Fuji-Q Highland, thrilling rides with a view of Mt. Fuji

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As the quintessential Japanese symbol, Mt. Fuji often evokes quiet and peaceful imagery. That’s why it’s hard to think of it as home to some of the highest, steepest and scariest roller coasters in the world. However, it’s precisely this contrast along with its proximity to Tokyo that makes Fuji-Q Highland amusement park a unique place to visit and a must for all thrill seekers.

The park is located in the foothills of Mt. Fuji in Yamanashi prefecture and can be reached by the Fujikyu express bus in approximately an hour and a half from Tokyo, Shinjuku and Shibuya stations. Fuji-Q features roller coasters such as Takabisha, with the steepest drop in the world at 121° degrees, Eejanaika, the so-called 4th dimension coaster with endless turns and spins and of course, the Fujiyama, dubbed “the king of coasters” with a maximum speed of 130 km/h and a maximum height of 79 m. However, if heart-pounding rides are not your thing, Fuji-Q offers great alternatives, such as Fuji Airways, a virtual flight around Mt. Fuji in high definition, or Thomas Land, an area filled with exciting rides for small children. Visitors can also enjoy taking on the Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear, the Ferris Wheel, or even visit the nearby Fujiyama Onsen, featuring Japan’s largest wooden bathroom with an exclusive pipeline that feeds the facilities with a stream of water packed with minerals. It is said that after soaking for a while in this onsen’s miraculous waters, your skin will feel smooth and beautiful.

Three of our WAttention Ninja had the opportunity to experience all Fuji-Q Highland has to offer and this is what they had to say:

Aagje Kessels

Our day started at Tokyo Station where we took the bus to Fuji-Q Highland. As soon as we got there we couldn’t resist the urge to take a ton of pictures. Honestly, if you have the opportunity to behold such a beautiful landscape as Mt. Fuji, you want to show it off to your friends on social media. We enjoyed everything, from the soaring roller coasters to the cute “La ville de Gaspard et Lisa”, an area that looks like a small French town where you can find many food stalls and nice souvenir shops. The three of us were very scared of the most thrilling roller coasters, but I’m glad to say that we conquered our fear and had the time of our lives. Lastly but definitely not least, we visited Fujiyama Onsen, which offers a great variety of baths. I personally loved the outdoor Onsen, because even though it was quite cold when I first stepped outside, I found that nothing can beat the feeling of dipping into the hot water and instantly feel your body warm up and your troubles wash away.
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We started an amazing day at Tokyo Station, where we rode the bus heading to Fuji-Q Highland. When we got there, we didn’t have to wait long before entering the park. We were already a bit hungry, but we were so excited to get on the rides that we headed straight to the most challenging roller coaster: “Eejanaika”. It was amazing, it was the most intense ride I had ever experienced. After eating a much-deserved lunch, we decided to ride our second roller coaster: “Fujiyama”, which offered amazing views of Mt. Fuji. We also tried other attractions like the teacup ride, and the amazing Fuji Airways, a virtual tour of Japan’s tallest mountain with amazing special effects and a huge screen. We also took the time to walk around Fuji-Q Highland and visit the onsen. We had an amazing day!

Jan Siegrist

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Jenny Teer

As soon as we arrived to Fuji-Q, we took on the most intense rollercoaster: the 4th dimension coaster “Eejanaika”, which turns riders upside down a whooping 14 times and holds the Guinness World record for the most inversions in a roller coaster. I was quite scared at first but when everything was over, I thought the experience was really worth it. After pumping so much adrenaline, we decided to take a break to eat lunch and recharge batteries with a hearty meal of pizza, fries and soup. Our second ride was the “Fujiyama”, the tallest complete-circuit rollercoaster measuring 79 m at its highest point. This awesome ride became my favorite in the whole park. Around 5 pm we headed to Fujiyama Onsen. Since it was our first time in an onsen, we were feeling a little bit shy but I knew I had to change my mind and give it a try. After a while, I became used to it and ended up really enjoying it.
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Sample schedule for a day in Fuji-Q Highland
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Fuji-Q Highland

Hours: Open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 17pm. Operation hours vary according to the season.
Admission: Park admission is 1,500 JPY for adults and high school students, 900 JPY for children. One-day free pass ticket is 5700 JPY for adults, 5200 JPY for high school students and 4300 JPY for children.
Address: 5-6-1 Shin-Nishihara, Fujiyoshida-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture
Access: Take the Fujikyu Express bus at Tokyo Station bound for Mt. Fuji and get off at Fuji-Q Highland. Direct buses also operate from Shinjuku and Shibuya station, while daily night buses from Osaka and Kyoto are also available.
URL: https://www.fujiq.jp/en/
Contact: [email protected]

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with this useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
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・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
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Bonsai Master Kunio Kobayashi

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Besides gardening on a large scale, Bonsai refers to the act of creating miniature potted plants. Since nearly every plant species can be transformed into a Bonsai, you can enjoy beautiful cherry- or plum blossoms during spring, as well as colored leaves in autumn without leaving the house. Bonsai spread a calm and refreshing atmosphere. Japan is the country of pine trees being the most cultivated and traditional one created into a Bonsai. In countries like Spain or Italy, people use olive trees which give a unique touch.

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Originally this specific art of gardening came from China during the 8th century and was called penjing, referring to the special technique of growing dwarf trees in containers. It used to be a task practiced only by the elite of the society, spread throughout China as luxurious and extravagant gifts. This tradition made its way to Japan during the Kamakura period as a religious souvenir. Japanese people used deeper pots, so this kind of gardening was called hachi no ki 鉢の木, the tree in a bowl. It became a hobby practiced by the whole society. With the beginning of the 19th century, the tree was renamed as Bonsai to show the difference between conventional created hachi no ki and carefully grown trees made by people following Chinese art. In the late 19th century, Bonsai made its debut in the west and it is more and more becoming a hobby also among the younger generation.

Bonsai means Life

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Kunio Kobayashi, world-famous’ Bonsai master runs his school and museum in Tokyo’s Edogawa ward. At the age of 28 he dedicated his life to Bonsai and gained the required skills due to self-study. Growing up in a nursery he already was familiar with the beauty of plants and nature, but one encounter set him off his determined path in life. During an exhibition he spotted a Japanese white pine formed as a Bonsai tree. Fascinated by its elegant shape showing life´s dignity, the young Kobayashi decided immediately to start creating such graceful trees himself. “Bonsai is art” and can be described with the three words of individuality (個性 kosei), harmony (調和 chowa) and elegance (品位 hini). It takes years of learning and practice to become a professional Bonsai master. From creating very clear and beautiful Bonsai trees, he changed his style after 40 years to show several aspects of the tree which you have never seen before. “Aji no aru (味のある) Bonsai”, a Bonsai tree transmitting depth and graze. With this new form you directly feel the Japanese culture of wabi-sabi 詫び寂び, the quiet simplicity and subdued refinement.
While scraping off parts of the bark, leaving a stem with just a thin string of life reaching the leaves, the dry wood turns white. This combination of life and death shows the beauty of “Aji no aru Bonsai” and presents you with life energy and a new way of sensing the power of life.

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Left: Clear and beautiful bonsai / Right: Aji no aru bonsai

Kobayashi has more than 200 apprentices and international students studying and following his advice. For already more than 20 years he represents his skills during lectures in over 20 countries around the world. The Bonsai museum offers a special one month program for international followers to learn directly from the master. You will live together with Kobayashi’s family and other apprentices to learn and observe the traditional way of creating Bonsai trees. No need to worry as explanations can be provided in English or Chinese.

The Shunkaen Bonsai Museum was opened 15 years ago and displays over 1,000 Bonsai trees.

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The garden is designed with typical Japanese elements and the museum itself is a Japanese house with tatami-mat flooring and paper sliding doors. One whole room is dedicated to each of the most elegant trees, displayed in the typical tokonoma 床の間, an alcove in the wall of Japanese homes. Since it is a museum, the tokonoma features two steps instead of one. An inscribed kakejiku 掛け軸, a hanging scroll and a viewing stone, called suiseki 水石 create the perfect balance of simplicity to show the Bonsai tree’s most esthetic side.

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While strolling through the garden you have the chance to observe the master and his apprentices during their work and suddenly you have the feeling to be a member of the team.
Get yourself dressed in wonderful kimono and explore the garden or drink a cup of delicious green tea on the porch of the wooden museum which you have prepared yourself during the offered tea ceremony. This museum provides the full set of Japanese cultural experiences in one single place within a breathtaking setting. It is an experience which you should not miss!

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We met Benjamin and Philipp from Germany, wearing beautiful kimono and carrying katana-swords, looking like real samurai from the past. They told us that the Shunkaen Bonsai Museum was the best place they have visited in Japan!

Information:

Shunkaen Bonsai Museum

Hours: 10am – 5pm
Closed: Mon.
Admission: 800 yen including a cup of green tea (adults); 600 yen (students)
Address: 1-29-16 Niihori, Edogawa-ku, 132-0001 Tokyo
Access: 16-min bus ride from Koiwa Station (JR Sobu Line) until Keiyo-guchi bus stop / 7-min bus ride from Mizue Station (Toei-Shinjuku Line) until Keiyo-guchi bus stop

Bonsai Lesson: 3,800yen per person (admission to the garden included)
Tea ceremony: 4,000 yen per person for 30min
Kimono experience: 5,000 yen per person for 30min
Tea ceremony and Kimono experience: 9,000 yen per person for 1hr

Please make a reservation via “Japanese Culture Visit” (Mrs. Ichimi)
Tel: 090-2409-2742
E-mail: [email protected]
URL: http://www.japanese-culture-visit.com/english.html


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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Japanese Gardens in Changing Times

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In the past, gardens were created by the upper-class of society and can be classified into three main groups:
1. Gardens representing a naturally scenery for aesthetic pleasure and later for strolling through
2. Dry landscape gardens
3. Tea ceremony gardens
Japanese gardens are meant to mimic natural landscape in a miniaturized form.

The history of garden design goes back about 1,000 years ago. The first form of gardening was seen in sacred places, deep in the forest containing natural objects like trees, mountains or rocks with extraordinary and rare shapes. These places marked with pebbles, white sand or rope ties were used for ceremonies to honor gods or sacred spirits which are believed to live in or come to these areas.

Saishou Tea Garden inside Tokorozawa’s Aviation Memorial Park (Saitama)
Saishou Tea Garden inside Tokorozawa’s Aviation Memorial Park (Saitama)

Chinese culture, especially Buddhism started influencing Japanese garden design in the 6th century. Since then, the style of this practice changed throughout the centuries and Japan developed its own special form of gardening. The ancient capital of Kyoto contains more than half of Japan´s historical gardens.

Different garden architecture throughout the centuries

Nara Period (710 – 794) 
Nara used to be the capital of Japan and during the end of the 8th century, Japanese garden culture sprouted and gardens for the higher society were built. These early gardens featured a pond with an island in the middle surrounded by shorelines and stone settings.

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Heijo Palace Site (Nara)

Heian Period (794-1192)
With the dawn of the new era, the capital moved to Kyoto. The upper class started building large gardens at their palaces and villas using a layout inspired by the Chinese concept of feng shui. The gardens located on the south side of the villa focused on large ponds and winding streams connected by bridges, which were passable by boats; as well as islands and pavilions which reached over the water. These royal gardens were first and foremost mostly places for amusement and ritual worship.
One specific feature in these gardens was an empty place covered in gravel. Since the emperor at that time was the chief priest of Japan, white gravel or sand was an element for purity. In this certain area gods were invited to visit and religious ceremonies, as well as welcome dances for the gods were performed.

The late Heian Period was determined by a new style of garden architecture which made its way to Japan, called Pure Land Buddhism or Amidism. This architecture represented the Buddhist paradise. These Paradise-Gardens were equipped similar to their predecessor, but much bigger and more colorful. The stream which flows through these gardens separates the earth and the afterlife in a symbolic way and the bridge symbolize exactly this chapter in life. The ponds instead were usually designed in the character for heart ‐心.The gardens were mainly used for meditative strolling, chanting sutras, and to receive guidance into spiritual life. These Paradise Gardens are the forerunners of the stroll gardens.

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Motsu-ji Temple (Iwate)

Kamakura (1185–1333) & Muromachi Period (1336–1573)

With the beginning of the Kamakura Period the power possessed by the aristocratic court was taken over by the military regime (将軍 shogun), which supported a new form of Buddhism called Zen. Due to this new movement, garden architecture changed and became more simple and compact.

The biggest change in gardening and towards minimalism were new designed dry landscape gardens (枯山水 karesansui), connected to temple buildings with the main purpose to support monks during their meditation exercises and for spiritual improvement. The accurate raked white sand represents water and precise arranged rocks are a symbol for islands. These gardens only consisted of elements like rocks, gravel and white sand. The garden is not accessible and mostly viewed just out of one angle representing an ideal landscape or a philosophical concept.

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Erin-ji Temple (Yamanashi)

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Tenryu-ji Temple (Kyoto)

Azuchi – Momoyama Period (1573 – 1603)

New gardens and cities were created when the Japanese feudal lords (大名 daimyo) and their robust castles were the center of power and culture. The gardens during this era had one or more ponds surrounded by a riverside out of small stones. Natural stone bridges and stepping stones, artificial mountains and more combined the design of a promenade garden with typical elements of Zen. They were located right next to the castle, where they were meant to be seen from above and combined the design of a promenade garden with typical elements of Zen.

A new concept of garden architecture was introduced, the tea garden (路地 roji). These gardens were meant to resemble the spirit of wabi (侘び), rustic simplicity, utility and calmness. The tea house is small and made out of wood with a thatched roof. A paper roll with an inscription and a branch was the only decoration allowed. The narrow garden itself was regularly watered to stay humid and green. Except a cherry tree bringing color during spring, other flowers in bright color were not allowed. The visitor was supposed to meditate before the tea ceremony starts, and bright and flashy colors would have distract the visitors’ attention. The entrance and the tea house were connected by a small path made of stepping stones, with benches to wait for the ceremony, while stone lanterns light the way and a wash basin out of stone was used for the ritual cleansing of hands and mouth.

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Daigo-ji Temple (Kyoto)

 

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Saishou Tea Garden inside Tokorozawa’s Aviation Memorial Park (Saitama)

Edo Period (1603-1867)

During the Edo Period, the Tokugawa clan, who became the Shogun, took over the power and moved Japan´s capital to Edo (today’s Tokyo). The minimalistic garden design from the Muromachi Period changed back into the landscape architecture of recreation and extravagance. Large strolling gardens (回遊式庭園 kaiyu-shiki teien) were designed featuring ponds, islands and artificial hills as well as elements of tea gardens.

Another new form of garden design was the tsuboniwa (坪庭 / tsubo is the size of 3,3m²), an inner garden or small courtyard garden created by the urban population. These could not be entered and provided a piece of nature and fresh air featuring decorative elements like stone lanterns, water basins out of stone, stepping stones and some plants meant to be viewed from a porch or from inside the house.

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Meiji Period (1868-1912)
With the Meiji Period came the age of modernization and the re-opening of Japan to the western world. A new law of the year 1871 opened old private strolling gardens and abandoned gardens from the Momoyama and Edo period to the public.

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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (Tokyo)

Modern Japanese gardens (1912~)
Due to westernization western style city parks were designed featuring new elements like flowerbeds and open lawns. After World War II government agencies took over the task of building gardens instead of the private people. These new gardens are meant to be consistent with the architecture bringing landscape design to a different level.

“The White Gravel and Pine Garden “ Adachi Museum of Art (Shimane)
“The White Gravel and Pine Garden “ Adachi Museum of Art (Shimane)


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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Why is Niigata rice so delicious?

An average temperature of 24.5°C, long hours of sunlight and large temperature differences between day and night are ideal for growing delicious rice.

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Why is Niigatamai called “Japan’s No1”? Here’s why:

  • Highest Rice Crop Yield in all of Japan: For 28 consecutive years now, “Uonuma Koshihikari Rice” has received an A rank in the annual taste ranking.
  • Most Recognized rice brand among women living in greater Tokyo.
  • Taste the difference in Japan’s finest rice

    Here are some tips on cooking Niigata rice without a rice cooker

    stepone1.Wash the rice gently in circular motions and discard the water. Repeat thrice.
    step22.Soak the rice for at least 30 minutes.
    step33.Drain the rice for 10 to 15 minutes.
    step44.Water used when cooking should be about 1.2 times the amount of rice.
    step55.Steam for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat and remove from fire.
    step66.Keep lid on and let rice sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
    step77.Use a rice paddle to fluff up the rice and serve!

    Deeply rooted in Japan’s food culture

    Rice cultivation has set the rhythm of life for Japanese for over 2,400 years. During this time, Japan has produced many ingenious recipes for eating rice in the most delicious ways. Today, in fact, many traditional Japanese dishes that are popular around the world are prepared using only especially delicious rice because – of course – if the rice is bad, then the sushi will also be bad! The main star of the Japanese table has always been rice, so remember to pay particular attention to the rice quality whenever you eat Japanese food.

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    おにぎり Onigiri
    The easiest way to enjoy the taste of rice – “Japan’s soul food”.
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    和定食 Wateishoku Japanese-style set menu
    A set menu of rice, miso soup and grilled fish is the ultimate combinationto experience the deep flavor of rice.
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    寿司 Sushi
    To make the fresh fish taste even better, only the best rice is used. In sushi shops, rice is called “gin shari”.

    どのえs

    天丼・ウナ丼 Tendon, Unadon

    “Don” is used to describe a dish consisting of a bowl of rice with a topping. Eel, tempura and cutlets are some of the examples of topping that enhance rice’s flavor, and bringing it to a new level.

    Where to find Niigata rice in Tokyo

    上越の恵 田喰 TAKU 銀座店
    Joetsu no Megumi Taku Ginzaten

    Rice and fish directly from Niigata cooked by an expert chef.
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    Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm (Mon. – Sat.),Dinner 5:30pm – 11pm (Mon. – Fri.) / 5:30pm – 10pm (Sat.) (Closed Sun.)
    Address: Ginza Puzzle Ginza 5F, 2-5-19, Ginza, Chuo-ku
    上越やすだ 新橋銀座口店
    Joetsu Yasuda – Shinbashi Ginza shop

    Established 120 years ago, this restaurant specializes in Niigata’s traditional food.
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    Hours: 5:30pm – 11:30pm (Mon. – Sat.)(Closed Sun.)
    Address:
    Hulic G10 Building 8F, 1-4-5 Shinbashi, Minato-ku
    つみき 神楽坂
    Tsumiki, Kagurazaka


    Restaurant serving Niigata sake and kama-meshi (kettle rice) with Uonuma Koshihikari rice.
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    Hours: 5pm – 11:30pm (Mon. – Fri.)5pm – 11pm (Sat. & National holiday) (Closed Sun.)
    Address:
    Rakuzan Building 3F, 4-3 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku

    馳走 紺屋
    Chisou Konya

    Recommended Japanese kaiseki meals with Niigata wagyu beef.
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    Hours: 5pm – 11:30pm (Mon. – Fri.) 5pm – 11pm (Sat. & Holidays)
    Address: Clair Kagurazaka III 1F, 3-1 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku

    豪農 五十嵐邸銀座
    Gonou Igarashitei Ginza

    Rice cooked in an earthenware pot together with carefully selected ingredients and sake.
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    Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2pm, Dinner 5pm – 11:30pm (Mon – Fri.) (Closed Sat. & Sun.) Address: Kumo Building B1, 7-16-21 Ginza, Chuo-ku
    新潟食楽園
    Niigata Shokurakuen

    Enjoy a lunch set with delicious rice and seasonal fish.
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    Hours: Lunch 11am – 2:30pm (Mon. – Fri.) 11am – 3:30pm (Sat. & Sun.)Dinner 5pm – 10pm (Mon. – Sat.) /5pm – 9:30pm (Sun. & Holidays)
    Address: 4-11-1Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

    What kind of place is Niigata?

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    Just a short two hours away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Niigata sits along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Niigata prefecture is also known for its heavy snowfall, so many people visit the skiing areas. Just as they love seeing cherry blossoms in spring, Japanese love to see rice paddy fields as a symbol of the unchanging nature of their country. In Niigata, visitors can enjoy different, beautiful rice field shapes every season. The scenery of overlapping rice paddies, know as tanada, is a marvel to behold. In addition to eating, rice-producing regions also use rice to make sake. For those who want to eat fresh fish, drink superb sake and eat the best Japanese rice, Niigata is definitely the go-to place for you!

    Niigata travel guide

    must see

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    Terraced rice fields of Hoshi-toge
    These overlapping paddies are also known as senmaida (千枚田), or “thousand-fold rice fields”.
    Selected as one of Japan’s 100 best rural spots, the appearance of the fields change with the growth of rice each season and is a sight to behold during sunset.

    Takada Castle
    Constructed in 1614 as the home base of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s sixth son, the area surrounding the threetiered turret is renowned as a sakura-viewing spot. During summer, lotus flowers bloom in abundance and cover the entire outer moat.

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    Toki-no-mori Park
    This park is dedicated to the toki (朱鷺, Japanese Crested Ibis), which was once an integral part of Japan’s rural landscape. Here, you can learn more about the conservation efforts made by Sado Island as well as admire the ibis in its natural habitat.

    must do

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    gala yuzawa

    Try out snow activities
    Known for its high snowfall, you will be spoiled for choice when picking a resort. Gala Yuzawa has 15 different runs with varying difficulty, while Naeba offers spa treatments and is also the host of the famous Fuji Rock Festival.

    Visit a sake museum
    Found inside Echigo-Yuzawa Station, visitors can try up to 100 varieties of sake at Ponshukan (ぽんしゅ館越後湯沢店). There is even a sake onsen right next door so you can soak your worries away too.

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    senbeiokoku

    Make your own senbei
    At Senbei Okoku (せんべい王国), you have the rare opportunity of roasting a huge 25cm wide rice cracker, and drawing on it with shōyu to make it your very own.

    must eat

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    Kiwami Sushi Platter (極み寿司)
    A luxurious platter including uni (ウニ, sea urchin), ikura (いくら, salmon roe) and white fish atop warm home-grown sushi rice. Order the extravagant Kiwami Gozen set at Tomi Sushi (Niigata) to taste the best seasonal fish, which also comes with ara-jiru (あら汁, miso soup with fish) and tempura.

    Sasadango (笹団子)
    This famous treat is made of mugwort-flavoured mochi (もち, glutinous rice) and red beans wrapped in bamboo leaves.

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    tare katsu

    Tare-katsu Donburi (タレカツ丼)
    Niigata’s take on the katsudon (かつ丼, deep-fried pork cutlet over rice) comes with katsu cutlets dipped in a savoury-sweet sauce.

    Wappameshi (わっぱ飯)
    A local specialty containing seasonal vegetables and seafood over seasoned rice, which is steamed and arranged in a container made from cedar wood.

    must stay
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    Matsudai Shibatoge Onsen Unkai
    This inn is found 400 metres above sea level and has an exquisite outdoor bath that overlooks the mountains of the Uonuma Range and terraced rice paddies. With the right conditions, a sea of clouds form so you feel as though you are floating on them.

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    Kirinzan Onsen Yukitsubaki-no-Yado Furusawaya
    Opened since 1935, this ryokan faces the Agano River and the foothills of Mt.Kirin. With only 15 rooms available, you are guaranteed a serene stay with gorgeous views of the surrounding nature.

    Osado Onsen Hotel Osado
    Situated on Cape Kasuga, the open-air baths offer panoramic views of the coastline so you can sit back and relax while taking in the scenery. The meals also feature plenty of choice seasonal produce from Sado Island.

    Foreigners try the best rice in Japan

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    For Japanese people rice is the main source of energy, but it’s so much more than that. It is also a source of pride and identity. And Niigata prefecture’s Koshihikari rice is the best the country has to offer.
    A group of foreign students from Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan got a chance to savor the best rice in Japan at our special tasting event, where they shared their impressions after eating a delicious bowl of Koshihikari Niigata rice, cooked in an earthen pot.

    Enjoying Niigata rice.
    Enjoying Niigata rice.
    Niigata rice is the perfect match for delicious Japanese food.
    Niigata rice is the perfect match for delicious Japanese food.
    Expert hands preparing the perfect bowl of rice.
    Expert hands preparing the perfect bowl of rice.

    Testimonials from foreign students after eating Niigata rice.

    Rachel Tan Yee Fay from Singapore

    In Singapore we usually eat long grain rice which has less of a texture, we don’t really enjoy to eat rice just by itself. We usually eat rice to accompany different dishes, but in Japan, the rice by itself is full of texture and it’s just really flavorful. Before eating the rice, I was expecting very soft rice but when I was actually eating it, each single grain of rice retained its original shape and it had great texture, I felt it was just the right balance between softness and chewiness, it was very good.
    In Singapore they do sell Japanese rice at markets, so on occasions when we want to celebrate something we tend to buy Japanese rice and we cook it once every couple of months. It’s quite different compared to the rice I’m used to eat, it’s a lot softer, stickier, chewier, and I like it a lot more, that’s why we have it for celebratory occasions, and that is why I was really happy to be able to come to Japan to study and eat my favorite rice all the time.

    Teng Siao Shuen from Singapore

    Chih-Hsuan Chen from Taiwan

    Japanese rice is fresher and even if you have it with just a few side dishes, it’s delicious. In Taiwan, you have to eat rice with something else, otherwise it tastes a bit plain. In Taiwan rice is thought of food to fill your belly, whereas in Japan they are very strict about the hardness, the flavor and the aroma of their many types of rice.
    It was very delicious, so much so that I ate around 3 to 4 bowls of rice. It was chewier and smoother than other types of rice, and appearance-wise, you can see it reflecting the light much better than other rice. I think it would go really nice with the Singapore Chicken rice. The Niigata rice would absorb very well the garlic and the chicken broth, also the texture of this rice compared with the Thai rice that we use it’s more chewy and moist, so it would taste quite well in Singaporean dishes.

    Cheryl Ng from Singapore

    Sophit Wiboonwithayanan from Thailand

    Japanese rice and Thai rice are quite different, Thai rice is a bit harder and has a strong aroma so it goes well with Thai curries but Japanese rice goes well with fish or any type of set meal, it’s very delicious. Niigata rice is the most delicious Japanese rice I have ever tasted, even it’s appearance is great as it seems to sparkle. I think Thai people like Japanese rice, but it is thought of as a luxury product because it’s expensive, so we only have it at Japanese restaurants.

    Spring events in Saitama

    Days are becoming warmer and flowers are starting to bloom, this is the perfect time to visit Saitama city and see Japanese traditional crafts and beautiful Spring scenery!

    Every March, Saitama city offers several events related to Hina dolls at the town of Iwasuki as well as several places to admire the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

    (C)STIB
    ©STIB

    The town of Iwasuki in Saitama city is particularly known in the Kanto region for their Hina dolls. Lots of events are held before and after Hinamatsuri, or the Doll Festival, celebarted on March the 3rd. One of them is Machikado Hina Meguri, where you can see a beautiful parade of dolls and Taiko drums performances. During the festivities, you will be able to not just see the dolls but also try to make your own, learn to cook the local food and experience real Japanese culture. There are endless activities for you to enjoy.

    shashin2

    Event Information
    The 14th Hina Doll Street Festival and the Machikado Hina Meguri
    Date: February 25-March12
    Place: Shopping streets around the East Exit of Iwatsuki Station.

    At the beginning of March, the most popular places to admire the cherry blosoms start preparations to welcome guests. This year’s blooming forecast predicts that the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom around March 25th. Due to it’s proximity to Tokyo, Saitama city offers many beautiful and unique cherry blossom landscapes visited by thousands of people every year.

    (C)STIB
    ©STIB
    Iwatsuki Joshi Park Sakura Festival (About 600 Sakura trees)
    Date: April 1-2
    Time: 10:00-16:00
    Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park
    Cherry Blossoms Night Illumination
    Date: Mar. 19-Apr. 9 (subject to changes in cherry blooming times)
    Time: 18:00-21:00
    Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park Ayameike Pond

    Saitama City’s famous Cherry Blossoms spots

    shahsin4

    Omiya Park: About 1,000 cherry trees bloom from late March to early April. They are lit at night when in full bloom.
    Access: 20-min walk from JR Omiya St., 10-min walk from Tobu Omiya Koen St. or Kita-Omiya St.

    Saitama Stadium 2002
    Every year you can admire beautiful cherry trees in full bloom just outside the stadium.
    Access: 15-min walk from Urawamisono St.

    사이타마에서 일본의 과거와 미래를 엿보다

    1

    도쿄에서 근교에 위치한 사이타마 현 사이타마시는 인구 1,270,000 명의 일본에서 9 번째로 큰도시입니다 . 이곳은 도시의 활력과 전원 풍경이완벽한 조화를 이루고 있습니다 . 사이타마에 오셔서 일본의 전통과 현대가 어떻게 공존하고 있는지 감상하시기 바랍니다 !
    2
    3

    일본의 미래를 만나다
    사이타마 시는 사이타마 신토신역과 고층 건물들이 하늘을 가득 메우고 있으며 , 30,000 명을수용할 수 있는 수퍼 아레나 와다양한 쇼핑몰이 밀집한 코쿤 시티 (COCOON CITY) 가 있습니다 .

    Latest Fashion News
    All in COCOON CITY
    코쿤 시티는 사이타마 신토신역 근처에 위치한 메가 복합 쇼핑몰로 3개의 대형 쇼핑몰과 2개의 넓은 주차장으로 이루어져 있습니다. 이곳 코쿤 시티에서는 누구나 쇼핑과 엔터테인먼트를 즐길 수 있습니다. 지역의 맛집과 패션의 모든 것을 코쿤 시티에서 만나 보세요.

    7 Cocoon city

    미소노 : 개발 지역

    6
    사이타마 시에서는 지난 몇 년 간 도시의 넓은 지역을 좋은 환경으로 바꾸기 위해 많은 노력을 기울여 왔습니다. 우라와 미소노역 근처의 320 헥타르에 달하는 미소노 지역은 현재 스포츠, 건강, 환경 및 자원에 초점을 둔 미래 소도시로의 개발을 위해 한참 작업이 진행 중에 있습니다. 미소노 윙 시티 는토지 자원의 생산적사용과 생활의 질 개선을 통해 보다 활기찬 지역으로 만드는 것을 콘셉트로 공공 부문뿐만 아니라 민간 부문 참여의 활성화를 위해미소노 도시 디자인 센터(UDCMi)가 설립되었습니다.이 공사는 1994년부터 진행되어 2021~2026년 경 완공 예정입니다.

    COCOON CITY

    일본의 전통 생활 방식 체험하기

    도시의 즐거움뿐만 아니라 , 사이타마 시를 걷고 여행하다 보면 수 많은 역사 , 문화 유산들을 만날 수 있습니다 . 일본의 사이타마는 풍부하고 다채로운 전통을 즐기기 위한 최고의 경험을 선사합니다 .

    무사시 이치노미야 히카와 신사

    12HIKAWA
    toriiresized

    2,000 년이 넘는 역사를 자랑하는 이 신사는 일본에서 가장 오래된 신사 중 하나입니다 . “이치노미야”라는 이름에서 알 수 있듯이 무사시 지역에서 가장 유명한 신사로 오미야 역시 이 신사에서 비롯된 이름입니다 .

    주소 : 사이타마현 사이타마시 오미야구 다카하나초 1-407
    오시는 길 : JR 오미야역 동쪽 출구와 도부 노다선의 기타 오미야역에서 도보 약 15 분

    히카와 당고 가게

    dangofinal
    히카와 신사를 향하는 길에 위치한 이 곳은 오랫동안 지역 주민들의 사랑을 받아온 가게입니다 . 그 중 가장 인기 메뉴는 미타라시 당고와 달콤한 간장 소스에 찍어 먹는 그릴 모찌 볼 구이 , 튀긴 만주 과자입니다 . dangoahorasi
    콤한 간장 소스를 뿌린 당고2 개에 200 엔

    주소 : 사이타마현 사이타마시 오미야구 다카하나초 2-130
    오시는 길 : JR 오미야역 동쪽 출구에서 도보 약 10 분
    운영 시간 : 9:00-18:30, 월요일 휴무

    마스야 우나기 레스토랑

    うなぎ
    21 unagi2
    우라와에는 입에서 살살 녹는 장어 요리 식당이 많이 있지만 , 이 곳 마스야는
    120 년의 전통을 자랑하는 우라와에서 가장 유명한 식당입니다 . 이 식당만의 비법 소스는 다른 곳에서는 맛볼 수 없는 특별한 장어구이 맛을 선사합니다 .
    운영 시간 : 11:00-14:45 ( 마지막 주문 ) 17:00-20:45 ( 마지막 주문 ), 일요일과 주말에는 19:45 이 마지막 주문 시간 .
    월요일 휴무

    미누마 쓰센보리 공원

    bambootate
    숲으로 둘러쌓인 이 지역의 중앙에는 일본에서 가장 오래된 미누마 쓰센보리 공원이 있습니다. 대나무 숲과 푸른 잔디로 뒤덮인 이곳에서 대자연과 일본의 역사를 만끽할 수 있습니다.

    오시는 길 : JR 무사시노선의 우라와역에서 도보 약 5 분

    오미야 분재 마을에가다
    사이타마 기타구 본사이초는 오미야 분재 미술관에서 도보 몇 분 거리에 있으며, 1923년에 간토 대지진 이후 도쿄의 몇몇 원예사들이 이 곳으로 이주해 정착하면서 지금의 분재 마을이 되었습니다. 최근 분재 정원 수가 30개에서 6개로 줄었지만 이 곳은 여전히 일본 분재 문화의 중심지입니다.


    일반 상식 정보!

    오미야 분재 미술관 직원이 전하는 감상 팁에 의하면 초보자의 경우 분재를 밑에서 바라보며 잘 다듬어진 분재 가지 들을 감상할 수 있다고 합니다. 이일반 상식만으로도 친구들에게 분재에 대해 자랑할 수 있습니다!
    29 bonsai
    MyPhoto201701051030_0006
    오미야 분재 미술관
    2010년 3월에 개장한 이 박물관은 분재 문화 보존을 목적으로 건립되었습니다. 현재 일본 유일의 공공 분재 미술관으로 전세계에서 분재에 관심이 있는 이들이 방문하고 있습니다. 박물관 내에는 외국어 가이드 서비스를 통해 분재 감상법을 자세하게 알려 줍니다. 일본 문화를 보다 깊이 알고자 하는 분들께 오미야 분재 미술관을 추천합니다.

    제 8 회 사이타마 세계 분재 컨벤션
    분재는 미적 아름다움뿐만 아니라 저렴한 가격으로 귀여운 인테리어 효과까지 낼 수 있어 전 세계에서 사랑 받고 있습니다 . 4 월 27~30 일에 열리는 세계 분재 컨벤션에서는 분재 예술의 최신 트렌드를 한 번에 만나볼 수 있습니다 .
    투르드프랑스 , 사이타마 크리테리움 Le Tour de France SAITAMA CRITÉRIUM
    투르드프랑스에서 이름을 딴 이 크리테리움에서는 사이타마 신토신에서 네 차례 경주를 개최 , 투르드프랑스에 참가한 최정상 라이더뿐만 아니라 전세계 전문 라이더가 참가하고 있습니다 . 사이타마에서 투르드프랑스의 뜨거운 열기를 경험해 보시기 바랍니다 !

    https://issuu.com/wattention/docs/korean-saitama