5 Must-Visit Spots in Kyoto For Autumn Scenery: Floor Reflections to Flowery Temple Water Basins
10.November.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto’s autumn hues have enchanted travellers, tourists and locals alike for untold years. Today, we are joined by Macchan, an Instagrammer who has provided us with their incredible photographs of Kyoto’s breathtaking autumnal scenery. Take note of these locations for your next trip!
Wachu-an, Notre Dame Jogakuin Junior and Senior High School
Wachu-an is a merchant and heritage home with a long history dating back to the early days of the Showa Period (1926–1989). It’s normally off-limits to the public, but opens during autumntime for everyone to visit. This year, it will be open from November 22 to December 1.
Trickling away in the large gardens is a small river, and enveloped in the gorgeous greenery connected to a passage on the slant of the foothill is the reception hall and a western-style house. When autumn rolls around, visitors enjoy the beautifully polished veranda of the Japanese-style room together with the floor of the western-style building which reflects the surrounding sights beautifully.
Wachu-an, Notre Dame Jogakuin Junior and Senior High School
Autumn Opening: November 22, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Address: 110 Shishigatani Sakuradanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Price: ¥600 (Discount for groups of 15+) / Free for junior high school students and younger
① 9 minutes on foot from the “Shinnyodomae” or “Kinrin Shako Mae” bus stops via the Kyoto City Bus 5 from Kyoto Station
② 7 minutes on foot from “Miyanomaecho” bus stop via the Kyoto City Bus 100 from Kyoto Station
③ 9 minutes on foot from the “Shinnyodomae” or “Kinrin Shako Mae” bus stops via the Kyoto City Bus 93 or 204 from Jingū-Marutamachi Station (Keihan Electric Railway)
④ 5 minutes on foot from the “Kami Miyanomaecho” bus stop via the Kyoto City Bus 32 from Kyoto-kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Railway)
⑤ 9 minutes on foot from the “Shinnyodomae” or “Kinrin Shako Mae” bus stops via the Kyoto City Bus 203 from Kyoto-kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Railway)
Yanagidani Kannon, also known as Yokokuji Temple, is holding the event “Yanagidani Kannon Autumn Colours Week” from November 2 to December 1. It includes special access to the Joshoin which is normally closed to the public, workshops, flower decorations at the temple’s purifying water basin, and more.
Enjoy the beautiful natural landscape surrounding the temple, dyed in the red and yellow hues of autumn. 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)
Access: 15 minutes by taxi from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Line) / 10 minutes by taxi from Nishiyama Tennozan Station
Official Website: http://yanagidani.jp/
Shinnyo-dō Temple (Shinshōgokuraku-ji)
Shinnyo-dō Temple is a famous sightseeing spot during autumn as tourists and locals flock to see autumn fall around the ancient structure. From mid-November, the maple and ginkgo trees blossom from their beautiful buds along the stone path leading up to the temple.
The three-storied pagoda is a sight to behold during this time of the year, as is the carpet of fallen leaves behind the main temple which symbolises the curtain call of autumn. On average, the autumn foliage can be observed until early December here every year.
Shinnyo-dō Temple (Shinshōgokuraku-ji)
Address: 82 Jōdoji Shinnyochō, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-16:00 (Reception open until 15:45)
*Restricted access to the garden and Shoin on November 10 and December 8
Price: ¥1,000 (¥900 for elementary school children, free for those younger)
①Take the Kyoto City Bus 5, 17 or 100 bound for Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺行き) from Kyoto Station and alight at Kinrin Shako Mae from which it is an 8 minute walk
Official Website: https://shin-nyo-do.jp/
This quiet little mountain temple sits tucked away halfway up the mountain known as Koshioyama. The temple as it is today was restored in the Edo Period. It’s a popular hiking spot amongst travellers as it offers a panoramic view of the Kyoto Basin (京都盆地), but it also attracts a lot of visitors during the autumn season.
The reflection of the autumn foliage from the water is nothing short of breathtaking. The hike up is tiring, but worth it, so if you’ve the stamina we highly recommend putting this one on your list. You won’t be disappointed.
Address: 1639 Ōharano Ishizukurichō, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Donation Fee: ¥200
①Take the Hankyu Bus 65 from Mukōmachi Station (JR Tōkaidō Main Line) or Higashi-Mukō Station (Hankyu Railway) and get off at the last stop, Minamikasugacho (南春日町), after about 25 minutes. It’s then a 60-70 minute walk from there.
②Board the Keihan Kyoto Bus at the East Exit of Katsura Station that is bound for Oharano & Nagamine (大原野・長峰). Get off at the last stop, Nagamine, and it’s a 50-60 minute walk.
Byodoin Temple, listed as a World Heritage Site, is also a popular spot in the fall. You can take some spectacular photos of the temple from across the lake. The height of the autumn foliage this year is late November to early December.
There is more information on the foliage dates on the official website, so be sure to check it out before visiting at the link below.
Address: Renge-116 Uji, Kyoto
Price: General ¥600 / Junior High School Students ¥400 / Elementary School Students ¥300 (*Includes garden and Byodoin Museum access)
①10 minutes on foot from Uji Station via the JR Nara Line from Kyoto Station
②10 minutes on foot from Uji Station via the Keihan Main Line from Gion-Shijo Station
Foliage Info: https://www.byodoin.or.jp/flower/
Official Website: https://www.byodoin.or.jp/
If you want more information about Kyoto on the best spots to visit, be sure to follow Macchan on Instagram.
teamLab: Digitized Fukuoka Castle Ruins to Take Place in 2019-2020
07.November.2019 | SPOT
teamLab has announced a new digital art event entitled “teamLab: Digitized Fukuoka Castle Ruins” which will bring interactive digital art to Fukuoka Castle from November 29 to February 2.
Breathing Resonating Stone Wall – Fukuoka Castle Ruins, teamLab, 2017, Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
Construction of Fukuoka Castle began in 1601 and took place over the course of 7 years. The historical landmark is lined with hundreds of meters of stone walls, which has led the castle to be nicknamed Stone Castle.
Animals of Flowers, Symbiotic Lives in the Stone Wall – Fukuoka Castle Tower Ruins, teamLab, 2017, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
The exhibition is a part of teamLab’s Digitized City art project, the concept of which is that non-material digital technology can turn a city into art without physically altering it.
The castle’s enormous span of 20,000 square meters will be decorated with interactive digital art that reacts to people’s presence.
Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well in the Stone Wall – Fukuoka Castle Tower Ruins, teamLab, 2019, Digital Installation, 4 min 20 sec (loop), Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
Sketch Kuroda Kanbei, teamLab, 2019, Interactive Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi, Kenta Matsukuma, Jun Tanaka (Big Cats Creatives)
7 installations will make up the exhibition, including 4 new ones such as Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as Well in the Stone Wall – Fukuoka Castle Tower Ruins, where three-legged crowds from Japanese mythology known as Yatagarasu are rendered in light and fly across the castle walls, and Sketch Kuroda Kanbei, where people can draw Kuro Kanbei and historical figures and see them come to life.
teamLab: Digitized Fukuoka Castle Ruins 2019-2020
Running: November 29, 2019 – February 2, 2020 (No planned holidays)
Time: 18:00-22:00 (Last Entries 21:30) *Open until 1:00am the following day on December 31
Location: Maizuku Park, Fukuoka Castle (Jonai, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka)
Tickets: Available on Ticket Pia, 7-Eleven, and directly at Fukuoka Castle
①8 minutes on foot from Akasaka Station or Ōhorikōen Station via the Kūkō Line (Fukuoka City Subway)
②5-8 minutes on foot from the “Fukuoka-jo Korokan-mae”, “Fukuoka-shi Bijutsukan Higashi-guchi” or “Otemon & Heiwadai Rikujo Kyogijo-iriguchi” bus stops, or 10 minutes on foot from “Akasaka 3-Chome” bus stop via the Nishitetsu bus
Official Website: https://www.teamlab.art/e/fukuoka-castle/
*Please note that there are stairs and areas with different height levels as well as unpaved areas, and so there may be areas which are difficult to access for those with wheelchairs, a physical disability, pushchairs, and so on
*Drunk attendees, attendees who cause disruption for others and so on will be ejected from the premises
*The exhibition will be cancelled on the day in the case of severely bad weather
Chat and Eat Japanese Sweets With a Real Maiko at Hoshinoya Kyoto
Hoshinoya Kyotoーa Japanese inn in Arashiyama where all rooms offer a river viewーhas announced a new event titled “Maiko Salon” which will run next year from February 4 to March 4 which offers female guests the chance to chat with a maiko (an apprentice geisha).
Maiko Salon is a women-only get-together that offers female guests to chat casually with a real maiko. The clothes that a maiko wears, including the kanzashi ornate hairpin, kimono, obi sash, obidome sash clip, okobo footwearーeverything, from head to toeーis carefully crafted by an expert artisan. This is why maiko have been called “walking pieces of traditional craftsmanship.” At the Maiko Salon, you have the opportunity to wear such craft made in Kyoto and enjoy a sophisticated womanly party.
For example, the table runners are made with Nishijin-ori, a type of fabric made in Kyoto’s district of Nishijin that has a history spanning over 1,000 years. The walls will also be decorated with obi cloth art panels with Maiko motifs.
Learn all about the Hanamachi geisha district through womanly conversation
Being entertained by geisha, known in Japanese as Ozashiki Asobi, is associated with maiko and geisha serving and entertaining men, and as being very private and inaccessible without being introduced by someone else. But since 2018, Hoshinoya Kyoto has been holding this women-only occasion for women to learn more about the culture in a casual environment. It’s a chance to learn more about maiko and their lifestyle through womanly topics like skincare, makeup and so on. There will also be a dance performance, after which attendees can ask about the practises of a maiko, what they think of their work, and so on.
Edible Kanzashi Ornate Hairpins
An original Japanese confection made to look like kanzashi ornate hairpins has been whipped up in 5 flavours by Kameya Yoshinaga, a long-standing Japanese confectionery maker which first opened almost 200 years ago. Enjoy together with sparkling wine during your time with the maiko.
Running: February 4, 2020 – March 4, 2020 (Not running on select days)
Bookings: Not required
Location: Salon & Bar Kura (Hoshinoya Kyoto)
Time: 16:00-17:00 (Maiko dance held twice daily)
Includes: Conversation with maiko, maiko performance, Japanese confection, sparkling wine
For: Guests at Hoshinoya Kyoto only (Men can also participate)
Notes: Times and days subject to change on certain days. The confections are also subject to change.
Hoshinoya Kyoto Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/en/
4 Best Winter Illumination Events in Japan | 2019 Edition
Winter is almost here, which means the wintertime illuminations are set to warm the streets of Japan once again this year with their radiance. Here are 4 must-visit illuminations taking place in and around Tokyo this year.
Meguro River Minna no Illumination 2019 in Nakameguro
This year, Meguro River will be decorated with an unmissable illumination display to warm the heart. What’s more is that 100% of the energy for the illumination will be produced by recycled oil.
As Shinagawa will also be lit up at the same time, visitors will be able to treat themselves to a glorious view of 410,000 cherry blossom-coloured lights. The beautiful illuminations along the riverbank of Meguro River will also be the largest illumination project along the Yamanote Line with a total length of 2.2km of riverbanks covered (counting both sides of the river).
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/266636
▼Meguro River Minna no Illumination 2019
Locations: Gotanda Fureai Mizube Hiroba (2 Chome-9-11 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa City, Tokyo)
Gotanda Minami Park and Meguro Riverside (2 Chome-8-8 Higashigotanda, Shinagawa City, Tokyo)
Running: November 8, 2019 – January 1, 2020
Times: 17:00 – 22:00
*The illumination project will still run in rainy weather but will be postponed in stormy weather.
Tobu Zoo Winter Illuminations 2019-2020
The “Illumination Show” will make use of the biggest LED display in Japan’s Kanto region, combining music with CG visuals, and illuminated decorations will twinkle in front of it. This year, the display will also feature new full-colour lasers. Three magical and dynamic shows will light up the area, including the Amatsuki Live Illumination show.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/260368
▼Tobu Zoo Winter Illuminations 2019-2020
Running: October 26, 2019 – February 11, 2020
*Open on weekends and public holidays in November including Saitama Day on November 14, 2019
*Open every day from December 1, 2019 to January 5, 2020
*Open on weekends and public holidays only from January 6, 2020
Opening Hours: 17:00-20:00 (Until 21:00 on December 24-25, 2019)
Location: Throughout Tobu Zoo (110 Suka, Miyashiro, Minamisaitama-gun, Saitama)
Price: Please check the official website or at the zoo
Event Page: http://www.tobuzoo.com/event/teiki/illumination/
Roof Star Garden at GINZA SIX
Ginza’s biggest shopping centre GINZA SIX is set set to light up its rooftop garden with an enchanting illumination event titled Rooftop Star Garden. Standing at 56 meters high, the rooftop garden is the “closest place to the stars” in Ginza. This will be GINZA SIX’s first ever illumination event and it will shine a bright spotlight against the nightscape of Ginza’s streets.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/259779
▼Rooftop Star Garden
Location: GINZA SIX Garden (Building Rooftop)
Address: 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Running: November 26, 2019 – February 24, 2019
*Will close during bad weather or during invitation-only events
Time: Sunset to 23:00
GINZA SIX Official Website: https://ginza6.tokyo/
Omotesando Hills Christmas 2019
This winter’s lights at Omotesando Hills will be provided with contemporary design studio we+.The illuminations at the main large staircase of the atrium will take on the theme “Christmastime seduced by water magic.” “The water-based illuminations will constantly change colour and appearance.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/255660
▼Omotesando Hills Christmas 2019
Running: November 13, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Illumination Time: 11:00-23:00
Omotesando Hills Official Website: https://www.omotesandohills.com/en/
Did you enjoy our picks? Seeing the illuminations is a must when travelling to Japan during wintertime. Choose your location and take your friends, family and loved ones.
Akasaka Yuuga: The New Japanese Restaurant in Tokyo’s Gourmet Warzone Akasaka
13.December.2019 | FOOD
Akasaka is known as a warzone when it comes to gourmet restaurants, but a new contender has arrived. Akasaka Yuuga opened this month in Akasaka Ni-chome, Tokyo. This restaurant serves Japanese style cuisine featuring carefully selected flavours taken from across the country.
Yuuga gets most of their fish from Choshi Port, which boasts the best fish yield in Japan, as well as other carefully chosen seafood from across Japan in addition to seasonal vegetables. They bring out the full flavour of their ingredients, all of which are matched to the current season. They even serve Japanese black beef.
Their concept centres on how recognised and loved Japanese food is internationally. The restaurant makes full use of Japan’s traditional food culture and prepares food using a variety of cooking methods. Everything in the restaurant is carefully considered to ensure diners enjoy their meal experience with all five senses, from not only the food but the decor and hospitality too. There are also counter seats available for customers who want to watch their food being prepared while they talk, whether to their friends or with the skilled chefs, offering an unforgettable dining experience for Japanese people and foreigners alike. There are also private eating booths for those who want to eat with friends, family, or celebrate a special day.
Nijushisekki refers to the days that divide the solar year into twenty four equal sections and highlight the longest days of sun in summer, the shortest days in winter, and the days being the same in spring and autumn.
The dishes at the restaurant reflect these regular changes; the dishes are not bound strictly by Japanese cuisine, but make use of various cooking and preparation methods, with thought and consideration put into every dish.
Japanese Black Beef
Yuuga prides itself not only on seasonal vegetable and fish-filled menu, which is both a feast for the belly and eyes, but on the beef used in its course meals too.
Yuuga serves Japanese black beef which comes from a rare breed of cow which is difficult to rear. It has a distinct rich flavour and low melting point which gives it a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
There are three courses to choose from that cater to customers desires, costing ¥8,000, ¥12,000, and ¥20,000 respectively. This includes appetisers, and customers can choose from a range of wines from around the world select by sommeliers, as well as champagne, whisky, and of course sake and shochu.
Address: Yamaguchi Bldg. 1F, 2-14-8 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 17:00-23:00 (Last Orders 22:00)
Closed: Sundays & Public Holidays
Official Website: http://yuuga.ku-shin.jp
Fortnite T-Shirts Releasing From UNIQLO’s UT Brand
UNIQLO has announced that it is releasing a new line of t-shirts from its graphic t-shirt brand UT themed on the internationally-beloved video game Fortnite. They will hit UNIQLO stores and UNIQLO’s online shop in Japan on December 20, 2019.
Fortnite is an online game that since releasing in 2017 from Epic Games in 2017 has gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon.
While fans wait in anticipation for Chapter 2 Season 2, they can support their favourite game with something from this collection of 13 items, which includes t-shirts and sweaters.
The front part of this Durr Burger t-shirt is actually embroidered. Cool, chic designs are characteristic of this collection.
The iconic Loot Llama, or Loot Pinata, was of course going to be included in the line-up.
This design features the character known as Cuddle Team Leader. The front features just the logo, which is embroidered. Simple but stylish.
This t-shirt simply says “Fortnite” on the front while the back reads “Slurp Juice.”
This white hoodie simply reads “Fornite” on the front.
Featuring the character Leviathan, this design is made in the style of a college sweater.
Another character design, and this time it’s t he Black Knight. It has a characteristic metallic silver print.
Support your love of Fortnite with a choice from this collection, featuring iconic characters like Loota Llama and Cuddle Team Leader as well as the popular Slurp Juice item and more.
©2020 Epic Games
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Men’s T-Shirts (8 Designs) – ¥1,500 (Before Tax)
Men’s Sweaters (5 Designs) – ¥2,900 (Before Tax)
Available: At UNIQLO stores in Japan and the online shop
Special Site: https://www.uniqlo.com/jp/store/feature/uq/ut/fortnite/
Handmade Christmas Chocolate Santa and Snowman Released at ATELIER de GODIVA in Kyoto
13.December.2019 | FOOD
GODIVA Japan released two new chocolate products at the Daimaru Kyoto branch of ATELIER de GODIVA, a chocolate shop which combines GODIVA’s skilful craftsmanship with chocolate artistry. Named “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Santa Claus” and “ATELIER Christmas Showpiece Snowman,” the two chocolate artworks were released on Wednesday and are available until December 25.
Each and every one of these chocolate sculptures are handmade in-store by the shop’s chefs. They are exclusive to ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto and the perfect Christmas treat to adorn any Christmas party this holiday season.
These cute Christmas-exclusives not only taste delicious, but are fun to look at. Santa is sat in a chimney ready to deliver the presents while the snowman is sat next to a Christmas tree looking warm with its scarf.
Both of these are limited in stock and won’t be available ever again after they sell out, so don’t miss out.
ATELIER Christmas Showpieces
Running: December 11, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Price: ¥1,500 Each (Before Tax) *Takeout only
Available: ATELIER de GODIVA Daimaru Kyoto (Daimaru Kyoto B1F, 79 Tachiuri Nishimachi, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture)
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
GODIVA Japan Official Website: https://www.godiva.co.jp
HARU NEMURI Announces New Song ‘Fanfare’ Following Successful European Tour
13.December.2019 | MUSIC
HARU NEMURI will drop her new song Fanfare digitally on January 10, 2020. In the lead up to its release, the singer-songwriter has revealed the artwork for the single.
The Japanese artist embarked on her first European Tour earlier this year to promote her Haru to Shura record, which saw her perform in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. She also made an appearance at Primavera Sound 2019 which was packed with over 200,000 concertgoers, expanding her overseas activity.
She is now perform in North America for the first time ever with a show at SXSW in Austin, Texas in March next year.
The cover art for her new track Fanfare shows HARU NEMURI with an expression of determination and readiness as she readies herself to further get her name out there. A music video is in the works for the song too, so be on the lookout.
Release Date: January 10, 2020 (Digital Release)
2019/12/24 @ Get Out Festival 2020 (Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan)
2020/1/10 @ HARU NEMURI One Man Live “Hitori de Nereru Mon! vol.4” (dues Shinjuku, Tokyo)
2020/3/13-22 @ SXSW 2020 (Austin, Texas, US)
Official Website: http://ねむいっす.com
LiSA has announced that she is set to embark on a nationwide arena tour in Japan next year.
There is never a breather when it comes to LiSA’s successful musical activities, with her new song unlasting being used as the ending theme for the ongoing anime series Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld, which made it to No. 3 on Oricon’s Daily Single charts for December 10.
The singer’s new tour will be her biggest to date, with ten concerts planned across five locations throughout Japan, including the famous MetLife Dome which has a capacity of nearly 40,000. She will perform for an estimated 115,000 fans over the duration of the tour. Pre-sale tickets will go live via LiSA’s fan club “LiSA Love” on December 11, 2019 at 22:00 (JST).
LiSA said: “I’ll be heading on an arena tour in 2020, which includes MetLife Dome. It’s the start of my 10th year. Let’s go and have the best time ever next year once again with our favourite thing: music!”
unlasting topped digital music charts in Japan and overseas, including the J-pop category on iTunes in countries around Asia including Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, and elsewhere. The song reached No. 1 on the the KKBOX’s J-pop daily charts in Taiwan (October 23-November 3) as well as its weekly charts (October 25-31). It also made it to No. 1 on the QQ Music J-Pop weekly charts (October 24-30).
LiSA 2020 Arena Tour
2020/6/20 @ Osaka-jo Hall
2020/6/21 @ Osaka-jo Hall
2020/6/27 @ Pia Arena MM (Yokohama)
2020/6/28 @ Pia Arena MM (Yokohama)
2020/8/15 @ Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
2020/8/16 @ Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium
2020/9/5 @ MetLife Dome (Seibu Dome)
2020/9/6 @ MetLife Dome (Seibu Dome)
2020/10/3 @ Xebio Arena Sendai
2020/10/4 @ Xebio Arena Sendai
*Pre-sale tickets available via LiSA’s official fan club “LiSA Love” on December 11, 2019 from 22:00 (JST)
LiSA Love Fan Club: https://k.lxixsxa.com/
LiSA Official Website：http://www.lxixsxa.com/
Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of Underworld
Initial Broadcast: October 12, 2019
Official Website: https://sao-alicization.net/
‘Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight’ Star Actor Ryota Katayose receives Asian Stars: Up Next award in Macao Film Festival
12.December.2019 | MOVIE
Popular shoujo manga series Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight‘s released its long-awaited live-action film adaptation on December 6 in Japan and is a big hit with people of all generations, particularly young teens. The popular manga series is serialised in Bessatsu Friend and is also being published in English by Kodansha Comics. The live-action film stars GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE vocalist Ryota Katayose and actress and former singer Kanna Hashimoto.
The film’s main character Kaede Ayaseーthe performer and national starー is played by Ryota Katayose. Katayose’s singing as part of GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE, his dancing and lead roles in multiple films led him to accumulate hoards of fans across the globe, amounting to a surprising number of followers on social media that is considered large even among other Asian celebrities.
On the night of December 10 (JST), the third Asian Stars: Up Next Awards Ceremony took place and saw the young, international Japanese actor stand among other big-name Asian actors and actresses, addressing the press with a speech in fluent English. The red carpet was followed by the awards ceremony, at which Katayose was honoured with one of the biggest awards of the year, becoming the first Japanese male to receive such a spectacular achievement.
The moment he emerged at Macao International Airport Arrivals, he was surrounded by crowds of excited fans. The overwhelmed Katayose stood shocked at the instantaneous warm welcome he received. The following day at 12pm on December 10 (Macao Local Time), the press were poised in position to capture the eight international stars to be presented with the Asian Stars: Up Next Awards, showcased by the International Film Festival & Awards Macao and Variety. Of course Katayose was one of them.
Katayose was honoured as an international Asian star alongside other big names such as Praewa Suthampong and Jennis Oprasert who are members of the Thai group BNK48, and Yoona from the iconic K-Pop sensation Girl’s Generation, who featured in hit Asian films Confidential Assignment (2018) and EXIT (2019). The award was also presented to Liên Bỉnh Phát, who was the first Vietnamese actor to receive the Tokyo Gemstone Award in the best newcomer category at the 31st Tokyo International Film Festival, and Indonesian actress Asmara Abigail, whose latest film Homecoming premiered at the festival. Actresses who received the award for starring in Netflix shows include Bea Alonzo from the Philippines who starred in A Second Chance, and Bhumi Pednekar from India who starred in Lust Stories.
The press conference was living proof that Katayose enjoys the stardom of the character he plays in real life as much as he does in the drama, as he was caught up amidst a storm of flashes by the paparazzi that merged into one giant spotlight that illuminated his sharp blue suit.
Amongst the excitement and celebration, Katayose addressed the press in English, expressing his gratitude for being chosen by the Film Festival and Variety. He also thanked the staff, his family and fans, stating that he wouldn’t have made it this far without their support. Katayose then talked about his dream of becoming the bridge between Japan and the rest of Asia in the entertainment industry, mentioning that receiving the award has been a critical turning point in his career that brings him one step closer to achieving his dream.
His speech was met with a wild applause.
On the night of December 10, Katayose wore a jet black tuxedo with a beaming smile to finish the look, ready to take on the red carpet. As fans screamed his name over and over, he turned to flash them a smile. He strode majestically before the sea of cameras and struck a graceful pose.
Upon being asked by a reporter to describe Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Katayose described it as a modern Cinderella story where an ordinary high school girl with dreams of falling in love with her “prince” actually meets oneー the national superstar Kaede Ayaseー for which he plays the role.
The reporter then replied: “So you’re a superstar playing the role of a superstar!”
“Yes!” he replied, bashfully.
With the excitement of being on the red carpet still lingering, Katayose reflected on how lively it was in a voice full of excitement and with that, the evening came to a close.
The excitement of the grand and glorious evening echoed long after the curtains were closed. Asia Bureau Chief Patrick Frater spoke about the reason Katayose was chosen for the award, stating that Variety is searching for young talent who are capable of capturing a global audience. He mentioned that Katayose has proven his potential with his rich history of achievements that have brought him to fame in Japan although he has still a way to go on a global scale. Frater then comments that Katayose’s mesmerizing talent and will coupled with his desire to reach out to the world is outstanding and as a result of the awards ceremony, Macao’s case of “Katayose-fever” has become more serious.
*All quotes have been translated from Japanese.
Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight
Hit Movie currently in cinemas
Starring: Ryota Katayose (GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE), Kanna Hashimoto, Gordon Chiba
Original Manga Author: Rin Mikimoto Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight (Kodansha, Bessatsu Friend series)
Official Website: https://0kiss.jp/
Winners Announced For 4th Gemstone Animation Creator Contest
12.December.2019 | ANIME&GAME
GEMSTONE is an audition project created by TOHO CO., LTD. and ALPHABOAT which seeks to find the best creators. The 4th GEMSTONE project was announced in August and sought submissions of short animations themed on Shinjuku.
The judge line-up for the contest included anime film and television director Kobun Shizuno, who worked on the Detective Conan film series from 2011-17 as well as the Godzilla CG kaiju film series from 2017-18. It also included animator Yasuhiro Kimura who worked on Three Leaves, Three Colors and the Golden Wind arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. After several months of submissions and judging, the winners and their prizes have finally been announced.
“GEMSTONE” refers to the talent selected by TOHO and ALPHABOAT for the audition project, which ranges from animators to illustrators, composers, singers, actors, and so on. The two companies will help open doors to winners’ career paths.
The first competition was themed on Godzilla, and asked for video or illustration submissions. The theme of the second was “With Japan!” and requested submissions for an original character, and the third asked for video submissions to promote Nisio Isin’s 100th story Veiled Man Kasetsu.
Let’s take a look at the winners of Gemstone Creators Audution Vol. 4.
First Place Prize – 1 Million Yen
Title: kaijushojo / Creator: Yosuke Tani
Story: A spirit resides in Shinjuku. A girl in the city challenges herself to battle with the spirit.
Kobun Shizuno said: “It’s visually stunning. For someone like me, who was raised in Shinjuku, I felt I wanted the theme in the much more at points, but when I considered that this had to be made in such a short time frame, it’s incredible. If he’s making these by himself, he’s got a bright future ahead of him. I think all the praise from everyone comes from the overwhelming quality of the visuals.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It has the highest level of quality out of all the submissions. I chose this one for both that and how interesting it was to watch. It was so much fun watching the characters’ animation. I felt it was a work with a high level of completion and of satisfaction.”
Runner-Up Prize – 700,000 Yen
Title: Dramatic / Creator: 作田綾乃
Story: A lone street musician singing in Shinjuku whose voice reaches somebody.
Kobun Shizuno said: “This wasn’t made by just one person, but the overall package is woven together incredibly skilfully. I personally feel this work surpasses all the rest. In terms of the visual quality, there’s a lot that could be cleaned up and there are many points still to be learned, but the drama is on point with music as the core focus. The development is solid throughout, and I admire how well put together everything us right to the end.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I have to give credit to them having created an animation centred around an original song at just 19 years-old. Amongst all the other many works which all used Shinjuku as the location, it feels like a realistic piece of drama which covers musicians visiting Tokyo. And even though it’s 5-minutes long, it by no means felt long; it was a seamless watch.”
Runner-Up Prize – 300,000 Yen
Title: tellphone / Creator: 亀井樹
Story: Where’s my lost smartphone? “The ending of a story is a beginning.”
Kobun Shizuno said: “I was impressed by the amazing quality of the visuals, but the structure of the story lost me. We see the characters line up, and you think something interesting is about to unfold, but the older brother’s cheeks turn red and that’s the end. It was a weak conclusion. If they did away with the part in the middle and made the ending stronger, I think it would have been an incredible piece of work worthy of being higher up in the list.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “I liked the concept of this one the most. The joke about finding a lost smartphone with location information was amusing. It was very relevant of the current times. But the disappointing part was when we meet the shopkeeper at the end, and then it just ends. I wanted to see what unfolded after we met them too. Since they went ahead and included something that can track something’s location, it would have been even more interesting if they’d tied in locations in Shinjuku and developed the story more.”
Judges’ Overall Comments On The Competition
Kobun Shizuno said:
“I was so surprised at the level of quality in the submissions, as people had such a short amount of time to create their works when the submissions opened.”
Yasuhiro Kimura said: “It was really refreshing and a lot of fun to get to see the works of such a young generation.”
Kazutaka Yamanaka, producer at TOHO, praised the line-up of works as wonderful considering the short time they were given. He felt however that the dramatic elements of most works could have been enrichened had they added a little more references to Shinjuku in them, like including people of different races walking the streets, or the low-lying parts of Shinjuku.
The winning submissions and worthy mentions can all be watched over on the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel here.
© TOHO CO., LTD.
GEMSTONE Official Website: https://gemstoneaudition.com/
McDonald’s Japan to Release Premium Raspberry White Chocolate Frappe at McCafé by Barista Branches
12.December.2019 | FOOD
McDonald’s Japan has revealed its new “Premium Raspberry White Chocolate Frappe” beverage which will go on sale at McCafé by Barista branches of McDonald’s from December 18 for a limited time.
The drink is part of McCafé by Barista’s hugely popular “Premium Chocolate” beverage series, featuring a red and white contrast as part of the holiday season.
A cup of this frappe contains a a specially made frappe sauce which is a mix of white chocolate sauce and milk. Added to that is a raspberry sauce. It’s topped with creamy whipped cream and thin and crunchy white chocolate shavings and finished with two chocolate sticks made from a mix of cocoa beans from West Africa including Ghana. The milky white chocolate frappe goes deliciously well with the sweet and sour raspberry. A fitting drink for the holiday season.
Premium Raspberry White Chocolate Frappe
Running: December 18, 2019 – Mid January 2020 (Subject to change)
Price (Tax Included): Regular ¥490 / Large ¥530
Available: at McCafé by Barista branches of McDonald’s in Japan
McDonald’s Japan Official Website: http://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/
Adorable Hamtaro X gonoturn Eye Masks to Be Sold Across Japan and Online
Hamtaro is loved by the Japanese as much as the rest of the world. It has been published as a Shogakukan manga since 1997, soon making its anime debut on TV in the year 2000. Hamtaro has a place in our hearts as a nostalgic series of our childhood.
The adorable hamster is now collaborating with gonoturn to release a lineup of Hamtaro-themed masks, eye masks and hairbands.
GNT0351 Hamtaro × gonoturn Hamtaro Mask
GNT0355 Hamtaro × gonoturn Bijou Eye Mask
GNT0359 Hamtaro × gonoturn Oxnard Hair Band
The lineup will be released on December 14 at shops across Japan including Sapporo Tokyu Department Store, 27 KIDDY LAND stores and online. The lineup will be available for preorder from December 13 on PREMIUM BANDAI “Bankore!”. This lineup provides the perfect matching accessories for you and your friends.
©️Ritsuko Kawai/Shogakukan Inc
Hamtaro × gonoturn Masks, Eye Masks and Hairbands
Masks: ¥2,200 Each (Tax Included)
Eye Masks: ¥2,420 Each (Tax Included)
Hair Bands: ¥2,420 Each (Tax Included)
Release Date: December 14, 2019
・gonoturn Laforet Harajuku Floor 1.5 (1 Chome-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo)
・gonoturn MAGNET by SHIBUYA109 Floor 3 (1 Chome-23-10 Jinnan, Shibuya)
・Sapporo Tokyu Department Store, Floor 5 Event Stage (2 Chome Kita 4 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
・Available for Preorder from December 13 on PREMIUM BANDAI “Bankore!”: https://bandai-fashion.jp/
gonoturn official online store：https://ceno.jp/gonoturn/topics/HAMTARO
sumika Drops Music Video for My Hero Academia – Heroes: Rising Theme Song ‘Higher Ground’
Along with the release of their new single Negai/Higher Ground on December 11, sumika unveiled the song’s official music video. Higher Ground is the opening theme song for the upcoming anime film My Hero Academia – Heroes: Rising, which is working up a sensation this winter in Japan.
sumika – “Higher Ground” Music Video
With a thudding beat and sense of urgency, the action-packed song Higher Ground was written especially for the film, which is set to premiere in Japan on December 20. The song is based on the concept of “everybody raising their flags and proceeding towards the light”, which is reflected in the video’s usage of colour and beautiful lighting.
In spring 2020, sumika will face their biggest live event yet—sumika Arena Tour 2020 -Daily’s Lamp—which stretches over 10 cities across Japan with 13 live gigs.
The First Press editions of the single even come with irresistible bonuses: The First Press A and B editions of the CD include an application card for pre-sale tickets to “sumika Arena Tour 2020 -Daily’s Lamp-” and the First Press Limited Edition A comes with a bonus CD containing a live audio recording of sumika Live Tour 2019 -Wonder Bridge- 2019.10.29 at Zepp Tokyo.
This is exciting news for fans of My Hero Academia and sumika alike.
©️2019 “My Hero Academia THE MOVIE” Production Committee
sumika – New Single “Negai/Higher Ground”
Release Date: December 11, 2019
First Press Limited Edition A (CD+Bonus CD, card sleeve): ¥1,800 (Before Tax) [SRCL-11390〜11391]
First Press Limited Edition B (CD+My Hero Academia Card*): ¥1,500 (Before Tax) [SRCL-11392]
*Four designs available based on Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo
Regular Edition (CD-Only): ¥1,000 (Before Tax) [SRCL-11393]
First Press Bonus
Application card for pre-sale tickets to “sumika Arena Tour 2020 -Daily’s Lamp-“.
Application Period: December 13, 2019 at 20:00 (JST) to December 16, 2019 at 23:59 (JST)
Includes PlayPASS. Valid until December 10, 2020.
CD Bonus (At Participating Stores)
Postcard calendar featuring the CD cover’s design.
Participating Stores: https://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Info/sumika/shoplist/191211/
*Priority goes to those who pre-order the CD. Available while supplies last.
*Not available at select branches and online stores. Please confirm availability at the branch or online store.
sumika Official Website: http://www.sumika-official.com/
My Hero Academia – Heroes: Rising
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Official Website: https://heroaca-movie.com/
WITH HARAJUKU: Shiseido to Open Beauty Parlour, Hair & Makeup Academy and More in Harajuku’s New Shopping Complex
Shiseido has announced that it will open three new facilities in WITH HARAJUKU—a shopping complex currently in development by NTT URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION in front of Harajuku Stationーin April 2020. This includes the new beauty parlour Beauty Square, the hair & makeup academy and studio SABFA*, and the restaurant and lounge SHISEIDO PARLOUR THE HARAJUKU managed by Shiseido Parlour.
*SABFA is a school managed by Shiseido for training professional hair and makeup artists
Beauty Square will be located in the first floor as a place to discover beauty, have fun, and share experiences. As well as selling cosmetics, the facility will offer various beauty experiences using digital technology, and there will be a hair and makeup salon where customers can receive high quality service for a short period of time. By combining real experience with digital tech, Beauty Square hopes to bring in people of all ages and backgrounds from inside and outside Japan so that they can discover the fun of beauty and unlock their inner charm.
SABFA on the second floor will be home to an all-new lecture and training facility as well as a photo studio. It will train educate and support the next generation of hair and makeup artists who will challenge the ideas of beauty and revolutionise the industry.
SHISEIDO PARLOUR THE HARAJUKU is on the eighth floor where customers will be able to dine on French cuisine and indulge in line-up of wines carefully chosen by sommeliers. The restaurant overlooks Meiji Jingu, and its interior was designed by Kazuya Ura who designed the Twilight Express Mizukaze, a multiple unit sleeping-car excursion train operated by West Japan Railway Company.
Be sure to visit WITH HARAJUKU when it opens in April next year.
Grand Opening: April 2020
Address: 1-14-30 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Souvenirs at Tokyo Station’s GRANSTA Shopping Complex Abundant For the New Year
Tokyo Station’s GRANSTA and GRANSTA Marunouchi shopping complexes are holding a New Year’s from December 26, 2019 to January 5, 2019 where sweets and souvenirs will be sold to beckon the new year. The items are based on the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac for 2020.
Sweets and Souvenirs
Baked New Year 2020 (Contains 5) – ¥1,600 @ Fairycake Fair (Available from December 26)
Tuck into these adorable baked cookies with various celebratory designs including rats, flowers and the year 2020. They are egg flavoured and are made with caramel to create a taste similar to Japanese purin (a type of custard pudding).
High Grade Fresh Japanese Confection Assortment (Contains 6) – ¥1,848 @ Ginza Kanra (Available Mid-December to Mid-January)
Ginza Kanra’s assortment of fancy confections are so pretty they almost seem a waste to eat, each with a variety of motifs such as a rat as well as “Gin no Suzu”ーa silver bell inside Tokyo Station that’s famous as a meeting spot.
Ginza Kikunoya Fukiyose Kaiune Shikan (200g) – ¥1,998 @ Jimbocho Ichi no Ichi (Now on sale until all sell out)
This tin of assorted small sweets includes around 30 types of baked wheat bran treats and more. There’s plenty to keep you going through the New Year celebrations.
Left: Eto Kokeshi Rat – ¥2,090 / Right: Mame Kokeshi Rat – ¥880 @ SHARED TOKYO (Now on sale)
Available in limited quantities only, these cute rat kokeshi dolls would look good even as decorations in small spaces. Their red and white colours add to the festive vibe as these are celebratory colours in Japan.
New Year’s Card Shrimp Senbei Rice Crackers (Contains 11) – ¥1,080 @ Keishindo (Now on sale until all sell out)
Forget regular Christmas cards, hand someone one of these rice crackers instead which feature messages like “Here’s to another great year” in Japanese as well as other New Year motifs.
Osechi and New Year’s Bento
Houjou – ¥8,000 @ Asakusa Imahan (Available January 1 only)
Osechi is food prepared for the New Year in Japan, and this bountiful harvest includes Asakusa Imahan’s famous wagyu black beef, red rice, rice with minced sea bream, and more. These are limited to 10 sets only.
Osechi Shoufuku Suzen – ¥1,800 @Sasahachi (Available January 1-3)
Another delicious mix of osechi like fish wrapped in kombu seaweed, hand-rolled sushi, and more—all of which goes down best with a cup of sake. Limited to 20 servings per day.
This is just a peek into what’s available this New Year at Tokyo Station, so if you’re using the station this year, be sure to stop by.
*All listed prices include tax
New Year’s Fair
Running: December 26, 2019 – January 5, 2020
TOKYO STATION GUIDE Official Website: https://www.tokyoinfo.com/