Scarlett’s Kawaii Kyushu Part 1: Beppu

18.January.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

I started off my Kyushu journey in Japan’s renowned onsen hotspot, Beppu. Onsens are pools filled with hot
spring water. Beppu is the very city where this viral video picturing an Onsen theme park came from, which is soon to become a reality! The plans for the theme park are going swimmingly, with the opening ceremony
scheduled for April.
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One of Beppu’s most famous attractions are the 8 Hells – a collection of extremely hot pools (100 degrees kind of hot! Not for bathing!) that are designated nationally as spots of scenic beauty. Each of them have their own unique names, colours and myths. For example, the Oniishi Bozu pool, literally meaning Buddhist monk, is named as such because the bubbles look like bald heads!
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Adjacent to Oniishi Bozu is the beautiful bright blue Umi Jigoku. Don’t for get to stop by the stall with tiny manjuu, they are very cute and very delicious! A little bit further away but worth the trip is the Chinoike Jigoku, the ‘blood pond hell’, named after its red colour.
Don’t worry – there are plenty of onsen you can go in too! Aqua Garden is one of the
most famous spots, where you can enter a traditional style onsen or a large outdoor
family onsen. Not only can you relax with an amazing view of Beppu, but you can also enjoy exciting light shows at night from the warmth and comfort of the onsen.
You can view the onsens, go in the onsens… you can also cook on them! Jigoku Mushi, steam cloud cooking, involves boiling vegetables and seafood on the very hot steam.
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If you’re more of a night owl, Beppu has plenty to offer on that front too. Izakayas are bars in
Japan which serve beer and small snacks, and Beppu has a wide range. I went to one where you could get anything fried on a stick – which included a variety of meat and fish, lotus root and even apple! Another recommendation of mine is Anime bar Ani Tama. Head to toe of the place is covered in anime posters and figures. It’s the perfect night out for any anime fan! There are themed cocktails, anime song karaoke and even cosplays you can wear for the evening! The Ani Tama atmosphere is so popular they have even had famous singers visit, such as the likes of Momoi Haruko. Did you know that the creator of Attack on Titan is from Oita?
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Beppu’s landscape is quite spectacular, as it’s sandwiched right between the sea and the mountains. The yukemuri (steam clouds) rise up from the drains everywhere, giving it a very magical atmosphere. Most of you might know each city or prefecture in Japan has its own mascot. Beppu is no different – boasting the
adorable Beppyon, who wears onsen gear and has ears shaped like the steam clouds. If you
like Beppyon as much as I do, you can buy lots of merchandise at Beppu’s omiyage (souvenir) shops, and you can follow Beppyon’s Twitter updates here.
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The surrounding area also has a lot to offer for a day out. Umi Tamago, literally meaning ‘egg of the sea’, is an aquarium situated by the sea and has a range of creatures to see. Some of the fish even have their own kawaii-style tanks! The dolphin show mustn’t be missed, where they do all sorts of tricks like catchin
g balls, jumping in unison, even head banging… and all to popular tracks like
BABYMETAL.
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Just a short train and bus ride away is every kawaii enthusiasts dream – Sanrio Harmonyland.
You can take a train from Beppu to Kitsuki, a small castle town, and then take a bus.Puroland in Tokyo is an indoor experience, while Harmonyland is all outdoors. The highlight of the visit had to be the parade, where Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars, My Melody and Cinnamoroll all danced on colourful floats in the centre of the park. The shops also had awide range of goods available, including all the recently released characters. There are also a range of outdoor rides like a Ferris wheel and Hello Kitty’s Angel Carousel.
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Oita city, only around 15 minutes away by train, has many tempting treats for a pop-culture enthusiast. Sanrio, in partnership with Oita Bank, have opened up a My Melody cafe. You can eat themed omurice, pancakes, parfaits… and even sit opposite My Melody herself! Oita city also has its own Animate store (
which, in case you were wondering, I found to have ample Yuri! On Ice merchandise!) The next article in this two part series will be Kawaii Kumamoto, where I take a bus through the mountains, meet Kumamon, and participate in traditional New Year’s Hatsumode! Thanks for reading!

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Starbucks Coffee Beppu Park: Japan’s Newest Branch Flowing With Art and Tradition

    07.December.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is set to open a new branch in Beppu Park on December 12, 2019. It will be the first park branch to open in Oita Prefecture.

     

    Located in the heart of Beppu, a city well-known for its hot springs, Starbucks Coffee Beppu Park will open at the east car park where it will enjoy all the natural offerings that Beppu Park has to give, from its abundant foliage to its rows of towering trees. There is a bright and fresh green lawn in front of the shop where you can sit and enjoy your coffee while taking in the environment. The coffee branch also caters to the lifestyles of drivers, as many people commute by car in this region, with a drive-through service.

     

    The concept of the building is “Layered Aroma.” The designers wanted to capture the idea of the steam coming from the city’s hot springs and couple it with the wafting aroma of coffee. Inside, customers will find unique decor and lighting made in cooperation with local artists and artisans from Oita.

     

    In the centre of the cafe there is an original lighting structure made from bamboo by local craftsmen. This carefully-crafted piece of work expresses the rising aroma of coffee. There’s also artwork on display created by young artists from Oita as well as works made by three Beppu-based artists that were curated by ‘Get in touch.’

  • Miyako Hotel Hakata Opens With Instagram-Worthy Pool, Michelin-Led Restaurant Menu & More

    24.September.2019 | SPOT

    Miyako Hotel Hakata will have its grand opening on September 22, 2019. To help spread word of the luxurious secrets behind its doors, an official report was released detailing everything there is for guests to look forward to.

     

    Its metropolitan exterior is inspired by the spectacular natural landscapes of Kyushu

    Miyako Hotel Hakata can be found by taking the Tsukushi Exit of Hakata Station where it stands directly in front, towering above the surrounding buildings. The basement floor of the hotel is directly connected to the station for ease of access. This floor is also home to a convenience store, restaurants and more and can be used by non-guests too.

    The building is a gorgeous eye-catching glass cube which offers an abundance of natural light during the day. At night, the hotel exterior is illuminated with 168 LED lights, giving it an metropolitan appearance. The building rooftop has a running ‘waterfall’ which is inspired by the majestic rural environments of Kyushu. Its iconic design makes it instantly-recognisable, with hopes in mind that this will make it a new landmark of Hakata.

    The lobby houses a gorgeous cafe lounge serving food and drink

    Up on the 3rd floor is the clean, bright and spacious front lobby where staff are waiting to greet guests warmly. In addition to the reception desk, there is CAFÉ EMPATHY, a cafe and lounge which can be used by both guests and non-guests. The cafe is produced by Transit General Offiice which is known for having produced the The Rail Kitchen Chikugo―a restaurant train―amongst a host of shared offices, hotels and more.

    The spectacular menu line-up includes an array of delicious drinks from herbal teas to flavoured lattes, as well as an assortment of light meals made using ingredients from around Kyushu. They also serve an original afternoon tea that’s served from 14:30. Everything on the menu is nothing short of Instagrammable and perfect for those who love to wine and dine on drinks and food that is both cute and fancy.

     

    The colourful flavoured lattes come in four flavours and can also be ordered for takeout. One of them is the Beets Latte which is a pink colour which comes from the beetroot used to make it. It has a subtle sweetness and smooth flavour.

     

    The stocked teas include those made by Paris-based tea company KUSMI TEA, such as the Anastasia which is a mix of standard black tea and citrus, as well as an array of decaffeinated fruit teas.

    Spend your time in luxury in your room

    Floors 5 through 12 are all lined with guest rooms. There are four types of rooms, all large, including Twin and Double. Each and every room has been given the same level of care and attention to create the most comfortable experience for guests.

    The Deluxe room is the perfect package if you’re looking to indulge in a little extravagance, whether as a treat to yourself or together with that special someone. The room design is stylish and simple, allowing for optimal relaxation. The bed is roomy and is ideal for watching the television or chatting.

     

    All guest rooms are also equipped with tablets from which you can control the air con, lights and so on. The TV can even tell you whether the restaurant is full or not which is a super convenient feature.

    A restaurant and bar menu created by a Michelin-starred chef & dreamy terrace pool

    On floor 13―the top floor―you will find Miyako Hotel Hakata’s must-see feature: the SOMEWHERE RESTAURANT & BAR. This all-dining restaurant’s concept is “A Beautiful Place Somewhere.” Its dinner menu was conceived by Michihoro Haruta, the chef at Crony, a Michelin 1-starred restaurant in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. The innovative menu is made with local ingredients from Fukuoka and across Kyushu. The wine menu was created by Kazutaka Ozawa, a sommelier at Crony. The restaurant enjoys a laid-back atmosphere that isn’t overly formal or strict, with a glass exterior including the roof, allowing diners to enjoy the romantic evening atmosphere.

     

    Breakfast is served to both guests and non-guests and is served as a western-style buffet packed full of assorted foods such as freshly-baked bread, omelette, Eggs Benedict, and more. They serve an original Japanese-style breakfast too for those who fancy Japanese food. The tall windows allow natural light to pour into the restaurant.

    Right next to the restaurant is the hotel’s very own spa, offering a natural hot spring pool, jet bath, footbath and more. As part of the hotel’s grand opening, the spa is free for all guest until March 31, 2020. The hotel offers rental swimsuits too so you can freely and easily enjoy a nighttime dip. And when night truly sets in, you can gaze an unbroken view of Hakata from the roof, and the ‘waterfall’ next to the pool will also be lit up.

     

    There’s even a special poolside menu so you can order cocktails and light food from the terrace. With everything illuminate in beautiful lighting, your cocktail in hand, you can certainly snap some Instagram-worthy shots. And if you’re looking for a warm bath, there is a large public bath and even a sauna indoors.

  • Sanrio’s Kuromi Takes Over Harmonyland This Halloween For Devilish Events

    08.September.2019 | SPOT

    Sanrio character theme park Harmonyland in Oita has announced this year’s Halloween event, Kuromi’s Happy Halloween, which will begin on September 13. The devilish and mischievous Kuromi, whose birthday is on October 31-Halloween day-is taking over the park this year to deliver a very cute and just a tiny bit spooky Halloween to kids and adults this year.

     

    Harmonyland’s Halloween Night Party, a huge hit every year, will also return on October 26. In addition to Kuromi’s birthday event, Wish me mell, another one of Sanrio’s cute characters, will also celebrate her birthday on September 20.

    The event also has its own story. While Hello Kitty was having fun preparing for Halloween with everyone, Kuromi looked at the calendar and noticed that the park was scheduled to be closed on October 31, her birthday. Angry by this decision, the scheming Kuromi began Halloween preparations of her own.

     

    Pashakawa SWEET HALLOWEEN

    This event is a chance to meet your favourite characters, who will be dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and take a photo with them. Be sure to say the secret password to them, “trick or treat,” to get some free candy! The fun doesn’t stop there though, as there’ll be a chance to dance with the characters too.

     

    Omotenashi Hello Kitty Cafe

    Hello Kitty will serve as owner of the Hello Kitty Cafe, while Kuromi will be your maid along with the cafe staff, and Meister Cinnamon will learn your name and teach teach it to the rest of the character staff. At the end of the show, the cafe staff will change into their Halloween costumes.

     

    Halloween Photo Spots

    Special Halloween photos spots will be dotted around for Halloween where you can snap some cute pictures. From pumpkin heads of Hello Kitty, My Melody and  Kuromi to flower beds decorated with Kuromi, there will be no shortage of Instagrammable spots for photos. And when you get close to the two flower beds, you might just run into a trick set up by Kuromi herself… Also, the background music playing at the park was all chosen by Kuromi.

     

    Halloween Merch & Menu

    Of course, there will be lots of exclusive character merchandise to grab, as well as a cute themed menu designed just for Halloween.

     

    Halloween Night Party ~Pink or Black~

    The popular Halloween Night Party returns again this year, a one-night-only spectacle of lights, music and dance. The theme this year is “pink or black.” Clad yourself in one or both of these colours and have a fun Halloween night!

     

    ・Date: October 26, 2019 (18:00-21:00)

    ・Price: ¥1,000 (Everyone aged 4+) *Price is reduced to ¥500 to those who hold an annual ticke

    ・A shuttle bus will be operating for free (limited spaces)

     

    Celebrate Halloween this year together with Kuromi.

     

    ⓒ ’76, ’91, ’96, ’99, ’01, ’05, ’09, ’17, ’19 SANRIO

  • Popular Tokyo Café Bakery BREAD, ESPRESSO & to Open in Fukuoka

    09.August.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Bakery café BREAD, ESPRESSO & has made quite a reputation in Omotesando, Tokyo for its stylish interior and delicious coffee and bread. The bakery café is now opening a new branch in Fukuoka called BREAD, ESPRESSO & HAKATA & on September 25th, 2019.

     

    To commemorate 10 years in business, BREAD, ESPRESSO & will be opening their first ever branch in Hakata, Kyushu. The café bakery will be nestled between Hakata Station and CANAL CITY HAKATA. Whether you are a busy commuter looking for a heartwarming cup of coffee or a traveling tourist, the location is ideal for anyone looking for a quick rest stop. 

    The new café bakery is approximately 165 m² in size, making it the largest branch. The shop is decorated with a pure white base theme and has the perfect comfortable environment to enjoy a coffee. 

    Mu: ¥330 (after tax)

    French Toast: ¥750 (after tax)

    BREAD, ESPRESSO &’s popular Mu and French Toast will be on the menu along with Hakata-limited goods. If you are searching for some delicious bread in Hakata, please make your way to BREAD, ESPRESSO &.

  • From Wine to Hydrangeas Taste the Regional Shaved Ice Flavours of Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    10.July.2019 | FOOD

    Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand KAI is offering guests the opportunity to explore different regional shaved ice desserts that are served with delicious regional syrups and toppings. Shaved ice is a traditional summer dessert that was even mentioned in the famous work The Pillow Book, which was written by Sei Shonagon during her time as Empress Consort Teishi’s court lady during the 990s and early 1000s of the Heian period.

    The concept of KAI expresses both originality and the thirst for experimenting to make something new. The event offers a range of original flavours, embracing the Japanese tradition of eating flavoured shaved ice to battle the heat of summer. From wine-flavoured shaved ice in Nagano, to Hydrangea shaved ice at Hakone, this is the perfect opportunity to try a range of shaved ice desserts that are full of vibrant colours. These regional flavours are sure to spark your curiosity for discovery in that region. 

    Wine Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano)

    The cone-shaped region of Kikyogahara, which is located next to Matsumoto city, is well known for its wine production. This area produces around 50 different kinds of Kikyogahara wine. The flavoured syrup for this shaved ice comes from concord grape wine sourced from Kikyogahara. Each porcelain bowl for the dessert is handmade. Customers can enjoy the smooth, rounded feel of the grape pattern on the bowl as they dig into their dessert. As the alcohol is burned out of the dish, even those who do not like alcohol can enjoy this mature dessert. From the carefully prepared wine syrup to the handmade bowl, you will be able to feel all the hard work put into the making of these luxurious desserts. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.

    Hydrangea Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone

    Due to the altitude differences at Hakone, you can enjoy the beautiful hydrangeas for an even longer time than other areas of Japan. There is a Hydrangea train (Ajisai Densha) that runs up the mountains providing passengers with the beautiful view of blooming flowers, creating the perfect summer memories. Observing the large groups of flowers in full bloom fills you with such a refreshing feeling. Their beautiful colours are expressed in the colour of this hydrangea shaved ice.  

    Strawberry Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi)

    Tochigi prefecture has been Japan’s no.1 producer of strawberries for 50 years straight. This shaved ice is served in a strawberry-shaped bowl and is served with sweet yet slightly sour strawberry syrup and a topping of bittersweet matcha sauce. Here, you can enjoy a cool evening up 1,300 metres high overlooking beautiful scenery from inside the establishment whose spectacular interior that boasts Tochigi’s traditional art of Kanuma Kanoko craft. 

    Tomato Flavoured Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sonomoto, Oita)

    As tomatoes thrive during the summer, this tomato shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down. This shaved ice is sweet and slightly sour and the vibrant red colour is enough to refresh you. Tomatoes are low in calories and contain an abundant range of healthy nutrients. They are also high in vitamin C which is good for your skin and is known for helping prevent illness. Tomatoes are also a good supply of vitamin E, which is good at slowing the effects of aging. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your shaved ice as a refreshing breeze rolls by. This is the perfect way to enjoy a cool summer with a healthy and delicious dessert. 

    Neputa Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru (Owani Onsen, Aomori)

    The Neputa Shaved Ice represents the Hirosaki Neputa Festival that takes place in the summer at the old castle town of Hirosaki. To represent Tsugaru Vidro coloured glass, which is an important part of Tsugaru culture, red, blue and green coloured jelly pieces decorate the top of the shaved ice. These colours also represent the vibrant colours of Neputa festival. This Instagram-worthy dessert shows off the best of the fresh colours of Tsugaru. 

  • Oita Prefecture News Letter June 2019

    22.June.2019 | Uncategorized

    Oita Prefecture is Kyushu is known as having the most hot spring sources and yield in Japan. Places in Oita such as the city of Beppu and town of Yufuin are highlighted as some of the most famous hot spring sites in Japan and enjoy an influx of tourists every year, but their appeal doesn’t stop at hot springs. Oita will host this year’s Rugby World Cup, and because of that, the prefectural government is putting more efforts into dining, speciality products and spreading tourist and sightseeing information.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the must-see sites, art and culture of the prefecture.

     

    InterContinental ANA Beppu Resort & Spa

    InterContinental ANA Beppu Resort & Spa is Oita’s first foreign-owned luxury brand hotel set to open this year on August 1. This resort-style hotel will combine Beppu’s status as Japan’s spearhead of hot springs with the concept of an intercontinental brand hotel to offer the ultimate relaxation and healing.

     

    There are 89 rooms at the hotel which incorporate the strenuous craft and expertise of local artists and artisans such as bamboo work. The rooms span 62-212mand are decked out with interiors made with natural materials and enjoy presentations perfect for those seeking peace and tranquillity. 21 of the rooms are suites and club rooms each with terraces equipped with private open-air baths. And if you make use of the Club Intercontinental Lounge you can enjoy top class service.

     

    Guests can enjoy the rich spring water of Beppu in both the open-air baths and public baths. Not only is there a spa there’s even an infinity pool from which guests can enjoy a gorgeous view.

     

    Official Website: https://anaicbeppu.com/en/

     

    Ryumon Falls (Kokonoe)

    Ryumon Falls is a 26-meter waterfall spanning 40-meters wide. The waterfall itself runs down the rocks below it, almost creating a second waterfall. In summer, kids and adults alike both enjoy the thrill of using it as a water slide. During the summer season, the camp sites, diners and souvenir shops bustle with tourists. You can pick up a mat and other items required to slide down the rocky slope in the surrounding area.

     

    Address: Matsugi, Kokonoe-machi, Kusu-gun 879-4632, Oita Prefecture

     

    Traditional Crafts at Nakatsu Castle Shitamachi – Shuka’s Japanese Umbrellas

    During Japan’s economic crisis at the turn of the 19th century, policies were enacted that encouraged areas to create their own speciality products. This sparked the manufacturing and selling of umbrellas which were made from bamboo, Japanese paper, oil, astringent and other materials all sourced locally. The early Showa period was the golden age for Japanese umbrella production, but it later declined and production eventually stopped in 2003 due to the ageing of the craftsmen who made them. However, production restarted in 2005 by Shuka to help revitalise the traditional Japanese craft of creating umbrellas. Since then, the same production methods that were used back in the day have been adhered to, and new designs have come to life. They are now back in fashion and growing in popularity.

     

    Official Website: http://shu-ka.jp/

     

    Michi no Eki Innai

    Michi no Eki Innai is located in the centre of Innaimachi Kushino, a town home to the only village in Japan built on a stone bridge. They sell a variety of food products including speciality food items, including a range of loach dishes such as fried loach and loach hot pot. They also have information on the stone bridge itself, and visitors can see a Japanese giant salamander up close. Their Usa Karaage is a favourable dish amongst visitors.

     

    Official Website: https://www.michinoeki-innai.net/

     

    Oita Prefecture is home to many fun and exciting spots and events, so be sure to explore if you’re planning a visit.

  • Beams Japan to Hold Collaborative Event in the City of Beppu

    09.November.2018 | FASHION / SPOT

    The Shinjuku branch of Japanese clothing brand Beams is holding an event titled BEAMS EYE on BEPPU in collaboration with the city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture.

     

    A range of item are set to be sold including souvenirs co-developed by 10 different businesses as well as products from the Beppu New Standard project which started at the first run of this event held back in February.

    Products include beverages made using the source water of hot springs in Beppu and skin care items which were developed by two buyers of Beams Japan and other businesses after sessions of exchanging ideas and tests. New and improved versions of popular local cakes developed during the event’s firs run will also be sold in addition to a line-up of items made with the local region in mind.

     

    Select products at the event will be available to buy at the Beams store, on their official website and via ZOZOTOWN.

     

    Additionally, businesses that participated in last year’s BEAMS EYE on BEPPU will set up a corner to sell Beppu New Standard products which have been locally. This is in an effort to show the many charms of the city of Beppu and that it is more than just a place to visit for the hot springs.

  • MMN Festival 2018: Report by Scarlet, a Japan-loving Brit

    20.April.2018 | FEATURES / FES / SPOT

    This year was a new challenge for the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL- the first time the event was held over four different locations around the Shibuya and Harajuku area! The stylish La Foret department store, the famous music hotspot Tower Records, the bustling shopping square Shibuya Cast and finally the traditional tranquillity of Onden Shrine. All the best of Japanese pop-culture – held within just a short distance of each other! Here were some of the highlights.

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 ラフォーレ原宿

    FASHION

    Fashion at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 set the bar high! The Harajuku Kawaii Market area in particular brought together a wide variety of styles in two days of the latest Kawaii trends. Bright, colourful fashion as well as toned down, natural fashion was displayed at booths and on stage by famous models.

     

    「MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA」ラフォーレミュージアム原宿レポート1日目

    Tobidase! Picture Book Show Storytime With Natsume Mito

    Bulldog Tanei to Kieta Hoshi (BUNKEIDO Co., LTD.) is a really famous picture book in Japan, loved by children and adults alike for its moving story. It has a very distinct art style and colour scheme – the perfect ingredients for a fashion show! Singer and presenter Natsume Mito produced the show herself – everything from the concept to shopping for the clothes in vintage shops.

    ラフォーレ 三戸なつめ 絵本 ファッションショー

    When asked on stage why she chose this book in particular she answered – “The drawings are cute so easy to match fashion to. But I also thought it would be nice to use a moving story to make people smile by watching this fashion show”. Everyone who attended could write their wishes on star shaped paper and stick it on the night sky wall outside the event – just like in the picture book.

     

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 マイナビバイトステージ

     

    My Navi Baito Fashion Awards

    Gas station workers and barmaids are not necessarily the jobs that come to mind when you think of Kawaii fashion – but the My Navi Baito Challenge Awards are here to change that stereotype! The competition showcased at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL was for fashion students with the challenge of creating cute “baito” outfits – “baito” means part time work in Japanese.

     

    Popular models showed off the outfits on stage. Model Yano Anna commented that her moving van worker outfit was really cute with lots of lace but also very practical with big pockets, and that if the outfit was this cute, she would definitely like to do this part time work! The students, who only had one month to complete the project, were also interviewed on the key points of the outfits and any difficulties they faced. The winner was decided by audience vote over the two days.

     

    L_25日人気モデルに学ぶ!フォトジェニックレッスン

    A Lecture on Being Photogenic

    In recent times social media presence is really important for models, for building their fan base and giving fans a look into their everyday lives. Many came to get tips from top models giving this panel on creating “Instagrammable” photos – which covered every topic from fashion to cosmetics to photos of food.

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    Rikako Ōya from popular idol group Babyraids Japan explained that she takes some of her photos on a film camera to bring out the bright colours of her clothes. She also likes taking artistic photos, such as where she used the light of Tokyo Tower reflected on her face for a very expressive, serious photo. Ellie likes to capture the beauty of nature and tradition in her outfit photos by posing at lakes and shrines. Ema on the other hand focuses on capturing the charm of cafes around Japan. She does this by framing the table to look stylish and simple but with something surprising, such as a beer or a brightly coloured blue soda. Her key tip was to always use natural light rather than filters.

    人気モデルに学ぶ!フォトジェニックレッスン2

    Yuna’s aim is to show dog owners in Tokyo cute and fun places to go through her Instagram. There were a lot of “awws” from the audience in reaction to her photos of her dog swimming! Yuri’s photos focused more on cosmetics and beauty. One of Yuri’s most popular photos is of her nails in a Jacuzzi, where the bubbles really bring out the colours. Another signature photo she takes is a zoomed in part of her face, such as her eyes and nose, which she then posts on Instagram. It was a fun and educational panel!

     

    盆踊り もしもしにっぽん 穏田神社3

    TRADITIONAL

    One of the four locations was Onden Shrine – tucked away behind the streets between Harajuku and Shibuya. The Bon Odori was a stunning masterpiece that was not to be missed.

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 隠田神社

    A procession of beautiful colours, striking makeup and the highest shoes I’ve ever seen! The wave of contrasting kimono down the path to the shrine to graceful traditional music, was combined with fast pop beats to give the show a modern twist.

    しもっきー

    Even DJ character Shimockey was happily dancing along to the music and getting everyone involved! When the performance was over the audience could even learn a special Bon Odori taught by the performers, a mash up between traditional flowing dance moves and energetic j-pop.

     

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 占い

    Fortune Telling

    Fortune Telling is a tradition in Japan that dates back to the Edo period, and recently has become trendy and modern. For example, fortune teller celebrity Chamereon Takeda has over 50,000 followers on her official LINE account, and fortunes regularly appears on television and in magazines. I have always been fascinated to try tarot cards so I had my fortune told by Yuushi Kusunagi, who is also a voice actor and MC! While tarot cards are a very traditional method, he also used computer software to input my answers for part of the fortune telling. It was a really interesting experience!

     

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 夢のや

    YUMENOYA Kimono Salon

    In a traditional x kawaii mashup, YUMENOYA Kimono Salon had a booth at SHIBUYA CAST, a market area with food, robots and even a foot spa! The kimonos are all distinctly very beautiful in kawaii colours – this is because the kimono most suited to Harajuku fashion are handpicked from rooting through hundreds at markets. You can even see some are adjusted with added colours and lace. If you think the background looks familiar, the colourful shoji (sliding paper) door is actually designed by Sebastian Masuda, the genius behind the designs of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music videos! If you’re interested in trying this out, YUMENOYA has a permanent store on the 1st floor of MOSHI MOSHI BOX in Harajuku!

     

    CY8ER

    Tower Records Stage – CY8ER

    The hugely famous music location for locals and tourists alike, Tower Records hosted three stages and many different acts across the weekend. I decided to check out the performance of idol group CY8ER, who have gained huge traction abroad for their bass heavy tunes and energetic performances. Many members were also already influential figures in the idol world before joining the group, and member Rinahamu is actually also the producer! Their musical genre is commonly described as Future Bass, a subgenre of EDM. It was definitely a performance to dance and chant along to, and I had a lot of fun alongside the other fans.

     

    L_24日甘党男子

    Harajuku Kawaii Market Stage – AmaDan and MAGiC BOYS

    The Harajuku Kawaii Market stage hosted two very cool boy groups over the weekend. Sugary sweet Amato Danshi are themed completely around sweets, with some of their famous tunes being “Choux Cream” and “Chocolate”. During the bridge in one of their songs, they even gave out sweets to everyone in the audience before rushing back on stage! You could even buy sweets they recommend at a booth in SHIBUYA CAST.

     

    L_25日MAGIC BOYZ

    MAGiC BOYS are possibly the youngest hip hop rapping group I have ever seen, the youngest member being only 13 years old and a DJ! “Ore no Kami ha Kuro” is a song that revolves around the stereotype that dying your hair in Japan gives you a rebellious image, but they think the hair you were born with is more cool. Their performance was not only energetic but also theatrical, they really put on a show!

     

    After all of that, how will MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL top it next year? We will have to wait and see! Thanks for reading!

     

  • Let’s find out the fabulous aspects of Oita Prefecture! Check out the events which will be held in October.

    23.September.2017 | FOOD / SPOT

    Oita Prefecture in Kyusyu is known as the number one hot spring prefecture in Japan. Oita Prefecture is called “the hot spring prefecture – Oita” and the amount of hot spring water and the number of hot springs known to be No.1.

    . The PR video “Shinfuro” broadcasted two years ago and last year gathered much attention but Oita has many other amazing sightseeing spots, indigenous products and delicious foods. In this column, I will introduce to you the sightseeing spots, products, art facilities and culture of Oita Prefecture.

     

    -Sightseeing spots and experience in Oita-

    Oita Prefecture Kokuto Peninsula Usa Area

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    Rokugo Manzan located in Kokuto Peninsula has been open for 1300 years. In commemoration of this, Kyusyu National Museum will hold a special exhibition which introduces the mystery of Rokugo Manzan which is known as the birthplace of syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. The exhibition exhibits rare cultural assets including four important cultural properties. One of the important cultural properties is the Buddhist statue “Monju Senji Monju Bosatsu” which can be seen only once every 12 years.

    ▼Information

    Rokugo Manzan Special Exhibition

    Date: September 13th 2017 (Wed.) to November 5th (Sun.) (eight weeks)

    Venue: Kyusyu National Museum Cultural Exhibition Room

     

     

    Disclosing hidden cultural assets / light ups and special events

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    At each temple of Rokugo Manzan, a light-up event (two hours) will be held from the 28th of October to the 9th of December and food such as soup will be offered to visitors. Traditional performing arts such as Kagura can also be seen.

     

     

     

     

     

    -Oita Prefecture’s sightseeing spots which are suitable for the autumn touring season-

    “Yabakei” and “Kurushimashi Teien” are known as very famous sightseeing spots in Japan. “Yabakei” is the beauty spot of Nakatsushi. “Ichimoku Hakkei”

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    located in the center of “Yabakei,” a famous spot which is surrounded by huge rock mountains. The contrast of the rocks and autumn leaves is a must-see.

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     “Goryo Momiji” can be seen when the autumn leaves in Yabakei fall. The sight of the tunnel of red leaves and the carpet of colorful leaves is so beautiful.

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     “Kyu Kurushima Teien” is a beautiful sightseeing spot in Kusumachi. The garden was created in 1829 and consists of three small gardens. It is very exciting to think about the history of the garden while walking through it.

     

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     “Sobo / Katamuki / Okue” located in Oita Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture is a treasure spot of rare animals and has a beautiful view and untouched nature. Many people are awed by its unique view which changes depending on the season. The location becomes very beautiful especially from mid October to late October. The location was designated as a UNESCO Eco Park which is an ideal place where nature and human society exist together in a peaceful manner.

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    “Kyusuikei” in Kusugun Kusucho has a huge cliff with a length of about 2km. Natural forests and beautiful canyons can be seen in this spot. The view from “Kue ‘Yume’ Otsuribashi” is very beautiful. The spot is packed with many climbers during the autumn season.

     

     

     

    The Mini Yonku (Japanese racing car toy) club will hold a race (elementary school children can participate in this event)

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    “THMF Hitahashiri,” a Mini Yonku club set up a racing course in Hitashi. Elementary school students can use the racing course for free and enjoy this event together with adults. The racing course holds an event where visitors can play with Mini Yonkus handed out for free. An “elementary school students-limited race” is held every Sunday from 14:00 and a night race is held every second and fourth Saturday.

    ▼Information

    Elementary School Students-limited race

    Address: 273-1, Mizumecho, Hitashi, Oita Prefecture

    Date: 15:00 to 20:00, 10:00 to 21:00 – Sat, Sun and holidays, Mon – holiday

    TEL: 080-1776-1208

     

     

     

    -Sports experience in Oita-

    Rugby is gaining much popularity nowadays!!

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    Oita Prefecture is where the final match of the world rugby tournament is to be held. The 5th match of the league of Japan Rugby Top League 2017-2018 will be held at Oita Ginko Dome on the 24th of September (Sat.). Many people are awaiting a fierce battle.

    ▼Information

    Japan Rugby Top League 2017-2018 Season League 5th match

    Date: September 24th, 2017 (Sat) 14:00 kickoff

    Venue: Oita Sports Park Oita Ginko Dome / 1351 Yokoo, Oitashi, Oita Prefecture

    URL: http://orfu.jp/?page_id=2095

     

     

    Oita×Kumamoto “Baitoku Campaign” will be offered!

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    After the earthquake of Kumamoto, Oita and Kumamoto are working actively to re-establish the areas. So, Beppu and Aso will hold “Baitabi Campaign”

    On October 3rd (Tue.) Kumamon and Mejiron (mascots) will appear in the Kansai area. They will participate in events such as in central square in the JR Osaka Station City Atrium.

    ▼Information

    Baitabi Campaign

    TEL: 097-534-3500

     

     

     

     

    -Foods and events of Oita-

    “Oita Kurafeshu 2017” is an event at which shochu (Japanese alcohol) and nihonshu (Japanese sake) can be enjoyed.

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    “Oita Kurafeshu 2017” is an event created under the concept of “the entertainment of sake” at Osakashi kitaku / Hotel Hankyu International.

    They will offer full-fledged shochu and nihonshu made by various kuramotos (sake breweries). You can enjoy the allurement of Oita through Oita’s foods and drinks including sake and local dishes.

    ▼Information

    Oita Kura Feshu 2017

    Date: October 13th, 2017 (Fri.) 19:00 to 21:00 (reservation 18:15~)

    Reservation due date: September 25th

    Fee: 3,900 yen

    Venue: Hotel Hankyu International 6th floor “Zuicho” / 19-19, Chayamachi, Kitaku, Osaka

    URL:http://www.oita-sake.or.jp/kurafeshu2017/

     

     

     “Oita Kabosu Fair in GINZA” at which food items using kabosu (a type of citrus fruit) can be enjoyed.

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    This fair which offers kabosu produced in Oita will be held at Ginza. Bars, Japanese cuisine restaurants, sushi restaurants and French restaurants will be participating in the event. Let’s enjoy kabosu dishes created by topnotch restaurants in Ginza.

    ▼Information

    Oita Kabosu Fair in GINZA

    Date: Septemeber 15th, 2017 (Fri.) to 30th (Sat.)

     

     

     

    Eat and shout to release your stress! Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai will be held.

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    “Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai” has been held 43 times. After enjoying BBQ using lots of “Hoshu Yufuin Gyu”(beef) produced in vast grass farms, participants scream at the top of their lungs. The winner of this contest will be judged according to the volume of the scream and on how unique the content of the scream was.

    ▼Information

    Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai

    Date: October 9th, 2017 (Mon. / holiday) fixed number / 600 persons

    Fee: 3,500 yen – older than junior high school students / 2000 yen – below elementary school students

    Venue: Yufushi, Yufuin Machikawagami, Namiyanagi Bokujo

    TEL:0977-85-4464

    HP: http://www.yufuin.gr.jp/

     

    Schedule

    ◎9:00 selling entrance tickets

    ◎10:30 open

    ◎11:30 collecting the participators of the shouting event

    ◎12:00 shouting event

    ◎13:00 lottery event

    ◎14:00 results announced and and / awards ceremony

     

     

    “Oita Bungo Ushi’s” support shop “Sumibi to Wine”

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    “Sumibi to Wine” is a meat/wine specialty store which has eight branch stores in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. Oita Bungo Ushi (beef) is the brand beef of Oita which is healthy and has a high-quality taste, smell and texture. The “Kuju Yume Pork” and moule they offer are both produced in Oita.

    ▼Information

    Sumibi to Wine Kyobashiten

    Address: K Buratto, Keihan Kokabashi, 1-5-1, Higashinocho, Toshimaku, Osakashi, Osaka

    TEL:050-5570-6706

     

     

     

    The sky hot spring “CITY SPA Tenku” from which Beppu Port can be seen

    “CITY SPA Tenku”

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    “CITY SPA Tenku” is a hot spring facility in “JR Oita City” near JR Oita Station. Since the hot spring is located 80m above ground, you can enjoy the view of Beppu Port, Takasami Mountain and Tsurumidake. They offer a natural, brown-colored hot spring which is called “natrium ammonium hydrogen salt hot spring.” The hot spring has a smooth texture.

    ▼Information

    CITY SPA Tenku

    Address: 19F-21F, JR Oita City, directly connected with Oita Station, 1-14, Kanameshi, Oita

    TEL:097-513-2641

     

    Let’s enjoy the wonderful autumn in Oita that has many gorgeous spots.

     

  • Yamada Coffee on the Amami Islands to release cafe au lait made with home blend speciality coffee and sugarcane

    06.September.2017 | FOOD / SPOT

    To celebrate 4 years since the opening of “Yamada Coffee Amami Island,” the shop are releasing a their own in-house blended speciality coffee mixed with non‐centrifugal cane sugar* from sugarcane grown in the Amami Islands. This is the kind of beverage that is drank in the Southern islands. The cafe au lait sweetening base has an authentic coffee flavour and a delicious sweetness that is body-friendly.
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    The “kibiore” sweetening, which will be sold from September 8th, is a cafe au lait base mixed with speciality coffee home brewed by Yamada Coffee in Amami in Kagoshima and non‐centrifugal cane sugar taken from locally grown sugar cane on the Amami Islands.
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    The shop’s speciality coffee uses 100% high quality coffee beans that meet international standards which are blended to create a balance that maintains the beans’ rich flavour even when used in in a cafe au lait, and also leaves a fresh and smooth aftertaste.
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    The sugar is made from 100% non‐centrifugal cane sugar that comes from exceptional local sugarcane grown on the Amami Islands which has been grown in lots of sunlight in the South.
    The non-centrifugal cane sugar contains lots of minerals. It is well-accepted that when compared to brown cane sugar, it is the superior choice, containing less acidity and bitterness. Cafe au lait bases are normally made with white sugar, but Yamada Coffee use non‐centrifugal sugar in order to create a cafe au lait base that is friendly to your body.
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    Not a single preservative, colouring or flavouring is used – their “kibiore” simply uses coffee and non‐centrifugal sugar. Yamada Coffee want to make kibiore a thing of Amami Ōshima and so are also releasing gift sets that can be used as Bon Festival or end-of-year gifts by people both inside and outside Amami Ōshima.
    During your trip to Amami Ōshima, be sure to stop by Yamada Coffee for a sit down with one of their special cafe au lait!
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    ■Information
    Kibiore (sweetening)
    On sale Friday September 8th
    Price: ¥1,600 (tax incl.)
    Shelf Life: 1 year from the day of manufacturing
    Storage: Store at room temperature and keep out of direct sunlight.
    How to Use: Shake well. Use 4 parts milk. Drink.
    Available: In-store at Yamada Coffee and online
    Link: https://amamiycoffee.theshop.jp/items/7888915
    “Yamada Coffee Amami Island”
    285-4 Kasaricho Oaza Wano, Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, 894-0503
    Official Website: https://amamiycoffee.theshop.jp/
    *Non-centrifugal cane sugar: A variety of sugar produced differently than regular sugar. Because the sugar crystals and cane juice of the molasses are solidified and crystallised and not separated, the sweetness and flavour of the raw ingredient create a much stronger flavoured sugar.
  • Mog Mog Scarlett #4 Shibuy Hikarie “Kiki Lala cafe”

    19.June.2017 | FOOD

    Sanrio has gained a huge name for itself not just in Japan, but overseas. Many go to worldwide meet and greet events with Hello Kitty, and collect hundreds of plushies, stationary items and even household furniture! I tried out the Pom Pom Purin café before, and this time I’ll be checking out the Little Twin Stars (or Kiki Lala as they are known in Japan) pop up cafe in high-end department store Shibuya Hikarie.

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    The café is a pop-up instalment within THE GUEST diner. For the interior I was expecting an explosion of rainbows all over the walls, but I was surprised to see a mainly cream colour scheme. The reason is this cafe is aimed at Japanese adult women, and so they wanted to create that vibe, with classic merchandise that any businesswoman could easily take to work. Of course this is not the only audience it attracts – I was sat alongside families and couples also enjoying the sophisticated atmosphere. There were also plenty of regular goods for sale, so fear not pastel fans!

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    The menu is split into themed drinks, food and desserts. Everybody gets a free Little Twin Stars postcard if they order one of the special food items. I never thought I’d see art of them doing the washing – but the star shaped washing line and pure joy on their faces transforms this menial task into something adorable! If only I could look as happy as them when I do the chores.

    The menu has something for everyone. If you can’t stick around you can even get a special roll cake to takeaway. Everything has themed elements, such as omuice with pink rice, and a parfait where Kiki and Lala are playing in the fluffy white clouds!

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    I started off my order with the pink cafe latte. It certainly looked impressive – and you got a free keychain that hangs off the straw! The stars and silver dragées around the edge of the cup gave the impression this drink had been conjured up by magic! Strawberry and coffee isn’t a combination I would normally think of putting together, but it really worked with the bitter taste of the coffee jelly and super sweetness of the rainbow cream. It wasn’t your usual colourful drink – the taste of the jellies chosen gave it a very refined, more adult taste. For those with a sweet tooth, I would suggest swirling the cream into the drink!

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    Culture Exchange Point!! ‘Cafe latte’ may confuse you – this is the same as a latte in Japan, and the word comes from the proper Italian word. If you ask for a latte in the UK or America, coffee is implied. If you ask for just a latte in Italy, you’ll literally get milk, so you ask for a cafe latte (cafe = coffee, latte = milk!). Similarly, ‘matcha latte’ in Japan is matcha flavoured frothed milk, but doesn’t actually contain any coffee!

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    Next up I decided to try the most popular item on the menu – the Hamburger Plate. The buns are coloured blue and pink just like Little Twin Stars, and are perfectly soft and yummy. This is also the first time I haven’t had a round burger – the star shape of the burger and moon shaped cheese is just too cute. The plate caters to both meat and fish lovers, with the pink being salmon and blue being beef. The avocado, lettuce and tomato was also very fresh – and there was even a pickle in a sweet wrapper! Some really creative presentation here. But nothing could top the presentation of the roll cake I had for dessert!

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    As if the cookie and Pocky wand had cast a spell, in a magic rainbow and a puff of creamy smoke, the roll cake appeared in front of me. The roll cake itself had a cute Little Twin Stars image printed on it, and was filled with a thick strawberry cream that had an ice-cream like texture. The rainbow sauce also had some nice fruity flavours. The tart taste of the raspberries worked as a sophisticated complement to the sweet overload.

     

    ■Information

    THE GUEST POP-UP CAFE
    Shibuya Hikarie B1, 2-21-1 Shibuya Shibuyaku Tokyo

    TEL. 03-6434-1866

    OPEN.10:00〜21:00 (food L.O 20:00 /drink L.O 20:30)

     

    Model & Writer:Scarlett Young

    Photo:Nao Shiota(MOSHI MOSHI BOX Store Manager)

     

    Related article:Mogu Mogu Scarlett#2  Pom Pom Purin café in Harajuku!

     

    Related article:Mogumogu Scarlet #1: Going to eat super soft pancakes in Japan

  • Natural forest will become a space of interactive-art! “Koou Suru Mori to Shiroato – Kushimazaki Juso”

    13.May.2017 | SPOT

    Team Labo will hold “Koou Suru Mori to Joseki – Kushimazaki Juso” at Omura Shrine which stands on Kushima Shiro Ato”

    Kushimazaki Juso is a place which became a natural forest after the Kushima Castle was deserted. The place includes huge trees.

    Floating, Resonating Spheres – Omura Shrine
    teamLab, 2017, Interactive Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
    The project is to combine the mysterious natural forest and modern technology.

    Oomura Park will become an interactive digital art location which changes its form by the passing of people. The project includes “Koou Suru Mori to Joseki – Kushimazaki Juso,”which is an art event where colors and the resonating of sounds change when  a person walks by and “Fuyu suru, Koou suru Kyutai,”where a light bulb bobs up and down in the center of the shrine grounds.

    This event will be held between the 3rd of June, 2017 (Sat) and the 2nd of July (Sun) and “Kashobu Maturi” will be held on the 4th of June (Sun) from 11:00 to 15:00. In the largest Kasyobu Park in Kyusyu, 171 kinds of Kashobu (300 thousands of Kashobu) will showcase the park until mid June.

    呼応する森と城跡 – 玖島崎樹叢 / Resonating Forest and Castle Ruins – Kushimazaki Tree Flora
    teamLab, 2017, Interactive Digitized Nature, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

     

    The scene where the light bulb sparkles and fades out looks like it is breathing. Let’s experience the world of interactive art which combines nature and digital artforms.

     

    ■Information

    Resonating Forest and Castle Ruins – Kushimazaki Tree Flora
    Event period: June 3rd, 2017 (Sat) to July 2nd (Sun)
    Omura Park, Omurashi, Nagasaki Prefecture (Kushimazaki Juso / Omori Shrine) (〒856-0834  45-3 1-Chome, Kushima, Omurashi, Nagasaki Prefecture)
    ※The event will be cancel depending on the weather conditions.
    ※Elementary school students must come with their parents and a group consisting of only junior high / high school students must leave the venue before 20:30.

    Official site:https://www.teamlab.art/jp/e/omura/

    Kashobu Maturi:http://www.city.omura.nagasaki.jp/kankousuishin/event/h28/20160605.html

     

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    Related article:A temple lodging plan which offers “Puchi Shabutu” (tracing a picture of Buddhist image) experience is now available!

     

    Related article:Visit Temples and Shrines, and Collect Goshu-in!

     

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