Once Every 33 Years a Secret Door at Tenjō-ji Temple in Kobe is Opened

04.August.2019 | SPOT

The Buddhist temple Tenjō-ji is located on Mount Maya at the heart of the mountainous area of Mount Rokko. This month, something very special is happening at the temple. An elusive door housed there is opened only once every 33 years, and this month from August 1 to 15, it is open.

Tenjō-ji is the only temple in Japan that has a building dedicated to Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha. Its long history begins with Hōdō Sennin, an Indian high priest who build the temple at the behest of Emperor Kōtoku. In Japan, Maya-bunin is worshipped as as symbol of easy childbirth and child-rearing. Mount Maya, the mountain on which Tenjō-ji sits, is named after her.

Mount Maya, located in Kobe’s Nada ward, is a 702 meter tall mountain and one of the major peaks of Rokkō Mountains. It is close to the town areas of Kobe, and from the mountain peak one can see Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and more, making it a popular tourist destination. It’s also frequented by Kobe locals who visit with their families to eat bento, as well as couples looking to catch a glimpse at the gorgeous nightscape atop the mountain apex.

Inside the secret door now open at the temple until August 15 are three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. This is very much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan right now, you won’t want to miss this extremely special occasion. If you do, you’ll have to wait another 33 years!

 

While it is open there will be talks and faith healing by the priests three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), exclusive celebratory merchandise, limited-time goshuin stamps, and more.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Witness the Vibrant Yellow Nikkōkisuge Flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden

    11.July.2019 | Uncategorized

    The high season to catch a glimpse of the beautiful nikkōkisuge (Hemerocallis esculenta) flower at Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden is happening right now.

     

    The nikkōkisuge blooms in the high plains and is recognised as a sign of summer. The full bloom period for the flower in the subalpine zone is June, but the best time to see them in high plains is July where 2,000 clusters of the bright yellow beauties sprout their vibrant leaves. The yellow beds make for some seriously summery Instagram posts.

    They live a fleeting life as they only bloom for a single day, opening in the morning and closing in the evening. A single stem is home to abundant flower buds, and they are long so they can bloom from one to the next. If you are in Hyogo this July we highly recommend witnessing this ephemeral sight.

  • Snoopy Master of Disguise Themed Fair Kicks Off With Space Theme at PEANUTS Cafe & Diner

    05.July.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    This summer, all branches of the PEANUTS Cafe and PEANUTS DINER are holding a fair to celebrate Snoopy and his many disguises. The first theme is “Astronaut Snoopy.”

     

    IT’S A BEAGLE’S LIFE “I DID IT!” is the official catchphrase tied to this first theme which will see lots of space themed merchandise sold. And from July 17, a very special drink will be sold inspired by the Milky Way shimmering in space.

    Astronaut Lemonade: Have-In ¥730 (Before Tax) / Takeout ¥600 (Tax Included) *On sale July 17, comes with original coaster

    A beautiful spacey gradation is achieved by combining Blue Curacao syrup to a purple Blue Mallow tea. You might even catch a glimpse of a moonbound Snoopy in there. If you order this to have in the drink will be served over refreshing soda flavoured marble ice. It also comes with a limited-edition coaster you can take home. This one’s sure to be an Instagram contender!

     

    Participating Branches
    PEANUTS Cafe Nakameguro: Have-In/Takeout
    PEANUTS DINER Yokohama: Have-In/Takeout
    PEANUTS Cafe Kobe: Takeout Only
    PEANUTS DINER Kobe: Have-In Only

     

    PEANUTS Cafe×Thermo Mug <Astronaut> ¥3,500 (Before Tax)

    From the cafe’s popular tumbler collaboration series comes a new thermo mug. It’s bright red and features Astronaut Snoopy on the front. The mug keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold so you can take out your beverage of choice during any season. It also comes with a lid to ensure it does not spill when tipped or knocked. Perfect for work or when you’re reading♡

     

    POPSOCKETS GRIP Red/Blue <Astronaut> ¥2,400 (Before Tax)
    PopSockets are a must-have item for your handheld device, and these ones come with the Astronaut Snoopy design. Until now the PopSockets sold at the cafes and diners have been monochrome but you can grab these ones in red or blue! The red one is sold at the Nakameguro, Yokohama and Kobe branches while blue can be bought on the online shop. Both are available while supplies last.

     

    Original Sticker <Astronaut> ¥850 (Before Tax) *On sale from July 17
    This set of four large stickers also come in red and blue colours with Snoopy in his astronaut disguise. Stick them on your PC or laptop, suitcase and anywhere else so you can be with Snoopy all the time.

     

    © 2019 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

  • Visit the Abandoned Hotel, Tenjō-ji Temple & More at Mount Maya in Kobe

    11.June.2019 | SPOT

    A new category added to the Cool Japan Award―which is run by the Cool Japan Association―is “National Park,” which was claimed by Mount Maya in Kobe in May this year for its nighttime scenery.

     

    Mount Maya is one of the major peaks of the Rokkō Mountains in Nada, Kobe and stands at a towering 702m high. Located close to the main city of Kobe, those who reach its apex will be able to see many different sights such as Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, and Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Maya is popular not just with tourists and sightseers, but Kobe locals too who visit it with families to eat bento, or those who take their special somebodies to observe the nightscape.

     

    Located on Mount Maya is Tenjō-ji, a temple which the mountain’s name has its origins in. This year marks the run of a special event which is held at the temple once every 33 years. Visitors can also go on a guide walk to an abandoned hotel which is normally off limits to the public.

     

    Let’s take an in-depth look at all the exciting things one can do at Mount Maya.

     

    Tenjō-ji Temple, Mount Maya

    The originator of Mount Maya’s name

    Tenjō-ji can be found wrapped in nature at the peak of Mount Maya in its National Park. Visitors can enjoy all weathers atop the mountain as the seasons change, but if you go on a clear day, you’ll be able to observe as far as Awaji Island, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, and Shōdoshima. The history of this temple―the only one in Japan to have been built by Maya-bunin―dates back to the year 646 when the high priest of India accepted Emperor Kōtoku’s request to build it. Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha, is prayed to as a guardian of safe childbirth and child rearing. This is where Mount Maya gets its name.

    The door to three hidden Buddhist statues opened once every 33 years

    Once every 33 years, a door is opened at the palace to reveal three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. For the duration of its opening this August, Buddhist sermons will be given three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), and visitors will be able to obtain an exclusive goshuin stamp.

     

    Running: August 1, 2019 – August 15, 2019

    Time: 10:00-16:00 (Until 17:00 for this event)

     

    Tour guide walk to Mount Maya’s historic ruins

    ~Stroll around and trace the history of Mount Yama~

    As well as the temple, Mount Yama formerly bustled with people looking to dine and as well as stay in the accommodation there. After the war and earthquake disasters, a campaign began to restore life to Mount Maya, one part of which is a tour guide walk to the historic ruins.

    This includes a trip to the former Tenjō-ji temple site as well as the abandoned hotel which is off limits to the general public.

     

    Mount Maya’s Nightscape

    ~An internationally recognised landscape~

    Mount Maya has been awarded the Cool Japan Award 2019 in the new National Park category for its gorgeous evening view from which one can see Kobe’s streets, the port and more.

     

    If you’re planning a trip to Kobe be sure to use this article as reference!

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  • MAXPLAN AZABU10: The New Landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District

    31.May.2020 | SPOT

    MAXPLAN Co. is set to open MAXPLAN AZABU10 on October 22, 2020 which is set to become the new symbol and a landmark of Tokyo’s Azabu Juban District. The building will offer many unique and extraordinary experiences.

    Nakamura Suzuko (CEO, MAXPLAN Co.) | Comment

    “This project borrows the strength of internationally-active architect Kengo Kuma. I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to be a driving force together with him once again. This building, which is the ‘Azabu Juban Development Project,’ will be a place that creates and discovers new collective value between companies and individuals. A place of creative symbiosis. It aims to offer well being for companies that brings about a sense of cultural values. It will be a creative space for companies and individuals to resonate, bounce ideas off, and flow with one another. I pray from the bottom of my heart that these things will serve as a connection to how we want to live in the future.”

    Kengo Kuma (Architect) | Comment

    “Azabu Juban is Tokyo’s intersection between tradition and the future. I wanted to create a symbol for this district of ‘fluctuations’ around its crossroads. Combining panels of varying sizes with different heights, thicknesses, and textures expresses the district’s diversity and energy. I wanted the building to blend in as part of the ‘fluctuations,’ as well as create a small 3D city which itself has ‘fluctuations’ […]”

     

    We look forward to seeing how this new landmark and symbol of Azabu Juban brings together the traditional and the futuristic.

  • Ginza’s Legendary Strawberry Mille-Feuille Dessert Arrives to Japan’s Kansai Region

    28.May.2020 | FOOD

    VMG HOTELS & UNIQUE VENUES is now serving a certain strawberry mille-feuille at several locations across Japan’s Kansai region. Available from May 26 to 31, t’s a recreation of the legendary dessert “Napoleon Pie” from Ginza in Tokyo.

    In 1966, Sony co-founder Akio Morita opened a restaurant called Maxim’s de Paris with the idea in mind to create a place for adults to meet and socialise over food. Since opening, it has tickled the taste buds of customers with its authentic French cuisine and dazzled them with its deep crimson decor. The “Napoleon Pie” is an especially popular dessert that has gained a legendary status. The custard is laced with fragrant cointreau, and the thick pastry is stuffed with strawberries. The dessert gets its name from how it looks like Napoleon’s hat.

     

    This strawberry mille-feuille is now being sold at select locations in Kyoto and Hyogo for just six days. It’s the first time for the dessert to be served in Kansai.
    The dessert is available for takeout so customers can enjoy an at-home cafe experience.

  • One Piece Goshuin Shrine Stamp Books Get Luffy and Trafalgar Law Designs

    17.March.2020 | ANIME&GAME

    Movic has collaborated to release two special goshuincho books at Animate stores in Japan as well as the Animate and Movic online stores and select Mugiwara shops.

     

    Goshuincho is a book for collecting goshuin, which are stamps or seals given at shrines and temples across Japan. Every shrine and temple has its own unique goshuin which are stamped alongside calligraphy handwritten by the staff there and then who write the date and the name of the temple or shrine. We have covered goshuin here on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON many times – click for more details.

     

    Goshuincho – Luffy

     

    Goshuincho – Trafalgar Law

    The designs feature Luffy and Trafalgar Law made from gold leaf stood against backgrounds with traditional Japanese designs. Both books also feature their respective pirate logos. They are the perfect gift for any fan of One Piece heading to Japan to see the temples and shrinesーor to just add to their collection at home!


    The order window for these books will run from March 16, 2020 to April 15, 2020 at Animate, Animate online, Movic online, at select Mugiwara storesーthe latter being the official One Piece merchandise shop. You won’t be able to order them after April 15, so be sure to get your order in quick.

     

    *Photos are of the product still in development. Actual product is subject to alterations.

    *Product sales subject to change, extensions, or cancellations.

     

    ©Eiichiro Oda / Shueisha・Fuji TV・Toei Animation

  • Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences

    26.January.2020 | SPOT

    Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.

     

    Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.

     

    “Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll

    Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.

     

    Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing

    One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.

    You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.

     

    Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery

    The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.

    After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.

     

    See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train

    Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.

    You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.

     

    Sky Bus

    Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.

     

    Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.

  • Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience

    17.January.2020 | SPOT

    Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.

    This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.

    Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.

    The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.

  • Gintama Diner: Tokyo’s Gintama Themed Cafe Heads to Animate Branches Across Japan

    06.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD / SPOT

    Animate Cafe, a chain of cafes that collaborate with popular anime and game franchises, is teaming up with Gintama to open the Gintama Diner for a limited time at the following branches: Ikebukuro 3, Kobe Sannomiya, and Nagoya 2.

    The cafe will be inspired by American diners, and will run from December 19 to January 7 next year. Each cafe has its own system for being able to dine there. The Ikebukuro 3 and Kobe Sannomiya branches are all reservation-only, with each daily reservation going through a lottery system for a chance to have a place allocated. The Nagoya 2 branch has the same system for December 19-20 only, otherwise it is first-come, first-served.

    Thick-Cut Bacon Burger – ¥850

    Yorozuya Gin-chan’s Sakata Parfait – ¥850

    Gin’s Strawberry☆Milk – ¥600

     

    The menu features dishes, desserts and drinks inspired by the characters of the series. The bacon burger comes with a side menu item of your choice, with each being based on a specific character’s favourite side menu item. The parfait too is bright and vivid like the Yorozuya members.

     

    When fans order from the themed menu, they’ll receive one of eight possible coasters featuring original designs.

    Big Acrylic Stands (Diner ver.)

    Squishy Trading Pin Badges

    Trading Acrylic Keyrings (Diner ver.)

     

    Fans will also be able to pick up some exclusive cafe merchandise they won’t find anywhere else, including acrylic stands, pin badges, key rings, and moreーall featuring a diner design.

     

    ©️Hideaki Sorachi/Shueisha・TV Tokyo・Dentsu Inc.・BNP・Aniplex

    *All listed prices include tax

  • Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners

    26.November.2019 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.

    ①Questionnaire Campaign

    A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.

     

    ②Instagram Photo Contest

    Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.

    ③Coupons, Goods & Experiences

    Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.

     

    ④Special Events

    ・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)

    This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.

     

    Official Website:  http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/

     

    ・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)

    From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.

     

    Official Website:  http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/

     

    Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.

  • Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More

    26.November.2019 | SPOT

    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).

     

    From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.

     

    Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts

    Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.

    In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.

     

    Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020

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

     

     

    Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

    Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!

     

    Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/

     

     

    Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow

    Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.

    The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.

     

    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020

    Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
    Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html

     

     

    Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate

    Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.

     

    The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.

    The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.

     

    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

    These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.

  • 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.

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