Experience Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms at Night With Rickshaw and Boat Rides

08.February.2020 | SPOT

HOSHINOYA Tokyo, a ryokan accommodation in the centre of Tokyo, has announced an exciting new plan for guests this spring season. Titled “Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi,” the plan gives guests the chance to enjoy city’s cherry blossoms under the night sky from the seat of a rickshaw and from a boat ride. It’s running from March 25 to April 10 this year.

 

Observe Tokyo’s nightscape and cherry blossoms from the Sumida River

The departing site for the boat ride is located at Nihombashi Pier, just a 5-minute car ride from HOSHINOYA Tokyo. This 60-minute night cruise begins at the pier before floating across the Sumda River. Passengers will be able to to set their gaze on a multitude of Tokyo’s many beautiful cherry blossom spots, including along the coast of Tsukuda and along Oyokogawa River, amongst others.

 

While aboard the boat, you can enjoy tucking into a spring coloured hanami bento box and sipping on sparkling Japanese sake. Your meal will provide the perfect accompaniment to the enchanting sights your eyes will be treated to, from the dusk-basked cherry blossoms to the reflection of the city lights on the water surface.

 

Hanami flower viewing on a boat – a tradition since the Edo Period

When Tokyo was known as Edo, its former name used until 1868, the city thrived as a Mizu no Miyako, or “Water Metropolis” due to its sophisticated water transportation system which enabled the carrying of people and goods. During this time, the people of Edo enjoyed the waterside in many different ways. One of these was Fune Asobi, or “pleasure boating,” where people would enjoy the nature along the shore throughout the four seasons. In spring, cherry blossoms would bloom along the Sumida River where some of the official buildings of the Tokugawa Shogunate were located. The Bakufu also incentivized pleasure trips of the masses, and so people would enjoy Hanami, or flower-viewing, from the boats.

 

HOSHINOYA Tokyo has recreated this experience to not only pay homage to the activities of Edo, but to let people enjoy a luxurious time away from everyday life.

 

1: Peer at the nighttime cherry blossoms and Tokyo’s evening scenes from your pleasure boat

Your boat ride will take you to the best spots to see the cherry blossoms on that particular day. As night falls, you’ll also get to see some of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots light up, like Tokyo Skytree and Eitai Bridge. Riverboat Mizuha, who operate the boat, will provide guests with a guide who will give them an insight into the history of the bridges, towns, and surrounding sights.

 

2: Overhead cherry blossoms fill your vision on the rickshaw

Experience Hanami like never before with HOSHINOYA Tokyo’s rickshaw ride. Your journey begins at the ryokan and ends at Nihombashi Pier. This one-way 30-minute trip will take you to some  breathtaking cherry blossom sites, including Edozakura-dori Street which is home to many historical buildings such as the Bank of Japan.

 

3: Hanami bento and sake provided by a longstanding shop

In the evening, enjoy tucking into a decorative Hanami bento made by Shin-Kaika, a long-standing restaurant in Kanda Myoujinshita by Kanda Myoujin Shrine. The colourful and light-tasting assortment includes cherry blossom pink sea bream kombu, as well as sushi rice seasoned with kurozu. Your meal will also be paired with delicious sparkling Japanese sake. On the way back, you can also enjoy matcha and tea-flavoured confections.

 

Optional: Rent a springtime kimono and have it fitted on you

For those looking to spend and even more special time out this spring in Japan, they can rent a silk kimono and have it fitted onto them. You select it beforehand and it is put on you at HOSHINOYA Tokyo. They will also do your hair and makeup. And if you have it all fitted early, you can spend the day walking around Tokyo seeing the cherry blossoms. You must book to choose and have a kimono fitted.  Prices start upward from ¥50,000 per person.

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    27.February.2020 | SPOT

    A number of facilities in Japan have announced temporary closures to help stop any possible spreading of the coronavirus. Please check the following closures if you’re planning a trip to Japan in February or March. New information is rolling out all the time, so for the latest updates, please check the official websites for each establishment listed below.

     

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    ・Original Passports

    Passport tickets valid between the dates February 22, 2020 – September 29, 2020 will have their validity period extended to September 30, 2020.

     

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    Ghibli Museum

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    Official Website (Japanese): http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/

     

    Toei Animation Museum

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    ARASHI EXHIBITION “JOURNEY”

    Closed: February 22, 2020 – March 9, 2020

    Location: Osaka Culturarium at Tempozan

     

    Official Website: https://arashiexhibition.jp/

     

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  • BT21 Cafe to Open in Tokyo and Osaka With a Spring Theme

    27.February.2020 | FOOD / MUSIC / SPOT

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    TOKYO BOX cafe&space Tokyo Solamachi

    SHOOKY’s Brown Burger — ¥1,690

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  • Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop Opens in Haneda Airport

    27.February.2020 | SPOT

    Tokyo Toyko, a website that provides information on things to do in Japan’s capital, opened its own souvenir shop, called Tokyo Tokyo Official Souvenir Shop, in EDO KOJI on February 22, 2020, which is located on the fourth floor of Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal.

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  • HOSHINOYA Guguan Chosen as Best New Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure Magazine

    26.February.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Guguan, a ryokan in Taiwan managed by Japanese ryokan operator Hoshino Resorts, was picked as one of Travel + Leisure’s “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” on February 20, 2020.

     

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    If you’re planning a trip to Taichung, why not consider staying with HOSHINOYA Guguan?

  • Japanese Hanami 2020: Soak Up the Pink Springtime Cherry Blossoms at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    24.February.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    KAI, a hot spring ryokan brand managed by Hoshino Resorts, has announced an exciting new experience at 14 of its branches called “Otsu na Hanami Tabi” (A Chic Flower-Viewing Trip) which will run from March 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

     

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    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Reservation Centre)

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    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kawaji | Tochigi


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    Running: April 18, 2020 – April 25, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo | Shimane

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo is located in Tamatsukuri Onsen in Shimane Prefecture, where all guest rooms have their own open-air bath. The hot spring ryokan’s “Sakura Koraku” experience gives you a chance to try wariko sobaーa style of soba noodles originating in Shimane’s city of Matsueーunder the cherry blossom trees.

     

    Sakura Koraku

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 20, 2020

    Time: 15:00-19:00

    Price: ¥500 for one Hanami picnic set for two people (5 sets prepared per day)

    Booking: Hoshino Resorts KAI Izumo front reception

    Notes: Rickshaw will run from April 1, 2020 to April 7, 2020 costing ¥1,300 per person. 30 minute ride. 5 groups per day (2 people per group).

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga | Ishikawa

    Head to one of Kaga’s famous weeping cherry blossom tree spots to enjoy a cup of Japanese tea prepared yourself. This plan offers the chance to experience Ishikawa culture in a spot that has been loved by locals for decades.

     

    Running: April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso | Kumamoto

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso stands in Aso-Kuju National Park. Gaze at the five peaks of Mount Asoーthe largest active volcano in Japanーwhile sipping on water drawn from one of Japan’s 100 famous water sources. Change up the water of the water to your liking: carbonate it, add syrup, and so on. You’ll also get some refreshing fruits that have sat in carbonated water. Sit amongst the colourful flowers, like tulips and baby blue eyes, while soaking up the beautiful sights of Aso.

     

    Tansan Ohanami

    Running: April 20, 2020 – May 31, 2020

    Price: ¥3,000 per person

    No. of People: 3 groups per day (two people per group)

    Booking: 0570-073-011 (KAI Booking Centre)

    Note: In the case of rain, Tansan Ohanami will not run on that day

     

     

    This is just 5 of the 14 Hoshino Resorts KAI branches offering a chic Hanami experience. If you’re travelling to Japan this spring, be sure to check out what they’re offering.

  • TOKYO MYSTERY CIRCUS Releases Snoopy Merchandise as Part of SCRAP x SNOOPY Puzzle Game Project

    24.February.2020 | SPOT

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    Paper Napkins (Set of 10) – ¥600

    Art Card Set w/ Puzzle (Set of 5) – ¥1,000

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  • GODIVA’s Irresistible Chocolixir Sakura Drink Available This Spring

    23.February.2020 | FOOD

    GODIVA Japan Inc. is releasing a new chocolate drink as part of their Chocolixir series. The new drink flavour “Chocolixir Sakura” will be sold from February 16 to April 9, 2020 at GODIVA shops only. 

    Chocolixir Sakura: ¥630 (Before Tax)

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  • NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM: Cherry Blossoms and the Sea Come Together at Tokyo’s Maxell Aqua Park

    23.February.2020 | SPOT

    Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa has announced the holding of a new exhibition entitled “NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM” which will run at the Tokyo-based aquarium from March 1, 2020 to April 19, 2020.

     

    Offering “cutting-edge Tokyo entertainment,” the exhibition is combined music, lighting, and visuals with living beings. Using the latest in leading edge tech, visitors will be treated to a visual treat of animals living harmoniously with the season. The exhibition promises you will notice something new with each visit. Enter a world of spring like never before as cherry blossoms and the ocean come together through digital art.

    Cherry Blossom Tayori

    The entrance to the aquarium will be in full bloom with cherry blossoms. The water tanks in the centre will be perfectly pink and house madai snapper, a type of fish also nicknamed “sakura-dai” around this season.

     

    Spilling Cherry Blossoms

    This area will be like an atrium, with water tanks and showcases lined up beautifully next to each other and decorated with cherry blossom art flowers. The water tanks, which bring to mind the image of a “banquet,” will house sakura-dai, sea goldie, and other fishes.

     

    Dancing Cherry Blossom Garden

    In the immersive Patterns area, you can see the “possibilities” of the four seasons as digital art works to combine a seasonal landscape with the sea creatures on display.

     

    Also in the Dancing Cherry Blossom Garden will be Cape penguins who will put on a performance using their physical abilities. The performance, which is split into two parts, will make use of projection mapping. The first part will see the bloom of yaezakura cherry trees, while the second part will have jacaranda, also called the “purple cherry blossom,” a flower that blooms in South Africa where Cape penguins originate.

    Dolphin Performance Day Version – Cherry Blossom Dance

    The daytime dolphin performance sees visitors gathering in the amphitheatre. This interactive performance is inspired by springtime banquets and Hanami flower-viewing. Enjoy seeing the dolphins dance high-speed to the rhythm of Japanese rock music.

     

    Dolphin Performance Night Version – Cherry Blossom Story

    The nighttime dolphin performance uses the water, lighting, visuals, and music to celebrate cherry blossoms in the evening. Enjoy a more delicate, but powerful performance from the dolphins, and see the flowers in all their beauty.

     

    Jewellery Fish Rumble

    The ceiling and walls of the spacious Jewellery Fish Rumble area all have reflective mirror surfaces. Countless pink and blue illuminations light up this evening cherry blossom-themed area, where you can enjoy a digital Hanami experience together with the jellyfish.

     

    Katou Flower Lantern

    The NAKED SAKURA AQUARIUM cafe and bar is adorned with a cylindrical water tank with illuminated coral. The cafe/bar is inspired by Katou, which is when the evening light feels like it is being lit up by fully bloomed cherry blossom flowers. The menu includes a selection of cherry blossom and matcha drinks, as well as a selection of sweet treats perfect for the Hanami season.

    3 Dango & Mini Taiyaki – ¥500 (Red Bean Paste/Cream)

    Sakura Mizu-warabi Rice Cake – ¥500

    Enjoy a completely different kind of Hanami experience at Maxwell Aqua Park.

     

    *Photos are for illustrative purposes only

  • Kate Spade New York Reveals Japanese Cherry Blossom Inspired Collection

    22.February.2020 | FASHION

    Optimistic femininity is at the core of Kate Spade New York’s brand, and that is upheld with the revealing of their new “Cherry Blossom” collection which is set to drop this spring.

    Nicola Glass, the Creative Director at Kate Spade, was inspired to design the Cherry Blossom collection after her many times seeing her favourite flower, the Japanese cherry blossom, when visiting Japan. The colourful line-up features a variety of pink shades and flower prints.

    from left: molly cherry blossom large satchel in black ¥53,000, molly cherry blossom medium satchel in tutu pink ¥45,000, spencer cherry blossom zip around continental wallet in soft pink multi ¥31,000

    from left: spencer cherry blossom small dome cosmetic ¥11,000, spencer cherry blossom wrislet in soft pink multi ¥14,000, iphone case cherry blossom liquid glitter in clear multi ¥6,000


    Nine items adorn the floral collection, including two sachel bags, two wallets, two fragment card cases, a cosmetic pouch, key ring, and iPhone case. The collection will be released at Kate Spade New York stores in Japan (select branches not participating) on February 26, 2020. Japan will also get some exclusive colours not available anywhere else.

  • URBAN SENTO: The New Brand Making Japanese Bath House Clothing Stylish

    22.February.2020 | FASHION

    “JAPAN MADE PROJECT” is a project launched by Japanese apparel shop URBAN RESEARCH which aims to revitalise regions around Japan by building local communities with businesses and creators around the country while also looking to take a step back to reconsider what is appealing about each of those regions.

    As part of this new project, URBAN RESEARCH has announced its plans to establish “JAPAN MADE PROJECT TOKYO” on March 20, 2020. Focusing on Tokyo, this branch of the project will see the launch of “URBAN SENTO.” This will focus on the potential of sento, or “bath houses,” in the city, which will also include a new line of bath house clothing made in collaboration with Kosugi-yu a sento located in the Tokyo district of Koenji.

     

    Public bath houses play an important part in Japanese culture by contributing to people’s mental health and creating communities. This is especially so in a city as busy as Tokyo. That’s where URBAN SENTO comes in, which will encourage the rediscovery of the city’s appealing culture through sento.

     

    Pre-sales for the new clothing line opened on the URBAN RESEARCH online store on February 14, 2020. It features a collection of must-have items for the bath house, whose message is to spread the bath house lifestyle.

     

    Apparel

    To ensure the clothing is comfortable as bath-wear, the collection is made from high quality cotton provided in collaboration with HAAG, a brand managed by Smile Cotton. This cotton is nice and soft and does not rub against the skin. Smile Cotton’s materials are even endorsed by the Japan Atopic Dermatitis Patients Association.

    Crew Neck T-Shirt – ¥7,700 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black

    One Piece – ¥13,200 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black

    Short Pants – ¥12,100 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black

    ZIP Parker Hoodie – ¥16,500 (Tax Included) | Sizes: Small/Medium/Large | Colours: White/Light Grey/Black

    Pouch (Medium Size) – ¥3,080 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Navy/Orange

    The mesh pouch can be taken into the bath with you. Put your shampoo or other bath products in with you and take a dip.

     

    Miscellaneous Items: IKEUCHI ORGANIC x URBAN SENTO
    The bath towels you can use at Kosugi-yu are made by IKEUCHI ORGANIC. They come in two sizes and are incredibly soft on the skin.

    Oragnic 120 Bath Towel – ¥5,060 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Grey

    Oragnic 120 Face Towel – ¥1,980 (Tax Included) | Colours: White/Grey

     

    Kimura Soap x URBAN SENTO
    The products used for cleaning yourself at Kosugi-yu, as well as what’s used for washing the towels, is soap provided by Kimura Soap. This pure soap, crafted by artisans by cooking in kettles, is friendly to the environment and the skin. It can be used at the bath house, in the bath at home, or even for your laundry.

    Body Soap (Hinoki Cypress/Lavender) – ¥1,980 (Tax Included)

    This body soap gently lathers your skin in bubbles and leaves your skin filling refreshed. Both the hand soap and body soap feel good to use.

    The a video and main visual were released for URBAN SENTO, which feature Japanese music artists Yusuke Emoto and Aoi Nogi as the models.

  • Starbucks Japan Reveals Cherry Frappuccino®ーThe Second Drink of Starbucks Sakura Season

    20.February.2020 | FOOD

    Starbucks Japan has announced that the second drink in its Sakura Season series of springtime cherry blossom drinks will be released on February 26, 2020. Named the “Sakura Sakuranbo Frappuccino®” (Cherry Blossom Cherry Frappuccino®), this tasty-looking drink is exclusive to Japan.

     

    Sakura Sakuranbo Frappuccino®—Savour the sweet and tangy fresh cherry pieces

    Sakura Sakuranbo Frappuccino® – Tall ¥590 (Before Tax) / Available: February 26, 2020 – March 12, 2020

    The new drink contains fresh and sweet cherry pieces. It uses a cherry blossom flavoured base together with strawberry milk, which adds a subtle flavour, and a sauce made from fresh cherries. Cherries in Japan also go by the name outou (桜桃), which has the Japanese kanji for sakura (cherry blossom) in it. This is because its roots come from the same family of roses.

     

    The drink has a unique sweet and sour punch to it, and one sip is enough to make you feel like spring is here. Topped with pink, white, or blue Japanese sugar candies known as konpeitō, this drink truly offers a toast to a kawaii Japanese spring.

     

    Customise your drink for free with “Sakura Toppings”

    Free Sakura Toppings / Available: February 26, 2020 – March 12, 2020

    For Sakura Season at Starbucks, customers can customise all drinks with two different colours of mochi pieces and dried raspberries shaped like cherry blossom petals. The coffee company highly recommend topping cappuccinos, white mochas, and matcha cream frappuccinos® with them. Make your drink your own!

     

     

    Starbucks is also releasing a new range of merchandise, such as mugs and tumblers, with theme “Spring Misty-Rain,” on February 26. These gorgeous designs are inspired by the light rainfall in spring which falls onto the cherry blossoms and grass and makes them glisten with the light. A new cherry blossom Starbucks Card will also be available to pick up for a limited time.

     

    Sakura Season at Starbucks is always a popular time in Japan, so if you’re planning a trip here for spring and are in need of a coffee top-up, then you’re in for a real treat.

  • ‘SAKURA Romantic Tea Party’ is Q-pot CAFE. Omotesando’s Newest Afternoon Tea Experience

    20.February.2020 | FOOD

    Q-pot. has revealed its new “SAKURA Romantic Tea Party” line-up which is set to be served at Q-pot CAFE. in Omotesando, Tokyo from March 1, 2020 for a limited time.

    The cherry blossom pink coloured and flavoured line-up includes a glamorous afternoon tea set, limited-edition parfaits, plated goodies, drinks, and more. “Romantic” is the key word for this beautiful Japanese springtime assortment.

    Romantic SAKURA Parfait w/ Drink – ¥1,850 (Tax Included)

    The tall Romantic SAKURA Parfait is layered with a mix of both Japanese and Wesrern flavours, built up delicious with cherry blossom cream cherry blossom petal-laced jelly, houjicha tea sauce and more, all of which is topped off with cherry blossom cookies and meringue.

    Romantic SAKURA Mont Blanc Plate w/ Drink – ¥2,060 (Tax Included)

    This plate of delight features a soft mont blanc made with cherry blossom bean paste cream, rich matcha chocolate, Japanese waguri chestnut, and chestnut cream. Q-pot. CAFE offers a selection of original macarons too which you can pick from including strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and melon. Feel the call of Japanese spring with this romantic cherry blossom mont blanc.

    Romantic SAKURA Afternoon Tea Set w/ Drink – ¥2,400 (Serves 1) (Tax Included) *Photo shows tea set for two

    Simply put: a colourful pink and romantic afternoon tea set.

    The top tier is decorated with cherry blossom St. Honoré cakes made with gorgeous cherry blossom cream, peach bavarois, strawberry cookies, and rich cream ganache-filled biscuits.

    The bottom tier includes fat croissants filled with duck pastrami and cucumber that has been dressed with white wine vinegar. They’re served together with a white asparagus cream potage soup and skewered olives, mini tomatoes and pickles, creating a truly gourmet addition to your afternoon tea experience.

    Romantic SAKURA Berry Blossom Tea (Hot/Iced) – ¥750 Each (Tax Included)

    There’s also a cute pink cherry blossom tea that can be served hot or iced. It’s made using Q-pot CAFE.’s popular “Flower Garden” flavour which has a refreshing after taste as well as a floral and fruity sweet scent. Added to it is cherry blossom and raspberry flavouring which mixes deliciously with the milk.

    Hanami Party Plan – ¥3,000 Per Person (Tax Included) *Reservation-only

    You can also book a special hanami party plan which adds a sparkling beverage to the afternoon tea set together with a a cherry blossom card and a crunchy meringue. You must reserve for 2+ people, making it perfect for enjoying together with a friend or special someone.

     

    It’s not long until March now, meaning springtime, cherry blossoms, and Hanami flower-viewing is just around the corner in Japan. Why not celebrate romantically at Q-pot CAFE.?

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