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!
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.
Sakura Miku Appointed Official Character of Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival
09.March.2019 | SPOT
It has been announced that Sakura Miku―an alternative design of Hatsune Miku―has been appointed as the official mascot character for this year’s Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival which will take place from April 20 to May 6.
Hirosaki Park is one of Japan’s most prominent cherry blossom sites. The park blooms cherry blossoms from its 2,600 or so cherry trees, of which there are 52 varieties, which bring in over 2 million tourists every year for the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival. Next year’s festival 2020 will be the event’s memorial year when it celebrates its 100th run.
The event’s main visual features a bright pink Sakura Miku with the cherry trees of Hirosaki Park behind her. This picture will be pasted around the park during the festival.
A stamp rally will take place during the event from April 20 for tourists who can get their hands on an original postcard by taking part.
Take part in this year’s festivals for which lots is being planned.
Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival
Location: Hirosaki Park, 1 Shimoshiroganechō, Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Running: April 20, 2019 – May 6, 2019
Kamakura Igloo Event to Take Place at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru & Alps
09.January.2019 | SPOT
KAI―a line of hot spring hotels produced by Hoshino Resorts―is set to hold an event that makes use of kamakura igloos at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps.
Each branch of KAI offers the chance to experience the full charm of the local area to guests. The event taking place at KAI Tsugaru and KAI Alps will celebrate 2019 being a good new year with lots of lucky decorations adorning the area, sake offerings to the gods and more.
During Japan’s Koshogatsu―or “Little New Year”―which takes place from January 14 to 16, altars are set up inside kamakura igloos where people offer sake and rice cakes to the god of water. The event taking place at KAI too will follow this tradition and make it even more festive by catering it to Tsugaru traditions like “zuguri” spinning tops and aburidashi which is writing done in invisible ink that appears when heated.
Going into more specifics of the events, over at KAI Tsugaru people will offer Joppari sake from Rokka, a local sake brewery, inside the igloos. A 2-meter all fan with a nebuta design will also decorate inside as it is said waving it will ward off evil. People will also be able to play with wooden zuguri spinning tops on top of the snow outside their igloo. This tradition is said to bring good fortune.
When night falls magical golden lamps will line the snow and path to the igloos.
Running: March 1, 2019 – March 7, 2019
Over at KAI Alps, decorative cocoons will be put up at the igloos in the courtyard to pray for abundant harvest. These cocoon decorations are generally spherical but at Alps they are changing things up by bringing in colourful waving cat and daruma designs.
Omikuji―slips of paper that tell your fortune―will be given inside the kamakura. But these aren’t any regular omikuji. When taken out of the box they will appear blank. You must hold the paper close to the flame inside the igloo to see your fortune.
At night, Hokuan Daikoku from a local sake brewery will be served to the gods from inside the igloos lit up with lanterns made from Japanese paper from Shinshu Matsusaki Washi.
Running: February 4, 2019 – February 11, 2019
Time: Omikuji – 15:00-17:00 / Sake Offering – 19:30-20:30
Address: Kamibotanmori-36-1 Ōwani, Ōwani-machi, Minamitsugaru District, Aomori Prefecture
Address: 2884-26 Taira, Ōmachi-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Hoshino Resorts KAI Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/brand/kai/
See Yamagata Prefecture’s Famous Cherry Blossoms in Online Video Series
20.October.2018 | SPOT
‘STAY YAMAGATA’ is a promotional video series created to promote tourism in Yamagata Prefecture by following around real foreign tourists on their travels. There are four videos in total – two for spring and two for summer.
There are two stories for the videos.
The spring segment follows a mother and her daughter from South-East Asia. The daughter chooses their travel destination as Yamagata Prefecture for its famous cherry blossoms. She does so out of filial piety. They encounter numerous people on their travel as they discover what Yamagata has to offer
The summer segment follows three male friends studying abroad in Japan. They use their university summer vacation to travel to Yamagata. They go cherry picking together, go canoeing, see the fireworks, eat seasonal food and enjoy everything else great about Yamagata in the summer.
Spring – Day 1
Yonezawa Station, Matsugasaki Park, Sakura Café, Wakuwaku Kan, Yonezawa-gyu DINING Bekoya, Takahata Winery, YAMAGATA THE TAKINAMI, Eboshiyama Park, Human Shogi, and more
Spring – Day 2
Mt. Takatsumuji, Nanyo Sky Park, Akayu Station, Yamagata Station, Yamagata Chotto-tei, Kajo Park, Nanokamachi, Hanaakarinoyado Tsukinoike, and more
Summer – Day 1
Shinjo Station, Mogami River Basho Line Descent, Cherry Picking, Chido Museum, Yunohama Onsen Kameya, Yunohama Beach, Kameya’s Dinner, and more
Summer – Day 2
Yunohama Morning Market, Yunohama Beach, Sakata Station, Koise Sushi, Sankyo-soko Rice Storehouse, Somaro Maiko Teahouse, Yuza Station, Ramen Shichiro and more.
The STAY YAMAGATA website has also posted recommended plans for those coming from Singapore and Vietnam. It also hosts a range of other videos of Yamagata including places worth visiting in autumn and winter too.
If you’re planning a spring or summer trip to Japan then check out the videos for yourself to see the beauty of Yamagata.
STAY YAMAGATA: https://www.stayyamagata.com/
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival Begins This Month
15.October.2018 | SPOT
The Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival will run from October 19 to November 11.
It will take place at Hirosaki Park which is home to the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual event held in April that was selected as one of Japan’s 100 most famous cherry blossom spots, bringing in over 2 million people every year. The castle tower at the park along with the three watchtowers and five castle gates are also registered as important cultural properties. It is also known for being the place where the Hirosaki Domain resided which was ruled by the Tsugaru clan.
The Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival has been held every autumn since 1962. It serves as a reminder of autumn-time Hirosaki with around maple 1,000 trees dyeing the park in autumnal hues. The 2,600 or so cherry blossom trees there, which turn a beautiful pink in spring, also take on fall colours.
When the sun sets at the festival, the castle tower, gates and the park are lit up with bright illuminations. The park is made even more beautiful by the glowing trees and illumined castle which cast reflections on the water surface.
Experience the magic of autumn in Aomori Prefecture at this year’s festival
Hirosaki Castle Chrysanthemum and Autumn Foliage Festival
Location: Hirosaki Park, Hirosaki Castle Botanical Garden
Running: October 19, 2018 – November 11, 2018
Botanical Garden Entry Price
Adults (High School Students and Above): ¥310 (¥250)
Children (Elementary & Middle School Students): ¥100 (¥80)
Honmaru Kita no Kuruwa Area / Fujita Memorial Garden Entry Price
Adults (High School Students and Above): ¥510 (¥460)
Children (Elementary & Middle School Students): ¥160 (¥130)
*Prices in brackets are chargeable for groups of 10+ people.
*Illuminations will take place from sunset to 21:00.
Festival Website: http://www.hirosaki-kanko.or.jp/web/edit.html?id=cat02_autumn_momiji
Akita the Dog is Taking Over Shibuya to Promote Akita Prefecture
01.September.2018 | SPOT
Akita is the name of a dog (who is also of the dog breed Akita) who has been used to promote tourist information about Akita Prefecture in northern Honshu since 2016. The 4th promotional campaign will be run from September 3 to October 31.
The campaign is being taken to Shibuya in Tokyo. This is an ideal location because not only are there many tourists in Shibuya, but it’s also affiliated with the famous dog Hachiko, who was also an Akita dog born in Akita Prefecture
The campaign’s catchphrase “GO! AKITA” has been changed to “Yeah! AKITA” to express Akita the dog’s joyful voice for his hometown as well as to capture traveller’s reactions to visiting the prefecture.
Look out for the big advertising posters of Akita the dog featuring photos posted on his social media that show the beauty of Akita Prefecture such as at Nekobari Iwa and next to a Kashima (above).
10,000 free rubbish bags will also be handed out featuring an Akita the dog “Happy HalloWan!” design – with wan being the Japanese equivalent of ‘woof.’ The streets of Shibuya become very messy during Halloween, so Akita will be there to lend a paw!
Akita will be dotted all around Shibuya promoting Akita Prefecture, so be sure to find him everywhere!