Warm The Cockles Of Your Heart This Christmas at HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
This holiday season, Hoshino Resorts is set to hold a Christmas event at HOSHINO Karuizawa Area, a place managed by the company which brings together people who love culture and nature. It will run from November 16 to December 25.
The event’s theme is “A Town Where Happiness Shines.” From mistletoe illuminations to xmas desserts and more, you’re sure to have the cockles of your heart warmed this year at this happiness-filled festival.
At Harunire Terrace, where 16 shops line the cosy wooden terrace, the columns and overhangs will be adorned in Christmas garlands, and mistletoe-shaped illuminations will dangle from tree branches.
You can spot a lot of mistletoe in Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary. Even in wintertime the plant does not wither, instead keeping its green leaves, which in folklore has led it to be viewed as a symbol of immortality.
Mistletoe is known in many cultures as a symbol of happiness. In the Western world, lovers who stand under mistletoe are expected to kiss. The warm illuminations are set to light a warm and romantic atmosphere to all those who attend.
As well as the illuminations, there will also be mistletoe lanterns hiding in the trees to celebrate romantic love this Christmas. Get ready to count down with everybody at the event as when you reach zero, all of the lanterns will turn on at the same time. There will even be mini live performances where you can sing along to Christmas songs.
Christmas Sweets at Hoshino Resorts Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court
Order the “Episode de Noel” at Hoshino Resorts Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court for a delicious Christmas sweets dessert course of 4 treats.
This is just a peek inside the stocking of what’s to come at the festival. There will be a hot chocolate bar, fresh s’mores, kids events, photo spots, a Christmas market, and more. Ride your sleigh into HOSHINO Karuizawa Area this winter.
HOSHINO Karuizawa Area Christmas 2019
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Time: 16:00-23:00 (Times differ for certain events)
Location: HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
Location: Harunire Terrace
Running: November 16, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Location: Harunire Terrace, Woods
Running: December 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st-25th
Running: December 13, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Price: ¥3,500 (pre-tax and service charge)
HOSHINO Karuizawa Area
Address: Hoshino Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefecture
Access: 15-minutes by car from Karuizawa Station (via JR Hokuriku Shinkansen)
Official Website (English): http://www.hoshino-area.jp/en
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.
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.
Running: December 10, 2019 – March 14, 2019
Location: Hoshino Resorts Tomamu area
Time: 17:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30)
Entry Price: Elementary School Children & Older – ¥500 (Tax Included) *Free for guests staying at Tomamu The Tower or RISONARE Tomamu
Available: To both guests and visitors
Notes: Times, prices etc may vary depending on each service or activity. Select services and activities are subject to changes depending on weather conditions. Certain services and activities scheduled to start at later dates.
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu / Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu
Address: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido
Official Website (English): https://www.snowtomamu.jp/winter/en/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Top 20 Castles in Japan 2019
Kagoshima’s Sengan-en Gardens Nominated For Best Attraction in Travel & Tourism Awards
29.August.2019 | SPOT
Both Sengan-en, Shoko Shuseikan Museum and Satsuma Kiriko Glassworks have been nominated for “Best Attraction” in the 2019 Travel & Tourism Awards, which are held in London every year as part of World Travel Market London (WTM).
This year marks the 40th run of WTM London, which brings together over 50,000 travel and tourism professionals from 186 countries to spread the latest tourism trends and must-visit locations around the world. The Travel & Tourism Awards is a universally recognised stamp of approval, held in front of over 500 seniors in the travel industry.
Sengan-en, Shoko Shuseikan Museum, and Satsuma Kiriko Glassworks have been recognised and nominated for their renovation efforts which have increased tourism. They are up against six other facilities in the same category, including Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter by Warner Bros Studios.
With only one entry from Japan, which location will take home the award? Japan will be watching intently for the reveal on November 5.
Travel & Tourism Awards
Date: November 5, 2019
Location: Magazine London
Awards Page: https://awards.wtm.com/en/international-travel-and-tourism-awards/shortlist/best-attraction/
Official Website: https://www.senganen.jp/
Creamy Mami Ani-Art Pop Up Shop to Open in Ikebukuro and Shizuoka
Two Creamy Mami themed pop-up shops are set to open in Ikebukuro Marui on September 5 and in Shizuoka Marui on September 19. Fans can expect to get their hands on a range of exclusive and new merchandise themed on the popular anime series Creamy Mami, the Magical Angel, from pin badges and a parker hoodie to tote bags and more.
Pre-Sale Merchandise (Excerpt)
Trading Ani-Art Pin Badge (9 Designs) | Single: ¥430, Box: ¥3,870 (Before Tax)
Trading Ani-Art Acrylic Stands (9 Designs) | Single: ¥800, Box: ¥7,200 (Before Tax)
Back Print Zipper Parker (1 Design) | ¥5,980 (Before Tax)
Clear Pouch (1 Design) | ¥1,980 (Before Tax)
Fans who spend over ¥3,000 (tax included) on related merchandise and display their Epos cards will have the chance to enter a lottery to win a prize.
The pop-up shop is also currently holding a Twitter campaign in Japan until October 5, 2020. One lucky fan can receive a complete set of bromide photos by following AMNIBUS on Twitter and retweeting this tweet.
The pop-up shop is a chance for fans and newcomers to jump into the magical world of Creamy Mami.
Creamy Mami, the Magical Girl Ani-Art POP UP SHOP in Marui
Official Website: https://event.amnibus.com/mami-0101/
Running: September 5, 2020 – September 13, 2020
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00
Address: 3-28-13 Nishi-Iekbukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo, 171-0021
Official Website: https://www.0101.co.jp/048/
Running: September 19, 2020 – October 5, 2020
Opening Hours: 10:30-19:30 (until 19:00 on October 5, 2020)
Address: 6-10 Miyukicho, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka, 420-0857
Official Website: https://www.0101.co.jp/036
Kyukaruizawa Kikyo, Curio Collection by Hilton Ranks On Tripadvisor’s Best Hotels List
18.August.2020 | SPOT
Kyukaruizawa Kikyo, Curio Collection by Hilton, a hotel in Karuizawa, Nagano that is managed by Tokyu Resort Service Co., Ltd. made it onto Tripadvisor’s 2020 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best and also ranked on the website’s Top 20 best hotels in Japan for high quality service.
Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best is Tripadvisor’s highest recognition, presented annually to the top 1% of businesses across select categories.
Kyukaruizawa Kikyo hails as Hilton’s first “Curio Collection by Hilton” in Japan. First open in 2018, the hotel’s name “Kiyko” is a reference to both the flower of the same name and the Japanese word kikyo which means “to return to one’s home” or “homecoming.” The hotel is active alongside the community in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals and is committed to the Hilton CleanStay initiative to ensure the cleanest possible stay for guests.
Hilton’s first Curio Collection hotel in Japan
Curio Collection by Hilton is an upscale hotel brand first established by Hilton in 2014. To date, the brand has around 70 establishments worldwide, supporting guests who are looking for unique and authentic hotel experiences.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city
Karuizawa is a popular resort area that’s easily accessible from Tokyo. It’s loved by some of the biggest names in the political, financial, and celebrity worlds. Guests can enjoy a free rides in a Mercedes-Benz from Karuizawa Station to the hotel.
Enjoy the sights while shopping and soaking up nature
The hotel is just a 5-minute walk from Old Karuizawa Ginza Street with shops offering all things Karuizawa. It’s also the perfect spot to enjoy walking and cycling while taking in the sights of nature.
Kyukaruizawa Kikyo, Curio Collection by Hilton
Address: Kyūkaruizawa-491-5 KaruizawaKitasaku-gun, Nagano
Access: 1 hour by Shinkansen from Tokyo Station
Official Website: https://www.kyukaruizawa-kikyo.com/
Experience a Crisp Japanese Autumn While Ice Skating in Karuizawa
15.August.2020 | SPOT
This autumn, Karuizawa Hoshino Area is opening up the Kera-Ike Skate Rink for a limited time from October 16 where visitors can skate around the ice while soaking up the reds and yellows of the surrounding forest.
Karuizawa Hoshino Area is a resort managed by Hoshino Resorts. The middle of October is when Karuizawa’s red maple trees blossom, while the beginning of November marks the incoming yellow karamatsu Japanese larches.
An ice skating rink enveloped in a forest
Kera-Ike Skate Rink is a frozen lake in the middle of a forest in Karuizawa. It’s located ride by Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary, so Hoshino Resorts had the idea to turn it into an ice rink so that people can enjoy the local wildlife while skating. For this year’s opening of the ice rink, Hoshino Resorts has a range of art content related to Japanese autumn for people to enjoy too.
Reds, Yellows, and White
Karuizawa sits 1,000 meters above sea level, and so the autumn leaves begin showing from the middle of October. This is when the urushi Japanese lacquer trees and momiji maples dye the forest a bright-red. Following shortly after are the karamatsu Japanese larches which add a bright yellow to the red hues. Visitors can soak up the kaleidoscope of colours while skating across the pure white ice rink.
Beautiful autumn leaf themed content
The ice skating chairs are a popular item at Kera-Ike Skate Rink and are a great way for beginners and children to enjoy being on the ice. This year, the chairs have been pained in the same colours at the autumnal leaves.
Autumn leaf decorations on the windows
The rink-side cafe has six giant glass windows spanning 2.5 meters across. Each window has its own unique autumn leaf design on it.
Autumn Leaf Latte
The cafe will serve the perfect autumn-time beverage, a latte topped with momiji and kaede maple leaves designs made from pumpkin powder—a fitting flavour for the season.
Kera-Ike Skate Rink
Running: October 16, 2020 – November 10, 2020
*Run period subject to change depending on the autumn leaves.
*The 2020-21 skate rink opening period runs until March 7, 2021. Closed November 26, 2020 and January 19-21, 2021.
Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00
Official Website: http://www.hoshino-area.jp/archives/area/skate
Take a Summer Trip to Karuizawa in Style at Hoshino Resorts BEB Karuizawa
12.July.2020 | SPOT
“BEB” is a brand of hotel established by Hoshino Resorts which aims to support young people travelling by being cost-effective as well as make travelling more fun for the younger generation. This year, BEB5 Karuizawa is promoting a spending a fun and stylish summertime.
Enjoy the outdoors in a wide, open space
The indoor “Yagura Room” is fitted with spacious sofas and bed spaces where people can chat together, read a book, and enjoy their free time. There’s also “TAMARIBA,” a 24-hour public space with a garden, lounge, cafe, and library. A cool breeze sweeps through the tall windows, letting in cool air on a hot summer’s day. Guests can kick back and enjoy some relaxation. The cafe even sells wine so guests can treat themselves to an evening drink or have a little drinking get-together with friends.
Summer resort rental items
Guests can experience the true thrill of summertime in Karuizawa with a selection of rental items including straw hats, a bug catching net, portable speakers, electric fans, and more. These can be rented from July 13, 2020 to August 31, 2020.
The lush green outdoors surrounds the hotel
BEB5 Karuizawa is located in one corner of the Karuizawa Hoshino Area which is home to a bright green forest. Located laong the bath is Harunire Terrace which is home to 16 unique shops, and there’s even a hot spring which flows directly from the water source.
Hoshino Onsen Tonbo no Yu
There are plenty of things for guests to do outside, including participating in a nature tour hosted by wild flora and fauna specialists Picchio, having a picnic at the benches by the flowing water, and more.
Karuizawa is one of Japan’s best places for a summer retreat. Just a one hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, it’s an easy place to access from the country’s capital.
Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Karuizawa
Address: Hoshino, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano
TEL: 0570-073-022 (Hoshino Resorts Booking Centre)
Rooms: 73 (Check In 15:00 / Check Out 11:00)
Price: From ¥9,000 per night (1 room for 2 people, service charge and meal charged separately)
Official Website: https://hoshinoresorts.com/ja/hotels/beb5karuizawa/
Universal Studios Japan’s ‘We are One’ Summer Festival Begins This July
Universal Studios Japan (USJ) reopened on June 19, 2020 after temporary closure as a result of COVID-19. The park is now running with strict measures in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, including practicing the 2m social distancing rule, making it mandatory to wear face masks, and so on. The park has posted a full video demonstration of the rules on their official website.
That means summertime is set to shine on USJ once again this year. The new ‘Universal Summer Parade: We are One’ event will begin on July 23 as the first parade held by the park since its reopening. Guests will be able to enjoy a fun and exciting summer at USJ with all the necessary precautions in place to ensure their safety.
Many familiar faces will gather at USJ to celebrate summer with guests, including the Minions, Elmo, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, and more. Each of them will board colourful floats for the parade during the parade, which will open with the fittingly-titled “Opening Float” followed by a flurry of unique floats like the flashy “Latin Float,” cute European-inspired “Europe Float,” the mysterious “Indian Float,” and the finale “America Float,” amongst many others. There will be music to entertain guests for laughs, smiles, and fun energy while characters and entertainers ride the floats and serve summertime vibes.
The peak moment of the parade will be when confetti rains down on guests in huge quantities. Flags can also be bought for the parade for the first time in this year. Performers and the park characters will be able to entertain guests at a distance while still connecting with them through the fun performances. A special “social distance” performance created in cooperation with the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education will also be part of the parade. This year’s parade plans to have guests dancing and smiling even more than previous years to lift some of that stress away and give them the fight and energy to continue into tomorrow.
Universal Summer Parade: We Are One
Put your hands into the air as the sun beats down and the floats arrive to a lively rhythm. ‘We are One’ is the catchphrase, so get your boogie on and explode with excitement together with the entertainers and park characters for a heated summer parade!
Running: July 23, 2020 – August 27, 2020
Location: Parade Route
Time: One per day from 11:00am (approx 40 mins)
Buy yourself a parade flag for ¥500 and wave it around to the beat of the festival!
Cool yourself off with some summer merch
Get your hands on some merch for cooling off, including the must-have summer “Handy Fan,” a “UV Poncho” which keeps you cool in the heat of the sun, a classic “Sensu” folding fan, and more.
Feel the Japanese festivities with the Universal Market
The Universal Market will give that Japanese ‘matsuri’ festival vibe. Enjoy some cool desserts, spicy food, and more.
Left: Super Hot! Turkey Leg ¥1,000 / Centre: Peach Jelly Soda: ¥650 / Right: Frappe Sundae ~Strawberry & Blue Hawaii~ ¥750
Since guest safety is the number one priority this summer, the park will not be holding its famous splash performance where guests are soaked with water by water shooters.
Additionally, the parade will also not stop in any of the usual designated places and will instead keep on moving, meaning the parade can be enjoyed from anywhere along the parade route. Guests will be able to keep plenty of distance from others as they watch the parade.
The park also released a statement on its ‘enhanced sanitation in park operations’ on its official website so you can find out more about what USJ is doing to tackle the COVID-19 spread.
If you’re in Osaka this year, you can still enjoy summer at Universal Studios Japan with all the necessary precautions in place.
Universal Studios Japan – Noticed of Enhanced Sanitation in Park Operations:
SHISHI-IWA HOUSE in Nagano Prefecture Makes Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “2020 It List”
28.February.2020 | SPOT
SHISHI-IWA HOUSE, a “boutique resort” located in Karuizawa, Nagano, has made it into the “2020 It List” of American travel magazine Travel + Leisure.
Travel + Leisure is a New York-based travel magazine. “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” shines a light on hotels around the world that have newly-opened or have been renovated that year.
The “2020 It List” has placed 72 establishments around the world in its ranking. Ten of these are located in Asia, with two being in Japan: SHISHI-IWA HOUSE and Aman Kyoto.
SHISHI-IWA HOUSE opened in February 2019. Described as a boutique resort, this hotel was built by internationally-acclaimed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban who won the 34th Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014ーthe most prestigious award in modern architecture. The unique hideaway blends together nature and architecture, and is built in such a way as to strengthen the bonds between people.
The resort accommodation has two floors, and a unique structure which makes it look curved. It has ten individual rooms and three terraces. All the rooms enjoy a breathtaking view of the gardens which enjoy gorgeous scenery all year around. It’s home to over 250 trees, including cherry blossoms, maples, and evergreens. You can also see Mount Asuma from all rooms.
Planning a trip to Nagano? Why not book to stay at this little hideaway?
Address: 2147-646 Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano
Official Website (English): http://www.shishiiwahouse.jp/index_en.html
Raise Your Own Sky Lantern at New Greenpia Tsunan in Niigata
25.February.2020 | SPOT
New Greenpia Tsunan, a resort facility in Tsunan, Niigata, is holding an exciting sky lantern event every day until March 31, 2020.
The sky lantern event is held every winter at New Greenpia Tsunan, and has returned again for 2020. It began in 2012 as a means of showing respect for and praying for the revival of disaster-stricken areas, such as the areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the Nagano and Niigata earthquake, and so on. Every year, couples and families come together to put their prayers and wishes into the lanterns before letting them go into the night sky. The countless lanterns raised at once soar up high and light up the black cloak of the night like burning stars.
For 2020, the event will also sell lantern t-shirts, handkerchiefs, hand towels, cookies, and other themed items.
If you’re travelling in or around Niigata in Japan this year, then don’t miss New Greenpia Tsunan’s very special winter event.
Sky Lantern Event
Running: Everyday until March 31, 2020 (Except select days where the site is closed or booked)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan (12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata)
Time: Weekdays – From 18:00 / Saturdays & Days Before Public Holiday – From 18:00 & 20:00 / March Onward – From 18:30
Booking: Bookings available until 17:00 on the day at New Greenpia Tsunan
Price: ¥1,500 (1 lantern)
Official Website: https://new-greenpia.com/
*In the case of stormy weather, the event will not proceed on that day
5 Must-Visit Beautiful and Romantic Lantern Festivals in Japan | 2020 Edition
02.February.2020 | SPOT
The season for Japan’s enchanting and romantic lantern events has finally arrived, and the line-up this year is diverse, from events where lanterns are the main attraction to lantern-lined festivals and Japanese matsuri festivals.
Hankyu Travel International compiled a list of these events , and we’ve pulled out some of the best ones for you.
Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru | Iwate Prefecture
This year marks the third run of “Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru,” an event held during winter for guests staying at Hanamaki Onsen. The event is comprised of many elements, including fireworks, folk entertainment, and more. People will also write wishes and messages or draw pictures on their lanterns before sending them up into the winter night sky. Afterwards, they can enjoy a dip in the hot springs at Hanamaki Onsen to warm themselves up and unwind from the day.
Running: January 26, 2020/February 22, 2020/February 11, 2020/February 16, 2020/February 24, 2020
Location: Namari Ski Center
Address: Nakadaira-36-1 Namari, Hanamaki, Iwate
China Lantern Festival | Chiba Prefecture
Tokyo German Village is hosting its second China Lantern Festival, inspired by the typical traditional festivals held in China during spring. A selection of 30 lantern installations of varying sizes made by the world’s biggest lantern maker Lantern Group have been set up in the 50,000 square meter area. Pieces include lanterns over 10 meters long and high, lanterns floating on the water, moving lanterns, and more.
Running: November 23, 2019 – April 5, 2020
Location: Tokyo German Village
Address: 419 Nagayoshi, Sodegaura, Chiba
Tsunan Yuki Matsuri | Niigata Prefecture
Since 2012, the people of Tsunan in Niigata have raised sky lanterns into the sky to pray for the revival from the disaster that the Tohoku earthquake brought in 2011. It is a two-day festival, with the first day of the event taking place at night, and the second being the main day of the festival. The festival is so popular that tickets never fail to sell out quickly every year. It brings with it a host of events, from the lanterns to the snowboard straight jumping tournament, the hanging of snow lanterns, snowmobile rides, and more.
Running: March 14, 2020 (There will also be a lantern event the night before on March 13, 2020)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan
Address: 12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata
▼Niigata Tsunan Sky Lantern Festival Tour
Nagasaki Lantern Festival | Nagasaki Prefecture
This festival was originally held during the Chinese New year by the people of Nagasaki Chinatown, but in 1994 it was given the name “Nagasaki Lantern Festival.” To date, it has been attended by over 1 million people. This year, around 15,000 lanterns of varying sizes are set to light the streets. Taking place across several areas, some standout pieces include the peach-coloured lanterns at Nagasaki Chinatown, the ceiling lanterns at Hamanomachi Arcade, the water lanterns at Nagashimagawa Park, and more. On weekends, there are also parades, traditional Chinese performance, and other exciting events. And if you head to Nagasaki Confucian Shrine (also known as Koshi-byo), you can offer a love lantern to pray for happiness in your relationship.
Running: January 24, 2020 – February 9, 2020
Locations: Nagasaki Chinatown/Central Park/Tojin Yashiki/and elsewhere
Address: Various places throughout the city of Nagasaki
▼Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Hankyu Travel International Tour: Hankyu Travel International
Nagasaki Tourism Page: https://travel.at-nagasaki.jp/en/what-to-see/62/
Ryukyu Lantern Festival 2019-2020 | Okinawa Prefecture
Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park is known for having originally been used as the set for several historical drama series, and was subsequently turned into a theme park after filming was finished. The Ryukyu Lantern Festival welcomes a variety of different lanterns, including Chinese lanterns, paper lanterns, various Asian lanterns, and more, each of which bring a completely different atmosphere depending on the area you are in. This year sees the welcome return of the annual lantern contest where 45 individual lantern pieces are exhibited. There are also different street performances every day on the Night Lantern Stage, as well as projection mapping displays, the Night Lantern Cafe, and more.
Running: December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020
Location: Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park
Address: 1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa
Murasaki Mura Official Website: https://murasakimura.com/
Be part of one of Japan’s many beautiful lantern festivals this year and witness some seriously breathtaking night scenes.
▼Hankyu Travel International – Japan Travel & Tours
Celebrate Tokyo Midtown’s Cherry Blossoms at MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020 Event
24.January.2020 | SPOT
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020 is set to take place in Tokyo Midtown from March 20 to April 19 to celebrate and welcome the spring and the cherry blossoms.
This marks the 13th year of the event, which will take place both in Tokyo Midtown’s garden area which is home to rows of gorgeous cherry trees, as well as around the building where they have sparkling wine, sweets, flower displays, and many other exciting things planned.
CHANDON Blossom Lounge
Enjoy a luxurious cherry blossom experience this year with a glass of premium Chandon sparkling wine available at the outdoor limited-time CHANDON Blossom Lounge. This vibrant sparkling rosé wine is the perfect accompaniment to your springtime banquet and to say “Cheers!” to this year’s hanami flower-viewing in Japan.
There will also be food prepared by Nagase Mitsunao, head banquet chef at the 5-star Ritz-Carlton Tokyo Hotel, as well as incredibly decorative-looking sweets to adorn the able. There are two new types of seats available this year with Japanese twists to them, including seats in the roofed lounge where you can enjoy the cool spring weather in the evening.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020 (Closed in the case of stormy weather)
Time: 12:00-20:00 (Last Orders 19:30) *Extended to 21:00 (Last Orders 20:30) on Fridays, Saturdays and during cherry blossom full bloom
Location: Midtown Garden, Sakura-dori area
*Select seats require a reservation – full details to be released in mid-February
Spring Flower Display ~Flower Art Award pre~
Za Sogetsu is a performance unit specialising in ikebana, or flower arrangement. One of the most recognised groups in the industry, their work will displayed around various locations at Tokyo Midtown, including large-scale pieces as well as never-before-scene ones. One look at this breathtaking flower art will be enough to fill you with spring vibes.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Time: 9:30-24:00 (Galleria Floor 1F) / 11:00-21:00 (Galleria Floors 2F-3F)
Location: Galleria 1F’s Tree Shower & various locations at Galleria 2F-3F
Nighttime Cherry Blossom Light-Up
The entire 200-meter length of cherry trees in Tokyo Midtown’s garden area will be lit up with beautiful illuminations at night－a sight that never fails to drawn in countless people. Before the flowers are in full bloom, pink lights will be used to get people ready for the main show. When the cherry blossoms are at their height, white lights will be used every night.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Location: Midtown Garden, Sakura-dori area/In front of Garden Terrace
Tokyo Midtown has many other events planned for spring 2020, so don’t miss out this year.
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Location: Tokyo Midtown (9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo)
Official Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo: Kyoto’s Dessert House Releases Matcha Tiramisu and New Cheese Products
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo opened in Kiyomizu Gojozaka, Kyoto in July this year as the first place in Kyoto to specialise in “bottled cheesecakes.” This month, they are releasing four new products to continue the cheese craze right to the end of 2019.
The first is a revamp of their number one most popular soft serve cheese ice cream: the “Chocolate Mont Blanc Cheese Soft.” The soft serve ice cream is a mix of refreshingly sweet milk and rich cheese topped with a full-bodied mont blanc-style chocolate—a welcome addition during the winter months when you want to stay in and indulge in some chocolate. The ice cream is finished with crushed chocolate pieces and a crowning raspberry to create a chocolate cake in a cone. You’re sure to become a frequent customer after a bite of this.
And for the Christmas season only, between December 18th-25th the shop is also selling another special soft serve that’s made to look like a Christmas tree. The cheese soft serve is covered with a sprinkling of Uji matcha powder and adorned with chocolate pearls and stars.
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo is also releasing hot versions of its “Kiyomizu Cheese Drink” and “Matcha Cheese Tea,” the iced versions of which were greatly enjoyed in summer. The Matcha Cheese Tea can also now be ordered with tapioca topping, creating a delicious combination between the expertly crafted rich matcha cheese tea and the chewy and sugary tapioca pearls.
Also released this month is the “Homemade Matcha Tiramisu” when is served in a traditional masu box and served only on the second floor eat-in section. This irresistible delight is made with flavourful mascarpone cheese and bitter Uji matcha from Kyoto to create a dessert that’s perfect during a trip or day out in Kyoto. Because of the hard labour that goes into creating this dessert, only 5-10 are served per day, so be sure to arrive early to not miss the opportunity.
Chocolate Mont Blanc Cheese Soft – ¥550 (Before Tax)
Christmas Cheese Soft – ¥400 (Before Tax) *Available December 18-25, 2019 only
Matcha Tapioca Cheese Tea – ¥550 (Before Tax)
Homemade Matcha Tiramisu – ¥540 (Before Tax)
Kiyomizu Cheese Kobo
Address: 569-10 Shiraitochō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://kiyomizu-cheese.com/
FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020: Details Revealed For Tokyo’s Flower-Themed Art Event
18.December.2019 | SPOT
FLOWERS BY NAKED is an annual flower-themed art event held by NAKED Inc., and the company has announced its next run: FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura – will take place from January 30 to March 1 next year at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in Tokyo, where visitors can enjoy flowers an a wholly new kind of interactive experience. Tickets went on sale on December 17, 2019, and this event will mark its 5th anniversary of taking place in Nihonbashi.
To date, FLOWERS BY NAKED has seen over 500,000 people attend the events, which have become a place for Instagrammable photos with over 660,000 posts made with the hashtag #flowersbynaked.
2020’s theme is cherry blossoms, so to celebrate, NAKED has unveiled four key visuals for four gardens set for the event along descriptions. As visitors journey through the gardens, they will experience an immersive story melding the worlds of flowers and art.
“When a butterfly telling the spring dances in the snowy winter world, the page is turned and the world changes from winter to spring.”
This is where the story begins: where winter flowers bloom. But as the pages of the big book are turned, the space is transformed into springtime as the snow melts.
“When you blow dandelion as if you were playing as a child, the fluff soars up to the sky with your old memories.”
Watch as the scenery changes when you blow on the towering dandelions in this incredible interactive experience that combines real life with digital technology.
“In a shimmering space that seems to be lost in a kaleidoscope by a mirror, the sun shines even more.”
When you step into this radiant garden which is lit by the pouring sunlight, it will seem as if the entire world around you glows with the fiery light of our burning star.
“The fastest cherry blossom viewing space in Japan where you can enjoy the five senses, such as the blossoming cherry blossoms and the scent of spring.”
The river seen at the beginning of the story leads to here, a holy cherry blossom garden watched over by an enormous pink cherry tree. There is plenty to interact with in this area for visitors to experience cherry blossoms with all five of their senses.
Advance tickets for this event are now on sale, so don’t miss out.
FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura –
Running: January 30, 2020 – March 1, 2020
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last entries 30 minutes before closing time)
*Opening hours subject to change
Location: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall COREDO Muromachi Floors 1F + 5F (Entrance is on 4F)
Official Website (English/Japanese): https://flowers.naked.works/2020nihonbashi/
Starbucks Japan Reveals New Matcha White Chocolate Hot and Iced Drinks For Christmas
17.December.2019 | FOOD
Starbucks Coffee Japan is celebrating Christmas 2019 with two new delicious beverages: the Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino🄬 and Hot Matcha White Chocolate, both of which will be available to order between December 19 and 25 for this year only.
Both versions of this delightful holiday season drink are the perfect accompaniment to the winter days, combining richly fragrant matcha with smooth white chocolate. The Frappuccino🄬 enjoys the addition of maple syrup for a distinct sweetness which mixes gorgeously with the matcha and milkiness of the white chocolate.
The hot version is made with foamed milk which too is soaked in the full-bodied kick of the matcha. The fluffy texture of the foamed milk together with the sweet taste and velvety white chocolate is a combination sure to get you addicted.
If you’re in Japan for Christmas this year, be sure to stop by Starbucks for a cup of Matcha White Chocolate.
Matcha White Chocolate Frappuccino🄬
Tall: ¥570 (Tall size only)
Hot Matcha White Chocolate
Short: ¥430 / Tall: ¥470 / Grande: ¥510 / Venti®: ¥550
Running: December 19, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Available: At most Starbucks branches in Japan
Notes: Listed prices do not include tax. Both drinks contain less than 0.5% cocoa.
Starbucks Coffee Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/