hotel a popular pick for many!
For the rest of the ranking list, please check out Rakuten Travel’s official website. If you’re embarking on a solo getaway in Japan, this is the website for you!
Rakuten Travel Official Website: http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/
A Hello Kitty bullet train to a gorgeous island & a day of fun with this travel plan!
01.June.2019 | SPOT
Japan Railway Company JR-West, is running a collaboration with the popular Sanrio character Hello Kitty! You can ride the Hello Kitty-themed bullet train to Awaji Island located in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. There will be a tour here introducing you to the creative works and many tourist facilities of the area. Awaji Island’s oriental restaurant HELLO KITTY SMILE is just one of these facilities…but hurry! This is a one-day limited event and will take place on Saturday 6th July only!
This travel package is full of luxurious activities!
There will be an autograph signing event with one of Hello Kitty‘s designers Yuko Yamaguchi! There will also be a chance to get a photo with Hello Kitty, and a lottery for the chance to win tickets to make a luxurious Hello Kitty-themed item!
There will be a buffet full of creative foods for visitors to enjoy. The buffet ingredients are mainly focusses around Awaji Island produce. Every guest will also receive original goods as a souvenir to commemorate their trip.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Awaji Island. This is your chance to relax at your own pace along with your pal Hello Kitty♪
©1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G600711
Hello Kitty bullet train departure date: Sat 06/07/2019
Leave Hakata (Fukuoka ) 7:39 am → leave Hiroshima 8:49 am → arrive at Shin-Kobe 10:10 am.
Tickets: The bullet train journey and event contents will be sold as a travel plan. Please check the following links below to access tickets.
・Nippon Travel Agency
・HANKYU TRAVEL DMC JAPAN
HELLO KITTY SMILE
Address: 985-1 Nojima Hikinoura, Awaji, Hyogo,
Opening hours: 11：00 ー 20：00 ※ This can vary depending on the store’s opening hours.
Closed on Tuesdays
Official website: https://awaji-resort.com/hellokittysmile/en_index.html
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA to Open in Hakone This November
21.September.2019 | SPOT
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA is a new hot spring and guest house facility set to open in the town of Sokokura in Hakone on November 26. The building is being renovated from an old guest house that has enjoyed a long history of hot springs since the Edo period.
Sokura Onsen is about a 90 minute car drive from the city centre and is considered one of Hakone’s “7 Hot Springs,” a list that has been around since the Edo period. The place is said to have been used and loved by many military commanders back in the day for the high water yield gifted by the water source.
When the building was first constructed it was known as “Tsutaya Ryokan” and became a famous guest house with not only locals but travellers who would arrive all the way from Tokyo. ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA combines history of both Sokura Onsen and Tsutaya Ryokan.
The renovated building was built 29 years ago. Though it has been revamped, it still maintains a nostalgic air to it in the style of a traditional guest house. It’s home to 6 spacious ryokan-type rooms and 46 compact rooms.
There is a space where one can gaze at the river after taking a dip in the hot springs, as well as a lounge with tables which encourages you to socialise with people you have just met. There are male and female open-air baths and indoor baths as well as a cooking space and laundry service for those looking to stay longer.
The facility offers a retro environment in which each guest can relax and enjoy their own time as they please. Throughout the guest house is original old-fashioned furniture that has been upcycled, including kotatsu tables and shelves, to give that sense of traditional Japanese culture. This has been combined with contemporary art to create a fusion of the old and new.
It is a harmonious combination of a traditional Japanese hot spring ryokan, or inn, and a guest house, which means travellers from abroad will be able to enjoy the beauty of the country’s traditional culture.
Escape the noisy city and enjoy peace and tranquillity surrounded in the colours of autumn at ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA (Sokokura no Yu Tsutaya Ryokan)
Address: 240-1 SokokuraHakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0403
Arrival: 10-minutes on foot from Miyanoshita Station or 12-minutes on foot from Kowakidani Station, both via the Hakone Tozan Line
Grand Opening: November 26, 2019 (Bookings begin in late October)
Official Website: https://hakone-tsutaya.com/
5 Temples in Kyoto Announce Exclusive Viewings For Their Secret Cultural Assets
05.September.2019 | SPOT
The history of Yamashina dates back over 1,400 years when Kyoto, then known as “Heian-kyō,” was the official capital of Japan. Located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, Yamashina is rich in history, abound with nature, and has maintained a traditional industry that has gone unbroken since ancient times.
This year, with the arrival of Japan’s new emperor and the opening of a brand new era, five of Yamashina’s great temples are set to unveil several cultural assets, which until now have never been shown to the public.
They are as follows.
Anshoji Temple’s Wooden Jūichimen Kannon Statue (Important National Treasure)
Kajū-ji Temple’s Sliding Door Panel Artwork – “Eight Views of Ōmi” & “Tatsuta River Autumn Leaves” (Important National Treasures)
Zuishinin Temple’s Gold Lacquered Fan Inkstone Case & 4-Panel Folding Screen
Bishamon-do Temple’s Imperial Prince Flag & Tortoise Shell Doors
Honkokuji Temple’s Kyōzō (Important National Treasure)
Get away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and steep yourself in its history with this very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Anshoji Temple, Kajū-ji Temple & Honkokuji Temple: 9:00-16:30 (Last Entries 16:30)
Zuishinin Temple: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Bishamon-do Temple: [Until November 31] 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30) / [From December 1] 8:30-16:30 (Last Entries 16:00)
Anshoji Temple: ¥500 / Kajū-ji Temple: ¥400 / Bishamon-do Temple: ¥500
Zuishinin Temple: ¥500 (¥700 during illuminations at 6pm-8:30pm)
Honkokuji Temple: ¥500 (+¥500 to view the Kyōzō)
More details can be found over on Totteoki Kyoto Travel: https://totteoki.kyoto.travel/ (Japanese)
Kobe Readies For Rugby World Cup With Hospitable Events
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is set to take place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. Many stadiums are hosting the games across Japan this year, one of which is Kobe Misaki Stadium. It is predicted that there will be many people visiting the city of Kobe for the World Cup.
The competing teams at Kobe Misaki Stadium, also known as Noevir Stadium Kobe, are as follows: England vs USA on September 30, Ireland vs Russia on October 3, and South Africa vs Canada on October 8. An estimated 120,000 spectators will be present across the four matches, around 30,000 of which arriving from overseas.
In response to the many fans set to appear in Japan’s sixth-largest city, venues are shops across Kobe are set to serve up a classic plate of Japanese omotenashi―or “hospitality―with a line-up of events and tours. Let’s take a look at just some of the exciting things the city has planned for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
1. Meriken Park Fanzone in Kobe
Rugby fans can enjoy the thrilling atmosphere of the World Cup at one of the many Fanzones set to open across Japan for the games. Entry to all of the Fanzones is free. In Kobe, look forward to live screenings of the matches, food stalls serving local food, promotional booths and more. The fun doesn’t have to end at the matches: fans can continue to enjoy the excitement before and after too at a Fanzone.
2. Hospitable Events
The Kobe Tourism Bureau has teamed up with local business around the city to prepare what they are calling “Hospitable Events For Fans.” Taking place from late September to early October, these events will offer exclusive and unique Kobe experiences. There are 6 in total, but we will take a look at just 2.
MUSIC&DANCE@KOBE PORTOPIA Night 2019
From big disco hits to rock tunes, EDM beats and groove, enjoy a feel-good late-night dance and music party at the fancy Kobe Portopia Hotel. Soak up the warm summer evening while freestyle boogieing.
YORU-BAR ~Night Food Festival~
People of all ages are invited to the popular YORU-BAR at Sannomiya Center Gai which will run from late September to early October. They will serve up a tasty selection of Japanese seafood to Kobe cuisine.
3. KOBE Experience Guided Tour
Aimed at foreign tourists attending the Rugby World Cup in Kobe, the Experience Guided Tour is comprised of 25 unique programs for people to experience Japanese culture, Kobe’s local food culture, and more. The tours will not only be limited to Kobe either―some will also spread to neighbouring cities. Let’s take a look at some of them.
*All programs available in English only
Premium Kobe beef at the almost 150-year-old restaurant Oi Nikuten
Kobe beef is one of the three top brands of high-quality Japanese Wagyu beef. It’s the most well-known and popular type of Wagyu in Japan. With this program, you will learn various ways to enjoy Kobe beef at Oi Nikuten, a long-standing restaurant that first opened back in 1871.
Experience Zen Meditation at Tenjoji Temple in Kobe City
Immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture with Zen meditation session at Tenjoji Temple. Learn all about the rich history of the temple with an incredible guided walk before sinking deep into meditation.
There is lots to be discovered in Kobe, and the doors to its culture are open and ready to embrace all for the Rugby World Cup. Look forward to everything here and much, much more when the matches begin on September 20.
Meriken Park Fanzone in Kobe
9/28 @ 11:00-21:30
9/29 @ 11:00-19:00
9/30 @ 11:00-21:30
10/3 @ 11:00-21:30
10/5 @ 11:00-22:00
10/6 @ 11:00-19:00
10/8 @ 11:00-21:30
Venue: Kobe Meriken Park (Address: 2-2 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Official Website (English): https://www.2019kobe.com/news/20190816_03/
MUSIC&DANCE@KOBE PORTOPIA Night 2019
Dates: September 25th-30th / October 3rd-4th, 7th-8th
*An event titled “FM802 & FM COCOLO Night” will run on September 27 and October 4
Venue: Party Room Key Notes at Kobe Portopia Hotel (South Building Floor 3F) (Address: 6-10-1 Minatojima Nakamachi, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
Official Website (English): https://www.portopia.co.jp/en/convention/venues/keynotes/
Official Website (Japanese): https://www.portopia.co.jp/event-culture/event/detail/25/
YORU-BAR ~Night Food Festival~
Dates: September 26 / September 30 / October 3 / October 8
Location: Sannomiya Center Gai, Kobe
Official Website (Japanese): http://yorubaru.kobe-sc.jp/
Adventure World Wildlife Theme Park in Wakayama Adopts SmaLingual Multilingual App
Adventure World has announced that it has adopted SmaLingual to the park, a multilingual app designed for foreign tourists and travellers in Japan to help them get around.
SmaLingual is a simultaneous multilingual interpretation service which uses a multilingual speech translation engine. Available in 10 languages including English and Brazilian Portuguese on both phones and browsers, the service translates and interprets both text and speech simultaneously, enabling people to have conversations with each other in different languages. The app’s functions also have a language level over TOEIC800, ensuring that you convey the right information correctly.
Using this app means you will be able to read and understand descriptions and explanations written around the park, cautious on interacting with the animals, and so on.
Now guests can enjoy Adventure World with friends and family to the fullest without making a mistake.
Adventure World – SmaLingual
・Park Services Using App: 45
・Adventure World currently accepts 10 languages including Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Myanmar, Vietnamese, and Brazilian Portuguese
How to Use
①Scan the QR code provided on the park staff’s tablet
②Translate your own text or voice using your own smart device
*Guests do not need to install the app if they do not wish. The app can be used online.
Address: 2399 Katata, Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.aws-s.com/
Himeji Castle Places Number 1 On Japan’s Top 20 Castles For 4th Year in a Row
TripAdvisor® has just released its list of the top 20 castles in Japan from 2019 as reviewed by travellers and tourists.
This is the 7th time the website has run this list. Coming in at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row is none other than Himeiji Castle, located in the city of Himeiji in Hyogo Prefecture.
Moving up from 4th place to 2nd place this year is Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, and from not ranking at all last year to 3rd place this year Kumamoto Castle. These top three castles comes as a package as they are considered Japan’s three premier castles.
Kumamoto Castle is set to re-open this autumn after reconstruction work is complete. The castle suffered damages after the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. Although time is required for the full restoration, you can still see the majestic tower keep surrounded by paling. Japanese users on TripAdvisor have commended it as a symbol of restoration and their joy with the repairs being done.
For the first time in four years, Hirosaki Castle ranks on the list in 12th place. Situated in central Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, the castle is a known living symbol of the Edo Period (1603-1868). Construction work has been taking place since 2015 to repair the base of the castle structure on the east side due to deterioration. In summer 2015, the castle tower was moved 70 meters without taking the castle apart to allow for work to be carried out. A moving castle is certainly a rare sight to see in Japan－and something you only imagine from a Studio Ghibli movie!
The castle has been praised on TripAdvisor for how beautiful its surrounding nature is, from the cherry blossoms in spring to the red and yellow leaves in autumn. The castle can be enjoyed throughout all the seasons.
Making the list for the first time ever is Tsuyama Castle which can be found in the beautiful Kakuzan Park in Okayama. When you ascend the magnificent stone steps of the castle and turn around you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Tsuyama. In spring, the castle’s white watchtowers look picturesque next to the pink cherry blossom trees.
From castles that have been maintained since they were first built to others that have been rebuilt from their former forms, there are countless sites to behold while in Japan. Be sure to use the Top 20 list as reference when travelling there!
Top 20 Castles in Japan 2019
A Magical Ice Village is Forming This Winter at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido
01.September.2019 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu―one of Hokkaido’s leading snow resorts―is set to open a new area called the Ice Village this winter. It will run for a limited time from December 10 to March 14.
The Ice Village spans coolly across 3.2 hectares of land and is home to 11 domes made entirely of ice. This winter-only experience has been running every year since 1998. Made to look like a real village, some of its iconic sights include the Ice Church and Ice Hotel which can be found at the very back. Everything from the towering ceilings to the walls are formed solely of ice.
The main street, named fittingly the “Ice Street,” includes a cafe, gallery, shops and more, all enveloped in a chilly white world.
Ice Crystal Park: A New Addition to the Ice Village to Gaze at the Sights and Scenery
The Ice Crystal Park is frozen over with tables and chairs made of ice and has snowflakes dotted here and there, creating a true winter wonderland. Order a hot drink from the Ice Bakery & Cafe or munch on a tasty treat from the Ice Sweets Shop as you sit and gaze at the snow-covered landscape of the Ice Village while surrounded by towering white birch trees. And everyday at 19:30, a 5-minute firework show will warm up the winter sky which is best enjoyed while sitting in the park.
Bite Down Frosty Treats at the Ice Sweets Shop
It wouldn’t be a complete Ice Village without its own glacial cuisine. At the Ice Sweets Shop you can order ice cream which is made from liquid milk on an ice block. The temperature of the air coupled with the frozen coolness of the ice block causes the milk to freeze into a yummy dessert. There’s also chocolate ice bars made from hot chocolate, colourful macarons, toasted marshmallows, and more.
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)
Price: Milk Gelato – from ¥1,100 / Macarons ¥550 / Ice Bar ¥550 / Marshmallows ¥550 (*All prices include tax)
Grab a Drink From the Ice Bar
The village even has its own Ice Bar, complete with an ice counter and ice cellar for serving sake. This year, the bar will serve an all-new original gin drink made using snowmelt from Tomamu. There are over 50 drinks to pick from, including original cocktails, whisky, and more.
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:45)
Price: Original Gin – ¥1,650 / Drinks With Ice Glass – from ¥1,100 (*All prices include tax)
There are many other exciting things to find at the ice village, including the Ice Hotel which you can sleep in, the Ice Atelier, and more. Have a reason to go out this winter by visiting the Ice Village in Hokkaido.
Running: December 10, 2019 – March 14, 2019
Location: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu area
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Entry Price: Elementary School Children & Older – ¥500 (Tax Included) *Free for guests staying at Tomamu The Tower or RISONARE Tomamu
Available: To both guests and visitors
Notes: Times, prices etc may vary depending on each service or activity. Select services and activities are subject to changes depending on weather conditions. Certain services and activities scheduled to start at later dates.
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu / Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu
Address: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido
Official Website (English): https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/
Transvaal Daisies & Wind Chimes Cool Down You This Summer at Kasuga Shrine in Fukuoka
Situated on the northern shore of Kyushu is Fukuoka Prefecture, a hot spot for tourists and travellers both Japanese and foreign, particularly those visiting from parts of Asia such as China, Taiwan and South Korea.
When it comes to delicious Japanese food, Fukuoka is high on the list, home to a bounty of incredible restaurants. It’s the same with shopping too―there are countless stores to rummage through with shelves lined with innumerable things you’ll want to buy.
But your Fukuoka experience will not be complete without a trip to one of the prefecture’s breathtaking tourist spots. Today, we are visiting Kasuga Shrine (not to be confused with Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara), and we are joined by Japanese Instagram user Rie, who posts about her trips around Kyushu, and who has provided us with her experience visiting the shrine along with photos. You’ll find out how to get there and the must-see aspects.
Kasuga Shrine is located in the city of Kasuga, Fukuoka. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Fukuoka city. But if you’re looking to catch the public transport, you’ll want to hop on the JR Line to Kasuga Station, or you can board the Nishitetsu Bus and get off at Kasuga (春日). The shrine is about a 7-minute walk from either of these stops.
The shrine has a long history. Its origins are said to lie in Emperor Tenji enshrining the male deity Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto there.
In the shrine grounds there is a camphor tree called “Kasuga no Mori” (The Grove of Kasuga) which is registered as a natural monument. The shrine is also home to a festival called “Kasuga no Muko Oshi” which has also been designated as an significant intangible folk cultural asset.
But what’s been catching people’s attention recently is the flower-filled chōzuya. A chōzuya, also known as a temizuya, is a water basin placed at shrines and temples in Japan which visitors use to cleanse themselves before entering the shrine or temple.
It’s more common in May and June to see hydrangeas placed in the basins, but at Kasuga Shrine they flutter in transvaal daisies♡
The flowers were placed in there on August 19 and will remain there until September 1. During the same period, there are lots of beautiful wind chimes being strung up around the shrine ground. Their tranquil sound as the breeze blows, together with the watery flowers, are enough to make you feel cool this summer.
If you’re looking to find more beautiful places to visit around Kyushu, Rie has plenty of recommendations on her Instagam page so be sure to give her a follow.
Photos by Rie
Address: 1-110 Kasuga, Kasuga-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.kasugajinjya.jp/
Shibuya’s New Tourist Information Center is Open For Business at Night & Offers Airport Bus Service
31.August.2019 | SPOT
Tokyu Land Corporation has announced that Shibuya’s all-new tourist information center will be named “shibuya-san.” Located on the first floor of Shibuya FUKURAS, the tourist information and are center is set to open its doors to the public this December.
Tourist Information: Where you can become a Shibuya local
The tourist information section of the center is staffed by people from countries around the world, from Europe to Asia, most of which are non-Japanese students studying abroad. They are able to offer detailed tourist and sightseeing information for Shibuya from the perspective of a “foreigner in Japan.”
The center also does away with the ordinary set-up of most tourist information centers in which you speak to someone over the counter. Instead, tourists entering shibuya-san will be greeted directly by staff and talk to them side by side.
They also offer English guide books with a map produced by Time Out Tokyo. Time Out is a city guide service published in 108 countries around the world in 39 languages.
Art Center: Where art brings Shibuya and the world together
shibuya-san will be the first tourist information center in Japan to have its own art gallery. Being located right in front of Shibuya Station means that people visiting from around the world will be exposed to Shibuya’s culture through art. Focused on “Travel, City & People,” the art gallery will offer not only exhibitions and performances, but also events in which tourists can participate, as well as opportunities to talk directly with artists.
Open Late: Shibuya’s nightlife propelled with the center’s night hours
Almost all tourist information centers close in the late afternoon/early evening, but not shibuya-san. Shibuya’s nightlife is a huge part of the city’s culture, and so to make it more accessible to tourists, shibuya-san will be open until 11:00pm, offering helpful information and suggestions for getting around and enjoying yourself after-hours.
shibuya-san even has its own drinks counter where alcohol is served in the evenings. Events will be held there periodically where you can meet and talk with people.
Limousine Buses: Haneda Airport and Narita Airport
The bus terminal in front of the tourist center offers regular buses and will soon offer airport limousine buses from Haneda and Narita Airport. They will serve to create a new doorstep to Shibuya at Shibuya Station’s west exit for tourists visiting Shibuya. They will begin running in early December.
Whether you’re visiting Shibuya for the first time or are a returning guest, find out all there is to know about the area when shibuya-san opens this December.
shibuya-san tourist information & art center
Address: 1-2-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
Services: Tourist Information Center / Baggage Storage & Delivery / Airport Limousine Bus Tickets & Service / Foreign Money Exchange / Shibuya Experience Program / Drinks Bar / Art Center / Events
Business Hours: 10:00-23:00 (*Select services will run at varying times)
Grand Opening: December 2019 (subject to change)
Official Website: https://shibuyasan.jp
*The website is currently a teaser site which opened on August 28, 2019. The full website will go live in the coming months.
teamLab Now Holding Digital Art Exhibition at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto
With the increase in number of collaborations between contemporary digital art and traditional and historical Kyoto sites, teamLab is getting in on the action with its new digital art exhibition “Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine.”
We are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who recently attended the exhibition and who has provided photos for us.
Shimogamo Shrine is a shrine located between the Kamo River and Mount Kōya. It was registered it as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The shrine is associated good luck in marriage and welcomes sightseers from Japan and around the world. It can be reached by the 205 Bus from Kyoto Station and getting off at either Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) or Tadasu Forest (糺ノ森前). It’s also about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station.
This marks the third run of teamLab’s “Digitized Forest” exhibition at Shimogamo Shrine, and this year’s exhibition has been made even bigger. It is running until September 2, 2019.
Floating by the Rōmon Gate of the shrine are spheres of light which change colour and emit various musical tones unique to the colour when touched by a person. They also react to the other spheres around them, changing to the same colour and letting out the same tone, creating a chain reaction.
Egg-shaped orbs of light can be found dotted around the Tadasu Forest by the shrine which illuminate the trees. Like the light spheres, when the eggs are pushed they change colour and play a musical noise specific to that colour, the sound and tone spreading through the forest.
These objects of light can also be found at Mitarashi Pond where they float on the water. The orbs shine brightly and then fade slowly as if breathing. If pushed by people or blown by the wind they will change colour and emit sound.
The best part about teamLab’s art exhibitions is how visitors become part of the exhibition itself by interacting with the installations, offering a much more engaging experience than simply looking. Visit Shimogamo Shrine before the exhibition ends to see digital art meet a traditional Japanese shrine at night.
If you’re looking for more sightseeing recommendations for Kyoto then be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram!
Photos by まっちゃん
Address: 59 Shimogamo Izumikawachō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/english/
Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto Art by teamLab – TOKIO INKARAMI
Running: August 17, 2019 – September 2, 2019
Time: 18:30-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Location: Shimogamo Shrine
Price: Weekdays ¥1,300 / Weekends ¥1,500
*Free entry for elementary school children and below. Must be accompanied by a parent or guardian aged 20+.
Official Website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/shimogamo/
Kagoshima’s Sengan-en Gardens Nominated For Best Attraction in Travel & Tourism Awards
29.August.2019 | SPOT
Both Sengan-en, Shoko Shuseikan Museum and Satsuma Kiriko Glassworks have been nominated for “Best Attraction” in the 2019 Travel & Tourism Awards, which are held in London every year as part of World Travel Market London (WTM).
This year marks the 40th run of WTM London, which brings together over 50,000 travel and tourism professionals from 186 countries to spread the latest tourism trends and must-visit locations around the world. The Travel & Tourism Awards is a universally recognised stamp of approval, held in front of over 500 seniors in the travel industry.
Sengan-en, Shoko Shuseikan Museum, and Satsuma Kiriko Glassworks have been recognised and nominated for their renovation efforts which have increased tourism. They are up against six other facilities in the same category, including Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter by Warner Bros Studios.
With only one entry from Japan, which location will take home the award? Japan will be watching intently for the reveal on November 5.
Travel & Tourism Awards
Date: November 5, 2019
Location: Magazine London
Awards Page: https://awards.wtm.com/en/international-travel-and-tourism-awards/shortlist/best-attraction/
Official Website: https://www.senganen.jp/
Japan’s Keio Line Releases ‘Goshuin’ Stamp Book For Tourists
29.August.2019 | SPOT
In response to the rapidly increasing number of foreign tourists to Japan in recent years, Keio Corporation has designed an original Keio Line goshuin stamp book which will be released at the “Central Honshu Information Plaza in Keio Shinjuku” at Shinjuku Station on September 1.
A Goshuincho is a book for collecting goshuin, which are stamps or seals given at shrines and temples across Japan. Every shrine and temple has its own unique goshuin which are stamped alongside calligraphy handwritten by the staff there and then who write the date and the name of the temple or shrine.
When purchasing Keio’s book, you are given a pamphlet―available in English only―featuring lots of different sites you can receive goshuin up and down the train line.
Sites include the Buddhist temple Yakuou-in (Hachioji, Tokyo), Takahata Fudoson Kongo-ji Temple (Hino, Tokyo), Ōkunitama Shrine (Chofu, Tokyo), Jindaiji Temple (Chofu, Tokyo), and Ohmiya-Hachimangu (Suginami, Tokyo). The pamphlet also explains how to obtain a stamp as well as the correct way to worship at these locations. It also details information about train ticket discounts on the Keio Line for foreign travellers which were introduced in February this year.
The book will also be available to purchase at Keio Rail-Land from October 14.
Keio Line Original Goshuincho
Release Date: September 1, 2019
Available: At Central Honshu Information Plaza in Keio Shinjuku (Open 8:30-19:00). Also available at Keio Rail-Land from October 14.
Stock: 1,000 (Will discontinue once all are sold)
Keio Line Official Website: https://www.keio.co.jp/english/index.html
Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple Autumntime Illuminations Begin on November 4
23.August.2019 | SPOT
Konkaikōmyō-ji, also known as Kurodani Temple, is set to open its doors to the public from November 4 for its autumn illuminations.
Kurodani Temple has a long history, best known as serving as the Kyoto Shugoshoku―the office of the Tokugawa shogunate―during the Bakumatsu period. It has relations to the Shinseigumi, a military force which was active during this time which was dedicated to suppressing anti-shogunate activities. It is also the first place that Hōnen, the founder of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, spread his teachings.
For the special opening, you will be able to see the famous chicken painting Tori-zu Oshiebari Byobu by Itō Jakuchū as well as treasures associated with Hōnen and more.
The number of tigers on the famous tiger doors of the temple changes as you slide them.
From the temple grounds you can enjoy a breathtaking scene of the gardens where the autumnal colours of the trees reflect from the surface of the pond.
Kurodani Temple is also home to the Gokōshiyui Amidabutu Statue, which became the talk of the town in the media when it was dubbed the “Afro Buddha,” and looks deep in contemplation.
There will also be performances three times a day in the evening using traditional Japanese instruments like the koto and shinobue.
If you pay for the premium entry plan you can enter 30 minutes earlier and will be guided by one of the official gardeners or expert of the gardens.
Running: November 4, 2019 – December 8, 2019
Time: 17:30-21:00 (Last Entries 20:30)
Price: Adults ¥800 / Children ¥400 / Infants – Free
*Groups of over 20 people – ¥700
Music Performances: Everyday at 18:00/18:45/19:30
Running: Fridays & Weekends
Time: From 17:00
Price: Adults ¥1,200 / Children ¥600
Address: 121 Kurodanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Event Page: https://www.kurodani.jp/lightup_aut/