Nanavi reports on the latest news in Tohoku and Niigata for your travel plans
16.January.2018 | SPOT
Nanavi is a news website that provides information on seven prefectures in Japan: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, and Niigata. New reports for 2018 detailing must-see information for these prefectures is currently spilling forth.
Secret Charms of Yamagata: The Foot of Mount Zaō!
Yamagata-shi, the capital of Yamagata Prefecture, is a place of scenic and natural beauty famous for many reasons, including being home to the Zaō Onsen and being the stage for Matsuo Basho’s poems, the most famous Edo period poet. It’s a popular tourist with a very unique culture, including a big food culture that centers on imoni simmered potatoes, ramen and more.
Aomori Prefecture Latest News: ‘Apple Park Winter Festival’
Snow, apples… we’re talking wintertime in Aomori! Aomori Prefecture is the leading producer of apples in Japan. Its city of Hirosaki is known as ‘apple town’ and celebrates winter with the Ringo Kouen Winter Festival (Apple Park Winter Festival) where you can enjoy their famous apples together with the piling snow. There are plenty of fun workshops and activities to enjoy – and you can even try eating a cooked apple.
Aomori-shi, the capital city of Aomori Prefecutre, hosts the Aomori Yuki Akari Matsuri (Aomori Snow Light Festival) where your heart and mind will be healed by the soft, warm lights possible only in winter.
Iwate Prefecture Latest News: Spectacular Ice Sculptures at Iwate’s ‘Snow Festival’
The ‘Iwate Snow Festival’ is held in the town of Shizukuishi in Iwate Prefecture. When talking about ice sculptures in Japan, most people will think about those at the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, but the sculptures in Iwate are also a dazzling sight to see. When lit up, they are truly impressive. The festival also holds various exciting events.
The latest reports also highlight ‘Iwachu Tekkikan,’ a long-standing shop that shelves traditional handicrafts and ironware form the south. They have typical traditional items as well as more colourful and contemporary ones.
Akita Prefecture Latest News: Witness Animals You Can Only See Here
News from Akita Omoriyama Zoo puts spotlight on the “Yuki no Doubutsuen” (Snow Zoo) that is praised every year. During this event, you can examine bears in hibernation, as well as witness how animals live life in the snow. It’s a fresh experience indeed, made possible only by this special zoo that is situated in a region that receives heavy snowfall.
In the city of Odate, they will hold an event titled ‘Hinai Tori no Shi’ where you can try eating Japan’s 3 main chickens that have been locally raised, Kiritanpo and lots of other delicious food.
Fukushima Latest News: If you’re looking for winter activities, look no further!
Fukushima has a lot of snowfall. ‘Urabandai Lake Resort’ is a spot where you can enjoy fun winter activities to the fullest. All items in the establishment are free to rent and use. If you’re looking to enjoy yourself, then this snow country is the place to be.
The new year has arrived, which means the real winter is here for these prefectures. Although the cold is bitter, the snow country shines even brighter in winter.
If you’re thinking of heading to Tohoku or Niigata, be sure to check “Nanavi” first!
Chansey Pokémon Manhole Cover Designs Placed Around Fukushima Prefecture
As part of The Pokémon Company’s ongoing Poké Lid project to place Pokémon manholes around the country, Fukushima has welcomed new Chansey design lids in nine places across the prefecture.
The first series of Poké Lids were place in the city of Ibusuki in Kagoshima Prefecture back in December 2018. They were Eevee lids, and saw designs for all of the Pokémon’s evolutions. All of the Poké Lids feature completely original Pokémon designs making each individual one the only one in the world. Until now, 87 had been placed across 7 prefectures in Japan, with more set to roll out throughout 2020.
Back in March of this year, The Pokémon Company laid down Sandshrew and Alola Sandshrew manholes in Tottori Prefecture.
In February last year, Chansey was appointed as the “Fukushima Support Pokémon” for Fukushima prefecture help to support the prefecture by promoting information about it around Japan. To date, Chansey has toured the tourist and sightseeing hot spots of Fukushima, performed at events, and worked as PR across the country.
There are nine Chansey Poké Lid designs, all of which feature original artwork. There are plans to make each of them PokéStops for the mobile game Pokémon GO in the future.
©2020 Pokémon. ©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc.
Pokémon, ポケットモンスター and ポケモン are registered trademarks of Nintendo, Creatures Inc. and GAME FREAK inc.
Official Website: https://local.pokemon.jp/en/manhole/
Go Skiing This Golden Week in Japan at Nekoma Ski Resort
25.March.2020 | SPOT
Nekoma Ski Resort, which is located on the northern slope of the Urabandai area, is holding a special spring ski event from March 30, 2020 called “Haru Nekoma ~Nekoma GO! GO! GO!”
The spring season at Nekoma Ski Resort is the time to enjoy the compacted snow berms, with lots of different kinds of berms to try out. So skiers can enjoy the snow berms that pile up in the early morning, the resort is open from from as early as 5:55, and there’s also snow lifts, so they can maximise their piste riding experience to the fullest. Skiers can enjoy the full view of Mount Bandaiーwhich is officially listed as one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japanーas well as Lake Inawashiro too as they hit the downhill ski trails.
Haru Nekoma ~Nekoma GO! GO! GO!
Running: March 30, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Times: [Weekdays] 7:30-15:00 / [Weekends & Public Holidays] 5:55-15:00
Lift Price: [1 Day Ticket] Adults ¥3,818 / Junior & High School Students ¥3,091 / Elementary School Students ¥1,909 (Before Tax)
Note: Dates and times subject to change depending on weather conditions
Ride the springtime pistes of Alts Bandai too
For the 2019-2020 season, you can ride the snow footpath that connects Nekoma Ski Resort to Alts Bandai. Go through the gate leading to it, walk through the Japanese beech trees for about 15 minutes, and you’ll arrive at the pistes in the deepest part of Alts Bandai which opens up to a spectacular view of Mount Bandai and the town of Inawashiro. Alts Bandai will be shut from March 29, but since there is still plenty of snow to ski down in the high-up pistes even in April, some of the lifts will still be operated. Enjoy a springtime walk and a springtime ski with the beautiful scenery before you with this special ski route.
Running: From March 20, 2020 until the snow melts
Gate Times: 10:00-13:30 (Last entries from Nekoma Ski Resort at 12:00)
Available Courses: Frozen 1, 2, 3 / Peak Lower 3 / Peak Lower 4
Note: A valid day ticket from Nekoma Ski Resort is required
Bask in the springtime weather at the foot of the pistes in the Nekoma Terrace which has its own bar. After an early morning ski, take a break and relax at the terrace with a drink in hand and soak up the scenery around you as the temperature warms through the day.
Spring Nekoma Terrace
Price: Alcohol ¥454 / Soft Drinks ¥182 (Before Tax)
Location: Nekoma Ski Resort Centre House
Spring discount tickets are also available, which can also be used at Alts Bandaiーwhich has the biggest pistes in Japanーuntil March 29. Ride across 189 hectares and enjoy 26 courses.
Spring Discount Tickets
Available: February 1, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Valid: March 1, 2020 – May 6, 2020
Price: Adults (20-23 Years) ¥20,000 / Junior & High School Students ¥10,909 / Elementary School Students ¥10,000 (Before Tax)
Sold at: Alts Bandai / Nekoma Ski Resort Official Homepage / Alts Bandai and Nekoma Ski Resort sites
Nekoma Ski Resort: https://www.nekoma.co.jp/en/
Fukushima 50 Cast and Director Premiere Film About the Nuclear Disaster to Fukushima Locals
26.January.2020 | MOVIE
Fukushima 50 is an upcoming film based on the non-fiction book On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi by Japanese journalist Ryūshō Kadota. It will be released on March 6, 2020.
The film will discuss the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster that occurred after the 9.0 magnitude Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 which stands as the largest ever earthquake recorded in Japanese history.
The film’s title refers to the pseudonym given by the media to the 50 employees that remained on the site after the nuclear power plant disaster. It will show the reality that the group faced that only they knew from being inside the plant and in the face of death.
Japanese actors Kōichi Satō and Ken Watanabe, who star in the upcoming film, held a campaign where they visited various locations across Fukushima Prefecture. Satō, as well as the film’s director Setsurō Wakamatsu and executive producer at KADOKAWA Shinichiro Inoue, made a courtesy call to Tomioka, a town which is still difficult for residents to return to. Tomioka is in fact one of the settings featured in Fukushima 50, and so before the films releases in March 2020ー10 years since the disaster struckーthe cast and staff went to pay their respects to the locals still living there.
The film premiered at Koriyama Theatre in Fukushima where Kōichi Satō, Ken Watanabe, and director Setsurō Wakamatsu all made an appearance. The event began with cast and staff announcing that they first wanted the people of Fukushima to watch the film before they made their comments. This was the first time the film had been shown to the general public, less than two months from its official release.
Satō, Wakamatsu, and Inoue’s appearance in Tomioka took place on January 22. Executive producer Inoue was the first to greet the people. “We have come to Tomioka today to officially announce to you the completion of the film Fukushima 50. We hope everybody, including the mayor, will see it as soon as soon as possible.” The director Wakamatsu followed, saying: “We are gratefully indebted to the people of Tomioka for letting us interview you before the film shoot. We wish for you all to see it and for it to be a film you believe the rest of the world should see.”
Satō said: “I believe there will be many people who look back on [the incident] and remember it like it was yesterday rather than something that happened a long time ago. I think there will be people who do not wish to remember as well. However, the film needed to be powerful in order for the memories of the incident to not fade away. The film may bring back pain, but I ask you to view the film as necessary so we can pass down the reality of what happened to future generations.”
Director Wakamatsu commented on Yonomori, a park in Tomioka and one of the filming locations which people are currently prohibited from entering due to the high radiation levels. “We filmed a crucial ‘cherry blossom scene’ there. Cherry blossoms are a thing of beauty, but it was really complicated when I thought about how these cherry blossoms cannot be seen by anyone.” Satō weighed in on this point. Speaking about his character Toshio Izaki, he said: “I don’t know to what extent his complex feelings are conveyed regarding his mental state when observing the cherry blossoms, but I hope that the beauty and transience of the cherry blossoms ties itself to the thought of never wanting this incident to happen again with those to watch the film.”
The Tomioka town mayor Miyamoto commenting on the team having filmed in Tomioka. “As living witnesses, for us to be able to pass this film down to future generations, I greatly felt that I wished for them to shoot the film, rather than permitting them to do it. I don’t believe Tomioka has been used as a film location or such before, so I want to go ahead with doing PR, both myself and as a town, so that everybody can see it.”
The courtesy call at Koriyama Theatre in Fukushima’s city of Koriyama took place the following day on January 23. Satō said before the audience: “I’m overwhelmed that we’ve finally come to this moment. By no means is this a film I could ask you to enjoy. I think there are some scenes in there that are very painful to watch, but I ask kindly that you see it through to the end.”
Watanabe spoke with strong words, saying: “There are many people whose lives were unfortunately changed by this incidentーpeople who cannot return to Fukushima. When we began filming, me and the rest of the cast and staff said that we would be unable to shoulder the extent of what actually happened, but we should dive head first into the movie, and understand even a little of what those people went through. From there we went and finished the film, and now we’re going around promoting it, starting with this city, and for that I am proud. This film absolutely enables one to feel connected to the future in some way.”
Director Wakamatsu followed up this comment. “We started this film project five years ago, and at last it’s finished. I am proud that we are able to say that as well as promote the film here in Fukushima. We set out to make this film faithfully and with sincerity.”
At the end of the talk, everybody gave their final comments. Satō said: “Let’s change this negative legacy into a different kind of legacy, even if just a little.” Watanabe said: “In my heart, I feel I hadn’t actively supported Fukushima until now. But, I believe I have been able to deliver that now to all of the people of Fukushima, doing what I’m best at. I hope it’s something you can get behind.”
After their closing statements, the cast and director were given a huge round of applause by the people of Fukushima.
©2020 “Fukushima 50” Production Committee
Release Date: March 6, 2020
Based On: On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi by Ryūshō Kadota
Distribution: Shochiku Company Limited, KADOKAWA
Official Website: fukushima50.jp
Kadokawa Pictures Website: https://www.kadokawa-pictures.jp/official/fukushima/
Cosy Up in the Snow Huts This Winter at Hoshino Resorts KAI
17.November.2019 | SPOT
Hoshino Resorts is once again bringing its kamakura snow huts to two of its KAI hotelsーa brand of hot spring hotels. You’ll catch them at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps from February 1 to 29 next year.
KAI Tsugaru: Beautiful Koginzashi Stitched Lanterns Light Your Way
Koginzashi is a type of sashiko stitch work famous in the Tsugaru region. Japanese kogin designer Iemasa Yamahata has designed 50 beautiful Kogin lanterns for Hoshino Resorts’ KAI Tsugaru hot spring hotel, which is hidden away in the town of Owani in southern Tsugaru, Aomori.
When you arrive at KAI Tsugaru, follow the lanterns along the snow and you’ll arrive at the kamakuraーa type of Japanese igloo built in northern Japan for winter festivals. Multiple objects, big and small, have been designed with koginzashi, so guests can enjoy this beautiful art form.
Cosy up inside your secret snow hut and enjoy some tasty chocolate with cute koginzashi designs made by a local Japanese confectionery shop. Order a hot cocktail too made using apples grown in Aomoriーa prefecture famous across the country for its apples. There’s a non-alcoholic cocktail option too.
You’ll also find an original card game inside the huts created by the KAI Tsugaru staff. It’s called “Kogin Awase” and works like the card game Pairs. What could be better than sat warm inside an igloo, eating sweets and drinking while playing a card game?
KAI Alps: Enjoy Life as a Yukinko Snow Child
Turn back into a child and experience young life in the snow country of the Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture) with the Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience.
In the harsh cold and knee-deep snow environment of Shinano, people would take anti-snow measures by wearing things like the straw raincoat known as a mino, a traditional winter coat called a hanten, and other things. Guests can do the same and dress up to become a child of the snow, known as a Yukinko. You’ll forget about the snow before you even realise it.
In old Japanese houses, friends and family would gather around an iroriーa sunken fireplace. You’ll find these dotted around the public space at KAI Alps too, where you can sit around and enjoy the crackling and warmth of the fire. There will also be hand warmers and shiruko sweet porridge too so you can rest assured you won’t go cold.
Experience life in the snow at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter.
KAI Tsugaru – “Kogin Kamakura”
Running: February 1, 2020 – February 29, 2020 (Subject to change depending on snowfall)
Price: ¥1,500 per person (includes snow hut entry, confections, and 1 drink)
*Alcoholic/non-alcoholic cocktail options available
Reservations: Available from the front desk on the day
Address: Kamibotanmori-36-1 Ōwani, Ōwani-machi, Minamitsugaru District, Aomori Prefecture
KAI Alps – “Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience”
Running: February 1, 2020 – February 29, 2020 (Subject to change depending on snowfall)
Time: Kamakura Light-Up 17:00-21:00 / Yukinko Dress-Up 15:00-21:00 / Winter Stroll Preparations 20:00-21:00
No. of People: 4
Reservations: Not required
Address: 2884-26 Taira, Ōmachi-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hoshino Resorts KAI Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/brand/kai/
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival Begins on October 18
13.October.2019 | SPOT
This year’s Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival is set to take place in Hirosaki, Aomori from October 18 to November 10.
The festival is held annually every autumn and has been since 1962. It has become a festival deeply tied to autumntime Hirosaki, with 1,000 vivid chrysanthemum trees set to bloom at Hirosaki Park this year in addition to 2,600 cherry blossom trees, which in springtime were pink and will now turn red and yellow for the autumn season.
After the sun sets during the event, the castle, park and surrounding areas will be lit up with enchanting illuminations, reflecting off the trees and surface of the moat, lending even more beauty to the area.
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival
Running: October 18, 2019 – November 10, 2019
Location: Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden in Hirosaki Park
General (High School Students and older) – ¥320
Children (Junior High School students and younger) – ¥100
*The illuminations will run from sunset to 21:00
Coca Cola Adds Yamagata Prefecture to Stylish Regional Design Series
Coca Cola is adding a brand new design to their famous and stylish regional series. Coca Cola’s Slim Bottle Region Design series features illustrations of famous landmarks around Japan on a slim and stylish bottle. Yamagata Prefecture will be making its grand debut on the slim and stylish bottle on September 2nd and will be sold only in Yamagata Prefecture.
The Slim Bottle Region Design series aims to add a refreshing kick to your travels. So far, a total of 31 different designs have been released. These new Coca Colas are the perfect way to splash excitement into whatever new food you discover on your travels in the region and will also provide you with the energy boost you need on a tough day of traveling. In previous years, this stylish Coca Cola bottle has even become a very popular souvenir.
So far, designs based on regions all over the country have been featured on these bottles. Locations used so far include Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Hokushinetsu, Tokai, Kansai, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawawa. With Yamagata added to the collection, there will be a grand total of 32 different designs.
Different illustrations to represent the famous foods and culture of Yamagata prefecture cover the entire surface of the bottle. You will notice a person waving a hat decorated with safflowers on a summer night which represents the prefecture’s famous Hanagasa Festival. The illustration of the stylish streets of the Ginzan Onsen will definitely trigger nostalgic memories of the Taisho Era for many. The prefecture’s specialty ー small and sweet sakuranbo cherries ー also make an appearance on the bottle.
Coca Cola Slim Bottle Region Designs
Coca Cola Slim Bottle Yamagata Design
RRP Price: ¥125 (250ml slim bottle)
Available: Souvenir shops, supermarkets, vending machines and elsewhere in Yamagata Prefecture.
On Sale: September 2, 2019
Coca Cola Official Website: cocacola.jp
From Wine to Hydrangeas Taste the Regional Shaved Ice Flavours of Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI
10.July.2019 | FOOD
Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand KAI is offering guests the opportunity to explore different regional shaved ice desserts that are served with delicious regional syrups and toppings. Shaved ice is a traditional summer dessert that was even mentioned in the famous work The Pillow Book, which was written by Sei Shonagon during her time as Empress Consort Teishi’s court lady during the 990s and early 1000s of the Heian period.
The concept of KAI expresses both originality and the thirst for experimenting to make something new. The event offers a range of original flavours, embracing the Japanese tradition of eating flavoured shaved ice to battle the heat of summer. From wine-flavoured shaved ice in Nagano, to Hydrangea shaved ice at Hakone, this is the perfect opportunity to try a range of shaved ice desserts that are full of vibrant colours. These regional flavours are sure to spark your curiosity for discovery in that region.
Wine Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano)
The cone-shaped region of Kikyogahara, which is located next to Matsumoto city, is well known for its wine production. This area produces around 50 different kinds of Kikyogahara wine. The flavoured syrup for this shaved ice comes from concord grape wine sourced from Kikyogahara. Each porcelain bowl for the dessert is handmade. Customers can enjoy the smooth, rounded feel of the grape pattern on the bowl as they dig into their dessert. As the alcohol is burned out of the dish, even those who do not like alcohol can enjoy this mature dessert. From the carefully prepared wine syrup to the handmade bowl, you will be able to feel all the hard work put into the making of these luxurious desserts. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.
Hydrangea Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone
Due to the altitude differences at Hakone, you can enjoy the beautiful hydrangeas for an even longer time than other areas of Japan. There is a Hydrangea train (Ajisai Densha) that runs up the mountains providing passengers with the beautiful view of blooming flowers, creating the perfect summer memories. Observing the large groups of flowers in full bloom fills you with such a refreshing feeling. Their beautiful colours are expressed in the colour of this hydrangea shaved ice.
Strawberry Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi)
Tochigi prefecture has been Japan’s no.1 producer of strawberries for 50 years straight. This shaved ice is served in a strawberry-shaped bowl and is served with sweet yet slightly sour strawberry syrup and a topping of bittersweet matcha sauce. Here, you can enjoy a cool evening up 1,300 metres high overlooking beautiful scenery from inside the establishment whose spectacular interior that boasts Tochigi’s traditional art of Kanuma Kanoko craft.
Tomato Flavoured Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sonomoto, Oita)
As tomatoes thrive during the summer, this tomato shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down. This shaved ice is sweet and slightly sour and the vibrant red colour is enough to refresh you. Tomatoes are low in calories and contain an abundant range of healthy nutrients. They are also high in vitamin C which is good for your skin and is known for helping prevent illness. Tomatoes are also a good supply of vitamin E, which is good at slowing the effects of aging. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your shaved ice as a refreshing breeze rolls by. This is the perfect way to enjoy a cool summer with a healthy and delicious dessert.
Neputa Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru (Owani Onsen, Aomori)
The Neputa Shaved Ice represents the Hirosaki Neputa Festival that takes place in the summer at the old castle town of Hirosaki. To represent Tsugaru Vidro coloured glass, which is an important part of Tsugaru culture, red, blue and green coloured jelly pieces decorate the top of the shaved ice. These colours also represent the vibrant colours of Neputa festival. This Instagram-worthy dessert shows off the best of the fresh colours of Tsugaru.
Kai Regional Shaved Ice Desserts 2019
Running: July 13, 2019 – August 31, 2019
Hoshino Resorts Kai Official Website: https://kai-ryokan.jp/
Goldfish Festival, Fireworks And Much More Family Fun at Aquamarine Fukushima
01.July.2019 | SPOT
During the summer holiday period between July and September, Aquamarine Fukushima is holding a range of events and supporting children to learn about marine life independently. Come join in the festival fun with goldfish scooping games, quoits, and much more. There will also be a fair from August 11 to 15.
Aquamarine Fukushima Rare Creatures Picture Book <Complete the pictures!>
Dates: July 13 ー September 1
Aquamarine Fukushima is displaying rare creatures and ecological systems. The children can write the name of the new creatures they discover in their own picture book. Once they have completed the picture book, it will be an original record of discoveries. As the children record the features of the animals and other organisms they discover, adults will also find this information beneficial when looking around the exhibitions.
How to take part: Pick up an application form at the entranceway on floor 1 of the aquarium main building (Honkan). The answers will all be distributed in one place. (Subject to change).
Summer Aquamarine Fukushima: Children’s Answer Room
Open: July 20 ー September 1
Here, all the answers to the children’s puzzles about Aquamarine life are presented in panels and explained in easy terms. Along with the picture book where the children can record interesting life forms, this is the perfect way to support independent exploration.
Goldfish scooping and Fun Fair
You can purchase goldfish that were bred at the aquarium, or catch them yourself at the goldfish scooping area. There is also a games corner where you and your children can enjoy a range of fun activities such as quoits.
The goldfish building, which just opened last year, will be bringing back its 60cm-large Goldfish Nebuta lantern. To raise spirits during Japan’s O-bon lantern festival, the aquarium will be open for much longer so that a lantern event can be held in the evening.
Iwaki Traditional Vegetable Marché
Open: August 17 ー 18 (11:00 ー 14:00)
Head to the Aquamarine Aguri located outside Aquamarine Fukushima to purchase everyday vegetables as well as Japanese vegetables that have been grown through the cooperation of Iwaki farmers and Iwaki city. The traditional Iwaki marché sells mainly traditional summer vegetables such as okuimo potatoes, yardlong beans, beefsteak plants, kojiroi cucumbers, and much more. From local vegetables to healthy goods, everything is produced at Aquamarine Fukushima.
Iwaki Fireworks Festival
Enjoy the sight of fireworks soaring through the sky before your very eyes from the Aquarium grounds. This large-scale fireworks event will run until 9 pm on August 3.
Running: August 11 ー 15 (8pm) .
※ Last entries: Up to 1hr before closing time.
Come visit Aquamarine Fukushima for a perfect fun-filled day with the family!
Goldfish Display and Sales
Running: August 11 ー 12 (Monday, national holiday)
Times: 10:00 ー15:00、16:30 ー19:00
Goldfish Scooping/ Fair
Running: August 11 ー 15
Times: 16:30 ー19:00
The goldfish scooping event will end once all fish have been caught.
Water Yo-Yo Fishing, Quoits, Fishing Games, Barbecue Skewers: ￥300 per turn.
Address: Tatsumicho-50 Onahama, Iwaki, Fukushima
Official Website: https://www.aquamarine.or.jp/
Indulge In The Best Melon Experience At Japan’s First Melon Factory Antenna Shop
24.June.2019 | FOOD
Tsugaru, Aomori is known for its delicious melons. On July 7, Japan’s first melon factory called Melon to Roman will open its first ever antenna shop in Kagurazaka, Tokyo. Here, a range of delicious melon-themed desserts and drinks will be developed for customers to try out Aomori melon treats.
Recently, melons are becoming less and less popular in Japan. As a result, Melon to Roman was established to spread the love of melons countrywide.
The melon factory uses 10,400 tonnes of melons each year, meaning that Tsugaru alone creates 70% of Aomori’s melon produce. The melon desserts at the antenna shop are made from Tsugaru’s special melons. The aim of the antenna shop is to make Tsugaru more famous.
Melon Fruit Sandwich
A melon fruit sandwich is definitely a rare sight. The Melon Fruit Sandwich is made by filling raisin bread with melon pieces. Adults are bound to love its rich flavour.
Melon Shaved Ice with Fluffy Mousse
The Melon Shaved Ice with Fluffy Mousse consists of fluffy shaved ice made from the juice of the melon. This is topped with a generous serving of foam made out of 100% melon juice.
Luxury Melon Parfait
The melon parfait is the masterpiece of the menu. It is made of three luxurious layers of fresh melon.
The antenna shop provides a number of ways to experience Aomori’s melons with all your senses. Witness calligraphy written by original melon ink, listen to the stories of the journey of these melons, touch the drinks coasters that will make you feel like you are touching a melon, and sample different flavours of melon from the food and drinks tasting menus to immerse your sense of taste and smell in the world of melons. There has never been an antenna shop quite like this before. There will also be a video called “The Girl And The Melon” that will be shown at the antenna shop. Some adults might find this video quite emotional.
Immerse yourself fully in the miraculous world of melons and learn about a whole new perspective on melons.
Location: 3-6-92, Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Grand Opening: July 7, 2019 (11:30 ー 17:30)
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays & New Year’s period
Official Website: melon-roman.com
* Open from July 1
The Premium Bread of Ginza Nishikawa Arrives in Japan’s Tohoku Region
11.June.2019 | FOOD
Ginza Nishikawa is a popular bread shop that opened its doors in Ginza last autumn. The store has announced that on June 27, it will open its 10th branch in Hirosaki, Aomori―the first to open in the Tohoku region.
The shop sells one product: a high-quality premium loaf whose water content Ginza Nishikawa are very particular about. The bread’s chewy and slightly sweet taste is best enjoyed as it is―and on the first day. If left after the first day, you can enjoy a completely different tasting experience. This is because the water content decreases after day one. If toasted from the second day onward, the bread has a deliciously particular aroma which you don’t get when the bread is soft.
This bread goes extremely well with Japanese ingredients and condiments, such as kinpira gobo (braised burdock root), nasu miso, narazuke pickles, pollock roe, shuto (pickled bonito entrails mixed with honey, mirin and sake), and so on.
Ginza Nishikawa also recommends eating the bread with alcohol, such as a light and slightly sour red or rosé, or a strong white. It also goes well with sparkling wine, especially brands from Japan. With cocktails, they recommend drinking fruity ones like peach, loquat, or yuzu. Bread is normally seen as a breakfast food, but this bread is also one to be enjoyed in the evening too.
Ginza Nishikawa’s bread is handcrafted into delicious loafs that anyone can enjoy at anytime by their skilled bakers. The staff check the temperature of the weather and level of humidity to carefully calculate the rate of water absorption and fermentation time to ensure high quality results every time. And to make sure that the flavour and texture of the bread is exactly the same at every branch, the company created their own evaluation system.
The water in the bread is made with an alkaline ionizer which is what makes it so unique, giving it a smooth texture like silk.
The stores also sell four different cloths that wrap around a single loaf (¥1,296 tax included).
Be sure to stop by Ginza Nishikawa if you’re passing through Aomori Prefecture.
Ginza Nishikashi (Hirosaki Branch)
Grand Opening: June 27, 2019
Address: 1-2-9 Miyakawa, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
*Reservations can be made from June 17, 2019 at 12:00 (JST) onward
Official Website: https://ginza-nishikawa.co.jp/
Odate City in Akita to open new tourist exchange centre featuring cute and fluffy Japanese Akita dogs!
04.May.2019 | SPOT
In the cultural northern region of Japan, a tourist exchange centre will open in front of JR Odate Station in Odate city, Akita! The centre, which is called the Akita Dog Visitor Centre (Akita Inu no Sato) will open on Wednesday 8th May.
At the Akita Dog Visitor Centre, you can fully discover Akita’s most beloved furry friend the Japanese Akita dog! The centre also contains a museum where you can learn about the history of Japanese Akita and their characteristics. There is also a tourist information desk, souvenir corner and much more! You can also visit the Japanese Akita exhibition area where you can get close to the Akita dogs or pop by the large lawn area located right next to the exhibition room to play with the dogs!
A statue dedicated to the faithful Akita dog Hachiko will be located right outside the centre. Hachiko was born in Odate city back when it was called Niidamura. Hachiko is known worldwide as the dog who waited faithfully for his owner’s return in front of Shibuya station from the Taisho era to the start of the Showa era. The Hachiko statue will be moved from its current position in the front of JR Odate station to in front of the Akita Dog Visitor Centre in order to properly greet the people and dogs who come to visit. At the grand opening ceremony on the 8th May, there will be a photo stand-in board allowing anyone to transform into the faithful dog Hachiko. You can also see a red and white curtain made to take on the appearance of the fur of a Japanese Akita ー this is going to be one fluffy ceremony!
There are also two special promotion measures to support the grand opening!
The first promotion measure is an original web video series called “Akita Inu ga Odate no Miryoku o shinan!? Odate Lesson by Akita Dog”. This is an official web series released by Odate city featuring an Akita dog teaching the world about the famous cultural wonders of Akita! From local food such as Kiritanpo (rice sticks) and delicious Hinaichidori chicken to crafts made from Akita sugi cedar wood, and spots such as the mountainous region of Tashiro Dake, this dog will show you everything! The web series is available on the YouTube channel called Akita Inu no Sato (秋田犬の里).
The second promotion measure is the release of a newspaper which will feature a countdown to the grand opening. The newspaper will contain the latest information and will be launched on Wednesday 1st May and lead up to the grand opening! The contents will be like Japan’s famous newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, but its main design theme will be the Japanese Akita. The contents will really bring out the wonders of the region’s loyal Akita dogs!
Through the Akita Dog Visitor Centre, Odate city is aiming to spread the news of the beloved Japanese Akita dog. They hope to create a facility that is loved by many people, so please come attend the grand opening ceremony of the Akita Dog Visitor Centre on Wednesday 8th May!
Akita Dog Visitor Centre (Akita Inu no Sato)
Open from: 8th May 2019.
Address: 1-13-1, Onarimachi, Odate city, Akita.
See 2,600 Cherry Blossom Trees at the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival
02.April.2019 | SPOT
Taking place in the city of Hirosaki in western Aomori Prefecture, this year’s Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival will run from April 20 to May 6.
This annual festival is the biggest in Hirosaki bringing in over 2 million people every year. Visitors will once again to be treated to a visual spectacle of 2,600 cherry blossom trees of 52 different species blooming their beautiful pink flowers in Hirosaki Park.
Various events and activities will take place throughout the festival such as boat rides, a tour carried out by the one of the gardeners, and more.
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Celebratory Lantern Parade
The festival will hold a parade on May 3―the date on which the first flower-viewing party event in Hirosaki was first carried out. It will ring in the start of Japan’s new era following Emperor Akihito’s abdication with a lantern parade
Running: May 3 from 10:00am
Where: From Hirosaki Park Otemon Gate to Inner East Gate
Flower-Viewing Party in Traditional Japanese Dress
This flower-viewing party was so popular last year that it is making a return in 2019. Dress up in traditional Japanese clothing and receive a special ticket to enter the Hirosaki Castle botanical gardens for free.
Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019
Ticket Location: Ninomaru / Shinomaru Information Centre
Hirosaki Park Boat Ride
Enjoy the cherry blossoms from a different angle with a boat ride along the moat.
Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019
Time: 9:00-17:00 (Last rides at 16:30) *Subject to change depending on weather and number of boarders
Special Cherry Blossom Tour
The park’s gardeners will carry out a tour of the cherry blossoms and provide interesting explanations.
Running: April 30, 2019 & May 2, 2019
Time: From 13:30 (90 minute tour)
No. of People: 40 people per tour (first-come, first-served)
During the cherry blossom’s full bloom season thousands of petals will fall into the moat, creating a gorgeous pink carpet on the water surface. This will make for some great photographs.
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival
Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019
Location: Hirosaki Park (1 Shimoshiroganechō, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture)
Honmaru/Kita no Kuruwa Area – 7:00-21:00 (9:00-17:00 from April 20 to 22 and May 6)
Botanical Garden – 9:00-18:00
Illuminations – Sunset until 23:00 (subject to change)
*Some locations in the park will charge a fee. This includes the Honmaru/Kita no Kuruwa Area. It costs ¥310 for adults and ¥100 for children.