Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #5 – Uzumako Ceramic Art School
It’s been a minute since we last ventured out with Japanese model Yuna Yabe and her beloved pet pup Mozuku. If you’re new to this feature, Yuna Yabe takes her trusty partner Mozuku to various hot spots in Japan that you can enjoy with your pet dog. Their relationship continues to deepen in this priceless experience.
Today, Yuna and Mozuku head to Uzumako Ceramic Art School which is close to Shiba Park. You can get a good view of TokyoTower from this famous park.
What’s unique about this art school is that visitors are allowed to take their pets with them. So this means you can take your dog with you to do some ceramics!
Yuna has always had an interest in ceramics. And what better way to experience creating something than with her partner in crime Mozuku! With him tottering beside her, she headed through the entrance curtain with a spring in her step.
When you enter the classroom, there are lots of examples of pottery ware lining the shelves. The room has that smell of craftsmanship which lingers as you begin the class with a demonstration by the teacher. Once you have your apron on and are fired up to begin, it’s time to start.
The work begins with kneading the clay to make its firmness uniform. This step helps prevent air bubbles from forming.
Yuna asked the teacher many different questions as she enjoyed kneading her clay. “Where does ceramic work originate from?” “What kind of things to other dog owners make when they come here?”
“What’s Yuna up to?” Mozuku’s puzzled face seemed to imply as he listened to Yuna and the teacher talk.
Yuna turned to Mozuku and said to him, “I’m going to make you a food bowl!” It seemed like the message got through as his face read, “Looks like my owner is making something just for me.”
Yuna wet her hands with some water and began forming a hole in the centre of her clay bundle. The hole forms and gets bigger as the pottery wheel spins.
Next, she used both of her hands to ensure the thickness of the bowl was even all the way around.
“Amazing! The shape of the clay changes in an instant!”
By adding a little bit of pressure the pile of clay can change shape rapidly. It’s like a living thing.
“It’s like the clay is my own child. I wanna wrap it up!”
Once the shape is formed, Yuna cut around the edges. She is a skilled individual, she got the hang of it straight away.
Mozuku sat right beside Yuna, quiet and curious.
“Is it my turn yet?”
He seemed itching to have a go at making something himself too.
He watched over Yuna’s work from atop the table.
“I wanna try spinning the wheel too!”
Mozuku in fact had the most important job of all. Yuna popped a wooden mould onto his paw and stamped a paw print into thebottom of the bowl.
“There we go!” said Yuna
Mozuku mustered all of his strength to make his mark, his facial expression unusually serious as he carried out his big task.
Time to check if the print was done properly!
Here’s the final product―Mozuku did a great job!
Their teamwork paid off as they were able to create a really cute dog bowl. The tiny footprint is packed with pet love. The art school actually sells a lot of different cute and stylish pet items but the owner making their own makes it unique―the only one in the world.
If that love is able to get through to your pup, the food they eat from the bowl is sure to be even more delicious.
Thanks for your help, Mozuku.
“I can’t wait to fire it!” Yuna’s excitement was peak from start to finish. She was very satisfied after the class finished.
After two weeks of waiting, the bowl was completely finished.
Why not try creating something unique special for your own pet―together with them?
Model: Yuna Yabe/Mozuku @yunaaay1030
Text: Ai Watanabe
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Address: Sekisui House Floor 1F, 3-29-11 Shiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:00-19:00
Official Website: https://www.uzumakotougei.com/en/index.html
*The course Yuna took with Mozuku was the “Pet Ceramics Plan” where you can make 2-4 ceramic items and fire them. For your first try the staff will carve and glaze the final product to completion. This can be picked up one to one-and-a-half months after your course for ¥4,500. Please check the website for more details.
*Obedient dogs permitted. Please note that there are other participants so dogs who bark a lot or cannot relax are not permitted.
Yuna Yabe won the grand prix prize at the “Zipper×ASOBISYSTEM Model Auditions” at the age of 15. She is an expert not only in fashion but make-up and video editing too. She’s an influential figure to the people in her generation. Recently, her work has expanded greatly, such as appearing in music videos. Her activity continues to grow and looks to be very promising indeed.
【Tokyo Stroll】Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog: #2 Makuhari Shintoshin Pecos Pet Mall (Part 2)
01.February.2018 | Uncategorized
Yuna Yabe is a dog lover whose eyes are set on becoming a seasoned pet owner with her beloved pet dog Mozuku. Continuing from where we left off in part one of this two-part article, Yuna will show us more of the Makuhari Shintoshin branch of Pecos, a huge pet store located in AEON Pet Mall!
In this second part, Yuna will introduce us to the 1st floor facilities of Pecos. The first thing is the 24-hour AEON Pet hospital. This animal hospital offers first aid to pets at any time of the day. They provide CT scans, X-rays, surgery and internal medic treatment, so if you feel something if off with your pup then contact them immediately. They also offer physical examinations for your pet dog. If you take them for an examination you can detect signs of illness early on, so a lot of people take their dogs for a yearly checkup. (Checkups are offered until February 28th this year)
So Yuna took Mozuku for an examination too! The results showed that he was a good weight and in very good health. He was even complimented on his nice fur. Keep being healthy, okay, Mozuku? ♪
This is the “Doctor Car” for transporting pets. The original purpose of the car is that it’s an ambulance used for pet care during natural disasters. There’s even equipment inside for emergency first-aid treatment. On normal days, it’s used for doctor’s visits and seeing injured pets.
The showpiece of Pecos in Makuhari Shintoshin is the pool facility. The aqua fitness service uses the water’s buoyancy and pressure to allow your pet to exercise in a short period of time in an efficient and low load manner. It’s highly recommended for rehabilitation after an operation and for tackling a lack of exercise! During the aqua fitness, a trainer will be there to look after your pet with the utmost care and attention, so you can feel at ease when handing them over.
This was Mozuku’s first time in the pool. He had a worried look on his face while floating in the water, so the first thing was for him to get used to it with a shower and a bath.
Your pup will wear a life jacket until it’s gotten accustomed to being in the water, so you can let them enjoy swimming without worry of them sinking. There’s also lots of toys for your dog to play with – perfect for helping them relax!
Mozuku wouldn’t settle at first in this new environment, but he got used to the water straight away and showed off his dog paddling skills. The water current in the pool is always flowing, so big dogs can enjoy swimming too.
This is a treadmill that uses water resistance. It uses the flowing power of water but isn’t a burden on your dog’s body at all. It’s rehabilitation for walking.
After a dip in the pool, it’s some for shampooing. The shampoo uses safe ingredients so it’s fine if your pup licks it off.
This is the pet hotel, a super convenient facility for if you’re on a trip or going for some shopping. The hotel charges per hour, so you can even leave your dog in the hotel’s hands if you need to do a bit of quick shopping. There’s even a beauty salon where your dog can get a trim or use one of the oxygen capsules! Mozuku refreshed himself in a capsule too after a swim in the pool.
Yuna bought Mozuku a roll cake from a shop on the second floor for being such a good boy the entire time! There was quite a lot for Mozuku to eat, so Yuna helped him out.
Pesco in Makuhari Shintoshin has it all when it comes to your dog. They even have a dog run in the facility, so you should go try it out when the weather’s nice for a stroll and some shopping!
Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #4 – Instagram Hat Photoshoot
In this featured series, dog lover and model Yuna Yabe heads out with her trusty partner Mozuku to visit hot spots that people and their dogs enjoy, while deepening her bond with him.
In today’s article, Yuna dresses up Mozuku with hats from a capsule toy series she likes called ‘Inu no Kaburi Mono’ (Things for Dogs to Wear).
The ‘Inu no Kaburi Mono’ series Yuna is interested in is by Kitan Club. She found capsule toy items for cats that she wanted Mozuku to try on, but she also wanted to try the dog ones, so she ended up having him wear a variety of things.
The Kitan Club hat series features 3 different designs: baseball caps, school caps and cop hats – and they all come in different colours!
First up is the black baseball caps, fittingly co-ordinated with a striped Marines uniform to complete this sporty look! A perfect outfit for exercise in the park.
Next is the white doggy cop hat. Mozuku is looking summery with the outdoor white polo shirt too. He looks like sailor!
This big dropping t-shirt gives Mozuku a kid look. He has a yellow school cap on and looks just like a Japanese kindergartener. It matches perfectly with the green!
The one Yuna wanted him to wear the most was the camo one. He’s wearing it together with a border-type Western outfit remade by her grandma. He looks like a fashionable and heroic guy!
The last look is the red and navy co-ord. Wearing matching navy caps is a lot of fun.
Yuna said, “We got to see many different sides to Mozuku today. It’s good to protect your head with a hat during summertime. If I wear a hat I can match looks with my dog, so I recommend it!”
If you’re in Japan and come across capsule toy machines, known as gashapon, then be sure to look out for this series. They’re ¥300 each.
Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #3 – Café Kitsuné, Minamiaoyama
In this featured series, dog lover and model Yuna Yabe heads out with her trusty partner Mozuku to visit hot spots that people and their dogs enjoy, while deepening her bond with him. In this article, the two of them stopped by Café Kitsuné during a morning stroll which is a coffee shop developed by French fashion brand Maison Kitsuné.
The time is 9am. Mozuku has a spring in his step as he walks the streets of Omotesando. The two companions cross the pedestrian crossing at Omotesando Crossing and gaze at the show windows of the high fashion brands. After walking a little, they arrive at Café Kitsuné.
The entrance to Café Kitsuné has a traditional Japanese vibe to it, fenced in with bamboo. The café is designed as a Japanese teahouse from the perspective of a French person.
The ceilings are low. Do you know why? It’s a bit off topic, but if you don’t have a low posture in a Japanese tearoom you can’t enter. There’s a reason for this. It’s because when entering a tearoom, everyone is expected to be equal.
When you enter Café Kitsuné, there’s not much distance between people – you are close to them. That sense of relief might be the reason.
The wallpaper has an arrow feather design known as yagasuri and a water design called seigaiha. Although it has a French pop feel to it, it’s relaxing, perhaps due to the traditional Japanese base décor.
You can also purchase souvenirs at the café, including original mugs and stationery. Is that a dog ear on the side of the mug?! … No, it’s a fox ear.
The barista was working quietly but nimbly at the sheet copper counter.
A vase was placed in the middle of the table. The flowers were arranged by the café staff and breathe seasonal life into the Japanese space.
The menu includes things like French toast, a ham and cheese sandwich, pound cake and so on, all of which go perfect with coffee.
The espresso machine is a Marzocco Linea. It’s a big machine with three portafilters. The taste of coffee changes depending on the day’s temperature and level of humidity. To tackle that, the barista changes the quantity of beans each day to maintain the same taste of the coffee.
To convert the coffee into Maison Kitsuné’s “New Classic” fashion theme, the espresso doesn’t have that common acidic flavour to it. Instead, it’s made with a classic taste and fragrance, making it stand out from the rest. The original blend coffee beans also has just a sweet touch of citrus fruits.
Yuna-chan ordered the iced latte (¥560). The sweetness of the coffee together with the milk was balanced perfectly. It had a mellow taste.
Dogs are allowed from the entrance all the way to the terrace. Here, Yuna popped Mozuku on her lap and enjoyed a short coffee break.
Mozuku climbed onto a terrace seat and stared at Yuna-chan sipping her iced latte. She had an expression on her face like she was immersed in the stylish, grown-up café.
This is the proper way to use an elegant café when taking a walk in the city. Enjoying stopping by a café with early summer budding before your eyes in the early morning with your dog is a wonderful thing. Yuna-chan, with her coffee in hand and Mozuku by her side walking the streets of Omotesando, looked like a polished, sophisticated Tokyo girl.
‘Let’s go out again, Mozuku!’
Review | ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM: A Magical Place Swimming With Life
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM officially opened permanently in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, on August 28, 2020. Before that, it was simply an exhibition that was held around Tokyo which brought together over 10 million visitors throughout its run, exhibiting goldfish in a variety of breathtaking ways.
We visited ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM together with Japanese model Yuna Yabe to take a deeper dive into what lies within those doors.
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM can be found in Nihonbashi, an area of which served as one of many places where ART AQUARIUM previously held its exhibitions. Nihonbashi is steeped in tradition and is actually the place where Japan’s goldfish culture spawned from during the Edo Period.
ART AQUARIUM was conceived and is managed by Hidetomo Kimura, an author and general producer. It’s a collaboration between art, design, and entertainment, all fused into an aquarium to create a completely unique experience. The museum has taken what was once a pop-up exhibition and expanded it many-fold, housing close around 30,000 goldfish.
The aquarium is divided into different areas each with its own unique theme that plunges visitors into a multitude of fantastical worlds. One of the must-sees when visiting ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM is the masterful Oiran works—giant goldfish bowls as pictured above—which are inspired by the red light district of the Edo Period.
Perhaps the most striking and gorgeous part of the Edo Period was Hanamachi, the districts where geisha worked. The high-ranking courtesans, known as Oiran, engaged in what was known as the Oiran Dochu, or procession of the courtesans, and this too has been captured at the museum in the designs of the beautiful fish tanks in this area.
Another unmissable part when visiting the aquarium are the Goldfish Shrines, towering fish tanks lined up like a column of water trees which make for an incredible viewing experience.
The lighting and music is ever-changing, and so transports visitors into a completely different realm every time. It can be one way one moment, and in the next instant it changes entirely.
From the second floor you can overlook the fish shrines with dynamic 3D visuals in the background. These visuals change depending on the season, so you’ll be in for a treat however many times you visit.
There are countless works of goldfish art scattered throughout the aquarium—too many to count, so your eyes will never grow tired.
Suigian Lounge – Old Pine Tree Area
ART AQUARMIUM MUSEUM even has its own dining lounge where guests can enjoy a meal while gazing at a painting of old pine trees, a cultural property of the Edo Period said to have been painted by those of the Kano school of Japanese painting. Traditional performances are also carried out on the stage for diners.
These drinks are ¥1,200 each (before tax)
Every five days, a new line-up of cocktails is served at Suigian Lounge. Japan used to be divided into 24 sekki rather than the now-used four seasons of springs, summer, autumn, and winter. These were further divided into 72 Kō, which are five days apart each. That’s where the lounge gets its idea for changing its cocktails every five days. So you’re sure to find an interesting flavour on every visit.
Kagyo Ryoran – Joy Area
Kagyo Ryoran is a separate cafe lounge at the aquarium where they serve authentic Japanese sweets in collaboration with famous confectionery shops.
From Left Clockwise: Goldfish Sarasa ¥750 / Palet D’or Cacao Soda ¥900 / Echire Butter & Cream Castella ¥800 / lohasbeans coffee Matcha Tiramisu ¥850 / Goldfish Jelly ¥750 (All Before Tax)
The cafe serves up range of tasty Japanese desserts, from traditional ones to others inspired by goldfish and some made in collaboration with other shops.
Large Plush Toys: ¥3,200 Each (Before Tax)
The aquarium event sells its own souvenirs, such as goldfish plushies in various sizes, original confections, collaborative products, and more.
“Everything was magical—the goldfish, the sounds, the lights, the atmosphere!” explains Yuna. “They have a lot of different varieties of goldfish, and the fish tanks come in all shapes and sizes, which makes for plenty of Instagram-worthy moments. And since it’s inspired by Edo culture, it has a Japanese vibe to it too. The fish are always swimming around, so no two moments are ever the same, meaning you’re offered something fresh every time you visit.”
If you’re visiting Tokyo, be sure to pay a visit to ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM.
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM
Address: 1-3 Nihonbashihoncho, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00 (subject to change)
No Fixed Holidays
General Admission: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,300 (Tax Included) / After Dark Ticket: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,000 (Tax Included)
*Free for 12 and under
Official Website: https://artaquarium.jp/en/
*ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM is currently operating with social distancing and COVID-19 preventative measures. Special permission was granted to take these photos safely without a mask.
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #14 – ‘Kayaba Coffee’ in Yanaka
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Kayaba Coffee, a coffee shop in Yanaka, Tokyo, which is a perfect example of the old and traditional shitamachi neighbourhoods.
Kayaba Coffee is just a 10-minute walk from both Nezu Station and Nippori Station.
This is a place I’ve visited in my private time out of work and I’m always excited to go. Kayaba Coffee was established in 1938, and actually closed in 2006. But due to public demand, the cafe reopened just two years later in 2008. It’s a popular coffee shop loved by people of all generations.
Time to head on in.
The first floor houses the counter and table seats, while the seating on the second floor is traditional zashiki style on tatami flooring. Although it’s a cafe, you I feel so relaxed in there that it’s like I’m visiting my grandma’s house. The sun shines through the big windows, making you all warm and want to take a nap.
I ordered their super popular egg sandwich! The menu was changed in May this year, and a new and improved version of their egg sandwich was put on there. It’s made using sourdough bread from VANER, a local bakery in Uenosakuragi not far from the cafe.
Breakfast Menu – Egg Sandwich | ¥1,000
The chewy, sour bread is the perfect combination with the fluffy eggs.
Lemon Squash | ¥600
The lemon squash has a cinnamon aftertaste. Everything on the menu is made with love and perfection; before I realised it, I was hooked on going there.
Strawberry Shaved Ice | ¥800
This was my first shaved ice of the year! I went with the classic strawberry flavour. The syrup is super juicy and nearly collapsed the fluffy shaved ice the moment I put it on. It has a syrupy texture and the strawberry juice has a sweet and sour kick that’s just simply delightful♡
And you can make it even sweeter by pouring over your desired amount of condensed milk. It was really tasty.
Kayaba Coffee is the same as it was back in the day, and continues to be loved dearly. I think even people who visit it for the first time will feel a sense of nostalgia. If you have a place you can go to relax on bad days or when you’re feeling down, it’s sure to give you the strength to work hard again. This cafe is a wonderful place that’s close to people’s hearts.
I want to visit there again already.
Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Design: Yuko Takayama (ASOBISYSTEM)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Address: 6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: [Tue-Fri] 8:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:30) / [Weekends] 8:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:30)
Japan’s New High Speed Bus Travels From Kyoto to Mount Koya
23.August.2020 | SPOT
Keihan Bus and Nankai Rinkan Bus are bringing back their high-speed bus service this year which will run from September 18 to November 30. The service will incorporate a mandatory booking system, making it even more convenient than last year.
Mount Kōya is the name of the temple settlement found in Wakayama which first settled in 819. It is the centre for the Kōyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and is designated as a World Heritage Site, one of many found in Kyoto alongside Kinkaku-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, and Shimogamo Shrine.
The new Kyoto Koya-san buses offer a smooth, direct ride to the World Heritage Site, arriving there from Kyoto in just 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Kyoto Koya-san Bus (Japanese Name: 京都高野山線)
Running: September 18, 2020 – November 30, 2020
Keihan Bus Official Website: https://www.keihanbus.jp/
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #13 – ‘Sepia’ in Shibamata
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Sepia in Shibamata, a Showa-retro style cafe which I’ve always wanted to visit.
The cafe is just a 2-minute stroll from Shibamata Station which appears in the Japanese film Otoko wa Tsurai yo. The walk along the road that leads to Sepia, which is nearby the Buddhist temple Shibamata Taishakuten, is a pleasant one. Tokyo is a city consistently perceived as one that is cutting-edge in every aspect, but what I felt from each and every building surrounding Shibamata Station was a kind of warmth that you feel when something has history to it.
It’s been seven years since I came to Tokyo. Visiting Shibamata made me me realised how many places there are which I still don’t know about. It invigorated me. As my mind wandered with these pondering thoughts, I finally spotted the sign outside the cafe, and it sure is a cute one!
The moment I stepped inside, I stood, my mouth agape, and looked at my surroundings. It’s the first time I’ve entered such a bright, shining cafe. It was littered with characters I’ve never seen before, manga, magazines, and more.
When you hear the word kira kira (“glitter,” “sparkle”), the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people is probably Harajuku and the Harajuku style, but Sepia’s version of kira kira is a nostalgic one betwixt 1965 and 1975 during the Showa Period. The cafe is incredibly delicate in every spot and corner, like I’m looking inside some grand treasure chest.
The owner of Sepia is Kiyoko Hasezawa. The cafe gets its name from the manga Milky Sepia Monogatari by Ako Mutsu. Ms. Hasezawa said that she wanted to bring to life the world of the manga she loved. The cafe is full of her dreams and is enjoyed by everyone, both children and adults alike.
The cafe menu is even inspired by the food that appears in the Milky Sepia Monogatari manga. The hard pudding I had, which combined caramel sauce and cream, was an absolute delight.
Homemade Showa Pudding & Cream Soda Set: ¥1,200
If we’re talking cafes, then you can’t go wrong with cream soda. The cream soda served at Sepia comes in seven different flavours and colours: melon, Blue Hawaii, strawberry, lemon, peach, grape, and orange. I was spoilt for choice on which to go for, but in the end I went with the pink-coloured strawberry. It had a sweet flavour and was really delicious.
Strawberry Cream Soda: ¥750
I devoured the hotcakes too. The pastry was so fluffy and tasty – I could have eaten a hundred of them. The second one I ate with honey.
At the back of the cafe, they also have the “Candy Candy Museum.” There’s a personal collection of items from Candy H Milky, a female fashion enthusiastic who used to be a customer at Sepia. There’s a photo spot for snapping a photo in the cafe too.
It’s a great time getting to go and look at the displays after eating. I recommend going to see the collection yourself with your own eyes. Entry to the museum is ¥300.
There’s a tearoom up on the second floor which has a nostalgic vibe to it. I felt warm and relaxed, like I’d been transported to my grandma’s house.
Humans can’t travel back in time, but if we look after mementos properly, we can go back there in our minds and memories. Sepia, a place that continues to be cherished and loved, is everybody’s treasure trove.
My oh my, I really want to go back there again.
Address: 7-4-11 Shibamata, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo
Days Open: Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays
Business Hours: 12:00-17:00 (Last Orders 16:30)
For the latest information, visit Sepia’s official Twitter page @sepia_mama
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.
Building Site: 4-1-1 Azabu Juban, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Access: 1-minute on foot from Azabu Juban Station (via Tokyo Metro Namboku Line and Toei Oedo Line)
Grand Opening: October 2020 (subject to change)
Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences
26.January.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.
Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.
“Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll
Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing
One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.
You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.
Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery
The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.
After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.
See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train
Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.
You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.
Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.
Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: 330 Shiteicho Nakadachiuri Shinmachi-dori (West side of Gosho), Kamigyo, Kyoto
Official Website (English): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/en/
Plan Page (Japanese): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/lp/spring2020/index.html
Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience
17.January.2020 | SPOT
Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.
This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.
Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.
The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.
Kyoto Tower VR Bungy Jump
Running: February 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Time: 12:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:45)
Location: Kyoto Tower Observation Deck – Floor 1F (the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower)
・VR Bungy Ticket: ¥800 (Tax Included)
・Observation Deck & Bungy Set Ticket (Tax Included): Adults: ¥1,400 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,600)/High School Students: ¥1,300 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,450)/Elementary & Junior High Students: ¥1,100 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,350)
*Ages 7+ only
*Set tickets are available to purchase on floor 1F of Kyoto Tower
*Run times subject to change
*Ticket charges applied for ages 7+; those aged below 7-years-old are not permitted to use the VR system
*An entry ticket to the Kyoto Tower observation deck is not necessary to experience the VR system
Official Website: https://vr-bungee.com/
Sai Sai Jaran Jaran #8: SILENT SIREN’s Ainyan Becomes a Wine Connoisseur at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho
Sai Sai Jaran Jaran is a featured series here on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON from the members of the all-female band SILEN SIREN (aka Sai Sai) who visit various hot spots in Japan and experience different things, the Sai Sai way.
Band bassist Ainyan enjoys a beer or cocktail, but she wants to step into the world of wine, so we will join her on her journey today as she goes to learn all about wine from the very basics.
It’s a clear sky today. Great weather for going for a drink during the day, am I right?
We visited Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho, an area located in Shitamachi, Tokyo. We were looking forward to going there because it offers the full wine experience, allowing visitors to see wine brewing up close to learn all about it.
This experience is offered twice a day on weekends and national holidays at 14:00 and 16:00.
Fukagawa Winery Tokyo opened in Tokyo in 2016 as a winery where the ordinary person could go and see wine being made to fully understand its process. It has expanded its circulation in recent years and is now able to take in grapes from across Japan, including Tokyo, to craft many different wines.
On the day we visited we saw the staff bottling up the wine. On average, the winery ships out around 30,000 bottles a year.
The corks have illustrations of “Wine Man” on them, a character created by Fukagawa Winery Tokyo. Ainyan was fairly fond of him!
Time to see how the winery works!
When you step inside, the scent of grapes is the first thing to hit your senses.
The one in charge of Fukagawa Winery Tokyo is Kousuke Ueno, who was kind of enough to show us around. He taught us the process of wine making, as well as what types of grapes and tools they use.
“This machine separates the grapes and stalks using the propellers. This method has been used for 150 years,” explained Ueno.
There are periods when visitors can observe this machine being used to separate the grapes. It takes place between mid-August to November, so follow Fukagawa Winery Tokyo’s social media for announcements and details.
“Wow! It smells so good!” said Ainyan. We got to see a bucket where Cabernet Sauvignon was being made. They put in whole grapes with the skin on and add natural yeast for the fermentation process. The sweet smell of the grapes fills the air and makes you want to have a glass.
Now for what Ainyan has been waiting for: taste-testing time! She learned everything about the wine making process, so it was time to taste and compare some different wines.
The winery allows taste-testing until 17:00. You can try 3 types for ¥700. And of course, if there’s one you tried that you really liked, you can buy it there and then. So sip, scrutinise, and select!
“Please try this one first. It is wine, but it’s like a lemon sour,” explained Ueno, recommending that Ainyan first try the Yamanashi Delaware Sparkling.
Soak up all the notes of the drink by having a good smell first before taking a small sip. “Smells really good. This sourness really is like a lemon sour! I wonder why?” said Ainyan.
This wine uses premature grapes which gives the wine a sour taste. The sourness of this wine can play the part of lemons, so it’s best paired with fried foods or meals with chicken in them.
The second drink was the Yamagata Delaware Muroka. It’s an unfiltered wine made from completely ripened Yamagata Delaware grapes.
Unfiltered means that the filtration process to take out visible solids and such is not used. This gives it a slightly cloudy appearance and an exquisite taste that’s somewhere between wine and juice.
Left: Unfiltered Yamagata Delaware / Right: Filtered Yamagata Delaware
For the third glass, Ainyan ordered the filtered Yamagata Delaware to test the difference between it and the unfiltered version.
“The filtered one has a good balance of flavours and is refreshing. The unfiltered one has a smooth juiciness to it. They’re both delicious, but I like the unfiltered one more!” said Ainyan.
Her fourth glass was an unfiltered red wine: the East Bay Assemblage Red B.
The grapes used are a combination from Hokkaido, Nagano, and Aomori. It really is an assemblage!
“The red wine has such a different taste and colour depending on the type too! This dark red wine is close to what I usually drink!” said Ainyan with a happy smile.
At the end of the session, Ainyan had tried 10 wines and bought two bottles! She was delighted with her experience, saying: “I was surprised how different each and every one of the wines I tried at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo were. I think I’m getting hooked on the appeal of unfiltered, natural wines.”
With Christmas and New Year around the corner, now is the season to indulge in wine. If you’re in Tokyo this December, pay a visit to Fukagawa Winery Tokyo for a full wine experience.
Fukagawa Winery Tokyo
Address: Takahata Bldg. 1F, 1-4-10 Furuishiba, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Weekdays 15:00-22:00 / Weekends & Public Holidays 12:00-22:00
Winery Observations: Weekends & Public Holidays at 14:00 and 16:00 for 20 minutes each. Must book in advance.
Official Website: https://www.fukagawine.tokyo/
WASHOKU: Asakusa’s Newest Restaurant For Experiencing Japanese-Style Cuisine
Asakusaーone of the hottest spots in Tokyo for sightseeing, ever-bustling with Japanese and foreign tourists and travellers alike. This ancient district is famous not only for its sights, like Sensō-ji (the oldest temple in Tokyo) and the Nakamise-dōri shopping street leading up to it, but for its bountiful offering of gourmet restaurants.
Today, we’re taking a look at Taikenkei Dining -WASHOKU-, a restaurant which opened in Asakusa on November 19 this year. If you’re looking for the full package when it comes to experiencing Japanese food culture, WASHOKU has customers covered. Not only do they serve food, like traditional Kyoto obanzai, but they offer cultural experience plans too where you can learn to make sushi or dress up in a kimono and walk the old streets of Asakusa.
WASHOKU’s concept when it comes to both lunch and dinner centres around enjoying Japanese-style food that is colourful. And that rings tantalisingly true with their kaleidoscopic obanzai, which is formed of 12 vivid bite-sized delights. Obanzai is a traditional style of Japanese cuisine that comes from Kyoto, made up of mostly seafood and vegetables. The obanzai served at WASHOKU was conceived under the guidance of nutritionists, and so is packed full of healthy nutrients for the body. Not only that, the ingredients selected are all domestic to Japan, and are of a very high quality.
The obanzai I ate included fried beni haruka sweet potato which is sourced from Ishida Farmsーa sweet potato growerーin Katori, Chiba. It had a moist texture and rich sweetness. When I sank my teeth into it, I was flushed with feelings of the fall season.
Other foods in the assortment included sashimi, scallop and yuzu, saikyo-yaki Kyoto-style grilled fish, and more. Each mouthful of the selection offered its own distinct and unique flavours.
The obanzai is served with miso soup too with which you get to choose a miso ball from a variety of flavours to put into your bowl. I went for the sesame seed miso ball.
The miso ball is made from miso paste and various ingredients. Once placed into the hot water, it melts and turns into miso soup. The sweet light-brown miso was perfect for warming up my chilly self.
Dinner also features a dessert menu, as well as courses with an all-you-can-drink option, so I recommend these options for people who want to relax and take their time with their dining experience.
As I mentioned earlier, WASHOKU also offers a variety of experience-based plans. This includes a sushi class where you can learn to make your own hand-rolled sushi.
There are two types of “temari” hand rolled sushi you can make: the regular type, which makes use of tuna, salmon and other classic sushi toppings, and the high quality type, which uses more high-end ingredients like uni sea urchin eggs, caviar, gold leaf, and more. And for foreign customers, the restaurant has prepared a handout detailing the history of Asakusa and recipes, as well as souvenirs for them to take home.
The MMN team of course had to have a go at making our own sushi, but it proved quite difficult. You have to get the right amount of sushi rice to roll, then actually roll it perfectly into a ball before topping with your ingredients. But the sushi I made was actually really delicious! To attend this class you have to book in advance, so if you’ve never tried making your own sushi before or have an need some guidance, then we can’t recommend it enough.
As well as food-related experiences, WASHOKU provides customers with three different plans to experience Japanese culture. The first of these is the rickshaw ride, where you board a rickshaw pulled by a runner and are taken around the various sites of Asakusa. The ‘Excursion Around Asakusa Course’ takes you to the most popular spots around Kaminarimon, while the ‘Sky Tree Course’ takes you all the way to the Sumida River, and you also get to see Tokyo Skytree and various other attractions in Asakusa.
The Edo Kiriko plan gives you the opportunity to cut your own Japanese glass to drink from. You can drink from your glass if you reserve the plan with lunch or dinner.
Finally, you can rent a kimono. Select your favourite from the shop and have a professional dresser get you readyーwith both your kimono and your hair. After you’re dolled up, you can take a stroll around Asakusa to get a real feel for Japanese culture.
All three of these plans are just ¥3,500 per person, and all require reservations which you can book online.
So, if you’re looking for a taste of Japanese food and culture, why not take a trip to WASHOKU when visiting Asakusa for an all-in-one experience?
Taikenkei Dining -WASHOKU-
Address: 2113 Kaminarimon Bldg. Floors 5F-6F, 2 Kaminarimon, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00 / Dinner 15:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Access: 1-minute on foot from Exit 4 of Asakusa Station via the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / 2-minutes on foot from Exit A3 of Asakusa Station via the Toei Asakusa Line
Official Website (English): https://washoku.site/en/
IOC and Airbnb Announce Global Olympic Partnership & Olympian Experiences
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Airbnb have announced a major long-term partnership to support the Olympic Movement which will run from 2020-2028. During this period, Airbnb will offer unique accommodation and experiences, and experience tours hosted by Olympians and athletes will also take place.
The partnership will create hundreds of thousands of new Airbnb hosts over the the nine-year period from July next year, allowing for visitors to enjoy longer stays, accommodating families, and more. This will enable community residents to generate extra income while accommodating overseas visitors and proving them with local experiences. In turn, it means those visiting from overseas will be able to engage more with the local culture and community. Both occupied and vacant homes will be utilised.
The IOC and Airbnb will also launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences which will provide direct earning opportunities for athletes by promoting sports, allowing for people to train together with elite athletes and Olympians.
At the press conference for the announcement of the partnership, gold medalist Saori Yoshida said: “A lot of athletes today devote themselves completely to the games, so a lot of them struggle to find their next career after retiring. These Athlete Experiences will widen the activities of all athletes; not only retired competitors, but those who weren’t able to make it as far as the Olympics too. I’m very thankful for that. I believe it will raise the standard of the games for kids, and will serve to brighten and bring excitement to the whole of Japan. I hope that these efforts bring a tremendous boost to the sports world and will have everyone taking an interest in sports.”
Tokyo 2020 will officially launch next summer, and with this partnership, people may just be able to enjoy the Olympic Games together with the athletes themselves, allowing for fans to feel closer to the games and the Olympians.
Airbnb’s involvement also gives visitors from overseas to enjoy Japan and the Olympics in an unprecedented way. If you’re travelling to Japan for Tokyo 2020, be sure to book with Airbnb.
Airbnb Official Website: https://airbnb.jp
Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners
一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.
A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.
②Instagram Photo Contest
Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.
③Coupons, Goods & Experiences
Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.
・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)
This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.
Official Website: http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/
・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.
Official Website: http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/
Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.
Japan Shopping Festival 2019-2020
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Official Website: http://jsf.japanshopping.org/
Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More
26.November.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).
From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.
Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts
Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.
In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.
Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020
Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/
Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!
Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/
Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow
Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.
The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.
Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020
Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html
Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate
Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.
The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.
The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.
Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://shourotei.com/
These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.