A Magical Ice Village is Forming This Winter at Hoshino Resorts Tomamu in Hokkaido

01.September.2019 | SPOT

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu―one of Hokkaido’s leading snow resorts―is set to open a new area called the Ice Village this winter. It will run for a limited time from December 10 to March 14.

The Ice Village spans coolly across 3.2 hectares of land and is home to 11 domes made entirely of ice. This winter-only experience has been running every year since 1998. Made to look like a real village, some of its iconic sights include the Ice Church and Ice Hotel which can be found at the very back. Everything from the towering ceilings to the walls are formed solely of ice.

 

The main street, named fittingly the “Ice Street,” includes a cafe, gallery, shops and more, all enveloped in a chilly white world.

 

Ice Crystal Park: A New Addition to the Ice Village to Gaze at the Sights and Scenery

The Ice Crystal Park is frozen over with tables and chairs made of ice and has snowflakes dotted here and there, creating a true winter wonderland. Order a hot drink from the Ice Bakery & Cafe or munch on a tasty treat from the Ice Sweets Shop as you sit and gaze at the snow-covered landscape of the Ice Village while surrounded by towering white birch trees. And everyday at 19:30, a 5-minute firework show will warm up the winter sky which is best enjoyed while sitting in the park.

 

Time: 17:00-22:00

Price: Free

 

Bite Down Frosty Treats at the Ice Sweets Shop

 

It wouldn’t be a complete Ice Village without its own glacial cuisine. At the Ice Sweets Shop you can order ice cream which is made from liquid milk on an ice block. The temperature of the air coupled with the frozen coolness of the ice block causes the milk to freeze into a yummy dessert. There’s also chocolate ice bars made from hot chocolate, colourful macarons, toasted marshmallows, and more.

 

Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)

Price: Milk Gelato – from ¥1,100 / Macarons ¥550 / Ice Bar ¥550 / Marshmallows ¥550 (*All prices include tax)

 

Grab a Drink From the Ice Bar

The village even has its own Ice Bar, complete with an ice counter and ice cellar for serving sake. This year, the bar will serve an all-new original gin drink made using snowmelt from Tomamu. There are over 50 drinks to pick from, including original cocktails, whisky, and more.

 

Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:45)

Price: Original Gin – ¥1,650 / Drinks With Ice Glass – from ¥1,100 (*All prices include tax)

 

There are many other exciting things to find at the ice village, including the Ice Hotel which you can sleep in, the Ice Atelier, and more. Have a reason to go out this winter by visiting the Ice Village in Hokkaido.

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  • 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

  • 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.

  • 7 Best Peach Desserts to Enjoy This Season in Hokkaido – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    20.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    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.

     

    In this feature, we are joined by Instagrammer Kei whose page is centred around cafes in Sapporo, Hokkaido. They have provided us with photos of desserts made with peaches which can be enjoyed right now before summertime ends.

     

    Initial Sapporo in Susukino

    Parfait Pêche – ¥1,700

    Sapporo cafe Initial was ahead of the parfait game before the boom in Japan. Right now they are selling two new parfaits: one made with melon and the other with peach. They are being served until the end of August.

    The parfait is topped with sweet sliced peaches underneath which sits refreshing milk flavoured soft serve ice cream for a heavenly combination. The yogurt mousse elevates the sweetness of the peaches and goes well with the sprinkle of black pepper. There’s even Parmesan cheese which tastes gorgeous with everything. No matter where you stick your spoon in this parfait your taste buds will be treated with delight.

     

    ▼Initial

    Address: DRESS 2F, 5-Chome-36 Minami 3 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: [Weekdays] 17:00-Midnight / [Weekends & Public Holidays] 14:00-Midnight (Last Orders 23:30)
    No Fixed Holidays
    Access: 5-minutes on foot from Susukino Station and Ōdōri Station
    Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/INITIAL.sapporo/

     

    Gohanya Cafe Miyabi in Kita 24 Jo


    Whole Peach & Royal Milk Tea – ¥1,380

    The seasonal parfait at Gohanya Cafe Miyabi right now is the Whole Peach & Royal Milk Tea. It’s served with an entire plump peach on top which is best enjoyed by cutting and eating bit by bit until it drops into the glass. The peaches they use are refreshing and really delicious♡

    Tea is the main component of this parfait and that too was super refreshing. It also includes a framboise sorbet which add satisfying sour notes, and the cookies and other hidden treats add a multitude of tasty textures.

     

    ▼Gohanya Cafe Miyabi

    Address: E-COUR24 1F, 3-Chome-1-1 Kita 24 Jonishi, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00 / Cafe Time 15:00-17:30 / Dinner 17:30-21:00 (Last Orders 20:00)
    Closed: Thursdays
    Access: 150 meters from Kita-Nijūyo-Jō Station
    Official Website: https://miyabi-sapporo.shopinfo.jp/

     

    TSURU CAFE in Miyanomori


    Flavour Soft Peach – ¥830

    TSURU CAFE is a stylish and popular little cafe that is selling its new Flavour Soft Peach for a limited time. The syrup is this parfait is in fact made from red shiso leaf. Inside you will find a tower of peach compote, soft serve ice cream, meringue, and the syrup.

     

    The milky ice cream is a a magical mix together with the peach compote. The crunchy meringue is simply melt-in-your-mouth too♡

     

    The syrup has that distinct red shiso fragrance but it tastes sweet and so makes an amazing flavour. The shiso will no longer be served once sales of this dessert finish, so you’ll want to get in there ASAP!

     

    ▼TSURU CAFE

    Address: 5-Chome-2-8 Miyanomori 2 Jo, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: [Mon-Sat] 10:00-20:00 / [Sun & Holidays] 10:00-19:00
    Closed: Wednesdays
    Access: 500 meters from Nishi-Nijūhatchōme Station
    Official Blog: http://tsurucafe.jugem.jp/

     

    KAJITSU_CLUB in Tanukikoji Shopping Street


    Peach & Hokkaido Soft Cream – ¥600

    KAJITSU_CLUB is located in the Beats Eats are on the basement floor of PARCO. You can order the ice cream of this peachy parfait as vanilla, yogurt or mixed. I went with mixed.

     

    The fresh peaches are so good! The soft serve ice cream is nice and sweet and there’s also a sour yogurt flavour. The flavours might be simple but the quality is high.

     

    ▼KAJITSU_CLUB

    Address: PARCO B2F, 3-Chome-3 Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Access: Directly connected to the Ōdōri Station subway
    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kajitsu_club/

     

    SHIRAYUKI in Tanukikoji Shopping Street


    Momomo – ¥600

    Available this August only, SHIRAYUKI’s new bottled drink is made of half frozen peach smoothie and half jelly and Hokkaido milk. This combination is match made in heaven! They come with a bag if you want to order for takeout too.

     

    SHIRAYUKI

    Address: Sapporo Aiseikan Bldg., 5-Chome Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 12:30-19:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Access: 5-minutes on foot from Ōdōri Station
    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shirayuki.hokkaido/

     

    Pâtisserie LEEMO in Shinkotonicho

    Whole Peach Parfait – ¥1,350 (*Only 20 available per day)

    Pâtisserie LEEMO is known for its cute cakes and baked sweets, but right now they are selling this Whole Peach Parfait until the end of August.

    You only need to feast your eyes on this dessert to know how refreshing the flavour is going to be. It even contains a jelly made from rosé wine, but the alcohol taste isn’t strong so can be enjoyed by anyone.

     

    Depending on the stock of the bakery’s peaches sales of this dessert may end earlier. You can also make a reservation for one which I recommend, so don’t miss out!

     

    ▼Pâtisserie LEEMO

    Address: 6-Chome-2-21 Shinkotoni 2 Jo, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00 (Parfait served at 12:00-18:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    Access: Approximately 1km from Shinkawa Station
    Official Website: http://patisserieleemo.jp/

     

    Cake and bake HACHI CAFE in Hachiken


    Whole Peach – ¥720

    This luxurious-looking dessert is a whole peach filled with framboise jelly and custard making for an irresistible sour and sweet combination. The tart underneath is incredible too! Due to limited stock and the time it takes for the peaches to ripen there are days when the dessert isn’t serve. You can check the cafe’s official Instagram to find out if it’s on the menu that day or not.

     

    ▼Cake and bake HACHI CAFE

    Address: Hachiken 3 Johigashi, Nishi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
    Closed: Wednesdays & Thursdays
    Access: 550m from Hachiken Station
    Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hachicafe8/

     

     

    Did you enjoy this list? Make sure to wolf down all of the tempting peach desserts you can in Japan before summer ends.

     

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

     

    Photo & Text: Kei (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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  • Feel Like You’re Living On Okinawa’s Taketomi Island With HOSHINOYA’s New ‘Workation’ Hotel Plan

    27.March.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island in Okinawa rolled out a new hotel plan on March 18 that’s set to run until June 30 this year.

    Taketomi Island can be said to be home to landscape of what Okinawa used to be, with the Ryukyuan red roof tiles of its buildings, stone walls, and alleys spread with coral sand. Someone plucks away at a three-stringed sanshinーthe Okinawan precursor to the mainland shamisenーas time flows with gentle ease on the island. Taketomi Island is rich in traditional culture which can be felt throughout.

     

    The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island emulate the island’s traditional architecture. All guest rooms have south-facing windows that can be opened to let in the southern winds, which the local islanders say are lucky. HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island developed its new workation plan in response to the current situation when more people are having to do remote work and work from home. It enables people a private abode where they can work and relax simultaneously. And all the necessary amenities have been prepared for a workation.

    The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island are known as guest pavilions, which allow for you feel like you’re living like a real islander. They are equipped with Wi-Fi, printers, pand photocopiers too, making it the perfect work environment. And you don’t have to worry about hay fever as there are no Japanese cedar or cypress trees around.

    The pavilions offer a beautiful view of the bright blue sky and sea. The beaches are also open from March, so you can take a dip in the springtime sea too while basking in the warm climate.

  • Witness Mount Fuji and Fully Bloomed Cherry Blossoms at HOSHINOYA Fuji

    24.March.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Fuji is offering a very special Hanami flower-viewing experience for guests from April 7 to 21 this year where they can observe the springtime cherry blossoms against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Offers include cherry blossom desserts, a glamping experience inside a cabin eating curry while enjoying the scenery of the outdoors, a private outdoor dining dinner, and more.

     

    HOSHINOYA Fuji hails as Japan’s first luxury camping resort. Located on the hill overlooking Lake Kawaguchi near Mount Fuji. It offers the ultimate glamping experience, with a large outdoor terrace surrounded by nature, cabins that can be enjoyed throughout the year, and more. It’s difficult to go out and enjoy the cherry blossoms on the streets right now, but if you’d still like to enjoy spring safely with your special someone, then HOSHINOYA Fuji has created a special springtime experience.

     

    Sakura Apéro: Witness the cherry blossoms during sunset with desserts in hand

    “Sakura Apéro” is a chance to take a breather and enjoy all the beauties nature has to offer. It is held in the cabin area of HOSHINOYA Fuji under the towering cherry blossom trees. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening treat of cherry blossom flavoured bean paste rice cake, a cup of matcha milk or a matcha cocktail, and a front row seat of the cherry blossoms as the sun sets.

     

    Hanami on the terrace

    HOSHINOYA Fuji’s cabina area is built in such a way so that guests can enjoy an outdoor experience. One third of the cabin has a terrace area with an enormous window that looks out into the natural landscape. A fireplace and kotatsu is available so you can still enjoy the outdoors even inside while relaxing with a comfortable stay into the late nights. Some of the cabins offer a view of the surrounding cherry blossom trees, inviting spring into your room.

     

    Curry made on one of Mount Fuji’s lava plates

    At HOSHINOYA Fuji, guests can enjoy outdoor cooking in luxury be it in one of the cabins or the dining restaurant in the forest. Those who want to relax in a cabin are recommended the “Glamping Curry” at the terrace. You grill beef and vegetables yourself on a Mount Fuji lava plate and can combine five spices of your choice to create your own original flavour. In the outdoor dining area, which is exclusive to groups of guests, game meat is also served, such as boar and deer, as well as seasonal vegetables prepared in a dutch oven. For dessert, there’s cherry blossom flavoured ice cream. You can also make your own strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries over a fire to pour over your ice cream before topping it with matcha crumbles.

     

    Due to the ongoing situation surrounding the coronavirus, all guest rooms and public areas at all HOSHINOYA facilities are being thoroughly cleaned in line with the recommended guidelines to ensure the health and safety of guests and staff. Alcohol gel is available at all HOSHINOYA facilities, and staff’s health and hygiene are being consistently examined.

  • Hoshino Resorts to Open New KAI Poroto Ryokan in Hokkaido in Winter 2021

    20.March.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts, which manages 42 ryokan inside and outside Japan serving Japanese tradition and culture, signed a partnership agreement with the town of Shiraoi in Hokkaido on June 28, 2018, which would have them open a hot spring ryokan there. It has been revealed that the new facility will be named Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto.

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. Built by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura, the site will open its doors in winter 2021 as the 19th branch of Hoshino Resorts’s hot spring ryokan brand KAI, of which it operates 16 in Japan. It will be the third branch of KAI in Hokkaido, following from Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu in Shimukappu village and Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.

     

    Hot springs in Shiraoi, Hokkaido include moor springs, a type of organic spring water that is rare globally. KAI Poroto faces Poroto Lake, which is enveloped in nature and home to creatures such as wild birds. All rooms at the ryokan enjoy a view of the lake, as well as a chance to see the trees and flowers bloom and change in different colours throughout the seasons.


    KAI’s aim is to offer Japanese hospitality that can only be experienced in that town or city, and during that season, as well as to give guests a comfortable experience in a Japanese-style accommodation. At KAI Poroto, they are set to offer a completely new experience tied to Ainu culture in collaboration with the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park currently in development in Shiraoi.

     

    Upopoy is scheduled to open at Lake Poroto on April 24, 2020. “Upopoy” is a word in the Ainu language that means “singing in a large group.” The museum is the first national museum in Japan to be dedicated to the indigenous Ainu people. It will serve as the national center for the revival and development of Ainu culture, something which is on the verge of extinction, and it will do this by showcasing Ainu culture and history through exhibitions, hands-on programmes, performances, and more.

     

    Hiroshi Nakamura is the architects that designed Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. “Poroto” is also a word in Ainu to mean “large lake.” The ryokan’s lobby, which is decorated with Japanese white birch, offers a view of the lake and Mount Tarumae. There are also small bath houses called kashi which have been made using Ainu architectural methods, as well as open-air baths that have you feeling like you’re taking a dip in the lake.

  • Goldfish Bar to Open at HOSHINOYA Kyoto For a Limited Time This Summer

    07.March.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s Salon & Bar KURA is being transformed into the new Kingyo Bar (“Goldfish Bar”) for a limited time from July 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020. HOSHINOYA is a chain of luxury ryokan managed by Hoshino Resorts with the Kyoto branch located in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

     

    The gorgeous new Kingyo Bar submerges guests amongst schools of fish, and takes on the Japanese custom of “cooling off,” with goldfish bowls hanging gracefully from the ceiling. Customers will be able to feel cooled off as they observe the goldfish during the summer evenings deep in Arashiyama.

     

    Enjoy the cool evenings of Arashiyama

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s goal is for people to fully enjoy the ancient capital’s summertime, hence the revamp of Salon & Bar KURA into Kingyo Bar. Fish bowls will dangle from the ceiling, which will swim elegantly, their forms illuminated by the warm light of the lamps. Customers can enjoy watching the goldfish dance while sipping on one of the bar’s original cocktails.

     

    Arashiyama is known for its history as a summer resort for the Imperial Household during the Heian Period. Since ancient times, watching goldfish has long been a creative way of cooling down from the heat of summer amongst the people of Kyoto, and you’ll get to do just that at Kingyo Bar.

     

    See traditional crafts come to life as you admire the fish

    The goldfish suspended on long string in their fishbowls are strung in such a way to meet your gaze. Enjoy the twinkling light reflecting from the bowls while the goldfish, with their cute round bodies and long fins, swim around in their cool water.

     

    Sip on cocktails

    Two original cocktails will be served: the Ukikusa (“Floating Weed”) and the Kyo-kago (“Kyoto Fawn”). The Ukikusa includes a crushed jelly made from Japanese pepper tree buds and mint and is topped off with a lemon liqueur and sparkling wine. The flavour and fragrance of the wine comes through after the refreshing notes of citrus fruits and herbs. The Kyo-kago includes a yoghurt granita and a strawberry and red shiso liqueur. This is combined with Bikkuri Gyoten, a foamed junmaishu.

     

    Catch shadow goldfish to take home

    Try your hand at catching goldfish with this fun game. Japanese paper is layered over the top of a fish tank to create a shadow effect. Goldfish scooping is a staple of Japanese summer festivals, and this version puts a spin on the game.

  • Japanese Hanami 2020: Soak Up the Pink Springtime Cherry Blossoms at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    24.February.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    KAI, a hot spring ryokan brand managed by Hoshino Resorts, has announced an exciting new experience at 14 of its branches called “Otsu na Hanami Tabi” (A Chic Flower-Viewing Trip) which will run from March 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

     

    The service offers a new kind of Hanami, or flower-viewing, experience for guests that doesn’t stop at just admiring the cherry blossoms, but enables them to enjoy both local history and customs too. Guests will be provided with a wicker basket of delicious Hanami goodies to enjoy, just like they did in the past.

     

    We’ve picked five of the Hoshino Resorts KAI hot spring inns that we think our readers will be most interested in. Let’s take a look!

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru | Aomori

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru is located in the town of Owani, which sits in southern Tsugaru in Aomori Prefecture. They are offering an exciting experience this May: “Shidare-zakura Hitorijime Taizai,” which lets a single group have exclusive access to an area of seven shidare-zakura weeping cherry trees blooming in the inn’s spacious garden, which sit far away from guest rooms. Those lucky enough to experience this service can sip on cider and tuck into some delicious apple pie while listening to a Tsugaru-style shamisen performance, known as tsugaru-jamisen.

     

    Shidare-zakura Hitorijime Taizai

    Running: May 1, 2020 – May 7, 2020

    Price: ¥5,000 per person

    No. of People: 1 group per day (2-4 people per group)

    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Reservation Centre)

    Note: The tsugaru-jamisen performance will take place 15:30-16:30

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kawaji | Tochigi


    Feel what it’s like to live the life of someone living in a satoyamaーa village centred around an agricultural lifestyleーby waking up with the sunrise to start work early. Your morning job will be making tea at the watermill. You will use traditional and ancient tools like the suribachi mortar and the houroku pan to make tea grown from tea leaves in the area which you can enjoy a cup of to start your Hanami. As well as making tea, you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet breakfast while gazing at the Yoshino cherry trees, so you can get that real satoyama spring experience.

     

    Running: April 18, 2020 – April 25, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo | Shimane

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo is located in Tamatsukuri Onsen in Shimane Prefecture, where all guest rooms have their own open-air bath. The hot spring ryokan’s “Sakura Koraku” experience gives you a chance to try wariko sobaーa style of soba noodles originating in Shimane’s city of Matsueーunder the cherry blossom trees.

     

    Sakura Koraku

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 20, 2020

    Time: 15:00-19:00

    Price: ¥500 for one Hanami picnic set for two people (5 sets prepared per day)

    Booking: Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo front reception

    Notes: Rickshaw will run from April 1, 2020 to April 7, 2020 costing ¥1,300 per person. 30 minute ride. 5 groups per day (2 people per group).

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga | Ishikawa

    Head to one of Kaga’s famous weeping cherry blossom tree spots to enjoy a cup of Japanese tea prepared yourself. This plan offers the chance to experience Ishikawa culture in a spot that has been loved by locals for decades.

     

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso | Kumamoto

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso stands in Aso-Kuju National Park. Gaze at the five peaks of Mount Asoーthe largest active volcano in Japanーwhile sipping on water drawn from one of Japan’s 100 famous water sources. Change up the water of the water to your liking: carbonate it, add syrup, and so on. You’ll also get some refreshing fruits that have sat in carbonated water. Sit amongst the colourful flowers, like tulips and baby blue eyes, while soaking up the beautiful sights of Aso.

     

    Tansan Ohanami

    Running: April 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020

    Price: ¥3,000 per person

    No. of People: 3 groups per day (two people per group)

    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Booking Centre)

    Note: In the case of rain, Tansan Ohanami will not run on that day

     

     

    This is just 5 of the 14 Hoshino Resorts KAI branches offering a chic Hanami experience. If you’re travelling to Japan this spring, be sure to check out what they’re offering.

  • 6 Must Try Soft Serve Ice Creams in Hokkaido – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    08.February.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Hokkaido is home to some seriously sumptuous desserts, not to mention their matcha range. Today we’re looking at 6 unmissable ice creams you can try around Sapporo, because if Hokkaido is known for anything, its the soft serve ice cream.
    We are joined once again by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English.

    UMIERE 2nd in Tanukikoji

    UMIERE is credited with lighting the fire on the popularity of mokomoko, or ‘fluffy,’ soft serve ice cream. Their second branch, UMIERE 2nd, recently reopened after a revamp. As part of their renewal, they have introduced a number of new menu items like shiratama white flour dumplings.
    Macaron Soft Parfait – ¥718
    I ordered the Macaron Soft Parfait, which is a tower of organic soft serve ice cream, macarons, chocolate sauce, and sponge cake filled with sliced strawberries. The ice cream itself is both refreshing yet rich. As you continue to scoop up mouthfuls from the ice cream cup, the other ingredients gradually reveal themselves: the fresh cream, the strawberries, and the sponge, just like a parfait.
    The cafe enjoys a relaxed atmosphere and is a great place to pop into if you’re looking for a hideaway.
    ▼Umiere 2nd (ウミエール)
    Address: Marufuku Bldg. Floor 2F, 4-Chome-9, Minami 2 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:30
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 011-211-4738

    JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO in Shindohigashi

    When talking about coffee in Hokkaido, the name that’s likely to pop up is Morihico. And when talking about their most popular menu item sold at their chain cafe JB ESPRESSO, it’s their variety of cute ice creams.

    JB Soft Cream Pudding à la Mode – ¥450
    Based on the Japanese “purin à la mode,” a type of Japanese custard pudding served with an assortment of other desserts, this ice cream is custard pudding flavoured and is drizzled in caramel, topped with whipped cream, and crowned with a cherry. And the caramel isn’t just sauceーit’s crunchy like caramel chocolate, giving the ice cream a variety of scrumptious textures.
    JB Soft Cream Mix – ¥420
    The mixed ice cream is one of the specialities of JB, combining milk and chocolate flavours. The milk ice cream is made with milk from Jersey cattle, so is rich in flavour while still being smooth and refreshing. The chocolate is also rich, made from three types of Spanish chocolate.
    JB ESPRESSO MORIHICO (ジェービー エスプレッソ モリヒコ)
    Address: 16-1-1 Kita 34 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 9:00-22:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 011-788-2133

    Kinotoya Bake (Pole Town Branch) in Odori Park

    Kinotoya Bake is located in Pole Town, accessed by walking towards Tanukikoji from Odori Park. They don’t sell cooked confections or take like the Kinotoya brand is known for, but rather tarts, apple pies, and ice creams.

    Gokujo Milk Soft – ¥410
    The name of this ice cream alone screams Hokkaido, as the prefecture is known for its Gokujo, or “first-rate” milk. It’s pretty big as you can probably tell from the photo! This full-bodied milky cream, which is smooth like fresh cream, is the one I’d recommend from the various different ice creams made with Hokkaido milk. And because of its size, your belly is sure to be satisfied afterwards!
    ▼Kinotoya Bake
    Address: Pole Town, 3-Chome, 2 Minami Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0120-24-6161

    TEA SIGN in PARCO Odori Park

    TEA SIGN is famous in Sapporo for its tapioca, and at the PARCO branch, they sell it with milk tea flavoured ice cream.
    Tapioca Milk Tea Soft Cream – ¥520
    You can really taste the flavour of the tea leaves. The ice cream is moderately sweet with a strong black tea taste. The ice cream means it offers a different kind of tapioca experience from your usual tapioca milk tea.
    ▼TEA SIGN (ティーサイン)
    Address: PARCO (Floor B2F), 3-Chome-3, Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays

    TSURU CAFE in Miyanomori

    TSURU CAFE is a stylish little cafe in Miyanomori where they serve cooked confections, cakes, and many popular ice cream flavours. As well as the cafe side of TSURU, they also sell artwork and other things by creators.

    Flavour Soft Strawberry – ¥830
    The “Flavour Soft Strawberry” is a speciality of TSURU CAFE. This towering dessert is layered with ice cream, fresh strawberries, meringue, and strawberry sauce. The milky ice cream is refreshing, and the sweet taste of the strawberries is divine. The flavours are simple, but every thing in the dessert is delicious. The strawberry sauce is served on the side so you can pour over the amount that suites your taste.
    ▼TSURU CAFE (ツルカフェ)
    Address: 5-2-8 Miyanomori 2 Jo, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: [Mon-Sat] 10:00-20:00 / [Sun & Holidays] 10:00-19:00
    Closed: Wednesdays

    COCOBON in Shin-Sapporo

    COCOBON is a super popular fruit and ice cream shop that opened in Shin-Sapporo just last year. The ice cream and fruits are mixed together as soon as you put your order in.

    Walnut Chocolate – ¥400
    I ordered the Belgian chocolate ice cream with walnuts and chocolate cereal. The Belgian chocolate is sweet and its texture is amazing together with the walnuts. If you love chocolate, you’ll love the rich flavour of this ice cream.
    The shop actually closes when all the stock is sold out, so if you’re planning a trip here, be sure to arrive nice and early so as to not miss out.
    COCOBON (ココボン)
    Address: 8-7-30 Aobacho, Atsubetsu Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays
    Enquiries: 011-887-8984
    Did you enjoy these ice cream scoops? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.

     

    Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.

    *Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.

  • 9 Must Try Desserts and Sweets in Hokkaido & at New Chitose Airport – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    06.February.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    We at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON know our readers love desserts and sweets as much as we do, and that’s why we make sure to never go too long without writing about the latest must-try treats in Japan, like our recent article on matcha desserts in Sapporo.
    We return to you once more with the 9 must-try delectable delights at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, and at various locations across Hokkaido. If you’re heading to Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and are using this airport, or are travelling throughout Hokkaido, then you can’t miss out on these irresistible picks.
    Today, we are joined by Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer who posts enticing pictures of the delicious desserts and drinks he has tried at cafes around Hokkaido. He has kindly provided us with his incredible pictures along with a descriptions, which we have translated into English. Enjoy!

    GINRYU・BonBon BERRY | New Chitose Airport

    GINRYU・BonBon BERRY is a revamp of the original shop, GINRYU. Located on the second floor of New Chitose Airport Terminal, the new shop has teamed up with BonBonBERRY, another store right next to Atami Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

     

    The shop specialises in Tokachi Ginryu strawberries, a variety of strawberry produced in the town of Otofuke. They have a distinct appearance and taste, with their beautiful white inside, low acidity, and high sugar content.

    Omocchiizu Strawberry Skewer – ¥432
    This skewered dessert is made up of strawberries, cheese-filled sticky rice cake, and strawberry baumkuchen. This is the ultimate strawberry indulgence!
    Strawberry Bavarois – ¥740
    Bon Bon Soft – ¥500
    The Strawberry Bavarois and soft serve ice cream look super cute too. The high sugar content of the Ginryu strawberry makes them perfect for any kind of dessert.
    The shop is stocked full of other great sweet treats too, so be sure to check out their strawberry range.
    ▼GINRYU・BonBon BERRY
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-29-4480

    Chocolatier Masale | New Chitose Airport

    Chocolatier Masale is a standout name in Hokkaido. This leading chocolate company have multiple branches – in addition to the Sapporo shops, they have sites in both the lobby and gate lounge of New Chitose Airport.

    Mousse Glacee White Chocolate & Hokkaido Milk – ¥410
    Exclusive to the departure lobby branch of Chocolatier Malase, this chocolatey dessert is an ensemble of ice cream made from mousse-packed Hokkaido milk and covered in chocolate. It’s finished with cracked freeze-dried strawberries which give a fruity kick to the smooth taste of the ice cream and delightful chocolate.
    ▼Chocolatier Masale – New Chitose Airport Departure Lobby (ショコラティエマサール 新千歳空港出発ロビー店)
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-29-4115
    Official Website: https://www.masale.jp/

    siretoco sky sweets | New Chitose Airport

    siretoco doughnuts were created in the town of Nakashibetsu in Hokkaido. The New Chitose Airport Terminal branch is immensely popular for its cute mini animal doughnuts which are steamed instead of being dropped into hot oil, making them a healthier doughnut option.
    Happy New Year Lucky Rat – ¥420 / Rich★Cream Cheese – ¥390
    The doughnut on the left celebrates 2020 and the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac. It’s white chocolate and strawberry chocolate flavoured. It’s also not too sweet and has a soft and fluffy texture. The cheese doughnut has a very cheesy flavour indeed. All the animal faces are also made by hand, so each and every one is unique. Both are really cute looking.
    ▼siretoco sky sweets (シレトコ スカイ スイーツ)
    Address: New Chitose Airport Terminal – Floor 2F
    Opening Hours: 8:00-20:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-46-2109

    Cafe Owl | Lake Shikotsu

    Handmade Baked Purin – ¥500
    Cafe Owl is situated in Shikotsuko Onsen, a popular tourist spot about a 55-minute transit bus ride from New Chitose Airport. It has a warm atmosphere to it with its log house-like appearance. Their food menu has just two things on it: pizza and purin (Japanese custard pudding). I ordered a purin and cup of coffee as a set.
    The photo doesn’t show how big the purin actually is – it’s like a cake slice. It has a refreshing taste and isn’t overly-sweet so can be chowed down easily.
    ▼Cafe Owl (カフェアウル)
    Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
    Closed: Wednesdays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-2590

    Pennennolde | Lake Shikotsu

    Atsuma Honeysuckle Rare Cheese & Cocoa – ¥380 / Walnut Chocolate Ganache – ¥380
    This cafe is also located in Shikotsuko Onsen. Their main meal is muffins, which are served warm inside their very relaxed space. The honeysuckle cheese muffin is thick and sticky, and doesn’t have an unpleasant smell from the cheese. It’s simply delicious. The chocolate ganache too is melted which only adds to the nice texture of the walnuts.
    The muffins can be ordered for takeout too, so you can take them with you to enjoy the local sights.
    ▼Pennennolde (ペンネンノルデ)
    Address: Bangaichi, Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-4115

    Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui | Lake Shikotsu

    Raspberry Chocolate Soft Cream – ¥500
    This cafe is close to Lake Shikotsu. They sell soft serve ice cream from the famous Iwase Farm located in the city of Sunagawa. This flavour is made with rich chocolate ice cream and is topped with freeze-dried raspberries, creating a great balance between the two.
    This small place has its own eat-in area too, so you can kick back and relax while you enjoy the taste of some Hokkaido soft serve ice cream.
    ▼Kita no Umaimonten Hekisui (北のうまいもん店碧水)
    Address: Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: Not known
    Closed Days: Not known
    Enquiries: 0123-25-4115
    Official Website: Not known

    Doremo LeTAO | Chitose

    Chocolate Noisette Berry – ¥1,540
    Doremo LeTAO is just a 15-minute walk from Chitose Station. Their “Chocolate Noisette Berry” is packed fully of rich chocolate, nuts, and berries.
    Berry Mascarpone – ¥1,650
    The “Berry Mascarpone” comes with four pancakes drizzled in berry sauce, mascarpone, custard, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. The pancakes have soft meringue inside them, but are still light to eat, so you can rest assured you won’t have a heavy stomach afterwards.
    ▼Doremo LeTAO (ドレモルタオ)
    Address: 6-1-1 Asahinochi, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 050-5570-2975

    Mirtillo | Osatsu

    Mirtillo is a gelato shop on the outskirts of Osatsu in Chitose. It’s a tricky place to reach without a car, but it still stands as an incredibly popular gelato store. They have 16 flavours of gelato including several limited-time options.

    Waffle Parfait – ¥1,000
    I tried their “Waffle Parfait,” which lets you pick from two gelato of your choice along with toppings. The combination of the crunchy waffles with the gelato is delicious. Added together with the blueberry sauce and fruits, you get a variety of tastes and textures.
    The blueberries are actually all grown on site.
    ▼Mirtillo (ミルティーロ)
    Address: 2 Osatsu, Chitose, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-23-5323
    Official Website: http://mirtillo.tank.jp/

    Donut Chaya Honwaka | Eniwa

    Honwaka Cocoa – ¥140 / Autumn Chestnut – ¥220
    Honwaka is a doughnut shop about 1.5km from Eniwa Station. I got to try some of their seasonal autumn flavours: the fluffy and flavourful “Honwaka Cocoa,” and the chestnut and chestnut cream-loaded “Autumn Chestnut.” The chestnut cream is just the right amount of sweetness and has a really delightful chestnut flavour.
    The store offers limited-time seasonal flavours with each passing season, so be sure to check out my Instagram to see more.
    ▼Donut Chaya Honwaka (ドーナツ茶屋 ほんわか)
    Address: 7-18-4 Koganeminami, Eniwa, Hokkaido
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
    No Fixed Holidays
    Enquiries: 0123-25-5346
    Did you enjoy these dessert picks? We hope you get to try some of them, and if you want even more dessert recommendations from Hokkaido, be sure to follow Kei on Instagram.

     

    Photos & Original Text: Kei / 敬 (@607keih)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *Information written in this article is correct at the time of publishing. For more details on each shop, please visit their official websites and social media pages.

    *Food names are translated from Japanese into English where appropriate.

  • 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 )

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