Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour

31.July.2019 | SPOT

Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.

 

Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’

Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.


This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.

 

Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Traditional Japanese Fireworks Fuse With Cutting-Edge Technology for STAR ISLAND 2019 in Tokyo & Singapore

    29.May.2019 | SPOT

    This year marks the third year of STAR ISLAND, a firework festival set to take place at Toyosu Gurui Park on July 20, 2019. Tickets are now on sale.

    STAR ISLAND will collapse together traditional Japanese fireworks with the latest in cutting-edge technology including 3D sound, lighting and show performances. This immersive entertainment experience will stimulate all five senses of attendees as they enjoy the show with against panoramic backdrop of Tokyo’s towering skyscrapers.

    Past STAR ISLAND event

    The tickets for STAR ISLAND sell out every single year. 2019 will be its fourth run and it promises to scale things up to greater heights as the event is moved to Toyosu Gururi Park for the first time.

    Past STAR ISLAND event

    The event will now house two children’s areas for families which have proven popular each year as well as new BBQ seats.

    Past STAR ISLAND event

    This year, STAR ISLAND is expanding its experience overseas. Up to now, the event has been held at Odaiba Seaside Park in Tokyo for two years in a row since its inception in 2017. At the end of 2018, it embarked to Singapore for the New Year’s event “Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2019” where it was the main attraction, showcasing its wondrous and moving content to people from 86 different countries.

     

    STAR ISLAND will return to Singapore for the same event for the 2020 countdown. Before that, it will make its way to Saudi Arabia for Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 on September 23, 2019, the same date the kingdom was founded.

    If you get the chance, make sure to book your tickets to witness STAR ISLAND 2019 for yourself.

  • Little Twin Stars Themed Hotel Room Opens at Keio Plaza Hotel Tama

    27.June.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Two new guest rooms opened at Keio Plaza Hotel Tama on June 15 themed on the Sanrio characters My Melody and the Little Twin Stars (Kiki & Lala).

     

    This year’s Sanrio Character Awards were held earlier this month. Both My Melody and the Little Twin Stars proved their popularity with fans as they came in 4th and 6th place respectively. With that in mind, what does Keio Plaza Hotel Tama have in store for fans of the characters in their new guest rooms? I’m here to let you in on the full scoop.

    Keio Plaza Hotel is about a 30-minute train ride from Shinjuku and a 3-minute walk from Keio-Tama-Center Station. It’s also close to the city of Chofu where the Rugby World Cup will be held this fall as well as located in West Tokyo, an area enjoyed by foreign tourists.

     

    There are two of each rooms available and they will be permanent rooms at the hotel. The hotel already has four Hello Kitty Rooms which were introduced in November 2014 and renovated with the opening of the new My Melody and Little Twin Stars Rooms, making for a total of eight Sanrio character rooms at the hotel. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Little Twin Stars Room.

     

    For the My Melody Room, click here here: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/225795

     

    Little Twin Stars Room

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The door to the Little Twin Stars Room bears a cute ☆ above the room number.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    Stepping into the magical room you will see Kiki and Lala on the wall riding a unicorn and making their way to the amusement park in the clouds. Floating around the entire room are pink stars and white, fluffy clouds.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The star-shaped cushions are inspired by the star on the back of Kiki. Guests can fall into a magical dream together with Kiki and Lala who are sleeping with their unicorn atop a cloud on the foot throw at the bottom of the bed.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The curtains in all of the rooms are blackout curtains so you can have a peaceful, undisturbed sleep until morning.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    When you flip on this floor lamp at nighttime you’ll be greeted by an illuminated illustration of Kiki and Lala.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The hotel has left no part of this fairy tale-like room untouched, with its pink bath tub and drawing of the Little Twin Stars on bathroom mirror too.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    And don’t forget the Little Twin Stars Room amenities either, exclusive to guests. The plush toys are branded with an original Sanrio Character Room logo.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The designs of the toothbrushes are different in each room.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    Even the cup coasters that come with the room feature original desgins exclusive to Keio Plaza Hotel Tama.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    The adorable door signs feature Kiki and Lala sleepy for guests to not be disturbed and energetic for the room to be cleaned.

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. APPROVAL NO. G601079

    Be sure to snap photo of the framed cute Kiki and Lala picture too before you leave.

     

    The Little Twin Stars Room was a world full of pink dreams.  It’s sure to be popular with children♡

     

    Next time we will look at the renovated Hello Kitty Room, so stay tuned!

     

    Writer: Ellie (MMN Editorial Team)

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • You Must Try These Tanabata Star Festival Desserts And Delicious Drinks

    24.June.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

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

    We are approaching the Tanabata season!

     Tanabata, also known at the Star Festival, is a traditional annual festival in Japan which celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and and Hikoboshi who are only able to see each other once a year on July 7. During this festival, many people celebrate by writing their wishes on a small, rectangular strip and then attaching it to bamboo grass. It is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful night sky with friends and family. What really makes Tanabata extra fun is the Tanabata-limited sweets and desserts that are decorated with Tanabata-themed designs and look very appealing. Today, I will be introducing you to those delicious, must-try desserts and drinks!

     

    TOKYO STRAWBERRY PARK: Tanabata-Limited Parfait And Handmade Jelly

    Tanabata-Limited Strawberry Parfait ¥1,200 (after tax) ※ Limited stock

    Tokyo Strawberry Park will launch its first ever Tanabata event from June 22 to July 7. They will be selling the Tanabata-Limited Strawberry Parfait which is made using Japanese strawberries; a rare fruit to be seen around summer.

    Simple Tanabata Strawberry Jelly

    Tokyo Strawberry Park will also be selling fresh and colourful Tanabata strawberry jelly which was handmade. Make sure to pour all your wishes into every mouthful. ♡

     

    ▼ Tokyo Strawberry Park

    Selling Period: June 22 ー July 7

    Address:  11-1 Daikokucho, Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa

    Opening Hours: Weekdays: 11:00 ー 16:00/ Weekends & Holidays: 10:00 ー 18:00

    Website: https://tokyo-strawberry-park.jp/

     

    Hello Kitty and My Melody Cakes at Odakyu Department Store Fair, Shinjuku

    Patisserie Mon Cher, Summer Friendly: ¥1,404/18cm

    Head to basement floor 2 of the department store’s main building where the traditional Japanese wagashi sweets are usually sold to discover the Hello Kitty and My Melody Tanabata cakes that are too beautiful to eat. This popular Dojima Roll Cake is decorated with Hello Kitty and My Melody mousse.

    Tsuruya Yoshinobu Co.,Ltd., Tanabata: ¥1,296/1 block

    The fair is full of a wide range of other unmissable Tanabata sweets that you should also check out.

     

    Odakyu Star Festival (Odakyu no Tanabata)

    Event Period: July 1 ー July 7, 2019

    Location: Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku (main building ) and HALC

    Address: 1 Chome-1-3 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-3342-1111

    Special Edition Website: http://www.odakyu-dept.co.jp/shinjuku/

     

    Cafe Comme Ca Orihime and Hikoboshi Tanabata-Limited Cakes

    Specially-selected fruits have been used to create these artistic cakes. The cakes are themed around Orihime and Hikoboshi.

    Orihime 〜 Peach, Fig and Sato Nishiki Cherry Cake with Cream Cheese Base (Comme ca stage, Ginza branch): ¥1,100 per piece (after tax)  

    The Orihime cake is a luxuriously creamy cheesecake topped generously with sweet peaches, figs and sweet and sour Sato Nishiki cherries. The cake even contains jelly that takes on the appearance of the milky way.

     Hikoboshi 〜 Muskmelon and Mango Cake With Fromage Blanc Base  (Comme ca stage, Ginza branch:¥1,100 per piece, ¥1,026 at other Cafe comme ca branches,  prices after tax)  

    The Hikoboshi muskmelon and mango cake has a wonderful fruity fragrance. The fruit pieces rest on top of a bed of fromage blanc. This dessert is also made with jelly that takes on the appearance of the Milky Way.

     

    ▼ Cafe comme ca

    Official Website: http://www.cafe-commeca.co.jp/

     

    BOTANIST Tokyo’s Orihime and Hikoboshi Drinks Chosen By 5,000 Instagram Fans

    Approximately 5000 people voted on BOTANIST Tokyo’s Instagram in favor for the release of the High Viscosity Milk Tea and Butterfly-Pea Milk Tea to be sold for Tanabata. Both include silver leaf that reflects light beautifully, creating the image of stars twinkling in the Milky Way. Order this Tanabata-limited drink for a Tanabata Tanzaku card for writing your Tanabata wishes.  

    Viscous Milk Tea: ¥800 (after tax)

    The High Viscosity Milk Tea is a Tanabata-limited drink themed around Orihime. The deep flavour of sweet amaretto syrup can be tasted with the milk tea. The sweet yet sour, viscous tea consists of two layers and is topped with melty whipped cream for an even stronger flavour.

    Butterfly Pea Milk Tea: ¥800 (after tax)

    The Butterfly Pea Milk Tea is themed around Hikoboshi. The milk is accented with the fresh sweetness of Jasmine syrup . The drink also has two layers of refreshing, blue butterfly pea tea. The silver leaf glimmers like stars in the night sky, making it the perfect drink to enjoy on a summer’s night.

     

    ▼BOTANIST Tokyo Tanabata-Limited Drinks

    Address: 6-29-2 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00

    BOTANIST Tokyo Official Website: https://botanistofficial.com/shop/

     

    Royal Park Hotel X Calpis Collaboration Milky Way Fair

    As soft drink Calpis celebrates its 100th anniversary and Royal Park Hotel celebrates its 30th anniversary, both parties have teamed up during the Tanabata season.

    Milky Way Afternoon Tea Set: ¥4,752 (after tax)

    The July-limited Milky Way Afternoon Tea Set uses gold leaf to create the image of the moon and stars and the Milky Way in a nighttime scenery. The intricate white bag crafted from fresh white chocolate located on the top tier will immediately catch your attention. The Panna cotta made from calpis is layered with jelly to balance the overall flavour. This is served in a glass. Other treats include Calpis marshmallows, Calpis sour cheesecake, and many other special treats.

    Calpis Collaboration Wishes Cocktail Fair

    いまSNSで人気の青いお茶「バタフライピー」とタピオカで、“天の川”をイメージしたノンアルコールカクテルなど、七夕に想いを馳せながら、お気に入りの1杯を見つけてみて。

    The collaboration fair sells four varieties of cocktails and two non-alcoholic cocktails. The bartender will use Calpis to create an imaginative cocktail themed around the Milky Way or Tanabata. The Kyoho Grape Calpis, and the Orihime, which is coloured a distinctive, fresh red colour with cranberries, are just a couple of items on the menu. Other drinks include the White Peach Calpis and the Milky Pêche, which is made from white peaches. Non-alcoholic drinks include bubble tea cocktails, and cocktails made from Butterfly Pea tea, which is currently trending on social media for its blue colour. All these drinks are specially prepared to take on the appearance of the Milky Way.

     

    The Royal Park Hotel will also have a Tanabata-limited photo spot. Come explore the range of Tanabata drinks and join in the anniversary celebrations with Calpis and the Royal Park Hotel. 

     

    ▼ Milky Way Fair in Royal Park Hotel 

    Running: July 1 ー July 31, 2019

    Address: 2-1-1, Nihonbashikakigaracho, Chuo Ward, Tokyo

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

     

    Tanabata is a wonderfully unique experience in Japan, so make plenty of wishes, try your favourite sweets and drinks and have the time of your life. ♡

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Autumn in Aichi: Cherry Blossoms and Maples at Obara Shikizakura Matsuri & Korankei Maple Festival

    15.November.2019 | SPOT

    Early November marks the opening of the autumn cherry blossoms in Obaracho, Toyota. By the time mid-November rolls around, close to 10,000 shikizakura cherry blossoms bloom a pale pink until the end of the month.

    The Yoshino cherry bears its pink petals in springtime, but the shikizakura blossoms twice a year: first in spring, then in autumn. They are considered one of the most beautiful flowers of autumn, especially when they bloom against the gorgeous and vibrant red maple leaves. The Obara Shikizakura Matsuri began on November 1, and right now, you can witness this spectacle for yourself.

    The shikizakura trees planted in Obara have been there since Kansei era (1789-1801). With the helping hand of locals, the trees have become one of Japan’s most famous shikizakura spots. They were designated as Chiku (District) Trees in 1978 and can be seen throughout the entire district. Some of the trees are over 100 years old and as such registered as Natural Monuments of Aichi prefecture.

     

    This is a spot we highly recommend visiting when travelling to Aichi.

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Cherry Blossoms

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Locations:

    441-1 Johei, Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi (Obara Fureai Park)

    Senmichi, Toyota, Aichi (Senmi Shikizakura no Sato)

    Access: Take the Toyota Oiden Bus bound for Kaminigi (上仁木行き) and get off at Obaraokusa (小原大草) or Kaminigi (上仁木)

    Details:  http://www.kankou-obara.toyota.aichi.jp/

     

    ▼Obara Shikizakura Matsuri

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Locations: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato, Obara Fureai Park, and elsewhere in the region

    Notes: The Kururin Bus can be boarded for free on weekends and public holidays while the festival is on

    Official Website: https://www.aichi-now.jp/spots/detail/132/

     

    The Korankei Maple Festival is also taking place this month where you can witness around 40,000 maple trees bearing their gorgeous autumn foliage.

    The trees are being lit up every night for the month of November. Watch the sun set before the illuminations are turned on, creating an enchanting atmosphere with the warm, radiating lights against the night sky.

     

    ▼Maple Trees

    Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November

    Location:  Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Access: Ride the Meitetsu Mikawa Line to Toyotashi Station, change onto Meitetsu Bus, and alight at Korankei (香嵐渓)

    Official Website:  http://asuke.info/korankei/

     

    ▼64th Korankei Maple Festival

    Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019

    Location: Around Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

    Light-Up: Sunset to 21:00

    Access: 20 minutes from Sarugata Green Road Interchange / 20 minutes from Toyota-Kanpachi Interchange

    Official Website: http://asuke.info/event/nov/entry-705.html

     

    Witness two of Japan’s most celebrates treesーthe cherry blossom and the mapleーflower together in one place in Aichi.

  • See the Breathtaking Autumn Foliage of the Former Shizutani School in Okayama

    14.November.2019 | SPOT

    The Former Shizutani School, recognised as the oldest school existing for commoners in Japan, has reached its peak season for autumn foliage. Speficially, for the Chinese pistache tree, which is a symbol of the school.

    Shizutani School first opened in 1670 during the Kambun era. In 2015, it was registered as an Educational Heritage Site from Early-Modern Japan. The majority of the site is listed as an Important Cultural Property, including the temple, Shizutani Shrine, as well as the auditorium which is considered a national treasure.

     

    The school’s surrounding natural landscape enjoys the blooming of many different flowers throughout the entire year which people flock to see. It’s especially famous for autumn, a season during which the enchanting red and yellow hues boas their beautiful blossom.

    The three colours reflect from the lacquered flooring of the auditorium, rippling like ocean waves.

    The beautiful contrast between the reds and yellows of the pistaches can be enjoyed during autumn-time only. The best time to see them is from now until November 20, so if you’re travelling to Okayama, be sure to pay the Former Shizutani School a visit.

  • Limited Booking For Sebastian Masuda’s Artistic Kawaii Room Opens Soon

    29.October.2019 | SPOT

    Booking.com is one of the world’s largest accommodation booking websites that connects people from all over the world with many unique places to stay. For the first time ever, Booking.com has announced a very special stay at ‘KAWAII Japanese Room – Addicted to Tokyo.’ Designed in collaboration with no other than art director and icon of Japan’s kawaii pop culture Sebastian Masuda. The stay is available exclusively through Booking.com with only a handful of  booking dates available which are: November 13-14, 14-15 and 15-16. 

     

    One significant pattern which can be seen in the room is that of a traditional jūnihitoe, which is a set of formal kimono garments worn by court-ladies in Japan. The designs and patterns have been fused with a vivid pop colour scheme and created in a modern graphics style for a new form of experimental art. The main concept of the room is “Addicted to TOKYO”. Once you step into the room, you will be immersed in a world of vivid colours and patterns where abstract wonder is fused with traditional features. A stay here is bound to be stay you will never forget. The room is located at the MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA apartment hotel and was remodeled specifically for this purpose. Reservations will open worldwide at 7pm JST (11am in Amsterdam). Only three reservations – one for each night – will be accepted and it is first-come, first-served.  

    The room is filled with Japanese-style room features such as tatami flooring, sliding doors, zabuton floor cushions, and a raised tatami-floored seating area. There are two beds and a large open space in the room. Once you enter, you will be immersed in a world of patterns.  Using Japanese celebratory culture as a starting point, Masuda has created a space which reflects the atmosphere of an exciting Japanese celebration. Although there are many traditional features to the room, there are also animal patterns and patterns that make the word “TOKYO”, creating a room full of impact. One of the most iconic decorations in the room is the bear which rests on the pink tatami flooring. The bear’s unique design resembles origami, reflecting the cute yet edgy culture of Tokyo fashion. 

    In the room you’ll find KAWAII Japanese Room-limited design yukata. These unisex yukata are designed with a range of patterns and colours that can be seen around the room. You can use them as pyjamas and can even take them back home with you.

     

    You cannot leave the accommodation without checking out the giant mushroom display located on the MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA roof. Those staying in any room at MIMARU TOKYO AKASAKA during the limited period as well as those staying in the KAWAII Japanese room both have access to see this glorious masterpiece

     

    If you are not one of the lucky few who get a chance to stay at the KAWAII Japanese Room- Addicted to TOKYO, you could book another room in the hotel during the same period to witness Masuda’s iconic mushroom masterpiece. This is the perfect place to experience a full-on kawaii experience right in the centre of Tokyo. The first 100 people to visit the rooftop between 3pm and 9pm on each day between November 13 and 15 will receive an original hand towel. 

     

    Be sure to check it out.

  • Hoshino Resorts to Open New Facilities in Okinawa, Hawaii & 3 More Places

    28.October.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts opened HOSHINOYA Guguan in Taiwan in June and Iriomotejima Hotel in Okinawa in October this year. It will also open Risonare Nasu in November. The hotel chain has now just announced that it will open 5 more new facilities in 2020, pushing the number of locations they manage up to 45 next year.

    Iriomotejima Hotel

    Risonare Nasu

    Hoshino Resorts prides itself on offering a hotel experience that makes use of local regions as well as offering unique experiences. With their catalogue of facilities now set to increase, the company has a released a video detailing the five new hotels.

    The five new hotels will open in Hawaii, Nagato in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Tsuchira in Ibaraki Prefecture, Kohama Island in Okinawa Prefecture, and mainland Okinawa.

    The Hawaii hotel, named Hoshino Resorts Surf Jack Hawaii, describes itself as an “ohana-friendly retro boutique hotel with a satisfying Waikiki experience.”

    Nagato, Yamaguchi will give rise to the 16th hotel in Hoshino Resorts’ brand of KAI hotels, named KAI Nagato. It will open in the Yumoto Hot Spring area and be inspired by Yamaguchi’s traditional tea houses as well as buke samurai culture. Look forward to bathing in the hot springs of this traditional Japanese inn, steeped in history and culture.

    Over in Ibaraki Prefecture, Hoshino Resorts will open Japan’s biggest cycling resort, named Hoshino Resort BEB5 Tsuchiura, which we covered earlier this month. It will act as a “base camp” to enjoy cycling, with its core concept being “more an izakaya and less travel-focused where you can enjoy a laid-back time with friends.” It hopes to put a new spin on travel by combining the worlds of cycling and accommodation.

    Okinawa is getting three new hotels. Hoshino Resorts Risonare Kohama will feature 60 rooms each their own private villas. Its concept is “a private beach resort on a remote island swimming with the manta rays” and will offer a beach and resort-like experience to guests with views of the white sand and blue ocean.

    HOSHINOYA Okinawa will be inspired by gusuku which refers to castles in the Ryukyu Islands that feature stone walls, with the hotel itself being enveloped in one. The hotel will be surrounded by the gorgeous ocean and coast, offering that quintessential Okinawan resort experience.

     

    The tables at Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will offer a breathtaking view of Okinawa’s grand seas, with a menu serving food and drink made with Okinawan ingredients.

     

    2020 is looking to be a big year for Hoshino Resorts as it begins expansion. If you’re travelling to Japan, why not check if one of their hotels is near where you’re looking to stay?

  • Soak in the Hot Springs and Enjoy the Luxurious Local Cuisine at Hoshino Resorts in Yamaguchi Prefecture

    09.October.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    On March 12, 2020, Hoshino Resorts will open a brand new resort around Yumoto Hot Spring (Nagato, Yamaguchi prefecture). Following plans for a new hot spring district in Nagato that were created in January 2020, Hoshino’s hot spring resort brand KAI will be opening a resort in Nagato with numerous spa facilities. With the cooperation of the local government and community, this plan has been put into action. 

     

    As part of the masterplan, Hoshino KAI Nagato will include a cafe called Agebono Cafe. This will be the first KAI resort to extend their cafe services to non-guests. The cafe will sell sweet dorayaki pancakes that guests can enjoy while strolling the streets of the hot spring district. 

     

    KAI is a hot spring ryokan brand owned by Hoshino Resorts and can be found all over Japan. The theme of KAI resorts is traditional yet new. Although the room designs are inspired by nature and old and traditional Japanese culture, they cater to the needs of modern guests.

    Exterior Appearance

    KAI Nagato is the 16th hot spring resort of Hoshino KAI. It is located in the north of Yamaguchi prefecture and is surrounded by grand mountains. The resort sits by the peaceful Otozure River which is the main source of hot spring water for Yumoto Hot Spring. KAI Nagato is located where Agebono bridge stretches across the river. The resort aims to provide guests with an enriching experience of Yamaguchi’s traditional old tea house residences (Ochaya Yashiki) as well as the opportunity to indulge in the regions finest traditional culture, food and experiences.  From the lobby to the guest rooms, the resort is full of Yamaguchi’s samurai culture.

    KAI Guest Room

    The designs for the guest rooms were inspired by Yamaguchi’s samurai. Each room is fit for a Feudal Lord. The beds are located on flooring which is slightly higher than the rest of the room. The surrounding wooden pillars create a luxurious private atmosphere.

    Patterned Wall Decoration

    The wall behind the bed is decorated with Tokujihori washi paper which is a type of Japanese paper unique to Yamaguchi prefecture and has a history dating back to the Muromachi period over 800 years ago. This special paper has even been acknowledged as an Intangible Cultural Asset to Japan. The beautiful dainty paper has been dyed a variety of bright and elegant colours to create this beautiful masterpiece. 

    Hagi Ware *This is currently still in production so the appearance may vary.

     The room even has a Tokonoma, which is a small alcove where artistic pieces are displayed. Old Hagi ware, which was traditionally used for tea-making, is displayed here. 

    Luxury Banquet for One

    Enjoy a luxurious banquet for one made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients in a semi-private dining space. Each meal is served on a dainty dish. As Yamaguchi Prefecture is the second largest squid producer in the country, KAI Nagato serves the region’s highly-praised Yamaguchi squid as an appetizer and as sashimi. The sweet, soft and chunky squid will leave your mouth watering for more. The dinner set also includes a range of pickled vegetables and a luxurious plate of seasonal sushi and sashimi. All dishes are served in special Hagi ware. 

    KAI Nagato was created to fulfil the goal of creating a relaxing hot spring district where visitors can stroll for a relaxing break. KAI has taken one more step towards achieving this goal by creating the Agebono Cafe, which is the first ever KAI cafe to extend its services to non-guests . 

    The cafe serves Japanese dorayaki pancakes with sweet jam fillings made using Yamaguchi’s original citrus fruits such as Yamaguchi’s original Nagato Yuzukichi and the Natsu Mikan. The Natsu Mikan was introduced to Japan from overseas and is now cultivated in Yamaguchi prefecture. Enjoy the refreshing tangy citrus flavour of Yamaguchi prefecture as it perfectly balances with the sweet jam flavour. This is best enjoyed with a cafe latte. 

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Nagato is packed with the cultural wonders and flavours of the region. Take a moment to relax in the Yumoto Hot Spring and explore the culture of Japan.

  • Taiwanese Bookstore Chain Eslite Opens New Outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo

    27.September.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Eslite Bookstore is one of the prominent bookstore chains in Taiwan that opened an all-new outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on September 27, 2019 that promotes reading, culture and lifestyle.

    This will be the first Eslite Spectrum shopping mall to open outside Greater China. Its concept is “a cultural wonderland for reading and living” under wh ich Eslite has curated Nihonbashi’s rich history and culture to promote to the people of Tokyo.

     

    Eslite Spectrum is always in the front row when it comes to the latest in Taiwanese trends, and it’s a place I never fail to visit when I travel to Taiwan. When I heard they would be expanding to Tokyo, I couldn’t wait for the day of the grand opening to arrive. I made my merry way there, excited and eager to see what kind of place it would be, and what kind of items they would stock.

    The outlet is split into 4 different zones: the bookshop zone, the stationery zone, the miscellaneous item and workshop zone, and the restaurant zone. The bookshop features a line-up of carefully selected reading material and book recommendations.

    One hundred brands from around the world make up the miscellaneous and eating areas. Half of the brands are Taiwanese, meaning you can get your hands on authentic goods from Taiwan itself.

    The building was designed by leading Taiwanese architect Kris Yao, whose concept for the design was “interweaving the old and new.” It’s a stylish, welcoming building with elements of the traditional Japanese aesthetic in there. The store front has indigo blue noren entry curtains, which is both stylish and quintessentially Japanese.

     

    This new branch of Eslite Spectrum is home to stores setting up shop in Japan for the very first time. There are also many shops here selling items exclusive to Nihonbashi. I’m going to showcase four of the places I was particularly interested in.

     

    Kuo Yuan Ye

    Kuo Yuan Ye is a confectionery shop based in Shinlin, Taipei. Since opening, they have continued to use traditional confectionery-making methods, serving sweets with deep, rich flavours.

    As well as having maintained tradition, they have also released products in collaboration with rising designers. I encourage you to try their beautiful line-up yourself to taste their long, delicious history.

     

    Sarutahiko Coffee

    We have covered Sarutahiko Coffee on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON in the past when we visited the branch in Ebisu.

    The first thing that struck me upon visiting this new branch is how different the interior design is to other places. The design and its concept of “coffee and words” were created by book director Yoshitaka Haba. Quotes pulled from the books can be found written all around the cafe. There is also a space underneath the chairs for storing books. No matter where you look in the cafe, it’s nothing less than stylish.

    The cafe has their own special hot cakes and original coffee blends exclusive to Nihonbashi. The hot cakes are topped lavishly with mont blanc, giving it an extremely rich taste and one reminiscent of autumn-time. Both the hot cakes and this original coffee blend are limited-time menu options available until November 14, so you’ll want to get in there quick.

     

    Wonder Chuan

    For the first time ever, long-standing Taiwanese tea store Wonder Chuan arrives on the shore of Japan. The shop takes great care in the growing and brewing of its tea leaves, pouring their heart and soul into every cup.

    The Taiwanese oolong tea drank was a similar colour to matcha. It had a sweet flavour and a much smoother taste compared to Japanese oolong. The shop also serves a selection of cocktails made with oolong tea as well as perform traditional tea-making methods for customers. They even have plans to host their very own Taiwanese tea workshops in the future.

     

    Fujin Tree

    The last place I want to introduce is Fujin Tree, also a first in Japan. This is another one of my favourites, so I was thrilled when this one was coming to Tokyo too!

     

    It’s uncommon to be able to drink wine in restaurants in Taiwan, but the popular Fujin Tree serves Taiwanese cuisine and champagne in style.

    Their dishes are packed full of fresh vegetables and fruit. One of their popular picks is their springstar and century egg with spicy minced pork. It’s a tasty dish with full, rich flavours that goes well with sake. It’s also great with rice. There are many amazing options on the menu, but if you’re spoilt for choice then I recommend this one.

     

    Eslite is the bridge between Japanese and Taiwanese that aims to become a hub for Asian culture. Centred around reading, there are countless experiences to look enjoy here. Discover a new side of Nihonbashi by paying a visit.

     

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • 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

  • teamLab Now Holding Digital Art Exhibition at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto

    31.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    With the increase in number of collaborations between contemporary digital art and traditional and historical Kyoto sites, teamLab is getting in on the action with its new digital art exhibition “Digitized Forest at the World Heritage Site of Shimogamo Shrine.”

     

    We are joined by Instagrammer Macchan who recently attended the exhibition and who has provided photos for us.

     

    Shimogamo Shrine is a shrine located between the Kamo River and Mount Kōya. It was registered it as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The shrine is associated good luck in marriage and welcomes sightseers from Japan and around the world. It can be reached by the 205 Bus from Kyoto Station and getting off at either Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) or Tadasu Forest (糺ノ森前). It’s also about a 20-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station.

     

    This marks the third run of teamLab’s “Digitized Forest” exhibition at Shimogamo Shrine, and this year’s exhibition has been made even bigger. It is running until September 2, 2019.

    Floating by the Rōmon Gate of the shrine are spheres of light which change colour and emit various musical tones unique to the colour when touched by a person. They also react to the other spheres around them, changing to the same colour and letting out the same tone, creating a chain reaction.

    Egg-shaped orbs of light can be found dotted around the Tadasu Forest by the shrine which illuminate the trees. Like the light spheres, when the eggs are pushed they change colour and play a musical noise specific to that colour, the sound and tone spreading through the forest.

    These objects of light can also be found at Mitarashi Pond where they float on the water. The orbs shine brightly and then fade slowly as if breathing. If pushed by people or blown by the wind they will change colour and emit sound.

     

    The best part about teamLab’s art exhibitions is how visitors become part of the exhibition itself by interacting with the installations, offering a much more engaging experience than simply looking. Visit Shimogamo Shrine before the exhibition ends to see digital art meet a traditional Japanese shrine at night.

     

     

    If you’re looking for more sightseeing recommendations for Kyoto then be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram!

     

    Photos by まっちゃん

  • Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly

    13.August.2019 | FOOD

    XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA. 

     

    These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels. 

    As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.

     

    *Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline. 

     

    To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ¥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD). 

     

    To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ¥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:

    #旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク

    Four winners will be selected.

     

    Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea. 

  • 4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer

    10.August.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.

     

    If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.

     

    Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties

    This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”

     

    ▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)

    Date: August 11, 2019

    Time: From 19:30
    Location: Hozubashi Bridge
    Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/

     

    Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine

    Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.

     

    ▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Katsura River
    Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/

     

    Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years

    Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival.  Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.

    Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.

     

    ▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival

    Date: August 14, 2019

    Time: From 19:30

    Location: Shimasaki Park
    Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/

     

    Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay

    Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.

     

    ▼Ine Fireworks

    Date: August 24, 2019

    Time: 20:15

    Location: Ine, Kyoto
    Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/

     

     

    Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.

  • Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    05.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.

     

    We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.

     

    Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower

    The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.

     

    ▼Kyoto Station

    Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/

     

    ▼Kyoto Tower

    Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)

    *Opening hours subject to change without notice

    Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/

     

     

    Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.

    Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?

     

    ▼Yasaka Shrine

    Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/

     

     

    Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.

     

    Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.

     

    ▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre

    Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/

     

     

    Ninenzaka

    Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.

     

    ▼Ninenzaka

    Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/

     

     

    Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.

     

    ▼Kiyomizu-dera

    Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php

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

     

    Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.

     

    Photos: Taka

  • Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700

    04.August.2019 | BUSINESS / SPOT

    NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.

    Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.

    The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.

    The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.

    There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.

    OHYA 1

    From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.

    The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.

    All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to  get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.

     

    A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.

     

    If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?

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