Adorable Hamster-shaped Cakes from Kyoto Now on Sale
13.December.2021 | FOOD
Aoki Koetsudo, a 129-year-old confectionery shop in Kyoto, and 2:00, a Kyoto-based company specializing in unique products, have come together to create some incredibly cute hamster-shaped cakes. These pastries are called monaka, and feature azuki bean jam filling sandwiched between two crisp wafers made from mochi. Each set includes 6 wafers, six helpings of bean jam, and a bag of nuts, so customers can enjoy creating the pastries themselves!
How to Enjoy Hamster Monaka
Fill the Hamster-shaped monaka with as much azuki jam as you like.
Cover the monaka with the wafer and add one of the nuts provided.
Paint the eyes and ears with chocolate to give each pastry some personality!
Pocky on the Rocks, Popular Since the 1970s, Reimagined for Modern Tastes
13.June.2022 | FOOD
Pocky is one of the most popular Japanese snacks around the world, and a new way to enjoy it is here. Since the 1970s, Pocky on the Rocks has been a popular way to enjoy the tasty treats during the summer. A modern version has just been unveiled, and six special boxes with exclusive designs will be released on June 14 along with a new campaign, recipe submission contest, and a collaboration with select cafes around Japan.
Pocky on the Rocks was first introduced in an ad campaign in 1976. People began putting Pocky sticks in a cool glass filled with ice or using the sticks as muddlers for alcoholic drinks. This stylish summer snack has been reimagined for 2022, and customers are inspired to pair the sticks with their favorite drink, stick them into ice cream, or add them to a cup of seasonal fruit!
Pocky on the Rocks in the 1970s
Pocky on the Rocks Today
Collaboration with 5 Cafes in Tokyo and Kansai
Cafe Roman – Takadanobaba, Tokyo
Cafe Negura – Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
Dark Cherry Soda
DORSIA – Sannomiya, Kobe
Heart Strawberry Milk
Sunshine Cafe – Higashi-Umeda, Osaka
Almond Mixed Juice
Poem Cafe – Motomachi, Kobe
Pocky’s limited edition packaging, coming June 14, will feature a recipe for the 2022 Pocky on the Rocks. A recipe submission contest will also be held on Instagram, and anyone can participate. On the campaign website, fans can find collaboration recipes made in conjunction with five different cafes around Tokyo and the Kansai region. Of course, you can also grab these treats at each shop!
Fans can win retro goods in another ongoing campaign simply by snapping a picture of a Pocky receipt.
You’ve probably tried Pocky before, but have you ever tried Pocky on the Rocks?
Next-Generation Town-Walking Project NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO- to Begin this Fall
The creative team at NAKED is teaming up with Kyoto City, Uji City, and Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture for a one-of-a-kind project. This fall, guests will be able to experience NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO, a next-generation town-walking project blending the real world and the Metaverse together. Visitors will be able to experience Kyoto’s shrines, temples, and history in a whole new way.
NAKED has been working with the city of Kyoto since 2017, creating new cultural outreach and tourism programs. A number of nighttime events have taken place at Nijo Castle, including ‘virtual flower viewing’ in the midst of the pandemic. Last year, the DANDELION PROJECT began at Kamigamo Shrine, a World Heritage Site. The project brings guests around the world together virtually to pray for peace. Events have also taken place at Kiyomizu-dera, Heian Shrine, and Ninna-ji.
In 2022, NAKED will collaborate with Kyoto City, Uji City, Otsu City, and their respective tourism associations to create a Metaverse where visitors can enjoy Kyoto not only in the real world but also virtually. Art being experienced by visitors in real life can be reflected in the Metaverse, and experiences in the Metaverse can be enjoyed in a way that is unique to real events. As hard to describe as it may be, more details will be available on the NAKED GARDEN website when it opens this summer.
NAKED GARDEN -ONE KYOTO-
Coming Fall 2022
NAKED, INC. Official Site: https://naked.co.jp
Rhythm Game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ Gets Collaborative Event at Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Toei Kyoto Studio Park will be holding a special collaboration with the rhythm game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ for a limited time, from June 4 until July 10, 2022.
The Theater Starless Uzumaki Branch will be open inside the park during the event period. 26 themed cast members will even be greeting guests!
A stamp rally will be taking place along the Keifuku Randen Tram Line and during the event, a special train featuring a newly-drawn illustration of the five main characters and 26 mini-characters will be running through the streets of Kyoto!
Limited tickets will be sold for a number of collaborative events being held in the park, so be sure to grab yours while you can!
BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ in Uzumaki
Running: June 4 – July 10, 2022
Venues: Toei Kyoto Studio Park, Arashiyama Station, etc.
Official Site: https://blackstar-uzumasa.jp/
Official Twitter: @Blackstar_uzms
Anime Series Chibi Maruko-chan Inspires New Sake from Hatsukame Brewery in Shizuoka
Last year, Hatsukame Sake Brewery, a staple in Shizuoka Prefecture, released a collaborative special edition sake featuring Papa Hiroshi from the anime series Chibi Maruko-chan. The collab makes sense, as the anime series takes place in Shizuoka Prefecture. Bottles sold out incredibly fast, so it’s no wonder that the brewery has now opened orders for the 2022 batch! The special products will be available on June 4, just in time for Father’s Day. Customers can choose from the Junmai Ginjo or Junmai Daiginjo varieties.
Junmai Ginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
Junmai Daiginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
The Junmai Ginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022 was made with water, rice, and yeast from Shizuoka, where the series takes place. With a refreshing aroma and a gentle sweetness derived from the Homarefuji rice, the flavor is sure to arouse your palate!
The original label featured on the bottle shows Papa Hiroshi enjoying local sake with tuna sashimi from Shizuoka with Mt. Fuji in the background. All bottles will come with a paper box featuring a similar design. The turtle on the label is the symbol of Hatsukame Brewing! It’s recommended that customers drink their sake with local tuna–it’s the perfect combination.
The Daiginjo variety is made from rare Aiyama rice, known as the ‘Diamond of Sake Rice.’ Polished and carefully prepared by hand, the aroma of the sake is reminiscent of tropical fruits. The final product has a rich sweetness.
Last year’s label showed Papa Hiroshi in a Kimono watching the first sunrise over Mt. Fuji. Be sure to grab a bottle to experience the taste of Shizuoka! Only 223 bottles will be available, so be quick!
©さくらプロダクション/日本アニメーション ©Hatsukame Sake Brewery Co., Ltd. ©Nexus Co., Ltd.
Junmai Daiginjo Papa Hiroshi Vintage 2022
Now available to order
Release Date: June 4, 2022 *After the release date, orders will be shipped within 3 weeks from the order date.
Where to Buy: Saketsunagi Online Shop https://saketsunagi.base.shop
Kyoto Sweets Shop Otabe Rereleases Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Snacks with New Designs
Otabe, one of the most popular sweets souvenir shops in Kyoto, Otabe, is known for its delicious matcha and mini-desserts. Starting May 12, the company has released nine uniquely packaged sweets inspired by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The limited-edition packaging will feature popular characters from the series. Previously, the company released matcha cakes for the crossover–this time, fans can enjoy choco-an flavor!
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Matcha
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Otabe (with Original Sticker)
Original Sticker: 15 varieties, 1 given at random
Focusing on the hashira from the series, fans will want to be on the lookout for their favorite character. These sweets can be bought at select stations in the Kyoto and Osaka area, major Kyoto tourist attractions, and online. In addition, matcha flavored treats will also be on sale featuring Tanjiro Kamado, Nezuko Kamado, Zenitsu Agatsuma, Hashibira Inosuke, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, and Muzan Kibutsuji.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Release Date: May 12, 2022
Price: ¥432 (Tax Included)
Where to Buy: Train station in Kyoto & Osaka area, Major Kyoto tourist attractions, online.
Limited Edition Sake Released Alongside NFT Art to Share the Value of Japanese Spirits with the World
Two incredible new Junmai Daiginjo bottles, the highest-quality sake, have been released in limited quantities. Hitou ASCENDING and Touka ILLUMINATING were made by sustainable means and incorporate NFT art to share the process of sake creation with the world.
While sake companies keep traditional Japanese production methods alive, some are seeking to solve problems in the sake industry by turning to current technology, like the blockchain and NFTs. In this age of convenience and automation, this particular sake maker is aiming to show the true value and authenticity of Japanese craftsmanship to the rest of the world.
Certain types of sake can only be made and enjoyed at certain times of the year, as they are not suitable for storage at room temperature and can only be consumed for a brief period to get the best taste. Many sake fans around the world might not be aware of this, so the new NFT collaboration aims to educate!
The bottles contain unique ukiyo-e NFT art prints of a dragon and phoenix on the bottle, respectively. Those who purchase a bottle will also find the year of production and bottle number etched onto the glass with lacquer. Be sure to keep the bottle even after the delicious sake is gone!
Rice / Tobe Rice
In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, farmers have been cultivating this unique brand of Koshihikari rice without the help of pesticides or fertilizers for over two decades. The rice is called the best in all of Japan, and one-third of its yield is used to make sake.
Water / Pure Groundwater
The Japan Median Tectonic Line, also known as the ‘Dragon’s Vein,’ is a massive fault line that is home to numerous sacred sites, including Suwa Grand Shrine, Toyokawa Inari Shrine, Tenkawa Benzaiten Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine, and the Koyasan Mountain. The groundwater found here is some of the purest found in Japan and flows from the Bungui Pass in Ina, Nagano Prefecture. The pass has been featured in many publications as one of the most famous power spots in Japan.
Brewing / Ono Brewery
While dealing with some of the harshest winter weather in Japan, the brewery has continued to create sake the old-fashioned way–with human hands. For the creation of these two bottles, the brewers took on the challenge of making a very small amount of sake, something they had never done before. Based on the concept of “making the most of the environment,” the rice was prepared in a special room with no air conditioning under the watchful eye of the master brewer.
Bottle Art/ Ukiyo-e Artist, Shun
The art displayed on the bottle is printed in a unique way, allowing it to be put on display separately. The Japanese-style art is perfect for the collaboration and was inspired by one specific hope: that a new path will open to those who work hard after the many difficulties and troubles caused by the pandemic.
Bottle Making / Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works
The circular label symbolizes the moon (water) and the sun (fire), each representing a world where different values are not only accepted but welcomed. Hand-painted and made with pure platinum and gold leaf by the talented craftsman at Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works in Shiojiri, Nagano, these advanced painting techniques are sure to impress.
Each Bottle Features the Brewing Year, Number Printed in Lacquer
Marked with a unique serial number, all proceeds from the sales of these special sakes will be used to maintain and promote sustainable agriculture, support sake brewers, and bring traditional Japanese craftsmanship to the world.
Junmai Daiginjo – ‘Hitou ASCENDING,’ ‘Touka ILLUMINATING’
Official Site: https://hitoutouka.com/
Hydrangea Parfait Featuring Local Matcha Available at Itohkyuemon in Kyoto
Located in Uji, Kyoto, matcha shop Itohkyuemon was founded in the late Edo period. Three cozy locations have just launched a Hydrangea Parfait, perfect for spring.
The shop’s main location is headquartered in Uji, which is also home to Mimuroto Temple, known for its hydrangeas. The flowery location attracts thousands of tourists during the rainy season.
The Hydrangea Parfait has been offered since 2013, now celebrating its 10th year. The popular seasonal treat features matcha hydrangea mashed sweet potatoes, hydrangea-colored jelly, leaf-shaped matcha cookies, and blueberries. Those ordering a parfait will also receive a hydrangea coaster as a gift, so why not enjoy the rainy season with something sweet to lift your spirits?
Itohkyuemon Hydrangea Parfait
Release Date: May 13, 2022
Participating Locations: Uji store, JR Uji Stationfront store, Shijo-dori store
Yunohana Onsen Resort Reveals Contemporary Art-Inspired Guest Rooms
Sumiya Kihoan, a cozy inn at Yunohana Onsen in Kameoka City in Kyoto, opened a unique new guest room on April 28, 2022. The room’s concept is “where guests can stay in the middle of contemporary art,” and was inspired by the works of internationally-acclaimed contemporary artist Yukinori Yanagi. The new room, created as part of the Art Room Project, has been named ‘Kofuu.’
The Icarus Corridor Connecting Heaven and Earth
Heavenly Bath Welcoming a Rainbow at Dusk
In-Ground Bath Featuring Oribe Glazed Ceramic
Concept Drawing of the Art Room Project by Yukinori Yanagi
The new room includes an open-air bath where guests can be transported into the world of Yanagi’s contemporary art while gazing at the gorgeous Kyoto landscape. Upon entering the inn, guests are greeted by a long corridor leading to the bedrooms, dining room, and two creative open-air baths. The space was created in collaboration with Yanagi and local artists and craftsmen, such as potter Ishii Naoto, obi craftsman Yamaguchi Genbei X, plasterer Kusumi Akira, and Japanese paper craftsman Hatano Wakaru. A delicious menu is prepared by chef Hosoi Kunihiko.
Ryokan Sumiya Kihoan
Address: Yunohana Onsen, Kameoka City, Kyoto
Room Details: https://hakutai.sumiya.ne.jp/artroom-kohoo/
Room Reservations: https://reserve.489ban.net/client/sumiya/0/plan/id/119287/stay?noSearch=1
Official Site: https://www.sumiya.ne.jp/
Kyoto’s Garden Museum Hiei Opens Limited-Time Collaboration Event with Violet Evergarden Anime Series
Kyoto’s Garden Museum Hiei has announced that it will host a collaboration event with Kyoto Animation’s Violet Evergarden anime franchise, entitled ‘A Story of Flowers and Letters,’ from May 3 to July 10, 2022.
The Garden Museum Hiei, an outdoor facility inspired by French Impressionism, sits near Mt. Hiei and is known for its incredible floral displays which change colors each season. “This scenery matches the image of the landscape depicted in the Violet Evergarden anime series, which led to the decision to hold this collaborative event,” the press release reads.
Visitors can enjoy collaboration visuals and standees that will only be available to see at the gardens. The event will also feature original merchandise, collaboration drinks, and a voice-recorded introduction to the facilities by Violet herself, voiced by Yui Ishikawa.
Violet Evergarden premiered in 2018. The main character, Violet, was trained to be a soldier and therefore has trouble expressing her emotions. In order to learn the meaning behind her commander’s final words, “I love you,” she embarks on a new path in life, writing letters on others’ behalf. A spin-off film was released in Japan in 2019, and a second film premiered in September 2020.
Violet Evergarden x Garden Museum Hiei ~A Story of Flowers and Letters~
Venue: Garden Museum Hiei
Running: May 3 – July 10, 2022
The Heike Story, INU-OH Character Concept Art on Display at Kyoto International Manga Museum
The Heike Story anime series premiered in Japan on Fuji TV’s +Ultra programming block on January 12. With character designs by Fumiko Takano, fans instantly fell in love with the show’s cast of characters, and an art book will be released soon, with preorders opening this week.
The Kyoto International Manga Museum has opened an exhibition displaying character concept art from SCIENCE SARU’s The Heike Story and INU-OH anime from April 21 to June 27. The exhibit commemorates The Heike Story‘s TV broadcast and INU-OH‘s theater opening in Japan. Fumiko Takano (The Heike Story) and Taiyo Matsumoto (INU-OH)’s character concept drawings are on display in Gallery 4.
Both titles are based on Hideo Furukawa’s modern language rendering of the classic Japanese epic The Tale of the Heike.
The Heike Story will additionally release an art book titled The Colors of The Heike Story in June. The book will feature an interview between art director Tomotaka Kubo and series director Naoko Yamada, and is scheduled for release in June. Those pre-ordering the book will receive a special gift.
©松本大洋 /2021 “INU-OH” Film Partners
The Heike Story – Fumiko Takano and INU-OH’s Taiyo Matsumoto Character Concept Art Exhibition
Running: April 21 – June 27, 2022
Venue: Kyoto International Manga Museum Gallery 4 (452 Kinbukicho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto)
Access: 2-minute walk from Exit 2 of Karasuma Oike Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line and Tozai Line
The Colors of The Heike Story
Price: ¥5,500 (Excluding Tax)
Format: A4 size, 112 pages
Publisher: HeHe / hehepress.com
The Heike Story Anime Series
Official Site: HEIKE-anime.asmik-ace.co.jp
Shoujuin Temple and THE THOUSAND KYOTO Collaborate on Special Afternoon Tea
THE THOUSAND KYOTO hotel will begin selling a special afternoon tea set in conjunction with the Buddhist Temple Shoujuin on May 9, 2022. These scrumptious treats can be enjoyed at the hotel’s second-floor cafe and bar TEA AND BAR until July 15.
This offering was made with the thought of escaping the summer heat in mind. Customers can enjoy eight kinds of sweet and savory dishes, from quiche and salmon sandwiches to scones with honey and sweet bean paste.
The entrance to the cafe will also be transformed to reflect the majesty of Shoujuin Temple.
The early summer scenery will be captured with majestic hydrangeas, which will surround guests and prove the perfect background for photos.
Guests can also go home with two traditional souvenirs. Both the kanouhimo and sange are lucky charms typically available at Shoujuin on holidays.
Shoujuin x TEA AND BAR Afternoon Tea ~Refreshing Green Tea Ceremony~
Running: May 9 – July 15, 2022 *Reservations required at least 2 days in advance.
Where: Cafe & Bar TEA AND BAR (THE THOUSAND KYOTO 2F)
Hours: First Seating 11:30~14:30 / Second Seating 15:30~18:30
Hydrangea Afternoon Tea Available at Art Grace Wedding Hills in Kyoto for a Limited Time
Art Grace Wedding Hills, a wedding venue in Kyoto, will offer a hydrangea-themed afternoon tea service from May 1 until June 24, 2022. Guests can enjoy this dreamy event each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Come taste these delectable dishes to welcome the summer season.
BLOOM ~Blooming Hydrangea Afternoon Tea~
Running: May 1 – June 24, 2022 (Available Friday-Sunday)
Venue: Art Grace Wedding Hills, Kyoto