Lanterns to Soar the Night Sky of Saitama at O Park OGOSE
06.December.2020 | SPOT
BIO-RESORT HOTEL&SPA O Park OGOSE has announced that it’s set to light up the night sky of Saitama with a special evening lantern launching event which will be held on Fridays and weekends from December 6.
Guests can pick from five different sky lanterns which use LED lights and helium gas. The lanterns are safe for small children to use so families can enjoy the enchanting experience together.
O Park OGOSE is a biotope-themed resort facility where guests can stay while surrounded by lush green forests. The sky lantern event is being held in response to the pandemic outbreak so that people can feel refreshed and a coming-together.
SATOYAMA Sky Lantern Night
Running: Fridays and weekends from December 6, 2020 (until lantern stock runs out)
Location: BIO-RESORT HOTEL&SPA O Park OGOSE
Address: 3083-1 Ueno, Ogose, Iruma District, Saitama
Price: ¥2,000 per person
O Park OGOSE Official Website: https://opark.jp/
*The number of participants at the event is being restricted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Ace Attorney Celebrates 20th Anniversary with CAPCOM CAFE Collaboration, Releases Main Visual
Saitama Ion Laketown kaze’s CAPCOM CAFE will be holding an Ace Attorney collaboration cafe between October 8 and November 18 to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary.
The never-seen-before main visual is themed around the 20th anniversary and features the Ace Attorney and Great Ace Attorney characters in their fanciest clothes! Look forward to the new collaboration menu and limited goods which will feature the new artwork.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is now on sale.
© CAPCOM CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
CAPCOM CAFE x Ace Attorney Series Collaboration
Duration: October 8 ~ November 18, 2021
Location: CAPCOM CAFE Ion Laketown
Address: Ion Laketown Kaze 3F, 4-2-2 Laketown, Koshigaya City, Saitama
Official Site: http://www.capcom.co.jp/amusement/capcomcafe/
Kumagaya City, Saitama Bath Cafe Hareniwa no Yu Opens After Rebranding
13.September.2021 | SPOT
Cafe BIVOUAC, located in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, will reopen Bath Cafe Hareniwa no Yu on September 18, 21, after a full rebranding.
The space aims to be ‘a garden that clears a guest’s body and mind.’ Visitors can enjoy a full bath and sauna, freshly-picked vegetables at the Haruniwa Dining Room, and a lush green lounge in which to relax and unwind.
The Haruniwa Dining Room, run by The Farm, a resort in Chiba Prefecture, offers healthy dishes filled with fresh local vegetables from Kumagaya with carefully-selected main ingredients.
In addition, a collaboration with fashion brand ‘niko and…’ will also begin upon reopening, offering the perfect comfy clothes to wear while enjoying the property. The lineup includes an original bath bag and sauna hat, each sold exclusively at Hareniwa no Yu.
Bath Cafe Hareniwa no Yu (Cafe BIVOUAC)
Open: September 18, 2021
Address: 939 Kubojima, Kumagaya-shi, Saitama
Official Site: https://ofurocafe-bivouac.com/
RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka to Offer Extremely Limited Halloween Accommodations
08.September.2021 | SPOT
The RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka has announced a spectacularly limited Halloween accommodation plan, titled ‘A Terrifying Banquet in the Mysterious Lord’s Castle.’ Only one lucky person per day can book the decorated room, which features in-room meals and more treats to discover. Reservations are open through October 28, and the room will be available from September 10 until October 31.
‘A Terrifying Banquet’ Dining Table
Skeletons in hotel uniform, ready to greet guests in the front room
This spooky setup will be held in the Fontainebleau suite, themed as a French palace. Guests will enjoy a western dinner course in the comfort (or discomfort) of the room. Decorated with black cats, ever-watchful owls and skeletons, guests can also look forward to taking plenty of photos at a designated photo spot on the sofa.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep people in their homes, the hotel created this room as a way to experience a new kind of cozy Halloween getaway. Visitors will enjoy plenty of other perks, including free parking, soft drink coupons, and breakfast the following morning.
Would you be able to sleep in this room filled with skeletons and specters?
Special Halloween Room: ‘A Terrifying Banquet in the Mysterious Lord’s Castle’
Reservations Open: September 1 – October 28, 2021
Room Available: September 10 – October 31, 2021
*Reservations accepted until 8:00AM, 3 days in advance.
Official Site: https://www.rihga.co.jp/osaka/stay/plan/halloween2021
Saitama-based EJ Anime Hotel Collaborates With Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- Anime
The EJ Hotel, located inside Saitama Prefecture’s Tokorozawa Sakura Town, has unveiled a new collaboration room with the Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- anime, with room reservations opening on August 18, 2021.
Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- Japanese-style Room
Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- Western-style Room
Hotel Limited Goods / Original Furoshiki
Hotel Limited Goods / Original Folding Fan
Hotel Limited Goods / Original Goshuinchō
Hotel Limited Goods / Original Chopstick Rest Set
Hotel Limited Goods / Hand Towel
Hotel Limited Goods / Original Clear File
Collaboration Dinner Sample (6-piece set)
Lunch Menu Sample (3-piece set)
Collaboration Drink: Kabosu Sake (Alcoholic)
Collaboration Drink: Cherry Juice (Soft drink)
EJ Anime Hotel collaborates with a variety of IPs under the concept of “staying in your favorite story.”
In addition to room decor and original merchandise, the hotel offers a new kind of hotel experience by using videos, sound, and lightning, along with an exclusive collaboration restaurant serving a full-course dinner, to allow you to immerse yourself in your favorite anime.
Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- is a popular anime based on the novel series written by Yūma Midori and published by Fujimi L Bunko. The 26-episode series aired in 2018.
The collaboration faithfully reproduces the world from the series in real life: The prosperous and long-established Tenjinya Inn of the Hidden Realm, the world of Ayakashi.
You will be greeted by character panels upon entry to the room and can enjoy a smartphone minigame featuring newly recorded lines from the characters. There are plenty of original goods for you to take home, and the full-course dinner reflects the food from the original series.
The collaboration room will be available between August 17 2021 and March 16 2022.
The adjacent hotel restaurant Tiam will also offer monthly collaboration lunches that can be enjoyed by guests and non-guests alike, with limited themed drinks and coasters to take home!
©2018 Yūma Midori･Laruha/ KADOKAWA/ Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- Production Committee
※All images are samples and are subject to change
Kakuriyo – Bed & Breakfast for Spirits-
Reservations Start: August 17, 2021
Availability: September 17, 2021 ~ March 16, 2022
Details & Reservations: https://tokorozawa-sakuratown.jp/hotel/kakuriyo.html
※Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Official Site: http://kakuriyo-anime.com/
Limited-Time Autumn Harvest Event Comes to Moominvalley Park
As the summer heat begins to wane and the cool and comfortable autumn air arrives, why not celebrate the season with Moomin? The Moominvalley Park Harvest event is coming for a limited-time only, starting on September 4, 2021 and continuing through October 24, 2021.
Moominvalley Park is a theme park centered on the popular Swedish comic The Moomins. Announced in 2013, the complex opened on Lake Miyazawa in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture in March 2019. Moominvalley Park has two specific zones: the Metsä area, free to visitors, features lakefront dining and shops, while the Moomin zone contains different attractions, such as Moomin’s house and an art museum.
Images of Last Year’s Balloon Art
The creatures who live in the Moominvalley enjoy the bounty of all four seasons, and the harvest from summer to autumn is particularly tasty, filled with berries and mushrooms ripe for the picking. Nutritious blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries and cloudberries spring from the bushes, and the Moomin family would love to welcome you with some of these tasty snacks! Limited-time menu items and workshops will be available, so visitors can have their fill of the autumn season.
Last year’s balloon art event was hugely popular, and will be making a comeback in 2021. Berries are a symbol of the harvest throughout Scandinavia, and guests are welcomed by these sweet treats floating in the sky. Beneath the autumn sky and surrounded by lush trees beside the lake shore, the Moominvalley feels like a storybook brought to life. Don’t miss this colorful and joyous event!
Meiji Marble Chocolate Themed Hotel Room Opens at The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji
In celebration of Meiji’s popular Marble chocolate, The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji is collaborating with the confectionery brand to offer a Marble themed hotel room for guests. The room opened on July 27.
Showa retro-style posters, telephone, and other decorations
Meiji’s colourful Marble chocolate was first released in 1961. It turned 60-years-old in February of this year, meaning it has continued to be enjoyed by three generations. Grandparents have passed them onto mothers and fathers, and them to their own children. Now the whole family can celebrate the chocolate in a themed hotel room in Kyoto.
Named the Marble Room, the hotel room is decorated in seven colours just like the chocolates themselves. This includes seven individual pillows on the sofa, balloons, wall decorations, and more. There’s even a crane game inside the room where guests can obtain some chocolates for free.
Also inside the room are Showa retro-style posters and a telephone, and guests can watch all of the old Marble commercials on the television which have aired these past 60 years. Guests also receive a free smartphone ring, eco bag, pouch, and other little freebies as part of the plan.
Meiji Marble x The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji
Bookings: Open from July 27, 2021
Stay Period: August 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021
Meiji Official Website: https://www.meiji.co.jp/
Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI: Rent Out a Renovated Japanese House in Niigata
15.July.2021 | SPOT
Japanese design company Jiyujin launched its new Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE chain of accommodations this month which offer a single group of guests a one-night stay in an entire house.
The first branch to open is IZUMI which features a fully-renovated Japanese-style house located in the city of Uonuma in Niigata. A gorgeous outlook is offered from the house with an unbroken view of lush forests, rice fields, and Mt. Makihata, which is listed as one of the ‘100 Famous Japanese Mountains.’
A breathtaking view awaits guests from the open-air bath
The spacious living room
Fully renovated from a 150-year-old private house, the building is supported by beautiful wooden beams and columns, and in the middle the oe, a sunken hearth. This, along with the beams and sashigamoi joints, are made from keyaki Japanese zelkova which is an elm-like tree. This species of tree is rare even in a tree-covered region such as Uonuma. The lumber used for this house was cut, preserved, and dried out for a number of decades before being processed into building material for the house. The heart in the middle of the living room is reminiscent of a time when large families would gather around one and serves to recreate that lifestyle.
The Nishiyama region is known for is production of delicious rice. IZUMI in fact looks out over Kabanosawa, a special and important place of rice production in Nishiyama. This vantage point also gives guests an opportunity to appreciate the hot and cold temperatures of the daytime and evening, the rivers, the shape of the land, and the earth the city sits on. The drastic change in temperatures in the day and night are especially noteworthy as this, along with the basin between the mountains, gives rise to a sea of clouds.
IZUMI sits on a hill that overlooks the rice paddies, making it a perfect location for spotting the sea of clouds. Minamiuonuma’s sea of clouds has over a 70% chances of appearing in the autumn and spring seasons.
The number one reason why Japan’s old, long-standing, and precious private houses are demolished is due to the cold getting in and it being too dark inside. Even those who want to see them preserved for tradition, including those who live in them already, would rather live in a modern home. That’s why Jiyujin has begun a renovation project instead of a demolition one. By refurbishing the houses, the ancient framework can be fixed up and preserved while a range of contemporary amenities are incorporate to fit with modern lifestyles. The Satoyama Jujo accommodations are built so they can be used for over 100 years.
For dinner, there are three options for guests. The first is a dinner at SANABURI which earned itself a Michelin star in Michelin Guide Niigata 2020. The second is a meal at a restaurant that earned the status of Bib Gourmand in the same guide. The third is to prepare your own meal in the house. There are plenty of shops around the station nearby where you can buy local ingredients.
After a delicious meal, guests can take a soak in the open-air tub and enjoy gazing out across the fields and the beautiful mountains which stand almost 2,000 meters high.
Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI
Japanese Name: 里山十帖 THE HOUSE IZUMI
Address: 671-1, Amanosawa, Minamiuonuma, Niigata, 〒949-6433, Japan
Official Website: Opening early July 2021
Access: 7-minutes by car from Jōetsu International Skiing Ground Station (JR Joetsu Line) / 16-minutes by car from Shiozawa-Ishiuchi IC
KYARY PAMYU PAMYU meets IMABARI: A Visit to the Historical Sea Route
Imabari is a city in Ehime Prefecture that faces the Seto Inland Sea. Since olden times, it has flourished as an important location for marine traffic. It’s home to a bounty of recognised national treasures and historical heritage sights, and is also famous for its production of citrus fruits such as mikan. Japanese pop star, model, and icon Kyary Pamyu Pamyu took a trip to this ancient city to discover its wonder and beauty.
A Visit to the Historical Sea Route
A ‘power spot’ revered by prominent people
Oyamazumi Shrine has been revered by prominent figures throughout history as a place dedicated to the god of the mountain, god of the ocean, and the god of war. It’s home to numerous Important Cultural Properties which are available for viewing by the public such as the armour worn by the military commander Minamoto no Yoshitsune when the Minamoto clan won the Genpei War (1180-1185), armour worn by women, and more. The shrine is also a notable power spot for the ancient tree that has stood there for 2,600 years and is now recognised as a natural monument of Japan. Power spots are places in Japan where the spiritually-inclined draw energy from.
Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan
Opening Hours: Sunrise to 17:00
National Treasure Building: 8:30-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Official Website: https://oomishimagu.jp/
Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area
Lip-smacking food aplenty
If you’re one for great views, then the Kurushima Kaikyo service area is a must-visit, offering a panoramic look at the Kurushima Strait of the Seto Inland Sea. The service area is very well know particularly for the Jaguchi Mikan Juice, something of a city legend in Ehime where you can enjoy fresh mikan juice straight from a tap. You can also tuck a rice bowl dish made with tachiuo hairtail caught in the Seto Inland Sea that’s made to look like Kurushima Kaikyō Bridge, or try Imabari’s soul food dish: the Imabari Yakibuta Tamago Meshi, a pork, egg, and rice bowl. Don’t pass up the chance to snap a photo at the designated photo spot with the Seto Inland Sea in the back either like Kyary above.
Kurushima Kaikyo Service Area
Address: 3-9-68 Ohamacho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0002, Japan
Food Court: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00
Shops: [Weekdays] 8:00-21:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 7:00-22:00
Outside Shopping Area & Cafes: [Weekdays] 9:00-17:00 / [Weekends & Holidays] 9:00-18:00
Official Website: https://www.jb-highway.co.jp/sapa/kurushima.php
Murakami Suigun Museum
Dedicated to the Imabari heroes who protected the ocean
Murakami Suigun Museum is dedicated to kaizoku—pirates, or lords of the sea—something which conjures to mind villainy or bad guys, but the Murakami pirates were also considered heroes who helped maintain order and protect the sea during the Sengoku warring period of Japan. The museum features many displays of Murakami family treasures including the battle surcoat which the pirate leader wore over his armour, proudly bearing the Murakami family crest. Visitors can wear replicas of this coat, which Kyary tired herself: “Now I’m sorta like a military commander too,” she said.
Murakami Suigun Museum
Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / New Year Holidays (Dec 29-Jan 3)
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/suigun/
Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan
A bundle of fun and entertainment in one place
Roll on up to Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan to enjoy a shichirin BBQ feast with fresh seafood caught in the Seto Inland Sea while gazing out across Kurushima Kaikyo. This building complex serves as a resting spot and is also the perfect place to purchase local souvenirs including Ehime specialty products. It’s also famous for its offering the chance to board a boat to ride around Kurushima Kaikyo, renting out bicycles, and more. You’ll also be able to meet Koro-chan, a popular fish who has lived there for 30 years.
Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan
Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Restaurant: 10:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:00)
Closed: New Year’s Day (and certain days in winter)
Official Website: http://www.imabari-shimanami.jp/ikiiki/
Dolphin Farm Shimanami
Meet the cute and friendly dolphins
Dolphin Farm Shimanami, which is connected to Hakata Beach, is the best and biggest place in Japan to interact with dolphins. Visitors can get close to them and the dolphins will show off their tricks and skills. There’s even a car camping area you can stay at.
Dolphin Farm Shimanami
Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: On days with bad weath
Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/
A white sandy beach rolling out 200-meters
Hakata Beach is located at the base of Oshima Bridge in Hakata. The beach is famous for its salt which is best tried on their popular sweet-tasting sea salt ice cream.
Address: 1668-1 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan
Sea Bathing: Early July – Late August
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=198
High quality towels woven with tradition and technique
Imabari is the biggest producer of towels in Japan. Even their white towels alone have countless types you can choose from, allowing you to pick which level of softness and comfort you want. The iconic brand logo is also impactful, capturing the quality, production, and enthusiasm that the makes have for the product. Kyary herself uses them all the time!
Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/
Need a bike?
Sunrise Itoyama, located in the Imabari Central Cycling Terminal, is a rental bicycle service that has bikes and helmets for everyone’s needs. Rent out a bike and ride the Shimanami Sea Route which connects Ehime and Hiroshima with a series of bridges that hop across the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.
Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan
Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/
Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/
The famous restaurant known to every local
If you want the real experience of Imabari’s yakitori soul food, you should visit Marutomi, a yakitori eatery. Imabari yakitori is different from the usual Japanese yakitori as it doesn’t come skewered. Instead, the chicken is cut into small pieces and fried that way. One of the most popular ways to have it is with the skin on so the outside is crunchy and the inside succulent. It goes perfect with a cup of sake too.
2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan
Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00
Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/
A castle by the sea
Imabari Castle, built by the daimyo Tōdō Takatora, is known famously as one of Japan’s three “Castles on the Sea” and was also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles. When it was first constructed, boats could enter the moat from the ocean. It’s a site that breathes the prosperity that Imabari has enjoyed as a significant location for maritime traffic, the same Imabari that the Murakami pirates sought to protect. Head on up to the top of the castle to stand on the observation deck and gaze at an unbroken view of the city.
Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: December 29 – December 31
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/museum/imabarijo/
Kirosan Observatory Park
A breathtaking spectacle to remember
Kirosan Observatory Park is officially recognised by Setonaikai National Park. Standing atop the observation deck fills the eyes with wonder as they gaze upon a panoramic stretch of Imabari, the Seto Inland Sea, and Kurushima Kaikyo all at once. Kyary wrapped up her time in Imabari here as the sunset coloured the sky and sea in warm evening hues.
Kirosan Observatory Park
Address: 487-4 Yoshiumicho Minamiura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2115, Japan
No Fixed Holidays
Open 24-hours a day
Official Website: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/spot/?a=182
Imabari Tourism Information: https://www.city.imabari.ehime.jp/kanko/
We hope you enjoyed joining Kyary on her adventures across Imabari, and perhaps she even got you a little curious in wanting to visit the city yourself. It’s a treasure trove filled with vistas by the sea, in nature, and in the city itself with its Important Cultural Properties. Food is also a big part of travel for many people, so you can rest assured that your belly will be satisfied in Imabari as you try their speciality mikan, fresh seafood fished in the Seto Inland Sea, and more.
Experience a Front Row Seat of Karuizawa’s Tranquil Forests at HOSHINOYA
13.June.2021 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa has announced a special summer plan for guests called “Mori no Hotori cafe&Bar ~Suijo no Tokutoseki~” (Cafe & Bar by the Forest ~Special Seats on the Water~). The midsummer evening plan is available for one group per day and takes place at the hotel’s cafe and bar which sits by a forest and faces the Kera-Ike Pond. It invites guests to relax under the starry night sky on the water and enjoy the sounds of nature while enjoying drinks and bites to eat.
Japan is known for its summer hot summers. However, Karuizawa enjoys a cooler climate, so evenings dip to around 20°C for a comfortable temperature.
Stargazing on top of the water
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa is connected directly to Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary. At the entrance, by the Kera-Ike Pond, is the hotel’s Mori no Hotori cafe&bar which is open all year. The cafe/bar fusion is surrounded by Karuizawa’s lush forests, and it’s here that guests can enjoy sitting on specially-prepared seats on the water. It will feel like they are walking on water as they approach their seats where they can take their shoes off and sit on the tatami mats to gaze at the stars.
Calm the heart with an enchanting performance
When you walk up the stairs that face Kera-Ike from HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, your ears will be met with the enchanting sound of crystal bowls which add a mysterious depth to the natural sounds of the forest, spiriting guests away to another wonderful world.
Indulgent drinks and food
Guests can pick from a range of drinks and bites to eat scented with fruits, wood, and other natural fragrances of the forest. There arw six drinks to choose from including a gin and tonic made with lindera umbellata, a type of camphor, as well as a whisky made with ripe fruits. Food includes chocolate made from lindera umbellata and kuma bamboo grass, cherry blossom and walut chips, and more.
Cafe & Bar by the Forest ~Special Seats on the Water~
Japanese Plan Name: 森のほとりcafe&bar ～水上の特等席～
Running: July 1, 2021 – August 31, 2021
Book Here: https://hoshinoya.com/karuizawa/
*Bookings must be made 5 days in advance
Requirements: Must be aged 20+ years / HOSHINOYA Karuizawa guests only
Capacity: 1 group of two people per day
Notes: Will not take place if it rains
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/
Be Surrounded by Glowing Fireflies With Kissho Yamanaka’s New Hotel Plan
07.June.2021 | SPOT
Kissho Yamanaka, a hot spring hotel in Kaga, Ishikawa, is now offering a firefly-viewing experience as part of a new guest plan until June 15. This gorgeous resort, situated by the Daishoji River in the Kakusenkei Gorges, was awarded three Michelin stars in the Ryokan category of Michelin Guide Hokuriku 2021 Special Issue.
The firefly tour arrives as early summer is soon to begin. As part of the hotel plan, guests can also enjoy a dazzling Firefly Cocktail too.
Feel the rays of early summertime at Kissho Yamanaka.
Firefly & Sunset Hotel Plan
Address: Kissho Yamanaka, 1 Chome-14−3 Yamanakaonsen Higashimachi, Kaga, Ishikawa 922-0114, Japan
Official Website: https://kissho-yamanaka.com/
Bathe With Real Ducks at Tamagawa Onsen in Saitama
01.June.2021 | SPOT
As part of their 10th anniversary event, Tamagawa Onsen, a Showa retro-style bathhouse in Saitama, opened their ‘Real Duck Baths’ on May 29 which lets people bathe with real ducks. The experience is available on weekends and public holidays only.
Forget bathing with bright yellow toy ducks – now you can have the real thing. These ducks were hatched and raise from ducklings by the bathhouse manager Arai at their home. The ducks are still small so the hours when they will be out are not set in stone, but the bathhouse hopes that guests will watch their and support their growth as they mature over time.
Real Duck Bath
Running: Weekends and public holidays from May 29, 2021
*Subject to cancellation on any day depending on the condition of the ducks
Where: Tamagawa Onsen
Address: 3700 Tamagawa, Tokigawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0342, Japan
Official Website: https://tamagawa-onsen.com/
All About Matsuyama | Final Episode: Introducing the New Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre
The reception staff are ready and waiting to greet customers with a smile
The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre finally opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. You’ll find it on the first floor of Matsuyama Mitsukoshi which isn’t even a one-minute walk from Okaido Station. It features an interior fusion combining history and culture with a design inspired by Matsuyama Castle while also throwing in a contemporary feel.
Six giant screens serve as the perfect place for tourism-related PR of Matsuyama
The first sight many visitors will lay their eyes on upon entering the information centres are the six screens spanning 1.5 meters high and 4.5 meters across the wall. Here, a variety of promotional material centred on the highlights of Matsuyama will be displayed.
The information centre offers many useful services, including for foreign customers who don’t speak Japanese. There is a translation and interpreting service, money exchange, rental electrical outlets for smart devices, and more. The staff themselves are multilingual, but the interpreting service includes access to a call centre which you can access using the free WiFi or using an iPad. The availability of foreign currency exchange is also extremely beneficial as Matsuyama is a city abundant with long-standing shops that have been around for decades and longer. Another convenience with the centre is easy access to public transport. If you’re looking to travel around the prefecture, we recommend paying a visit to the centre first as it’s sure to provide valuable information. You can even rent mobile batteries for your smartphone to lessen the stress when sightseeing.
The pictogram shows the many handy services available
Visitors will also find a comprehensive duty-free counter inside the information centre which covers all stores in Okaido, Gintengai, Matsuchika Town, Dogo Shoten, and Ropeway Shotengai. You must spend over ¥5,000 (before tax) on products to be duty-free eligible. Since it’s a comprehensive service, if you have multiple receipts you can be exempt from tax as long as all your receipts exceed ¥5,000. Participating stores have special stickers plastered up inside so tourists can quickly and easily identify them.
Stores participating in the duty-free service have stickers and signs to show it
For example, if you spend ¥500 at participating stores in Dogo Shotengai, ¥1,000 in Okaido Shopping Street, and ¥3,500 in Gintengai Shotengai, and take all three of those receipts adding up to ¥5,000 to the information centre, you can get your items duty free. But keep in mind that the receipts have a validity period on them, so be sure to check opening hours.
The Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre serves as the perfect site for bringing in all kinds of tourists, including foreign travellers, to Matsuyama post-COVID. The information also goes by the cute nickname “Dan Dan info.” Dan dan is an old Ehime phrase meaning “thank you” and ties in with the smiling and hospitable welcome staff wish to greet guests with. It’s exciting to look into the future and see how Matsuyama’s tourism and economic growth will develop in its shopping districts, stores, and elsewhere. Make one of your first stops the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre when visiting the city.