Ninja Arts, Woodchopping & More – Experience Mie Prefecture at Nature-Experience Fair
20.March.2018 | SPOT
A nature-experience fair is heading to Mie Prefecture. This marks the second edition of the event, continuing from last year.
The fair is packed with fun activities for all to get involved with, such as climbing inside a giant ball and walking across the water, bouldering where you must use all your might to scale walls without tools or equipment, and much, much more.
There will also be booths set up at the event where you can network and become a member of the fair, hear about all the activities they do etc. Take part and have fun.
Ninja Art Activity
Strap Making with Pearls
Wooden Ball Pool
Head to Mie Prefecture and make lots of fun memories!
Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku: The New Hot Spring Resort Hotel in Mie Prefecture
28.June.2020 | SPOT
Yukai Resort, a company in Japan which manages lots of famous hot spring resorts across the country, opened Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku in Toba, Mie on June 5, 2020.
Yukai Resort manages 29 well-established hot spring resort hotels and ryokan throughout Japan, including hotels where you can get one night with dinner and breakfast from just ¥7,500 (before tax) to ryokan where you can enjoy kaiseki meal courses, and more. All their luxury establishments feature hot springs surrounded in lush environments.
Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku opened on June 5, 2020 and is taking all of the necessary precautions against COVID-19 to protect guests and so that guests can enjoy a comfortable stay.
Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku is 10 minutes by car from Toba Aquarium and 30 minutes from Ise Grand Shrine, making it a great location to enjoy the sightseeing spots of Ise and Shima. The hotel’s concept is centred on being an “active resort” where you can get the full Toba experience with history, the sea, and activities.
The large open-air communal baths look out onto Toba Bay. The baths are designed like infinity pools, giving the effect that they are connected to the sea. Guests can enjoy a dip in the day or evening so they can enjoy both a blue sky or starry sky. There are also saunas.
There is also an indoor swimming pool with warm water, as well as foot baths, a kids play park, karaoke room, and many more fun features.
Yukai Resort Premium Toba Saichoraku also houses Yukai Resort’s first ever indoor glamping guest rooms with large tents decked with beds, sofa, carpet, cushions, and other amenities for a glamorous camping experience. There are glamping rooms with their own open-air baths that look out onto Toba Bay too, as well as both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms.
As a precaution against COVID-19, the restaurant is serving its food for takeout only until August 31, 2020. Guests can enjoy their meal in their rooms or in one of the many communal spaces. There’s plenty of health Japanese food to enjoy including sushi, Matsuzaka roast beef, eel, tuna, and more.
This Week’s Dessert: Indulging in a Seasonal Parfait at Kinoshita Chaen in Ise
One thing I do at least once a week without fail is treat myself out to some delicious food or dessert. I find it very important time well spent in order to live a happy, fulfilling life.
This week, a business trip took me out of Tokyo to the city of Ise in Mie Prefecture. When the trip was over, I had some spare time to kill before my train arrived, so I went inside a cafe called Kinoshita Chaen which is close to Ise Grand Shrine.
You can arrive at Kinoshita Chaen in just three minutes on foot is walking from Ise Grand Shrine, or five mintues from Ise Station. The exterior design of the building takes on a Western style, which I found to be both cute and retro. You can feel the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the cafe as soon as you step inside. The decor is decked out with all things wooden.
The cafe has been around since the Meiji Period. It serves drinks and desserts all made using tea, and offers both eat-in and takeout services.
I ordered their seasonal-exclusive parfait. 90% of the people in there were ordering it, so I thought it must be popular!
Strawberry & Parfait Puree Parfait w/ Japanese Black Tea – ¥1,300 (Tax Included)
This super cute parfait is completely stuffed to the top with strawberries♡
You can snap cute photos of it no matter the angle♡
When I spooned the caramel puree, soft custard reveal itself. You get a delicious pairing of the bitter flavour and crunchy texture of the caramel with the subtly sweet custard.
The next ingredient to show itself was the mascarpone cream, which combines with the rest of the flavours perfectly. Once your mouth is satisfied with the sweetness of the flavour combinations, you’re next met with Ise matcha gelato.
The matcha gelato is a great palate cleanser for the sweet ingredients when eaten on its own. When eaten together with the sweet puree, you get a completely different kind of delicious flavour. I recommend trying it together with the puree, mascarpone cream, and the crunchy pie which is the next layer.
Moving on from the sweetness and bitterness, the next layer is fresh strawberry sherbet, which is a combination of sweet and sour. To finish, you’re brought back to the subtle sweetness once more with white chocolate mousse, strawberries, and mixed berry jelly.
The final bites of a parfait can generally be hard to get down because you grow tired of the flavour, but the ones sold at Kinoshita Chaen are on another level. The various flavours and textures mean you won’t grow tired as you spoon through the many layersーyou’ll find yourself savouring every last bite.
The Japanese black tea that came with it was luxurious. The cafe actually caters the type of tea they serve to each seasonal parfait. Enjoy a cup together with your parfait.
Matcha Soy Flour Dumpling Cream – ¥830
I didn’t get to order them this time, but I’m really taken by the matcha soy flour shiratama dumplings… The dumplings are made in-house and are topped with brown sugar syrup from Okinawa and Ise matcha. The bitterness of the matcha together with the rich sugar syrup is sure to be delicious with some chewy dumplings. I’ll definitely be trying them when I next visit.
I cannot recommend a trip to Kinoshita Chaen enough. Offering an exemplary menu of Ise flavours, their drinks and sweets maintain the culture and tradition of Japanese tea while keeping up to date with current trends in the world of sweets.
Houjicha Teabags – ¥400 (1 Pack)
On the days you get to eat delicious sweets, you’ve got to share the happiness with friends and family. I bought some houjicha tea bags made with tea leaves grown in Mie Prefecture. They have various other teas too, and the packaging is really cute, so they’re perfect as gifts for friends and family.
Kinoshita Chaen (Ise Branch)
Address: 1-1-31 Iwabuchi, Ise, Mie Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:30-17:30 (Last Orders 17:00)
Closed: Wednesdays (Except Obon, New Year’s, and public holidays)
Official Website: https://www.kinoshitachaen.com/
Sai Sai Jaran Jaran #8: SILENT SIREN’s Ainyan Becomes a Wine Connoisseur at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho
Sai Sai Jaran Jaran is a featured series here on MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON from the members of the all-female band SILEN SIREN (aka Sai Sai) who visit various hot spots in Japan and experience different things, the Sai Sai way.
Band bassist Ainyan enjoys a beer or cocktail, but she wants to step into the world of wine, so we will join her on her journey today as she goes to learn all about wine from the very basics.
It’s a clear sky today. Great weather for going for a drink during the day, am I right?
We visited Fukagawa Winery Tokyo in Monzennakacho, an area located in Shitamachi, Tokyo. We were looking forward to going there because it offers the full wine experience, allowing visitors to see wine brewing up close to learn all about it.
This experience is offered twice a day on weekends and national holidays at 14:00 and 16:00.
Fukagawa Winery Tokyo opened in Tokyo in 2016 as a winery where the ordinary person could go and see wine being made to fully understand its process. It has expanded its circulation in recent years and is now able to take in grapes from across Japan, including Tokyo, to craft many different wines.
On the day we visited we saw the staff bottling up the wine. On average, the winery ships out around 30,000 bottles a year.
The corks have illustrations of “Wine Man” on them, a character created by Fukagawa Winery Tokyo. Ainyan was fairly fond of him!
Time to see how the winery works!
When you step inside, the scent of grapes is the first thing to hit your senses.
The one in charge of Fukagawa Winery Tokyo is Kousuke Ueno, who was kind of enough to show us around. He taught us the process of wine making, as well as what types of grapes and tools they use.
“This machine separates the grapes and stalks using the propellers. This method has been used for 150 years,” explained Ueno.
There are periods when visitors can observe this machine being used to separate the grapes. It takes place between mid-August to November, so follow Fukagawa Winery Tokyo’s social media for announcements and details.
“Wow! It smells so good!” said Ainyan. We got to see a bucket where Cabernet Sauvignon was being made. They put in whole grapes with the skin on and add natural yeast for the fermentation process. The sweet smell of the grapes fills the air and makes you want to have a glass.
Now for what Ainyan has been waiting for: taste-testing time! She learned everything about the wine making process, so it was time to taste and compare some different wines.
The winery allows taste-testing until 17:00. You can try 3 types for ¥700. And of course, if there’s one you tried that you really liked, you can buy it there and then. So sip, scrutinise, and select!
“Please try this one first. It is wine, but it’s like a lemon sour,” explained Ueno, recommending that Ainyan first try the Yamanashi Delaware Sparkling.
Soak up all the notes of the drink by having a good smell first before taking a small sip. “Smells really good. This sourness really is like a lemon sour! I wonder why?” said Ainyan.
This wine uses premature grapes which gives the wine a sour taste. The sourness of this wine can play the part of lemons, so it’s best paired with fried foods or meals with chicken in them.
The second drink was the Yamagata Delaware Muroka. It’s an unfiltered wine made from completely ripened Yamagata Delaware grapes.
Unfiltered means that the filtration process to take out visible solids and such is not used. This gives it a slightly cloudy appearance and an exquisite taste that’s somewhere between wine and juice.
Left: Unfiltered Yamagata Delaware / Right: Filtered Yamagata Delaware
For the third glass, Ainyan ordered the filtered Yamagata Delaware to test the difference between it and the unfiltered version.
“The filtered one has a good balance of flavours and is refreshing. The unfiltered one has a smooth juiciness to it. They’re both delicious, but I like the unfiltered one more!” said Ainyan.
Her fourth glass was an unfiltered red wine: the East Bay Assemblage Red B.
The grapes used are a combination from Hokkaido, Nagano, and Aomori. It really is an assemblage!
“The red wine has such a different taste and colour depending on the type too! This dark red wine is close to what I usually drink!” said Ainyan with a happy smile.
At the end of the session, Ainyan had tried 10 wines and bought two bottles! She was delighted with her experience, saying: “I was surprised how different each and every one of the wines I tried at Fukagawa Winery Tokyo were. I think I’m getting hooked on the appeal of unfiltered, natural wines.”
With Christmas and New Year around the corner, now is the season to indulge in wine. If you’re in Tokyo this December, pay a visit to Fukagawa Winery Tokyo for a full wine experience.
Fukagawa Winery Tokyo
Address: Takahata Bldg. 1F, 1-4-10 Furuishiba, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Weekdays 15:00-22:00 / Weekends & Public Holidays 12:00-22:00
Winery Observations: Weekends & Public Holidays at 14:00 and 16:00 for 20 minutes each. Must book in advance.
Official Website: https://www.fukagawine.tokyo/
WASHOKU: Asakusa’s Newest Restaurant For Experiencing Japanese-Style Cuisine
Asakusaーone of the hottest spots in Tokyo for sightseeing, ever-bustling with Japanese and foreign tourists and travellers alike. This ancient district is famous not only for its sights, like Sensō-ji (the oldest temple in Tokyo) and the Nakamise-dōri shopping street leading up to it, but for its bountiful offering of gourmet restaurants.
Today, we’re taking a look at Taikenkei Dining -WASHOKU-, a restaurant which opened in Asakusa on November 19 this year. If you’re looking for the full package when it comes to experiencing Japanese food culture, WASHOKU has customers covered. Not only do they serve food, like traditional Kyoto obanzai, but they offer cultural experience plans too where you can learn to make sushi or dress up in a kimono and walk the old streets of Asakusa.
WASHOKU’s concept when it comes to both lunch and dinner centres around enjoying Japanese-style food that is colourful. And that rings tantalisingly true with their kaleidoscopic obanzai, which is formed of 12 vivid bite-sized delights. Obanzai is a traditional style of Japanese cuisine that comes from Kyoto, made up of mostly seafood and vegetables. The obanzai served at WASHOKU was conceived under the guidance of nutritionists, and so is packed full of healthy nutrients for the body. Not only that, the ingredients selected are all domestic to Japan, and are of a very high quality.
The obanzai I ate included fried beni haruka sweet potato which is sourced from Ishida Farmsーa sweet potato growerーin Katori, Chiba. It had a moist texture and rich sweetness. When I sank my teeth into it, I was flushed with feelings of the fall season.
Other foods in the assortment included sashimi, scallop and yuzu, saikyo-yaki Kyoto-style grilled fish, and more. Each mouthful of the selection offered its own distinct and unique flavours.
The obanzai is served with miso soup too with which you get to choose a miso ball from a variety of flavours to put into your bowl. I went for the sesame seed miso ball.
The miso ball is made from miso paste and various ingredients. Once placed into the hot water, it melts and turns into miso soup. The sweet light-brown miso was perfect for warming up my chilly self.
Dinner also features a dessert menu, as well as courses with an all-you-can-drink option, so I recommend these options for people who want to relax and take their time with their dining experience.
As I mentioned earlier, WASHOKU also offers a variety of experience-based plans. This includes a sushi class where you can learn to make your own hand-rolled sushi.
There are two types of “temari” hand rolled sushi you can make: the regular type, which makes use of tuna, salmon and other classic sushi toppings, and the high quality type, which uses more high-end ingredients like uni sea urchin eggs, caviar, gold leaf, and more. And for foreign customers, the restaurant has prepared a handout detailing the history of Asakusa and recipes, as well as souvenirs for them to take home.
The MMN team of course had to have a go at making our own sushi, but it proved quite difficult. You have to get the right amount of sushi rice to roll, then actually roll it perfectly into a ball before topping with your ingredients. But the sushi I made was actually really delicious! To attend this class you have to book in advance, so if you’ve never tried making your own sushi before or have an need some guidance, then we can’t recommend it enough.
As well as food-related experiences, WASHOKU provides customers with three different plans to experience Japanese culture. The first of these is the rickshaw ride, where you board a rickshaw pulled by a runner and are taken around the various sites of Asakusa. The ‘Excursion Around Asakusa Course’ takes you to the most popular spots around Kaminarimon, while the ‘Sky Tree Course’ takes you all the way to the Sumida River, and you also get to see Tokyo Skytree and various other attractions in Asakusa.
The Edo Kiriko plan gives you the opportunity to cut your own Japanese glass to drink from. You can drink from your glass if you reserve the plan with lunch or dinner.
Finally, you can rent a kimono. Select your favourite from the shop and have a professional dresser get you readyーwith both your kimono and your hair. After you’re dolled up, you can take a stroll around Asakusa to get a real feel for Japanese culture.
All three of these plans are just ¥3,500 per person, and all require reservations which you can book online.
So, if you’re looking for a taste of Japanese food and culture, why not take a trip to WASHOKU when visiting Asakusa for an all-in-one experience?
Taikenkei Dining -WASHOKU-
Address: 2113 Kaminarimon Bldg. Floors 5F-6F, 2 Kaminarimon, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00-15:00 / Dinner 15:00-17:00
No Fixed Holidays
Access: 1-minute on foot from Exit 4 of Asakusa Station via the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / 2-minutes on foot from Exit A3 of Asakusa Station via the Toei Asakusa Line
Official Website (English): https://washoku.site/en/
IOC and Airbnb Announce Global Olympic Partnership & Olympian Experiences
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Airbnb have announced a major long-term partnership to support the Olympic Movement which will run from 2020-2028. During this period, Airbnb will offer unique accommodation and experiences, and experience tours hosted by Olympians and athletes will also take place.
The partnership will create hundreds of thousands of new Airbnb hosts over the the nine-year period from July next year, allowing for visitors to enjoy longer stays, accommodating families, and more. This will enable community residents to generate extra income while accommodating overseas visitors and proving them with local experiences. In turn, it means those visiting from overseas will be able to engage more with the local culture and community. Both occupied and vacant homes will be utilised.
The IOC and Airbnb will also launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences which will provide direct earning opportunities for athletes by promoting sports, allowing for people to train together with elite athletes and Olympians.
At the press conference for the announcement of the partnership, gold medalist Saori Yoshida said: “A lot of athletes today devote themselves completely to the games, so a lot of them struggle to find their next career after retiring. These Athlete Experiences will widen the activities of all athletes; not only retired competitors, but those who weren’t able to make it as far as the Olympics too. I’m very thankful for that. I believe it will raise the standard of the games for kids, and will serve to brighten and bring excitement to the whole of Japan. I hope that these efforts bring a tremendous boost to the sports world and will have everyone taking an interest in sports.”
Tokyo 2020 will officially launch next summer, and with this partnership, people may just be able to enjoy the Olympic Games together with the athletes themselves, allowing for fans to feel closer to the games and the Olympians.
Airbnb’s involvement also gives visitors from overseas to enjoy Japan and the Olympics in an unprecedented way. If you’re travelling to Japan for Tokyo 2020, be sure to book with Airbnb.
Airbnb Official Website: https://airbnb.jp
Stroll the Edo Streets as an Elegant Samurai and Make Tea in the Feudal Lord’s Residence
04.October.2019 | SPOT
Sakura, Chiba is home to important cultural heritage and even what is also known as the “Samurai Town”. Now you can stroll around the beautiful old streets of Sakura dressed as a Samurai, attend a relaxing zen session and even take part in a tea ceremony as part of a limited period tourist plan. The Samurai tour is mainly aimed at foreigners, however Japanese people who are curious about samurai culture are also more than welcome to join.
Sakura Castle Samurai Stroll
In 2016, Sakura became one of the four cities of the Hokuso region to be designated as a Heritage site under the title “An Edo Travelogue through Four Hokuso Cities” for its preservation of the old Edo culture. Old buildings full of secrets can be spotted all over the town, creating the old atmosphere of the Edo period. Embrace the elegant remnants of the Edo period with a relaxing stroll in Samurai clothing. Who knows what you might discover.
Your relaxing stroll will be led by a tour guide who knows a lot about the history of Sakura. This is a wonderful opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the historical Samurai house (Bukeyashiki). Your tour guide will also show you Hiyodorizaka, which is a natural path lined with a dense forest of tall bamboo trees where Samurai are said to have often pass by. Every year, the bamboo and wooden sword martial arts sessions in the program are also very popular.
November 9, 23
December 14, 21
January 11, 25
February 8, 22
March 12, 28
April 9, 25
May 9, 16
◇ Times: 9:30 ー 12:30
*The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.
¥6,500 per person (Includes lunch voucher and entry to the samurai house)
* ¥6,000 per person when you purchase tickets as a group of 3 or more.
Reservation Website: https://www.govoyagin.com/ja
Apply Directly to Sakura City Tourism Association
* Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.
Zen Meditation and Tea Ceremony in the House of a Feudal Lord
There are also guided zen meditation and tea ceremony sessions which are available for a limited period only. These guided zen meditation and tea ceremonies will take place in the Kyuhottatei ー one of Japan’s most preserved traditional-style feudal lord residences. This luxurious Edo-style mansion was built 130 years ago and is classified as an Important Cultural Property.
November 7, 19
December 6, 18
◇ Times: 9:00 ー 12:30
*The program will still run in bad weather excluding stormy or severe weather.
¥10,000 per person (Includes lunch voucher, entry to the Kyuhottatei and tea ceremony participation fee.)
Please enquire directly to the Sakura City Tourism Association
Email Address: email@example.com
* Phone calls will be answered in Japanese only.
If you are curious about Edo Samurai culture, you won’t be disappointed by this program.
Sakura City Tourism Association
Taste Different Japanese Teas in Wine Glasses in Fukuoka
27.September.2019 | FOOD
Neworld has teamed up with Asakura, Fukuoka-based tea manufacturing company Seichajo Yamashina to offer an all-new tea-tasting course. Reservations opened on September 25 and can be made via telephone call.
Yamashina Tea Stall first opened its doors to the public back in 1947 in the city of Asakura, Fukuoka. This long-standing tea shop oversees every aspect of their original blends, from the tea leaf selection to the roasting.
The shop’s representative, Koya Yamashina, is a tea professional, having worked as an instructor on Japanese tea as well as an established Japanese tea critic. He has travelled up and down Kyushu―one of the five main islands of Japan where Fukuoka sits―which has enabled him to select only the best tea for the shop, considering the taste, smell, season, place of production, and growers themselves.
Yamashina Tea Stall promises a fun and authentic experience when it comes to Japanese tea, for the very fact that it has had its hands on so many different types. That’s where their new program comes in to play, where they will pair different Japanese teas into different wine glasses―provided by Tokyo glass makers Kimura Glass―for tasters to get the best out of the tea, including the flavours and fragrance.
Let’s take a look at the course.
Piccolo 6oz Flute & Yama no Asatsume
This brand of tea is called Chiran Yama no Asatsume and it comes from Kagoshima Prefecture. It’s grown in Ushirodake, an area in Kagoshima with a high altitude, the only place it can be grown. It has a distinct fresh and sweet fragrance. The tea is served in a 6oz Piccolo glass which is a popular glass for champagne. Its delicate rim and form makes it the perfect shape to enjoy the full taste of the tea.
Garson 3oz Grappa & Yame Gyokuro
Yame Gyokuro is known as one of the most luxury teas in Japan. Served in a Garson glass, it has a thin, long shape, making it ideal for smelling the gentle aromas of the gyokuro tea and for enjoying its smooth, sweet taste.
Pivo Orthodox 63224-210 & Sun Rouge
Sun Rouge is an extremely rare variety of tea grown on the distant island of Tokunoshima which is south of Kagoshima. It is served in a classic champagne glass, much different from the flute-type champagne glasses. The liquid is allowed to spread over a wider surface, letting you take in the distinct beautiful purple colour of the tea while enabling the fragrance to dance around the elegant glass.
This is just a snapshot of the many drinks this course has to offer. If you’re looking to experience Japanese tea in style, then why not try out this course? They even sell sets of glasses and tea so you can take them home with you!
Yamashina Tea Stall
Address: 1635 Amagi, Asakura, Fukuoka
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Course Name: CRAFT STORE x Seichajo Yamashina Japanese Tea Course (5 Types)
Reservations: Telephone (Limited number of places, please enquire ASAP)
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/
Explore The Hidden Beauty, Culture And Local Cuisine Of Hida Takayama In A Yukata
18.July.2019 | SPOT
Shimocho is one of the districts of Hida Takayama and is overflowing with traditional culture that you absolutely must experience. To make the most of your trip, there is a summer yukata-wearing programme running from July 20th which is the perfect opportunity to wear cooling and refreshing Japanese clothes while strolling and exploring the streets.
This year will be the 7th time the programme has been run. The Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi programme allows visitors to dress in a comfortable and cooling yukata, stroll, explore, try different foods and enjoy the culture of the area. This year’s theme is “romance and yukatas” and gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy programme-limited desserts and the rich culture of the district.
Discover Hidden Beauty with the Stroll Map
Visitors will be given a map packed with wonderful spots of the area. The map will also include the destinations of 31 shops where you can enjoy special experiences, meals and desserts that are limited to those who take part in the yukata programme. Recommended spots to visit are also drawn on the map in a very cute handwriting-like style, so you can stop by these places easily while enjoying your walk. There are even many places on the map that only a local would know about.
Some of the special benefits of the programme allow you to enjoy the best regional cuisine that Hida has to offer, including the wonderful experience of restaurants that have been loved by the locals for generations, a beef delicacy restaurant, and much more. Besides food, the programme also gives you the opportunity to witness the beautiful festival floats used during the Takayama festival at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan. You can also enjoy experiencing baking your own senbei crackers and gold panning.
The programme includes a wide range of experiences for you to enjoy from local shops to food to culture to some new experiences.
An old-style café called Sabou Usagi is particularly popular with the locals. Here, the coffee is made using a vacuum coffee maker. With the summer programme, you can enjoy the delicious heart Tiramisù served here.
The stroll map includes a variety of locations such as the Takayama Tourist Information Centre, Hida Takayama Tourism Convention Association, Hida Takayama Travel Hotel Association and much more. The map also includes some of the accommodations available around Takayama, some important train stations and much more. You can easily download this map from the official website. (Japanese only )
Stroll the Streets in an Elegant Yukata
Change into a traditional Yukata that matches the beautiful surrounding townscape. There are four shops Yukata rental shops available to pick up your favourite Yukata, so there is no need to worry if you did not come prepared. There are also some accommodations that allow for yukata rental.
If you decide to join the Hida Takayama Nippon Natsu Yasumi programme, make sure to share your beautiful memories on Instagram with the hashtag #Hidasummer
Hida Takayama de Nippon no Natsu Yasumi Programme
Running: July 20 ー September 8, 2019
Location: Shimocho, Takayama (in the general area of Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, Kamiichinomachi, Takayama, Gifu)
Official Website: https://hida-natsu.jp/
Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #5 – Uzumako Ceramic Art School
It’s been a minute since we last ventured out with Japanese model Yuna Yabe and her beloved pet pup Mozuku. If you’re new to this feature, Yuna Yabe takes her trusty partner Mozuku to various hot spots in Japan that you can enjoy with your pet dog. Their relationship continues to deepen in this priceless experience.
Today, Yuna and Mozuku head to Uzumako Ceramic Art School which is close to Shiba Park. You can get a good view of TokyoTower from this famous park.
What’s unique about this art school is that visitors are allowed to take their pets with them. So this means you can take your dog with you to do some ceramics!
Yuna has always had an interest in ceramics. And what better way to experience creating something than with her partner in crime Mozuku! With him tottering beside her, she headed through the entrance curtain with a spring in her step.
When you enter the classroom, there are lots of examples of pottery ware lining the shelves. The room has that smell of craftsmanship which lingers as you begin the class with a demonstration by the teacher. Once you have your apron on and are fired up to begin, it’s time to start.
The work begins with kneading the clay to make its firmness uniform. This step helps prevent air bubbles from forming.
Yuna asked the teacher many different questions as she enjoyed kneading her clay. “Where does ceramic work originate from?” “What kind of things to other dog owners make when they come here?”
“What’s Yuna up to?” Mozuku’s puzzled face seemed to imply as he listened to Yuna and the teacher talk.
Yuna turned to Mozuku and said to him, “I’m going to make you a food bowl!” It seemed like the message got through as his face read, “Looks like my owner is making something just for me.”
Yuna wet her hands with some water and began forming a hole in the centre of her clay bundle. The hole forms and gets bigger as the pottery wheel spins.
Next, she used both of her hands to ensure the thickness of the bowl was even all the way around.
“Amazing! The shape of the clay changes in an instant!”
By adding a little bit of pressure the pile of clay can change shape rapidly. It’s like a living thing.
“It’s like the clay is my own child. I wanna wrap it up!”
Once the shape is formed, Yuna cut around the edges. She is a skilled individual, she got the hang of it straight away.
Mozuku sat right beside Yuna, quiet and curious.
“Is it my turn yet?”
He seemed itching to have a go at making something himself too.
He watched over Yuna’s work from atop the table.
“I wanna try spinning the wheel too!”
Mozuku in fact had the most important job of all. Yuna popped a wooden mould onto his paw and stamped a paw print into thebottom of the bowl.
“There we go!” said Yuna
Mozuku mustered all of his strength to make his mark, his facial expression unusually serious as he carried out his big task.
Time to check if the print was done properly!
Here’s the final product―Mozuku did a great job!
Their teamwork paid off as they were able to create a really cute dog bowl. The tiny footprint is packed with pet love. The art school actually sells a lot of different cute and stylish pet items but the owner making their own makes it unique―the only one in the world.
If that love is able to get through to your pup, the food they eat from the bowl is sure to be even more delicious.
Thanks for your help, Mozuku.
“I can’t wait to fire it!” Yuna’s excitement was peak from start to finish. She was very satisfied after the class finished.
After two weeks of waiting, the bowl was completely finished.
Why not try creating something unique special for your own pet―together with them?
Model: Yuna Yabe/Mozuku @yunaaay1030
Text: Ai Watanabe
Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Uzumako Ceramic Art School
Address: Sekisui House Floor 1F, 3-29-11 Shiba, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:00-19:00
Official Website: https://www.uzumakotougei.com/en/index.html
*The course Yuna took with Mozuku was the “Pet Ceramics Plan” where you can make 2-4 ceramic items and fire them. For your first try the staff will carve and glaze the final product to completion. This can be picked up one to one-and-a-half months after your course for ¥4,500. Please check the website for more details.
*Obedient dogs permitted. Please note that there are other participants so dogs who bark a lot or cannot relax are not permitted.
Yuna Yabe won the grand prix prize at the “Zipper×ASOBISYSTEM Model Auditions” at the age of 15. She is an expert not only in fashion but make-up and video editing too. She’s an influential figure to the people in her generation. Recently, her work has expanded greatly, such as appearing in music videos. Her activity continues to grow and looks to be very promising indeed.
LuLuLun Face Mask: A Beautifying Souvenir From the Japanese City Ise
When travelling abroad, I find myself buying and taking back lots of different souvenirs for myself and my family. I look for those items that are made with each region’s particular materials and ingredients. By handing them out to people, I’m also sharing a little bit of that place with the people around me too.
Today I introduce to you the “Ise LuLuLun” face mask, a souvenir from the Japanese city of Ise that’s perfect for that one person we all know who’s into beauty and cosmetics.
The Ise LuLuLun is part of the popular “Tabi Suru LuLuLun” face mask series which sees limited edition face masks sold in different regions. The masks are made from an assortment of ingredients and plants. They are sold not just in Japan but around the world. Some of the variants to hit Japan have included Okinawa Shequasar and Shōdoshima Olive.
Ise Lululun is the first product in Japan to include extract of sakaki leaf which moisturises the skin. Sakaki is a flowering evergreen tree native to several Asian countries including Japan and is used as a symbol of longevity and vitality. The extract was made in cooperation with Ise City’s manufacturing and tourism department, making this a very special product indeed. The sakaki is used in various Shinto activities such as offering them to altars and household shrines. Ise itself is home to many sasaki trees from which the extract in the Ise Lululun is made. Its moisturising effect ensures the skin stays nice and moist.
Let’s get onto talking about what it’s like to use this product. I’ve used Lululun packs in the past, but the feature of the Ise Lululun is absolutely the fragrance it gives off. The instant you bring the mask to your face your nose is filled with a smell akin to a forest of trees. If you close your eyes it’s like you’re enveloped in nature. It gives you a feeling of peace and tranquillity. And the way it relaxes you is nothing short of incredible… It’s truly a gift and souvenir from Ise, bound with the air and scent of the city.
My face felt so smooth the day. I think I’ll definitely be using this again for special occasions.
The Ise Lululun is a fusion of the Ise spirit of “being thankful for and treasuring every day” and Lululun’s own spirit of being in high spirits and sound health. At the end of the day it made me hold my head high and say “thank you” to today. I was also warmed by the message written on the packaging (which you can see above).
If you plan a trip to Ise be sure to check out this exclusive beautifying item and maybe pick one up as a souvenir.
Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (ASOBISYSTEM)
Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Price: 2 Packs of 7 – ¥1,000 (Before Tax) / 4 Packs of 7 – ¥1,700 (Before Tax)
Available: At souvenir shops in Mie Prefecture, Aichi Prefecture and select parts of the Kansai region
Official Website: https://lululun.com/oise/
Visit Japanese Family Homes and Learn to Cook Authentic Japanese Food With airKitchen
30.May.2019 | FOOD
airKitchen is an online service gaining popularity by inviting foreigners travelling to Japan to experience what it’s like to cook at home there.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has been on the rise in recent years, and with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, that number is predicted to continue increasing. One shift happening amongst travellers to the country is their desire for more experience consumption over material consumption. This shift has been noted by the Japanese government and companies who are pushing to offer more experience-based content to foreigners.
One such company doing just this is the online platform service airKitchen whose popularity is only continuing to increase. By using the website, foreigners can choose from a long list of Japanese hosts who will teach them how to make many different Japanese dishes in their very own homes. Bookings and payment can both be done via the company’s official website. airKitchen launched in April 2018 and by April this year it already has over 4,000 users.
airKitchen’s popularity can be accredited to it satisfying overseas visitors’ desire to experience everyday Japanese life. They will cook authentic Japanese food in a common Japanese-style kitchen. In 2013, Washoku (“Japanese Food”) was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The appeal of Japanese food is on the rise and is sure to become even more popular.
airKitchen Introductory Video
Some of the most popular foods taught on the website include gyoza, bento and sushi. A total of three hours are allotted for each experience which includes both the cooking and eating time. The price for each service varies but the average is ¥5,000 per person. The biggest ratio of nationalities come from Europe and Australia and range from couples to families.
If you’re travelling to Japan, why not book with airKitchen yourself and get a taste of everyday Japanese home life?