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!

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  • Travel Japan #5: Experiencing Everyday Life in Japan at a Supermarket in Kyoto

    25.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    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.

    Website: http://kyoto-aeonmall.com/

     

    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

    Website: http://www.kohyo.co.jp/

     

    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)

    Website: http://www.maruchu-sushi.com/

     

    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

    Website: http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/

  • Kyoto Travel: Enjoy Food, Discover Art in a Traditional Japanese Building & More

    23.November.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    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.

     

     

    ■Information

    Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art

    Address: Zenihara-5-3 Oyamazaki, Otokuni District, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesdays if it is a national holiday. Also closed on November 19, 26 and New Year’s)

    Entry Price: Adults ¥900 / University & High School Students ¥500 / Middle School Students and under – Free

    TEL: 075-957-3123

    Access: 10-minutes on foot from Yamazaki Station via the JR Kyoto Line or from Ōyamazaki Station via the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line

    Website: https://www.asahibeer-oyamazaki.com/english/

     

     

    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.

     

    ■Information

    Yanagimachi

    Address: Shimoyanagimachi Shimoyanagi, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto Prefecture

    Restaurant Opening Hours: 11:30-14:30 (Last Orders 14:00) / 18:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:00)

    *On Sundays and national holidays, restaurant hours at 18:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)日祝は18:00〜22:00(L.O21:00)

    Café Bar Opening Hours: 11:00-01:00 (Last Orders 00:30)

    Closed: December 31, 2018 – January 4, 2019

    TEL: 0773-22-1809

    Access: 15-minutes on foot from Fukuchiyama Station via the JR Line and Kitakinki Tango Railway

    Website: http://yanagimachi.kyoto.jp/

     

    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.

     

    ■Writer 

    Sayuri Mizuno / MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Chief Editor

    Instagram: @sayuri.mizuno

     

    ■Translator

    Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

    Twitter: @anokomorebi

  • Travel Q&A: A Look at Japan’s New Coin & Bill Designs

    06.May.2019 | FEATURES

    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!

    https://www.facebook.com/msmsnippon/

  • TikTok Launches New Travel Campaign #TikTokTravel

    12.June.2019 | SPOT

    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!

  • Solo traveller in Japan? These are the 2019 top hotel resort picks!

    27.May.2019 | SPOT

    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!

     

    Link: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Ehime_Prefecture-Matsuyama-Dogo_Onsen_Old_England_Dogo_Yamanote_Hotel/20469/

     

    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!

    Link: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Okinawa_Prefecture-Yomitan-Hotel_Nikko_Alivila/11052/

     

    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!

     

    Link: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Nagasaki_Prefecture-Nagasaki-Setre_Glover%27s_House_Nagasaki/147780/

     

    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!

  • 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

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  • Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku: The New Hot Spring Resort Hotel in Mie Prefecture

    28.June.2020 | SPOT

    Yukai Resort, a company in Japan which manages lots of famous hot spring resorts across the country, opened Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku in Toba, Mie on June 5, 2020.

     

    Yukai Resort manages 29 well-established hot spring resort hotels and ryokan throughout Japan, including hotels where you can get one night with dinner and breakfast from just ¥7,500 (before tax) to ryokan where you can enjoy kaiseki meal courses, and more. All their luxury establishments feature hot springs surrounded in lush environments.

     

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku opened on June 5, 2020 and is taking all of the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to protect guests and so that guests can enjoy a comfortable stay.

     

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku is 10 minutes by car from Toba Aquarium and 30 minutes from Ise Grand Shrine, making it a great location to enjoy the sightseeing spots of Ise and Shima. The hotel’s concept is centred on being an “active resort” where you can get the full Toba experience with history, the sea, and activities.

    The large open-air communal baths look out onto Toba Bay. The baths are designed like infinity pools, giving the effect that they are connected to the sea. Guests can enjoy a dip in the day or evening so they can enjoy both a blue sky or starry sky. There are also saunas.

    There is also an indoor swimming pool with warm water, as well as foot baths, a kids play park, karaoke room, and many more fun features.

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku also houses Yukai Resort’s first ever indoor glamping guest rooms with large tents decked with beds, sofa, carpet, cushions, and other amenities for a glamorous camping experience. There are glamping rooms with their own open-air baths that look out onto Toba Bay too, as well as both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms.

    As a precaution against COVID-19, the restaurant is serving its food for takeout only until August 31, 2020. Guests can enjoy their meal in their rooms or in one of the many communal spaces. There’s plenty of health Japanese food to enjoy including sushi, Matsuzaka roast beef, eel, tuna, and more.

  • Local Shaved Ice Recipes Whipped Up at Hoshino Resorts KAI This Summer

    28.June.2020 | FOOD

    Hoshino Resorts has brought back its annual local shaved ice festival for the summer which will be served at branches of Hoshino Resorts KAI, a hot spring ryokan brand. It has been held every year since 2017 and gives people the chance to enjoy shaved ice with a variety of syrups and toppings inspired by local regions in which branches of KAI are dotted around.

     

    Strawberry Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi Prefecture)

    Tochigi Prefecture has enjoy est the largest harvest of strawberries in Japan for the last 50 years. This shaved ice is doused in a sweet strawberry syrup and a bitter matcha sauce. It can be enjoyed while gazing out to Nikko’s beautiful scenery where you can see Chuzenji Lake and Mount Nantai from 1,300 meters above sea level in Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko.

     

    Hydrangea Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone (Hakone Yumoto Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)

    The Hakone area enjoys long blooming periods of hydrangeas. During their full bloom, the Hakone Tozan Line mountain railway gets nicknamed the “Hydrangea Line” and becomes a popular route for sightseeing. This refreshing shaved ice has hydrangea flavoured jelly and syrup.

     

    Art Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara (Sengokuhara Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara is surrounded by many art museums, so what better way to keep with the them than with an art-inspired shaved ice dessert? Show your art skills by using strawberry red, orange-flavoured orange, and other colourful syrups to create your own unique design on your fluffy white canvas of shaved ice.

    Apple Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps (Omachi Onsen, Nagano Prefecture)

    Nagano Prefecture is famous in Japan for its apples. There are two types of syrup poured over this shaved ice, including one that tastes like mashed apples, and another made from Bramley apples.

     

    Ginger Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo (Tamatsukuri Onsen, Shimane Prefecture)

    The ginger adds a sharp bite to the sweetness of this refreshing shaved ice and is perfect for overcoming the summer heat.

     

    Tomato Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sen no Moto Onsen, Oita Prefecture)

    Made from tomatoes harvested in summertime, this sweet and sour shaved ice takes on a gorgeous red colour. Tomatoes are low in calories and have many nutritional ingredients, and are a good source of vitamin C and D, making this a healthier option.

     

    And there are lots of other flavours to come from Hoshino Resorts KAI this summer too.

  • A Cafe With a View: Okinawa’s New Seaside Cafe ‘Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe’ Opens This July

    27.June.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts’s new cafe Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will open in the village of Yomitan in Okinawa on July 1, 2020, offering a spectacular view.

     

    The cafe is split into four distinct areas which overlook the the beach from atop a cliff. Customers are invited to take in the breathtaking scenery with a delicious dessert made from ingredients like mangoes, pineapple, and sugar—or a tasty meal.

     

    An incredible beach cafe overlooking the sea

    Banta Cafe runs along the western coast of Yomitan, a village in central Okinawa which is about an hour’s drive from Naha Airport. The cafe gets its name from iyumibanta which in Okinawan dialect refers to the cliffs you climb to spot the shadows of fish in the water, and is also the name they give to enormous rocks. The cafe is located atop one of these iyumibanta, or cliffs, making Banta Cafe a fitting name. From the cliff, customers can enjoy a panoramic view of the horizon which stretches across infinity. According to Hoshino Resorts, Banta Cafe sits as the largest beach cafe in Japan, spanning 1600㎡.

     

    4 Unique Areas to Pick From

    Having four distinct areas to choose from means you can select where you want to go depending on your mood on the day. Let’s take a look at each of them.

     

    Rooftop Deck: A panoramic view welcomes you

    Beyond the entrance is the Rooftop Deck which offers an unbroken view of the horizon. With the comfortable shadow cast by the eaves of the roof, and the sound of the rolling waves and wind, it feels like you’re sitting on the deck of a boat.

     

    Beach Terrace: Kick back and enjoy the sea breeze

    The Beach Terrace is located along a footpath that leads from the top of the cliff down to the beach. This spacious area sits nice and close to the sea. The Okinawan Ryukyu-tatami flooring has cushions for you to sit on as well as cabanas, so you can sit and chat with people while enjoying the view of the ocean, offering the real Okinawan experience.

     

    Rocky Terrace: Lose yourself in the green wild of nature

    The Rocky Terrace is enveloped in plants and vegetation that has grown naturally—it’s like a hideaway created by nature. The area has a wooden deck and rocking chairs for people to kick back and relax in, and there are tables with towering rocks that offer shade too.

     

    Goro Goro Lounge: Lay down on a sofa and look out to the sea

    The final area is the Goro Goro Lounge where an entire wall is made up of open windows. Here, you can relax and lay down nice and comfy on the sofas. There are long tables by the sofas too, perfect for pulling out a map or guidebook and planning the rest of your trip.

     

    A true Okinawan cafe experience


    Bubbly Jelly Soda

    The cafe’s “Bully Jelly Soda” is inspired from a traditional bubbly Okinawan tea called bukubuku cha. It’s flavoured with lemongrass and mint and contains different jellies like mango and hibiscus.

    Chulato

    This gelato ice cream gets its name from the Okinawan word for delicious which is chura. Choose from a variety of classic Okinawan flavours like pineapple and guava and top your ice cream with purple yam and bitter melon chips, chinsuko, and more.

     

    Food Menu


    The food lineup is to die for, with tasty bites like pizza toast topped with bitter melon, pork and egg rice ball which is a soul food of Okinawa, hot dogs filled with juicy sausages, shrimp fritters served with mango sauce, fried chicken, and plenty of other finger food.

     

    Witness the magnificent sunset during business hours


    Banta Cafe is home to a gorgeous beach with coral. The sea is cobalt blue as far as the eyes can see, there are strangely shaped rocks worn by the waves, and in the evenings is an incredible view of the sunset which can be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand.

     

    Hoshino Resorts Olu Grill


    Banta Cafe will also have its own separate grilled food restaurant called Olu Grill. Olu is another Okinawan word which means “blue,” in this case referring to the blue ocean. From fried steak served with an original sauce made from Okinawan awamori liquor and kurozu black vinegar to seafood and juicy burgers, there’s plenty to fill you up.

  • Kyoto’s New Hotel Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji Fuses With a Temple

    23.June.2020 | SPOT

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji, a new hotel by major real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsui Fudosan Hotel Management, opened bookings for the new hotel last Friday. The hotel is set to officially open on September 28, 2020.

    The hotel was developed to integrate into Jokyoji, a temple in Kyoto with a history spanning over 500 years. Even in Japan, where it is common for temples to undergo reconstruction, this is a rare project. The hotel aims to be a model case for breathing new life into temples.

     

    The hotel is just a 1-minute walk from Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station and within walking distance from the bustling retail area of Shijō Kawaramachi, the Hanamachi district Ponto-chō, and Kyoto’s geisha district Gion. Guests are wrapped in the serene atmosphere of Jokyoji Temple where they can enjoy its historically maintained art, get involved in morning activities, and more.

     

    Entrance Lobby

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji’s design concept is “Hotel Temple.” Nikken Space Design crafted the hotel’s interior design, which makes use of Jokyoji Temple’s preserved wood, gold leaf-covered folding screens and other features, while adding a modern white and black colour scheme throughout, giving a sense of comfort and high quality. From the lobby, guests can glimpse the main area of the temple and feel one with it.

     

    Spacious rooms and baths

      

    Guest rooms, even the standard room types, are a spacious 24m². All rooms can accommodate 2+ people, and there are even triple rooms which can house 3 people. Every room also comes with separate toilets and showers. Up on the second floor are the baths where guests can wind down after a day of travelling and sightseeing.

     

    Restaurant

    The 2nd floor restaurant, Sanga Ono Kyoto Jokyoji, was developed by ONO GROUP which has built many restaurants in Fukuoka Prefecture. This is the company’s first restaurant to be built outside Fukuoka. Guests can enjoy delicious Japanese rice, Kyoto vegetables, tai-chazuke (green tea poured over sea bream), Kyoto-style grilled fish, and more. The restaurant will also serve Japanese buckwheat noodles overseen by Akamachaya Asago, a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide.

     

    Experience Jokyoji Temple

    Jokyoji Temple was founded in 1171 by Taira no Shigemori. In 1591, the temple was moved to Teramachi-dori where it has stayed to this day. When the hotel opens its doors, it will offer various activities to guests. Those who take part in the morning activity will receive a goshuin stamp from the chief priest.

     

    Experience a hotel and a temple like never before as both are fused together at Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji.

  • Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki: A Luxury Ryokan Renovated From a Traditional Townhouse Alleyway

    18.June.2020 | SPOT

    Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is a new inn that recently opened in Kyoto which is made up of 23 machiya (townhouses) and two restaurants. It was co-developed by Nazuna and Kiraku and offers an accommodation experience like no other.

    Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is renovated from an entire 110-year-old L-shaped alleyway of machiya spanning 1,400 square meters. The reception building sits on an unassuming streetand  serves as both an entrance to welcome guests, as well as a passage from the outside world into Tsubaki St. On the other side, guests are greeted by a world reminiscent of the historical geisha districts of Kyoto known as Hanamachi. In the evening, guests can experience the luster of Tsubaki St. as the Japanese paper lanterns and paper lamps illuminate the stone-cobbled path.

     

    All guest rooms enjoy private semi open-air baths

    All 23 guest rooms are named and decorated based on the elements of nature that have long been enjoyed in the ancient city of Kyoto: TAKE (bamboo), MIZU (water), IWA (stone), HANA (flower), and HA (leaf). And since each guest room is its own building, guests can enjoy the entire space to themselves. There is also a large open area between the reception and guest rooms to reduce the chance of running into other guests, offering a more private experience.

     

    Chisao Shigemori’s modern rock garden greets guests at the reception

    The first floor of the reception building features a rock garden created by landscape architect Chisao Shigemori which fuses the traditional and the modern. His grandfather was Mirei Shigemori, a famous Japanese landscape architect who is known for having designed the Tofukuji Hojo Temple gardens in Kyoto, amongst other projects. Chisao himself has produced numerous works both inside and outside Japan, such as at Matsuo-Taisha Shrine.

     

    The reception building’s second floor is a lounge space where guests can enjoy tea and confections made by d:matcha after checking in. It’s a chance to try Kyoto’s famous Uji matcha. At nighttime, this are is free for people to use where they can enjoy friendly soft drinks and alcohol.

     

    Unforgettable food at two different restaurants

    Behind a secret door located somewhere inside Tsubaki is “q,” a six-seated chef’s table produced by Hiroshi Sasaki, who is the owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant Gion Sasaki, and TOROMO PRODUCE. A roster of chefs will rotate for service, with Hiroshi Sasaki in the line-up. The restaurant will open officially on July 2, 2020 and is now taking enquiries via mail@toromi.co.jp. Group and family bookings are available. The restaurant will serve special courses the likes of which cannot be experienced anywhere else.

    The other restaurant, “Wagyu Ryotei bungo” will serve courses made with specially-selected high quality Japanese wagyu beef. There are counter seats as well as 7 private and semi-private rooms which house 2-8 people.

  • Help Fukuoka’s Hotels During COVID-19 With Crowdfunding Project

    17.June.2020 | SPOT

    Fukuoka’s tourism industry is suffering greatly as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the city has launched a crowdfunding project to ask for people’s help and support.

     

    By donating, you can receive a special ticket which can be used when travel returns to normal which can be used at hotels you have donated towards. The tiers are priced at ¥3,000 and ¥5,000, which will get you tickets priced at ¥3,300 and ¥5,500 respectively to be used in the future. If you’re thinking of travelling to Fukuoka, or already had plans booked to go there, then consider donating towards the city.

    Fukuoka is a city loved by Japanese people and foreigners alike. It has a rich food culture, incredible festivals, a rich history, and an amalgamation of urban and rural scenery.

  • Japan’s Anime Theme Park Nijigen no Mori Has Naruto, Boruto & Other Exciting Events This June

    16.June.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Nijigen no Mori is an anime theme park located on Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture. Here’s a list of the latest events running at the park in June.

     

    NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO

    NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO is an area of Nijigen no Mori with attractions and more based on Naruto and his son Boruto. The area celebrated its 1st anniversary on April 20, 2020. The park is currently selling anniversary merchandise as well as other exclusive items. Guests who buy a ticket to the park online will receive a free 1st anniversary postcard.

     

    Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Reception Closes 20:00)

    Price: Adults ¥1,800 / High & Junior High School Students ¥1,800 / Children (Elementary School Students & Younger) ¥500
    *Free entry for those aged 3 and below

     

    Price: ¥1,280 Each (Before Tax) *6 flavours

    There are also beverages inspired by characters from the series.

    Price: ¥1,050 (Before Tax)

    There is also a special ramen dish you can order inspired by the Akatsuki, the biggest threat to the Hidden Leaf Village.

    GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in the area, also opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.

     

    The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas. The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.

     

    Guests who stay in the Naruto room receive a free ticket to NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO at Nijigen no Mori.

     

    ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot

     

    Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park

    Over at the Crayon Shin-chan shop in Nijigen no Mori, they’re selling limited quantities of a “Happy Bag” full of Shin-chan merchandise, from picnic cushions to towels and more for a total of six items.


    And for the summer season, the last entries to all attractions at Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park have been extended. It’s a chance to work your body while enjoying the green outdoors.

     

    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last Entries 19:30)
    Price: Adults ¥4,480 / High & Junior High School Students ¥2,880 / Children (Elementary School Students & Younger) ¥1,180 / Seniors ¥1,440
    *Free entry for those aged 4 and below. Please check the official website for weekend and national holiday prices.

     

    Phoenix Night Walk

    June 21 is Father’s Day, and to celebrate Nijigen no Mori is holding an event on the day based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga Phoenix. Dads can attend the event for free. The park is holding a birthday campaign for June for those whose birthdays were in March, April, and May since they were unable to go out due to isolation, as well as for those whose birthdays are in June.

     

    Date: June 21, 2020

    Time: 19:30-20:30

    Price: General ¥3,300 (Junior High School Students & Older) / Children ¥1,200 (Aged 5-12)2020年6月21日(日)
    営業時間:19:30~20:30(季節により異なる)
    *Free entry for those aged 3 and below.

  • Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden Opens 20,000m² Sasarikyu Garden For Free

    11.June.2020 | SPOT

    Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden has is opening the Sasarikyu area of its gardens for free from June 5 to October 31 this year. The area spans almost 20,000m² and is home to an arbour and over 120 varieties of bamboo grass.

    Opening the gardens in June means that visitors will get to see the bamboo grass at its most beautiful. Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden wants more people to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and so decided to make it a free experience for visitors.

     

    It’s an opportunity to see the vivid green leaves of the bamboo free which, on a clear day, glistens brightly at the shine of the early summer sun. On a rainy day during the rainy season, it offers a completely different spectacle: the twinkle of the leaves as a result of the dew. In addition to the bamboo grass, rows of hydrangeas also blossom in the garden at the start of summer, and in autumn, the area takes on gorgeous red and yellow hues.

    Another charm of Sasarikyu is the tea ceremony arbour that sits amongst the verdure. This arbour, which was designed by Japanese architect Kiyoshi Yasui, continues the tradition of sukiya style of building known as sukiya-zukuri which was first established in Kyoto.

     

    Sasarikyu

    The Tateshina Plateau sits enveloped by the Yatsugatake, a collection of towering inactive volcanoes. In this expanse lies Sasarikyu, a botanical garden of kuma bamboo grass with over 120 varieties from both Japan and overseas. It is the only bamboo grass garden of its kind in the world and aims to contribute to the region’s culture by drawing out the unknown when it comes to bamboo grass.

    Bamboo grass area (13,200m²)

    Sasarikyu is not just a botanical garden. It is also home to the world’s largest tsukubai basin called Zuigetsusen, as well as an azekura-zukuri style statue of the god of wealth, Hashiri Daigoku. It also has Jōmonka, a style of building from the middle of the Jōmon period in Japanese history which has bamboo grass-thatched roofs.

     

    Sukiya Arbour Garden Area (6,600m²)

    The sukiya arbour was designed by Kiyoshi Yasui who helped carry out major renovations to the Katsura Imperial Villa, as well as helped dismantle and reconstruct two national treasures of Japan: the Joan and Taian tea houses.

     

    Another highlight of the gardens is an area where medicinal herbs area grown. The herbs there are ones mostly seen in Nagano Prefecture. It not only serves as an area with specimens of such herbs, but also offers gorgeous scenery too when the flowers bloom through the seasons.

  • Fufu Nara: The First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Nara Park is Designed by Kengo Kuma

    09.June.2020 | SPOT

    Fufu Nara is set to be the first luxury hotel to open inside Nara Park on June 5, 2020. Designed by industry-leading Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the hotel promises a unique dining experience with food served using herbal medicines that can only be tasted here, and guest rooms that are covered in art made by Nara-based artists who use traditional techniques. Both the dining and accommodation experiences aim to immerse guests in the culture of Nara.

    Witness the handiwork of Nara’s artists

    Nara is a city steeped with beautiful history and culture. This has been captured by the artists who have collaborated with Fufu Nara in the form of paintings, crafts, entrance decorations, and more. A stay at Fufu Nara is an opportunity to witness first hand the deep traditions and techniques of Nara’s art world.

    There are 30 rooms in total which are split into five different types. For example, one room type is designed around the old Japanese style of sitting on the floor. Inks and woods are used in the room to enhance that feeling that you’re in Nara, and the colour tones too are chosen to bring to mind the ancient city.

     

    Fufu Nara’s dining concept

    Nara Prefecture is closely tied to herbal medicines. Herbal medicine came about in the year 611 during the monarch of Empress Suiko. It is written in the Nihon Shoki that the use of herbal medicine had already been adopted by the time Prince Shōtoku was serving under the Empress. Many different traditional herbal medicines are still used in Nara today, including Angelica root, shakuyaku peonies, fennel, and so on. Traditional herbal medicines have become popular again in the prefecture in recent years.

     

    The food prepared at Nara Fufu makes use of ingredients grown and produced in Nara, from vegetables to herbs and beyond. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all incorporate Japanese and Chinese herbal ingredients.

     

    Spa by sisley

    The hotel also has a spa made in collaboration with French luxury skin care brand Sisley. There, guests can enjoy Fufu Nara’s medicated baths.

  • THIRD ishigakijima: Okinawa’s New Island Hopping Hotel to Open in July

    07.June.2020 | SPOT

    Due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Star Resort had to postpone the opening of THIRD ishigakijima, a new hotel in Okinawa originally scheduled to open in April 2020. However, it has been confirmed that the hotel’s new grand opening date is July 31, 2020.

    Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa which faces Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal, a port that connects Okinawa to remote islands like Taketomi Island and Iriomote Island. Many tourists and sightseers flock to Ishigaki to hop to all the different islands it connects to.

    The new THIRD ishigakijima hotel is a perfect choices for groups of travellers, with its room that can accommodate over 3 guests. As well as hotel food, drinks and alcohol, THIRD ishigakijima also offers various activities to guests like shisha, fitness, and more. The hotel is all-inclusive, something which isn’t offered that much on Ishigaki.

     

    The hotel also benefits from a self check-in system accessed using a QR code. Rooms are also accessed using a facial recognition system, making THIRD ishigakijima a tech-savvy experience.

    The hotel is adopting guidelines from the government on operating hotels during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to protect its staff, guests, and local islanders.

  • Naruto Themed Hotel Room Opens at GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135° in Japan

    02.June.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in Awaji, Hyogo, opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.

    The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas.

    The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.

    Guests who stay in the Naruto room will receive a free ticket to the popular “Naruto & Boruto Shinobi Zato” attraction at the anime theme park Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island where the hotel is located.

     

    ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot

  • MAXPLAN AZABU10: The New Landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District

    31.May.2020 | SPOT

    MAXPLAN Co. is set to open MAXPLAN AZABU10 on October 22, 2020 which is set to become the new symbol and a landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District. The building will offer many unique and extraordinary experiences.

    Nakamura Suzuko (CEO, MAXPLAN Co.) | Comment

    “This project borrows the strength of internationally-active architect Kengo Kuma. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a driving force together with him once again. This building, which is the ‘Azabu Juban Development Project,’ will be a place that creates and discovers new collective value between companies and individuals. A place of creative symbiosis. It aims to offer well being for companies that brings about a sense of cultural values. It will be a creative space for companies and individuals to resonate, bounce ideas off, and flow with one another. I pray from the bottom of my heart that these things will serve as a connection to how we want to live in the future.”

    Kengo Kuma (Architect) | Comment

    “Azabu Juban is Tokyo’s intersection between tradition and the future. I wanted to create a symbol for this district of ‘fluctuations’ around its crossroads. Combining panels of varying sizes with different heights, thicknesses, and textures expresses the district’s diversity and energy. I wanted the building to blend in as part of the ‘fluctuations,’ as well as create a small 3D city which itself has ‘fluctuations’ […]”

     

    We look forward to seeing how this new landmark and symbol of Azabu Juban brings together the traditional and the futuristic.

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