THE HIRAMATSU Kyoto is a New Luxury Hotel On Muromachi Street Renovated From a Traditional Townhouse

09.March.2020 | SPOT

The new luxury hotel THE HIRAMATSU Kyoto is set to open along Muromachi Street in Kyoto on March 18, 2020.

“Explore and indulge your curiosity” is the hotel’s concept

The hotel aims to create a place that encourages guests to explore and indulge their curiosities, and one that welcomes and treasures its guests in a way that only THE HIRAMATSU Kyoto can.

 

Built from a traditional Edo Period Kyoto-style townhouse

THE HIRAMATSU Kyoto sits pretty much in the heart of Kyoto, and is just a three-minute stroll from Karasuma Oike Station. It faces Muromachi Streetーa street that has long thrived when it comes to trade. The hotel is renovated from an old townhouse that has been around since the Edo Period, and it has been made sure that it hasn’t lost that traditional design.

 

Nakamura Sotoni Komu: A contemporary craftsman

To progress with the renovation work, THE HIRAMATSU KYOTO called on board the executive building director of Kyoto’s famous craftsman company Nakamura Sotoni Komu, who lent their skill to effect the effort.

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  • See 3,000 Rhododendrons in Full Bloom at the Tsutsuji Garden by Lake Ashi in Hakone

    29.March.2020 | SPOT

    May is the most colourful time of the year at Hotel de Yama near Lake Ashi in Hakone, when a total of 3,000 rhododendronsーcomprised of 30 different typesーbloom their beautiful flowers in the large Tsutsuji Garden, where one can enjoy a great view of Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi.

     

    Tsutsuji Garden at Hotel de Yama

    “Tsutsuji” is the Japanese word for rhododendron. The Tsutsuji Garden at Hotel de Yama was once the villa of Koyata Iwasaki, “the fourth and last president of a unified Mitsubishi.” During that time, numerous varieties of rhododendrons were planted in the garden, which have since been maintained. There are plants amongst them that are over 100-years-old, ones that tower over the human stature, and more; with petals that bloom pink, red, purple, and white.

     

    A combined view of the kaleidoscopic rhododendrons and Mount Fuji

    The staff who are experts on the garden have set up two photo frame stands in two of the best spots in the garden for taking picturesque photos. Snap some Instagrammable and memories with the colourful rhododendrons and Mount Fuji together.

    Rhododendron Desserts: Saison a colorier – ¥1,634 / Tea Set – ¥2,360 (Before Tax)

    Salon de thé Rosage, the dessert restaurant that sits in front of the hotel, is serving up a new special dessert called “Saison a colorier” in line with the full bloom of the rhododendrons. It captures the colourful pink, red, white, and purple appearance of the flowers, and looks like a mini version of the hotel’s garden on your plate. The main part of the dessert is the tea mousse, which has a bright red colour as it is coated beautifully in a strawberry puree nappage. The tea used in the mouse is an original rhododendron blend exclusive to the restaurant.


    The white rhododendron dessert is a macaron that’s filled with raspberry sorbet. The red which contrasts with the white is a rhododendron milk tea cream and fresh raspberries. The rest of the plate is adorned with pink jelly and edible flowers. The perfect afternoon tea to finish off your time at Tsutsuji Garden.

  • Coronavirus in Japan: Kaname Inn Tatemachi in Kanazawa Offers Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home

    29.March.2020 | SPOT

    Kaname Inn Tatemachi, a hotel in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, has announced a project named “Room for rescue” which will offer free accommodation to foreigners unable to travel back to their home countries from Japan due to lockdowns and restrictions from going outside as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

    With flights cancelled around the world, there is no way for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans and extend their stay. They are living their days in constant worry, both financially and mentally. To ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, free accommodation is becoming available to those who meet certain prescribed conditions.

     

    In response to the decreasing number of tourists, Kaname Inn Tatemachi opened its doors to Japanese citizens through Facebook for free accommodation to help support businesses like local restaurants that could no longer make a living. They received a lot of guests, as well as a request from a friend who asked if someone from the Netherlands could stay there because they couldn’t get back to their country. This sparked the “Room for rescue” project for stranded foreign tourists to stay at Kaname Inn Tatemachi for free too.

     

    Kaname Inn Tatemachi is using its own funds to pay for the project and allow free stay. However, doing this long term will put strain on the business, so to help pay for hotel use and staff’s wages, the hotel has opened up a crowd funding page which you can find here.

  • 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

    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

    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.

  • Feel Like You’re Living On Okinawa’s Taketomi Island With HOSHINOYA’s New ‘Workation’ Hotel Plan

    27.March.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island in Okinawa rolled out a new hotel plan on March 18 that’s set to run until June 30 this year.

    Taketomi Island can be said to be home to landscape of what Okinawa used to be, with the Ryukyuan red roof tiles of its buildings, stone walls, and alleys spread with coral sand. Someone plucks away at a three-stringed sanshinーthe Okinawan precursor to the mainland shamisenーas time flows with gentle ease on the island. Taketomi Island is rich in traditional culture which can be felt throughout.

     

    The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island emulate the island’s traditional architecture. All guest rooms have south-facing windows that can be opened to let in the southern winds, which the local islanders say are lucky. HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island developed its new workation plan in response to the current situation when more people are having to do remote work and work from home. It enables people a private abode where they can work and relax simultaneously. And all the necessary amenities have been prepared for a workation.

    The guest rooms at HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island are known as guest pavilions, which allow for you feel like you’re living like a real islander. They are equipped with Wi-Fi, printers, pand photocopiers too, making it the perfect work environment. And you don’t have to worry about hay fever as there are no Japanese cedar or cypress trees around.

    The pavilions offer a beautiful view of the bright blue sky and sea. The beaches are also open from March, so you can take a dip in the springtime sea too while basking in the warm climate.

  • Japan’s First Guest House Meiji Kinenkan Officially Designated as Tangible Cultural Property

    27.March.2020 | SPOT

    Meiji Kinenkan, located in Minato, Tokyo, was officially designated as a Tangible Cultural Property this month.

    Meiji Kinenkan was built in 1881 as a dining and reception hall used for receiving important guests from abroad to the Akasaka Temporary Palace. In October 1881, a dinner was held at the site with Prince Albert Victor and Prince George who visited Japan that autumn. Five years later, in 1886, Empress Shōken received foreign guests in Western clothing for the first time. In 1888, a meeting attended by Emperor Meiji was held to discuss the draft of the Constitution, which is represented in artwork you can see on the walls of Meiji Kinenkan. During the construction of Meiji Jingu Gaien in 1918, Meiji Kinenkan was dedicated to Meiji Jingu from the Ito family and relocated to where it stands today. Before the war, the building was known as the “Constitution Memorial Hall” and was used for events related to the Imperial Family. It was renamed “Meiji Kinenkan” in 1947 and became a wedding hall of Meiji Jingu.

     

    Dining hall used as the stage for Emperor Meiji’s Imperial Court diplomacy

    Golden roosters flutter on the walls around the black-lacquered mantle piece mirror

    This building was used for court diplomacy under Emperor Meiji. Located on the grounds of Meiji Kinenkan, its interior exemplifies the idea of “Modern Meiji.” It has survived two relocations, the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923, and the Second World War. The lavish decor is a harmonious fusion of the traditional and the modern, with the overhead chandeliers, golden roosters, and mantle piece with its black lacquering and towering mirror.

     

    Overlooking the garden, offering not only a modern cafe experience but banquets too

    The Meiji Kinenkan Main Building was designated as an Tangible Cultural Property for its 100+ years of history, honouring its historical background, cultural role, and value as a building. Today, it is used for many different things, from a wedding reception to a venue for company parties.

    On weekdays, it is mainly used for its “kinkei” lounge, a spacious area that faces a gorgeous green garden planted with a variety of flowers that bloom through the seasons. Its interior decor also has history, such as its ceiling which is a reflection of the Meiji Period. They even serve cake from Meiji Kinenkan’s original sweets brand “Kaminomi no Mori” and coffee.

  • Witness Mount Fuji and Fully Bloomed Cherry Blossoms at HOSHINOYA Fuji

    24.March.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Fuji is offering a very special Hanami flower-viewing experience for guests from April 7 to 21 this year where they can observe the springtime cherry blossoms against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Offers include cherry blossom desserts, a glamping experience inside a cabin eating curry while enjoying the scenery of the outdoors, a private outdoor dining dinner, and more.

     

    HOSHINOYA Fuji hails as Japan’s first luxury camping resort. Located on the hill overlooking Lake Kawaguchi near Mount Fuji. It offers the ultimate glamping experience, with a large outdoor terrace surrounded by nature, cabins that can be enjoyed throughout the year, and more. It’s difficult to go out and enjoy the cherry blossoms on the streets right now, but if you’d still like to enjoy spring safely with your special someone, then HOSHINOYA Fuji has created a special springtime experience.

     

    Sakura Apéro: Witness the cherry blossoms during sunset with desserts in hand

    “Sakura Apéro” is a chance to take a breather and enjoy all the beauties nature has to offer. It is held in the cabin area of HOSHINOYA Fuji under the towering cherry blossom trees. Sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening treat of cherry blossom flavoured bean paste rice cake, a cup of matcha milk or a matcha cocktail, and a front row seat of the cherry blossoms as the sun sets.

     

    Hanami on the terrace

    HOSHINOYA Fuji’s cabina area is built in such a way so that guests can enjoy an outdoor experience. One third of the cabin has a terrace area with an enormous window that looks out into the natural landscape. A fireplace and kotatsu is available so you can still enjoy the outdoors even inside while relaxing with a comfortable stay into the late nights. Some of the cabins offer a view of the surrounding cherry blossom trees, inviting spring into your room.

     

    Curry made on one of Mount Fuji’s lava plates

    At HOSHINOYA Fuji, guests can enjoy outdoor cooking in luxury be it in one of the cabins or the dining restaurant in the forest. Those who want to relax in a cabin are recommended the “Glamping Curry” at the terrace. You grill beef and vegetables yourself on a Mount Fuji lava plate and can combine five spices of your choice to create your own original flavour. In the outdoor dining area, which is exclusive to groups of guests, game meat is also served, such as boar and deer, as well as seasonal vegetables prepared in a dutch oven. For dessert, there’s cherry blossom flavoured ice cream. You can also make your own strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries over a fire to pour over your ice cream before topping it with matcha crumbles.

     

    Due to the ongoing situation surrounding the coronavirus, all guest rooms and public areas at all HOSHINOYA facilities are being thoroughly cleaned in line with the recommended guidelines to ensure the health and safety of guests and staff. Alcohol gel is available at all HOSHINOYA facilities, and staff’s health and hygiene are being consistently examined.

  • Dine in Luxury With Truffle Toast at Patisserie SATSUKI in Hotel New Otani Osaka

    22.March.2020 | FOOD

    If you’re looking to indulge yourself during your trip to Japan, and happen to be staying in Osaka, then Hotel New Otani Osaka’s pastry shop Patisserie SATSUKI has you covered with their new “Spring Truffle Toast” which is made with Bianchetto truffles. Only 5 servings are served per dayーand 10 on weekends and public holidays.

     

    The arrival of Japan’s unprecedented bread boom

    In recent years, Japan as a country has seen a boom in the baking and serving of bread. NOGAMI, a bread shop in Osaka, is credited with lighting the fire of the “shokupan” boom, a type of fluffy bread in Japan. This has resulted in many more shops opening selling shokupan. In spring 2017, Hotel New Otani Osaka decided it wanted the people of Kansai to buzz about high quality shokupan too, so it developed its French-inspired “Spring Truffle Toast.” Since releasing, the bread has continued to sell out, and if you don’t place an order for one you won’t be able to get your hands on it. Their tasty truffle toast has returned again this year.

     

    Premium toast with loaded truffle

    Spring Truffle Toast With Bianchetto Truffles – ¥1,500 Per Loaf (Before Tax)

    The ambrosial Spring Truffle Toast lacks nothing when it comes to taste, texture, and smell. The ingredients used to make ordinary bread like eggs, milk, and butter aren’t used for the shop’s Spring Truffle Toast. Instead, strong flour, yeast, water, and finely chopped spring truffles are used. To bring out even more flavour, truffle butter, pure olive oil, and shortening is used.


    The same goes for the crustーeggs and milk aren’t used like in ordinary bread. And to prevent the bread from drying out, more time and labour is put into kneading the dough. A lava pot is used to bake the dough. By using far infrared to heat it, it makes the finished bread nice and chewy.


    The shop’s head chef wanted to ensure that the bread’s fragrant smell is preserved when you take the lid off, and so the entire loaf is lathered in truffle oil, which also gives it a moist taste.

     

    The bread can be toasted and enjoyed on its own, and you’re guaranteed great flavour and smell, but you can take it to the next level by topping it with a fried egg or scrambled egg to create an extraordinary and filling meal.

     

    These truffles can only be harvested in spring

    Truffles are a delicacy in kitchens around the world. The types used for the Spring Truffle Toast are Bianchetto. They are a very popular traditional truffle of Italy and can only be harvested from mid-March to April. As a result, they are extremely rare in Japan, making the toast that much more special.

  • Hoshino Resorts to Open New KAI Poroto Ryokan in Hokkaido in Winter 2021

    20.March.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts, which manages 42 ryokan inside and outside Japan serving Japanese tradition and culture, signed a partnership agreement with the town of Shiraoi in Hokkaido on June 28, 2018, which would have them open a hot spring ryokan there. It has been revealed that the new facility will be named Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto.

     

    Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. Built by Japanese architect Hiroshi Nakamura, the site will open its doors in winter 2021 as the 19th branch of Hoshino Resorts’s hot spring ryokan brand KAI, of which it operates 16 in Japan. It will be the third branch of KAI in Hokkaido, following from Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu in Shimukappu village and Hoshino Resorts OMO7 Asahikawa.

     

    Hot springs in Shiraoi, Hokkaido include moor springs, a type of organic spring water that is rare globally. KAI Poroto faces Poroto Lake, which is enveloped in nature and home to creatures such as wild birds. All rooms at the ryokan enjoy a view of the lake, as well as a chance to see the trees and flowers bloom and change in different colours throughout the seasons.


    KAI’s aim is to offer Japanese hospitality that can only be experienced in that town or city, and during that season, as well as to give guests a comfortable experience in a Japanese-style accommodation. At KAI Poroto, they are set to offer a completely new experience tied to Ainu culture in collaboration with the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park currently in development in Shiraoi.

     

    Upopoy is scheduled to open at Lake Poroto on April 24, 2020. “Upopoy” is a word in the Ainu language that means “singing in a large group.” The museum is the first national museum in Japan to be dedicated to the indigenous Ainu people. It will serve as the national center for the revival and development of Ainu culture, something which is on the verge of extinction, and it will do this by showcasing Ainu culture and history through exhibitions, hands-on programmes, performances, and more.

     

    Hiroshi Nakamura is the architects that designed Hoshino Resorts KAI Poroto. “Poroto” is also a word in Ainu to mean “large lake.” The ryokan’s lobby, which is decorated with Japanese white birch, offers a view of the lake and Mount Tarumae. There are also small bath houses called kashi which have been made using Ainu architectural methods, as well as open-air baths that have you feeling like you’re taking a dip in the lake.

  • Experience Hanami and Cherry Blossoms With Digital Art at FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura –

    18.March.2020 | SPOT

    FLOWERS BY NAKED is an annual flower-themed digital art event held by NAKED Inc. As part of this year’s event, FLOWERS BY NAKED 2020 – Sakura –, a special addendum event entitled “Nijo Castle Sakura Matsuri” will take place during the evenings at the World Heritage Site Nijo Castle From March 20 to April 12 this year.

    FLOWERS BY NAKED is an interactive digital art experience. It has been held at Nijo Castle during the autumns of 2018 and 2019, but this will be the event’s first time being held in Kyoto during the spring season. 2020’s theme is cherry blossoms, and this will be showcased in a number of wonderful ways.

     

    Prologue | NAKED BIG BOOK

    “NAKED BIG BOOK, a monument of the beginning of this exhibition, will show collaboration works by an artist Ryotaro Muramatsu and a photographer LESLIE KEE. LESLIE KEE contained energy into photographs as the quiet expression, and Ryotaro Muramatsu reinterprets his works to dynamic photography art.​”

     

    Arrival of Spring | Kara-mon Gate (Important Cultural Property)

    “Projection mapping expresses the coming of Spring on Karamon-Gate as an important cultural property.”

     

    Flowers Wall ~ SAKURA ~ | Inner Moat

    “Projection mapping of impressive sakura on the moats in Nijo-jo Castle. The landscape will transition following sakura.”

     

    Sakura Droplets | Seiryu-en Garden

    “A mystical space surrounded by real sakura where bubbles confined spring fragrance float as the sakura droplet.​ ​”

     

    The event is working on countermeasures against the coronavirus, such as installing disinfectants and having staff wear masks. It requests that visitors take normal measures against the infection such as cough etiquette and washing your hands. Click here for more information.

  • 3D Character at Narita International Airport Exhibition Lectures On Japanese Culture & History in Multiple Languages

    16.March.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    The National Museum of Japanese History’s 3D character Momi-chan has been set up at the “Hikaru Edozu de Kanjiru Nihon” exhibition taking place at Narita International Airport. She is appears via Gatebox, a projection tube that uses the latest projection and sensory technology.

    “Momi-chan” – The National Museum of Japanese History’s 3D Character

    Gatebox

    The exhibition is a showcase of folding screens owned by The National Museum of Japanese History with pictures of Edo art on them. It hopes to promote an interest in Japanese history and culture to both foreign tourists travelling to Japan as well as Japanese travellers.

     

    Momi-chan can speak in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. If you’re travelling through Narita International Airport, be sure to pay her a visit for an insightful lesson.

  • Popular Yakiniku Restaurant Futago to Open New Branch at THE JUNEI HOTEL in Kyoto

    14.March.2020 | FOOD

    FTG Company, which operates 74 restaurants inside and outside Japan, is set to open its new restaurant Nikukappou Futago at THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto in Higashiyama, Kyoto on March 27, 2020 where it will serve authentic Japanese wagyu beef and full courses.

     

    THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto is a small luxury tourist hotel housing eleven rooms in total, including its Bamboo Suite. Bamboo can be found throughout all the rooms as part of the hotel’s concept: “A sojourn embraced by bamboo in a moonlit space.” The rooms, as well as the hotel interior overall, showcases beautiful traditional handiwork using bamboo.

    Inside Nikukappou Futago

    Nikukappou Futago fuses traditional Japanese elements with modern ones. It features half-size eating areas as well as private areas. Customers can expect their private dining experience to include freshly-cooked full courses with high quality Japanese wagyu and seasonal ingredients.

    Menu in Japanese *Menu will change monthly

    Nikukappou Futago’s concept is “A relaxed adult’s Iki.” The word iki here refers to a range of different meanings in Japanese, like “sophistication,” “breath,” “spirit,” and “life.” The restaurant will work to serve a hospitable service that enables each and every person to enjoy that iki that lives inside them.

    Foie Gras & Wagyu Filet Mouthful Bowl

    Wagyu Loin & Kyoto Vegetable Shabu-shabu

    The course is made with seasonal ingredients and vegetables. Plus, in using a range of cooking methods, the original flavour meat of the meat is intensified.

    Wagyu Sirloin Sumiyaki

    Enjoy a selection of high-quality rare wagyu cuts like sirloin, filet, loin, and more. You can also enjoy a selection of classic Japanese dishes like yakiniku, shabu-shabu, and sukiyaki, all in one course.

    Like the changing seasons in Kyoto, the menu will be altered every month to bring something new. Discover your iki and enjoy a great meal at Nikukappou Futago.

  • Only Kyoto’s Locals Know About This Beautiful Hidden Firefly Spot

    13.March.2020 | SPOT

    Last year, The GrandWest Arashiyamaーa hotel in Arashiyama, Kyotoーhosted a special firefly tour to huge success. It was so well received that the hotel is bringing the tour back again this year. It will be held for three days, from May 29 to 31, with bookings available starting this month.

     

    The tour was particularly well-received with foreign guests who were staying at the hotel, and who had never seen a firefly before. It takes place after sunset, where hotel staff take guests on a mini tour to a little-known-good-spot that only the locals know about where you can see fireflies in Kyoto.

     

    The idea behind the tour was conceived by a hotel staff member who lives in Kyoto and spotted the fireflies at a nearby temple. That staff member had never seen fireflies before, and it was the first time since moving to Kyoto that they’d seen them in the wild like that. The number of wild fireflies is actually decreasing each year in Japan, and converselyーdespite them being a symbol of summertime in Japanーthe number of people who have never actually seen them is on the rise. The tour was created to tackle this fact by having hotel guests experiencing a part of Japanese summer.

     

    The target audience for the 2019 tour was parents with small children, which was to be held for three days, but the number of bookings shot up for the entire duration, with 80% of them being from hotel guests from foreign countries. Numerous guests from China said that they had seen fireflies in anime and games before, and that kids and adults knew about them, but that there aren’t many places in China where you can see them for real so many of them had never seen them.

     

    Fireflies can only inhabit places where the water is clean. Because of this, it’s becoming harder to see them not just in Japan, but around the world. This includes Kyoto, where the number decreases year by year. If you’re travelling to Kyoto at the end of May, then don’t miss out on this rare and exciting opportunity.

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