Learn Japanese History at Kyoto’s Nijo Castle Festival With the NAKED SAMURAI App
09.October.2020 | SPOT
NAKED, INC. has announced the launch of a new project called ‘NAKED SAMURAI’ that will debut at Nijo Castle Festival 2020 which begins on October 14, 2020.
NAKED has fused technology with reality for many different projects, such as CITY LIGHT FANTASIA—an evening projection mapping exhibit—which has been showcased in the observation deck halls of government buildings and towers, the Night Walk event in Hokkaido and Aomori, and more.
With the effects of COVID-19 changing the way we live our lives, so too does NAKED have to change the way it blends tech with real life. And that’s where NAKED SAMURAI comes in which the company is taking to Nijo Castle, one of Japan’s many tourist hot spots as well as a World Heritage Site.
See historical architecture while learning Japanese history
NAKED SAMURAI is an app used for smartphones that has a samurai as your guide with fully-recoded lines. The samurai will tell users the history and stories behind the various spots at Nijo Castle from his perspective. When putting your phone up to certain places, certain sites that are normally locked at Nijo Castle will open up onto the app, giving you a rare look into what’s inside.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, Toyotomi Hideyori, and other historical figures make an appearance
Your guides include Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ordered the building of Nijo Castle, and Toyotomi Hideyori, the general responsible for uniting Japan. They can both give you different insights into Nijo Castle.
Using the app lets you see how Nijo Castle looked back in these historical figures’ days during the Edo Period, as well as former castle tower before it was destroyed in 1750, and much more.
Nijo Castle Festival 2020
Running: October 14, 2020 – December 7, 2020
Location: Nijo Castle
Address: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Time: 8:45-16:00 (Castle closes at 17:00)
Price: General ¥1,030 / Junior to High School Students ¥350 / Elementary School Students ¥200
Official Website: https://nijo-jocastle.city.kyoto.lg.jp/event/nijojomatsuri/
*Certain parts of the event require a separate fee
*Schedule and details subject to change or cancellation depending on the situation of COVID-19
Italian Pop Trio Il Volo to Perform for Charity at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto, Film to be Released
Il Volo, an Italian operatic pop trio known for its incredible tenors, will be the first foreign artist to be filmed at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto. The concert will be held without an audience and will be filmed, with proceeds going to charity.
The musical trio is known around the world for its mesmerizing harmonies. Their music manages to sound modern while still channeling tradition, making them an excellent choice to perform at the center of Japanese cultural traditions in Kyoto. The group will also perform in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.
The music video for the group’s song Grande Amore, released in 2015, has racked up over 200 million views on YouTube. Loved by fans around the world, Il Volo’s music transcends language barriers, and the group is sure to impress on their Japan tour.
Il Volo Japan Tour 2022 Live in Concert
Planning/Invite/Organization: Tate Corporation
In Cooperation with Sony Music Labels Inc., M.T. Studio
NAKED Summer Festival 2022 to be Held at Nijo Castle in Kyoto
11.July.2022 | SPOT
This summer, the World Heritage Site Nijo Castle will host the NAKED Summer Festival 2022 event from July 22 until August 21. Visitors can explore the incredible location at night, illuminated by colorful lights and filled with summer fun.
Virtual Content via Smartphone
The entrance gate and Ninomaru Garden will both be illuminated for the event, and a digital fireworks display will be shown on the stone walls surrounding the inner moat. Continuing from last year, the fan-favorite NAKED Distanced Lanterns and NAKED Tsukubai will be returning.
Come make some summer memories at Nijo Castle!
NAKED Summer Festival 2022 at Nijo Castle
Running: July 22 – August 21, 2022
Venue: Nijo Castle
Banyan Tree Group Opens Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto Hotel
26.June.2022 | SPOT
Banyan Tree Group, one of the world’s leading independent hospitality groups, held the grand opening of Galleria Nijo Castle Kyoto, on Friday, June 17, 2022. This is the first of the group’s hotels to open in Japan.
Located south of Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site, and named after the beautiful winter flower, Galleria Nijo Castle Kyoto is a small, modern, and minimalist luxury hotel that offers simple guests a chance to recharge themselves.
For the grand opening, a new Wellbeing Room has been opened where visitors can experience quiet meditation.
Visitors can stroll through nearby gardens, temples, and shrines, take a tour of Kyoto’s many historical sites, or spend time in the Wellbeing Room meditating or practicing yoga to recharge their batteries away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The French Restaurant Singular will also offer up healthy and tasty meals with a focus on local ingredients and producers.
Enjoy a visit to Kyoto in this peaceful space perfect for resting both body and soul.
Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto
Address: 180-1 Ichinocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Access: 2-minute walk from Nijojo-mae Station on the Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line
Official Site: https://www.banyantree.com/ja/japan/garrya-nijo-castle-kyoto
Private Jet Package Now Available in Toyama Offering Spectacular View of Tateyama Mountains
22.June.2022 | SPOT
Mizu to Takumi, a company associated with the Toyama West Tourism Promotion Association, has teamed up with SKYTREK to offer guests a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the area via private jet. Reservations for the incredible experience began on June 17, 2022.
Offering an entirely new tourism experience in Toyama Prefecture, visitors can see the area’s natural wonders from miles above the Earth. The program also aims to share local culture and more about traditional craftsmanship and cuisine.
Toyama Prefecture boasts dramatic topography, from the massive peaks of the Northern Alps and the Tateyama Mountains to the deep waters of Toyama Bay. To better allow visitors to see the sights, these private jet tours will be chartered on special courses different from standard airlines.
After the flights, guests will be welcomed to explore Takaoka’s deep history and culture. Kane no Sanzun, a restored and preserved inn, will welcome visitors, offering a relaxing and rejuvenating time.
Visitors can also book optional excursions to further explore the area, such as a Zen meditation experience at a famous temple in Takaoka, a traditional crafting workshop, and a tour and tasting of the only whiskey distillery in the Hokuriku region.
Come enjoy a trip to Toyama with a whole new perspective!
Travel to Toyama by Private Jet
Available: June 17 – October 26, 2022
Travel Period: June 22 – October 31, 2022
Airbnb Reveals Top 10 Most Popular Summer Destinations in Japan
08.June.2022 | SPOT
Airbnb boasts one of the largest travel communities in the world, filled with users offering up lodging and those eager to visit somewhere new. The Japanese subsidiary of the company has revealed the top spots added to Japanese users ‘Favorites (Wish Lists)’ from May 1 to May 17, 2022. Where will travelers in the country be headed this summer?
Golden Week is long gone and users are starting to think about where to visit during the hottest part of the year. This national ‘Wish List’ might make it easier to pick a spot, with many locations highlighting lesser-known areas!
Gujo Hachiman Villa, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Gifu)
This completely private rental villa was made for sauna enthusiasts. One lucky pair per day can book this suite along the Yoshida River flowing through Gujo Hachiman, known as the “City of Water and Dance.” Currently booked through the end of August, reservations for September and beyond will be available in early June. Book a stay to enjoy the gorgeous autumn foliage!
A House Surrounded by Lush Greenery in the Countryside (Tottori)
Hosted by a family of musicians and architects, this guesthouse invites guests to enjoy gorgeous Nordic-inspired interiors and the serene quiet of the countryside. For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect spot.
Hoshina Satomachi, Limited to 1 Couple Per Day (Nagano)
There’s nothing like spending the summer in a traditional Japanese home. Enjoy a barbeque on the terrace and relax on the massive lawn. This is the perfect spot for families with children or pets!
Coastal Cabin (Chiba)
You can’t have summer without a pool. This luxurious coastal retreat boasts a 15-meter pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, bonfire space, and a barbeque. Relax by the pool while listening to your favorite songs or soak in the outdoor bath as you watch the waves crash along the shore.
An Elegant and Peaceful Log Cabin (Nagano)
Located at 1,300 meters above sea level on the Iizuna plateau, this log cabin is situated in the midst of a dense forest. A perfect space for couples, families, or small groups of friends, guests are welcome to enjoy hiking through this gorgeous landscape in the center of Japan!
Next-Generation Town-Walking Project NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO- to Begin this Fall
The creative team at NAKED is teaming up with Kyoto City, Uji City, and Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture for a one-of-a-kind project. This fall, guests will be able to experience NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO, a next-generation town-walking project blending the real world and the Metaverse together. Visitors will be able to experience Kyoto’s shrines, temples, and history in a whole new way.
NAKED has been working with the city of Kyoto since 2017, creating new cultural outreach and tourism programs. A number of nighttime events have taken place at Nijo Castle, including ‘virtual flower viewing’ in the midst of the pandemic. Last year, the DANDELION PROJECT began at Kamigamo Shrine, a World Heritage Site. The project brings guests around the world together virtually to pray for peace. Events have also taken place at Kiyomizu-dera, Heian Shrine, and Ninna-ji.
In 2022, NAKED will collaborate with Kyoto City, Uji City, Otsu City, and their respective tourism associations to create a Metaverse where visitors can enjoy Kyoto not only in the real world but also virtually. Art being experienced by visitors in real life can be reflected in the Metaverse, and experiences in the Metaverse can be enjoyed in a way that is unique to real events. As hard to describe as it may be, more details will be available on the NAKED GARDEN website when it opens this summer.
NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO-
Coming Fall 2022
NAKED, INC. Official Site: https://naked.co.jp
Izu, the Setting for Laid-Back Camp, Now Offering Travel Plans
JR Tokai Tours has released a new travel plan for fans of Laid-Back Camp Season 2, which aired from January to March 2021. The tour will take place in the Izu area, which was heavily featured in episodes 10, 11, and 12. Guests can enjoy a travel plan with single lodging and original goods starting May 23 until June 29, 2022.
The slice-of-life series Laid-Back Camp is currently serialized in COMIC FUZ.
Set in Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures, Laid-Back Camp is a relaxing series following a group of high school girls going camping and enjoying their daily lives. The series is based on the author Afro’s personal experiences and interviews, and since serialization in 2015, the series has attracted fans from around the world. The original comic has sold over 7 million copies. In 2018, the first anime series premiered, inspiring a spin-off Room Camp in 2020 and a second season in 2021.
Four years after it was announced in 2018, a Laid-Back Camp animated film will arrive in theaters this summer.
Rhythm Game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ Gets Collaborative Event at Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Toei Kyoto Studio Park will be holding a special collaboration with the rhythm game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ for a limited time, from June 4 until July 10, 2022.
The Theater Starless Uzumaki Branch will be open inside the park during the event period. 26 themed cast members will even be greeting guests!
A stamp rally will be taking place along the Keifuku Randen Tram Line and during the event, a special train featuring a newly-drawn illustration of the five main characters and 26 mini-characters will be running through the streets of Kyoto!
Limited tickets will be sold for a number of collaborative events being held in the park, so be sure to grab yours while you can!
BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ in Uzumaki
Running: June 4 – July 10, 2022
Venues: Toei Kyoto Studio Park, Arashiyama Station, etc.
Official Site: https://blackstar-uzumasa.jp/
Official Twitter: @Blackstar_uzms
Kyoto Sweets Shop Otabe Rereleases Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Snacks with New Designs
Otabe, one of the most popular sweets souvenir shops in Kyoto, Otabe, is known for its delicious matcha and mini-desserts. Starting May 12, the company has released nine uniquely packaged sweets inspired by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The limited-edition packaging will feature popular characters from the series. Previously, the company released matcha cakes for the crossover–this time, fans can enjoy choco-an flavor!
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Matcha
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Otabe (with Original Sticker)
Original Sticker: 15 varieties, 1 given at random
Focusing on the hashira from the series, fans will want to be on the lookout for their favorite character. These sweets can be bought at select stations in the Kyoto and Osaka area, major Kyoto tourist attractions, and online. In addition, matcha flavored treats will also be on sale featuring Tanjiro Kamado, Nezuko Kamado, Zenitsu Agatsuma, Hashibira Inosuke, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, and Muzan Kibutsuji.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Release Date: May 12, 2022
Price: ¥432 (Tax Included)
Where to Buy: Train station in Kyoto & Osaka area, Major Kyoto tourist attractions, online.
Hydrangea Parfait Featuring Local Matcha Available at Itohkyuemon in Kyoto
Located in Uji, Kyoto, matcha shop Itohkyuemon was founded in the late Edo period. Three cozy locations have just launched a Hydrangea Parfait, perfect for spring.
The shop’s main location is headquartered in Uji, which is also home to Mimuroto Temple, known for its hydrangeas. The flowery location attracts thousands of tourists during the rainy season.
The Hydrangea Parfait has been offered since 2013, now celebrating its 10th year. The popular seasonal treat features matcha hydrangea mashed sweet potatoes, hydrangea-colored jelly, leaf-shaped matcha cookies, and blueberries. Those ordering a parfait will also receive a hydrangea coaster as a gift, so why not enjoy the rainy season with something sweet to lift your spirits?
Itohkyuemon Hydrangea Parfait
Release Date: May 13, 2022
Participating Locations: Uji store, JR Uji Stationfront store, Shijo-dori store
EMOCAL, a Project to Support Japanese Regions, Releases Music Using Local Sound Samples
The EMOCAL project aims to support small-town areas of Japan. As a new initiative in the project, specific soundscapes only found in certain areas of the country have been combined with music to create some unique tracks. A selection of musical artists have collaborated with the project to bring these songs to life!
EMOCAL was created by ZOWA’s original label, CatchyStuck. The project supports local regions and communities by using ASMR soundscape videos recorded in each region to convey their particular charms to all of Japan. The sounds recorded in each place are considered to be very valuable and are intended to serve two purposes: to bring tourism back after the pandemic and to provide fans of ASMR a way to experience these areas from afar.
Check out each of these unique ambient tracks created by four up-and-coming musicians! Each song is available on viviON’s ASMR platform ZOWA and on Spotify.
Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture / Ikkyuu x Hige Driver, I Love Ikkyuu
Beard Driver created this ambient track with sounds recorded inside of Ikkyuu, a ramen shop.
Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture / Miyuki no Hama x Powerless, Seiren
Powerless created this track, inspired by the sounds of waves crashing at Miyuki no Hama, a seaside recreation area 20 minutes from Odawara Station.
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture / Wasabi Field x baker, On the silent hill
Utogi in Shizuoka city is surrounded by incredible nature. Known as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation, baker used sounds recorded in the area to create this ambient track.
Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture / Cape Tara x SeA0, Akushu
Cape Tara is a popular spot featuring an 800-meter-long sandbar at low tide. The sounds captured here were used by artist SeA0, and this track is sure to make you miss the water.
Official Site: https://catchystuck.jp/ambient/
Yunohana Onsen Resort Reveals Contemporary Art-Inspired Guest Rooms
Sumiya Kihoan, a cozy inn at Yunohana Onsen in Kameoka City in Kyoto, opened a unique new guest room on April 28, 2022. The room’s concept is “where guests can stay in the middle of contemporary art,” and was inspired by the works of internationally-acclaimed contemporary artist Yukinori Yanagi. The new room, created as part of the Art Room Project, has been named ‘Kofuu.’
The Icarus Corridor Connecting Heaven and Earth
Heavenly Bath Welcoming a Rainbow at Dusk
In-Ground Bath Featuring Oribe Glazed Ceramic
Concept Drawing of the Art Room Project by Yukinori Yanagi
The new room includes an open-air bath where guests can be transported into the world of Yanagi’s contemporary art while gazing at the gorgeous Kyoto landscape. Upon entering the inn, guests are greeted by a long corridor leading to the bedrooms, dining room, and two creative open-air baths. The space was created in collaboration with Yanagi and local artists and craftsmen, such as potter Ishii Naoto, obi craftsman Yamaguchi Genbei X, plasterer Kusumi Akira, and Japanese paper craftsman Hatano Wakaru. A delicious menu is prepared by chef Hosoi Kunihiko.
Ryokan Sumiya Kihoan
Address: Yunohana Onsen, Kameoka City, Kyoto
Room Details: https://hakutai.sumiya.ne.jp/artroom-kohoo/
Room Reservations: https://reserve.489ban.net/client/sumiya/0/plan/id/119287/stay?noSearch=1
Official Site: https://www.sumiya.ne.jp/