Japanese Travel Website Jalan Set To Launch Tokyo Station Fair As Cat Stalks Closer
Japanese travel website Jalan, which has been running for 30 years, is collaborating with Tokyo station’s shopping centre GRANSTA for their third collaboration fair, which will run from February 15 – March 1, 2020. Travelling in Japan will be even more fun as the travel website’s adorable mascot Nyalan takes to the scene in a variety of delicious foods – just what every cat person kneads!
Even more shops are participating for the third fair, which is now stretching to cover shops at Ecute Tokyo and Ecute Keiyo Street. Everything at the fair cannot be purchased from anywhere else or at any other time. From bento lunches and sweet treats to merchandise, everything is based on Jalan’s adorable cat mascot Nyalan. The fair is full of the essentials to enhance the fun factor in your spring travels around Japan – fur real.
Nyalan Caramel Cream: ¥490 (Fairy Cake Fair) *Only at GRANSTA
A fluffy whipped cream Nyalan sits on top of a delicious fairy cake. Grinning from cheek to cheek, the expressions on these hand-decorated mini cake are packed with detail. The adorable Nyalan cupcake is filled with velvety homemade caramel sauce for a rich sweetness.
Nyalan Paw-Shaped Bento: ¥880 *Only at GRANSTA
Dried katsuobushi and salmon are mixed with rice to create two different coloured paw-shaped sushi rolls. Enjoy the adorable round rolls and sides of simmered bamboo shoots and sakura mochi – pawfect for a spring outing!
Amaou Strawberry Macaron and Nyalan Print Macaron: ¥648 (Pack of 2) *Only at DALLOYAU, GRANSTA
Nyalan print macarons were a big hit last year and now the adorable macarons are making a comeback for a limited time. The set of two macarons includes the popular amaou strawberry macaron and a vanilla macaron. This is great as a souvenir, however there are only 400 sets available so be quick if you want one!
Nyalan Doughnuts: ¥420 Each, Shiretoko Doughnut, available at Ecute Keiyo Street only
You won’t be able to stop yourself from gasping at how adorable these doughnuts are. The moment you feast your eyes on the doughnuts, you won’t be able to stop smiling. These sweet doughnuts are bursting with the delicious flavours of Hokkaido and would make the puurrfect quick munch when on a shopping break or a wonderful souvenir.
Nyalan no Otetechirashi (1 pack: Approx. 12cm diameter)
【Uoriki Kaisen Sushi】 *Available only at Ecute Keiyo Street
On top of this cake-shaped sushi lies a paw made from negitoro (minced tuna). The sushi cake is made of up layers of the finest seafoods including crab and salmon. Only 20 are sold per day.
Nyalan Hand Towel: ¥880 Each, Handkerchief: ¥550 Each 【Hamamonyo】 *Available at Ecute Tokyo only
This cute Nyalan hand towel and handkerchief are just what you need for your hot spring trip and are bound to add a sprinkle of fun to your everyday life. Enjoy spotting the different facial expressions of Nyalan in this Yokohama print design. Once you make a habit of using it every day, you won’t be able to stop because it feels so nice.
If you love cats, spice up your life with Nyalan!
Tokyo Station and Jalan Fair
Running: February 15, 2020 – March 1, 2020
Participating Shops: 10 Shops in GRANSTA, 3 Shops at Ecute Tokyo and 2 Shops at Ecute Keiyo Street
More Information (Japanese Only)
Jalan News: https://www.jalan.net/news/article/422076/
Ecute Tokyo: https://www.ecute.jp/tokyo/campaign/900
Ecute Keiyo Street: https://www.ecute.jp/keiyostreet/campaign/901
Taiwan’s Gift and Souvenir Shop Lai Hao Arrives in Japan
05.February.2021 | FASHION
JAPAN POSTEC, a wholesaling company in Japan, is now an authorised dealer of products from the popular Taiwanese gift shop Lai Hao. The first product to enter the Japanese market from the company is a colourful collection of blotting papers which hit the country last Thursday (January 28).
Lai Hao Blotting Paper (8 Designs)
Taiwanese Scents: Oolong Tea / Gardenia / Yulan Magnolia / Hinoki / Pineapple
Size and Ingredients
Lai Hao’s products are a display of Taiwanese creativity and high quality and are sure to leave an impression on buyers.
The blotting paper designs are based around a variety of different foods, with eight different picks to choose from. Each one comes scented with fragrances that remind one of Taiwan.
Tokyo’s Cat-Shaped Food Bakery Tokyo Neko Neko Announces New Branch in Tokyo Station
25.January.2021 | FOOD
Tokyo Neko Neko will open a new branch at ecute Keiyo Street inside Tokyo Station on January 25, 2021.
The launch comes just 6 months after the bakery opened its store in Ginza, attracting customers from all over for its line-up of cat-shaped pastries. Both of these bakeries are the result of yet another branch, Kyoto Neko Neko, which opened in June last year as the first in the line of these cute locations.
Tokyo Station Exclusives: Neko Neko Jam Bread – Marmalade, Caramel, Strawberry, Blueberry
Tokyo Neko Neko Bread – Plain, Chocolate, Caramel Almond, Tsubu-an, Matcha, Soybean
As well as the classic Tokyo Neko Neko Bread—which is like a croissant being loaded with French butter, crunchy on the outside, and moist on the inside—the new Tokyo Station branch is also serving its own exclusive pastry treat: the Neko Neko Jam Bread, made with plenty of milk, and arriving in four irresistible flavours including marmalade, caramel, strawberry, and blueberry. And most important of all: everything is shaped like an adorable kitty.
If you’re travelling through Tokyo Station then don’t miss out on a trip to Tokyo Neko Neko, opening January 25.
Tokyo Neko Neko (Tokyo Station branch)
Grand Opening: January 25, 2021
Shop Name: Tokyo Neko Neko ecute Keiyo Street
Location JR Tokyo Station inside the ticket gates of the Yaesu South Exit on Floor 1F
Address: 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, 〒100-0005
Opening Hours: 8:00-22:00 (until 21:30 on weekends and holidays)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://nekoshoku.jp
Tokyo Banana Chooses Eevee as Next Pokémon Souvenir Sweet
Tokyo Banana World has revealed that its next sweet treat in its Pokémon Tokyo Banana series will be Eevee which Pokémon Trainers can expect to catch up and down Japan from January 2, 2021, including at the store itself as well as at 7-Eleven branches.
Pokémon Tokyo Banana Welcomes Eevee as Entry #2
Tokyo’s official souvenir sweets brand Tokyo Banana launched its new Pokémon Tokyo Banana series of confections in November with the first catch being Pikachu. Now Eevee is being added to the collection.
The fluffy sponge is a delicious caramel macchiato flavour and is filled with sweet banana custard cream. It can be eaten as it is, refrigerated, or even baked to create completely different flavour experiences.
6 Designs Including a Lucky Heart-Shaped Tail
The sponge cakes come in six different designs, all of which are adorable. The one to look out for though is the one with a cute heart-shaped tail.
Fluffy Eevee Design Packaging
Eevee Tokyo Banana Caramel Macchiato (Contains 2) | ¥291 (Tax Included)
The packaging features fluffy artwork of Eevee in six different designs, such as a waving Eevee and winking Eevee.
Where Can You Catch Eevee Tokyo Banana?
Eevee will roll out at 7-Eleven stores across Japan (excluding Okinawa) at the dates listed below. Each branch will have a limited stock so don’t miss out.
January 2, 2021 Release
January 16, 2021 Release
January 23, 2021 Release
January 30, 2021
©2021 Pokémon. ©1995-2021 Nintendo/Creatures Inc. /GAME FREAK inc.
Eevee Tokyo Banana
Rolling out from January 2, 2021
Official Website: https://tokyobanana.jp/products/banana_pokemon.html
Tokyo Station’s Pokémon Tokyo Banana is the Souvenir to Buy in Tokyo
Tokyo’s official souvenir sweets brand Tokyo Banana launched pre-sales of its new Pokémon Tokyo Banana series of confections last month, with Pikachu as the first catch. Official sales will roll out at the Tokyo Station branch of Tokyo Banana on December 10, 2020.
Pokémon turn into Tokyo’s official souvenir sweets
Pikachu will be the first Pokémon to feature as the design for Tokyo Banana.
A special Pokémon Tokyo Banana stall will open at Tokyo Station’s JR Line
An official Pokémon Tokyo Banana stall will open inside Hanagataya on the JR side of Tokyo Station on December 10 which will sell exclusively Pokémon Tokyo Banana products. This will begin with Pikachu followed by an upcoming new entry set for release in January 2021.
They come in a cute gift box
Pikachu Tokyo Banana (Contains 8) | ¥1,188 (Tax Included)
Pokémon Trainers can pick up a pack of eight in a special gift box. These boxes are also available at other branches of Tokyo Banana in Tokyo including Shinagawa, Ueno, Ebina, and elsewhere. A must-grab to take home if you’re travelling to Tokyo.
©2020 Pokémon. ©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc. /GAME FREAK inc.
Pokémon Tokyo Banana Tokyo Station
Location: JR Tokyo Station
Grand Opening: December 10, 2020
Opening Hours: 7:00-21:00 (Subject to change)
Official Website: https://tokyobanana.jp/products/banana_pokemon.html
Disney’s Fantasia Gets Sweets Collection by Tokyo Banana
22.October.2020 | FOOD
GRAPESTONE is releasing a new sweets collection at Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana, which is located in Tokyo Station, in collaboration with the Disney classic Fantasia. The confections will be released in limited quantities from October 30, 2020.
© Disney Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana JR Tokyo Station
Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana opened on the JR Line side of Tokyo Station in November of last year. The shop is a joint-collaboration with Tokyo Banana—the official souvenir sweet of Tokyo—and Disney. The shop sold over 100,000 products in the first week of its opening, and caught the attention of Disney fans on social media who described the shop and the packaging of their sweets as cute.
Disney Fantasia Chocolate Sandwich (Contains 28) | ¥3,024 (Tax Included)
The cute packaging features Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the 1940 animated film Fantasia. The light and crunchy cat tongue cookies at filled with chocolate banana milk shake flavoured cream
The confections serve as the perfect gift or souvenir from Japan to yourself or any fan of Disney.
Disney Fantasia Chocolate Sandwich
Running: October 30, 2020 – Mid December 2020
Available: Disney SWEETS COLLECTION by Tokyo Banana JR Tokyo Station
Purchasing: 70 available per day, max 2 per person
Official Website: https://www.tokyobanana.jp/disney/index.html
Solo Sauna Tune: Tokyo’s New Privacy Guaranteed Finnish-Style Sauna
30.September.2020 | SPOT
Solo Sauna Tune is a new sauna that offers “total privacy” which is set to open its first branch inside UNPLAN Kagurazaka in Tokyo this November.
Most sauna facilities in Japan cater to groups, but at Solo Sauna Tune, all guests are given their own space where they can undress, bathe, and relax in their own private room. This is especially desirable during the current pandemic where social distancing is paramount, and is a great opportunity for people not wanting to travel in groups.
The solo saunas are heated using sauna stoves imported from Finland. Adding water to the sauna stones lets guests control the amount of steam in the room so they can adjust as they like. There is also a Japanese white birch aroma provided to the löyly (Finnish for ‘steam’).
Guests can also cool off in cold water. The Chiller provides water at 15℃. There are also overhead showers for cooling down, and the showerheads can be adjusted to make the water come out like mist.
The relaxation area is coloured in a stylish black where guests can kick back for a while.
After using the sauna, guests can visit the powder room where there are a varieties of free amenities. There’s also a café which serves craft beers, food, and other treats.
Solo Sauna Tune
Address: UNPLAN Kagurazaka, 23-1 Tenjincho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Grand Opening November 2020
Opening Hours: TBA
Access: 3-minutes on foot from Kagurazaka Station / 7-minutes on foot from Edogawabashi Station / 9-minutes on foot from Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station
Official Website: https://www.solosauna-tune.com/
Fufu Nara: The First Luxury Hotel Set to Open in Nara Park is Designed by Kengo Kuma
09.June.2020 | SPOT
Fufu Nara is set to be the first luxury hotel to open inside Nara Park on June 5, 2020. Designed by industry-leading Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the hotel promises a unique dining experience with food served using herbal medicines that can only be tasted here, and guest rooms that are covered in art made by Nara-based artists who use traditional techniques. Both the dining and accommodation experiences aim to immerse guests in the culture of Nara.
Witness the handiwork of Nara’s artists
Nara is a city steeped with beautiful history and culture. This has been captured by the artists who have collaborated with Fufu Nara in the form of paintings, crafts, entrance decorations, and more. A stay at Fufu Nara is an opportunity to witness first hand the deep traditions and techniques of Nara’s art world.
There are 30 rooms in total which are split into five different types. For example, one room type is designed around the old Japanese style of sitting on the floor. Inks and woods are used in the room to enhance that feeling that you’re in Nara, and the colour tones too are chosen to bring to mind the ancient city.
Fufu Nara’s dining concept
Nara Prefecture is closely tied to herbal medicines. Herbal medicine came about in the year 611 during the monarch of Empress Suiko. It is written in the Nihon Shoki that the use of herbal medicine had already been adopted by the time Prince Shōtoku was serving under the Empress. Many different traditional herbal medicines are still used in Nara today, including Angelica root, shakuyaku peonies, fennel, and so on. Traditional herbal medicines have become popular again in the prefecture in recent years.
The food prepared at Nara Fufu makes use of ingredients grown and produced in Nara, from vegetables to herbs and beyond. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all incorporate Japanese and Chinese herbal ingredients.
Spa by sisley
The hotel also has a spa made in collaboration with French luxury skin care brand Sisley. There, guests can enjoy Fufu Nara’s medicated baths.
Address: 1184-1 Takabatakecho, Nara, Nara Prefecture
Grand Opening: June 5, 2020
Price: From ¥77,000 (for 1 night and 2 meals for 2 guests in 1 room) *Tax and service charge included; spa charged separately
Official Website: https://fufunara.jp
Join Kawaii Virtual Traveller Emma on Her Global Sightseeing Tour
While the world is on lockdown, embark on a global adventure from the comfort of your own home with kawaii virtual character Emma.
The newly-launched EMMA Travel project follows the adventures of Emma as she travels from country to country, discovering and learning new things.
Satisfying your thirst for adventure couldn’t have been easier. Emma will be uploading pictures of her adventures to Instagram so you can enjoy travelling without leaving your house. All her travels will be documented in English to cater to foreigners who are eagerly awaiting the chance to visit Japan.
While global lockdown measures are still in place, join Emma as she takes you on a virtual tour of must-visit sightseeing locations.
EMMA Travel Instagram
Make Authentic Matcha at Home With the New Ippukubox Set
25.April.2020 | FOOD
TAKAHASHI KOGEI has launched a new matcha making set called the Ippukubox which comes with everything you need to make authentic Japanese matcha.
For many of us, our time indoors has increased. When taking a break from remote work we head to the kitchen to make ourselves a drink. We’ve all had those moments when we’re torn between making coffee, black tea, herbal tea, and so on. In those undecided moments, why not try making a cup of matcha instead?
The Ippukubox is a 15cm box which comes with all the necessary gear for making mathca: a chawan cup, chasen tea whisk, chashaku teaspoon, and a natsume tea caddy for preserving your matcha.
The inside of the box is lined with Echizen paper from Fukui Prefecture which not only makes it look beautiful, but protects your matcha tools from becoming damaged as a result of rubbing together.
Generally in Japan, when you think about making matcha, the traditional tea ceremony springs to mind which follows strict rules when it comes to making the drink. But the Ippukubox is made for personal use, and so you can add as much or as little matcha or hot water as you like, and practice making it even if you don’t know the proper techniques. You can even add hot milk to make a matcha latte and enjoy a tasty treat with it.
The chawan teacup is Echizen ware from Fukui and was made specially for the Ippukubox. Its cute size makes it fit perfectly in the palm of your hand, but it’s also spacious enough for using the whisk.
The outside design of the box is also made in such a way that it fits seamlessly into modern living and dining spaces. Each wooden box is handcrafted individually and is layered in a matte coating to protect the wood.
*This chawan teacup is different to the one included in the set
The lid of the box can even be used as a tray as pictured above to fit your drink and snack.
Release Date: May 15, 2020
Price: ¥13,000 (Before Tax)
Official Website: https://o-takahashikogei.com
*Please note that the Ippukubox does not come with matcha or snacks.
1→10, Inc. Brings Magical Shores Interactive Land Art to Siloso Beach in Singapore
19.April.2020 | SPOT
Japanese creative studio 1→10, Inc. opened up Singapore’s first ever permanent interactive land art exhibition “Magical Shores” on January 23 this year together with Lighting Planners Associates (LPA), a lighting company based in both Tokyo and Singapore.
Magical Shores spans 400 meters of Sentosa’s Siloso Beach, turning it into an immersive, multi-sensory experience of AI-operated lights and sounds which elevate the beauty of the surrounding natural environment.
Guide To Magical Shores | Siloso Beach, Sentosa:
AI technology responds to visitors on the beach, giving them a breathtaking and unique performance. Sensors are dotted around the area which use sensing data to react based on people’s movement around the beach. The AI is constantly developing as it collects big data about the temperature and climate of Siloso Beach as well as that of people’s movements.
In two of the interactive areas, people can witness the “Circle of Life” beginning with the big bang. After that there is magma, followed by heavy rainfall and eventually flowing water which gives birth to life. Cells divide as plants begin to sprout, fish swim in the sea, and birds and insects sing in the mountains. At the end, life falls, and the process begins again.
Japanese musician Masakatsu Takagi was put in charge of the music and sound design of the exhibition. Takagi is known for having written the music for Wolf Children and The Boy and the Beast. He took inspiration from his music project “Marginalia,” a sound diary where he would record the sounds of birds, insects, the wind, rain, and so on from his studio window. Takagi did field recording on the beach to capture the sounds of nature to use for the art exhibition.
Kuniyuki Takahashi also offered his musicianship to the exhibition. Based in Sapporo, he is an internationally-recognised composer. He also recorded the sounds of Siloso Beach, and together with Takagi, created the perfect soundtrack for Magical Shores.
Magical Shores is currently temporarily closed as a result of the coronavirus but will resume once more as soon as the situation allows it.
Official Website: https://www.sentosa.com.sg/magical-shores
Yowamushi Pedal Anime’s ‘Five Bridges of Amakusa’ Ranks Number One in Places People Want to Visit Most
17.April.2020 | SPOT
Seikatsu Guide, and online website that helps support and promote local regions around Japan, has announced its Top 10 selection for “Places I Most Want To Go And See (Western Japan)” as voted for by people.
Right now, most of us are under lockdown and are prohibited from making trips deemed unnecessary. So why not make a list of places you want to visit for when we can next travel? One of those places should be the Five Bridges of Amakusa in Kumamoto Prefecture.
“Yowamushi Pedal” Anime | Five Bridges of Amakusa in Kumamoto
Taking the number one spot on the list is Five Bridges of Amakusa which is located in Kamiamakusa, Kumamoto. As the name suggests, five bridges make up the landmark, all of which stretch from Misumimachi and connect to Oyano Island, Nagaura Island, Oike Island, and Maejima Island. The bridges are a famous sightseeing spot and have been chosen as one of Japan’s “100 Best Evening Spots” and “100 Best Roads.”
One woman in her 30’s said, “I’ve been there on numerous occasions. It’s a really beautiful place.” A man in his 30’s also commented, “I love the [Yowamushi Pedal] manga. If you’re going as a fan, that scene is really exciting, so I went there on my bike.”
Comment from the person in charge of the Kamiamakusa Planning Committee
“Thank you for honouring us with 1st place in this […] ranking. Five Bridges of Amakusa features as the location for the race in the Yowamushi Pedal movie. It gets its name from its five bridges which connect the islands along National Route 266. The area is also nicknamed ‘Amakusa Pearl Line’ for the abundance of pearls that can be found here. It was also selected as one of Japan’s 100 Roads. It’s a truly beautiful bridge which is also an example of Japan’s fine bridge building craftsmanship.”
They continue: “Amakusa is surrounded by the beautiful ocean and spectacular mountains. Most of the city is located in Unzen-Amakusa National Park. There are islands that sit atop the glistening sea, and there’s the Amakusa Alps which offer a spectacular view. It hails as one of Japan’s best places for nature! There are many fun outdoor activities to experience, like dolphin watching, kayaking, cycling, and more. We have incredible food like kuruma prawns, which are a speciality food here, as well as free range local chickens. You can relax your mind and body with a dip in the hot springs while gazing at the ocean. Please be sure to drop by Kamiamakusa to enjoy everything it has to offer.”
Other places that ranked on the list include the following.
2nd Place – “Manpuku” TV Drama | Porto Europe, Wakayama
3rd Place – STU48 Promotional Video | Chichibugahama Beach, Kagawa
4th Place – “Yatsuhakamura” Movie | Makido Cave, Okayama
5th Place – “Segodon” TV Drama | Tatsumonjizaka Trail (Ryumonjizaka), Kagoshima
Top 10 Ranking: https://www.seikatsu-guide.com/rank_minna/result/11/
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/