Indulge in the Best of Japan’s Nature this Autumn at Hoshino Resorts
03.October.2019 | SPOT
KAI is a hot spring ryokan brand of Hoshino Resorts which provides the perfect Japanese accommodation experience to enhance your stay. This autumn, KAI is providing guests with an enhanced seasonal experience to fully embrace the beautiful golden and amber autumn atmosphere. Spend some time soaking in the hot springs, taste the finest ingredients of the autumn season and even explore the unique features of the area through art. Hoshino Resorts is offering you a completely unique trip this autumn.
KAI Autumn Plans are being implemented at the following resorts: KAI Hakone, KAI Sengokuhara, KAI Aso, Kai Alps, KAI Kinugawa River, KAI Tsugaru and KAI Kawaji.
Hoshino KAI Japanese Autumn Onsen Ryokan Plans 2019
Hoshino Resorts released a video to show how their different accommodation features allow for guests to maximise their Japanese autumn experience. Today, we will be introducing just one autumn activity that you can experience at each of the resorts.
Autumn Leaf Illumination at KAI Hakone Miyanoshita, Kanagawa
Estimated best time to visit: Late November to early December
From September 6 to December 7, 2019, there will be a beautiful autumn leaf illumination display taking place around the open air baths, which is the perfect opportunity to relax under the auburn atmosphere of autumn. The autumn leaves fall at different times all over the Hakone region due to the mountainous and hilly terrain. This prolonged autumn season provides plenty of opportunities to watch the beautiful illumination display as you enjoy a moment of serenity, soaking in the soothing springs surrounded by the stunning scenery.
Illumination Times: 16:00 – 01:00
Paint the Picturesque Autumntime at KAI Sengokuhara, Kanagawa
Estimated best time to visit: Mid November- End November
Enjoying a relaxing soak at KAI Sengokuhara Hot Springs is the perfect way to appreciate the picturesque view of any season. On September 1, 2019, they introduced the perfect accommodation plan to fully relax their guests.
The guest rooms are equipped with traveller’s art supplies. From the gorgeous terrace view to the outdoor hot spring view, guests are provided with the opportunity to capture the beauty of the surrounding nature in their own way wherever they feel like it. The autumn view outside every single guest room is breathtaking ― the perfect opportunity for the guests to refresh and relax their minds with a beautiful painting.
Autumn Leaf Artwork
Available to customers who check in between September 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Price: From ¥43,400
*Price based on the price per guest per night for a two-person room. Tax and service charge not included.
Includes: Room fee, dinner, breakfast, rental art set and art museum tickets
Your Own Private Outdoor Natural View at Okomori Koyo Onsen KAI Aso (Senomoto Hot Springs, Oita Prefecture)
Estimated best time to visit: Mid October – early November
KAI Aso is located in Kuju National Park. Each guest room is surrounded by a lush forest, creating the perfect opportunity to soak in the hot springs and take in the beautiful view of the autumn leaves with lots of privacy.
In the outdoor hot spring, guests can enjoy the beautiful faint yellow Mongolian oak and the natural red leaves. Guests can also get a Japanese citrus bathing set which is scented using a range of Japanese citrus fruits to further enhance your natural autumn colour experience. The guest rooms are equipped with coffee sets which you can enjoy whilst bathing.
Available to customers who check in between October 1 and 31.
Price: From ¥46,480
*Based on the price per person per night in a 2-person room. Tax and service charge not included.
Includes: Room fee, dinner, breakfast, bathing set (1 set per room), coffee beans, Aso spring water pet bottle and a range of hot spring rental items: (Pillow for hot spring use, waterproof book cover, coffee mill and coffee dripper)
KAI Reservations Telephone Number: 0570-073-011
Please check KAI’s official website to find out more about the wide range of autumn plans on offer.
Hoshino Resorts Kai
Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/
Autumn 2019: Maple Trees and Roses Adorn Karuizawa Lake Garden in Full Bloom
18.September.2019 | SPOT
Karuizawa Lake Garden is a natural garden that displays creative harmony between humans and nature, where one can enjoy its bountiful selection of plants throughout all four seasons along with the lake across a 33,000m² area.
This year’s autumn season at the garden is scheduled from October 12 to November 4 where you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the red and yellow leaves simultaneously alongside colourful roses.
Beautiful Japanese maple trees aren’t the only thing you can enjoy during the fall season at Karuizawa Lake Garden. Soak in the sight of an abundance of autumnal plants and inhale the floral scent of the many roses. They will open across eight areas, including the main Rose Garden, by the waterside.
Welcome the autumntime this year at the incredible Karuizawa Lake Garden.
Karuizawa Lake Garden Autumn Season
Running: October 12, 2019 – November 4, 2019
Address: Address: Lake New Town, Hotchi, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefectur
Autumn Season Opening Hours: 9:00-16:00 (Last Entries 15:30)
Official Website (Japanese): http://www.karuizawa-lakegarden.jp/
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA to Open in Hakone This November
21.September.2019 | SPOT
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA is a new hot spring and guest house facility set to open in the town of Sokokura in Hakone on November 26. The building is being renovated from an old guest house that has enjoyed a long history of hot springs since the Edo period.
Sokura Onsen is about a 90 minute car drive from the city centre and is considered one of Hakone’s “7 Hot Springs,” a list that has been around since the Edo period. The place is said to have been used and loved by many military commanders back in the day for the high water yield gifted by the water source.
When the building was first constructed it was known as “Tsutaya Ryokan” and became a famous guest house with not only locals but travellers who would arrive all the way from Tokyo. ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA combines history of both Sokura Onsen and Tsutaya Ryokan.
The renovated building was built 29 years ago. Though it has been revamped, it still maintains a nostalgic air to it in the style of a traditional guest house. It’s home to 6 spacious ryokan-type rooms and 46 compact rooms.
There is a space where one can gaze at the river after taking a dip in the hot springs, as well as a lounge with tables which encourages you to socialise with people you have just met. There are male and female open-air baths and indoor baths as well as a cooking space and laundry service for those looking to stay longer.
The facility offers a retro environment in which each guest can relax and enjoy their own time as they please. Throughout the guest house is original old-fashioned furniture that has been upcycled, including kotatsu tables and shelves, to give that sense of traditional Japanese culture. This has been combined with contemporary art to create a fusion of the old and new.
It is a harmonious combination of a traditional Japanese hot spring ryokan, or inn, and a guest house, which means travellers from abroad will be able to enjoy the beauty of the country’s traditional culture.
Escape the noisy city and enjoy peace and tranquillity surrounded in the colours of autumn at ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA
ONSEN GUEST HOUSE TSUTAYA (Sokokura no Yu Tsutaya Ryokan)
Address: 240-1 SokokuraHakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0403
Arrival: 10-minutes on foot from Miyanoshita Station or 12-minutes on foot from Kowakidani Station, both via the Hakone Tozan Line
Grand Opening: November 26, 2019 (Bookings begin in late October)
Official Website: https://hakone-tsutaya.com/
Taiwanese Bookstore Chain Eslite Opens New Outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Eslite Bookstore is one of the prominent bookstore chains in Taiwan that opened an all-new outlet in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on September 27, 2019 that promotes reading, culture and lifestyle.
This will be the first Eslite Spectrum shopping mall to open outside Greater China. Its concept is “a cultural wonderland for reading and living” under wh ich Eslite has curated Nihonbashi’s rich history and culture to promote to the people of Tokyo.
Eslite Spectrum is always in the front row when it comes to the latest in Taiwanese trends, and it’s a place I never fail to visit when I travel to Taiwan. When I heard they would be expanding to Tokyo, I couldn’t wait for the day of the grand opening to arrive. I made my merry way there, excited and eager to see what kind of place it would be, and what kind of items they would stock.
The outlet is split into 4 different zones: the bookshop zone, the stationery zone, the miscellaneous item and workshop zone, and the restaurant zone. The bookshop features a line-up of carefully selected reading material and book recommendations.
One hundred brands from around the world make up the miscellaneous and eating areas. Half of the brands are Taiwanese, meaning you can get your hands on authentic goods from Taiwan itself.
The building was designed by leading Taiwanese architect Kris Yao, whose concept for the design was “interweaving the old and new.” It’s a stylish, welcoming building with elements of the traditional Japanese aesthetic in there. The store front has indigo blue noren entry curtains, which is both stylish and quintessentially Japanese.
This new branch of Eslite Spectrum is home to stores setting up shop in Japan for the very first time. There are also many shops here selling items exclusive to Nihonbashi. I’m going to showcase four of the places I was particularly interested in.
Kuo Yuan Ye
Kuo Yuan Ye is a confectionery shop based in Shinlin, Taipei. Since opening, they have continued to use traditional confectionery-making methods, serving sweets with deep, rich flavours.
As well as having maintained tradition, they have also released products in collaboration with rising designers. I encourage you to try their beautiful line-up yourself to taste their long, delicious history.
We have covered Sarutahiko Coffee on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON in the past when we visited the branch in Ebisu.
The first thing that struck me upon visiting this new branch is how different the interior design is to other places. The design and its concept of “coffee and words” were created by book director Yoshitaka Haba. Quotes pulled from the books can be found written all around the cafe. There is also a space underneath the chairs for storing books. No matter where you look in the cafe, it’s nothing less than stylish.
The cafe has their own special hot cakes and original coffee blends exclusive to Nihonbashi. The hot cakes are topped lavishly with mont blanc, giving it an extremely rich taste and one reminiscent of autumn-time. Both the hot cakes and this original coffee blend are limited-time menu options available until November 14, so you’ll want to get in there quick.
For the first time ever, long-standing Taiwanese tea store Wonder Chuan arrives on the shore of Japan. The shop takes great care in the growing and brewing of its tea leaves, pouring their heart and soul into every cup.
The Taiwanese oolong tea drank was a similar colour to matcha. It had a sweet flavour and a much smoother taste compared to Japanese oolong. The shop also serves a selection of cocktails made with oolong tea as well as perform traditional tea-making methods for customers. They even have plans to host their very own Taiwanese tea workshops in the future.
The last place I want to introduce is Fujin Tree, also a first in Japan. This is another one of my favourites, so I was thrilled when this one was coming to Tokyo too!
It’s uncommon to be able to drink wine in restaurants in Taiwan, but the popular Fujin Tree serves Taiwanese cuisine and champagne in style.
Their dishes are packed full of fresh vegetables and fruit. One of their popular picks is their springstar and century egg with spicy minced pork. It’s a tasty dish with full, rich flavours that goes well with sake. It’s also great with rice. There are many amazing options on the menu, but if you’re spoilt for choice then I recommend this one.
Eslite is the bridge between Japanese and Taiwanese that aims to become a hub for Asian culture. Centred around reading, there are countless experiences to look enjoy here. Discover a new side of Nihonbashi by paying a visit.
Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Eslite Spectrum Nihonbashi
Address: COREDO Muromachi Terrace 2F, 3-2-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Fuji Tree is open 11:00-23:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: http://www.eslitespectrum.jp
Japanese Hanami 2020: Soak Up the Pink Springtime Cherry Blossoms at Hoshino Resorts KAI
KAI, a hot spring ryokan brand managed by Hoshino Resorts, has announced an exciting new experience at 14 of its branches called “Otsu na Hanami Tabi” (A Chic Flower-Viewing Trip) which will run from March 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020.
The service offers a new kind of Hanami, or flower-viewing, experience for guests that doesn’t stop at just admiring the cherry blossoms, but enables them to enjoy both local history and customs too. Guests will be provided with a wicker basket of delicious Hanami goodies to enjoy, just like they did in the past.
We’ve picked five of the Hoshino Resorts KAI hot spring inns that we think our readers will be most interested in. Let’s take a look!
Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru | Aomori
Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru is located in the town of Owani, which sits in southern Tsugaru in Aomori Prefecture. They are offering an exciting experience this May: “Shidare-zakura Hitorijime Taizai,” which lets a single group have exclusive access to an area of seven shidare-zakura weeping cherry trees blooming in the inn’s spacious garden, which sit far away from guest rooms. Those lucky enough to experience this service can sip on cider and tuck into some delicious apple pie while listening to a Tsugaru-style shamisen performance, known as tsugaru-jamisen.
Shidare-zakura Hitorijime Taizai
Running: May 1, 2020 – May 7, 2020
Price: ¥5,000 per person
No. of People: 1 group per day (2-4 people per group)
Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Reservation Centre)
Note: The tsugaru-jamisen performance will take place 15:30-16:30
Hoshino Resorts KAI Kawaji | Tochigi
Feel what it’s like to live the life of someone living in a satoyamaーa village centred around an agricultural lifestyleーby waking up with the sunrise to start work early. Your morning job will be making tea at the watermill. You will use traditional and ancient tools like the suribachi mortar and the houroku pan to make tea grown from tea leaves in the area which you can enjoy a cup of to start your Hanami. As well as making tea, you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet breakfast while gazing at the Yoshino cherry trees, so you can get that real satoyama spring experience.
Running: April 18, 2020 – April 25, 2020
Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo | Shimane
Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo is located in Tamatsukuri Onsen in Shimane Prefecture, where all guest rooms have their own open-air bath. The hot spring ryokan’s “Sakura Koraku” experience gives you a chance to try wariko sobaーa style of soba noodles originating in Shimane’s city of Matsueーunder the cherry blossom trees.
Running: April 1, 2020 – April 20, 2020
Price: ¥500 for one Hanami picnic set for two people (5 sets prepared per day)
Booking: Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo front reception
Notes: Rickshaw will run from April 1, 2020 to April 7, 2020 costing ¥1,300 per person. 30 minute ride. 5 groups per day (2 people per group).
Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga | Ishikawa
Head to one of Kaga’s famous weeping cherry blossom tree spots to enjoy a cup of Japanese tea prepared yourself. This plan offers the chance to experience Ishikawa culture in a spot that has been loved by locals for decades.
Running: April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020
Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso | Kumamoto
Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso stands in Aso-Kuju National Park. Gaze at the five peaks of Mount Asoーthe largest active volcano in Japanーwhile sipping on water drawn from one of Japan’s 100 famous water sources. Change up the water of the water to your liking: carbonate it, add syrup, and so on. You’ll also get some refreshing fruits that have sat in carbonated water. Sit amongst the colourful flowers, like tulips and baby blue eyes, while soaking up the beautiful sights of Aso.
Running: April 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020
Price: ¥3,000 per person
No. of People: 3 groups per day (two people per group)
Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Booking Centre)
Note: In the case of rain, Tansan Ohanami will not run on that day
This is just 5 of the 14 Hoshino Resorts KAI branches offering a chic Hanami experience. If you’re travelling to Japan this spring, be sure to check out what they’re offering.
Hoshino Resorts KAI
Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/brand/kai/
Take a Plunge at Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima Near Haneda Airport
13.February.2020 | SPOT
When it comes to recommending things to do when travelling to Japan, one of the biggest attractions for tourists is the country’s “onsen,” or hot springs. If you’re landing into Haneda Airport, or happen to be around that area when exploring Tokyo, then we can’t recommend Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima enough.
Located inside BIG FUN Heiwajima, this hot spring facility commemorated its 30th anniversary last year, and underwent a revamp before reopening on March 28, 2019. There actually aren’t that many large-scale hot spring spots in Tokyo, so to have one so close to Haneda Airport makes it the perfect location for your sightseeing and must-visit agenda.
Direct shuttle bus from Haneda Airport and equipped with suitcase lockers
A shuttle bus runs directly from Haneda Airport to Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima which takes just 15-minutes and can be boarded in the early morning and late at night. Additionally, the hot spring facility is also equipped with suitcase lockers if you have heavy luggage with you. It also has a lounge you can relax in, and the entire building has free Wi-Fi. Hotel check-ins are generally from 15:00. If you arrive early in the morning, you can take a dip and relax in a nice warm onsen to unwind before heading to your hotel.
Bus Details: https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/bus/
You can enter the hot springs with a tattoo seal
When going to an onsen in Japan, many places forbid entering if you have a tattoo, no matter how small. Some places let you cover them up before entering, and Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima is one of those places. You can purchase a tattoo seal for ¥200 (10cm x 15cm) to cover your tattoo, and then you’re free to enter and enjoy your toasty bathe.
One of Tokyo’s best natural hot springs
Heiwajima Hot Springs is one of the largest hot spring facilities in Tokyo, with 150 tons of hot spring water bubbling up from 2000 meters underground every day. The water leaves your skin smooth and moisturised.
Experience the spacious Viewing Spa (6:00 am – 2:30 am the following day)
The Viewing Spa is open late until 2:30am everyday, where guests can plunge themselves into the thermal water bath or sit in the hot stone bath. We recommend the stone bath for those who aren’t good with super hot saunas as it’s set at a comfortable temperature. There is also a highly-carbonated bath which helps open small blood vessels and promotes good blood flow which helps boost metabolism. Carbonated water is also said to beauty the skin and restore moisture.
Enjoy a variety of baths at the Shining Spa (9:30 am – 6:00 am the following day)
The Shining Spa is home to a variety of different baths including a hydro-jet Jacuzzi-style, reclining-style, and more. The one I personally enjoyed the most was the Micro Bubble Togoal Bath which wraps your body in delicate bubbles and smooth-like hot water. You feel really refreshed afterwards.
Get comfy in one of the relaxation areas
Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima offers plenty of relaxation spaces after your bath, including a restaurant, a lounge with a TV and reclining chairs, and more. They even give you a towel blanket in the lounge, so I ended up dozing off. There’s a female-only lounge space too.
This is just a small look at the many services offered at Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima. Visit their website for more information, and be sure to pay it a visit when travelling via Haneda Airport to relax after your long flight.
Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima
Address: BIG FUN Heiwajima (Floor 2F), 1-1-1- Heiwajima, Ota Ward, Tokyo
Open: 24 hours a day all year
Hot Springs @ 9:30 am – 6:00 am the following day
Viewing Spa @ 6:00 am – 2:30 am the following day
Hot Stone Bath @ 10:00-23:00
Full Relaxation Price Plan
Adults: Weekdays ¥2,000 / Weekends & Holidays ¥2,300
Children: Everyday ¥1,000 (From 3 years old to elementary school-age)
Infants: Everyday ¥300 (Under 3 years old)
*Covers 7 hours allotted time and includes spa wear and towel
Midnight Fee: ¥1,500 (Adults/Children) from 2:00 am – 5:00 am
Hot Stone Spa Fee: ¥500 (Adults) *Includes towel, spa wear, and hot drink
Full Price List: https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/price/
Access – By ¥100 Shuttle Bus
①Take the bus for Heiwajima Natural Hot Springs departing from the #6 bus stop at the East Exit of JR Omori Station. (about a 10-minute ride)
②Take the bus for Heiwajima Natural Hot Springs departing from Keikyu Heiwajima Station. (about a 3-minute ride)
Additional Methods: https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/access/
Official Website: https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/
Kissho Caren: Gaze at Shizuoka’s Moonlit Night Sky From Your Hot Spring With New Hotel Plan
28.January.2020 | SPOT
Kissho Caren is now offering a new hotel plan for women only which is available until the end of March 2020.
Kissho Caren is an incredible hideaway resort and inn located alone the quiet shores of Hokkawa Hot Spring in Shizuoka. All rooms offer a breathtaking ocean view, and all rooms, plus the restaurant and infinity pool open-air baths, offer a panoramic spectacle where the sky and sea meld together into one beautiful scene. Guests can also witness the “Moon Road,” a popular power spot of Hokkawa Hot Spring which was chosen as one of Japan’s “100 Moon Views.”
Kissho Caren boasts two of its own water sources for its flowing water. It houses 18 water spots, including hot springs in seven locations around the inn and its sister facility Tsuruya Kisshotei, as well as rentable baths, foot baths, and the beachside “Kurone Rock Bath.” All of these hot water spots are fully equipped with bath towels, face lotion, and other amenities. The inn’s hospitality is also well-praised, including its salon which offers barely tea, soft drinks, and tokoroten made in the city of Izu. In the evenings, it also offers beer amongst other things.
After checking in, guests choose a yukata and obi of their liking and enjoy a luxurious and tranquil afternoon tea. The seasonal pancakes are prepared in front of you by the chef and are topped with sweet and refreshing soft serve ice cream and served with beautiful tea. The pancakes are mixed with whey which has a lot of skin benefits, and the teas vary from Izu guricha tea to Izu aloe tea which have anti-ageing benefits and strengthen the immune system. All of this takes place at Aodake which is open 14:00-15:30.
At the Kissho Spa, one can spy the gorgeous ocean from the window. Guests can enjoy some relaxing thalassotherapy with the warm climate of the beach and seaweed, oils prepared in Izu Ōshima, guricha tea, and other local treatments, all of which are popular.
The French course dinner comes with a free drink and flambéed dessert. All rooms also come with lots of other hopsitable gifts too, including a free mini bar and snacks, 20% off from the Kisso Spa, and more.
If you’re looking for a place to stay with your girlfriends in Japan, then we recommend putting this place on your list. Don’t miss out on this limited-time, girls-only offer.
Girls-Only Amenity-Packed, Wine & Flambéed Dessert Plan
Running: January 6, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Prices (1 Night With Breakfast/Prices Per Person):
- From ¥26,500 (2 People/1 Room)
- From ¥24,500 (3 People/1 Room)
- From ¥23,500 (4 People/1 Room)
*An extra ¥5,000 on public holidays. An extra ¥2,000 from February 9, 2020. Includes tax and service charge.
- Dinner: French dinner course at “Four Season” restaurant
- Breakfast: Japanese breakfast at “Four Season” or teppanyaki breakfast at “Aodake”
- 1 free drink (White or Red Wine/Sparkling Wine/Soft Drink)
- Flambéed dessert after dinner
- Free mini bar in all rooms and confectionery set
- 20% off Kissho Spa (Discounted: ¥8,000 / Usual Price: ¥10,000): 60-minute body lymphatic drainage/60-minute facial treatment
Address: 1130 Naramoto Higashiizu, Higashiizu, Kamo District, Shizuoka
Official Website: https://www.kissho-caren.com/en/
3 Breathtaking New Rooms to Open at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa
25.January.2020 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa, a branch of Hoshino Resorts’ hotels for tourists and travellers, has announced that it is opening three new room types to guests from April 1 to make their stay and travels that much better. They are the “Double Room,” “Superior Room,” and “Family Room.”
OMO7 Asahikawa opened in Hokkaido April 2018 as the first branch of Hoshino Resorts’s “OMO” brand of city tourism hotels. The hotel offers not only a great sleep, but enjoys the benefit of its location with must-see sights surrounding it, and all of this to make guests’ stay the best it can be.
The hotel’s Studio Rooms, formerly named the DANRAN Room before the renovation, have received praise from guests that have stayed there for offering everything they needed while being compact, as well as it being easy to kick back and relax in them. It was revealed that in 2019, the average number of people staying in a single room at Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa was higher than the average of that in other city hotels in Asahikawa, as well as the hotel being popular for catering to tourist and sightseers’ needs.
The hotel has now renovated 111 of its rooms in response to it being used by a lot of people because of its catering towards tourists’ needs. It has also added the three new types of roomsーDouble, Superior, and Familyーwhich incorporate the well-received functionality of the Studio Rooms. That’s 226 room renovations out of the hotel’s 237 rooms.
All beds have storage space underneath them. Those travelling in big groups like families will especially benefit from this if they have a lot of luggage as they can save on plenty of space in rooms.
New rooms are furnished with new sofas and tables for maximum comfort amongst friends and family where they can talk about their trip while enjoying local drinks and snacks.
Also, in the Superior Rooms and Family Rooms, where there is a small amount of guests, beds can be folded and turned into spacious sofas.
The OMO brand promises “a reasonable price for your travels,” and this rings true: the new Family Rooms start at ¥5,500, allowing an affordable stay so you can spend more on the local sights.
Room bookings will open on February 3, 2020, so if you’re visiting Hokkaido, be sure to check out Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.
Winter is Coming: Warm Up With Hot Pot at Hot Spring Hotel Hoshino Resorts KAI
The cold weather is here, and it’s only set to get colder. When winter falls in Japan, one of the best things people like to do is cook hot pot. Hoshino Resorts is offering the same service for guests this winter at 14 branches of their ‘KAI’ onsen ryokan (hot spring Japanese inn) brand hotels up and down Japan, with each hot pot filled with the taste of local cuisine.
Winter is truly the best time to eat hot pot for Japanese people, as they huddle around the table nice and toasty and tuck into their piping hot dinner. We’re showcasing 9 of the hot pots you can enjoy at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter season.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru: “Gyu Shabu” – Dashi made delicious with plentiful dried tuna
KAI Tsugaru is situated in Aomori, and this hot pot is made one with one of the prefecture’s most famous ingredients: tuna, which is caught during the autumn and winter seasons. The main player of this beef shabu hot pot is its dashi which is made from the sweet juices of tuna which go deliciously well with the beef. If you’re looking for a hot pot that’s a little different from the usual options, you’ll love this one.
Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 1)
Plan Name: Ooma no Gaguro Zukushi Kaiseki (大間のまぐろづくし会席)
Price: From ¥24,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga: “Kani Sukinabe” – Zuwai-gani snow crab
At KAI Kaga, which is located in Yamashiroonsen, Ishikawa, this hot pot they have cooked up is made in a kombu dashi and is filled with legs of zuwai-gani snow crab and a variety of winter vegetables like bok choy and edible chrysanthemums.
The dish makes full use of the delicious flavour of the crab. It’s also served in kunitani-ware made by a young craftsman and Yamanaka lacquer ware, adding to the originality of this hot pot.
Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 29-January 6)
Plan Name: Katsu Kani Zukushi no Tagu Zuki Kani Kaiseki (活蟹づくしのタグ付き蟹会席)
Price: From ¥47,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps: “Yuki Nabe” – Thawing of spring
The hot pot at KAI Alps in Nagano includes fluffy cotton candy which is based on the snowy mountains of the alps. When you pour the soup over, the cotton candy melts, symbolising the thawing of spring, to reveal the beef and vegetables. The cotton candy adds a light sweetness to the soup as well as fun visual effect.
Running: December 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
Plan Name: Yuki Nabe Kaiseki (雪鍋会席)
Price: From ¥25,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa: “Ise Ebi & Roast Beef Ryujin Nabe” – The dragon god’s hot pot
KAI Kinugawa in Tochigi has created a hot pot based around the legend of the Ryuokyo dragon god, capturing its malevolence. It’s cooked over stones heated to almost 800℃.The soup bubbles as the pot begins to boil and cooks the seafood and other local ingredients from Tochigi, making sure to draw every last delicious drop of flavour from them.
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 28-January 4)
Plan Name: Ise Uni to Gyuu Roosu no Ryuujin Nabe Kaiseki (伊勢海老と牛ロースの龍神鍋会席)
Price: From ¥31,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara: “Uni & Beef Sukinabe” – Satisfying spices from the mountains and seas
KAI Sengokuhara in Kanagawa has created a hot pot that’s made with lots of ingredients from the mountains and the seas. By using a bounty of uni, which goes incredibly well with beef, it adds a rich sweetness to the overall flavour. There is also a secret flavour hidden under it all: syrup made from the ao mikan citrus which grows in the city of Odawara. This not only adds an exquisite sourness to the hot pot, but also serves to elevate the sweetness of the uni.
Running: June 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Plan Name: Uni to Gyuu no Sukinabe Kaiseki (雲丹と牛のすき鍋会席)
Price: From ¥46,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Ito: “Sankai Nabe” – Soaking up the mountains and seas of Ito
Shizuoka is home to KAI Ito, where guests can enjoy yet another hot pot lavish with ingredients from the mountains and the seas, like splendid alfonsino―which Ito enjoys an abundance of―as well as seasonal vegetables and beef. There are two soups to combine these ingredients with: a bouillabaisse which contains a dashi made from fish from Ito filled with splendid alfonsino and vegetables, and a beef soup.
Running: October 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 31-January 3)
Plan Name: Sankai Nabe (山海鍋)
Price: From ¥25,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu: “Tecchiri” – A taste of the Torafugu tiger pufferfish
KAI Enshu is another hot spring inn, located in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka. Their “Tecchiri” is made with Torafugu tiger pufferfish. None of the flavour of the fugu is wasted in this hot pot, and that is proven as the entire thing is made right in front of customers’ eyes. The zōsui is made with a KAI Enshu-original blend of sencha green tea called souka (爽華), which ensures that element of locality is included in the dish as Shizuoka is famous for its tea.
Running: October 5, 2019 – March 31, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
Plan Name: Fugu Zukushi Kaiseki (ふぐづくし会席)
Price: From ¥31,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo: “Kani Sukinabe” – Collaboration between Katsu Matsubagani & Shijimi
KAI Izumo is situated in Tamatsukuri Onsen, an onsen hot spring in Tamayu, Shimane. Their “Kani Sukinabe” is made with rich snow crab crab which has an exquisite sweetness and is soft in texture. From beginning to end, this hot pot is a crab party in your mouth.
Running: November 7, 2019 – March 10, 2020 (Except December 31-January 4)
Plan Name: Tagu Zuki Katsu Matsubagani Zukushi Kaiseki (タグ付き活松葉蟹づくし会席)
Price: From ¥45,000
Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso: “Netakuri Nabe” – Rich miso and cheese
The base of the soup in KAI Aso, located in Kumamoto, is a mix of milk from Jersey cattle and miso. It contains wagyu Japanese beef and seasonal vegetables. Its appearance is based on the Aso Caldera region of Kumamoto Prefecture and its incredibly vast grasslands.
Running: September 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020 (Except December 29-January 3)
Plan Name: Wagyuu to Caciocavallo o Tanoshimu Netakuri Nabe (和牛とカチョカヴァロを楽しむねたくり鍋)
Price: From ¥46,000
Below is a video which showcases each of these local hot pot dishes, so be sure to check it out if you’re not already watering at the mouth
All of these hot pots are made with only the best local ingredients as expected of KAI, and all are available for the rest of winter only. Guests can experience the local regions not only through the food, but in the tableware each hotel uses. If you’re in Japan this winter, be sure to book with one of the many Hoshino Resorts KAI branches and stay warm with a delicious serving of hot pot.
Rakuten Travel Reveals Japan’s Top Hot Spring Locations For Women Travelling Solo
22.December.2019 | SPOT
Travel booking website Rakuten Travel has revealed the 2019 ranking for Japan’s most popular onsen, or “hot spring” sites for women travelling alone. Taking the crown at No. 1 is Hakodate Yunokawa Onsen in Hokkaido.
Night view of Hakodate
The Le Havre lounge in Hakodate Kokusai Hotel
Hakodate Yunokawa Onsen placed at No. 3 in last year’s ranking. It rated highly amongst women for it being so close to Hakodate Airport, as well as it being easy to access local tourist and sightseeing spots by train from there like the Hakodate Morning Market (Hakodate Asaichi) and Mount Hakodate, which is listed as one of Japan’s Three Night Views. The area also offers a variety of accommodation options, from long-standing traditional ryokan inns to business hotels.
In second place is Dogo Onsen, a hugely popular hot spring location with Dogo Yamanote Hotel having ranked number one in Rakuten Travel’s list for the most leisurely accommodations for women travelling solo.
Rose Bath at Dogo Yamanote Hotel
In recent years, the number of plans for women travelling solo as well as services for renting open air baths for one person have been on the increase. Dogo Onsen is a 25-minute train journey from Matsuyama Station via the JR line and a 40-minute bus ride from Matsuyama Airport.
Hakone Tozan Railway
Hakone Yumoto Onsen ranks at No. 3. Despite the effects of the earthquake, the hot spring has enjoyed solid popularity, with Rakuen Travel having given travel coupons and offering special plans to help raise money and support the area. It’s only about an hour and a half’s train ride from Shinjuku Station, it offers plans to stay at local hotels, and it’s easy to set up a travel plan to visit there, which is what has led to its popularity.
Yugawara Onsen in Kanagawa came in 4th place, while Yufuin Onsen in Oita came in 5th. Use this list as reference when planning which hot springs to visit in Japan.
Rakuten Travel: https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/
Rakuten Travel Reveals the Most Booked Onsen Regions of 2019
14.December.2019 | SPOT
Japan’s largest online travel site Rakuten Travel has announced the 2019 rankings for the most popular onsen spots in Japan. Having calculated the number of people staying at an onsen resort multiplied by the number of days they stayed, the rankings reveal that the winner has been the same for six years in a row now: Atami in Shizuoka.
Atami in Shizuoka has established its reputation as one of the leading locations for onsen in Japan. Its high quantity of hot spring water has earned the area top spot on Rakuten Travel’s rankings for six years in a row now. Along with easy access from Tokyo and its range of leisure facilities, this is a popular location for couples and even families with children.
In second place is Beppu Onsen, Ōita prefecture which has also made it into the rankings for six years in a row. Rakuten Travel’s customisable domestic travel package “Raku-Pack” has proven to be particularly popular among travellers to this region. “Raku-Pack” includes your airline ticket, access to all accommodations offered by Rakuten Travel across Japan, and free usage of rental services. Starting with Ōita prefecture’s first ever ANA InterContinental resort in Beppu (InterContinental – ANA Beppu Resort & Spa), more than 10 travel accommodations have opened this year and next year sees even more resort development.
In third place is Gunma Prefecture’s Kusatsu Onsen which has risen by one place since last year. This year, Sainokawara Open-air Bath (Sainokawara Rotenburo) received high amounts of praise for their mixed bathing day and changed this to be offered on a weekly basis as a result. A variety of events and tourist spots are constantly opening including the steepest zip line in Japan which will open in April.
For more information on places to visit in Japan, please visit Rakuten Travel’s website.
Cosy Up in the Snow Huts This Winter at Hoshino Resorts KAI
17.November.2019 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts is once again bringing its kamakura snow huts to two of its KAI hotelsーa brand of hot spring hotels. You’ll catch them at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps from February 1 to 29 next year.
KAI Tsugaru: Beautiful Koginzashi Stitched Lanterns Light Your Way
Koginzashi is a type of sashiko stitch work famous in the Tsugaru region. Japanese kogin designer Iemasa Yamahata has designed 50 beautiful Kogin lanterns for Hoshino Resorts’ KAI Tsugaru hot spring hotel, which is hidden away in the town of Owani in southern Tsugaru, Aomori.
When you arrive at KAI Tsugaru, follow the lanterns along the snow and you’ll arrive at the kamakuraーa type of Japanese igloo built in northern Japan for winter festivals. Multiple objects, big and small, have been designed with koginzashi, so guests can enjoy this beautiful art form.
Cosy up inside your secret snow hut and enjoy some tasty chocolate with cute koginzashi designs made by a local Japanese confectionery shop. Order a hot cocktail too made using apples grown in Aomoriーa prefecture famous across the country for its apples. There’s a non-alcoholic cocktail option too.
You’ll also find an original card game inside the huts created by the KAI Tsugaru staff. It’s called “Kogin Awase” and works like the card game Pairs. What could be better than sat warm inside an igloo, eating sweets and drinking while playing a card game?
KAI Alps: Enjoy Life as a Yukinko Snow Child
Turn back into a child and experience young life in the snow country of the Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture) with the Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience.
In the harsh cold and knee-deep snow environment of Shinano, people would take anti-snow measures by wearing things like the straw raincoat known as a mino, a traditional winter coat called a hanten, and other things. Guests can do the same and dress up to become a child of the snow, known as a Yukinko. You’ll forget about the snow before you even realise it.
In old Japanese houses, friends and family would gather around an iroriーa sunken fireplace. You’ll find these dotted around the public space at KAI Alps too, where you can sit around and enjoy the crackling and warmth of the fire. There will also be hand warmers and shiruko sweet porridge too so you can rest assured you won’t go cold.
Experience life in the snow at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter.
KAI Tsugaru – “Kogin Kamakura”
Running: February 1, 2020 – February 29, 2020 (Subject to change depending on snowfall)
Price: ¥1,500 per person (includes snow hut entry, confections, and 1 drink)
*Alcoholic/non-alcoholic cocktail options available
Reservations: Available from the front desk on the day
Address: Kamibotanmori-36-1 Ōwani, Ōwani-machi, Minamitsugaru District, Aomori Prefecture
KAI Alps – “Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience”
Running: February 1, 2020 – February 29, 2020 (Subject to change depending on snowfall)
Time: Kamakura Light-Up 17:00-21:00 / Yukinko Dress-Up 15:00-21:00 / Winter Stroll Preparations 20:00-21:00
No. of People: 4
Reservations: Not required
Address: 2884-26 Taira, Ōmachi-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hoshino Resorts KAI Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/brand/kai/
Evangelion Second Impact Hits Hakone Kowakien YUNESSUN Spa Resort
If you’re looking for a unique onsen experience in Japan then spa resort Hakone Kowakien YUNESSUN is for you. From Japanese sake to coffee, there are a range of unique baths for you to enjoy a soak in. The resort is also home to a number of water attractions for those looking for a splash of fun. From January 10 to June 30, 2020 the resort will be doubling up the excitement by collaborating with Evangelion. The upcoming Second Impact no Yu event provides a chance for Evangelion fans to discover the exciting world of Evangelion while soaking up the spa goodness.
The Second Impact no Yu event is being held in cooperation with the Evangelion Hakone 2020 MEET EVANGELION IN HAKONE project run by the Odakyu Group. As the first step of this project, the Evangelion series’ global catastrophe “Second Impact” will be invading the swimsuit area of the Yunessun spa. If you’re looking to plunge straight into some thrilling action, make sure to head to the cave bath and water slide.
From the inside to the outside, the resort has been completely invaded by Evangelion-themed decoration. More details on the collaboration event contents will be released on the resort’s official website so make sure to check it out if you are interested.
Second Impact no Yu
Running: January 10 – March 31, 2020
Location: Yunessun Swimsuit Onsen Outside Area
Opening Days and Times:
Weekdays:10:00 – 18:00
Weekends and National Holidays: 9:00 – 19:00 (Last Entry: 1 hour before closing time).
Adults: ¥2,500, Children (3 y/o – Primary School-Aged): ¥1,400 (Tax Included)
* You must be over 110cm tall to enter Rodeo Mountain.
Resort Evangelion Decorations
Running: January 10 – June 30, 2020
Location: Hakone Kowakien Yunessun
Weekdays: 10:00 – 18:00
Weekends and National Holidays: 9:00 – 19:00 (Last Entry: 1 hour before closing time)
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun
Address: 1297 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa
Collaboration Website: https://eva-hakone.com/
See the Breathtaking Autumn Foliage of the Former Shizutani School in Okayama
14.November.2019 | SPOT
The Former Shizutani School, recognised as the oldest school existing for commoners in Japan, has reached its peak season for autumn foliage. Speficially, for the Chinese pistache tree, which is a symbol of the school.
Shizutani School first opened in 1670 during the Kambun era. In 2015, it was registered as an Educational Heritage Site from Early-Modern Japan. The majority of the site is listed as an Important Cultural Property, including the temple, Shizutani Shrine, as well as the auditorium which is considered a national treasure.
The school’s surrounding natural landscape enjoys the blooming of many different flowers throughout the entire year which people flock to see. It’s especially famous for autumn, a season during which the enchanting red and yellow hues boas their beautiful blossom.
The three colours reflect from the lacquered flooring of the auditorium, rippling like ocean waves.
The beautiful contrast between the reds and yellows of the pistaches can be enjoyed during autumn-time only. The best time to see them is from now until November 20, so if you’re travelling to Okayama, be sure to pay the Former Shizutani School a visit.
Former Shizutani School
Address: 784 Shizutani, Bizen, Okayama
Official Website: http://shizutani.jp/english/
Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Spots to Visit Before Autumn 2019 Ends
Autumn is a popular season in Japan, especially amongst tourists and travellers. While in spring you have the bright pink cherry blossoms, when autumntime rolls around, the trees turn into enchanting reds and yellows. People from around the world flock to see this incredible sight, with Kyoto being a very popular location.
Of course, viewing the beautiful colours of the trees and their leaves is a must during the daytime, but seeing them in the evening has become popular in recent years too. It offers you an entirely different experience and atmosphere. So if you’re in the ancient capital for autumn this year, why not experience the season in an entirely new lightーat night?
Jitokuin Temple is located in the town of Yosano in Yosa District. Maple trees were planted almost 11 years ago with the help of locals and the chief priest to create local ties. Every autumn, the trees behind the mountain bloom in vivid hues, leading the temple to be nicknamed “Koyo-ji,” or “Temple of Autumn.” The locals work hard in the surrounding gardens day by day, so the sights change a little bit every year.
The maple trees are planted in a way that it looks like they take an entire side of the mountain. They are a sight to be hold during the day, but for one week in November there will be illuminations in the evenings, creating a magical scene under the night sky.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 16, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-20:00 (Temple is open 09:00-20:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: 2250 Akeshi, Yosano, Yoza-gun, Kyoto
Support Fund: ¥300
Official Website: http://jitokuin.com
Nariaiji Temple, located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Miyazu, is an ancient temple betwixt mountains overlooking Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views.” It’s home to a grand 5-storey pagoda which is surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, offering an incredible, quintessentially Japanese view during autumn.
During the day, you can snap some gorgeous photos with the Sea of Japan and Amanohashidate in the back. For two nights only, on Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, the entire area will be beautifully lit up with warm illuminations.
Light-Up Period: November 9, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Light-Up Time: Sunset – 21:00 (Temple is open 08:00-16:30)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Late November
Address: 339 Nariaiji, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nariaiji.jp/
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park
Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park: is located atop Mt. Kasagi and is also home to Kasagi-dera, a temple with a 1,300-year history. During autumn, one entire side of the park is dyed in autumnal colours.
This November, the area will be lit up for a limited period, offering a gorgeous view from the mountain peak of the trees below as well as the flowing Kizugawa river.
▼Kasagiyama Prefectural Natural Park
Light-Up Period: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Light-Up Time: 17:00-21:00 (Temple is open 09:00-16:00)
Autumn Foliage Peak Period: Early-Mid November
Address: Mt. Kasagi, Kasagi, Soraku District, Kyoto
Price: Illuminations – Free / Temple – Adults ¥300, Children ¥100
Official Website: https://www.kasagidera.or.jp
Normally, the Joshoin at Yokokuji Templeーalso known as Yanagidani Kannonーonly opens on the 17th of every month. But for a special autumn event, it is now open every day up until December 1. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty. For more details on this event, click here.
▼Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week
Running: November 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Time: 9:00-16:00 (Joshoin open 10:00-15:00)
Location: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)
Entry Price: ¥300
Full Ticket: ¥1,100→¥1,100 (Includes entry to multiple areas)
Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/
Take the time to enjoy an autumnal Kyoto this year at one of the city’s seasonal events.
Kyoto Sightseeing | Yokokuji Temple’s Autumn Event Schedule Announced
30.October.2019 | SPOT
Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is located in Kyoto Prefecture’s city of Nagaokakyo and has been used as a place of prayer for many people with eye disease since the Heian Period. It is believed that praying at the temple will cure eye disease.
For autumn-time this year, the temple is set to hold an event titled “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. With a seasonal schedule that includes illuminations in the gardens to a flower display at the temple water basin, if you’re looking for the must-visit locations in Kyoto this autumn, then you’ll want to add Yokokuji Temple to your list.
Jodoen Garden Illuminations
Last year’s popular light-up event is making a return for 2019, with gorgeous illuminations developed by light designer Yuuki Kogawa which will brighten the area with an enchanting and mystifying aura different from a usual visit to the garden.
Dates: November 8th, 15th, 22nd-23rd
Time: 17:30-18:30 (Reception open from 17:00)
Price: ¥2,500 (Includes limited edition goshuin stamp)
No. of People: 20 (Bookings Only)
Special Opening of the Joshoin
Normally, the Joshoin only opens on the 17th of every month, but for this autumn week event, it will be open every day. It’s an area normally limited to officials and those in the imperial family. The beauty of its autumn colours have come to be enjoyed by VIPs, dating back to the pre-war period when it was designated as a place of scenic beauty.
Hanachomizu Flower Water Basin
At every temple and shrine in Japan there is a water basin which you are to use to cleanse yourself before entering. The Hanachomizu has become hugely popular on social media since the name first appeared 3 years ago, where leaves and flowers are placed into the basin. It has become adopted at temples across the country, with the one at Yokokuji Temple starting the trend. When it was first posted onto social media, it received reactions from over 80,000 people both in Japan and overseas. The flowers used change with the seasons, from hydrangeas to maple leaves.
Limited Edition Goshuin Stamp Book Designs – Garasha Matsuri & More
Visitors will be able to pick up limited-edition goshuin stamp books which never fail to sell out whenever they are released. Goshuin are collectable stamps/seals at temples around Japan. They are ¥500 each and limited in stock.
This is just a small peek into what’s to come during Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week. If you’re in Kyoto, make sure you pay a visit to Yokokuji Temple.
Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week
Running: November 2, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Time: 9:00-16:00 (Joshoin open 10:00-15:00)
Location: Yanagidani Kannon, Yokokuji Temple (Dōnotani-2 Jōdodani, Nagaokakyo, Kyoto)
Entry Price: ¥300
Full Ticket: ¥1,100→¥1,100 (Includes entry to multiple areas)
Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/