Let’s find out the fabulous aspects of Oita Prefecture! Check out the events which will be held in October.

23.September.2017 | FOOD / SPOT

Oita Prefecture in Kyusyu is known as the number one hot spring prefecture in Japan. Oita Prefecture is called “the hot spring prefecture – Oita” and the amount of hot spring water and the number of hot springs known to be No.1.

. The PR video “Shinfuro” broadcasted two years ago and last year gathered much attention but Oita has many other amazing sightseeing spots, indigenous products and delicious foods. In this column, I will introduce to you the sightseeing spots, products, art facilities and culture of Oita Prefecture.

 

-Sightseeing spots and experience in Oita-

Oita Prefecture Kokuto Peninsula Usa Area

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Rokugo Manzan located in Kokuto Peninsula has been open for 1300 years. In commemoration of this, Kyusyu National Museum will hold a special exhibition which introduces the mystery of Rokugo Manzan which is known as the birthplace of syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. The exhibition exhibits rare cultural assets including four important cultural properties. One of the important cultural properties is the Buddhist statue “Monju Senji Monju Bosatsu” which can be seen only once every 12 years.

▼Information

Rokugo Manzan Special Exhibition

Date: September 13th 2017 (Wed.) to November 5th (Sun.) (eight weeks)

Venue: Kyusyu National Museum Cultural Exhibition Room

 

 

Disclosing hidden cultural assets / light ups and special events

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At each temple of Rokugo Manzan, a light-up event (two hours) will be held from the 28th of October to the 9th of December and food such as soup will be offered to visitors. Traditional performing arts such as Kagura can also be seen.

 

 

 

 

 

-Oita Prefecture’s sightseeing spots which are suitable for the autumn touring season-

“Yabakei” and “Kurushimashi Teien” are known as very famous sightseeing spots in Japan. “Yabakei” is the beauty spot of Nakatsushi. “Ichimoku Hakkei”

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located in the center of “Yabakei,” a famous spot which is surrounded by huge rock mountains. The contrast of the rocks and autumn leaves is a must-see.

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 “Goryo Momiji” can be seen when the autumn leaves in Yabakei fall. The sight of the tunnel of red leaves and the carpet of colorful leaves is so beautiful.

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 “Kyu Kurushima Teien” is a beautiful sightseeing spot in Kusumachi. The garden was created in 1829 and consists of three small gardens. It is very exciting to think about the history of the garden while walking through it.

 

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 “Sobo / Katamuki / Okue” located in Oita Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture is a treasure spot of rare animals and has a beautiful view and untouched nature. Many people are awed by its unique view which changes depending on the season. The location becomes very beautiful especially from mid October to late October. The location was designated as a UNESCO Eco Park which is an ideal place where nature and human society exist together in a peaceful manner.

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“Kyusuikei” in Kusugun Kusucho has a huge cliff with a length of about 2km. Natural forests and beautiful canyons can be seen in this spot. The view from “Kue ‘Yume’ Otsuribashi” is very beautiful. The spot is packed with many climbers during the autumn season.

 

 

 

The Mini Yonku (Japanese racing car toy) club will hold a race (elementary school children can participate in this event)

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“THMF Hitahashiri,” a Mini Yonku club set up a racing course in Hitashi. Elementary school students can use the racing course for free and enjoy this event together with adults. The racing course holds an event where visitors can play with Mini Yonkus handed out for free. An “elementary school students-limited race” is held every Sunday from 14:00 and a night race is held every second and fourth Saturday.

▼Information

Elementary School Students-limited race

Address: 273-1, Mizumecho, Hitashi, Oita Prefecture

Date: 15:00 to 20:00, 10:00 to 21:00 – Sat, Sun and holidays, Mon – holiday

TEL: 080-1776-1208

 

 

 

-Sports experience in Oita-

Rugby is gaining much popularity nowadays!!

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Oita Prefecture is where the final match of the world rugby tournament is to be held. The 5th match of the league of Japan Rugby Top League 2017-2018 will be held at Oita Ginko Dome on the 24th of September (Sat.). Many people are awaiting a fierce battle.

▼Information

Japan Rugby Top League 2017-2018 Season League 5th match

Date: September 24th, 2017 (Sat) 14:00 kickoff

Venue: Oita Sports Park Oita Ginko Dome / 1351 Yokoo, Oitashi, Oita Prefecture

URL: http://orfu.jp/?page_id=2095

 

 

Oita×Kumamoto “Baitoku Campaign” will be offered!

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After the earthquake of Kumamoto, Oita and Kumamoto are working actively to re-establish the areas. So, Beppu and Aso will hold “Baitabi Campaign”

On October 3rd (Tue.) Kumamon and Mejiron (mascots) will appear in the Kansai area. They will participate in events such as in central square in the JR Osaka Station City Atrium.

▼Information

Baitabi Campaign

TEL: 097-534-3500

 

 

 

 

-Foods and events of Oita-

“Oita Kurafeshu 2017” is an event at which shochu (Japanese alcohol) and nihonshu (Japanese sake) can be enjoyed.

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“Oita Kurafeshu 2017” is an event created under the concept of “the entertainment of sake” at Osakashi kitaku / Hotel Hankyu International.

They will offer full-fledged shochu and nihonshu made by various kuramotos (sake breweries). You can enjoy the allurement of Oita through Oita’s foods and drinks including sake and local dishes.

▼Information

Oita Kura Feshu 2017

Date: October 13th, 2017 (Fri.) 19:00 to 21:00 (reservation 18:15~)

Reservation due date: September 25th

Fee: 3,900 yen

Venue: Hotel Hankyu International 6th floor “Zuicho” / 19-19, Chayamachi, Kitaku, Osaka

URL:http://www.oita-sake.or.jp/kurafeshu2017/

 

 

 “Oita Kabosu Fair in GINZA” at which food items using kabosu (a type of citrus fruit) can be enjoyed.

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This fair which offers kabosu produced in Oita will be held at Ginza. Bars, Japanese cuisine restaurants, sushi restaurants and French restaurants will be participating in the event. Let’s enjoy kabosu dishes created by topnotch restaurants in Ginza.

▼Information

Oita Kabosu Fair in GINZA

Date: Septemeber 15th, 2017 (Fri.) to 30th (Sat.)

 

 

 

Eat and shout to release your stress! Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai will be held.

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“Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai” has been held 43 times. After enjoying BBQ using lots of “Hoshu Yufuin Gyu”(beef) produced in vast grass farms, participants scream at the top of their lungs. The winner of this contest will be judged according to the volume of the scream and on how unique the content of the scream was.

▼Information

Yufuin Ushigui Zekkyo Taikai

Date: October 9th, 2017 (Mon. / holiday) fixed number / 600 persons

Fee: 3,500 yen – older than junior high school students / 2000 yen – below elementary school students

Venue: Yufushi, Yufuin Machikawagami, Namiyanagi Bokujo

TEL:0977-85-4464

HP: http://www.yufuin.gr.jp/

 

Schedule

◎9:00 selling entrance tickets

◎10:30 open

◎11:30 collecting the participators of the shouting event

◎12:00 shouting event

◎13:00 lottery event

◎14:00 results announced and and / awards ceremony

 

 

“Oita Bungo Ushi’s” support shop “Sumibi to Wine”

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“Sumibi to Wine” is a meat/wine specialty store which has eight branch stores in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. Oita Bungo Ushi (beef) is the brand beef of Oita which is healthy and has a high-quality taste, smell and texture. The “Kuju Yume Pork” and moule they offer are both produced in Oita.

▼Information

Sumibi to Wine Kyobashiten

Address: K Buratto, Keihan Kokabashi, 1-5-1, Higashinocho, Toshimaku, Osakashi, Osaka

TEL:050-5570-6706

 

 

 

The sky hot spring “CITY SPA Tenku” from which Beppu Port can be seen

“CITY SPA Tenku”

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“CITY SPA Tenku” is a hot spring facility in “JR Oita City” near JR Oita Station. Since the hot spring is located 80m above ground, you can enjoy the view of Beppu Port, Takasami Mountain and Tsurumidake. They offer a natural, brown-colored hot spring which is called “natrium ammonium hydrogen salt hot spring.” The hot spring has a smooth texture.

▼Information

CITY SPA Tenku

Address: 19F-21F, JR Oita City, directly connected with Oita Station, 1-14, Kanameshi, Oita

TEL:097-513-2641

 

Let’s enjoy the wonderful autumn in Oita that has many gorgeous spots.

 

RELATED ENTRIES

  • 6 Best Spots to Visit in Japan’s Oita Prefecture During Autumn – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON

    10.September.2020 | SPOT

    Oita in Kyushu has been nicknamed “Hot Spring Prefecture Oita” due to having the largest number of hot spring water sources and outputs in Japan. Oita welcomes many visitors every year who flock to the prefecture’s many famous hot spring locations like Beppu and Yufuincho Kawakami.

     

    But the charm of Oita doesn’t lie solely in its hot springs. It’s also a location that offers breathtaking scenery during autumn. We’ve picked 6 spots around Oita Prefecture that are must-visits during autumn.

     

    Keiseki-en

    The gorge of Yabakei is designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty in Japan. Keiseki-en is a beautiful Japanese garden that was built to commemorate the completion of the Yabakei dam. It’s home to over 31,000 individual trees of around 100 species as well as a lake, waterfalls, and crags. It’s a place that boasts natural beauty throughout all four seasons.

     

    Address: 2286-1 Yabakeimachi Ōaza Ōshima, Nakatsu, Oita

     

    Kinrin Lake

    Kinrin Lake is one of Yufu’s most famous sightseeing spots for the mysterious torii gate that sits within the lake. Spring water and hot spring water flows through the lake, and because the temperature of the water is warm throughout the year, you can see steam rising from the surface in the early hours of winter days. Tenso Shrine also sits on the bank of the lake which is home to a sacred tree that’s designated as a natural monument.

     

    Address: 1561 Yufuinchō Kawakami, Yufu, Oita
    Access: 20 minutes on foot from Yufuin Station (JR Line)

     

    Kyusuikei

    Kyusuikei’s scenery spans through the prefectural road that connects the Kokonoe IC to Yamanami Highway. Its 2km expanse is made up of sheer cliffs which create the valley that is known for its autumn colours. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the maple and ginkgo trees from the observation deck that runs along the cliff. There are other nearby sightseeing spots too like Kokonoe Yume Otsurihasi Bridge and Kyusuikei Onsen hot springs.

     

    Address: Tano, Kokonoe, Kusu District, Oita
    Access: 20-minutes by car from Kokonoe IC

     

    Hakubakei

    The valley of Hakubaki was designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty of the city of Usuki. In autumn, surrounding trees are dyed in reds and yellows, bringing people from all over to witness the spectacle. And because the valley it at a high altitude, the gradation of the colourful trees changes as you go further in.

     

    Address: Badai, Usuki, Oita
    Access: 5-minutes by car from Usuki IC

     

    Fukiji Temple

    Fukiji Temple was built in the Heian Period for the high priest of Usa Jingu. The temple is a national treasure, and the Amida-Nyōrai contained inside is designated by the Japanese government as an Important Cultural Property.

     

    Address: 2395 Tashibufuki, Bungotakada, Oita
    Access: 30-minutes by car from Usa Station

     

    Mount Kuju

    Mount Kuju stands as the highest mountain in Kyushu Island at nearly 1,800-meters tall, which has also led to to be nicknamed the “Rooftop of Kyushu.” Its has many peaks, the highest being Mount Nakadake at 1,791-meters. One peak in particular draws mountain climbers, and that’s Mount Taisen. At its apex one can enjoy the breathtaking autumn colours together with the sight of the rolling mountains.

     

    Address: Tano, Kokonoe, Kusu District, Oita
    Access: 40-minutes by car from Kokonoe IC.

  • Sanrio Harmonyland Announces ‘Happy Halloween’ Event For October 2020

    06.September.2020 | SPOT

    Harmonyland, a theme park centred on Sanrio’s cast of characters, has announced that this year it is holding a Halloween themed event titled “Happy Halloween” which will run from October 11 to 31.

    Meet the characters

    A greeting event will take place twice a day where guests can have photos taken next to the Sanrio characters who will be dressed in their best Halloween outfits. For the afternoon greeting, the characters will dance too.

     

    Photo opportunities

    There will be many photo opportunities around the park at a variety of Hello Kitty, My Melody, Kuromi, and other character decorations. Shops inside the park will also be decorated in all things spooky.

     

    Hello Kitty’s Castle transforms into Halloween mode

    Hello Kitty Castle will feature Halloween themed decor to greet guests who enter. Hello Kitty will also change into a spooky ghost costume at 10:00, 12:00, and 14:30 each day of the event.

     

    Halloween character merchandise

    Sanrio fans can get their hands on a selection of Halloween themed character merch.

     

    Limited-time character events

    Sanrio character ‘Wish Me Mell’ will also have her own birthday party between September 20 and 23 where she will be out to greet guests. After each greeting, 100 people will be given a special free thank you card on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Pin Badge Set ¥990 / Acrylic Key Ring Set ¥1,540 / Strawberry Milk Pudding ¥500 / Pancakes ¥600 / Smile Set ¥1,200

    This year marks the 15th anniversary of Kuromi, as well as My Melody’s 45th anniversary, and so both will be performing mini live concerts between September 25 to October 31. After each show 100 people will be given a Kuromi anniversary card on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Pin Badge Set / Kuromi Black Curry ¥1,380

     

    ©’76,’79,’88,’89,’91,’93,’96,’98,’99,’01,’05,’10,’12,’13,’17,’20 SANRIO  S/D・G
    *The information in this article is correct as of September 2, 2020. Please note that information related to the event is subject to change.

  • Japan’s Pixar Bullet Train Project ‘GO! WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE with Pixar’ Details Announced

    28.August.2020 | SPOT

    JR Kyushu has signed a promotional license agreement with Walt Disney Japan to launch the “GO! WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE with PIXAR” project, which will see the shinkansen bullet trains decorated in characters from the Pixar animated filmography starting on September 12, 2020.

     

    The project comes at a time when Pixar celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original Toy Story film, which released back in 1995 as the first entirely computer-animated feature film.

     

    New details have been released for the upcoming project, including the unveiling of the key visual, the content of the collaboration, campaigns that will be held, and limited-edition merchandise which will be sold.

    Key Visual

    The key visual is a colourful Pixar creation which is shaped to look like the seven prefectures that make up Kyushu—Japan’s south-westernmost island where the JR Kyushu WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE Shinkanen bullet train will run.

     

    Character Visuals

    Poster Design

    All major stations along the JR Kyushu Line display the key visual along with the above-pictured poster featuring various Pixar characters. Each of Kyushu’s seven major prefectural train stations listed below will also have additional posters for different Pixar films.

     

    Hakata Station: Toy Story
    Saga Station: Up
    Nagasaki Station: Finding Nemo
    Oita Station: The Incredibles
    Kumamoto Station: Cars
    Kagoshima-Chūō Station: Monsters, Inc.
    Miyazaki Station: Wall-E

     

    Tabloid Distribution

    For illustrative purposes only. Distribution from September 12, 2020.

    At all major stations running the JR Kyushu Line, commuters can get their hands on a free tabloid inspired by the “My Adventure Book” from the Pixar film Up. The content of the tabloid features information related to the collaboration and where you can find Pixar characters at stations throughout Kyushu, so you too can have your own adventure.

     

    Photo Spots

    Cars photo spot

    The seven JR Kyushu prefectural stations will also have their own photo spots where you can snap a picture. You’ll also spot Woody and Buzz dolls and Hakata Station and Sully and Mike ones at Kagoshima-Chūō Station.

     

    Participating Stations: Hakata Station, Saga Station, Nagasaki Station, Oita Station, Kumamoto Station, Kagoshima-Chūō Station, Miyazaki Station

     

    Special Site & Official Instagram

    A special site opened which features the departure schedule for the JR Kyushu WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE Shinkansen, details on campaigns, the latest details on the collaboration, and more. Waku Waku ADVENTURE now also has its own Instagram page which includes reports on event, pictures of merchandise, and other details.

     

    Special Movie

    A special collaborative movie will be released in September centred on the themes of Pixar’s movies such as bonds between people, family, friends, and adventure. It will be shown at JR Kyushu stations and the special site.

     

    Campaign: Find the Pixar Ball

    Original sticker designs

    If you spot a station staff member at any of the JR Kyushu prefectural stations wearing a Pixar ball badge, call out to them and they’ll give you one of seven possible Pixar stickers as pictured above. All seven can be put into your “My Adventure Book,” so try collecting them all!

     

    Participating Stations: Hakata Station, Saga Station, Nagasaki Station, Oita Station, Kumamoto Station, Kagoshima-Chūō Station, Miyazaki Station

    *Depending on the time, platform staff may not be wearing the badges

    *Stickers are available while supplies last

     

    GO! WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE Digital Stamp Rally

    A digital stamp rally will be held on the official JR Kyushu app. Board the JR Kyushu WAKU WAKU ADVENTURE Shinkansen, visit JR Kyushu Stations, and get some original stamps.

     

    1st Stamp Rally: September 12, 2020 – January 31, 2021

     

    Limited Edition Merchandise

    Merchandise lineup

    A special collection of merchandise has been created featuring designs of Kyushu and the Pixar characters. The items will be sold at shops around JR Kyushu stations and online in Japan.

     

    Release Date: September 12, 20202
    Merchandise List: https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/train/wakuwaku-adventure/goods/

     

    Those who ride the very first departing train will receive an original Pixar design train ticket. The Tsubame 363 train bound for Kagoshima-Chūō Station will depart from Hakata Station at 12:19 on September 12, 2020.

     

    ©Disney/Pixar

  • Enter the World Of My Neighbor Totoro in Japan’s Oita and Miyazaki Prefectures

    14.August.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    My Neighbor Totoro is one of Studio Ghibi’s most celebrated animated feature films, adored by people around the world. If you’ve visited Japan, you’re bound to have run into something Totoro-related, but did you know there’s actually several locations in Kyushu which takes it to the next level, bringing the world of the film to life?

     

    Today, we are joined by Rie who posts her Kyushu travels on her Instagram page. She has provided us with photos of these amazing spots, which are must-visits for Totoro fans, along with her thoughts.

     

    Tataragi Bus Stop | Hita, Oita Prefecture

    When you roll up to Tataragi Bus Stop (多々良木バス停) in Oita’s city of Hita, you are welcomed by a giant piece of wall art made into the moss that grows on the wall. This bus stop is actually a stop used exclusively by school buses, so ordinary people can’t actually catch a bus here. And unfortunately, you won’t see any cat buses running down the street if you wait long enough in the rain, but it’s still a must-visit for fans.

    Address: Amagasemachi Gota, Hita, Oita, Japan (In Japanese: 大分県日田市天瀬町合田)

     

    Totoro’s Forest | Saiki, Oita Prefecture

    This area is visited by many tourists and sightseers throughout the year because of how similar it looks to something from My Neighbor Totoro. There is a small park near the bus stop which is known as Totoro no Mori (Totoro’s Forest).

    Being surrounded by nature, enveloped by the green trees and foliage, makes you feel like Mei and Satsuki from the movie. It’s like being transported back to my childhood. It’s a strange place that makes you feel nostalgic even if it’s your first time visiting.

    Address: 1368 Ume Oaza Minamitabaru, Saiki-shi, Oita Prefecture (In Japanese: 大分県佐伯市宇目大字南田原轟1368)

     

    Takahara, Miyazaki Prefecture

    The next spot I want to show you is where an ordinary person made their very own Totoro statue. If you hold up an umbrella in the rain you can take a photo that recreates that one scene from te movie. There is a sign nearby the statue with a caution written on it as the Totoro is actually inside a family garden. When visiting to take a photo, please make sure to follow the caution and not cause any trouble for people in the neighbouring area.

    Address: 7538-6 Kamamuta, Takaharu, Nishimorokata-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture (In Japanese: 宮崎県西諸島県群高原町大字蒲牟田7538-6)

     

    Rie posts photos of all her visits around Kyushu on Instagram, so if you’re thinking of ever visiting there, be sure to follow her for ideas on where to go.

     

    Photos by Rie

    *The information listed in this article is correct at the time of publishing

  • Japan’s Best Hot Springs and Spas For 2020 Ranked by Tripadvisor

    19.July.2020 | SPOT

    Tripadvisor® has posted its list for this year’s most popular hot springs and spas in Japan for day trips as ranked by its users over the past year.

     

    This is the 9th run of this particular list, which is normally announced each winter, but due to the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, travellers have been looking to find somewhere to relax, and so the website decided to release the list earlier this time. Tripadvisor® also ranked the best hot spring regions as well as foot baths.

     

    This year’s list has a diverse line-up of locations, from huge new facilities to old ones with history. Half of the places in the list are situated in the Kanto region of Japan—more than the previous lists. Those in the ranking are listed not only for the hot springs, but for the services on offer like massage, dining, rest, and more, all of which adds to them being great for day trips.

     

    Hot Springs & Spas Popular With Japanese People For Day Trips – 2020 Edition

    1st Place: Busshozan Onsen (Takamatsu, Kagawa)
    2nd Place: Miharashi no Yu (Hashijo-machi, Tokyo)
    3rd Place: Hōheikyō Hot Spring (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
    4th Place: Shika no Yu (Nasu, Tochigi)
    5th Place: Tenzan Tohji-kyo (Hakone-machi, Kanagawa)
    6th Place: Hoshino Onsen Tombo-no-yu (Karuizawa, Nagano)
    7th Place: Lamune Onsen (Taketa, Oita)
    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)
    9th Place: Maenohara Onsen Sayano Yudokoro (Itabashi, Tokyo)
    10th Place: Miyazawako Onsen Kirari Bettei (Hanno, Saitama)
    https://tg.tripadvisor.jp/news/ranking/best-public-bathes/

     

    8th Place: Spadium Japon (Higashikurume, Tokyo)

    Spadium Japon is a large-scale public bath facility with 15 different types of baths and saunas. It has transparent onsen, which is rare in the Kanto region, and the water is known for its sodium salt. Tripadvisor® users praise the facility for offering all-day services and how big it is, likening it to a theme park.

     

    Special Mentions

    Tripadvisor® also listed some special mentions of popular hot spring “chiku,” or districts, where you can walk around and try out lots of different types of hot springs, as well as foot baths. The foot baths in Oita Airport and Kagoshima Airport are free to use, making them a great way to kill some time while waiting for departure.

     

    Top 5 Hot Spring Chiku Popular With Japanese People

    1st Place: Kinosaki Onsen (Toyooka, Hyogo)
    2nd Place: Yu no Mine Onsen (Tanabe, Wakayama)
    3rd Place: Kurokawa Onsen (Minamioguni, Kumamoto)
    4th Place: Ginzan Onsen (Obanazawa, Yamagata)
    5th Place Gero Onsen (Gero, Gifu)

     

    Top 3 Foot Baths Popular With Japanese People

    1st Place: Oita Airport Foot Bath (Kunisaki, Oita)
    2nd Place: Lake Kussharo Sunayu (Teshikaga, Hokkaido)
    3rd Place: Kagoshima Airport Foot Bath (Kirishima, Kagoshima)

  • Miffy Creator Dick Bruna Gets Themed Wine Bar ‘Dick Bruna TABLE’ in Kobe

    04.July.2020 | FOOD

    The new wine bar Dick Bruna TABLE is set to open in Kobe, Japan on July 17, 2020 at 11:00am (JST) where customers can enjoy various wines from around the world. Reservations are already open for both the bar and cafe tables, and if you book by July 16, you’ll get an original coaster.

    Dick Bruna TABLE KOBE is themed around the popular children’s author and graphic designer Dick Bruna (1927-2017) who is known for his popular character Miffy. This will be the first bar of its kind centred on Bruna.

    The bar has 4 floors which include a takeout counter, merchandise shop, cafe, wine bar, and event space. Dick Bruna TABLE will also be opening an online store for merchandise in the near future. It’s a must-visit for any fan of Miffy and Dick Bruna’s works.

  • Grapes For Wine Now Being Picked at Shiojiri Station’s Platforms

    01.June.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    Shiojiri is a city in central Nagano with a population of 67,000 (as of April 2020). As a tourist destination, it’s a place that goes under the radar, but it’s actually home to the best quality grapes for wine in Japan, and also boasts 17 wineries (as of April 2020).

    Shiojiri is a place with many tourist attractions, such as the historical town of Narai-juku whose streets still echo the Edo Period, Kiso-Hirasawa lacquerware, the Hiraide ruins which are one of Japan’s three biggest ruins, Takabotchiyama which has become known for appearing in anime and Japanese drama series in recent years, the local dish “sanzokuyaki” (large fried chicken), and more.

     

    In 1988, the city of Shiojiri began growing grapes at Shiojiri Station to promote the city’s grapes and wine. It has gone on to become famous as the only station in Japan with grape production. They grow Merlot and Niagara grapes.

     

    The station encourages volunteers to help pick the grapes. The first picks of this year’s season began on May 29, and the efforts are being posted about on the city’s official social media accounts and website. The Merlot wine made from the grapes picked in August last year is also ready and will be posted about soon too.

  • Tokyo’s New Sake Ice Cream Shop Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Ship Ice Cream Around Japan

    03.May.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    SAKEICE is an ice cream shop that offers a new kind of ice cream experience, combining Japanese sake and alcohol together with the frozen treat. The shop opened in Akusaka, Tokyo in March this year.

     

    However, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the store has had to close temporarily. SAKEICE wants to cheer people up during these turbulent times with their ice cream, and has therefore announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign so they can set up a website where people can order ice cream in Japan and have it delivered to them.

     

    I tried out their ice cream

    Otokoyama / Nihonshu Ice

    SAKEICE’s ice cream is laced with lots of Japanese alcohol. I tried the Otokoyama and the Nihonshu Ice, the latter of which is an original ice cream flavour exclusive to SAKEICE. They both contains around 4% alcohol. I were curious exactly how they would taste.

     

    I started with the Nihonshu Ice. The moment the ice cream hits your tongue, your taste buds are met with its smooth texture, and your nose is filled with the full bodied flavour of nihonshu. The velvety texture on your tongue as it melts is to die for. The Otokoyama has a refreshing kick to it when compared to the Nihonshu Ice. It’s creamy, but the aftertaste is refreshing, so we recommend it for people who aren’t a fan of sweet treats. Both are sure to leave you feeling satisfied, and maybe a little flushed afterwards.

     

    These ice creams contain alcohol, so keep that in mind when coming here with minors, kids, pregnant women, or if you’re driving.

     

    They have non-alcoholic flavours too!

    Matcha / Cherry Blossom

    Of course, they have non-alcoholic options too. I tried out the matcha and cherry blossom flavours.

     

    The matcha one has an irresistible bitterness layered inside the sweetness. You get that real rich matcha taste too. The cherry blossom ice cream is a cute light pink colour and has a subtle sweetness to it. If you don’t like alcohol then you’ll definitely want to try one of delights.

  • O Park OGOSE: Saitama’s Hotel Resort Opens New Sauna Suite Cabin

    11.March.2020 | SPOT

    BIO RESORT HOTEL & SPA O Park OGOSE, a hotel resort in Iruma, Saitama, is opening a new accommodation facility on March 12, 2020 called the “Sauna Suite Cabin.”

    This single-building cabin brings to mind a sauna cabin of Northern Europe. The entire interior is decked out in beautiful warm wood. It’s roomy and fully equipped with furniture, a Finnish-style private sauna, jaccuzi, stove, and other bits.

     

    Guests can enjoy a contrast bath experience with the sauna and open-air bath, as well as entertain themselves with a glamping-style dinner in the spacious outdoor dining area.

    To make the Sauna Suite Cabin’s atmosphere even more enjoyable, O Park OGOSE teamed up with Finland’s oldest textile brand, Finlayson, which turned 200-years-old this year, to bring in some of their elephant design furniture and products, including bed linen, towels, and more. Their “ELEFANTTI” line-up is popular even in Japan.



    In the bedroom drawers, their are even ELEFANTTI notebooks and letter sets which guests are free to take and use.

     

    If you’re looking for a private sauna experience away from the busy city while in Japan, then be sure to check out the new Sauna Suite Cabin at BIO-RESORT HOTEL & SPA O Park OGOSE.

  • Sai Sai Jaran Jaran #8: SILENT SIREN’s Ainyan Becomes a Wine Connoisseur at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho

    24.December.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Sai Sai Jaran Jaran is a featured series here on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON from the members of the all-female band SILEN SIREN (aka Sai Sai) who visit various hot spots in Japan and experience different things, the Sai Sai way.

     

    Band bassist Ainyan enjoys a beer or cocktail, but she wants to step into the world of wine, so we will join her on her journey today as she goes to learn all about wine from the very basics.

    It’s a clear sky today. Great weather for going for a drink during the day, am I right?

    We visited Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho, an area located in Shitamachi, Tokyo. We were looking forward to going there because it offers the full wine experience, allowing visitors to see wine brewing up close to learn all about it.

    This experience is offered twice a day on weekends and national holidays at 14:00 and 16:00.

     

    Fukagawa Winery Tokyo opened in Tokyo in 2016 as a winery where the ordinary person could go and see wine being made to fully understand its process. It has expanded its circulation in recent years and is now able to take in grapes from across Japan, including Tokyo, to craft many different wines.

    On the day we visited we saw the staff bottling up the wine. On average, the winery ships out around 30,000 bottles a year.

    The corks have illustrations of “Wine Man” on them, a character created by Fukagawa Winery Tokyo. Ainyan was fairly fond of him!

    Time to see how the winery works!

     

    When you step inside, the scent of grapes is the first thing to hit your senses.

    The one in charge of Fukagawa Winery Tokyo is Kousuke Ueno, who was kind of enough to show us around. He taught us the process of wine making, as well as what types of grapes and tools they use.

    “This machine separates the grapes and stalks using the propellers. This method has been used for 150 years,” explained Ueno.

     

    There are periods when visitors can observe this machine being used to separate the grapes. It takes place between mid-August to November, so follow Fukagawa Winery Tokyo’s social media for announcements and details.

    “Wow! It smells so good!” said Ainyan. We got to see a bucket where Cabernet Sauvignon was being made. They put in whole grapes with the skin on and add natural yeast for the fermentation process. The sweet smell of the grapes fills the air and makes you want to have a glass.

    Now for what Ainyan has been waiting for: taste-testing time! She learned everything about the wine making process, so it was time to taste and compare some different wines.

    The winery allows taste-testing until 17:00. You can try 3 types for ¥700. And of course, if there’s one you tried that you really liked, you can buy it there and then. So sip, scrutinise, and select!

    “Please try this one first. It is wine, but it’s like a lemon sour,” explained Ueno, recommending that Ainyan first try the Yamanashi  Delaware Sparkling.

    Soak up all the notes of the drink by having a good smell first before taking a small sip. “Smells really good. This sourness really is like a lemon sour! I wonder why?” said Ainyan.

     

    This wine uses premature grapes which gives the wine a sour taste. The sourness of this wine can play the part of lemons, so it’s best paired with fried foods or meals with chicken in them.

    The second drink was the Yamagata Delaware Muroka. It’s an unfiltered wine made from completely ripened Yamagata Delaware grapes.

     

    Unfiltered means that the filtration process to take out visible solids and such is not used. This gives it a slightly cloudy appearance and an exquisite taste that’s somewhere between wine and juice.

    Left: Unfiltered Yamagata Delaware / Right: Filtered Yamagata Delaware

    For the third glass, Ainyan ordered the filtered Yamagata Delaware to test the difference between it and the unfiltered version.

    “The filtered one has a good balance of flavours and is refreshing. The unfiltered one has a smooth juiciness to it. They’re both delicious, but I like the unfiltered one more!” said Ainyan.

    Her fourth glass was an unfiltered red wine: the East Bay Assemblage Red B.

    The grapes used are a combination from Hokkaido, Nagano, and Aomori. It really is an assemblage!

    “The red wine has such a different taste and colour depending on the type too! This dark red wine is close to what I usually drink!” said Ainyan with a happy smile.

    At the end of the session, Ainyan had tried 10 wines and bought two bottles! She was delighted with her experience, saying: “I was surprised how different each and every one of the wines I tried at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo were. I think I’m getting hooked on the appeal of unfiltered, natural wines.”

     

    With Christmas and New Year around the corner, now is the season to indulge in wine. If you’re in Tokyo this December, pay a visit to Fukagawa Winery Tokyo for a full wine experience.

     

     

    Writer:Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer:Kayo Sekiguchi

     

    SILENT SIREN

    SILENT SIREN is a four-member all-female band consisting of vocalist & guitarist Sumire “Suu” Yoshida, drummer Hinako “Hinanchu” Umemura, bassist Aina “Ainyan” Yamauchi, keyboardist Yukako “Yukarun” Kurosaka.

     

    The band made their major debut in November 2012 with their single Sweet Pop! The band is known to fans by their nickname “Sai Sai.” They are especially popular with middle school girls in Harajuku and have over 540,000 follows on their official LINE account.

     

    In 2015, they performed their first solo concert at Nippon Budokan, making them the fastest Japanese all-female band in history to perform there after their major debut. In 2016, they performed a headline show at Yokohama Arena, and embarked on a world tour consisting of 6 shows in 5 countries.

     

    At the end of 2016, they changed label to Universal Music and revamped their band logo and how they write their band name. In 2017, they wrapped up their 5th anniversary tour with their first two-day concert series at Nippon Budokan.

     

    In 2018, they embarked on their biggest Japan tour to date “Tenkaippin presents SILENT SIREN LIVE TOUR 2018 ~”Girls will be Bears” TOUR~ consisting of 33 shows. They also performed at big music festivals and at countless events, as well as performed their annual New Year’s solo concert at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.

     

    In 2019, they began celebrations of 7 years since their debut and 10 years as a band. They released their final album of the Heisei era and 6th album in total 31313 on March 13 ,2019 and promoted it on their tour SILEN SIREN LIVE TOUR 2019 “31313” ~Sai Sai 10th Anniversary~ supported by Tenkaippin. They also performed at numerous summer festivals and events.

     

    On December 30, 2019, they will performed their annual New Year’s concert “SILENT SIREN Nenmatsu Special Live 2019 HERO” at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.

     

    In 2020, they will celebrate 10 years since forming the band with a show at Yamanakako Communication Plaza Kirara on September 20, 2020.

     

    SILENT SIREN Official Website: https://silent-siren.com/

  • Starbucks Coffee Beppu Park: Japan’s Newest Branch Flowing With Art and Tradition

    07.December.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is set to open a new branch in Beppu Park on December 12, 2019. It will be the first park branch to open in Oita Prefecture.

     

    Located in the heart of Beppu, a city well-known for its hot springs, Starbucks Coffee Beppu Park will open at the east car park where it will enjoy all the natural offerings that Beppu Park has to give, from its abundant foliage to its rows of towering trees. There is a bright and fresh green lawn in front of the shop where you can sit and enjoy your coffee while taking in the environment. The coffee branch also caters to the lifestyles of drivers, as many people commute by car in this region, with a drive-through service.

     

    The concept of the building is “Layered Aroma.” The designers wanted to capture the idea of the steam coming from the city’s hot springs and couple it with the wafting aroma of coffee. Inside, customers will find unique decor and lighting made in cooperation with local artists and artisans from Oita.

     

    In the centre of the cafe there is an original lighting structure made from bamboo by local craftsmen. This carefully-crafted piece of work expresses the rising aroma of coffee. There’s also artwork on display created by young artists from Oita as well as works made by three Beppu-based artists that were curated by ‘Get in touch.’

  • Sanrio’s Kuromi Takes Over Harmonyland This Halloween For Devilish Events

    08.September.2019 | SPOT

    Sanrio character theme park Harmonyland in Oita has announced this year’s Halloween event, Kuromi’s Happy Halloween, which will begin on September 13. The devilish and mischievous Kuromi, whose birthday is on October 31-Halloween day-is taking over the park this year to deliver a very cute and just a tiny bit spooky Halloween to kids and adults this year.

     

    Harmonyland’s Halloween Night Party, a huge hit every year, will also return on October 26. In addition to Kuromi’s birthday event, Wish me mell, another one of Sanrio’s cute characters, will also celebrate her birthday on September 20.

    The event also has its own story. While Hello Kitty was having fun preparing for Halloween with everyone, Kuromi looked at the calendar and noticed that the park was scheduled to be closed on October 31, her birthday. Angry by this decision, the scheming Kuromi began Halloween preparations of her own.

     

    Pashakawa SWEET HALLOWEEN

    This event is a chance to meet your favourite characters, who will be dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and take a photo with them. Be sure to say the secret password to them, “trick or treat,” to get some free candy! The fun doesn’t stop there though, as there’ll be a chance to dance with the characters too.

     

    Omotenashi Hello Kitty Cafe

    Hello Kitty will serve as owner of the Hello Kitty Cafe, while Kuromi will be your maid along with the cafe staff, and Meister Cinnamon will learn your name and teach teach it to the rest of the character staff. At the end of the show, the cafe staff will change into their Halloween costumes.

     

    Halloween Photo Spots

    Special Halloween photos spots will be dotted around for Halloween where you can snap some cute pictures. From pumpkin heads of Hello Kitty, My Melody and  Kuromi to flower beds decorated with Kuromi, there will be no shortage of Instagrammable spots for photos. And when you get close to the two flower beds, you might just run into a trick set up by Kuromi herself… Also, the background music playing at the park was all chosen by Kuromi.

     

    Halloween Merch & Menu

    Of course, there will be lots of exclusive character merchandise to grab, as well as a cute themed menu designed just for Halloween.

     

    Halloween Night Party ~Pink or Black~

    The popular Halloween Night Party returns again this year, a one-night-only spectacle of lights, music and dance. The theme this year is “pink or black.” Clad yourself in one or both of these colours and have a fun Halloween night!

     

    ・Date: October 26, 2019 (18:00-21:00)

    ・Price: ¥1,000 (Everyone aged 4+) *Price is reduced to ¥500 to those who hold an annual ticke

    ・A shuttle bus will be operating for free (limited spaces)

     

    Celebrate Halloween this year together with Kuromi.

     

    ⓒ ’76, ’91, ’96, ’99, ’01, ’05, ’09, ’17, ’19 SANRIO

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