Explore The Hidden Beauty, Culture And Local Cuisine Of Hida Takayama In A Yukata

18.July.2019 | SPOT

Shimocho is one of the districts of Hida Takayama and is overflowing with traditional culture that you absolutely must experience. To make the most of your trip, there is a summer yukata-wearing programme running from July 20th which is the perfect opportunity to wear cooling and refreshing Japanese clothes while strolling and exploring the streets. 

 

This year will be the 7th time the programme has been run. The Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi programme allows visitors to dress in a comfortable and cooling yukata, stroll, explore, try different foods and enjoy the culture of the area. This year’s theme is “romance and yukatas” and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy programme-limited desserts and the rich culture of the district.  

 

Discover Hidden Beauty with the Stroll Map

Visitors will be given a map packed with wonderful spots of the area. The map will also include the destinations of 31 shops where you can enjoy special experiences, meals and desserts that are limited to those who take part in the yukata programme. Recommended spots to visit are also drawn on the map in a very cute handwriting-like style, so you can stop by these places easily while enjoying your walk. There are even many places on the map that only a local would know about. 

 

Some of the special benefits of the programme allow you to enjoy the best regional cuisine that Hida has to offer, including the wonderful experience of restaurants that have been loved by the locals for generations, a beef delicacy restaurant, and much more. Besides food, the programme also gives you the opportunity to witness the beautiful festival floats used during the Takayama festival at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan. You can also enjoy experiencing baking your own senbei crackers and gold panning.  

 

The programme includes a wide range of experiences for you to enjoy from local shops to food to culture to some new experiences. 

 An old-style café called Sabou Usagi is particularly popular with the locals. Here, the coffee is made using a vacuum coffee maker. With the summer programme, you can enjoy the delicious heart Tiramisù served here.

 

The stroll map includes a variety of locations such as the Takayama Tourist Information Centre, Hida Takayama Tourism Convention Association, Hida Takayama Travel Hotel Association and much more. The map also includes some of the accommodations available around Takayama, some important train stations and much more. You can easily download this map from the official website. (Japanese only )  

 

Stroll the Streets in an Elegant Yukata

Change into a traditional Yukata that matches the beautiful surrounding townscape. There are four shops Yukata rental shops available to pick up your favourite Yukata, so there is no need to worry if you did not come prepared. There are also some accommodations that allow for yukata rental. 

If you decide to join the Hida Takayama Nippon Natsu Yasumi programme, make sure to share your beautiful memories on Instagram with the hashtag #Hidasummer 

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Recommended Yukata For Keeping Cool This Summer

    25.June.2019 | FASHION / FEATURES

    Hi everyone, this is Midori from MMN’s Editorial Department!

    Do you know what a Yukata is? It’s a long, casual garment that resembles a kimono. As they are made of light and breathable material, this traditional Japanese clothing is usually worn in the summer. A beautiful yet refreshing garment is the perfect clothing for a summer festival and other summer events. How would you like to try one on? Today, I’ll be introducing you to this year’s latest Yukatas.

     

    KIMONOMACHI: Polyester Yukata Perfect for a Hot Summer’s Day

    These yukata are made from polyester which is breathable and ventilating. From subtle and mature patterns for adults to large, modern and vivid patterns, there is a wide range of fabric designs to choose from.  

     

    Cream Water-Colour Camellia Flower Yukata: ¥11,880 (after tax) 

    You also do not have to worry about coordinating your outfit as you can putchase a set that includes a Sash (obi) and Japanese wooden clogs (geta). This is recommended for those of you who are completely new to yukata-wearing.  

     

    ▼ KIMONOMACHI main shop

    Official Website: https://www.kimonomachi.co.jp/

     

    Cayhane Yukata: Easy to Wear By Yourself 

    Cayhane sells yukata that are made from materials sourced from all over Japan. 

    Reiría Minana Yukata: ¥7,128

    The Yukata sold here consist of a top and bottom half, which makes it easy for anyone to put on.

    You can also get yukata with a separate skirt too, meaning that you can wear the skirt with your other normal clothes on a regular day too.

     

    ▼ Cayhane

    Official Website: http://www.cayhane.jp/shop/c/c01

     

     

    kyomadoka: Wear a Yukata Designed By an AKB48 Graduate 

    Haruna Kojima, who graduated from Japan’s world famous idol group AKB48, created the designs for a collection of kyomadoka Yukata.

    ¥45,360 (after tax)

    Not only are the designs made with lots of care and attention, but the materials used have been carefully sourced. The patterns are mature yet cute. 

     

    ▼kyomadoka: Haruna Kojima Original Design Yukata

    Purchase here: https://isetan.mistore.jp/onlinestore/brand/006180/list?categoryId=01_061604&rid=24098c5b16c840e39ea3dddf42efd3ad

    Sales Start: June 5, 2019

     

    Felissimo Neko-Bu™: Fill Yourself With Feline Fabulousness

    Cat-Themed Retro Modern Yukata ¥8,400 (before tax)

    Notice the cute, round eyes of a cat amongst beautiful camellia flowers. Felissimo Neko-Bu™ sells cat-themed goods that are also perfect for adults. This retro-modern design is both cute and mature.

     

    Look closely and you will also notice a striped pattern. Felissimo are selling many other cat-themed Yukata besides this so please check them out.

     

    This is a design of a tiger playing with green foxtail grass.

    ▼Felissimo Neko-Bu™

    Official Website: https://www.nekobu.com/

     

    RiLi.tokyo Sells Yukata That Look Like Japanese Sweets

    RiLi.tokyo sells Yukata that are perfect for walking the streets of Asakusa, Kyoto and other traditional-style streets that are full of dark and mature colours.

    RiLi Yukata: ¥11,990 each (before tax)

    The sash is a waist band with wrinkles so that it does not hurt when you put it on. You will notice that it is incredibly easy to wear these. All Yukata in this series use similar colours, so it is easy to coordinate your outfit with other friends and family members. ♡

    Official Website: https://rili.tokyo/#new

     

     

    Furifu and Touken Ranbu-ONLINE- Collaborative Yukata

    Furifu is dedicated to creating new styles of traditional Japanese fashion. They have released a retro-modern style kimono brand through a collaborative effort with the game Touken Ranbu-ONLINE- . This includes three Yukata themed around the characters Kashuu Kiyomitsu, Tsurumaru Kuninaga and Kasen Kanesada.

     Kasen Kanesada ¥62,640 (after tax )

    Tsurumaru Kuninaga: ¥62,640 (after tax)

    Kashuu Kiyomitsu: ¥62,640 (after tax )

    ▼Furifu Touken Ranbu Collaborative Yukata

    Official Website: https://mgos.jp/furifu/index.html

     

    All these Yukata are available online. This would be the perfect way to stay cool and beautiful during the summer. Wearing one to a summer event would be a wonderful experience. ♡

  • Keio Plaza Hotel Shinjuku Expands their Yukata Wearing Plan

    24.June.2019 | FASHION

    Keio Plaza Hotel is expanding their yukata experience service plan “Easy Kimono”. The plan, which allows guests to wear Japanese traditional clothing called yukata, was originally a weekday-limited plan. Now, the plan will be expanded to include the weekends and national holidays. The plan was launched in June 2017 through a collaboration with Keio Department Store’s dressing rooms. Keio Plaza Hotel’s objective is to spread Japanese culture and offer guests the opportunity to fully experience Japan. The hotel also offers tea ceremony and Ikebana flower arranging classes.

     

    There are two yukata plans on offer: a standard plan available for men and women and a women-limited premium plan which includes top quality cotton yukata that have a mature feel to them. Both plans come with wooden clogs, an ornate kanzashi hairpin, a drawstring purse and a map of wonderful locations to take a stroll in Shinjuku. Head to the third floor lobby in the South Building of the hotel to arrive at the Keio Department Store Dressing Rooms. Here, you can choose your favourite yukata. Once you put it on, the staff will take a commemorative photo with a camera or your smartphone.

     

    You can rent these yukata for a maximum of six hours, during which time you can take as many selfies as you want, enjoy a meal in Tokyo, and have a relaxing stroll around the streets of Shinjuku. This luxurious plan is a chance to experience the great feeling of wearing a yukata.

  • Feel the Spirit of Japanese Culture With Hotel Gajoen Tokyo’s Yukata Plan

    19.June.2019 | FASHION / SPOT

    Japanese museum and hotel Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is currently offering its new “Yukata Plan” until September 30. The plan includes a yukata service, lunch or dinner, and a chance to witness the Hyakudan Kaidan, or ‘100 Step Staircase,’ which was registered by Tokyo Prefecture as a Tangible Cultural Property in 2009 for its exceptional architecture and artistic beauty.

     

    The plan lets guests wear a beautiful and colourful yukata allows them to get a feel for the Japanese spirit. After enjoying a special food course specially prepared by the hotel’s chef, you will head on over to observe the Hyakudan Kaidan, something offered in the hotel’s popular summer plan. Yukata are available for men, women and children, making it perfect for groups, couples and families. What’s more is that you can take home the yukata, obi sash and geta shoes you choose.

    Once you chance into your yukata you can stroll to some of Meguro’s famous spots such as Meguro River as well as Ryūsenji temple and Ōtori-jinja Shrine, both of which are just a 10-minute walk from the hotel.

     

    Enjoy a real Japanese time this summer at Hotel Gajoen Tokyo.

RELATED ENTRIES

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

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

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

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

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

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

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

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

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

     

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

     

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

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

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

    02.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

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

     

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

     

    Amano Pearl

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

    Accessory – ¥2,200

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

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

     

    ▶︎Amano Pearl – Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 45 Ujiimazaikechō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

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

     

     

    Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

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

    Hanabana – ¥864

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

    ▶︎Matsujiro Honey – Ise Oharaimachi Branch

    Address: 7 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00

    No Fixed Holidays

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

     

     

    Uoharu

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

    Same No Tare – Salt Flavour / Mirin Flavour

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

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

     

    ▶Uoharu

    Address: 49 Ujinakanokirichō, Ise, Mie

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

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

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

     

     

    Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

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

    Henbaya (Includes 2) – ¥160

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

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

     

    ▶︎Henbaya – Oharaimachi Branch

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

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

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

    *Products may sell out before 17:00

    *Opening hours subject to change for January

     

     

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

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

    30.October.2019 | SPOT

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

     

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

     

    Jodoen Garden Illuminations

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

     

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

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

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

    No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)

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

     

    Special Opening of the Joshoin

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

     

    Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin

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

     

    Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More

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

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

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

    17.October.2019 | SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

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

    Support Fund: ¥300

    Official Website: http://jitokuin.com

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November

    Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Price: ¥500

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

     

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

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

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

     

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

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

    Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

    10.October.2019 | FASHION / FOOD / SPOT

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

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

     

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

    little $uzie

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

    BELPER

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

    ASOKO

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

    FARMAN KITCHEN MARKET

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

     

    Tradition and contemporary come together at the townhouse

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

     

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

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

    04.October.2019 | SPOT

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

     

    Sakura Castle Samurai Stroll

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

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

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 26

     November 9, 23

     December 14, 21

    January 11, 25

    February 8, 22

    March 12, 28

    April 9, 25

    May 9, 16

     

    ◇ Times: 9:30 ー 12:30

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

    ◇ Prices:

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

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

    ◇ Tickets

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

    Apply Directly to Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL: 043-486-6000

    Email: sakurashi-kankou@catv296.ne.jp

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

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

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

     

    ◇ Running:

    October 16,

    November 7, 19

    December 6, 18

     

    ◇ Times: 9:00 ー 12:30

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

     

    ◇ Prices:

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

     

    ◇ Tickets

    Please enquire directly to the Sakura City Tourism Association

    TEL:  043-486-6000

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

    * Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.

     

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

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

    03.October.2019 | SPOT

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

     

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

    1F BIKE BASE / Ring Ring Square Tsuchiura

    2F & 3F

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

  • Taste Different Japanese Teas in Wine Glasses in Fukuoka

    27.September.2019 | FOOD

    Neworld has teamed up with Asakura, Fukuoka-based tea manufacturing company Seichajo Yamashina to offer an all-new tea-tasting course. Reservations opened on September 25 and can be made via telephone call.

    Yamashina Tea Stall first opened its doors to the public back in 1947 in the city of Asakura, Fukuoka. This long-standing tea shop oversees every aspect of their original blends, from the tea leaf selection to the roasting.

    The shop’s representative, Koya Yamashina, is a tea professional, having worked as an instructor on Japanese tea as well as an established Japanese tea critic. He has travelled up and down Kyushu―one of the five main islands of Japan where Fukuoka sits―which has enabled him to select only the best tea for the shop, considering the taste, smell, season, place of production, and growers themselves.

    Yamashina Tea Stall promises a fun and authentic experience when it comes to Japanese tea, for the very fact that it has had its hands on so many different types. That’s where their new program comes in to play, where they will pair different Japanese teas into different wine glasses―provided by Tokyo glass makers Kimura Glass―for tasters to get the best out of the tea, including the flavours and fragrance.

    Let’s take a look at the course.

    Piccolo 6oz Flute & Yama no Asatsume

    This brand of tea is called Chiran Yama no Asatsume and it comes from Kagoshima Prefecture. It’s grown in Ushirodake, an area in Kagoshima with a high altitude, the only place it can be grown. It has a distinct fresh and sweet fragrance. The tea is served in a 6oz Piccolo glass which is a popular glass for champagne. Its delicate rim and form makes it the perfect shape to enjoy the full taste of the tea.

    Garson 3oz Grappa & Yame Gyokuro

    Yame Gyokuro is known as one of the most luxury teas in Japan. Served in a Garson glass, it has a thin, long shape, making it ideal for smelling the gentle aromas of the gyokuro tea and for enjoying its smooth, sweet taste.

    Pivo Orthodox 63224-210 & Sun Rouge

    Sun Rouge is an extremely rare variety of tea grown on the distant island of Tokunoshima which is south of Kagoshima. It is served in a classic champagne glass, much different from the flute-type champagne glasses. The liquid is allowed to spread over a wider surface, letting you take in the distinct beautiful purple colour of the tea while enabling the fragrance to dance around the elegant glass.

     

    This is just a snapshot of the many drinks this course has to offer. If you’re looking to experience Japanese tea in style, then why not try out this course? They even sell sets of glasses and tea so you can take them home with you!

  • Miyako Hotel Hakata Opens With Instagram-Worthy Pool, Michelin-Led Restaurant Menu & More

    24.September.2019 | SPOT

    Miyako Hotel Hakata will have its grand opening on September 22, 2019. To help spread word of the luxurious secrets behind its doors, an official report was released detailing everything there is for guests to look forward to.

     

    Its metropolitan exterior is inspired by the spectacular natural landscapes of Kyushu

    Miyako Hotel Hakata can be found by taking the Tsukushi Exit of Hakata Station where it stands directly in front, towering above the surrounding buildings. The basement floor of the hotel is directly connected to the station for ease of access. This floor is also home to a convenience store, restaurants and more and can be used by non-guests too.

    The building is a gorgeous eye-catching glass cube which offers an abundance of natural light during the day. At night, the hotel exterior is illuminated with 168 LED lights, giving it an metropolitan appearance. The building rooftop has a running ‘waterfall’ which is inspired by the majestic rural environments of Kyushu. Its iconic design makes it instantly-recognisable, with hopes in mind that this will make it a new landmark of Hakata.

    The lobby houses a gorgeous cafe lounge serving food and drink

    Up on the 3rd floor is the clean, bright and spacious front lobby where staff are waiting to greet guests warmly. In addition to the reception desk, there is CAFÉ EMPATHY, a cafe and lounge which can be used by both guests and non-guests. The cafe is produced by Transit General Offiice which is known for having produced the The Rail Kitchen Chikugo―a restaurant train―amongst a host of shared offices, hotels and more.

    The spectacular menu line-up includes an array of delicious drinks from herbal teas to flavoured lattes, as well as an assortment of light meals made using ingredients from around Kyushu. They also serve an original afternoon tea that’s served from 14:30. Everything on the menu is nothing short of Instagrammable and perfect for those who love to wine and dine on drinks and food that is both cute and fancy.

     

    The colourful flavoured lattes come in four flavours and can also be ordered for takeout. One of them is the Beets Latte which is a pink colour which comes from the beetroot used to make it. It has a subtle sweetness and smooth flavour.

     

    The stocked teas include those made by Paris-based tea company KUSMI TEA, such as the Anastasia which is a mix of standard black tea and citrus, as well as an array of decaffeinated fruit teas.

    Spend your time in luxury in your room

    Floors 5 through 12 are all lined with guest rooms. There are four types of rooms, all large, including Twin and Double. Each and every room has been given the same level of care and attention to create the most comfortable experience for guests.

    The Deluxe room is the perfect package if you’re looking to indulge in a little extravagance, whether as a treat to yourself or together with that special someone. The room design is stylish and simple, allowing for optimal relaxation. The bed is roomy and is ideal for watching the television or chatting.

     

    All guest rooms are also equipped with tablets from which you can control the air con, lights and so on. The TV can even tell you whether the restaurant is full or not which is a super convenient feature.

    A restaurant and bar menu created by a Michelin-starred chef & dreamy terrace pool

    On floor 13―the top floor―you will find Miyako Hotel Hakata’s must-see feature: the SOMEWHERE RESTAURANT & BAR. This all-dining restaurant’s concept is “A Beautiful Place Somewhere.” Its dinner menu was conceived by Michihoro Haruta, the chef at Crony, a Michelin 1-starred restaurant in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. The innovative menu is made with local ingredients from Fukuoka and across Kyushu. The wine menu was created by Kazutaka Ozawa, a sommelier at Crony. The restaurant enjoys a laid-back atmosphere that isn’t overly formal or strict, with a glass exterior including the roof, allowing diners to enjoy the romantic evening atmosphere.

     

    Breakfast is served to both guests and non-guests and is served as a western-style buffet packed full of assorted foods such as freshly-baked bread, omelette, Eggs Benedict, and more. They serve an original Japanese-style breakfast too for those who fancy Japanese food. The tall windows allow natural light to pour into the restaurant.

    Right next to the restaurant is the hotel’s very own spa, offering a natural hot spring pool, jet bath, footbath and more. As part of the hotel’s grand opening, the spa is free for all guest until March 31, 2020. The hotel offers rental swimsuits too so you can freely and easily enjoy a nighttime dip. And when night truly sets in, you can gaze an unbroken view of Hakata from the roof, and the ‘waterfall’ next to the pool will also be lit up.

     

    There’s even a special poolside menu so you can order cocktails and light food from the terrace. With everything illuminate in beautiful lighting, your cocktail in hand, you can certainly snap some Instagram-worthy shots. And if you’re looking for a warm bath, there is a large public bath and even a sauna indoors.

  • ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA to Open in Hakone This November

    21.September.2019 | SPOT

    ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA is a new hot spring and guest house facility set to open in the town of Sokokura in Hakone on November 26. The building is being renovated from an old guest house that has enjoyed a long history of hot springs since the Edo period.

    Sokura Onsen is about a 90 minute car drive from the city centre and is considered one of Hakone’s “7 Hot Springs,” a list that has been around since the Edo period. The place is said to have been used and loved by many military commanders back in the day for the high water yield gifted by the water source.

     

    When the building was first constructed it was known as “Tsutaya Ryokan” and became a famous guest house with not only locals but travellers who would arrive all the way from Tokyo. ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA combines history of both Sokura Onsen and Tsutaya Ryokan.

    The renovated building was built 29 years ago. Though it has been revamped, it still maintains a nostalgic air to it in the style of a traditional guest house. It’s home to 6 spacious ryokan-type rooms and 46 compact rooms.

     

    There is a space where one can gaze at the river after taking a dip in the hot springs, as well as a lounge with tables which encourages you to socialise with people you have just met. There are male and female open-air baths and indoor baths as well as a cooking space and laundry service for those looking to stay longer.

     The facility offers a retro environment in which each guest can relax and enjoy their own time as they please. Throughout the guest house is original old-fashioned furniture that has been upcycled, including kotatsu tables and shelves, to give that sense of traditional Japanese culture. This has been combined with contemporary art to create a fusion of the old and new.

    It is a harmonious combination of a traditional Japanese hot spring ryokan, or inn, and a guest house, which means travellers from abroad will be able to enjoy the beauty of the country’s traditional culture.

    Escape the noisy city and enjoy peace and tranquillity surrounded in the colours of autumn at ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA

  • 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.

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