Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Kyushu

Kyushu is located on the southernmost tip of Japan and has a warmer, more tropical climate than the rest of the country. Peppered with lovely beaches, hot springs, and historical spots, this area also prides itself with unique food, festivals and culture.

Okinawa : Spots 1 ~ 9

Quick jump links:

3Nakijin Castle Ruins
End of January to early February
4Nago Central Park
End of January to early February
7Manko Park
End of January to early February

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Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa

Okinawa 1~ 9

 

1Yaese Park (八重瀬公園) in Yaese Town

Kanakoさん(@mcki0627)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Beautiful view of southern Okinawa including cherry blossoms. Light-up of 500 cherry blossom trees during the evening.
Access: About 60min by car from Naha airport
Address: Tomori 1607, Yaese-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-0402 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
goryokaku-tower.co.jp

 

2Yaedake Sakura-no-mori Park (八重岳桜の森公園) in Motobu Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 7000 Ryukyu Kanhi cherry blossoms will color the mountain view. Cherry blossom light-up during the evening.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 921 Namizato, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, 905-0222 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


3Nakijin Castle Ruins (今帰仁城跡) in Nakijin Village

Viewing preiod: End of January to early February
Details: Ocean view including Kanhi cherry blossoms. Light-up during the evening.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami-gun, 905-0428 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com


4Nago Central Park (名護中央公園) in Nago City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details:The entire area has 200,000 cherry blossom trees. Enjoy look at them while walking a 2km long path to the castle.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5511 Nago, Nago-shi, 905-0012 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawa-information.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


5Yogi Park (与儀公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 400 Hikan cherry blossom trees could be seen along the riverside.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1-1-1 Yorimiya, Naha-shi, 902-0076 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp.e.wp.hp.transer.com


6Darumayama Park (だるま山園地) in Kumejima Town

s-zimaさん(@sachi_zima)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: You can enjoy Hikan cherry blossoms and beautiful flowers surrounded by the sea.
Access: About 4 hours by ferry from Naha city
Address: Uezu, Kumejima-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-3138 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
ritou.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


7Manko Park (漫湖公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Nice view of a large row of bright pink-colored cherry blossom trees together with a river.
Access: About 10min by car from Naha airport
Address: 3-23-1 Kohagura, Naha-shi, 900-0024 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


8Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園) in Naha City

mineさん(@mine_nakamura)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Watch Hikan cherry blossoms by hiking through the jungle-like path.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: Shurisueyoshi-cho 1-3-1, Naha-shi, 903-0801 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


9Kunigami Forest Park (国頭村森林公園) in Kunigami Village

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Fantastic view from the top of the hill surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1094 Hentona, Kunigami-son, 905-1411 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Survey : December Giveaway

This campaign has ended. Thank you for all of your submissions!

Got 3 minutes? Please let us know your preferences regarding WAttention media. Five winners will be chosen and we will send the prize free of charge. This includes overseas shipping! Don’t forget to share your referral code that we will send to you via email to increase your chances of winning.

The prize

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One adorable character pen from Japan for five winners. Be the envy of your school or workmates as you write your New Years resolution with this pen. *Please note that you will not be able to choose the design of the pen even if you win.

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

New Year is often associated with countdown parties, midnight fireworks and endless drinking. But Saitama offers more than just that. Many valuable traditions passed down for hundreds of years are still being practiced here during the holiday season. For an authentic Japanese New Year experience, head down to Saitama where a full package of celebration and positive energy awaits you!

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Saitama’s New Year event calendar starts as early as December. Tokamachi, an annual open air market held on December 10, is a warm-up event of a month-long festival. At this time of the year, Musashi Ichinomiya Hikwawa Shrine and its neighboring areas are always packed with tourists and locals looking for colorfully decorated bamboo rakes called kumade to “rake in” success, wealth, fortune and happiness.

The tradition of selling and buying kumade in shrines dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1868). Kumade today comes in different sizes, price ranges and quality, but the rule remains the way it was hundreds of years ago: you have to get a kumade larger than the one you bought in the previous year for a bigger success.

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While at Tokamachi, it’s a good idea to let your taste buds explore some mouthwatering dishes. A wide range of traditional Japanese street food ranging from sweet dumpling dango to grilled fish and fried noodles can be found here at reasonable price. With so many food choices, you definitely won’t go hungry.

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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On January 3 at Saitama, the Seven Lucky Gods actually come to life in a special costume parade. This is an event you don’t want to miss because it just might be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a picture taking with Gods and Goddesses!

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Hatsumode, the first shrine or temple visit for the year, is another great way to start the New Year in Japan. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikwawa Shrine is just a 30 minute walk away from Omiya Station and thus a popular destination for hatsumode. Many people, dressed in traditional kimono, write their wishes on wooden plaques and get their fortune told by getting a scroll of white paper called omikuji.

After making a small offering, you can randomly choose an omikuji from a box. Unroll the paper to see what 2017 has in store for you. If the prediction is bad, don’t worry too much. Fold the strip of paper and tie it to a wall of metal wires to leave your bad luck behind.

The list of things to do in Saitama does not stop here. With its close proximity to Tokyo and rich history and culture, Saitama is the perfect place to spend not only the New Year holiday but weekends all year round!

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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Another event that will help you get into the New Year spirit is the Juninichimachi on December 12. The one-day market has been serving the community since the Meiji Period (1868-1915), attracting as many as 1,000 vendors selling amulets and traditional delicacies from the morning till late in the evening.

Juninichimachi extends from Tsuki Shrine to Kyu Nakasendo, one of the five routes connecting Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo Period. Although the path is quite developed today, you can still follows the footstep of the 17th century haiku master Matsuo Basho and immerse in the nostalgic atmosphere.

For bunny lovers across the world, Tsuki Shrine is a must visit. Since tsuki can mean both textile and moon in Japanese, the shrine is vastly decorated with paintings and sculptures of rabbits, a messenger from the moon. Even the faucet used by worshippers for washing hands as a gesture of purification is in the form of a rabbit!

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Besides getting an amulet from shrines for good luck, you can ask the deities for a year of abundance. Shichifukujin Meguri is an Edo tradition of making a short pilgrimage to seven temples and shrines during the New Year holiday. With each visit to a temple or shrine on the course, you get a red stamp. After collecting all the seven stamps on a decorative cardboard, place the cardboard in your house for happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

The pilgrimage is usually done on foot. But if walking in cold weather is not your thing or if time is not on your side, then cycling might be a good choice. Along the course are a homemade soba noodle shop and a Japanese sweets shop that has been in the business since 1864. The strawberry daifuku—a large size strawberry wrapped with red bean paste inside chewy mochi rice—is really worth dropping in for.

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

WATTENTION AUTUMN TRIP REPORT

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Never underestimate Japan.

It’s a mistake to confine yourself to the sprawling, labyrinth-esque borders of Tokyo on a visit to Japan. The incessant gleam of neon lights has a sedative effect that easily, and willingly, captures travelers, but make no mistake; as electrifying as the bustle is, it can nevertheless act as a prison as well. To spend a vacation enjoying the Tokyo mirages, without escaping to the other prefectures surrounding Japan’s capital city, would leave a visitor undeniably, and yet naively, happy. People just are not aware of the quiet and unassuming magnificence of the lesser known areas Japan has to offer.

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Just a few short weeks ago, I myself was one of them. Naturally, traveling to other areas in Japan was on my itinerary. Of course I would visit Kyoto. Of course I couldn’t leave Japan without setting my sights on Fuji. It would be criminal to have lived in a country as alien to America without having a first-hand encounter with a ryoukan, a traditional style of housing, akin to a bed-and-breakfast.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真

These are the places in Japan to escape Japan, the kind of safe haven that is pure without the crowds of tourists seen pulsating like a hive in Tokyo or Kyoto. Each prefecture surrounding Tokyo, while not distinctly well-known on their own, possess an unbelievable amount of charm and splendor that make traveling there well worth it. With mountains, beaches, waterfalls, and anything a traveler’s heart can desire, these areas on the outskirts of Tokyo are a dream simply waiting to be explored.

Ninja ID: james.blonde8

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

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Enclosed by the Japanese Alps, (an embarrassing moniker according to the local tour guide, as he directs our focus to back to the manicured vineyards of Koshu grapes and the glimpses of Mt. Fuji in the distance) Yamanashi can be accessed easily from Tokyo, and yet traveling there seems worlds away. The air is crisp, chilled by the high altitude, and the only haze comes from the thin trails of fog still crawling in the mid-morning atmosphere. Yamanashi is a prefecture that at gives the impression of a safe-haven that has remained pure and natural. It bears fruit in a variety of seasons, attracting visitors who desire to pick their own harvest. It has a variety of waterfalls, such as the Ootaki Waterfall near Kofu City, gorges, and onsen, and wildlife as varied as bears and boar.

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Seeing Fuji is indescribable. Like some fictitious beast breaching through the clouds, Fuji-san is unavoidable and commands all attention. Our group stayed at the viewing point, on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, for over an hour, watching in a trance-like awe as the sun set behind the mountains. Around the area, there are many sites and experiences based upon Fuji. Iconic locations, such as Chureito Pagoda, while originally intended to honor the souls lost in WWII, have reached notoriety for having picturesque views of Fuji on a clear day. While the clouds covered Fuji on the morning we went, the sight was nonetheless impressive.

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Even the air itself in the Minami-Izu Peninsula is saturated by the ocean; warm sea-breezes, soured with the taste of salt, course through the fields of pampas grass lining the shore, tossing back hair and loose hats alike. This power is strong enough to be harnessed as energy, and so even the views from Mt. Omoro are littered with wind turbines that, oddly enough, seem to fit in with the landscape. From the summit, seven surrounding islands, such as Ooshima, can be seen on a clear day. Known for their tangerines, the entirety of the area possesses a still excitement, like the charged energy that foretells a storm.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

While in Japan, there are a seemingly unlimited amount of temples and shrines to visit; the Inozaki Cape, though small, offers stunning views and a peaceful solitude that comes from the alienating intensity of the wind. A trip to the Ishimuro-jinja there oddly begins to mimic “Jurassic Park.” The path down is covered by an expansive, leafy overpass that winds past weathered buildings long since abandoned; it is all too easy to imagine that one of the large spiders stretched across the high branches preying upon a visitor who strays too far from the route. To fully experience the site, visitors much trek down a steep staircase and walk out across the ocean to a lone-standing rock; from there, surrounded on every side by infinite views of the sea, and separated from others by a noise-stealing sea breeze, it feels as if you are on the edge of the earth.

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This area also boasts the opportunity to onsen on the beach. The beach, already the epitome of relaxation, is close enough to natural hot springs that visitors can enjoy submerging themselves in the hot water while enjoying ocean views. The beaches in Minami-Izu are worth spending hours experiencing, and while locals may know of their existence, many visitors are completely unaware of what they might be missing out on. Green cliffs, such as the ones seen in Cape Aiai in Yusuge Park, that jut off the coasts are incredible to see, but especially incredible to view at sunrise or sunset.

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

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Yokohama is the haven in Kanagawa prefecture that Tokyo citizens often escape to for a day-trip when their everyday life becomes overwhelming. The port city, located only a mere 45 minutes from Tokyo’s city center by train, boasts a variety of activities, sightseeing opportunities, and nightlife for any visitor to enjoy. In Minato-mirai, right along the water’s edge, visitors can easily walk from the Cup Noodle Museum to the Cosmo World amusement park to the Red Brick Warehouse shopping center, all within a few minutes of each other.

Yokohama’s Chinatown is impeccably clean, yet still retains the vibrancy that comes with vendors calling out their fares and the sight of various types of meats hanging bare in the windows. While undoubtably impressive during the day time as well, the neon landscape of Chinatown after the sun goes down is something that should not be missed.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真

Beyond the Beaten Track : Finding Japan’s Lesser-Known Magnificence

Of course, no trip to Japan would be complete without spending time in Tokyo. In actuality, there is never enough time a person could spend in Japan’s capital city to let them do and see everything; the city, brimming with its own unique wards and sections, could take weeks, or even years, to successfully navigate in its entirety. For instance, the stark contrast between a modern, eccentric area such as Harajuku, a mecca for pop fashion and desserts as sugary as the clothes people wear, and a traditional relic such as Asakusa, which is supported by the ancient frames of the old market that gives visitors a taste of what life in Tokyo might have been like in the past, gives visitors a full spectrum of Japanese flavor. While the connotation that goes alongside with the Tokyo name might not include a rich historical background, the market area of Asakusa, which has an expansive layout of outdoor stalls that direct traffic towards an ancient temple, is among Japan’s finest. Here, guests can enjoy a rickshaw ride or sample local flavors, all while experiencing a view of the SkyTree as well.

On your next trip to the Tokyo-area, don’t confine yourself to only the hypnotic energy of Shinjuku or Shibuya; while exciting, Japan has more to offer than only these experiences. Without ever straying too far from Japan’s capital, visitors can travel to warm beaches, onsen mountain retreats, vineyards, and almost anything else imaginable. Make the move to explore the Japan less traveled, and I guarantee you, you will never regret it.

T. Bondさん(@james.blonde8)が投稿した写真


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Taylor Bond
Taylor Bond is a freelance writer and photographer. By day, she writes, but by night, she visits as many tabehodai restaurants as she can find. Despite what her visa says, her true ambition in Japan is to become a professional eater.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Urgently Required: WAttention Travel Surveyor To Chichibu in Saitama!

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The application period for this event has ended. Thank you all for your submissions!

WAttention is looking for participants to send to the Chichibu area in Saitama Prefecture as travel surveyors to investigate what elements would be attractive for foreigners. We welcome those who are interested in Japanese history, culture, crafts, food, nature, activities, or Japan’s tourism business.

Requirements:
– Foreign national with intermediate to advanced level Japanese comprehension (JLPT N2 level and above or able to ask questions and understand explanations from the local Japanese people)
– Please also make sure that it is okay to have your picture taken during the travel survey since the local Tourism Organization and/or local businesses may take photos for their own usage (press reports, newsletters, etc.)
– Able to cover for their own transport fees up to the meeting point (Seibu Ikebukuro Station)

Schedule:
There are two slots that you can choose from:
December 7, 8, 9 (2 nights 3 days) or
December 12, 13, 14 (2 nights 3 days)

Meeting point: Seibu Ikebukuro Station, Tokyo
* All expenses such as accommodation costs, food costs and workshops from the meeting point and back will be covered by WAttention.

Reward:
20,000 yen (for 3 days including tax)

Fill in the registration form below by Dec. 2 (Friday) to apply. If you have any questions or technical problems about the form, please contact us via email to [email protected]

Experience Chichibu Night Festival

The application period for this event has ended. We will email the results by Nov 28. Thank you for all your submissions!

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The Chichibu Night Festival, which has a history of more than 300 years, is Chichibu Shrine’s annual festival, held in December. The Gion Festival in Kyoto, the Takayama Festival in Hida, and the Chichibu Night Festival are regarded as the three greatest parade float festivals in Japan.
The festival is held on December 2 and 3, when the area is crowded with a large number of tourists. Six yatai floats shaped like small houses are paraded through the city streets.

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The festival is listed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage recently. And to celebrate this memorable moment in the city’s history, participants are allowed to pull elaborately decorated Yatai floats with the locals.

Why not participate in the Chichibu Night Festival?

■ Schedule
Date: Friday Dec 2nd, 2016 (Festival will be held, rain or shine)
Hours: 11:00 at Ikebukuro Station to 15:00 after the festival, participants are free to go.

※The event organizer will provide each participant a limited express train ticket to Seibu Chichibu Station. For going back, a regular train ticket will be provided upon arrival around 13:00. (Not a limited express train ticket)

■ We are looking for…
・Foreign Nationals
・Those who are OK with being photographed at the event. There will be media personnel and a cameraman.
・Those who are responsible and will not chancel at the last minute.

If you fulfill the requirements, sign up by Nov.24 using the form below. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience authentic Japanese Matsuri. Pulling the elaborately decorated festival float with the locals will be something you will treasure for a long time.

If you have any questions or technical issues with the form, please contact us via email to [email protected]

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo

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Get into the right mood for Christmas as you take in the decorations and have your fill of festive food and drinks as these spots in and around Tokyo are transformed into magical Christmas wonderlands.


1Tokyo Christmas Market – Hibiya Park

The Christmas Market in the Hibiya Park resembles the traditional German one the most. Last year a 14m high Christmas pyramid was imported from Germany to add to the traditional cozy atmosphere. Enjoy typical German dishes, hot wine and chocolate, art crafts as well as live performances with guests from Germany.

Date: December 16th (Friday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Hibiya Park – Water fountain area
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Hibiya Station – Exit A14 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 5min walk from Kasumigaseki Station – Exit B2 (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); 5min walk from Uchisaiwaicho Station – Exit A7 (Toei Mita Line); 20min walk from JR Tokyo Station – Marinouchi Exit; 10min walk from Yurakucho Station (Hibiya Exit)
Address: Chiyoda-ku, 100-0012 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp


2Christmas Marché – Yebisu Garden Place

This Christmas market leans on the typical Christmas market from France and provides hot mulled wine, typical dishes, seasonal crafts and decorations. As a highlight you can even buy items and Christmas themed clothes for your dog. A giant Christmas tree is set up right next to the stalls and sparkling illuminations provide the right mood.

Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 12:00 – 8pm
Place: Yebisu Garden Place – clock square
Admission: free
Access: Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


53rd World Christmas Festival

The 3rd World Christmas Festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park provides Christmas food, drinks and music from all around the world. Dance performances are held as well!

Date: December 24th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 6pm
Place: Yoyogi Park – Event space
Admission: free
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) or Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda Line), a 3min walk from Meiji-Jingu-mae Station (Chiyoda Line or Fukutoshin Line), or a 6min walk from Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
yoyogipark.info


6Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

This authentic Christmas market sells traditional German dishes like schnitzel, sausages, gulasch, stolen cakes, mulled wine, beer and much more. Also traditional decorations and wooden dolls directly from the Erzgebirge in Germany are on sale. The highlight of the market will be the huge Christmas tree which provides the perfect atmosphere for a cozy evening.

Date: November 26th (Saturday– December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Red Brick Warehouse
Admission: free
Access: 10min walk from Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai Line)
Address: 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, 231-0001 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★★
yokohama-akarenga.jp

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


3Roppongi Hills Christmas Market

This year is the 10th anniversary of Roppongi Hills’ Christmas Market. It´s based on the biggest Christmas market located in Stuttgart, Germany and features a total of 11 stores lining up under the “O-Yane Plaza” and offer a lot of traditional Christmas decorations, like Christmas pyramids, Christmas tree decorations and many more. Mulled wine and sausages add to the typical German Christmas flair.

Date: November 26th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (Friday, Saturday and the day before a public holiday open until 10pm)
Place: O-Yane Plaza
Admission: free
Access:
Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
Address: 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-6108 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
roppongihills.com


4Tokyo Midtown Marché de Noël

©Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Midtown’s Christmas market is located on the first basement floor of the Galleria shopping center. You can purchase tableware, gifts, cards and much more with beautiful Christmas prints and designs. After shopping, go out and enjoy the beautiful illumination show in the starlight garden.

Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (December 22nd (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday) open until 10pm)
Place: Tokyo Midtown – Galleria B1 – In front of DEAN&DELUCA
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyo-midtown.com

5 Outdoor Autumn Activities in Karuizawa

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Karuizawa, a small resort town in Nagano Prefecture, is a popular destination thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and luxury resorts. At an elevation of 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) the cooler temperatures result in stunning fall colors. And if that’s not enough, we’ve found five other amazing reasons to explore the town.

5. Shopping

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Cooler weather is great for shopping, particularly when many of Karuizawa’s best shopping districts are outdoors!

An outlet mall is located on the south side of the town, near the Karuizawa Prince Hotel, and is a sprawling shopper’s paradise with more than 200 stores. You can find everything from fashion items, to sports gear and outdoor items here, in addition to multiple restaurants and cafés that are perfect for recharging with a warm beverage.

Kyu-Karuizawa, or Old Karuizawa—about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to the north—is home to Karuizawa Ginza, an important merchant street that grew during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The shops along the street embrace tourists and is home to traditional cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops selling locally produced jam and honey.

4. Ziplining

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For adrenaline junkies, Karuizawa Prince Hotel offers ziplining through a company called Zipline Adventure on the ski slopes through early autumn.

Tours depart three times a day and run from 90 minutes to two hours (depending on group size and speed). Hiking up the slopes is necessary, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

Check out the website for more information, such as height and weight requirements.
www.zipline.jp (Japanese)

3. Hiking

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Nagano is well-known for its natural beauty and there are many paths and trails in the area. The challenging Mount Asama, a 2,568 meter (8,425 ft) active volcano, is one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains. It last erupted in 2009; even so, hikers are required to stay out of restricted areas. The sulfur fumes can be hazardous, so heed the warnings you see on the trail. Every hiker has their own pace, but expect a minimum of six hours for the round trip.

If a volcano doesn’t strike your fancy, there’s also the Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary (Yacho no Mori), home to more than 80 different species of birds, as well as the scruffy kamoshika, or Japanese serow. The park is free to enter, but various nature walks are available with a reservation through the Picchio Visitor Center.

www.tozai-trek.com

2. Onsen

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Karuizawa is home to the luxury ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) operator Hoshino Resort. If you want to splurge, the Hoshinoya Karuizawa resort is probably the pinnacle of luxury in this town. However, there’s a smaller onsen, or hot spring, called Tombo no Yu that caters to day-trippers.

The onsen is located at the base of a forested mountain, with indoor and outdoor baths filled with steaming hot water that is said to rejuvenate the skin and cure everything from nerve pain to hypertension.

Regardless of which hot spring locale you choose, soaking in an onsen is a relaxing way to keep warm on a crisp autumn day!

www.hoshino-area.jp

1. Bicycle Rental to Kumoba Pond

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Cycling is a great way to get around the main areas of Karuizawa. The streets are wide and rental shops dot the town, particularly close to the Shinkansen station. In addition, many of the beautifully designed summer homes tucked away in the tree-dappled valley are best viewed while on a leisurely bicycle ride.

One of the most popular autumn destinations in Karuizawa is Kumoba Pond, a small pond with dozens of Japanese maples planted around it. A footpath circles the pond, allowing visitors to take in the surrounding trees and wildlife. On a clear day, the water reflecting the scarlet and gold of the turning leaves is a sight that’ll take your breath away.


Read the original article on All About Japan: 5 Outdoor Autumn Activities in Karuizawa

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Kappabashi: Home of Japanese Knives

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Just a short walk away from Asakusa, Kappabashi is a great place to spend an afternoon among a joyful chaos of stores specializing in all sorts of kitchenware, and a must-visit destination for visitors looking to pick up world-class Japanese knives.

Over 100 Years of History

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Kappabashi Dogu-gai (Kappabashi Kitchenware Street) has been a center of commerce related to tools for over a century, and is one of the best places in Tokyo to find cool (not to mention useful) souvenirs. The two main streets are stocked to the brim with everything from super-realistic food samples to ramen shop signs, pots big enough to make curry for 100 people, dainty sake cups, chopsticks in every color of the rainbow… and knives.

Kamata Hakensha: Knives Galore

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Located around the middle of Kappabashi, this little shop is heaven for both amateur and professional cooks, as it stocks a huge range of Japanese and Western-style knives, each individually checked (and sharpened!) by the owner. The staff speak decent English and are really good at helping you find the right knife for your needs and ability.

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From the window you can watch Seiichi Kamata (the owner and third-generation craftsman) engraving names on the knives (a rather cool touch, especially if the blade is a gift) or restoring the razor-sharp edges of the implements used by top chefs around the city.

With almost four decades of experience, his fingers can detect the slightest imperfection in the metal, invisible to the naked eye. During a recent visit, he spoke of the intense training his son (the fourth generation) underwent under both his tutelage and that of the master knife makers in Sakai City, Osaka, in order to ensure that he too will gain this level of craftsmanship.

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As many of the knives are completely handmade, they’re priced accordingly. However, the shoo does have a nice range of light but sturdy stainless steel kitchen knives that are very reasonable, as well as other unusual choices (my favorite being a pair of scissors with a cherry blossom motif).

Be sure to check out the Japanese-style knives decorated with flowers, leaves and dreamy wave patterns, which look almost too pretty to use!

www.kap-kam.com


Read the original article on All About Japan: Kappabashi: Home of Japanese Knives

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3 Historic Fan Shops in Kyoto

Kyoto’s rich history even extends to its many shops and these shinise, or historic shops, are some of the Kyoto’s oldest. In fact, these three fan shops are among Japan’s most historic, with some dating as far back as the 17th century!

3. Aiba

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Aiba has been continuously selling traditional Japanese fans since 1689. Although they specialize in more traditional styles, the shop continues to be innovative. One of the more modern styles they’ve created is a transparent fan that gives the suggestion of delivering cool air while remaining quite stylish. These round fans were historically used within the Imperial Court during the Edo Period. They’re artfully crafted, featuring natural scenery, people or poetry, cast in block print, dye or raised cloth.

Aiba is situated in downtown Kyoto between Sanjo-dori and Shijo-dori on quiet Yanagi no Bamba Street.

www.kyoto-kankou.or.jp

2. Miyawaki Baisenan

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Established in 1823, Miyawaki Baisenan specializing in the iconic Japanese folding fan. You can shop to your heart’s content on the first floor, but don’t miss the second floor, which features an exhibit on the history of Japanese fans. Baisenan sells fans for every occasion, from the purely utilitarian fans that start at ¥743 (US$7), to the more indulgent sandalwood fans that can go for as much as ¥43,532 (US$410). Even if you’re not there to make a purchases, Miyawaki Baisenan offers a fascinating look at the history of fans, and the many varieties that exist from region to region.

Miyawaki Baisenan is situated north of Shijo-dori, on Rokkaku-dori.

www.nytimes.com

1. Sakata Bunsuke Shoten

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This shop had its start in 1808, specializing in folding fans. The fans at Sakata are strictly for decor, ceremonies, or entertainment, so you won’t be pulling one of these works of art out of your pocket when you’re roasting on a crowded train. Sakata Bunsuke Shoten exhibited at The International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925, meaning these well-made fans have been held in international high-regard for nearly 100 years. Sakata keeps things interesting, releasing a new design each year in a continued effort to blend modern design with Japanese tradition.

Sakata Bunsuke Shoten is located at the corner of Gojo and Yanagi no Bamba street.

eng.trip.kyoto.jp


Read the original article on All About Japan: 3 Historic Fan Shops in Kyoto

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Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka

Osaka 30~ 38

 

30Katsuo-ji (勝尾寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: Mo – Fr 8am – 5pm; Sat 8am-5:30pm; Sun & holidays 8am – 6pm
Access: 20min bus ride from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line) until Katsuo-ji; 30min bus ride from Senri-Chuo Station (Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway Namboku Line, Osaka Monorail Main Line) into Hokusetsu-Reien direction until Katsuo-ji
Address: 2914-1 Aomatani, Minoo-shi, 562-0021 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

 

31Minoo Falls (箕面大滝) in Minoo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Hitome Senbon
Access: 40min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: Minoo Park, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka

Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


32Saiko-ji Temple (西江寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-5-27 Minoo, Minoo-shi, 562-0001 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp


33Ryuan-ji Temple (瀧安寺) in Minoo

A photo posted by lemonlime (@lemonlime0828) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: 15min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-23 Minoo Koen, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


34Sefuku-ji Temple (施福寺) in Izumi

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – November 8am – 5pm ; December – February 8am-4pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Fuchu Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Makio Chugakko-mae. Change into the Orange bus until Makio-san (35min walk)
Address: 136 Makiosan-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1131 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


35Matsuo-ji Temple (松尾寺) in Izumi

A photo posted by uripon_uriuri (@uripon_uriuri) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Chuo Station (Semboku Rapid Railway) until Matsuo-dera (10min walk)
Address: 2168 Matsuoji-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1154 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


36Kyuan-ji Temple (久安寺) in Ikeda

A photo posted by Rina (@rinana.o) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus from Ikeda Station (Hankyu Takarazuka Main Line) until Kyuan-ji (direct access)
Address: 697 Fushio-cho, Ikeda-shi, 563-0011 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp


37Mount Ushitaki (牛滝山) in Kishiwada

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Daiitoku-ji Temple
Event: Ushitakiyama Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 23rd (Wednesday)
Details: Tempura and local alcoholic beverages are on sale, lottery with exclusive prizes
Access: 50min Nankai-Bus ride from Kishiwada Station (Nankai Main Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access); 40min Nankai-Bus ride from Kumeda Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access)
Address: 1178-1 Osawa-cho, Kishiwada-shi, 596-0114 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


38Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) in Osaka

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the Beginning of December
Access: Direct Access from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station and JR Morinomiya Station, as well as Subway Station Morinomiya Station and Tanimachi Yonchome Station
Address: 3-11 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 540-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osakacastle.net

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kansai

Kansai is located in the southern central part of Japan’s Honshu island and consists of six prefectures: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Wakayama. Often cited as the true cultural and historical heart of Japan, Kansai boasts a variety of cultural, historical, and gastronomical wonders that will leave you hungry for more.

Kyoto : Spots 1 ~ 29

Quick jump links:

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6Bishamon-do
Mid to end of November
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13Arashiyama
Mid November
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17Daigo-ji Temple
Mid November
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20Kiyomizu-dera
Mid November

Go to Kyoto list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto

Kyoto 1~ 29


1Zenporitsu-ji Temple (善法律寺) in Yawata

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the Beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 3pm
Access: 15min walk from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line)
Address: 88-1 Yawatababa, Yawata-shi, 614-8085 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


2Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu (石清水八幡宮) in Yawata

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: January-March 6:30am-6pm; April – September 5:30am -6:30pm; October 6am-6pm, November-December 6:30-6pm
Access: 3min ride with the Otokoyama Cable Car from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line) until Otokoyama-sanjo Station (5min walk)
Address: 30 Yawatatakabo, Yawata-shi, 614-8005 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


3Yokoku-ji (楊谷寺) in Nagaokakyo

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First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: 20min taxi ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line); 15min taxi ride from Nishiyama Tennozan Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line)
Address: 2 Donotani, Jododani, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0855 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nagaokakyo-kankou.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


4Komyo-ji (光明寺) in Nagaokakyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 10min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaoka-Tenjin Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk); 20min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk)
Address: 26-1 Saijonai, Ao, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0811 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


5Kuwayama Shrine (鍬山神社) in Kameoka

A photo posted by Lieb*Eva | Eva Lee (@liebeeva) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up!
Date: November 10th (Thursday) – November 16th (Wednesday), 5pm-6pm
Admission: 300yen (adults), free for children
Access: 10min Community-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) until Kuwayama Jinja-mae (direct access); 40min walk from Kameoka Station
Address: 22-2 Kamigaichi, Kamiyada-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0856 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


6Bishamon-do (毘沙門堂) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm
Access: 20min walk from Yamashina Station
Address: 18 Anshuinariyama-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, 607-8003 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


7Shouji-ji Temple (勝持寺) in Kyoto

京都 長岡京 勝持寺の紅葉その9🍁 勝持寺の境内、不動堂へ #京都紅葉 #勝持寺 #kyoto

A photo posted by Hiroshi Noguchi (@noguchibiyousitu) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 300yen (Junior-high-school students), 200yen (Elementary-school students)
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (20min walk)
Address: 1194 Minamikasuga-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


8Yoshimine-dera (善峯寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (High-school students), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 30min Hankyu-Bus ride from Mukomachi Station (JR Kyoto Line)or Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Yoshimine-dera (8min walk)
Address: 1372 Oshio-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1133 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto.travel/en


9Oharano Shrine (大原野神社) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (8min walk)
Address: 1152 Minamikasuga-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


10Kosho-ji Temple (興聖寺) in Uji

A photo posted by 拓🍃風 (@sohkai_works) on

First colors: End of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 20min walk from Uji Station (JR Nara Line); 10min walk from Uji Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: 27-1 Yamada, Uji, Uji-shi, 611-0021 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


11Mimuroto-ji Temple (三室戸寺) in Uji

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: April-October 8:30am – 4:30pm; November – March 8:30am-4pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Mimurodo Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: Shigatani 21, Todo, Uji-shi, 611-0013 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


12Izumo Dai-jingu Shrine (出雲大神宮) in Kameoka

A photo posted by @mina08128 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 15min Furusato-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) North Exit until Izumo Jinja Mae (direct access)
Address: Izumo, Chitose-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0002 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


13Arashi Yama (嵐山) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Togetsukyo Bridge
Access: 10min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8383 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


14Rokuo-in Temple (鹿王院) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 5min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 24 Sagakitaboricho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8367 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
pref.kyoto.jp


15Joujakkou-ji Temple (常寂光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400yen
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 3 Ogura-cho, Sagaogurayama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8397 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jojakko-ji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


16Nison-in Temple (二尊院) in Kyoto

A photo posted by LOVE❤KYOTO (@kyoto_mkssk) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: 500yen; free for children
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line); 45min Kyoto Bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Saga Shakado-mae (10min walk)
Address: 27 Chojin-cho, Saganison-in Monzen, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8425 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


17Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 800yen (adults), 600yen (high-school & junior-high-school students)
Access: 10min walk from Daigo Station (Subway Tozai Line)
Address: 22 Daigohigashioji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1325 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
daigoji.or.jp


18Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Kurama Station (Eizan Kurama Line)
Address: 1074 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1111 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
insidekyoto.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


19Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園) in Kyoto

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 200 yen (adults), 150 yen (high-school students), children (free)
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: Direct access from Kitayama Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line)
Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-0823 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


20Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 6am-5:30/6:30pm
Access: Bus ride from Kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) or Gion-Shijō Station (Keihan Main Line) until Kyomizu-michi (10min walk)
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0862 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kiyomizudera.or.jp


21Choraku-ji Temple (長楽寺) in Kyoto

#fujifilm#fujifilmxt10#fujinon#紅葉#姨捨#長楽寺

A photo posted by かず (@zutemasquerade) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Hours: 9am – 5pm (Closed on Thursday)
Access: 20min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station
Address: 626 Maruyama-cho, Yasaka Toriimae Higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0071 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


22Tofuku-ji Temple (東福寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: 10min walk from Tofuku-ji Station (Keihan Main Line, JR Nara Line)
Address: 15-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0981 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tofukuji.jp


23Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 600yen (adults), 250yen (junior-high- school & high-school students), children are free
Hours: 9am – 5:30pm
Access: 5min bus ride from Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Main Line) into Kujoshakomae direction until Higashiyama Yasui (5min walk)
Address: 526 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0825 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kodaiji.com


24To-ji Temple (東寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8:30am – 4pm
Access: 15min walk from JR Kyoto Station; 10min walk from Toji Station (Kintetsu Kyoto Line)
Address: 1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-8473 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
toji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


25Genko-an Temple (源光庵) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400 yen (adults) [during November 500 yen], 200 yen (Children)
Access: 15min bus ride with Busline Kita 1 from Kitaoji Station (Subway Karasuma Line) until Takagaminegenkouan-mae (1min walk)
Address: 47 Kita-Takagamine-cho, Takagamine, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, 603-8468 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


26Eikando Zenrin-ji Temple (永観堂 禅林寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Event: Autumn Night Time Visit
Date: November 8th (Tuesday) – December 4th (Sunday), 5:30pm – 8:30pm (closed 9pm)
Admission: 600yen (adults)
Access: 15min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji ・Eikando-michi (3min walk)
Address: 48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8445 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
eikando.or.jp


27Nanzen-ji Temple (南禅寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: December – February; 8:40am – 4:30pm / March – November 8:40am – 5pm
Admission: No admission fee for the temple precincts.
Hojo Garden: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Sanmon Gate: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Nanzen-in: 300yen (adults), 250yen (high-school dtudnts), 150yen (children)
Access: 10min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji・Eikando-michi (8min walk)
Address: Nanzenji Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8435 Kyoto

Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


28Enko-ji Temple (圓光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 300 yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Ichijoji Station (Eizan Main Line), 35min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ichijo-ji Sagarimatsu-cho (7min walk)
Address: 13, Ichijojikotani-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8147 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
enkouji.jp


29Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – December 7th, 8:30am-5pm / December 8th – February, 9am-4:30pm
Admission: 700yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 150yen (children)
Access: 1hour bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ohara (10min walk),
Address: 540 Ohara-Raigoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1242 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Saitama Triennale 2016

To the north of Tokyo lies Saitama City. It’s not so well known amongst tourists but there are many fun activities and green areas. It’s a fun place for a daytrip. Currently Saitama is hosting the 2016 Saitama Triennale of which one exhibition area is in Saitama City.

The Saitama Triennale 2016 has participating artists from all around the world, famous in their own country and abroad. The Saitama Triennale has become a festival to be enjoyed by all five senses. This year’s theme is “Discover the Future!”. Discover Saitama’s charm and daily life through the art’s stories. There’s an indoor and an outdoor zone so you can enjoy the artwork in many different ways.

Wattention interviewed Thai artist Wisut Ponnimit who designed the event’s mascot character “Mamuang-chan”. We talked about his work and the Saitama Triennale.

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Tam’s interview

งาน Saitama Triennale 2016

Profile

Wisut PONNIMIT (Thailand)
Born in 1976, Bangkok Thailand. Nicknamed Tam. Debuted in 1998 in Bangkok as a manga artist. He lived in Kobe from 2003 until 2006 and currently works in Bangkok. His works include the “Mamuang” series, “Blanco” (Shogakukan), “Hesheit” (Nanaroku inc.) and various manga art. He also participated in the Yokohama Triennale 2005. In 2009 “Hesheit Aqua” received an honourable mention at the Cultural Affairs Media Arts festival in the manga division. In 2015 he had a solo exhibition “MELO HOUSE” in Bangkok. Besides having done animation work, Tam also collaborated with musical artists such as “Baan” (2013) and Harada Ikuko.

About the Saitama Triennale 2016
Q: Why did you participate in the Saitama Triennale 2016?
A: It’s a big event, so I think I participated to test my own strength.

Q: How do you feel about participating in an international event like this?
A: As I thought, I’m a bit nervous to work together with the other artists. I will have to work hard on my own art as well.

About his work
Q: What’s the style of your work? / What kind of work did you make?
A: Because the theme of this exhibition is “Discover the Future!”, I created work in that image.

Q: You also designed the event’s mascot character. Could you briefly introduce her?
A: The exhibition area is very big, the event is held at various places in Saitama. There are people who come only for the Saitama Triennale 2016 so I think most of them might not be familiar with Saitama City or its station. This is why we decided to place a guide sign with Mamuang chan near the station that guides visitors to the event. Because Mamuang chan is there, I hope people won’t get lost and will feel safe.。

Q: What kind of character is Mamuang chan?
A: I think she’s a child who doesn’t overthink things too much.

Regarding his studies and living in Japan
Q: Why did you study abroad in Japan? What sparked your interest in Japan?
A: When I was a child I loved Japanese manga and this made me start working on manga. I wanted to learn more about the origin of manga and came to Japan to better understand Japanese culture.

Q: Why do you think your work is also popular in Japan?
A: I think my art pieces has something that Japanese people cannot get from their normal life. Maybe, when they see my work they feel a sense of security.

Q: For foreigners in Japan and tourists from overseas who come to see the 2016 Saitama Triennale, please share your recommendations.
A: I think it’s an interesting event because there are many artists. The entrance is free and the weather is getting cooler so I think it’s a good chance to visit Saitama. Please come and see the event.

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Like Tam said in the interview, the Saitama Triennale 2016 is a great opportunity to visit various spots in Saitama. The event’s scenery and artwork is different in every area so photography enthusiasts can also enjoy themselves as well. There are events you can enjoy together as a family, events where you can experience culture and hands-on exhibitions so please come and see them in a leisurely mood.

Near Omiya Station, one of the venues for the Saitama Triennale 2016, is a railway museum with about 36 train cars on display from the late 19th century until the latest modern bullet train. There are 5 different driving simulators such as the steam locomotive D51 (Japanese built steam locomotive) and the Shinkansen 200 series (bullet train). It’s an interactive museum where you can see, listen and touch.

Iwatsuki, another exhibition area, is the lead producer of dolls in Japan with more than 80 doll ateliers. Dolls for Hinamatsuri (girl’s festival), boy’s festival and a variety of traditional dolls have been shipped to both domestic and foreign customers. How about experiencing a doll workshop after visiting the art exhibition?

In Saitama City you can enjoy the bonsai gardens and the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Japan’s leading bonsai museum and the host for the 8th World Bonsai Congress in 2017 (Apr. 27 -30, 2017). There are many other interesting spots in Saitama City.

The Saitama Triennale 2016 is held until December 11th. Why not make an art journey to Saitama City?

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Event Information

Dates: Sept. 9, 2016 – Dec. 11, 2016
Locations: 1) Yohonmachi Station ~ Omiya Station 2) Musashi Urawa Station ~ Naka Urawa area 3) Iwatsuki Station area
Link to the area map and access information (Japanese – English)PDF
Official website URL: https://saitamatriennale.jp/(Japanese – English)(Japanese – English)

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Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


51Lake Tanzawa (丹沢湖) in Ashigarashimo – Yamakita

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 50min Fujikyu Shonan Bus ride from Shinmatsuda Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) into Nishi-Tanzawa Station direction until Tanzawa-Ko (direct access)
Address: Kamioda, Yamakita-mura, Ashigarakami-gun, 258-0203 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


52Oyama Temple & Oyama-Afuri Shrine (大山寺・大山阿夫利神社) in Isehara

A photo posted by てり~ (@telliart) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: Oyama Temple – 30min bus ride from Isehara Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) until the terminal stop “Oyama Cable”. From there it is a 15min walk to Oyama Cable Car Station. Take the cable car for a 2min ride to “Oyamadera Station”, get off and walk 2 min to the temple grounds.
Oyama-Afuri Shrine – 6min ride from Oyama Cable Car Station to Afuri Jinja Station (2min walk)
Address: Oyama Temple, Oyama 724 / Oyama-Afuri Shrine, 355 Oyama, Isehara-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


49Lake Ashi (箱根・芦ノ湖) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour bus ride from Odawara Station (JR Tokaido Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, JR Tokaido Shinkansen, Odakyu Odawara Line, Hakone Tozan Line, Daiyuzan Line)
Address: Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0522 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp


50Yumoto (箱根・湯本) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line) (direct access)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0311 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture

Kanagawa Prefecture 47~ 54


47Miyagase Dam (宮ヶ瀬ダム) in Aiko – Kiyokawa

A photo posted by かえる (@rhacophorus101) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hon-Atsugi Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) via the Center into Hanbara direction until Aikawa-Ohashi (15min walk); Bus from Fuchinobe Station (JR Yokohama Line) until the Tana Bus Center, from there it´s another 40min bus ride until Hanbara (30min walk)
Address: 940-4 Miyagase, Kiyokawa-mura, Aiko-gun 243-0111 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


48Sengokuhara (箱根・仙石原) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hakone Tozan Bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0631 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


53Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺) in Kamakura

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the middle of December
Admission: 200yen (adults), 100yen(children)
Access: 15min bus ride from Kamakura Station (JR Yokosuka Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Enoshima Electric Railway) into Otonomiya direction until the terminal stop “Otonomiya” (15min walk)
Address: Nikaido 710, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.kamakura.kanagawa.jp


54Sankeien Garden (三溪園) in Yokohama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 500yen (adults), 200yen(children)
Access: Bus from Negishi Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Line/Negishi Line, JR Yokohama Line) until Honmoku (7min walk)
Address: Honmoku Sannotani 58-1, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
sankeien.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan: Tokyo

Tokyo 33~ 46


33Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) in Shibuya

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line); 3min walk from Yoyogi-Koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyometro.jp


34Meijijingu Gaien (明治神宮外苑) in Shinjuku

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Ginkgo tree row
Event: 20th Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 18th (Friday) – December 5th (Monday), Weekday 10am – 6pm, Weekend & Public Holiday 9:30am – 6pm (Last day until 2pm)
Access: 5-13min walk from Shinanomachi Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Sendagaya Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Aoyama-itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Oedo Line)
Address: Kita-Aoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, 107-0061 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
meijijingugaien.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


35Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden (向島百花園) in Sumida

A photo posted by こーさん (@kotyatora) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the middle of December
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Higashi-Mukojima Station (Tobu Skytree Line); 13min walk from Keisei-Hikifune Station (Keisei Oshiage Line)
Address: 3-18-3 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida-ku, 131-0032 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


36Rikugien Garden (六義園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Suikonoue, Tsutsuji tea house
Event: Daimyo Garden & Autumn Color Light-up
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – December 7th (Wednesday), sunset – 9pm
Opening Hours during the Light-up period: 9am – 9pm (last entry 8:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 7min walk from Komagome Station (JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line)
Address: 6-chome Hon-Komagome, Bunkyo-ku, 113-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


37Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (小石川後楽園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Oigawa, Tsuten Bridge, Momiji Forest
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Iidabashi Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Toei Oedo Line), 8min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line), 8min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line)
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


38Showa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園) in Tachikawa

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Canal, Katarai Ginkgo Tree row, colored maple leaves in the Japanese garden
Opening Hours: 9:30am-5pm
Admission: 410yen (adults), 80yen (children), 210yen (pensioner)
Access: 2min walk from Nishi-Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line), 10min walk from Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line, JR Chuo Line, JR Nambu Line)
Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆

showakinen-koen.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


39Tonogayato Garden (殿ヶ谷戸庭園) in Kokubunji

First colors: Middle of November until the end of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Koyo Pavilion
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 2min walk from Kokubunji Station (JR Chuo Rapid Line, Seibu Kokubunji Line, Seibu Tamako Line)
Address: 2-16 Minami-cho, Kokubunji-shi, 185-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


40Road Koshu’s Ginkgo Row (甲州街道いちょう並木) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Musashi Imperial Mausoleum, Ryoho-Temple
Event: 37th Hachioji Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday), 9am – 5pm; November 20th (Sunday), 9am – 4:30pm
Access: 3min walk from Nishi-Hachioji Station (JR Chuo Main Line); 15min walk from Takao Station (JR Chuo Main Line, JR Chuo Rapid Line, Keio Takao Line)
Address: Higashi-Sakawa-machi 120, Hachioji-shi, 193-0834 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


42Mount Takao (高尾山) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Cable car, mountain summit
Event: Mount Takao Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 1st (Tuesday) – November 30th (Wednesday)
Place: The Mount Takao “Takao Shinrin Center”, in front of the mountain foot`s cable car station “Kiyotaki”, in front of the mountainside teahouse “Juitchome Chaya”
Access: Takaosan-guchi Station (Keio Takao Line)
Address: Takao-machi, Hachioji-shi, 193-0844 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


43Mitake Ravine (御岳渓谷) in Ome

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Gyokudo Museum
Access: Mitake Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 310 Mitake–honcho, Ome-shi, 198-0173 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pregamestraining.tokyo2020.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


44Akigawa Ravine (秋川渓谷) in Akiruno

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Around Ishibune Bridge, around Aokidaira Bridge, Kamiyozawa
Access: 15min bus ride from Musashi Itsukaichi Station (JR Itsukaichi Line) until Jurigi
Address: Akiruno-shi, 190‐0174 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
gotokyo.org


45Okutama & Okutama shore (奥多摩・奥多摩湖畔) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Mukashi Michi, Yama no Furusato Mura, Ikoi no Michi, Miharashi no Oka
Access: 20min bus ride from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 1740 Kawano, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0225 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


46Okutama & Hikawa Ravine (奥多摩・氷川渓谷) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Nippara Ravine, Hato no Su Ravine, Sogaku Ravine, Otaba River upper stream, Mukashi Michi
Access: 3min walk from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: Okutama Visitor Center, 171-1 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0212 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


32Yomogi Fudo Falls (四方木不動滝) in Kamogawa

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First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus ride from Awa-Amatsu Station (JR Sotobo Line) until Yomogi (15min walk)
Address: Yomogi, Kamogawa-shi, 299-5506 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
city.kamogawa.lg.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture

Chiba Prefecture 28~ 32


28Hondo-ji temple (本土寺) in Matsudo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Access: 10min walk from Kita-Kogane Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hiraga 63, Matsudo-shi, 270-0002 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


29Narita-san Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺) in Narita

First colors: Mid November
Color Peak: Mid November to early December
Access: 15min walk from JR Narita Station or Keisei Narita Station
Address: Narita 1, Narita-shi, Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


30Lake Kameyama (亀山湖) in Kimitsu

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 5min walk from Kazusa-Kameyama Station (JR Kururi Line)
Address: 8 Kawamata Kyukawamata, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba-ken 292-0524
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


31Komatsu-ji Temple (小松寺) in Minamiboso

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 8min taxi ride from Chikura Station (JR Uchibo Line)
Address: 1057 Chikura-cho Onuki, Minamiboso-shi, 295-0013 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture

Saitama Prefecture 21~ 27


21Nagatoro (長瀞) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Around Iwadatami
Access: 5min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway)
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1300 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


22Mount Hodo (宝登山) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

A photo posted by Kzm Iwt (@kzmkzmmzkmzk) on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Hodosan Small Animal Park
Access: 15min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway) until the ropeway Station
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1305 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.chichibu-railway.co.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


23Nakatsu Ravine (中津峡) in Chichibu

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 50min Seibu Kanko Bus ride from Mitsumineguchi Station (Chichibu Railway) until  Aiharabashi
Address: Nakatsugawa, Chichibu-shi, 369-1903 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp


24Park Togo (東郷公園) in Hanno

A photo posted by Misato Kitagawa (@misato_1966) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: The grounds of Chichibu Ontake Shrine
Event: Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – 3pm~; November 20th (Sunday) – 10am~
Details: Saturday – Jazz music beneath the maple trees, Sunday – music and dance performances; as well as food stands
Admission: 100 yen (adults)
Access: 20min walk from Agano Station (Seibu Chichibu Line)
Address: 580 Sakaishi, Hanno-shi, 357-0215 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


25Lake Kamakita (鎌北湖) in Iruma – Moroyama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 60min walk from Moro Station (JR Hachiko Line); 70min walk from Higashi-Moro Station (Tobu – Ogose Line)
Address: Oyagi, Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, 350-0452 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


26Torii Kannon (鳥居観音) in Hanno

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) until Renkeibashi (5min walk)
Address: 3198 Kaminaguri, Hanno-shi, 357-0111 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


27Mount Tenran (天覧山) in Hanno

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Mountaintop, Juroku Rakan
Access: 40min walk from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) ; 45min walk from Higashi-Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line, JR Hachiko Line)
Address: Hanno, Hanno-shi, 357-0063 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor

Ichijodani Asakura Ruins, remnants of a powerful clan

The City

There are many interesting things to see in the reconstruction of the Ichijodani. Actors walk around in historical costumes and mannequins are set up inside the homes to reenact historical scenarios.
For safety reasons, the Asakura family built the city in a very interesting and unique way. The streets have a slight curve, making it possible to see every enemy no matter where you are standing in the street. The same principle is applied in Narai Juku, Matsumoto.

City Streets

You can see that the city has a built-in waterway that serves as a sewage system and to keep the area cool during summer. The walls are fortified with big rocks, protecting against floods and invaders. When you walk around the ruins it’s difficult to imagine the grand buildings that once housed powerful samurai and lords.

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The Karamon gate is the entrance to the ruins of Yoshikage’s house and used to be the entrance gate to a temple. Thanks to the good condition of the ruins an accurate image of the villa could be created.

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The Karamon gate is still in good condition because it was built after the destruction of the Asakura clan and again reconstructed during the Edo period. If you look closely, the gate bears both the mark of the Asakura clan and of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1570 during the Battle of Anegawa Hideyoshi fought in defense for the Asakura clan against Oda Nobunaga. This gate is thus dedicated to Asakura Yoshikage.

GateKamon

There are several gardens in Ichijodani and some are still waiting to be discovered. You can easily spend a full day in the area as it’s surrounded by beautiful nature and there’s so much history to absord.

Something the guide was really proud about is that telecom operator Softbank chose to do a commercial series in Ichijodani. Their trademark white shiba inu named “Otousan” (“father” in Japanese) has been around since 2007 and is the head of the Shirato family. According to the commercial series his hometown is Ichijodani.

Information

Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm) / Closed Dec. 28 – Jan. 4
Admission: 210yen (500yen for the virtual guide)
Location: Ichijodani Asakura Family Ruins
Address: 910-2153 Fukui-ken, Fukui-shi, Kidonouchichō
Access: From Fukui JR Station go to Ichijodani Station on the JR Kuzuryu Line (15min) and walk for 25min / Take a bus from JR Fukui Station to Jokyouji and get off at Bukeyashiki-mae (35min) / 30min by car from central Fukui.
URL: http://www3.fctv.ne.jp/~asakura/ (Japanese only)

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


15Suwakyo Gorge (諏訪峡) in Tone-Minakami

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 20min walk from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line)
Address: Minakami-machi, Tone-gun 379-1616 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


16Sarugakyo (猿ヶ京) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around lake Akaya
Access: 25min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station (JR Joetsu-Shinkansen) until Sarugakyo Onsen;
40min bus ride from Gokan Station (JR Joetsu Line) until Sarugakyo Onsen
Address: Sarugakyo Onsen, Minakami, Tone-gun, 379-1403 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


17Agatsuma Ravine (吾妻渓谷) in Higashi-Agatsuma

First colors: end of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour walk from IwashimaStation (JR Agatsuma Line)
Address: Matsutani, Higashi Agatsuma-machi, Agatsuma-gun, 377-0814 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


18Kajika Bridge (河鹿橋) Illumination in Shibukawa

河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Event: Oct 25 – Nov 13
Access: About 25 minutes by car from Shibukawa-Ikaho IC of Kan-Etsu Expressway
Address: Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


19Mount Haruna & Lake Haruna (榛名山・榛名湖) in Takasaki

榛名湖 (5)(高崎市,東吾妻町)_TN

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spot: The view from Kohan no Yado Memorial Park
Access: 1,5h bus ride from JR Takasaki Station until Harunako
Address: Harunasan-machi & Harunako-machi, Takasaki-shi, 370-3348 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp


20Usui 3rd Bridge / Megane Bashi (めがね橋) in Annaka

めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Early to mid November
Access: About 15 minutes by bus from Yokokawa Station on JR Shin-Etsu Line
Address: Sakamoto, Matsuida-machi, Annaka-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Prefecture 13~ 20


13Fukiware-no-taki Falls (吹割の滝) in Numata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: About 40 minutes by bus from Numata Station on JR Joetsu Line
Address: Okkai, Tone-machi, Numata-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


14Tanigawa-dake Tenjindaira (谷川岳天神平) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 25min bus ride from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line) to Tanigawa-dake ropeway , 45min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station to Tanigawa-dake ropeway (Ropeway round-trip 2060 yen)
Address: Yubiso, Minakami-machi,Tone-gun, 379-1728 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


9Setoai Ravine (瀬戸合峡) in Nikko

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First colors: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 1h10min Nikko-Shiei Bus ride from Kinugawa-Onsen Station (Tobu Kinugawa Line ) into Meotobuchi-Onsen until Kawamata-Heikezuka (10min walk)
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nikko-travel.jp


10Mount Futara Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, Tosho-gu Shrine (二荒山神社・輪王寺・東照宮) in Nikko

toshogu

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Light-Up Nikko
Date: November 11th (Friday) until November 13th (Sunday), 6pm – 9pm  
Access: 8min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) until Nishisando (10min walk); 20min walk from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


11Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖湖畔) in Nikko

R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Access: 50min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Chuzenji-Onsen or Yumoto-Onsen direction until Chuzenji-Onsen (direct access)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


12Ryuzu Falls (竜頭ノ滝) in Nikko

800px-Ryuzu_Falls_01_R

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: End of September until the beginning of October
Access: 1hour Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Yumoto-Onsen direction until Ryuzu no Taki (2min walk)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture 7~ 12


7Nasukogen (那須高原) in Nasu

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spot: Nasu Onsen Shrine, Sessho-seki
Access: 35min bus ride from Kuroiso Station (JR Utsunomiya Line, JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, 325-0301 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nikko-travel.jp


8Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) in Nikko

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the middle of November
Event: Kawaji Onsen Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 6th (Sunday); 10am – 3 pm
Details: 8 pm – 8:30pm Firework Show
Access: Direct access from Kawaji-Yumoto Station (Yagan Railway Aizu Kinugawa Line)
Address: Kawaji Onsen, Nikko-shi, 321-2521 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
travel.tochigiji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture

Ibaraki Prefecture 1~ 6


1Hanazono Gorge (花園渓谷) in Kita- Ibaraki

盛紅葉

First colors: Late October
Color Peak: Early to late November
Access: 30min taxi ride from Isohara Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hanakawacho Hanazono, Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.ibarakiguide.jp (Japanese only)


2Eigen-ji (永源寺) in Kuji – Daigo

永源寺(もみじ寺)

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 10min walk from Hitachi-Daigo Station (JR Suigun Line)
Address: 1571 Daigo, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, 319-3526 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.co.uk

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


3Hananuki Gorge & Hananuki Dam (花貫渓谷・花貫ダム) in Takahagi

紅葉の花貫渓谷

First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to late November
Event: Hananuki Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival October 29 – November 27
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Takahagi Station
Address: Takahagi, 318-0104 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.takahagi-kanko.jp (Japanese only)


4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge (竜神大吊橋) in Hitachi-Ota

©常陸太田市観光物産協会
©常陸太田市観光物産協会
First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to end of November
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Hitachota Station to Ryujin Otsuribashi, then a 20 min walk to the bridge.
Address: Kegano 2133-6, Hitachiota, 313-0351 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
ohtsuribashi.ryujinkyo.jp (Japanese only)

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


5Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園) Kochia plants

紅葉のコキア(写真使用の際は制限有 *下記参照)

First colors: Early October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 15min taxi or bus ride from Katsuta Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: 605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 312-0012
Ranking: ★★★★☆
en.hitachikaihin.jp


6Mount Tsukuba (筑波山)

筑波山夕景

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Mid of November
Access: 40min shuttle bus ride from Tsukuba Station (Tsukuba Express Line)
Address: Tsukuba, 300-4352 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kanto

Kanto is located on Japan’s Honshu island and consists of seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. As the most densely populated area in Japan, Kanto, especially Tokyo, is the hub of culture and home to striking contrasts of modern urban advances, historical traditions and natural landscapes big and small.

Ibaraki Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 6

Quick jump links:

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4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge
Mid to late November

Go to Ibaraki list top

Tochigi Prefecture : Spots 7 ~ 12

Quick jump links:

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8Kawaji Onsen
Mid October to mid November
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11Lake Chuzenji
Early to mid October

Go to Tochigi list top

Gunma Prefecture : Spots 13 ~ 20

Quick jump links:

13Fukiware-no-taki Falls
Late October to early November
河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN_TN
18Kajika Bridge Illumination
Oct 25 – Nov 13
めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN_TN
20Megane Bashi
Early to mid November

Go to Gunma list top

Saitama Prefecture : Spots 21 ~ 27

Quick jump links:

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21Nagatoro
Mid to late November
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23Nakatsu Ravine
End of October to early November
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26Torii Kannon
Early to mid November

Go to Saitama list top

Chiba Prefecture : Spots 28 ~ 32

Quick jump links:

kameyama
30Lake Kameyama
End of November to early December
454TN
32Yomogi Fudo Falls
Mid November to early December

Go to Chiba list top

Tokyo : Spots 33 ~ 46

Quick jump links:

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38Showa Memorial Park
Early November to early December
42Mount Takao
Middle of November
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45Okutama
Early to mid November

Go to Tokyo list top

Kanagawa Prefecture : Spots 47 ~ 54

Quick jump links:

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49Lake Ashi
Early November
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54Sankeien Garden
Mid November to early December

Go to Kanagawa list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture

Fukushima Prefecture 36~ 45


36Bandai Azuma Skyline (磐梯吾妻スカイライン) in Fukushima

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Recommended Spots: Tengu no Niwa, Fudosawa Bridge
Access: 1h10min bus ride from JR Fukushima Station
Address: Between Niwasaka and Tsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima-shi, 960-2157 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


37Ura-Bandai & Nakatsu River Ravine (裏磐梯高原・中津川渓谷) in Yama-Inawashiro

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 45min taxi ride from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Kita-Shiobara-mura, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


38Tatsuzawafudo Falls (達沢不動滝) in Yama-Inawashiro

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Access: 40min bus ride into Tatsuzawa direction from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line) until the last stop (40min walk)
Address: Kogai Kotatsusawa, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, 969-2752 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
bandaisan.or.jp


39Shingukumano Shrine’s large ginkgo tree (新宮熊野神社の大イチョウ) in Kitakata

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First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: November 15th(Tuesday) – November 20th (Sunday)
Access: 10min taxi ride from Kitakata Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line); 10min taxi ride from JR Shiokawa Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Shingu Kumano 2258, Keitoku-machi, Kitakata-shi, 966-0923 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


40Tsuruga Castle Park (鶴ヶ城公園) in Aizu-Wakamatsu

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday); sunset – 9pm
Access: 13min bus ride from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line, JR Tadami Line, Aizu Line) ; 15min taxi ride from Minami-Wakamatsu Station (Aizu Line)
Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, 965-0873 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tsurugajo.com


41Midorigaoka Park (翠ヶ丘公園) in Sukagawa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the beginning of November
Access: 15min walk from Sukagawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Atagoyama, Sukagawa-shi, 962-0867 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


42Natsui River Ravine (夏井川渓谷) in Iwaki

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Kagoba Falls, View from the Natsui River Ravine observation deck
Access: (Kagoba Falls) 30min walk from Eda Station (JR Ban’etsu East Line)
Address: Within Ogawa-machi Kamiogawa and Kawamae-machi, Iwaki-shi, 979-3124 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


43Tonohetsuri Cliff (塔のへつり) in Minamiaizu

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: 3-min walk from Tonohetsuri Station on the Aizu Railway
Address: Minamiaizu District, Shitabayashi Yagoshima, Shimogō-machi 5316, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


44Yukiwari Bridge & Yukiwari Ravine (雪割橋・雪割渓谷) in Nishishirakawa-Nishigo

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min bus ride from Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Tohoku-Shinkansen) until Hatsudensho Mae (5min walk)
Address: Tsuryu, Nishigo-mura, Nishishirakawa-gun, 961-8081 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.welcome-fukushima.com


45Nanko Park (南湖公園) in Shirakawa

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the middle of November
Access: Bus ride from Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line) or JR Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Tohoku Main Line) until Nanko Koen (5min walk)
Address: Nanko, Shirakawa-shi, 961-0812 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
shirakawa315.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture 30~ 35


30Sankyo Warehouse (山居倉庫) in Sakata

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around the warehouse
Access: 10min ride with the free sightseeing bicycles from JR Sakata Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line); 8min ride with the Runrun Bus – Sakita Station University line to Sankyo Soko Mae
Address: 1-1-20 Sankyo-machi, Sakata-shi, 998-0838 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


31Chokai Forest (眺海の森) in Sakata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Chokai Forest accommodation “Chokai no Mori Sansan”, temple on the top of the mountain “Mine no Yakushi”
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Sagoshi Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line) or JR Amarume Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line)
Address: Ohira Tsuchibuchi, Sakata-shi, 999-6839 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


32Mogami Gorge (最上峡) in Mogami – Tozawa

nat212

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around Shiraito Falls
Access: 10min taxi ride from Furukuchi Station (JR Rikuu West Line)
Address: Furukuchi, Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, 999-6401 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com


33Ravine of Bonji river & around Mount Yudono (梵字川渓谷・湯殿山周辺) in Tsuruoka

nanatsuwaterfall

First colors: Ravine of Bonji river – Middle of October; around Mountain Yudono – End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the end of October
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Tsuruoka Station until Gassan Asahi Hakubutsu-mura
Address: Bonji River Ravine, Etchuyama Nabira, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0403 Yamagata; Mt. Yudono, Rokuju Riyama Tamugimata, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0532 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


34Yama-dera (山寺) in Yamagata

2-1

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 5min walk from Yamadera Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: 4495-15 Yamadera, Yamagata-shi, 999-3301 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


35Tengendai (天元台) in Yonezawa

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: View out of the car of the Tengendai Ropeway in the morning.
Access: 40min bus ride from JR Yonezawa Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen, JR Ou Main Line, JR Yonesaka Line) until Shirabu-Onsen; 5min ride from Ropeway-Yumoto Station until Kogen Station
Address: Tengendai Kogen, Sumomoyama 12118-6, Yonezawa-shi, 992-1461 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture

Miyagi Prefecture 25~ 29


25Naruko-kyo (鳴子峡) in Osaki

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: around the Narukokyo Resthouse near the western end of the gorge
Access: 30min walk from Nakayamadaira Onsen Station (JR Rikuu-to Line); buses are available from early October to mid November.
Address: Shitomae-87 Narukoonsen, Ōsaki-shi, 989-6100 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★★☆ 
www.jnto.go.jp


26Entsu-in & Matsushima-chiku (円通院・松島地区) in Miyagi-Matsushima

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up, October 22nd (Saturday) – November 23rd (Wednesday)
Access: 8min walk from Matsushima Kaigan Station (JR Senseki Line); 20min walk from Matsushima Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Chonai-67 Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi-gun,981-0213 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆ 
sendai-travel.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture


27Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine (志波彦神社・鹽竈神社) in Shiogama

e4b14461409af68ed466983b5fd54ca4_s

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 15min walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line)
Address: Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine, 1-1 Ichimoriyama, Shiogama-shi, 985-0074 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★☆☆☆ 
www.thm.pref.miyagi.jp


28Okunikkawa Valley (奥新川渓谷) in Sendai – Aoba

A photo posted by kan (@kiku_shin) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 30min walk from Okunikkawa Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: Nikkawa, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, 989-3434 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com


29Yamanaka Shichikashuku Highway (山中七ヶ宿街道) in Katta – Shichikashuku

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Lake Choro, Nametsu Otaki Fall, Lake Shichikashuku
Access: For Lake Choro -> a 50min taxi ride from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen) , For Shichikashuku dam-> 30min taxi ride from from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Shichikashuku Dam, Kiritoshi 52-40, Shichikashuku-machi, Katta-gun, 989-0536 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com

Visit the Origin of Ninja (4) : Kids’ Ninja Village

Kids’ Ninja Village

Togakushi is well-known as the origin of ninja, so we visited the Kids’ Ninja Village, where children and even adults can dress up like a real ninja! Ninja costume rental is available for a reasonable fee (kids: 400 yen, adults: 800 yen). So all members in your family can enjoy an immersive experience in becoming ninja.

ninja4-1

Next, let’s move on to training! The village offers various facilities to enjoy the way of ninja such as shuriken (star-shaped disc) throwing experience, climbing, and a ninja trick house. Moreover, they offer exciting shows related to the skills of the ninja. With such wonderful attractions and shows, you can enjoy being a ninja for a whole day.

For all big ninja fans, please do not miss visiting Ninpohkan where you can see a huge collection of all things ninja. From manga such as Ninja Hattori, to every single ninja character in pop culture, to lego ninja figures, and posters of ninja movies as well as other ninja paraphernalia can be found here. We came to realize just how the legend of the mysterious and enigmatic ninja has permeated Japanese and global culture, from traditional Japanese culture to pop culture.

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Ninja version vending machine!
Ninja version vending machine!

Read other articles in the series:
Visit the Origin of Ninja (1) : Togakushi Shrine
Visit the Origin of Ninja (2) : Museums and a Ninja Trick House
Visit the Origin of Ninja (3) : Ninja Soba

Information

Open: Late April ~ Late November
Open hours: 9.00 ~ 17.00 Closed on Thursdays (open daily for the summer vacation period, mid-July ~ end August)
Access: From Nagano to Kids’ Ninja Village: Take bus Togakushi line no. 70 or 71 to Togakushi-Chusha bus stop → walk around 15 min
Admission fee: Kozaru Ticket (Adults – Elem. School Kids: 450 yen, Kids: 200 yen) *This price does not include attractions fee
Website: http://www.ninjamura.com/english

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture

Akita Prefecture 19~ 24


19Mount Moriyoshi (森吉山) in Kita-Akita

A photo posted by @mado.ca on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 20min taxi ride from Aniai Station (Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Ani Kagi no Daki 79-5, Kita-Akita-shi, 018-4624 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.aniski.jp (Japanese only)


20Nyuto Onsen Village (乳頭温泉郷) in Semboku

A photo posted by ayuko! (@a1oxo5) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: The view from the Rotenburo (open air bath).
Access: 45min ride with the Ugo Transportation bus into Nyuto Onsen direction from Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen)
Address: Tazawako, Semboku-shi, 014-1204 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


23Dakigaeri Valley (抱返り渓谷) in Semboku

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min taxi ride from JR Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen); 15min taxi ride from JR Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Tazawako Dakikaeri Prefectural Natural Park, Tazawako, Semboku-shi, Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.city.semboku.akita.jp


24Oyasu Gorge (小安峡) in Yuzawa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Autumn Color Festival
Date: October 16th (Sunday)
Access: 1h10min bus ride from Yuzawa Station (JR Ou Main Line)
Address: Minaseyumoto, Yuzawa-shi, 012-0183 Akita
URL: http://www.jalan.net/kankou/spt_05465ab2040005443/ (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


21Senshu Park (千秋公園) in Akita

A photo posted by @syuu_01 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 10min walk from JR Akita Station
Address: Senshu Park, Akita-shi, 010-0876 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


22Kakunodate (角館) in Semboku

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: The street of the samurai’s residence.
Access: 5min taxi ride or 20min walk from Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Kakunodate-machi, Semboku-shi, 014-0300 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture

Iwate Prefecture 11~ 18


11Hachimantai (八幡平) in Hachimantai

八幡平の紅葉(熊沼)

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October
Event: Hachimantai Sanzoku Festival
Date: October 15th (Saturday) – October 16th (Sunday)
Access: 1,5hour Iwate Kenpoku Bus ride from JR Morioka Station; 1hour bus ride from Obuke Station (JR Hanawa Line)
Address: Sakura Park Event Hall, Kashiwadai, Hachimantai-shi, 028-7303 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.japan-iwate.info


12Park of Morioka castle – Iwate Park (盛岡城跡公園・岩手公園) in Morioka

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: The bridge which connects the outer citadel and the inner citadel.
Access: 6min bus ride from JR Morioka Station; 25min walk from JR Morioka Station
Address: Uchimaru 1-37, Morioka-shi, 020-0023 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.japan-iwate.info

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


13Geto Plateau Onsen Village (夏油 高原 温泉郷) in Kitakami

A photo posted by true (@tellus_jp) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Trekking route between Geto Plateau Ski Area and Geto Onsen
Access: 1hour bus ride from Kitakami Station (JR Kitakami Line, JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Iwasakai Shinden, Waga-cho, Kitakami-shi, 024-0322 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.geto8.com


14Sennin Pass (仙人峠) in Kamaishi

A photo posted by mai .. yamanaka (@moco__3) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Sennin tunnel
Access: 3min taxi ride from Rikuchu-Ohashi Station (JR Kamaishi Line)
Address: Ohashi, Kasshi-cho, Kamaishi-shi, 026-0055 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.city.kamaishi.iwate.jp (Japanese only)


15Mount Kurikoma (栗駒山) in Ichinoseki

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October
Access: 1,5hour bus ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Genbi-cho, Ichinoseki-shi, 021-0101 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


16Chuson Temple (中尊寺) in Nishiiwai – Hiraizumi

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around the golden temple hall, the scripture hall and the main hall
Event: The Autumn Festival of Fujiwara
Date: November 1st (Tuesday) – November 3rd (Thursday)
Access: 5min taxi ride from Hiraizumi Station (JR Tohoku Main Line); 30min taxi ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Tohoku Line, JR Ofunato Line)
Address: 202 Koromonoseki, Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-cho, Nichiiwai-gun, 029-4102 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


17Geibikei (猊鼻渓) in Ichinoseki

A photo posted by もす (@mozuyamaaa) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 5min walk from Geibikei Station (JR Ofunato Line); 35min bus ride from Hiraizumi Station (JR Tohoku Main Line); 42min bus ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: 467 Machiaza, Higashiyamachonagasaka, Ichinoseki-shi, 029-0302 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.japan-iwate.info


18Genbikei (厳美渓) in Ichinoseki

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 20min bus ride until the terminal stop into Genbikei direction from JR Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Taki no ue, Genbi-cho, Ichinoseki-shi, 021-0101 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.japan-iwate.info

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku

Tohoku is located in the northeastern part of Japan’s Honshu island and consists of six prefectures — Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima. The region is famous for its jaw-dropping scenery, magnificent temples, unique culture, delicious food and friendly people.

Aomori Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 10

Quick jump links:

To_01
6Hakkoda Mountains
Mid October
To_01
7Hirosaki Park
Early November

Go to Aomori list top

Iwate Prefecture : Spots 11 ~ 18

Quick jump links:

Iwate_11_R
11Hachimantai
Beginning of October
Iwate_15_R
15Mount Kurikoma
Beginning of October

Go to Iwate list top

Yamagata Prefecture : Spots 30 ~ 35

Quick jump links:

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33Bonji River
October
Yamagata_34_R
34Yamadera
Beginning of November

Go to Yamagata list top

Fukushima Prefecture : Spots 36 ~ 45

Quick jump links:

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36Bandai Azuma Skyline
Early to mid October
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40Tsuruga Castle Park
End of October to early November
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45Yukiwari Bridge
End of October to early November

Go to Fukushima list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 1

Aomori Prefecture 1~ 10


1Yagen Mountain Stream (薬研渓流) in Mutsu

A photo posted by kaorist (@kaorist) on

A photo posted by キソキソ (@kuwakeen) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Yagen Bridge, Koyo Bridge, Otome Bridge (Suspension Bridge), Rotenburo (open air bath)
Access: Take the bus from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) and get off at Ohata. From there it´s a 20min taxi ride (reservation before is necessary).
Address: Yagen, Ohata-machi, Mutsu-shi, 039-4401 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.en-aomori.com


2Mount Osore (恐山) in Mutsu

A photo posted by Hisaya Wada (@komanosuke678) on

A photo posted by Sachi Wakasa (@sachiwakasa) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn visit at Mount Osore!
Date: October 8th (Saturday) – October 10th (Monday), 6am – 6pm
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 43 bus ride from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) until Osore-zan
Address: 3-2 Usoriyama, Tanabu, Mutsu-shi, 035-0021 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


3Kawauchi River Valley (川内川渓谷) in Mutsu

A photo posted by meg* (@me9mi3to) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Sekirei Bridge, Ajisai Bridge, Asunaro Bridge
Access: 15min Taxi ride from Kawauchimachi Station; 40min JR Bus ride from Ominato Station (JR Ominato Line) into Wakinosawa direction until Kawauchi
Address: Kawauchimachi, Mutsu-shi, 039-5201 Aomori
aomorishokoren.or.jp (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 2


4Jogakura Onsen & Jogakura Bridge (城ヶ倉温泉・城ヶ倉大橋) in Aomori

A photo posted by Qoo (@qoo_aomori) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: view from Jogakura Bridge
Access: 1,5hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen (30min walk)
Address: Minami-Arakawayama, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


5Lake Towada (十和田湖) in Towada

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Event: Oirase Mountain Stream Eco Road Festival 2016
Date: October 29th (Saturday) – October 30th (Sunday), 9am – 3pm
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 2h15min bus ride from Hachinohe Station (JR Hachinohe Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Aomori Railway Line); 2h45min bus ride from Shin-Aomori Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Hokkaido Shinkansen)
Address: Kowadakohanyasumiya 486, Okuse, Towada-shi, 018-5501 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


6Hakkoda Mountains (八甲田連峰) in Aomori

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Hakkoda Ropeway, Tamoyachi Shitsugen
Access: 1hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Hakkoda Ropeway Station Mae
Address: Hakkoda Ropeway Sanroku Station, 1-12 Kansuizawa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp


7Hirosaki Park (弘前公園) in Hirosaki

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Chrysanthemum and Autumn-Color Festival of Hirosaki Castle
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday), 9am – 5pm (Admission to the park until 4:30pm)
Admission: Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle 310yen (adults), 100yen (children); Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle + Around the castle + Fujita memorial garden 510yen (adults), 160yen (children)
Access: 15min Konan Bus ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line) into Fujishiro Eigyosho direction until Shiyakusho Mae Koen Iriguchi
Address: 1-1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, 036-8356 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hirosakipark.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 3


8Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) in Nakatsugaru – Nishimeya Village

白神_暗門の滝

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Anmon Waterfall sidewalk
Access: 1h10min taxi ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line); 1,5hour bus ride from Hirosaki Bus Terminal
Address: Between Meya Bridge and Anmon Waterfall, Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, 036-1411 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


9Sukayu Onsen & Jigoku Numa (酸ヶ湯温泉・地獄沼) in Aomori

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: Manju Fukashi, Sukayu Camping Ground
Access: 1h40min JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen
Address: Jigoku Numa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


10Nakano Maple Mountain (中野もみじ山) in Kuroishi

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Nakano Maple Mountain Light-up ~ Light Fantasy
Date: October 13th (Thursday) – November 6th (Sunday), 4:30pm – 9pm
Access: 40min bus ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line) until Itadome (10min walk); 30min taxi ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line)
Address: Nakano Shrine, Fudodate 27, Minami-Nakano, Kuroishi-shi, 036-0405 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido

Hokkaido, the great landmass in the north of Japan, boasts sweeping natural landscapes and a variety of adventures and activities. It is also the first region in Japan where you can enjoy autumn leaves in the fall, that in some regions would reach their full splendor as early as September. See WAttention’s list of fall foliage destinations starting from the earliest to the latest spots to reach their peak colors.



1Mount Daisetsu (Kogen Onsen) 大雪山 (高原温泉) in Kamikawa

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First colors: Beginning of September
Color Peak: Middle of September until the end of September
Access: 30min bus ride from Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Main Line) until Sounkyo Onsen, from there it is a 40min taxi ride until Kogen Onsen
Address: Sounkyo Onsen – Daisetsuzan Kokuritsu Koen, Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


2Mount Daisetsu (Kurodake) 大雪山 (黒岳) in Kamikawa

Ho_Kurodake_R

First colors: Beginning of September
Color Peak: Middle of September until the end of September
Access: 30min bus ride from Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Main Line) until Sounkyo Onsen, from there you can take the ropeway until the 5th station (7min), or the 7th station by lift from station 5 (15min). From station 7 to the top it is a 1,5hour climb.
Address: Sounkyo Onsen – Daisetsuzan Kokuritsu Koen, Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido


3Akan (阿寒) in Kushiro

Ho_lakeakan_R

First colors: Middle of September
Color Peak: End of September until the beginning of October
Recommended Spots: The autumn colors and the waterfall seen from Takimi Bridge
Event: Marimo Festival
Date: October 8th (Saturday) ~ 10th (Monday); October 8th 10:30am~/October 9th 1pm~/October 10th 10am~
Admission: free
Details: Traditional event of the Ainu (ethnic group of Hokkaido) regarding Marimo, a round green alga which grows in lake Akan. A torch walk and the Marimo dance parade are further highlights of the Festival.
Access: 2hour bus ride from Kushiro Station (JR Nemuro Main Line) until Akan Kohan (10min walk)
Address: Akanko Onsen – Akan National Park , Akan-cho, Kushiro-shi, 085-0467 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.lake-akan.com


4Shikaribetsu lake shore (然別湖畔) in Kato – Shikaoi

A photo posted by Navi Chang (@navichang) on

A photo posted by まーどぅん (@bichanku) on

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: End of September until the middle of October
Access: 1h40min bus ride from Obihiro Station (JR Nemuro Main Line) until Shikaribetsuko
Address: Daisetsuzan National Park – Shikaribetsu kohan, Kato-cho, Hokkaido 
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


5Eniwa Valley (恵庭渓谷) in Eniwa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: three step waterfall, Rarumanai waterfall, Hakusen waterfall (shop available)
Access: A 40min taxi ride from Eniwa Station (JR Chitose Line)
Address: Banjiri, Eniwa-shi, 061-1422 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


6Onneto in Ashoro

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October
Recommended Spots: viewing platform
Event: 2016 Onneto Monogatari
Date: September 25th (Sunday)
Details: Mini live concert, Onneto Photo contest
Access: 2hour taxi ride from Obihiro Station (JR Nemuro Main Line)
Address: Moashoro, Ashoro-cho, Ashoro-gun, 089-3964 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.lake-akan.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido


7Shiretokogo Lake (知床五湖) in Shari

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Opening hours: End of April until the end of November; 7:30am – 6pm
Access: 1 hour 15 min bus ride from Shiretoko-Shari Station (JR Senmo Main Line) until Shiretokogo Lake
Address: Shiretoko National Park, Shari-gun, Shari-cho, 099-4356 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.env.go.jp


8Sandandaki Park (三段滝公園) in Ashibetsu

A photo posted by 岡篤士 (@atsushioka) on

A photo posted by 岡篤士 (@atsushioka) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until middle of October
Access: 25min taxi ride from Ashibetsu Street
Address: Ashibetsu, Ashibetsu-shi, 075-0000 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


9Jozankei (Hoheikyo Dam) (定山渓 (豊平峡ダム)) in Sapporo

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Recommended Spot: the view from the dam side; the view from the viewing platform
Access: Jotetsu Bus from JR Sapporo Station or Makomanai Station (Metro – Nanboku Line) to Jozankei Yunomachi, from there you can take the free Hoheikyo shuttle bus until Hoheikyo dam parking area
Address: Jozankei, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, 061-2301 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.houheikyou.jp


10Lake Shikotsu – Lake Shikotsu Onsen (支笏湖 (支笏湖温泉)) in Chitose

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Mount Eniwa, Mount Fuppushi, Mount Tarumae, Mount Monbetsu
Event: Lake Shikotsu Autumn Color Festival
Date: October 9th (Sunday), 10am – 3pm
Details: Sale of seasonal vegetables, performance from the drum and fife band of the local primary school, food stands. The near Onsen will open its door for half the price, so you can relax in the hot tubs after the lively festival.
Access: 54 min bus ride from Shinchitose Kuko Station (JR Chitose Line); 44min bus ride from Chitose Station (JR Chitose Line)
Address: Kohan Enchi – Shikotsuko Onsen, Chitose-shi, 066-0281 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.shikotsuko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido


11Sounkyo (Falling star・milky way waterfall) (層雲峡 (流星・銀河の滝 )) in Kamikawa

©社団法人層雲峡観光協会
©社団法人層雲峡観光協会
First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 30min bus ride from Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Main Line) until Sounkyo Onsen, from there it is a 3km walk.
Address: Sounkyo, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, 078-1701Hokkaido Prefecture
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.sounkyo.net


12Taki no Ue Park (滝の上公園) in Yubari – Yuni

A photo posted by @mtk_bchan on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spot: Chidori Bridge, Taki Rope Bridge
Access: 3min walk from Taki no Ue Station (JR Sekisho Line)
Address: Takinoue 5, Yubari-shi, 068-0756 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
takinoue.com


13Katsurazawa lake shore (桂沢湖畔) in Mikasa

A photo posted by Tomomi.K (@tomollie33) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Event: Mikasa Katsurazawa Autumn Color Festival
Date: October 16th (Sunday), 10am – 4pm
Admission: free
Details: Fishing competition, live performances, game competition, autumn flavor tasting, etc.
Access: 50min bus ride from Iwamizawa Station (JR Hakodate Main Line, Muroran Main Line) to the terminal stop Ikushunbetsu, from there it is a 10min taxi ride
Address: Katsurazawa, Mikasa-shi, 068-2101 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.mikasa.hokkaido.jp


14Iwanai Senkyo (岩内仙峡) in Obihiro

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Event: Iwanai Senkyo Momiji Festival
Date: October 9th (Sunday), 10am – 2:30pm; In case of rain, the event takes place in the Kawanishi Nogyosha Kenshu Center (Nishi 2 sen 59-48, Kawanishi-cho, Obihiro-shi, 089-1182 Hokkaido)
Admission: free
Details: Live performances, vegetable weight guessing, auction of local harvested vegetables, Yosakoi Soran dance performance, Karaoke contest, food stands selling local dishes, pony riding area, etc.
Access: 55min Taxi ride from Obihiro Station (JR Nemuro Main Line)
Address: Iwanai Senkyo, Iwanai-cho, Obihiro-shi, 080-2121 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
visit-tokachi.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido


15Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park (国営滝野すずらん丘陵公園) in Sapporo

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Opening hours: 9am – 5pm (autumn)
Admission fee: 410yen (adults), 80yen (children)
Recommended Spots: Waterfall area, Takino Forest (west and east area)
Event: Special Tour – Let´s see autumn colors!
Date: October 22nd (Saturday), 10am – 12:30pm
Admission: free
Details: A guide will show you the recommended places inside the park.
Meeting Place: Mori no Koryukan
Reservation: Tel 011-594-2222
Access: 35min bus ride from Makomanai Station (Metro Nanboku Line) with the Chuo Bus Takino Line until Takino Suzuran Koen; 1,75hour bus ride from Sapporo Terminal with the Chuo Bus Takino Line
Address: Takino 247, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, 005-0862 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
welcome.city.sapporo.jp


16Maruyama Park (円山公園) in Sapporo

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: near the playground area, Maruyama riverside
Access: 5min walk from Maruyama Koen Station (Tozai Line (Metro))
Address: Miyagaoka 3, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, 064-0959 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
welcome.city.sapporo.jp


17Shinnoboribetsu Long Bridge (新登別大橋) in Noboribetsu

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 15min taxi ride from Noboribetsu Station (JR Muroran Main Line)
Address: Kaminoboribetsu-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, 059-0552 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.noboribetsu-spa.jp


18Onuma (Onuma Park, Tsukimi Bridge, Onuma lake shore) 大沼 (大沼公園、月見橋、大沼湖畔) in Kameda – Nanae

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 3min walk from Onuma Koen Station (JR Hakodate Main Line)
Address: Onuma Kokutei Koen, Onuma-cho 1023-1, Nanae-cho, Kameda-gun, 041-1354 Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
onumakouen.com

The life of a Harajuku Shop Girl – Choom

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I’ve been an obsessive follower of Japanese street fashion for many years now so when I was given the opportunity to work at 6%DokiDoki, one of the most established brands in Harajuku and adored by fans worldwide, I jumped at the opportunity.

I am currently studying Japanese at university and an integral part of that is the year abroad in Japan. I chose to go to Tokyo because for me, it’s the only choice if you want to be a part of the fashion scene. The opportunity came about suddenly and quite randomly, first I was chosen to be a part of their show at the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival then all of a sudden I was asked to be a Shop Girl. I was so thrilled!

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After a shaky start I quickly fell into step with my co-workers. Not only was this my first real job (I know, I know) but speaking the language was definitely tricky at first. After a few shifts and a lot of patience on behalf of my co-workers (thank you!!) I could communicate so easily with them and customers.
So a typical day at work would start not on the day of my shift, but actually the day before. I would message my manager and we would discuss what I would wear so then I could plan my accessories, foot wear and make up. The next day I would arrive about 30 minutes prior to when my shift would start. I was lucky to have lived about 15 minutes from Harajuku by train so the commute was never too bad. The only issue I would ever encounter would be tourists staring and shoving cameras in my face, so if you’re ever in Harajuku don’t be that person! You might be met with a very irritated shop staff! Once I arrived, I would finish my make up and put any final touches on my outfit.

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We have a schedule of things to do during our shift aside from helping customers and it always starts with taking pictures to post on social media and writing a bit about what we were doing and wearing. I didn’t know what I should say most of the time so I usually wrote about the weather, how very British of me! Other tasks on our schedule were cleaning the shop and restocking items that had been sold, so normal things any shop staff does. The only difference would be I’d be teetering over in my sky high platforms while sweeping up. I think a lot of people found it amusing for us to be cleaning up in over the top outfits and often took pictures of us outside the shop. I’m so worried somewhere on the internet someone has captioned a photo of me as ‘pink platform wearing cleaning lady in Harajuku.’

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Our customers were people of all ages, backgrounds and interests. I talked to both Japanese and non-Japanese customers and they all loved the bold, over the top cuteness of 6%DokiDoki. You could always tell when a new customer came in because they always exclaimed, ‘this is crazy’ or ‘this is amazing’ as soon as they walked through the door. There were always those that said they ‘could never wear something like that’ and asked me if I wore this kind of clothing every day. Sometimes I managed to coerce them into trying out some clothes and accessories by explaining how it could work with a simple, not very alternative outfit. I think it’s nice adding a little kawaii into people’s everyday lives!

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Obviously being a ShopGirl had its perks! Aside from the usual things like assisting customers we sometimes had photoshoots for both TV and magazines in the shop. Since 6%DokiDoki is so famous for its consistently outlandish and typically ‘Harajuku style’ it was a hotspot of interest to others. The shop also had diehard fans who loved everything about the fashion and the staff! It would be so lovely to turn up for work to find someone had left a gift for the staff. It really helped me to understand how much people appreciate the effort we went through to maintain the shop’s ‘sensational lovely’ image and the looks we created to promote the brand. I remember one day in particular when a customer came to the shop wearing a look I had done in my previous shift and I was so overwhelmed! Not only are we shop staff but people saw us as fashion inspiration too which is so cool!

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The experience I had as a Shop Girl was one to remember. My time both in and out of the shop was so fun and it made my year abroad memorable!

5 Ways to Unwind at the Phoenix Seagaia Resort

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Miyazaki City is associated with blue seas, surfing, mangoes, golf, honeymoon trips and spiny lobsters! There are many delicious things to eat, many beautiful landscapes to enjoy and many activities to try—and the Phoenix Seagaia Resort offers the best of Miyazaki all in a single sprawling location. Here are five great reasons to visit!


5. Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort

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The Sheraton Grande Ocean Resort is located in the center of the vast Phoenix Seagaia Resort. The hotel is 154 meters (505 ft) tall and has 743 rooms, most of them with an ocean view.

Sheraton puts an emphasis on comfortable sleep, and has developed the “Sheraton Suite Sleeper Bed” together with mattress-maker Sealy in order to provide the best sleeping conditions for guests. All the rooms are equipped with this bed, which embraces your body. A great hotel offers not only great views, but also great conditions for your comfortable sleep!
trip101.com

4. Miyazaki Phoenix Zoo
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A popular spot for families is the Miyazaki Phoenix Zoo, which isn’t too far from the hotel. There are 1,200 animals from 100 different species.

In the African-themed part of the zoo you can see zebras and giraffes up close. Some of the daily events include a walking demonstration by the elephants, marching goats, a show with flamingos and interaction with the smaller animals. The zoo opened in 1971, and one of its most famous attractions is the flamingo show, where 70 birds perform together.
trip101.com

3. Shosenkyo Onsen
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Japan is the land of onsen, or hot springs. There are a seemingly endless number of hot springs here, but Miyazaki City’s Shosenkyo Onsen has an elegance you won’t find almost anywhere else.

Located in a pine forest adjacent to the Phoenix Seagaia Resort, the opulent bath gives off an air of ancient royalty. There are three types of baths at Shosenkyo Onsen. Which baths guests can access depends on the package they’ve booked at the hotel. The baths are said to be great for nerve pain, sore muscles, joint pain, stiff shoulders, muscle pain from exercise, bruises, sprains, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, cuts, burns and skin disorders.
trip101.com

2. Phoenix Country Club
2. Phoenix Country Club
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On one of the Top 3 courses in Japan (and in the Top 100 in the world!), the Phoenix Country Club is surrounded by pristine pine groves. The gorgeous emerald course is as fun to play on as it is to marvel at its beauty. And the clubhouse is just as inviting!

Step inside the elegant clubhouse, renovated in 2002, and you’ll enter a world fully dedicated to the greats of the sport. The sophisticated, soft lighting highlights tournament memorabilia, including photos of past champions, caddie bags signed by Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, and other historical trinkets.
www.seagaia.co.jp

1. Pokémon Scavenger Hunt

The Phoenix Seagaia Resort is also offering a unique event for Pokémon fans and their parents: a quest to search for over 200 Pokémon at the seaside hotel. Participants are given a “mysterious book” (actually a tablet computer in disguise) that lets them record Pokémon hidden around the resort, including some from the latest X and Y games. When certain markers are found and scanned, the Pokémon will appear as pages within the book. They’re even hidden around the hotel rooms!

The best part for slightly older Poképals: there’s no age limit, and the hotel even recommends that parents or guardians participate too—to help the kids out, of course!
www.animenewsnetwork.com


Read the original article on All About Japan: 5 Ways to Unwind at the Phoenix Seagaia Resort

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Traditional Meets Modernity at Hoshino Resorts

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Founded as a silk business in Karuizawa, Nagano, in 1904, Hoshino opened its first hotel in 1914, taking the name Hoshino Onsen Ryokan. The simple idea was to create an experience that combined modern luxuries with more traditional and natural views and ambiance. It has since expanded to become a multi-branded operator of hotels and resorts.

1. Hoshinoya
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The Hoshinoya brand of resorts and hotels includes the chain’s showcase retreat in Karuizawa. Their aim is to create a sense of peace and calm within the bounds of each resort, getting customers out of their daily, busy routines and into a peaceful utopia. TVs are not allowed in any of these hotels, but they do provide amazing scenery and pictures. Interestingly, the rooms here are dimmer than at other hotel chains so as to encourage interacting with the surrounding nature.
www.hoshinoresorts.com

2. Kai
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The Kai brand places more emphasis on the onsen (hot spring) experience. Having expanded to 13 locations in Japan alone, each ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) has less than 50 rooms to provide spacious and peaceful experiences to their clients. Kai Onsen Resorts make three commitments with their customers: to pursue amenity that matches with modern times and modern expenses; hospitality according with locality and seasonality; and good staff with excellent services. Kai aims to provide local charm and the best seasonal cuisine.
www.hoshinoresorts.com

3. Risonare
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Risonare is the rarest of these chains, having expanded to just four locations. However, these hotels are located in more remote areas, and are often less accessible by train. The theme of Risonare is nature—to let customers enjoy the air of the highlands, the openness of the sea and the spaciousness of the night sky. Risonare wants customers to enjoy every part of nature through different activities and make it a part of their memory.
www.hoshinoresorts.com

4. Overseas
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Hoshino Resorts is starting to expand overseas as well. Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa is located on the Rangiroa atoll in French Polynesia, roughly 355 kilometers (220 miles) northeast of Tahiti. Endless white beaches, an idyllic blue lagoon and jumping dolphins are sure to both entertain you and give you the guidance to simply relax!

A further international branch is opening up in Bali, Indonesia. In keeping with the corporate image, Hoshinoya Bali will keep most of its traditional aesthetic while adding some muted Japanese tones mixed with the bright colors of traditional Indonesia.


Read the original article on All About Japan: Traditional Meets Modernity at Hoshino Resorts

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6 Things You Need to Know About Izakaya

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An izakaya is a Japanese-style pub. This means you’ll have alcohol as well as food, but instead of everyone receiving their own main dish, the standard procedure is for everyone to order lots of small, typically inexpensive dishes that are shared by everyone around the table, ordering subsequent rounds along with accompanying drinks.

6. Izakaya Meaning
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The word izakaya is made up of the kanji 居酒屋, meaning “stay,” “alcohol,” and “room” or “shop.” So an izakaya is, in the most literal sense, “a shop for people to stay with alcohol.”

5. Getting a Table
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When you enter an izakaya, you’ll first be asked how many people are in your party. If you don’t speak Japanese, just showing the number with your fingers is fine, and even a common practice among Japanese people. If it’s a big number—and izakaya are much more fun with more people—just say the number slowly in English, and be ready to reinforce by counting up on your fingers if necessary. Pretty much every Japanese person is comfortable with numbers one through 10 in English, but any higher and it depends on how much they enjoyed English in school.

Depending on the style of izakaya—or simply where you’re placed—you may be seated at a regular table, at a bar, or on straw tatami mats. If you’ve got tatami, you’ll have to take off your shoes before stepping on the mats (some places will give you a little locker for your shoes; keep the little tab in your pocket to retrieve them later). Most tatami rooms will have a hole in the floor under the table, so you’ll still have a place to put your legs.

If you’re in a truly classic tatami room, you may find no hole in the floor, and you’ll have sit cross-legged or kneel in seiza! This is pretty rare nowadays, but it can happen from time to time (as you can see in the photo above). After a while, most people will stretch out, so just put up with your cramped legs for a few minutes, then ask if it’s okay to extend your legs (just indicate your legs and say, “Ii desu ka?,” which means, “Is it okay?” Everyone will know what you mean).

4. Oshibori & Otoshi
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You’ll probably be given an oshibori (wet towel) upon sitting down, which you should use to clean your hands. A nice oshibori will be refreshingly cool in the summer and satisfyingly warm in the winter, though cheap spots may just give you one made of paper.

You’ll also probably receive a very small appetizer called an otoshi (or possibly tsukidashi if you’re in the Kansai area). This will be charged to your table, so don’t be surprised at the end! (And no, you don’t have a choice.)

3. Ordering

So, how do you order all those rounds of drinks and food? You just need one word: Sumimasen! This literally means “Excuse me,” and is the standard for getting staff attention (more on this incredibly useful word here).

While chain shops will often have buzzers on the tables for summoning staff, a classic izakaya will be a big, noisy room, and nobody has any compunctions about hollering “Sumimasen!” over the din to secure the next round. The key to sounding friendly is to draw out the last eh sound; if you just clip it off at the end, you sound pretty grumpy. Once you get accustomed to it, it’s lots of fun to call out, “SU-mi-ma-SEHHHHHN!”

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Most chain izakaya will have a pictographic menu, so if you don’t read Japanese, just point and use extremely simple English (“This, two,” “This, one,” etc.). If you’ve wandered into a spot with no images and you’re stuck, just ask, “O-susume wa?” (“What’s your recommendation?”). Otherwise, pointing at random also works!

Typical dishes will include a selection of yakitori (grilled meat on sticks), kara-age (fried chicken pieces), tamagoyaki (sushi-style omelette blocks), sashimi, grilled fish, small meat dishes, tofu and salads—and you’ll pretty often find French fries as well (just as for “potato” or “potato fry”)! The standard appetizer is, of course, edamame.

“Beer” is biiru in Japanese, so you can get one of those pretty easily (just say “Beer” and hold up the number for the table with your fingers). Another common word is nama, which means “draft,” as in “draft beer,” and can be used interchangeably with biiru.

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You won’t find Western-style cocktails on most menus, but you’ll have lots of choices of umeshu (plum wine), shochu (distilled liquor akin to light vodka), sake (which you can also order hot as atsukan), “sour” drinks (or sawaa, basically shochu combined with soda and various kinds of fruit juice; grapefruit sour is the standard), and very basic whisky (usually a single brand on the rocks or with soda).

Non-drinkers will also be able to get soft drinks and green tea. When everyone gets their drinks, remember the Japanese word for cheers: Kanpai!

2. Nomihodai
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One of the most important things to decide when starting out at an izakaya is whether or not to get nomihodai—all-you-can-drink. While you probably won’t be able to get nomihodai at a small, local shop, most chains will offer a 90-minute or two-hour deal for about the price of three or four beers—though there are discount shops with cheap nomihodai deals as well! However, either everyone at the table gets nomihodai, or nobody gets it. Three people can’t get all-you-can-drink while a fourth sips on water: it’s all in or all out.

Be aware that the nomihodai deal usually won’t be for everything on the drinks menu, either. You’re typically limited to a much smaller selection of alcohol that will mostly focus on beer and sours.

1. Paying
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To get the bill, you can either pull a “Sumimasen!” and cross your index fingers, or simply stand up slowly and head toward the door, where the bill will be waiting for you.

While most restaurants in Japan are great at divvying up the bill betsu-betsu (individually by person), this is simply not possible at an izakaya, where everybody has been sharing multiple rounds of dishes. You’ll just have to split the total evenly between the members of your group.

If you’re in a large group, you’re definitely going to want to sort out the bill at the table—because there’s always one person who showed up late or had only one beer and doesn’t want to pay the same amount as everyone else, and nobody ever has exact change. If you’re in charge of collecting the money, be aware that it always seems to end up that at least half of one person’s contribution is missing, and since nobody can ever figure out who paid too little, you’ll either have to appeal to the group to cough up some extra or cover the gap yourself.

Between the shared dishes and the need to collaborate on your next order, izakaya are great for encouraging people to interact, which may be the key to their overwhelming popularity for groups of friends heading out in Japan!


Read the original article on All About Japan: 6 Things You Need to Know About Izakaya

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Japan’s 8 Best-Preserved Castle Towns

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Original surviving Japanese castles are a rarity. Only a dozen retain their original keeps, though there are many more that lie in ruins or have been reconstructed. Beyond the castles, however, many historic castle towns are extremely well preserved, and we’ve gathered eight of the best!

8. Tsuwano (Shimane Prefecture)
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Surrounded by verdant mountains, Tsuwano, often called “Little Kyoto,” is one of Japan’s most beautiful historic castle towns. Visitors can stroll down Tsuwano’s streets visiting traditional sweets shops, sake distilleries, and samurai residences. The streets in the Tono-machi neighborhood are even lined with canals filled with brightly colored koi fish!

www.jnto.go.jp

7. Izushi (Hyogo Prefecture)
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Izushi Castle was partly reconstructed in 1979, combining with the extant ruins to give a fine impression of what this impressive hilltop structure would have looked like hundreds of years ago. Its surrounding town is now part of Toyooka City, but reminders of Izushi’s historic past remain. Visitors will notice the striking Shinkoro Tower that watches over the traditional city streets. You’ll also be able to try the town’s specialty cuisine—Izushi soba noodles.

www.izushi.co.jp

6. Iwamura (Gifu Prefecture)
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The ruins of Iwamura Castle, the highest castle in Japan, overlook the surviving town from atop a mountain. After an invigorating hike, visitors can stroll through the thoughtfully preserved streets. All electrical wires now run underground, truly transporting guests back to the Edo Period (1603-1868).

www.mustlovejapan.com

5. Omihachiman (Shiga Prefecture)
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An easy day trip from Kyoto, Omihachiman has a lot to offer. with its serene location along Lake Biwa, its reed-laden canals and dazzling whitewashed 19th century houses. Visitors can take a lazy boat ride through the city’s meandering waterways, catching glimpses of Edo Period warehouses and shops. Omihachiman boasts intense natural beauty too, and is considered to be Japan’s first Important Cultural Landscape.

www.jnto.go.jp

4. Kawagoe (Saitama Prefecture)
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A short distance from Tokyo, visiting Kawagoe is a great way to escape the rush of metropolitan life and travel back in time. During the Edo Period, Kawagoe was an important trade town, supplying Tokyo (which was then called Edo) with much-needed resources. The town’s characteristic clay-walled warehouses are a keen reminder of Kawagoe’s commercial past.

allabout-japan.com

3. Hagi (Yamaguchi Prefecture)
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Hagi Castle only stands in ruins today, but the surrounding city streets still carry strong reminders of the town’s long history. The town is home to luxurious feudal mansions and samurai residences, as well as thriving merchant districts. Visitors to Hagi can even explore some of these fine houses along with the town’s many temples and museums.

www.japan-guide.com

2. Kakunodate (Akita Prefecture)
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Not only a prime spot for cherry blossom viewing, Kakunodate is also steeped in history. It’s one of the best places to experience what a true Japanese castle town might have been like. Descendants of Kakunodate’s samurai still live in and own the town’s historic residences, and some are open for public tours.

www.jnto.go.jp

1. Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture)
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Kanazawa was a prominent Edo Period city and home of the influential Maeda Clan. Like Kyoto, Kanazawa was mostly spared the destruction wrought by World War II, meaning many of its historic buildings and shopping districts are well preserved to this day. Kanazawa is known almost as much for its Edo Period residences as it is for Kenrokuen, one Japan’s top three landscaped gardens.

allabout-japan.com


Read the original article on All About Japan: Japan’s 8 Best-Preserved Castle Towns

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Here’s your chance to participate in the Kawagoe Festival 2016!

The sign up period for this event has ended. Thank you so much for all your submissions!

WAttention is looking for 20 foreign residents in Japan to participate in the Kawagoe Festival on October 16th, 2016.

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If you’re chosen, you will wear a happi coat and rub elbows with the locals in the festivities pulling one of the festival’s colossal floats! You will also receive the convenient Seibu Rail Pass from Shinjuku Station to go to and from the event place for free.

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西武レールパス(赤)_R


Here are the very simple requirements:

Foreign national who will be in Japan on October 16th, who will be alright to have their pictures published in our magazine and website and has a sense of responsibility as not to cancel suddenly.

If you think you fulfill these requirements, please register through the form below by September 30th (Fri). We will choose a total of 20 people and contact them via email.

If you have any questions or technical issues with the form, please contact us via email to [email protected]

3 Wild ‘Onsen’ Theme Parks

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Want a little more than just a soak in hot water? Try an onsen theme park, where a whole world of water-related adventure awaits!

3. Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Spa Resort (Kanagawa)
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Located most of the way up toward the Hakone Ropeway in western Kanagawa, Hakone Kowakien Yunessun boasts over two dozen water attractions. While the resort presents typical water slides and hot baths under grandiose themes, the real feature here is the weird water: there’s a Sake Spa, a Green Tea Spa, a Coffee Spa and a Wine Spa that contains real wine, garnished with a giant 3.6-meter (12 ft) wine bottle hovering over the pool. You can spend all your time in the bathing suit zones, or head over to the no-clothes zones for a more traditional onsen soak.

http://www.yunessun.com/

2. Spa World (Osaka)
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Spa World is an edifice of hot water on Osaka’s south side that isn’t too bashful for the occasional tie-in with Attack on Titan. In addition to four floors of food and three of various relaxation services, the baths are divided into European and Asian Zones, featuring slightly weird themes like Atlantis, Ancient Rome and a Finnish-style sauna on the European floor, or various Japanese baths mixed with a Bali-style resort bath and a Persian bath supposedly inspired by Persepolis on the Asian floor. The two zones rotate between men and women monthly, closing for only 75 minutes between 8:45 and 10 a.m. each day. There are also various saunas modeled (some rather loosely) after different regions around the world, while the eighth floor features a kids’ pool, waterslides and two large rooftop jacuzzis.

http://www.spaworld.co.jp/english/

1. Edo-Onsen Monogatari (Tokyo)
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The two primal themes are hot spring baths and the Edo Period, the time from 1603 to 1868 when the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan. A rental yukata robe is included with the price of admission, leaving you free to wander in classic style through 14 different kinds of baths, numerous restaurants and even an old-school shopping arcade, where you can play old-fashioned carnival games, try throwing a shuriken (ninja star) or savor Edo Period candy. All this is located right in the Odaiba area on Tokyo Bay, with the water sourced from natural springs 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) underground.

http://daiba.ooedoonsen.jp/en/


Read the original article on All About Japan: 3 Wild ‘Onsen’ Theme Parks

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Special exhibition: Léonard Foujita and His Models @ Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art

Tsuguharu Foujita in his studio by Jean Agélou (1878–1921), French photographer

From September 17, 2016 to January 15, 2017, selected works of Léonard Foujita will be on display at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Sakura City, Chiba.

As one of the most successful artists working in the West during the 20th century, the Japanese-born French artist is best known for his paintings with “milk white” backgrounds.

Portrait of Anna de Noailles, 1926. Oil on canvas, 167.1 x 108.4cm.
Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art
© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2016 G0445
Self Portrait, 1936. Oil on canvas, 127.7×191.9cm
Hirano Masakichi Museum of Fine Art
© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2016 G0505
The special exhibition will focus on the models in his works to reveal a new aspect of the painter’s unique art style. In addition to the exhibition, the museum has a permanent collection ranging from impressionists such as Monet and Renoir to modern artists such as Picasso and Chagall, and the 20th century American art.
Portrait of Jean Rostand, 1955. Oil on canvas, 100.0×81.0cm
Carnavalet Museum
© Musée Carnavalet / Roger – Viollet
© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2016 G0505
Kakuryoku, 1934. Watercolor on paper, 169.0×82.0cm.
Hirano Masakichi Museum of Fine Art
© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2016 G0505

Information

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Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art
Léonard Foujita and His Models

Dates: Sep. 17, 2016 – Jan. 15, 2017
Address: 631 Sakado, Sakura, Chiba Prefecture
Hours: 9:30am – 5pm (last admission 4:30pm)
Access: 20-min free shuttle bus ride from JR Sakura Station
URL: http://kawamura-museum.dic.co.jp/en/

What’s in Kyushu? Vol. 2 Saga Prefecture

Although Saga Prefecture (佐賀県) is the smallest in Kyushu, it played an important role in Japan’s history as a hub for trade and transmission of culture between the Japanese archipelago and mainland Asia. Rich in nature, a large portion of the region is covered by forested and agricultural lands. As such, one can expect high quality produce such as Saga beef, strawberries and mochigome 糯米 (sticky rice). One other speciality of Saga is ceramics from the towns Karatsu, Imari, and especially Arita.

View over Oura rice terraces in Karatsu. Photo by Agustin Rafael Reyes
View over Oura rice terraces in Karatsu. Photo by Agustin Rafael Reyes

Saga City (佐賀市)

As with every Japanese city, its castle is one of the main attractions. Sadly, the Saga Castle was destroyed by fires during the Saga Rebellion of 1874, where only the gate known as Shachi-no-mon survived. Originally built on a plain instead of a hill, Saga castle was surrounded by a wall. The main keep of the castle was reconstructed by Naomasa Nabeshima during the late Edo period and and is the largest wooden structure in Japan. It is now home to the the Saga Castle History Museum. Nabeshima lived simply and encouraged people to do the same, so as to prevent the Saga domain from falling into debt. This is evident from the design of the castle keep / museum.

Saga Castle: From JR Saga Station, take the bus from Gate No. 3 at
Saga Station Bus Center and alight at Sagajo-ato stop.

As you wander around the city, much of its history can be seen it its buildings, from old samurai residences to “kurazukuri-style” (warehouse style) buildings from the Meiji era, forming part of the Saga City Cultural Museum (佐賀市歴史民俗館). For example, the firdst floor of the Former Koga Bank (旧古賀銀行) is now a cafe and concert venue, while the Former Nakamura House (旧中村家), now converted into a restaurant with traditional bento set meals!

Who can resist? Photo source
Who can resist? Photo source
Saga City Cultural Museum: From Saga Bus Station, take the bus going towards Katatae-intersection and alight at Gofukumoto-mach stop.

The Saga International Balloon Fiesta is annually between end of October and early November in Saga City. For 2015, 20 hot-air balloons from 20 countries will be participating in Asia’s largest hot-air balloon competition. It’s the perfect opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture amazing shots of the many hot-air balloons against a backdrop of clear, blue sky and vibrant, green grass.

Balloon Saga Station: A temporary station will be opened. It is 1 min away from the launch site in Kasegawa Riverside.

Kanzaki City (神埼市)

Catch a glimpse into Japan’s past by visiting the archeological sites at Yoshinogari Historical Park (吉野ヶ里歴史公園), which showcases reconstructed settlements from the Yayoi Period (300 BC to 300 AD). Thought to be the remains of “Yamatai”, an ancient country in present-day Japan, unique pit dwellings from this period can be seen. Do not miss the Minami Naikaku, which is enclosed by defensive walls and moats. Within it lies lies the Ruler’s Residence.

A typical pit dwelling from Yayoi p
A typical pit dwelling from Yayoi period. Photo source
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Jewellery making experience. Photo by kenta-low

Apart from the reconstructed settlements, one can spend the day visiting a museum dedicated to the ancient forest that covered the area, or try your hand at stone carving and how to use a bow-drill to start a fire.

Yoshinogari Historical Park: From JR Saga Station, take the JR Nagasaki Honsen Line to JR Kanzaki Station. From there, it is a 15 min walk to the ruins.

Karatsu City (唐津市)

Karatsu is full of natural and scenic locations, such as the beautiful Japanese black pine forest arc known as Niji-no-Matsubara (虹の松原). The pine trees were initially planted by the first lord of Karatsu clan (Terasawa Hirotaka) along the coastline as a counter-measure against the strong winds and tides.

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Inside the Rainbow Pine Grove. Photo by tomosang
Niji-no-Matsubara: From JR Karatsu Station, take the JR Chikuhi Line to Niji-no-Matsubara Station.

The small town of Yobuko (呼子) is well-known for its fresh squid, which is usually eaten raw. The Yobuko Morning Market is one of the three major morning markets in Japan. With over 40 stalls on weekdays and more during the weekends, visitors can eat their hearts out with the large selection of fresh and dried seafood, vegetables and fruits.

The Nanatsugama Caves (七ツ釜) are seven large caverns carved out by the raging waves of the Sea of Genkai. The largest of them has an opening of 3 m and a depth of 110 m. Ferry services are available to bring visitors up close to the caves, while there is a lookout and walking trail above.

A natural wonder. Photo source
A natural wonder. Photo source
Yobuko Morning Market: Take a bus from Karatsu Oteguchi Bus Center and alight at Yobuko stop. The market is approx. 2 mins walk away.
Nanatsugama Caves: From Karatsu Oteguchi Bus Center, board the Showa Bus bound for Yobuko via Minato. Alight at Nanatsugama stop and walk for 20 mins.

Arita (有田)

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Late Edo period Arita porcelain. Photo by Paul Atkinson

Home to one the the world’s most famous ceramics, Arita-yaki (有田焼), originally a type of blue and white porcelain with a pattern drawn on a white background. New styles such as the Kakiemon introduced colours and resulted in vibrantly-colored porcelain, which appealed to the Europeans in Nagasaki. Hence, Arita-yaki was exported to Europe from Imari port and both styles were called Imari-yaki (伊万里焼). Nowadays, there is a distinction between both styles, which are named according to the place where they were produced.

Many of the attractions are also related to pottery, such as the now-defunct Izumiyama Quarry (泉山磁石場) where the discovery of kaolin stone (raw material for Arita-yaki) led to the development of this region as the centre of porcelain production. Take a look at this beautiful video about Arita-yaki, where the quarry can be seen in the first 30 seconds of the video.

Izumiyama Quarry: Take the Arita-cho Community Bus at Arita Station on the
JR Sasebo Line, alight at Hakujigaoka stop, and walk for 5 mins.

Dedicated to the influential Korean potter Ri Sampei (the father of Arita porcelain), the Tozan Shrine / Sueyama Shrine (陶山神社) is famous for having both its torii gate and komainu (guardian dogs) made out of… PORCELAIN! Built at the foot of a mountain, you can expect to have an amazing view of the town, as well as blooms of cherry blossoms, azaleas and altheas (the national flower of Korea).

Tozan Shrine: Take the Arita-cho Community Bus at Arita Station on the JR Sasebo
Line, alight at Fudanotsuji stop, and walk for 5 mins.

Further away from the town center lies the Arita Porcelain Park (有田瓷器公園), an interesting porcelain-related theme park which contains a reproduction of the Zwinger Palace in Dresden, Germany. Some of ceramics exhibited in the gallery were produced during periods of export boom (the Bakumatsu period and the Meiji period). One noteworthy exhibit is a 1.82m high flower vase exhibited during World Exposition in Vienna in 1873.

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A well done replica of the Zwinger Palace! Photo by PIPIQ Lai

Apart from Arita-yaki, visitors also have the opportunity to tour the sake brewery and have a taste for yourself!

Arita Porcelain Park: From Arita Station (JR Sasebo Line), take a 8 mins taxi
ride to the theme park.

Tips:

  • Check out this link for all events happening in Saga prefecture.
  • Download Doganshitato, a Saga travel support app (in English) to aid in your planning!

Follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook or read an issue of our magazine!

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

What’s in Kyushu? Vol. 1 Fukuoka Prefecture

Recently, the southern parts of the Japanese archipelago has seen a spike in the number of tourists visiting. What is so attractive about Kyushu (九州)? Shrouded in tranquility, each of the seven prefectures of Kyushu has something special for everyone, from lively open-air food stalls in Fukuoka to hiking up a volcano in Kumamoto or go onsen-hopping in Oita. Stressed out individuals can find some peace and quiet in this laid-back yet beautiful region, with relaxing hot spring baths and majestic mountains.

Fukuoka, c1950. Photo by Rob Ketcherside
Fukuoka, c1950. Photo by Rob Ketcherside

First on the list is Fukuoka Prefecture and its two main cities – Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Fukuoka, the most densely populated prefecture in Kyushu,  has about 5 million people in an area seven times the size of Singapore! Closer to Seoul than to Tokyo, the Fukuoka prefecture is a quirky mix of traditional Japan and the modern West.

Fukuoka City (福岡市)

Photo by Brian G. Kennedy
View of Fukuoka City, Photo by Brian G. Kennedy

Fukuoka City (福岡市)

図1
Hakata ramen. Photo by J.G. Wang

Present-day Fukuoka resulted from the merging of the port city of Hakata and the castle town of Fukuoka. Thus, some of you may be familiar with Hakata ramen, which comes from Fukuoka. What is so unique about it? The soup uses pork bones and boiled under extreme heat, thereby releasing the characteristic flavour that comes from the bone marrow. The noodles are very thin but firm. Although portions are small, diners can always order extra noodles cheaply – this kaedama system is unique to Hakata ramen.

The most notable underground shopping street in Kyushu is none other than Tenjin Underground City (天神地下街). It is a stretch of European style space filled with various shops of fashion, gourmet, books and more. A unique experience in Fukuoka is definitely eating at one of the approximately 150 yatai (屋台, open air food stalls) in the city. They sell food items from ramen to oden, gyoza, tempura and more.

Try to be early as the area gets crowded, but the stalls remain open till after midnight. Tenjin yatai is popular with tourists and have their menu in English, phew! Micaela Braithwaite is a popular YouTuber living in Fukuoka city, and here is her take on eating at a yatai, where you can get friendly with the locals! Other famous yatai areas include Nakasu 中州 (near Nakasukawabata Station) and Nagahama 長浜 (near Fukuoka City Fish Market).

Tenjin Underground City: Connected to Tenjin station and Tenjin-Minami station.
A replica of the three machiya houses. Photo by Norio NAKAYAMA
A replica of the three machiya houses. Photo by Norio NAKAYAMA

Museum-lovers will enjoy spending time at the Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan (博多町家ふるさと館), which occupies three traditional Japanese townhouses known as machiya. Housed within this folk museum are buildings and artifacts that reflects a Hakata neighbourhood during the Meiji era. In the Exhibition Hall, you can find everyday objects and crafts of the Hakata people, while the Machiya Hall is an example of old architecture. Elsewhere in the museum are old photographs, recordings of the unique Hakata dialect and artisans available to demonstrate their crafts. Get a gift from the shop selling Hakata ori (folk woven textile) or Hakata dolls to remember your stay!

The nearby Kushida Shrine (櫛田神社) has a long history and is fondly regarded by the people of Fukuoka as “Okushida-sama” (お櫛田様, the god of immortality in Shinto). The locals come to the shrine in the belief that “Okushida Sama” will bless them with long life and prosperity in business.

Prominently located in the shrine yard is the symbolic gingko tree, with two monumental tablets of the Mongolian invasion at its foot. It is most well-known for holding the summer festival Hakata Gion Yamakasa (博多祇園山笠) each year.

Kushida Shrine: From Tenjin Station, take the Kuko Line (K10) to Gion Station and
walk for 5 mins.

Located within the giant entertainment complex Canal City Hakata (キャナルシティ博多) is a “Ramen Stadium” that offers the local favourite Hakata ramen, as well as seven other shops with noodle dishes from all over Japan. Known as “a city within the city”, visitors can stay in the two hotels (the Washington Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Fukuoka) while enjoying the many attractions such as the huge shopping mall, Fukuoka City Theater and the artificial canal that weaves across the complex!

Interior of Canal City Hakata. Photo by tomosang
Interior of Canal City Hakata. Photo by tomosang
Canal City Hakata: From Hakata Station / Tenjin Station, take the 100 yen loop bus
to Canal City Hakata. OR Take the subway to Nakasu Kawabata Station and walk for
5 mins.

Kitakyushu City (北九州市)

Kitakyushu was once a flourishing port, playing an important role in the international marine trade. Remnants this legacy can be seen in the Moji Port Retro Area (門司港レトロ倶楽部). Take a walk along the promenade to take in the view of the Kanmon Strait. Situated all over the port are countless Western architecture such as the wooden Mojiko Station and the Moji Customs Building. Learn about history of the Kanmon Strait at Kaikyo Dramaship, or ogle at retro locomotive and drive a mini-train at the Kyushu Railway History Museum.

Moji Port Retro Area. (https://flic.kr/p/74zY9r)
Moji Port Retro Area along the Kanmon Strait. Photo by Spaceman Spiff
Yaki curry at Cafe Dining Bear Fruits (http://wp.me/pBmXM-2OF)
Yaki curry at Cafe Dining Bear Fruits. Photo by sleepwalkingintokyo

Two local favourite dishes to try is “yaki curry” (焼きカレー, baked curry rice), and fresh fugu (blowfish)! Fugu is so popular that during the annual Fugu, Lights and Hina Dolls Festival, the glow from blowfish lanterns light up the area while the crowd can enjoy blowfish hot pot and even blowfish fin sake tasting.

Also catch the banana auction which is unique to Mojiko!

Moji Port Retro Area: From Hakata Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line and alight
at Mojiko Station. Explore the rest of the sights by foot.

History buffs can spend some time at the castle town Kokura (小倉), which is the starting point for Nagasaki Kaido (長崎街道, an ancient road that leads to Nagasaki Port). The famous Kokura Castle is an imposing structure with one unusual feature – the fifth storey of the castle keep is larger than the fourth. There is a karakuri puppet (からくり人形, mechanized Japanese traditional puppets) theater on the third storey, with many amazing puppets on display. Although small in comparison with the castle, the lush greenery of the Kokura Castle Japanese Garden makes it a wonderful place for a stroll.

Gorgeous Kokura castle at sunset. Photo by frickr_stock
Gorgeous Kokura castle at sunset. Photo by frickr_stock
Kokura Castle: From Hakata Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line and alight at
Nishi Kokura Station. The castle is 8 mins walk away.

Pop over to the “Kitchen of Kitakyushu area”, also known as the Tanga Market (旦過市場), for some fresh seafood and produce. Shoppers can collect stickers in exchange for vouchers, movie tickets and more. It’s an interesting way to keep the business going! After all the fun, head over to nearby Murasaki River to enjoy the lovely view.

The market also provides stalls for the Wasshoi Hyakuman Summer Festival (わっしょい百万夏まつり), where visitors can check out the “Boat Heaven” expo held at Moji Port, followed by amazing Yamakasa floats at the “Summer Festival Roundup” and the Hyakuman Odori dance consisting of 10,000 participants. Of course there’s always the fancy display of nearly 3,000 fireworks in every Japanese festival.

Tanga Market: The market is accessible by monorail to Tanga Station. OR Take a bus
to Nishitetsu “Tangabashi Quest” stop.
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The most popular dish is Unaju! Image source

Those eager for some delicious unagi (eel) dishes should make a visit to Inaka-an (田舎庵), a quiet yet posh restaurant specializing in fresh eel caught from nearby rivers that flow into the local Buzen and Ariake Seas. Top on the menu is “Unaju”, a dish consisting of juicy grilled eel drizzled with a sweet-and-spicy sauce and placed on top of fragrant Japanese rice.

Other goodies include the tangy Yuzu Karashi Mentaiko (柚子風味辛子明太子, spicy cod roe is seasoned with yuzu fruit), and Unagi Chazuke (鰻茶漬, eel with green tea rice gruel). Both dishes are available from grocery stores and are recommended souvenirs to take home from Kokura!

Inaka-an: From Hakata Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line and alight at Kokura
Station. The restaurant is 5 mins away on foot.

Make plans for an exciting day of fun at the world’s first space theme park, Space World. The rides range from mild to thrilling, where the heart-stopping “Titan V” leaves you craving for more. Like every theme park, there are family-oriented shows in the “Galaxy Theater”, or a cooling water ride in the hot summer.

Space World, illuminated. Photo by kobori88
Space World, illuminated. Photo by kobori88
Space World: From Hakata Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line and alight at
Spaceworld Station. The amusement park is 5 mins away on foot.

Dazaifu City (大宰府市)

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All that remains today… Photo by m-louis

Although original established as an administrative centre for Kyushu in the 7th century, Dazaifu also played a significant role in Japan’s diplomatic negotiations with foreign countries and defended Western Japan.

A lingering memory of the city’s administrative legacy can be seen in the Government Office Ruins (大宰府政庁跡), which showcase the remaining stone foundations of the government offices. The scale of the ruins gives us a glimpse of the enormity of Dazaifu’s administrative centre.

Dazaifu Government Office Ruins: Alight at Tofuromae Station and take a bus
(3 buses every hour) to Dazaifu-seichoato bus stop.

Today, the city lies in the outskirts of busy Fukuoka City and serves as a quick getaway for locals and international visitors. An icon of the city is the famous Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (大宰府天満宮), which houses the deity for academic excellence, Sugawara Michizane. Students from all over Japan come to the shrine to pray for passing the entrance examinations or academic achievements.

Beautiful plum trees around the shrine. Photo by RW Sinclair
Beautiful plum trees around the shrine. Photo by RW Sinclair
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine: From Hakata Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line to
JR Futsukaichi Station. Walk 10 mins to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station and take
the Nishitetsu Dazaifu Line to Dazaifu Station.

That’s it for now, stay tune for upcoming posts on the remaining 6 prefectures of Kyushu! Follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook or read an issue of our magazine!

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

A quick guide to Halal Japanese Cuisine in Tokyo

The struggle is over. What was thought to be extremely difficult – finding Halal Japanese cuisine that is both allowed and prepared according to the Islamic dietary guideline – is no longer the case as meticulous and attentive Japanese restaurants step up to the demands of a group of visitors they have long neglected. As more Muslims are drawn to the land of the rising sun, Wattention brings to you a myriad of choices, perfect amalgamations of Halal and Nippon cuisine, that will satisfy every single, each and one of your cravings!

1. YAKINIKU

Did you know, that prior to 1872, there was a 1,200 year ban on meat eating in Japan?It was not until the Meiji Period that the restoration government sought to remove this centuries-old social taboo against meat. As meat lovers went on to experiment and perfect their craft of preparing meat, we now have the fortune of enjoying Japanese BBQ, or more fondly known as “Yakiniku”!

Gyumon

Unassuming entrance
An unassuming entrance | Photo Source

Ready yourselves for a battle of speed as we huddle over an arena of charcoal grills, protected by extractor systems to whip away the wonderfully distracting smell and smoke, equipped with the longest tongs and eagle eyes to swoop in at the finest meat that is marinated in perfection.

Isn't this tempting!
Need I say more!? | Photo Source

One of the most-raved about Halal Yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo, Gyumon prides itself for its generous portions and succulent, delicious beef Yakiniku. This traditional and cosy restaurant even offers its diners a crash course on understanding their food!

Gyumon 3
Cow-tography 101 | Photo Source
Mouthwatering halal dining
DIY – You can be the next Asia’s masterchef! | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: 3 Chrome-14-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku Toyko
  • Average Price: JPY4000~
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 5pm – 4am; Sun & Pub Hols: 5pm – 11pm
  • Halal Status: Certified by Malaysia Halal Corporation Co. Ltd
    *Reservations recommended!

Sumiyakiya Nishiazabu 

This BBQ restaurant rose to fame when former Prime Minister, Mr Mahathir bin Mohamad visited and tried their Halal Yakiniku. A family-ran business, the restaurant came up with the idea of a Halal menu when they noticed a gap in the market that dedicated to Halal service. Since then, they have worked closely with professionals to learn how to prepare food in accordance with the Halal traditions.

Sumiyakiya 1
Korean style BBQ, Japanese style ingredients! | Photo Source

Using  ‘F-1’ Yakiniku (Herb-fed crossbred between Holstein cattle and Wagyu), Aomori Shamo chicken and Herb-fed Chicken from Brazil,  Sumiyakiya ensures that all their Halal meat used for your BBQ is Halal-certified. A unique (and healthy!) feature of Sumiyakiya is that their choice of cattle are herb-fed, and their Halal meats are marinated with plenty of herbs – as their slogan goes: “Herbs do more than simply adding flavor and color to your favourite dishes!”

Sumiyakiya 2
Cosy setting for family and friends | Photo Source
Sumiyakiya 3
All set to feast! | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: 3-29-16, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY2000~ (Lunch); JPY4000~ (Dinner)
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 1130am – 3pm, 6pm – 1130pm; Sat: 6pm – 1130pm (Closed on Sun & Pub Hols)
  • Halal Status: Malaysia Halal Corporation
  • Official Website: http://sumiyakiya.com

2. TEPPANYAKI

Teppanyaki, which literally means “grill on an iron plate”, should definitely be on your food-to-try list in Japan! The strong emphasis on the freshness of ingredients, coupled with the performance aspect of the chef’s preparation, it will be both eye-candy and mouth watering experience!

Saishoku Teppan Ippin

Founded by La Copakku Japan, Saishoku Teppan Ippin aims to provide its diners with a ‘healthy and beautiful’ dining experience. As a pioneer in the Halal Teppanyaki industry, the restaurant has worked relentlessly to create a Halal menu to allow its Muslim diners to indulge in true Japanese culinary.

Ippin 1
Spoiled for choices? | Photo Source

Armed with skilled chefs, stashes of organic vegetables and premium selection of meat, Saishoku Teppan Ippin challenges its diners’ taste buds to a waltz they will never forget.

Ippin 3
Soaking in the atmosphere | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: Langs Daikanyama 2F, 2 Chome 13-16, West Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY1000~ (Lunch); JPY3000~ (Dinner)
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 1130am – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm; Sun: 5pm – 11pm (Closed on every 3rd Sunday of the month)
  • Halal Status: Certified by Nippon Asia Halal Association
  • Official Website: http://ippin-halal.jp

3. SHABU SHABU

This bubbly dish got its name from the ‘Shabu Shabu’ sound supposedly emitted when ingredients are stirred in the hotpot. Finding its roots in Japan, it is one aspect of the traditional Japan cuisine a faithful tourist should not miss!

Hanasakaji-san

Named after a fairy tale, Hanasakaji-san beckons with quiet dignity; its simple and almost too-well-hidden entrance indicates its food’s quality with utmost confidence. A short-walk from Shibuya station, hungry diners after a day’s shopping can find comfort for their tummy at this lovely restaurant.

Hanasakaji 1
Hanasakaji-san’s special Halal stew! | Photo Source
Hanasakaji 2
Beef Shabu Shabu | Photo Source 

While Hanasakaji-san is not exclusively Halal, they are thoroughly committed to providing an authentic Japanese experience for their Halal diners. Taking extra steps such as keeping their Halal meat in a separate freezers from non-Halal meat, designating utensils for Halal diners which are kept separate from non-Halal diners and even serving non-alchoholic wine and champagne, the restaurant is faithful, helpful and genuine to its Halal diners.

Hanasakaji 4
Eat till your heart’s (tummy’s) content! | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: Sakura Build B1f 3-22 Sakuragaoka Shibuya Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY4000~
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 1030am – 3pm, 5pm – 12am; Sat: 5pm – 12pm (Closed on every Sun)
  • Halal Status: Certified by Malaysia Halal Corporation Co. Ltd
  • Official Website: http://hanasakaji-san.jp/
    *Reservations recommended!

4. RAMEN

The origins of Ramen are unclear – however, Ramen has become such a popular dish in Japan that anyone who dreams of slurping down the best of these piping hot noodles would necessarily associate it with Japan. As Ramen is extremely affordable and can be found effortlessly all around Japan, it makes an ideal dining option for any traveller!

Naritaya

It is not uncommon for Ramen shops to use pork broth as the soup base or chashu for the Ramen toppings. But fret not, fellow Muslim travellers! Naritaya, who opened just earlier this year, is pioneering the Halal Ramen revolution so that people from all around the world can share in the enjoyment of Ramen.


Welcoming customers from all walks of life | Photo Source

In its carefully thought-out Halal menu, Naritaya does not use any pork or alcohol in its preparation of food. Ingredients for their Ramen include noodles made from domestic wheat produced at its very own noodle factory, refreshing chicken broth as its soup base, and toppings such as the usual nori seaweed, seasoned bamboo shoots, green onions and boiled egg.


Halal Ramen – First of its kind! | Photo Source

Embracing the internationality of its diners, the Japanese-ran Naritaya also has instructions in English plastered on its walls on how to eat their personalised Ramen. Naritaya even has a prayer room for its Muslims diners, including an arrow on the ceiling pointing to Mecca. This thoughtful Ramen stall sure deserves a thumbs-up!


Step-by-step Guide | Photo Source

Prayer Room | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: 2 Chome 7-13 Asakua, Taito-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY1000~
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 10pm; Sat & Sun: 8am – 8pm
  • Halal Status: Certified by Japan Islamic Trust

T’s Tan Tan

As farmers’ markets become a regular feature on Tokyo’s urban landscape and diners choose to be increasingly health-conscious, we see more vegetarian restaurants and more places offering vegetarian menus to cater to the change in taste. Priding itself for using “smile veggie”, T’s Tan Tan uses only fresh vegetables and soy-meat to create a range of delicious Japanese-Western fusion dishes, including the unique vegan ramen!


Bestseller! T’s Shoyu Ramen | Photo Source
T's Tan Tan 3
For spicy-flavour lovers! Shiro TanTan | Photo Source

Located at an inconspicuous corner in JR Tokyo Station, favourable reviews rave of T’s Tan Tan creative and amazing vegan ramen, which is topped with soymeat, beansprout, green onion, seasoned chinese bamboo shoot and seaweed. I don’t know about you, but soymeat sure sounds enticing for eat-clean-foodies like us!!

T's Tan Tan 4
Tokyo’s first vegan ramen! | Photo Source

Simple interior to house hungry customers | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: Keiyo Street, Tokyo Station, 1-9-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY1000~
  • Opening Hours: Daily: 7am – 11pm
  • Halal Status: Not Halal certified, but welcomes Muslim diners (Vegetarian Restaurant)
  • Official Website: http://ts-restaurant.jp/tantan/

5. KAISEKI

Kaiseki refers to a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner that originates from the 16th century tea ceremony rituals. A culinary art form of the highest degree, it shows off the chef’s skills and techniques in preparing a meal that would utterly tantalize their diners’ taste buds.

Minokichi

Minokichi was founded in 1716 by Jurobe Satake, descendant of the highly respected Akita Satake Samurai Clan, and has a rich history in preparing the Kyoto Kaiseki cuisine. It While based in Kyoto, Minokichi has devoted to designing Halal menus for at least one of its branches in Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohama and Tokyo.

Minokichi 3
Exquisite food models by the Shop Entrance | Photo Source

The Muslim-Friendly menus encompass a myriad of Kyoto dishes, including traditional Japanese appetizers of  seasonal dish,  beef shabushabu, grilled fish, halal tempura, assorted simmered vegetables and more! All ingredients are meticulously prepared to ensure that the food does not include pork or alcohol. If you are craving for a slow-paced, finely detailed and delicious meal, this is your to-go!

Minokichi 5
Kyoto Kaiseki in a Box! | Photo Source

Instagram-worthy Food! | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: Spice Ikebukuro Tobu 15F 1-1-25, Nishiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY3000~ (Lunch); JPY7000~ (Dinner)
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 11am – 11pm; Sun & Pub Hols: 7pm – 10pm (Closed on New Year’s Day & 3rd Wed of February and Aug)
  • Halal Status: Certified by Kyoto Council for Sharia and Halal Affairs
  • Official Website: http://www.japanese-kyoto-cuisine.com/
    *Reservations 2 days in advance required!

Kusumoto 

Located in the heart of Nishi-Azabu, a quaint and serene location that homes small restaurants and bars, Kusumoto aims to provide Muslims living or visiting Japan a taste of authentic Japanese food. Serving a brilliantly designed Halal Kaiseki, the restaurant only allows dine-in during dinner. Nevetheless, one can still order their beautiful Bento boxes for lunch delivery to your door-step!


Bento delivery for lunch on a restful day! | Photo Source

Dinner Dine-in | Photo Source

The beautiful restaurant is extremely committed to its Halal standards – all cookwares for halal menu are completely labelled and kept in specific places whilst all ingredients used for the Halal menu, even right down to the details such as  their seasoning, are Halal certified! If you are ever shopping around the Roppongi Hills area, be sure to check out this chic diner~

In a nutshell:

  • Address: 3-23-5, Nishi-Azabu, Minatoku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY2000~ (Lunch – Bento Delivery ONLY); JPY10,000~ (Dinner)
  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 6pm – 11pm; (Closed on Closed on Sun & Pub Hols)
  • Halal Status: Certified by Nippon Asia Halal Association
  • Official Website: http://www.tokyomuslim.jp
    *Reservations required! 5 days in advance for lunch delivery; 2 days in advance for dinner

6. FINE DINING

Kozue

Throwback to the olden days with traditional amber wood and handmade pottery and waitresses in kimonos – then past forward again to the modern times where you dine in a quiet restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooks the Tokyo Skyline. That interplay between Japanese traditional and modern culture is exactly what Kozue sells.

Kozue 3
Pamper yourself to luxurious scenery and food | Photo Source

Breathtaking scenery | Photo Source

Resting on the 40th floor of Park Hyatt hotel, one can even see amazing views of Mount Fuji on e a clear day. While the restaurant may be pricier than most other Halal options, it continues to be highly recommended by online Muslim travel guides. As expected of a luxury brand, the service is known to be top-notch. The waiters and waitresses explain with much patience and details the ingredients used to prepare each dish – all of which that retains the traditional element despite the restaurant’s setting – as they serve the exquisitely designed dishes to their customers.


Sashimi – Perfectly sliced! | Photo Source
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Yonezawa Sirloin wrapped in Hoba Leaf | Photo Source
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Doesn’t this look too pretty to be eaten? | Photo Source

In a nutshell:

  • Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
  • Average Price: JPY3000~ (Lunch); JPY10,000~ (Dinner)
  • Opening Hours: Daily: 1130am – 230pm (Lunch); 530pm – 930pm (Dinner)
  • Halal Status: NIL
  • Official Website: http://tokyo.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/Kozue.html
    *Reservations required!
    *Dress Code: Smart Casual (Sportswear/ Beachwear not allowed)

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

No Beef with Kobe: Eat, See, Enjoy!


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I took a day trip with K-san (unnamed for privacy) to Kobe during my week-long Japan vacation. We took the direct JR line (around 50 minutes) from our Osaka accommodation to Kobe’s central station, Sannomiya Station. Check out Japan Guide for a detailed travel guide between Osaka and Kobe!

Wagyu immediately comes to mind when Kobe is mentioned, and I am so excited because we planned to visit a good wagyu restaurant, and do some leisurely sightseeing. The area leading to our first stop, Mt. Maya, was covered in beautiful sakura blooms lining a river. There were also many sakura trees outside the Art Center of Kobe. Appreciative remarks about the sakura made by the hanami viewers could be heard as we enjoyed our walk through the area.

Tsubaki flower on the rail
Tsubaki flower on the rail

After many kirei desu ne (綺麗ですね, it’s so beautiful) the pair of us finally reached the bottom of Mt. Maya. Mt. Maya is one of the smaller peaks of the Mt. Rokko chain, and is highlighted for its scenic and natural beauty! There were already a few hikers heading up the mountain before us.

A word of advice: wear comfortable shoes! The bottom steps of the mountain were oddly shaped so it can be difficult to climb. The hike up to the waterfall was steep but I really enjoyed the serenity of the place. Hiking never really appealed to me, but the experience is really meditative. You either introspect, admire nature, or talk to your companion. I highly recommend this for either pairs/couples or individuals. 🙂

Can you feel the energy from the waterfall?
Can you feel the energy from the waterfall?

The waterfall we saw wasn’t that majestic or big, but still beautiful nonetheless. Visitors and hikers alike were quietly talking amongst themselves, keeping the peace of the place. Perhaps they are bathing in the negative ions of the waterfall!

We decided to climb a little higher towards the observation platform, which promised a skyline of Kobe city. The platform was also surrounded by sakura trees! Few people were in this area so we could take as many pictures as we liked at our leisure.

 

 

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A hidden shrine on the way up to the observation platform
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More beautiful sakura await at the observation deck!
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The Kobe skyline. The air was so fresh and rejuvenating! Singapore was so hazy when I left. ):

Finally, it was time for our lunch reservation at Wakkoqu, a restaurant famous for quality Tajima wagyu! You definitely have to make an early reservation either at their website or call them directly because they are very popular. They also have English speaking staff and a website in English, so reservation is fuss-free and easy. Do double-check that you have chosen the right store as they have two locations.

The A4 wagyu steak that went into our bellies. :D
The A4 wagyu steak that went into our bellies. 😀

We were ravenous for some yummy wagyu after our workout, so we ordered the Lunch Wakkoqu Course: 150g sirloin, six kinds of grilled vegetables, soup of the day (potato soup), salad, rice and Japanese pickles, dessert, and coffee. I think “heavenly” is the best adjective here.

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In midst of preparation. Can’t wait!

We could not stop gushing about how scrumptious the food was. The course started with the potato soup, which was creamy but light with small bits of potatoes. Meanwhile, the chef brought out the A4 sirloin, while we were served the salad. We were rather disappointed that the sirloin was divided between the both of us instead of being served one each.

The chef prepared the sauces and condiments-salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, and soy sauce-before grilling the garlic and the steak. If you have eaten good quality steak before, you will know that each piece of meat just melts in your mouth. The first piece was sprinkled with salt and pepper, the conventional way of eating steak. I really loved the meat juices that melded with salty flavour. The next piece was paired with pepper and garlic. The sweet garlic and fragrant pepper really complemented the steak. This must be what people call a medley of flavours dancing in your mouth. The third piece was quite unusual-soy sauce and mustard. I really loved the spiciness of the mustard but I felt that the soy sauce was a little underwhelming. Out of these three styles, I preferred the very first. Of course, you are always welcome to eat the steak in any way you like!

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Beansprouts and wagyu fat!

The chef had also cut the strip of fat and cooked it with some beansprouts. It was delicious because of the added beef flavour but I probably would have just liked it the same attached to some meat. Even so, the different textures of the wagyu can really be enjoyed to the fullest. I really want to go back.

After the starters and main course, we were served some delightful yuzu sorbet and coffee. The portions were slightly small but the food was certainly delicious. Gochisousama deshita! (Thank you for the meal!)

 

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UCC Coffee Museum Tasting: Blend coffee (left) and 100% Brazil origin coffee (right)

We headed to the UCC Coffee Museum on a whim as it was in the area. Unfortunately, coffee tasting was over so we didn’t get any. I am slightly disappointed because UCC’s drip coffee smells really good and the kokumi (こくみ, richness or depth of flavour) is just rightnot too acidic or bitter.

Different parts of the coffee seed
Different parts of the coffee seed

So now you know, coffee tasting is held at specific times! The museum’s website (in Japanese) explains that for the month of April 2016 visitors can compare blend coffee (Brazilian base) and 100% Brazilian coffee at 4 designated times.

If you miss the coffee tasting, you can always either buy some from their cafe or the museum shop. Coffee aficionados should definitely visit at least once, even if to try the coffee or out of pure interest for the  technical details of coffee plant seasons to the interactive exhibits.

 

The coffee belt of the world. The red line is the equator.
The coffee belt of the world. The red line is the equator.

There were so many interesting facts I never knew about the coffee plant, i.e. the flowers of the coffee plant are white. You can challenge the quiz they have in the museum to get a Dr. Coffee Certificate. Not to worry, they have the questions in English as well.

I think the most interesting fact I’ve learned that day is about the coffee belt. The coffee plant is grown only between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which points to warmer countries – but does not include Japan! The coffee plant is also rather sensitive to climate changes, so coffee may become scarce in the future. 🙁

 

What volume of coffee beans can be harvested from a single coffee tree? Click the photo for an answer!
What volume of coffee beans can be harvested from a single coffee tree? Click the photo for an answer!

 

Want More Kobe? 

These were some of the places we wanted to visit but couldn’t fit in our schedule. They shall be on our itinerary for our next trip to Kobe!

1. Nunobuki Herb Gardens

Nunobiki Herb Garden Glasshouse | Source
Nunobiki Herb Garden Glasshouse | Source

This place comes highly recommended by nature lovers due to the sheer volume of stunning flowers in the greenhouses. The area is really big so I reckon I can easily spend a hour or two strolling in the flower fields.

2. Handmade Nada Shop

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Chewy Crunchy Cacao | Source

Like its namesake, the pastries are all handmade! This shop serves delicious pastries and sweets which you can either get as a takeaway or indulge at their cafe area. The images on their website looks irresistible! Give me some now!

3. Rokkosan Pasture and Kobe Cheese House

The cute sheep you'll get to see at the farm | Takuya
The cute sheep you’ll get to see at the farm | Takuya

You should definitely visit this place if you love animals and nature! You can pet them at designated parts of the farm. There are also many hands-on activities where you can make ice cream, butter or engage in wool craft. You can also observe the cheese-making process at their factory.

  1. Mt. Rokko
The night view from Mt. Rokko | Charlie Brown
The night view from Mt. Rokko | Charlie Brown

I didn’t get the chance to scale Mt. Rokko but someday, I really want to see the nightscape in person at the top of this mountain! You can also build a musical box at the Rokko International Musical Box Museum, or enjoy a leisurely walk through the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden.

  1. Kobe Animal Kingdom
Rock eagle owl | No
Rock eagle owl | Noppawat Charoensinphon

This place is basically an interactive zoo suitable for animal lovers and families. Their main feature though, is the largest collection of owls! Seasonal flowers also grace the zoo making it one of the highlights for visitors.

  1. Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum
Hakutsuru Brewery Museum | Source
Hakutsuru Brewery Museum | Source

Sake is known to be a Japanese alcoholic beverage but do you really know how it’s made? In addition to observing the sake-making process, you can also acquire some special sake at their museum shop!

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

Japan’s Wild Side : Japan’s Interesting Wildlife

Tourists flock to Japan year after year for its deeply-rooted traditions, exquisite cuisine, and vibrant popular cultures. However, nature lovers can also indulge in the rich biodiversity that Japan offers. Its vast mountains and forests, coupled with snowy Hokkaido in the north and tropical Okinawa in the south, is home to many interesting and unusual wildlife, as well as their associated cultures.

Here are some unique ones:

Tanuki ( Raccoon dogs)

Often depicted in anime, tanuki can be found throughout Japan, even in the suburb of Tokyo. They were thought to be able to change into human form or into objects, and were mischievous but untrustworthy creatures. However, many temples and noodle shops have tanuki statues for good luck!

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How they really look like | Photo source

There are 8 traits to note:

  1. A hat for protection against trouble or bad weather
  2. Big eyes to analyse the environment and help make good decisions
  3. A sake bottle that represents virtue
  4. A big tail that provides steadiness and strength until success is achieved
  5. Over-sized testicles that symbolise financial luck
  6. A promissory note that represents trust or confidence
  7. A big belly that represents bold and calm decisiveness
  8. A friendly smile

“Have you seen me before?” | Photo source

Nihonzaru (ニホンザル Japanese macaques)

I’m sure most of you have seen photographs of “snow monkeys” enjoying a hot spring bath. These Japanese macaques are native to Japan and are excellent swimmers. In winter, their fur increases in thickness to keep them warm in temperatures as low as -20° C (-4° F). A popular tourist attraction, Jigokudani Monkey Park (Nagano Prefecture) features hundreds of these monkeys playing in the snow.

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Who says hot springs are only for humans? | Photo source

Toki (トキ Japanese crested ibis)

With a scientific name as patriotic as Nipponia nippon, the toki deserves our attention. Extensively hunted until 1908, the last wild-born toki died in 2003. Fortunately, captive breeding efforts has successfully reintroduced several of these beautiful birds in Sado Island (Niigata Prefecture), which is one of Japan’s most rice-productive areas.


A toki in flight | Photo source

The toki depends on the rice paddy fields to find their prey such as loaches, frogs, snails and more. Visit Sado toki-no-mori Park to catch a glimpse of this rare bird!

Tsushima yamaneko (対馬山猫 Tsushima leopard cat)

As the name suggests, this critically endangered species can only be found on Tsushima Island (Nagasaki Prefecture). They face threats such as road kills, diseases transmitted from domestic cats and habitat loss.


That’s one chill kitty! | Photo source

Although similar in appearance to domestic cats, they can be distinguished by a white spot behind each ear. Those who wish to see them can visit Fukuoka city zoological garden, Inokashira park zoo, Zoorasia Yokohama zoological garden, Toyama family park zoo, or Ishidake zoological garden.

Esayari (餌やり Feeding wild animals)


Feeding carps in the ponds is a common sight | Photo source

Touted as a national pastime, many Japanese love to feed the animals, from the usual cats and dogs to tanuki, bears, fishes, monkeys and a whole variety of other wildlife. Even tourists, hikers and photographers know to attract these fearless animals with food, so that they can get close for photographs or for pleasure. It is not unusual to see animal feed being sold in temples, shrines, parks and other recreational spots such as “wild monkey parks”.

Why is this so popular? Some of the possible reasons include taking pity on the animal and wanting to “tame” it, especially when it begs for food.

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Sometimes these animals may attack humans! | Photo source

However, we need to note that esayari is actually NOT ENCOURAGED! Feeding the wild animals allows them to become overly familiar with humans and acquire a taste for human foods, which can result in them raiding our crops. Several Japanese prefectures have taken action against feeding the wildlife through slogans such as:

“Wild animals are not pets.”

“For the sake of coexistence with humans, stop feeding pigeons.”

“Wild monkeys come down to the village and cause a nuisance. Please don’t feed them.”

“To protect their way of life, please do not feed the deer.”

“Food is something we [animals] will find for ourselves.”

“Offering food is not the same thing as love.”

In order to prevent unnecessary killing of wild animals due to human-wildlife conflicts, we should not be feeding them!

What do you think?

For more exciting adventures, interesting places to go, good foods to eat, follow us on Instagram, like us on Facebook or read an issue of our magazine.

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore.

Furugiya – Second-hand clothing shops in Tokyo

If you have been to Tokyo multiple times and have gotten bored of shopping along Ginza or Harajuku, it’s time to venture onto an alternative shopping experience; it’s time to explore vintage shopping.

Furugiya (vintage or second-hand clothes) shops are fairly common throughout Japan, but Tokyo has some of the best shops, with the best selection of items. Depending on the type of store, you may find regular second hand clothes, previous season’s designer items or designer vintage pieces, at a fraction of their original prices.

During my visit, I went to the stores along Harajuku Street near Tokyu Plaza, Ura-Hara area behind Omotesando and Shibuya.

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Pigsty at Urahara. The owners actually started out in Osaka before opening their 2nd branch in Tokyo.

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This street behind Omotesando leads to a few unique Americana vintage shops and the famous Ragtag.

The stores around Harajuku have a strong flavor of American culture, where you can find items from American brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Some of the stores also carry a huge stash of southwestern printed items for all your bohemian needs.

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Rama, a store on Harajuku street filled with Americana vintage goods.

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Berberjin is another store along Harajuku street. They have an online site too.

Two must-see stores around Harajuku would be Jumble Store and Ragtag. Both stores are part of a larger chain and have online stores which you can browse before visiting. Jumble Store carries quite a range of items, from Dickies jeans to the latest designer labels such as Dior Homme and Balmain. However, going through the racks to find a designer item of your size will require time, effort and patience. If you only wish to find designer items, Ragtag would be better. Their store only carries famous labels; both mid-level priced as well as designer.

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A 2-storey standalone Jumble store in Harajuku

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For truly vintage items, I recommend Kodona and Sullen around Shibuya. Both stores are rather hard to access, but contain true gems. Carefully curated and extremely popular, both stores have to change their inventory frequently to keep up with demand. During my visit, I found beautiful vintage Christian Dior, Kenzo and Burberry pieces that were still in good condition.

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Kodona.

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Kodona’s décor blends and enhances the pieces that they have in the store.

Before becoming too excited, here are some pointers to note when visiting:

Check: Check the pieces carefully. Some stores will have labels indicating defects or issues with the products. Do not be too excited about the discount given. Also check the stitching and condition and make your own judgment.

Ask: If unsure about an item, do ask the owners. They will be able to provide valuable information, such as the age of the item, condition of the item as well as care methods. They will also be able to provide you styling advice if you are unsure about a vintage item, but absolutely cannot do without it. They should also be able to provide advice on whether alterations should be done or not.

Enjoy: The entire process feels like a treasure hunt. Even if the item is not in your size, enjoy finding beautiful and interesting clothes while digging through the racks.

Decide: Most items are unique and there is only one. Decide if alterations can be done and if you truly would like the item. If you let it go, you probably would not find it again. So, choose wisely.

 

Contributed by Dwight Tan

Read the original articles on WAttention Singapore.

Discover the town of Onsens, Shuzenji

Located about 100km southwest of Tokyo, is Izu City, Shiszuoka Prefecture. Found at the Izu Hantō (peninsula), it is well known for its natural resources, mild climate and a mix of popular traditional and modern attractions, especially its onsens – making it a popular weekend getaway for Tokyoites.

The city can be split into three major areas: Eastern, western and central. Facing Sagami Bay, Eastern Izu is home to the famous Kawazu Sakura, the earliest flowering sakura in Japan while Mount Fuji lies in the west, across Suruga Bay’s coastline. Running through central Izu is the Kano River, Shuzenji Onsen and Temple. Other attractions include Atami Castle, Toi Gold Mind and MOA Museum of Art.

Easily accessible from Tokyo by train, you can get to Izu City by taking 50-minute ride on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Atami and Mishima or an 80-minute one by Odoriko from Tokyo to Atami.

SHUZENJI

One of the oldest and most famous hot springs resort towns on the Izu Peninsula, Shuzenji Onsen was named after the Shuzenji Temple (修禅寺) that is found in the centre of the town. Surrounded by the volcanic Amagi mountain range, the onsen offers guests a beautiful hilly view in place of the regular ocean-view onsens. Rich in history, Shuzenji Onsen is also known as Sho-Kyoto (kanji, little Kyoto) for its historical architecture and traditional charms.

BAMBOO GROVE PATH
Take a stroll along the scenic bamboo-lined Katsura River and discover quaint coffee shops and Shuzenji Gallery along the way.

SHUZENJI TEMPLE
Founded by Kobo Daishi this 1,200 year-old Zen Buddhist temple’s mizuya (purification fountain) uses onsen water that you can drink.

KAWARA YU
Soak and relax your feet after a day of exploring at this free hot spring foot bath in the town centre.

SHUZENJI NIJI NO SATO
Hop on the steam locomotive and discover the town’s four unique areas: Canadian, English and Izu villages and a Japanese garden.

ONSENS

OCHIAIROU MURAKAMI
Registered as a National Cultural Property, this 150year-old onsen is famous for its luxurious rooms, warm hospitality, high standards of service and mysterious cave hot spring. Guests can expect a truly authentic and historically-rich experience thanks to its well-persevered Showa Era architectural structure, traditional décor and gourmet seasonal kaiseki (懐石, traditional Japanese course meal).

Access: 20-minute cab ride from Shuzenji
Address: 1887-1 Yugashima Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-3206
Web: ochiairou.com

 

YAGYU-NO-SHO
Tucked away in Shuzenji’s bamboo woods, this resort’s as well-known for its deeply relaxing hot springs as it is for its genuine Kyoto-style kaiseki. Their rooms are designed in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony style called Sukiya Zukuri (数寄屋造り) that is characterised by the use of natural elements such as wood and, of course, bamboo.

Access: 10-minute cab ride from Shuzenji
Address: 1116-6 Shuzenji Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-2416
Web: yagyu-no-sho.com/en/

SORA TOGETSUSOU KINRYU
This hot spring resort has four uniquely themed open-air baths for you to choose from. Their contemporary “Lights” onsen has a clean and minimalistic look that is best enjoyed at night and “Sunset” offers a gorgeous view of the sun setting over Mount Daruma. “Rock” and “Stone” show the contrast of traditional and modern styles while using the same earthy element.

Access: 8-minute cab ride from Shuzenji
Address: 3455 Shuizenji Izu-City Shizuoka 〒410-2416
Web: kinryu.net

 

SIDE TRIPS IN IZU CITY

MACHI NAVI YURURI
Get dressed up for a day at this charming little kimono rental store set across the Shuzenji Onsen bust terminal. There are over 150 designs to choose from with various accessories to complete your look.

JŌREN FALLS
One of Japan’s 100 exquisite falls of Japan, Jōren Falls is surrounded by beautiful fauna and flora. On your way up, savour a creamy wasabi soft serve sold exclusively at the entrance of the falls.

GETTING TO SHUZENJI

30-minute ride on the Izuhakone Railway from Mishima Station to Shuzenji Station or a 2-hour ride on the Odoriko trains from Tokyo Station to Shuzenji Station, followed by a 10-minute bus or taxi ride to the town itself.

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore

10 reasons to do a farm stay in Japan

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One of the unique holidays in Japan you can take is a farm stay. Not only it is affordable, it is also a great chance to try something new while being eco-friendly. Also, there are places that cater to only English-speaking tourists as well! Check out the list of farm stays recommended by JNTO here!

If you love nature, green spaces, and crave adventure, a farm stay may just be for you!

10. All the wide open spaces

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picture source

You can finally get away from the cramped city life. No crowded roads, no rubbing shoulders with smelly strangers on public transport – you get to roam and explore an entirely new place. Mostly, you get to take a breather and enjoy your vacation at a slower pace.

9. Fresh air! 

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picture source

Most farms are located in suburban areas, away from the city, so fewer cars and transport means less toxic air from factories, exhaust gas and so on. Compared to Singapore’s less hazy seasons, the fresh air in Japan is on a whole ‘nother level. Of course, if you choose a farm with many animals, you’ll have to deal with the smelly poo.

8. Fresh produce; no preservatives

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picture source

For some farm stays, you are invited to harvest your own food, or even tasked to harvest some produce for the meals you’re about to eat! This may sound horrendous for the squeamish anti-dirt-under-nails people, but this is how you know your food is fresh. You may even be able to purchase some fresh produce from the farm directly.

7. Child- and family-friendly activities

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picture source

A farm stay for children is a great opportunity to teach them about where food comes from and how to work on the land. Also, there are some easy activities where families and children can do together as a group! However, farms do have a age limit and parents are responsible for the conduct of their children. 

6. Animals!

Sure, some of the farm animals may turn up on your dinner plate, but they are lovable creatures that you rarely encounter in the city. Some farms may even have animal-related activities, like horse-back riding, milking, or even helping out with feeding.

5. Explore nearby mountains or forest

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picture source

Depending on your farm, you may be able to explore the vicinity. Some farms are near mountains or forests, so you can go hiking and trekking. Just beware of wild animals and always check with your host if the areas are safe.

4. Experience new farm activities

Tea picking experience | picture source
Tea picking experience | picture source

As some farms are interactive, you are literally doing a home stay in a Japanese farm! Not only you can practice some Japanese phrases and learn more about the culture, you can also tick off items from your bucket list and try new activities like staying in a traditional Japanese house, making bamboo chopsticks, tea harvesting, fishing… The list goes on.

3.  Unplug and unwind

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picture source

While most modern farm stays offer WIFI in their rooms, you can also choose to unplug and focus on the greenery around you. Have an authentic back-to-nature vacation by packing away your gadgets.

2. Support ecotourism and help the environment

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picture source

You may just be helping the environment by doing a farm stay as these travels are often low-impact and eco-friendly. In addition to learning about local culture, you are also supporting local effort to maintain their farms and their sustainable way of life.

1. Opt for a long and authentic farm experience

If you fell in love with rural life, you can always choose to join WWOOF, which is an organisation that helps organic farms to find farm hands. You are usually not paid a stipend, but you will receive awesome farm food and lodging in exchange for your hard work. What’s more, you can choose to sign up for month-long farm stays!

 Try a farm stay in Japan next time!

Read the original article on WAttention Singapore

Japan Travel 101: Introducing Ishikawa

ishikawa map_nov 5-01Located on the coast of the Sea of  Japan, Ishikawa-ken 石川県, Ishikawa-Prefectureis in the Chūbu region of Honshū (本州, main island). Surrounded by the Sea of Japan on one side and mountainous regions on the other, Ishikawa is rich in resources and holds numerous treasures for visitors to discover.

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Kanzawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture Photo Source

Formed in 1872 through the merger of Kaga Province and Noto Province, Ishikawa’s history and tradition is heavily associated with the Maeda-shi (前田氏 ,Maeda clan) who were one of the most powerful samurai families in Japan. Kanazawa, in the then-Kaga province, acted as their headquarters from 1583 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Till this day, Kanazawa serves as Ishikawa’s capital city.

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Kenroku-en in autumn Photo source

Ishikawa has an abundance of Prefectural and National Historic Sites and many are cultural relics of the Maeda Clan. These include Kanazawa-jō (金沢城, Kanazawa Castle),  Kaga han shu Maeda ke bosho (加賀藩主前田家墓所, Kaga Domain Maeda Clan Graves) and Kenroku-en (兼六園, Six Attributes Garden).

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Senmaida in the day  Photo source

Some other sites worth visiting are the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Senmaida (千枚田, 1000 Rice Fields) and Haku-san (白山, Mount Haku) – which is one of Japan’s Sanreizan (三霊山, Three Holy Mountains) and a potentially active volcano.

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Yamanaka Lacquerware Photo source

Due to the Maeda Clan, Ishikawa’s traditional and cultural performance arts and crafts are heavily influenced by traditional samurai lifestyle and culture.

Sadō (茶道, tea ceremony), introduced in the mid 17th century by Kaga’s second lord Maeda Yoshitsune, in particular has left lasting impression on many of Ishikawa’s arts and crafts, including their lacquerware and sense of omotenashi (おもてなし, hospitality and service).

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Yamanaka-shikki master Okada-sensei demonstrates how to apply delicate Kanazawa gold leaf to a fine piece of lacquerware at a recent live-demonstration at Isetan.

Introduced to Yamanaka in the 17th century, Yamanaka-shikki (山中漆器, Yamanaka lacquerware) originally used various woodcraft techniques such as sensujiniki (せんすじにき, thousand-line engraving) and komanuri (こまぬり, concentric circles) to create homely everyday items . Designated as a traditional craft in 1975, Yamanaka lacquerware developed into beautiful pieces of art when maki-e (蒔絵, lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder/leaf) was introduced to the craft. Since then, Yamanaka has been producing high end products that serve as beautiful souvenirs.

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Kagaya, Japan’s top rated ryokan for the past 35 years. Photo Source

Ishikawa is also home to Kagaya Ryokan. Located in Noto (north Ishikawa), Kagaya is a seaside ryokan (旅館, traditional Japanese inn) that has both traditional Japanese rooms and modern western rooms. Well-known for their meticulous care of their customers, Kagaya’s believes in “doing everything as if someone is watching you” and “always doing it the right way”. Their high standard of omotenashi is reflective of the samurai who paid careful attention to every small action they take.

Kagaya’s fastidious service, gourmet menu and elegant rooms have even won the favour of Emperor Akihito, who stayed in a Hamarikyu suite  at the top of Setsugekka (Kagaya’s traditional themed wing).

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Wajima morning market Photo source 

Because Ishikawa is surrounded by sea and mountains on either side, there is an abundance of seafood, farmed and wild vegetables and meats. Japan’s second largest fishery is found in Noto, making Ishikawa one of the best places to enjoy fresh, seasonal seafood no matter where you eat.

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Ishikawa oshizushi

One of Ishikawa’s speciality dishes is oshizushi (押し寿司, pressed sushi) featuring seafood such as anago (穴子, salt-water eel) and zuwaigani (ズワイガニ, snow crab). There’s also a pickled turnip and yellowtail version called kabura zushi ( かぶら寿司) that is found only in Ishikawa. Another traditional dish is jibu-ni (じぶ煮), a stew made with flour-coated duck or chicken meat, wheat gluten, vegetables, and mushrooms all simmered together in dashi stock.

Isokurumi, a local Ishikawa side dish is made from a mix of walnuts and small fish and shrimp. It was one of nine foods available at Ishikawa’s booth at Oishii Japan 2015. Other foods included oshizushi, steamed aged yuzu, wagashi (和菓子, traditional Japanese confectionary) and inari (いなり, deep fried tofu skin). 

Due to the prefecture’s location, Ishikawa experiences warm, humid summers and cold, snowfall laden winters, giving them the perfect conditions for creating fermented foods such as soy sauce chocolate, pickled fugu ranso (河豚卵巣, puffer fish ovaries), ishiri (いしり, fish soy sauce) and natto (納豆, fermented soy beans).

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Students at Hakkou University Photo Source

Ishikawa is so famous for and dedicated to the fermentation process that they even have a Fermented Food College, Hakkou University, that specializes in the study of fermentation. Recently at Oishii Japan 2015, some of the facility came down to Singapore for the first time to conduct a lecture and share their knowledge.