6 Best Hanami Spots in Japan: March 2018 Edition
‘Hanami,’ the Japanese tradition of flower-viewing, is a must-do when visiting Japan in springtime. Today, we’re taking an early look at some of the best spots to see Japan’s cherry blossoms during the hanami season in March.
Mitsuike Park (Kanaga Prefecture)
Covering an area of 29.7 hectares, this huge park is also known as “Hyakuju no Mori” for its lush greenery. The trees are surrounded by three ponds, which is where the park gets it name “mitsuike” from (3 ponds), and Yoshino Cherries bloom flowers, gorgeously decorating the waterside. The beauty of Mitsuike Park made it one of the 100 most famous locations for cherry blossoms in Japan. There are 70 varieties of cherry blossoms that flower the environment, from campanulata, which bloom from the start of February, to rarer types such as the yellow ‘ukon’ sakura and yokohamahizakura.
Kawazuzakura (Shizuoka Prefecture)
The ‘kawazuzakura’ is a natural crossbreed of campanulata and the early-blooming Oshima cherry. This breed has a reputation for flowering before other cherry blossoms. Almost 8,000 trees decorate the Kawazu River around town. The kawazuzakura was also chosen as Shizuoka Prefecture’s number 2 cherry blossom, making this a popular spot for hanami.
Sakuma Dam Park (Chiba Prefecture)
Sakuma Dam is a place of relaxation and refreshment upstream Sakuma River where you can enjoy hiking and camping amongst daffodils, ume and azalea. Many cherry blossoms bloom there including the early-bloomer kawazuzakura, Yoshino cherry, shidarezakura, and yaedazakura, making a great spot for hanami and a location where you can enjoy the cherry blossoms over a long period.
Kyunakagawamizube Park (Tokyo)
This park is maintained as a place for relaxation where cherry blossom loving locals plant cherry trees. This one’s also home to the kawazuzakura, and since a wide variety of trees are planted, you can enjoy the cherry blossom season even longer. It’s popular as a hidden, tucked-away gem of a location as it rarely appears on maps.
Hirano Shrine (Kyoto)
Hirano Shrine is famous for its cherry blossoms, a symbol of the enshrined gods’ vitality, which have been around since the Heian Period. It’s home to 400 trees comprised of 60 types of cherry blossoms. Expect to see the ‘momozakura’ which comes out at the beginning of March, as well as the famous ‘sakigake-sakura.’ The Yoshino will bloom at the end of April, followed by rare varieties that will flower one after the other. Hirano Shrine is Kyoto’s 5th most popular hanami spot.
Kigugi-en is a representative garden of the Edo period and designated ‘special place of scenic beauty’ as specified by the Japanese government. When the end of March rolls in, the heart of the garden is in full bloom with shidarezakura, a spectacular view that looks like a running waterfall. The shidarezakura can normally be seen before the Yoshino cherries and are truly a sight to see at nighttime.
Did you enjoy our special selection? For full details on the various locations at the cherry blossoms, be sure to visit the webpages (Japanese). ‘Hanami’ is an important tradition in Japan – the magnificent cherry blossoms absolute must-see, so don’t miss out.
Lisa Larson Designs Cute New Cherry Blossom Hedgehog Items
21.March.2020 | FASHION
An adorable new collection of items fitting for Japanese springtime have been released featuring Lisa Larson’s popular hedgehogs and cherry blossoms. Larson has an interest in Japanese culture, and has designed this line-up in time for the Hanami season.
Letter Paper Set – ¥440 (Tax Included) / Masking Tape (35mm) – ¥550 (Tax Included)
The letter paper and masking tape features cute illustrations of the hedgehogs taking a stroll amongst the cherry blossoms. A great spring gift or souvenir from Japan.
Water Absorbent Cloth – ¥660 (Tax Included) / Tea Towel – ¥660 (Tax Included)
The cloth and tea towel are perfect additions to the kitchen, whether for drying the plates, for food prep, wiping the counter, and so on. The adorable strolling hedgehogs will add a warm touch to any kitchen.
Printed Hand Towel – ¥1,540 (Tax Included)
The hedgehogs are enjoying observing the cherry blossoms on this hand towel, which is light-pink and has a gentle Japanese taste to it. The towel is made using a dyeing technique known as kata-yuzen which is used to dye fabrics for kimono in Kyoto. It’s a versatile item: it can of course be used as a kitchen towel or cloth, but also for wrapping gifts like wine too.
Mamezara Dish (Hasami Ware) – ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
The hedgehogs are in the thick of the fully-bloomed cherry blossoms on this mamezara dish, which can be used for food or placing small items like keys and accessories.
Waffles – ¥1,620 (Tax Included)
These tins, which feature Mikey and the hedgehogs, are filled with a traditional waffle confection that has been sold by Tokyo Fugetsudo since 1927. They are light and crunchy round wafers stuffed with cream.
Hanami Set 2020 (Online Orders Only) – ¥11,000 (Tax Included)
Available online only, this special set is the perfect way to enjoy Hanami in Japan this season, featuring a cute bird sake jug and more.
Celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms in Japan with this new line-up from Lisa Larson.
TONKACHI STORE: https://shop.tonkachi.co.jp/
Cherry Blossoms and Rape Blossoms Compete For Spring at Kusaba River in Fukuoka
19.March.2020 | SPOT
The town of Chikuzen in Fukuoka Prefecture is home to a 2km strip of cherry blossom trees which bloom their pink beauty along the Kusaba River in spring. The area sees countless people flock there during the Hanami season to see the trees in full bloom.
But Kusaba River isn’t only home to cherry blossoms; it also sees rape blossoms sprout their yellow flowers during springtime, which offers a beautiful contrast to the overhead pink from the cherry trees.
The place is lit up in the eveningsーa great chance to see the cherry blossoms in a different light at night.
Rich verdure lines the whole of Kusaba River, so be sure to visit if you’re heading to Fukuoka this spring to see the cherry and rape blossoms.
Address: 875 Hisamitsu, Chikuzen, Asakura-gun, Fukuoka
Bloom Period: Late March – Early April
Access: 5-minutes on foot from Shincho Bus Stop (新町バス停) via Nishi Tetsu Bus
Must-Visit Spots in Kagawa Prefecture in 2020: Cherry Blossoms, Dolphins, Bonsai & More
15.March.2020 | SPOT
Appreciation for the Seto Inland Sea in Japan is on the rise: American company Discovery named Shikoku one of its Top 10 must-visit rising locations around the world for 2020, and the city of Setouchi in Okayama has featured as a recommended travel destination in Western media. One particular location, Kagawa Prefecture, has been featured on many international travel sites as a must-visit place, including on Booking.com, Skyscanner, and REMOTE LANDS, with places such as Takamatsu, Teshima, and Shōdo Island being picked up.
Takamatsu is known as the doorstep that brings together the many islands of Seto Inland Sea. It’s a port city with great fresh food, highly convenient for travellers wanting to visit lots of different islands, and a popular region that brings together elements of Japanese culture.
Today, we take a look at some must-visit locations around Takamatsu, including a new facility opening, must-visit spots for spring to early summer, food, and more.
Shikoku Aquarium – The largest aquarium in Shikoku
Shikoku Aquarium is set to be the largest across Shikoku when it opens its doors to the public on March 20, 2020. It’s located inside Utazu Seaside Park in the town of Utazu where it will exhibit the creatures that live in Shikoku and feature the many different seaside landscapes located there. But the aquarium won’t just stop at showcasing animals, it will also be a cultural facility where you can learn about the history, culture, and natural environment of Shikoku, and there’ll be artwork perfect for the Setouchi Triennale contemporary art festival which is held around Seto Inland Sea every three years.
Address: Utazu Rinkaikoen, 4-1 Utazu, Ayauta District, Kagawa
[March 20, 2020 – September 30, 2020] 9:00-18:00
[October 1, 2020 – March 19, 2021] 10:00-18:00
[Golden Week/Summer Break] 9:00-21:00
No Fixed Holidays
Price: General (16+ Years & High School Students) ¥2,200 / Children (Elementary School Students) ¥1,200 / Toddlers (3+ Years) ¥60
Official Website: http://shikoku-aquarium.jp/
Well-Known & Little-Known-Good Cherry Blossom Spots
Kagawa Prefecture is home to many spots that offer beautiful sounds and sights throughout the four seasons. Cherry blossom season is right around the corner in Japan, so let’s take a look at some must-visit spots, both popular and little-known good ones.
Ritsurin Garden (Takamatsu)
One of the most famous historical gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Garden is home to around 320 Yoshino cherry trees, whose pink colour reflects beautifully off the lake together with the 1,000 green pine trees.
Marugame Castle (Marugame)
Marugame Castle is one of only 12 castle in Japan to have an original wooden tenshu, or castle tower, built. From the great height of the castle’s stone wall, which is the tallest in Japan, one can gaze down at 1,000 cherry blossom trees in bloom.
Around 3,000 cherry trees bloom on t he island, including Yoshino cherries, yama-zakura, and yae-zakura, which roll from the port to the lighthouse.
Asahiyama Forest Park (Mitoyo)
Asahiyama Forest Park is located on the peak of Mt. Asahi, up 238 meters high. There, you can witness 2,000 vibrant cherry blossom trees bloom in spring, including Yoshino cherries. The park’s observation deck is popular too, offering a 360° panoramic view.
Experience the world of bonsai in Kagawa, the only place in Japan which produces pine bonsai trees
Interest in bonsai trees continues to grow every year not just in Japan but overseas too. The number of people incorporating them into their lives as interior decoration is on the rise. Kagawa Prefecture is the only place in Japan which produces pine bonsai trees, the largest places being Kinashi and Kokubunji in Takamatsu. There are around 60 bonsai makers in both of these towns, so you are sure to spot some if you walk through them.
Official Website: https://takamatsu-bonsai.com/en/
The new Takamatsu Bonsai no Sato is also set to open on April 17, which will include an information centre providing information on bonsai culture in Takamatsu, and there will be workshops too. Whether you’re new to bonsai or a pro, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Takamatsu Bonsai no Sato
Grand Opening: April 17, 2020
Address: 353-1 Kokubunjichō Kokubu, Takamatsu, Kagawa
Travel to Kagawa this spring to enjoy the cherry blossoms and pay a visit to the new Shikoku Aquarium.
Hanami in Japan 2020: Bite-Size Sushi Hanami Bento Lunch Box Releasing in Ginza
SHARI and SHARI THE TOKYO SUSHI BAR in Ginza, as well as CRAFT in Ariake, are releasing the perfect accompaniment to your hanami flower-viewing experience in Japan this spring: the “Hanami Roll Sushi Bento” lunch box, which consists of 36 bite-size sushi pieces made up of 12 different kinds of sushi. It will be available February 18 to April 30.
Hanami Roll Sushi Bento (36 Pieces/Serves 3-4): ¥4,500 (Tax Included)
As soon as your take the lid off this colourful assortment of rolled sushi, you’ll find yourself reaching for your camera to snap a photo for Instagram. Each piece is 3cm in diameter and so is deliciously bite-sized. The line-up includes four new kinds of sushi rolls conceived for this release which use seasonal spring ingredients, like sakuradai cherry blossom sea bream, sakura ebi, rape blossoms, fuki giant butterbur, green beans, and moreーas well as eight other types of sushi that are popular classics at each of the three restaurants.
From the four new rolls, we have the sakura ebi shrimp roll, which is served with a gorgeous cherry blossom colour. It’s made with shibazuke pickles and vinegared rice, which gives it its colour, and contains, rape blossoms, okra, Chinese yam, and egg. The rape blossoms add a springtime bitterness to the sweetness of the sakura ebi, creating a wonderful combination of flavours.
Beef Butterbur Miso Roll
Then there’s the sakuradai roll is wrapped with vinegared tobiko flying fish roe, okra, and cucumber, which is topped with sashimi-style sakuradai cherry blossom seam bream and salty cherry blossom leaves. The spring vegetable and tempura roll has shrimp and green bean tempura mixed with yuzu kosho paste; and finally, the beef butterbur miso roll, which contains beef rib seasoned in a sukiyaki style, finished with sesame seeds, and seasoned with butterbur miso.
The eight popular classics include the wagyu roll sushi seasoned with luxurious truffle oil, Italian roll, duck roll, salmon roll, spider roll (soft shell crab), and more. All of these varied picks go great with wine or champagne.
Hanami Roll Sushi Bento (9 Pieces): ¥1,200 (Tax Included)
The “Hanami Roll Sushi Bento” comes in various sizes. As well as the 36 pieces of 12 sushi types, there’s also 18 pieces of 9 types (serves 1-2), and the 9 pieces of 9 types (serves 1).
Reservations are available until 15:00 the previous day. Order yours for your Hanami cherry blossom flower-viewing this year in Japan.
Hanami Roll Sushi Bento
SHARI (TEL: 050-5357-5354) (Address: Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Gochome Floor 2F, 5-13-15 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo)
SHARI THE TOKYO SUSHI BAR (TEL: 050-5212-7574) (Address: ALBORE GINZA Floor 8F, 2-4-18 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo)
CRAFT (TEL: 050-5357-5353) (Address: CRAFT Floor 2F, 3-7-2 Ariake, Koto Ward, Kyoto)
36 Pieces/12 Types (Serves 3-4 People): ¥4,500
18 Pieces/9 Types (Serves 1-2 People): ¥2,400
9 Pieces/9 Types (Serves 1 Person): ¥1,200
Reservations can be made via telephone or in-store until 15:00 the previous day.
*Reservation Window: Telephone 10:00-20:00 / In-Store 12:00-22:30
*Depending on the ingredient stock, reservations may be made on the same day
*The Hanami Roll Sushi Bento is for takeaway only and cannot be eaten in the restaurant
Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo to Release Cherry Blossom Spring Drinks and Merchandise
15.February.2020 | FOOD
Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo boasts the most incredible location, sitting by the side of Nakameguro, one of Tokyo’s most famous spots for seeing the cherry blossoms in spring.
This year, the coffee roastery’s “Sakura Season” is set to begin on February 15, when its cherry blossom-inspired merchandise collection is released, along with a line-up of pink beverages and food.
The official Starbucks sakura merchandise ranges from tumblers and mugs to a key ring, handkerchief, and more, for a total of 10 items.
Strawberry Chia Oolong – ¥900
Poppun Sakura Jasmine Tea – ¥950
Floating Blossom – ¥900
Six beautiful beverages from last year’s Sakura Season at Starbucks are also making a return from the Teavana™️ brand, made with delicate and soft cherries, hibiscus, and tea leaves as refreshing as green grass.
Clockwise From Left: Gianchetti & Sakura – ¥880 / Mini Panettone Sakura – ¥680 / Cornetti Sakura – ¥380 / Maritozzo Sakura – ¥540
Italian bakery Princi®︎ is also heading to Japan for the first time to serve up Italian food culture to people at Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo. Enjoy the floral taste of cherry blossoms done in a Princi®︎ way.
Heading to Tokyo for Hanami and the cherry blossoms? Then make a stop at Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo for this year’s Sakura Season.
Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo Sakura Season
Release Date: February 15, 2020
Location: Starbucks Reserve®︎ Roastery Tokyo
*The Princi®︎ products will also be served at the Starbucks Reserve®︎ Store at Ginza Maronie-dori
Official Website: https://www.starbucks.co.jp/press_release/pr2020-3360.php
Experience Tokyo’s Cherry Blossoms at Night With Rickshaw and Boat Rides
08.February.2020 | SPOT
HOSHINOYA Tokyo, a ryokan accommodation in the centre of Tokyo, has announced an exciting new plan for guests this spring season. Titled “Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi,” the plan gives guests the chance to enjoy city’s cherry blossoms under the night sky from the seat of a rickshaw and from a boat ride. It’s running from March 25 to April 10 this year.
Observe Tokyo’s nightscape and cherry blossoms from the Sumida River
The departing site for the boat ride is located at Nihombashi Pier, just a 5-minute car ride from HOSHINOYA Tokyo. This 60-minute night cruise begins at the pier before floating across the Sumda River. Passengers will be able to to set their gaze on a multitude of Tokyo’s many beautiful cherry blossom spots, including along the coast of Tsukuda and along Oyokogawa River, amongst others.
While aboard the boat, you can enjoy tucking into a spring coloured hanami bento box and sipping on sparkling Japanese sake. Your meal will provide the perfect accompaniment to the enchanting sights your eyes will be treated to, from the dusk-basked cherry blossoms to the reflection of the city lights on the water surface.
Hanami flower viewing on a boat – a tradition since the Edo Period
When Tokyo was known as Edo, its former name used until 1868, the city thrived as a Mizu no Miyako, or “Water Metropolis” due to its sophisticated water transportation system which enabled the carrying of people and goods. During this time, the people of Edo enjoyed the waterside in many different ways. One of these was Fune Asobi, or “pleasure boating,” where people would enjoy the nature along the shore throughout the four seasons. In spring, cherry blossoms would bloom along the Sumida River where some of the official buildings of the Tokugawa Shogunate were located. The Bakufu also incentivized pleasure trips of the masses, and so people would enjoy Hanami, or flower-viewing, from the boats.
HOSHINOYA Tokyo has recreated this experience to not only pay homage to the activities of Edo, but to let people enjoy a luxurious time away from everyday life.
1: Peer at the nighttime cherry blossoms and Tokyo’s evening scenes from your pleasure boat
Your boat ride will take you to the best spots to see the cherry blossoms on that particular day. As night falls, you’ll also get to see some of Tokyo’s most famous tourist spots light up, like Tokyo Skytree and Eitai Bridge. Riverboat Mizuha, who operate the boat, will provide guests with a guide who will give them an insight into the history of the bridges, towns, and surrounding sights.
2: Overhead cherry blossoms fill your vision on the rickshaw
Experience Hanami like never before with HOSHINOYA Tokyo’s rickshaw ride. Your journey begins at the ryokan and ends at Nihombashi Pier. This one-way 30-minute trip will take you to some breathtaking cherry blossom sites, including Edozakura-dori Street which is home to many historical buildings such as the Bank of Japan.
3: Hanami bento and sake provided by a longstanding shop
In the evening, enjoy tucking into a decorative Hanami bento made by Shin-Kaika, a long-standing restaurant in Kanda Myoujinshita by Kanda Myoujin Shrine. The colourful and light-tasting assortment includes cherry blossom pink sea bream kombu, as well as sushi rice seasoned with kurozu. Your meal will also be paired with delicious sparkling Japanese sake. On the way back, you can also enjoy matcha and tea-flavoured confections.
Optional: Rent a springtime kimono and have it fitted on you
For those looking to spend and even more special time out this spring in Japan, they can rent a silk kimono and have it fitted onto them. You select it beforehand and it is put on you at HOSHINOYA Tokyo. They will also do your hair and makeup. And if you have it all fitted early, you can spend the day walking around Tokyo seeing the cherry blossoms. You must book to choose and have a kimono fitted. Prices start upward from ¥50,000 per person.
Tokyo Yozakurabune Asobi
Running: March 25, 2020 – April 10, 2020
Time: 17:30-19:15 (Boat ride is 60-minutes)
Meeting Place: Nihombashi Pier
No. of People: 1 group per day of 2-4 people
Price: Two People ¥102,000 / Three People ¥132,000 / Four People ¥142,000 (Tax, service charge and accommodation price not included)
Includes: Night Cruise, Rickshaw Ride, Hanami Bento, Sparkling Sake, Tea Sweets, Matcha
Bookings: Must be made up to 14 days before your selection date from the official website
Note: Exclusive to guests of HOSHINOYA Tokyo
*Schedule and content subject to change
*Depending on the bloom rate of the cherry blossoms, there is a chance they may not be seen on certain days
*Price of transport from the pier to HOSHINOYA Tokyo not included
Official Website: https://hoshinoya.com/tokyo/en
AI Predicts First Cherry Blossom of 2020 To Spring Up in Tokyo
27.January.2020 | SPOT
Weather app and website Otenki JAPAN’s free cherry blossom forecast ‘AI Sakura Yoso‘ is a service which predicts the blooming stages of cherry blossoms across the country by AI. The service has just released its predictions for the start and full bloom periods of 1006 cherry blossom-viewing locations. Otenki JAPAN has been using AI predictions since 2018 and has significantly improved its accuracy by 9 percent since last year.
According to the AI’s predictions, many places from Kyushu to Tokai and in the Hokuriku region will see cherry blossoms blooming later in the season than the average year whereas many areas of the Kanto-Koshin and Tohoku regions will see sakura blooming earlier than average. Current predictions for blooming start dates include March 19 for Tokyo (7 days earlier than average), March 27 in Nagoya (1 day later than average), March 30 in Osaka (2 days later than average), and March 26 for Kyoto (2 days earlier than average). The earliest cherry blossoms are predicted to be in Tokyo and the latest are predicted to be in Aomori on April 23.
AI Sakura Yoso creates predictions by processing information on the blooming process of cherry blossoms, the weather, climate and much more. The app provides predictions for six stages for the blooming of cherry blossoms from the day they start blooming to the end. The AI uses data on the blooming conditions of approximately 980,000 cherry blossoms at 1,000 locations across the country over the past 10 years combined with weather information collected by Japan’s Automated Meteorological Data Acquisition System (AMeDAS) since 1998. The information is used to study each stage of the cherry blossom starting from its dormant stage and the end of its dormancy to the formation of the bud until the very end of the life cycle. Temperature and weather patterns are studied by the AI to produce its own sakura season prediction which is updated every day.
If you’re keen to get your cherry blossom fill this spring, AI Sakura Yoso will help you plan your trip in advance.
AI Sakura Yoso
Otenki JAPAN Official website: http://www.otenki.jp/
Kyoto Brighton Hotel Offers 5 New Hotel Plans For Springtime, Cherry Blossom & Temple Experiences
26.January.2020 | SPOT
Kyoto Brighton Hotel is now selling reservations for its new “Haru no Asobi Plan” (Springtime Fun Plan) which is taking place between March and May this year and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy Kyoto in the spring and its cherry blossoms.
Spring in Kyoto is the most popular season for tourists and travellers who flock from not only across Japan but from around the world. The Haru no Asobi Plan is made up of 5 exciting plans to see the ancient capital’s breathtaking cherry blossoms, vibrant green maples, and other offerings.
“Asakatsu” – An early morning temple visit and stroll
Get away from the crowded streets and enjoy the rare opportunity to experience incredible early morning sights you don’t normally get to see. Spend a quiet morning in a gorgeous environment in this plan. Several temples and gardens are in place for the experience: Kōdaiji Temple, Bishamon-do Temple, Taizō-in, Haradanien, and Tenryū-ji.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple special night viewing
One of the must-visit spots when travelling to Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera, officially a World Heritage Site. This plan rents out the temple for you to experience it at nighttime. The main building is currently undergoing large-scale renovation to secure the roof as well as the inner construction of the temple. Seeing the temple is truly a sight to behold.
You are guaranteed a view of the famous “Stage of Kiyomizu,” an enormous veranda attached to the main hall. The surrounding trees will be lit with enchanting lights, and you’ll be able to gaze at the distant city nightscape. Experience Kyoto like never before as the warm lights illuminate the Niōmon (Deva Gate), 3-storey pagoda, and purified water which runs from the Otowa Waterfall.
Discover the world of Kyoto embroidery
The traditional practice of Kyounui, or Kyoto-style embroidery, has continued since the Heian Period and is even garnering attention overseas. It’s a delicate and refined style of embroidery unique to Kyoto.
After your embroidery session which will take place in a Kyoto town house nearby the cherry blossom-filled Hirano Shrine, you’ll look at kimono and yukata so beautiful they’ll look like they should be in an art museum, before heading to eat together with the creator.
See the green maple trees of Hōgon-in on a private train
Board the private 1-2 carriage Randen train on the Keifuku Electric Railroad, which runs from Shijō-Ōmiya to Arashiyama. This cute retro train will take you Arashiyama where the green maples are breathtakingly beautiful.
You’ll also get to stroll through the quaint gardens of Hōgon-in Temple, view artwork painted by Noriko Tamura, and more.
Enjoy a panoramic view on a private ride of the Sky Bus, a double-decker bus which is gaining huge popularity right now. You will ride through the city of Kyoto and see the rows of pink cherry blossoms. In April, they will also do an evening tour of the cherry blossoms so you can see them at night, and in May they’ll do a green maple tree tour.
Discover the beauty of Kyoto in this very special hotel plan at Kyoto Brighton Hotel.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel
Address: 330 Shiteicho Nakadachiuri Shinmachi-dori (West side of Gosho), Kamigyo, Kyoto
Official Website (English): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/en/
Plan Page (Japanese): https://www.brightonhotels.co.jp/kyoto/lp/spring2020/index.html
Bunjee Jump From the Top of Kyoto Tower With Their New VR Experience
17.January.2020 | SPOT
Have you ever wondered what the thrill of bungee jumping would be like, but are too afraid of heights to even consider putting it on your bucket list? Have no fear, because Kyoto Tower is bringing a new VR bungee jumping experience to the top of the building which will be available to experience from February 1 for a limited time.
This VR experience was first brought to the tower in the fall of 2018, and this year it is making its grand return. After the event originally ended, there was huge demand for it to be held again.
Those brave enough to have a go at this VR bungee jump (or bungy, depending where you are from), will go above and beyond the 100 meter observation deck to the highest accessible point of Kyoto Towerーup 120.9 metersーwhich is normally closed off to the public, to the special VR deck which has been prepared.
The experience will offer you not only the thrill of jumping from Kyoto’s tallest structure, but the chance to gaze upon a panoramic view of the beautiful city too.
Kyoto Tower VR Bungy Jump
Running: February 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020
Time: 12:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:45)
Location: Kyoto Tower Observation Deck – Floor 1F (the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower)
・VR Bungy Ticket: ¥800 (Tax Included)
・Observation Deck & Bungy Set Ticket (Tax Included): Adults: ¥1,400 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,600)/High School Students: ¥1,300 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,450)/Elementary & Junior High Students: ¥1,100 (Individual Purchase: ¥1,350)
*Ages 7+ only
*Set tickets are available to purchase on floor 1F of Kyoto Tower
*Run times subject to change
*Ticket charges applied for ages 7+; those aged below 7-years-old are not permitted to use the VR system
*An entry ticket to the Kyoto Tower observation deck is not necessary to experience the VR system
Official Website: https://vr-bungee.com/
Japan Shopping Festival: Hello Kitty Supports Huge Shopping Event Aimed at Foreigners
一The Japan Shopping Tourism Organization (JSTO) has announced that it will hold an event titled “Japan Shopping Festival” aimed at foreign tourists in Japan from December 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020.
A questionnaire will be carried out for non-Japanese travellers to win round-trip tickets to Japan. Travellers will be selected randomly from a lucky draw.
②Instagram Photo Contest
Follow Japan Shopping Festival on Instagram and post photos related to the designated themes with the hashtag #jsfphoto. The themes are: ①Memories of what you bought and experienced in Japan, ②Your favourite fruits in Japan, and ③Good things about Japan you want to boast.
③Coupons, Goods & Experiences
Japan Shopping Now is one of Japan’s biggest online shopping portal sites, and they are now promoting information on Japanese shopping overseas in English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean. This includes coupons, sales, and more at almost 1,000 participating stores.
・Japan Shopping Festival Tohoku (December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020)
This shopping festival will take place at 6 prefectures across Tohoku. Discover Japanese confectioneries, fashion, sake, fruit and more, including a tie-up with JR EAST PASS.
Official Website: http://tohoku.japanshopping.org/
・Matsuyama Shopping Festival (December 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020)
From Okaido Shopping Street to Matsuyama Gintengai Shopping Arcade, Matsuchika Town, and more, look forward to end-of-year lucky draws, food events, shopping, and so on.
Official Website: http://matsuyama.japanshopping.org/
Discover the wonders of shopping in Japan and learn more about the country with the Japan Shopping Festival.
Japan Shopping Festival 2019-2020
Running: December 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020
Official Website: http://jsf.japanshopping.org/
Top 4 Places to Visit in Kyoto This Winter: Snow, Gourmet Food, Hot Springs & More
26.November.2019 | SPOT
Kyoto is known as the ancient capital of Japan. It is said to be the place where quintessential Japanese culture started, and has charmed the world over with its incredibly rich 1,200-year history. Today, we take a look at some of the best places to visit in Kyoto this winter as covered by the November 2019 issue of Japanese magazine Mou Hitotsu no Kyoto (“The Other Kyoto”).
From gourmet food to sightseeing spots, the arts and moreーif you’re in Kyoto this year, you have plenty of reasons to leave your hotel room or house.
Yuki Tourou: See the snowy thatched-roof huts
Miyama Kayabuki no Sato is located in Miyamachokita, Nantan. It is home to 39 houses with thatched roofs and is a popular sightseeing spot due to its gorgeous natural scenery throughout the entire year. It was listed in Japan’s Groups of Traditional Buildings in 1993.
In the New Year, snow falls on the huts, which looks beautiful when they light up the “Yuki Tourou”ーor snow lanternsーin late January every year. There are stalls that serve hot food in this little town, and they also host an event where you can make your own snow lantern.
Running: January 25, 2020 – February 1, 2020
Official Website: http://www.yukitouro.jp/
Amanohashidate: One of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sandbank located in Miyazu Bay that separates the north and south inlet of the Asoumi Sea. It formed as a result of pebbles being carried by the ocean current for thousands of years. Its name comes from the way it looks like a bridge spanning across the sky. It is known as one of Japan’s “Three Scenic Views”
Amanohashidate is a sight to behold at any point throughout the year, but if you can travel there in the winter, you’re in for a surprise, as the entire sandbank is littered with pure white snow. On very cold days in the morning the snow even covers the tops of the pine trees, but when the sun rises and the temperature warms up the snow on the frost-tipped trees melts. This has led to it being called an “illusionary sight” due to its rarity. Make a point of getting up super early so you don’t miss it!
Address: Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/en/
Fukuchiyama Castle: The magnificent castle of snow
Fukuchiyama Castle sits atop a tall hill in the city of Fukuchiyama. The castle was established as the new Tanba province by Akechi Mitsuhide in 1579 following the province’s capture in 1576. The castle was demolished once during the Meiji Period but was restored again in 1986. It is now the only castle that remains today built by Mitsuhide.
The castle architecture has a lot of personality, and during the winter months takes on a gorgeous white as a result of the snow. Gazing across the castle land from the watchtower is an absolute must when visiting. Also, if you’re visiting next year, the new Fukuchiyama Mitsuhide Museum is set to open on January 11, so be sure to check that out too.
Address: 5 Chome Naiki, Fukuchiyama, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last Entries 16:30)
Closed: December 28-31, 2019 / January 4-6, 2020
Entry Price: General ¥330 / Elementary & Junior High School Students ¥110
Official Website: https://dokkoise.com/en/temple_shrine/index.html
Monjusou Shourotei: Feast on crab fondue while gazing at Amanohashidate
Monjusou Shourotei is a ryokanーa Japanese-style innーlocated along Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views which we mentioned earlier on this list. All guests staying at the inn are given a window view of Amanohashidate from their rooms.
The inn offers an original salted snow crab fondue. Snow crab is particularly enjoyed for its degree of freshness. It’s served with vegetables and the boiled crab itself, making for a delicious combination of flavours.
The hot springs at Amanohashidate are famous and praised as “the baths of the gods.” They are also said to leave your skin looking beautiful after a dip. The inn also offers open-air baths lined with stones from Shikoku and wild grass from the mountains, offering a truly indulging experience.
Address: Amanohashidate Monjudomisaki, Miyazu, Kyoto
Official Website: https://shourotei.com/
These are just some of the incredible places you can enjoy in wintertime Kyoto. You can find more information on Kyoto Side or from one of our many articles on Kyoto.
TOTOCO Odawara: Kanagawa’s Sea Food Theme Park Opens November 22
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is a new “fish theme park” set to have its grand opening on November 22, 2019 at 10:00am (JST).
The facility was established to promote further exchanges with Odawara Fishing Port which is said to be the biggest fish market in western Kanagawa Prefecture. It is the first “Fishing Port” (Gyoko no Eki*) and will sell seafood sourced locally, fishery products and more, as well as hold events to help promote Odawara.
The building has three flours. The first floor is like a marketplace where fish, fishery products, produce, and more will be sold. The second and third floors house seafood restaurants and offer a panoramic view of Sagami Bay. This view is best observed from the terrace while you enjoy your delicious meal.
*Fishing Port (in Japanese: Gyoko no Eki, or 漁港の駅) is a registered trademark of Odawara City to highlight facilities that promote exchange with Odawara Fishing Port. (Registered Trademark No.: 6163121).
Odawara Fishing Port sells fresh fish sourced from the waters of Sagami Bay, which houses a variety of fish species, as well as fish and processed marine products from around Japan. TOTOCO Odawara will sell these very same products, all delivered directly from the port, to help spread the fishing culture and economy of Odawara.
Let’s take a look at some of the delicious gourmet seafood meals you can expect to tuck into at TOTOCO Odawara!
Totomaru Summit Bowl – ¥2,480
A hearty and towering dish so high that it looks like it might topple over.
Greedy Sea Urchin Eggs & Salmon Roe Bowl – ¥4,280
A dream combination you’ve been waiting for your entire life. Savour the richness and sweetness of both of these mouth-watering delights.
Oyster Egg Donburi Set – ¥1,680
You can’t even see the rice any more for the pile of tasty oyster eggs, with their exquisitely soft texture.
Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO
The third floor of the building is home to Osashimi Tengoku – Odawara Kaisen GO GO, a restaurant that calls itself “Sashimi Heaven” and offers a 59 minute all-you-can-eat buffet of fish, sides, desserts and more.
59 Minute All-You-Can-Eat
Adults – ¥2,590 / Children (Elementary School & Younger) – ¥1,390 / 3-Years & Younger – Free (All Prices Before Tax)
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara is easily reachable from Tokyo and right next to the local station. If you’ve come to Japan looking to try the country’s famous seafood, then make sure to put this place on your list.
Gyoko no Eki TOTOCO Odawara
Address: 1-28 Hayakawa, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture (West side of of Odawara Fishing Port)
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00 (Subject to change depending on the season)
Access: By train – 10 minutes on foot from JR Hayakawa Station / By car – 2 minutes from Seishō Bypass Hayakawa Interchange or 4 minutes from Odawara-Atsugi Road Odawara-Nishi Interchange
Official Website: https://www.totoco-odawara.com