Rakuten Travel Reveals the Most Booked Onsen Regions of 2019

14.December.2019 | SPOT

Japan’s largest online travel site Rakuten Travel has announced the 2019 rankings for the most popular onsen spots in Japan. Having calculated the number of people staying at an onsen resort multiplied by the number of days they stayed, the rankings reveal that the winner has been the same for six years in a row now: Atami in Shizuoka.

Atami in Shizuoka has established its reputation as one of the leading locations for onsen in Japan. Its high quantity of hot spring water has earned the area top spot on Rakuten Travel’s rankings for six years in a row now. Along with easy access from Tokyo and its range of leisure facilities, this is a popular location for couples and even families with children.

In second place is Beppu Onsen, Ōita prefecture which has also made it into the rankings for six years in a row. Rakuten Travel’s customisable domestic travel package “Raku-Pack” has proven to be particularly popular among travellers to this region. “Raku-Pack” includes your airline ticket, access to all accommodations offered by Rakuten Travel across Japan, and free usage of rental services. Starting with Ōita prefecture’s first ever ANA InterContinental resort in Beppu (InterContinental – ANA Beppu Resort & Spa), more than 10 travel accommodations have opened this year and next year sees even more resort development.

In third place is Gunma Prefecture’s Kusatsu Onsen which has risen by one place since last year. This year, Sainokawara Open-air Bath (Sainokawara Rotenburo) received high amounts of praise for their mixed bathing day and changed this to be offered on a weekly basis as a result. A variety of events and tourist spots are constantly opening including the steepest zip line in Japan which will open in April.  

 

For more information on places to visit in Japan, please visit Rakuten Travel’s website.

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • This Relaxing Onsen Hotel with Picturesque Nature and Luxurious Local Cuisine is the Perfect Getaway

    17.November.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Japan is full of picturesque locations where you can be at one with nature and soak the tiredness of your body away in the onsen baths. If you are looking for an escape from busy working life, then you’re in luck: Today we’ll be introducing you to a modern onsen hotel which is perfect for families, lovers, and even solo travellers. 

    Escape from Tokyo on the bullet train, ride the Zairai line and finally, catch a bus. After your two-hour journey, you will arrive at onsen hot spot Uonuma city in Niigata Prefecture. Today, we’ll be heading to Tomoya Hotel. The picturesque scenery of paddy fields and mountains will unfold before your very eyes and put your mind at ease.    

    Sunlight pours over the reception desk from the giant window. It was time to check in. After being informed on meal times and private onsen rentals, I quickly headed to my room.

    I was given room 305. The warm wooden structure made the room feel lavishly large. Whether you’re snuggling up with a lover, chilling out with friends or relaxing with family, the atmosphere and size of the room allows for flexible usage.

    The Sanashi river was right outside my window. I could watch the soothing clear water flow out to the horizon for hours. 

    The room was prepared with loungewear, bath towels, toothbrushes, socks and many other amenities. It was even fitted with a fridge and water heater. 

    From the lamps lighting the stairway and hallway sofas to the displayed artwork, every item in Tomoya Hotel is a carefully selected item of special design. 

    There was even a DJ area next to the lobby which contained a surprising stash of records, CDs and DVDs which was uncountably large. Being able to discover new music and films is another admirable feature of the hotel. 

    The front lobby is filled with a fresh and liberating atmosphere. There are plenty of spots to sit and read to yourself as the melodies of records weave through the air.

    The shop sells specially selected products including locally produced juice, snacks and much more. You can even purchase Tomoya Hotel’s original skincare goods. Reading the cheerful and thoughtful comments written on the goods by the manager made it clear that every single item in the shop was chosen with the utmost care. 

    One by one, several lavish courses arrived at my door for dinner that evening. The locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal vegetables were served with Niigata prefecture’s uonuma koshihikari rice, which is famed as Japan’s best rice. 

    Nameko mushroom hotpot, salt-fried East Asian trout, tofu mixed with lotus root, and sashimi were just some of the hotel’s many original dishes that were brought to my door. As the rice was harvested from the first crop of the year, it was very sweet and so delicious that I helped myself to multiple servings without realising. The food was flavoured and seasoned very lightly to ensure that guests could fully enjoy the true flavours of the fresh harvest from the mountains and the sea. The luxurious dinner was highly enjoyable. 

    I enjoyed sipping a small glass of Tomoya’s chilled Reishu sake with my meal. This is an original recipe sake created by Tomoya Hotel and local sake brewery Tamagawa Shuzo. It was so refreshing, easy to drink and perfectly complimented every dish. The hotel provided a rich variety of alcoholic dinks including refreshing beer, carefully-selected wines, rare local sake, homemade fruit liqueurs, and more.

    The onsen is home to rich history dating back to the year 1300 when it first opened its doors to the public. There are two types of private rental onsen and large public onsen indoors. Some square-shaped baths sit right beside a small stream which branches off from the Sanashi river. Treat yourself to a soothing soak in a historical onsen while absorbing the beautiful scenery. 

    After finishing your relaxing soak, head to floor 1 of the main building to spend some time relaxing. This space is for guests to use freely and how they please. There are bookshelves lined with books and games available.

    The first floor of the hotel annexe was my favourite place. Music from a variety of genres is played here. A disco ball hangs high, splashing light across the spacious room. There is a ping-pong table, a pool table, massage chair, piano, an old Nintendo game, manga and much more. It may seem like a relaxing place at first glance, but my heart was racing with excitement as I got hooked on the games.

    The following morning, breakfast was delivered right to my room again. Seeing the tray filled with a luxurious mix of both western and Japanese-style cuisine was very pleasing to see. I indulged in yaki-fu: baked wheat gluten which is a specialty of Niigata, fried fish, rolled Japanese-style omelette, homemade cheesecake and much more. All the meals served at the hotel are made with the utmost care and precision. 

    If I were to introduce all the wonderful services and features of Tomoya hotel then there would be no end to this article. The main highlights were the delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients, the soothing onsen, the music, films and experience of art culture, and of course, the opportunity to get in touch with nature, watching the water trickle down the mountain streams as your mind discovers peace. 

     

    If you are looking to heal your body, mind and soul whilst discovering nature and art, then Tomoya Hotel is perfect for you. 

     

    Writer:Ellie(MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

  • Hotel Royal Classic Osaka: A Museum & Hotel Fusing Tradition and Innovation in an Art Museum-Style Space

    30.November.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Shin Kabuki-za is an old theatre in Osaka that has been loved by locals since it opened in 1926. The theatre is set to find new life as Hotel Royal Classic Osaka, a new hotel developed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma which is set to open on December 1, 2019. The MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON editorial team received exclusive access to view the hotel before it opens to report on it and showcase how it differs completely from other hotels with its characteristic charms.

     

    Its direct connect to Namba Station means super easy access

    Hotel Royal Classic Osaka is situated in the central part of Osaka Minami. Direct access to the hotel from the Osaka Metro section of Namba Station will be made available from March 2020, allowing for easy access and the reassurance that you won’t get lost wandering the streets trying to find your accommodation. Its location means easy access for tourists and travellers with a lot of luggage, working professionals who want to shorten the distance between commutes as much as possible, and pretty much any other scenario where accessibility is a priority.

     

    An iconic building exterior combining tradition and modern innovation

    Shin Kabuki-za is known by the locals who live in the area for its magnificent karahafu roof gables. The hotel will inherit this symbolic part of the theatre’s design and restore the lower part of the building. The upper part makes use of multiple layers of aluminium to create a dynamic and intricate design, resulting in a unique appearance that fuses both the traditional formation of the original theatre with a modern touch. Thanks to Kengo Kuma’s skillful architectural work, the building merges effortlessly with the surrounding buildings while retaining the local culture.

     

    It’s as much of an art museum as a hotel

    Olympic Girl 100m by Ay-O (Takao Iijima)

    The hotel also stands tall and proud as an art museum. As you walk down its corridors, your eyes will meet a plethora of gorgeous pieces of artwork which serve to lay guests into a sense of calmness and tranquility. These works are scattered throughout the hotel, both at the front desk, guest rooms, and elsewhere, making it feel like you have really stepped into a museum of art. High-class pieces also line the walls nonchalantly, so give yourself time to appreciate the many masterpieces you’ll find there.

      

    High ceilings create spaceーspace which is nothing less than relaxing

    There are 150 guest rooms in total, consisting of Standard Rooms, Premium Rooms, and Suite Rooms. Not only does each and every room boast a beautiful and panoramic window view of Osaka’s nightscape, they also enjoy high ceilings, creating a sense of space and freedom.

    Wood is the base of all the rooms, giving them a natural and relaxed feeling. The furniture is simple which gives the rooms a minimalist design, again adding to the space and sense of luxury. We stayed in one of the Standard Rooms. Don’t let going for Standard make you feel inferior, however, as we felt the room was incredibly spacious with plenty of space to store luggage.

    Room lighting is controlled with a tablet located next to the bed. The tablets are compatible in four languages. Each icon on them also has universally easy-to-recognise pictures for easy use.

    Also, the bathtubs in Standard Rooms have a little window that looks into the main bedroom. If you’re with someone you’re on good terms with, whether friends, family or a loved one, you can communicate back and forth while you take a soak. (There is of course a sliding door so you can close it off too!)

    We were also shown around one of the Suite Rooms which are fitted with a living room and spacious washroom. It really is penthouse-level extraordinary.

    The bathrooms have a window that looks out across the city nightscape, allowing for an indulging soak with a breathtaking view. It’s not one we could afford every single time we book a hotel, on a special occasion one time it’s an absolute definite.

     

    Amenities galore to pamper your hair and body

    The rooms come with a long line-up of fantastic amenities, like comfy cotton PJs, fluffy slippers, and our personal favourite: a compressed bag for your clothing. 

    The amenities in the washroom were bountiful too, from shampoo to conditioner, shower gel and body gelーall of which, by the way, are by the Thai organic brand Panpuri. They all smelled incredible and filled the bathroom with their gorgeous scent.

    They have all your ordinary must-haves too like a hair comb, cotton buds, toothbrush, and so on.

     

    KUMO KUMO: The bar and lounge with comfy sofas

    The hotel building has a total of twenty floors. After enjoying our time in the hotel portion, we headed up to the bar and lounge KUMO KUMO on the 20th floor. Inside the elevator, piano music plays while you gaze at the several pieces of art fitted inside. There was even a piece by Yayoi Kusama, so be sure to take a look.

    When entering KUMO KUMO, there’s not only seats at the counter, but lots of sofas too with a window view.

    Jazz music flowed through the bar and lounge, which is best enjoyed with a cup of delicious sake while staring out over nighttime Osaka.

     

    HAFU is a restaurant for guests only that serves breakfast.

    Their menu consists of lots of healthy options, from fruits to salads.

    The chef will also prepare fresh hotel-grade egg and meat dishes too, amongst other delicious delights. There’s also a range of slim-friendly menu items made with foreign guests in mind. The assortment was truly incredible, we can’t recommend this place enough.

    Of course, there’s yogurt, mini sweets and other dessert-like morning treats to indulge in too. It was a breakfast for the gods.

     

    YURAYURA: A restaurant that combines Japanese and Western cuisine

    The team enjoyed lunch at YURAYURA too, a buffet-style restaurant that also seats non-guests. Their menu is an amalgamation of the Japanese and Western palate, serving carefully-selected ingredients from countries around the world.

    They had various foods from around Asia too like nasi goreng from Indonesia, as well as Korean japchae, and more.

    Other things we spotted were pincho and small-cut sweets too.

    For Japanese food there were things like freshly-fried tempura, and large cuts of roast beef which were cut there and then by the chef.

     

    What I was personally happy about was their cafe menu, with things like cafe latte and other hot drinks. It was a satisfying 90-minutes spent, wolfing down food and then enjoying some sweets with a cafe latte.

     

    5 spaces that can be used for weddings, parties & more

    The hotel building even houses two chapels, as well as banquet halls, which can be used for weddings, parties and more. The chapels have large windows that let in plenty of natural sunlight. The use of natural wood also gives the room a warm feeling to it.

    Floor 8’s HANAEMI

    There are five banquet halls in total each on a different floor and each with their own concept. Those on floors 7, 8 and 9 even have terraces for parties too. Whether you’re having a party, a wedding, or a conference, there is a room for you.

    Hotel Royal Classic Osaka’s speciality is its inclusion of leaving a part of traditional Japan in there while still letting you feel the Japan of today. Whether you’re travelling to Osaka for some sightseeing and fun, or you’re in the business scene and need a regular-use hotel, look no further. We felt connected to Osaka in our experience there, so if you’re planning a trip to Osaka, be sure to book with Namba’s newest landmark.

  • Top Six Hotels on Booking.com for Nighttime Sceneries and Light Displays in Japan

    10.December.2019 | SPOT

    The diverse range and large number of accommodations and trip services found on Booking.com is phenomenal. As one of the world’s largest travel accommodation booking websites, this is the first port of call for many who want to guarantee seamless travel plans. Today we’re announcing Booking.com’s top accommodations for heart-warming light up events and nighttime views. For couples looking for a romantic getaway in Japan, let this article be your guide.

     

    Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland (Kobe, Hyogo)

    Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland is a five-star hotel located near Harborland Waterfront which enjoys an extraordinary view of the sea. The rooms are fitted with a spa bath and there is even a rooftop terrace with comfy sofas to relax. All guests are treated to a romantic view right from their window. The hotel is situated just a 20-minute walk from Kobe’s grandest winter illumination event called 2019 Kobe Luminarie. If you want to get up close to magnificent works of art, this hotel is for you.

    Review Rating: 9.5/10.

    Click here to view Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland on Booking.com

     

    Yokohama Royal Park Hotel (Yokohama, Kanagawa)

    Yokohama Royal Park Hotel is situated on floor 52 and upwards in Yokohama Landmark Tower. Being located in the second tallest building in Japan surely has its perks. Soak in the beautiful cityscape and the best view of Yokohama Bay Bridge to your heart’s content. You can only imagine the breathtaking view available in every room. Facilities in the hotel include a fitness centre with an indoor pool, eight diverse restaurants and a massage facility (fee applies). A brand new shopping mall called Yokohama Hammerhead recently opened in close vicinity which is the perfect place to spend the afternoon or have a bite to eat.  

    Review Rating: 9.0/10.

    Click here to view Yokohama Royal Park Hotel on Booking.com

     

    The Prince Park Tower Tokyo, Minato, Tokyo

    With the iconic figure of Tokyo Tower glowing right outside your window, the Prince Park Tower Tokyo stands tall in Shiba Park. Prince Park Tower Tokyo enjoys spacious rooms, entertainment facilities such as bowling and karaoke, and relaxation facilities such as saunas, massage services and much more. Limited facilities include access to the fitness centre, onsen spas, indoor swimming pool and the lounge on floor 33. You can purchase a room with the view of Tokyo Tower on Booking.com 

    Review Rating: 8.9/10 

    Click here to view Prince Park Tower Tokyo on Booking.com 

     

    Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel & Resort (Fukuoka, Nagasaki)

    Located on Mount Inasa, this hotel offers a beautiful view of Nagasaki. There is a wide variety of facilities including an outdoor swimming pool (open depending on the season) and bars. Guests can enjoy the mystical and romantic nighttime scenery from the poolside. The hotel even offers a wedding plan, making it the perfect place for couples. 

    Review Rating: 8.9/10.

    Click here to view Garden Terrace Nagasaki Hotel & Resort on Booking.com

     

    mizuka Nakasu 3mizuka Nakasu 3 -unmanned hotel (Fukuoka)

    This hotel is located in Nakasu, Fukuoka just 500m away from Seiryu Park, the old municipal guest palace Kihinkan Hall and the historic monument Hakata Machiya Kishin Takatoro. Each room has two bunk beds and can fit up to four guests. Enjoy the hotel’s barbeque or takoyaki set with friends or family with the fantastic nighttime view of Fukuoka. 

    Review Rating: 8.8/10

    Click here to view mizuka Nakasu 3 -unmanned hotel on Booking.com

     

    Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel (Naha, Okinawa)

    Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel’s magnificent outdoor pools, onsen, massage services and buffet restaurant that overlooks the picturesque sea at night should be enough to get your attention. You can enjoy a SPA OSa beauty treatment and even water sports or golf in the area. This is a wonderful way to celebrate the first Christmas of the Reiwa Era with your friends or family.

    Review Rating: 8/7/10

    Click here to view Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel on Booking.com

     

    If you’re visiting Japan this Christmas, consider one of these relaxing hotels and their glorious views.

     

    *Review Ratings are based on reviews received in the past two years (from December 2017 to December 2019) on Booking.com and are calculated based on scores given in the following categories: cleanliness, comfort, location, facilities, staff and value for money.

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  • Take a Plunge at Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima Near Haneda Airport

    13.February.2020 | SPOT

    When it comes to recommending things to do when travelling to Japan, one of the biggest attractions for tourists is the country’s “onsen,” or hot springs. If you’re landing into Haneda Airport, or happen to be around that area when exploring Tokyo, then we can’t recommend Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima enough.

    Located inside BIG FUN Heiwajima, this hot spring facility commemorated its 30th anniversary last year, and underwent a revamp before reopening on March 28, 2019. There actually aren’t that many large-scale hot spring spots in Tokyo, so to have one so close to Haneda Airport makes it the perfect location for your sightseeing and must-visit agenda.

     

    Direct shuttle bus from Haneda Airport and equipped with suitcase lockers

    A shuttle bus runs directly from Haneda Airport to Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima which takes just 15-minutes and can be boarded in the early morning and late at night. Additionally, the hot spring facility is also equipped with suitcase lockers if you have heavy luggage with you. It also has a lounge you can relax in, and the entire building has free Wi-Fi. Hotel check-ins are generally from 15:00. If you arrive early in the morning, you can take a dip and relax in a nice warm onsen to unwind before heading to your hotel.

     

    Bus Details: https://www.heiwajima-onsen.jp/en/bus/

     

    You can enter the hot springs with a tattoo seal

    When going to an onsen in Japan, many places forbid entering if you have a tattoo, no matter how small. Some places let you cover them up before entering, and Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima is one of those places. You can purchase a tattoo seal for ¥200 (10cm x 15cm) to cover your tattoo, and then you’re free to enter and enjoy your toasty bathe.

    One of Tokyo’s best natural hot springs

    Heiwajima Hot Springs is one of the largest hot spring facilities in Tokyo, with 150 tons of hot spring water bubbling up from 2000 meters underground every day. The water leaves your skin smooth and moisturised.

     

    Experience the spacious Viewing Spa (6:00 am – 2:30 am the following day)

    The Viewing Spa is open late until 2:30am everyday, where guests can plunge themselves into the thermal water bath or sit in the hot stone bath. We recommend the stone bath for those who aren’t good with super hot saunas as it’s set at a comfortable temperature. There is also a highly-carbonated bath which helps open small blood vessels and promotes good blood flow which helps boost metabolism. Carbonated water is also said to beauty the skin and restore moisture.

     

    Enjoy a variety of baths at the Shining Spa (9:30 am – 6:00 am the following day)

    The Shining Spa is home to a variety of different baths including a hydro-jet Jacuzzi-style, reclining-style, and more. The one I personally enjoyed the most was the Micro Bubble Togoal Bath which wraps your body in delicate bubbles and smooth-like hot water. You feel really refreshed afterwards.

     

    Get comfy in one of the relaxation areas

    Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima offers plenty of relaxation spaces after your bath, including a restaurant, a lounge with a TV and reclining chairs, and more. They even give you a towel blanket in the lounge, so I ended up dozing off. There’s a female-only lounge space too.

     

    This is just a small look at the many services offered at Natural Hot Spring Heiwajima. Visit their website for more information, and be sure to pay it a visit when travelling via Haneda Airport to relax after your long flight.

  • Kissho Caren: Gaze at Shizuoka’s Moonlit Night Sky From Your Hot Spring With New Hotel Plan

    28.January.2020 | SPOT

    Kissho Caren is now offering a new hotel plan for women only which is available until the end of March 2020.

    Kissho Caren is an incredible hideaway resort and inn located alone the quiet shores of Hokkawa Hot Spring in Shizuoka. All rooms offer a breathtaking ocean view, and all rooms, plus the restaurant and infinity pool open-air baths, offer a panoramic spectacle where the sky and sea meld together into one beautiful scene. Guests can also witness the “Moon Road,” a popular power spot of Hokkawa Hot Spring which was chosen as one of Japan’s “100 Moon Views.”

    Kissho Caren boasts two of its own water sources for its flowing water. It houses 18 water spots, including hot springs in seven locations around the inn and its sister facility Tsuruya Kisshotei, as well as rentable baths, foot baths, and the beachside “Kurone Rock Bath.” All of these hot water spots are fully equipped with bath towels, face lotion, and other amenities. The inn’s hospitality is also well-praised, including its salon which offers barely tea, soft drinks, and tokoroten made in the city of Izu. In the evenings, it also offers beer amongst other things.

    After checking in, guests choose a yukata and obi of their liking and enjoy a luxurious and tranquil afternoon tea. The seasonal pancakes are prepared in front of you by the chef and are topped with sweet and refreshing soft serve ice cream and served with beautiful tea. The pancakes are mixed with whey which has a lot of skin benefits, and the teas vary from Izu guricha tea to Izu aloe tea which have anti-ageing benefits and strengthen the immune system. All of this takes place at Aodake which is open 14:00-15:30.

    At the Kissho Spa, one can spy the gorgeous ocean from the window. Guests can enjoy some relaxing thalassotherapy with the warm climate of the beach and seaweed, oils prepared in Izu Ōshima, guricha tea, and other local treatments, all of which are popular.

    The French course dinner comes with a free drink and flambéed dessert. All rooms also come with lots of other hopsitable gifts too, including a free mini bar and snacks, 20% off from the Kisso Spa, and more.

     

    If you’re looking for a place to stay with your girlfriends in Japan, then we recommend putting this place on your list. Don’t miss out on this limited-time, girls-only offer.

  • Izu Shaboten Zoo Opens New Hotel Izushaboten Village

    12.October.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Izu Shaboten Zoo in Ito, Shizuoka has opened its very own hotel Izushaboten Village Petit Hotel which is less than a minutes’ walk from the zoo itself, making it an ideal location for those looking to see the animals so they can take their time at their own leisure.

    The hotel offers various different rooms, from modern and chic to the Izu Shaboten Zoo Room, Pirate Room and more. Each room has its own unique touch you won’t find anywhere else. The hotel also offers an accommodation plan that comes with entry tickets to the zoo.

    For food, guests can enjoy dining at La Chic, a new restaurant that opened in spring this year that makes use of homegrown vegetables and produce sourced from contracted farmers. Food is served in a semi-buffet style in mornings and evenings so you can make up your own dish. Non-guests can eat here too if they make a reservation*.

    *Reservations for non-guests are dependent on free tables and other conditions. The menu style and ingredients and subject to change without notice.

    If you’re looking to visit Izu Shaboten Zoo, consider booking a room at their official hotel.

  • Indulge in the Best of Japan’s Nature this Autumn at Hoshino Resorts

    03.October.2019 | SPOT

    KAI is a hot spring ryokan brand of Hoshino Resorts which provides the perfect Japanese accommodation experience to enhance your stay. This autumn, KAI is providing guests with an enhanced seasonal experience to fully embrace the beautiful golden and amber autumn atmosphere. Spend some time soaking in the hot springs, taste the finest ingredients of the autumn season and even explore the unique features of the area through art. Hoshino Resorts is offering you a completely unique trip this autumn.

     

    KAI Autumn Plans are being implemented at the following resorts: KAI Hakone, KAI Sengokuhara, KAI Aso, Kai Alps, KAI Kinugawa River, KAI Tsugaru and KAI Kawaji.

     

    Hoshino KAI Japanese Autumn Onsen Ryokan Plans 2019

    Hoshino Resorts released a video to show how their different accommodation features allow for guests to maximise their Japanese autumn experience. Today, we will be introducing just one autumn activity that you can experience at each of the resorts.

     

    Autumn Leaf Illumination at KAI Hakone Miyanoshita, Kanagawa

    Estimated best time to visit: Late November to early December

     

    From September 6 to December 7, 2019, there will be a beautiful autumn leaf illumination display taking place around the open air baths, which is the perfect opportunity to relax under the auburn atmosphere of autumn. The autumn leaves fall at different times all over the Hakone region due to the mountainous and hilly terrain. This prolonged autumn season provides plenty of opportunities to watch the beautiful illumination display as you enjoy a moment of serenity, soaking in the soothing springs surrounded by the stunning scenery. 

     

    Illumination Times: 16:00 – 01:00

     

    Paint the Picturesque Autumntime at KAI Sengokuhara, Kanagawa

    Estimated best time to visit: Mid November- End November

     

    Enjoying a relaxing soak at KAI Sengokuhara Hot Springs is the perfect way to appreciate the picturesque view of any season. On September 1, 2019, they introduced the perfect accommodation plan to fully relax their guests. 

    The guest rooms are equipped with traveller’s art supplies. From the gorgeous terrace view to the outdoor hot spring view, guests are provided with the opportunity to capture the beauty of the surrounding nature in their own way wherever they feel like it. The autumn view outside every single guest room is breathtaking ― the perfect opportunity for the guests to refresh and relax their minds with a beautiful painting. 

     

    Autumn Leaf Artwork

    Available to customers who check in between September 1, 2019 – November 30, 2019 

    Price: From ¥43,400 

    *Price based on the price per guest per night for a two-person room. Tax and service charge not included. 

    Includes: Room fee, dinner, breakfast, rental art set and art museum tickets

    Reservations: https://kai-ryokan.jp/sengokuhara/

     

    Your Own Private Outdoor Natural View at Okomori Koyo Onsen KAI Aso (Senomoto Hot Springs, Oita Prefecture)

    Estimated best time to visit: Mid October – early November 

     

    KAI Aso is located in Kuju National Park. Each guest room is surrounded by a lush forest, creating the perfect opportunity to soak in the hot springs and take in the beautiful view of the autumn leaves with lots of privacy. 

     

    In the outdoor hot spring, guests can enjoy the beautiful faint yellow Mongolian oak and the natural red leaves. Guests can also get a Japanese citrus bathing set which is scented using a range of Japanese citrus fruits to further enhance your natural autumn colour experience. The guest rooms are equipped with coffee sets which you can enjoy whilst bathing. 

    Available to customers who check in between October 1 and 31.

     

    Price: From ¥46,480

    *Based on the price per person per night in a 2-person room. Tax and service charge not included. 

    Includes: Room fee, dinner, breakfast, bathing set (1 set per room), coffee beans, Aso spring water pet bottle and a range of hot spring rental items: (Pillow for hot spring use, waterproof book cover, coffee mill and coffee dripper)

    KAI Reservations Telephone Number: 0570-073-011

     

     

    Please check KAI’s official website to find out more about the wide range of autumn plans on offer.

  • Miyako Hotel Hakata Opens With Instagram-Worthy Pool, Michelin-Led Restaurant Menu & More

    24.September.2019 | SPOT

    Miyako Hotel Hakata will have its grand opening on September 22, 2019. To help spread word of the luxurious secrets behind its doors, an official report was released detailing everything there is for guests to look forward to.

     

    Its metropolitan exterior is inspired by the spectacular natural landscapes of Kyushu

    Miyako Hotel Hakata can be found by taking the Tsukushi Exit of Hakata Station where it stands directly in front, towering above the surrounding buildings. The basement floor of the hotel is directly connected to the station for ease of access. This floor is also home to a convenience store, restaurants and more and can be used by non-guests too.

    The building is a gorgeous eye-catching glass cube which offers an abundance of natural light during the day. At night, the hotel exterior is illuminated with 168 LED lights, giving it an metropolitan appearance. The building rooftop has a running ‘waterfall’ which is inspired by the majestic rural environments of Kyushu. Its iconic design makes it instantly-recognisable, with hopes in mind that this will make it a new landmark of Hakata.

    The lobby houses a gorgeous cafe lounge serving food and drink

    Up on the 3rd floor is the clean, bright and spacious front lobby where staff are waiting to greet guests warmly. In addition to the reception desk, there is CAFÉ EMPATHY, a cafe and lounge which can be used by both guests and non-guests. The cafe is produced by Transit General Offiice which is known for having produced the The Rail Kitchen Chikugo―a restaurant train―amongst a host of shared offices, hotels and more.

    The spectacular menu line-up includes an array of delicious drinks from herbal teas to flavoured lattes, as well as an assortment of light meals made using ingredients from around Kyushu. They also serve an original afternoon tea that’s served from 14:30. Everything on the menu is nothing short of Instagrammable and perfect for those who love to wine and dine on drinks and food that is both cute and fancy.

     

    The colourful flavoured lattes come in four flavours and can also be ordered for takeout. One of them is the Beets Latte which is a pink colour which comes from the beetroot used to make it. It has a subtle sweetness and smooth flavour.

     

    The stocked teas include those made by Paris-based tea company KUSMI TEA, such as the Anastasia which is a mix of standard black tea and citrus, as well as an array of decaffeinated fruit teas.

    Spend your time in luxury in your room

    Floors 5 through 12 are all lined with guest rooms. There are four types of rooms, all large, including Twin and Double. Each and every room has been given the same level of care and attention to create the most comfortable experience for guests.

    The Deluxe room is the perfect package if you’re looking to indulge in a little extravagance, whether as a treat to yourself or together with that special someone. The room design is stylish and simple, allowing for optimal relaxation. The bed is roomy and is ideal for watching the television or chatting.

     

    All guest rooms are also equipped with tablets from which you can control the air con, lights and so on. The TV can even tell you whether the restaurant is full or not which is a super convenient feature.

    A restaurant and bar menu created by a Michelin-starred chef & dreamy terrace pool

    On floor 13―the top floor―you will find Miyako Hotel Hakata’s must-see feature: the SOMEWHERE RESTAURANT & BAR. This all-dining restaurant’s concept is “A Beautiful Place Somewhere.” Its dinner menu was conceived by Michihoro Haruta, the chef at Crony, a Michelin 1-starred restaurant in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. The innovative menu is made with local ingredients from Fukuoka and across Kyushu. The wine menu was created by Kazutaka Ozawa, a sommelier at Crony. The restaurant enjoys a laid-back atmosphere that isn’t overly formal or strict, with a glass exterior including the roof, allowing diners to enjoy the romantic evening atmosphere.

     

    Breakfast is served to both guests and non-guests and is served as a western-style buffet packed full of assorted foods such as freshly-baked bread, omelette, Eggs Benedict, and more. They serve an original Japanese-style breakfast too for those who fancy Japanese food. The tall windows allow natural light to pour into the restaurant.

    Right next to the restaurant is the hotel’s very own spa, offering a natural hot spring pool, jet bath, footbath and more. As part of the hotel’s grand opening, the spa is free for all guest until March 31, 2020. The hotel offers rental swimsuits too so you can freely and easily enjoy a nighttime dip. And when night truly sets in, you can gaze an unbroken view of Hakata from the roof, and the ‘waterfall’ next to the pool will also be lit up.

     

    There’s even a special poolside menu so you can order cocktails and light food from the terrace. With everything illuminate in beautiful lighting, your cocktail in hand, you can certainly snap some Instagram-worthy shots. And if you’re looking for a warm bath, there is a large public bath and even a sauna indoors.

  • Kusatsu Onsen’s Emerald Green Pudding is a Must-Try After a Dip in the Hot Springs

    11.September.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Kusatsu Onsen is a hot spring resort in Gunma Prefecture that is one of Japan’s three principle hot spring locations. The site opened its new Japanese custard dessert (known as ‘purin’) shop, Kusatsu Onsen Pudding, on August 24, which serves the most incredibly smooth purin you have ever tried, each inspired by the hot springs.

     

    Once you’ve stepped out of the nice warm hot springs of Kusatsu Onsen you can refresh yourself with a delicious purin packed full of love from the shop which has created a flavour you can only try by travelling to Gunma and going there. Each and every dessert is made fresh in the shop to further elevate its exclusivity as a local speciality.

     

    Kusatsu Onsen Pudding also makes sure to use local and regional ingredients where it can to help support manufacturers and producers. Their purin is also made with a special type of milk sourced from in Gunma known as Haruna milk. The milk is made as delicious as can be by ensuring cows are raised on a healthy natural diet of grass on green pastures in Gunma bathed in plenty of sunlight.

    Yuhata Purin

    The Yuhata purin is inspired by the hot spring areas where mineral deposits are harvested, its jelly taking on a gorgeous emerald green colour. It’s lemon and lime flavoured, the perfect flavour to enjoy when stepping out of the hot water, and one which goes surprisingly well with purin.

    Yumomi Purin

    The staple purin of the store, this purin is based on yumomi, a method used for cooling the hot water with paddles from which cold water gushes forth. This velvety delight is made with lots of fresh cream and high-quality vanilla beans from Madagascar for added punch.

    Furomage

    A pun on the word fromage, with furo in Japanese meaning “bath,” the Furomage purin uses a rich cream cheese base which has a seriously smooth texture. It’s topped off with strawberry jelly for the perfect combination, packing a perfect balance between sweet and sour.

    Yuhata Soft (Milk/Yuhata/Mixed)

    Choose from the Yuhata soft serve ice cream which is ramune flavoured and inspired by the flowing water of the hot springs or the Haruna milk-mixed vanilla flavoured Milk soft serve. If you can’t pick, then choose mixed for a bit of both. A satisfyingly refreshing pick for when you’re done in the hot springs.

    The shop has plans to sell purin made using bamboo steamers in the near future, so you’re pudding can be steamed like yourself after a dip in the water! The wooden spoons used to eat the desserts are also made in the image of the paddles used in yumomi too.

  • Mitama Hot Spring in Yamanashi Ranks in Japan’s Top 100 Night Views & Registers as Night View Heritage

    07.September.2019 | SPOT

    Located in the beautiful little town of Ichikawamisato in Yamanashi Prefecture is Mitama Hot Spring, a “day-trip” type hot spring, which has just received a double award: it has been listed as one of Japan’s Top 100 night views for the first time, and as a Night View Heritage of Japan.

    Mitama Hot Spring is built on the southern tip of the Kōfu Basin―Kōfu being Yamanashi’s capital city-which can be viewed in a breathtaking 180 degree panoramic view from the northern side of the open-air baths. The majority of the hot spring also faces the south which means a breathtaking nighttime view of the city, picturesque against a resplendent sky, as you soak in the warm embrace of the hot spring.

    During the day, one’s eyes can roll their gaze across the Yatsugatake Mountains at the front, and in the direction of west is Mount Kita, the second tallest mountain in Japan after Mount Fuji.

    Mitama Hot Spring should absolutely be on your bucket list of things to do when visiting Yamanashi Prefecture.

  • Goldfish Art Exhibition Begins at Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari in Tokyo Odaiba

    26.June.2019 | SPOT

    Onsen theme park Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba, Tokyo launched its biggest event of the year Kingyo Matsuri Art Exhibition on June 24. The festival feature a range of exciting exhibits including Japan’s biggest terrarium developed by aquarium creator Masanori Miyazawa.

     

    Aquarium ①: Japan’s biggest Japanese-style Terrarium

    A terrarium is a sealable glass container inside which soil is placed to grow plants. Aquarium creator Masanori Miyazawa, who goes by the artist name GA☆KYO, has built Japan’s biggest Japanese-style terrarium which represents the change from the old generation into the new. Standing at 5-meters tall and stretching 1.5-meters wide, the terrarium makes use of bonsai, moss and driftwood.

     

    Aquarium ②: Yukata x Aquarium x Photo Spot

    Inspired by the ladies of Edo Castle, beautiful cylindrical fish tanks with kimonos wrapped around them act as a great photo opportunity together with the goldfishes.

     

    Aquarium ③: Meet the 1 Million Yen Ryukin Goldfish

    This innovative art installation pairs the Ryukin, a type of Japanese goldfish that has been sold in long-standing fish shops for more than 200 years, with onigawara decorative tiles that have been used to ward off spirits since ancient times, bonsai and more. Also in the exhibit is the “Pre-Edo Goldfish Tearoom” and “Large Round Fish Tanks.”

     

    Summer Festival Drinks & Desserts

    From Left: Blue Goldfish Shaved Ice: ¥550 @ Kuranoe / Goldfish Blue Hawaii Soda: ¥580 @ Yumeakari / Blue Mojito: ¥850 @ Ooedo Cafe

    Feel the festive spirit with these summery drinks and desserts.

     

    Goldfish Goodies

    The souvenir store Ryokokuya is selling a range of goldfish themed merchandise perfect as gifts and souvenirs or for taking on summer trips with you.

  • Enjoy a mystical night of relaxing fireflies and festival fun only this June at Higashi-Izu!

    26.May.2019 | SPOT

    Higashi-Izu Machi Kanko Kyokai tourism association is holding their 17th evening firefly-watching event to be held in a local hot spring village of Higashi-Izu. The Higashi-Izu Machi Onsenkyo Hotaru Kansho no Sakuya” will be held from Sunday 2nd to Tuesday 11th June. Free yourself from everyday life and watch the night light up as a mystical scenery filled with fireflies descends upon you. This experience will take your body and mind to a whole new world!

     

    The event will be held at the natural Okawa Takegasa Koen; a park which is listed to have one of Shizuoka’s 100 top waterfronts. You can feel the seasons changing here, and during June, you can see a clear stream of fireflies dancing. The warm colours of their glow will put you at ease for hours.  

    Numerous other events will take place alongside the firefly-watching event, such as the “Chochin walk” where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll at night with a warmly lit paper lantern. You can also stop by the “firefly town” (Hotaru-shi) where you can browse lots of local goods during the night market, or take part in the “otanoshimi chusen kai” lucky lottery where many prizes can be won. Shizuoka DC has also planned a special prize-giving program, where visitors who arrive at the park in a Yutaka (summer kimono) on a weekday of the event will be given a small gift!

    Enjoy a mystical and extraordinary night of nature at Higashi-Izu. This is your chance to relax under the light of fireflies and explore the numerous shops at the firefly town!

  • Chilled Blue Chocolate Released by Shizuoka Matcha Sweet Makers Nanaya

    12.May.2019 | FOOD

    Nanaya, a producer of confections made using matcha from Shizuoka, is releasing a new line of blue chocolates. They will began rolling out at the Fujieda, Shizuoka, Aoyama and Kyoto Sanjo branches on May 9.

     

    Blue chocolate is not something you see everyday. Nanaya make this melt-in-the-mouth chocolate by using the same original methods they developed to make white chocolate. It is more reminiscent of hard candy than the smooth velvety chocolate served in summer. It has a gentle sweetness brought about by the light brown sugar which is delicious until the last bite. It’s also seasoned with salt and pepper for accent and deeper flavours. The chocolate also uses butterfly pea which is popular in herbal teas in Thailand.

    To further bring out the unique qualities of the herb tea, natural salt and three types of pepper are used: red, white and black. This adds a spicy kick to the sweetness of the chocolate. The chocolate is to be kept cool in the refrigerator and best enjoyed after leaving to come to room temperature before eating.

    Try this exotic blue chocolate yourself this spring.

  • New Sento Bath House RAKU SPA 1010 Opens in Kanda

    04.March.2019 | SPOT

    RAKU SPA 1010 is a new spa located in Kanda, Tokyo that had its grand opening on March 1, 2019. With its concept of “an oasis in the city,” the bath house perfectly balances relaxation, work and social interaction.

    Reisei Otsumami (Cold Light Meals): ¥480 (Before Tax)

    The facility also serves light food and refreshments. And as part of the grand opening, the first 5,000 people to use the bath house will receive an original RAKU SPA 1010 towel with the facility’s logo on it.

    There are 3 different spa plans on offer at RAKU SPA. This includes a 10-hour option which allows full use of the facility, a 3-hour option for use of the bath house, and a sauna option. Each plan offers long stay periods which can be utilised in many ways whether to simply use the sento or sauna or to make use of the co-working space, eat at the pub and diner, and so on.

     

    Enjoy a long and luxurious sojourn at RAKU SPA 1010.

  • Hot Spring Theme Park Solaniwa Onsen Osaka Bay Tower to Open in 2019

    25.December.2018 | SPOT

    The Kansai region’s biggest hot spring style theme park Solaniwa Onsen, spanning 16,500m², is set open on floors 2 to 5 at Osaka Bay Tower North on February 26, 2019.

     

    Osaka Resort City 200 (ORC 200) changed its name to Osaka Bay Tower on March 27, 2018. Following that, Hotel Osaka Bay Tower―which welcomes all guests from business people to families―underwent a re-branding and re-opened on March 29. The tower is now set to expand its facilities even further with the grand opening of Solaniwa Onsen.

     

    The hot spring theme park is themed on “Beauty, Healing, Taste.” It will be decked out with natural hot springs, stone saunas, relaxation facilities, restaurants, stores and more. Based on the concept of the Azuchi–Momoyama period of Japanese history, the park fuses traditional Japan with the modern to offer a unique and exceptional experience.

     

    The area in which the park is being set up is where an already hugely popular theme park is based. A world fair is set to take place there in 2025 which will bring more international attention to the Osaka Bay area.

    There will be many types of bathing experiences on offer at Solaniwa Onsen such as a natural hot spring with low alkalinity for beautiful skin, an open-air bath with the water source running into it, a bath that overlooks an immense Japanese-style garden, a bath with carbonic acid water, another that changes daily, and more. There are also baths that can be booked for 2-5 people for a more private bathe.

     

    The female locker room at the park is home to Japan’s biggest powder room which spans close to 100m². There they have a range of beauty equipment, cosmetic rental services and more. The menu includes a combination of traditional food crafted by Tsubouchi Sekisai―who is said to have been a chef to Oda Nobunaga―and modern cuisine.

     

    Step back into the Azuchi–Momoyama period at Solaniwa Onsen.

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