Witness the Vibrant Yellow Nikkōkisuge Flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden
11.July.2019 | Uncategorized
The high season to catch a glimpse of the beautiful nikkōkisuge (Hemerocallis esculenta) flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden is happening right now.
The nikkōkisuge blooms in the high plains and is recognised as a sign of summer. The full bloom period for the flower in the subalpine zone is June, but the best time to see them in high plains is July where 2,000 clusters of the bright yellow beauties sprout their vibrant leaves. The yellow beds make for some seriously summery Instagram posts.
They live a fleeting life as they only bloom for a single day, opening in the morning and closing in the evening. A single stem is home to abundant flower buds, and they are long so they can bloom from one to the next. If you are in Hyogo this July we highly recommend witnessing this ephemeral sight.
Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden
Location: Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden (Kitarokkō-4512-150 Rokkōsanchō, Nada Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
Price: General (12+ Years) ¥620 / Children (4-11 Years) ¥310
Opening Period: March 16, 2019 – November 24, 2019 (Closed September 5 and September 12)
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Reception desk closes at 16:30)
Official Website: http://www.rokkosan.com
3 Must-Visit Locations to See Kyoto’s Autumn Colours at Night in 2019
17.October.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history.
Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.
KYOTO SIDE, a regional information website run by Kyoto Prefecture, has listed a number of must-visit places around the city for seeing the autumn foliage, which is known as koyo in Japanese. Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. Here’s three places you should jot down for your Kyoto trip this autumn.
Jitokuin Temple: A place of rest created by the chief priest and locals
Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.
The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto
Support Fund: ¥300
Official Website: http://jitokuin.com
Nariaiji Temple: The 5-storey pagoda comes together with the autumn colours
Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.
During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November
Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: A bright-red landscape from the mountain peak
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.
This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.
Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto
Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100
Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp
See Japan’s autumn colours in an entirely new way this year at one of Kyoto’s many autumn-time illumination events.
Official Website: http://www.kyotoside.jp/
See the Ten Million Dollar Night View of Rokko Arima While Staying at Hot Spring Town
11.October.2019 | SPOT
The Mt.ROKKO CABLE CAR & TOURISM COMPANY has announced a 25-day bus tour which will run on weekends and holidays only from October 12 to December 22 offering a bus tour to see the amazing nightscape of Rokko Arima in Kobe.
Arima Onsen is known as one of Japan’s leading hot spring locations. In order for more people to catch a glimpse of Rokko Arima’s incredible nighttime scenery, a new tour service has been created in collaboration with hotels and accommodation services throughout Arima for guests staying in the town to see what has been dubbed the “ten million dollar night view” from Mount Rokko.
The tour will last two hours and will take guests on an enchanting journey to several locations. They will get to see the night view from Rokko Garden Terrace, gain entry to Rokko Shidare Observatory, and visit the East Rokko Observatory which is only accessible by car. The entire thing costs just ¥2,800 per person.
20:00 Depart Arima Onsen
20:30 Nighttime view from Rokko Garden Terrace and Rokko Shidare Observatory with tour guide
21:30 Nighttime view from East Rokko Observatory
22:00 Arrive back at Arima Onsen
Discover the tranquillity of Japan’s winter nights and gaze up at the starry sky using the Rokko Arima Night View Bus Tour.
Rokko Arima Night View Bus Tour
Running: Weekends & Holidays from October 12, 2019 – December 22, 2019
Price: ¥2,800 (Tax Included)
Capacity: 22 (Will set off with 1+ people)
isetan Urban Market KYOTO: Big Name Brands to Gather Inside a Traditional Kyoto Townhouse
isetan Urban Market is a popular fashion store located inside LUCUA 1100, an apparel building directly connected to the JR side of Osaka Station. The shop is set to depart Osaka and head northeast to a traditional townhouse in Kyoto where it will open a new store named isetan Urban Market KYOTO which will open on October 12 for a limited time.
“Have Fun, Be Happy” is the concept of this shop, where a diverse range of items from some of Japan’s popular brands will be sold including clothing, accessories, food lingerie, cosmetics, and more.
More than half of these brands are setting up shop in Kyoto for the first time
A long list of brand names will make an appearance at the pop-up shop, such as little $uzie and ch!iii which are huge at isetan Urban Market, as well as other talked-about brands like MALION vintage, Paso, Celvoke, and many more.
The shop will also see the likes of BELPER, an up-and-coming brand established by Yuichi Ozaki who won the top prize at the Bilbao International Competition. A confectionery store from Shizuoka will also make an appearance which is so popular it has people lining up outside it two hours before opening.
ASOKO is selling the above-pictured line “TODAY AND.” made exclusively for Kyoto.
FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET
As well as designers, Osaka’s fruit and vegetable store FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET will also be in attendance selling produce from contracted farmers from around Japan. There will also be a fruit and vegetable market on October 13 and 27 where sandwiches and other delicious foods will be sold.
Tradition and contemporary come together at the townhouse
Visitors will be able to relax and enjoy a mix of traditional and contemporary design at the townhouse, including with its garden and courtyard. The design was carried out by NOTA&design which is managed by NOTA_SHOP, a select shop in Shigaraki, Nagano.
Enjoy a fun and relaxing time this autumn at isetan Urban Market KYOTO.
isetan Urban Market KYOTO
Location: 355 Rokkakuchō, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: Roughly 5-minutes on foot from Shijō Station, Karasuma Oike Station, and Karasuma Station
*No car parking or bicycle space. Please arrive using public transport including bus or train
Date: October 12, 2019 – November 4, 201
*Closed Mondays, holidays, October 15, October 21, and October 2019
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/isetanurbanmarketkyoto/
2019 Kobe Luminarie Winter Illuminations to Light Up Kobe This December
09.October.2019 | SPOT
The 25th Kobe Luminarie light festival will take place from December 6 to 15. The theme of this year’s festival is “25 Years, Guided by the Light of Hope” (Original Italian title: Da 25 anni, guidati dalle luci della speranza).
Kobe Luminarie is an illumination festival that has been held annually since 1995 in commemoration of the Great Hanshin earthquake which hit Kobe that year on January 17. The event has continued as a symbol of hope for Kobe and has also become a festival associated with the winter season. Last year’s festival saw around 3.43 million people in attendance.
The “Light Bulbs” make a comeback radiating their warm light
Formerly the doorstep to foreign culture, Nakamachi-dori, lined with countless tasteful stores, will be lined with around 270 meters’ worth of decorations. The entrance decoration, named Frontone, stands almost 22 meters tall with three towering gates each connected to each other. The Sparri Ara is a wide wall of lights which runs 50 meters from Frontone all the way to Kyomachisuji Crossing. And as a special instalment to the 25th run of the festival, the light bulbs used at the first festival will be strung up to create another wall illumination from Itomachi to the East block which will be dubbed the “Memorial Zone.”
The event’s largest light dome
In the eastern amusement park plaza, Cassa Armonica―an illuminated church structure set up every year―will be enveloped in a large 21 meter high dome featuring an arch for the first time standing 4 meters tall in the memorial area
Over in the floral clock area, the Sparri Ara wall lights twinkle beside the wisteria trees. The lights will change and transform to the sound of the music. Attendees will also be able to pick up small gifts too as well as take pictures at the various photo spots.
Earthquake Talk Booth
Talks will be held discussing the origins of Kobe Luminarie and why it started. Earthquake survivors will also talk about their real experiences.
International Creative Director and Executive Producer Daniel Monteverde, who has been working with Luminaire for 20 years, made the following comment: “The city of Kobe will bustle once again this year, which will mark 25 years. People will fill the streets and look to the sky while they wait for the chime of the bell to signal the illuminations. We hold the memories of the people we lost 25 years ago close to our hearts. I hope we can convey our hopes and dreams and our story to our children and the young people who will bear the next generation. I hope people will be proud of Kobe which has recovered from the earthquake.”
He continues: “The Kobe Luminarie lights will shine once more for Hyogo, for Japan, and for the world. These lights are a symbol of each and every person’s devotion, their efforts, and their love. I pray that the Luminarie lights will send a message of hope to the world and continue shining in our hearts for the rest of time.” * Full comment translated from Japanese
25th Kobe Luminarie
Running: December 6, 2019 – December 15, 2019
Location: Kyu Gaikokujin Kyoryuchi and Kobe East Park (Higashi Yuenchi) (Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo)
*Times may be extended depending on the number of people. Event may be postponed in the case of bad weather.
Kobe Luminarie Official Website: http://kobe-luminarie.jp/
Stroll the Edo Streets as an Elegant Samurai and Make Tea in the Feudal Lord’s Residence
04.October.2019 | SPOT
Sakura, Chiba is home to important cultural heritage and even what is also known as the “Samurai Town”. Now you can stroll around the beautiful old streets of Sakura dressed as a Samurai, attend a relaxing zen session and even take part in a tea ceremony as part of a limited period tourist plan. The Samurai tour is mainly aimed at foreigners, however Japanese people who are curious about samurai culture are also more than welcome to join.
Sakura Castle Samurai Stroll
In 2016, Sakura became one of the four cities of the Hokuso region to be designated as a Heritage site under the title “An Edo Travelogue through Four Hokuso Cities” for its preservation of the old Edo culture. Old buildings full of secrets can be spotted all over the town, creating the old atmosphere of the Edo period. Embrace the elegant remnants of the Edo period with a relaxing stroll in Samurai clothing. Who knows what you might discover.
Your relaxing stroll will be led by a tour guide who knows a lot about the history of Sakura. This is a wonderful opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the historical Samurai house (Bukeyashiki). Your tour guide will also show you Hiyodorizaka, which is a natural path lined with a dense forest of tall bamboo trees where Samurai are said to have often pass by. Every year, the bamboo and wooden sword martial arts sessions in the program are also very popular.
November 9, 23
December 14, 21
January 11, 25
February 8, 22
March 12, 28
April 9, 25
May 9, 16
◇ Times: 9:30 ー 12:30
*The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.
¥6,500 per person (Includes lunch voucher and entry to the samurai house)
* ¥6,000 per person when you purchase tickets as a group of 3 or more.
Reservation Website: https://www.govoyagin.com/ja
Apply Directly to Sakura City Tourism Association
* Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.
Zen Meditation and Tea Ceremony in the House of a Feudal Lord
There are also guided zen meditation and tea ceremony sessions which are available for a limited period only. These guided zen meditation and tea ceremonies will take place in the Kyuhottatei ー one of Japan’s most preserved traditional-style feudal lord residences. This luxurious Edo-style mansion was built 130 years ago and is classified as an Important Cultural Property.
November 7, 19
December 6, 18
◇ Times: 9:00 ー 12:30
*The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.
¥10,000 per person (Includes lunch voucher, entry to the Kyuhottatei and tea ceremony participation fee.)
Please enquire directly to the Sakura City Tourism Association
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.
If you are curious about Edo Samurai culture, you won’t be disappointed by this program.
Sakura City Tourism Association
Japan’s Biggest Cycling Resort Hotel Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura to Open in Ibaraki
03.October.2019 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts is set to open Japan’s biggest cycling resort, named Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura, at PLAY atré TSUCHIURA on March 19, 2020. The establishment will open right when PLAY atré TSUCHIURA celebrates its 2nd anniversary―after having opened back in 2018―and will be the fourth cycling hotel by Hoshino Resorts to open. It will act as a “base camp” to enjoy cycling, and the start point to the 180km Tsukuba Lake Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road cycling course.
PLAY atré TSUCHIURA is a 49-minute train ride from Tokyo and is directly connected to the station, making access very easy. It is home to Tsukuba Kasumigaura Ring Ring Road, one of Japan’s prominent cycling courses that runs past many gorgeous natural landscapes, including Lake Kasumigaura and Mount Tsukuba. It is becoming one of Japan’s foremost cycling facilities, catering to the needs of all cyclists.
1F BIKE BASE / Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura
2F & 3F
This cosy and casual hotel is the perfect choice for travellers looking to cycle and go sightseeing in Japan.
Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura
Grand Opening: March 19, 2020
Price: 1 night from ¥6,000 (up to 2 people per room/tax not included/food charged separately)
Bookings: Now Open
Official Website: https://hoshinoresorts.com/ja/hotels/beb5tsuchiura
5 Temples in Kyoto Announce Exclusive Viewings For Their Secret Cultural Assets
05.September.2019 | SPOT
The history of Yamashina dates back over 1,400 years when Kyoto, then known as “Heian-kyō,” was the official capital of Japan. Located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, Yamashina is rich in history, abound with nature, and has maintained a traditional industry that has gone unbroken since ancient times.
This year, with the arrival of Japan’s new emperor and the opening of a brand new era, five of Yamashina’s great temples are set to unveil several cultural assets, which until now have never been shown to the public.
They are as follows.
Anshoji Temple’s Wooden Jūichimen Kannon Statue (Important National Treasure)
Kajū-ji Temple’s Sliding Door Panel Artwork – “Eight Views of Ōmi” & “Tatsuta River Autumn Leaves” (Important National Treasures)
Zuishinin Temple’s Gold Lacquered Fan Inkstone Case & 4-Panel Folding Screen
Bishamon-do Temple’s Imperial Prince Flag & Tortoise Shell Doors
Honkokuji Temple’s Kyōzō (Important National Treasure)
Get away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and steep yourself in its history with this very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Anshoji Temple, Kajū-ji Temple & Honkokuji Temple: 9:00-16:30 (Last Entries 16:30)
Zuishinin Temple: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Bishamon-do Temple: [Until November 31] 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30) / [From December 1] 8:30-16:30 (Last Entries 16:00)
Anshoji Temple: ¥500 / Kajū-ji Temple: ¥400 / Bishamon-do Temple: ¥500
Zuishinin Temple: ¥500 (¥700 during illuminations at 6pm-8:30pm)
Honkokuji Temple: ¥500 (+¥500 to view the Kyōzō)
More details can be found over on Totteoki Kyoto Travel: https://totteoki.kyoto.travel/ (Japanese)
Kobe Readies For Rugby World Cup With Hospitable Events
The 2019 Rugby World Cup is set to take place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. Many stadiums are hosting the games across Japan this year, one of which is Kobe Misaki Stadium. It is predicted that there will be many people visiting the city of Kobe for the World Cup.
The competing teams at Kobe Misaki Stadium, also known as Noevir Stadium Kobe, are as follows: England vs USA on September 30, Ireland vs Russia on October 3, and South Africa vs Canada on October 8. An estimated 120,000 spectators will be present across the four matches, around 30,000 of which arriving from overseas.
In response to the many fans set to appear in Japan’s sixth-largest city, venues are shops across Kobe are set to serve up a classic plate of Japanese omotenashi―or “hospitality―with a line-up of events and tours. Let’s take a look at just some of the exciting things the city has planned for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
1. Meriken Park Fanzone in Kobe
Rugby fans can enjoy the thrilling atmosphere of the World Cup at one of the many Fanzones set to open across Japan for the games. Entry to all of the Fanzones is free. In Kobe, look forward to live screenings of the matches, food stalls serving local food, promotional booths and more. The fun doesn’t have to end at the matches: fans can continue to enjoy the excitement before and after too at a Fanzone.
2. Hospitable Events
The Kobe Tourism Bureau has teamed up with local business around the city to prepare what they are calling “Hospitable Events For Fans.” Taking place from late September to early October, these events will offer exclusive and unique Kobe experiences. There are 6 in total, but we will take a look at just 2.
MUSIC&DANCE@KOBE PORTOPIA Night 2019
From big disco hits to rock tunes, EDM beats and groove, enjoy a feel-good late-night dance and music party at the fancy Kobe Portopia Hotel. Soak up the warm summer evening while freestyle boogieing.
YORU-BAR ~Night Food Festival~
People of all ages are invited to the popular YORU-BAR at Sannomiya Center Gai which will run from late September to early October. They will serve up a tasty selection of Japanese seafood to Kobe cuisine.
3. KOBE Experience Guided Tour
Aimed at foreign tourists attending the Rugby World Cup in Kobe, the Experience Guided Tour is comprised of 25 unique programs for people to experience Japanese culture, Kobe’s local food culture, and more. The tours will not only be limited to Kobe either―some will also spread to neighbouring cities. Let’s take a look at some of them.
*All programs available in English only
Premium Kobe beef at the almost 150-year-old restaurant Oi Nikuten
Kobe beef is one of the three top brands of high-quality Japanese Wagyu beef. It’s the most well-known and popular type of Wagyu in Japan. With this program, you will learn various ways to enjoy Kobe beef at Oi Nikuten, a long-standing restaurant that first opened back in 1871.
Experience Zen Meditation at Tenjoji Temple in Kobe City
Immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture with Zen meditation session at Tenjoji Temple. Learn all about the rich history of the temple with an incredible guided walk before sinking deep into meditation.
There is lots to be discovered in Kobe, and the doors to its culture are open and ready to embrace all for the Rugby World Cup. Look forward to everything here and much, much more when the matches begin on September 20.
Meriken Park Fanzone in Kobe
9/28 @ 11:00-21:30
9/29 @ 11:00-19:00
9/30 @ 11:00-21:30
10/3 @ 11:00-21:30
10/5 @ 11:00-22:00
10/6 @ 11:00-19:00
10/8 @ 11:00-21:30
Venue: Kobe Meriken Park (Address: 2-2 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Official Website (English): https://www.2019kobe.com/news/20190816_03/
MUSIC&DANCE@KOBE PORTOPIA Night 2019
Dates: September 25th-30th / October 3rd-4th, 7th-8th
*An event titled “FM802 & FM COCOLO Night” will run on September 27 and October 4
Venue: Party Room Key Notes at Kobe Portopia Hotel (South Building Floor 3F) (Address: 6-10-1 Minatojima Nakamachi, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
Official Website (English): https://www.portopia.co.jp/en/convention/venues/keynotes/
Official Website (Japanese): https://www.portopia.co.jp/event-culture/event/detail/25/
YORU-BAR ~Night Food Festival~
Dates: September 26 / September 30 / October 3 / October 8
Location: Sannomiya Center Gai, Kobe
Official Website (Japanese): http://yorubaru.kobe-sc.jp/
Adventure World Wildlife Theme Park in Wakayama Adopts SmaLingual Multilingual App
Adventure World has announced that it has adopted SmaLingual to the park, a multilingual app designed for foreign tourists and travellers in Japan to help them get around.
SmaLingual is a simultaneous multilingual interpretation service which uses a multilingual speech translation engine. Available in 10 languages including English and Brazilian Portuguese on both phones and browsers, the service translates and interprets both text and speech simultaneously, enabling people to have conversations with each other in different languages. The app’s functions also have a language level over TOEIC800, ensuring that you convey the right information correctly.
Using this app means you will be able to read and understand descriptions and explanations written around the park, cautious on interacting with the animals, and so on.
Now guests can enjoy Adventure World with friends and family to the fullest without making a mistake.
Adventure World – SmaLingual
・Park Services Using App: 45
・Adventure World currently accepts 10 languages including Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Myanmar, Vietnamese, and Brazilian Portuguese
How to Use
①Scan the QR code provided on the park staff’s tablet
②Translate your own text or voice using your own smart device
*Guests do not need to install the app if they do not wish. The app can be used online.
Address: 2399 Katata, Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.aws-s.com/
Himeji Castle Places Number 1 On Japan’s Top 20 Castles For 4th Year in a Row
TripAdvisor® has just released its list of the top 20 castles in Japan from 2019 as reviewed by travellers and tourists.
This is the 7th time the website has run this list. Coming in at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row is none other than Himeiji Castle, located in the city of Himeiji in Hyogo Prefecture.
Moving up from 4th place to 2nd place this year is Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, and from not ranking at all last year to 3rd place this year Kumamoto Castle. These top three castles comes as a package as they are considered Japan’s three premier castles.
Kumamoto Castle is set to re-open this autumn after reconstruction work is complete. The castle suffered damages after the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. Although time is required for the full restoration, you can still see the majestic tower keep surrounded by paling. Japanese users on TripAdvisor have commended it as a symbol of restoration and their joy with the repairs being done.
For the first time in four years, Hirosaki Castle ranks on the list in 12th place. Situated in central Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, the castle is a known living symbol of the Edo Period (1603-1868). Construction work has been taking place since 2015 to repair the base of the castle structure on the east side due to deterioration. In summer 2015, the castle tower was moved 70 meters without taking the castle apart to allow for work to be carried out. A moving castle is certainly a rare sight to see in Japan－and something you only imagine from a Studio Ghibli movie!
The castle has been praised on TripAdvisor for how beautiful its surrounding nature is, from the cherry blossoms in spring to the red and yellow leaves in autumn. The castle can be enjoyed throughout all the seasons.
Making the list for the first time ever is Tsuyama Castle which can be found in the beautiful Kakuzan Park in Okayama. When you ascend the magnificent stone steps of the castle and turn around you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Tsuyama. In spring, the castle’s white watchtowers look picturesque next to the pink cherry blossom trees.
From castles that have been maintained since they were first built to others that have been rebuilt from their former forms, there are countless sites to behold while in Japan. Be sure to use the Top 20 list as reference when travelling there!
Top 20 Castles in Japan 2019
A Magical Ice Village is Forming This Winter at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido
01.September.2019 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu―one of Hokkaido’s leading snow resorts―is set to open a new area called the Ice Village this winter. It will run for a limited time from December 10 to March 14.
The Ice Village spans coolly across 3.2 hectares of land and is home to 11 domes made entirely of ice. This winter-only experience has been running every year since 1998. Made to look like a real village, some of its iconic sights include the Ice Church and Ice Hotel which can be found at the very back. Everything from the towering ceilings to the walls are formed solely of ice.
The main street, named fittingly the “Ice Street,” includes a cafe, gallery, shops and more, all enveloped in a chilly white world.
Ice Crystal Park: A New Addition to the Ice Village to Gaze at the Sights and Scenery
The Ice Crystal Park is frozen over with tables and chairs made of ice and has snowflakes dotted here and there, creating a true winter wonderland. Order a hot drink from the Ice Bakery & Cafe or munch on a tasty treat from the Ice Sweets Shop as you sit and gaze at the snow-covered landscape of the Ice Village while surrounded by towering white birch trees. And everyday at 19:30, a 5-minute firework show will warm up the winter sky which is best enjoyed while sitting in the park.
Bite Down Frosty Treats at the Ice Sweets Shop
It wouldn’t be a complete Ice Village without its own glacial cuisine. At the Ice Sweets Shop you can order ice cream which is made from liquid milk on an ice block. The temperature of the air coupled with the frozen coolness of the ice block causes the milk to freeze into a yummy dessert. There’s also chocolate ice bars made from hot chocolate, colourful macarons, toasted marshmallows, and more.
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)
Price: Milk Gelato – from ¥1,100 / Macarons ¥550 / Ice Bar ¥550 / Marshmallows ¥550 (*All prices include tax)
Grab a Drink From the Ice Bar
The village even has its own Ice Bar, complete with an ice counter and ice cellar for serving sake. This year, the bar will serve an all-new original gin drink made using snowmelt from Tomamu. There are over 50 drinks to pick from, including original cocktails, whisky, and more.
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:45)
Price: Original Gin – ¥1,650 / Drinks With Ice Glass – from ¥1,100 (*All prices include tax)
There are many other exciting things to find at the ice village, including the Ice Hotel which you can sleep in, the Ice Atelier, and more. Have a reason to go out this winter by visiting the Ice Village in Hokkaido.
Running: December 10, 2019 – March 14, 2019
Location: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu area
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Entry Price: Elementary School Children & Older – ¥500 (Tax Included) *Free for guests staying at Tomamu The Tower or RISONARE Tomamu
Available: To both guests and visitors
Notes: Times, prices etc may vary depending on each service or activity. Select services and activities are subject to changes depending on weather conditions. Certain services and activities scheduled to start at later dates.
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu / Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu
Address: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido
Official Website (English): https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/
Transvaal Daisies & Wind Chimes Cool Down You This Summer at Kasuga Shrine in Fukuoka
Situated on the northern shore of Kyushu is Fukuoka Prefecture, a hot spot for tourists and travellers both Japanese and foreign, particularly those visiting from parts of Asia such as China, Taiwan and South Korea.
When it comes to delicious Japanese food, Fukuoka is high on the list, home to a bounty of incredible restaurants. It’s the same with shopping too―there are countless stores to rummage through with shelves lined with innumerable things you’ll want to buy.
But your Fukuoka experience will not be complete without a trip to one of the prefecture’s breathtaking tourist spots. Today, we are visiting Kasuga Shrine (not to be confused with Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara), and we are joined by Japanese Instagram user Rie, who posts about her trips around Kyushu, and who has provided us with her experience visiting the shrine along with photos. You’ll find out how to get there and the must-see aspects.
Kasuga Shrine is located in the city of Kasuga, Fukuoka. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Fukuoka city. But if you’re looking to catch the public transport, you’ll want to hop on the JR Line to Kasuga Station, or you can board the Nishitetsu Bus and get off at Kasuga (春日). The shrine is about a 7-minute walk from either of these stops.
The shrine has a long history. Its origins are said to lie in Emperor Tenji enshrining the male deity Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto there.
In the shrine grounds there is a camphor tree called “Kasuga no Mori” (The Grove of Kasuga) which is registered as a natural monument. The shrine is also home to a festival called “Kasuga no Muko Oshi” which has also been designated as an significant intangible folk cultural asset.
But what’s been catching people’s attention recently is the flower-filled chōzuya. A chōzuya, also known as a temizuya, is a water basin placed at shrines and temples in Japan which visitors use to cleanse themselves before entering the shrine or temple.
It’s more common in May and June to see hydrangeas placed in the basins, but at Kasuga Shrine they flutter in transvaal daisies♡
The flowers were placed in there on August 19 and will remain there until September 1. During the same period, there are lots of beautiful wind chimes being strung up around the shrine ground. Their tranquil sound as the breeze blows, together with the watery flowers, are enough to make you feel cool this summer.
If you’re looking to find more beautiful places to visit around Kyushu, Rie has plenty of recommendations on her Instagam page so be sure to give her a follow.
Photos by Rie
Address: 1-110 Kasuga, Kasuga-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.kasugajinjya.jp/