The ranking of castles that are often searched on the Internet
22.February.2018 | SPOT
Hankyu Kotsusha released the ranking of Japanese castles that are often searched on the Internet.
Thinking about the history of a castle by viewing the castle keep, stone walls, well and the background view of the castle is very fun. Japanese castles which can be enjoyed in every season are popular among many people. Presentations using latest technologies such as AR, VR and projection mapping and various events are held at many castles.
In this article, I will introduce to you the most popular castles of Japan.
1st place – Himeji Castle <Hyogo Prefecture>
Himeji Castle located in Himejishi, Hyogo Prefecture was designated as a national treasure and an important cultural property in addition to being designated as Japan’s first world heritage site in 1993. The castle is also known as “Shirasagi (white heron) Castle” because the exterior of the castle looks like a white heron spreading its wings.
The castle has many interesting spots in addition to the castle keep such as “Kesho Yagura” which Senhime (a princess) used as a resting place and “Okiku Ido (water well)” where a person named Okiku was thrown into the well.
Himeji Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
2nd place – Takeda Castle <Hyogo Prefecture>
This castle is located at the top Gojo Mountain (353.7m) in Asagoshi, Hyogo Prefecture. The castle was closed about 400 years ago and only the stone walls remained. The castle is also known as “the sky castle” since it looks like it is floating on the clouds when a thick mist moves in. The castle is designated as “the holy ground of couples” and therefore many couples visit this castle.
Takeda Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
3rd place: Matsumoto Castle <Nagano Prefecture>
Matsumoto Castle located in Matsumoto-shi, Nagano Prefecture is the oldest remaining five layered castle keep in Japan and is designated as a national treasure. Many people say that the charm of this castle is the beauty of the exterior coated with white and black plaster. The mountains surrounding this castle are very beautiful. Inside the castle, you can meet with the staff of the castle called “Omotenashitai” wearing armor and clothes of ninja and take photos with them.
Matsumoto Castle’s Sightseeing/touring information:
4th place: Edo Castle <Tokyo>
The area around this ruined castle is used by the imperial family. The castle used to be the residence of Ieyasu Tokugawa. You must make a reservation or apply for a ticket on the same day you visit the area (first-come-first-served basis) if you want to view the residence of the imperial family. Higashi Gyoen has a castle keep, Fuijimiyagura (observation deck) and Tokagakudo (music hall). The area has many other interesting points such as the main gate called Otemon, Futae Bridge which is popular as a photo-taking spot, Sakuradamon where “Sakurada Mongai no Hen” (historical incident) occurred and the statue of Masashige Kusunoki.
Edo Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
5th place: Hikone Castle <Shiga Prefecture)
The castle keep, Tsukeyagura and Tamonyagura (observation decks) of Hikone Castle which is located in Hikoneshi, Shiga Prefecture are designated as national treasures. The castle was built to prepare for war, so you can view hidden rooms and Hazama (holes to shoot arrows and fire guns from) in the castle keep. About 400 Japanese plum trees are planted inside the grounds of the castle. The trees bloom in mid to late March every year.
Hikone Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
6th place: Osaka Castle <Osaka>
Osaka Castle located in Osaka-shi, Osaka is a popular sightseeing spot which was designated as a cultural property in 1997 after it was rebuilt and renovated. The castle consists of 8 floors included a museum and observation deck. There are many interesting things to see in this castle such as exhibition rooms, a theatre and a museum. You can view the city of Osaka from the observation deck which is located on the top of the castle.
Osaka Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
7th place: Ueda Castle <Nagano Prefecture>
Ueda Castle was built by Masayuki Sanada in 1583. Seasonal events such as “Senbonzakura Matsuri” where you can view about 1000 cherry blossom trees and “Keyaki Namiki Koyo Matsuri” where you can view lit up zelkovas are held every year.
Ueda Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
8th place: Goryokaku <Hokkaido>
Goryokaku located in the center of Hakodate, Hokkaido is a western-style castle which was built during the Bakumatsu Era (late Edo Era) as an administrative institution of Edo Bakufu (government). There are 5 tipped areas called “Ryoho” and the castle is shaped like a star. The inside area of the fortress is 3 times bigger than Tokyo Dome (125,500 square meters). You can also see the interior of Hakodate Bugyosho located in the center of the castle grounds.
Goryokaku’s sightseeing/information tour
9th place: Kumamoto Castle <Kumamoto Prefecture>
This castle is located in the center of Kumamoto-shi. It has big/small castle keeps and the building consists of 6F and B1F. You can view the city of Kumamoto and Aso Mountain from the top of this castle. “Syoku no Ma” shining in gold which is located inside Hongan Goten was renovated, so this is a “must see.”
Kumamoto Castle’s sightseeing/touring information
10th place (tie): Nagoya Castle <Aichi Prefecture>
A castle which Ieyasu Tokugawa built to conquer Japan. The interior of the castle keep (B1F to 7F) can be viewed and you can observe many historical items such as important cultural assets, body armor, head armors, katanas and hagbuts. An event where you can experience the lifestyle of a domain lord can be experienced. The most recommended item is the life size golden dolphin which you can ride.
Nagoya Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
10th place (tie): Nijo Castle <Kyoto>
This castle which was designated as a world’s heritage site in 1994 was built as an accommodation for Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1603. It is also known as the place where Taiseihokan (historical event where the government of Japan was renewed) was held by the Tokugawa Family’s 15th general Yoshinobu Tokugawa. The national treasure, Ninomaru Goten using 800 tatami mats (3,300 square meter) has 33 rooms and the wall paintings are very beautiful.
Nijo Castle’s sightseeing/touring information
10th place (tie): Hirosaki Castle <Aomori Prefecture>
This castle is built inside Hirasaki Park located in Hirosakishi, Aomori Prefecture. A part of the castle was burnt down by a lightning strike in 1627 but was rebuilt in 1810. Observation decks called “Tatsumi Yagura,” “Hitsuji Saru Yagura” and “Ushitora Yagura” can be observed in addition to the castle keep. Each observation deck is located in a different direction (south east, south west and north east)
Hirosaki Castle’s sightseeing/touring information:
Let’s feel the history of Japan by visiting the castles noted above.
Travel Japan: Turtle Rock, Oshinkoshin Waterfall & Other Must-Visit Sites in Hokkaido’s Shiretoko Peninsula
Shiretoko Peninsula was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and is the northernmost location in Japan to have been so. Even in a place such as Hokkaido, which strikes all with its marvellous natural landscape, Shiretoko is said to be home to many secluded locations. Many of these have not been touched by the hands of man―they have been left as they are―and so one can discover sights, animals and much more that they cannot anywhere else.
We are joined by Mirina, an Instagrammer who posts her experiences travelling to Hokkaido’s many sightseeing spots located in pockets of nature. She has provided us with photos of her trip to the Shiretoko Peninsula and its must-see spots.
The Shiretoko Five Lakes
The Shiretoko Five Lakes are situated inside an old-growth forest from which you can admire the grand Shiretoko mountain range in the back. Many wild animals live here such as the brown bear and black woodpecker. The view is one would expect from a World Heritage Site, with gorgeous scenery to soak up in every direction.
▶︎The Shiretoko Five Lakes
Address: Onnebetsumura, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido
Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html
Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)
Cape Chashikotsu, located on the Utoronishi side, can be seen from Shari and looks just like a giant turtle which is where it gets its nickname “Turtle Rock” from.
▶︎Turtle Rock (Cape Chashikotsu)
Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido
Oshinkoshin Waterfall is listed as one of Shiretoko’s “8 Sights.” This towering waterfall rolls down the rocks and splits into two separate waterfalls halfway down which has given it the nickname “Two Beautiful Falls.” The are stairs that enable you to walk beside the waterfall halfway up, letting you get nice and close to the water. There is also an observation deck atop the waterfall from which you can see many sights such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Shiretoko mountain range. The waterfall is also listed as one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls.
Address: Utoronishi, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido
Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html
The Road To Heaven
This long stretch of road spans 18km and has been dubbed the “Road To Heaven” as when observed from uphill looks like it disappears into the clouds. Situated on one side of the farmlands, one can enjoy a quiet and breathtaking view of the road. It’s also a popular road with bikers and travellers riding bicycles. It’s also a must-see from the observation deck close by.
▶︎The Road To Heaven (Japanese Name: 天に続く道)
Address: Minehama, Shari, Shari District, Hokkaido
Shiretoko Shari Machi Sightseeing Website: https://www.goko.go.jp/multilingual_eng/index.html
Did you enjoy this list? There are countless places to visit in Japan, and some of the best are the quiet, secluded ones. If you get the opportunity to visit Hokkaido, put the Shiretoko Peninsula on your list of must-visit places.
Top 4 Must-Visit Places in Ishikawa to Keep Cool This Summer – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Ishikawa Prefecture was formerly split between Kaga Province and Noto province and is still sometimes thought of as two peas in a pod. What was once Kaga Province in the now southern part of Ishikawa consists of six cities and towns including Kaga, Komatsu, Nomi, Kawakita, Hakusan, and Nonoichi.
Kaga Province is home to many waterfall spots widely known as great places for keeping cool in the hot sun. Providing as great sightseeing experiences, one can bask in the negative ions of the waterfalls and overcome the summer scorch.
Watagadaki gets its name from its appearance which is likened to falling torn cotton (wata being the Japanese word for the material). You will arrive right next to the waterfall when you descend down the path beside it, at which its great tumbling sound will fill you with a feeling reminding you that you are enveloped in nature.
▶︎Watagataki Waterfall (綿ヶ滝)
Address: 1-4 Shimoyoshitanimachi, Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture
Enquiries: 076-274-9544 (Hakusan Tourist Centre)
Access: 50-minutes south of Japan National Route 157 via Hakusan Interchange / 60-minutes from Kanazawa Station
Nanatsudaki Falls is comprised of seven smaller waterfalls which it gets its name from. It has long been a place of worship. Six of the waterfalls are found upstream, where the water rolls beautifully over the rocks which have formed over tens of thousands of years as a result of the movement of the earth’s crust. The surrounding trees boast lush green verdure or red and yellow autumnal leaves depending on the season, offering different spectacular sights to behold whatever time of the year you visit. There’s a path you can walk along where the upper six waterfalls are so you don’t have to worry about falling in!
▶︎Nanatsudaki Falls (七つ滝)
Address: Nagatakimachi, Nomi, Ishikawa
Enquiries: 0761-51-2308 (Nomi no Satoyama Fan Club)
Access: 25-minutes by car from Nomi-Neagari interchange
The water at Tsuruga Falls flows down five levels, and the biggest waterfall at the back splits into two separate waterfalls. Collectively the waterfalls tower up 30 meters high which is an incredible sight to see when up close. Tsuruga Falls gets its name from the splitting waterfall at the back which is said to look like the legs of a crane.
▶︎Tsuruga Falls (鶴ヶ滝)
Address: Yamanakaonsen Aratanimachi, Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture
Enquiries: 0761-78-0330 (Yamanaka Onsen Tourist Association)
Access: 15-minutes by car from Yamanaka Onsen Bus Terminal
The name origin of Junigataki Waterfalls lies in its twelve separate falls which flow from the Gotani River. The incredible crashing sound of the water cannot be put into words; it’s an overwhelming spectacle that will have you wanting to go back more than once. In summertime it’s common to see families and young people playing in the water from up at the top of the waterfall down to the lake below. The waterfalls are a quite a distance from the city of Komatsu, but there are roads that lead right to it so it’s very accessible.
Address: Nunohashimachi, Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture
Enquiries: 0761-22-4111 (Komatsu City Hall)
Access: 45-minutes by car from JR Komatsu Station
Did you enjoy this list? If you’re in Japan this summer visiting Ishikawa then be sure to pay a trip to one of Ishikawa’s many waterfalls to cool yourself off.
Komatsu City Official Website
Seafood Heaven at Shizuoka’s New Restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo
Atami Ginza Shopping District in Shizuoka’s seaside city of Atami is enjoying a new boom of bustling customers this year, and they’re sure to continue pouring in with the opening of its new seafood entertainment restaurant Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo. The eatery opened its grand doors on August 8, offering fresh, flavourful seafood dishes. In the evenings, the restaurant turns into Osakana Sakaba where they serve gorgeous sake.
Atami is home to many fishing harbours, including those in Ajiro, Izuyama, and Hatsushima. Atami’s waters are a treasure trove of sea life, offering a bounty of seafood such as mackerel, salmon, shrimp, Splendid alfonsino, shellfish, and more.
The restaurant uses a previously vacant building which has been renovated for the opening. Their menu concept is “Atami nostalgia” which will fuse together traditional Atami food with new spins. Food is prepared in an open kitchen in a variety of ways including sashimi, grilled, steamed, and so on.
Splendid Alfonsino Rice Bowl – ¥2,780 (Before Tax)
The absolute must-try on their menu is their Splendid alfonsino rice bowl. It’s topped generously with huge cuts of horse mackerel, mackerel, and Splendid alfonsino, all caught fresh from neighbouring harbours.
The restaurant also serves the ginormous Japanese spider crab which is a local speciality in the city of Izu. They are kept fresh in tanks in the restaurant. In the evening, when the restaurant turns into a bar, you can have this crab served however you like: as sashimi, grilled, or even steamed. As well as fresh seafood, they also serve vegetables and other meat, all sourced locally. Tofu, desserts and other food is too.
Japan is known for its exquisite seafood. If you’re travelling to Shizuoka this summer, be sure you pay a visit to the new Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo.
Atami Ginza Osakana Shokudo (Osakana Sakaba at night)
Address: 8-8 Ginza-cho, Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00-16:00 (Last Orders 15:30) / Dinner 17:00-22:00 (Food Last Orders 21:00/Drink Last Orders 21:30)
No Fixed Holidays
Access: 14-minutes on foot from JR Atami Station
Official Website: http://www.osakana-atami.com/
Stay Cool This Summer in Kyoto at These 4 Nature Spots
When talking about seasons in Kyoto, a lot of people are sure to point towards autumn when the leaves turn fiery red and sun yellow. But did you know that in Kyoto enjoys cool and truly beautiful summers?
If you’re in the old capital this summer, or are planning to catch the sun there with a trip next year, then you’ll want to add the 4 spots in this list into your schedule, each abloom with magical foliage and verdure.
We are joined by Macchan, a Japanese Instagrammer who snaps photos of sightseeing spots around Kyoto lush with greenery.
Giouji Temple is a modest thatched hut wrapped in a bamboo thicket and maple trees. The temple is detailed in the epic The Tale of the Heike in which the dancer Gio fled to the temple from her home in the capital with her mother and sister after falling out of love with Taira no Kiyomori.
A visit here ensures you can enjoy the summer with more than just your eyes as you listen to the dancing of the bamboo thicket and the cries of the cicadas.
Address: 32 Sagatoriimoto Kozakachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.giouji.or.jp/en
Adashino Nenbutsu-ji is a Buddhist temple with a history spanning 1,200 years. A memorial service for those who died without kin is taking place on August 23 and 24 at the riverbed of the temple’s west wing where candles will be lit in their honour. Lanterns are also lit in the surrounding area along the streets.
Address: 17 Saga Toriimotoadashinocho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.nenbutsuji.jp/index.html
Fushimi Port Park
Fushimi Port Park is a huge park home to a gymnasium and sumo area. They also have a hiking course. The sea does not reach here, but there is a canal which boats go up and down, and this is where the park gets its name. It has a bounty of trees and plants, so if you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful stroll in nature then be sure to visit.
Fushimi Port Park
Address: Yoshijima Kanaidocho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://www.kyoto-park.or.jp/fushimi/
This residence was built for and used by the Kan’in-no-miya family in 1710, with Prince Naohito as its founder―the son of Emperor Higashiyama. The family lived in the house until 1877 after which they moved to Tokyo. Following the war, it was liberated and became a park, and today it is used to exhibit photography and paintings. The residence is famous for its peach trees, making it a popular spot in spring. However, in summertime, it’s much quieter, adding grace to the tranquillity of the surrounding green landscape. What’s more is that despite it being such a prestigious location, it’s free to enter! Don’t tell too many people about this secret spot.
Address: 3 Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo War, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://kan-in-nomiya-teiato.jp/eng/
Macchan has visited many incredible spots around Kyoto, so if you’re in need of recommendations be sure to give them a follow.
Become Poop and Travel Through the Body in Kyoto’s Bizarre Exhibition
The Toei Kyoto Studio Park―a theme park in Kyoto modelled after the Edo period of Japan―is set to hold an exhibition from next month titled “A Bizarrely Great Adventure Through the Body” in which you can travel through a giant model of a body to learn all about faeces.
The event is themed on the best-selling children’s book series Grossology by Sylvia Branzei which gives humorous but straightforward descriptions of bodily functions and various medical conditions.
Stinky Poop (Unchi Kusai), the ninja mascot of the event, will join visitors on their adventure as they experience the gross potential of the human body: burps, farts, bodily odours, and more.
A total of fifteen attractions will make up the event where kids and adults can discover the “secrets” of the human body.
At the Sneeze Shutter you will learn why we sneeze by firing balls―the “foreign substance” entering the nose―into the giant nostrils which will cause it to become itchy. If you can get five balls into the nose it will let out a sneeze and blown out the balls.
The Kidney Game
At the Kidney Game you will help deliver urea, sugar, and other materials necessary for the kidney to the blood vessels to understand how the kidney functions.
Poop Fortune Telling
Sit on a real toilet and a poo character will appear on the monitor to tell you your fortune that day.
Learn all about poo at the display board which features lots of interesting information.
Why do we burp when we drink fizzy beverages? Burp Kid will explain it to you.
Take a photo with the giant poo
At the end of your trip to the event, take a commemorative photo next to the giant poo pile and butthole.
This is just a snippet of what there is to see at Kyoto’s bizarre poo exhibition. Visit to learn all about something we all do but don’t talk about!
A Bizarrely Great Adventure Through the Body (Japanese: からだのふしぎ大冒険)
Running: September 14, 2019 – December 15, 2019
Price: General (13+ Years) ¥800 / Children (3-12 Years) ¥600
*A separate fee will be charged for entry to Toei Kyoto Studio Park
*Children aged 2-years and below are permitted free entry
Event Page (Japanese): http://www.toei-eigamura.com/event/detail/240
Set tickets for the event and entry to Toei Kyoto Studio Park are now on sale at FamilyMart.
Adults: Park Entry ¥2,100 + Event Entry ¥800
Junior High School Students: Park Entry ¥2,000 + Event Entry ¥800
Children (3-12 Years): Park Entry ¥1,600 + Event Entry ¥600
*By buying this set you get ¥100 off what you would pay for purchasing them separately. The first 2,000 people to buy a children’s ticket set will receive a plush toy
Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Address: 10 Uzumasa Higashihachiokachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Experience Kyoto at Night: 5 Must-See Spots – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys waves of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s situated in a valley. If you’ve never walked around Kyoto’s towns at night then we invite you to add it onto your list of sightseeing experiences.
We have compiled a list of 5 must-visit locations to best enjoy Kyoto’s nightscape. We are joined by Taka, a Japanese Instagrammer who conveys the beauty of Kyoto through his picturesque photographs which has has provided us today.
Kyoto Station & Kyoto Tower
The modern architecture of Kyoto Station is a juxtaposition against the traditional image of Kyoto. There are lots of great places inside the station where you can get up high and gaze down at Kyoto’s streets, but the absolutely unmissable nighttime spot are the mirrored windows. When evening sets in, you can see Kyoto Tower―which is opposite the station―reflected on the outside. Of course, you can enjoy the tower during the day too, but at night they light it up, making for a truly magical sight.
Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto Station Building Official Website: https://www.kyoto-station-building.co.jp/
Address: 721-1 Higashishiokojicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:40)
*Opening hours subject to change without notice
Official Website: https://www.keihanhotels-resorts.co.jp/kyoto-tower/
Yasaka Shrine is an easy sightseeing spot to reach being just a 5-minute stroll from Gion-Shijo Station. The shrine is a power spot said to provide good luck when it comes to marriage ties. It bustles with visits from people from around the world and is in fact open 24-hours a day.
Paying a visit at night provides you with an entirely different look at Yasaka Shrine. Why not dine out along Shijō Street and take a walk to the shrine when the sky turns dark?
Address: 625 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/
Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Minamiza is the oldest theatre in Japan and is officially registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property. Like Yasaka Shrine, the closest station to the theatre is Gion-Shijo Station. Leave through Exit 6 and it’s right outside.
Minamiza has a long history spanning back to 1610 when it was founded. In May this year, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed a special concert there entitled Kyary Kabuki Kabuki which made use of projection mapping, fusing history and tradition with the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a concert like no other. The theatre is becoming a new sightseeing spot as it is lit up at nighttime. All of the lights are turned on until 10pm after which just the roof lights are kept on.
▼Kyoto Minamiza Theatre
Address: 198 Nakanocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://www.shochiku.co.jp/play/theater/minamiza/
Ninenzaka is a long winding road that leads up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and is also a very famous tourist spot. It is registered under the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings. In the daytime, the street bustles with locals and tourists dipping in and out of the souvenir shops, but the dark evenings of Ninenzaka are another kind of wonderful. The number of tourists drops significantly at night meaning you can have the street all to yourself and take plenty of photos, warm lanterns lighting your way.
Address: 2 Kiyomizu, Masuyacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: http://www.2nenzaka.ne.jp/
Kiyomizu-dera is a 25-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojō Station which is reached via the Keihan Main Line. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient Buddhist temple is a very popular tourist destination. What we want those of you to see when visiting in the evening is the beautiful sunset which can be seen from the temple, colouring the streets of Kyoto a gorgeous orange.
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/access.php
Official Website: https://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/
Taka has visited so many incredible locations in Kyoto, so if you’re planning a trip there and need some recommendations be sure to follow him on Instagram.
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo Offers Luxurious Accommodation Plan & Tea Ceremony Experience For Families
05.August.2019 | SPOT
Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo, a highly prestigious and magnificent 4-star hotel located in Shinjuku, is now serving an all-new “luxurious” family package which includes a tea ceremony experience and much more. It is currently running from July 20 to September 1.
The rooms offered in the accommodation plan are the hotel’s popular Wide Twin Rooms located on the Premier Grand club floor. Use of the Club Lounge is included in the package. The Wide Twin Rooms include two roomy queen-size beds which span 1.53 meters wide which allow parents to sleep comfortably with their children. Rooms also feature their own bathroom facilities.
The package also includes a check-in simulation for children aged 6-12 years where they can get a feel for what it’s like to check-in. They will fill in their own check-in cards with parents and receive a ticket for the tea ceremony experience. They will be able to take their card home with them and take a commemorative photo.
The tea ceremony experience will be held on the hotel’s 10th floor in the “Shofuan,” an authentic tearoom that has been in the hotel since it opened in 1971. Parents and children will receive proper instruction from the tea ceremony teacher before pouring their own tea, allowing them to learn about traditional Japanese culture and etiquette. They will receive a special certificate of completion at the end.
If you’re travelling to Japan as a family this summer then enjoy it in luxury at Hotel Keio Plaza Tokyo.
Tea Ceremony Experience and Luxurious Accommodations for Families
Running: July 20, 2019 – September 1, 2019
Price: ¥18,450 per person for the Wide Twin Rooms on the Premiere Grand Club Floor *Usage for 2-4 people (Includes use of the Club Lounge, breakfast, and includes service charge and tax)
①Tea Ceremony experience for overnight guests (1.5 hours required, children of preschool age or younger cannot participate but are welcome to watch)
②Simulated Club Lounge check-in experience for children and special commemorative photographs available between 2:00p.m. to 5:00p.m.
③Amenity items for mother use (skin care products etc.)
④Commemorative certificates of stays and tea ceremony completion, and photographs presented to guests
⑤Complimentary late check-out at 12:00p.m. (Normal check-out time is 11:00a.m.)
⑥Complimentary use of Sky Pool facilities
Enquiries & Reservations: +81-35322-8000
Keio Plaza Official Website: https://www.keioplaza.com/
Once Every 33 Years a Secret Door at Tenjō-ji Temple in Kobe is Opened
04.August.2019 | SPOT
The Buddhist temple Tenjō-ji is located on Mount Maya at the heart of the mountainous area of Mount Rokko. This month, something very special is happening at the temple. An elusive door housed there is opened only once every 33 years, and this month from August 1 to 15, it is open.
Tenjō-ji is the only temple in Japan that has a building dedicated to Maya-bunin, the mother of Buddha. Its long history begins with Hōdō Sennin, an Indian high priest who build the temple at the behest of Emperor Kōtoku. In Japan, Maya-bunin is worshipped as as symbol of easy childbirth and child-rearing. Mount Maya, the mountain on which Tenjō-ji sits, is named after her.
Mount Maya, located in Kobe’s Nada ward, is a 702 meter tall mountain and one of the major peaks of Rokkō Mountains. It is close to the town areas of Kobe, and from the mountain peak one can see Kobe, Osaka, the Kii Peninsula, Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and more, making it a popular tourist destination. It’s also frequented by Kobe locals who visit with their families to eat bento, as well as couples looking to catch a glimpse at the gorgeous nightscape atop the mountain apex.
Inside the secret door now open at the temple until August 15 are three hidden Buddhist idols: the Eleven-Faced Avalokitesvara, Acala, and Vaiśravaṇa. This is very much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan right now, you won’t want to miss this extremely special occasion. If you do, you’ll have to wait another 33 years!
While it is open there will be talks and faith healing by the priests three times a day (10:30/12:00/14:00), exclusive celebratory merchandise, limited-time goshuin stamps, and more.
Running: August 1, 2019 – August 15, 2019
Address: 2-12 Mayasanchō, Nada Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
*Opening hours extended on August 8 and 11
Official Website: http://www.mayasan-tenjoji.jp/
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Hotel in Kosuge Village Where the Population is Just 700
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura is a new hotel opening in the village of Kosuge in Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture on August 17. The hotel is renovated from an old Japanese-style house that was originally used for local personages and was constructed over 150 years ago.
Kosuge is about two-hours from Tokyo and is completely enveloped in the natural environment with 95% of the land occupied by trees and nature. Its population is around 700 which is a mere third of its peak population. It is currently faced with a serious depopulation problem due to its ageing population.
The hotel will open in an effort to pass on the beautiful landscapes and culture of the village to the next generation. It hopes to aid in solving the problem of its declining population and empty houses while acting as a means to bring in tourism and sightseeing.
The hotel serves as just the first part of this village revitalisation project. It features 4 guest rooms called OHYA as a restaurant that seats 22.
There are three rooms in the main building and one in the basement. Each is designed with privacy in mind and each has its own concept.
From the rooms guests can enjoy the view of the gorgeous Japanese-style gardens surrounding the hotel.
The restaurant menu concept is titled 24 Sekki, which denotes the twenty four seasonal turning points of the old Japanese calendar, and is made using carefully local ingredients so that guests can enjoy an authentic Kosuge experience.
All the staff at the hotel are local villagers. The majority of the ingredients used in there are grown and produced by the farmers of Kosuge. The hotel also offers other services for guests to get to know the area better such as nature walks and bike rides through the village. You are made to feel like one of the locals.
A second building will be renovated in May 2020 to accommodate two more rooms. There are 70-100 vacant buildings in Kosuge, so there are plans in place to receive permission from landlords to make further repairs, improvements and renovations.
If you’re travelling to Japan and are looking for a truly remote experience then why not visit the quaint little village of Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture?
NIPPONIA Kosuge Genryū no Mura
Address: 3155-1 Kosuge, Kitatsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture (In Japanese: 山梨県北都留郡小菅村3155-1)
Grand Opening: August 17, 2019
Rooms: 4 (10 People)
Price: From ¥25,000 per person (includes one breakfast)
①Approximately 2 hours by car from Tokyo.
②1 hour by bus from Ōtsuki Station via the JR Chūō Main Line, 70-minutes by car from Oume Interchange
③1 hour by bus from Okutama Station via the Ōme Line, 20-minutes by car from Lake Okutama
Reservations: Open from August 1, 2019 via the following website: https://www.ikyu.com/vacation/00050804/
See Traditional and Modern Japanese Culture Collide With Yukata, DJs & More at Tokyo’s Hamarikyu Gardens
The three-day Hamarikyu Oedo Cultural Festival will take place at the beautiful Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo from August 23 to 25. It will be produced by international fashion designer and stylist Junko Koshino.
The boisterous festival is a coming together of Japan’s traditional Edo period and modern times which will be celebrated with a myriad of exciting experiences.
The centrepieces of this year’s event are the DJ performances and Yukata Fest which will take place around the two 6-meter tall pillars in the garden’s plaza. DJ KOO will appear as a special guest on Friday August 23rd while Japanese models Arina Urahama, Sayaka Shimizu and YORI will take the spotlight on Saturday 24th wearing Edo-style outfits with a contemporary pop spin all made by Junko Koshino.
During the Yukata Fest, there will be taiko drumming along to the DJ performance. Three people from the Eitetsu Fu’un no Kai―a group supervised by famous Japanese musician Eitetsu Hayashi―will be the drummers. The Fest will mash together traditional Japanese music with modern DJing.
Expect to be thrilled with an up-close performance of kendo swordsmanship, iai―the art of drawing one’s sword―and a showcasing of naginata, a type of long pole weapon. There will also be a play area where you can play karuta with the Hyakunin Isshu one-hundred poems which was popular during the Edo period, blow bubbles, and more.
And of course, there’ll be plenty of Japanese food to tuck into as well served at one of the many booths. This includes namie yakisoba, a local speciality soba noodle dish adored by the people of Fukuoka which will be served as part of maintaining the culture, a Fukushima no Sake standing bar which has won the top award in the Shinshu Kanpyokai 7 years in a row, and so on.
Specially prepared traditional Japanese wagashi confections produced by Junko Koshino will also be sold as part of a collaboration project with Ito En who are sponsoring the event and holding a special tea party. They are limited in availability, and those lucky few who do get a spot will be able to enjoy tea and sweets while enjoying a view of the spectacular Japanese-style gardens at the Nakajima No Ochaya cafe.
Visitors will also be able to pick from a wardrobe of bright and colourful yukata, including some designed by Junko Koshino, at one of the booths at the festival and have them fitted on from them. Those who arrive already dressed in a yukata will receive free entry to the festival!
You’ll completely forget you’re in the boisterous city of Tokyo while at this traditional x modern fusion of a festival. If you’re in Japan this summer, then don’t miss out. More details of the festival and its content can be found on the official website below.
Hamarikyu Oedo Cultural Festival 2019
August 23 @ 17:00-21:00
August 24 @ 11:00-21:00
August 25 @ 11:00-17:00
*Hamarikyu Gardens are open from 9am as usual while the festival is running
Location: Hamarikyu Gardens (1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo Ward Tokyo)
Price: General ¥300 / 65+years ¥150 (Free for elementary school children and younger, residents of Tokyo, and middle school student residents and younger)
*Free entry for those wearing a yukata
Official Website: https://hamarikyu-event2019.jp/
3 Must-Visit Places in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture – MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON
Aichi Prefecture is located in the centre of Japan’s Honshu island. It is home to countless shops, astounding castles, and many sightseeing spots. Mother nature is a huge part of Aichi’s beauty where she has provided plenty of places for enjoying the outdoors.
Instagrammer NAMIKO, who travels all over Japan to visit tourist and sightseeing spots, is here today to showcase three unmissable places to visit when travelling to Aichi using photos she has posted.
Aichi Farm (Aichi Bokujo)
Running just a 10-minute stroll from Kurozasa Station is Aichi Farm which is home to various farm animals, a place where you can enjoy BBQ food, and more, making it a very popular spot for friends and families looking for a day out.
But the absolute must-see part of your trip here during summer are the sunflower beds which bloom from early July right up to early September. The best times to see them in full bloom are posted on the farm’s official website so be sure to check before packing your outdoor gear and heading out.
▼Aichi Farm (Aichi Bokujo)
Address: Minamiyama-977 Komenokichō, Nisshin, Aichi
Opening Hours: Dependent on the season, check the official website for details
No Fixed Holidays (Except New Year’s and Tuesdays when the horse riding club is running)
Official Website: http://www.aiboku.com/
Nomazaki Lighthouse, or Noma Lighthouse for short, can be found along the coast of a town called Mihama in Chita District. This town bears many sightseeing spots including the aquarium and art museum. The lighthouse can be reached by riding the Meitetsu Chita New Line to Noma Station. You then change onto the Mini Seibu Bus and get off at Noma Lighthouse (野間灯台).
It is the oldest lighthouse in all of Aichi Prefecture and is popular for its “kawaii” appearance. Wanderlust travellers will love basking in the radiant summer sun by the sea and sandy beach when they go to visit Noma Lighthouse.
Address: Iwanari-20-1 Onoura, Mihama, Chita District, Aichi
No Fixed Holidays
Official Website: https://www.aichi-now.jp/spots/detail/115/
Himakajima is an island in Mikawa Bay which can be reached in just an hour from Nagoya, the capital of Aichi Prefecture. Not only do you have sunny beaches, there’s also a temple, a park for children to play in, the island’s famous giant swing, and lots of other fun places to explore. It’s also known for its octopus and blowfish catches which can be eaten there.
There are plenty of spots for taking great photos too. Since it’s an island located off the coast, any photo you take will look picturesque.
Official Website: https://www.himaka.net/
If you’re seeking out even more travel recommendations and sightseeing spots around Japan for your bucket list then we highly encourage you to follow NAMIKO on Instagram.
Kyoto’s Famous Buddhist Temple With Heart Window Holds Wind Chime Festival
The ancient city of Kyoto enjoys flurries of tourists and sightseers from around the world throughout the year. It is particularly hot during the summertime because it’s located in a valley.
Shojuin is a Buddhist Temple located in a summer retreat that was erected nearly 800 years ago. Hidden at the temple is the 11-faced Buddha statue of Kannon Bosatsu which is open to the public only once every 50 years.
The temple has a long history, and today it is used as a site for yoga, copying the sutras, and other activities when booked in advance. It’s enjoyed by people of all ages.
Today, we are joined by Macchan, an Instagrammer who tours the many sightseeing spots of Kyoto. They have provided photographs of the must-see parts of this ancient temple.
Shojuin is famous for its beautiful heart-shaped window located in the reception hall as well as its 160 pieces of ceiling art. The decorative window has been around for nearly 1,400 years and has survived disasters. It stands as a symbol of happiness.
From outside the heart window visitors can enjoy the different flowers through the four seasons. Right now during summer the view is a green spectacle. At nighttime the outdoor garden is lit up beautifully as shown in the photo.
Shojuin is famous for its summer Wind Chime Festival which is currently running until September 18.
2,000 colourful wind chimes gently sway around the temple with the summer breeze. The chimes are there for their sound and appearance and to elicit that sense of refreshing coolness.
Even the wind chimes are illuminated in the evenings. They are lit up on weekends only (except August 1 to 18) from 18:00-20:00.
The hypnotic ring of the wind chimes sounds they are calling the wind. If you’re travelling to Kyoto this hot summer, why not plan a trip to Shojuin?
Macchan has lots of other photos on their Instagram where you can feel the vibe of Kyoto. Use it as reference when you’re planning your Kyoto sightseeing.
Address: Kawakami-149 Okuyamada, Ujitawara, Tsuzuk District, Kyoto
①Reachable by Keihan Uji Bus (Numbers 180, 182 or 184) from Uji Station and Shin-Tanabe Station. Get off at Ichumae Bus Stop (維中前)
②10 minutes by the Okayamada Community Bus or taxi
Official Website: http://shoujuin.boo.jp/