Hoshino Resorts BANTA CAFE Releases Video of Magical Beachside Illuminations
19.January.2021 | SPOT
The incredible beachside Hoshino Resorts BANTA CAFE, which offers guests a breathtaking ocean view along the Okinawan coast, released a video on the official Hoshino Resorts YouTube page showcasing the cafe’s ongoing illumination event, “Illumi Banta,” which is running until February 28, 2021. Guests can enjoy some limited-time menu options and then take a romantic stroll along the beach with a warm lantern in hand.
Okinawa is known for its warm climate, rarely dipping below 15°C in the chilly season of winter. There are many celebratory days enjoyed every year around Christmas and New Years, and so BANTA CAFE decided to get in on the action with Illumi Banta, which has been running since December 1 last year—while following the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to ensure everyone stays safe. The spacious cafe is mostly outdoors so visitors can enjoy their time without worry.
A seat at the cafe in on a clear evening guarantees a front row seat to a beautiful orange sunset that sinks into the horizon. Normally, the cafe closes as sunset arrives, but for this event, opening hour have been extended into the night.
BANTA CAFE is located in the village of Yomitan where the beautiful ocean is surrounded by coral reef, enormous rocks, and a rich natural environment. It’s a must-visit if travelling to Okinawa.
Running: December 1, 2020 – February 28, 2021 (Except February 1st-5th)
Time: 18:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:00)
Address: 560 Gima, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 10:00 to one hour after sunset (from 08:00 on weekends and holidays)
Official Website: https://banta-cafe.com/en/
Hoshino Resort’s Banta Cafe in Okinawa to Open Limited-Time Night Cafe During Winter
Located in wonderfully warm Okinawa, Hoshino Resort is the perfect getaway for those wanting a warmer winter. The Banta Cafe overlooks the ocean, offering unmatched views. From December 1, 2021, until January 31, 2022, the cafe will hold the ‘Illumi-Banta: Night Lights by the Sea’ event. Of course, Illumi-Banta is a portmanteau of the words ‘Illumination’ and ‘Banta,’ but the Okinawan word iyumibanta means ‘a cliff overlooking the fish.’ The entire location, from the top of the cliff all the way to the sea, will be bathed in otherworldly light. A special menu will also be available during the event period, serving up food perfect for eating as guests wander by the seaside. A number of Okinawan workshops will also bring local craftsmen to the site to show off their creations. Why bundle up when you can enjoy a warm winter by the ocean?
A Fantastic World of Light and Ocean Life
Banta Cafe sits on a cliff above the water, and the waters beneath it hide gorgeous coral reefs. Watch the sea come to life, as the ocean, white sand beach, and rock formations are illuminated. The lights will change colors during the daily light show along with the tides, so don’t miss it!
Light Show Times: 18:30, 20:00, 21:00 *Each show lasts about five minutes.
Playful Plant Shadows
On the large roof deck located at the entrance, large fern and palm leaves have been arranged to welcome guests along with other plants local to Okinawa. Using lights, the shadows from these plants reach massive heights on the 4-meter high Ryukyu limestone walls, and guests are encouraged to try making some fun shadow puppets for the perfect snapshot!
Enjoy a Lantern-Lit Night Picnic with the Strolling Soup Set
The night cafe will be selling a special Strolling Soup Set menu, inviting guests to venture out onto the sandy shore with a lantern in hand to enjoy a meal beside the sea. Guests can choose two of the available four soups along with a crispy baguette and herb butter.
Hours: 18:00 – 20:30 (Last Order)
Price: Strolling Soup Set for Two, ¥2,600
Includes: Two types of soup and bucket for two people, lantern and basket rental
Four Types of Soup
Filled with colorful vegetables, such as tomato, bitter melon, and yellow carrot
Packed with seafood flavor and a unique mix of Okinawan spices
・Consomme with Yushi Tofu
A lightly-salted soup made with Okinawa’s fluffy Yushi Tofu and thick-cut bacon
・Yam and Cauliflower Potage
Creamy potage with white cauliflower and brightly colored yam
The Night Light Market, a Gathering of Proud Okinawan Artists
On Saturday nights from January 8 to January 29, the Night Light Market will bring various artists and craftsmen from Okinawa to the Hoshino Resort. These artists will be excited to share the culture of Okinawa and will offer a range of products made of locally sourced materials. Guests can even try their hand at local crafts at the indoor Gorogoro Lounge!
Running: Every Saturday Night from January 8 – January 29, 2022
Wouldn’t you prefer a warm Okinawan winter?
Running: December 1, 2021 – January 31, 2022 (Closed from January 17-21)
Hours: Sunset – 21:30
Official Site: https://banta-cafe.com/
Tokyo Mega Illumination at Tokyo City Keiba to Collaborate with NAKED for AR Experience
2021 marks the fourth year that the Oi Racecourse, also called Tokyo City Keiba, will be bathed in a sea of over eight million colorful lights! The Tokyo Mega Illumination is back from October 16, 2021, until April 10, 2022, and features a water fountain show synchronized to music, a 100-meter tunnel covered in twinkling lights, and more. This year, in the Twinkle area of the event, guests can enjoy various AR illuminations created as a collaboration with NAKED, a creative production company headquartered in Shibuya. The NAKED BIG BOOK interactive experience will also welcome visitors to enjoy a projection mapping experience like no other.
NAKED BIG BOOK
AR Horse Camera Filter
Limited-Time Area: Tree Playing with Lights (Lawn Area)
NAKED’s most popular work, NAKED BIG BOOK, utilizes projection mapping to allow guests to turn the pages of a giant book and experience a unique world separate from their own. Using web filters and AR, guests can also see the object as a pop-up picture book!
During this special collaboration held on a horse racing track, visitors can also see a giant white horse in AR as they explore the grounds. Colorful horseshoes and stars will pop up from people’s footprints, and the sound of visitors’ steps will take on the sound of a horse’s hooves instead. Be sure to make some memories by snapping commemorative photos with themed filters during the event!
Tokyo Mega Illumination 2021-2022
October 16, 2021 – April 10, 2022
Open Saturday and Sunday throughout October (Closed October 31)
Open Daily from November 1, 2021 – January 10, 2022 (Closed on Race Days and January 1)
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays from January 11, 2022 – April 10, 2022 (Closed April 1)
Tickets are sold for the following week. New tickets for the following week go on sale each day at 0:00.
Official Site: https://www.tokyomegaillumi.jp/
Kurobe Gorge Trekking Tour Offers Breathtaking Two-Day Trolley Journey
13.October.2021 | SPOT
The Kurobe Gorge Trolley in Toyama will offer a special two-day journey through the fall foliage on October 29 and November 1, 2021.
On the day of the tour, guests will enjoy a leisurely journey through nature as a Kurobe Gorge tour guide explains the features of the surrounding environment.
Kurobe Gorge Trekking Tour
Deadline for Applications:
- October 29, 2021 – By October 18, 2021
- November 1, 2021 – By October 21, 2021
*Applications will close once capacity is reached.
30 guests per tour on a first-come, first-served basis.
Official Site: https://www.kurotetu.co.jp
Rosa & Berry Tawada English Garden Celebrates 10 Years with Light-Up Event
In scenic Shiga prefecture, visitors can find one of the largest light-up events in the Kansai region. The Rosa & Berry Tawada park is celebrating ten years in 2021, and to celebrate this milestone, the Rosa & Berry Illumination 2021 is covering the space in thousands of brightly colored rainbow lights!
Giant 4-meter Wreath and Treehouse
Constructing the Giant Wreath
Glittering Balloons & Rainbow Churros
The main stage, Stardust Lake, is located beside the Galaxy Railroad area. Guests can experience the beauty of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, as they wander the illuminated grounds. Don’t miss this year’s unique light show ‘Rainbow of Hope,’ a wish for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In commemoration of the park’s 10th anniversary, a huge wreath over four meters wide will be hung within the park. Created by Yoshihi Futana, the wreath was created with carefully collected plants that were starting to wither. The size is sure to impress, so don’t miss your chance to snap a picture with this work of art!
The church-like building sitting atop a hill in the park is decorated with illuminated flowers made by creative team You Ru Maru. Fans of Shaun the Sheep can enjoy a store dedicated to the popular character and his friends on-site, some hotpot during the cooler months at the Kotatsu Nabe restaurant, and a hot cup of tea overlooking the lights at the Hillside Cafe Tearoom. Don’t forget to grab a rainbow churro as you wander around the park!
Rosa & Berry Illumination 2021 ~Hills of Twinkling Lights~
Running: October 8, 2021 – February 14, 2022 (Closed Tuesdays)
Hours: 17:30-21:00 (*Hours change depending on the season)
Address: Rosa & Berry Tawada English Garden (Maibara, Shiga Prefecture)
Official Site: https://www.rb-tawada.com
Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple, Typically Closed to the Public, to Accept Visitors for Limited Time
Constructed in 1175, the Kurodani Temple is one of the head temples of the Jodo Sect of Buddhism. Though typically closed to the public, the grounds will open for a short period to allow guests to experience some beautiful autumn scenery beginning November 12, 2021. This temple is associated with the Shinsengumi and served as the headquarters of the Aizu Clan at the end of the Edo period, so those interested in history won’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity.
[Night] Shiun Garden
[Day] Autumn Leaves at the Main Gate
[Day] Shiun Garden
[Night] Autumn Leaves at the Main Gate
Temple Grounds at Sunset
The Tiger’s Room
Live Koto Performance
Gokoushiyuiamidabutsu, ‘Afro Buddha’
Guests will be able to enjoy the gorgeous autumn temple scenery during both daytime and nighttime, with the night viewing also offering some traditional Japanese live music. Visitors can also see various temple treasures and historical items, as well as the Tiger Room, known for its painted doors. The unique and aptly named Afro Buddha will also be on display. After training for an extremely long period of time, the Buddha’s hair piled up, giving him this strangely modern appearance.
On a clear day, guests will be able to see clear to the Abeno Harukas building in Osaka. Vividly painted ceilings and other statues will completely surround visitors in spiritual history. At night, traditional Japanese music will be played at three different times in the front gardens. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the temple will offer a Premium Plan, allowing interested guests to enter the grounds 30 minutes before general admission starts. (This will require reservations made on the official website.) This will also include a guided tour!
How would you like to experience this piece of Japanese history while surrounded by unforgettable autumn foliage?
Special Autumn Viewing
Kudodani Temple, Kyoto – The Head Temple of the Jodo Sect of Buddhism
Address: 121 Kurodanicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Night Viewing Details: https://www.kurodani.jp/lightup/
Day Viewing Details: https://www.kurodani.jp/sp_daytime/
Running: November 12 – December 5, 2021
Hours: 10:00-16:30 (Final Admission at 16:00)
Special Viewing Areas: Mikado, Daihojo, the Gardens, two locations at the main gate
Running: November 12 – December 5, 2021
Hours: 17:30-20:30 (Final Admission at 20:00)
Live traditional Japanese music will be performed in the garden located in front of the Main Hall at 17:45, 18:30, and 19:15
Enjoy “A Magical Moment” at the ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021’ Event
The ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021’ light event will be held in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, as well as in related associations like Hibiya Area Management, Hibiya Chanter, Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, Hibiya Nakadoori, and Hibiya Chanter’s Area Management locations, between November 18 2021 and February 14 2022. The theme for this year’s illumination event is “A Magical Moment” that can be enjoyed from a distance.
HIBIYA AREA ILLUMINATION
The ‘HIBIYA AREA ILLUMINATION’ transforms Hibiya into a sparkling Christmas scene every year. The trees surrounding the Hibiya area will be lit up in a gradient of colors to represent a new drawn, with the theme “may a wonderful tomorrow shine at the end of today.” Each tree is lit up in a different colour, creating the gradation effect.
Duration: November 18 2021 ~ February 14 2022 (scheduled)
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Hibiya Nakadoori / Tokyo Midtown Hibiya
HIBIYA WINTER SQUARE
The ‘HIBIYA WINTER SQUARE,’ installed at the Hibiya Step Plaza, has been designed to be viewed while maintaining distance from the other visitors, creating an all-new experience for the New Normal era.
Duration: November 18 ~ December 26 2021 (scheduled)
*The main staircase illuminations are scheduled to remain installed until February 14 2022.
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 1F, Hibiya Step Plaza
PARK VIEW WINTER GARDEN
The 6F Park View Garden overlooks Hibiya Park, Kyoko Gaien, and Hibiya Doori, making it the perfect seasonal evening viewing spot. For the first time, this year the lawn will be decorated with gradation colors to match the Hibiya Step Plaza, creating a gorgeous space that looks amazing in photos! Get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets and enjoy the Hibiya illuminations from above.
Duration: November 18 2021 ~ February 14 2022 (scheduled)
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 6F Park View Garden
Earth Christmas Tree
Artificial Art Tree
This year’s illuminations have been designed with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in mind. The producers have made efforts to be sustainable while creating the Earth Christmas Tree and reduce waste by using LEDs that use 40% less power compared to regular bulbs, while the Artificial Art Tree can be reused year after year.
Enjoy a magical time this winter with the ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination’ while maintaining a safe and considerate distance from the other guests!
HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021
Duration: November 11 2021 ~ February 14 2022
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, Hibiya Nakadoori, Hibiya Chanter’s Hibiya Area Management locations
Planetariums in Tokyo to Show Night Flower Film Narrated by Taishi Nakagawa
A stunning new film is coming to the Konica Minolta Planetarium in Tokyo Skytree Town and Planetaria Tokyo in Yurakucho Mullion starting November 19, 2021! Night Flower ~Blooming for One Night on a Starry Island~ will take guests on a journey to Iriomote Island in Okinawa, known for its beautiful starry sky. At night, this island is home to Sagaribana, a flower that only blooms at night and seems to glow in brilliant shades of white, pink, or red. The film is narrated by actor and model Taishi Nakagawa.
Journey to an Immersive Starry Island
Iriomote Island, a world heritage site, is filled with rich nature and a vast ecosystem of living things. From this island, 84 of the 88 constellations scattered across the sky can be seen, including the Crux. A number of these constellations have been captured in this film, with plenty of detail given by Taishi Nakagawa. It almost feels like a date with him–and who could resist that?
Feel as Though You’ve Been Transported to the Jungle
Using the SOUND DOME® stereoscopic sound system, even the tiniest sound of a bird chirping or leaves rustling will feel as close as can be. Along with the narrator, Manami Kakudo provides the theme song to the film which will leave audiences with goosebumps.
Mysterious Flowers Blooming Beneath a Starry Sky
The Sagaribana is a whimsical flower, almost alien in its appearance. They bloom for only one night, closing up by morning. This can teach us a valuable lesson: that each day, and each night, is precious, and life can be more fragile than we realize.
Night Flower ~Blooming for One Night on a Starry Island~
Release Period: November 19, 2021 ~
Runtime: About 40 minutes
Address: Planetaria Tokyo (Yurakucho Mullion) / Konica Minolta Planetarium (Tokyo Skytree Town)
*Screening times will vary depending on the day and time of year.
*Facility hours are subject to change.
Official Site: https://planetarium.konicaminolta.jp/program/night_flower/
Junei Hotel Kyoto Adds New Plan Allowing Guests to Reserve Entire Property
06.October.2021 | SPOT
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West, a small luxury hotel located in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital, has revealed a new plan allowing guests to rent out the entire premises. Imagine being in a hotel with only your closest family and friends!
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West – Guest Room
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West – Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Bamboo Suite
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Bamboo Suite Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Standard Room
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Standard Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Breakfast at Futago
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Futago Restaurant Interior
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Dinner at Futago
Hozucho River Boat Ride
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Rooftop View of Kiyomizu-dera Lights
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Rooftop Garden Moon Viewing
With two locations in Kyoto, guests will be able to enjoy the entirety of the hotel in complete privacy while still enjoying hotel hospitality. With between 8-11 rooms, this would be the perfect spot for a family gathering, wedding reception, graduation trip with friends, corporate meeting place, or even for overseas guests!
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West opened in 2017 as a community-based luxury hotel with only eight rooms, with a single mission: bringing the beauty of Japan to the world. Beyond simply finding a place to sleep for the night, the hotel wants guests to experience something special and to provide an unforgettable experience. By partnering with local tourism associations, the Junei Hotel hopes to accurately convey the traditions and singular culture of the city of Kyoto.
In March 2020, a second location opened. The Junei Hotel Kyoto is surrounded by bamboo, and in fact, the theme of the hotel itself is bamboo and the moon. Each of the guest rooms is decorated with traditional and local bamboo crafts, and every detail is pulled from the natural beauty of Higashiyama, Kyoto.
The restaurant attached to the hotel, Futago, is the perfect place for adults to unwind and recharge. The kappo-style course menu features Kyoto vegetables and seasonal ingredients, blending the delicious with the nutritious. Chefs will cook each dish using a variety of methods, and guests will be amazed by how the flavor of the meat changes from course to course. The menu changes each month, so be sure to come back throughout the year!
Guests can also rent out Arashiyama Yusaitei, a gorgeous building deep in the forests of Kyoto perfect for wedding receptions, photoshoots, tea ceremonies, and more. The rooftop garden offers a stunning view of Kiyomizu-dera and is also perfect for moon viewing. Those wanting to get even closer to nature can enjoy a boat ride down the Hozucho river, and for those craving desserts, a Japanese sweets-making class is also available!
Who would you take with you on a private stay at the Junei Hotel Kyoto?
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West
Address: 3-14 Shimochojamachi, Higashihorikawa-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Official Site: https://www.juneihotel.com/imperialpalace/
The Junei Hotel Kyoto
Address: 4-139 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Official Site: https://www.juneihotel.com/kyoto/
Universal Studio Japan to Expand Super Nintendo World with Donkey Kong Area
Since opening in March, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan has caught the world’s attention, leading global game fans to pray even harder for Japan to reopen for tourism. Now, the park is scheduled to level up with a new Donkey Kong-themed area scheduled to open in 2024.
Currently, Super Nintendo World is filled with Mario-inspired attractions, dining options, and shops, recreating some of the most memorable parts of the franchise in a larger-than-life way. The new Donkey Kong area will feature a roller coaster and more interactive experiences, as well as themed merchandise and food options. Guests will be able to walk through lush jungles, where Donkey Kong and his friends live. The creation of the new area will more than double the size of Super Nintendo World.
Launched as an arcade game by Nintendo in 1981, Donkey Kong quickly took the world by storm, with games continuing to be released on Nintendo systems from the SNES to the Nintendo Switch. As of March 2021, the series has sold over 65 million units worldwide.
Comment from Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto
“I am very happy to be able to make the world of Donkey Kong a reality following the world of Mario. I am looking forward to creating a thrilling Donkey Kong experience with the amazing team at Universal. It will take some time until it is completed, but it will be a unique area for not only people who are familiar with Donkey Kong games but for all guests.”
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21)
Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2021 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment. TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved. © Nintendo
Universal Studios Japan
Three Unique Japanese Cafes You’ll Want to Visit Again and Again
Most of us have been spending more and more time at home over the past year. It’s time to get out for a change of scenery, and what better activity than cafe hopping! Check out these unique cafes around Japan, each offering a safe and relaxing space to enjoy a day out.
[Saitama] Bath Cafe BIVOUAC
This cafe located in Kumagaya City offers a full range of bath and sauna facilities, as well as a restaurant featuring healthy dishes filled with local, freshly-picked veggies.
[Gifu] Activity Cafe Takayama Zenko-ji
Set inside a Buddhist temple, this cafe invites anyone, regardless of faith or nationality, to enjoy a cup of tea while experiencing traditional culture. It’s also a great space to work remotely, with free Wi-fi!
Filled with plants and light, NANARIDA has been dubbed a digital detox cafe, not allowing smartphones or laptops each Sunday. Leaving your phone with the staff will grant you a free beverage, so come enjoy some tea and conversation.
TEXT： Natalie（MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
Okinawa’s Hotel Nikko Alivia Announces Season 3 of Monogatari Kaiseki Menu
SAWA, a restaurant featuring both Japanese and traditional Ryukyu cuisine, will begin the third season of its delicious and artful Monogatari Kaiseki menu starting October 1, 2021. Each season featured a selection of dishes inspired by original stories created by the head chef, and with the new installment, guests will also be supporting the reconstruction of Shuri Castle which suffered damage after a 2019 fire. The restaurant is located at Okinawa’s Hotel Nikko Alivia, and the meal will be available until October 31.
Monogatari Kaiseki: Appetizer ‘Beneath the Moonlit Night’
Monogatari Kaiseki: Grilled Items ‘Vampire’s Dinner’
Monogatari Kaiseki: Dessert ‘Pumpkin Ghost/Tidings of Autumn’
In this imagining, a collection of ghosts and spirits gather at the Shuri Castle Festival on Halloween to compete in a cooking competition, and guests are invited to judge each dish. A drink pairing set will also be available.
5% of all sales will be donated to the Okinawa Prefecture Shuri Castle Fire Restoration and Recover Fundraiser, to help rebuild the historical site.
Monogatari Kaiseki Halloween Story – Shurijo Festival –
Available: October 1 – October 31, 2021
Hours: 18:00-21:30 (Last order at 21:00)
Address: SAWA Restaurant at Hotel Nikko Alivila
*Limited to 10 per day.
Reservation Line: 098-989-9021
Official Site: https://www.alivila.co.jp
Editor’s Choice! 3 Best Exhibitions to Visit Before Time Runs Out
Autumn has shaped up to be a great time for art lovers to explore Japan, with a number of inspiring exhibitions of all different genres popping up around the country. The editorial team at Moshi Moshi Nippon has taken special notice of three must-visit events still open now, so be sure to check these out while you still can!
[Tokyo] ‘Shonen, Shou’
Yasunari Ikenaga, a leading figure in the world of contemporary beauty painting, is currently holding an exhibition featuring portraits of the up-and-coming actor and model Shou. Pay special attention to the delicate techniques the artist utilizes to capture the subject’s expressions.
Running: Until October 15, 2021
[Fukuoka] teamLab Forest
Art collective teamLab has opened a permanent museum in Fukuoka City! Those wanting to see the interactive exhibits transformed for autumn, however, better hurry before the event ends.
[Saitama] Machi Tawara: #JustOneLike – From Salad Anniversary to Size of the Future
Japanese poet Machi Tawara, the winner of the Kadokawa Tanka Award in 1986, is a powerhouse in the world of prose. Her 1987 book Salad Anniversary sold over three million copies, and 35 years later, the writer is still at the forefront of her field. This exhibition depicts her life in words and is sure to inspire.
Running: Until December 5, 2021
Text: Natalie (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）