Pokémon Illuminations to Light Up Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest This Year
Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest’s annual SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION winter event is set to run from November 14, 2020 to April 4, 2021, and this year, it has been announced that a new Pokémon area will be set up at the event with Pokémon illuminations.
About SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION
SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION is an annual winter event held at Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest. About an hour from the main city, the event takes place up a high slope with the 6 million lights becoming one with the surrounding natural environment. The event uses the latest in lighting technology and has gotten bigger and better every year. In 2018, it was chosen as one of Kanto’s three biggest illumination events.
This year marks the 12th run of SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION, and this time around it’s collaborating with the Pokémon franchise with lots of colourful illuminations set to light up forest and trees. Wild Pokémon illuminations roam everywhere and there are plenty of Pokémon photo spots to take your picture with including Pikachu sleeping in the forest, Charmander taking a nap by an open-air, and more.
Eevee Friends Rainbow Lift
The Rainbow Lift this year features nine colours inspired by Eevee and all of its evolutions. Ride up high with a carpet of colourful lights underneath.
The Pokémon decoration-wrapped gondola will ride visitors up 420m high. There are 36 different Pokémon gondola designs to see.
There are plenty of photo opportunities to be had at the event, from a Pikachu 100,000 volt exhibit to Pikachu napping by a fire and more. Take a picture with your favourite Pokémon.
Pikachu’s Forest of Light
Visitors will definitely want to check out the forest too which is filled with Pikachu. Deep in the forest stands a giant, towering Pikachu too. Various Pikachu-related events will also take place including a Pikachu light show, a photo meeting, and more.
Coaster (For illustrative purposes only)
Visitors who order from the ILLUMILLION menu at the park’s Wild Dining restaurant will receive a Pokémon lunch mat, and if they order a drink one of eight possible coasters. They can also receive a Pokémon eco-bag if they spend over ¥3,000 at Pleasure Station.
©2020 Pokémon. ©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc. /GAME FREAK inc.
Pokémon, ポケットモンスター, and ポケモン are registered trademarks of Nintendo, Creatures Inc., and GAME FREAK inc.
Address: 1634 Wakayanagi, Midori-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa
Running: November 14, 2020 – April 4, 2021
Illumination Times: 16:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:30)
*Illumination times to begin from 17:00 starting in February
Official Website: https://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/illumillion/
Autumn in Shizuoka: Izunokuni Panorama Park’s Autumn Tree Tunnel and Mountain View
03.December.2020 | SPOT
Japan in the autumn season is truly a sight to behold. Travelling to Shizuoka Prefecture during autumn calls for a trip to Izunokuni Panorama Park, where one can gaze at the autumn colours blooming at the peak of Mount Katsuragi. The best time to visit is from late November to early December, especially to see the tunnel of trees at Izunokuni Panorama Park’s Boardwalk which blossom reds and yellows.
The Boardwalk’s autumn tunnel
At the centre of Fujimidai Terrace you will find the Boardwalk which is home to a tunnel of autumnal trees. Visitors can enjoy the warmth of the sun filtering through the multicoloured leaves together with a cool breeze as they walk the leaf-littered path. Late November and early December is the height of autumn in this area, and on a clear day, Mount Fuji is clearly visible, making it a must-visit for anyone travelling to Japan in autumn.
A beautiful view of Suruga Bay and Mount Fuji for the New Year
Izunokuni Panorama Park will also be open on New Year’s Day—January 1, 2021—from 5:00am, offering visitors a breathtaking view of the sunset, Suruga Bay, and Mount Fuji from Fujimidai Terrace atop Mount Katsuragi. What a way to start the New Year. Additionally, the first 200 visitors each day from January 1st-3rd will also be given an ema plaque from Katsuragi Shrine.
Izunokuni Panorama Park
Official Website: https://www.panoramapark.co.jp/
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.
Golden Island Zipang 2020 (Japanese: 黄金の島 ジパング 2020)
Autumn Illuminations: November 14, 2020 – November 30, 2020
Christmas Illuminations: December 1, 2020 – December 27, 2020
New Year Illuminations: January 2, 2021 – January 11, 2021
Event Page: https://www.kankou-matsue.jp/rehappy/feature/illumination
Address: 1260-2 Yatsukachō Hanyū, Matsue, Shimane
Closed: December 30-31
Official Website: https://www.yuushien.com
Sanrio’s Little Twin Stars Kiki & Lala Light Up Shinjuku With TWINKLE COLOR CHRISTMAS Illumination Event
Sanrio’s beloved character pair Kiki & Lala, also known as the Little Twin Stars, are hosting a special winter event titled “TWINKLE COLOR CHRISTMAS” at Shinjuku Southern Terrace from December 1 to 25, illuminating the area with beautiful Christmas lights, as part of their 45th anniversary.
Kiki & Lala’s twinkling Christmas tree magical in the daytime and night time
The towering 4-meter tall Christmas Tree is decorated in countless mirror balls which reflect beautifully both during the day from the sun and at night with Kiki & Lala’s illuminations. A special light show is also taking place from 16:30 each day with Christmas songs.
Decorated around the tree are Kiki & Lala neon signs and pastel-coloured adornments.
Those unable to visit Shinjuku this Christmas can access the “TWINKLE COLOR CHRISTMAS AR TREE” digitally This will have Kiki & Lala’s Christmas tree appear on your phone when taking photos. You can access it here.
Kiki & Lala treats at the Sanrio Cafe Wagon
Limited time menu
45th Anniversary Items
On weekends, as well as from December 19 up to Christmas Day, a food wagon will make an appearance at the event serving Kiki & Lala food and drink like the pink and fruity Ruby Chocolate Latte and fruit-filled Twinkle Crepe.
©’76,’20 SANRIO 著作(株)サンリオ
Little Twin Stars x Shinjuku Southern Terrace TWINKLE COLOR CHRISTMAS
Running: December 1, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Tree Light-Up Schedule: December 1 = 17:00-24:00 / December 2-24 = 16:30～24:00 / December 25 = 16:30-21:00
Address: 2-2-1 Yoyogi, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Official Website: https://www.sanrio.co.jp/news/ts-odakyu-twinkle-color-christmas-20201119/
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.
Ryokan Brand Azumi
Azumi Official Website: http://azumi.co/
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.
Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up
Location: Karuizawa Shiraito Falls
Running: December 19, 2020 – February 14, 2021
・Christmas Session: December 19th-20th, 24th-27th (17:00-19:00)
・New Year Session: January 2nd-3rd, 8th-11th (17:00-19:00)
・St.Valentine Session: February 11th-14th (17:30-19:30)
*Please see the website for the latest information
*Entry restrictions may be made depending on the number of visitors
Official Website: https://karuizawa-shw.com/
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
[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.
Art Aquarium Museum Christmas Event
Address: 1-3 Nihonbashihoncho, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00 (Until 20:00 in December)
No Fixed Holidays
General Admission: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,300 (Tax Included) / After Dark Ticket: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,000 (Tax Included)
*Free for 12 and under
Official Website: https://artaquarium.jp/en/
Japanese Koala’s March Cookies Collaborates With Pokémon On Cheesecake Moomoo Milk Flavour
Koala’s March is one of the many tasty treats made by Japanese confectionery company Lotte. They are bite-sized cookies with sweet fillings. Lotte is teaming up with Pokémon to release 48 Koala’s March products with Pokémon prints on them.
Koala’s March With Pokémon – Cheesecake Moomoo Milk Flavour
The crunchy biscuits feature a variety of Pokémon prints on them along with the Pokémon’s names’ in Japanese. They are filled with sweet cheesecake-flavoured chocolate. The collaboration is inspired by Moomoo Milk, an HP-restoring medicine seen in Pokémon. Together with the original Koala’s March prints, there are a total of 96 individual designs to find.
A proper tasty snack for any Pokémon Trainer out there!
©LOTTE/Koala’s March Project
©Nintendo･Creatures･GAME FREAK･TV Tokyo･ShoPro･JR Kikaku ©Pokémon
Koala’s March With Pokémon – Cheesecake Moomoo Milk Flavour
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Product Page: https://www.lotte.co.jp/products/brand/koala/pokemon
UNIQLO x JW ANDERSON Unveil Their First Ever Holiday Collection For 2020
28.November.2020 | FASHION
London-based fashion brand JW ANDERSON is following up its Autumn/Winter collaboration with UNIQLO with the two companies’ first ever holiday collection. Centring around the theme “A Cozy Countryside British Cottage,” the collection captures the vibe of spending time in a cozy cottage on the outskirts of London.
Traditional and uplifting British prints for a brighter winter
The holiday collection is made up of everything you need for surviving winter: beanies, gloves, socks, and snoods, all decorated with traditional British prints like argyle and jacquard. All the colours match together perfectly so the line-up works perfectly as a set. It features an JW ANDERSON-esque twist and incorporates HEATTECH technology to get you through the cold months.
Limited-edition argyle gift boxes
Gift Box | ¥290 (Small/Medium/Large)
This collection is boxed in an argyle gift box to make for the perfect Christmas packaging.
Stay warm this winter with the soft and cozy new JW ANDERSON x UNIQLO holiday collection, rolling out December 4, 2020.
UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON
Release Date: December 12, 2020
Available: UNIQLO online and in-store
Line-Up: Women’s – 1 Item / Men – 1 Item / Unisex – 3 Items / Kids – 3 Items
UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON Special Site: https://www.uniqlo.com/jp/ja/contents/collaboration/jwanderson/20fw/article/04/
Sendai Stroll: Taking a Walk Around Japan’s City of Trees With Chinese Influencer Etsuna
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
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!”
Address: 4-3-1 Oroshimachi, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 6:30-13:30
Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
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
Access: Arai Station
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
Access: 15-minutes by bus from Arai Station
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.
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.”
Address: Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Access: Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station
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.”
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)
TEL: 022-724-7767 (Bookings not possible)
Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station
Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp
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!”
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.
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.”
Address: 2-5-15 Ichibanchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 17:00-Midnight
No Fixed Holidays
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!”
Address: 2-3-28 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
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.
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 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 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!”
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
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!”
TOHOKU PASIFIC COAST：http://tohoku-pacific-coast.com/
“TOHOKU Pacific Coast” refers to the eastern coastal area of Tohoku, Japan. The area was extensively damaged due to the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. However, it has overcome this adversity and is once again gaining attention as a sightseeing spot that once attracted tourists from all over due to its flourishing wildlife and delicious seafood.
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.
Roppongi Hills Christmas 2020
Running: November 13, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Location: Roppongi Hills (Keyakizaka-dori, West Walk Floor 2F, Oyane Plaza, and elsewhere)
Christmas Market 2020
Running: November 28, 2020 – December 25, 2020
Location: Oyane Plaza
Roppongi Hills Official Website: https://www.roppongihills.com/en/
Seiko to Drop New Pokémon Watch Collection | MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Seiko is teaming up with Pokémon to release four limited-edition watches on December 11, 2020. Each model will be available to buy from Seiko in Japan.
Pikachu Icon Design Model SCXP175 | ¥30,800 (Tax Included)
The Pikachu Icon Design Model SCXP175 features a modern design with a yellow dial and black Pikachu silhouette. Pikachu’s tail is used as the watch hands, underneath which is a nod to Pikachu’s effectiveness as a lighting-type Pokémon against water-types. The watch has a leather strap with Pikachu’s paw prints running down it.
Pikachu Green Model SCXP177 | ¥30,800 (Tax Included)
The Pikachu Green Model SCXP177 features a green dial inspired by Pikachu running through Viridian Forest. The second hand also has Pikachu’s tail and the leather strap has Pikachu’s paw prints.
Eevee Model SCXP179 | ¥30,800 (Tax Included)
The cute Eevee Model SCXP179 has coloured dots for the hours which represent Eevee’s nine different evolutions. The leather strap has Eevee’s paw prints.
Mewtwo Model SCXP181 | ¥30,800 (Tax Included)
The Mewtwo Model SCXP181 is purple to represent the Psychic-type Legendary Pokémon Mewtwo. The leather strap reads “Pokémon” on it.
There are three different underside designs featuring a closed Poké Ball, an open Poké Ball, and a closed Great Ball.
Each watch comes in a special box and with an additional nylon strap, which you can swap out with the leather one, as well as a Poké Ball design cloth.
©Nintendo･Creatures･GAME FREAK･TV Tokyo･ShoPro･JR Kikaku ©Pokémon
Seiko & Pokémon Special Models
Release Date: December 11, 2020
Product Page: https://www.seikowatches.com/jp-ja/products/seikoselection/
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.
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.
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?
Address: 2-22-17, Kanda-misakicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Grand Opening: November 25, 2020
Official Website (English): https://www.sequencehotels.com/suidobashi/eng/