Tour Tokyo, Pick Strawberries and Enjoy Afternoon Tea On The ichigosan bus
04.January.2020 | FOOD
From their popular AWAPA Foam Party event where you can dance in a club filled with foam to their BATHTUB CINEMA event where you can watch a movie with your friends in a bathtub, Afro&Co. never fails to bring us new and creative ways to have fun. They are now collaborating with Saga prefecture to run the ‘ichigosan bus’: a sightseeing bus which will introduce you to wonderful spots in Tokyo with an unexpected strawberry twist to celebrate the first anniversary of Saga prefecture’s strawberry farm ‘ichigosan’. Enjoy strawberry picking inside the bus and then tuck into a strawberry-tastic afternoon tea set and much more. The bus will be running for a five day period from January 1 to 19, 2020.
ichigosan Afternoon Tea
ichigosan Panna Cotta
The ichigosan bus commemorates one-year since Saga Prefecture launched their new brand of delicious succulent strawberries called ‘ichigosan’. The collaboration hopes to spread the delicious flavour of ichigosan strawberries to as many people as possible with the five-day-limited strawberry-tastic bus tour. Hop on the red double-decker bus, which looks just like a London tour bus, to enjoy strawberry picking on floor one and an original strawberry afternoon tea set prepared by a chef from Royal Garden Cafe Aoyama on floor two.
This three-experience-in-one tour bus introduces you to the newest famous spots in the city, offers you a fun strawberry picking experience and even comes with a delicious strawberry afternoon tea set. You can book tickets in advance online and there are two kinds of tickets available for on-the-day purchases. As this is the best season to enjoy ichigosan strawberries in Japan, make the most of it on this tour and you will be berry pleased.
Running: January 15 – 19, 2020
Operating Times: 11:00 – 18:30
Arrival and Departure Point: Royal Garden Cafe Aoyama
(2 Chome-1-19 Kitaaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo)
Bus Tour Time: 55 Minutes
5 Tours per Day
Price: Tickets are sold in pairs, ¥3,800 Per Person
Tickets: Reserve online or purchase on the day. There are two kinds of same-day tickets. (Subject to change)
Official Website: https://www.saga-ichigosan.jp/ichigosanbus2020/
teamLab’s ‘A Forest Where Gods Live’ Exhibition Returns to Mifuneyama Rakuen Park in Saga for Eighth Year
From July 15 until November 6, the popular teamLab exhibition A Forest Where Gods Live will be returning to Mifuneyama Rakuen Park in Saga Prefecture! This year, a new work titled Ephemeral Solidified Light will be on display, with rainbow-colored lights swirling and shining across the gorgeous landscape. The exhibition is being sponsored by Volvo.
Ephemeral Solidified Light makes it seem like the lights themselves have come to life. Visitors will be tempted to reach out and touch them, but they’ll only find normal water against their fingertips.
teamLab <Ephemeral Solidified Light> ©teamLab
The exhibition will be held for the eighth year at Mifuneyama Rakuen Park, which opened in 1845 and spans an enormous 500,000 square meters. teamLab hopes to use digital technology to transform the natural environment into something new and unique. The company uses the rocks, caves, and forests to encourage contemplation of the meaning of life through their digital art which is non-material and does not harm nature in any way.
The massive event is held each summer and fall and was named CNN World’s ‘Best Outdoor Art Exhibition to Visit’ in 2021.
teamLab <Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats> ©teamLab
Mifuneyama Rakuen Park is also home to Mifuneyama Rakuen Park Hotel which has won awards for its beautiful sauna facilities. How would you like to visit this unique event?
Private Jet Package Now Available in Toyama Offering Spectacular View of Tateyama Mountains
22.June.2022 | SPOT
Mizu to Takumi, a company associated with the Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association, has teamed up with SKYTREK to offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the area via private jet. Reservations for the incredible experience began on June 17, 2022.
Offering an entirely new tourism experience in Toyama Prefecture, visitors can see the area’s natural wonders from miles above the Earth. The program also aims to share local culture and more about traditional craftsmanship and cuisine.
Toyama Prefecture boasts dramatic topography, from the massive peaks of the Northern Alps and the Tateyama Mountains to the deep waters of Toyama Bay. To better allow visitors to see the sights, these private jet tours will be chartered on special courses different from standard airlines.
After the flights, guests will be welcomed to explore Takaoka’s deep history and culture. Kane no Sanzun, a restored and preserved inn, will welcome visitors, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating time.
Visitors can also book optional excursions to further explore the area, such as a Zen meditation experience at a famous temple in Takaoka, a traditional crafting workshop, and a tour and tasting of the only whiskey distillery in the Hokuriku region.
Come enjoy a trip to Toyama with a whole new perspective!
Travel to Toyama by Private Jet
Available: June 17 – October 26, 2022
Travel Period: June 22 – October 31, 2022
Airbnb Reveals Top 10 Most Popular Summer Destinations in Japan
08.June.2022 | SPOT
Airbnb boasts one of the largest travel communities in the world, filled with users offering up lodging and those eager to visit somewhere new. The Japanese subsidiary of the company has revealed the top spots added to Japanese users ‘Favorites (Wish Lists)’ from May 1 to May 17, 2022. Where will travelers in the country be headed this summer?
Golden Week is long gone and users are starting to think about where to visit during the hottest part of the year. This national ‘Wish List’ might make it easier to pick a spot, with many locations highlighting lesser-known areas!
Gujo Hachiman Villa, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Gifu)
This completely private rental villa was made for sauna enthusiasts. One lucky pair per day can book this suite along the Yoshida River flowing through Gujo Hachiman, known as the “City of Water and Dance.” Currently booked through the end of August, reservations for September and beyond will be available in early June. Book a stay to enjoy the gorgeous autumn foliage!
A House Surrounded by Lush Greenery in the Countryside (Tottori)
Hosted by a family of musicians and architects, this guesthouse invites guests to enjoy gorgeous Nordic-inspired interiors and the serene quiet of the countryside. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect spot.
Hoshina Satomachi, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Nagano)
There’s nothing like spending the summer in a traditional Japanese home. Enjoy a barbeque on the terrace and relax on the massive lawn. This is the perfect spot for families with children or pets!
Coastal Cabin (Chiba)
You can’t have summer without a pool. This luxurious coastal retreat boasts a 15-meter pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, bonfire space, and a barbeque. Relax by the pool while listening to your favorite songs or soak in the outdoor bath as you watch the waves crash along the shore.
An Elegant and Peaceful Log Cabin (Nagano)
Located at 1,300 meters above sea level on the Iizuna plateau, this log cabin is situated in the midst of a dense forest. A perfect space for couples, families, or small groups of friends, guests are welcome to enjoy hiking through this gorgeous landscape in the center of Japan!
Izu, the Setting for Laid-Back Camp, Now Offering Travel Plans
JR Tokai Tours has released a new travel plan for fans of Laid-Back Camp Season 2, which aired from January to March 2021. The tour will take place in the Izu area, which was heavily featured in episodes 10, 11, and 12. Guests can enjoy a travel plan with single lodging and original goods starting May 23 until June 29, 2022.
The slice-of-life series Laid-Back Camp is currently serialized in COMIC FUZ.
Set in Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures, Laid-Back Camp is a relaxing series following a group of high school girls going camping and enjoying their daily lives. The series is based on the author Afro’s personal experiences and interviews, and since serialization in 2015, the series has attracted fans from around the world. The original comic has sold over 7 million copies. In 2018, the first anime series premiered, inspiring a spin-off Room Camp in 2020 and a second season in 2021.
Four years after it was announced in 2018, a Laid-Back Camp animated film will arrive in theaters this summer.
EMOCAL, a Project to Support Japanese Regions, Releases Music Using Local Sound Samples
The EMOCAL project aims to support small-town areas of Japan. As a new initiative in the project, specific soundscapes only found in certain areas of the country have been combined with music to create some unique tracks. A selection of musical artists have collaborated with the project to bring these songs to life!
EMOCAL was created by ZOWA’s original label, CatchyStuck. The project supports local regions and communities by using ASMR soundscape videos recorded in each region to convey their particular charms to all of Japan. The sounds recorded in each place are considered to be very valuable and are intended to serve two purposes: to bring tourism back after the pandemic and to provide fans of ASMR a way to experience these areas from afar.
Check out each of these unique ambient tracks created by four up-and-coming musicians! Each song is available on viviON’s ASMR platform ZOWA and on Spotify.
Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture / Ikkyuu x Hige Driver, I Love Ikkyuu
Beard Driver created this ambient track with sounds recorded inside of Ikkyuu, a ramen shop.
Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture / Miyuki no Hama x Powerless, Seiren
Powerless created this track, inspired by the sounds of waves crashing at Miyuki no Hama, a seaside recreation area 20 minutes from Odawara Station.
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture / Wasabi Field x baker, On the silent hill
Utogi in Shizuoka city is surrounded by incredible nature. Known as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation, baker used sounds recorded in the area to create this ambient track.
Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture / Cape Tara x SeA0, Akushu
Cape Tara is a popular spot featuring an 800-meter-long sandbar at low tide. The sounds captured here were used by artist SeA0, and this track is sure to make you miss the water.
Official Site: https://catchystuck.jp/ambient/
teamLab Opens 8th Annual Art Exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture
From July 15 until November 6, 2022, the ‘teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live’ exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen, an ancient forest at the Takeo Hot Springs in Saga Prefecture. The massive event is held each summer and fall and was named CNN World’s ‘Best Outdoor Art Exhibition to Visit’ in 2021 and one of the Top 10 Art Installations in the world by DesignboomMagazine in 2017.
Works on Display
Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock, 2017
Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats – Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond, 2015
Ever Blossoming Life Rock, 2017
Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley, 2017
Rock Wall Spatial Calligraphy, Continuous Life – Five Hundred Arhats, 2017
Split Rock and Enso, 2017
Resonating Forest – Cherry Blossoms and Maple, 2017
Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins, 2019
Graffiti Nature – Living in the Ruins of a Bathhouse, Red List, 2017-
Resonating Forest in the Ravine, 2019
Abstract and Concrete – Forest Entrance, 2018
Flowers Bloom in an Infinite Universe inside a Teacup, 2016
Forest and Spiral of Resonating Lamps in the Forest – One Stroke, Summer Forest, 2018
Mifuneyama is said to have risen from the Ariake Sea 3 million years ago. The 500,000 square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created in 1845, at the end of the Edo period. The park is home to megaliths, caves, and forests that have been slowly shaped over thousands of years. teamLab believes that the shapes and textures of these objects are important, serving as traces of ancient people and natural changes over time. The concept of the project is that non-material digital technology can turn nature into art without harming it.
The creative team will be holding a number of other high-profile exhibitions this year, including installations in Paris, Tallinn, Shanghai, and Geneva. Their sauna collaboration with TikTok for teamLab Reconnect in Roppongi made huge waves in 2021–guests would take alternating hot and cold baths to experience intense physical sensations while surrounded by digital art.
teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live
Running: July 15 – November 6, 2022
Location: Mifuneyama Rakuen (4100 Takeo, Takeocho Oaza Takeo, Takeo City, Saga)
Official Site: https://www.teamlab.art/jp/e/mifuneyamarakuen/
Kyo Hayashiya and Hayashiya Shinbei Offering Special Parfaits Perfect for Spring
Hibiya Hayashiya Shinbei in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya is now offering a scrumptious Strawberry Matcha Parfait until April 24, 2022! If that’s not up your alley, four Kyo Hayashiya locations in Shinjuku, Omiya, Yokohama, and Ikebukuro will begin offering a Matcha and Berry Mascarpone Parfait from April 1 until May 8, 2022.
Strawberry Matcha Parfait
The Strawberry Matcha Parfait is an eye-catching mix of green and pink, reminiscent of cherry blossoms and bright green grass. Green tea blends with rose jelly and lychee sorbet, offering a refreshing taste with a hint of bitterness. The sweet accent of crunchy chocolate feuillantine gives each bite a little kick.
Matcha and Berry Mascarpone Parfait
The Matcha and Berry Mascarpone Parfait mixes the deep, bitter taste of Uji matcha, the sweet and sour taste of berries, and the gentle sweetness of mascarpone cream. The berry sauce is blended with crunchy chocolate feuillantine, a layer of whipped cream, green tea jelly, green tea ice cream, and milk panna cotta. To finish, it’s garnished with refreshing raspberry sorbet, bittersweet matcha ice cream, and fresh strawberries.
Strawberry Matcha Parfait
Price: ¥1,650 (Tax Included) / with Tea: ¥2,090 (Tax Included)
Available: March 18 – April 24, 2022
Available at Hibiya Hayashiya Shinbei (Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 2F)
Matcha and Berry Mascarpone Parfait
Price: ¥1,430 (Tax Included) / with Tea: ¥1,870 (Tax Included)
Available: April 1 – May 8, 2022
*Available until April 30 at the SOGO Yokohama location.
Available at the following 4 Kyo Hayashiya locations.
・Takashimaya Times Square (Shinjuku Takashimaya Times Square Main Building 2F)
・Seibu Ikebukuro (Seibu Ikebukuro Main Building 8F)
・SOGO Omiya (SOGO Omiya Main Building 9F)
・SOGO Yokohama (SOGO Yokohama 10F)
Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar Opens on Japan’s Southernmost Island
30.March.2022 | SPOT
The Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar, located at Hoshino Resort Risonare Kohamajima on Japan’s southernmost island, is holding a special stargazing event until April 20, 2022. Visitors can enjoy a cocktail as they gaze at the countless twinkling stars overhead.
Kohama Island is located within the Yaeyama Islands. With a warm climate, it’s comfortable to spend long hours outside, even at night. Kohamajima was also the first island in Japan to be protected by the IDA (International Darkness Association), meaning that no bright manmade lights can interfere with stargazing. Visitors can see 84 of 88 constellations!
Enjoy a Boundless Starry Sky
The Banyan Tree Terrace will bring guests together to feel the sea breeze and taste colorful mojitos as they enjoy the pleasant weather. Why not spend a relaxing time in a fantastic space lit with faintly glowing candles as you stargaze?
Taste Colorful Mojitos
A limited number of colorful mojitos will be available at a bar counter set up on the terrace for this event only. You can also enjoy Okinawan original mojitos with made with Okinawa lime, brown sugar instead of sugar, non-alcoholic mojitos for children, and tropical fruit mojitos with pineapple and passion fruit.
Munch on Snacks Perfect to Pair with Cocktails
Guests can also enjoy a snack set with salty nuts perfect for enjoying with alcohol!
Banyan Tree Rooftop Bar
Open: March 1 – April 20, 2022
Location: Banyan Tree Terrace
Official Site: https://risonare.com/kohamajima/
St. Regis Hotel Osaka Offering Updated Strawberry Afternoon Tea Menu
The St. Regis Hotel Osaka’s current strawberry-themed afternoon tea set has been updated as of March 7, 2022!
The Fifth Avenue Collection, a strawberry afternoon tea set inspired by the hottest trends in New York fashion, is now available at the St. Regis Bar. The St. Regis New York Hotel was founded in 1904, and is located on 5th Avenue, one of the most famous shopping streets in the world. This new afternoon tea set features a gorgeous three-tiered array of colorful savory and sweet dishes inspired by the many fashion items that line the shop windows of the NYC street.
The Spring Collection features brand new items, including six sweet items, four savory items, two scones, and three pass-around glass desserts.
The legs extending from the Strawberry Heels glass dessert give a nod to the classiest scenery in New York, while the Strawberry & Mango Shortcake adds a vibrant touch of yellow, popular on the runway this season.
The desserts include lime and strawberry macaroons and plenty of chocolate for cocoa lovers. Those wanting something savory can enjoy meat-filled crepes and the spring vegetable and smoked salmon rolls. This bright and colorful set is sure to brighten up anyone’s mood!
Strawberry Afternoon Tea ‘Fifth Avenue Spring Collection’
Available: March 7 until May
Location: The St. Regis Bar, 12F
Reservations/Official Site: https://www.stregisbar.stregisosaka.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Collaborates with Popular Shimane Manju for LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her major label debut, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is staying active in 2022. In conjunction with the nationwide tour, the “LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project” was launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities, and has been attracting major attention. Kyary’s tour made it to Shimane on March 12, and the details of her next collaboration have been revealed!
Kyary will be teaming up with Nakaura Foods and their delicious local delicacy Dojou Sukui Manju. Known as the representative treat of the San’in region, the name is a reference to the mask worn during local performances of the Yasugibushi folk song. The steamed buns were developed by Nakaura Foods in 1967 and have been loved by locals ever since. In the 2000s, the company began experimenting with new flavors by teaming up with other local creators.
The company’s logo is being reimagined for the project, inspired by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s 2013 Furisodeshon music video.
The name of the popular product has also been changed to Kyary Sukui Manju! Each box has a pop design and would make a perfect souvenir for Kyary fans.
A collaborative T-shirt is also on sale featuring the new logo and the singer’s 10th-anniversary logo. A special LINE collaboration is also underway, and 50 people who order the new Kyary-themed treats from the official Nakaura Foods online store will be entered to win a shirt!
Dojou Sukui Manju (Shimane) x LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Sales Period: March 12 – April 8, 2022
Where to Buy:
Nakaura Foods Official Online Store
Nakaura Foods Stores in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture and Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture
Where to Purchase: LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project Online Shop
Available until March 25 at 23:59
Commemorative Kyary Sukui Manju T-shirt Gift Campaign
Application Period: April 8, 2022
How to Enter:
- Add Nakaura Foods as a friend on LINE and get the campaign keyword.
- Enter the keyword when purchasing Kyary Sukui Manju from the Nakaura Foods online store.
- 50 winners will be selected by drawing to receive a special collaborative T-shirt!
Booking.com Reveals 4 Best Lodgings with Outdoor Baths for Snow Viewing
16.March.2022 | SPOT
Booking.com Japan has revealed its top four picks for the Japanese accommodations with the best outdoor baths and snow views!
Zao Kokusai Hotel (Zao Onsen, Yamagata Prefecture)
Located 900 meters above sea level and surrounded by the gorgeous natural beauty of the Zao mountains, this resort has long been renowned for its spectacular view of seasonal scenery. During winter, guests can enjoy a fully spring-fed open-air bath while gazing at the snow-capped mountains. The milky white waters of the Zao Hot Springs have high sulfur content which will improve the texture of your skin. The resort also has a bath large enough to accommodate up to seven people at a time and a private bath for families or lovers.
Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa (Date, Hokkaido)
The Midorinokaze Resort Kitayuzawa is surrounded by nature and contains one of the largest open-air baths in Japan, along with 20 unique fragrant baths for guests to enjoy. In winter, the surrounding trees seem to glisten with snow, and visitors are sure to find plenty of peace and relaxation while lounging beneath the grey skies.
Akakura Kanko Hotel (Myoko, Niigata Prefecture)
This highland resort sits on a 1,000-meter peak, offering unmatched views of Niigata Prefecture. The natural hot spring flows from the inside of Mt. Myoko, with healing waters perfect for soaking in during the cold winter months. The large baths are also equipped with a sauna and deck, and those wanting to view the scenery from their room can enjoy guest accommodations with private baths as well!
Satoyama Jujo (Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture)
Winning a design award for its facilities, Satoyama Jujo has a different feel when compared to most hotels and ryokan. Booking.com recommends it for travelers looking for new experiences! In the open-air bath, visitors can relax while enjoying a panoramic view of Mt. Makihata, one of Japan’s 100 most famous peaks. Guests can also enjoy the starry skies at night. This is a perfect location for couples!
Each season in Japan offers uniquely beautiful scenery. How would you like to enjoy winter in one of these luxurious baths?
Three Japanese Tourism Instagram Accounts to Follow for Travel Inspiration
07.March.2022 | SPOT
The pandemic has changed our lives forever. People have spent the last two years missing travel as they spend more and more time at home, and while many are ready to travel again, it can be difficult to know if it’s the right time to return to normalcy. To make the situation a little easier, many local tourism associations in Japan are posting images on Instagram to inspire people to give traveling another try. These three Instagram accounts are our personal favorites, and once Japan opens to tourists again, you won’t want to miss visiting these areas!
[Official Kumamoto Tourism Association] Motto, motto, Kumamoto!
Discover the charms of Kumamoto on this local Instagram account featuring photos from four unique local photographers. Many will know the area as the home of the character Kumamon. The images capture the daily lives of Kumamoto residents and include local food and gorgeous scenery. The postings also include the location of the photo and comments from the photographers, making things feel more personal.
[Official Hokkaido Tourism Association] GoodDay Hokkaido
Hokkaido is an area rich in gourmet seafood and dairy, but its spectacular landscapes are reason enough to visit. GoodDay Hokkaido shows off both the common and uncommon elements of Hokkaido life, often introducing little-known areas. Each photo is vividly colored, and followers can see different seasons at every time of day as they scroll through the feed. See the best images from Japan’s northernmost island each and every day on your smartphone!
[Ome / Okutama] Umetama
Umetama is an account that introduces places of interest in Ome and Okutama, two of Tokyo’s most scenic towns. Each can be reached in about an hour by train from Shinjuku Station. Visitors can enjoy a gorgeous day trip from the Tokyo center, with the area featuring plenty of campsites and hiking trails. There are tons of stargazing spots, and visitors are often surprised that such incredible nature is so close to Japan’s hectic capital. Those with kids will find plenty to do here, so start taking notes while you scroll through the Umetama page!
More and more young people are finding the appeal of Ome and Okutama, and the area has become the perfect relaxation spot for those seeking refuge from their busy lives. In addition, the craft beer bar Ome Beer, located near Ome Station, sells local alcohol, including Okutama’s popular craft beer ‘Vertere.’ See the lesser-known side of Tokyo on this picturesque account.
Remember how wonderful it is to travel? Hopefully, Japan opens for tourism again soon, and you can visit all of these gorgeous locales.