5 Must-Visit Beautiful and Romantic Lantern Festivals in Japan | 2020 Edition
02.February.2020 | SPOT
The season for Japan’s enchanting and romantic lantern events has finally arrived, and the line-up this year is diverse, from events where lanterns are the main attraction to lantern-lined festivals and Japanese matsuri festivals.
Hankyu Travel International compiled a list of these events , and we’ve pulled out some of the best ones for you.
Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru | Iwate Prefecture
This year marks the third run of “Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru,” an event held during winter for guests staying at Hanamaki Onsen. The event is comprised of many elements, including fireworks, folk entertainment, and more. People will also write wishes and messages or draw pictures on their lanterns before sending them up into the winter night sky. Afterwards, they can enjoy a dip in the hot springs at Hanamaki Onsen to warm themselves up and unwind from the day.
Running: January 26, 2020/February 22, 2020/February 11, 2020/February 16, 2020/February 24, 2020
Location: Namari Ski Center
Address: Nakadaira-36-1 Namari, Hanamaki, Iwate
China Lantern Festival | Chiba Prefecture
Tokyo German Village is hosting its second China Lantern Festival, inspired by the typical traditional festivals held in China during spring. A selection of 30 lantern installations of varying sizes made by the world’s biggest lantern maker Lantern Group have been set up in the 50,000 square meter area. Pieces include lanterns over 10 meters long and high, lanterns floating on the water, moving lanterns, and more.
Running: November 23, 2019 – April 5, 2020
Location: Tokyo German Village
Address: 419 Nagayoshi, Sodegaura, Chiba
Tsunan Yuki Matsuri | Niigata Prefecture
Since 2012, the people of Tsunan in Niigata have raised sky lanterns into the sky to pray for the revival from the disaster that the Tohoku earthquake brought in 2011. It is a two-day festival, with the first day of the event taking place at night, and the second being the main day of the festival. The festival is so popular that tickets never fail to sell out quickly every year. It brings with it a host of events, from the lanterns to the snowboard straight jumping tournament, the hanging of snow lanterns, snowmobile rides, and more.
Running: March 14, 2020 (There will also be a lantern event the night before on March 13, 2020)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan
Address: 12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata
▼Niigata Tsunan Sky Lantern Festival Tour
Nagasaki Lantern Festival | Nagasaki Prefecture
This festival was originally held during the Chinese New year by the people of Nagasaki Chinatown, but in 1994 it was given the name “Nagasaki Lantern Festival.” To date, it has been attended by over 1 million people. This year, around 15,000 lanterns of varying sizes are set to light the streets. Taking place across several areas, some standout pieces include the peach-coloured lanterns at Nagasaki Chinatown, the ceiling lanterns at Hamanomachi Arcade, the water lanterns at Nagashimagawa Park, and more. On weekends, there are also parades, traditional Chinese performance, and other exciting events. And if you head to Nagasaki Confucian Shrine (also known as Koshi-byo), you can offer a love lantern to pray for happiness in your relationship.
Running: January 24, 2020 – February 9, 2020
Locations: Nagasaki Chinatown/Central Park/Tojin Yashiki/and elsewhere
Address: Various places throughout the city of Nagasaki
▼Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Hankyu Travel International Tour: Hankyu Travel International
Nagasaki Tourism Page: https://travel.at-nagasaki.jp/en/what-to-see/62/
Ryukyu Lantern Festival 2019-2020 | Okinawa Prefecture
Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park is known for having originally been used as the set for several historical drama series, and was subsequently turned into a theme park after filming was finished. The Ryukyu Lantern Festival welcomes a variety of different lanterns, including Chinese lanterns, paper lanterns, various Asian lanterns, and more, each of which bring a completely different atmosphere depending on the area you are in. This year sees the welcome return of the annual lantern contest where 45 individual lantern pieces are exhibited. There are also different street performances every day on the Night Lantern Stage, as well as projection mapping displays, the Night Lantern Cafe, and more.
Running: December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020
Location: Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park
Address: 1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa
Murasaki Mura Official Website: https://murasakimura.com/
Be part of one of Japan’s many beautiful lantern festivals this year and witness some seriously breathtaking night scenes.
▼Hankyu Travel International – Japan Travel & Tours
Kanucha Resort in Okinawa Announces Spring and Summer Activity Program for 2020
06.April.2020 | SPOT
Located in the city of Nago in Okinawa lies Kanucha Resort, a hotel resort which boasts 2.6 million square meters of land. The resort has revealed its spring and summer program which invites guests to enjoy everything Okinawa has to offerーnot just its breathtaking oceans.
What is Kanucha Resort?
Kanucha Resort sits on the east coast of Nago on the northern part of the Okinawa mainland. It’s surrounded by the vast rolling sea and mother nature, and also faces Oura Bay, which is known for its coral reefs, which includes blue coral. Guest rooms come in nine styles, all of which incorporate gorgeous wooden decor. The resort has a bounty of restaurants, its own golf course, the beach, and over 70 activities to choose from, all of which makes Kanucha Resort a little town of its own. In the past winter months just gone, it also celebrate the 20th anniversary of Okinawa’s largest illumination event, Stardust Fantasia.
Buggy Ride Tours & Buggy Adventure Tours
Experience a different side of Okinawa away from the beaches with an off-road ride through Yanbaru no Mori Forest on a quad bike.
Running: All Year
Meeting Locations: Buggy Ride Tour @ Dokidoki Yambarunture / Buggy Adventure Tour @ Matayoshi Coffee Farm
Ages: 4 years and older
Coral Snorkeling Tour in Banana Boats
Witness the tropical fish swimming around you, and gaze upon the gorgeous coral reefs, as you explore the waters below when you climb off the banana boat.
Running: July 23, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 5 to 65 years
Mangrove Kayak Tour Along the Kesaji River
The Okinawan mainland is home to many mangroves. See them together with the expand of Yanbaru’s nature with a kayak ride along the Kesaji River.
Running: All Year
Time: Subject to change each day depending on how busy it is – please enquire directly
Courses: 150 Minutes (5 years and older) / 90 Minutes (3 years and older)
Star Sommelier to Space Walk
Hear about the moon and space with talks from Hoshi no Somurie® (“Star Sommeliers”) and use a telescope to observe the stars at the planetarium.
Meeting Point: Leisure Counter
Oura Mangrove Kayak
Enjoy a round trip kayak ride around the Oura Mangrove which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Nago.
Running: All Year Round
Time: Please enquire directly
Ages: 3 years old and above (*For guests only)
Meeting Point: Wansaka Oura Park
For more details on the activities available at Kanucha Resort, visit their website here.
Address: 156-2 AbuNago, Okinawa
Reservations: 0980-55-8484 (9:00-18:00)
Access: 1 and a half hours by car from Naha Airport
Official Website: https://www.kanucha.jp/en/
3 Must-Visit Cherry Blossoms Spots in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Hirado City | Spring 2020
27.March.2020 | SPOT
Spring has arrived in the city of Hirado, Nagasaki, which has been dyed a cherry blossom pink colour from the blossoming of the cherry trees. A simple glance at the signs of spring there is enough to have one feeling elated. It has also made the news that the budding of the cherry blossoms in Hirado has arrived earlier than usual.
We’ve made a list of 3 popular spots to enjoy Hanami in Hirado this spring.
Jigenzakura is a single sakura tree that stands proud and majestic. Aged 140 years old, the tree is listed as a National Treasure of Hirado. It’s close to the Oshima variety of cherry tree, and was planted by Catholics who migrated to Japan at the beginning of the Meiji Period. A visit to Jigenzakura offers a splendid sight to behold as it blossoms in the ravine. The best time to see it in full bloom last year was March 31.
Address: Kigatsucho, Hirado, Nagasaki (35-minutes from Hirado Bridge)
Nagasaki Tabi Net: https://www.nagasaki-tabinet.com/guide/51690/
Kameoka Shrine / Kameoka Park
Kameoka Park is a famous cherry blossom site that’s adjacent to Hirado Castle. It’s home to around 1,000 sakura trees, which are best seen from the end of March to early April. It also has a very rare type of cherry blossom called the nidozaki-zakura which blooms twice. You can see these around mid-April at Kameoka Park.
Address: 1458 Iwanouechō, Hirado, Nagasaki (7-minutes from Hirado Bridge)
Nagasaki Tabi Net: https://www.nagasaki-tabinet.com/guide/370/
Tabira Park is just over Hirado Bridge, and is a place where you can look out at both Hirado Bridge and Hirado Seto while gazing at the rows of cherry trees.
Address: 823-1 Tabirachō Kotedamen, Hirado, Nagasaki (Next to Hirado Bridge)
Official Website: http://nagasaki-park.or.jp/free/tabira
Hirado is easy to get to, and is a must-visit not just for Hanami, but for the food and its rich history too.
Okinawa’s New Hot Spring Resort Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort Opens
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort is the first hotel resort from Vessel Hotels. Operating on the concept of “Loving Yourself, Family, and the Town,” the hotel opened in the town of Chatan in Nakagami, Okinawa on March 1, 2020.
Rooftop Infinity Pool & Cafe/Bar
Sat atop the hotel roof is a spa which houses an infinity pool that offers an unbroken view of Chatan as well as the picturesque sunset in the evenings. There’s also a 3-meter high infinity pool, jacuzzis, and more, offering a luxurious space to relax.
Located to the side of the pool is a cafe and bar that serves a selection of original cocktails and fruity drinks as well as light food. When the sun sets and the evening settles, the pool lights are turned on, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a cup of Japanese sake or one of the refreshing cocktails while staring down at nighttime Chatan.
Vessel Hotel’s First Natural Hot Spring
Chatan Onsen hails as Vessel Hotel’s first-ever natural onsen hot spring. The water is drawn from 1,400m underground, which provides relief and relaxation from a day of sightseeing and travelling. The hot spring has towering windows, and there’s also a sauna for both men and women.
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN – The Relaxation Salon
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN is a “relaxation salon” which offers a Hawaiian-style spa experience using original products made using ingredients sourced in Okinawa. Oils are made with carefully-selected organic ingredients for that natural feeling. There are body treatments, messages, quick treatments, and more.
Filling Breakfasts at the Resort’s Kitchen
Vessel Hotel has brought its “Happy Breakfast Project” to Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort. Tuck into a variety of meals prepared with Okinawan ingredients, or try one of the household classic Okinawan breakfasts. Whatever you have, you are guaranteed the Okinawan experience to start your day off.
The restaurant’s original souffle hamburger is made with a mix of Okinawan black cattle beef and Agu pork. The souffle is made in-house and prepared by the hotel guests’ hands. Food is also served in Okinawan yamuchin porcelain.
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort
Address: 34-2 Mihama, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Opened: March 1, 2020
Official Website: https://www.vessel-hotel.jp/lequ/okinawa/
Raise Your Own Sky Lantern at New Greenpia Tsunan in Niigata
25.February.2020 | SPOT
New Greenpia Tsunan, a resort facility in Tsunan, Niigata, is holding an exciting sky lantern event every day until March 31, 2020.
The sky lantern event is held every winter at New Greenpia Tsunan, and has returned again for 2020. It began in 2012 as a means of showing respect for and praying for the revival of disaster-stricken areas, such as the areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, the Nagano and Niigata earthquake, and so on. Every year, couples and families come together to put their prayers and wishes into the lanterns before letting them go into the night sky. The countless lanterns raised at once soar up high and light up the black cloak of the night like burning stars.
For 2020, the event will also sell lantern t-shirts, handkerchiefs, hand towels, cookies, and other themed items.
If you’re travelling in or around Niigata in Japan this year, then don’t miss New Greenpia Tsunan’s very special winter event.
Sky Lantern Event
Running: Everyday until March 31, 2020 (Except select days where the site is closed or booked)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan (12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata)
Time: Weekdays – From 18:00 / Saturdays & Days Before Public Holiday – From 18:00 & 20:00 / March Onward – From 18:30
Booking: Bookings available until 17:00 on the day at New Greenpia Tsunan
Price: ¥1,500 (1 lantern)
Official Website: https://new-greenpia.com/
*In the case of stormy weather, the event will not proceed on that day
Josh Cumbee Releases ‘Sound Of Your Name’ Music Video Filmed at Mount Myoko in Japan
American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Josh Cumbee dropped his first digital single release Sound Of Your Name on Valentine’s Day. The song’s lyrics talk about having lost the love of your life, a picture of which is painted in its beautiful new music video.
Fans in the comments have expressed their love for the lyrical content, as well as Josh’s beautiful voice, but what has drawn so much attention is the breathtaking location the video was shot in. Fans have pondered over where it was shot, with some thinking it was in Canada, but it was actually shot at Mount Myoko in Niigata, Japan.
Josh Cumbee – “Sound Of Your Name” Music Video
The video was directed by Yudai Maruyama, who said: “Josh came from California, which is where I studied abroad during university, so it felt really fresh and was a lot of fun to shoot this video with him in my hometown of Niigata.”
Karin Ookoso, a model and who appears in the music video alongside, said: “The day Josh arrived we all went to the hot springs. We all bought some sweets from the candy store in front of the hot springs and ate them together. It was really fun. Josh is really kind. He learned lots about Japan, and likes the country, which made me super happy.”
A behind-the-scenes video was also released for the music videoーfilmed with an all-Japanese teamーwhere we see Josh enjoying the snowy landscape of Niigata, and chatting together with Karin. Check it out below.
Josh Cumbee – “Sound Of Your Name” Behind-The-Scenes
Josh described realising his dream of visiting the snowy Japanese mountain as like being transported into a different dimension. He said the filming lasted from early morning into the late night, but thanks to everyone involved pouring all their strength into the video, they were able to create something breathtaking. He thanked the director Yudai Maruyama, describing him as having wonderful insight, Karin whom he likened to a fairy, the staff, and his own management.
Spring’s Arrived Early in Chiba as the Strawberry Picking Season Begins
Chiba Prefecture is one of the leading places in Japan for growing strawberries. Thanks to its warm climate, the prefecture enjoys hearty a strawberry harvest, which it celebrates with strawberry-picking events and markets across the prefecture. The true fun in strawberry picking in Chiba is that you get to taste a variety of different types, all ripe, there and then, so you can compare flavours.
To further promote the wonderful world of its succulent strawberries, Chiba Prefecture has set up a special website, and is also hosting a photo campaign entitled “Chiba Strawberry Fair 2020.” This is also the season to try an original type of strawberry grown in Chiba Prefecture called the “Chi-Ba Berry.”
Check out Strawberry Fields Chiba’s special website
The Strawberry Fields Chiba website has a wealth of information on strawberry varietiesーincluding the “Chi-Ba Berry”ーas well as places to pick strawberries in the prefecture, places selling strawberries, and more. If you’re interested in finding out more about strawberries in Chiba, then check out their website below.
Strawberry Fields Chiba Official Website: https://chiba-ichigo.jp
Chiba Strawberry Fair 2020
People who post a photo on Instagram of their time in Chiba enjoying the strawberries with the hashtag #ちばいちごフェア2020 (“Chiba Strawberry Fair 2020”) have the chance to win the above-pictured Chi-Ba Berry-kun plush toy. The campaign is running until February 29, 2020.
Strawberry picking season in Chiba runs until May, so if you’re planning a trip there this year, make sure you don’t leave without trying the prefecture’s famous strawberries.
Chiba Prefecture Official Website: https://www.pref.chiba.lg.jp/
Celebrate Tokyo Midtown’s Cherry Blossoms at MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020 Event
24.January.2020 | SPOT
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020 is set to take place in Tokyo Midtown from March 20 to April 19 to celebrate and welcome the spring and the cherry blossoms.
This marks the 13th year of the event, which will take place both in Tokyo Midtown’s garden area which is home to rows of gorgeous cherry trees, as well as around the building where they have sparkling wine, sweets, flower displays, and many other exciting things planned.
CHANDON Blossom Lounge
Enjoy a luxurious cherry blossom experience this year with a glass of premium Chandon sparkling wine available at the outdoor limited-time CHANDON Blossom Lounge. This vibrant sparkling rosé wine is the perfect accompaniment to your springtime banquet and to say “Cheers!” to this year’s hanami flower-viewing in Japan.
There will also be food prepared by Nagase Mitsunao, head banquet chef at the 5-star Ritz-Carlton Tokyo Hotel, as well as incredibly decorative-looking sweets to adorn the able. There are two new types of seats available this year with Japanese twists to them, including seats in the roofed lounge where you can enjoy the cool spring weather in the evening.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020 (Closed in the case of stormy weather)
Time: 12:00-20:00 (Last Orders 19:30) *Extended to 21:00 (Last Orders 20:30) on Fridays, Saturdays and during cherry blossom full bloom
Location: Midtown Garden, Sakura-dori area
*Select seats require a reservation – full details to be released in mid-February
Spring Flower Display ~Flower Art Award pre~
Za Sogetsu is a performance unit specialising in ikebana, or flower arrangement. One of the most recognised groups in the industry, their work will displayed around various locations at Tokyo Midtown, including large-scale pieces as well as never-before-scene ones. One look at this breathtaking flower art will be enough to fill you with spring vibes.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Time: 9:30-24:00 (Galleria Floor 1F) / 11:00-21:00 (Galleria Floors 2F-3F)
Location: Galleria 1F’s Tree Shower & various locations at Galleria 2F-3F
Nighttime Cherry Blossom Light-Up
The entire 200-meter length of cherry trees in Tokyo Midtown’s garden area will be lit up with beautiful illuminations at night－a sight that never fails to drawn in countless people. Before the flowers are in full bloom, pink lights will be used to get people ready for the main show. When the cherry blossoms are at their height, white lights will be used every night.
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Location: Midtown Garden, Sakura-dori area/In front of Garden Terrace
Tokyo Midtown has many other events planned for spring 2020, so don’t miss out this year.
MIDTOWN BLOSSOM 2020
Running: March 20, 2020 – April 19, 2020
Location: Tokyo Midtown (9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo)
Official Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com
FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020: Details Revealed For Tokyo’s Flower-Themed Art Event
18.December.2019 | SPOT
FLOWERS BY NAKED is an annual flower-themed art event held by NAKED Inc., and the company has announced its next run: FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura – will take place from January 30 to March 1 next year at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in Tokyo, where visitors can enjoy flowers an a wholly new kind of interactive experience. Tickets went on sale on December 17, 2019, and this event will mark its 5th anniversary of taking place in Nihonbashi.
To date, FLOWERS BY NAKED has seen over 500,000 people attend the events, which have become a place for Instagrammable photos with over 660,000 posts made with the hashtag #flowersbynaked.
2020’s theme is cherry blossoms, so to celebrate, NAKED has unveiled four key visuals for four gardens set for the event along descriptions. As visitors journey through the gardens, they will experience an immersive story melding the worlds of flowers and art.
“When a butterfly telling the spring dances in the snowy winter world, the page is turned and the world changes from winter to spring.”
This is where the story begins: where winter flowers bloom. But as the pages of the big book are turned, the space is transformed into springtime as the snow melts.
“When you blow dandelion as if you were playing as a child, the fluff soars up to the sky with your old memories.”
Watch as the scenery changes when you blow on the towering dandelions in this incredible interactive experience that combines real life with digital technology.
“In a shimmering space that seems to be lost in a kaleidoscope by a mirror, the sun shines even more.”
When you step into this radiant garden which is lit by the pouring sunlight, it will seem as if the entire world around you glows with the fiery light of our burning star.
“The fastest cherry blossom viewing space in Japan where you can enjoy the five senses, such as the blossoming cherry blossoms and the scent of spring.”
The river seen at the beginning of the story leads to here, a holy cherry blossom garden watched over by an enormous pink cherry tree. There is plenty to interact with in this area for visitors to experience cherry blossoms with all five of their senses.
Advance tickets for this event are now on sale, so don’t miss out.
FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura –
Running: January 30, 2020 – March 1, 2020
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Last entries 30 minutes before closing time)
*Opening hours subject to change
Location: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall COREDO Muromachi Floors 1F + 5F (Entrance is on 4F)
Official Website (English/Japanese): https://flowers.naked.works/2020nihonbashi/
This Relaxing Onsen Hotel with Picturesque Nature and Luxurious Local Cuisine is the Perfect Getaway
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）
Address: 282 Oyuonsen, Uonuma, Niigata
Official Website: http://www.tomoyahotel.com/index.html
Sleep With the Orca Whales With Kamogawa Sea World’s Night Stay Program
22.October.2019 | SPOT
Kamogawa Sea World is offering a different kind of aquatic experience later this year with its new “Adult Night Stay” program which will run for 5 set days between December 7, 2019 and January 18, 2020 for those aged 18+.
The program offers a chance to take a photo with the beluga whales as well as watch a special performance from the orcas, which is available to those participating in the night stay as well as guests staying at Kamogawa Sea World Hotel. The aquarium also has some other night-time plans in store which you can’t experience during daytime hours.
During dinner, you’ll get to watch the orcas swim from the window while dining and chatting with the feeder and trainer of the orcas. The semi-course dinner was conceived by head chef Yamamoto and is made with seasonal ingredient.
After food, enjoy gazing at the giant “Endless Ocean” tank.
Below is the schedule for the two days.
・Tropical island behind-the-scenes study
・Pet the beluga whales (includes photo)
・Special orca performance
・Semi-course dinner with feeder and trainer
・Bathe (At Kumogawa Sea World Hotel or neighbouring facility)
・Stay in front of endless ocean tank
・Watch the dolphins
・Breakfast at the Ocean restaurant
・Free roam of the aquarium
Adult Night Stay
Running: December 7, 2019 / December 14, 2019 / January 11, 2020 / January 12, 2020 / January 18, 2020
Age: 18+ years
Capacity: 35 people per day (First-come, first-served)
*Sign-up will run until 10 days before each set day
*If there are less than 20 people for a set day the program will not run
Price: ¥16,500 (Tax Included) *Includes rental of orca design sleeping bag rental
Accommodation: Sleeping in front of the Endless Ocean tank (except December 7 where it will be on the Rocky World floor)
Food: Includes dinner and breakfast
*Dinner includes course dinner and one drink
Sign-Up: Phone bookings open from October 26, 2019 at 10:00 (first-come, first-served)
TEL: Kamogawa Sea World – 04-7093-4803 (10:00-16:00)
Kamogawa Sea World
Address: 1464-18 Higashichō, Kamogawa, Chiba
Official Website: http://www.kamogawa-seaworld.jp
Wear Plain Clothes This Halloween at Shibuya’s Jimi Halloween 2019 Event
13.October.2019 | FASHION
Worried about what to wear for Halloween this year? No need to panic. If you’re spending your Halloween in Shibuya this year, which is known the world over for its incredible Halloween festivities, then head to Tokyo Culture Culture on October 27 where a very unique event is taking place.
Jimi Halloween is an event that takes out the stress of having to go all out for Halloween as people go dressed as ordinary people. It has been held annually since 2014, with the number of attendees growing each year. Over 800 people took part last year, all clad in their plain clothes.
This year’s event will be split into three slots, with a capacity of 200 people per slot. Sign-ups begin on October 15 at 12:00pm (JST).
Beauty salon client
Dressing up as someone doing something has been a popular choice at the event recently. You can come up with some creative ideas that’ll make people say, “You came as that?!”
②”I’ve seen people like that!” attire
Flea market woman
There’s always certain types of people that everyone sees, and in Japan this is one of them!
③”I get it, but I don’t get it” attire
Hawaii vibe uncle
You’ve heard all about them, but have you seen them?
Handing out tissues with pachinko ads on them
Work attire is a go-to at the plain clothes event. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this is the one that started the entire movement.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
The final entry is those which are hard to categorise. They serve whatever vibes they are feeling.
Attend this year’s event and show off your own unique ideas!
Date: October 27, 2019 (3 Slots / 200 People Per Slot)
Slot ①: 11:00-14:00
Slot ②: 15:00-18:00
Slot ③: 19:00-22:00
★Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the website below
Venue: Tokyo Culture Culture (cocoti SHIBUYA 4F, 1-23-16 Shibuya, Tokyo)
Entry: Free (Apply at the link below)
2019 Kobe Luminarie Winter Illuminations to Light Up Kobe This December
09.October.2019 | SPOT
The 25th Kobe Luminarie light festival will take place from December 6 to 15. The theme of this year’s festival is “25 Years, Guided by the Light of Hope” (Original Italian title: Da 25 anni, guidati dalle luci della speranza).
Kobe Luminarie is an illumination festival that has been held annually since 1995 in commemoration of the Great Hanshin earthquake which hit Kobe that year on January 17. The event has continued as a symbol of hope for Kobe and has also become a festival associated with the winter season. Last year’s festival saw around 3.43 million people in attendance.
The “Light Bulbs” make a comeback radiating their warm light
Formerly the doorstep to foreign culture, Nakamachi-dori, lined with countless tasteful stores, will be lined with around 270 meters’ worth of decorations. The entrance decoration, named Frontone, stands almost 22 meters tall with three towering gates each connected to each other. The Sparri Ara is a wide wall of lights which runs 50 meters from Frontone all the way to Kyomachisuji Crossing. And as a special instalment to the 25th run of the festival, the light bulbs used at the first festival will be strung up to create another wall illumination from Itomachi to the East block which will be dubbed the “Memorial Zone.”
The event’s largest light dome
In the eastern amusement park plaza, Cassa Armonica―an illuminated church structure set up every year―will be enveloped in a large 21 meter high dome featuring an arch for the first time standing 4 meters tall in the memorial area
Over in the floral clock area, the Sparri Ara wall lights twinkle beside the wisteria trees. The lights will change and transform to the sound of the music. Attendees will also be able to pick up small gifts too as well as take pictures at the various photo spots.
Earthquake Talk Booth
Talks will be held discussing the origins of Kobe Luminarie and why it started. Earthquake survivors will also talk about their real experiences.
International Creative Director and Executive Producer Daniel Monteverde, who has been working with Luminaire for 20 years, made the following comment: “The city of Kobe will bustle once again this year, which will mark 25 years. People will fill the streets and look to the sky while they wait for the chime of the bell to signal the illuminations. We hold the memories of the people we lost 25 years ago close to our hearts. I hope we can convey our hopes and dreams and our story to our children and the young people who will bear the next generation. I hope people will be proud of Kobe which has recovered from the earthquake.”
He continues: “The Kobe Luminarie lights will shine once more for Hyogo, for Japan, and for the world. These lights are a symbol of each and every person’s devotion, their efforts, and their love. I pray that the Luminarie lights will send a message of hope to the world and continue shining in our hearts for the rest of time.” * Full comment translated from Japanese
25th Kobe Luminarie
Running: December 6, 2019 – December 15, 2019
Location: Kyu Gaikokujin Kyoryuchi and Kobe East Park (Higashi Yuenchi) (Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo)
*Times may be extended depending on the number of people. Event may be postponed in the case of bad weather.
Kobe Luminarie Official Website: http://kobe-luminarie.jp/