【Tokyo Stroll】Asakusa Sightseeing: Eating and Walking Down Nakamise Shopping Street & Rickshaw Riding at Kaminarimon
Today’s Tokyo stroll destination is Asakusa. Asakusa is a popular tourist spot for people coming to Japan and is always packed.
However, today’s weather forecast predicted rain! So Yuna and Ellie’s first stop on their Tokyo stroll was to buy umbrellas from Shinagawa.
Buying an umbrella at AEON in Shinagawa Seaside
Shinagawa Station is linked to the shinkansen and numerous airports, so you will find many people from inside and outside Japan waiting there. A convenient place to visit when in Shinagawa if you want something is the Shingawa Seaside branch of AEON.
The shopping complex can be reached in 10 minutes by bus or taxi. If you use Shinagawa Seaside Station it’s just a 5 minute walk.
When looking for somewhere that sells umbrellas to make being in the rain a bit more fun, Yuna and Ellie discovered “fururi,” a place that sells vinyl umbrellas with colourful designs that you can change – simply screw off the top of the umbrella frame, remove the vinyl sheet and replace it with whichever one you like.
There are 48 designs to enjoy with a 60cm umbrella.
Yuna chose a cute design that has blue and yellow water drops. Ellie went for a pink design. A colourful umbrella means turning that rain induced frown upside down. Asakusa is the place to go if you want something fight off the rain!
Eat and walk down Nakamise Shopping Street♪
As you come to the Kaminarimon Gate you must first press your hands together and bow before heading through to Nakamise Shopping Street. The street is lined with lots of shops selling all kinds of goodies from toys to food to souvenirs.
The first item Yuna and Ellie came across were little randoresu keyrings. This is most definitely the kind of souvenir you can only get in Japan. Ever since popular Hollywood actresses put out photos of themselves donning these backpacks, they have become popular overseas for their colourfulness and durability. There are even people who wear them as a fashion item.
The next treasure they found were the ‘daigaku imo’! Daigaku imo are candied sweet potatoes. The outside is crunchy and the outside is soft. They are deliciously sweet. You absolutely must try them if you come across them in Japan.
When you come out of Nakamise Shopping Street you will find yourself at Sensō-ji, Asakusa’s ancient Buddhist temple.
The first step to take when going to shrines and temples in Japan is washing your hands, which is called “temizuya.” Hold the ladle with your right hand and wash your left hand and vice versa. Take the ladle with your right hand and scoop some water. Pour the water into your left hand and rinse your mouth with it. Make sure to never bring the ladle to your mouth. Spit the water next to the fountain, never directly back into it. (Bonus: Check out our step-by-step guide to praying etiquette and shrines and temples in Japan.)
Subsequently, approach the main temple building. After praying, toss in a monetary offering. Then put your hands together and bow once. Since there is no shrine here you do not need to clap. Finally, perform a light bow to complete the prayer.
I wonder what those two were praying for. They look unusually serious.
There are lots of great places to take photos around Sensō-ji so be sure to have a good look around.
Tour Asakusa on a rickshaw
After their temple walk, Yuna and Ellie boarded a rickshaw to scope the Asakusa townscape. The rickshaws have a tarpaulin rain cover and lap blanket in case of rain so you can still have fun even when the weather is bad.
We recommend taking a photo at Dempoin Street when riding your rickshaw as pictured above! It’s a special kind of place that you can only find in Asakusa so be sure to take a memorable picture.
Did you enjoy Yuna and Ellie’s sightseeing trip to Asakusa? There’s lots of other amazing places to find in Asakusa too! We’ll be sure to post about them here on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON so stay tuned.
Models: Yuna Yabe, Ellie
Photo: Kayo Sekiguchi
Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (ASOBISYSTEM)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
We’d like to introduce to you the randoseru bags used in today’s article which both Yuna and Ellie modelled for in a Narita tourism article. As mentioned above, the Japanese randoseru, firm backpacks made from leather or leather-like material, are recognised as a fashion item overseas. The randoseru used in today’s article were are the 24 colour randoseru and 3STYLE randoseru from AEON.
Yuna: 24 Colour Randoseru (Burgundy) – ￥35,000 (tax excl.)
Ellie: 3STYLE Randoseru (Caramel) – ￥48,000 (tax excl.)
The 3STYLE randoseru can be used as a shoulder bag or handbag. If you’re interested in either of their randoseru, then be sure to pop into your nearest AEON store.
A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll
It’s been a while since our last date with Yutaro. He’s been very busy with film shoots. He had some spare time today so we paid a visit to Nihonbashi for our next date. “ECO EDO Nihonbashi: Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses” is an event held every year in the Nihonbashi area which takes the Edo period cultural idea of “coolness”―an in, to enjoy being cool during the summer－and puts a modern spin on it. There are many exciting things to look forward to, including the art aquarium which proves massively popular every year.
We gave ourselves more time to arrive at the meeting place to be in the safe side, but it seems Yutaro-kun was already there waiting for us!
Nihonbashi Information Center | IPPIN CAFÉ “Sparkling Herb Tea” – ¥518 (Tax Included)
“Here, you must be boiling.” Yutaro-kun kindly offers a cup of IPPIN CAFE’s limited-edition sparkling herb tea. It’s a delicious mix of fizzy soda and lemon, a perfect refreshment for the summer. Since he ordered takeout the drink came with a goldfish straw. Goldfish are a staple sight during Japanese summer festivals so it’s very fitting for the occasion!
With our drinks in hand, it’s time to head to Nihonbashi for our Edo summer date!
Wind-Chime Forest Path
Lining the path between Fukutoku Shrine and Fukutoku Garden is the Wind-Chime Forest Path where around 200 Edo-style wind chimes dangled. This year, during the evenings, the path is illuminated with beautiful lighting.
When the breeze rolls past the wind chimes ring one by one－a cool and refreshing sound.
“I hear each one of these Edo wind chimes are individually handmade by craftsmen.”
When you hear the sound of the wind chimes it makes you feel cool like a gentle breeze of the wind.
After strolling along the Wind-Chime Forest Path we make our way towards this year’s ECO EDO Art Aquarium event.
The moment we step instead Yutaro is already dazzled by all the goldfish: “Wow! I knew about this place from what I’d seen online, but this my first time here! This art aquarium really is something!”
The full title of the event is “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium.” Goldfish were a huge part of the common culture in Nihonbashi during the Edo period. This event recreates that and brings that “coolness” aspect while combining it with contemporary art by having people observe the fish in lots of different artistic environments.
“This is the biggest fish tank, apparently it has 3,000 fish swimming inside!”
“Seeing the light reflect on the water from the illuminations lets you see the fish in a different light, doesn’t it?”
Looks like Yutaro-kun is having a lot of fun taking photos.
He’s equally interested in just about every fish tank!
These other fish tanks have a different aesthetic to them. Their Japanese-style designs make for great photos.
“This one’s beautiful, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”
It really does look like one. When you take a peek instead you can glimpse all kinds of colourful fish gently swimming around.
“There’re goldfish swimming on the ceiling too. So cool! This aquarium is incredible. It brings together the great culture of Edo and contemporary art.”
The Art Aquarium bustles every single year with visitors, but this year will mark its last run. It’s being held at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, so if you have the chance to go then please do.
We of course checked out some local Nihonbashi treats too! We stopped by morozoff for some cheesecake after the aquarium.
morozoff Kamadashi Cheesecake (Goldfish) – ¥270 Each (Tax Included)
These cute cheesecakes with their goldfish designs are available for a limited time only. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste. They perfect with iced tea.
“Got some! Let’s eat them while we head back.”
Goldfish Lantern Walkway
Our first date in Nihonbashi was so much fun. While on the date Yutaro-kun spoke about the new live-action film he’s in, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.
“It’s a romance film with mind games to try and make the other person confess their love. I play the character Tsubasa. His number one highlight scene is the kabedon scene. That was my first day shooting, so I was super nervous, but I got along well with the other actors, and the atmosphere on set was harmonious, so I was able to relax for the shoots. Tsubasa is a genuine guy who will believe things that have been said to him in earnest. You’ve definitely gotta check out all his scenes throughout the film!”
“A lot of the cast are the same age as me, so we were all energetic together in the waiting room. There’s a scene at the end where all the cast get together. It took 3 days to shoot so we ended up getting along really well.”
“This film has made me realise that love comes in many shapes, and that mind games happen in a variety of ways between guys and girls. There’s cute scenes that express that small bit of pride that teenagers have, the embarassment they feel, when they get butterflies, scenes that will warm your heart. The film has various elements to it so I thoroughly enjoyed watching it myself. I hope that couples in love in their teens and twenties watch it, and I also hope that married couples watch it and crack up laughing too.”
“In the film it’s summer break, and they go and see fireworks and stuff. It’s definitely one to watch durnig the summer. You’re gonna come watch it too, right? Shall we go?”
An offer we cannot refuse! We’ll definitely go and see it with you, Yutaro-kun!
Writer: Yuki Yokoo
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2019 ~Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses~
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Area
TEL: 03-3242-0010 (Nihonbashi Information Center)
Event Page: https://www.nihonbashi-tokyo.jp/en/ecoedo2019/
ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium
Running: July 5, 2019 – September 23, 2019
Location: Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall Floor 5F (Entrance at 4F), COREDO Muromachi 1, 2-2-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Art Aquarium 11:00-19:00 / Night Aquarium From 19:00
[Sun-Fri] 11:00-22:00 (Last Entries 22:00) [Sat & days prior to public hoiday] 11:00-23:30 (Last Entries 23:00)
Access: Directly connected to Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae Station, accessible on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and Hanzomon Line / Directly connected to Shin-Nihombashi Station / 8-minutes on foot from East Exit of Kanda Station JR 8-minutes on foot from Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Film
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Adapted from the manga of the same name by Aka Akasaka (Shueisha/Weekly Young Jump)
Cast: Sho Hirano (King & Prince), Kanna Hashimoto, Hayato Sano, Natsumi Ikema, Nana Asakawa, Mayu Hotta, YUTARO, Takashima Masahiro, Jiro Sato
Official Website: https://kaguyasama-movie.com/
Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.
Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #11 – ‘Hatoya’ in Asakusa
In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Hatoya which is located in Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Arcade.
The streets of Tokyo’s historical district of Asakusa are packed to end with cafés. You can be spoiled for choice, but Hatoya stood out to me in particular as it’s an especially old café. Business there began back in 1927 but the actual building was built back in the Taisho period, meaning its history spans more than 90 years ago!
The outside appearance of the shop is smart and chic so it’s very easy to spot. I couldn’t tell by looking from the outside, but the inside is full of old decorations and odds and ends which make you feel the history of the café.
One reason why I wanted to visit this place so much is because I was drawn to their logo. It’s really retro-kawaii so I just couldn’t resist!
You should take some photos too if you visit.
It was time to head inside. It’s really comfy and cozy in there; the atmosphere was nice and relaxed.
Framed on the wall is a map of the Asakusa area during the Taisho era. Hatoya became famous back then because people could buy coffee for a mere 5 sen (a single sen is one-hundredth of a yen).
When business first began at Hatoya, because the café was opposite the stage door of a theatre, all of the famous actors and actresses would pop in. Some include famous Japanese comedian Roppa Furukawa and film actor Kiyoshi Atsumi who played Tora-san in the film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo.
I ordered the café’s popular hotcakes which cost ¥600. They have been making these same hotcakes since before the war.
They were nice and fluffy and had a deliciously gorgeous brown colour. The flavour was out of this world when the butter melted from the heat of the hotcakes and mixed together with the syrup.
The portion might look like a lot but they are fluffy and have a light flavour so can be finished with no problem.
And is the café’s signature milkshake (¥500).
It’s so refreshing that you can knock it back all in one go. It has a simple flavour but it tasted so good!
I also ordered the ¥600 cream soda, my favourite beverage.
I’ve been to many cafés, and have covered many in this series, but this is the first I have dined at with such a deep history. I found myself enthralled by the stories of the owner who has continued to treasure the café and maintained it all the same since it opened. I feel like I have learned about a world I never knew about. The next time I go to Hatoya with a friend I’ll be sure to let them in on its history. I encourage you to visit too!
Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)
Address: 1-23-8 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:00-17:30
No Fixed Holidays
Tabelog Page: https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131102/13076130/
“Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.
Haneda Airport Releases First Bubble Tea Which Passengers Can Enjoy as They Fly
13.August.2019 | FOOD
XFLAG STORE + HANEDA is a small branch of XFLAG STORE and is located in Terminal 1 of Haneda Airport. On August 13th, they released three energising bubble tea flavours served in a bottle that you can take on board with you when travelling along domestic air routes. The three bubble tea flavours are; MILK TEA, HOJICHA (a type of green tea) and MATCHA.
These bubble tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA and were created with the intention of providing a splash of energizing fun to tiresome travels.
As long as you screw the lid on properly, you can store your delicious drink in your bag and even carry it onto your flight so you can enjoy it whilst soaring through the clouds. This is the first time a shop at Haneda airport has ever sold a bubble tea drink with the intention of flight passengers taking it on board with them.
*Drinks and liquids are usually permitted on domestic flights in Japan. Please check the specific rules of your flight by referring to the official website of your airline.
To commemorate the release of the new bubble teas, XFLAG STORE + HANEDA has launched an Instagram campaign with the chance to win an Amazon gift card worth ￥10,000 (approx. 80GBP/95USD).
To take part in the Instagram campaign for the chance to win a ￥10,000 Amazon gift card, be sure to take a photo with your XFLAG STORE + HANEDA bubble tea drink and then post the picture on Instagram with the following three hashtags:
#旅タピ #タピオカ #空の上で飲めるタピオカドリンク
Four winners will be selected.
Get your summer holidays off to a soaring start with a beautiful bottle of bubble tea.
MILK, HOJICHA, MATCHA Bubble Teas
Price: ￥650 (before tax)
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Available at: XFLAG STORE + HANEDA
Address: Haneda Airport Terminal 1 South Wing, floor 3 (3-3-2 Haneda Airport, Ota Ward, Tokyo)
*Bubble teas sold may differ in appearance to the images in this article.
* The MILK Bubble Tea (cup) is also available at XFLAG STORE SHINSAIBASHI. Both the HOJICHA and MATCHA Bubble Tea flavours are limited to XFLAG STORE + HANEDA.
XFLAG STORE Portal Website: https://xfl.ag/soratapi
4 Must-Visit Fireworks Festivals in Kyoto This Summer
10.August.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto―also known as the “old capital” and said to be the birthplace of Japanese culture. In its 1,200 year history, this ancient city has given rise to much of what can be considered quintessential Japanese culture. Fireworks are a monumental feat of summer in Japan with countless festivals up and down the country dedicated to them, and Kyoto is no exception.
If you’re in Kyoto this summer then you mustn’t miss these 4 fireworks festivals.
Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival – A Magnificent Arsenal of 8,000 Beauties
This long-running event is held every year to pray for world peace. Its spectacular display features a lineup of fireworks specially selected by the Japan Fireworks Artist Association which aims to evolve the tradition of firework culture. Expect to see the night sky illuminated with a rainbow of colours from the festival’s launch of 8,000 fireworks, including the Starmine which shoots a cloud of bright stars into the overhead abyss, as well as some original fireworks crafted for the festival such as the “Kamemaru Hanabi.”
▼Kameoka Heiwasai Hozugawa Fireworks Festival (Kameoka Peace Festival Hozugawa River Fireworks Festival)
Date: August 11, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Hozubashi Bridge
Official Website: http://kameoka-hanabi.jp/
Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival – The Spectacular Starmine
Held by the riverbed of the Katsura River, the fireworks festival in Nantan makes use of the opposite shore from the viewing point which makes the fireworks look like they are raining down from the sky like a waterfall. The finale of this festival welcomes the behemoth of all Starmine fireworks which rips across the night sky in a blazing spread. The festival is also held as part of the Bon Festival and so lanterns are let loose down the Ōi River, creating a sight of subtle grace and beauty.
▼Kyoto Nantan City Fireworks Festival
Date: August 14, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Katsura River
Official Website: http://www.yagi-hanabi.com/
Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival – Floating Lanterns & Fireworks For 400 Years
Held in the city of Miyazu, this festival combines fireworks with floating lanterns and shoryobune―boats adorned with tanzaku paper slips that are sent out to light the way for the deceased as part of the Bon Festival. Floating lanterns on the water (known as toronagashi in Japanese) in Miyazu began 400 years ago. This year, it was counted as one of Japan’s three biggest toronagashi events.
Together with the boat, around 10,000 lanterns are sent into Miyazu Bay, creating a beautiful and majestic atmosphere. Close to 3,000 fireworks are set to illuminate the sky above, leading to an indescribable beauty as the fireworks and lights give off their own light.
▼Miyazu Toronagashi Fireworks Festival
Date: August 14, 2019
Time: From 19:30
Location: Shimasaki Park
Official Website: https://www.kyo.or.jp/miyazu/hanabi/
Ine Fireworks – Fireworks Galore Envelop Ine Bay
Around 1,200 fireworks climb up and over Ine Bay, lighting the calm water surface and the funaya boat houses of Ine with their brilliance. The boat houses themselves are also strung and lined with hanging lanterns.
Date: August 24, 2019
Location: Ine, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.ine-kankou.jp/inehanabi/
Did you enjoy our pick? It isn’t summer in Japan without fireworks. If you’re travelling to Kyoto to catch some sun this year, finish the day off with one of its many fireworks festival―from traditional Kyoto-esque events to large-scale ones with 8,000 fireworks ready to be deployed.
Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.
We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.
Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower
The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.
Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/
Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)
*Opening hours subject to change without notice
Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/
Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.
Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?
Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/
Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.
Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.
▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/
Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.
Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/
Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php
Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/
Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.
Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.
The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.
The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.
There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.
From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.
The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.
All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.
A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.
If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura
Address: 3155-1 Kosuge, Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture (In Japanese: 山梨県北都留郡小菅村3155-1)
Grand Opening: August 17, 2019
Rooms: 4 (10 People)
Price: From ¥25,000 per person (includes one breakfast)
①Approximately 2 hours by car from Tokyo.
②1 hour by bus from Ōtsuki Station via the JR Chūō Main Line, 70-minutes by car from Oume Interchange
③1 hour by bus from Okutama Station via the Ōme Line, 20-minutes by car from Lake Okutama
Reservations: Open from August 1, 2019 via the following website: https://www.ikyu.com/vacation/00050804/
Moomin Stand in Asakusa Releases Strawberry Daifuku Milk Drink
On July 16 this year, a new branch of Moomin Stand―a drinks shop inspired by the Finnish children’s books The Moomins―opened in Asakusa, one of the most popular tourist spots in Tokyo.
Moomin Stand serves original fruity beverages, drinks with rich milk bases and more, all with chewy tapioca-like pearls.
Moonmin Stand is produced by Moomin Café. The first branch opened in Kichijoji and proved popular with women in their 20s and 30s, high school and university students, and families with children. It continues to enjoy flurries of customers; you’re guaranteed to be lining up on weekends.
Strawberry Daifuku Milk – ¥700 (Before Tax)
The newly-released Strawberry Daifuku Milk drink is exclusive to the Asakusa branch. Its mix of sweet and sour strawberry flavour with the chewy pearls gives a texture reminiscent to daifuku, a traditional Japanese confection which takes mochi and stuffs it with a sweet filling. The drink has a delicious white bean paste base and is topped off with fresh pieces of strawberry.
The café interior is decorated with beautiful illustrations from The Moomins making for plenty of great photo opportunities. There is also a bar to lean on as well as spaces on the wall to rest your back on to relax with your drink after walking around.
All drinks also come with a cute Hattifattener straw toy that bites onto straws and pens which you can take home with you.
After you’ve taken a stroll around Asakusa and seen the Kaminari gate, Nakamise Shopping Street and Sensō-ji temple, why not stop off at Moonmin Stand for refreshments?
Moomin Stand Asakusa
Address: 1-1-12 Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-19:00
Moomin Stand Branch List: http://www.benelic.com/moomin_cafe/moominstand/
Stawberry Daifuku Milk (Cold)
Price: ¥700 (Before Tax)
Released: July 16, 2019
*Comes with Hattifattener straw toy
Gaze at Shooting Stars at Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture with New Night Tour
31.July.2019 | SPOT
Akiyoshidai is located in Mine, Yamaguchi. It is Japan’s biggest karst plateau and is designated as a natural monument. If you love the stars in the night sky then you’ll want to hear about the new shooting star night tours that have been announced by the Mine City Tourism Information Center.
Cities, towns and villages across Japan are seeking to cater tourist and travelers needs to experience something that only that place can offer which can be enjoyed by simply by ‘looking.’
Akiyoshidai is a very popular site with photographers as it offers a clear and unbroken view of the stars. Mine City Tourism Information Center is capitalizing on this by offering more tours to visitors.
This series of tours will make it easier for people to travel to Akiyoshidai from the town area while taking advantage of a location where there is little artificial light.
Check the official website for more details on how you can witness the incredible Japanese night sky.
Akiyoshidai Stars Accomodation Plan
Visiting Hakone? Pick Up A Freshly Baked Hakone Basque Cheesecake
29.July.2019 | FOOD
A brand new Basque Cheesecake shop called Hakone Cheese Terrace opened on July 26th. The carefully balanced rich flavour and smooth texture of these cheesecakes makes them the perfect Hakone souvenir! Basque cheesecake is a type of burnt cheesecake that originated from Basque, Spain.
Hakone is home to a large number of Japan’s popular tourist spots as well as relaxing hot springs and beautiful nature. Located just 1.5 hours from Tokyo, Hakone has an extraordinary atmosphere which will heal both your body and mind. Hakone Cheese Terrace opened to enhance the appeal of the nature surrounding Hakone resorts and to contribute to the fascinating culture of the area.
The basque cheesecake comes in a mini cup so customers can enjoy this delicious treat while on the go exploring the local area. This is also the perfect souvenir size.
The cheesecakes at Hakone Cheese Terrace are made mostly from locally sourced ingredients. For a creamy, fresh taste, milk sourced from the south of Hakone is combined with high-quality cream cheese. An original recipe blend is used for a rich flavour and smooth texture.
The cheesecakes are baked fresh at the shop so you can enjoy your cheesecake at its most delicious stage. Rock salt, black pepper and soy sauce are available as toppings for customers to discover a new flavour.
Come enjoy the flavours of Hakone to your heart’s content at Hakone Cheese Terrace.
Hakone Cheese Terrace
Address: 54 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Access: 3-minute walk from Motohakone Minato, 1-minute walk from Hakone Jinja Iriguchi (Hakone Shrine entrance), Hakone Tozan Bus.
Opening Hours: 9:00 ー 16:00
Official site: https://hakone-cheese-terrace.com/
3 Kyoto Tourist Spots to Visit and Cool Down at This Summer
17.July.2019 | SPOT
The bustling Kyoto Prefecture is located in the Kansai region of Japan, adored for its historical architecture and richness in traditional Japanese culture for which it brings in tourists every year both Japanese and foreign.
Summertime in Kyoto is renowned for being very hot. We’ve compiled a list of 3 must-visit locations where you can cool down during the summer heat―each of which have beautiful sights―and how to get to them.
Explore the Caverns of Shizushi Limestone Cave Park
The only limestone caves in Kyoto Prefecture, Shizushi Limestone Cave Park offers an exciting mix of outdoor activities from cave exploration to camping, bird watching and much more. The caves are a designated national monument of Kyoto Prefecture. Many fossils have been collected from the caves that date back to before the Permian period (which ended 252.2 million years ago) including fusulinida and crinoids. The temperature of the caves sits between 12℃-15℃ throughout the year making it a very popular spot for cooling off during times of hot weather.
▼Shizushi Limestone Cave Park
Address: Shizushi, Kyotamba, Funai District, Kyoto
Access: Board a JR bus from Sonobe Station (JR Sagano Line) bound for Enpuku (園福線) and get off at Hinokiyama (桧山). Change onto a Choei (町営) bus. Get off at the Shizushi Limestone Cave entrance (鐘乳洞口) and walk for 5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Beach Swings and Sunsets at Yuhigaura
Yuhigaura sits on the coast of Kyoto’s Tango area and is known for its iconic sunsets. Every year during summertime, giant swings made from driftwood and other materials are placed onto the beaches. Sitting on these during the evening sunset make for an incredibly picturesque scene.
And this year they’re serving an original drink called the “Magic Hour” for a limited time.
Address, 390 Aminocho Hamazume, Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: Board the Limited Express Hashidate (特急はしだて号) train at Kyoto Station and get off at Yūhigaura-Kitsu-onsen Station (夕日ヶ浦木津温泉)
Amanohashidate Sandbar Illuminations
Last year’s illuminations at the Amanohashidate sandbar brought in over 30,000 people. The sandbar is one of Japan’s three scenic views. The illumination event is held annually with this year’s running from July 13 to September 1. The lights turn the sandbar into a truly magical spectacle.
A special bar is also open for the light-up where you can get drinks along with several other exciting events surrounding it.
Address: Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto
Running: July 13, 2019 – September 1, 2019
Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/amanohashidate.machiakari/
Stay cool this summer in Kyoto by hitting up one of these tourist hot spots!
6 Must-Visit Cafes in Hokkaido For Their Kawaii Pancakes
Hokkaido is the northernmost of Japan’s islands and a popular tourist location with both locals and overseas visitors, enjoyed for its winter sports like skiing, hot springs and more. It is also enjoyed for its cool climate, being the coldest region in Japan. It’s home to many tourist spots and seafood restaurants, but today we’re covering its countless cute cafes.
Kei, a Japanese Instagrammer, posts his visits to the many cafes of Sapporo―the capital of Hokkaido―on his Instagram page（
607keih）. Today he will introduce us to 6 must-visit cafes in Hokkaido with the cutest pancakes.
Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Susukino, Sapporo)
This popular little cafe in the district of Susukino showcases its assortment of pancakes in a glass display. The cafe now sells affordable pancake and purin sets. I ordered the “Fruits and Milky & Chocolate Purin” set (¥980).
The fluffy pancake is made with Fafi’s famous eggs which have a rich flavour and big yolks. The milky cream is sweet and silky smooth. Inside the pancake is delicious pineapple and strawberries which add a deliciously fruity accent.
Their pancakes are noticeably smaller at g-plus but since it comes with a purin in the set you’re sure to be nice and full after. The set is perfect to share too.
▼Fafi Tamago no Pancake g-plus (Japanese: ファフィたまごのパンケーキ g-plus)
Address: 9-1019 Minami 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 11:30-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)
Closed: Thursdays & Fridays
Official Website: https://g-plus.owst.jp/
Café ZIKKA (Kiyota, Sapporo)
Café ZIKKA serves a variety of pastries and desserts. Their elusive strawberry pancakes are a limited-time-only offer. These fat and fluffy pancakes have a distinctly different taste to other places. Heaping with strawberries, the fruit and pancakes marry in the most sumptuous of flavours when eaten with the yogurt ice cream centre. The strawberries also come in a variety of forms including whole, compote and sauce, making for a variety of succulent textures.
The fresh cream isn’t overly-sweet making for a lighter pancake. It’s also topped with crushed almond for added texture. The size of the pancakes aren’t huge but since it’s served with two and many toppings you’ll absolutely be satisfied afterwards.
Address: 11-12 Hiraokakoenhigashi, Kiyota Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 11:00-20:00 (10:00-19:00 in January and February)
Closed: Wednesdays (Open on national holidays)
Official Website: http://yoshidacoffee.com/index.html
Kaze o Kanjite (Motomachi, Sapporo)
This cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Motomachi Station via the Tōhō Line. Simply exit from Exit 1 of the station, make a right and you’ll arrive right there.
This cafe’s aim is to bring it lots of students to eat their pancakes which are both cheap and delicious. I ordered the berry sauce pancakes.
The cafe’s homemade strawberry jam contains pieces of fresh strawberry which alone already make the pancakes tantalising enough. They are served with a side of fresh fruits like extra strawberries as well as orange slices. The pancakes served here are so good that I personally count them as the best in Sapporo. That, and the prices are amazing for the huge portions you get. I want more people to get to know about this place, and not just students.
▼Kaze o Kanjite (Japanese: 風をかんじて)
Address: Kita House 1F, 17-2-3 Kita 24 Johigashi, Higashi Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 10:00-18:00 (Last Orders 17:00)
Closed: Mondays & Tuesdays
ROJIURA CAFÉ (Susukino, Sapporo)
ROJIURA CAFÉ is another cafe located in Susukino round on the backstreet of Round One. They serve pancakes and parfaits right into the early hours of the morning.
Their caramel sauce has salt in it to add a mouthwatering salty flavour that draws out the sweetness of the fresh cream. The nuts only add to this delectable delight of a pancake.
Fine and fluffy pancakes fit for the gods. Whether it’s a dessert like pancakes or parfaits or even meals, ROJIURA CAFÉ’s doors are open to you from the evening until the deepest hours of the night.
Address: TAKARA6.3, 3 Chome Minami 6 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
[Mon-Thurs] 18:00-03:00 (Last Orders 02:00)
[Fri-Sat] 18:00-04:00 (Last Orders 03:00)
[Sun & Holidays] 18:00-01:00 (Last Orders 00:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: http://sapporo-rojiuracafe.com/
OJ Coffee (Kotoni, Sapporo)
You’ll find OJ Coffee just a few minutes’ walk from Kotoni Station in Nishi Ward, Sapporo. This cafe serves exquisite coffees and boasts an abundant menu consisting of soba noodles, curries, steaks and more. They also serve pancakes so I decided to give them a go.
Fluffy, moist and glorious. The pancake is topped with custard and served with a side of fresh cream, both of which aren’t overly sweet and go perfectly with the sweet beaten eggs of the pancakes. Decorated the outside of the plate is an assortment of fruits, maple syrup and other tempting treats for a variety of flavours. The coffee flavoured soft serve ice cream is a great palate cleanser too. The ice cream doesn’t have the bitterness that comes with coffee but it’s very coffee flavoured. It’s close to Kotoni Station so if you’re strolling around Nishi Ward looking for a cafe I highly recommend visiting here.
Address: D Planning Bldg. 1F, Kotoni 2 Jo, Nishi Ward, Sapporo
Business Hours: 7:30~22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.oj-coffee.com/
Café Blue (Ishiyama-dori, Sapporo)
Café Blue, built up from a renovated old house, is currently selling a new lemon and yogurt pancake for a limited time.
Their pancakes never fail to be anything less than fluffy. The generously drizzled yogurt sauce is fairly refreshing and sweet while still retaining that yummy yogurt flavour. The lemon curd sauce, too, is refreshing and combines well with the pancakes as lemon always does. The lemon also has honey in it making for a satisfyingly sweet and sour combination.
The ice cream on top is salt flavoured which bring out all the sweet flavours of the dessert. The crunchy almonds are nice and nutty and bring a great texture to the soft and sticky combinations. When I eat pancakes this is the kind of thing I’m looking for!
The sauce was refreshing and the pancake overall was delicious and very easy to get down. The yogurt sauce really is amazing!
Address: 16-9-12 Minami 19 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Business Hours: 9:00-19:00 (Last Orders 18:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Did you enjoy Kei’s picks? Be sure to check out their Instagram page for more recommended desserts and foods to try in Sapporo. There’s a wealth of choices on there that will make for great reference when travelling to Hokkaido.
Photo & Text: Kei (@607keih)
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
See Hundreds of Japanese Wind Chimes at Nyoirin-ji Temple Festival in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a tourist hot spot of Japan, bustling with tourists and travellers both from the island nation and those from overseas, especially from China, Taiwan and South Korea.
Situated on the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka offers amazing shopping experiences and serves up some of the most delicious gourmet cuisine at its rows of restaurants. But nothing compares to its bountiful sightseeing splendours.
Rie is an Instagrammer who travels to all the different sightseeing spots Kyushu has to offer which she documents on her Instagram page. Today, she gives us a special look at one her most recommended places to visit in Fukuoka: Nyoirin-ji Temple.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is often nicknamed “Frog Temple” due to the many frogs you can see at the temple grounds, a rare sight at a Japanese temple. It’s located in Fukuoka Prefecture’s city of Ogori which can be reached by catching a Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line train from Tenjin in the heart of Fukuoka and getting off at Mitsusawa Station. From there the temple is just a 15-minute walk.
Nyoirin-ji Temple is the home of thousands of frogs. A lot of the frog ornaments and items at the temple were collected by the temple’s chief priest.
There’s one ornament which you can take a photo through as seen above, so you should definitely try taking one yourself in your own way. You can even get a goshuin stamp with a frog illustration too if you take your goshuincho stamp book.
The frogs are a given at the Frog Temple, but a must-see is the Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September. The temple entrance onward is decorated with lots of cute and colourful wind chimes.
Up the stairs you can walk through a wind chime tunnel which gives you a cool, refreshed feeling even in the hot summer.
It costs ¥500 for one wind chime which you can write your wish on before hanging up. You can’t take them home however so be cautious of that!
Nyoirin-ji Temple was built in 729. It is home to a Cintāmaṇicakra statue which is a rare sight in Japan. It is also a registered cultural property of Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s not just a location for kawaii adoration―it has been long been loved by locals since ancient times and has a long history.
The wind chimes will be strung up until the end of September. Their gentle ring is sure to make you feel at peace, so why not try dressing up in a yukata like Rie and experiencing the festival for yourself?
Rie has many other examples of popular tourist destinations from around Kyushu on her Instagram page. Be sure to give her a follow if you’re planning a trip to Kyushu yourself!
Photos by Rie
Address: 1728 Yokoguma, Ogori-shi, Fukuoka
Access: 15-minutes on foot from Mitsusawa Station via the Nishitetsu Tenjin Ōmuta Line