Travel Japan: Turtle Rock, Oshinkoshin Waterfall & Other Must-Visit Sites in Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula

18.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and is the northernmost location in Japan to have been so. Even in a place such as Hokkaido, which strikes all with its marvellous natural landscape, Shiretoko is said to be home to many secluded locations. Many of these have not been touched by the hands of man―they have been left as they are―and so one can discover sights, animals and much more that they cannot anywhere else.

 

We are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts her experiences travelling to Hokkaido’s many sightseeing spots located in pockets of nature. She has provided us with photos of her trip to the Shiretoko Peninsula and its must-see spots.

 

The Shiretoko Five Lakes

The Shiretoko Five Lakes are situated inside an old-growth forest from which you can admire the grand Shiretoko mountain range in the back. Many wild animals live here such as the brown bear and black woodpecker. The view is one would expect from a World Heritage Site, with gorgeous scenery to soak up in every direction.

 

▶︎The Shiretoko Five Lakes

Address: Onnebetsumura, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

 

Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

Cape Chashikotsu, located on the Utoronishi side, can be seen from Shari and looks just like a giant turtle which is where it gets its nickname “Turtle Rock” from.

 

▶︎Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)

Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

 

Oshinkoshin Waterfall

Oshinkoshin Waterfall is listed as one of Shiretoko’s “8 Sights.” This towering waterfall rolls down the rocks and splits into two separate waterfalls halfway down which has given it the nickname “Two Beautiful Falls.” The are stairs that enable you to walk beside the waterfall halfway up, letting you get nice and close to the water. There is also an observation deck atop the waterfall from which you can see many sights such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Shiretoko mountain range. The waterfall is also listed as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls.

 

▶︎Oshinkoshin Waterfall

Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

 

The Road To Heaven

This long stretch of road spans 18km and has been dubbed the “Road To Heaven” as when observed from uphill looks like it disappears into the clouds. Situated on one side of the farmlands, one can enjoy a quiet and breathtaking view of the road. It’s also a popular road with bikers and travellers riding bicycles. It’s also a must-see from the observation deck close by.

 

▶︎The Road To Heaven (Japanese Name: 天に続く道)

Address: Minehama, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido

Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html

 

 

Did you enjoy this list? There are countless places to visit in Japan, and some of the best are the quiet, secluded ones. If you get the opportunity to visit Hokkaido, put the Shiretoko Peninsula on your list of must-visit places.

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  • 6 Must-Visit Cafes in Hokkaido For Their Kawaii Pancakes

    16.July.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s islands and a popular tourist location with both locals and overseas visitors, enjoyed for its winter sports like skiing, hot springs and more. It is also enjoyed for its cool climate, being the coldest region in Japan. It’s home to many tourist spots and seafood restaurants, but today we’re covering its countless cute cafes.

     

    Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer, posts his visits to the many cafes of Sapporo―the capital of Hokkaido―on his Instagram page

    607keih). Today he will introduce us to 6 must-visit cafes in Hokkaido with the cutest pancakes.

     

     

    Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Susukino, Sapporo)

    This popular little cafe in the district of Susukino showcases its assortment of pancakes in a glass display. The cafe now sells affordable pancake and purin sets. I ordered the “Fruits and Milky & Chocolate Purin” set (¥980).


    The fluffy pancake is made with Fafi’s famous eggs which have a rich flavour and big yolks. The milky cream is sweet and silky smooth. Inside the pancake is delicious pineapple and strawberries which add a deliciously fruity accent.

     

    Their pancakes are noticeably smaller at g-plus but since it comes with a purin in the set you’re sure to be nice and full after. The set is perfect to share too.

     

    ▼Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Japanese: ファフィたまごのパンケーキ g-plus)

    Address: 9-1019 Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 11:30-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)

    Closed: Thursdays & Fridays

    Official Website: https://g-plus.owst.jp/

     

     

    Café ZIKKA (Kiyota, Sapporo)

    Café ZIKKA serves a variety of pastries and desserts. Their elusive strawberry pancakes are a limited-time-only offer. These fat and fluffy pancakes have a distinctly different taste to other places. Heaping with strawberries, the fruit and pancakes marry in the most sumptuous of flavours when eaten with the yogurt ice cream centre. The strawberries also come in a variety of forms including whole, compote and sauce, making for a variety of succulent textures.


    The fresh cream isn’t overly-sweet making for a lighter pancake. It’s also topped with crushed almond for added texture. The size of the pancakes aren’t huge but since it’s served with two and many toppings you’ll absolutely be satisfied afterwards.

     

    ▼Café ZIKKA

    Address: 11-12 Hiraokakoenhigashi, Kiyota Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 11:00-20:00 (10:00-19:00 in January and February)

    Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays)

    Official Website: http://yoshidacoffee.com/index.html

     

     

    Kaze o Kanjite (Motomachi, Sapporo)

    This cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Motomachi Station via the Tōhō Line. Simply exit from Exit 1 of the station, make a right and you’ll arrive right there.

     

    This cafe’s aim is to bring it lots of students to eat their pancakes which are both cheap and delicious. I ordered the berry sauce pancakes.


    The cafe’s homemade strawberry jam contains pieces of fresh strawberry which alone already make the pancakes tantalising enough. They are served with a side of fresh fruits like extra strawberries as well as orange slices. The pancakes served here are so good that I personally count them as the best in Sapporo. That, and the prices are amazing for the huge portions you get. I want more people to get to know about this place, and not just students.

     

    ▼Kaze o Kanjite (Japanese: 風をかんじて)

    Address: Kita House 1F, 17-2-3 Kita 24 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)

    Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays

    Website: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010202/1058705/

     

     

    ROJIURA CAFÉ (Susukino, Sapporo)

    ROJIURA CAFÉ is another cafe located in Susukino round on the backstreet of Round One. They serve pancakes and parfaits right into the early hours of the morning.

     

    Their caramel sauce has salt in it to add a mouthwatering salty flavour that draws out the sweetness of the fresh cream. The nuts only add to this delectable delight of a pancake.

    Fine and fluffy pancakes fit for the gods. Whether it’s a dessert like pancakes or parfaits or even meals, ROJIURA CAFÉ’s doors are open to  you from the evening until the deepest hours of the night.

     

    ▼ROJIURA CAFÉ

    Address: TAKARA6.3, 3 Chome Minami 6 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours:

    [Mon-Thurs] 18:00-03:00 (Last Orders 02:00)

    [Fri-Sat] 18:00-04:00 (Last Orders 03:00)

    [Sun & Holidays] 18:00-01:00 (Last Orders 00:00)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: http://sapporo-rojiuracafe.com/

     

     

    OJ Coffee (Kotoni, Sapporo)

    You’ll find OJ Coffee just a few minutes’ walk from Kotoni Station in Nishi Ward, Sapporo. This cafe serves exquisite coffees and boasts an abundant menu consisting of soba noodles, curries, steaks and more. They also serve pancakes so I decided to give them a go.

    Fluffy, moist and glorious. The pancake is topped with custard and served with a side of fresh cream, both of which aren’t overly sweet and go perfectly with the sweet beaten eggs of the pancakes. Decorated the outside of the plate is an assortment of fruits, maple syrup and other tempting treats for a variety of flavours. The coffee flavoured soft serve ice cream is a great palate cleanser too. The ice cream doesn’t have the bitterness that comes with coffee but it’s very coffee flavoured. It’s close to Kotoni Station so if you’re strolling around Nishi Ward looking for a cafe I highly recommend visiting here.

     

    ▼OJ Coffee

    Address: D Planning Bldg. 1F, Kotoni 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo

    Business Hours: 7:30~22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.oj-coffee.com/

     

     

    Café Blue (Ishiyama-dori, Sapporo)

    Café Blue, built up from a renovated old house, is currently selling a new lemon and yogurt pancake for a limited time.

     

    Their pancakes never fail to be anything less than fluffy. The generously drizzled yogurt sauce is fairly refreshing and sweet while still retaining that yummy yogurt flavour. The lemon curd sauce, too, is refreshing and combines well with the pancakes as lemon always does. The lemon also has honey in it making for a satisfyingly sweet and sour combination.


    The ice cream on top is salt flavoured which bring out all the sweet flavours of the dessert. The crunchy almonds are nice and nutty and bring a great texture to the soft and sticky combinations. When I eat pancakes this is the  kind of thing I’m looking for!

     

    The sauce was refreshing and the pancake overall was delicious and very easy to get down. The yogurt sauce really is amazing!

     

    ▼Café Blue

    Address: 16-9-12 Minami 19 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Business Hours: 9:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)

    No Fixed Holidays

    Website: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010104/1036972/

     

     

    Did you enjoy Kei’s picks? Be sure to check out their Instagram page for more recommended desserts and foods to try in Sapporo. There’s a wealth of choices on there that will make for great reference when travelling to Hokkaido.

     

    Photo & Text: Kei (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Hokkaido is a popular tourist destination for Japanese people as well as foreigners. During the winter, it is the perfect place to go skiing and during the summer, you will not suffer under sweltering heat like the rest of Japan. Hokkaido not only flourishes with wonderful tourist locations and delicious gourmet seafood, but also beautiful and stylish cafés.

     

    Instagrammer Kei @607keih) uses his account to introduce the world to delicious desserts and meals. Today, he will be introducing you to the delicious strawberry-flavoured desserts that Hokkaido’s capital Sapporo has to offer.

     

    holidays pancake/ Susukino

    Strawberry Pancake with Raspberry Sauce: ¥1200

    holidays pancake is only open on Sundays. It is located inside a beer bar called es CRAFT. I ordered the strawberry pancake with raspberry sauce. The plate was stacked with three pancakes which were deliciously covered in fresh cream, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, strawberries and raspberry sauce. The pancakes were soft and spongy. The flavour of the ricotta cheese really came through. Overall, this pancake is a very unique pancake to Hokkaido. 

     

    The sweetness of the raspberry sauce and sourness of the lemon juice balanced out for a slightly sour tinge. The fresh cream and vanilla ice cream toppings can be obtained for free by simply following the café on Instagram. The variety of toppings add a whole new range of flavours and colours for you to mix and match, so there is no getting bored. You can reserve your spot simply by sending them a direct message on Instagram, or by referring to their story! These pancakes are a rare find in Hokkaido, so you must try them.

     

    ▼holidays pancake

    Address: 1st floor N-place Building, 3-2-1, 4 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Access: 3-minute walk from Susuki Station/Hosui-Susukino Station  

    Opening Hours: 11:00 ー 16:00(Last orders: 5:30)

    Closed: Mondays ー Saturdays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kyujitsulab/

     

    BerryBerryCrazy/ Susukino

    Berry Berry Crazy is located on the 2nd floor of the building between 5-chome and 6 chome of Tanuki-Koji. The desserts here are made using strawberries sourced from Urakawa Sugano Orchard in Hokkaido. The species of strawberry used in the desserts is completely dependent on what is received upon the delivery of the ingredients that are received on the day. The parfait I ordered was made using a species of strawberry called Kaorino.

    The parfait contained fresh strawberries and strawberry compote, whipped cream, strawberry granita, pie crust, chiffon cake, and milk ice cream. You can tell that this parfait is full of strawberry goodness just by looking at it. Not only are the strawberries delicious, but the strawberry granita and strawberry compote were also to die for. This combined with the delicious whipped cream enhances the rich flavour even more. 

     

    ▼Berry Berry Crazy

    Address: 2nd floor, 5-20-2, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Access: Approx. 5-minute walk from Odori Subway Station/Susuki Station

    Opening Hours: 18:00 ー 24:00 (Last orders: 23:30)

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/berryberrycrazy/

     

    Café Blue/ Chuo Ward


    Condensed Milk Strawberry Pancake: ¥1380 ※ Can change pancakes to waffles

    A mountain of whipped cream sits on the pancakes served at this popular café. The condensed milk strawberry pancake intrigued me for quite while so I decided to order it. 

    The plate is stacked with three pancakes, fresh cream and condensed milk. This is then drizzled with strawberry sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream. The pancakes were fluffy and the cream balanced the overall flavour, making it moderately sweet. The sweetness of the condensed milk and the sourness of the strawberry sauce were so delicious that there was no way I could get bored. 

     

    ▼ Café Blue

    Address: 16-9-12, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Access: 5-minute walk from Ropeway iriguchi Station

    Opening Hours: 9:00 ー 19:00, (last orders: 18:00) 

    Breakfast: 9:00 ー 11:00, lunch/dinner: 10:00 ー 19:00, desserts: 10:00 ー 19:00,

    Open all year round.

    Official Website: https://cafeblue.exblog.jp/

     

    SHIRAYUKI/Tanuki-Koji 

    Fruit Squash: ¥500 each

    Shirayuki is located in Tanuki-Koji. The fruit squash here comes in four flavours and each contains popping boba. Today I ordered the Strawberry Squash. Strawberry sauce is drizzled into a cup of carbonated water. Popping boba is then added. The drink is topped with strawberries. 

    The bubbles of the carbonated water makes it the perfect way to cool down in the summer. This drink is only available until August 15, so if you want to try it, get there soon.

     

    ▼SHIRAYUKI

    Address: Shirayuki Sapporo Aiseikan Building, 5 Chome, Minami 1-jo nishi 5, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Access: Approx. 5-min walk from Odori Subway Station

    Opening Hours: 12:30 ー 19:00

    No regular holidays

    Official Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/shirayuki.hokkaido

     

    So how about it? Kei’s Instagram account is full of desserts and meals that you absolutely must try. If you are going to visit Hokkaido, make sure to check out Kei’s Instagram so you know exactly which restaurant or café you want to visit!

     

    Original article information and photographer: Kei (@607keih)

     

  • Every Single Spot in Hokkaido’s Green Town of Biei is a Sight to Behold

    24.July.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Japan’s northernmost prefecture Hokkaido is immensely popular with travellers and sightseers not only during the winter season but in the summertime too.

     

    If you have never heard of Biei before then we guarantee you’ll want to make it your next travel destination. Located roughly at the heart of Hokkaido, the town of Biei is nothing short of majestic when it comes to its natural scenery for which it is treasured greatly. It also goes by the name “Town of Hills.”

     

    We are joined by Mirina who travels around Hokkaido and posts the sights she sees on her Instagram page. Here are some of the must-visit places located in Biei using photos kindly provided by Mirina.

     

    Patchwork Road

    These are the kind of beautiful sloping hills you can expect your eyes to roll across when visiting Biei. The hills connect to many different locations bearing their own colours of nature. Biei’s hilly area is known as “Patchwork Road,” and as its name suggests, it looks just like patchwork.

     

    ▼Patchwork Road

    Address: Hokuei, Kamikawa District, Biei, Hokkaido

    Time: Sunrise to sunset

    Biei Official Website: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/

     

     

    Shirogane Blue Pond

    Shirogane Blue Pond can be reached by car or Dohoku bus from JR Biei Station in 20 minutes. People flock to this place every year to see the enchanting blue colour of the pond’s surface. The way you see the colour also changes depending on the weather, so we recommend going one afternoon when the weather is good.

     

    ▼Shirogane Blue Pond

    Address: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido

    Official Website: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/sightseeing/shirogane-blue-pond/

     

     

    Seven Stars Tree

    Seven Stars Tree can be reached by car in 13 minutes from JR Biei Station. It gets its name from having appeared on the packaging for Seven Star cigarettes. Mirina’s photo was taken by the nearby white birches.

    She also took one as the sun set. The pink evening sky is an equally beautiful sight to behold next to the green spectacle during the day.

     

    ▼Seven Stars Tree

    Address: Hokuei, Kamikawa District, Biei, Hokkaido

    Opening Hours: Sunrise to sunset (Light-up runs until 21:00)

    Official Website: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/sightseeing/sevn-stars-tree/

     

     

    Shikisai No Oka

    The Shikisai no Oka flower park is 12 minutes by car from JR Biei Station and a 25-minute walk from Bibaushi Station. When summer rolls around, the fields bloom rainbows of flowers. During winter you can enjoy riding snowmobiles across the snowy hills.

    This photo was taken in June and showcases the nemophilia beds. During summer break you can expect to see dianthus, scarlet sage, marigolds, sunflowers, and more. Every spot on the flower fields looks picturesque.

     

    ▼Shikisai No Oka

    Address: Shinsei-daisan, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido

    Opening Hours: Dependent upon season, please check the website for more details

    Official Website: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/sightseeing/shikisai-no-oka-flower-park/

     

     

    Rubeshibe no Oka

    The hills of Rubeshibe are a sightseeing spot not yet known to a lot of people. They’re just a 5-minute car ride from JR Biei Station. Rubeshibe comes from the Ainu language and means “the marshy road that leads down from the mountain.” From here you can see the fields and roads of Biei, and beyond Mount Tokachi, Mount Tomuraushi and more.

     

    ▼Rubeshibe no Oka

    Address: Rubeshibe, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido

    Biei Official Website: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/en/visit/observationfacility/

     

     

    The Sunsets of Biei

    If you’re visiting Biei then you can’t leave without witnessing its breathtaking sunsets. The colours of the late afternoon sky offer a much different experience to that during the day. It really is a picturesque world.

     

    Mirina has countless other photos of must-see sightseeing spots from around Hokkaido over on her Instagram page. You should definitely check it out if you’re thinking of travelling there for some amazing location recommendations.

     

    Photos: Mirina Nishio

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  • 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.

  • Star Wars Theme Cafe Opens in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido & Fukuoka

    25.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    With The Rise of Skywalker concluding the Skywalker saga of the Star Wars film franchise, fans are left craving more from the galaxy far far away.

     

    If you’re one of those people, and need a fix before season two of The Mandalorian, which is coming in late 2020, then you’ll want to hit up the all-new Star Wars-themed cafes now open for a limited time at branches of OH MY CAFE across Japan in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka.

     

    We visited the Tokyo branch of the cafe which is located inside Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku. Here’s our report of this must-see cafe for Star Wars fans, a museum-like space chock-full of concept art.

    Ready to greet you as you walk into the cafe is none other than Darth Vader. This life-size recreation of the Sith Lord is really striking, but don’t worryーthough he is realistic, he won’t use his Force choke on you, he only wishes for you to have a nice meal.

    Plastered across the cafe walls are pieces of concept art used during the production of the Star Wars film series.

    Here’s a galactic showcasing of the cafe’s menu. There are 7 food items and 5 drinks to choose from, all inspired by the franchise and its characters.

    <STAR WARS> Far Far Away Galaxy Black Curry – ¥1,590

    A signature dish of the cafe, this black curry features the Star Wars logo which is actually an edible wafer. The space design is bamboo charcoal-cooked rice which is mixed with spicy sauce and topped with peanuts for stars.

    <BB-8> Seafood BB-8 Gratin – ¥1,690

    Fans of BB-8 won’t be able to resist this delicious gratin, served with salad and French bread for a full belly.

    <Yoda> Root Leaf Stew – ¥1,590

    This stew is inspired by Yoda living his final years in his little shack in Dagobah during Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. It’s packed full of vegetables and will no doubt be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

    <R2-D2 & C-3PO> Buddy Burger Plate – ¥1,990

    This set of two chicken burgers comes with an R2-D2 seasoned with béchamel sauce and a C-3PO burger seasoned with meat sauce. You can take the flags home with you too. We recommend sharing this between two people.

    Portion Bread – ¥500

    This is the one I was most interested in personally, because I was curious to know from its appearance how it would taste. It’s the portion bread that Rey tries eating in the film. At first glance it looks crunchy, but to my surprise it was soft with a subtle sweet flavour.

    Lightsaber Drinks – ¥600 Each (w/ Coaster ¥1,300)

    From the left, the flavours are Darth Vader blood orange, Luke Skywalker ramune, and Yoda melon. When you draw your straw from the paper wrapping, it turns into a lightsaber!

    <STAR WARS > Jet Black Coffee – ¥600 (w/Bottle ¥1,750)

    These limited edition bottles of black coffee feature the famous Star Wars opening crawl credits. Which one you get is randomーa must-have for all fans!

    After enjoying some Star Wars food and drink, it’s time to check out the cafe’s exclusive merchandise. There are 13 types of merch in total all bearing artwork from across the film series.

    Folder – ¥350

    I recommend picking up one of these folders made in collaboration with the cafe. It has illustrations of the food and drinks being sold there.

    Tote Bag – ¥3,500

    This tote bag has illustrations of characters from Star Wars and how they are all connected.

    There’s plenty of other must-grab merch too, from music to stationery and more.

    Customers who spend over ¥1,000 (excluding tax) on any of these exclusive items will receive the above-pictured limited edition bag. These are limited in stock so are available while supplies last.

    There’s plenty of places inside for fans to take great photos, so make sure you snap lots.

    Also, if you book a table in advance and order something from the menu, you’ll receive one of these 25 possible A5 folders, so be sure to book before you go!

     

     

    © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

    *All listed prices are pre-tax. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.

  • 3 Breathtaking New Rooms to Open at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa

    25.January.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa, a branch of Hoshino Resorts’ hotels for tourists and travellers, has announced that it is opening three new room types to guests from April 1 to make their stay and travels that much better. They are the “Double Room,” “Superior Room,” and “Family Room.”

     

    OMO7 Asahikawa opened in Hokkaido April 2018 as the first branch of Hoshino Resorts’s “OMO” brand of city tourism hotels. The hotel offers not only a great sleep, but enjoys the benefit of its location with must-see sights surrounding it, and all of this to make guests’ stay the best it can be.


    The hotel’s Studio Rooms, formerly named the DANRAN Room before the renovation, have received praise from guests that have stayed there for offering everything they needed while being compact, as well as it being easy to kick back and relax in them. It was revealed that in 2019, the average number of people staying in a single room at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa was higher than the average of that in other city hotels in Asahikawa, as well as the hotel being popular for catering to tourist and sightseers’ needs.

     

    The hotel has now renovated 111 of its rooms in response to it being used by a lot of people because of its catering towards tourists’ needs. It has also added the three new types of roomsーDouble, Superior, and Familyーwhich incorporate the well-received functionality of the Studio Rooms. That’s 226 room renovations out of the hotel’s 237 rooms.

    All beds have storage space underneath them. Those travelling in big groups like families will especially benefit from this if they have a lot of luggage as they can save on plenty of space in rooms.

     

    New rooms are furnished with new sofas and tables for maximum comfort amongst friends and family where they can talk about their trip while enjoying local drinks and snacks.

    Also, in the Superior Rooms and Family Rooms, where there is a small amount of guests, beds can be folded and turned into spacious sofas.

    The OMO brand promises “a reasonable price for your travels,” and this rings true: the new Family Rooms start at ¥5,500, allowing an affordable stay so you can spend more on the local sights.

     

    Room bookings will open on February 3, 2020, so if you’re visiting Hokkaido, be sure to check out Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.

  • 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.

  • Matcha Desserts in Sapporo You Just Have To Try

    06.January.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    We’ve previously covered the best spots to try delicious matcha desserts in Kyoto. Now, with the help of expert dessert Instagrammer Kei, we are going to introduce you to some of the most delicious spots to try matcha desserts in Sapporo, Hokkaido.

     

    If you want to discover more delicious cafés, desserts and drinks in Hokkaido, make sure to check out Kei’s Instagram (@607keih).

     

    KotoniSand, Nishi Ward

    Macchan French Toast: ¥1200

     From dinners to desserts, this café serves up lots of meals based on their delicious thick-sliced bread. Bread flavours include plain, matcha and even coffee. You can order to go or enjoy the eat-in-limited menu. This fluffy french toast is soaked in matcha liqueur and is full of flavour even before trying it with the toppings. Take a bite of it with the red bean paste for a flavour adventure. A limited number of these are sold per day so if you want to try it, make sure to get there early. 

     

    ▼KotoniSand

    Address: 1-1-1 Yamanote 5 Jō, Nishi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Official Website: https://kotonisand.business.site

     

    Ame no hi to yuki no hi, Minami Ward

    Gelato Futatsu: ¥450

    Located before Jozankei’s onsen hotspot is a café called Ame no hi yuki no hi. It serves delicious pizzas and a variety of gelato flavours depending on the season. Their matcha ice cream is delicious. They even allow you to order two or three flavours at once so you can enjoy a mix and match of combinations. 

    ▼Ame no hi to yuki no hi

    Address: 2-4-1, Jozankeionsennishi, Minami Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:30
    Closed: Thursdays
    Official Website: https://www.amenohitoyukinohi.com

     

    KANON pancakes, Shiroishi Ward

    Matcha Tiramisu Pancake: ¥1500

    This is a famous pancake shop in Kikusui. Tuck into a stack of fluffy pancakes inside the relaxing and soothing restaurant. The Matcha Tiramisu Pancakes are soaked with liqueur, creating a texture that is softer and moister than their standard pancakes. In addition to the matcha liqueur, the pancake is also dusted with matcha powder for a richer matcha flavour. Finally, they are drizzled with delicious brown sugar syrup and topped with walnuts.

     

    ▼KANON pancakes

    Address: 5-5-18 Kikusui 3 Jo, Shiroishi Ward, Sapporo,

    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Orders: 16:00)
    No Regular Holidays
    Official Website: https://kanon-pancakes.com

     

    Any cafe, Kita Ward

    Matcha Kintoki: ¥1350

    This shop uses gluten-free ingredients in their food. This pancake dish is made using unpolished rice powder, three pieces of Turkish delight, red bean paste, rice flour dumplings, and cream made from Hokkaido-produced mascarpone and fresh cream. The cream is full of the bitter and delicious flavour of matcha, making the pancake sweet and very delicious. 

     

    ▼Any cafe

    Address: 3-2-24 Kita 18 Jonishi, Kita Ward

    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30 (Last Orders: 18:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/any_cafe_sapporo/

     

    If you are looking for delicious matcha desserts in Sapporo, let this article help you decide where to go. When your food cravings kick in, make sure to visit Kei‘s Instagram which is full of the most delicious meals, drinks and desserts in Hokkaido. 

     

    Original Article Contents and Photos by: Kei (@607keih )

  • Beautiful and Scrumptious Strawberry Desserts You Have to Try in Sapporo This Winter

    28.December.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In Japan, strawberries are the perfect winter treat. In this feature, we’re going to look at the most mouthwatering strawberry desserts in Sapporo with the help of Hokkaido dessert expert Kei,(@607keih) whose Instagram is full of the most delicious dessert pictures you have ever seen.

     

    MIRAI.ST, Sapporo Station

    Strawberry and Pistachio Shortcake Parfait: ¥1650

    Dig through the rich pistachio ice cream to discover layers of whipped cream, sponge cake and strawberries. You will also come across pistachio panna cotta and crispy biscuit which contributes a wonderful texture. The fusion of strawberry shortcake and pistachio is divine. Finally, the strawberry jam leaves you with a sweet and tangy aftertaste for a refreshing finish. 

     

    MIRAI.ST

    Address: Shikishima Bldg. B1, 3 Chome−3, Kita 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours

     Mondays-Thursdays: 11:30-23:00

    Fridays and Saturdays: 11:00-24:00

    Sundays:11:30-21:00
    No Regular Holidays
    Official Website: https://miraist.com/

     

    INITIAL SAPPORO, Susukino Station

    Natsumizuki Strawberry Parfait: ¥1800 *Only 10 sold per day.

     This parfait is made using Natsumizuki strawberriesーa type of strawberry that is not available to buy at the market. With a sugar content between 18 and 18 degrees Brix, these strawberries are especially sweet and juicy. Below the mountain of strawberries is pistachio soft-serve ice cream followed by chocolate soft-serve ice cream and crispy feuilletine. Sweet and tangy fruits such as blueberries and blackcurrants garnish the parfait and will leave you feeling refreshed. The balsamic flavour on the strawberries accents the flavour perfectly. 

     

    ▼INITIAL SAPPORO

    Address: DRESS Floor 2, 5−36-1F, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours:17:00-24:00
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/initial_sapporo?lang=ja

     

    Matcha cafe RIQ, Susukino Station

    Strawberry Forest:¥1980

     This parfait is also made using Natsumizuki strawberries. A Christmas biscuit, chocolate ice cream and berry ice cream hide the sponge cake core. It tastes just as marvellous as it looks. This is a great way to get your strawberry fill. 

     

    ▼Matcha cafe RIQ

    Address: T5 Building Floor 2, 5 Chome, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-23:30
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Website: https://www.riq-jp.com/

     

     

    Umiere, Bus Center Mae

    Strawberry Open Sandwich: ¥400

    Umiere’s delicious open sandwich has returned. A slice of bread is smothered in whipped cream and layered with strawberries – simple yet beautiful. The whipped cream perfectly balances out the sweetness of the strawberries. The bread is very fluffy and delicious.

     

    Umiere

    Address:  5 Chome, Kita 3 Johigashi,  Chuo Ward, Sapporo
    Opening Hours:11:00-19:00
    No Regular Holidays

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/umiere6/?hl=ja

     

    Berry Berry Crazy, Susukino Station

    Strawberry Parfait: ¥ 1570

     All throughout the year, strawberries sourced from Urakawa in Hokkaido are on the menu at Berry Berry Crazy. Fresh strawberries fill the centre of the parfait along with sponge cake, cream, milk gelato, strawberry jelly and crispy dough. The parfait comes with strawberry sauce and condensed milk on the side to add as you please.

     

    Berry Berry Crazy

    Address: Floor 2, 5 Chome−20, Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 12:00-17:00

    Daytime-Only Menu: 18:00-24:00 (Last Orders: 23:30)

    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/berryberrycrazy/?hl=ja

     

    Nagayama Rest, Bus Center Mae

    Basque Cheesecake and Strawberry Winter Parfait: ¥1580

    Basque cheesecake is trending in Japan and now you enjoy it in a parfait. Basque cheesecake makes up the centre of the parfait and is surrounded by fresh strawberries, soft-serve ice cream, mascarpone cream, meringue, strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chip cookies and much more. It is moderately sweet and goes great with a cup of coffee.

     

    Nagayama Rest

    Address:   Nagayama Memorial Park, 6 Chome-2, Kita 2 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo

    Opening Hours: 11:00-22:00
    Closed: Every second Wednesday of the month.

    Tabelog: https://tabelog.com/hokkaido/A0101/A010202/1058864/

     

    These desserts are perfect to satisfy any strawberry-lover exploring Sapporo so if you’re ever in the area you should definitely try one. 

     

    Kei’s Instagram page is a wealth of recommendations for meals and desserts in Hokkaido, so be sure to check it out if you’re planning to travel there.

     

    Original Article Contents and Photos by Kei (@607keih)

     

    *The information on the desserts mentioned in this article are subject to change at any time. For the latest updates, please refer to the links provided in this article.

  • 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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