Hida Takayama Travel Guide – Shirakawago, Beautiful Views, Onsen, And More!

09.February.2017 | SPOT

Gifu prefecture, located in the Chubu region of Japan, is known for its rich nature and history. The Hida region in northern Gifu is surrounded by the Hida mountain range (also known as the Northern Japanese Alps) and is a popular tourist spot for its beautiful, yet rough scenery.

Takayama city in Gifu prefecture’s Hida region is frequently known as Hida Takayama. Only two and a half hours away from Nagoya, it is a great spot for those who wish to go off the beaten path. Here, you will be able to see historic towns, wonderful natural scenery, hot springs, and the World Heritage site Shirakawago. This area is rightly one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations.

In the heart of Takayama city, you will be able to see well-preserved castle towns and businesses from the Edo period; the historic town is also referred to as Hida’s Little Kyoto. Recently, it has been widely recognized as ”a town with nostalgic Japanese scenery” and many tourists visit from all over. Why not enjoy venturing through Takayama using this guide as a reference!

 

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    Royal Palace on the Hill


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  • Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences

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    “Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll

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    Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing

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    Sky Bus

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    Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.

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  • Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More

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    Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).

     

    From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.

     

    Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts

    Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.

    In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.

     

    Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020

    Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/

     

     

    Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”

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    Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!

     

    Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/

     

     

    Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow

    Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.

    The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.

     

    Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)

    Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020

    Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
    Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html

     

     

    Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate

    Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.

     

    The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.

    The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.

     

    Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto

    Official Website: https://shourotei.com/

     

     

    These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.

  • 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.

  • TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22

    17.November.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).

    The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.

     

    The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.

    *Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).

    Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.

     

    Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!

    Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480

    A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.

    Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280

    A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.

    Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680

    You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.

    Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO

    The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.

     

    59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
    Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)

     

    Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.

  • Instagram Launches #MY TOKYO IS Campaign With Tokyo Metropolitan Government

    12.November.2019 | SPOT

    Instagram launched a campaign with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government entitled “#MY TOKYO IS” on November 11 together with three limited-time stamps that can be used on people’s Instagram stories.

    The campaign is a global initiative to have people capture their favourite moments in Tokyo in the form of photos, videos and stories on Instagram. Shared posts will be used to curate places and scenery in Tokyo that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government want to showcase to the people of the world. This curation will take the form of an exhibitionーwhich will take place at GINZA ATRIUM on floor 6F of GINZA SIX and GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS in late March 2020ーas well as a website and a book.

     

    Statistics have shown that Instagram has a significant influence on the Japanese economy in terms of tourism, and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Government hopes that this interactive campaign will help to promote the city to tourists and travellers worldwide.

    The stamps created as part of the campaign only appear in the tray when you’re in the city of Tokyo. When you click the stamp, the #MYTOKYOIS search result page will be displayed, allowing you to see the other photos and videos posted by the people who have used the campaign hashtag.

    If you’re in Tokyo, then be sure to get involved in the campaign and show the world your favourite things about the city!

  • Krispy Kreme Releases Winter-Limited Doughnuts in Nagoya

    07.November.2019 | FOOD

    Krispy Kreme Japan released two new doughnuts for a limited period only starting from November 1, 2019. The two new doughnuts are part of the Krispy Kreme Premium series and are only available to purchase from the JR Nagoya Takashiyama branch. The two new flavours are the Holiday Gorilla and Brûlée Glazed Fruity Sangria.

     

    The Krispy Kreme Premium series is only available at the Nagoya Takashiyama branch. These doughnuts have a cake-like texture and are filled with a luxurious serving of whipped cream. Each doughnut is carefully made with the utmost care and decorated in the shop. These are sold fresh every day and enjoyed by customers as they are made. 

    The Krispy Kreme Premium Holiday Gorilla consists of a yellow purin-flavoured chocolate wreath. A ferocious bear made of fluffy whipped chocolate can be seen peeking through the doughnut hole. After a sprinkling of sparkling silver balls and a strawberry chocolate ribbon, the doughnut is complete. The gorilla’s face is made of caramel chocolate and bitter chocolate. The ears are made of chocolate coffee beans and the doughnut hole is filled with marshmallow cream. The fusion of chocolate and marshmallows makes for the perfect winter treat. 

    The Krispy Kreme Premium Brûlée Glazed Fruity Sangria is an enhanced version of KKDJ’s most popular doughnut series: the Original Glazed®. The surface of the doughnut is covered in a crunchy brûlée layer which is full of flavour. Red wine paste is combined with a sweet and tangy marmalade to make the luxurious filling for the doughnut, creating the flavour of sangria which is perfect for adults. 

     

    Don’t miss the opportunity to grab a delicious winter doughnut from Krispy Kreme!

  • Starbucks to Release Two Anniversary Drinks in Kyoto and Hyogo for Only 10 Days

    06.November.2019 | FOOD

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is commemorating 20-years since opening their Kyoto and Hyogo Prefecture branches with a 10-day-limited anniversary project which will run from November 12 to November 21. The barristers of both prefectures rose to the challenge to come up with three anniversary drinks and a vote took place to decide on a winning drink for each prefecture. The winners were announced as the Kyoto Erai Matcha Matcha Frappuccino® and the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino®.  

    *  Update: Starbucks Coffee Japan has just announced that the 20-year commemoration drink sales period has been postponed. The new drink launch date and limited period is yet to be announced. For more information, please follow this link (Japanese only) : https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3224.php 

    One sip of the Kyoto anniversary drink will send your taste buds on a journey to Kyoto. The ideas for the drink originated from the Kyoto Porta West branch. The barristers of Kyoto took it in their hands to interpret the culture of Kyoto in the form of a Starbucks drink by infusing the essence of Kyoto’s historical temples and elegant flavours. The taste of Starbucks’ popular Matcha Cream Frappuccino® can be tasted in the drink. Just seeing the green colour is enough to trigger memories of the Zen Buddhist temple Saiho-ji, which is famous for its moss garden to the extent that it is even called “Koke-dera”, meaning “moss temple”.

     

    The whipped cream creates a contrast with the green matcha which will definitely spark memories of Ryoan-ji Zen temple in some keen Kyoto travellers. The drink is dusted with matcha and dark mocha powder, creating the image of green and brown leaves. The milk base fully enhances the matcha flavour. A creamy cloud of whipped cream and dusting of bitter matcha are layered to create a wonderful flavour adventure which is bound to take your taste buds on a journey off the beaten track.

    Stretching from the north to the south of the Japan, Hyogo Prefecture is the largest prefecture in the Kinki region and is home to many towns which are bursting with originality. Hyogo’s barristers created their drink based on the concept of increasing love for Hyogo Prefecture’s unique towns. The idea for the Hyogo Bari Choco Haittou Frappuccino® came from the barristers of the Himeji Minami branch. 

     

    The Port of Kobe opened in 1868 and has since flourished as the gateway to the world. Foreign culture including western confectionary has since spread across Japan with Kobe as its starting point. Considering Kobe’s history with western culture and the cold winter days that lie ahead, chocolate was chosen as the main flavour. Chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and chocolate whipped cream decorate the drink in diversity. The drink is even topped with chocolate sauce and dark mocha powder, making the perfect luxury Frappuccino® to tempt all chocoholics. After just one sip, you will immediately fall in love with the top-class chocolatey flavour. 

     

    If you’re in Kyoto or Hyogo, make sure to stop by a Starbucks to get your fill of cultural flavours.

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