Kyoto Aquarium Begins Special Opening Service For After 3 o’clock

02.August.2020 | SPOT

Kyoto Aquarium is now holding a special “off-peak” opening service after 3:00pm where visitors can receive free novelties amongst other things. The service began on July 23 and will run until September 30 this year.

The service comes as a measure against the spread of COVID-19. Normally, the aquarium can become crowded during the day, and to spread the number of visitors out, they are offering a special service for those visiting after 3:00pm. This means that visitors can enjoy the aquarium at a more relaxed pace and take their time.

But that’s not all. On days when the aquarium closes at 6:00pm, visitors will receive a free original Kyoto Aquarium seal made to promote the new jellyfish exhibition area which opened on July 16, 2020. And on days when it closes at 8:00pm, visitors will not only receive a free folder, but can get a serving of the aquarium’s mini soft serve ice cream at three times the amount as usual, or  a free mini drink.

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  • artKYOTO 2020: The Art Fair at Kyoto’s World Heritage Site Nijō Castle

    08.August.2020 | FASHION / SPOT

    artKYOTO 2020 will take place at the World Heritage Site and former imperial villa Nijō Castle from November 6-8.

    This marks the second-ever run of the event, following the success of the first last year. Once again, the grand and breathtaking Nijō Castle serves as the venue for the event where around 30 of Japan’s best galleries, both old and contemporary, come together to exhibit various artworks to the people of Kyoto.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic having affected Japan’s economy as well as impacting society overall due to the many restrictions on movement, artKYOTO 2020 aims to bring back art and culture, as well as help circulate the economy, and contribute towards artists while promoting the value that art has on society.

     

    Art Fair

    Photo from artKYOTO 2019


    Photo from artKYOTO 2019 | Photo by office TKD

    The first artKYOTO event saw 31 galleries come together to promote Japan’s art industry through Kyoto’s history and culture. This year will see a diverse exhibit from old works to contemporary pieces.

     

    artKYOTO 2020 will adopt all of the necessary precautions against COVID-19 while still delivering a a fully-fledged experience for people to enjoy art.

  • Fall Into Autumn With an Enchanting Boat Ride Through Arashiyama in Kyoto

    08.August.2020 | SPOT

    HOSHINOYA Kyoto has announced a special new serving for one group a day that lets them bask in the autumn colours of Arashiyama. The service, entitled “Asa no Momiji Bune” (Morning Autumn Colours Boat), will run from November 20 to December 6 this year.

     

    A cosy autumn morning boat ride all to yourself

    Sail down the tranquil Oi River, which runs right beside HOSHINOYA Kyoto, and bask in the surrounding sights of Arashiyama and Ogurayama as they burn aflame with autumnal colours. Wrapped in reds and yellows in every direction, this morning experience is a rare opportunity witness Japan’s fall season like never before as you gaze at the crisp leaves of the trees and their reflection from the water’s surface.

     

    Sweet wagashi treats just for you

    While on the boat, guests are treated to a cup of matcha and some seasonal Japanese wagashi confections, like hard candies shaped like HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s logo and other colourful sweets made to look like maple leaves, ginkgo leaves, and more. These confections are made exclusively for the boat ride by Kameya Yoshinaga, a Japanese sweets shop that has been around since 1803, while the matcha is provided by Rishouen Chasho, a tea shop in Uji, Kyoto who have picked out specially selected leaves just for HOSHINOYA Kyoto.

     

    The roofed Kingfisher boat

    The boat guests will ride is owned by HOSHINOYA Kyoto and is called “Hisui” (Kingfisher). A switch can change the rooftop colour from white to transparent so you can look up and see the gorgeous blue sky.

     

    If you’re in Japan this autumn, and still need to find a hotel, why not treat yourself to a luxurious morning boat ride at HOSHINOYA Kyoto?

  • Premium Hotel MGallery to Open New Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle This November

    03.August.2020 | SPOT

    MGallery, a collection of over 5,000 luxury boutique hotels in 110 countries worldwide, landed in Japan for the first time last year with the opening of the 5-star KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery in Kyoto. Now, the brand has announced the opening of the new “Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery” (Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo-jo Bettei) which will open on November 28, 2020.

    Situated just a short 1-minute stroll from Njio Castle Station, this small, 25 room hotel, aims to offer luxury at the highest level.

    Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery was designed by Yukio Hashimoto, who has worked on countless hotels and facilities around the world. The hotel lobby and all guest rooms face a gorgeous Japanese-style garden where guests can enjoy its beautiful sights through all four seasons.

     

    The hotel takes inspiration from Nijo Castle, a structure which has seen both the end of the shogun as well as the start of modern Japan. As you enter the hotel, from the front door through and through the main entrance, guests will find themselves in their own private domain before they reach the breathtaking Japanese garden in front of them. All 25 of the guest rooms are crafted with high quality, sophisticated interiors.

    On the first floor of the hotel, guests will find a restaurant and bar. The restaurant cooks up creative French dishes made delicately with seasonal ingredients while the bar serves up MGallery’s iconic “mixology” cocktails.

    Kyoto Yura Hotel Nijo Castle MGallery also offers a range of activities which can’t be experienced anywhere else, including private trips to local shrines and temples that the hotel has connections with.

  • 4 Must-Try Colourful & Kawaii Cream Sodas in Kyoto

    30.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    The rainy season in Japan, known as Tsuyu, is finally coming to a close, which means the real summer is right around the corner. And what better way to stay cool in Japan during the summertime than with a glass of coo, refreshing cream soda?

     

    We’ve compiled a list of 4 must-try cream sodas in Kyoto recommended by Tiara on Instagram, who posts photos on her Instagram of drinks and desserts she tries around the Kanto region of Japan, and who has kindly provided us with photos on this occasion too.

     

    and C Kyoto | Kita-ku

    Yellow Cream Soda / White Cream Soda / Red Cream Soda / Blue Cream Soda

    and C Kyoto is a stylish bar, cafe, and second hand clothes store located right by Hirano Shrine. They serve four different colours of their cream soda which look super cute when lined up in a row.

     

    and C Kyoto
    Address: 30 Hirano Kamihatchōyanagichō, Kita-ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 12:00-23:00
    Closed: Tuesdays
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andc102/

     

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO | Gion Shijo

    Mango Passion / Classic Blue / Amaou Strawberry

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO is located along the Kamo River and is famous for its gelato. They also sell some super refreshing cream sodas topped with their tasty gelato.

     

    BABBI GELATERIA KYOTO
    Address: 134 Saitocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 13:00-20:00 (Temporary hours due to COVID-19)
    TEL: 075-585-5200
    Official Website: http://www.babbi.co.jp/showcase/gelateria-kyoto/

     

    Kissa Zou | Imadegawa

    Pudding a la Mode / Lemon Squash & Elephant Cookie

    This cute cream soda comes with an elephant-shaped cookie. The custard pudding has a rich eggy flavour.

     

    Kissa Zou
    Address: 440-3 Santeichō, Kamigyō-ku, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kissa_zou/

     

    Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden | Arashiyama

    Cherry Blossom Cream Soda

    This old cafe is renovated from an old family estate which was built at the end of the Edo Period and is designated as a cultural property of Kyoto. This beautiful cafe coincides with the gardens and has gorgeous thatched roofing.

     

    Bread, Espresso & Arashiyama Garden
    Address: 45-15 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
    Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
    TEL 075-432-7940
    Official Website: https://bread-espresso.jp

     

    Tiara has lots of other delicious dessert recommendations over on her Instagram, so be sure to follow her if you’re travelling in the Kansai region and are in need of a sweet treat.

     

    Original Text & Photo: @happy_pinkrose_tiara

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    *The information about the items on this list are correct at the time of publishing. For the latest information, please visit each cafe’s official websites and social media pages.

  • Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium Begins Summer Evening ‘Penguin Firework’ Projection Mapping Event

    28.July.2020 | SPOT

    Sumida Aquarium began its new “Penguin Firework” projection mapping show on July 23 which is set to run on weekends and public holidays up to August 30.

     

    Due to the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, summer firework festivals up and down Japan have had to be cancelled. Sumida Aquarium conceived the idea of this event in response to this, since fireworks are a summer pastime in Japan.

    Penguin Fireworks is an 8-minute show that uses projection mapping around the aquarium’s penguin pool to create kaleidoscopic firework patterns. Together with an original music score and the sound effects of fireworks, visitors are pulled into a magical performance as the penguins swim and dance around the lights.

     

    Enjoy Japan’s summer fireworks this year at Sumida Aquarium.

  • Tokyo’s New ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM to Open in Nihonbashi This Summer

    26.July.2020 | SPOT

    ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM is set to open in Nihonbashi, Tokyo on August 28, 2020. Produced by Hidetomo Kimura, the museum will be Art Aquarium’s first permanent museum which will fuse music and lighting to create a breathtaking aquarium experience

     

    Area Concepts

    ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM will offer Art Aquarium’s biggest museum space to date, with each area having its own unique theme.

     

    Prologue

    Dive into the extraordinary world of water. This area will showcase popular artworks of past events held by Art Aquarium, with artwork altered on an irregular basis from the company’s collection.

     

    Transitoriness

    This area symbolises the modern Edo Hanamachi district, which represents the basic concept of the Art Aquarium. Feel the beautifully transient stories and gorgeous glittering world through the life of oiran.

     

    Mystery

    Visitors are invited to an extraordinary world and surreal space, one with different dimensions beyond human wisdom. Is it on the ground? Underwater? In the universe? Stepping into this mysterious and overwhelming space where different worlds coexist at the same time will bring you incredibly unforgettable experiences.

     

    Traditional Art

    Here, you can feel the Japanese aesthetics while gazing at Oimatsu, the cultural property drawn by the Kano school during the Edo period. Traditional art performances will often take place here too.

     

    Joy


    The sense of taste is most familiar to human beings among five basic human senses. Enjoy the Art Aquarium and feel the Japanese nostalgic atmosphere along with the original cuisines of the Cafe Lounge.

     

    Gift


    Souvenirs are essential for remembering the places where you have visited.  Visit the gift shop and take away a piece of the dreamlike Art Aquarium world away with you.

  • Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Begins its Summer 2020 Events

    26.July.2020 | SPOT

    Summertime has finally shone on Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise which began its “Sea Paradise Summer 2020” event on July 23. It’s set to run until August 31, and opening hours have been extended so visitors can enjoy the aquarium both in the morning and evening times. They are also now taking online bookings via their website.

    Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is Japan’s biggest aquarium, housing over 120,000 animals which span 700 different species. The facility houses 4 different aquariums as well as restaurants, attractions, and more. Visitors can see lots of different sea creatures like sea turtles, sea lions, jellyfish, sharks, and more. They even have red pandas, capybara, flamingos, and other animals too.

    With opening hours extended, the aquarium has brought back its “LIGHTIA” night show which makes use of projection mapping, lasers, and moving lights as the audience join the dolphins and their trainers in the show.

    There are lots of programs taking place where visitors can get close and interact with various sea creatures. There’s also the “Dolphin Fantasy,” an arch-shaped tank where dolphins swim overhead.

  • Wine and Dine at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto’s Luxurious New ‘Champagne Garden’

    11.July.2020 | SPOT

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened its limited-time “Champagne Garden” on July 3 at its first floor outdoor terrace restaurant Brasserie. Running until September 6, customers can enjoy free-flow French Bollinger champagne and cocktails.

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened back in October 2016 as a luxury hotel, home to the famous Sekisuien Gardens which have a history spanning back 800 years and are mentioned in the The Tale of the Heike epic. The hotel’s first floor restaurant Brasserie has towering 9-meter tall windows that look out onto these gardens, while inside customers can enjoy dining in a stylish environment.

    The champagne served in the Champagne Garden is produced by the French Champagne house Bolligner, a company that started by Jacques Bollinger in 1829. Fermented in oak barrels, the champagne has sophisticated and complex flavours. In 1884, Bolligner received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.

    At the Champagne Garden, guests can enjoy four different types of canapé made by the restaurant’s head chef Koga together with a glass of Bolligner. They can also order rosé wine, cocktails, or soft drinks too, all of which are free-flow. And since the restaurant faces the garden, guests can enjoy the view of the greenery throughout all four seasons, in central Kyoto.

    Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto reopened on July 1 after closing temporarily due to COVID-19. The hotel has launched its “Lead With Care” program which ensures guests and staff are at the top of the priority list for safety against the coronavirus.

  • Kyoto’s World Heritage Site Nijo Castle Announces Summer Evening Illumination Event

    09.July.2020 | SPOT

    NAKED, INC. has announced that it is holding a special summertime light-up event at Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site in Kyoto, from August 8 to August 30. The company has also released its first ever 3DCG VR experience NAKED NINJA -Nijo-jo Castle- on the official NAKED, INC. online store.

    Enjoy art entertainment in person or at home

    NAKED, INC. has collaborated with many World Heritage Sites, Cultural Properties, tourism centres, leisure spots, and more over the years. Right now, the company is grappling with the question of what the shape of tourism, as well as art and entertainment, looks like during the COVID-19 outbreak—and what shape it will take post-pandemic. Nijo Castle is no exception, a place that enjoys tourism from both Japanese people and people overseas. In considering these issues, NAKED has conceived two different ways Nijo Castle can still entertain tourism now and in the near future.

     

    The first is holding an event in person at Nijo Castle in the form of an outdoor light-up event that will have people wandering around as opposed to being stationary. In spring of 2017, NAKED held “Nijo Castle Cherry Blossom Festival 2017” where they hosted a variety of performances and events in line with the season. In fact, one such event was planned to take place at Nijo Castle this summer, but it had to be reconsidered as a result of COVID-19. Those involved still wanted to come up with a way that people who live close by could still enjoy some leisure time this summer, which is what led to this light-up event from NAKED.

     

    Visitors will be able to enjoy the light-up safely by staying a set distance from one another while walking around Nijo Castle. The number of people inside at once will also be restricted. As well as this, people will need to wear masks, temperature will be regulated, and alcohol gel will be provided—all to ensure that visitors are kept safe.

     

    The second way that NAKED has devised for people to still enjoy Nijo Castle is with the release of NAKED NINJA -Nijo-jo Castle-, the company’s first ever full 3DCG VR experience that lets people enjoy Nijo Castle online in a virtual space. This is so that people who cannot visit Nijo Castle can still enjoy its sights. NAKED plans to launch even more real and virtual, offline and online experiences in the future too in order to promote tourism in a new way during COVID-19.

  • Kyoto’s Famous Kifune Shrine Celebrates Tanabata With Bamboo Lamp Light-Up

    07.July.2020 | SPOT

    Kifune Shrine, which is dedicated to the god of water Takaokami no Kami, is currently holding evening illuminations with Tanabata bamboo lamps until August 15, 2020.

     

    About Kifune Shrine

    Kifune Shrine is one of Kyoto’s foremost historical shrines. Records show that the shrine was already built in 677 during the reign of Emperor Tenmu. It is located near the source of Kamo River and is dedicated to the god of water who is said protect Kyoto’s water sources. The area is also known for kawadoko which is where Kibune’s restaurants build platforms over the river where visitors can enjoy their meal as the water flows beneath them.

     

    Kifune Shrine and Tanabata

    Tanabata is said to originate from the Suijinsai Festival (Water God Festival), with the stars themselves as the god of water. At Kifune Shrine, which is dedicate to Takaokami no Kami—the god of water—people not only pay their respects to the blessing of water, but hold Tanabata events as well as the Kifune Water Festival.

     

    For this year’s Tanabata event, bamboo lamps will be lit up with wishes written on them by people.

     

    Tanabata Shinto Rituals and the Kifune Water Festival

    Tanabata Shinto rituals and the Kifune Water Festival will be held on July 7 where people will express their gratitude to the god who watches over Kifune’s waters as well as pray for water’s blessing throughout the year.

  • Chocolate-Piled Shaved Ice & Other Summer Season Delights at BEL AMER Kyoto Villa

    04.July.2020 | FOOD

    Kyoto-based chocolate bar BEL AMER Kyoto Villa is serving up the perfect line of new chocolatey bites for summer 2020.


    The entire line-up is a delight to look at, from a mountain of chocolate piled on top of shaved ice, a summertime mango and melon dessert, and more.

    Chocolate Noir Shaved Ice x Matcha: ¥1,540 (Tax Included)

    Shaved ice is the quintessential summertime dessert in Japan, and since this one is being served at a shop specialising in chocolate, what better way to serve it than drizzled in a mountain of the stuff? The shaved ice is covered in rich chocolate cream and chocolate sauce and is topped with chocolate nibs. It’s also served with a side of matcha sauce which you can pour over yourself, creating a delicious harmony of flavours.


    Mille-Feuille au Chocolat Exotic With 196℃ Chocolate Ice Cream: ¥1,650 (Tax Included)

    This summertime dessert is made with lots of mango and melon. In the centre of it all is even more mango, as well as pineapple and coconuts, for a flavourful layered experience. Served on the side is ice cream made from BEL AMER Kyoto Villa’s own original couverture chocolate.

    Summer Pavlova: ¥1,320 (Tax Included)

    This piece of art of a dessert is a must for lovers of matcha and melon. It’s made from fluffy meringue topped with white chocolate, matcha mousse, and chocolate cream, which itself is then topped with refreshing melon and grapes for a refreshing kick.


    Chocolate Croquette Sandwich: ¥990 (Tax Included)

    BEL AMER Kyoto Villa is also serving up a very unique dish indeed which mixes together chocolate and croquette—a flavour that actually works, combining sweetness and bitterness. The croquette is made from potatoes. The brioche sandwich also contains cheese and bacon.

     

    These are just some of the delights on show at BEL AMER Kyoto Villa this summer. If ever you’re in Kyoto, be sure to stop by, especially in the summer.

  • Ikebukuro’s Sunshine Aquarium to Open Magical New Jellyfish Area

    01.July.2020 | SPOT

    Sunshine Aquarium in Ikebukuro, Tokyo is set to open its brand new jellyfish area as part of the aquarium’s third major renovation on July 9, 2020.

     

    Jellyfish Panorama Tank

    Two tanks will grace this area: the magnificent moon jellyfish will dance across the 14-meter wide “Jellyfish Panorama” tank, while sea nettle jellyfish, which are known for their long tentacles, will swim in the “Jellyfish Screen.”


    The jellyfish exhibit already in Sunshine Aquarium is also being renovated, with gorgeous new flooring and walls being put in place. Six tanks will be housed here, including the 360° “Jellyfish Tunnel,” “Jellyfish Loop,” “Jellyfish Drop,” and “Jellyfish Dream.”

     

    A Spectacular Performance of Music, Smells, and Lighting

    The new jellyfish area will feature original sounds newly recorded to capture the vibe of the jellyfish’s movements. There will also be special fragrances you can smell, as well as beautiful lighting that twinkles like the swaying of the water. All of this serves to make visitors feel calm and relaxed.

     

    Exclusive Tully’s Coffee Beverage

    T’s Splash Nata de Coco in Oasis: Have-In ¥649 / Takeout ¥637

    This refreshing carbonated drink is inspired by jellyfish filled with lemon flavoured nata de coco coconut jelly. Exclusive to Sunshine Aquarium, the drink comes with one of four possible special jellyfish straw flags.

     

    Grand Opening Commemoration Products

    High Grade Jellyfish Confection: ¥400

    Limited in stock, this confection was made in collaboration with Ikebukuro’s long-stand confectionery shop Ikebukuro Miharado and also under the guidance of the aquarium’s jellyfish staff.

    Jellyfish Konjac: ¥972

    Konjac shaped just like real jellyfish.

     

    Grand Opening Commemoration Menu

    Jellyfish Cold Greens: ¥1,100 / CHUKA SHUNSAI RYOURI・HINABE SHU (Alpa Floor 3F)


    Blue Hawaii Tiny Aquarium & Jellyfish Jelly: ¥495 AGIO (Alpa Floor 3F) *15 served per day

    Select restaurants in Sunshine City Alpa will also serve up some limited-time jellyfish-inspired dishes and drinks from July 9 to celebrate the opening of Sunshine Aquarium.

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