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.

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  • 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

    Time: 10:00-16:00

    Address: 110 Shishigatani Sakuradanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto

    Price: ¥600 (Discount for groups of 15+) / Free for junior high school students and younger

    Access:

    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)

     

    Yokokuji Temple

    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)

    Access:

    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/

     

    Konzoji Temple

    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.

     

    Konzoji Temple

    Address: 1639 Ōharano Ishizukurichō, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

    Donation Fee: ¥200

    Access:

    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

    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.

     

    Byodoin Temple

    Address: Renge-116 Uji, Kyoto

    Price: General ¥600 / Junior High School Students ¥400 / Elementary School Students ¥300 (*Includes garden and Byodoin Museum access)

    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.

     

    Photos: Macchan

  • Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Spots to Visit Before Autumn 2019 Ends

    03.November.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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

    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.

     

    ▼Jitokuin Temple

    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

    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.

     

    ▼Nariaiji Temple

    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

    Price: ¥500

    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

     

     

    Yokokuji Temple

    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)

    Bookings: https://yanagidani.jp/contact/

     

    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.

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  • Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku: The New Hot Spring Resort Hotel in Mie Prefecture

    28.June.2020 | SPOT

    Yukai Resort, a company in Japan which manages lots of famous hot spring resorts across the country, opened Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku in Toba, Mie on June 5, 2020.

     

    Yukai Resort manages 29 well-established hot spring resort hotels and ryokan throughout Japan, including hotels where you can get one night with dinner and breakfast from just ¥7,500 (before tax) to ryokan where you can enjoy kaiseki meal courses, and more. All their luxury establishments feature hot springs surrounded in lush environments.

     

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku opened on June 5, 2020 and is taking all of the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to protect guests and so that guests can enjoy a comfortable stay.

     

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku is 10 minutes by car from Toba Aquarium and 30 minutes from Ise Grand Shrine, making it a great location to enjoy the sightseeing spots of Ise and Shima. The hotel’s concept is centred on being an “active resort” where you can get the full Toba experience with history, the sea, and activities.

    The large open-air communal baths look out onto Toba Bay. The baths are designed like infinity pools, giving the effect that they are connected to the sea. Guests can enjoy a dip in the day or evening so they can enjoy both a blue sky or starry sky. There are also saunas.

    There is also an indoor swimming pool with warm water, as well as foot baths, a kids play park, karaoke room, and many more fun features.

    Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku also houses Yukai Resort’s first ever indoor glamping guest rooms with large tents decked with beds, sofa, carpet, cushions, and other amenities for a glamorous camping experience. There are glamping rooms with their own open-air baths that look out onto Toba Bay too, as well as both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms.

    As a precaution against COVID-19, the restaurant is serving its food for takeout only until August 31, 2020. Guests can enjoy their meal in their rooms or in one of the many communal spaces. There’s plenty of health Japanese food to enjoy including sushi, Matsuzaka roast beef, eel, tuna, and more.

  • Local Shaved Ice Recipes Whipped Up at Hoshino Resorts KAI This Summer

    28.June.2020 | FOOD

    Hoshino Resorts has brought back its annual local shaved ice festival for the summer which will be served at branches of Hoshino Resorts KAI, a hot spring ryokan brand. It has been held every year since 2017 and gives people the chance to enjoy shaved ice with a variety of syrups and toppings inspired by local regions in which branches of KAI are dotted around.

     

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

    Tochigi Prefecture has enjoy est the largest harvest of strawberries in Japan for the last 50 years. This shaved ice is doused in a sweet strawberry syrup and a bitter matcha sauce. It can be enjoyed while gazing out to Nikko’s beautiful scenery where you can see Chuzenji Lake and Mount Nantai from 1,300 meters above sea level in Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko.

     

    Hydrangea Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone (Hakone Yumoto Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)

    The Hakone area enjoys long blooming periods of hydrangeas. During their full bloom, the Hakone Tozan Line mountain railway gets nicknamed the “Hydrangea Line” and becomes a popular route for sightseeing. This refreshing shaved ice has hydrangea flavoured jelly and syrup.

     

    Art Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara (Sengokuhara Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara is surrounded by many art museums, so what better way to keep with the them than with an art-inspired shaved ice dessert? Show your art skills by using strawberry red, orange-flavoured orange, and other colourful syrups to create your own unique design on your fluffy white canvas of shaved ice.

    Apple Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps (Omachi Onsen, Nagano Prefecture)

    Nagano Prefecture is famous in Japan for its apples. There are two types of syrup poured over this shaved ice, including one that tastes like mashed apples, and another made from Bramley apples.

     

    Ginger Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo (Tamatsukuri Onsen, Shimane Prefecture)

    The ginger adds a sharp bite to the sweetness of this refreshing shaved ice and is perfect for overcoming the summer heat.

     

    Tomato Shaved Ice | Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sen no Moto Onsen, Oita Prefecture)

    Made from tomatoes harvested in summertime, this sweet and sour shaved ice takes on a gorgeous red colour. Tomatoes are low in calories and have many nutritional ingredients, and are a good source of vitamin C and D, making this a healthier option.

     

    And there are lots of other flavours to come from Hoshino Resorts KAI this summer too.

  • A Cafe With a View: Okinawa’s New Seaside Cafe ‘Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe’ Opens This July

    27.June.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts’s new cafe Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe will open in the village of Yomitan in Okinawa on July 1, 2020, offering a spectacular view.

     

    The cafe is split into four distinct areas which overlook the the beach from atop a cliff. Customers are invited to take in the breathtaking scenery with a delicious dessert made from ingredients like mangoes, pineapple, and sugar—or a tasty meal.

     

    An incredible beach cafe overlooking the sea

    Banta Cafe runs along the western coast of Yomitan, a village in central Okinawa which is about an hour’s drive from Naha Airport. The cafe gets its name from iyumibanta which in Okinawan dialect refers to the cliffs you climb to spot the shadows of fish in the water, and is also the name they give to enormous rocks. The cafe is located atop one of these iyumibanta, or cliffs, making Banta Cafe a fitting name. From the cliff, customers can enjoy a panoramic view of the horizon which stretches across infinity. According to Hoshino Resorts, Banta Cafe sits as the largest beach cafe in Japan, spanning 1600㎡.

     

    4 Unique Areas to Pick From

    Having four distinct areas to choose from means you can select where you want to go depending on your mood on the day. Let’s take a look at each of them.

     

    Rooftop Deck: A panoramic view welcomes you

    Beyond the entrance is the Rooftop Deck which offers an unbroken view of the horizon. With the comfortable shadow cast by the eaves of the roof, and the sound of the rolling waves and wind, it feels like you’re sitting on the deck of a boat.

     

    Beach Terrace: Kick back and enjoy the sea breeze

    The Beach Terrace is located along a footpath that leads from the top of the cliff down to the beach. This spacious area sits nice and close to the sea. The Okinawan Ryukyu-tatami flooring has cushions for you to sit on as well as cabanas, so you can sit and chat with people while enjoying the view of the ocean, offering the real Okinawan experience.

     

    Rocky Terrace: Lose yourself in the green wild of nature

    The Rocky Terrace is enveloped in plants and vegetation that has grown naturally—it’s like a hideaway created by nature. The area has a wooden deck and rocking chairs for people to kick back and relax in, and there are tables with towering rocks that offer shade too.

     

    Goro Goro Lounge: Lay down on a sofa and look out to the sea

    The final area is the Goro Goro Lounge where an entire wall is made up of open windows. Here, you can relax and lay down nice and comfy on the sofas. There are long tables by the sofas too, perfect for pulling out a map or guidebook and planning the rest of your trip.

     

    A true Okinawan cafe experience


    Bubbly Jelly Soda

    The cafe’s “Bully Jelly Soda” is inspired from a traditional bubbly Okinawan tea called bukubuku cha. It’s flavoured with lemongrass and mint and contains different jellies like mango and hibiscus.

    Chulato

    This gelato ice cream gets its name from the Okinawan word for delicious which is chura. Choose from a variety of classic Okinawan flavours like pineapple and guava and top your ice cream with purple yam and bitter melon chips, chinsuko, and more.

     

    Food Menu


    The food lineup is to die for, with tasty bites like pizza toast topped with bitter melon, pork and egg rice ball which is a soul food of Okinawa, hot dogs filled with juicy sausages, shrimp fritters served with mango sauce, fried chicken, and plenty of other finger food.

     

    Witness the magnificent sunset during business hours


    Banta Cafe is home to a gorgeous beach with coral. The sea is cobalt blue as far as the eyes can see, there are strangely shaped rocks worn by the waves, and in the evenings is an incredible view of the sunset which can be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand.

     

    Hoshino Resorts Olu Grill


    Banta Cafe will also have its own separate grilled food restaurant called Olu Grill. Olu is another Okinawan word which means “blue,” in this case referring to the blue ocean. From fried steak served with an original sauce made from Okinawan awamori liquor and kurozu black vinegar to seafood and juicy burgers, there’s plenty to fill you up.

  • Kyoto’s New Hotel Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji Fuses With a Temple

    23.June.2020 | SPOT

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji, a new hotel by major real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsui Fudosan Hotel Management, opened bookings for the new hotel last Friday. The hotel is set to officially open on September 28, 2020.

    The hotel was developed to integrate into Jokyoji, a temple in Kyoto with a history spanning over 500 years. Even in Japan, where it is common for temples to undergo reconstruction, this is a rare project. The hotel aims to be a model case for breathing new life into temples.

     

    The hotel is just a 1-minute walk from Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station and within walking distance from the bustling retail area of Shijō Kawaramachi, the Hanamachi district Ponto-chō, and Kyoto’s geisha district Gion. Guests are wrapped in the serene atmosphere of Jokyoji Temple where they can enjoy its historically maintained art, get involved in morning activities, and more.

     

    Entrance Lobby

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji’s design concept is “Hotel Temple.” Nikken Space Design crafted the hotel’s interior design, which makes use of Jokyoji Temple’s preserved wood, gold leaf-covered folding screens and other features, while adding a modern white and black colour scheme throughout, giving a sense of comfort and high quality. From the lobby, guests can glimpse the main area of the temple and feel one with it.

     

    Spacious rooms and baths

      

    Guest rooms, even the standard room types, are a spacious 24m². All rooms can accommodate 2+ people, and there are even triple rooms which can house 3 people. Every room also comes with separate toilets and showers. Up on the second floor are the baths where guests can wind down after a day of travelling and sightseeing.

     

    Restaurant

    The 2nd floor restaurant, Sanga Ono Kyoto Jokyoji, was developed by ONO GROUP which has built many restaurants in Fukuoka Prefecture. This is the company’s first restaurant to be built outside Fukuoka. Guests can enjoy delicious Japanese rice, Kyoto vegetables, tai-chazuke (green tea poured over sea bream), Kyoto-style grilled fish, and more. The restaurant will also serve Japanese buckwheat noodles overseen by Akamachaya Asago, a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide.

     

    Experience Jokyoji Temple

    Jokyoji Temple was founded in 1171 by Taira no Shigemori. In 1591, the temple was moved to Teramachi-dori where it has stayed to this day. When the hotel opens its doors, it will offer various activities to guests. Those who take part in the morning activity will receive a goshuin stamp from the chief priest.

     

    Experience a hotel and a temple like never before as both are fused together at Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Kawaramachi Jokyoji.

  • Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki: A Luxury Ryokan Renovated From a Traditional Townhouse Alleyway

    18.June.2020 | SPOT

    Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is a new inn that recently opened in Kyoto which is made up of 23 machiya (townhouses) and two restaurants. It was co-developed by Nazuna and Kiraku and offers an accommodation experience like no other.

    Nazuna Kyoto Tsubaki St. is renovated from an entire 110-year-old L-shaped alleyway of machiya spanning 1,400 square meters. The reception building sits on an unassuming streetand  serves as both an entrance to welcome guests, as well as a passage from the outside world into Tsubaki St. On the other side, guests are greeted by a world reminiscent of the historical geisha districts of Kyoto known as Hanamachi. In the evening, guests can experience the luster of Tsubaki St. as the Japanese paper lanterns and paper lamps illuminate the stone-cobbled path.

     

    All guest rooms enjoy private semi open-air baths

    All 23 guest rooms are named and decorated based on the elements of nature that have long been enjoyed in the ancient city of Kyoto: TAKE (bamboo), MIZU (water), IWA (stone), HANA (flower), and HA (leaf). And since each guest room is its own building, guests can enjoy the entire space to themselves. There is also a large open area between the reception and guest rooms to reduce the chance of running into other guests, offering a more private experience.

     

    Chisao Shigemori’s modern rock garden greets guests at the reception

    The first floor of the reception building features a rock garden created by landscape architect Chisao Shigemori which fuses the traditional and the modern. His grandfather was Mirei Shigemori, a famous Japanese landscape architect who is known for having designed the Tofukuji Hojo Temple gardens in Kyoto, amongst other projects. Chisao himself has produced numerous works both inside and outside Japan, such as at Matsuo-Taisha Shrine.

     

    The reception building’s second floor is a lounge space where guests can enjoy tea and confections made by d:matcha after checking in. It’s a chance to try Kyoto’s famous Uji matcha. At nighttime, this are is free for people to use where they can enjoy friendly soft drinks and alcohol.

     

    Unforgettable food at two different restaurants

    Behind a secret door located somewhere inside Tsubaki is “q,” a six-seated chef’s table produced by Hiroshi Sasaki, who is the owner of the Michelin three-star restaurant Gion Sasaki, and TOROMO PRODUCE. A roster of chefs will rotate for service, with Hiroshi Sasaki in the line-up. The restaurant will open officially on July 2, 2020 and is now taking enquiries via mail@toromi.co.jp. Group and family bookings are available. The restaurant will serve special courses the likes of which cannot be experienced anywhere else.

    The other restaurant, “Wagyu Ryotei bungo” will serve courses made with specially-selected high quality Japanese wagyu beef. There are counter seats as well as 7 private and semi-private rooms which house 2-8 people.

  • Help Fukuoka’s Hotels During COVID-19 With Crowdfunding Project

    17.June.2020 | SPOT

    Fukuoka’s tourism industry is suffering greatly as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the city has launched a crowdfunding project to ask for people’s help and support.

     

    By donating, you can receive a special ticket which can be used when travel returns to normal which can be used at hotels you have donated towards. The tiers are priced at ¥3,000 and ¥5,000, which will get you tickets priced at ¥3,300 and ¥5,500 respectively to be used in the future. If you’re thinking of travelling to Fukuoka, or already had plans booked to go there, then consider donating towards the city.

    Fukuoka is a city loved by Japanese people and foreigners alike. It has a rich food culture, incredible festivals, a rich history, and an amalgamation of urban and rural scenery.

  • Japan’s Anime Theme Park Nijigen no Mori Has Naruto, Boruto & Other Exciting Events This June

    16.June.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Nijigen no Mori is an anime theme park located on Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture. Here’s a list of the latest events running at the park in June.

     

    NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO

    NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO is an area of Nijigen no Mori with attractions and more based on Naruto and his son Boruto. The area celebrated its 1st anniversary on April 20, 2020. The park is currently selling anniversary merchandise as well as other exclusive items. Guests who buy a ticket to the park online will receive a free 1st anniversary postcard.

     

    Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Reception Closes 20:00)

    Price: Adults ¥1,800 / High & Junior High School Students ¥1,800 / Children (Elementary School Students & Younger) ¥500
    *Free entry for those aged 3 and below

     

    Price: ¥1,280 Each (Before Tax) *6 flavours

    There are also beverages inspired by characters from the series.

    Price: ¥1,050 (Before Tax)

    There is also a special ramen dish you can order inspired by the Akatsuki, the biggest threat to the Hidden Leaf Village.

    GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in the area, also opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.

     

    The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas. The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.

     

    Guests who stay in the Naruto room receive a free ticket to NARUTO & BORUTO SHINOBIZATO at Nijigen no Mori.

     

    ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot

     

    Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park

    Over at the Crayon Shin-chan shop in Nijigen no Mori, they’re selling limited quantities of a “Happy Bag” full of Shin-chan merchandise, from picnic cushions to towels and more for a total of six items.


    And for the summer season, the last entries to all attractions at Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park have been extended. It’s a chance to work your body while enjoying the green outdoors.

     

    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last Entries 19:30)
    Price: Adults ¥4,480 / High & Junior High School Students ¥2,880 / Children (Elementary School Students & Younger) ¥1,180 / Seniors ¥1,440
    *Free entry for those aged 4 and below. Please check the official website for weekend and national holiday prices.

     

    Phoenix Night Walk

    June 21 is Father’s Day, and to celebrate Nijigen no Mori is holding an event on the day based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga Phoenix. Dads can attend the event for free. The park is holding a birthday campaign for June for those whose birthdays were in March, April, and May since they were unable to go out due to isolation, as well as for those whose birthdays are in June.

     

    Date: June 21, 2020

    Time: 19:30-20:30

    Price: General ¥3,300 (Junior High School Students & Older) / Children ¥1,200 (Aged 5-12)2020年6月21日(日)
    営業時間:19:30~20:30(季節により異なる)
    *Free entry for those aged 3 and below.

  • Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden Opens 20,000m² Sasarikyu Garden For Free

    11.June.2020 | SPOT

    Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden has is opening the Sasarikyu area of its gardens for free from June 5 to October 31 this year. The area spans almost 20,000m² and is home to an arbour and over 120 varieties of bamboo grass.

    Opening the gardens in June means that visitors will get to see the bamboo grass at its most beautiful. Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden wants more people to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and so decided to make it a free experience for visitors.

     

    It’s an opportunity to see the vivid green leaves of the bamboo free which, on a clear day, glistens brightly at the shine of the early summer sun. On a rainy day during the rainy season, it offers a completely different spectacle: the twinkle of the leaves as a result of the dew. In addition to the bamboo grass, rows of hydrangeas also blossom in the garden at the start of summer, and in autumn, the area takes on gorgeous red and yellow hues.

    Another charm of Sasarikyu is the tea ceremony arbour that sits amongst the verdure. This arbour, which was designed by Japanese architect Kiyoshi Yasui, continues the tradition of sukiya style of building known as sukiya-zukuri which was first established in Kyoto.

     

    Sasarikyu

    The Tateshina Plateau sits enveloped by the Yatsugatake, a collection of towering inactive volcanoes. In this expanse lies Sasarikyu, a botanical garden of kuma bamboo grass with over 120 varieties from both Japan and overseas. It is the only bamboo grass garden of its kind in the world and aims to contribute to the region’s culture by drawing out the unknown when it comes to bamboo grass.

    Bamboo grass area (13,200m²)

    Sasarikyu is not just a botanical garden. It is also home to the world’s largest tsukubai basin called Zuigetsusen, as well as an azekura-zukuri style statue of the god of wealth, Hashiri Daigoku. It also has Jōmonka, a style of building from the middle of the Jōmon period in Japanese history which has bamboo grass-thatched roofs.

     

    Sukiya Arbour Garden Area (6,600m²)

    The sukiya arbour was designed by Kiyoshi Yasui who helped carry out major renovations to the Katsura Imperial Villa, as well as helped dismantle and reconstruct two national treasures of Japan: the Joan and Taian tea houses.

     

    Another highlight of the gardens is an area where medicinal herbs area grown. The herbs there are ones mostly seen in Nagano Prefecture. It not only serves as an area with specimens of such herbs, but also offers gorgeous scenery too when the flowers bloom through the seasons.

  • Fufu Nara: The First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Nara Park is Designed by Kengo Kuma

    09.June.2020 | SPOT

    Fufu Nara is set to be the first luxury hotel to open inside Nara Park on June 5, 2020. Designed by industry-leading Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the hotel promises a unique dining experience with food served using herbal medicines that can only be tasted here, and guest rooms that are covered in art made by Nara-based artists who use traditional techniques. Both the dining and accommodation experiences aim to immerse guests in the culture of Nara.

    Witness the handiwork of Nara’s artists

    Nara is a city steeped with beautiful history and culture. This has been captured by the artists who have collaborated with Fufu Nara in the form of paintings, crafts, entrance decorations, and more. A stay at Fufu Nara is an opportunity to witness first hand the deep traditions and techniques of Nara’s art world.

    There are 30 rooms in total which are split into five different types. For example, one room type is designed around the old Japanese style of sitting on the floor. Inks and woods are used in the room to enhance that feeling that you’re in Nara, and the colour tones too are chosen to bring to mind the ancient city.

     

    Fufu Nara’s dining concept

    Nara Prefecture is closely tied to herbal medicines. Herbal medicine came about in the year 611 during the monarch of Empress Suiko. It is written in the Nihon Shoki that the use of herbal medicine had already been adopted by the time Prince Shōtoku was serving under the Empress. Many different traditional herbal medicines are still used in Nara today, including Angelica root, shakuyaku peonies, fennel, and so on. Traditional herbal medicines have become popular again in the prefecture in recent years.

     

    The food prepared at Nara Fufu makes use of ingredients grown and produced in Nara, from vegetables to herbs and beyond. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all incorporate Japanese and Chinese herbal ingredients.

     

    Spa by sisley

    The hotel also has a spa made in collaboration with French luxury skin care brand Sisley. There, guests can enjoy Fufu Nara’s medicated baths.

  • THIRD ishigakijima: Okinawa’s New Island Hopping Hotel to Open in July

    07.June.2020 | SPOT

    Due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Star Resort had to postpone the opening of THIRD ishigakijima, a new hotel in Okinawa originally scheduled to open in April 2020. However, it has been confirmed that the hotel’s new grand opening date is July 31, 2020.

    Ishigaki is an island in Okinawa which faces Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal, a port that connects Okinawa to remote islands like Taketomi Island and Iriomote Island. Many tourists and sightseers flock to Ishigaki to hop to all the different islands it connects to.

    The new THIRD ishigakijima hotel is a perfect choices for groups of travellers, with its room that can accommodate over 3 guests. As well as hotel food, drinks and alcohol, THIRD ishigakijima also offers various activities to guests like shisha, fitness, and more. The hotel is all-inclusive, something which isn’t offered that much on Ishigaki.

     

    The hotel also benefits from a self check-in system accessed using a QR code. Rooms are also accessed using a facial recognition system, making THIRD ishigakijima a tech-savvy experience.

    The hotel is adopting guidelines from the government on operating hotels during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to protect its staff, guests, and local islanders.

  • Naruto Themed Hotel Room Opens at GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135° in Japan

    02.June.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    GRAND CHARIOT Hokutoshichisei 135°, a hotel and glamping facility located in Awaji, Hyogo, opened its new Naruto-themed room on June 1, 2020.

    The room, called “Hokage no Bessou” (Hokage’s Villa), is renovated from one of the resort’s buildings, and aims to plunge guests into the world of ninjas.

    The room takes inspiration from the Hidden Leaf Village and its characters, with references to the series and recreated scenes littered throughout. It also offers exclusive amenities for guests to enjoy.

    Guests who stay in the Naruto room will receive a free ticket to the popular “Naruto & Boruto Shinobi Zato” attraction at the anime theme park Nijigen no Mori on Awaji Island where the hotel is located.

     

    ⒸMasashi Kishimoto Scott / Shuiehsa・TV Tokyo・Pierrot

  • Japan Coronavirus: Room for Rescue Project Provides Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home

    01.May.2020 | SPOT

    With flights cancelled around the world, it is becoming increasingly harder for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans, extend their stay, and live every day in stress and uncertainty. To lend a helping hand to foreign travellers in this stressful time, three accommodation companies Slacktide Co., Ltd, Shared Value Co.,Ltd. and Life Bonds, LLC, who manage Kaname Inn Tatemachi, Sakura Cross Hotel and BONDS HOUSE respectively, have launched a joint accommodation project called “Room for Rescue” which provides free accommodation to international visitors who cannot return home as a result of the current travel restrictions.

    This collaborative project was launched to ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, which could be a reason to avoid visiting Japan again in the future and heavily impact the tourism industry.

    Tokyo:BONDS HOUSE

    Tokyo:Sakura Cross Hotel

    Kanazawa: KANAME INN

    Currently, three accommodations in Tokyo and one in Kanazawa have opened their doors to stranded foreigners.

     

    Room for Rescue: Request a Room

    https://kaname-inn.com/room-for-rescue/

     

    To apply for a room, you need a valid visa and a cancelled flight ticket which meets Room for Rescue’s criteria. For more information, please refer to the application page. The Room for Rescue project is also looking for more accommodations to join the fight against coronavirus and open their doors to stranded foreigners. If you own an accommodation in Japan and want to help foreign travellers, please apply using the link below.

     

    Become Part of Room for Rescue (for accommodation owners)
    https://kaname-inn.com/room-for-rescue/contact/

     

    If you are an individual who wants to support this project, please consider donating via their crowdfunding page mentioned in the information section below.

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