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）
Hirosaki and Hakodate to Begin Winter Tourism Campaign with Snow Miku Starting December 2022
The cities of Hirosaki and Hakodate in Hokkaido have announced that they will team up with Hatsune Miku’s popular iteration Snow Miku to promote tourism in the area this winter. A number of activities will begin in December 2022.
[Snow Miku x Hirohako] Collaboration Project
■Hirohako Winter Tourism Campaign Poster Featuring Snow Miku
・Period: Mid-November~February 28, 2023
・Locations: Facilities in both cities, tourist facilities, hotels, shopping areas
■Snow Miku Illustration Contest Exhibition Event
Over 50 illustrations have been submitted under the theme of Snow Miku and Hakodate / Snow Miku and Hirosaki. These will be on display through the winter!
・Running: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Venues: Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center (Hirosaki)
Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse (Hakodate)
■Snow Miku Photo Spot
Snow Miku panels featuring shamisen and apples from Hirosaki will be on display, while the Hakodate version will include references to squid fishing and footbaths.
・On Display: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: JR Hirosaki Station, Chuohirosaki Station (Hirosaki)
JR Hakodate Station, Hakodate Airport (Hakodate)
■Digital Stamp Rally Using the Mikunavi App
A number of panels will be installed at five checkpoints in Hirosaki and Hakodate. A total of 1,000 people–500 in each city–will win original merch including a Snow Miku mask case and decorated masking tape. All you need to do is check in!
・Available: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: (Hirosaki) Hirosaki Municipal Tourist Center, Hirosaki City Machinaka Information Center,
Hirosaki Tourist Information Center, Hirosaki Castle Information Center, Tsugaru-han Neputa Village
(Hakodate) Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, Yunokawa Hot Spring Footbath, Goryōkaku Tower,
Hakodate Green Plaza C Block (Hakodate Lumi-Pop), Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward
■Hirohako Winter Tourism Campaign Theme Song and Music Video
The tourism theme song will get a new music video that will be broadcast on YouTube, at local tourist facilities, and on TV and radio!
・On Air: December 1, 2022~
・Theme Song: Mahou no Keshiki (Lyrics/Composition: ryuryu)
■Snow Miku Welcome Announcements to be Broadcast at Tourism Facilities, etc.
A one-minute welcome announcement by Snow Miku will air at tourist facilities!
・Running: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
・Locations: Tourist areas in both cities
■Snow Miku Filters Using AR
When each barcode is scanned with a smartphone, Snow Miku will appear on the screen! Visitors can take pictures with Snow Miku to commemorate their winter trip to Hirosaki and Hakodate.
・Available: December 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
Hirosaki x Hakodate x Snow Miku Tourism Campaign
Beginning December 2022
‘Edo Punk! The Dynamic World of Ukiyo-e’ Released in Japanese and English
25.November.2022 | FASHION
Ukiyo-e paintings became popular during the Edo Period of Japanese history. For those weaning to see some of the most rad ukiyo-e paintings around, the new book Edo Punk! The Dynamic World of Ukiyo-e is now available at bookstores nationwide and online. Luckily, the book is also bilingual in English and Japanese!
Kuniyoshi Utagawa, popular in Japan and abroad and known for his unique perspective, and Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, the inspiration for many modern manga series, are both featured in this tome. The many pieces featured combine elements of fantastical beauty and harsh realities, and fans can read commentary by Shoko Haruki. Haruki worked at the Hokkaido Museum before becoming a curator at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in 2017. She specializes in Japanese art history.
The book is now available at bookstores nationwide and online.
Edo Punk! The Dynamic World of Ukiyo-e
Release Date: November 24, 2022
Price: ¥2,400 (Excluding Tax)
Author: Shoko Haruki
Official Site: https://pie.co.jp/book/i/5414/
Craft Beer Service Otomoni Releases Tsundere-themed IPA
Craft beer subscription service Otomoni opened orders for a new Tsundere-themed Hazy IPA on November 15, 2022. The beer has a sweetness level that changes on its temperature and was brewed as part of the 15th installment of the JAPANESE BEER ODYSSEY, which aims to share aspects of both traditional and modern Japanese culture through craft beer.
For better or worse, Japan’s otaku culture is now a major part of the country’s appeal to people around the world.
Japan’s video game and anime market is now legendary around the globe, and millions flock to the country each year to become more immersed in its popular culture. Just look at the annual Comiket event–over 700,000 visitors attend each year!
To celebrate the upcoming Comiket, a new beer has been brewed that pays homage to modern otaku culture. The Tsundere Hazy IPA is perfect for otaku who love a little challenge when it comes to their love life.
Brewed with NOMCRAFT Brewing in Wakayama Prefecture, the Tsundere Hazy IPA features two distinct flavors, each coming out more strongly depending on the beer’s temperature.
When poured, the beer has a very tropical aroma, and when ice-cold, it’s more refreshing and less sweet.
As the temperature of the beer rises, the smell becomes more fruity and strong, with the smell of hibiscus certain to make your mouth water. Whether you like bitter or sweet, this may be the perfect beer for you.
Would you try this tsundere-themed beer?
Tsundere Hazy IPA
The Sumida Hokusai Museum Opens Hyakunin Isshu Exhibition Featuring 105 Unique Works
The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, will be holding the ‘Hokusai at Play with the 100 Poems’ exhibition from December 15, 2022 until February 26, 2023. The exhibition will focus on the Hyakunin Isshu, a famous collection of 100 poems integral to Japanese traditional culture.
Hyakunin Isshu Uba ga Etoki – Sojo Henjo / Katsushika Hokusai, The Sumida Hokusai Museum.
Hyakunin Isshu Uba ga Etoki – Ariwara no Narihira / Katsushika Hokusai, The Sumida Hokusai Museum. (Phase 2)
The Five Great Poets, Tsuki – Katsushika Hokusai, The Sumida Hokusai Museum. (Permanently on Display)
By the middle of the Edo period, the Hyakunin Isshu, or 100 classical poems, had become an established part of Japanese culture. Hokusai, an ukiyo-e artist of the period, painted a total of 27 of these famous poems, incorporating his own ideas and views to create unique pieces still beloved so many years later. This exhibition features 24 paintings from the museum’s Hyakunin Isshu collection along with dozens more items pertaining to this legendary collection of writings. Don’t miss it!
Hokusai at Play with the 100 Poems
Running: December 15, 2022 – February 26, 2023
*Certain exhibits will be changed between the first and second phases.
Phase 1: December 15, 2022 – January 22, 2023
Phase 2: January 24 – February 26, 2023
Hours: 9:30-17:30 (Last entry at 17:00)
Official Site: https://hokusai-museum.jp
Kirby Cafe Reveals Exclusive Winter 2022 Menu
The Kirby Cafe has announced a warm and tasty new winter menu! New items will be available from November 17, 2022 until February 28, 2023, and are sure to warm up fans of the beloved video game series.
Winter Kirby Burger & Pasta with Powdered Snow Cheese (30th Anniversary Version)
Winter Waddle Dee Burger & Pasta with Powdered Snow Cheese
Waddle Dee’s Dreamy White Stew
Chef Kawasaki’s Winter Hors d’oeuvres with Roast Beef
Transform! Carby Cake
Kirby’s Dream Ricotta Pancake
Whispy Woods Blessed Tart
Elfilin’s Twinkle☆Frozen Drink
The Winter 2022 menu offers a variety of adorable and tasty menu items featuring Kirby and his friends all dressed up for the colder months. From a burger and pasta set to piping hot stew and fluffy ricotta pancakes, there’s sure to be something for every taste.
The Carby cake, inspired by Kirby’s special transformation in the recent game Kirby and the Forgotten Land, has been reimagined in a winter version. Fans won’t want to miss out!
This winter, come enjoy plenty of Kirby-inspired treats while you can!
©Nintendo / HAL Laboratory, Inc.
Kirby Cafe Winter 2022
Available: November 17, 2022 – February 28, 2023
Venues: Kirby Cafe TOKYO, Kirby Cafe HAKATA, Kirby Cafe NAGOYA
*The Nagoya location’s winter menu will be available until February 5, 2022.
Kirby Café THE STORE: https://kirbycafe.jp/thestore/
‘Kirby Cafe Pop-Up Store’ Limited Time Online Store: https://kirbycafe-popup.com/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/KirbyCafeJP
Official Site: https://kirbycafe.jp
Hotel Gajoen Tokyo to Hold Tours of Historic Hundred Stairs
The historic Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, which blends a hotel and a traditional Japanese museum, will offer a tour of the Hyakudan Kaidan (Hundred Stairs) from December 3 until December 25, 2022. This Tangible Cultural Property of Tokyo is an incredible sight, and those with an interest in Showa-era architecture won’t want to miss it.
In 1988, part of the old Gajoen structure was torn down to make way for new structures along the Meguro River basin, and the hotel underwent a large-scale renovation over a period of three years. The Hundred Stairs were originally built in 1935 and designated as a Tangible Cultural Property by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2009.
Over the years, the Gajoen has served as a restaurant and gathering place for visitors from both the Showa-era and Heisei-era. Filled with traditional Japanese aesthetics, the location is now filled with art and pieces of cultural significance. A number of special exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Why not come enjoy this tour of a piece of Japanese history?
Winter Tour: Hyakudan Kaidan 2022
~Architecture, Beauty, and Tales of Tradition~
Running: December 3 – December 25, 2022
Hours: 12:30 – 18:00 (Last entry at 17:30)
Venue: Hyakudan Kaidan (Hundred Stairs)
Tangible Cultural Property of Tokyo, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo
Nagoya Castle to Hold Special Autumn Night Art Viewing for a Limited Time
The historic Nagoya Castle will hold a special nighttime viewing event for 14 days only, from November 25 until December 8, 2022. During this period, Honmaru Palace will be open to the public at night, and the Chrysanthemum Corridor inside will be open to visitors for the first time.
The Ninomaru Garden will also be illuminated and will transport guests to a different place and time by showing a space only possible during dark hours.
Inspired by the relationship between light and shadow, this event focuses on changes that occur over time and the creation and emergence of new ideas and things.
Honmaru Palace, Typically Closed to the Public, to be Open at Night
Nagoya Castle’s Honmaru Palace was completed in 1615 and served as the primary residence of the Lord of the Owari Domain and as the Domain’s government office. The interior of the palace was lavishly decorated with paintings and other art pieces and was praised as a masterpiece. Sadly, it was destroyed by an air raid in 1945. Restoration work began in 2009 and was completed in 2018 with unparalleled accuracy. The Honmaru Palace gives off a completely different aura at night.
First Public Viewing of the Jodan-no-ma in the Joraku-den
The Joraku-den was added to Nagoya Castle to accommodate the third Shogun, Iemitsu, on his way to Kyoto. It is the most luxurious of all the Honmaru Palace buildings, and this event marks the first time that the Chrysanthemum Corridor on the north side will be open to the public. Visitors are welcome to admire the golden-blue paintings as they stroll through the historic site.
See Spectacular Paintings when Entering the Tsugi-no-ma Room
During this period, visitors can enter the Tsugi-no-ma room to view classical period paintings, giving a more clear idea of how people acted and dressed during this time in history.
[Ninomaru Garden Special Viewing]
~Witness a Never-Before-Seen Feudal Lord’s Garden through a Spacial Presentation~
Scenography for this unique show was provided by the creative label PERIMETRON. In order to show another side of the Ninomaru Garden at night, the company focused on light’s characteristics, from reflection and transmission to refraction and absorption. Light and shadow intertwine in various ways, and guests will be transfixed by this curious showing.
Nagoya Castle: Autumn Night Special Viewing ~KEI~
Running: November 25 – December 8, 2022
Viewing Hours: 9:00-19:30 (Gates close at 20:00)
Official Site: https://www.nagoyajo-kei.jp/
13th BT21 Cafe to Open in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Sapporo
The 13th iteration of the BT21 Cafe will open at six venues in five cities around Japan. Fans in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Sapporo will want to visit this exclusive event titled ~MAGICAL TIME~. The first cafe opens in Shibuya on November 3. In celebration of BT21’s 5th anniversary, this special cafe is filled with joy and excitement and aims to give fans the best possible experience.
Magical Tea Time Set
Food Plate (7 varieties)
Dessert Plate (7 varieties)
Magical Milk Tea
Iced Coffee / Hot Coffee
Acrylic Keychain (7 varieties, Random)
Acrylic Clip (7 varieties, Random)
Satin Sticker (7 varieties)
Clear Folder (2 varieties)
Handkerchief (7 varieties)
Masking Tape / Balloon on a Stick
Dolomite Coaster (2 varieties) / Mirror (2 varieties)
[Online Store Exclusive] Acrylic Keychain (7 varieties, Random)
The cafe’s new menu includes afternoon tea, perfect for warming the body and soul during the cold winter months. The colorful food items and desserts are sure to be a hit on social media, and fans will enjoy the Magical Milk Tea and other dishes inspired by the popular BT21 characters.
In addition to new merchandise and bonuses featuring newly-drawn art, a photo spot will welcome guests to the cafe and invite them to celebrate this five-year milestone.
Why not take a break from everyday life to enjoy a magical time with these cute characters?
BT21 Cafe #13 ~MAGICAL TIME~
BOX cafe&space SHIBUYA109
Running: November 3 – December 10, 2022
Address: SHIBUYA109 B2F (2-29-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)
BOX cafe&space Tokyo Solamachi
Running: January 13 – February 19, 2023
Address: Tokyo Skytree Town, Solamachi 1F (1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo)
Collabo_Index Lumine Yokohama
Running: January 13 – February 5, 2023
Address: Lumine Yokohama 6F (2-16-1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa)
BOX cafe&space Nagoya LACHIC #1
Running: December 2, 2022 – February 5, 2023
Address: LACHIC B1F (3-6-1 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi)
Running: November 11 – December 18, 2022
Address: 1-6-24 Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka
Cafe Interlude, Coach & Four Shinakawa
Running: November 3 – December 29, 2022
Address: 18-chome 3-jo, Kita-ku, Sapporo
Open: November 3, 11:00 – December 4, 23:59
Results of Second Japanese Cultural Grand Prix Announced
12.September.2022 | FASHION
The five winners of the second Japanese Traditional Culture Grand Prix have been announced! The contest was spearheaded by the Japan Traditional Culture Promotion Project, established in May 2020 as a collaborative effort among companies, associations, and local governments to establish a sustainable framework for the continued development of Japanese traditional culture.
The project is headed by Seiichi Kondou, the Former Commissioner of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. United Arrows Honorary Chairman Osamu Shigematsu serves as Vice-Chairman. Along with Nobuo Yoshida, the 14th generation head of the 400-year-old traditional paper fan store Ibasen, the Japan Cultural Promotion Project began this Grand Prix as a way to honor outstanding works of Japanese culture by companies, organizations, and individuals. Anyone can enter, regardless of nationality, residence, or age. The jury consists of 11 people from various fields, including Richard Collasse, the Chairman of Chanel LLC, and popular model Kozue Akimoto.
Grand Prix Winner
Dustpan x Broom
Each dustpan is shaped by hand to match the special shape of the Matsumoto broom, which is then dyed with natural Tokushima indigo dye. The broom is the only one in the world made from home-grown broomcorn, and each is made by a third-generation craftsman with years of experience.
Japanese Lacquer Art – Ether
Both traditional and innovative. The spirit of Japanese culture and the meaning of this award seem to have taken shape in this work. The zippers do not open. The surface looks like leather, but it isn’t. When the lid is opened, the glossy lacquer seems to spread out. My expectations were surpassed. Anyone who sees it or uses it will find themselves lost in imagination, and I’m sure that thinking about that will bring a smile to the creator’s face. This beautiful craftsmanship was born from plenty of care and attention. What a pleasant surprise. (Risa Tanaka)
Sake Drinking Set – Japanese nagomi Sake Cups
There’s something about this piece that shares a spirit with Art Nouveau. The delicate plants superimposed on the bright transparent glass are a powerful image. In traditional Japanese nagomi art, the linear appearance of the plants is painted a bit more lightly, but these overlapping layers and shapes resonate and make an impact. The artist used traditional techniques such as lacquer and foil in a subtle manner, while still making the plants look alive. I’d consider this as a modern take on ecology. (Yuko Hasegawa)
Floating Boat Counter
Masafumi Kodama (Registered Architect with a First-Class License) / Taiki Ishikawa (First Class Carpenter/Registered Architect with a Second-Class License)
The motif that inspired this piece is the traditional Japanese architectural technique of funahijiki. It’s an outstanding piece that utilizes practical architectural practices to create a piece of furniture at the center of a home, somewhere that the family relaxes. It brings the beauty of Japanese wood into the modern age. Funahijiki is a technique that has been used in incredible places, such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kojoin Temple. It’s graceful and elegant, and not often seen in the current age. (Hidetsugu Horikoshi)
Folding Chair to Assist in Seiza
patol stool SEIZA
Hirayama Daily Goods Shop, Makiko & Kazuhiko Hirayama
The judges liked this folding chair for assisting seiza sitting, as it’s something that could be put to practical use right away. It’s sure to help people enjoy tatami culture, and will be a big help for people who seldom sit on the floor in this traditional way. The height and size of the chair, as well as its ability to be folded for easy storage, are nice touches. I’d consider this a masterpiece with incredible potential. (Yuji Akimoto)
These pieces of artwork managed to connect traditional Japanese culture with future sensibilities, so give them a look!
Japanese Cultural Promotion Project
Official Site: https://jcpp.jp/
Q-pot CAFE to Offer Cute Halloween Sweets to Celebrate 10th Anniversary
05.September.2022 | FOOD
Q-pot CAFE in Omotesando will be offering up some Halloween treats to celebrate the location’s 10th anniversary! Guests will be able to sample these special sweets from September 3 until October 31, 2022.
Happy Halloween! Afternoon Tea Set
The festive Happy Halloween afternoon tea features pink Jack-o’-lantern macarons and other Halloween-inspired sweets.
Fluffy Floating Ghost Plate (Drink Included)
The adorable ghost is made from fluffy milk mousse covered with gyuhi, a typical ingredient in Japanese sweets made from rice flour. Inside is blackcurrant and redcurrant jelly with an incredibly sweet and sour flavor.
Black Devil Tea Mocha
Featuring large devil wings, this tasty and eye-catching beverage is a mix of black tea, chocolate, and milk. When the cocoa cream melts, the taste changes to something creamy and cozy, perfect for the autumn months.
Shimmering Blueberry & Grapefruit Soda
This refreshing sweet and sour drink combines blueberries and pink grapefruit along with soda and pearl powder.
Come enjoy Halloween while celebrating the cafe’s 10th anniversary!
Q-pot CAFE 10th Halloween Menu
Location: Q-pot CAFE Omotesando
Running: September 3 – October 31, 2022
Hours: 11:00-19:00 (Last Order at 18:30)
Japanese Painter Uemura Shoen and Others to be Featured at Shohaku Art Museum in Nara
Shohaku Art Museum in Nara will be exhibiting works by Uemura Shoen, Shoko, and Atsushi from September 6 until November 27. This will include sketches and rare works by these classical Japanese artists, many of which will be shown for the first time in two years.
Hanagatami. Uemura Shoen, 1915
Hanagatami (Rough Sketch) Uemura Shoen, 1915
Yang Guifei. Uemura Shoen, 1922
Tsudumi no Oto. Uemura Shoen, 1940
Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons. Atsushi Uemura, 2010.
The museum has a large number of valuable materials in its collection, including drafts, miniatures, and drawings by Shoen and Shoko. Even the drafts by Shoen are meticulously crafted, down to each and every crease in the kimonos. By viewing the original sketches with the final paintings, guests can feel the emotion that went into them. The exhibition also provides a glimpse of how Shoko and Atsushi deepened their understanding of their subjects through sketching. Fans of Japanese artwork shouldn’t miss this valuable exhibition!
Shohaku Art Museum Collection 2022: Uemura Shoen, Shoko, and Atsushi
Running: September 6 – November 27, 2022
Venue: Shohaku Art Museum
Hours: 10:00-17:00 (Last Entry at 16:00)
Official Site: https://www.kintetsu-g-hd.co.jp/culture/shohaku/
Blue Lock Anime Pop-Up Store and Cafe to Open at Tokyo Solamachi Tree Village
A pop-up store and cafe inspired by the anime series Blue Lock will open in September! The series is due to begin airing in October 2022.
The limited-time cafe and shop will open at Tokyo Solamachi Tree Village. Guests will be able to enjoy original dishes inspired by characters from the series, and goods featuring new illustrations will be on sale!
If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t want to miss taking a trip to Skytree in September!
Blue Lock Tree Village Cafe
Running: September 1 – September 30, 2022
Location: Tokyo Solamachi West Yard, 4F, #4
Official TV Channel Shop ~Tree Village~
Shop Hours: 9:00-21:00
Tree Village Official Site: https://tree-village.jp/