MMN Festival 2018 Report: Onden Shrine – Bon Odori and an Array of Ennichi Food
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA promoted Japanese culture to the world from Shibuya. Over the course of two days, MMN delivered a new kind of Japanese festival to 16,000 people.
In this article, we report on Onden Shrine – one of the four areas of the festival – where the gods of Harajuku are enshrined. Let’s take a look at the line-up of performances for the stage area as well as the variety of booths!
Satsumasendai Odoridaiko opened the stage with a team made up entirely of women who struck their drums like thunder. Dressed in traditional outfits, the traditional sound of their drums rippled through across the event.
The members of maid café group Maidreamin put on a full-force idol performance, captivating the crowd with their catchy music and kawaii dance moves!
Next on stage was kendama performer EASY, who is also active overseas too. His skilful performance with his kendama – a toy enjoyed by both children and adults – garnered him huge rounds of applause.
Then it was character DJ time, which all the kids had been waiting for! Shimockey of Shimo-Kitazawa and Coroton of Gunma Prefecture were there to entertain. They both sang and danced together with the children! Shimockey and Coroton were also very popular outside DJ time too.
Last on stage was Ukon Takafuji of YUMENOYA for the Japanese dance show. At the end, all the performers, attendees and venue staff joined in with Bon Odori dancing! Everyone got involved from children to adults, overseas tourists and the character DJs.
Harajuku Rainbow Cotton Candy
The colourful cotton candy store from Takeshita Street in Harajuku TOTTI CANDY FACTORY served up a special event-only menu. They sold a numer of things, including TOTTI Rainbow (¥800) which was a combination of 5 flavours: plain (white), strawberry (red), carbonated (blue), and lemon (yellow). Cotton candy is a common treat sold at shrine food stalls, but TOTTI give a Harajuku spin to it. People carrying cotton candy around Onden Shrine really decorated the area.
Mizuhiki artist Kaori Funaki was invited to hold a workshop for people to create ‘mizuhiki’ which are special cords that tie envelopes used for monetary gifts. There was also individual mizuhiki related merchandise on sale, such as chopstick rests.
Global Kendamas Network was established to help spread the use of kendama, a popular sport originating from Japan that has given rise to pros around the world. Kendama performer EASY performed on stage, kendama for pros were sold, and people tried out kendama themselves.
Onden Shrine Omamori
Omamori and other items are sold at Onden Shrine. The god of beauty is enshrined at Onden Shrine, so the small, round omamori charm for “Beauty” (¥500) was very popular amongst girls. With foreign tourists, the omamori for “Victory” was popular.
Learn Shrine Etiquette
As part of the Harajuku tours by Airbnb which began and finished at SHIBUYA CAST, people were taught the proper manners and etiquette to praying at Japanese shrines, including about torii gates, temizuya, hishaku, and the main shrine building. Foreign tourists with an interest in Japanese culture were happy to get involved.
Frisbee Strike Out
At this booth, people had to throw a frisbee 6 times. When they got 1 line of bingo they picked one item they liked, and when they got 2 lines they picked two. Even if people didn’t get bingo, awards were still handed out to participants. The line-up included regional Japanese specialties such as “Soy Sauce Mochi” from Oita Prefecture and staple souvenir from Fukushima Prefecture “Brown Sugar Manju”.
Target Practice Game
The target practice game is common at Ennichi, but this was a special MMN Festival version. People had 5 shots per turn, and depending on how many targets they shot down, the number of prizes would change. Those who couldn’t land a shot weren’t left out however and were gifted low calorie chocolate. Prizes included tins of oden, tom yum flavoured okaki, and more.
Did you enjoy the events at Onden Shrine? We took elements from traditional Japanese matsuri festivals and put a MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON spin on them. During the Onden Shrine events, we were able to receive cooperation from local people and those associated with the shrine prior to the festival until the end of the festival.
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON would like to continue holding even more events in the future where locals and those visiting Shibuya and Harajuku can have fun together.
MMN Festival 2018 in Shibuya: Laforet Museum Harakuku – Day 2 Report
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA was held across two days where Japanese culture was delivered to the world from Shibuya.
As the gentle spring air embraced us, the Harajuku Kawaii Market saw at Laforet Museum Harajuku its second run on day two of the festival, with more appearances from hugely popular models and artists.
Kicking off the stage events for Day 2 was Rikako Ōya (Babyraids Japan), Ellie, Yuri Suganuma, Ema Tanioku, and Yuna Yabe who held their talk session A Lesson on Being Photogenic. The six photo experts looked pictures from their articles on the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON website while giving tips and tricks on how to make yourself more Instagrammable.
Chamereon Takeda returned once more to the stage for day to with her Zodiac Sign Rankings. Hikari Shibata had her fortune told with western astrology and tarot cards. Hikari herself loves fortune telling. According to her tarot reading, “If you’re crazy about something you won’t be able to escape, but if you think before you act, you will have good fortune.”
At the end of the talk session, the horoscopes for April were announced. 1st place went to Cancer. Everyone in the audience, too, was happy to hear the ranking list.
Next on stage was the Fashion & Hair Dye Talk Session with Hikari Shibata, Yuri Suganuma & MIZUKI (KORD) presented by FRESHLIGHT. Popular models Hikari Shibata, Yuri Suganuma and MIZUKI (KORD) welcomed guest Michelle, who’s influential in China. The four of them chatted about their experiences with hair dyeing as well as their recommended hair colours for spring.
Michelle was asked about the hair dyeing scene in China. She said that light colours are popular over there during spring. It’s common to see a lot of people with pink hair, the same as in Japan. On the FRESHLIGHT website there’s a video of MIZUKI skilfully demonstrating how to dye your hair, so be sure to check it out.
Amato Danshi were last on the list for the first slot. There was a real sense of oneness with the audience as if the hype from day one still lingered! During their high-tempo song Chocolate, the guys surprised everyone by throwing actual wrapped chocolate into the crowd. Everyone went crazy!
After a short break, Noah Satou and Ren Koseki opened the stage for the second slot. Their talk session centred around their Recommended Spring Cosmetics, where they introduced a variety of cosmetics from high brand to low price. It seems like the two of them are into coral this spring. They said that it can be used for a much more toned down look compared to pink.
Mynavi Baito presented their Challenge Award again on stage. Three teams of fashion students were challenged to create cute part-time work outfits which were worn on stage by Yuri Suganuma, Mei Nagasawa and Anna Yano. Team 95 created an izakaya outfit, Team Hikari produced a gas station uniform, and Team Twinkle served up moving-company couture.
The audience made their vote and Team Hikari came out on top as winners this time! One big point about their outfits was how it echoed not only the kawaii of Harajuku, but of Japan. The three of them, all born in 1995, have gotten along and been on the same wavelength since they started designing the outfit. Their victory smiles left a big impression.
A huge cheer welcomed MAGiC BOYZ onto the stage, a hip-hop group formed of three high school DJs Toma, Ryuto and Mahiro, and elementary school DJ Joe. To begin the set, the audience did some call and response with Joe, shouting “Majibo!” (short for MAGiC BOYZ) and “Kawaii!” Their passionate Japanese rap cemented their performance as the most enthusiastic, high frenzy of the day.
Yutaro stepped onto stage next to answer people’s questions in his Q&A segment. He answered everyone’s questions honestly, such as “Where did you plan your first trip to?”, “If your boyfriend’s fashion style is uncool, how should you get him to fix it?” and “What type of girl do you like, and what hairstyle?” Everyone was absorbed in his answers.
The final event to wrap up the stage was Learn Japanese Spring Trend Styles with Shibasaki & Rinko♡. Saki Shibata and Rinko Murata introduced co-ords using their own personal items and offered suggestions and tips.
A flea market was also held on stage where people could enter a lottery to purchase personal items from models that attended the festival. People that bought Saki and Rinko’s items were overjoyed after hearing them tell the story behind each one! Harajuku Kawaii Market took place on March 24th and 25th. It promoted Japan’s kawaii culture from Harajuku and proved a roaring success.
MMN Festival 2018 in Shibuya: Laforet Museum Harajuku – Day 1 Report
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA is currently being held across Saturday March 24 and Sunday March 25, serving Japanese culture to the world from Shibuya. Day one ended with huge success. Laforet Museum Harajuku, one of the four areas of the festival, was home to the Harajuku Kawaii Market take place, an event themed on the concept of “Find Japanese Kawaii♡”. The market was lined with a whole host of booths where people got up close with Japanese fashion, beauty, fortune-telling, DIY and more. But that’s not all.
The stage was graced by models heavily active in Harajuku-style fashion magazines, popular social media influencers, and others, all of whom shook the house.
Kicking off the stage performances was none other than Amato Danshi, a six-member male idol group whose concept centres around sweets and candy. “We want to spread the greatness of sweets even more!” They sure weren’t lying with those words, as the guys surprised the audience by gifting everyone sweets during their set. Things got really exciting during their high-tempo track Shu Cream (“Cream Puffs”) as the crowd joined in with the group members in some seriously energetic dancing!
With excitement still rippling through the room, “Mynavi Baito presents Challenge Award” was next on stage. Nine fashion students were split into teams of three who were challenged to create cute part-time work outfits to promote to the world. Yuri Suganuma, Mei Nagasawa and Anna Yano stepped out onto stage and presented the outfits by wearing them. Team 95 created an izakaya outfit, Team Hikari produced a Gas Station uniform, and Team Twinkle served up moving-company couture.
The audience were made to vote for a winner with a raise of hands. The winners of the Challenge Award were Team Twinkle and their mover outfit! They went away with a cash prize of ￥100,000. Tears were even seen from the team upon hearing the announcement. It was a moving stage event – you could see their passion and how hard they had all worked.
Natsume Mito put on her fashion show where the tender and slightly mysterious world of Tomonori Taniguchi’s picture book Bulldog Tantei to Kieta Hoshi (BUNKEI Co., LTD.) was brought to life with performances from Japanese models Akari Abe, Manaka Arai, Alice Ikeda, Anna Kawamura, Aino Kuribayashi, Saki Shibata, Yuri Suganuma, Ema Tanioku, Eri Tanioku, Chie Tsuji, Rinko Murata and Una while Natsume Mito read the book aloud.
Natsume wore a smile of joy on her face when the fashion show came to an end. She announced, “It was a challenge to bring to life and convey something that you imagine in your head. I want to go on to create the opportunity to produce more picture book stage shows!”
The first slot of performances came to a close and led into slot two. Youtuber Megane and models Yoshiaki and Michi were invited as guests for a talk session. They showed lots of private photos while giving backstory to each of them. They also blurted out frank insights into each of the pictures which had people in stiches.
In a talk show with popular illustrator Fusedy and Koseki Ren, the two of them gave their cherished opinions of the topic of romance. It was very much a talk between two people who have known each other for 4 years. They were on the same wavelength. It was a girl-talk which showed no sign of stopping as they chatted with plenty of “I know, right!” and “Tell me about it!” moments as Ren empathised with the contents of Fusedy’s book.
Next on stage was none other than Rilakkuma! To realise Shibuya’s recent appointment as a city for international tourism and culture, an inauguration ceremony was held on stage to name Rilakkuma an official Shibuya Tourism Ambassador!
Seeing that had people sighing in adoration with accompanying exclamations of “kawaii.”
With three more stage events wrapped up, it was time to move on to slot three. The first of the performances was the “Fashion & Hair Dye Talk Session with Ren Koseki, Hikari Shibata, Yuri Suganuma, Ayumi Seto and MIZUKI (KORD)” presented by FRESHLIGHT. Popular models Ren Koseki and Ayumi Steo, as well as popular stylist MIZUKI (KORD), chatted about their experiences with dyeing their hair, recommended hair colours for spring, and more.
that when it comes to spring, it’s all about warm colours. When you want to shake things up a bit for going out during spring break, why not go for an easy and comfortable image change with hair dyes from FRESHLIGHT?
Fortune-teller Chamereon Takeda read Mei Nagasawa – who loves spirituality and going to shrines – for romance and work in her “Love Compatibility Rankings: Zodiac Signs” session. Chamereon Takeda used western astrology and tarot readings for Mei, who was interested in her marriage partner. She was told “Your luck will increase for both romance and work starting this autumn. It will be a time where you form a bond with someone you need, and break away with someone you don’t.”
In the second half of the show, Chamereon Takeda also announced the rankings for love compatibility for each zodiac sign. Coming in 1st place was the Taurus! The scene of people devouring the demonstration was a sight to behold – as if people really wanted to hear their destinies.
The final act of day one was a talk session with Saki Shibata, Ayaka Segawa, and Rei Maruyama. The three of them work as a model, artist & nurse, and performer respectively. Their open and honest discussion focuses on their careers. The conversation got pretty lively as expected from three friends!
That’s it for day one at Harajuku Kawaii Market. Look forward to the performances on stage on day two!
MMN Festival 2018 Report: Natsume Mito Produces and Performs First Show “Tobidase! Picture Book Show 〜Storytime With Natsume Mito〜”
MOSHI MOSHI FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA was held in Shibuya and Harajuku on March 24th and 25th. On Saturday March 24th, model and artist Natsume Mito held her first ever fashion show Tobidase! Picture Book Show ～Storytime With Natsume Mito～ at Laforet Museum Harajuku.
Natsume Mito fully produced the fashion show which was themed on Bulldog Tanei to Kieta Hoshi (BUNKEIDO Co., LTD.), a picture book by Tomonori Taniguchi. The story is as follows. The stars have disappeared from the sky. During this time, a letter arrives for the bulldog detective requesting he search for the lost stars. He accepts and heads out to find them. He’s able to locate them, but why did they disappear, and who sent the letter…? This exciting story is full of heart and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Natsume Mito read the story aloud while a cast of Japanese models brought the world of the book to life through fashion. Models that performed included Yuri Suganuma, Ema Tanioku, Eri Tanioku, Aino Kuribayashi, Chie Tsuji, Abe Akari, Saki Shibata, Rinko Murata, Manaka Arai, Alice Ikeda, Una, and Anna Kawamura. Natsume Mito styled the outfits in the image of everything from the bulldog detective to the animals, moon and stars. The models were immersed in their roles and walked and posed as directed.
Bulldog Detective (Eri Tanitoku) & Gorilla (Rinko Murata)
Bulldog Detective (Ema Tanioku) & Owl (Una)
Bulldog Detective (Ema Tanioku) & Starfish (Saki Shibata)
Bulldog Detective (Eri Tanioku) & Stars (Yuri Suganuma, Chie Tsuji, Aino Kuribayashi, Akari Abe, Rinko Murata, Manaka Arai)
At the end of the show, the models that performed spoke with the stage presenter Rei Maruyama and gave their thoughts on this first ever fashion show.
Anna Kawamura (Tortoise): Beret – Caorinomori / Hairband attached to hat, Brooch – Barairo no boushi / Bootsu – gREEN DOT / other personal items UNA (Owl): Innerwear, Jacket, Fringe Skirt – Barrack Room / Tulle Skirt – Gaijin / Hat, Choker – MARTE / other personal items Yuri Suganuma (Star): Neckband – SPINNS / Lace Pants – gREEN DOT / other personal items Chie Tsuji (Star): One Piece, Shoes – daidai / Camisole One Piece – Barrack Room / Necklace – CA4LA Bridal / other personal items Ema Tanioku (Bulldog): Shoes – daidai / other personal items
Eri Tanioku (Bulldog): Jacket, Shoes – HUG / Blouse, Hat – SPINNS / other personal items Alice Ikeda (Moon): Belt – HUG / Pumps – gREEN DOT / other personal items Manaka Arai (Star): One Piece – MARTE / Hair Accessory – CA4LA Bridal / Pumps – Gaijin / other personal items Rinko Murata (Star): Lace Gown – Barrack Room / Shoes – RANDA / other personal items Saki Shibata (Starfish): One Piece – gREEN DOT / Neckband, Pumps – Gaijin / Hair Accessory – CA4LA Bridal Aino Kuribayashi (Star): One Piece – Gaijin / Lace Top – gREEN DOT / Hat – Barairo no boushi / Hairband attached to hat – Caorinomori / Sandals – RANDA
Natsume Mito Comment:
“I went and produced a show that combined a picture book with fashion. This was my first time doing this, so I was worried perhaps due to my own self-satisfaction. I was finally able to feel relief after hearing claps from people who came to watch (laughs). Thank you so very much to everybody who came! And to all the models who performed too. I’m happy that the outfits I put together went perfectly with everyone. I can see once again how difficult it was to convey what was in my head to the staff too. It was a very good learning experience. I want to try creating another stage show that conveys the wonder of loving picture books together and the fun of fashion!”
Tobidase! Picture Book Show ～Storytime With Natsume Mito～ wrapped up with much success. Look forward to the many things Natsume Mito will challenge herself to next!
Outfit Co-Operation: Gaijin / CA4LA / Caorinomori / gREEN DOT / SPINNS / daidai / HUG / Barairo no boushi / Barrack Room / MARTE / RANDA
MMN Festival 2018 Report: MOSHI MOSHI MUSIC FESTIVAL & Up-and-Coming Artists at Tower Records
The MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Project has one goal: to promote Japanese pop culture to the people of the world. On March 24th and 25th, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA was held, delivering Japan’s popular culture to the world from the Shibuya and Harajuku area.
There were several places this year’s festival took place. One of those locations was Tower Records Shibuya, where we held a music event titled “Featuring Japanese New Music: MOSHI MOSHI MUSIC FESTIVAL.” Here, music artists with huge influence in the scene, as well as music media companies who have hooked up with new talent, came together as curators to deliver a fantastic showcase of promising artists. The event took place at the CUTUP STUDIO on B1F of Tower Records Shibuya.
Day One at the CUPUP STUDIO saw many performers. This included MANON, a hopeful new artist signed to ASOBISYSTEM, as well as three other artists recommended by music media company Spincoaster: SIRUP, Mizuki Ohira with Kobayashi Utena, and The Wisely Brothers.
Recognised R&B artist SIRUP warmed and spellbound the room with his sugary vocals and mellow, infectious beats.
Mizuki Ohira rocked the steelpans while Kobayashi Utena played the marimba, giving rise to an exotic musical co-performance. Three-piece female band The Wisely Brothers sent forth new-age girl power with their heavy garage rock. They also spoke about there being so much manga in Japan as one of the things they like about the country.
The second half of the event was graced by an MC battle produced by WREP, a hip-hop radio channel, hosted by Zeebra and Hachi Moji. Four spectators from the audience were appointed as team leaders and had to create teams from the 12 battle MCs present at the show.
The 4 teams battled it out in a tournament for the title of best MC. MCs that participated in the battle included MC Seishain, MC Matsushima, MC MIRI, Kizal, SAM, SHO GEN, Datemegiri, TKdakurobuchi, NiLL Nico, 8×8=49, FRANKEN, and Yuma.
Team SHO GEN, TKdakurobuchi & NiLL Nico and Team MC Matsushima, MC Seishain & SAM came out victorious. At the end of the battle, the chief members of the teams SAM and TKdakurobuchi clashed in a final battle with SAM taking the crown. The winning team took home a cash prize with the hip-hop fans in the crowd in a flurry of excitement. This marked the end of the first day.
For Day Two, Natalie Music worked as curators for the live stage event “Live Natalie meets MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON.” MISMOPE were the first on stage with their spacey performance, followed by Nemuri Haru, who left a huge impact with her mad mix of poetry and rap.
Monari Wakita fitted in nine songs in 30 minutes, demonstrating her multi-layered musicianship. The packed-out CUTUP STUDIO also got involved with some fiery call & response.
Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders wowed the audience with their infectious outlook and sharp, nimble dancing. During their song Saishuu Jinrui, which is the lead song taken from their first major album Mae Narawanai released on March 21st, they demonstrated their acrobatic bodies to the tune of a lively piano.
Five-member band Luby Sparks, who are recognised in the British alternative rock scene, also announced their new vocalist Erika for the first time.
The last performer of the day was SHE IS SUMMER, who performed a string of popular hits such as Machiawase wa Kimi no Iru Shinsen and Tobikiri no Oshare Shite Wakarebanashi wo. The two-day festival came to a close with MICO’s energetic, jumpy performance.
16,000 People Attend MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA!
MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA promoted Japanese culture to people of the world from Shibuya on March 24th and 25th. The weekend event ended with huge success.
There were 5 main areas where the festival took place this year. Let’s break them down one by one and see what happened.
Tower Records Shibuya CUTUP STUDIO / MOSHI MOSHI MUSIC FESTIVAL
A music event titled Featuring Japanese new music “MOSHI MOSHI MUSIC FESTIVAL” took place. Down in the B1F CUTUP STUDIO at Tower Records Shibuya, influential artists and the music media, who had previously hooked up with many promising artists, became official curators to provide a line-up of artists.
On Day 1, MANON served as the opening act to the first half of the event, followed by the three artists recommended by music media company “Spincoaster” – SIRUP, Mizuki Ohira with Kobayashi Utena, and The Wisely Brothers. It was a thrilling string of performances as expected from Spincoaster, who showcase fresh music from both inside and outside Japan.
In the second half we saw the MC battle produced by WREP, a hip-hop radio channel, under Zeebra and Hachi Moji. 4 teams battled it out in a tournament for the title of best MC, with MC Matsushima, MC Seishain and SAM taking the crown. Winners received a cash prize, wrapping up the first day of the event.
On Day 2, Natalie Music worked as curators for the live stage event “Live Natalie meets MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON.” MISMOPE, Nemuri Haru, Monari Wakita, Atarashii Gakkou no Leaders, Luby Sparks, and SHE IS SUMMER took to the stage. Each of them offered a different genre as up-and-coming artists and sang the two-day festival into a close.
Tower Records Shibuya SKY GARDEN / MOSHI MOSHI MUSIC FESTIVAL
Up on the rooftop of Tower Records Shibuya, the Sky Garden, a selection of groups from the idol genre, a unique part of Japanese pop culture, performed on stage as artists that MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON wanted to show to the world.
On March 24th, a total of eight idol groups performed including Yamakatsu and CY8ER, and on March 25th nine performed, such as Lucky Doll and The Dance for Philosophy, all of who enthralled the idol fans gathered at the venue.
Laforet Museum Harajuku / Harajuku Kawaii Market presented by Mynavi Baito
The Harajuku Kawaii Market was presented by Mynavi Baito at Laforet Museum Harajuku and centered on the theme of “Find Japan’s Kawaii♡”.
There was a whole collection of booths from fashion to beauty, fortune-telling, DIY and more, as well as appearances from models active in Japanese fashion magazines, artists, and a popular Youtuber.
Performers Rei Maruyama and Yuri Suganuma hosted the stage. The two of them are friends and so had a good, natural flow in directing the stage.
Talk sessions were held around fashion, cosmetics, how to be photogenic and more and saw the likes of Saki Shibata, Rinko Murata, Megane, Noah Satou, Ayaka Segawa, and Rikako Ōya from Babyraids Japan.
Mynavi Baito also presented their Challenge Award themed on fashion where school students were tasked with designing the cutest part-time work outfit to show to the world. Japanese models stepped out onto stage wearing each of the costumes.
Artist, model and actress Natsume Mito produced her first ever show for the event – a fashion show themed on a picture book. Rilakkuma attended too for his inauguration ceremony to be appointed as a Shibuya Tourism Ambassador. He handed out maps to people at the event.
MAGiC BOYZ and Amato Danshi performed live at the market with their catchy music and electrifying dance moves.
The booth area bustled with people who attended DIY workshops for making accessories and pin badges, the fortune-telling area, hair styling booth and more. Japan’s kawaii was delivered across two days through the on-stage performances and many booths.
SHIBUYA CAST / MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON MARKET
A market was held at SHIBUYA CAST called “Enjoy Hanami Early in Shibuya.” It was dotted with an array of food booths where people enjoyed strawberries from the city of Tamura in Fukushima Prefecture, the popular Kyoto souvenir “Tokyo Baum,” and Japan’s dashi stock. There were performances, people tried on kimono, there was a footbath and more. This area was particularly popular with overseas visitors.
Official tours were held called “HARAJUKU EXPERIENCE” with SHIBUYA CAST as the start and finish point. They were very well received. Aimed at foreigners, the tours took them around the fascinating areas of Shibuya and Harajuku.
It was just in time for the cherry blossoms at SHIBUYA CAST which were in full bloom this weekend, making the event even more brilliant.
RE THINK CAFÉ SHIBUYA / MOSHI MOSHI CAFÉ
The MOSHI MOSHI CAFÉ opened at RETHINK CAFE SHIBUYA with the concept of “Clean & Hungry.”
A campaign was held for people to receive free sweets from areas around Japan by taking a photo of food they ordered from the café and posting it online with the specified hashtag.
Lots of people posted their food on social media and were able to enjoy free sweets from regions across Japan that are hard to get your hands on in Tokyo. The café served up the individual charms of regions in the country.
Onden Shrine / MOSHI MOSHI ENNICHI
Onden Shrine is where the local gods of Harajuku are enshrined. An Ennichi event was held for the festival titled “Tie Links With the Gods of Harajuku.”
Harajuku-style rainbow coloured cotton candy, cute amezaiku and other treats were sold as food for Ennichi, and there was a booth for foreigners to learn Japanese shrine etiquette.
Bilingual staff lectured on the manners and etiquette to teach the proper way of praying at shrines in Japan.
Traditional Japanese performance opened the stage with taiko drums and Awa Odori. There were also character DJs, a display by pro kendama performer EASY and many other things for kids and adults alike to enjoy. At the end of the day was a large Bon Odori dance which the performers, attendees and staff joined in with.
16,000 people attended this year’s MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Festival across the two days. Just like last year, many foreigners attended the event, but this year the variety of content at the festival was upped, the number of families increased, and we saw lots of children getting involved in the booths. MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON promoted Japanese culture to even more people this year, not just with those in attendance, but event to people on the street who were given sampling bags.
Further reports of the event for each area of the festival will be posted on the MMN website in the coming days. Stay tuned and don’t forget to check the official event page: https://fes18.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/index.html
MMN will continue to deliver Japanese popular to the world through our website and official events. On our website, we post interviews with Japanese artists active both in Japan and overseas, spots to visit and food to try in Japan as recommended by popular models, fashion trends in Japan, and much, much more. We provide information from a unique perspective, so be sure to check us out.
Additional Information! Maidreamin, Kendama Performers, TOTTI CANDY FACTORY to Participate & Character DJ Festival Will be Held
The MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Executive Committee will hold the country’s biggest inbound event for promoting Japanese pop culture to the world, “MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA,” across the areas of Shibuya and Harajuku on Saturday March 24 and Sunday March 25. New artists have been added to the event line-up as well as their performing dates. Registration for the event is also now open. Those who register for the festival will receive an original bag as thanks.
Register Here: https://mmnf2018.peatix.com
This year’s MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL will take place in four main locations. Here are the artists who will perform as well as the content and activities to be held at each location.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at the stage performances and booths you can expect to see at Onden Shrine.
EASY – The Kendama Performer
EASY is a professional kendama (“sword and ball”Japanese toy) performer who is performing throughout the world. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy his breathtaking kentama performance!
The popular cast members of the maid café, “Maidreamin” will gather at Onden Shrine! They will grab ojou-sama (ladies) and goshujin-samas’ (masters) hearts with their songs and dance performances.
TOTTI CANDY FACTORY
TOTTY CANDY is popular for its giant rainbow-colored cotton candy. Cotton candy is eaten by many people as an Ennichi (hopping day) food. This cotton candy named TOTTY CANDY has the essence of Harajuku-style!
Character DJ Festival
DJs disguised as popular characters will perform on-stage at Onden Shrine and will grab audience’s hearts with their tunes and fantastic performances. DJs – Shimockey and coroton and many more.
DJ／Shimockey and coroton
＜Free Entry to MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 in SHIBUYA＞
Register for free entry to this year’s festival!
To register, place visit the Peatix website below and follow the instructions. Upon completing your registration, you will receive a QR Code from Peatix that you must take with you and present at each area on the day of the event.
Click here to register.
*Upon registering, you will be signed up as a MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Member where you will receive newsletters and other information. You will also be signed up to Omotenashi Platform.
Those that register for the event in advance will receive an original bag as thanks. There are 1,500 bags available on a first-come, first-served basis. You will find in them one of either popular products from KitKat Chocolatory: the “KitKat Chocolatory Moleson” (￥500) or the “KitKat Chocolatory Moleson Matcha” (￥500). Bear in mind that stocks are limited, so don’t forget to sign up early!
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/
Kyoto Sightseeing | 4 Desserts You Must Try While in Kyoto
Kyoto is renowned for its historical architecture and richness in traditional Japanese culture, but did you know it’s also home to some extremely cute and delicious desserts? Their sweets and desserts are actually pretty popular, some of which contain motifs and little nods to the city.
Today, Instagrammer meme takes us on a tour in Kyoto to try out 4 popular desserts.
JEREMY&JEMIMAH is a shop selling cute and colourful cotton candy. Their staple Wata-Hako cotton candy comes in 10 different flavours! In the photo we have yuzu, rose and matcha flavours. Of the two branches of the store, there is one along Furukawacho Shopping Street where you order your cotton candy for takeout, and another in Yasaka that serves cotton candy on long sticks.
We picked up a few different ones since there are so many flavours and designs. It was fun lining them up to take a picture.
We took them home to eat and they stayed nice and fluffy the whole way back. The yuzu one tasted a little herbal, like it was healthy for you.
▼JEREMY&JEMIMAH (Furukawacho Shopping Street Branch)
Address: Furukawacho Shopping Street, 444-3 Hachikenchō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
Official Website: http://www.jeremyjemimah.com/
ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK
At ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK, you can order these iced dessert matcha and houjicha lattes which are topped with yatsuhashi―a confection sold in Kyoto―shaped into various sights across the city including Kyoto Tower, Hōkanji Temple, Daimonji, a Torii gate, and more.
I ordered the matcha latte. The drink itself isn’t sweet at all so you can enjoy the full original rich and bitter flavour of the matcha. The fresh cream however is quite sweet so you can mix it into the drink as much as you want to get your desired flavour.
There are lots of great spots in the area such as the Hōkanji Temple pagoda and Yasaka Shrine so you can snap some great sightseeing photos♡
▼ROCCA & FRIENDS TRUCK
Address: 370 Yasaka Kamimachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00
Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rocca.truck/
We also visited Jumondo which sells Kyoto-style dango, or “sweet dumplings.” We shared three different orders amongst three people: Danraku (団楽) which comes as a set with a drink, Dandan (だんだん) which comes with matcha, and Zenzai to Aburi Kuri Kinton (ぜんざいと炙り栗きんとん).
Once you order, the dango are made fresh so are served hot and chewy. Each dumpling is on the small side so are nice and easy to eat.
The Danraku comes with five different dumplings including sweet soy glaze, mashed sweet bean paste, soy sauce and black sesame seed, fried, and white miso. The Dandan comes with three types of your choice and a wafer filled with mashed sweet bean paste. The Zenzai to Aburi Kuri Kinton with mashed sweet potatoes with sweetened chestnut dango. The final one comes with matcha which can be served hot or cold.
Everything was tasty but my personal favourite was the yuzu flavoured white miso dumpling.
The one that everybody raved about was the Zenzai which is a thick soup that the dango are placed into. These dumplings are bigger, not too sweet and light. The soup went really well with the dango, it was super tasty.
Address: 76 Tamamizuchō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Official Website: http://jumondo.jp/index.html
Kyo Yasaka Pudding
Yasaka is a particularly popular tourist spot in Kyoto, and that’s where the cute purin shop Kyo Yasaka Pudding is located.
Purin is a type of custard purring sold in Japan. The first pudding we picked up was the store’s recommended option named after the store itself, the Kyo Yasaka Pudding. It contains a transparent lemon and honey flavoured jelly inside which there are small and colourful agar agar balls and mango jelly balls.
It has an enjoyable texture and a refreshing sweetness that I’ve never experienced before with other purin. It’s very tasty!
There are five flavours to choose from, the others being hard, smooth, matcha and black soy bean, and houjicha black soy bean. All are served in tiny cute jars. Not only do they look great, they taste amazing too. Each is made with ingredients sourced in Kyoto including the milk, Uji matcha, houjicha, and black soy beans.
They also sell soft serve ice cream topped with candy balls, very Kyoto-like! You can choose from vanilla, matcha, or a mix of both. I think it’ll be really fun if you can snap a photo of your ice cream with one of Yasaka’s stylish locations in the background! Speaking of which, there was a cute illustration on the wall of the store so we took our photo there.
Be sure to pay a visit to Kyo Yasaka Pudding to pick up your own pudding whether as a souvenir or for yourself.
▼Kyo Yasaka Pudding
Address: 87-4 Hoshinochō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Official Website: https://kyo-yasaka-pudding.co.jp/
Kyoto is full of shops selling desserts and sweets perfect to walk around and munch on while you walk its ancient streets, or to take home as a souvenir. Enjoy all the tasty things you can during your visit to this beautiful city♡
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
5 Must-Visit Shrines Close to Central Tokyo
Japan is home to a lot of shrines. We have picked out 5 shrines you have to visit when travelling to Tokyo. All of them are close to the city centre, and not only are they easy to get to, each of them is also very famous.
Shinjuku: Hanazono Shrine, an oasis in central Tokyo
Hanazono Shrine is associated with food and agriculture, success, fortune, and family and company prosperity amongst other things. The closest station to it is Shinjuku-Sanchome Station where it is within mere seconds’ walking distance from the station’s E2 exit. An alternative route is from Shinjuku Station from which is just a 7-minute walk. The shrine is smack in the middle of Shinjuku and near the Shinjuku City Office and Shinjuku Golden Gai.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/134888
Harajuku: Onsen Shrine, home to the Shinto god of Harajuku and tied to beauty and marriage prosperity
Onden Shrine is located just a 10-minute walk from both Shibuya Station and Harajuku Station via the JR Yamanote Line or 7-minutes from Meiji-Jingumae Station via the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line. It has been enshrined in Harajuku for more than 400 years where it has watched over the area.
Onden Shrine is a site for blessings in things like marriage and beauty. It offers a lot of keywords particularly favoured by girls, so it’s definitely one to visit.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/96403
Azabu-Jūban: Azabu Hikawa Shrine, the Sailor Moon holy ground
Azabu Hikawa Shrine which is located in the district of Azabu-Juban known for being referenced many times in the Sailor Moon series. The closest station is Azabu-Juban Station. Naoko Takeuchi, the author of Sailor Moon, actually lived in Azabu-Juban when the series was being serialised in Nakayoshi from 1991 to 1997. The shrine was used as a model for Hikawa Shrine where Rei, or Sailor Mars, worked as a shrine maiden.
The shrine is seen as lucky for many reasons. People pray there for increased luck, business prosperity, warding off evil, better fortune, success in life, wealth, safe childbirth, protection against misfortune, academic achievement, exam success, family safety, marriage, national security, and more.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/118472
Kamiyachō: Atago Shrine, climb the stone steps for success in life
You can reach Atago Shrine in 5 minutes by foot from Kamiyacho Station via the Hibiya Line or 8 minutes by foot from either Toranomon Station via the Ginza Line or Onarimon Station via the Toei Mita Line.
The fire god Homusubi no Mikoto is the main deity enshrined at Atago Shrine who not only offers protection against fire and fire-related disasters, but brings good fortune to businesses and marriages too.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/80038
Asakusa: Imado Shrine, the birthplace of the ‘maneki-neko’ waving cat
The closest station to Imado Shrine is Asakusa Station. It’s about a 15 minute walk from there, but you can reach it quicker on the Megurin Bus for just ¥100. The shrine is popular power spot for successful marriage. The god of wealth and longevity and one of Asakusa’s Seven Lucky Gods, Fukurokuju, is also enshrined here. The shrine is also recognised as one of Tokyo’s 8 Shitamachi shrines that people make a pilgrimage to.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/111527
Did you enjoy our list? Remember, all of them are super easy to access from central Tokyo and from tourist hot spots, so be sure to make your own pilgrimage around each of them while in Tokyo.
Kifune Shrine’s Bewitching Autumn Illuminations Begin on November 3
31.October.2018 | SPOT
Eizan Electric Railway and the Kibune Tourist Association are teaming up to hold an autumn illumination event which will run from November 3 to 25.
This marks the 16th run of the event which will once more be held in co-operation with Kyoto Hanatouro who will provide paper lanterns and spotlights. The Momiji Tunnel, Ninose Station and Kibuneguchi Station along with Kifune Shrine and elsewhere will be lit up with enchanting illuminations.
As the train runs through the Momiji Tunnel―a tunnel of maple trees―it will cut its lights and slow down for passengers to enjoy riding past the lit-up magical maples with autumnal hues. The path leading up to Kifune Shrine as well as the main shrine itself too will glow with warm colours.
Take in the spectacle of Japanese autumn-time at Kifune Shrine in Kyoto.
16th Kibune Momiji Tourou
Running: November 3, 2018 – November 25, 2018
Illumination Time: Sunset to 21:00
Kifune Shrine – Shrine grounds and surrounding area (approx. 1,000m)
Eizan Electric Railway – Ninose Station and Kibuneguchi Station
Eizan Electric Railway – Momiji Tunnel (Ichihara Station to Ninose Station) (approx. 250m)
Special Bus Run: (Kibuneguchi Station Bus Stop – Kibune Rinji Bus Stop) Special bus service with Kyoto Bus until 21:00
Train Schedule: (Autumn Leaf Weekday Schedule) Weekdays from November 5 to 30
<Eizan Main Line> 10:00-15:00
・Demachiyanagi Station – Yase-Hieizanguchi Station (Running approx. every 15 minutes. Normally every 20 minutes)
<Kurama Line> 10:00-15:00
・Demachiyanagi Station – Kurama Station (Running approx. every 15 minutes. Normally every 20 minutes)
・Demachiyanagi Station – Nikenchaya Station (2 trains every hour until 12:00)
Train Schedule: (Autumn Leaf Holiday Schedule) Saturdays & Holidays from November 3 to 25
<Eizan Main Line> 09:00-18:00
・Demachiyanagi Station – Yase-Hieizanguchi Station (Running approx. every 6 to 13 minutes. Normally every 15 minutes)
<Kurama Line> 09:00-18:00
・Demachiyanagi Station – Kurama Station (Running approx. every 13 to 15 minutes. Normally every 15 minutes)
<Kurama Line> 19:00-20:00
・Demachiyanagi Station – Kurama Station (Running approx. every 15 minutes)
Traditional Japanese Purin Shop Zenkoji Purin with Tearoom Opens in Nagano
01.July.2018 | FOOD
Zenkoji Temple is one of the most important and popular temples in Japan and one of Pure Land Buddhism. A new purin shop will open close by the temple. It will serve traditional style purin, a type of Japanese custard and caramel dessert, as well as being the first purin shop to have its own tearoom. It’s located in an old oil house that has been around for 280 years since the Edo Period.
The shop has both a tearoom and tea house garden, offering a traditional Japanese space for people to relax and enjoy their purin. Their goal is to let locals and tourists experience tradition with a twist.
The purin sold here uses carefully selected ingredients grown in the natural environment of Nagano. For example, the milk used―called Azumino Gyunyu―has a mellow and deep flavour to it.
Customers can also look forward to drinking tea such as houjicha made by people with great knowledge and experience that has accumulated over the years. They also do their best to make the purin fresh to order. As of now there are 5 different expertly made flavours available, so be sure to try them all!
Tsuzuri Project Dedicates High Resolution Facsimile of Japanese Artwork to Tanzan Shrine in Nara
01.July.2018 | SPOT
The Tsuzuri Project is a joint project organised by Canon and the Kyoto Culture Association (NPO). Their latest facsimile work is of Birds and Flowers of Autumn and Winter (Kano School) for Stage 11 of the project. The high-quality copy has been offered to Tanzan Shrine in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture. The original copy is currently preserved at the British Museum.
The project aims to “create and make use of high resolution facsimiles of cultural assets from Japanese antiquity, with keeping the original cultural assets in more favourable environments.” This is achieved with Canon’s SLR cameras which capture high resolution digital images that are then processed and printed.
Canon have updated their equipment including cameras and lenses to achieve even higher resolution and produce a faithful copy of Birds and Flowers of Autumn and Winter. That copy has been given to Tanzan Shrine, the original owners of the piece.
Birds and Flowers of Autumn and Winter is of the Edo Period’s Kano School of painting. It’s painted on fusuma, vertical rectangular panels, and depicts images of autumn and winter such as wild geese, ducks, white camellia and the Japanese 1000 ryou coin. The original belonged to Tanzan Shrine in Nara Prefecture where Fujiwara no Kamatari is enshrined, a Japanese statesmen and politician who was central to the Taika Reform (645). It’s an important piece of work which displays the skills of the Kano School of Japanese painting which stretched across the Momoyama Period to the beginning of the Edo Period.
The facsimile is now on permanent display at Tanzan Shrine and available for public viewing. Film footage of Tsuzuri Project’s 11th Stage work will be made available on the Canon homepage and at an exhibition from mid-August.
teamLab Bring Digital Art to Kyoto World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine
11.June.2018 | SPOT
teamLab is an ‘artist collaborative, interdisciplinary creative group’ made up of specialists including programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects – the list goes on. They work to blur together the art, science, technology and creative industries.
The team are bringing their Light Festival in Tadasu no Mori digital art exhibition to Shimogamo Shrine, which stands as one of seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The event will run from August 17 to September 2.
Resisting and Resonating Ovoids and Forest – Forest of Tadasu at Shimogamo Shrine
teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
Shimogamo Shrine sits between Kamo River and Takano River. It is one of Kyoto’s oldest shrines, having been a place of worship to countless people since old times. ‘Tadasu no Mori’ (Forest of Correction) is a sacred grove at the shrine and reminder of times gone, stretching 124,000 square meters. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Resonating Spheres – Forest of Tadasu at Shimogamo Shrine
teamLab, 2016, Interactive Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi
teamLab will showcase the above two art displays. Light, sound and digital technology will surround the trees leading up to the shrine and gate. The exhibits will transform with the presence of people.
Head to one of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines to see a fusion of tradition and modern technology.
Top 10 Landmarks in Japan – Popular Tourist Spots Announced by TripAdvisor
26.May.2018 | SPOT
Travel and restaurant website TripAdvisor® has unveiled the most popular landmarks around the world of 2018 for its Travellers’ Choice Awards.
This is the sixth edition of this ranking. 759 famous locations throughout the world with cultural and historical backgrounds were selected. Taking the top spot this year once again was Angkor Wat in Cambodia. From Japan, Fushimi Inari-Taisha ranked in at number one for the fourth year in a row for the Japanese selections. It also placed 24th worldwide and 5th in Asia.
Seven brand new locations made it into the ranking, including Old City (Switzerland) and London Bridge (UK). In the Asia category, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (India) and Supertree Grove (Singapore) appeared for the first time. Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima Prefecture made its debut in the list for Japan.
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular tourist landmarks that ranked from Japan.
Top 10 Landmarks in Japan
(*Numbers in brackets denote their position last year.)
1st (1) – Fushimi Inari-Taisha, Kyoto
2nd (2) – Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto
3rd (6) – Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Hiroshima
4th (5) – Senso-ji, Tokyo
5th (8) – Todai-ji, Nara
6th (3) – Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto
7th (10) – Himeji Castle, Hyogo
8th (10) – Meiji Shrine, Tokyo
9th (9) Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo
10th (First Time Ranking) – Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima
Fushimi Inari-Taisha in Kyoto placed number one once again for the fourth year in a row. The red ‘floating’ torii gate is truly a beautiful spectacle.
Kinkaku-ji placed second again with its dazzling and gorgeous yellow appearance.
In third place was Hiroshima Peace Memorial, a symbol of peace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history
Full details can be found over on TripAdvisor, so be sure to reference it during your Japan travels!
Kobe: 6 Tourist Spots in Hyogo Prefecture’s Capital Soon to Welcome Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional football player who has served 21 years for Barcelona and the Spain national team. As captain of Barcelona, Iniesta has become Spain’s most awarded Spanish footballer, and was a main player in ensuring Barcelona’s two treble wins in 2009 and 2015. He’s a much respected and love footballer across the globe.
The 34-year-old legend is set to depart from Barcelona and move to Vissel Kobe.
In this article, we take a look at what kind of place Kobe is.
Kobe is located in the western part of Japan in Hyogo Prefecture and is next door to Osaka. It’s just a 30-minute train ride from Osaka Station to get to Sannomiya Station in central Kobe!
Its location makes it a perfect chance for plenty more sightseeing after touring around Osaka.
Arima Onsen is one Japan’s three oldest hot spring locations. A representative hot spring town of the Kansai region, this place has a peaceful and tranquil appearance. The Kin no Yu (‘Golden Waters’) hot spring is an especially recommended part of the town. It sits in a reconstructed public bathhouse, and there’s also a free footbath at the entrance. Over at Gin no Yu (‘Silver Waters’), the water is transparent, but as you waft the air the iron oxidises and turns it into a brown colour. It’s about an hour’s train journey from Osaka Station, making it a great place to relax after a day’s outing in Osaka.
Nankin-Machi: Kobe’s Chinatown
Nankin-machi is considered one of Japan’s three big Chinatown locations alongside the ones in Yokohama and Nagasaki. It’s a tourist hot spot with an exotic mood and is home to almost 100 shops and restaurants serving everything Chinese. You can enjoy having a bite to eat while walking the streets, or even just take in the sights on a stroll.
This historical shrine is one of the oldest in Japan having been around for more than 1,800 years. Its red torii archways and structures are very beautiful. It’s home to a goddess of marriage and brings in droves of people every year from Japan and abroad to pray there. It’s about a 10-minute walk from Sannomiya Station. Do you know the proper manners and etiquette of praying at a shrine in Japan? If not then be sure to check out our step-by-step guide.
Harborland is a huge shopping district packed full of restaurants, cafes, a movie theatre, Ferris wheel and more―plenty of an whole day out. It’s a great location to feel the true essence of a Port of Kobe town.
The picturesque nighttime scenery after sunset is a must-see. The myriad of illuminations and lit-up boats are truly a magical sight to behold.
Nōfuku-ji – Giant Buddha
Nōfuku-ji is home to one of Japan’s three great daibutsu Buddha statues, the others being in Kamakura and Nara. The original Buddha was built by the monk Saichou in 805 but the one that stands there today was rebuilt in 1991. It’s said to absolutely hear the wishes of those that pray to it, so if you have something you want to pray for then be sure to visit.
Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower―the symbol of Kobe. Its red and white appearance is unique and striking. There’s an observation deck on the top floor where you can gaze over Kobe atop 108m. Things get romantic at nighttime when the tower it lit up.
Kobe is about to get all the more exciting with the decision of Andres Iniesta’s move.
The list of sights to see is endless, from delicious food to the gorgeous nightscape and shrines. Don’t forget to visit Kobe if you’re travelling in the Kansai region.
Experience Traditional Japanese Culture Through Buddhism at Kohgen Festival in Meguro & Nakameguro
23.April.2018 | SPOT
Kohgen is a festival focused on Buddhism held at shrines and temples in Japan where people can experience traditional Japanese culture. The next events are set to take place at Shokakuji Temple in Nakameguro on May 5 and Ryusenji Temple, Gohyakurakanji Temple and Banryuji Temple in Meguro on May 6.
Kohgen works towards allowing people to feel the true essence and root of Japan’s rich culture. The festival takes place over a huge distance every year, with 2018 marking its eighth run.
On Saturday May 5 at Shokakuji Temple, there will be performances from young rakugo entertainers in their 20s and 30s in the main hall, a chance to hear three priests chanting Buddhist sutras, and a string of experienced-based workshops like making goshuincho shrine and temple stamp books, ascetic practices and more.
On Sunday May 6 in Meguro, there’ll be a talk show by a Buddhist picture artists at Ryusenji Temple, an opportunity to learn about philosophy with a chief priest at Gohyakurakanji Temple, and ikebana flower arranging, calligraphy, and a viola performance at Banryuji Temple. There’s plenty more scheduled too, with each temple having its own particular events.
Also, for 2018, those who haven’t bought tickets can enter the festival too. There are free events happening at the tent area, and a catering area where you can enjoy food.
In addition, ghost story telling priest Daiun Miki has also been invited to Shokakuji Temple in Nakameguro. He’ll be telling one of his ghost stories.
For more details on this fun-packed festival, make sure to check the official Kohgen website.
MMN Festival 2018: Report by Scarlet, a Japan-loving Brit
This year was a new challenge for the MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL- the first time the event was held over four different locations around the Shibuya and Harajuku area! The stylish La Foret department store, the famous music hotspot Tower Records, the bustling shopping square Shibuya Cast and finally the traditional tranquillity of Onden Shrine. All the best of Japanese pop-culture – held within just a short distance of each other! Here were some of the highlights.
Fashion at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 set the bar high! The Harajuku Kawaii Market area in particular brought together a wide variety of styles in two days of the latest Kawaii trends. Bright, colourful fashion as well as toned down, natural fashion was displayed at booths and on stage by famous models.
Tobidase! Picture Book Show ～Storytime With Natsume Mito～
Bulldog Tanei to Kieta Hoshi (BUNKEIDO Co., LTD.) is a really famous picture book in Japan, loved by children and adults alike for its moving story. It has a very distinct art style and colour scheme – the perfect ingredients for a fashion show! Singer and presenter Natsume Mito produced the show herself – everything from the concept to shopping for the clothes in vintage shops.
When asked on stage why she chose this book in particular she answered – “The drawings are cute so easy to match fashion to. But I also thought it would be nice to use a moving story to make people smile by watching this fashion show”. Everyone who attended could write their wishes on star shaped paper and stick it on the night sky wall outside the event – just like in the picture book.
My Navi Baito Fashion Awards
Gas station workers and barmaids are not necessarily the jobs that come to mind when you think of Kawaii fashion – but the My Navi Baito Challenge Awards are here to change that stereotype! The competition showcased at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL was for fashion students with the challenge of creating cute “baito” outfits – “baito” means part time work in Japanese.
Popular models showed off the outfits on stage. Model Yano Anna commented that her moving van worker outfit was really cute with lots of lace but also very practical with big pockets, and that if the outfit was this cute, she would definitely like to do this part time work! The students, who only had one month to complete the project, were also interviewed on the key points of the outfits and any difficulties they faced. The winner was decided by audience vote over the two days.
A Lecture on Being Photogenic
In recent times social media presence is really important for models, for building their fan base and giving fans a look into their everyday lives. Many came to get tips from top models giving this panel on creating “Instagrammable” photos – which covered every topic from fashion to cosmetics to photos of food.
Rikako Ōya from popular idol group Babyraids Japan explained that she takes some of her photos on a film camera to bring out the bright colours of her clothes. She also likes taking artistic photos, such as where she used the light of Tokyo Tower reflected on her face for a very expressive, serious photo. Ellie likes to capture the beauty of nature and tradition in her outfit photos by posing at lakes and shrines. Ema on the other hand focuses on capturing the charm of cafes around Japan. She does this by framing the table to look stylish and simple but with something surprising, such as a beer or a brightly coloured blue soda. Her key tip was to always use natural light rather than filters.
Yuna’s aim is to show dog owners in Tokyo cute and fun places to go through her Instagram. There were a lot of “awws” from the audience in reaction to her photos of her dog swimming! Yuri’s photos focused more on cosmetics and beauty. One of Yuri’s most popular photos is of her nails in a Jacuzzi, where the bubbles really bring out the colours. Another signature photo she takes is a zoomed in part of her face, such as her eyes and nose, which she then posts on Instagram. It was a fun and educational panel!
One of the four locations was Onden Shrine – tucked away behind the streets between Harajuku and Shibuya. The Bon Odori was a stunning masterpiece that was not to be missed.
A procession of beautiful colours, striking makeup and the highest shoes I’ve ever seen! The wave of contrasting kimono down the path to the shrine to graceful traditional music, was combined with fast pop beats to give the show a modern twist.
Even DJ character Shimockey was happily dancing along to the music and getting everyone involved! When the performance was over the audience could even learn a special Bon Odori taught by the performers, a mash up between traditional flowing dance moves and energetic j-pop.
Fortune Telling is a tradition in Japan that dates back to the Edo period, and recently has become trendy and modern. For example, fortune teller celebrity Chamereon Takeda has over 50,000 followers on her official LINE account, and fortunes regularly appears on television and in magazines. I have always been fascinated to try tarot cards so I had my fortune told by Yuushi Kusunagi, who is also a voice actor and MC! While tarot cards are a very traditional method, he also used computer software to input my answers for part of the fortune telling. It was a really interesting experience!
YUMENOYA Kimono Salon
In a traditional x kawaii mashup, YUMENOYA Kimono Salon had a booth at SHIBUYA CAST, a market area with food, robots and even a foot spa! The kimonos are all distinctly very beautiful in kawaii colours – this is because the kimono most suited to Harajuku fashion are handpicked from rooting through hundreds at markets. You can even see some are adjusted with added colours and lace. If you think the background looks familiar, the colourful shoji (sliding paper) door is actually designed by Sebastian Masuda, the genius behind the designs of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music videos! If you’re interested in trying this out, YUMENOYA has a permanent store on the 1st floor of MOSHI MOSHI BOX in Harajuku!
Tower Records Stage – CY8ER
The hugely famous music location for locals and tourists alike, Tower Records hosted three stages and many different acts across the weekend. I decided to check out the performance of idol group CY8ER, who have gained huge traction abroad for their bass heavy tunes and energetic performances. Many members were also already influential figures in the idol world before joining the group, and member Rinahamu is actually also the producer! Their musical genre is commonly described as Future Bass, a subgenre of EDM. It was definitely a performance to dance and chant along to, and I had a lot of fun alongside the other fans.
Harajuku Kawaii Market Stage – AmaDan and MAGiC BOYS
The Harajuku Kawaii Market stage hosted two very cool boy groups over the weekend. Sugary sweet Amato Danshi are themed completely around sweets, with some of their famous tunes being “Choux Cream” and “Chocolate”. During the bridge in one of their songs, they even gave out sweets to everyone in the audience before rushing back on stage! You could even buy sweets they recommend at a booth in SHIBUYA CAST.
MAGiC BOYS are possibly the youngest hip hop rapping group I have ever seen, the youngest member being only 13 years old and a DJ! “Ore no Kami ha Kuro” is a song that revolves around the stereotype that dying your hair in Japan gives you a rebellious image, but they think the hair you were born with is more cool. Their performance was not only energetic but also theatrical, they really put on a show!
After all of that, how will MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL top it next year? We will have to wait and see! Thanks for reading!
Admire the Fresh Green Leaves at “Shinryoku Week” Spring Event at Yanagidani Kannon
20.April.2018 | SPOT
Yanagidani Kannon is located in Nagaokakyo, Kyoto and has come to serve as a shrine to pray for victims of eye diseases since the Heian Period, beginning with members of the Imperial Family. During this year’s Golden Week, from April 28 to May 6, the site will host Shinryoku Week (‘Fresh Verdure Week’).
The event will include a special public opening of the Joushoin, or upper study, which is normally open only once a month. You can also look forward to receiving a special limited-edition goshuin shrine stamp designed with fresh new leaves, as well as seeing portrait paintings of great people ahead of their times.
You can also get hands on in making your own rosary bead bracelet, make incense with natural materials, play a koto in a concert with everyone, create goshuin from pressed flowers to feel the early summer, and take a mindfulness class to heal your mind.
Details regarding the timetable, prices and so on, as well as the sign-up page can be found at the link at the bottom of the page.
You can feel the breath of this year’s late spring finally here. Head to Yanagidani Kannon to admire the fresh green leaves of the season from atop the Joushoin.