Goldfish Festival, Fireworks And Much More Family Fun at Aquamarine Fukushima
01.July.2019 | SPOT
During the summer holiday period between July and September, Aquamarine Fukushima is holding a range of events and supporting children to learn about marine life independently. Come join in the festival fun with goldfish scooping games, quoits, and much more. There will also be a fair from August 11 to 15.
Aquamarine Fukushima Rare Creatures Picture Book <Complete the pictures!>
Dates: July 13 ー September 1
Aquamarine Fukushima is displaying rare creatures and ecological systems. The children can write the name of the new creatures they discover in their own picture book. Once they have completed the picture book, it will be an original record of discoveries. As the children record the features of the animals and other organisms they discover, adults will also find this information beneficial when looking around the exhibitions.
How to take part: Pick up an application form at the entranceway on floor 1 of the aquarium main building (Honkan). The answers will all be distributed in one place. (Subject to change).
Summer Aquamarine Fukushima: Children’s Answer Room
Open: July 20 ー September 1
Here, all the answers to the children’s puzzles about Aquamarine life are presented in panels and explained in easy terms. Along with the picture book where the children can record interesting life forms, this is the perfect way to support independent exploration.
Goldfish scooping and Fun Fair
You can purchase goldfish that were bred at the aquarium, or catch them yourself at the goldfish scooping area. There is also a games corner where you and your children can enjoy a range of fun activities such as quoits.
The goldfish building, which just opened last year, will be bringing back its 60cm-large Goldfish Nebuta lantern. To raise spirits during Japan’s O-bon lantern festival, the aquarium will be open for much longer so that a lantern event can be held in the evening.
Iwaki Traditional Vegetable Marché
Open: August 17 ー 18 (11:00 ー 14:00)
Head to the Aquamarine Aguri located outside Aquamarine Fukushima to purchase everyday vegetables as well as Japanese vegetables that have been grown through the cooperation of Iwaki farmers and Iwaki city. The traditional Iwaki marché sells mainly traditional summer vegetables such as okuimo potatoes, yardlong beans, beefsteak plants, kojiroi cucumbers, and much more. From local vegetables to healthy goods, everything is produced at Aquamarine Fukushima.
Iwaki Fireworks Festival
Enjoy the sight of fireworks soaring through the sky before your very eyes from the Aquarium grounds. This large-scale fireworks event will run until 9 pm on August 3.
Running: August 11 ー 15 (8pm) .
※ Last entries: Up to 1hr before closing time.
Come visit Aquamarine Fukushima for a perfect fun-filled day with the family!
Goldfish Display and Sales
Running: August 11 ー 12 (Monday, national holiday)
Times: 10:00 ー15:00、16:30 ー19:00
Goldfish Scooping/ Fair
Running: August 11 ー 15
Times: 16:30 ー19:00
The goldfish scooping event will end once all fish have been caught.
Water Yo-Yo Fishing, Quoits, Fishing Games, Barbecue Skewers: ￥300 per turn.
Address: Tatsumicho-50 Onahama, Iwaki, Fukushima
Official Website: https://www.aquamarine.or.jp/
Summer 2019 Japanese Fireworks Festivals With The Wow Factor
Hello everyone, this is Midori from MMN’s Editorial Department!
The first thing that pops into your head when you think of summer is fireworks. During the summer, Japan hosts so many large-scale fireworks events that it can be difficult to decide which one to visit. However, some festivals really stand out from the crowd. Today, I will share with you some fireworks festivals I would highly recommend for their extra wow-factor.
If you’re interested, check out the 2019 list for the top 10 fireworks festivals in Japan.
2019 Artistic Fireworks at Moerenuma Park, Sapporo
Last year, this event was cancelled due to an earthquake, so excitement levels are high this year.
This year, the fireworks dream team have put together a special non-stop program which includes the highest fireworks in the whole country. A fireworks photo and painting competition will be held after the fireworks event day.
▼2019 Artistic Fireworks at Moerenuma Park
Date: September 7, 2019
Official Website: https://www.moere.jp/
Relax 221m Above Ground: The RESTAURANT LUKE with SLY LOUNGE Fireworks Plan
Fireworks events held within the city can get very crowded, so how about watching them explode beautifully in the night sky from a restaurant? RESTAURANT LUKE with SLY LOUNGE is the perfect place to watch the Sumida River Fireworks festival and its 20,000 fireworks, or the Edogawa Fireworks Festival, where 14,000 fireworks are launched. Make sure to ask for the fireworks plan if you want this experience.
Being able to watch fireworks high in the sky is a wonderful lifetime opportunity.
▼RESTAURANT LUKE with SLY LOUNGE
Address: St.Luke’s Garden, 47th floor, 8-1 Akashicho, Chuo City, Tokyo
Firework event plans:
July 27 Sumida River Fireworks Festival Special Plan
August 3 Edogawa Fireworks Festival Special Plan
Adults: ￥15,000, high school students: ￥6,000, middle school students: ￥4,000, elementary school students: ￥2,000 (Free for those under elementary school age)
Official Website: https://www.restaurant-luke.com/restaurant.html
Shin Yokohama Fireworks Festival 2019 Special Tickets
Kohoku-ku, Yokohama will be celebrating the 80th year of the Shin Yokohama Fireworks Festival. Tickets for seats to watch the 2019 fireworks event are now being sold. The fireworks will be launched in an area that is hundreds of metres wide. For the finale, you can enjoy yellow streams of light as they fall out of the sky. As this fireworks event is taking place at Shin Yokohama, you can get seats at the Nissan Stadium or the tennis court to enjoy a beautiful night.
Photo: Takeshi Kanetake
▼Shin Yokohama Fireworks Festival 2019
Date: July 7, 2019
Prices: Special entry area (unreserved seats): ￥2,000 (per person, 1m2 picnic sheet, 1 entry ticket).
Tennis court garden table seat: ￥20,000 (4 people, 4 tickets, 1 garden table), Nissan Stadium north side (for legal supporters/ event sponsors and others who contributed to the event: ￥54,000 (6 people, 6 tickets, table seating).
Official Website: http://shinyokohama-hanabi.com/
Enjoy Fishing With A Beautiful Fireworks Display In The Sky at Echizen, Fukui
Visit Echizen port to enjoy a beautiful fireworks display whilst on the hunt for fish and squid. This is a relatively cheap plan considering that you also get the chance to enjoy a beautiful view. This is a wonderful way to create special memories.
▼ Fishing and Fireworks in Echizen, 2019
Date: July 13, 2019
Price: Squid: ￥ 6,000 per person Fish: ￥7,000 per person (40 people max).
(Includes fishing equipement. Price is the same for both children and adults).
Official website: https://www.town-echizen.jp/SSL/experience/detail.php?id=90
A Cool Night at The Pool and Fireworks Every Day at Phoenix Seagaia Resort, Miyazaki
During the summer holidays, there will be a fireworks show every evening at Phoenix Seagaia Resort in Miyazaki prefecture. They have special seating, and also those who choose accommodation on the club floor can see the fireworks launched before their very eyes.
You can also enjoy the night pool or barbeque and simultaneously witness the fireworks. The best part is that there is a show everyday, so there is no need to worry about fitting it in with the rest of your plans.
▼Phoenix Seagaia Resort Summer Fireworks 2019
Event Period: Every day from July 20 ー August 31, 2019
Official Website: https://seagaia.co.jp/
This summer will be the first ever fireworks season of the Reiwa era, so how about making it extra special by attending a fireworks festival with that extra wow factor?
Visit Japanese Family Homes and Learn to Cook Authentic Japanese Food With airKitchen
30.May.2019 | FOOD
airKitchen is an online service gaining popularity by inviting foreigners travelling to Japan to experience what it’s like to cook at home there.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been on the rise in recent years, and with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, that number is predicted to continue increasing. One shift happening amongst travellers to the country is their desire for more experience consumption over material consumption. This shift has been noted by the Japanese government and companies who are pushing to offer more experience-based content to foreigners.
One such company doing just this is the online platform service airKitchen whose popularity is only continuing to increase. By using the website, foreigners can choose from a long list of Japanese hosts who will teach them how to make many different Japanese dishes in their very own homes. Bookings and payment can both be done via the company’s official website. airKitchen launched in April 2018 and by April this year it already has over 4,000 users.
airKitchen’s popularity can be accredited to it satisfying overseas visitors’ desire to experience everyday Japanese life. They will cook authentic Japanese food in a common Japanese-style kitchen. In 2013, Washoku (“Japanese Food”) was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The appeal of Japanese food is on the rise and is sure to become even more popular.
airKitchen Introductory Video
Some of the most popular foods taught on the website include gyoza, bento and sushi. A total of three hours are allotted for each experience which includes both the cooking and eating time. The price for each service varies but the average is ¥5,000 per person. The biggest ratio of nationalities come from Europe and Australia and range from couples to families.
If you’re travelling to Japan, why not book with airKitchen yourself and get a taste of everyday Japanese home life?
Beautiful National Park Projection Mapping to Illuminate Shiraito Falls This Summer
25.June.2019 | SPOT
For eight years now, Shiraito Highland Way, Karuizawa has been showing its gratitude to its summertime visitors with a special nighttime illumination display. This year, that time has come yet again.
The illumination event will take place at Shiraito Falls (白糸の滝, Shiraito no Taki), which is a special area of conservation located in Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park. Abiding by the rules set by the Ministry of the Environment and after a careful study of the wildlife, ecosystem and natural surroundings, preparations have been made in order to hold a successful show without any negative environmental effects. This will be the first ever projection mapping event to be held in a national park in Japan amongst the nature.
The 2019 event will be filled with a rich variety of beautiful animation to highlight the beauty of Karuizawa’s natural undertones and will also celebrate the new Reiwa era. The theme of the projection mapping will be “the birth of the earth and our prayers for the Reiwa period”.
This has been recognised as one of Japan’s Nightscape Heritage sites, so please come witness it for yourself.
2019 Shiraito Falls Projection Mapping, Karuizawa
Running: Friday ー Sunday from July 26 ー August 25, 2019
※ Running every day from August 12 ー August 15
Show Times: 19:00 ー 21:00
※ For safety reasons, the illumination will be prepared from 18:30
※ The projection mapping show will run 9 times on each day in 15 minute intervals starting from 19:00)
※ In times of overcrowding, there will be an entry limit.
※ To confirm whether the event will be postponed due to bad weather, please check the website below.
※ On August 13 and 14 only, the first 200 visitors will be presented with Karuizawa Chocolate Factory sweets
Official Website: http://www.karuizawa-shw.com/
3 Must-Try Refreshing Summer Desserts at Tokyo DisneySea
Hi, everyone, it’s Midori from MMN’s editorial team.
Many people travel to Tokyo DisneySea during the summer break, which is great for them as when the hot season rolls around so too does the park’s deliciously refreshing desserts. Today, I will introduce 3 must-try desserts at Tokyo DisneySea for the sweltering weather this year♡
Mango Ice Cream: ¥300
If you head to American Waterfront in the park and go to Toyville Trolley Park you’ll find a wagon out the front selling this mango ice cream. This is being held as part of the Duffy and Friends event “Duffy’s Sunny Fun.” The ice cream cup has an adorable illustration of Duffy wearing a swimsuit♡
This refreshing dessert is a mix of rich mango ice cream covered in mango sauce and cool shaved ice.
Sea Salt Ice Cream Wafer: ¥300
Another wagon can be found over in Mermaid Lagoon where they sea salt ice cream served inside a seashell wafer. The wafer is filled with slightly salty vanilla ice cream and a sweet and sour berry ice cream. You won’t find an ice cream served like this anywhere else♡ What’s more is that the ice cream inside doesn’t melt quickly so you can enjoy walking around and eating it without worrying about it dripping everywhere.
Deep Sea (Pineapple Smoothie): ¥400
Finally, near the Nemo & Friends SeaRider attraction in Port Discovery, you can get your hands on a pineapple smoothie called Deep Sea which is served in a cup with clownfish on the side♡
The vivid blue jelly inside is the perfect match for Port Discovery. The jelly sits underneath pineapple flavoured smoothie, and inside the blue jelly are pieces of chewy yellow jelly for added textures.
If you’re going to be waiting in line to get on one of the attractions why not keep yourself cool in the hot sun with one of these refreshing desserts? Have fun at Tokyo DisneySea!
Tokyo Disney Resort Official Website: https://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/index.html
The Jellyfish Kaleidoscope Tunnel Transforms for Halloween at ‘HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium’ Event
23.September.2021 | SPOT
Between October 1 and 31 2021, Sumida Aquarium will be hosting the ‘HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium’ event, where you can enjoy an exciting Halloween alongside the Jellyfish.
A workshop will be held at the event, teaching guests all about the floaty, mysterious and ghost-like jellyfish.
The aquarium’s famous 50m ‘Kaleidoscope Tunnel,’ which is formed of 5,000 mirrors, will be transformed into a Halloween wonderland for the ‘Jellyfish and Halloween’ event. Eight aquariums are embedded into the walls, with colorful background panels which feature Halloween motifs such as witches and pumpkins. The jellyfish look just like festive ghosts!
Moon Jellyfish Aquarium in the Kaleidoscope Tunnel
Each aquarium introduces seven mysterious facts about jellyfish – For example, did you know that jellyfish have no heart, and have tons of eyes?
The mysterious tunnel wall is covered in images of cute jellyfish that transform into ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, while Halloween themed music plays in the background.
A jellyfish comparison workshop
A jellyfish comparison workshop will also be held at the aquarium’s Aqua Academy. Young children can participate in the workshop which explains the visual differences between different types of jellyfish, while crafting a cute jellyfish mobile under staff supervision.
Spend this Halloween at the incredible Sumida Aquarium!
HALLOWEEN in Sumida Aquarium
Duration: October 1 ~ October 31 2021
Official site: http://www.sumida-aquarium.com
Noseden Artline Festival 2021 Bringing Light, Sound, and Food to the Kawanishi Area
A celebration of light, sound, and food, the biennial Noseden Artline 2021 Festival will take place from October 30 until November 23, 2021. Set in one city and three towns along the Nose Electric Railway, the regional art event began in 2013 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the rail line, and brings local artists and residents together.
The festival will be in Kawanishi and Inagawa in Hyogo Prefecture, as well as in Toyono and Nose in Osaka Prefecture, with Mt. Myoken marking the center point. Each part of the event will connect the history, industry, and tradition of the area with new and engaging creations.
The theme of the 2021 Noseden Artline Festival is ‘Enlarged Mentality.’ By taking things that are subjective, like an artist’s thoughts and senses, and applying them to the objective world that can be shared, it creates a one-of-a-kind way to connect fully with others. The event will feature local cuisine and music, as well as art focused on light, inspired by the North Star. After a year of solitude due to the pandemic, the festival hopes to remind people to cultivate, nourish, and preserve local relationships.
Art can make life more enjoyable, so why not come and see what the area has to offer?
Noseden Artline Festival
Running: October 30 – November 23, 2021
Location: Nose Electric Railway Line ~ Near Summit of Mt. Myoken
Official Site: http://noseden-artline.com/2021/
Virtual Talent Kizuna Ai to Hold Global Online Fireworks Event
From her debut in 2016 until 2021, Kizuna Ai was the most subscribed VTuber on YouTube, and the one responsible for the term ‘Virtual YouTuber.’ Now, this legendary star will be holding a concert available to fans of Japanese culture around the world, while also showing off the beauty of a Japanese fireworks festival. The event will take place on Facebook’s Oculus, on the Venues app, on September 25, 2021 in Japan. Anyone who has an Oculus Quest can view the concert for free.
Oculus Venues is a VR video platform, allowing users to enjoy a variety of concerts, sporting events, and comedy shows from the front row. There’s no need to worry about grabbing expensive tickets or dealing with crowds when you can enjoy your favorite events from the comfort of your own home!
In January 2021, Kizuna Ai announced a contract with UTA (United Talent Agency), one of the four major agencies in the United States. In April and May, she went on her first virtual US tour. Under the theme of connecting with everyone in the world, Kizuna Ai is attempting this new challenge using Oculus to get closer to fans than ever before. As a guest artist, world-renowned performers HANABI will perform, blending traditional Japanese culture with cutting-edge technological art in this one-of-a-kind DJ-directed space.
Will you be tuning in to Kizuna Ai’s fireworks concert?
Kizuna Ai Virtual Fireworks Concert
Date: September 25, 2021, 12:00 (September 24, 20:00 PDT)
Where: Oculus Venues
Restream: To be streamed on YouTube (Date to be announced.)
Official Site: https://www.oculus.com/
Nihonbashi Art Aquarium Museum Closes for Renewal and Relocation
The Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM will be closed on September 26 2021 to make way for new exhibits and works. The museum is scheduled to be relocated in the first half of 2022.
The ART AQUARIUM Museum opened in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on August 28 202 with the concept of “a museum where life dwells.” This will be the largest renewal in the history of the museum Museum, opened by writer and general producer Hidetomo Kimura, with the addition of more exhibits and new and improved interactive areas.
The Nihonbashi Art AQUARIUM Museum opened alongside the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic, with the expectations that visitors would come from both within Japan and overseas, thanks to the exhibitions which easily explain and represent Japan’s proud traditional culture and performing arts, but due to Covid restrictions, foreign tourists are still unable to enter the country. Despite this, the Museum saw many customers and with the closing of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the museum will be closed in preparation to relocate to the new ART AQUARIUM. If you want to see the Nihonbashi location for yourself then this is your last chance!
In addition, the “ART AQUARIUM” digital tour is being held from September 12, allowing you to appreciate the Museum in a digital format until the reopening.
Make sure to check out the Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM while you have the chance!
ART AQUARIUM Museum
Address:：1-3-9 Nihonbashihonchō, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00~19:00 (L.A 18:30)
Official Site: https://artaquarium.jp
Namco and Sanrio Team Up for Collaborative Halloween Campaign
BANDAI NAMCO AMUSEMENT has announced Namco de Halloween 2021 -Skulls Festival!- coming September 10. The campaign will take place at over 200 Namco amusement centers nationwide, and at the online crane game site Torumo. Those participating can snag some spooky and super adorable Sanrio goodies!
Namco Limited Edition Prizes
Sanrio Characters Big Plushies
Cinnamoroll / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock second week of September)
Sanrio Characters Skull Festival! Plushies
Pom Pom Pudding / Cinnamoroll / Pochacco / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock second week of September)
Sanrio Characters Skull Festival! Cushions
All characters (Back side: Blue) / My Melody & Kuromi (Back side: Pink) / Cinnamoroll, Pom Pom Pudding & Pochacco (Back side: Orange) (In stock second week of September)
Sanrio Characters Jiangshi Night Plushies 2021
Pom Pom Pudding / Cinnamoroll / Pochacco / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock second week of September)
Sanrio Characters Spooky Night 2021 Plushies
Pom Pom Pudding / Cinnamoroll / Pochacco / Hello Kitty / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock third week of September)
Sanrio Characters Dreamy Dark Halloween 2021 Plushies
Pom Pom Pudding / Cinnamoroll / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock fourth week of September)
Sanrio Characters Exciting Halloween 2021 Plushies
Pom Pom Pudding / Cinnamoroll / Hello Kitty / My Melody / Kuromi (In stock first week of October)
Use the Namco Point App to get one limited-edition shopping bag each day.
During the Torumo gift campaign, 100 winners will be randomly selected to win a special Halloween blanket.
The prizes available during the campaign were designed for the event. Also, limited-edition plushies to appear in the past have returned in brand new colors! Those who use the Namco Point App and place ¥500 into one of the crane machines will receive one of five clear cards and a colorful bag. (Not available using Torumo.)
© 2021 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. S620926
Namco de Halloween 2021 -Skulls Festival!-
Running: September 10 – November 3, 2021
Where: Over 200 Namco amusement facilities nationwide and Torumo online crane game site
Namco Point App: https://bandainamco-am.co.jp/app_dl/
‘átoa,’ Part Art Museum and Part Aquarium, Opening in Kobe
12.August.2021 | SPOT
Blending living creatures with art, átoa, a new urban aquarium, will open in Kobe’s Shinkocho on October 29, 2021. New images have just been revealed, and we now have an idea of what the interior will look like!
‘átoa’ comes from a combination of the words ‘aquarium’ and ‘art,’ and as the name suggests, the space will blend over 100 pieces of digital and performance art with 3,000 ocean creatures to provide a never-before-seen experience.
The exterior of the Kobe Port Museum looks like a contemporary art gallery
The stairway leads guests to a cave entrance, making the visit feel more like an adventure
‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life’ embodies underwater life
‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits’ welcomes you to a foggy sea of trees
Light cutout show by famed cutout artist Atsumi Sakai
A mysterious walk through a traditional Japanese garden
‘PLANETS,’ a journey through the darkness of outer space and the deep sea
Food & drink offerings worthy of posting on social media
A spectacular view of the Kobe Bay area
átoa original products on sale
Rokko, the land on which Kobe City sits, is said to have been formed over one million years ago by the upheaval of the Earth and consistent water erosion. The Kobe Port Museum (KPM), where átoa is located, has long attracted visitors with its unique exterior, embodying the ancient origins of the surrounding lands.
átoa will be divided into eight different zones, each with its own theme and distinctive presentation. Visitors will first enter the ‘Cave of Beginnings,’ where fish-shaped lights reflected on the walls and floor lead you deeper into the space, as if through a kaleidoscope.
After emerging, ‘MARIN NOTE – The Movement of Life,’ a visual embodiment of underwater life, will greet you. The sound and scents of the sea will surround guests, with a cylindrical water tank at the center of the room filled with zebra sharks, spotted garden eels, and many more underwater creatures.
On the second floor, enter ‘ELEMENTS – The Forest of Spirits,’ a foggy sea of trees straight out of a fairy tale. This is where you can find freshwater fish, amphibians, and adorable tree-dwelling animals not typically found in aquariums, like woodchucks! This is another highlight of átoa: you might find more animals you wouldn’t expect!
The third floor houses both ‘MIYABI’ and ‘PLANETS,’ where guests can enjoy a ‘theatrical aquarium experience.’ Discover Atsumi Sakai’s famed cutout art in the ‘MIYABI’ area, meant to simulate a Japanese garden. Enjoy the magical experience of fish swimming just beneath your feet as you stroll along a glass-covered floor.
The ‘PLANETS’ area houses AQUA TERRA, one of Japan’s largest spherical water tanks, with a diameter of 3 meters. Guests are welcome to ponder the vastness of both outer space and the deepest stretches of the sea. The area is bathed in the light of countless stars thanks to optical fibers embedded in the floor, while mist will continuously pour from above.
Housed on the fourth floor, an outdoor exhibit, the ‘SKYSHORE Sky Garden,’ will soothe your soul as you play with only the most adorable marine life, from penguins to otters. This is also where visitors can enjoy the átoa cafe, offering a lineup of Instagram-worthy food and drink.
The observation deck ‘ROOF TOP’ also provides a breathtaking view of Kobe. Whether you visit during day or night, take in the views of Kobe Harborland and Meriken Park to your heart’s content. A full museum shop will be stocked with adorable plushies and other original products.
Address: 7-2, Shinkocho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo
Open Date: October 29, 2021
Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Open Every Day)
Official Site: https://atoa-kobe.jp
MIDTOWN ART PALETTE Brings Dreamy Digital Artwork to Tokyo Midtown For Summer
17.July.2021 | SPOT
Tokyo Midtown’s annual MIDTOWN ART PALETTE has returned again for the summer, opening on July 16 and running until September 5. This year, the event delivers a Digital Art Garden with gorgeous dream-like digital artwork.
Digital Art Garden
Last year’s event
Experience a distinctively Japanese way to stay cool and refreshed on a wooden veranda with light and mist dancing through the outdoor space inspired by traditional Japanese rock gardens. Find yourself bewitched by an enchanting summer evening as the digital art transforms throughout the day.
This year’s event is being held with all proper social distancing measures in place.
Take digital art home with you with AR fireworks
Locate five QR codes dotted around Tokyo Midtown which when accessed via your smartphone will award you with artistic AR fireworks, allowing you to enjoy fireworks with you wherever you point the camera on your screen, including at home.
MIDTOWN ART PALETTE
Running: July 16, 2021 – September 5, 2021
Opening Hours: 15:00-22:00 / Digital Fireworks: 18:00-22:00
Hello Kitty Summer Event Themed On the Undersea Palace Princess Oto-hime Kicks Off in Hyogo
The Hello Kitty media art facility and restaurant HELLO KITTY SMILE on Awaji Island kicked off a summer event on July 1. Titled “HELLO KITTY SMILE Oto-hime Ryugu-jo Beach Summer Festival,” the event is set to run until the end of August.
Digital fireworks set the summer vibe
Catch your own Sanrio figure
Decorate your own Sanrio character ceramic
Children’s meal at the Party Terrace
Hello Kitty afternoon tea at the Party Balcony
Spicy tortilla at the Garden Terrace
The event is themed on Oto-hime, the princess of the underwater palace Ryugu-jo which features in the Japanese folktake of Urashima Taro. It focuses on Hello Kitty and is a celebration of Bon odori, a type of dance that takes place during the Japanese summertime Bon Festival. Hello Kitty performs the dance on stage, and the audience can join in with handclapping, dancing, and waving the free fan they receive upon entering the venue. Visitors can also buy a ticket to meet Hello Kitty, and those who do receive a free plush toy along with a photo with the Sanrio queen herself.
At the event, visitors can enjoy Sanrio versions of all the fun things Japanese summer festivals, or natsumarui, have to offer like catching a Sanrio figure instead of a goldfish, painting ceramics, making vinyl prints, squirting water pistols, jumping on a giant trampoline, and so much more.
Other things to look out for include special screenings at the HELLO KITTY SMILE theatre and the firework projection mapping show. The event also has four different restaurants which are serving limited-time, seasonal summer treats: the Party Terrace, Party Balcony, Restaurant Tamatebako, and Garden Terrace.
Ⓒ2021 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. L627610
HELLO KITTY SMILE Oto-hime Ryugu-jo Beach Summer Festival
Japanese Event Title: HELLO KITTY SMILE 乙姫竜宮城 海辺の夏祭り
Running: July 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021
Opening Hours:10:00-19:00 (Last Entries 18:00)
*Brunch served exclusively on weekends and public holidays at the Party Terrace at 9:00-10:00 (last orders 10:30)
Address: 985-1 Nojimahikinoura, Awaji, Hyogo 656-1721, Japan
Official Website: https://awaji-resort.com/hellokittysmile/
KYARY PAMYU PAMYU meets IMABARI: A Visit to the Historical Sea Route
Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.
A Visit to the Historical Sea Route
A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people
Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.
Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan
Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00
National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/
Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area
Lip-smacking food aplenty
If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.
Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area
Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan
Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00
Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00
Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00
Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php
Murakami Suigun Museum
Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean
Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.
Murakami Suigun Museum
Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/
Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan
A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place
Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.
Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan
Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)
Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)
Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/
Dolphin Farm Shimanami
Meet the cute and friendly dolphins
Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.
Dolphin Farm Shimanami
Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: On days with bad weath
Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/
A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters
Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.
Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan
Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198
High quality towels woven with tradition and technique
Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!
Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/
Need a bike?
Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.
Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan
Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/
Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/
The famous restaurant known to every local
If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.
2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan
Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00
Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/
A castle by the sea
Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.
Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: December 29 – December 31
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/
Kirosan Observatory Park
A breathtaking spectacle to remember
Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.
Kirosan Observatory Park
Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan
No Fixed Holidays
Open 24-hours a day
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182
Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/
We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.
haccoba Craft Sake Brewery Re-Releases Limited Edition Hanauta Drops Sake
haccoba launched its new sake brewery, haccoba -Craft Sake Brewery-, in February. It released its first product last Monday: a limited restock of Hanauta Drops, a sake that uses unrefined sake brewing methods which first originated in the Tohoku region.
©︎ Puddle Inc.
Humulus lupulus hop
The sake crafted by haccoba uses the same techniques found in traditional Japanese sake brewing, including the rice and yeast used, but throws in a variety of fruits and herbs during the fermentation process. This upholds the traditional culture of Japanese brewery which was formerly carried out in homes while adding some fun flair. The brand plans to make its main product a fusion of hops used in beer making and classic Japanese crafting methods.
The secret ingredient that was so enjoyed in Japanese homes in the past when making sake is the humulus lupulus, a type of hop that makes this brewing process to making beer. Hanauta Drops uses the very same technique. It also enjoys a blend of yellow koji mold which has a sweetness similar to refined Japanese sugar found in rice, and white koji mold for a lemony tang. The result is a refreshing experience with every sip thanks to the bubbles that occur naturally during fermentation.
All About Matsuyama | Final Episode: Introducing the New Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre
The reception staff are ready and waiting to greet customers with a smile
The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre finally opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. You’ll find it on the first floor of Matsuyama Mitsukoshi which isn’t even a one-minute walk from Okaido Station. It features an interior fusion combining history and culture with a design inspired by Matsuyama Castle while also throwing in a contemporary feel.
Six giant screens serve as the perfect place for tourism-related PR of Matsuyama
The first sight many visitors will lay their eyes on upon entering the information centres are the six screens spanning 1.5 meters high and 4.5 meters across the wall. Here, a variety of promotional material centred on the highlights of Matsuyama will be displayed.
The information centre offers many useful services, including for foreign customers who don’t speak Japanese. There is a translation and interpreting service, money exchange, rental electrical outlets for smart devices, and more. The staff themselves are multilingual, but the interpreting service includes access to a call centre which you can access using the free WiFi or using an iPad. The availability of foreign currency exchange is also extremely beneficial as Matsuyama is a city abundant with long-standing shops that have been around for decades and longer. Another convenience with the centre is easy access to public transport. If you’re looking to travel around the prefecture, we recommend paying a visit to the centre first as it’s sure to provide valuable information. You can even rent mobile batteries for your smartphone to lessen the stress when sightseeing.
The pictogram shows the many handy services available
Visitors will also find a comprehensive duty-free counter inside the information centre which covers all stores in Okaido, Gintengai, Matsuchika Town, Dogo Shoten, and Ropeway Shotengai. You must spend over ¥5,000 (before tax) on products to be duty-free eligible. Since it’s a comprehensive service, if you have multiple receipts you can be exempt from tax as long as all your receipts exceed ¥5,000. Participating stores have special stickers plastered up inside so tourists can quickly and easily identify them.
Stores participating in the duty-free service have stickers and signs to show it
For example, if you spend ¥500 at participating stores in Dogo Shotengai, ¥1,000 in Okaido Shopping Street, and ¥3,500 in Gintengai Shotengai, and take all three of those receipts adding up to ¥5,000 to the information centre, you can get your items duty free. But keep in mind that the receipts have a validity period on them, so be sure to check opening hours.
The Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre serves as the perfect site for bringing in all kinds of tourists, including foreign travellers, to Matsuyama post-COVID. The information also goes by the cute nickname “Dan Dan info.” Dan dan is an old Ehime phrase meaning “thank you” and ties in with the smiling and hospitable welcome staff wish to greet guests with. It’s exciting to look into the future and see how Matsuyama’s tourism and economic growth will develop in its shopping districts, stores, and elsewhere. Make one of your first stops the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre when visiting the city.
All About Matsuyama | Episode 8: Souvenirs Are Part of Matsuyama’s Fun and Are Everywhere
The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.
From tasty treats to home and lifestyle goods, Matsuyama has no shortage of souvenirs
Popular sightseeing spots and delicious food you can’t get anywhere else—these are all part of the fun experience to be had when travelling. To wrap up your time there and memorialise all that’s happened, nothing’s better than picking up a little souvenir. In Episode 8 of All About Matsuyama, we take a look at the many wonderful items you can take home with you as souvenirs from food to traditional handicrafts, special dyed fashion and accessories, and more. MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON has picked out a range of delightful treats like Matsuyama’s famous tartes, jakoten, three-colour botchan dango as well as Tobe ware porcelain which is an Ehime tradition, and iyo-kasuri fabric which is one of Japan’s three main kasuri fabrics.
First on the list is the ‘tarte,’ a speciality product of Shikoku which is more of a sponge cake. They’re made of a soft and fluffy sesame seed-coloured sponge and coarse red bean paste. A famous treat of Matsuyama, you can find these tarts just about anywhere in Okaido Shopping Street, near Dogo Onsen, and elsewhere.
Jakoten is considered a soul food of Ehime Prefecture. It’s made from fish that are blended into a paste and fried. You can find jakoten everywhere in Matsuyama, but every restaurant serves theirs with different textures and flavours. Many places fry them fresh, so be sure to try a bunch to compare the flavours and then you can decide which to buy as a souvenir. There are even places so popular that they have lines outside them before they even open.
The botchan dango is something many of our readers have probably seen or heard about. These three-coloured skewered dango are served bite-sized, cute enough to snap a photo of. The ones sold at Dogo Onsen are something of a speciality. They have their name from Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan. You’ll find them all around Dogo Shotengai.
Tobe ware is a traditional type of porcelain from Tobe in Ehime, known for its smooth touch and durability. This traditional porcelain has been handed down from old times until today, and in recent years, ceramists have been hammering out their own unique shapes, so have become popular as stylish, everyday use lifestyle items.
You can’t talk about Ehime’s traditional craftwork without mentioning iyo-kasuri fabric. Matsuyama used to have huge production output of this fabric type, which stands as one of three of Japan’s most famous kasuri fabrics alongside kurume-gasuri from Fukuoka and bingo-kasuri from Hiroshima. Production has dwindled in modern times, but if you go to Art Labo KASURI Rekishikan, you can learn all about iyo-kasuri. There are lots of gorgeous iyo-kasuri products to buy like cute pouches, bags, and more.
And that’s our list of must-grab souvenirs. There are of course endless other things you can get your hands on, so if you’re lost on what to pick up, try asking at the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre.
Stay tuned for the next and final episode of All About Matsuyama.