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.

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  • Golden Island Zipang 2020 Illumination Event Lights Up Matsue in Shimane

    03.December.2020 | SPOT

    The splendid Yuushien Garden in Matsue, Shimane, is now hosting a dazzling winter illumination event titled Kogane no Shima Zipang 2020 (Golden Island Zipang 2020) until January 11, 2021.

     

    Golden Island Zipang 2020

    Yuushien Garden is located on the eastern side of Matsue on Daikon Island, a volcanic island in Nakaumi. The garden has been called the most beautiful Japanese-style garden in all of Japan, which makes it the perfect setting for the illumination event. 50 projectors at the garden are using projection mapping to create a flurry of flashy illuminations.

     

    It’s a full pixel illumination display coupled with music that’s sure to dazzle all who visit. this winter.

  • Kyoto’s New Cafe YOJIYA CAFE Ocha no Crepe Serves Tasty Takeout Matcha Crepes

    03.December.2020 | FOOD

    YOJIYA CAFE opened up a new cafe called YOJIYA CAFE Ocha no Crepe in Kyoto on November 30, 2020, serving a selection of crepes made with Uji matcha and specially-selected ingredients.

    YOJIYA is a Kyoto-based company that first opened 116 years ago specialising in aburatorigami blotting paper. Today, the company has expanded its range of cosmetic and beauty items, and it even operates two cafes in Kyoto. On Monday (November 30), it opened YOJIYA CAFE Ocha no Crepe in Nijo Fuyacho, Kyoto, an all-new cafe serving takeout crepes.

    Ocha no Crepe Matcha | ¥750 (Tax Included)

    The cafe’s signature matcha crepe is filled with cream, rice flour dumplings, and matcha from Uji. The crepe pastry itself is made from an original blend of two types of wheat flour. The cream is a delicious blend of three types of cream plus matcha cream. It’s also filled with crunchy pie which is cooked fresh every morning. The crepe is finished with an illustration of a matcha teacup and whisk made from matcha.

    The high quality matcha crepes are made the perfect size and with the perfect combinations so they can be enjoyed even after a meal.

     

    Be sure to pay a visit to YOJIYA CAFE Ocha no Crepe when visiting Kyoto.

  • Aman Resorts Founder Adrian Zecha Launches New Ryokan Hotel Brand Azumi

    01.December.2020 | SPOT

    Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman, together with Naru Developments, has announced the launch of their new ryokan hotel brand Azumi. The first Azumi property is set to open in the Seto Inland Sea area of Japan in Spring 2021.

     

    Azumi: A New Ryokan Brand

    Adrian Zecha came across his first ryokan in Japan about 60 years ago and subsequently went on to launch multiple hotel brands, including Aman. Azumi is his latest project to take the hospitable nature of the Japanese-style inn, known as a ryokan, and its traditions while ensuring to pay respect to the region and people in the community in which each property will open.

     

    During the 1950s, Zecha, who was a correspondent and reporter of Asia at the time, encountered ryokan for the very first time while in Japan. He was impressed by the hospitality bestowed to guests staying at the inn which for him felt homely. With that in mind, Azumi maintains an exclusive and sophisticated appearance while at the same time is adamant in understanding that the guest is what makes a ryokan as a person, and so offers a warm welcome and interaction that connects to the local community.

     

    Azumi’s approach aims to respect the traditions and community of each region while at the same time building something that will be passed down through the generations. Shiro Miura of Rokukaku-ya, a shop which values living materials such as wood and stone through Sukiya architecture, has been on the Azumi team since the brand’s inception to create a space that can be enjoyed as a marvel of Japanese architecture while satisfying those travelling from abroad.

    The brand’s name comes from the Azumi people, an ancient seafaring tribe who crossed the ocean and settled in Japan.

    The first Azumi property will open on an island in the Seto Inland Sea which boasts clear blue waters and is known for its abundant natural environment which has made it a big player in Japan’s citrus fruit production as well as the fishing industry.

     

    Azumi will open its doors in Spring 2021, filled with the ideas conceived by the one and only Adrian Zecha.

  • Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up Arrives For 2020-2021

    29.November.2020 | SPOT

    Shiraito Highland Way has announced that this year’s Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up will run from December 19, 2020 to February 14, 2021.

     

    The illumination event will take place at Karuizawa Shiraito Falls, a 3-meter tall waterfall that spans 70-meters in length. The lights will add a warmth to the cool evening and glow under a starry night sky.

     

    The event creates a different atmosphere from the summer light-up, allowing visitors to enjoy the enveloping nature in a way that they normally can’t and see beauty they may not have noticed in the area before. The waterfall is located in Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park, a protected area which means the lights will be set up in a way that’s considerate to the park.

     

    If you’re in Japan this winter then don’t miss out on this year’s Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up which will be split into three sessions: the Christmas Session, New Year Session, and St. Valentine Session. More details below.

  • Tokyo’s Art Aquarium Museum in Nihonbashi Announces Christmas Event

    29.November.2020 | SPOT

    Having only held annual summertime events up to now, Art Aquarium Museum in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, is celebrating Christmas for the first time this year with a series of holiday season festivities.

     

    The Aquarium’s first Christmas tree

    Art Aquarium Museum will display its very first Christmas tree for the event indoors near the entrance. The tree artwork was created by Hidemoto Kimura using 550 colourful crystals that have been made to look like goldfish. Made from venetian glass, he had them shipped himself from Italy. They are strung in 10 different colours which glow and glisten to create a romantic atmosphere.

     

    Artwork Name: Natale di Pesce D’oro
    Running: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Location: Art Aquarium Museum entrance

     

    Pair tickets for Christmas with alcohol


    Pair Ticket (2 People) + 2 Drinks | ¥4,600 (Tax Included)

    Those arriving in twos can buy Pair Tickets which come with two alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages so you can plunge into the magical underwater world of the aquarium while enjoying a drink.

     

    Buy Tickets: https://ticket.artaquarium.jp/en/
    Running: November 24, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Validity Period: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020
    Drinks Menu:

    [Alcohol] COEDO Beer / Marihana / Louis Raison Rouge Délice

    [Non-Alcoholic] Sanpellegrino Pompelmo / Grapefruit

     

    Christmas menu served up in the lounge and cafe

    2-Person Hors d’oeuvre With 2 Drinks | Online Booking ¥4,200, Same-Day ¥5,000 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 18, 2020 – December 25, 2020

    The aquarium’s lounge restaurant is serving an hors d’oeuvre for pairs of Japanese and western food together with two drinks.

    2-Person Christmas Sweets Plate With 2 Drinks | Online Booking ¥3,300, Same-Day ¥3,850 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020

    The cafe is serving up plate of assorted desserts, perfect for a post-aquarium date.

    Christmas Special Cocktail | ¥2,200 (Tax Included) | Serving: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020

    Both the restaurant and cafe are also serving a seasonal cocktail of chocolate, strawberries, cranberries, and champagne jelly for a sweet and refreshing mix.

  • Enjoy the Beautiful Taste of Kyoto at Isetan Shinjuku in Tokyo

    28.November.2020 | FOOD

    Isetan Shinjuku has announced a special event dedicated to promoting the beautiful taste of Tokyo. Set to begin on December 2, the event will see both traditional and newer restaurants from Kyoto come together to serve up Kyoto-style cuisine to the people of Tokyo from oldies like sushi to dango to more modern dishes like okonomiyaki and katsu sandwiches. Visitors will also be able to watch real chefs from Kyoto at work.

    Hi-Lite Shokudo’s “Hi-Lite Katsu Sandwich” | ¥850

    Since first opening in 1960, Hi-Lite Shokudo has continued to treasure the taste of home cooking and has continued to evolve that taste over the years to cater to each generation. Its famous katsu sandwich is made with a secret sauce that has kept it unbeaten against other popular eateries in Kyoto, and they’ve upped the taste for this event.

    Kotoka’s “Mitarashi-dango” | ¥864 (6 Sticks) 

    These dango are made fresh in front of customers and are doused in a rich secret sauce. Their chewy texture is irresistible.

    Izuu’s Mackerel and Tilefish Assortment | ¥4,455 (3 of each per person)

    Izuu is an iconic sushi restaurant in Kyoto that was first established in 1781. This assortment is made with chub mackerel from coastal waters, esumai rice from Shiga Prefecture, and kombu from Hokkaido.。

    Yumeya’s Fuwafuwa Okonomiyaki | ¥801 (1 portion)

    Many people living outside of Kyoto search for the okonomiyaki flavour served by Yumeya. It’s made fresh, fluffy, and is topped with lots of ingredients.

    Daitokuji Saiki-ya’s “Dashimaki Tamago” | ¥648 (1 portion)

    Daitokuji Saiki-ya is a specialty store in Kyoto catered food in business for 1933 years. It serves Kyoto-style dashimaki tamago as well as lots of other delicious food that captures the taste of Kyoto.

  • Sailor Moon Opens Its Third Petit Store at KIDDYLAND Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi

    28.November.2020 | ANIME&GAME

    To celebrate the upcoming release of the two-part Sailor Moon Eternal movie, a third branch of Sailor Moon store -petit- is set to open at KIDDYLAND Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi on December 5, 2020.

    Sailor Moon fans can look forward to getting their hands on a magical menagerie of original merchandise originally only available at the Sailor Moon store in Harajuku as well as a super soft, exclusive store-original Climax Moon Compact cushion.

     

    Other items include candy charms, acrylic Christmas 2020 stands, pins, and more. Customers who spend over ¥3,000 (tax included) will also receive a free folder. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis and feature a cute design drawn by one of the store owners.

  • Sendai Stroll: Taking a Walk Around Japan’s City of Trees With Chinese Influencer Etsuna

    27.November.2020 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, is a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. The city has earned the nickname Mori no Miyako, or ‘City of Trees,’ due to the abundant rows of zelkova trees lining many of its streets. It bustles with charm and is enjoyed by locals and tourists for its history, sights, and events, such as its associations with the Japanese regional ruler Date Masamune, the famous Sendai Tanabata Festival, and more. However, there are many other incredible locations that Sendai has to offer that aren’t as well known as the popular sites, so today we are joined by Etsuna who is giving us the latest in what can be found in the city.

     

    Along The Coast

    The coast of Sendai was struck by a tsunami when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck back on in March 2011. Today, the area is continuing its re-development efforts. New facilities have and are being built, including plenty of new spots the area never had before. Sendai is home to a memorial hall for remembering those affected during the disaster which is a must-visit if travelling to Sendai.

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Feel the sea breeze and ocean water of Tohoku against your skin

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium opened in 2015 as the larrgest aquarium in the Tohoku region. The first floor is themed on the waters of Tohoku where many rare aquatic species from the Sanriku Coast are housed. The second floor is centred on sea creatures found in the oceans around the world such as tropical fish, jellyfish, marine mammals, and other familiar faces.

     

    Visitors can even meet ascidians there which are famous in the Sanriku Coast.

    The large fish tanks let in a lot of natural light, recreating the beauty of the Sanriku sea.

    There’s also a special spot where you can get up close to some of the fish!

    The aquarium offers an optional program where visitors can feed the penguins.

    “It’s a pretty big aquarium,” said Etsuna. “It was great to see all of the different things they have on display. I had a lot of fun feeding the penguins too!”

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Address: 4-6 Nakano, Miyagino-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (May change depending ont he season)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-2222
    Access: 10-minutes by shuttle bus (free ride) from JR Nakanosakae Station
    Price: Adults ¥2,200 / Seniors, High School and Junior High School Children ¥1,600 / Elementary School Children ¥1,100 / Infants ¥600 (All Tax-Inclusive)

    Official Website: http://www.uminomori.jp/umino/

     

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market

    Fresh fish at an affordable price

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market is like the kitchen of Sendai. The food shops there were opened by locals. Visitors will find many different bites to eat when visiting. Etsuna visited Sushi Yoshi, a restaurant in the area so popular that there’s always a line.

    The restaurant’s name, Sushi Yoshi, suggests that it’s a sushi restaurant, but they actually serve common delicacies like rice bowls and set meals.

    Maguro Sanshudon | ¥1,500

    This rice bowl contains three kinds of maguro tuna, so much in fact that you can’t even see the rice!

    “You can enjoy delicious fresh fish at a reasonable price. You might have to wait in line, but it’s totally worth it!”

     

     Sushi Yoshi
    Address: 4-3-1 Oroshimachi, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 6:30-13:30
    Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
    TEL: 022-232-8042
    Access: 20-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center

    Learn the story of the disaster

    Inside Arai Station, which is the last stop on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, you can find the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center where visitors can learn all about how the Great East Japan Earthquake affected Sendai through the exhibition rooms and in the communal space.

    The first floor features a panel with a 3D map of how the tsunami inundated the region as a result of the earthquake.

    Up on the second floor is a permanent exhibition showcasing the restoration and restoration efforts of the community as well as real photos from around the time of the disaster.

    There are also staff members there who survived the disaster and can describe their experiences as well as current issues facing Sendai.

    “I got teary when the speaker told me about the hardships they faced at that time,” explains Etsuna. “The people of Sendai are living their lives looking forward, and I have a lot of respect for them.”

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center
    Address: Kutsugata-85 Arai, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / Day after public holiday / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-390-9022
    Access: Arai Station
    Entry: Free

    Official Website: http://sendai311-memorial.jp

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School

    The school that still stands after the earthquake disaster

    On the day of the Tohoku earthquake, many local residents fled to Sendai Arahama Elementary School where 320 people were trapped including the evacuees, children, and teachers, before managing to escape safely to the roof. The school is now open as a memorial to preserve the memories of those who survived.

    The tsunami that struck after the earthquake made it to the second floor of the school. These first two floors have been kept untouched and are as they were on the day.

    There are photos as well as video footage exhibited on the fourth floor where the tsunami didn’t reach.

    From the school building’s roof you can gaze at the peaceful coastline.

    “Seeing the place that was hit by the tsunami up close has really changed my outlook on life. There is green in the surrounding area. I felt life budding all around.”

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School
    Address: Shinborihata-32-1 Arahama, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 9:30-16:00
    Closed: Mondays / Every 4th Thursday of the month / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-861
    Access: 15-minutes by bus from Arai Station
    Entry: Free

     

    Akiu Area

    Akiu Onsen is a spa town known to locals as the ‘living room’ of Sendai. It’s a 30-50 minute bus ride from Sendai Station. It has been nicknamed one of Japan’s Three Baths alongside Bessho Onsen and Nozawa Onsen, both in Nagano Prefecture. It’s another place that Date Masamune frequented many times.

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    A stroll along the gorge path

    Rairaikyo Gorge gets its name from the abundance of enormous rocks that have been eroded by the Natori River and given them strange shapes. The Kanji ‘rai’ used in the gorge’s name literally means ‘many rocks.’ The gorge is home to a 1-km path that people can walk along and soak up the incredible natural environment that offers sights to behold throughout the year. From late October to mid November, when the autumn leaves are in bloom, the area is also lit up in the evenings.

    The heart-shaped hollow in the rocks as pictured above is considered a sacred place for couples.

    Taking a stroll along the path one sees maple trees aplenty. Visiting during the height of autumn graces you with a colourful scene you wouldn’t want to miss.

    “I feel healed having gotten to take a leisurely stroll through nature,” explained Etsuna. “The rocks of Akiu have some interesting shapes.”

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    Address: Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Access: Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Akiu-sha

    A stylish, old fashioned cafe in the hot spring town


    When taking a trip to Akiu Onsen, one hot spot that’s a must-visit is Akiu-sha, a restaurant that was renovated from an old private farm house from the Edo Period. During the day it serves lunch food and drinks while in the evenings it’s used for events like private parties.

    There’s an open garden at the site which is sometimes used for weddings. At the back are vegetable plots tended to by the restaurant.

    Akiu-sha Lunch | ¥1,280 (Before Tax)

    The Akiu-sha Lunch is made with fresh vegetables grown in both their own plot as well as from around Akiu.

    Akiu Saiseki Chocolate | ¥850 (Before Tax)

    A white chocolate dessert inspired by the unique rocks of Akiu. Customers can use the little wooden hammer to break apart the dessert to create a rubble of chocolate.

    The inside of the restaurant is spacious with towering beams holding it up.

    “The vegetables are so fresh, I couldn’t believe how tasty they were! This flavour is unique to this place.”

     

    Akiu-sha
    Address: Nozoki-9-4 Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 (Last Food Orders 14:30 / Cafe Last Orders 16:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays
    TEL: 022-724-7767 (Bookings not possible)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

     

    Akiu Winery

    Taste and compare different original wines

    Akiu Winery in Akiu Onsen was the first winery to open in Sendai. It’s home to an enormous grape field, and inside is the brewery itself as well as a dining area and shop. They serve an array of original wines.

    As well as originals, Akiu Winery also stocks famous wines from Sendai.

    Merlot Red Wine 2018 (Sample) | Koshu Sur Lie 2019 (750ml) ¥2,300 | Steuben Rosé 2019 (750ml) ¥2,000 (All Before Tax)

    Akiu Winery’s line-up of wines are famous in Sendai.

    At the back of the winery is the expansive grape field.

    Craft Grill | ¥1,330

    At the outdoor terrace you can enjoy a BBQ grill together with a glass of wine.

    “The sight of the grape field made me feel like I was in France. You can enjoy a BBQ too so I definitely want people to come here!”

     

    Akiu Winery
    Address: Biwaharanishi-6, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

    Akiu Great Falls

    The Three Great Waterfalls of Japan

    Akiu Great Falls is considered one of Japan’s three most famous waterfalls alongside Kegon Falls in Tochigi Prefecture and Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture. It’s about 15-minutes by car downstream from Akiu Onsen and is also accessible by bus.

    They have a retro shop at the entrance of the waterfall.

    Also located next to the waterfall is Akiu-Otaki Fudoson, a temple surrounded by dense green foliage and enormous gingko trees.

    “Being in nature really relaxed me and took away the day’s stress! It’s quite a walk to the waterfall basin so you get plenty of exercise too.”

     

    Akiu Great Falls
    Address: Otaki Akiumachi Baba, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-398-2323 (Akiu Onsen Tourist Information Center)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station (Running on weekends and public holidays only)

     

    Around Sendai Station

    Sendai Station can be considered as the doorstep of Japan’s Tohoku region. It of course runs JR East’s Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains as well as operates Sendai Subway services and buses. The area around the station is great for finding tasty local delicacies, shopping, and souvenir-buying.

     

    WANOSHOKU NIKAI

    Seri-nabe is Sendai’s new specialty food

    If you’re asked to give an example of a famous speciality food product from Sendai, chances are people will jump straight to the city’s gyutan beef tongue, but what has been the talk of the town recently is seri-nabe. Seri-nabe is a type of hotpot cooked with Japanese parsley (‘seri’) – one of Japan’s seven spring flowers. Miyagi Prefecture boasts as a top class producer of Japanese parsley. The hotpot is served in a simple duck broth which allows the fragrance of the parsley to come through.

    “I can’t get enough of the crunchy texture of the [parsley] roots! It was delicious, I had a refreshing soy sauce soup finished with ramen.”

     

    WASHOKU NIKAI
    Address: 2-5-15 Ichibanchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 17:00-Midnight
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-224-6040

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Bar crawl deep into the back streets

    The side streets of the Sunmall Ichibancho arcade have a retro Japanese vibe to them, packed full of shops that make one feel nostalgic.

    The long, winding alleys feature plenty of Instagram-worthy spots.

    “This is a great spot for enjoying a bar crawl, just having a light drink and then moving onto the next place. Even if you don’t drink there’s tasty food to enjoy too!”

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Address: 2-3-28 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-223-3151

    S-PAL Sendai

    A fashion mall connected to the station

    S-PAL is a fashion mall directly connected to Sendai Station, home to apparel stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, sundry sellers, and more. Here are some sundry stores selling a variety of miscellaneous items perfect as souvenir purchases.

     

    Nakagawa Masashichi

    This is an old-time chain that has been around for 300 years. Specialising in lifestyle goods, this S-PAL branch is the only one in all of Tohoku.

    Its interior design has a retro feel to it with shelves and tables piled with cute bits and bobs.

    Kaya-ori Tea Towel | ¥440 (Tax Included)

    A specialty product of Tohoku, this tea towel is made using the traditional weaving technique of kaya-ori. Exclusive to Tohoku.

     

    IORI

    IORI is another shop you’ll only find in the Tohoku area. They sell imabari towels which are perfect as gifts to yourself or another.

    Handkerchiefs | ¥600 Each (Tax Included)〜

    These handkerchiefs are only sold in Sendai and feature a variety of embroidered motifs like the windsocks of the Sendai Tanabata Festival, kokeshi dolls, the helmet of Date Masamune, and more.

     

    KANEIRI STANDARD STORE

    A select shop stocking stationery and other trinkets that promote the culture and craftsmanship of Tohoku. This store is right next to Sendai Station and has plenty of souvenir-worthy items, so it’s absolutely worth a visit.

    As well as lifestyle goods, the store also sells items made in Miyagi, like kokeshi dolls.

    Matsukawa Daruma | ¥1,300 (Before Tax)

    These Matsukawa Daruma are super cute, especially the blue one which is inspired by the Sendai Domain, also known as the Date Domain.

     

    Dagashiya Zousan

    Dagashiya Zousan sells old-time Japanese sweets and confections, stocked with many popular treats from Tohoku adored by both kids and adults alike.

    The traditional sweets are all packed together along the shelves and up the walls.

     

    The popular souvenir shops of Sendai

    You can’t go home after a fun trip without picking up a souvenir, so here’s s line-up of shops that have been surging in popularity recently in Sendai, all of which sell Sendai-specific items.

     

    Drinkable zunda at Agurienomori Mitte

    Drinkable Zunda | ¥370 (Before Tax)

    Zunda are mashed green soybeans boiled and turned into a sweet paste. They are also a local delicacy. Zunda mochi are very famous, but zunda beverages are popular too. This shop sells a variety of zunda treats to pick from.

     

    Bamboo grass kamaboko at Kanezaki-ya

    There are many makers of sasa-kamaboko, or bamboo grass fish paste, but what makes Kanezaki-ya’s so great is how it retains the original umami flavour and plump texture of the fish.

     

    Zaou cheese at Tohoku Meguri Irotoiro

    Zaou Cream Cheese, Vanilla Cream Spread | ¥557 Each (Before Tax)

    A food select shop selling a range of different ingredients. Their kaou cheese with sweet vanilla is their most popular item.

    “It’s a fashion mall so of course they sell clothes, but they had a bunch of other stuff too, everything from traditional Japanese daruma to food. I really recommend S-PAL Sendai if you’re searching for souvenirs!”

     

    S-PAL Sendai
    Address: 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Restaurant wing open 11:00-22:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-267-2111
    Access: Connected directly to Sendai Station
    Official Website: https://www.s-pal.jp/sendai/ 

     

    “Sendai looking and progressing into the future as it overcomes the effects of the disaster. It’s a place with amazing food, fun shops, and is teeming with nature. If you’ve never been to Sendai before, then be sure to visit and have fun!”

  • Gifts Galore as Roppongi Hills Welcomes the Christmas Market Again For 2020

    27.November.2020 | SPOT

    Christmas has sleighed into Roppongi Hills again this year, beginning with the Keyakizaka-dori Illuminations on November 13. The Christmas Market is also set to return to Oyane Plaza on November 28.

    2020 marks the 14th run of the Roppongi Hills Christmas market which is inspired by the the famous Stuttgart Christmas Market in Germany. Visitors can sift through around 1,500 miscellaneous Christmas goods, enjoy German mulled wine and sausages, and more.

     

    At the West Walk, visitors will also find an enormous 6.5m tall Christmas tree to complement the warm, cosy, festive atmosphere of the holiday season event.

  • sequence SUIDOBASHI: Tokyo’s Next-Generation Hotel Opens November 25

    26.November.2020 | SPOT

    Major real estate developer Mitsui Fudosan and Mitsui Fudosan Hotel Management will open “sequence SUIDOBASHI,” the third branch of their “sequence” hotel chain, in Chiyoda, Tokyo, on November 25, 2020.

     

    A convenient stay in Tokyo

    sequence SUIDOBASHI is just a 1-minute walk from Suidōbashi Station’s JR Line and a 6-minute walk from its Toei Subway-Mita Line. Its convenient location puts it near the Tokyo Dome City entertainment complex where you can enjoy sports events, concerts, an amusement park, and more. It also means easy access to other places like Akihabara, Kagurazaka, and Otemachi.

     

    Suidobashi is home to many office buildings, and so to blend in with its environment, sequence SUIDOBASHI features monotone colouring with chic and sophisticated design.

     

    An easy check-in with facial recognition technology

    At the hotel entrance is the facial recognition check-in counter. Guests use an app to register in advance and can use facial recognition or a QR code to self check-in easily. The hotel lobby also has a counter table and DJ booth as well as a cafe counter.

     

    One checked-in, guests can enter the hotel to find their rooms or other facilities throughout the building. sequence SUIDOBASHI is the second branch to incorporate facial recognition, which lets the hotel do everything for you from checking-in to entering your room, following sequence KYOTO GOJO. The hotel chain is also the first in Tokyo to incorporate it.

     

    The concept of “MOMENT”

    The hotel is built around the concept of a moment, offering a range of spaces for guests to enjoy different moments like the theatre and the lounge, all of which can be experienced with proper COVID-19 precautionary measures in place.

     

    Bar and dining at KANPAI TERRACE

    The hotel’s bar and dining restaurant KANPAI TERRACE has a spacious open terrace where guests can enjoy a selection of sandwiches, French toast, mains and sides for breakfast and lunch. During bar time, pick from a range of alcohols and pair them with various Japanese, Western, and Chinese foods.

     

    SHUNKAN LOUNGE

    Up on the 2nd floor is the guest-only “SHUNKAN LOUNGE,” a 40m² mini theatres with an enormous 120-inch screen where guests can enjoy sports, entertainment, and more. They can also take food and drink they bought from KANPAI TERRACE in there.

     

    SHUNKAN LOUNGE also has its own art gallery showcasing art themed on the concept of “MOMENT” from young, up-and-coming artists.

     

    Guest Rooms

    There are eight types of rooms to choose from, all of which can accommodate 2+ people. Rooms are compact and functional whether it be for guests’ morning routines or for desk work. The hotel has selected black as the base colour for the backstage area while the bed area uses white which softly illuminates with the light to create a chic contrast in the room design. There are also speckles of orange throughout the room which is the brand’s colour and adds accent to the overall design.

     

    Floors 3-6 and 12 feature bunk bed rooms perfect for friends and families travelling together. The rooms are compact with everything guests need in there including the washrooms with showers and toilets. There’s also a concept room called “Bunk Bed 4 LIVE” which features a projector and BOSE speakers for guests looking for more of a party room.

     

    If you’re looking for a place to stay in Tokyo, why not check out the “next-generation” lifestyle hotel sequence SUIDOBASHI?

  • Japan’s First Icefall Open-Air Bath to Open at Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel in Aomori

    26.November.2020 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel has announced the limited-time opening of its new Hyobaku open-air icefall bath which guests can enjoy this winter from December 18, 2020 to March 22, 2021. The bath overlooks a gorgeous mountain stream, offering an exclusive wintertime view.

     

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel

    Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel stands alone near the the picturesque Oirase Keiryu mountain stream which lets guests immerse themselves in the undisturbed serenity of nature. The hotel lobby features a grand fireplace created by Japanese artist Taro Okamoto.

     

    The Icefall Bath

    Icefalls are created when glaciers flow over a steep drop. The 14km Oirase Keiryu mountain stream is made up of 14 waterfalls which give rise to icecalls of various shapes and sizes. When light shines through them they turn a striking ice blue, something only visible during winter. The hotel has been offering the icefall bath service since 2017 to allow guests to see the icefall themselves, in the comfort of a warm bath, when the waterfalls freeze.

     

    The Icefall Created Over Time

    The waterfalls begin to freeze in early December which gradually gives rise to the icefall. The harsh cold allows the water to freeze and layer bit by bit overtime which. By mid January, the frozen waterfalls stand 3.5m high and 16cm accross. The icefall is ever-changing as its shape changes depending on the temperature, wind, and light shining through.

     

    Experience an outdoor hot spring experience like never before in Japan during winter at Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel.

  • Tokyo Tower to Begin Morning Tea Gathering On 150-Meter Main Deck

    21.November.2020 | SPOT

    Tokyo Tower is set to host a special morning tea gathering on its 150-meter-high main deck, which overlooks central Tokyo, from November 21, 2020.

    A peaceful morning cup of tea above Tokyo

    Tokyo is a communications tower in the middle of Tokyo which has its own observation deck open to the public which offers an incredible view of the capital. During the day, the tower is very busy with visitors, and so this morning tea gathering aims to offer people a chance to enjoy the tower and its view in peace and quiet, before opening hours, with a cup of Japanese tea.

     

    An open display showcasing Japanese crafts

    The event is cooperating with the Japan-France Tea Ceremony Association who is providing specially-selected traditional Japanese tea-making and serving equipment, all of which were made by traditional Japanese artisans and have been passed down since the Edo Period for an authentic.

     

    Open to foreigners even if you don’t know Japanese or the etiquette of the Japanese tea ceremony

    Don’t worry if you can’t speak Japanese or don’t know the manners or proper etiquette when it comes to the Japanese tea ceremony – the event is open to all, and you can participate without sitting in the traditional seiza positioning. The staff can speak English, French, and Spanish, so foreign tourists won’t miss out on anything.

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