Oita Prefecture News Letter June 2019

22.June.2019 | Uncategorized

Oita Prefecture is Kyushu is known as having the most hot spring sources and yield in Japan. Places in Oita such as the city of Beppu and town of Yufuin are highlighted as some of the most famous hot spring sites in Japan and enjoy an influx of tourists every year, but their appeal doesn’t stop at hot springs. Oita will host this year’s Rugby World Cup, and because of that, the prefectural government is putting more efforts into dining, speciality products and spreading tourist and sightseeing information.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the must-see sites, art and culture of the prefecture.

 

InterContinental ANA Beppu Resort & Spa

InterContinental ANA Beppu Resort & Spa is Oita’s first foreign-owned luxury brand hotel set to open this year on August 1. This resort-style hotel will combine Beppu’s status as Japan’s spearhead of hot springs with the concept of an intercontinental brand hotel to offer the ultimate relaxation and healing.

 

There are 89 rooms at the hotel which incorporate the strenuous craft and expertise of local artists and artisans such as bamboo work. The rooms span 62-212mand are decked out with interiors made with natural materials and enjoy presentations perfect for those seeking peace and tranquillity. 21 of the rooms are suites and club rooms each with terraces equipped with private open-air baths. And if you make use of the Club Intercontinental Lounge you can enjoy top class service.

 

Guests can enjoy the rich spring water of Beppu in both the open-air baths and public baths. Not only is there a spa there’s even an infinity pool from which guests can enjoy a gorgeous view.

 

Official Website: https://anaicbeppu.com/en/

 

Ryumon Falls (Kokonoe)

Ryumon Falls is a 26-meter waterfall spanning 40-meters wide. The waterfall itself runs down the rocks below it, almost creating a second waterfall. In summer, kids and adults alike both enjoy the thrill of using it as a water slide. During the summer season, the camp sites, diners and souvenir shops bustle with tourists. You can pick up a mat and other items required to slide down the rocky slope in the surrounding area.

 

Address: Matsugi, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun 879-4632, Oita Prefecture

 

Traditional Crafts at Nakatsu Castle Shitamachi – Shuka’s Japanese Umbrellas

During Japan’s economic crisis at the turn of the 19th century, policies were enacted that encouraged areas to create their own speciality products. This sparked the manufacturing and selling of umbrellas which were made from bamboo, Japanese paper, oil, astringent and other materials all sourced locally. The early Showa period was the golden age for Japanese umbrella production, but it later declined and production eventually stopped in 2003 due to the ageing of the craftsmen who made them. However, production restarted in 2005 by Shuka to help revitalise the traditional Japanese craft of creating umbrellas. Since then, the same production methods that were used back in the day have been adhered to, and new designs have come to life. They are now back in fashion and growing in popularity.

 

Official Website: http://shu-ka.jp/

 

Michi no Eki Innai

Michi no Eki Innai is located in the centre of Innaimachi Kushino, a town home to the only village in Japan built on a stone bridge. They sell a variety of food products including speciality food items, including a range of loach dishes such as fried loach and loach hot pot. They also have information on the stone bridge itself, and visitors can see a Japanese giant salamander up close. Their Usa Karaage is a favourable dish amongst visitors.

 

Official Website: https://www.michinoeki-innai.net/

 

Oita Prefecture is home to many fun and exciting spots and events, so be sure to explore if you’re planning a visit.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).

    The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.

     

    The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.

    *Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).

    Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

    A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.

    Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280

    A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

    You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

    The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.

     

    59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
    Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)

     

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.

  • Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

    Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.

    The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.

     

    Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.

    The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.

    If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!

  • Sightseeing in Ise: 4 Must-Visit Souvenir Shops Near Ise Grand Shrine

    02.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The city of Ise is located in central Mie Prefecture on the eastern tip of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula on Japan’s largest main island Honshu. Every year, the autumn season brings in a flurry of tourists and sightseers who flock to see the city’s leaves expressing their vibrant hues of red and yellow. The city boasts a magnificent catalogue of sightseeing spots, but perhaps the most famous of all is Ise Grand Shrine, whose inner and outer shrine give visitors a sense of what the townscape looked like in ancient times. This can also be seen at Sarutahiko Shrine, amongst other places.

     

    In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 4 must-visit souvenir shops near the inner shrine for your Ise travel bucket list.

     

    Amano Pearl

    When talking about specialty products of Ise, the one thing that’s sure to come to the minds of Japanese people are the pearls sold in the city. Amano Pearl can be found in Oharaimachi, an almost 1km long street lined with traditional shops. The owner themselves purchases and appraises the pearls while the shop staff manufacture and design gorgeous accessories to sell at an affordable price.

    Accessory – ¥2,200

    This rose-shaped necklace is a design favoured by women of all ages. They have plenty of other high-quality bargain picks like this too.

    The shop’s diverse line-up of beautifully accessories includes those perfect for combining with one pieces and dresses, as well as for parties. Prices and designs vary greatly, so there’s bound to be something for everyone who steps inside this quaint store. So if you’re shopping for souvenirs during your trip to Ise, then you absolutely have to pay a visit to Amano Pearl to see the city’s famous pearls.

     

    ▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.amanopearl.jp/

     

     

    Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Matsujiro Honey is a long-standing honey shop that was established back in 1912. The shop sells various varieties of honey, including flavours you won’t find in supermarkets like apple honey and soba honey.

    Hanabana – ¥864

    Hanabana is the shop’s No. 1 most popular variety of honey and it’s made in Mie Prefecture. Its name in Japanese means “flowers,” and as the name suggests, it includes the nectar of numerous types of flowers. It has a smooth texture and distinct full-bodied floral fragrance.

    Centre: Mini Honey Soap – ¥503 / Right: Honey Soap – ¥2,200 / Left: ¥2,200 Honey Face & Body Oil (48ml) – ¥2,200

    The shop even sells its own honey-imbued cosmetics, all made with natural ingredients. Their soap is made with their popular Hanabana honey, and gives off a flavoursome honey smell. Your skin is left smooth, moisturised and smelling great after using it.

    Their rich honey oil too is made with 90% plant-derived oil and is free from preservatives. It’s a great option for the coming dry season and is gentle on the skin.

     

    If you visit the shop, they let you taste test their different types of honey too! Find your favourite.

     

    ▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.matsujiro.shop/

     

     

    Uoharu

    Uroharu first opened its doors in 1931. Their products are sold as souvenirs to help spread the word of Ise’s rich food culture.

    Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour

    The item you absolutely want to look out for when going into Uohara is their “Same No Tare,” another Ise speciality. It was originally only eaten in Shima, Ise, but it was picked up on national television, leading it to become a food souvenir associated with Ise.

    Uoharu’s products are seafood based, and there’s plenty to choose from. If you’re looking for a food product specifically from Ise then look no further than Uoharu.

     

    ▶Uoharu

    Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (*Changes depending on season)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Thursdays)

    Official Website: https://www.samenotare.jp/uoharu/

     

     

    Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Yet another speciality product of Ise comes from the much-beloved Henbaya, which first opened way back in 1775. The speciality products, also called “henbaya,” can be ordered either for takeout or enjoyed in the shop.

    Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160

    Henbaya are thin, round sticky rice cakes made with top of the range domestic ingredients and packed with smooth red bean paste. Both sides of these deliciously fragrant rice cakes are browned, and when bitten into, fill and melt in your mouth with the sweet, smooth flavour of the bean paste.

    At the Oharaimachi branch of Henbaya they sell various other rice cakes too, all chewy and made with high quality ingredients from Japan. Pick up a pair and enjoy the sweet taste of Ise.

     

    ▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 1-149-1 Ujiurata, Ise, Mie

    Closed: Mondays (Except on national holidays in which case closed on Tuesdays)

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Eating in-store runs until 16:30)

    *Products may sell out before 17:00

    *Opening hours subject to change for January

     

     

    So, if you’re making a trip to the beautiful city of Ise, you now know the must-visit spots for finding souvenirs. Let us know if you visit any!

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | Yokokuji Temple’s Autumn Event Schedule Announced

    30.October.2019 | SPOT

    Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Nagaokakyo and has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.

     

    For autumn-time this year, the temple is set to hold an event titled “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. With a seasonal schedule that includes illuminations in the gardens to a flower display at the temple water basin, if you’re looking for the must-visit locations in Kyoto this autumn, then you’ll want to add Yokokuji Temple to your list.

     

    Jodoen Garden Illuminations

    Last year’s popular light-up event is making a return for 2019, with gorgeous illuminations developed by light designer Yuuki Kogawa which will brighten the area with an enchanting and mystifying aura different from a usual visit to the garden.

     

    Dates: November 8th, 15th, 22nd-23rd

    Time: 17:30-18:30  (Reception open from 17:00)

    Price: ¥2,500 (Includes limited edition goshuin stamp)

    No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)

    Bookings: https://yanagidani.jp/contact/

     

    Special Opening of the Joshoin

    Normally, the Joshoin only opens on the 17th of every month, but for this autumn week event, it will be open every day. It’s an area normally limited to officials and those in the imperial family. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty.

     

    Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin

    At every temple and shrine in Japan there is a water basin which you are to use to cleanse yourself before entering. The Hanachomizu has become hugely popular on social media since the name first appeared 3 years ago, where leaves and flowers are placed into the basin. It has become adopted at temples across the country, with the one at Yokokuji Temple starting the trend. When it was first posted onto social media, it received reactions from over 80,000 people both in Japan and overseas. The flowers used change with the seasons, from hydrangeas to maple leaves.

     

    Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More

    Visitors will be able to pick up limited-edition goshuin stamp books which never fail to sell out whenever they are released. Goshuin are collectable stamps/seals at temples around Japan. They are ¥500 each and limited in stock.

    This is just a small peek into what’s to come during Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week. If you’re in Kyoto, make sure you pay a visit to Yokokuji Temple.

  • 3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019

    17.October.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.

     

    Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.

     

    KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.

     

    Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals

    Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.

    The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto

    Support Fund: ¥300

    Official Website: http://jitokuin.com

     

    Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours

    Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.

    During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019

    Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November

    Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Price: ¥500

    Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/

     

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak

    Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.

    This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.

     

    Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

    Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto

    Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100

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

     

     

    See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.

  • isetan Urban Market KYOTO: Big Name Brands to Gather Inside a Traditional Kyoto Townhouse

    10.October.2019 | FASHION / FOOD / SPOT

    isetan Urban Market is a popular fashion store located inside LUCUA 1100, an apparel building directly connected to the JR side of Osaka Station. The shop is set to depart Osaka and head northeast to a traditional townhouse in Kyoto where it will open a new store named isetan Urban Market KYOTO which will open on October 12 for a limited time.

    “Have Fun, Be Happy” is the concept of this shop, where a diverse range of items from some of Japan’s popular brands will be sold including clothing, accessories, food lingerie, cosmetics, and more.

     

    More than half of these brands are setting up shop in Kyoto for the first time

    little $uzie

    A long list of brand names will make an appearance at the pop-up shop, such as little $uzie and ch!iii which are huge at isetan Urban Market, as well as other talked-about brands like MALION vintage, Paso, Celvoke, and many more.

    BELPER

    The shop will also see the likes of BELPER, an up-and-coming brand established by Yuichi Ozaki who won the top prize at the Bilbao International Competition. A confectionery store from Shizuoka will also make an appearance which is so popular it has people lining up outside it two hours before opening.

    ASOKO

    ASOKO is selling the above-pictured line “TODAY AND.” made exclusively for Kyoto.

    FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET

    As well as designers, Osaka’s fruit and vegetable store FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET will also be in attendance selling produce from contracted farmers from around Japan. There will also be a fruit and vegetable market on October 13 and 27 where sandwiches and other delicious foods will be sold.

     

    Tradition and contemporary come together at the townhouse

    Visitors will be able to relax and enjoy a mix of traditional and contemporary design at the townhouse, including with its garden and courtyard. The design was carried out by NOTA&design which is managed by NOTA_SHOP, a select shop in Shigaraki, Nagano.

     

    Enjoy a fun and relaxing time this autumn at isetan Urban Market KYOTO.

  • Stroll the Edo Streets as an Elegant Samurai and Make Tea in the Feudal Lord’s Residence

    04.October.2019 | SPOT

    Sakura, Chiba is home to important cultural heritage and even what is also known as the “Samurai Town”. Now you can stroll around the beautiful old streets of Sakura dressed as a Samurai, attend a relaxing zen session and even take part in a tea ceremony as part of a limited period tourist plan. The Samurai tour is mainly aimed at foreigners, however Japanese people who are curious about samurai culture are also more than welcome to join. 

     

    Sakura Castle Samurai Stroll

    In 2016, Sakura became one of the four cities of the Hokuso region to be designated as a Heritage site under the title “An Edo Travelogue through Four Hokuso Cities” for its preservation of the old Edo culture. Old buildings full of secrets can be spotted all over the town, creating the old atmosphere of the Edo period. Embrace the elegant remnants of the Edo period with a relaxing stroll in Samurai clothing. Who knows what you might discover.

    Your relaxing stroll will be led by a tour guide who knows a lot about the history of Sakura. This is a wonderful opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the historical Samurai house (Bukeyashiki). Your tour guide will also show you Hiyodorizaka, which is a natural path lined with a dense forest of tall bamboo trees where Samurai are said to have often pass by. Every year, the bamboo and wooden sword martial arts sessions in the program are also very popular. 

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 26

     November 9, 23

     December 14, 21

    January 11, 25

    February 8, 22

    March 12, 28

    April 9, 25

    May 9, 16

     

    ◇ Times: 9:30 ー 12:30

     *The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.

    ◇ Prices:

    ¥6,500 per person (Includes lunch voucher and entry to the samurai house)

    * ¥6,000 per person when you purchase tickets as a group of 3 or more.

    ◇ Tickets

    Reservation Website: https://www.govoyagin.com/ja

    Apply Directly to Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL: 043-486-6000

    Email: sakurashi-kankou@catv296.ne.jp

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

    Zen Meditation and Tea Ceremony in the House of a Feudal Lord

    There are also guided zen meditation and tea ceremony sessions which are available for a limited period only. These guided zen meditation and tea ceremonies will take place in the Kyuhottatei ー one of Japan’s most preserved traditional-style feudal lord residences. This luxurious Edo-style mansion was built 130 years ago and is classified as an Important Cultural Property.  

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 16,

    November 7, 19

    December 6, 18

     

    ◇ Times: 9:00 ー 12:30

     *The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.

     

    ◇ Prices:

    ¥10,000 per person (Includes lunch voucher, entry to the Kyuhottatei and tea ceremony participation fee.)

     

    ◇ Tickets

    Please enquire directly to the Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL:  043-486-6000

    Email Address: sakurashi-kankou@catv296.ne.jp

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

    If you are curious about Edo Samurai culture, you won’t be disappointed by this program.

  • Japan’s Biggest Cycling Resort Hotel Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura to Open in Ibaraki

    03.October.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts is set to open Japan’s biggest cycling resort, named Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura, at PLAY atré TSUCHIURA on March 19, 2020. The establishment will open right when PLAY atré TSUCHIURA celebrates its 2nd anniversary―after having opened back in 2018―and will be the fourth cycling hotel by Hoshino Resorts to open. It will act as a “base camp” to enjoy cycling, and the start point to the 180km Tsukuba Lake Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road cycling course.

     

    PLAY atré TSUCHIURA is a 49-minute train ride from Tokyo and is directly connected to the station, making access very easy. It is home to Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road, one of Japan’s prominent cycling courses that runs past many gorgeous natural landscapes, including Lake Kasumigaura and Mount Tsukuba. It is becoming one of Japan’s foremost cycling facilities, catering to the needs of all cyclists.

    1F BIKE BASE / Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura

    2F & 3F

    This cosy and casual hotel is the perfect choice for travellers looking to cycle and go sightseeing in Japan.

  • 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

  • Sanrio’s Kuromi Takes Over Harmonyland This Halloween For Devilish Events

    08.September.2019 | SPOT

    Sanrio character theme park Harmonyland in Oita has announced this year’s Halloween event, Kuromi’s Happy Halloween, which will begin on September 13. The devilish and mischievous Kuromi, whose birthday is on October 31-Halloween day-is taking over the park this year to deliver a very cute and just a tiny bit spooky Halloween to kids and adults this year.

     

    Harmonyland’s Halloween Night Party, a huge hit every year, will also return on October 26. In addition to Kuromi’s birthday event, Wish me mell, another one of Sanrio’s cute characters, will also celebrate her birthday on September 20.

    The event also has its own story. While Hello Kitty was having fun preparing for Halloween with everyone, Kuromi looked at the calendar and noticed that the park was scheduled to be closed on October 31, her birthday. Angry by this decision, the scheming Kuromi began Halloween preparations of her own.

     

    Pashakawa SWEET HALLOWEEN

    This event is a chance to meet your favourite characters, who will be dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and take a photo with them. Be sure to say the secret password to them, “trick or treat,” to get some free candy! The fun doesn’t stop there though, as there’ll be a chance to dance with the characters too.

     

    Omotenashi Hello Kitty Cafe

    Hello Kitty will serve as owner of the Hello Kitty Cafe, while Kuromi will be your maid along with the cafe staff, and Meister Cinnamon will learn your name and teach teach it to the rest of the character staff. At the end of the show, the cafe staff will change into their Halloween costumes.

     

    Halloween Photo Spots

    Special Halloween photos spots will be dotted around for Halloween where you can snap some cute pictures. From pumpkin heads of Hello Kitty, My Melody and  Kuromi to flower beds decorated with Kuromi, there will be no shortage of Instagrammable spots for photos. And when you get close to the two flower beds, you might just run into a trick set up by Kuromi herself… Also, the background music playing at the park was all chosen by Kuromi.

     

    Halloween Merch & Menu

    Of course, there will be lots of exclusive character merchandise to grab, as well as a cute themed menu designed just for Halloween.

     

    Halloween Night Party ~Pink or Black~

    The popular Halloween Night Party returns again this year, a one-night-only spectacle of lights, music and dance. The theme this year is “pink or black.” Clad yourself in one or both of these colours and have a fun Halloween night!

     

    ・Date: October 26, 2019 (18:00-21:00)

    ・Price: ¥1,000 (Everyone aged 4+) *Price is reduced to ¥500 to those who hold an annual ticke

    ・A shuttle bus will be operating for free (limited spaces)

     

    Celebrate Halloween this year together with Kuromi.

     

    ⓒ ’76, ’91, ’96, ’99, ’01, ’05, ’09, ’17, ’19 SANRIO

  • 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.

  • Kobe Readies For Rugby World Cup With Hospitable Events

    03.September.2019 | SPOT

    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.

     

    ▼Bookings

    https://www.viator.com/tours/Kobe/Various-ways-to-enjoy-Kobe-beef-Long-established-store/d27432-165105P24

    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.

     

    ▼Bookings

    https://www.govoyagin.com/ja/activities/japan-kobe-experience-zen-meditation-tenjo-ji-kobe-city/11290

     

    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.

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