5 Temples in Kyoto Announce Exclusive Viewings For Their Secret Cultural Assets

05.September.2019 | SPOT

The history of Yamashina dates back over 1,400 years when Kyoto, then known as “Heian-kyō,” was the official capital of Japan. Located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, Yamashina is rich in history, abound with nature, and has maintained a traditional industry that has gone unbroken since ancient times.

 

This year, with the arrival of Japan’s new emperor and the opening of a brand new era, five of Yamashina’s great temples are set to unveil several cultural assets, which until now have never been shown to the public.

 

They are as follows.

Anshoji Temple’s Wooden Jūichimen Kannon Statue (Important National Treasure)

Kajū-ji Temple’s Sliding Door Panel Artwork  – “Eight Views of Ōmi” & “Tatsuta River Autumn Leaves” (Important National Treasures)

Zuishinin Temple’s Gold Lacquered Fan Inkstone Case & 4-Panel Folding Screen

Bishamon-do Temple’s Imperial Prince Flag & Tortoise Shell Doors

Honkokuji Temple’s Kyōzō (Important National Treasure)

 

Get away from the hustle and bustle of central Kyoto and steep yourself in its history with this very special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple Autumntime Illuminations Begin on November 4

    23.August.2019 | SPOT

    Konkaikōmyō-ji, also known as Kurodani Temple, is set to open its doors to the public from November 4 for its autumn illuminations.

    Kurodani Temple has a long history, best known as serving as the Kyoto Shugoshoku―the office of the Tokugawa shogunate―during the Bakumatsu period. It has relations to the Shinseigumi, a military force which was active during this time which was dedicated to suppressing anti-shogunate activities. It is also the first place that Hōnen, the founder of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, spread his teachings.

     

    For the special opening, you will be able to see the famous chicken painting Tori-zu Oshiebari Byobu by Itō Jakuchū as well as treasures associated with Hōnen and more.

    The number of tigers on the famous tiger doors of the temple changes as you slide them.

    From the temple grounds you can enjoy a breathtaking scene of the gardens where the autumnal colours of the trees reflect from the surface of the pond.

    Kurodani Temple is also home to the Gokōshiyui Amidabutu Statue, which became the talk of the town in the media when it was dubbed the “Afro Buddha,” and looks deep in contemplation.

    There will also be performances three times a day in the evening using traditional Japanese instruments like the koto and shinobue.

    If you pay for the premium entry plan you can enter 30 minutes earlier and will be guided by one of the official gardeners or expert of the gardens.

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

    31.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

     

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

     

    Photos by まっちゃん

  • Kyo no Ondokoro Nishijin Bettei: A Traditional Kyoto Townhouse Transformed Into a New Hotel

    28.August.2019 | SPOT

    Wacoal Corp, the owners of Kyo no Ondokoro―a chain of traditional townhouses turned into hotels―are opening a new branch in the Nishijin area of Kyoto on October 1, 2019.

    Kyo no Ondokoro Nishijin Bettei will be the fifth branch of their hotel chain. It was designed by Akira Minagawa―the owner of Japanese clothing label Minä Perhonen―and architect Yoshifumi Nakamura.

    The Nishijin area is located a little distance away from the city centre meaning one can avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. The hotel is renovated from a luxurious 95 year old townhouse which was originally set up by merchants in Nishijin silk fabrics to house guests.

     

    It has been renovated to make it feel as if guests are living there and thus feel like they are living in Kyoto.

    The first floor features a fully-equipped kitchen with wine cellar as well as a spacious dining area where one can cook up and feast on meals made with ingredients and produce from Kyoto.

    Dotted throughout are various art pieces selected by Minagawa to elevate that at-home feeling.

    The townhouse also offers lots of convenient services including bagging storage, transport service, guidebooks catered to each season, and more. Staff can also offer information about shops and restaurants in the surrounding areas, and they can also sign you up to food plans packed with Kyoto flavours, and more.

     

    If you want to feel like you’re living in Kyoto then book now with Kyo no Ondokoro Nishijin Bettei.

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  • Kyoto’s Capsule Hotel Anshin-Oyado Now Offering Plan to Take Guests to Sacred Sword Locations

    10.September.2019 | SPOT

    Capsule hotel Anshin-Oyado Premiere Kyoto Shijo Karasuma introduced a new plan on September 6 which gives guests the chance to go and see sacred places across Kyoto associated with Japanese swords.

     

    October 4th is known as “Japanese Sword Day” in Japan. In Kyoto alone, the number of people visiting from distant places to see sacred sword places, as well as collect goshuin stamps from shrines and temples, is on the increase-as is the number of people staying at Anshin-Oyado Premiere Kyoto Shijo Karasuma. That’s where this new guest plan comes into play.

    The plan will take guests around different parts of Kyoto, so the hotel as prepared three options to cater to all guests’ needs: one that offers a rental bicycle, a ticket to use the subway or bus, or the normal plan. You will receive a map which shows you the most efficient way to get around all the locations. There is also a QR code on the map which not only shows where you can park your bicycle if you go for that option, but also where to collect goshuin stamps.

     

    Moreover, to really slash home those sword memories, guests will be lent a free selfie-stick which also acts as a tripod. There is also a separate powder room for guests wanting to dress up in full sword cosplay gear too which can be used until checkout.

    Guests can also rent a portable power bank for their phone so they don’t have to worry about their battery running out when snapping photos amongst other amenities, and have free use of the massage chairs, foot baths, open-air baths, and more to rest up after their long pilgrimage around Kyoto seeing the different swords.

  • Six Scrumptious and Satisfying Sodas in Kyoto You Have To Try

    09.September.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    At MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON, we have introduced a lot of kawaii bubble tea drinks you can in enjoy in Kyoto. However, we have much more to offer you than just bubble tea news! Today we have summarised the top soda drinks you can enjoy in Kyoto which both look and taste amazing. With the help of kyoto cafe life tiara ‘s phenomenal photos, we will be introducing you our top six picks.

     

    SHIN-SETSU /Nakagyō-ku

    Blood Orange (left)  Blue Curaçao (right): ¥690

    With a variety of 24 colourful cream sodas on the menu, this café offers a rainbow of flavours to enjoy. Your aesthetic soda is best enjoyed within the the picturesque American-style interior of the café, which is filled with antiques and cute pink decorations.
    ▼SHIN-SETSU
    Address: 277 Enpukujimaecho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto

    Opening Hours:

    Weekdays: 12:00-19:00(L.O)

    Saturdays 13:00-19:00(L.O)

    Sundays 12:00-19:00(L.O)

    No fixed holidays

    Official Instagram: @shinsetsu.kyoto

    Rhône(ローヌ)
    Cream Soda: ¥600

    On top of the refreshing blue ocean of soda floats a scoop of ice cream ー what a nostalgic image. The bright red cherry accents the flavour. Rhône serves not only delicious sodas but also homemade pudding and many other delicious desserts which are sure to leave your stomach satisfied. 

     

    ▼Rhône
    Address: 645-1, Sanjoinokumacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 12:00-22:00
    Closed: Wednesdays and Thursdays
    Official Instagram: @rhone_kyoto
    Kissa Zou (喫茶ゾウ)
    Cream Soda: ¥550
    After becoming a big hit in Nagoya, Kissa Zou opened a new branch in Kyoto earlier this year in April. An adorable elephant (zou) can be seen riding the very top of your scrumptious soda. It is just too cute to eat!
    ▼ Kizza Zou 
    Address:440-3 Santeicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto,
    Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00(L.O 17:00)
    No fixed holidays
    Official Instagram: @kissa_zou
    NOTTA CAFE
    Cream Soda with Oiri Sweets (left) :  ¥600 Custard Pudding (right): ¥500
    NOTTA CAFE’s cream sodas have decorated the front pages of magazines before. A large crowd of oiri (Japanese-style round sweets) of a variety of colours can be seen huddled together riding the ice cream float on top of this cream soda. This ice cream soda is one of a kind and full of a variety of textures and flavours so you must try it.
    ▼NOTTA CAFE
    Address: 37 Saiinkitayakakecho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 11:30-20:00 (Wednesdays: 11:30-21:00)
    Closed: Mondays (additional irregular holidays)
    Official Instagram: @nottacafe
    Kissa Soirée (喫茶ソワレ)
    Blue Sky Cream Soda (left) Strawberry Cream Soda (right): ¥700 each
    This soda is topped with vanilla ice cream and a sakuranbo cherry. When the ice cream mixes with the soda, it becomes creamy. The interesting interior of this café is the perfect place to enjoy your luxurious sparkly cream soda.
    ▼Kissa Soirée
    Address: 95, Nishikiyamachidori Shijo Agaru Shincho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours
    1st floor: 13:00-19:00 (L.O.18:00)
    2nd floor: 14:00-19:30 (L.O.18:45)
    Closed:Mondays
    Maeda Coffee (前田珈琲)
    Colourful Lemonade: ¥600
    This butterfly pea herb tea has minty aroma and a refreshing taste.  When you mix it, it gradually turns pink so you can enjoy the flavour as well as the changing appearance of your drink.
    ▼Maeda Coffee
    Address:  236 Takoyakushi Dori Karasuma Nishi Iru Hashibenkeicho, Nakagyo- ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 7:00-19:00
    Open all year round.
    Official Website: https://www.maedacoffee.com

     

    If you are ever in Kyoto, make sure to check out these cafés. If you are looking for more inspiration, look no further than kyoto cafe life tiara’s Instagram, which is full of delicious desserts in the Kansai region.

     

    Text and photos: @happy_pinkrose_tiara

  • Cute & Shiny Doraemon Cookies & Dango Tin Are Kyoto Souvenirs You Can’t Leave Without

    04.September.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    If you’re looking for must-buy souvenirs while in Kyoto then look no further. Heso Production are set to begin releasing Doraemon cookies and a cookie tin early this month at that are exclusive to souvenir shops and variety stores in Kyoto.

    The cute printed cookies feature not only familiar faces from the Doraemon series, including the adorable cat robot himself, but illustrations of sights that are quintessential to traditional Kyoto culture including the five-story pagoda and the Daimonji bonfire.

    Another must-grab is this shiny Doraemon tin. Also exclusive to Kyoto, the tin features a way-too-cute shiny design of Doraemon who is holding some dango.

    The tin is filled with lemon flavoured ramune candy, a perfect nibble to have while travelling.

     

    ©Fujiko Pro・Shogakukan・TV Asahi・Shinei・ADK

  • Kobe Readies For Rugby World Cup With Hospitable Events

    03.September.2019 | SPOT

    The 2019 Rugby World Cup is set to take place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. Many stadiums are hosting the games across Japan this year, one of which is Kobe Misaki Stadium. It is predicted that there will be many people visiting the city of Kobe for the World Cup.

    The competing teams at Kobe Misaki Stadium, also known as Noevir Stadium Kobe, are as follows: England vs USA on September 30, Ireland vs Russia on October 3, and South Africa vs Canada on October 8. An estimated 120,000 spectators will be present across the four matches, around 30,000 of which arriving from overseas.

     

    In response to the many fans set to appear in Japan’s sixth-largest city, venues are shops across Kobe are set to serve up a classic plate of Japanese omotenashi―or “hospitality―with a line-up of events and tours. Let’s take a look at just some of the exciting things the city has planned for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

     

    1. Meriken Park Fanzone in Kobe

    Rugby fans can enjoy the thrilling atmosphere of the World Cup at one of the many Fanzones set to open across Japan for the games. Entry to all of the Fanzones is free. In Kobe, look forward to live screenings of the matches, food stalls serving local food, promotional booths and more. The fun doesn’t have to end at the matches: fans can continue to enjoy the excitement before and after too at a Fanzone.

     

    2. Hospitable Events

    The Kobe Tourism Bureau has teamed up with local business around the city to prepare what they are calling “Hospitable Events For Fans.” Taking place from late September to early October, these events will offer exclusive and unique Kobe experiences. There are 6 in total, but we will take a look at just 2.

    MUSIC&DANCE@KOBE PORTOPIA Night 2019

    From big disco hits to rock tunes, EDM beats and groove, enjoy a feel-good late-night dance and music party at the fancy Kobe Portopia Hotel. Soak up the warm summer evening while freestyle boogieing.

    YORU-BAR ~Night Food Festival~

    People of all ages are invited to the popular YORU-BAR at Sannomiya Center Gai which will run from late September to early October. They will serve up a tasty selection of Japanese seafood to Kobe cuisine.

     

    3. KOBE Experience Guided Tour

    Aimed at foreign tourists attending the Rugby World Cup in Kobe, the Experience Guided Tour is comprised of 25 unique programs for people to experience Japanese culture, Kobe’s local food culture, and more. The tours will not only be limited to Kobe either―some will also spread to neighbouring cities. Let’s take a look at some of them.

    *All programs available in English only

    Premium Kobe beef at the almost 150-year-old restaurant Oi Nikuten

    Kobe beef is one of the three top brands of high-quality Japanese Wagyu beef. It’s the most well-known and popular type of Wagyu in Japan. With this program, you will learn various ways to enjoy Kobe beef at Oi Nikuten, a long-standing restaurant that first opened back in 1871.

     

    ▼Bookings

    https://www.viator.com/tours/Kobe/Various-ways-to-enjoy-Kobe-beef-Long-established-store/d27432-165105P24

    Experience Zen Meditation at Tenjoji Temple in Kobe City

    Immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture with Zen meditation session at Tenjoji Temple. Learn all about the rich history of the temple with an incredible guided walk before sinking deep into meditation.

     

    ▼Bookings

    https://www.govoyagin.com/ja/activities/japan-kobe-experience-zen-meditation-tenjo-ji-kobe-city/11290

     

    There is lots to be discovered in Kobe, and the doors to its culture are open and ready to embrace all for the Rugby World Cup. Look forward to everything here and much, much more when the matches begin on September 20.

  • Adventure World Wildlife Theme Park in Wakayama Adopts SmaLingual Multilingual App

    03.September.2019 | SPOT

    Adventure World has announced that it has adopted SmaLingual to the park, a multilingual app designed for foreign tourists and travellers in Japan to help them get around.

     

    SmaLingual is a simultaneous multilingual interpretation service which uses a multilingual speech translation engine. Available in 10 languages including English and Brazilian Portuguese on both phones and browsers, the service translates and interprets both text and speech simultaneously, enabling people to have conversations with each other in different languages. The app’s functions also have a language level over TOEIC800, ensuring that you convey the right information correctly.

    Using this app means you will be able to read and understand descriptions and explanations written around the park, cautious on interacting with the animals, and so on.

     

    Now guests can enjoy Adventure World with friends and family to the fullest without making a mistake.

  • Himeji Castle Places Number 1 On Japan’s Top 20 Castles For 4th Year in a Row

    03.September.2019 | SPOT

    TripAdvisor® has just released its list of the top 20 castles in Japan from 2019 as reviewed by travellers and tourists.

    Himeiji Castle

    This is the 7th time the website has run this list. Coming in at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row is none other than Himeiji Castle, located in the city of Himeiji in Hyogo Prefecture.

    Matsumoro Castle

    Kumamoto Castle

    Moving up from 4th place to 2nd place this year is Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture, and from not ranking at all last year to 3rd place this year Kumamoto Castle. These top three castles comes as a package as they are considered Japan’s three premier castles.

     

    Kumamoto Castle is set to re-open this autumn after reconstruction work is complete. The castle suffered damages after the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. Although time is required for the full restoration, you can still see the majestic tower keep surrounded by paling. Japanese users on TripAdvisor have commended it as a symbol of restoration and their joy with the repairs being done.

    Hirosaki Castle

    For the first time in four years, Hirosaki Castle ranks on the list in 12th place. Situated in central Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, the castle is a known living symbol of the Edo Period (1603-1868). Construction work has been taking place since 2015 to repair the base of the castle structure on the east side due to deterioration. In summer 2015, the castle tower was moved 70 meters without taking the castle apart to allow for work to be carried out. A moving castle is certainly a rare sight to see in Japan-and something you only imagine from a Studio Ghibli movie!

     

    The castle has been praised on TripAdvisor for how beautiful its surrounding nature is, from the cherry blossoms in spring to the red and yellow leaves in autumn. The castle can be enjoyed throughout all the seasons.

    Tsuyama Castle

    Making the list for the first time ever is Tsuyama Castle which can be found in the beautiful Kakuzan Park in Okayama. When you ascend the magnificent stone steps of the castle and turn around you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Tsuyama. In spring, the castle’s white watchtowers look picturesque next to the pink cherry blossom trees.

     

    From castles that have been maintained since they were first built to others that have been rebuilt from their former forms, there are countless sites to behold while in Japan. Be sure to use the Top 20 list as reference when travelling there!

  • 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.

  • Transvaal Daisies & Wind Chimes Cool Down You This Summer at Kasuga Shrine in Fukuoka

    31.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Situated on the northern shore of Kyushu is Fukuoka Prefecture, a hot spot for tourists and travellers both Japanese and foreign, particularly those visiting from parts of Asia such as China, Taiwan and South Korea.

     

    When it comes to delicious Japanese food, Fukuoka is high on the list, home to a bounty of incredible restaurants. It’s the same with shopping too―there are countless stores to rummage through with shelves lined with innumerable things you’ll want to buy.

     

    But your Fukuoka experience will not be complete without a trip to one of the prefecture’s breathtaking tourist spots. Today, we are visiting Kasuga Shrine (not to be confused with Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara), and we are joined by Japanese Instagram user Rie, who posts about her trips around Kyushu, and who has provided us with her experience visiting the shrine along with photos. You’ll find out how to get there and the must-see aspects.

    Kasuga Shrine is located in the city of Kasuga, Fukuoka. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Fukuoka city. But if you’re looking to catch the public transport, you’ll want to hop on the JR Line to Kasuga Station, or you can board the Nishitetsu Bus and get off at Kasuga (春日). The shrine is about a 7-minute walk from either of these stops.

     

    The shrine has a long history. Its origins are said to lie in Emperor Tenji enshrining the male deity Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto there.

     

    In the shrine grounds there is a camphor tree called “Kasuga no Mori” (The Grove of Kasuga) which is registered as a natural monument. The shrine is also home to a festival called “Kasuga no Muko Oshi” which has also been designated as an significant intangible folk cultural asset.

    But what’s been catching people’s attention recently is the flower-filled chōzuya. A chōzuya, also known as a temizuya, is a water basin placed at shrines and temples in Japan which visitors use to cleanse themselves before entering the shrine or temple.

     

    It’s more common in May and June to see hydrangeas placed in the basins, but at Kasuga Shrine they flutter in transvaal daisies♡

    The flowers were placed in there on August 19 and will remain there until September 1. During the same period, there are lots of beautiful wind chimes being strung up around the shrine ground. Their tranquil sound as the breeze blows, together with the watery flowers, are enough to make you feel cool this summer.

    If you’re looking to find more beautiful places to visit around Kyushu, Rie has plenty of recommendations on her Instagam page so be sure to give her a follow.

     

    Photos by Rie

  • Feast On Kyoto Vegetables & Italian Cuisine at MERCER BRUNCH TERRACE HOUSE KYOTO

    31.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    MERCER BRUNCH TERRACE HOUSE KYOTO is a restaurant located by the Kamo River in Kyoto which serves brunch-style lunches with French toast during the day while in the evening it offers the chance to casually enjoy a gourmet dining experience. The restaurant has whipped up all-new dinner menu dishes that focuses on “steak, Kyoto-produced vegetables, and Italian.”

    MERCER BRUNCH TERRACE HOUSE KYOTO can be found on the 3rd and 4th floors of PONTONITE which has become a new landmark of Pontocho, a district in Kyoto right next to the Kamo River. From the restaurant one can enjoy a picturesque view of the river, streets and more. The restaurant’s terrace seats are popular with couples, girl get-togethers, and overseas visitors as they offer the closest view of the Kamo River.

    Lobster Grill & Bisque Omelette – ¥2,400 (Before Tax)

    Fresh Fish Bottarga & Sautéed Manganji Togarashi Pepper – ¥1,800 (Before Tax)

    The restaurant’s new menu line-up will be served in the evening from 5pm. This includes the Lobster Grill & Bisque Omelette which is made with luxurious ingredients including Kobe beef fillet and lobster as well as nutrient-packed vegetables grown in Kyoto, the Fresh Fish Bottarga & Sautéed Manganji Togarashi Pepper, and many more. The restaurant is also now starting a “Prefix Dinner Course” which lets you picks your favorite main course amongst other things.

    For drinks you can order one of MERCER BRUNCH’s many whiskies or wines as well as fresh a mojito, fruity cocktails and more. There’s even desserts prepared that go perfectly with the Kyoto vegetable and Italian cuisine combination.

  • Shibuya’s New Tourist Information Center is Open For Business at Night & Offers Airport Bus Service

    31.August.2019 | SPOT

    Tokyu Land Corporation has announced that Shibuya’s all-new tourist information center will be named “shibuya-san.” Located on the first floor of Shibuya FUKURAS, the tourist information and are center is set to open its doors to the public this December.

     

    Tourist Information: Where you can become a Shibuya local

    The tourist information section of the center is staffed by people from countries around the world, from Europe to Asia, most of which are non-Japanese students studying abroad. They are able to offer detailed tourist and sightseeing information for Shibuya from the perspective of a “foreigner in Japan.”

     

    The center also does away with the ordinary set-up of most tourist information centers in which you speak to someone over the counter. Instead, tourists entering shibuya-san will be greeted directly by staff and talk to them side by side.

     

    They also offer English guide books with a map produced by Time Out Tokyo. Time Out is a city guide service published in 108 countries around the world in 39 languages.

     

    Art Center: Where art brings Shibuya and the world together

    shibuya-san will be the first tourist information center in Japan to have its own art gallery. Being located right in front of Shibuya Station means that people visiting from around the world will be exposed to Shibuya’s culture through art. Focused on “Travel, City & People,” the art gallery will offer not only exhibitions and performances, but also events in which tourists can participate, as well as opportunities to talk directly with artists.

     

    Open Late: Shibuya’s nightlife propelled with the center’s night hours

    Almost all tourist information centers close in the late afternoon/early evening, but not shibuya-san. Shibuya’s nightlife is a huge part of the city’s culture, and so to make it more accessible to tourists, shibuya-san will be open until 11:00pm, offering helpful information and suggestions for getting around and enjoying yourself after-hours.

     

    shibuya-san even has its own drinks counter where alcohol is served in the evenings. Events will be held there periodically where you can meet and talk with people.

     

    Limousine Buses: Haneda Airport and Narita Airport

    The bus terminal in front of the tourist center offers regular buses and will soon offer airport limousine buses from Haneda and Narita Airport. They will serve to create a new doorstep to Shibuya at Shibuya Station’s west exit for tourists visiting Shibuya. They will begin running in early December.

     

    Whether you’re visiting Shibuya for the first time or are a returning guest, find out all there is to know about the area when shibuya-san opens this December.

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

    31.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

     

     

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

     

    Photos by まっちゃん

  • Explore Japanese Hojicha Tea-Flavoured Desserts in Kyoto

    30.August.2019 | FOOD

    Kyoto is the homeland of Japan’s tea. Tea shop Itohkyuemon was first established in Kyoto towards the end of the Edo period of Japan in 1832. It has since become a well-established tea shop that has gained popularity for its high quality tea and tea-based desserts. The shop will be holding a special event called Itohkyuemon X Uji Hojicha Tea Fair from September 2, 2019. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the wonderful flavours of Japan’s famous hojicha tea from the homeland of Japan’s tea. 

     

    Hojicha tea is deeply rooted in Kyoto’s daily culture. At Itohkyuemon, the tea leaves are roasted at a high temperature, creating a wonderful and comforting aroma. The fair will see the release of a wide range of hojicha-infused desserts such as parfaits, a dessert plate, ice cream, chocolate, daifuku, cheesecake, kitkats, chocolate cake, tiramisu and much more.  This is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in a range of sweet hojicha flavours. 

    The brand new Uji Hojicha Parfait consists of homemade hojicha jelly layered with refreshing hojicha ice cream. This is garnished with a hochicha senbei wafer and drizzled with hojicha syrup. This parfait allows you to taste the variety of wonders of hojicha all in one glass.

    Want to tantalize your tongue with more tea? The Hojicha Tea Ceremony set comes with a hojicha daifuku and a drink to complete your parfait experience. 

    The Uji Hojicha Chocolate Cake which was previously sold at the Gion-Shijo store has now returned. However, this is in limited supply. The Uji Hoji Dessert Plate includes a slice of Uji Hojicha Chocolate Cake, a Hojicha Mini Parfait, Hojicha Chocolate Ganache, a slice of Hojicha Cheesecake and a Hojicha Daifuku. This is the perfect way to explore hojicha in a variety of dessert forms. 

     

    This is the perfect opportunity to explore the wonderful flavours of one of Japan’s most beloved teas. 

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