Enjoy Taketomi Island, Okinawa during the winter season! Hoshinoya “Picnic Joshikai” will be held
18.October.2017 | SPOT
The resort in Okinawa, Taketomi Island “Hoshinoya Taketomijima” will offer a program titled, “Maboroshi no Shima no Picnic Joshikai” targeting busy women from the 1st of December 2017 to the 28th of February 2018.
Taketomi Island is a popular spot as a winter refuge since the average high temperature during the winter season exceeds 20℃. Visitors of the resort can enjoy the warm sun’s rays even in winter. You can also enjoy picnicing and coral snorkel which cannot be enjoyed during the summer season.
Winter girls’ party / point 1: Winter is the best time to enjoy an island holiday.
The Yaesan area has a subtropical climate area and is warm throughout the year. The sun’s rays during the winter is warm and you can enjoy the island without the tourist crowds.
Winter girls’ party / point 2: Enjoy Yaesan’s nature during the winter
Ultraviolet rays are not so strong during the winter season (December to February) on the island, therefore you don’t have to be as careful of about getting a sun burn while staying on the beach. Why not enjoy marine sports such as snorkeling and diving.
Winter girls’ party / point 3 / Enjoy chatting at nighttime
The sunset in Yaesan is an hour after the sunset of Tokyo. An extraordinary atmosphere where you can hear nothing else but the sounds of nature can be enjoyed during the nighttime since the island does not have many street lights. The starry sky of Yaessan was designated as a “Dark Sky Place” (a place where a beautiful starry sky can be viewed) by IDA (International Dark-Sky Association). You can see all 21 stars of the first magnitude and 84 star-signs (out of 88). From late December to May, you can also see the Southern Cross. Why not chat with your friends while watching the beautiful starry sky?
Hoshinoya Taketomijima has a rental cycle system for guests who want to go into the town. You can enjoy the island while riding a bicycle. Moreover, you can rent a charter boat at Taketomi Island and visit “Maboroshi no Shima,”a crescent moon-shaped deserted island while enjoying the view of the clear blue colored sea. (it takes about 20 minutes to get to “Maboroshi no Shima”). A picnic set where you can enjoy the sea of Yaesan is offered too. After picnicking, it is recommended to enjoy marine sports such as snorkeling and diving. There are about 400 kinds of corals living in the marine area between Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island and is known as one of the most beautiful marine areas in the world.
The resort also offers chocolate, fresh herb tea using herbs grown inside the facility and sparkling wine after dinner. You can enjoy a quite relaxing time after eating dinner under the beautiful sky.
Let’s enjoy Taketomi Island during the winter season.
Okinawa’s New Hot Spring Resort Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort Opens
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort is the first hotel resort from Vessel Hotels. Operating on the concept of “Loving Yourself, Family, and the Town,” the hotel opened in the town of Chatan in Nakagami, Okinawa on March 1, 2020.
Rooftop Infinity Pool & Cafe/Bar
Sat atop the hotel roof is a spa which houses an infinity pool that offers an unbroken view of Chatan as well as the picturesque sunset in the evenings. There’s also a 3-meter high infinity pool, jacuzzis, and more, offering a luxurious space to relax.
Located to the side of the pool is a cafe and bar that serves a selection of original cocktails and fruity drinks as well as light food. When the sun sets and the evening settles, the pool lights are turned on, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a cup of Japanese sake or one of the refreshing cocktails while staring down at nighttime Chatan.
Vessel Hotel’s First Natural Hot Spring
Chatan Onsen hails as Vessel Hotel’s first-ever natural onsen hot spring. The water is drawn from 1,400m underground, which provides relief and relaxation from a day of sightseeing and travelling. The hot spring has towering windows, and there’s also a sauna for both men and women.
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN – The Relaxation Salon
SPA SOLANI OKINAWA CHATAN is a “relaxation salon” which offers a Hawaiian-style spa experience using original products made using ingredients sourced in Okinawa. Oils are made with carefully-selected organic ingredients for that natural feeling. There are body treatments, messages, quick treatments, and more.
Filling Breakfasts at the Resort’s Kitchen
Vessel Hotel has brought its “Happy Breakfast Project” to Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort. Tuck into a variety of meals prepared with Okinawan ingredients, or try one of the household classic Okinawan breakfasts. Whatever you have, you are guaranteed the Okinawan experience to start your day off.
The restaurant’s original souffle hamburger is made with a mix of Okinawan black cattle beef and Agu pork. The souffle is made in-house and prepared by the hotel guests’ hands. Food is also served in Okinawan yamuchin porcelain.
Lequ Okinawa Chatan Spa & Resort
Address: 34-2 Mihama, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa
Opened: March 1, 2020
Official Website: https://www.vessel-hotel.jp/lequ/okinawa/
Goldfish Bar to Open at HOSHINOYA Kyoto For a Limited Time This Summer
07.March.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s Salon & Bar KURA is being transformed into the new Kingyo Bar (“Goldfish Bar”) for a limited time from July 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020. HOSHINOYA is a chain of luxury ryokan managed by Hoshino Resorts with the Kyoto branch located in Arashiyama, Kyoto.
The gorgeous new Kingyo Bar submerges guests amongst schools of fish, and takes on the Japanese custom of “cooling off,” with goldfish bowls hanging gracefully from the ceiling. Customers will be able to feel cooled off as they observe the goldfish during the summer evenings deep in Arashiyama.
Enjoy the cool evenings of Arashiyama
HOSHINOYA Kyoto’s goal is for people to fully enjoy the ancient capital’s summertime, hence the revamp of Salon & Bar KURA into Kingyo Bar. Fish bowls will dangle from the ceiling, which will swim elegantly, their forms illuminated by the warm light of the lamps. Customers can enjoy watching the goldfish dance while sipping on one of the bar’s original cocktails.
Arashiyama is known for its history as a summer resort for the Imperial Household during the Heian Period. Since ancient times, watching goldfish has long been a creative way of cooling down from the heat of summer amongst the people of Kyoto, and you’ll get to do just that at Kingyo Bar.
See traditional crafts come to life as you admire the fish
The goldfish suspended on long string in their fishbowls are strung in such a way to meet your gaze. Enjoy the twinkling light reflecting from the bowls while the goldfish, with their cute round bodies and long fins, swim around in their cool water.
Sip on cocktails
Two original cocktails will be served: the Ukikusa (“Floating Weed”) and the Kyo-kago (“Kyoto Fawn”). The Ukikusa includes a crushed jelly made from Japanese pepper tree buds and mint and is topped off with a lemon liqueur and sparkling wine. The flavour and fragrance of the wine comes through after the refreshing notes of citrus fruits and herbs. The Kyo-kago includes a yoghurt granita and a strawberry and red shiso liqueur. This is combined with Bikkuri Gyoten, a foamed junmaishu.
Catch shadow goldfish to take home
Try your hand at catching goldfish with this fun game. Japanese paper is layered over the top of a fish tank to create a shadow effect. Goldfish scooping is a staple of Japanese summer festivals, and this version puts a spin on the game.
Running: July 1, 2020 – August 31, 2020
Price: Free Entry / Drinks from ¥1,000 (tax and service charge charged separately)
Reservations: Not required
Location: Salon & Bar KURA (HOSHINOYA Kyoto)
Opening Hours: 21:00-23:30
For: Guests of HOSHINOYA Kyoto only
Official Website (English): https://hoshinoya.com/en/
HOSHINOYA Guguan Chosen as Best New Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure Magazine
26.February.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Guguan, a ryokan in Taiwan managed by Japanese ryokan operator Hoshino Resorts, was picked as one of Travel + Leisure’s “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” on February 20, 2020.
Travel + Leisure is a New York-based travel magazine. “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” shines a light on hotels around the world that have newly-opened or have been renovated that year.
HOSHINOYA Guguan opened on June 30, 2019 as the first Taiwan-based luxury hot spring resort produced by Hoshino Resorts, which manages 41 branches outside Japan. It is also the second overseas branch of the company’s “HOSHINOYA” brand, whose concept is “taking a break from the modern world.” It’s located on the outskirts of Taichung in Guguan which is home to natural hot springs. There, it co-exists and blends in naturally with the landscape. All guest rooms have open-air baths, so guests can enjoy the warm water together with the breeze in a spacious environment. They also offer various programs for guests to enjoy Guguan’s culture and natural environment.
If you’re planning a trip to Taichung, why not consider staying with HOSHINOYA Guguan?
Address: 424, Taiwan, Taichung City, Heping District, 東關路一段溫泉巷16號
TEL: 0570-073-066 (HOSHINOYA Booking Centre)
Experience Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms at Night With Rickshaw and Boat Rides
08.February.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Tokyo, a ryokan accommodation in the centre of Tokyo, has announced an exciting new plan for guests this spring season. Titled “Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi,” the plan gives guests the chance to enjoy city’s cherry blossoms under the night sky from the seat of a rickshaw and from a boat ride. It’s running from March 25 to April 10 this year.
Observe Tokyo’s nightscape and cherry blossoms from the Sumida River
The departing site for the boat ride is located at Nihombashi Pier, just a 5-minute car ride from HOSHINOYA Tokyo. This 60-minute night cruise begins at the pier before floating across the Sumda River. Passengers will be able to to set their gaze on a multitude of Tokyo’s many beautiful cherry blossom spots, including along the coast of Tsukuda and along Oyokogawa River, amongst others.
While aboard the boat, you can enjoy tucking into a spring coloured hanami bento box and sipping on sparkling Japanese sake. Your meal will provide the perfect accompaniment to the enchanting sights your eyes will be treated to, from the dusk-basked cherry blossoms to the reflection of the city lights on the water surface.
Hanami flower viewing on a boat – a tradition since the Edo Period
When Tokyo was known as Edo, its former name used until 1868, the city thrived as a Mizu no Miyako, or “Water Metropolis” due to its sophisticated water transportation system which enabled the carrying of people and goods. During this time, the people of Edo enjoyed the waterside in many different ways. One of these was Fune Asobi, or “pleasure boating,” where people would enjoy the nature along the shore throughout the four seasons. In spring, cherry blossoms would bloom along the Sumida River where some of the official buildings of the Tokugawa Shogunate were located. The Bakufu also incentivized pleasure trips of the masses, and so people would enjoy Hanami, or flower-viewing, from the boats.
HOSHINOYA Tokyo has recreated this experience to not only pay homage to the activities of Edo, but to let people enjoy a luxurious time away from everyday life.
1: Peer at the nighttime cherry blossoms and Tokyo’s evening scenes from your pleasure boat
Your boat ride will take you to the best spots to see the cherry blossoms on that particular day. As night falls, you’ll also get to see some of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots light up, like Tokyo Skytree and Eitai Bridge. Riverboat Mizuha, who operate the boat, will provide guests with a guide who will give them an insight into the history of the bridges, towns, and surrounding sights.
2: Overhead cherry blossoms fill your vision on the rickshaw
Experience Hanami like never before with HOSHINOYA Tokyo’s rickshaw ride. Your journey begins at the ryokan and ends at Nihombashi Pier. This one-way 30-minute trip will take you to some breathtaking cherry blossom sites, including Edozakura-dori Street which is home to many historical buildings such as the Bank of Japan.
3: Hanami bento and sake provided by a longstanding shop
In the evening, enjoy tucking into a decorative Hanami bento made by Shin-Kaika, a long-standing restaurant in Kanda Myoujinshita by Kanda Myoujin Shrine. The colourful and light-tasting assortment includes cherry blossom pink sea bream kombu, as well as sushi rice seasoned with kurozu. Your meal will also be paired with delicious sparkling Japanese sake. On the way back, you can also enjoy matcha and tea-flavoured confections.
Optional: Rent a springtime kimono and have it fitted on you
For those looking to spend and even more special time out this spring in Japan, they can rent a silk kimono and have it fitted onto them. You select it beforehand and it is put on you at HOSHINOYA Tokyo. They will also do your hair and makeup. And if you have it all fitted early, you can spend the day walking around Tokyo seeing the cherry blossoms. You must book to choose and have a kimono fitted. Prices start upward from ¥50,000 per person.
Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi
Running: March 25, 2020 – April 10, 2020
Time: 17:30-19:15 (Boat ride is 60-minutes)
Meeting Place: Nihombashi Pier
No. of People: 1 group per day of 2-4 people
Price: Two People ¥102,000 / Three People ¥132,000 / Four People ¥142,000 (Tax, service charge and accommodation price not included)
Includes: Night Cruise, Rickshaw Ride, Hanami Bento, Sparkling Sake, Tea Sweets, Matcha
Bookings: Must be made up to 14 days before your selection date from the official website
Note: Exclusive to guests of HOSHINOYA Tokyo
*Schedule and content subject to change
*Depending on the bloom rate of the cherry blossoms, there is a chance they may not be seen on certain days
*Price of transport from the pier to HOSHINOYA Tokyo not included
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/tokyo/en
5 Must-Visit Beautiful and Romantic Lantern Festivals in Japan | 2020 Edition
02.February.2020 | SPOT
The season for Japan’s enchanting and romantic lantern events has finally arrived, and the line-up this year is diverse, from events where lanterns are the main attraction to lantern-lined festivals and Japanese matsuri festivals.
Hankyu Travel International compiled a list of these events , and we’ve pulled out some of the best ones for you.
Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru | Iwate Prefecture
This year marks the third run of “Hanamaki Hoshi Meguri no Yoru,” an event held during winter for guests staying at Hanamaki Onsen. The event is comprised of many elements, including fireworks, folk entertainment, and more. People will also write wishes and messages or draw pictures on their lanterns before sending them up into the winter night sky. Afterwards, they can enjoy a dip in the hot springs at Hanamaki Onsen to warm themselves up and unwind from the day.
Running: January 26, 2020/February 22, 2020/February 11, 2020/February 16, 2020/February 24, 2020
Location: Namari Ski Center
Address: Nakadaira-36-1 Namari, Hanamaki, Iwate
China Lantern Festival | Chiba Prefecture
Tokyo German Village is hosting its second China Lantern Festival, inspired by the typical traditional festivals held in China during spring. A selection of 30 lantern installations of varying sizes made by the world’s biggest lantern maker Lantern Group have been set up in the 50,000 square meter area. Pieces include lanterns over 10 meters long and high, lanterns floating on the water, moving lanterns, and more.
Running: November 23, 2019 – April 5, 2020
Location: Tokyo German Village
Address: 419 Nagayoshi, Sodegaura, Chiba
Tsunan Yuki Matsuri | Niigata Prefecture
Since 2012, the people of Tsunan in Niigata have raised sky lanterns into the sky to pray for the revival from the disaster that the Tohoku earthquake brought in 2011. It is a two-day festival, with the first day of the event taking place at night, and the second being the main day of the festival. The festival is so popular that tickets never fail to sell out quickly every year. It brings with it a host of events, from the lanterns to the snowboard straight jumping tournament, the hanging of snow lanterns, snowmobile rides, and more.
Running: March 14, 2020 (There will also be a lantern event the night before on March 13, 2020)
Location: New Greenpia Tsunan
Address: 12300 Akinari, Tsunan, Nakauonuma-gun, Niigata
▼Niigata Tsunan Sky Lantern Festival Tour
Nagasaki Lantern Festival | Nagasaki Prefecture
This festival was originally held during the Chinese New year by the people of Nagasaki Chinatown, but in 1994 it was given the name “Nagasaki Lantern Festival.” To date, it has been attended by over 1 million people. This year, around 15,000 lanterns of varying sizes are set to light the streets. Taking place across several areas, some standout pieces include the peach-coloured lanterns at Nagasaki Chinatown, the ceiling lanterns at Hamanomachi Arcade, the water lanterns at Nagashimagawa Park, and more. On weekends, there are also parades, traditional Chinese performance, and other exciting events. And if you head to Nagasaki Confucian Shrine (also known as Koshi-byo), you can offer a love lantern to pray for happiness in your relationship.
Running: January 24, 2020 – February 9, 2020
Locations: Nagasaki Chinatown/Central Park/Tojin Yashiki/and elsewhere
Address: Various places throughout the city of Nagasaki
▼Nagasaki Lantern Festival
Hankyu Travel International Tour: Hankyu Travel International
Nagasaki Tourism Page: https://travel.at-nagasaki.jp/en/what-to-see/62/
Ryukyu Lantern Festival 2019-2020 | Okinawa Prefecture
Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park is known for having originally been used as the set for several historical drama series, and was subsequently turned into a theme park after filming was finished. The Ryukyu Lantern Festival welcomes a variety of different lanterns, including Chinese lanterns, paper lanterns, various Asian lanterns, and more, each of which bring a completely different atmosphere depending on the area you are in. This year sees the welcome return of the annual lantern contest where 45 individual lantern pieces are exhibited. There are also different street performances every day on the Night Lantern Stage, as well as projection mapping displays, the Night Lantern Cafe, and more.
Running: December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020
Location: Murasaki Mura Ryukyu Kingdom Theme Park
Address: 1020-1 Takashiho, Yomitan, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa
Murasaki Mura Official Website: https://murasakimura.com/
Be part of one of Japan’s many beautiful lantern festivals this year and witness some seriously breathtaking night scenes.
▼Hankyu Travel International – Japan Travel & Tours
Chat and Eat Japanese Sweets With a Real Maiko at Hoshinoya Kyoto
Hoshinoya Kyotoーa Japanese inn in Arashiyama where all rooms offer a river viewーhas announced a new event titled “Maiko Salon” which will run next year from February 4 to March 4 which offers female guests the chance to chat with a maiko (an apprentice geisha).
Maiko Salon is a women-only get-together that offers female guests to chat casually with a real maiko. The clothes that a maiko wears, including the kanzashi ornate hairpin, kimono, obi sash, obidome sash clip, okobo footwearーeverything, from head to toeーis carefully crafted by an expert artisan. This is why maiko have been called “walking pieces of traditional craftsmanship.” At the Maiko Salon, you have the opportunity to wear such craft made in Kyoto and enjoy a sophisticated womanly party.
For example, the table runners are made with Nishijin-ori, a type of fabric made in Kyoto’s district of Nishijin that has a history spanning over 1,000 years. The walls will also be decorated with obi cloth art panels with Maiko motifs.
Learn all about the Hanamachi geisha district through womanly conversation
Being entertained by geisha, known in Japanese as Ozashiki Asobi, is associated with maiko and geisha serving and entertaining men, and as being very private and inaccessible without being introduced by someone else. But since 2018, Hoshinoya Kyoto has been holding this women-only occasion for women to learn more about the culture in a casual environment. It’s a chance to learn more about maiko and their lifestyle through womanly topics like skincare, makeup and so on. There will also be a dance performance, after which attendees can ask about the practises of a maiko, what they think of their work, and so on.
Edible Kanzashi Ornate Hairpins
An original Japanese confection made to look like kanzashi ornate hairpins has been whipped up in 5 flavours by Kameya Yoshinaga, a long-standing Japanese confectionery maker which first opened almost 200 years ago. Enjoy together with sparkling wine during your time with the maiko.
Running: February 4, 2020 – March 4, 2020 (Not running on select days)
Bookings: Not required
Location: Salon & Bar Kura (Hoshinoya Kyoto)
Time: 16:00-17:00 (Maiko dance held twice daily)
Includes: Conversation with maiko, maiko performance, Japanese confection, sparkling wine
For: Guests at Hoshinoya Kyoto only (Men can also participate)
Notes: Times and days subject to change on certain days. The confections are also subject to change.
Hoshinoya Kyoto Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/en/
Mango Drinks Cafe CAFE MANGOSIX Opens First Japan Branch in Okinawa
15.August.2019 | FOOD
MANGOSIX Japan opened its first ever CAFE MANGOSIX branch in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, on August 10.
CAFE MANGOSIX is a hugely popular cafe in South Korea which serves healthy drinks and desserts themed on its 6 S’s concept: Sensual, Slim, Sweet, Social, Sexy, and Style.
Their must-try beverage is the Mango & Coconut Juice which combines rich mango with sweet coconut milk. The cafe even has some drinks exclusive to Japan so you won’t find them anywhere else!
The popular Blue Lemonade from South Korea is also being sold.
Cool yourself off after sunbathing on the beaches of Okinawa by grabbing a drink from the new CAFE MANGOSIX!
Address: 1-16-6 Matsuo, Naha, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 8:00-22:00
Access: 10-minutes by car from Naha Airport / 4-minutes on foot from Prefectural Office Station (via Yui Rail, aka Okinawa Monorail) / 2-minutes on foot from Okinawa Prefecture Government Building
Official Website: http://www.mangosix.co.jp/
Taste Local Shaved Ice Around Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI
15.May.2019 | FOOD
Hoshino Resorts KAI is set to hold a shaved ice event titled KAI no Gotochi Kakigori 2019 at several branches of KAI from July 13 to August 31. The event will allow people to enjoy tasting the different syrups and toppings served with shaved ice in each local area.
Shaved ice is a staple of Japanese summertime. People in Japan have enjoyed the ice-based dessert for many years. It is even mentioned in The Pillow Book, a famous collection of poems, essays and observations by the court lady Sei Shōnagon.
KAI’s line-up of original shaved ice both ensures you will pull through the hot weather as the dessert was designed for while enjoying a fun time. Each option incorporates local flavours. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Wine Shaved Ice – KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano Prefecture)
Kikyogahara located in Nagano Prefecture’s city of Matsumoto is known as the birthplace of Nagano wine. At Hoshino KAI Matsumoto they serve around 50 types of wine from Kikyogahara. The shaved ice you can get at KAI Matsumoto is lathered in a syrup made from just one of those wines: the fruity Concorde. The shaved ice is served in handmade ceramic grape bowls. The alcohol has been removed from the syrup so that the shaved ice can be enjoyed by everyone.
Location: Lobby (*Can be ordered by children)
NEW Hydrangea Shaved Ice – KAI Hakone (Miyanoshita Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Because the Hakone area is elevated hydrangea bloom for a longer period of time than other places. Trains along the Hakone Tozan Line are dubbed “Hydrangea Trains” when the flowers are blossomed as passengers can enjoy gazing at the flowers from their window seats. This shaved ice is made with blue hydrangea flavoured jelly and syrup to recreate the hydrangeas of Hakone.
Serving: 15:00-17:00 (Last Orders 16:30)
NEW Hanairo Shaved Ice: KAI Ito (Ito Onsen, Shizuoka Prefecture)
The city of Ito has a warm climate and so locals and tourists can expect to enjoy seeing many different flowers sprout through all four seasons. The Hanairo (“flower colour”) Shaved Ice captures the flowers that bloom around Ito from early to late summertime. The yellow represents the hypericum patulum, the pink the Abelia linnaea, and the blue the hydrangea that bloom in profusion by Matsukawa Lake.
Serving: 15:30-17:00 (Last Orders 16:30)
Location: Yuagari (the spot where you get out of the bath)
NEW Apple Shaved Ice – KAI Alps (Omachi Onsen, Nagano Prefecture)
Nagano is famous for its apple production. This shaved ice is made with three types of apple. Two types of syrup are concealed by ice: one that has an apple flesh-like texture and another made with fruity Bramley apples. Enjoy tasting the different flavours of each individual apple.
Serving: 15:00-18:00 (Last Orders 16:30)
Location: Irori (the sunken fireplace)
NEW Art Shaved Ice – KAI Sengokuhara (Sengokuhara Onsen, Kanagawa Prefecture)
Lots of art museums surround KAI Sengokuhara, and so to stick with the theme, this DIY shaved ice is served blank like a canvas and you get to decorate it yourself with different coloured syrups. Use spoons that look like brushes to paint on strawberry and orange coloured syrups to mix and match various flavours. The tools were handmade by glass artist Hiroshi Hamadate of ipada.
Location: Restaurant and lobby
Kaga Bocha Tea Shaved Ice – KAI Kaga (Yamashiro Onsen, Ishikawa Prefecture)
Kaga Boach is a type of tea that has been adored since the Edo period for its aromatic smell and refreshing taste. This shaved ice is topped with Kaga Bocha syrup and gold leaf and is eaten from kutani-ware to give it a traditional feeling.
Location: Travel Library
Blueberry Shaved Ice – KAI Kinugawa (Kinugawa Onsen, Tochigi Prefecture)
Tochigi is famous for its Ai Ichigo blueberries, and now you can enjoy them topped on shaved ice together with blueberry syrup. The prefecture is visited by many tourists and sightseers to go to pick blueberries in the summer. The syrup has pieces of fresh blueberry in it to retain the original sweet and sour flavour.
Cool yourself down this summer in Japan with one of these many tasty local shaved ices.
KAI no Gotochi Kakigori 2019
Running: July 13, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Location: Respective Hoshino Resorts KAI branches
TEL: 0570-073-011 (KAI Reservation Centre)
Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/brand/kai/
Yasutaka Nakata, EXILE MAKIDA & More to Perform at ASOBEACH!!! in Okinawa
The popular long-running outdoor music festival ASOBEACH!!! is heading to Okinawa this summer with two shows at Umisora Park in the capital city Naha on June 1 and 2. The festival is taking place as the finale of Okinawa E-motion which is a collection of events centred around food, music and art that will bring an early summer to locals and tourists in Okinawa.
The line-up includes Japan’s leading music producer and DJ Yasutaka Nakata, his main band CAPSULE, ☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo), EXILE MAKIDAI (PKCZ®), TeddyLoid, Yoshikazu Mera, DJ Ichiro Yatsui and more. Concertgoers can expect to enjoy a multitude of genres while feeling the cool sea breeze of Okinawa. Tickets are now on sale via Japanese ticket vendors.
Other events taking place as part of Okinawa E-motion include Magic Beach & Beach Bar Walk (May 18-19) which combines food with magic, the concert show KPP Camp (May 25) which is being produced by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Bar Walk Naha (May 25) which is bringing together famous Naha restaurants, and more. ASOBEACH!!! will be held at the same time as the popular food festival OKINAWA FOOD FLEA on June 1 and 2 so don’t miss out.
2019/6/1 @ OPEN 14:00 / START 15:00
2019/6/2 @ OPEN 14:00 / START 15:00
Venue: Umisora Park (3-3-1 Tsuji, Naha, Okinawa)
Day 1 Tickets
Advance: ¥3,000 (Tax Included)
Same-Day: ¥3,500 (Tax Included)
*No reserved seating
Day 2 Tickets
Advance: ¥5,000 (Tax Included)
*No reserved seating, no same-day tickets
Tickets via e+: https://eplus.jp/sf/word/0000132270
June 1 – Yasutaka Nakata, ☆Taku Takahashi (m-flo), TeddyLoid, Yoshikazu Mera (TeddyLoid Special Live Guest), and more
June 2 – Yasutaka Nakata, CAPSULE, EXILE MAKIDAI (PKCZ®), DJ Ichiro Yatsui, and more
*Prices are the same for adults and children. Preschoolers are granted free access.
*ID required to purchase alcohol.
Okinawa E-motion Official Website: https://www.okinawa-emotion.com/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s KPP CAMP & Other Events in Okinawa for May and June
During the hot summer season and spring break, tourists from both Japan and overseas flock to enjoy the sunny beaches of Okinawa.
Tourists tend to steer away from the island from early May to June because of Japan’s rainy season, but in fact on Okinawa there aren’t many long spells of rain, and the temperature is at a comfortable warmth. Not many people know that it’s also the best season for saving money when travelling there.
With that in mind, a new campaign entitled Okinawa E-Motion has been set up this year. Various resort events will take place for people to enjoy what they are calling a “flying summer”―or experiencing the earliest summer in Japan.
This first annual Okinawa E-Motion will take place from May 18 to June 2 with a host of events themed around food, music and art. It will begin with the opening event “Magic Beach & Beach Bar Walk” which combines food with magic. This will be followed by a string of exciting events including KPP CAMP organised by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Bar Walk Naha hosted by several restaurants in Okinawa’s capital of Naha, ASOBEACH!!! where artists and DJs will come together to hold an outdoor music festival, the popular food festival OKINAWA FOODO FLEA and more. There will also be marine activities, the Art Spot―the list goes on.
May 25th – KPP CAMP
KPP CAMP is a music event organised by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. This is the second time she has held the event, the first being back in June last year at Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall. The theme this year is “unique combinations.”
Artists performing at the event include the genius singer-songwriter Shota Shimizu and the bear-masked female singer Koresawa who’s voice can be described nothing short of addictive. Enjoy this one-night-only special event outdoors in Okinawa on the first ever summer of Japan’s new Reiwa period!
Ryukyu Nissan DAYZ Presents KPP CAMP in OKINAWA ~Renai tte Issei Muzukashii Desu yo ne Hen~
Date: May 25, 2019
Time: Open 15:00 / Start 16:00
Venue: Ginowan Seaside Park, Okinawa
Line-Up: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Shota Shimizu, Koresawa
Ticket Price: Reserved Seating ¥5,000 (Tax Included) / Student Reserved Seating ¥4,000 (Tax Included) *Student ID required
Ticket Release Date: April 26, 2019
*Applications for an exclusive JTB Entertainment access tour open on April 12 when buying pre-sale tickets on KPP CAMP via: https://jtb-entertainment.net/tour/2019/kpp/ (Link available from April 12 at 17:00 JST). Please note that concert tickets are not included with the access tour plan.
*Those aged 4+ years must hold a valid ticket. Those aged 3 years and under must sit on a parent or guardian’s lap. However, where a seat is required, a valid t icket must be held
*Event will go ahead if it rains but be cancelled during stormy weather.
Enquiries: PM AGENCY – TEL: 098-898-1331 (Weekdays 10:00-18:00) / https://www.pmnet.co.jp
May 25th – Bar Walk Naha
Bar Walk Naha is a popular food event that has been held 6 times to date. The team behind it came up with the concept of bringing together famous restaurants people have always wanted to visit as well as great restaurants people never knew about. Attendees are given a guide map to five restaurants for this bar-crawl-like event. Experience the culture of Naha while chowing down on new gourmet delights!
June 1st & 2nd – ASOBEACH!!! / OKINAWA FOOD FLEA
ASOBEACH!!! is an outdoor music festival that has garnered huge reception as a long-running event. It will serve as the main event to wrap up Okinawa E-Motion. It will be held alongside OKINAWA FOOD FLEA at Nami no Ue Umisora Park.
Plenty of other events are lined up on the scheduled too. For full details of everything going on check the campaign’s official website.
Running: May 18, 2019 – June 2, 2019
Official Website: https://www.okinawa-emotion.com
TripAdvisor has released its list of top twenty most popular hotels to visit with the family as ranked by users.
The website carried out a survey recently and found the top three most popular places for families to travel to in Japan were Okinawa, Tokyo and Kyoto. Okinawa proves to be a popular travel destination for families both inside and outside Japan.
1st Place: Hotel Nikko Alivila Yomitan Resort Okinawa (Yomitan, Nakagami)
The number one hotel in Okinawa for families as ranked by TripAdvisor is Hotel Nikko Alivila Yomitan Resort Okinawa in the village of Yomitan. Guests comment on the hotel’s indoor and outdoor bools, the beach right next door with the beautiful ocean, a restaurant that serves baby food, and more. Their service was praised for catering to entire families.
The results for the other nineteen hotels can be found at the link below. If you’re considering travelling to Okinawa be sure to use it as reference.
Okinawa Hotel Ranking 2019
Starbucks to Open First Northern Okinawa Branch in Motobu
Starbucks will open a new branch in Okinawa’s northern town of Motobu on March 22, 2019 in an effort to promote sustainable development of companies and to establish a place to promote that effort to people around the world who will visit.
The branch itself will be a permanent drive-through coffee shop at the Ala Mahaina Condo Hotel located near Kaiyohaku Park. The shop’s design concept is “Coffee Yuntaku.” Yuntaku is an Okinawan word which means to sit and chat together. Starbucks aims to create a place that establishes lots of communal ties to the region and its people by opening this new branch for both locals and tourists to enjoy.
As customers walk up to the two-storey concrete building they are greeted by Shisa, Okinawan gods of protection. Decorating the outside wall are panels made in the image of the threads woven in the Ryukyu Kasuri style of weaving. The foundation of the building is Ryukyu limestone made from the ocean and coral reefs. These adornments give this Starbucks branch a more local and regional.
Starbucks announced in July last year that it aims to abolish the use of plastic straws at all of its branches by the end of 2020. Plastic is used and thrown away in Japan too, so to cut the amount of plastic, Starbucks Motobu is arranging to contribute to the development of sustainable development companies. As part of the action to combat plastic waste, the branch will use plastic that has found its way into the ocean as material for creating original art.
Japanese artist Yodogawa Technique creates art from rubbish and driftage from both inside and outside Japan. Under his wing, the Okinawan baristas will work together with the locals to clean the beaches of plastic.
Yodogawa carried out a workshop with elementary school kids in Motobu to create little art pieces from plastic which were used to form one giant piece of fish art.
The tables on the first floor of the coffee shop are also made by Okinawan artisans using Okinawan pine.
If you’re ever in Okinawa, be sure to stop by the community-driven Starbucks in Motobu.
Starbucks Coffee Okinawa Motobu
Address: 1421-4 Yamagawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture
Grand Opening: March 22, 2019
Opening Hours: 7:00-22:00
No Fixed Holidays.
Starbucks Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/