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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  • Hoshino Resorts OMO3 Kyoto To-ji Opens For Business

    23.April.2021 | SPOT

    The all-new Hoshino Resorts OMO3 Kyoto To-ji hotel opened its doors on April 15, 2021, welcoming guests to the surrounding area home to To-ji, Kyoto’s famous Shingon Buddhist temple. The hotel’s concept is “The Heart’s Trip Through Time and Space,” and aims to showcase to guests the sights and wonders of the To-ji area. The temple itself, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is just a 5-mintue walk from the hotel.

     

    To-ji has a long history dating back to 796 when it was founded. Its 1,200 year or so history has spanned multiple periods of Japanese history. In 823, the Emperor Saga honoured the Japanese monk Kukai and bestowed the temple to him. Kukai made To-ji the central seminary of esoteric Buddhism and built various buildings such as the pagoda and halls. Since then, To-ji has been the headquarters of this esoteric sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is a hot spot for tourists and a sight many have most likely seen when looking up must-visit locations around Kyoto.

    Inside the hotel

    A delightful assortment of menu items

    A stroll around To-ji

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    Two artworks: “Mandala Art” and “Hohoemi Wall”

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    Deepen your knowledge at the Shinbashira book table

    OMO Hotels introduce their guests to the local area’s secrets, allowing them to jump right in to all that’s on offer. It acts as a resort of sorts with the hotel at the centre and the local sights within walking distance. To enjoy all there is to see, OMO offers the Go-KINJO tour guide service which comes in two forms: Go-KINJO Map and Go-KINJO Activity. Both have guests led by an OMO Ranger who are experts in the area and will take guests to see various locations while providing commentary.

     

    On their tour, guests can learn all there is to know about the To-ji area, both past and present. That includes information about famous local stores not listed in guidebooks. It’s an opportunity to discover the true To-ji area from when the temple was built to today by actually walking around seeing the sights yourself.

  • Kyoto’s New Hotel Tou Opens For Business

    22.April.2021 | SPOT

    ‘hotel tou nishinotoin kyoto by withceed’ is a new hotel in Kyoto managed by Withceed Hospitality Management that held its grand opening on April 20, 2021.

    Located just a 10-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station, the hotel is situated between Nishi Hongan-ji and Higashi Hongan-ji, two temples and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The hotel’s concept is Oku (奥) which is Japanese for “deep,” “interior,” or being at the “heart” of something. Its aim is to offer guests a place to dive deep into Kyoto’s traditions and culture in a space that puts great focus on its interior design.


    The design is built around themes of ‘light and shadow,’ ‘distance,’ and ‘gloss’ which expresses the notion of depth. The lattice windows and sliding doors pour in natural light, and the single boulder makes one think of being in a garden. It’s a design to tickle the senses and imagination which in turn lets guests feel the depth of culture and being deep within the space.

    The hotel has its own cafe/bar fusion called ‘cafe&bar oku’ which serves food and drinks from a range of Kyoto restaurants and cafes such Kyoto-style meicha tea from Ippodo Chaho, a tea shop that first established back in 1717, as well as a traditional Japanese breakfast rice porridge called okaisan made using Hachidai Megihei rice, and more. Customers can also enjoy drinks from Allpress Espresso, a New Zealand speciality coffee roaster setting up shop in Japan for the first time.

  • Experience a Hotel Camping Experience at Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto

    14.April.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto is collaborating outdoor recreation product brand Coleman to launch the Hotel Camp Buffet which will run from May 1 to August 31 at the hotel.

     

    Guests can enjoy a fusion of the hotel and camping experiences as Coleman provides their tents, tables, chairs, and other outdoor items to be used at Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto. The hotel chef, Honda, has also conceived a camp buffet for guests to enjoy at both lunchtime and dinnertime.

     

    The hotel is carrying out all necessary measures against COVID-19 including providing guests with a how-to breakdown at all tables, providing alcohol spray, mouth guards with the Coleman logo so guests can enjoy dining and talking, and more.

     

    Coleman x Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto Hotel Camp Buffet

    Individual Room Plan | Capacity: 4-6 People

    Enjoy a camping buffet with tents, chairs, and other camping goods provided by Coleman. Everything will already be set up for guests to enjoy.

     

     

    Lunch & Dinner Buffet Menus

    Dinner

    ・Beef churrasco in black pepper

    ・Chicken paella

     

    Lunch

    ・Frankfurt and smoked berry ham

     

    Lunch & Dinner

    ・Meat and potato cottage pie

    ・Atlantic salmon wood plank grill

    ・Croque-madame style hot ham and cheese sandwich

    ・Spare ribs in BBQ sauce

  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Holds Wisteria Event in Japan to Ward Off Demons

    07.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Keifuku Electric Railroad launched an event on Boxing Day last year in Japan in collaboration with the TV anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The event is still taking place and is set to end on April 11.

     

    At Arashiyama Station on the Randen Line, there is a temporary area draped with wisteria flowers that commuters are encouraged to participate in as part of the collaboration. Built to ward off demons, fans of the anime series can write their own messages to be strung up on the flowers. They can write their thoughts and feelings on the characters and series as well as wishes and prayers for COVID to soon be over for all. It’s been a popular photo spot amongst passengers. And if you head from this area up to the roof, you can gaze out at the incredible view of Arashiyama.

  • The New Disney Kyoto Traditional Design Series Combines Disney With Kyoto Craftsmanship

    05.April.2021 | FASHION / SPOT

    Kyoto City and Japanese company Shintsu are set to release their Disney/Kyoto Traditional Design Series after previously having to postpone the release due to the pandemic. It will be available from April 27 to May 10 and celebrates the skilled, dexterous hands of Kyoto’s expert craftsman and their industry which has been passed down for thousands of years. They have innovated to create something brand-new that captures both the craft and culture of Kyoto and the contemporary wonder of Disney.

     

    Comments from the Creators

    ©Disney

    Okazen | Comment

    “We have existed inside our town in Kyoto for 200 years. We make a variety of items from garments for maiko apprentice geisha to our own company-originals products. For this Disney/Kyoto Traditional Design Series, we wondered how we could express the world of Disney using the kyoyuzen Kyoto-style method of dyeing. We made something with detailed consideration, looking at all the intricate things in the dyeing process. Our Fantasia furisode long-sleeved kimono features a truly treasured scene which enabled use to incorporate many different methods in order to capture the expression, clothing, and all the stars as much as possible. We believe this piece will suck everyone into Fantasia’s world.”

     

    ©Disney

    ©Disney

    Asahido | Comment

    “For producing something for the Disney/Kyoto Traditional Design Series, we asked gave one of our craftsmen free rein to put their own individual self into the work. At the time, they were primarily an illustrator, so we were worried if the judges would overlook them, but the end result was something that looks truly complete and finished. The traditional craftwork of Kiyomizu pottery is a process of hand making and hand drawing each and every little thing. I believe it’s this quality that gives the characters warmth and life. I’d love for people to take it in their hands themselves and take their time looking at it in a full 360°.”

     

    ©Disney

     

    Tsujikura | Comment

    Tsujikura is Japan’s oldest wagasa Japanese umbrella shop. We’ve been in Kyoto since 1690. In that small space underneath the washi Japanese paper and bamboo, one enters a rich world where they can feel the four seasons of Japan. Our umbrella for the Disney/Kyoto Traditional Design Series uses a very advanced technique known as kiritsugi, a type of cutting and patching. We displayed Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on handmade washi paper which we dyed. You can feel an affinity with the umbrellas for their simple and minimal designs. Our aim was to incorporate Disney elements into a traditional Japanese umbrella pattern.”

     

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  • Poké Lid Project Lays Down New Manhole Covers in Kyoto

    05.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Five new Pokémon manhole covers were laid in Kyoto on Tuesday as part of the Poké Lid  project to place Pokémon-design manhole covers across the country.

     

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    The five Poké Lids are located in Arashiyama, Okazaki Park, Maruyama Park, Umekoji Park, and Nishikyogoku Athletic Park.

     

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  • Godzilla vs. Kyoto Event Begins This Spring

    04.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Kyoto Tower is set to be host to the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kyoto event which is running from April 16 to June 30. 

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    Kyoto Tower will hold a stamp rally event as part of Godzilla vs. Kyoto which will have people trying to find stamps in six locations in the tower as well as at Toji Temple and elsewhere. There is also a selection of official merchandise, a Godzilla exhibition, and much more planned.

     

    If you’re in Japan this spring, don’t miss Godzilla taking over Kyoto.

     

    TM & (C) TOHO CO., LTD.

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  • Matcha and Latte Cookies and Drinks Released by Yojiya

    01.April.2021 | FOOD

    Kyoto makeup brand Yojiya is now selling its own collection of snacks and drinks which it released via its website last week.

    Yojiya Matcha Sandwich Cookies | ¥1,400 (Tax Included)

     

    Yojiya Cafe Latte Chocolate Cookies | ¥1,350 (Tax Included)

     

    Yojiya Matcha Milk | ¥950 (Tax Included)

    Yojiya’s snack line-up is made with the idea of being able to enjoy high-quality food products at home. Their collection includes crunchy matcha and cafe latte cookies along with matcha milk, the latter of which is made with famous Uji matcha from Uji, Kyoto. Perfect for a tea/coffee break or as a souvenir.

  • HOSHINOYA Kyoto Announces Traditional Boat Ride Experience With Musical Performance For Guests

    25.March.2021 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto has announced that this summer it will hold its Kyo no Ohayashibune boat-riding service which allows one group of guests to rent a boat on which they will ride down the Ōi River and enjoy a traditional musical performance while tucking into some chimaki bamboo-wrapped cake, a confection seen only during the run of Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri festival.

     

    Experience 1: Traditional hayashi orchestra aboard a Heian aristocratic boat

    One group of guests will board their rented boat at Togetsu Bridge and be taken down the river where they can enjoy the verdant expanse of the valley while listening to a traditional Japanese Gion hayashi musical performance. The Ōi River was formerly a river boated down by Heian nobles who would have waka poetry and orchestral music performed to them on board. HOSHINOYA Kyoto guests will also be able to feel like a Heian aristocrat with this exclusive experience.

     

    Experience 2: The sounds of Konchi Kichin

    Konchi kichin is another Japanese term to express Gion hayashi musical performance. These performances are composed of Japanese gongs, flutes, and taiko drums, which are played on yamaboko floats by several dozen people during processions at the Gion Festival. The boat ride will recreate this experience so guests can enjoy the performance more up close as well as learn how to play the gong.

     

    Experience 3: A taste of chimaki

    Guests will be able to feel like they are at the Gion Festival by kicking back and enjoying a cup of green tea together with a chimaki, a traditional bamboo-wrapped cake that’s only served at the festival. These cakes are often used to decorate the entrances of people’s houses in Kyoto to ward off illness and disasters.

     

    Gion Matsuri is one of Japan’s three biggest festivals. It has been around for over 1,000 years and last a month. When July hits, the Japanese Gion hayashi orchestras begin popping up around the city signalling the start of the festival. It’s a summer tradition of Kyoto and one which can now be enjoyed on board a special boat experience.

  • These Mother’s Day Gifts by Kyoto Brands Offer Well-Deserved Relaxation Time

    14.March.2021 | FOOD

    Japanese company Maruhisa has released a new collection of Mother’s Day gift items which will make for perfect relaxation presents to well-deserving mothers, whether you live with them or have been unable to meet with them for a long time.

     

     

     

    A collection of four items from Kyoto

    The set includes three sweet treats from Kyoto as well as a premium face mask made by a Fushimi-based brewery.

     

    The Set at a Glance

     

    Strawberry Flower Chocolate Cookies (Contains 6)

    These chocolate cookies are a staple Kyoto souvenir. They’re made by buckwheat producer Marutamachi Kawamichiya and are shaped to look like cute flowers.

     

    Matcha Strawberry Chocolate (3 Bags)

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    Chocolate Senbei Rice Cracker Bouquets (Contains 5)

    A tasty delight made by Sekiseika, a maker of Japanese senbei rice crackers that has been around since 1922. This perfect bouquet is made with chocolate cream and topped with crushed almonds.

     

    Fushimi Bijin Premium Face Mask (Contains 1)

    This face mask contains a range of plant-based ingredients such as junmaishu sake made without added alcohol or sugar and coconut water. The junmaishu is provided by Tsukinokatsura, one of the oldest Japanese breweries that was first established in 1675.

     

    Have you bought your Mother’s Day gift yet?

  • Tokyo’s Pixar Exhibition ‘PIXAR! PIXAR! PIXAR!’ to Open in Spring 2021

    11.March.2021 | FASHION / MOVIE / SPOT

    A Japan-original Pixar exhibition by the name of PIXAR! PIXAR! PIXAR! is set to run from April 8-19 at Seibu Ikebukuro in Tokyo. The exhibition is a celebration of all things Pixar Animation Studio and Walt Disney Japan where fans will have the opportunity to glimpse never-before-seen concept art, learn about the secrets of the studio’s office building, hear interviews with Japanese staff who work at the animation studio, and much more.

     

    Pixar fanatics can expect to see all their favourite characters from the filmography such as Monsters Inc.Toy Story, Wall-E, Coco, Finding Nemo, and more. There will be plenty of merchandise to add to the collection too—around 200 pieces in fact—including items with official artwork that has never been made into merch before.

     

    New official artwork illustrated by Pixar Animation Studios for ‘PIXAR! PIXAR! PIXAR!’

     

    The artists at Pixar Animation Studios have created an original collection of artwork for the exhibition which will be displayed around the site itself as well as on merchandise sold there. There will also be a behind-the-scenes video showing at the exhibition where you can see the staff drawing the pieces.

                                                   

    A historical lookback at Pixar’s filmography

    The exhibition will pay homage to everything Pixar has to offer, from their roots of animation shorts to their critically acclaimed full length animated features. If you have a favourite from any of these, you’re sure to find merchandise of it at the exhibition.

     

    Feel like you’ve been invited to Pixar Animation Studios

    The exhibition will have an area decorated with a gallery of posters, the famous Pixar lamp and ball, Woody and Buzz statues made from Lego, and more, as well as a photo gallery from pictures taken inside the studio.

     

    Learn all there is to know about Pixar

    Learn all the trivia about Pixar from what kind of Japanese people work at the studio, what characters are hidden throughout their films, and more.

     

    Original Merchandise                                     

    Fans can sift through around 200 pieces of original merchandise.

     

    Movie Poster Collection

    The posters released for each of Pixar’s films have been shrunk down into a collection of postcards.

    Final frame merchandise

    A line-up of merchandise featuring the final frames taken from all 23 of Pixar’s feature length animations.

    Early concept art

    The exhibition will sell an array of merchandise featuring artwork that has never been turned into merch before, such as early concept art.

    Easter eggs

    There will also be merchandise featuring fun Easter eggs hidden throughout Pixar’s films.

     

    Pixar Animation Studios

    A line-up of merchandise that makes you feel like you’re part of the Pixar office.

    Bonus Items                              

    Visitors that spend over ¥3,000 (tax included) on merchandise at the exhibition will receive one of 8 possible pins. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, spending over ¥6,000 will get fans an original bottle too.

    The exhibition will also be moving around Japan after its Tokyo run. Check the locations below.

     

    ©DISNEY/PIXAR All rights reserved. No reproduction or republication without written permission.

  • Blue Bottle Coffee’s Kyoto Cafe Announces New Lounge Area Opening

    05.March.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    Blue Bottle Coffee Japan has announced that its new lounge space The Lounge -Kyoto- will open on the second floor of its Kyoto cafe on March 20, 2021.

     

    An Exclusive Course at The Lounge -Kyoto-

     

    KYO-TO-TO x Blue Bottle Coffee Original Hand Towel

    ¥1,700 (Exclusive to Blue Bottle Cafe Kyoto)

    Blue Bottle Coffee opened its Kyoto-based cafe in March 2018 as its eighth branch. The first by the coffee chain to open in the Kansai region of Japan, the cafe is located near the famous Nanzen-ji Temple. The cafe building itself is renovated from a traditional two-storey Kyoto-style house which has a history spanning over 100 years. Blue Bottle Cafe retained many of the building’s traditional charms like the thick beams and pillars which are both rough yet refined and tasteful.

    The Lounge -Kyoto- is also a renovation that maintains the warmth and welcoming atmosphere of the Kyoto-style house. This exclusive area seats just seven people, with seats needing to be booked in advance. Customers can enjoy Blue Bottle Coffee’s new coffee course menu which includes three different freshly-made coffees and two seasonal desserts. The cafe recommends trying each coffee as it is first to enjoy the flavour before customising it.

     

    If you’re heading through Kyoto this spring or in the future, be sure to book seats at Blue Bottle Coffee’s new lounge space.

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