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/
Autumn in Aichi: Cherry Blossoms and Maples at Obara Shikizakura Matsuri & Korankei Maple Festival
15.November.2019 | SPOT
Early November marks the opening of the autumn cherry blossoms in Obaracho, Toyota. By the time mid-November rolls around, close to 10,000 shikizakura cherry blossoms bloom a pale pink until the end of the month.
The Yoshino cherry bears its pink petals in springtime, but the shikizakura blossoms twice a year: first in spring, then in autumn. They are considered one of the most beautiful flowers of autumn, especially when they bloom against the gorgeous and vibrant red maple leaves. The Obara Shikizakura Matsuri began on November 1, and right now, you can witness this spectacle for yourself.
The shikizakura trees planted in Obara have been there since Kansei era (1789-1801). With the helping hand of locals, the trees have become one of Japan’s most famous shikizakura spots. They were designated as Chiku (District) Trees in 1978 and can be seen throughout the entire district. Some of the trees are over 100 years old and as such registered as Natural Monuments of Aichi prefecture.
This is a spot we highly recommend visiting when travelling to Aichi.
▼Obara Shikizakura Cherry Blossoms
Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November
441-1 Johei, Obaracho, Toyota, Aichi (Obara Fureai Park)
Senmichi, Toyota, Aichi (Senmi Shikizakura no Sato)
Access: Take the Toyota Oiden Bus bound for Kaminigi (上仁木行き) and get off at Obaraokusa (小原大草) or Kaminigi (上仁木)
▼Obara Shikizakura Matsuri
Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Locations: Senmi Shikizakura no Sato, Obara Fureai Park, and elsewhere in the region
Notes: The Kururin Bus can be boarded for free on weekends and public holidays while the festival is on
Official Website: https://www.aichi-now.jp/spots/detail/132/
The Korankei Maple Festival is also taking place this month where you can witness around 40,000 maple trees bearing their gorgeous autumn foliage.
The trees are being lit up every night for the month of November. Watch the sun set before the illuminations are turned on, creating an enchanting atmosphere with the warm, radiating lights against the night sky.
Peak Blossom Time: From Mid-November
Location: Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi
Access: Ride the Meitetsu Mikawa Line to Toyotashi Station, change onto Meitetsu Bus, and alight at Korankei (香嵐渓)
Official Website: http://asuke.info/korankei/
▼64th Korankei Maple Festival
Running: November 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019
Location: Around Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi
Light-Up: Sunset to 21:00
Access: 20 minutes from Sarugata Green Road Interchange / 20 minutes from Toyota-Kanpachi Interchange
Official Website: http://asuke.info/event/nov/entry-705.html
Witness two of Japan’s most celebrates treesーthe cherry blossom and the mapleーflower together in one place in Aichi.
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/
Witness the Breathtaking Illuminations and Tokyo City Night Lights at Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019
10.November.2019 | SPOT
Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019 is set to run from December 1 to 25.
The event will take place at Shinagawa Season Terrace, a towering office building in Tokyo, where the rolling grass lawn will be lit up beautifully with enchanting blue lights. They offer a breathtaking view against the city nightscape of Tokyo’s skyscrapers. Last year’s event saw nearly 17,000 people in attendance.
2019 marks the 4th run of the event, and this year, the long staircase leading up to the lawn will also be lit up, welcoming visitors to see the illuminations from their first step upon arrival. The lights will flicker in 10 different patterns from the first floor (ground floor) up to the second.
Entry is free, and visitors will be able enjoy an unbroken view of the structural spectacle that is Tokyo Tower too. If you’re in Tokyo this December, be sure to mark Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019 in your calendar for the holiday season.
*Pictured photos are for illustrative purposes only
Shinagawa Season Terrace Illumination 2019
Running: December 1, 2019 – December 25, 2019
Location: Shinagawa Season Terrace (1-2-70 Konan, Minato Ward, Tokyo)
Access: 6 minutes on foot from Shinagawa Station’s Konan Exit (JR Line side)
Event Website: https://sst-am.com/
*The event will take place if there is light rainfall but will be suspended in the case of stormy weather
Hoshinoya Tokyo Ranks Number One On ‘World’s Best Awards 2020 Top Hotels in Tokyo’
11.July.2020 | SPOT
Travel + Leisure published their “World’s Best Awards 2020 Top Hotels in Tokyo” list on July 8, 2020 on which Hoshinoya Tokyo, managed by Hoshino Resorts, placed No. 1.
“World’s Best Awards” is a list of the top hotels as ranked by travel magazine Travel + Leisure’s user ratings. The hotel category takes into account the facilities, location, service, food, and more offered at each hotel.
Established in Otemachi, Tokyo in July 2016, Hoshinoya Tokyo is a ryokan-style hotel which has two basement floors and 17 upper floors. It has a traditional Japanese ryokan vibe to it with its tatami mats, sliding doors, bamboo materials, and more, plus guests must take their shoes off at the entrance. And while it has traditional elements, it caters to the modern lifestyle, combining the best of both worlds. It offers guests a chance to easily experience Japanese culture and what it’s like to stay in a ryokan.
Address: 1-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Check In @ 15:00 / Check Out @ 12:00
Access: 10-minutes on foot from Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi North Exit / 2-minutes on foot from Otemachi Station’s A1 and C2 exits (via Tokyo Metro)
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/en/
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.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Local Shaved Ice 2020 (Japanese Name: 界のご当地かき氷 2020)
Running: July 11, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Available: At 15 Hoshino Resorts KAI branches
Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/features/kakigori/
Notes: Reservations not required
Hoshino Resorts KAI Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/
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.
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.
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.
Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe / Olu Grill
Grand Opening: July 1, 2020
Address: 560 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture
Access: 60-minutes by car from Naha Airport / 90-minutes by limousine bus from Naha Airport
Hoshino Resorts Banta Cafe
Opening Hours: 10:00 until sunset
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/
*Breakfast service available from mid-July 2020. Serving hours will be 7:00-9:30
Hoshino ResortsOlu Grill
Opening Hours: [Dinner] 17:00-21:00 (Last Orders 20:30)
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/olu-grill/
*Reservations required. Lunch service available from mid-July 2020. Serving hours will be 11:00-15:00.
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.
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.
Sasarikyu Free Opening
Running: June 5, 2020 – October 31, 2020 (Subject to change depending on season and weather)
Address: 1017-11400 Tamakawa Azaharayama, Chino, Nagano (Japanese Address: 場所：笹離宮 長野県茅野市玉川字原山11400番地1017)
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:00)
①15 minutes by car from Suwa-minami Interchange
②30 minutes by car from Suwa Interchange
③20 minutes by car from Chino Station
Official Website: https://tateshina-sasa.com/sasarikyu/
Grapes For Wine Now Being Picked at Shiojiri Station’s Platforms
Shiojiri is a city in central Nagano with a population of 67,000 (as of April 2020). As a tourist destination, it’s a place that goes under the radar, but it’s actually home to the best quality grapes for wine in Japan, and also boasts 17 wineries (as of April 2020).
Shiojiri is a place with many tourist attractions, such as the historical town of Narai-juku whose streets still echo the Edo Period, Kiso-Hirasawa lacquerware, the Hiraide ruins which are one of Japan’s three biggest ruins, Takabotchiyama which has become known for appearing in anime and Japanese drama series in recent years, the local dish “sanzokuyaki” (large fried chicken), and more.
In 1988, the city of Shiojiri began growing grapes at Shiojiri Station to promote the city’s grapes and wine. It has gone on to become famous as the only station in Japan with grape production. They grow Merlot and Niagara grapes.
The station encourages volunteers to help pick the grapes. The first picks of this year’s season began on May 29, and the efforts are being posted about on the city’s official social media accounts and website. The Merlot wine made from the grapes picked in August last year is also ready and will be posted about soon too.
Platforms 3 & 4
Shiojiri Tourism Association Official Website: https://tokimeguri.jp/
HOSHINOYA Guguan Listed in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Hot List
25.May.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Guguan in Taiwan was listed in the 2020 Hot List of Condé Nast Traveler on May 5, 2020.
Condé Nast Traveler is a travel magazine which showcases the latest information for travel, hotels, restaurants, and shopping around the world. HOSHINOYA Guguan was chosen as “The Best New Wellness Resorts in the World” in their 2020 Hot List which featured new hotels that opened in 34 countries and regions worldwide last year.
HOSHINOYA Guguan opened on June 30, 2019 as the first Taiwan-based luxury hot spring resort produced by Hoshino Resorts, which manages 42 branches outside Japan. It is also the second overseas branch of the company’s “HOSHINOYA” brand, whose concept is “taking a break from the modern world.” It’s located on the outskirts of Taichung in Guguan which is home to natural hot springs. There, it co-exists and blends in naturally with the landscape. All guest rooms have open-air baths, so guests can enjoy the warm water together with the breeze in a spacious environment. They also offer various programs for guests to enjoy Guguan’s culture and natural environment.
HOSHINOYA Guguan was also picked as one of Travel + Leisure’s “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” on February 20.
If you’re planning a trip to Taiwan in the future, be sure to check out HOSHINOYA Guguan.
Address: No.16, Wenquan Lane, Section 1, Dongguan Road, Heping District, Taichung City 424, Taiwan
Rooms: 49 (All with open-air baths)
Check In: 15:00 / Check Out 12:00
Price: From NT$18,000 per night (1 room, doesn’t include tax or service charge, meals charged separately)
Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/hoshinoya/guguan.html
Experience Kyoto Culture in Arashiyama With HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s New Hotel Plan
19.May.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Kyoto has introduced a new hotel plan in an attempt to bring a little luxury into people’s lives and lift their spirit during this stressful time. The plan will have people going to Arashiyama to experience a bit of Kyoto culture and hospitality to lift their mood.
You will board a small boat located at the port near the hotel entrance and be taken to your private room. During your sail, you will be able to soak in the gorgeous sights of nature all around. Check-in is being carried out in guest rooms, meaning you won’t have to come into contact with other guests.
You have arrived at your room. HOSHINOYA Kyoto is located in Arashiyama which was formerly a holiday home destination for the Heian aristocrats. There are 25 rooms inside the garden, all of which look out onto the Ōi River. When you slide the window open, you can feel the gentle wind sweep through the valleys. Guest room walls are plastered with beautiful traditional kyokarakami wallpaper and fitted with HOSHINOYA Kyoto-original tatami sofas. Each and every part of the rooms are imbued with Kyoto culture. The rooms are not only comfortable and provide you with everything you need, but also offer a luxurious stay.
Inside your room, there are sutras which can be used for sutra copying, known as sakyou in Japanese, as well as equipment for making matcha to enjoy your own private tea ceremony without having to worry about the tradition’s strict rooms. It’s your very own private Kyoto cultural experience without having to worry about other people.
Dinner can be enjoyed in the main dining hall or in your room. The dining hall is fitted with semi-private booths where you can enjoy a seasonal Arashiyama 9 course kaiseki-ryori dinner with rice, vegetables, a special bento assortment, and more. For breakfast you can enjoy a morning hot pot which uses a special dashi stock packed full of seasonal veggies.
There are also activities to enjoy Kyoto’s breathtaking green outdoors. Mosquito nets made from Japanese red cedar are provided under which you can take part in a stretch routine which uses breathing techniques and meditation.
Outdoor activities are severely restricted right now as a result of COVID-19, but HOSHINOYA Kyoto has made it so you don’t have to do much moving around at all while still enjoying the fruits of nature.
Kyoto Culture in Arashiyama (Japanese Hotel Plan Name: 奥嵐山で京文化に触れる久しぶりの優雅な一日)
From ¥50,100 per night (Includes dinner/2 people 1 room/service charge and tax not included)
From ¥50,100 per night (Includes dinner and breakfast in dining hall/2 people 1 room/service charge and tax not included)
HOSHINOYA Kyoto Introduces New Rainy Season Themed Kaiseki Dinner Course
16.May.2020 | FOOD
HOSHINOYA Kyotoーthe Arashiyama-based hotel where every room offers a river viewーis launching a new kaiseki multi-course dinner this summer which offers the chance to enjoy the early summer breeze together with the spectacular views of the rainy season. Served with nine dishes, the kaiseki meal will be available between June 1 to July 31 this year.
The days of June in Japan are hot that the month itself also goes by the name minazuki which translates to “the month without water.” However, the evenings are enjoyed for their cool and refreshing air, and so June is also known as suzukurezuki, or “the month of cool dusk.” Not only will guests be able to enjoy the refreshing feeling of the season, but their kaiseki meal will be inspired by the sights of the rainy season, as well as the verdant smells of early summer, too, adding an extra level of freshness.
HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s dining concept goes by the name Gomi Jizai, which has people enjoying all five different tastes: sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and bitter. Ichiro Kubota, the Executive Chef at HOSHINOYA Kyoto, has truly honed his cooking abilities over the course of his career. His father was the head chef at one of the most famous restaurants in Kyoto’s Gion district. It was there that Kubota really began to learn his craft, and he went on to work at first-class and Michelin star restaurants in both Japan and abroad. He has set the standard for Japanese cuisine for the next generation.
Suzukurezuki Appetisers: See and taste early summer with a Hassun dish
A hassun is a kind of dish or tray often used in kaiseki course meals to serve numerous different foods. This hassun is inspired by Nagoshi no Harae, an ancient and traditional summer purification ritual that takes place at temples and shrines in Kyoto in June. It includes goma-dofu, a food similar to tofu made with crushed sesame seeds that’s eaten as a confection during Nagoshi no Harae to cool yourself down during the hot month of June.
It also comes with sweetfish dashi and watershield for that added feeling of coolness, as well as hotarukan which looks like fireflies gathered in the bamboo grass, and a texture-laden bamboo shoot and smoked salmon wrap.
Cool Kamo-nasu Eggplant Assortment: Sweet early summer vegetable appetisers
For appetisers, guests can look forward to some refreshing early summer vegetables, including kamo-nasu eggplant that’s been mixed in lots of dashi, fried, and seasoned with eggplant to elevate the sweetness and combined with ice cream. There’s also red sea urchin which is rich in sweetness, ginger foam, and new lotus root for bite. The bowl it’s all served is made by Nobuyoshi Sasaki and features a lace design. The use of glass serves to enhance that level of freshness from the food.
Conger Eel Hanami: Recreating a hydrangea Hanami in a bowl
The bowl includes fatty conger eel which is topped with more conger eel that has been minced as well as arrowroot daffodils to make it look like blossoming hydrangeas. It is said that conger eels that drink the water at the end of the rainy season become more delicious. Gion Matsuri, a festival held in Kyoto in July, is also called Hamo (conger eel) Matsuri. The dish also includes bonito, tuna, and kombu.
Young Fried & Salted Sweetfish: Smell the verdant fragrances with fried food
Sweetfish is a popular ingredients during early summer in Japan, and this one has been salted and fried. Sweetfish (ayu in Japanese) is also known as kougyo in Japan which means “fragrant fish.” It’s known for its fresh smell which is likened to that of greenery. It’s fried on a charcoal fire for some time which makes the head and tail smell incredible.焼
Cherry Mille-Feuille: A dessert gift from the early summertime
The crowning cherry of this dessert is smothered in acacia honey and then roasted, locking in all of that sweetness. The dessert is made with fresh cream, almond biscuit, and custard cream, all of which is layered to create a multi-textured pie. It’s served with a tonka bean ice cream. Tonka beans come from the same rose family as cherries, meaning they work wonders together.
Gomi Jizai Kaiseki
Running: June 1, 2020 – July 31, 2020
Price: ¥20,000 per person (does not include tax or service charge – hotel fee charged separately)
Available: To both guests and non-guests
Travel Virtually to Japan’s City of Komoro in Nagano to See Cherry Blossoms, Soak in the Onsen & More
02.April.2020 | SPOT
Komoro Tourism Bureau has developed the new “Komoro Tourism Channel” using Voicy, a news and media site which reports spoken information online. The channel focuses on the latest information with regards to tourism in Komoro, and focuses on the city’s many different hot springs.
Komoro is a city in Nagano Prefecture. Komoro Castle is home to Kaikoen Park, which was chosen as the 100 best cherry blossom spots in Japan. The city also boasts a wide variety of onsen (hot springs) which offer amazing views and numerous different bathing experiences. Komoro Tourism Channel covers all of this and more.
Komoro is about 2-hours by car via the Nerima Interchange on Kan-etsu Expressway. It’s also accessible from Tokyo via car. You can also reach it in around 24 minutes from Karuizawa Station via Shinano Railway.
Delivering the sounds of the relaxing onsen from Komoro
Komoro has eight water sources which provide water to its hot springs. The city sits 1,400 meters above sea level, from which each of its hot springs offer breathtaking views. The podcast on the hot springs, which is in Japanese, lets you feel like you’re experiencing them from your very own home. More podcasts on Komoro are planned to be released in the future, and QR codes will be implemented are various hotels and tourist facilities in Komoro which when scanned will offer voice guides to those places.
Komoro Tourism Channel: https://voicy.jp/channel/1074
The Komoro Tourism Bureau is coming up with measures to continue promoting the city during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as Komoro Tourism Channel, it is also releasing information on its website, Twitter page, and elsewhere.
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle
Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle is a tourist hot spot in Komoro. The castle itself was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most famous castle sites. It is also famous for the castle itself being situated lower than the town around the castle. Kaikoen Park was selected as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom spots, where around 500 trees bloom Yoshino cherries, shidare-zakura, higan-zakura, and more through April every year. The “Komoro-yae-beni-share” tree is an endemic species of cherry tree to Komoro and has a deep pink colour. The park also has towering stone walls and is home to the the front castle gate.
Komoro Castle Official Website (Japanese): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/castle/
Komoro Castle Official Website (English): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/lg_en/
Feel Like You’re Living On Okinawa’s Taketomi Island With HOSHINOYA’s New ‘Workation’ Hotel Plan
27.March.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island in Okinawa rolled out a new hotel plan on March 18 that’s set to run until June 30 this year.
Taketomi Island can be said to be home to landscape of what Okinawa used to be, with the Ryukyuan red roof tiles of its buildings, stone walls, and alleys spread with coral sand. Someone plucks away at a three-stringed sanshinーthe Okinawan precursor to the mainland shamisenーas time flows with gentle ease on the island. Taketomi Island is rich in traditional culture which can be felt throughout.
The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island emulate the island’s traditional architecture. All guest rooms have south-facing windows that can be opened to let in the southern winds, which the local islanders say are lucky. HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island developed its new workation plan in response to the current situation when more people are having to do remote work and work from home. It enables people a private abode where they can work and relax simultaneously. And all the necessary amenities have been prepared for a workation.
The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island are known as guest pavilions, which allow for you feel like you’re living like a real islander. They are equipped with Wi-Fi, printers, pand photocopiers too, making it the perfect work environment. And you don’t have to worry about hay fever as there are no Japanese cedar or cypress trees around.
The pavilions offer a beautiful view of the bright blue sky and sea. The beaches are also open from March, so you can take a dip in the springtime sea too while basking in the warm climate.
Running: March 18, 2020 – June 30, 2020
Price: From ¥278,460 (Before tax/service charge)
People: Up to 2 people per room
*70% off from the normal price. The above-listed price is calculated for 30 days of stay.
HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island
Address: Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa 907-1101
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/taketomijima/en/
*You must select the meal option if you require food
Witness Mount Fuji and Fully Bloomed Cherry Blossoms at HOSHINOYA Fuji
HOSHINOYA Fuji is offering a very special Hanami flower-viewing experience for guests from April 7 to 21 this year where they can observe the springtime cherry blossoms against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Offers include cherry blossom desserts, a glamping experience inside a cabin eating curry while enjoying the scenery of the outdoors, a private outdoor dining dinner, and more.
HOSHINOYA Fuji hails as Japan’s first luxury camping resort. Located on the hill overlooking Lake Kawaguchi near Mount Fuji. It offers the ultimate glamping experience, with a large outdoor terrace surrounded by nature, cabins that can be enjoyed throughout the year, and more. It’s difficult to go out and enjoy the cherry blossoms on the streets right now, but if you’d still like to enjoy spring safely with your special someone, then HOSHINOYA Fuji has created a special springtime experience.
Sakura Apéro: Witness the cherry blossoms during sunset with desserts in hand
“Sakura Apéro” is a chance to take a breather and enjoy all the beauties nature has to offer. It is held in the cabin area of HOSHINOYA Fuji under the towering cherry blossom trees. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening treat of cherry blossom flavoured bean paste rice cake, a cup of matcha milk or a matcha cocktail, and a front row seat of the cherry blossoms as the sun sets.
Hanami on the terrace
HOSHINOYA Fuji’s cabina area is built in such a way so that guests can enjoy an outdoor experience. One third of the cabin has a terrace area with an enormous window that looks out into the natural landscape. A fireplace and kotatsu is available so you can still enjoy the outdoors even inside while relaxing with a comfortable stay into the late nights. Some of the cabins offer a view of the surrounding cherry blossom trees, inviting spring into your room.
Curry made on one of Mount Fuji’s lava plates
At HOSHINOYA Fuji, guests can enjoy outdoor cooking in luxury be it in one of the cabins or the dining restaurant in the forest. Those who want to relax in a cabin are recommended the “Glamping Curry” at the terrace. You grill beef and vegetables yourself on a Mount Fuji lava plate and can combine five spices of your choice to create your own original flavour. In the outdoor dining area, which is exclusive to groups of guests, game meat is also served, such as boar and deer, as well as seasonal vegetables prepared in a dutch oven. For dessert, there’s cherry blossom flavoured ice cream. You can also make your own strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries over a fire to pour over your ice cream before topping it with matcha crumbles.
Due to the ongoing situation surrounding the coronavirus, all guest rooms and public areas at all HOSHINOYA facilities are being thoroughly cleaned in line with the recommended guidelines to ensure the health and safety of guests and staff. Alcohol gel is available at all HOSHINOYA facilities, and staff’s health and hygiene are being consistently examined.
Address: 1408 Ōishi, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi
Official Website: https://www.hoshinoya.com/
Starbucks to Open New Branch Along Nakamise Street in Nagano Near Zenkoji Temple
20.March.2020 | FOOD
Starbucks Coffee Japan is set to open a new branch in Japan on March 26, 2020. It will open along Nakamise-dori, a street that leads to Nagano’s famous Zenkoji Temple.
It will open as the Kōshin’etsu region’s first Starbucks Regional Landmark Storeーa Starbucks branch unique to Japan that’s built as a symbol of that area which promotes that region’s culture to customers. They enable coffee-loving visitors to discover or rediscover the wonder of a region’s history, culture, craftsmanship, and industry, while building a connection with the region through those discoveries. The branches incorporate various local design elements into them.
The new branch, called Starbucks Coffee Shinshu Zenkoji Nakamise-dori, neighbours the Niou Gate of Zenkoji Temple. It’s a place where you can sit down with a delicious cup of coffee and relax while feeling the history of the place. The coffee shop’s design and decor also takes inspiration from local history and culture, their concept behind “Busy and Quiet, Light and Dark.” It’s situated a little away from the hustle and bustle of Nakamise-dori, and houses two spacious floors.
The sliding doors and skylight let in a soft light which also casts shadows in places, mimicking the beauty of shade found in a Japanese-style house. The ceiling and walls at the entrance are made from Japanese red pine, while the bar uses five different types of wood from Nagano Prefecture like hornbeam and katsura. The stone lanterns which were in the original building have been put at the entrance, and the great beams on the second floor have been left as they are. All of this preserves the feeling of the local region while small Starbucks touches are added here and there, resulting in a unique Starbucks experience.
Starbucks Coffee Shinshu Zenkoji Nakamise-dori
Grand Opening: March 26, 2020
Address: 483 Motoyoshicho, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 7:00-21:00
No Fixed Holidays
Starbucks Japan Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/