Discover the Art of Snow and Water at the Fifth ‘Oirase Ice Falls Tour’ in Aomori Prefecture

22.October.2021 | SPOT

The ‘Inaichō General Towada-Oirase Tourism Organization,’ a group striving for regional revitalization, has announced that the Oirase Gorge Ice Falls Tour will be available to tourists between December 17 2021 and March 6 2022. This will be the fifth year of the tour, which was first held in 2017. 

 

Winter Oirase Waterfall Night Tour© Towada-Oirase Tourism Organization

 

Winter Oirase Nature Guided Tour© Towada-Oirase Tourism Organization

 

 

The Oirase Gorge, which stretches for 14km between Lake Towada and Yakeyama, lies between Aomori and Akita prefecture. The gorge is located in Towada Hachimantai National Park and has been designated a protected area.

During Winter, the mountaintop waterfalls freeze over and become powerful icefalls, decorated with icicles. Time seems to stop as the river stops flowing and the area becomes still. On this bus tour you can enjoy the silvery-white Oirase scenery during the day, or be awed by the illuminated icefall and icicles at night. 

 

During the Night Tour, a dedicated light car runs alongside the bus to light up five spots along the Oirase Gorge, including the gorge icicles and the icefall itself. Each viewing spot has been carefully produced, using changing colors and lighting to set the scene.

 

Why not visit this beautiful icy scene, which can only be enjoyed in Winter? 

 

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Aimyon Announces First Fan Club Tour and 14-city Arena Tour

    07.December.2021 | MUSIC

    Singer-songwriter Aimyon will hold her first fan club tour starting in January 2022, along with a 14-city arena tour beginning in April. The artist has seen an incredible amount of success since her major debut in 2016, winning Artist of the Year at the Billboard Japan Music Awards in 2019. 

     

    The fan club tour will start on January 20, 2022, at Tachikawa Stage Garden in Tokyo before moving on to seven more locations through February. Those who want to join the fan club can visit the official website below. 

     

    Aimyon’s arena tour will start on April 16 at the World Hall in Kobe and will span 28 shows in 14 cities around Japan. This will be the singer’s largest ever tour. 

     

    On the artist’s official website, a warning has been posted regarding the pandemic. Information and dates may change depending on the spread of COVID-19, so check the official tour page often. 

  • 【LIVE REPORT】Atarashii Gakko! Tour Final: The Freshness and Bottomless Energy of a New Generation

    20.October.2021 | FEATURES / MUSIC

    On October 16, the four-member dance and vocal group Atarashii Gakko held a solo live “We’re Still Obscure but Rocking LIVE SHOWS in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka ~Their Weakness is PINEAPPLE!~” at TSUTAYA O-WEST in Tokyo. This marked the last day of the group’s current tour, stopping in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, and on display was handmade calligraphy from the members with one important message: ‘Enjoy NOW with all your heart.’ The stage was simple: a screen, a DJ booth, and four backlights. The group doesn’t need much more, their personalities overshadowing any excess clutter or added minutiae. For the background music, the girls chose Sabotage by the Beastie Boys, an American mainstay the four greatly respect.

    The concert began with the leader Suzuka shouting the words “Tokyo! Atarashii Gakko starts now!” The first track was Sekigae Gattuso, followed by Saishujinrui, with choreography seeming more like a gymnastics meet than a live show. The girls were in incredibly high spirits, with Suzuka quickly tearing off her jacket and the four showing no signs of holding back, dancing and singing while using their entire bodies as their instruments. The concert’s first half included Koibumi and Miyao, progressing into Koi no Shadanki, Ameyo no Seppun, and Okami no Uta, blending Showa-era sensibilities and sounds with Reiwa-era style and substance. The girls were, as always, funny, mixing comedy into their foolproof performances. Everything is one hundred percent: the singing, the dancing, and the acting. It’s hard to understand how they have the stamina for an entire concert.

    The second half of the concert began with their long-awaited new song Pineapple Kryptonite, produced by Money Mark, known for his work with The Beastie Boys in the 1990s. His experimental, lo-fi style has attracted attention over the years, still inspiring music fans in the 2010s. Perhaps his style is being passed down to the next generation through Atarashii Gakko!

    The group signed with American multi-media company 88rising in December 2020, and the label is attempting to introduce more unique Asian music to the US. In November, Atarashii Gakko is scheduled to perform at the Head in the CLOUDS festival in LA, which will bring together many artists from the 88rising family together for one massive event. In the current cultural climate with Korean pop-group BTS and Marvel film Shang-Chi seeing record amounts of popularity, it seems like the perfect time to introduce more eastern music to the US scene.

    During the show’s climax, the girls performed NAINAINAI and Freaks, two songs that show off their hip-hop side. The greatest thing about the group’s style is their complete coverage, able to swap between singing, dancing, acting, and rapping at the drop of a hat. Their talent is undeniable, and it’s able to reach a wide variety of different music fans from around the world. Mayoeba Toutoushi brought the show to an end, and Que Sera Sera wowed fans during the encore. Performing 15 songs, members Suzuka, Kanon, Rin, and Mizyu proved why they belong on an international stage–they blend the old and the new, and the standard with the bizarre. There’s no telling where Atarashii Gakko is heading next, but their successful career is certainly just getting started.

  • Enjoy a Weather and Time-based Cream Soda at the Newly Opened ‘Cafe Amayadori’

    19.October.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    The Oarai Tourism Omotenashi Promotion Council opened Cafe Amayadori, a rain and healing themed coffee shop, on September 18 2021. The shop was opened as a challenge and is located in the Umimachi Terrace Tourist Information Center.

     

    Cafe Amayadori

     

    Cafe Amayadori Menu

    Cafe Amayadori Tote Bag

     

    You can clearly hear the sound of the rain from inside the store, while the served cream soda changes based on both the weather and the time. On clear days where the sun is shining, you can order the traditional green-color  ‘Blue Sky Cream Soda,’ while on rainy days you can order the blue ‘Rain-color Cream Soda.’

    The cafe also serves a wide variety of Japanese and Western meals and desserts, each cooked using local Oarai produce. Morning and lunch specials are also available, meaning you can easily work your visit around your own schedule.

     

    The concept of the cafe is “Rain.” You can dash into the cafe as if you’re looking for shelter from the weather before sitting down to eat and drink in the calm space, emphasized by the soothing music that plays in the background. While the soundtrack depends on the day, the sound of rain is often played. However, the sounds played on rainy days are a little different to the usual. True to its name, the cafe can create a comfortable Amayadori (lit. rain shelter) no matter what the weather!

     

    ‘rain coat studio’ is a group of creators who have been working on ‘rain’ themed events and designs since 2016. The group was formed with the idea that “when it rains, our activities are limited due to the dull weather. On the other hand, the rain represents the season and soothes those who listen to it’s sound.” 

    The group aims to create music, events, artwork, and more, that are cool like the rain but still convey a kindness. The ‘rain coat studio’ came up with the idea of a coffee shop as a way to try creating a restaurant business that followed their ideals.

    The signature item on Cafe Amayadori’s menu is the ‘Weather Cream Soda.’ The flavor depends on whether the weather is clear, rainy, and after-rain, but can also depend on the time – They even offer special drinks for ‘Morning Fog’ and for drinking in the evening, along with a limited-time ‘Seasonal Cream Soda. 

    The cafe doesn’t just serve Cream Soda! Customers who would like a full meal can also order from a selection of Japanese food, Western food, and desserts. A limited edition tote bag is currently on sale to commemorate the opening of the cafe.

     

    Why not try relaxing on a rainy day at Cafe Amayadori?

  • 7ORDER Announces Details of Largest-Ever National Tour, ‘Date with…….’

    15.October.2021 | MUSIC

    Up-and-coming seven-member J-pop group 7ORDER is scheduled to embark on a massive winter tour across Japan! The first performance will take place in Tokyo on November 27, 2021, and the final show will be held at Yoyogi National Stadium on February 26 and 27, 2022. The 7ORDER LIVE TOUR 2021-2022 ‘Date with…….’ tour will be coming to thirteen locations nationwide. 

     

    The group clearly isn’t interested in taking a break any time soon, with their most recent tour wrapping in September. The 7ORDER Musha Shugyo TOUR ~NICE “TWO” MEET YOU~ eight-city tour was a massive success, with over 20,000 tickets sold. 

     

    Check the tour dates below to see if 7ORDER is coming to your city soon!

  • MAN WITH A MISSION Announces Two Consecutive New Albums

    11.October.2021 | MUSIC

    After three and half years, rock band MAN WITH A MISSION is back! The group’s new album, Break and Cross the Walls I, is set to release on November 24, 2021. 

     

    This will be the band’s sixth original album and is the first album since Chasing the Horizon was released on June 6, 2018. Fans have been anticipating a new drop from the group, and this ambitious work, conceived originally as a two-disc set, won’t disappoint. Instead of waiting until all tracks were complete, MAN WITH A MISSION has decided to release two consecutive albums instead. In an interview, the band stated that with people still suffering the effects of the pandemic, it was vital to provide fans with new music to raise their spirits as soon as possible. The second album, Break and Cross the Walls II, is scheduled to release next spring. 

     

    Break and Cross the Walls I will include 14 songs, including the popular track Merry-Go-Round which serves as the theme song for the anime series My Hero Academia. Fans will also recognize INTO THE DEEP, the theme for the Japanese release of the film Godzilla vs.Kong. Those buying the new album at specific stores will receive special bonus goods while supplies last.  

     

    MAN WITH A MISSION Presents Merry-Go-Round Tour 2021, the band’s first arena tour in two years, will start on November 30. The first day of the two-day event is titled ‘Day 1: Songs of Innocence,’ and will feature songs released between 2010 and 2013. The second day, ‘Day 2: Songs of Experience,’ will cover songs post-2013. A guest artist will also be performing an opening act, so be sure to stay up-to-date with more tour news to come!

  • New Tokyo Tourism Center ‘Have a Nice TOKYO!’ Opens to Promote Local Attractions

    22.September.2021 | SPOT

    Have a Nice TOKYO! (HanT), a new tourist communication center promoting both local and nationwide events and attractions, celebrated its grand opening on September 14, 2021. 

     

    This new facility aims to provide assistance and guidance to both domestic and international visitors, helping with matters relating to sightseeing, culture, food, and technology. It’s three main functions are tourism assistance, providing useful and necessary information, and selling goods from around the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a major blow against the country’s tourism industry, this new venture was opened in a conveniently-located space, well-suited for the important task of helping the local and nationwide economies when the country opens to travel once again. The nearby Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery, a cafe, will act as a partner facility and will offer a special menu linked to the project. 

     

     

    Tourism Advice & Guidance

    Information Counter

    The information counter provides helpful information for tourists regarding events, stores, and facilities in the area. In the future, a variety of tours will be available to choose from, highlighting the attractions of the region, as well as providing ticket sales, luggage storage, and sightseeing vehicles such as buses and rentable bikes. 

     

    Travel Information & Assistance

    POP UP ZONE

    In the POP UP ZONE, visitors can experience all sorts of unique things from around Japan using the five senses! See, hear, and taste different areas of the country using crafts, food, and technology, and get personalized recommendations regarding where to explore next!

     

     

    Sale of Goods

    SHOP ZONE

    See, smell, or taste something you liked in the POP UP ZONE? The SHOP ZONE will offer tons of different specialty products from all around Japan!

     

    Be sure to stop by the next time you’re in Tokyo!

     

  • Dean Fujioka’s Musical Transmute Tour 2021 Begins, First Day Report

    10.September.2021 | MUSIC

    On September 4, popular actor and musician Dean Fujioka began his Musical Transmute Tour at the Kawaguchi Comprehensive Cultural Center Lilia in Saitama Prefecture.

     

     

    Photo by Kayo Sekiguchi

    Photo by Kayo Sekiguchi

    Photo by Kayo Sekiguchi

    Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

    Photo by Yukitaka Amemiya

     

     

    The new tour is not only Fujioka’s first live tour since the Born to Make History Tour in 2019, but also his biggest national tour to date, with over 20 shows planned in 18 cities. Fans have been anxiously awaiting the pop artists return to the stage, as last year’s Asia tour never came to fruition.

     

    In this first performance, plenty of popular tracks made appearances, such as Shelly, and Searching for the Ghost. Fujioka’s latest song Runaway was performed to massive fanfare, while four unreleased tracks rounded out the 1 hour and 45 minute performance. These new tracks were Sayonara, Sukima, Missing Piece, and Spin the Planet.

     

    It was clear, however, that Neo Dimension was the song which truly set the theme of the tour. The track is an updated version of My Dimension, originally released as a track Fujioka used to introduce himself and express his intentions. Now, he sees it as more of a compass, and intends to use it as a way to lead him and his audience into the future. Dean Fujioka is an artist who prides himself on his evolution, and his willingness to attempt new things on stage. Neo Dimension is meant to express that side of himself in musical form.

     

    The concert showcased parts of the singer which reminded us of his early career, while other moments made it clear how much he has evolved and changed over time. His time on stage wasn’t random–each moment was a visualization of how his career has changed.

     

    Prior to the start of the tour, Fujioka announced that his third album Transmute will be released in December 2021. This will be his first album in three years, his last being History in the Making. The album will contain the four new tracks played during the show.

     

    The title, Transmute, holds an important message. “It’s important to mutate in order to survive in today’s chaotic world, and to thrive in an unpredictable future,” Fujioka says. This tour will play an important role in helping fans unravel and understand the meaning of those words.

     

    Text by Jun Fukunaga

  • 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

     

     

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    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.

     

    Information

    Oyamazumi Shrine

    Address: 3327 Omishimacho Miyaura, Imabari, Ehime 794-1393, Japan

    TEL: 0897-82-0032

    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.

     

    Information

    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.

     

    Information 

    Murakami Suigun Museum

    Address: 1285 Miyakubocho Miyakubo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2203, Japan
    TEL: 0897-74-1065

    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.

     

    Information

    Roadside Station Yoshiumi Iki-iki-kan

    Address: 4520-2 Yoshiumichomyo, Imabari, Ehime 794-2114, Japan

    TEL: 0897-84-3710

    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.

     

    Information

    Dolphin Farm Shimanami

    Address: 1673 Hakatacho Kanoura, Imabari, Ehime 794-2302, Japan

    TEL: 0897-72-8787

    Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00

    Closed: On days with bad weath

    Official Website: https://www.df-shimanami.com/

     

    Hakata Beach

    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.

     

    Information

    Hakata Beach

    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

     

    Imabari Towels

    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!

     

    Information 

    Imabari Towel

    Official Website: https://www.imabaritowel.jp/

     

    Sunrise Itoyama

    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.

     

    Information 

    Sunrise Itoyama

    Address: 2-8-1 Sunabacho, Imabari, Ehime 794-0001, Japan

    TEL: 0898-41-3196

    Rent-a-Cycle Details: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/archives/rentacycle/

    Official Website: https://www.sunrise-itoyama.jp/

     

    Marutomi

    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.

     

    Information 

    Marutomi

    2-3-6 Katayama, Imabari, Ehime 794-0063, Japan

    TEL: 0898-23-2740

    Opening Hours: 17:30-22:00

    Closed: Wednesdays

    Official Website: https://maru-marutomi.jp/

     

    Imabari Castle

    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.

     

    Information

    Imabari Castle

    Address: 3-1-3 Toricho, Imabari, Ehime, 794-0036, Japan

    TEL: 0898-31-9233

    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.

     

    Information 

    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.

  • All About Matsuyama | Final Episode: Introducing the New Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre

    30.May.2021 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 8: Souvenirs Are Part of Matsuyama’s Fun and Are Everywhere

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre opened in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    From tasty treats to home and lifestyle goods, Matsuyama has no shortage of souvenirs

    Popular sightseeing spots and delicious food you can’t get anywhere else—these are all part of the fun experience to be had when travelling. To wrap up your time there and memorialise all that’s happened, nothing’s better than picking up a little souvenir. In Episode 8 of All About Matsuyama, we take a look at the many wonderful items you can take home with you as souvenirs from food to traditional handicrafts, special dyed fashion and accessories, and more. MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON has picked out a range of delightful treats like Matsuyama’s famous tartes, jakoten, three-colour botchan dango as well as Tobe ware porcelain which is an Ehime tradition, and iyo-kasuri fabric which is one of Japan’s three main kasuri fabrics.

     

    First on the list is the ‘tarte,’ a speciality product of Shikoku which is more of a sponge cake. They’re made of a soft and fluffy sesame seed-coloured sponge and coarse red bean paste. A famous treat of Matsuyama, you can find these tarts just about anywhere in Okaido Shopping Street, near Dogo Onsen, and elsewhere.

     

    Jakoten is considered a soul food of Ehime Prefecture. It’s made from fish that are blended into a paste and fried. You can find jakoten everywhere in Matsuyama, but every restaurant serves theirs with different textures and flavours. Many places fry them fresh, so be sure to try a bunch to compare the flavours and then you can decide which to buy as a souvenir. There are even places so popular that they have lines outside them before they even open.

     

    The botchan dango is something many of our readers have probably seen or heard about. These three-coloured skewered dango are served bite-sized, cute enough to snap a photo of. The ones sold at Dogo Onsen are something of a speciality. They have their name from Natsume Soseki’s novel Botchan. You’ll find them all around Dogo Shotengai.

     

    Tobe ware is a traditional type of porcelain from Tobe in Ehime, known for its smooth touch and durability. This traditional porcelain has been handed down from old times until today, and in recent years, ceramists have been hammering out their own unique shapes, so have become popular as stylish, everyday use lifestyle items.

     

    You can’t talk about Ehime’s traditional craftwork without mentioning iyo-kasuri fabric. Matsuyama used to have huge production output of this fabric type, which stands as one of three of Japan’s most famous kasuri fabrics alongside kurume-gasuri from Fukuoka and bingo-kasuri from Hiroshima. Production has dwindled in modern times, but if you go to Art Labo KASURI Rekishikan, you can learn all about iyo-kasuri. There are lots of gorgeous iyo-kasuri products to buy like cute pouches, bags, and more.

     

    And that’s our list of must-grab souvenirs. There are of course endless other things you can get your hands on, so if you’re lost on what to pick up, try asking at the Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre.

     

    Stay tuned for the next and final episode of All About Matsuyama.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 7: Mitsuhama Port is a Nostalgic Trip Down Memory Lane

    29.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

    The Mitsu Ferry, managed by Matsuyama City, has been running for over 500 years

    We’ve covered much about the land in this series, so in Episode 7 of All About Matsuyama, we’re heading to the sea. Mitsuhama Port sits in the western part of Matsuyama, Ehime. Mitsuhama is a port town that flourished during and following the Edo Period as the ‘front door to the ocean.’ Visiting the town is a trip down memory lane as there are still pseudo Western-style buildings from the Meiji and Taisho periods that suffered damage from the war, as well as traditional Japanese houses, and more. The Mitsuhama Shotengai shopping district was once a bustling place for the fishing and trade industries. Today, buildings have been renovated and taken on new managers who have turned places into stylish cafes, galleries, and other businesses, creating a quaint mix of new and old.

     

    Matsuhama Port is a 15-minute car ride from Matsuyama Station, which itself is connected to other must-visit spots we’ve covered in this series such as Matsuchika Town and Gintengai. If you’re looking for a place to walk around, the port area is somewhere you can really stretch your legs. It’s right outside Mitsu Station from where you can see Mitsuhama Shotengai lined with concrete shops. The street has an old-timey Japanese nostalgic feeling to it. The number of young people frequenting the local shops and houses that have been renovated into various stores is on the rise which is changing its image from a former port town to a hip place to go for shopping. In the summer there are firework festivals and events held by the shopping district, so it’s quickly becoming one of Matsuyama’s new tourist spots.

    A luxurious sea bream meshi-zen set meal

    If you’re strolling through Mitsuhama Shotengai, one place we absolutely want to recommend people visit is Taimeshi, a restaurant that set up shop inside a Japanese house that’s registered as a Tangible Cultural Property. They have only one order on the menu as pictured above: the Taimeshi-Zen, a sea bream set meal, which is made even more enjoyable by the restaurant’s elegant decor.

    Mitsuyamayaki is a fast food delicacy of Mitsuhama

    Everyone needs to try the local fried food as well. The most popular is their okonomiyaki, a common food in Japan. However, the type served in Mitsuhama, known as Mitsuhamayaki, is a little different from the Osaka or Hiroshima styles. They load the batter with noodles and garnish with chikuwa fish-paste, an ingredient long-loved in Mitsuhama, and the secret ingredient—fish flakes. Beef is used as the meat filling. The result is the kind of flavours you’d imagine tucking into in a port down. Each restaurant that serves Mitsuhamayaki serves theirs with their own original sauces too, so no two places will be exactly the same. Try several to compare the tastes.

     

    Something else that can’t be passed up when visiting Mitsuhama is the Mitsu Ferry, a boat with a 500-year history that rides up and down the river and is free of charge. Not only has it been used since the Muromachi Period for transporting goods, it also enjoys 40,000 passengers every year having been recognised as a tourist spot in recent years.

     

    Baishinji Station, which is right next to Minatoyama Station and is how you get to the Mitsu Ferry, is known for being the location of the final episode of the 1991 Japanese drama series Tokyo Love Story. There, visitors can also gaze at the gorgeous view of the Seto Inland Sea, pay a visit to Baishinji Garden to enjoy the plum and cherry blossoms, and more.

     

    Matsuyama is vast and full of many places to enjoy. Mitsuhama is one of these locations and is easily accessed by train from the city centre. It’s a tranquil place where you can feel both the preserved old atmosphere and the modern changes. It’s sure to continue growing as one of the city’s must-visit sightseeing spots.

  • All About Matsuyama | Episode 6: Feast Your Eyes Upon the City’s Food

    28.May.2021 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    The all new Matsuyama Tourist Information Centre is set to open in the heart of Matsuyama—the capital city of Ehime Prefecture in Japan—in Okaido on May 27. In celebration of its opening, this new featured series by MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will explore the wonders of Matsuyama, a city abundant with places to shop, leisurely hot spots, must-visit restaurants, and opportunities to dive deep into its history and culture. You’re sure to discover something new and exciting about Matsuyama in this series.

     

    One of the biggest attractions to anyone travelling abroad, or even domestically, is the food. In Episode 6 of All About Matsuyama, we give you a mouth-watering tour of Matsuyama’s food scene. Every area of the city is bursting with flavours to be savoured, so here’s our list of places we can’t recommend enough, all located around Okaido Shopping Street, Matsuyama Gintengai, and Matsuchika Town.

     

    Higiriyaki

    Higiriyaki is a sweet local treat from Matsuyama with chewy skin and filled with hot adzuki bean paste

    The first delectable treat MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON recommends begins at a shop in Okaido Shopping Street. The ‘higariyaki’ is a local food that was first created during the Taisho period in Japan and is also the name of the shop that sells them. It’s said that the first higariyaki was made at Zenshoji Temple which is located in front of Matsuyama Station. The temple is nicknamed “Ohigiri-san,” and the dessert’s name derives from the Higiri Jizo god that is worshiped there. Its dough is made with high quality wheat flour and eggs and is stuffed with an azuki bean paste recipe that has been preserved and passed down since it was first created. You get to see the higiriyaki being made fresh before you when ordering one.

     

    Noma Kajuen noma-noma

    Every cup of their refreshing juice is freshly squeezed

    Noma Kajuen noma-noma is a juice and gift shop managed by Noma Kajuen, a fruit grower in Ehime which ships tasty mikan oranges around Japan. noma-noma not only serves fresh juice but ice creams, parfaits, drinkable jelly, and other takeout items too – all made with mikan. They have plenty of fruity gifts too, so don’t pass up the opportunity to try some sweet Ehime mikan.

     

    Roken Manto

    The only place left making steamed bread with koubokin yeast fungus

    Next on the menu is Roken Manto which is famous in Matsuyama for its steamed bread. This bread is made with koubokin yeast fungus and has been since 1931. No preservatives or other additives are used so they don’t have a shelf life – you can only buy and eat them from here. The bread was adapted in Kurashiki from the Chinese steamed bun to cater to Japanese palettes. Fillings include pinto beans, raisins, cheese, cocoa, and more. None are overly sweet so make for a nice easy bite. They are particularly popular with male customers who you often see in droves buying them in the evenings and late into the night.

     

    Nabeyaki Udon Asahi

    A bowl of their sweet udon will leave you feeling happy

    We’re moving locations now – towards Matsuyama Gintengai. Nabeyaki Udon Asahi is a famous udon bar in Matsuyama known for its sweet tasting nabeyuki udon, something of a soul food to the locals. The restaurant opened in 1947 and has been frequented by locals since. Their udon is simple but delicious, made with a sweet broth, chewy noodles, kamaboko fish paste, chikjuwa fish paste, and boiled egg. The restaurant itself has a retro vibe to it which serves as the perfect setting for your bowl of udon. It will definitely have you wanting a second visit. One thing to note is that the restaurant closes once all noodles have been served, so we recommend visiting in the early afternoon.

     

    Usuzumi Yokan

    The quality of the adzuki beans elevate this dessert to sublime new heights

    The usuzumi yokan is a famous sweet of Matsuyama which was first made over 1,000 years ago when Empress Jito visited Dogo. Its surface has a sheen to it, and inside are white beans made to look like cherry blossom petals, giving it an extravagant appearance. It’s a sweet famous across Japan having won awards at national confection competitions. You can order them to have-in at this cafe if you like – and their gorgeous Tobe ware plates are available to buy too. Both would be great as souvenirs bought together.

     

    Tonkatsu Katsuyoshi

    The crunchy, mouth-watering tonkatsu is nice and light and not fatty at all

    Last up on our list takes out to Tonkatsu Katsuyoshi in Matsuchika Town. They serve up some seriously succulent and juicy meat covered in a crunchy layer and served with an in-house sauce. Their menu is long, and all set meals come with a bowl of grated Japanese yam soup. Matsuchika Town is full of popular eateries with lots of takeout items to enjoy, so we recommend visiting there before moving away from the station area.

     

    Matsuyama is loaded with restaurants so you’ll never go hungry. The places on this list, and many others, are waiting for your arrival.

RANKING

  • DAILY
  • MONTHLY

FOLLOW US