Japanese Tea Ceremony: History & Philosophy

 

To gain an overall grasp of Japanese culture, why not try “tea ceremony?”

The tea house or tea room is a miniature museum of wa—all things Japanese. Tea ceremony includes various highlights that symbolize Japan, like the simple tea house made of bamboo, wood, and washi paper, and food dishes to match called kaiseki. Each item is an expression of the essence of traditional Japanese life.

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What is the culture of tea ceremony?

Tea is said to have been brought to Japan from China during the Nara period.

It was gradually accepted after the Zen master Eisai wrote the book “Kissai Yojo-ki”, or “tea drinking cure”, during the Kamakura era, stressing the effectiveness of tea as medicine. The act of drinking tea became a special experience during the Muromachi period, during which time equipment was introduced and the “shoin” was developed, which evolved as the tea houses that we see today. Tatemae procedures for tea ceremony were established, with deep ties to the philosophy of zen, and it was during the Azuchi-Momoyama era in the 1500s that Sen no Rikyu refined the philosophy and perfected “wabi-cha”, an extremely austere and Japanese style, to an art form.

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What sort of person was Sen no Rikyu?

Rikyu was a tea master, a professional who served two generals, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi during a time when tea ceremony had been popular among warriors as a symbol of refined culture.

A tea master needs to be able to properly determine the utensils for tea ceremony. With his discerning eye, Rikyu not only stood out among the tea masters, he also had the ability to create new forms of beauty.

Rikyu surprised those around him by introducing innovative ideas for tea ceremony such as the koma, or dark, tiny tea rooms where the ceilings were too low to stand upright, and the use of jet black rakuchawan tea bowls he had made by Japanese craftsmen to use in the place of Chinese imports, which generated a sense of austerity that was similar to a religious aestheticism of sorts, which eventually spread as wabi-cha”.

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What is wabi-sabi?

Wabi-sabi refers to a quiet, serene world, or a subdued state. In its root form, the meaning of the word wabi includes “the pain of not having things proceed as desired”, and sabi means “the state of the power of life deteriorating”, both expressions of negative conditions. Inversely, it is possible to see a uniquely Japanese sense of beauty and culture from the use of these terms that began after the Edo period as “positive terms for expressing the beauty of Japan”.

Ichigo-ichie: One opportunity, one encounter, meaning that every encounter should be cherished as it may never happen again.

Ichigo-ichie: is a term that was mentioned by Yamanoue Soji, an apprentice of Rikyu, and Ii Naosuke, a high-ranking government official of the Edo period, and today remains a symbol of the spirit of tea ceremony: “This tea ceremony, held on this day of this year, is an irreplaceable moment that will never again be repeated. Tea ceremony can only be a success when the minds of both the person serving and those being served come together as one”. This is an eternal truth that applies not only to tea ceremony but other situations as well, whenever we may experience an encounter in our lives.

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Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen Pencase Set

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

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Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen Pencase Set

$46.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Green Tea Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
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Delicious and refreshing, green tea is a staple drink for Japanese people. Not only that, it’s numerous health benefits are well known around the world. For those who love green tea, we’ve selected a few green tea products full of Japanese flair, including a tea ceremony kit for the beginners out there. Now you can enjoy fresh green tea in the comfort of your home.

rankNo. 1 Yamasu Sugimoto Store Japanese Style Green Teabag

 

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Aren’t these the cutest tea bags ever? These tea bags come with razor-cut tags in all sorts of shapes, such as adorable cats, fighting Ninjas, Sumo wrestlers and dancing Geisha. The silhouetted tags are realistic and fun, you can even use them as decoration or wall art once you’re done with the tea. The bag contains premium green tea leaves from the Shizuoka Prefecture. The “Selection of Great Actors” tea bag set has an English explanation on the package. Why not get it for your family and friends back home?

Product Name: Yamasu Sugimoto Store, Cat Tea Bag Set (3g of tea leaves x 6 bags), Selection of Great Actors Tea Bag Set (3g of tea leaves x 6 bags)
Price: 1,080 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “There’s a plethora of green tea bags available in Japan. But these tea bags are definitely a good conversation starter.”


 

rankNo. 2 PLUG Iced Tea Jug

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When it comes to designing a water jug, you have to think of all the different ways it’s used on a regular basis; stored in a refrigerator, placed on a table and pouring beverages into a cup. With this in mind, KINTO, a modern tableware manufacturer, came up with an excellent solution. PLUG Iced Tea Jug features a simple and elegant design. An extra fine mesh at the bottom of the filter catches all the small tea leaves, leaving the tea clear and smooth. Thanks to its air-tight lid, even when you store the jug sideways, you don’t have to worry about leaking. Furthermore, the handle is ergonomically designed making it surprisingly easy to pour.

Product Name: PLUG Iced Tea Jug 1.2ℓ
Price: 2,484 yen (including tax)
Category: Tableware
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This beautifully designed jug is the pinnacle of form and function.”


 

rankNo. 3 Uji Seicha Tea Ceremony Set with 4 Items

macchasetIf you have participated in a tea ceremony and are interested in trying it at home, this is the perfect kit for you! This tea ceremony set comes with 4 essential items: Macha (green tea powder) from Marukyu-koyamaen in Kyoto Uji, a renowned green tea production area, Chawan (tea bowl), Chasen (tea whisk) and Chashaku (tea scoop). All you need is hot water, but make sure to let it cool, since the ideal water temperature is between 70℃ to 85℃.

Product Name: Uji Seicha, Tea Ceremony Set for a beginner
Price: 3,780 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Selecting the right items can be overwhelming, but this kit eases you into trying the tea ceremony at home.”


 

rankNo. 4 Kyoto Uji Maruhisa Koyama-en, Macha Shohaku

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This Macha is approved by Urasenke, one of the most prestigious tea ceremony schools. Because of its premium quality and superb taste, it is often used for official tea ceremonies in Japan. The marriage of bitterness and sweetness is supreme.

Product Name: Shohaku 20g
Price: 864 yen (including tax)
Category: Green Tea Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “It’s hard to find Macha outside of Japan. So if you are a Macha enthusiast, get this excellent brand before you leave Japan!”


 

rankNo. 5 HARIO Water Brew Teapot with Handle

 

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During the hot steamy summer days, it is only natural to crave a nice refreshing cold tea. With this tea pot, you can make your own cold tea at home. Just put a good amount of tea leaves in the filter, and pour water up to the instructed amount, then keep it refrigerated. Within 3 to 6 hours, your iced tea is ready to be served. Quench your thirst with your own home-made iced tea!

Product Name: Water Brew Teapot with Handle1,000ml
Price: 1,188 yen (including tax)
Category: Tableware
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This tea pot comes with a ultra-fine filter, you don’t have to worry about small tea leaves floating in your drink.”


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Large) Metal Lines

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Large) Metal Lines

$71.00

See in store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

$64.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

7 Great Train Passes to Save Money on Transit

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Trains are amazing in Japan, but depending on how far you plan to travel, those ticket prices can start to add up. Fortunately, there are a number of passes you can buy to get unlimited transit in popular tourist areas. Here are seven great picks, with a focus on the Tokyo and Kyoto areas!

1. Japan Rail Pass

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This is pretty much the ultimate pass, and it’s available only for tourists—in fact, you can only buy it before you arrive in Japan! The Japan Rail Pass gets you unlimited travel pretty much anywhere in Japan using JR lines, including the Shinkansen bullet train.

However, you won’t be able to use non-JR trains, and the Nozomi (the fastest version of the Shinkansen on the Tokaido Line) and the Mizuho (the fastest Shinkansen between Shin-Osaka and Kagoshima-Chuo) are also out.

Pass options include a regular Japan Rail Pass or a Green-type pass that allows access to the superior-class Green Cars on certain long-distance trains (including the Shinkansen). Passes are available for seven days, 14 days or 21 days, priced at ¥29,111, ¥46,390 and ¥59,350, respectively, for a regular pass. See below for details and availability.

www.japanrailpass.net

2. Tokyo Metropolitan District Pass (Tokunai Pass)

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A good choice for Tokyo is the Tokunai Pass, which can be used in Tokyo’s 23 wards. It covers almost all areas of the city, coming in at ¥750 for adults and ¥370 for children for a day of unlimited travel.

It can only be used on local and rapid JR East trains, excluding reserved seats. However, be aware that it doesn’t cover subways, so you’ll have to stick to overland travel.

www.jreast.co.jp

3. Tokyo Metro 24-Hour Ticket

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This is similar to the JR Tokunai Pass, but applies to the expansive Tokyo Metro subway system. Just like the Tokunai Pass, it can be purchased either in advance or on the day of travel. Adult passes cost ¥600, while the pass is ¥300 for children.

If you’d like access to more subway lines, you can also get a Common One-Day Ticket for Tokyo Metro & Toei Subway, which allows access to Toei lines as well as those run by Tokyo Metro. These are ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children.

If you can’t be bothered trying to figure out the difference between all the different lines, you can also just go for the Tokyo Combination Ticket, which gives you a day of unlimited access to the Tokyo Metro, Toei Subway, Toei Streetcar, Toei Bus (except those with fixed seats), all sections of the Nippori-Toneri Liner and all JR lines in Tokyo. However, you’d better be planning on traveling some pretty long distances in your one day, as this pass goes for ¥1,590 for adults and ¥800 for children.

www.tokyometro.jp

4. Triangle Tickets

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Triangle Tickets are passes for the Tokyu railway lines in Tokyo, allowing unlimited travel in the popular triangle between Shibuya, Jiyugaoka and Futako-tamagawa. The pass is ¥400 for a day, and includes unlimited access to the Toyoko Line between Shibuya and Jiyugaoka, the Den-en-toshi Line between Shibuya and Futako-tamagawa, and the Oimachi Line between Jiyugaoka and Futako-tamagawa.

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5. JR Tokyo Wide Pass

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The JR Tokyo Wide Pass gives you access to a truly wide range of options in Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto area, including reserved seats on limited express trains and ordinary cars on the Shinkansen toward Nasushiobara, Sakudaira and even Gala Yuzawa ski resort! While other Shinkansen routes are unavailable, you can still use regular and express trains down to Tateyama in the south of Chiba, Ito City on the Izu Peninsula, and Kofu in Yamanashi. Useable for three days, adult passes are ¥10,000 and children’s passes are ¥5,000.

The JR Tokyo Wide Pass can only be purchased and used by holders of non-Japanese passports.

www.jreast.co.jp

6. JR West Kansai Wide Area Pass

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Similar to the JR Tokyo Wide Pass, this pass offers unlimited access to the Shinkansen, limited express trains and local trains in the Kansai area for five consecutive days—including Nozomi and Mizuho super-express trains between Shin-Osaka and Okayama, though the Shinkansen cannot be used between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto. The price is ¥9,000 for adults, ¥4,500 for children—with a discount for online purchases or purchases from a travel agent overseas!

To be eligible to use the pass, you must be a temporary visitor, and cannot be a resident of Japan.

www.westjr.co.jp

7. Kyoto Tourist 1-Day or 2-Day Pass

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The Kyoto Tourist 1-Day or 2-Day Pass offers unlimited access to the City Bus, Kyoto Bus and Municipal Subway, as well as coupons for selected tourist sites. You can get a one-day pass for ¥1,200 or a two-day pass for ¥2,000. There are also various passes for just the bus or just the subway, which you can look into below.

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Read the original article on All About Japan: http://allabout-japan.com/en/article/2223/

You might also like:
3 Cool Countryside Day Trips from Tokyo
Where Do Old Trains Go?
Tour Ise-Shima with the KINTETSU RAIL PASS

In Harmony with the Seasons: Festivals

text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
In Japan, various shrines and temples hold summer festivals during the months of July and August. The origins of these festivals stem from a way to soothe the tired souls from farming labor, and to pray for protection from illness, as well as a ceremony to remember the deceased.
One of the joys of the summer season is visiting the temple and shrine grounds during these festive days when rows of shops would be lined up. Many of these shop owners were traveling businessmen who used to be called “Jusanyashi” and moved
between various prefectures selling their wares. The items sold include medicine, tobacco, toothpaste and other rare items that came from overseas. In the olden days, there were known to be 13 such items, hence the naming of “Jusanyashi”, referring to this number. There would also be manzai comedians or singers selling their acts to entertain the crowds at the festival. Before the days of newspapers and mass communication, these people were the main source of news for the locals, who head to the festival to fulfill their curiosity.

Now, this custom remains in form with different goods being sold, leaving some stalls such as goldfish fishing, mask shops and candied fruits that still continue to delight the children.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently, teaches at Tama Art University.

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Emergency Food Items

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
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With an unknown future constantly looming over us, it’s not a bad idea to prepare for disasters and emergency scenarios. We need water, shelter and support from each other. But most of all, we need food! Nonperishable food items that could last a long time not only gives you a boost of energy and comfort in a time of need, but having it around in the house also gives you peace of mind. And just because they’re made for emergencies doesn’t mean that they lack in flavor! In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 delicious and nutritious emergency food items.

rankNo. 1: Onisi Alpha rice Series

 

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Even in an emergency, don’t deprive yourself of the comfort of delicious white rice that tastes just like it would freshly steamed. Made possible by flash freezing alpha rice, all this emergency preserved rice needs is for hot water to be poured in and left for one minute to become steaming and fluffy. 100% domestic rice is used and can be kept at room temperature for five years. Available in 12 flavors such a five-mixed ingredients rice and prawn pilaf.

Price: 302 yen~432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The many flavors look delicious enough to eat even on a regular basis!”

 


 

rankNo. 2: Nomura, Emergency Provision Millet Biscuits in a Can

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Nomura manufacturing has been making snacks for more than 90 years. Millet biscuits, one of the long-selling products by Nomura, have been approved by the Kochi prefecture as emergency food. Unlike the regular Millet biscuits, these emergency provisions are baked and can be stored for 5 years. Even though they are considered as snacks, they provide substantial 431 kcal per 100 gram. No eggs, milk or butter is used; they are great snacks for those who have dietary restrictions as well. Beloved by children and adults alike, their slightly sweet and comforting flavor brings a smile to everyone.

Price: 594 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Millet biscuits are small and thin, they are easy to eat even for small children and the elderly.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: imuraya, AZUKI-BEANS POWER EIYO-KAN

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Azuki red beans are known for their nutritional value, and these yokan – or jellied azuki red bean paste bars – are a handy way of getting an energy boost. Each bar provides 171 calories (around one bowl of rice) and is easy to chew, with a light sweet taste and requires no preparation. The packaging is also designed to be easy to open even in the dark. This traditional sweet snack also makes for a great energy bar while doing outdoor activities such as running or cycling.

Price: 432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “It’s a great idea to turn this classic Japanese sweet into an emergency food. Azuki red bean is an important part of the Japanese diet after all!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: BOURBON, Canned Hard biscuit

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Baked till fragrant, these easily digestible canned biscuits are also fortified with calcium. Sugar cubes are also included in the can which is made of metal. The drying agent included helps to keep these biscuits fresh and delicious for 5 years. The container can be recapped for later consumption.

Price: 270 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “This is a long-selling item in Japan that is often kept as a regular snack at home, not just for emergencies.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Can de Bo-Lo’Gne

 

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This canned Danish bread brings emergency food to a whole new level. Unlike the usual canned bread which is dry and tasteless, Can de Bologne is fragrant, mildly sweet and moist and chewy like regular Danish pastry. Not only does it make for a great treat during emergency use, it is also suitable for children’s camps, mountain climbing or travels. This canned bread maintains its freshness for 3 years and is resistant to shock.

Price: 432 yen (including tax)
Category: Emergency Food
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “This delicious-looking Danish looks like it would make for a great breakfast any day!”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Ascending Mt. Fuji

Mt.Fuji

Mt. Fuji is Japan’s most iconic volcano and highest mountain. While visitors can make a trip to the mountain all year round, summer is the only season when you can climb straight to the peak. Before you put on your hiking boots here are some things you need to know.

Mt. Fuji Fun Facts

Mt. Fuji is the 17th World Heritage Site in Japan. There are a total of 19 sites (as of July ’15) — 15 cultural and four natural.

Mt. Fuji is one of the 3 Holy Mountains (三霊山, Sanreizan) together with Mt. Tate and Mt. Haku.

3 active volcanoes make up Mt. Fuji. They are Mt. Hakusan, Mt. Kengamine and Mt. Jojugatake.

300,000 people climb Mt. Fuji yearly, making it the most climbed mountain in the world. 70% of the climbers are Japanese while the remaining 30% are foreigners.

5 lakes surround the majestic mountain: Kawaguchiko, Yamanakako, Saiko, Motosuko and Shojiko. Kawaguchiko is a tourist favourite as it is better developed than the other lakes, and offers the most amenities and attractions.

Mt. Fuji’s climbing season only lasts 2 months each year, making it one of the shortest for any mountain in the world. It starts in July and ends as August finishes.

4 trails lead up to the peak: Yoshida in Yamanashi Prefecture and Subashiri, Gotemba and Fujinomiya in Shizuoka Prefecture. Each trail has 10 stations or mountain huts which provide climbers with provisions and basic rations.

In 2013 Mt. Fuji was recognized as a World Heritage Site at the annual UNESCO conference.

Climbing Notes

by Tomoji Kato (certified guide) Japan Mountain Guides Association, Kojitsusanso

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Climbing Season
Beginners are encouraged to hike during end July to early August due to the stable weather.

Getting up the Mountain
During climbing season there are car restrictions at Yamanashi Prefecture’s Yoshida, Fujinomiya and Subashiri Trail so check for shuttle buses before heading up.

Which Trail to Choose
The most popular trail, Yoshida, takes about 10 hours to ascend and descend while Fujinomiya is the shortest at 8 hours and Gotemba, the hardest at 16 hours.

Physical Preparedness
It is important to prepare physically before hiking up Mt. Fuji as the atmospheric and temperature changes can be challenging for first-timers.

Enjoy the Climb
Climbing Mt. Fuji is not a competition, hike at your own comfortable pace, and take snack and water breaks while enjoying the views.

Some Things to Bring
Pack high energy, easy-to-eat snacks, plenty of water, sunscreen, sunglasses, portable oxygen, climbing shoes, cold wear, rainwear, headlamp and trekking pole.

Tips for Altitude Sickness
Try to walk slowly without raising your heart rate. Drink warm water or tea and if you get a severe headache and start your descent as fast as possible.

Cash Only
Mountain huts along the trail only accept cash. They sell snacks (starting from ¥200), water and have toilets for use (¥100-¥200).

Bring a Trash Bag
You are responsible for your own trash on Mt. Fuji; be prepared to carry your trash along your hike until you descend from the mountain.

3 Faces of Mt. Fuji

While serene Mt. Fuji seems to be an immovable, unchanging giant, it has many hidden beautiful faces that are truly a marvel of nature to behold.

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Diamond Fuji
This rare phenomenon only happens around the winter solstice, during sunrise or sunset. When the sun aligns with the peak of Mt. Fuji, it causes the crown to shine like a diamond.
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Aka Fuji (Red Fuji)
When the skies are clear, the rising sun shines on the eastern face of Mt. Fuji and turns it red. This is usually seen between summer and fall.
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Kasa Fuji (Fuji with umbrella-shaped clouds)
The ever-changing cloud and skyscape above Mt. Fuji creates opportunities to capture once-in-a-lifetime images. Lenticular clouds over the peak are an especially unique sight.

Places with a view

Lake Saiko
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One of the Fuji Five Lakes, the scenery from the western end of the Lake Saiko is one of the most sought after by photographers, campers and trekkers.
Oishi Park

This park offers a stunning view of Mt. Fuji looming above Lake Kawaguchi, especially from mid-June to mid-July when the lavender field is full bloom.

Photo credits: Visitor Use Promotion Office, National Park Division, Nature Conservation Bureau, Ministry of the Environment, Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Ramen Notebook : Cold Ramen by Ramen Specialist – Ishiyama Hayato

What better way to cool down than with a bowl of ramen that “gives you the chills”? In Japan, ramen doesn’t have to be served hot and the possibilities are endless. Here are some selected shops that pride themselves in offering cool, chewy noodles with delicious clear broth. Slurp the summer heat away!

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Cold ramen (Hiyashi ramen) 900 yen

Beefy goodness from Yamagata
Taiboku @Oyama

Quality beef bones from Yamagata Japanese Black Wagyu are simmered over low flame for 12 hours every day to make a richly flavored but transparent broth. The key in making a good broth lies in the right combination of cooking time and temperature, said the shop owner, who is from Yamagata, the birthplace of cold ramen. Their roasted beef is a must taste. While most ramen shops top off their noodles with pork slices, Taiboku uses beef that is roasted over low heat until the meat is tender and almost melts in one’s mouth. Once the noodles are cooked, they are quickly poured into ice cubes for immediate cooling. Chewy noodles nestled in beefy goodness is heaven in a bowl.

taiboku-gaikan
Taiboku
Hours: 11:00~15:00 and 17:00~23:00, closed every Monday
Address: 60-15 Oyamahigashi-cho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo
Access: Two minutes’ walk from Oyama Station

 


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Cold ramen (Hiyashi ramen) 800 yen

Cold Tonkotsu Ramen from Kyushu
Saga Ramen Midori @Asakusa

Following his apprenticeship in a 59-year-old ramen restaurant in Saga of Kyushu, the Midori owner traveled to Tokyo to open his own joint, specializing in tonkotsu ramen. He made sure that pork thigh bones are cooked for 36 hours to render a delicate but intense broth. Unlike the usual thick tonkotsu broth, Midori’s broth is light and comforting, perfect for a hot summer’s day. The noodles are thicker than Hataka style ramen but silky smooth and cooked just to the right softness. Though served cold, the bone broth doesn’t gel and comes with a rich aftertaste.

midori-gaikan
Saga Ramen Midori
Hours: 11:30~14:30, closed every Wednesday
Address: 4-24-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Access: Five minutes’ walk from A2 Exit Tsukuba Express line Asakusa Station

 


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Yamagata Mizu Ramen 900 yen

Cold Ramen Alfresco Style
Pour café @Ginza

It’s hard to imagine that this classy café in Ginza has ramen on their menu. What’s more surprising is that they are one of the few that serves “Yamagata Water Ramen,” a chilled bowl of soy sauce base ramen that originates from Yamagata. Using dried fish, scallop, and mushroom as a base for broth is quite common in the northeast region of Japan. The taste is very different from the typical tonkotsu or chicken soup because the broth is first frozen into blocks and then taken out of the fridge right before serving. Decorated with green onions, boiled eggs, bamboo shoots and tasty pork, the ramen is definitely an enjoyment for both the palate and the eyes.

midori-gaikan
Pour café
Hours: 7:30~23:30 Monday to Thursday, 7:30~25:00 Friday, 9:00~23:30 Saturday, 9:00~18:00 Sunday and holidays (ramen is served after 11:30)
Address: 1-14-9 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Access: Two minutes’ walk from Ginza Ichome Station

 


ishi
Author
Ramen Specialist – Ishiyama Hayato
Ishiyama has authored more than 20 books on ramen and interviewed more than 2,000 ramen restaurants. He set up a ramen research club while in college and visited more than 7,000 ramen joints across Japan’s 47 prefectures—eating two bowls per day. Follow him for the latest ramen updates!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ishiyamahayato

 

Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern

$276.00

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See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

In Harmony with the Seasons : Natsu no Doyo

The eel is rich in protein and Vitamin A, all essential elements for a healthy constitution.text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
The eel is rich in protein and Vitamin A, all essential elements for a healthy constitution.
text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
The word “doyo” refers to the 18 days before the end of a season, and occurs four times a year. Within that period, the natsu no doyo no ushi no hi – which occurs before the beginning of Autumn – is a day the Japanese associate with the eating of eel, or unagi. But this tradition is actually not that old. One version of its origin is that Hiraga Gennai, a multi-talented scientist, inventor, author etc. from the Edo era in the 18th century, started this trend.
Apparently this idea for a doyo no ushi no hi came about after an enterprising owner of an unagi restaurant approached Hiraga for help to create some publicity for his shop. Hiraga, who was known to have restored a static electricity generator from the West, was interested in electricity and studying electric eels at the time. According to ancient Eastern divination, summer was thought to be related to the “fire” element which is countered by water. In the same way, water is represented by the color black. Hence it was thought that
black objects could counter the element of fire. The word “doyo” in the phrase doyo no ushi means water. So came the belief that on the day of the ushi, black objects are eaten to ward away evil. This was the basis on which eating black eel on a hot summer’s day would help to counter fatigue in the summer.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Mao”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Mao”

$165.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Summer Bedding & Sleepwear

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Many Japanese people believe that using an air conditioning while sleeping is not good for your health. Sometimes the air gets so dry and other times it just gets too cold. So, what do they do to get a good night sleep during steaming hot summer nights? Tokyu Hands has the answers!

rankNo.1: ICEMAX Extra, Pillow Pad®

 

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Made with a special patented fabric that dissipates heat and dries quickly, the pillow pad keeps your head cool and comfortable during the steamy summer nights. A mesh material is used for the back lining, which helps release moisture as well. When used with an air-conditioner, the pillow feels cool to the touch and keeps that quality throughout the night. Without a doubt, this will enhance the quality of your sleep and you’ll wake up well rested in the morning. Machine washable. Size: 50cm x 50cm. Material: Polyethylene (80%), Cupro (20%). Back lining material: Polyester (100%).

Product Name: ICEMAX Extra, Pillow Pad®
Price: 3,758 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “It looks like just an ordinary pillow cover, but the benefits are enormous. This is a quick and easy solution to combat hot summer!”

 


 

rankNo.2: Tsuhan Seikatsu, Gauze Pajamas for Women

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A long selling product for over 18 years, these pajamas just went through a makeover. The new design offers reversible tops (solid and stripes) with wide sleeves to allow more airflow. No cumbersome buttons or annoying seams. Made with a double layered gauze, these pajamas feel fresh and dry and allows air to go between the layers. Besides, did you know that the breathability of gauze is 9 times more than that of cotton? With these pajamas, you won’t wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Instead you will be dry, comfortable and refreshed till morning. Machine washable. Material: Cotton (100%). Made in Japan.

Product Name: Tsuhan Seikatsu, Gauze Pajama for Women, Medium length
Price: 8,800 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleep goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “I like the unisex and ageless design of these Gauze Pajamas. They look good and feel good.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Salaf Bed Padding, Double Size

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This three-dimensional bed padding has everything customers are looking for: highly breathable, cushioning property, cold and soft to the touch. Add this to your normal bedding, you can instantly feel the improvement and get a great night’s sleep. Not only that, it’s very easy to clean! Just put it into a laundry mesh bag and machine wash as usual.

Product Name: Salaf, Bed Padding, Double Size, SC-140
Price: 21,600 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “We sweat more than we think while sleeping, so a quick drying quality is extremely helpful and sanitary!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Suhada-sou: Smooth and Dry Pillow

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A rush grass pillow made by a traditional Tatami product manufacturer with over 130 years of history. The smell of fresh grass relaxes your body and soul, which is why this type of pillow has been favored in Japan for a long time. While most of the rush grass is usually dyed with chemicals, Suhada-sou pillows only use natural grasses. The surface of the pillow is pressed flat so that it will feel smooth and dry. The inside filling is treated with deodorant materials. The height is adjustable with the drawstrings on the side. Size: 30cm x 50cm. Materials: Rush grass, Polyethylene pipes. Made in Japan.

Product Name: Suhada-sou, Smooth and Dry Pillow, 30 x 15cm
Price: 2,138 yen (including tax)
Category: Sleeping goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The rush grass pillow has a natural refreshing aroma which will put you at ease instantly.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: ICEMAX, Long Underpants for Gentlemen®

 

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These underpants are made with a high strength polyethylene fiber known as Dyneema. If the room temperature is lower than 29 degrees Celsius and there is some air movement, the fiber gives you a wonderful sensation of coldness. The material also contains cotton, so any sweat and moisture will be absorbed and keep your skin dry and smooth. Made in Japan. Material: Polyethylene (60%), Cotton (40%). Size: L or LL.

Product Name: ICEMAX Long Underpants for Gentlemen®, LL
Price: 10,584 yen (including tax)
Category: Underwear
WAttention Editor’s comment: “More often than not, long underpants are very form-fitting. But these underpants are loose-fitting to allow more airflow.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

In Harmony with the Seasons : Obon

This dish is soba noodles and a variety of gourds seasoned with soy sauce and rapeseed oil, with a generous portion of hemp seeds scattered around. Soba has the power to cool your body, and hemp seeds to warm your body, it is said.text & coordination / Rieko Ido, photo / Hajime Watanabe
This dish is soba noodles and a variety of gourds seasoned with soy sauce and rapeseed oil, with a generous portion of hemp seeds scattered around. Soba has the power to cool your body, and hemp seeds to warm your body, it is said.
text & coordination / Rieko Ido, photo / Hajime Watanabe
As the height of the summer approaches, Obon season gets underway. Large and small fireworks, Tanabata festivals, Shoro-nagashi festivals, and numerous folk dance gatherings… crowds in Yukata (casual Kimono) flock to shrines and temples to enjoy summer funfairs. Street stalls offer games like ‘catch the goldfish’. Old-fashioned penny candies glimmer magically under the flickering lights of the stalls.
Obon is the week when the souls
passed away are supposed to come back to spend time with their family or descendants. The festival takes many forms – there is even a masquerade dance which carries on till dawn.
Vegetables with stick legs are prepared for the souls to ride on between worlds. Cucumber is prepared for the arrival trip, and eggplant is for returning to heaven, loaded with souvenirs. The sticks are made of hemp stalk core, which is also used as candlewick.
Seasonal dishes will be prepared in welcome. Strong smelling herbs like garlic are avoided as they deter the spirits, just as in the story of Dracula.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

Edo Tokyo Soba no Kai : One-day soba making lesson

Become a Soba master

Love eating Soba (buckwheat) noodles? You’re not the only one, as these noodles have been a beloved specialty in Tokyo ever since the Edo period. Especially since soba is considered auspicious in Japan.

Seiiro soba

If you’re wanting to do more than just eat soba, why not try making it? See if you’ve got what it takes to become a Soba master!
Edo Tokyo Soba no Kai is a soba making school in Tokyo that offers one-day lessons on making your own Soba by hand with English interpreters.

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Learn how to start from ground soba grains and shaping the dough to rolling and cutting. The instructors do a good job in walking you through the steps.

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And of course, afterwards you can enjoy the deliciously fresh soba noodles that you’ve made!

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Prior reservation is required. You can do that in English by sending an email to [email protected]

■Days: One-day classes are offered in English on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
■Hours: 11am–1:30pm; 3pm–5:30pm
■Address: Higashi Tateishi 3-248, Katsushika
■Access: 5-min walk from Keisei Tateishi Station (Keisei Oshigami Line)
■URL: http://www.edotokyosoba.com (Japanese)

In Harmony with the Seasons : Tanabata

Traditional delicacies of the summer: “Somen (fine noodles)”were originally intended as a treat, dedicated to deceased children so that they wouldn’t feel neglected. The paper mulberry leaves were used to write wishes on, later replaced by the colorful strips of paper used for Tanabata decorations. text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
Traditional delicacies of the summer: “Somen (fine noodles)”were originally intended as a treat, dedicated to deceased children so that they wouldn’t feel neglected. The paper mulberry leaves were used to write wishes on, later replaced by the colorful strips of paper used for Tanabata decorations.
text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
Japan has four distinct seasons and there is a strong tradition of rituals and festivals closely connected to each season. Two of the major festivals of the summer are “Tanabata” and “Obon”. The actual dates of these events varies depending on the region, but both are festivals of remembrance, for literally ’communing’ with the souls of people passed away, including ancestors. The “Mukaebi (welcoming torch)”
and the “Okuribi (farewell torch)” are lit at each end of the Obon period to help souls navigate between worlds. Food also plays an important part in Japanese rituals. Pictured above are the seasonal delicacies of summer, such as chilled watermelon, somen (fine noodles usually eaten cold), edamame (young soya beans in the pod), azuki bean jelly,pickles… they all have significance. The origin of the 5 colored cloth and paper mulberry leaves
lies in the tradition of animism: they are used to thank mother nature and pray for a good harvest. This is a picturesque, traditional summer table.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

Summer With A Bang! – Top 3 Runners-up Fireworks Festivals in Japan 2016

From breathtaking patterns in the sky to exhilarating festival parades, summer brings out the passion in Japan. And if our selection of top 3 Fireworks Festivals in Japan wasn’t enough for you, these 3 other selections are up to par!

Toyota Oiden Matsuri Fireworks Festival
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture

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This up and coming festival features collaborations with the Japan Fireworks Artists Association, a synchronised “melody fireworks” show with cylinder fireworks, a wide starmine display and a 30 meter tall Niagara Falls programme.

Event information:

No. of fireworks: 13,000
No. of spectators: 360,000
Date: Jul. 31, 2016
Time: 7:10pm – 9pm
Address: Yahagi River, Shirahama Park area
Access: Take the Shinkansen to Nagoya, change to the JR Chuo Honsen line to Maetsuru, and take the Meitetsu to Toyota City Station. A 10-minute walk from the station.

Fukuroi Enshu Fireworks
Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture

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A popular programme in this display is the “Japan’s Most Popular Melodies Starmine”, a fireworks display synchronised to popular tunes held by the lake. One of the few musical fireworks in Japan, it is also representative of the Tokai area (Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefecture).

Event information:

No. of fireworks: 25,000
No. of spectators: 410,000
Date: Aug. 6, 2016
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Address: Haranoyagawa Water Park, 3164-1 Aino, Fukuroi City
Access: Take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to the JR Tokaido Line Aino Station, and walk for 20 minutes to the venue.

Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition
Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture

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The Tsuchiura fireworks competition is said to be where the starmine firework technique began, making it the go-to place to catch the most advanced technical displays; impressing all viewers as they burst in a harmony of colours and shapes.

Event information:

No. of fireworks: 20,000
No. of spectators: 700,000
Date: Oct. 1, 2016
Time: 6pm-8:30pm
Address: Sakuragawa river banks (in the vicinity of Ohashi school)
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Joban Line to the Tsuchiura West exit, and walk for 30 minutes, or take the shuttle bus from the station.

The Matsuri Manual : 8 types of fireworks you need to know

One of the highlights of Japanese summer are the fireworks. There is just something about going to a fireworks festival (hanabi taikai) and seeing the summer night sky being lit up with breathtaking patterns that makes your summer experience in Japan feel complete. And these fireworks will definitely not disappoint! Here we will introduce the types of fireworks that you can look forward to in seeing. See if you can find your favorite!

Chrysanthemum・ 菊先

A spherical explosion of coloured stars with a short burn time, followed by crackling.

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Willow・ 柳

Similar to the chrysanthemum but the flame trails extinguish gradually, creating a willow tree-like effect.

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Bee・ 蜂

Emits a high-pitched sound while twirling in random directions for a truly attention-grabbing display.

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Thousand Wheel・ 千輪

An explosion comprising many small spherical fireworks bursting into a collage of colours and hues.

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UFO / Saturn・ 土星

A combination of hanabi that form the shape of planet Saturn before slowly dissipating.

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Smile・ スマイル

A combination of fireworks that form a smiley face – always a great hit with children!

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Niagara・ ナイアガラ

Long, flowing, brilliantly illuminated fireworks that resemble the Niagara Falls in America.

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Starmine・ スターマイン

A continuous firing of hanabi in a collage of shapes and colours to create patterns.

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Have you read the other articles in this series?
The Matsuri Manual : Festival Style Guide
The Matsuri Manual : Festival Food Guide
The Matsuri Manual : Matsuri Games

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Small) Peony Tang Grass

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Small) Peony Tang Grass

$53.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

$74.00

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See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Exercise Goods for Busy People

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Are you ready for summer? For those who are not comfortable showing off your body, the WAttetion team has put together a list of easy to use and effective exercise goods for you. Try it at home and you’ll be ready for a beach in no time!

rankNo.1: Dr.Scholl, MediQttO (TM)

 

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MediQtto started in England as stockings for medical purposes. It helps you to get tighter, slimmer legs by reducing puffiness and improving blood flow through applying the same compression level as the medical stockings used in England. Within two hours, you’ll be able to see the difference by using Quick Refre. The best part of this product is you can wear this anytime and anywhere: whether you’re working in front of your desk, walking, driving or even while doing housework! Thanks to carefully selected materials and a unique weaving technique, Quick Refre is comfortable to wear and can be worn on top of your regular stockings. The special wing design also makes it easy to tell right from left, and extra ribbing enables you to put on easily. You can get slimmer legs without working too hard!

Product Name: MediQtto Quick Refre Short, Free size
Price: 1,922 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The pressure feels very comfortable and relieves swollen legs. They come in a variety of colors and lengths to fit your style.”

 


 

rankNo.2: La. VIE, My Versatile Stretch Roller

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This cute 30cm (1ft) roller is perfect for those who suffer from having tight shoulders, stiff backs, or lower back pain. Roll it over your shoulders and arms, or try it on your thighs and calves. With this small and compact roller, you can now exercise in any room of your house. Not only that, once you’re done exercising, you can wrap it with a towel and use it as a pillow.

Product Name: La. VIE, My Versatile Stretching Roller
Price: 1,008 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “With its versatile design, you can use it as an exercise roller, pillow or cushion!”

 


 

rankNo. 3: La. VIE, Foldable Yoga Mat, Matte Salmon

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You don’t need a special carrier for your yoga mat any more. This foldable yoga mat can be stored flat and compact. Tuck it in your suitcase or put it in your bag, anywhere you go the yoga mat comes with you; may it be a picnic in the park, or your next vacation spot. Now, you don’t have to compromise your exercise schedule when you’re on vacation. If you need a little bit of additional comfort under your body, fold it twice or three times to get an extra thickness.

Product Name: La. VIE, Foldable Yoga Mat, Matte Salmon
Price: 2,036 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “I always thought carrying a Yoga mat in a special tube-shaped carrier was cumbersome but now I can carry it in my bag!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: TURBO Cell Long Shaper

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Just like the compression socks, wearable exercise goods are becoming increasingly popular among health conscious people. Available only in Japan, the TURBO Cell Long Shaper helps slim down the excess fat around your hips and belly. An improvement from the previous shaper, this new version is lighter, 15% thinner, and contains more elastic fabric for comfort. Three layers of fabric help to heat up the body and encourage sweating. The Long Shaper covers 360° around your belly, so you will look good from any angle.

Product Name:
TURBO Cell Long Shaper, BLK, M
Price: 5,940 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “With the TURBO Cell Long Shaper you can get the curves you’ve always wanted.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: NAGARA Cushion Smart

 

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A cute exercise cushion developed by a fitness club. With just one cushion, you can work out using a variety of exercise routines including stretching, muscle training, and aerobic exercises without going to the gym. Furthermore, you can do it while you are watching TV or working at the computer. The Internal rubber structure slowly applies pressure, so you don’t have to worry about straining your joints or over exhaustion.

Product Name: NAGARA Cushion Smart
Price: 6,458 yen (including tax)
Category: Exercise goods
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Studies also show that a little bit of stretching and exercise helps people destress and relax.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nagasaki Onsen Yasuragi Ioujima Resort Hotel

Get yourself pampered with some of the best hot springs, food and sights that Nagasaki has to offer

Nagasaki Onsen Yasuragi Ioujima Resort Hotel is located on an island facing the sea of Nagasaki and is surrounded by picturesque ocean views. Only a 30-50 minute drive away from Nagasaki Station, it is also accessible from various tourist spots in Nagasaki.

Sunset view
Sunset view
This sprawling resort complex is facilitated with four different kinds of hotels, two natural hot springs, and a plethora of different dining options.

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Enjoy the superb panoramic views from open-air baths.
Enjoy superb panoramic views from the open-air baths.
Cuisine is also a big draw here since Nagasaki specialty seafood and meats are available at the Japanese and buffet restaurants. The summer barbecue and other dining options ensure that everybody’s tastes are met.

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You will never run out of things to do either. Getting tired of their extensive hot spring and sports facilities? Swim at the beach during summer or rent a bicycle to go around. Get a guided tour of iconic Gunkanjima, or take a taxi tour to see the night view of Nagasaki, one of the best night views in the world.

Gunkanjima
Gunkanjima
Accessible, comfortable and downright beautiful, all in all this resort offers the best package to give you a relaxing and healing vacation.

Information

Nagasaki Onsen Yasuragi Ioujima
Location: 1-3277-7 Ioujima-machi Nagasaki City, Nagasaki, Japan 851-1201
Access: About 40 min. by free shuttle bus from Nagasaki Station (reservations required)
URL: http://www.ioujima.jp/en/

2016 Tokyo Bay Summer Night Cruise Information

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Hop on board this definitive Tokyo summer experience!

Tokai Kisen, a company that runs passenger ship tours and routes in around Tokyo Bay, proudly announced the opening of the 66th Tokyo Bay Summer Night Cruise. Participate in this 2-hour cruise aboard the `Salvia-go`, a passenger ship that can be boarded by up to 1,500 people and drink in the beautiful view of Tokyo’s city lights while enjoying food, beverages, music and good company.

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In addition, you can get a special discount on weekdays if you join the tour wearing a yukata (light summer kimono). Do not worry if you do not have one – there’s a rental service available at the terminal! You can come empty handed and go home filled with fun summer memories.

If you’re not yet convinced, read this review of last year’s event written by a WAttention reporter.

Prior reservation is required so make sure to reserve as soon as possible!

Reservation

TEL 03-3437-6119 (9:00~20:00)
WEB http://www.nouryousen.jp/payment.html (Japanese)

Cruise Information

Dates: Jul. 1 - Oct. 10, 2016
Hours: 19:15~21:00 *boarding starts at 18:50
Location: Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal
Access: 7 min. walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station, 7 min. walk from Toei Subway Oedo line or Asakusa line Daimon Station, 1 min. walk form Yurikamome line Takeshiba Station
Fee: Adults 2,600 yen
High school or Jr High School students 1,050yen
Elementary school students 550 yen
・This fee includes boarding, free-flow drink and tax
・1,000 yen discount for passengers dressed in yukata (weekdays only, does not include Sat/Sun/Public holidays)

Yukata Rental Information

Summer night cruise Yukata rental shop
URL: http://yukata-natsu.tokyo/ (Japanese)
Rental fee:
Prices for renting the yukata and kitsuke (help with putting the yukata on) starts from 4,000 yen.
You can also bring your own yukata and get help with putting it on for 3,000yen.

Package plan:
1. Boarding pass + kitsuke only
4,500yen (weekdays) / 5,500yen (Sat/Sun/Public holidays)

2. Boarding pass + Full Set rental
6,000yen (weekdays) / 7,000yen (Sat/Sun/Public holidays)

(All rates including tax)

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”

$138.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Dragon”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Fude Pen with Lacquer Decoration “Dragon”

$165.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

In Harmony with the Seasons : Kashou Day

The blessings may have been believed to be greater with sweets that depicted the beauty of nature. These customs were introduced to the Imperial Court after the Muromachi period.text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
The blessings may have been believed to be greater with sweets that depicted the beauty of nature. These customs were introduced to the Imperial Court after the Muromachi period.
text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe
Prior to the Meiji period, a custom had been observed in Japan to eat sweets on the day marking Kashou. Legend has it that the custom originated with the backdrop of an epidemic that had been going around in 848 during the Heian era. Emperor Ninmyo had renamed the period Kashou and performed a ritual with an offering of 16 pieces of beautiful sweets as he prayed for the good health of his people on the 16th day of June.
While there seem to be various views on where this number 16
came from, the 16th of June in the old lunar calendar seems to fall under a full moon, or the sixteenth day of a lunar month during the peak heat of summer. Perhaps the people at the time offered prayer on the night that was brightly lit by the moon when the world was believed to be linked with the other universe, offering delectable sweets to try to ward off evil that would come from the sixteen directions of the worlds. Confectionaries had been believed to soothe the violent souls of beings from the other world.
These types of festivals were conducted in all parts of Japan during those ancient periods when the curses of vengeful spirits had been believed to cause an illness or a disaster.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

Eat Vegan and Gluten-free in Shibuya

Whether you are a full-time healthy eater, gluten intolerant, or just looking for a quick way to cleanse yourself after eating that mouth-watering spicy ramen or sinfully good burger, this tiny cafe and juice bar tucked away in a backstreet in Shibuya should be your next destination!

WAttention staff tried their house salad, priced at 1,000 yen. The volume is overflowing and judging by the colorful array of vegetables, this bowl is jam-packed with much-needed vitamins and minerals.

housesalad

And since we love sweets (proven by this, this, and this article), we also tried their gluten-free muffin made from almonds, raisins, coconuts, chia seeds and oranges and we were not disappointed! Apparently they change the flavor of the muffins every few days or so since we previously had one with walnuts and bananas.

muffin-salad

They are also well known for their cleansing cold-pressed juices and smoothies, even providing cleansing courses where you can buy a set of bottled juice to drink in 1-5 days.

Sky High Aoyama
Hours: 10am – 7pm(12am – 5pm on Sundays)
Address: Aoyama TN Building 2-3-4 Shibuya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
URL: http://skyhigh-tokyo.jp/

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 USB Fans

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

Although it’s not officially summer in Japan, we’re experiencing the hottest year in the history of the planet. In order to stay cool and comfortable at the office, we have chosen efficient, energy saving and good looking USB fans just for you.

rankNo.1: Pieria, Slim Contact Fan

 

TH-fan01

The Piera Slim Compact Fan utilizes three different power sources: USB, battery and power outlet. Hidden inside the slim design is a 13 blade fan which produces a powerful airflow. You can adjust its speed between two different settings. The foldable design allows you store it flat in a drawer when not in use, freeing you from a cluttered desk space. Comes with a 1.2m USB cable. Power consumption is 2.2W (with the AC adaptor).

Product Name: Pieria, Slim Compact Fan
Price: 3,218 yen (including tax)
Category:  Fan
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Beside its simple and elegant design, you can also choose the finish from white, dark wood or natural wood to fit in with your personal decor.”

 


 

rankNo.2: Mood, Desk Stand Fan

TH-fan02

The Mood Desk Stand Fan is designed after an old-school desk lamp. You can adjust the angle of the head so that the breeze can blow into the direction you desire. It can be powered by via USB or a power outlet. Power consumption is 2.8W (with the AC adapter). Two speed settings are available. Comes in three different colors: blue, white, and gray.

Product Name: Mood, Desk Stand Fan
Price:  5,378 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”The long neck helps to direct the air in any direction you want and the retro design is suitable for offices, homes or even retail stores.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: RHYTHM, Silky Wind II

TH-fan03

Don’t be fooled by its compact size. The Rhythm Silky Wind II now oscillates so that the air doesn’t blow in just one direction. The double-fan structure is another added feature in which the back fan collects fresh air and the front fan directs the airflow. The two fans inside turn in opposite directions, canceling any excess noises. This fan has all the features that users are looking for: comes with a 1m USB cable, quiet, energy saving, and oscillation.

Product Name: RHYTHM, Silky Wind II, 9ZF005RH02
Price: 3,780 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment:  “The noise cancellation system is a great feature when using it at the office.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Elecom, Powerful USB Fan

TH-fan04

For those who are looking for a powerful fan, this is a perfect solution. With a stepless speed motor, you can adjust the air volume to your exact likings. This fan has more flexibility than any of the other USB fans. You can clip it on a desk or hang it on a wall, and adjust the angle right and left and up and down. Not only that, the head oscillates as well. Comes with a 1.5m USB cable.

Product Name: Elecom, High-volume USB Fan, Black, U39BK
Price: 2,678 yen (including tax)
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment:  “If you have a limited amount of desk space, the clip on the back and the wall hooks are a real space saver.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Elecom, Compact USB Fan

 

TH-fan05

Made of an aluminum frame, this fan is tough and durable. Slip resistant rubber adds stability to the feet of the fan, making it perfect for office use. The head moves up and down, so it’s easy to adjust the airflow. You can turn it on and off while it’s plugged into a USB port. Comes with a 1m USB cable.

Product Name: Elecom, Compact USB Fan, U35WH
Price: 1,922 yen (including tax).
Category: Fan
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”In order to survive the endless hot summer days, durability is a must.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Kiya

001_R
Designed by Mandai Architects

Slice of Edo Life
Kiya has been specializing in cutlery and knives since 1792 and its shop banner and logo can be spotted in historic art pieces depicting Nihonbashi in 1805. Here you can find traditional handmade knives and knives using modern materials and designs. Unlike Western kitchen knives, there are many specialized knives used for different ingredients, be it vegetable, fish, eel or meats. From steel to stainless knives, there’s sure to be one to fit the cut.

002_R
Designed by Mandai Architects
004_R
Kiya Haou-Kamakata 180mm: 20,000 yen

Shop Info

kiya-1
Cutlery Kiya
Address: Nihombashi Muromachi 2-2-1 COREDO Muromachi 1F, Chuo
Hours: 10am – 8pm (Closed on Jan. 01)
URL: http://www.kiya-hamono.co.jp/english/

Centuries of Craftsmanship : Nishikawa

nishikawa-hist

Not Resting On Laurels

Bedclothes and sleeping goods maker Nishikawa has been in Nihonbashi for over 400 years since the Muromachi era. Nishikawa has history of pacesetting innovation, dating back from improving the mosquito net and futons centuries ago to modern ergonomic mattresses today. Nishikawa provides sleep consulting using the latest technology to provide sleeping goods best suited to individual needs.

For a fully customized pillow fine-tuned to your personal measurements
Get a fully customized pillow fine-tuned to your personal measurements and preferences

Nishikawa craftsmen combine tradition with technology.
Nishikawa craftsmen combine tradition with technology.
Nishikawa’s AIR mattress is one example of Nishikawa’s pioneering spirit.
Nishikawa’s AIR mattress is one example of Nishikawa’s pioneering spirit.

Shop Info

店外
Nihombashi Nishikawa
Address: Nihonbashi 1-5-3 Nihombashi Nishikawa Bld, Chuo
Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm

Nihonbashi or Nihombashi? Why we used two different spellings

nihonbashi-M-N

In the articles within our website, you will see two different spellings for Nihonbashi.

Typically, Japanese words are spelled out phonetically, but the letter “ ん” is spelled with either an “n” or “m”, depending on how you want to pronounce it. In fact, these mixed spellings can be seen on the streets of Nihonbashi and other areas as well.

In regards to this variation in spelling, we have established our own set of rules.

We’ve decided to adhere to the brand identities, by using Nihombashi for the names of certain stores and facilities.

Articles using the spelling Nihombashi include:

For others, we used Nihonbashi which is now the standard for addresses and road signs.

Articles using the spelling Nihonbashi include:

We hope you understand our intention and the nuances of Japanese linguistics.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 “Kanae” Lucky items

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 “Kanae” Lucky items

$65.00

See in store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

$76.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Beer Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

After a long walk in a historical neighborhood or non-stop spending spree in a high-end shopping district, the best way to quench your thirst is to get an ice cold beer! Here’s a few wonderful products that will create a silky smooth foam for the perfect head of beer, now you can enjoy draft beer at home.

rankNo.1: BEERSMOOTHER II

 

TokyuHands-beer1

This product is extremely easy to use! Just attach the BEERSMOOTHER II to a regular store-bought beer can (350ml/500ml) and pour beer into a tumbler. The result is a fluffy and smooth foam just like a draft beer.

Product Name: Houkoku Kogyo Co. Ltd., BEERSMOOTHER II
Price: 756 yen (including tax)
Category:  Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This is the ultimate foolproof beer product. Easy and quick!”

 


 

rankNo.2:Standing Type Beer Server

TokyuHands-beer2

Equipped with a super-fast ultrasonic vibration system (40 kilohertz), this high tech beer server creates unbelievably creamy foam. All you have to do is place a can inside the device and it will do the rest. There’s a lever on top that allows you to control the amount of foam you desire. This server will instantly turn your home into a popular beer hall.

Product Name: Standing Type Beer Server; GH-BEERF-BK
Price:  9,914 yen(including tax)
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”If you are a serious beer enthusiast, this server will not disappoint you.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Beer Foamer Stick

TokyuHands-beer3

After pouring beer in a tumbler, put the Beer Foamer Stick in and turn it on. This magic wand uses ultrasonic waves to create a smooth foam. Its portability is also a plus.

Product Name: Beer Foamer Stick GH-BEERE-BK
Price: 4,298 yen (including tax)
Category: Beer Products
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Because of its size and portability, you can bring it to an outdoor party or a picnic.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: Ready to drink Gekihie Tumbler

TokyuHands-beer4

First of its kind in the industry! This stainless tumbler cools down the temperature of beer to the extreme. The secret is hidden in its layered construction. The ice layer between the inner and outer layers and a vacuum thermal insulation cools beer down to icy cold in less than a minute. To create the ice layer, pour water in the tumbler, insert the inner cup with a gasket and close it tightly, then keep it in the freezer for 12 hours.

Product Name: Doshisha, Ready to drink Gekihie Tumbler, 300MT; DSGT-300MT
Price: 2,138 yen (including tax)
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”The tumbler not only cools beer but also prevents condensation.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: MENU Beer Foamer

 

TokyuHands-beer5

This elegant foam maker allows you to make the foam separately. Pour a small amount of beer into the Beer Foamer and push the button on top for 30 seconds. A small whisk turns and creates creamy aromatic foam. Gently pour the foam on top of your brew for a picturesque beer that’s ready for a taste.

Product Name: MENU Beer Foamer 4690239, 8cmφ
Price: 7,344 yen (including tax).
Category: Beer Product
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”This is an unconventional way of creating a perfect beer but the foam created by the MENU Beer Foamer is soft, dense and long lasting.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”

$138.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

WAttention Photo Contest Summer 2016 Results

WAttention would like to thank all fans of Japan for sending us your best shots of Nihombashi, Wagashi, Cruises, and Japanese Summer for our fifth photo contest.

Due to lack of submissions and design restrictions, we are unable to elect any to receive the first prize, but we were still very impressed by some of the pictures that were submitted. Here is a selection of our favorites!

Our favorite is this amazing photo taken at Hokokuji Temple in Kamakura, Japan. The shot, taken from a low angle, emphasizes the tall bamboo and you can see the sunlight filtering through the green leaves, capturing the serene and slightly mysterious atmosphere of the place.

Hōkoku-ji Temple (Bamboo Temple) by Masahiko Futami
Hōkoku-ji Temple (Bamboo Temple) by Masahiko Futami

Here are some other honorable mentions.

Sunbathing in Kyoto. - by Monika Syroka
Sunbathing in Kyoto. – by Monika Syroka
Untitled by Olivier Moreno
Untitled by Olivier Moreno
Mosquito coil and watermelon by 馬場貴大
Mosquito coil and watermelon by 馬場貴大
Wagashi - little artistic wonders by Alex Ortega
Wagashi – little artistic wonders by Alex Ortega

Thank you for all your beautiful photos.

The WAttention Autumn 2016 Photo Contest is scheduled to open in July 2016. We look forward to your submissions!

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box “Sakura”

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

akashiya
Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box “Sakura”

$29.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Bestselling Pillows

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

For those who are having a hard time sleeping on vacation, we have put together a list of bestselling pillows at TOKYU HANDS. Each pillow has unique features to improve the quality of sleep. Find a perfect pillow and start sleeping like a baby.

rankNo.1: Magniflex®, Pillow Grande

 

01

Made with a special material called Eliocel Mind Foam, the pillow adjusts its shape to the contour of your head. This 70cm x 45cm size pillow supports not only your head but also your neck and shoulders, giving you a sensation of lightness. It’s no surprise why Magniflex® is favored by many high-end hotels in Europe.

Price: 18,442 yen (including tax)
Category:  Pillows
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The Magniflex pillow molds itself perfectly to the shape of your head. It’s like having a custom made pillow!”

 


 

rankNo.2:Tempur®, Double Jersey Original Neck Pillow,XS

02

The unique shape of Tempur® Neck Pillow helps people sleep in a natural position. Your head, neck and spine rest comfortably in a straight line allowing your upper body muscles to relax. A complimentary pillow case is made with a stretchy and quick-dry fabric. Available in Jr., Small, Medium and Large sizes as well.

Price:  12,960 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s comment: ”Testament to the quality and satisfaction of the Tempur pillows, they have fans all over the world.”

 


 

rankNo. 3: Francebed, Aerate Pillow Comfort,Hard

 

03

A pillow made by a well-established Japanese furniture maker, Francebed. The Aerate Pillow uses urethane foam which is cut into a special shape to provide maximum comfort and breathability. It disperses the weight of your head and supports it gently. Both the pillow and the cover are treated with bamboo charcoal which gets rid of any musty smells.

Price: 6,151 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Great support and deodorization are features we all want for our pillow.”

 


 

rankNo. 4: MOGU®, Powder Beads Pillow

04

Because of the powder beads filling and the detachable urethane foam sheet, you can adjust the height and hardness of the MOGU® Powder Beads PIllow in 6 different ways. The pillow comes with the MOGU® original knitted pillow cover, which is soft and silky and it’s also machine washable.

Price: 6,480 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”I’m one of those people who can be really picky about the hardness of a pillow. My ideal product is finally here.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Gentle Pillow for Hair, Milkcrown

 

05

Did you know the friction against a pillow damages your hair? Be kind to your crowning glory with the hair-friendly Milkcrown pillow. This pillow uses a special fabric that is treated with natural milk protein to reduce friction. Not only that, it also moisturizes your hair as well. Your hair might have a natural healthy glow in the morning.

Price: 4,980 yen (including tax).
Category: Pillows
WAttention Editor’s Comment: ”Milkcrown is known for its softness and is also recommended for those with delicate skin.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Ohanami Sweet Treats

Ohanami is the Japanese word for cherry blossom viewing. There is a Japanese saying, “Hana yori mochi”, which means “Rice ball rather than flowers” – referring for the tendency for people’s practical preference for some edible delight rather than enjoying the beauty of the sakura above them.

With sweets as delightful as these, little wonder that the mochi wins our hearts and stomachs!

Sakura mochi

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Sakura mochi is a piece of mochi dyed pink, which is filled with sweet bean paste and then partially wrapped with a salted cherry leaf. You can choose to eat the leaf or not. It is said that sakura mochi was invented in Tokyo during the Edo period.

Ohanami dango

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A pink, white, and green dango on a stick is called O-Hanami Dango.  There are many stories about the colors of the dango.  The pink and white are said to bring good luck, and green is known to ward off evil.

Ichigo daifuku

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Also known as strawberry daifuku, this is a strawberry wrapped in chewy mochi skin. Because of its connection to the seasonal fruit, it is often eaten during springtime.

Nerikiri

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Nerikiri are Japanese sweets in different shapes that reflect the season. They’re made from white kidney bean paste (shiro-an) and soft mochi.

Sakura manjyu

Manjyu dough is also made with rice but it is different from mochi. Sakura Manjyu is filled with sweet bean paste and sometimes there is a cherry leaf on top.

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And many more…

Of course there are many other sakura-themed sweets. Every spring confectionery manufacturers release limited-edition sakura version of food and drinks. So if you look around Japanese stores in springtime, you will see the famous pink flowers everywhere. Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the view though!

 

 

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 2 ‘Onami’

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 2 ‘Onami’

$40.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

WAttention Channel


Published on Apr 11, 2016
The White Heron Dance in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Filmed on April 10th 2016



Published on Apr 7, 2016
Thank you for all your be autiful photos.
The Wattention Summer 2016 Photo Contest is now open for entries.



Published on Apr 6, 2016
WAttention reports on the Samurai & Ninja Show in Asakusa.
Want to experience all the classic highlights of Japanese culture and history but only have around an hour to spare? Then this show is the one for you. Check out our full report.



Published on Apr 6, 2016
Sanrio character PomPomPurin is 20 years old! For this celebration Sanrio placed huge, fluffy – and huggable- ads of the character in Shibuya station. Wattention staff tested the big, fluffy pudding dogs and found them to be extremely soft and adorable.



Published on Mar 30, 2016
See what crossing the Shibuya Scramble feels like in this 360° video. Look around using your cursor or finger.



Published on Feb 1, 2016
All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament & International Robot Sumo Tournament 2015
The All Japan Robot Sumo Tournament has been held annually since 1989, with Ryogoku Kokugikan as its venue. Since 2014, the International Robot Sumo Tournament is also held on the same day.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

$152.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Puzzle and Toys

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Puzzle and Toys!

rankNo. 1: nanoblock® “Tokyo Tower”

01

Take home a piece of Tokyo! Or make that 390 odd nano-sized pieces of Tokyo Tower – perfect to remember your trip by!

Price: 1,998 yen (including tax)
Category: Block
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for those with dextrous hands! The minute size of this toy belies the enormous sense of achievement after completing it.”

 


 

rankNo. 2: Fridgeezoo HOGEN

02
©創通・サンライズ

Are you one of those people who open the fridge and then forget what you were looking for? Or had no idea why you opened the fridge in the first place? These little fellas live in your fridge and start talking at you once they sense the fridge door is ajar – be it from telling you to shut the door quickly, or a warm greeting to perk you up (you can choose from different characters and Japanese dialects!), you’ll never go home to a quiet fridge again.

Price: 2,036 yen (including tax)
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s comment: “You’ll find yourself talking back to these little fridge friends and their wisecracks!”

 


 

rankNo. 3:Meta Nano “Gundam Gold”

03

Be amazed at the laser-cut precision of the pieces in this premium gold metal that click in place to form a perfectly-detailed Gundam figurine. A perfect gift for those who love Gundam and assembling their own toys. When using an exclusive LED light up stage, a fantastic scene can be produced.

Price: 3,240 yen (including tax)
Category: Figure
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Own a lightweight version of this heavyweight figure in the anime world with this great souvenir!”

 


 

rankNo. 4: fuchico

fuchico
©タナカカツキ/KITAN CLUB

With over 10 million figurines sold, fuchico is a big hit in Japan. This miniature office lady will do her best to hang on to your cup and keep you entertained with her cuteness. If you are lucky enough to get a fuchico doing an acrobatic move, you can marvel at her skills.

Price: 216 yen (including tax)
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “The phrase ‘hang in there’ when work gets tough just got a new meaning.”

 


 

rankNo. 5: Wooden Art “KIGUMI”

05

“Kigumi” literally means “assembled out of wood”, and that’s exactly what this wooden 3D puzzle is. Fun to build, easy to assemble and fascinating to look at, put the wind back in your sails with this wooden sailing ship model!

Price: 4,104 yen (including tax). The other models are priced at 1,404 to 8,640 yen each.
Category: Toy
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Makes for a great talking piece for the office or home!”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”

$156.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Yufuin Hot Spring – Meien to Meisui no Yado Baien

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Oita in northeast Kyushu is sometimes referred to as the “Onsen Prefecture”, and this resort located in a sprawling 30,000 square meters garden with two hot spring sources is abundant in nature. Amidst the colorful plum trees and brooks teeming with dancing fireflies, stay in luxurious individual detached houses—many of which have private open-air baths. Or for a scenic change, the simple thermal spring and sodium bicarbonate saline spring public onsens boasts one of the best views of Mt. Yufu in the north. For music and movie lovers, come in the summer when Yufuin hosts a number of such festivals.

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Access:
Take the Oita Kotsu bus from Oita Airport to JR Yufuin Station, or take the JR Limited Express Yufu train from JR Hakata Station to JR Yufuin Station. A 5-min. taxi ride from the station.

WEB:
http://yufuin-baien.com (Japanese)

Green Mall in Shibuya

This building covered in greenery is Shibuya Modi, a mall that has everything. Here you can drink a coffee with your friends, go shopping for clothes and afterwards go for karaoke. There are multi-language touch screen panels inside to help you if you don’t speak Japanese.

Access: 〒150-0041 1-21-3, Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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WAttention New Publications

Other publications:


WAttention Tokyo+ (Taiwan) vol 15

Attention Singapore vol 32

WAttention LA vol.16

Lake Toya Hot Spring – The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with private view spa: Yes

With views of Nakajima Island and Mt. Yotei (also known as Hokkaido’s Mt. Fuji) across the serene lake waters, and active volcano Mt. Usu in the south, Lake Toya is perhaps the most scenic spa resort in Hokkaido. Enjoy the balance of tradition and convenience with their wide selection of Japanese-Western style rooms, all of which face the lake, and some of which include a private view spa. Along with the top floor public spas, featuring chloride spring, sulfate spring, sodium bicarbonate saline spring, the private onsens are perfect for catching the evening fireworks shows on the lake between April and November.

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Access:
Take the JR Rapid Airport Train from New Chitose Airport to Minami Chitose, then take the JR Limited Express from Minami Chitose to JR Toya Station. A 15-min. taxi ride from the station.

WEB:
http://en.nonokaze-resort.com/

Beppu Hot Spring – Umikaoru Yado Hotel New Matsumi

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Known for its “Hell Tour” of eight multi-colored hot springs, Beppu produces the most hot spring water in the nation, and is perhaps Japan’s most famous onsen. At Hotel New Matsumi, sea, spa and sky combine as you overlook the Beppu Bay in all its glory. Commanding views of the ocean can be found on the top floor outdoor onsen as the soft breeze caresses your face, or from many of the rooms where you can conveniently dine kaiseki style on the freshest foods the bay has to offer. For a private dip, submerge yourself in the sodium bicarbonate saline spring waters in the private rock bath, or the open air ceramic (porcelain) baths attached to your room.

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Access:
Take the JR Limited Express Sonic train from JR Hakata Station to JR Beppu Station. A 10-min. walk from the station.

WEB:
http://new-matsumi.com/english/index.html

Noboribetsu Hot Spring – Takinoya

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Private-use hot springs: No
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Surrounded by the lush greenery of Shikotsu-Toya National Park in southwestern Hokkaido, Noboribetsu is heralded as one of the world’s most extraordinary hot spring resorts, boasting nine types of water. With four of these—salt/saline spring, iron-rich ferruginous spring, radium spring, and sulphur spring—sourced from the nearby Jigokudani Valley, Takinoya is an ideal hide away for physical healing. The three onsens here come with a variety of beautiful backdrops, including rich forestry and a beautifully manicured Japanese garden. Though lively in the spring and summer, winter also makes for a great quiet escape, under the gentle cover of snowfall.

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Access:
Take the JR Limited Express from New Chitose Airport to JR Noboribetsu Station. A 10-min. taxi ride from the station.

WEB:
http://takinoya.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Kawabaonsen – Yutorian

Experience Japan’s original surroundings at this hot spring lodge just 2 hours from Tokyo

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Kawaba Village in Gunma Prefecture, which is blessed with good quality onsen water, is where the elegant ryokan Yutorian – rich in history and nature – is located. What is unique about this place is not just the fact that the kayabuki building was constructed using kayabuki from all over Japan, and that it comprises “Annex Yuzan” which prides itself for its view from 634 meters above sea level, but the way of getting around via battery-run carts and monorails is also unique. The onsen water here is known to be highly effective in beautifying the skin.

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Spacious suites over 100m2 wide, complete with their own outdoor hot springs.

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A kaiseki dinner at Yutorian featuring local produce in all 11 dishes.

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Address:
Gunma Prefecture
Tonegun, Kawaba Village, Yuhara 451-1

WEB:
http://kawabata-yutorian.jp (Japanese)

Yakushionsen – Hatago

Enjoy a hidden onsen with character at Yakushionsen Hatago

An old country house sprawling over 23,000 sq m and a reconstruction of the village days of old in Japan, Kayabuki no Sato is a popular ryokan just two-and-a-half hours from Tokyo. Set amidst the glory of nature, one can enjoy natural spring water that has been gushing forth for over 200 years here. There are two types of rooms, the “yasuragikan” which comes with a partially open-air cedar bath, and the “seseraginokan” which is a new block along the stream. A kaiseki meal cooked over a “irori”(hearth) using local produce is very popular.

Enjoy a dip in this outdoor onsen with a view of the waterfall right before your eyes.

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All “yasuragikan” rooms come with an open-air bath. Japanese rooms with a hearth-space and another separate room.

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Enjoy the ambience of a hearth and the taste of local produce.

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Address:
Gunma Prefecture
Agatsumagun Higashiagatsumamachi, Motojuku 3330-20

WEB:
http://www.yakushi-hatago.co.jp/en/

Gero Hot Spring – Gero Onsen Yamagataya

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Named one of Japan’s top three onsens back in the Edo era, this region is still renowned for its ancient hot springs, with footbaths, public spas, and ryokans scattered all across town. The simple thermal spring waters here are known commonly as the “springs for the beautiful”, dating back to the 10th century, and Gero Onsen Yamagataya has been providing numerous ways to enjoy them for 180 years. Rest at the outdoor spa while surrounded by bamboo and maple trees, or listen to the soothing sound of the streaming Hida River from the private onsens. If you come in autumn, you can also catch amateur kabuki performances in town.

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Access:
Take the Limited Express Hida train from Nagoya Station to Gero Station. A shuttle bus is provided at the station.

WEB:
http://yamagata-ya.co.jp/lg_en/

Hakone Yumoto Hot Springs – Mikawaya Ryokan

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Collectively known as the “Hakone Seventeen Springs”, Hakone has been a favorite holiday onsen resort for nearby Tokyoites in particular since the Meiji era. For a classical Japanese inn that has been drawing artists and celebrities since 1883, Mikawaya Ryokan best maintains the historic atmosphere here while providing modern amenities like western toilets. Get a rare glimpse of its Meiji style bath with umbrella roofing, or gaze at the stars from the recently renovated large public bath. With the low alkaline hypotonic spring waters and simple thermal spring waters, your stress and fatigue will surely be relieved. Or for some onsen fun, head to water amusement park Hakone Kowakien Yunessun just a 3-min. walk away, where you can take a dip in sake, coffee, wine and more!

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Access:
Take the bus from JR Odawara Station towards Motohakone/Hakonemachi, and get off at the Houraien bus stop. A 1-min. walk from the bus stop.

WEB:
http://www.hakone-mikawaya.com/language/09en.htm

Hida Takayama Hot Spring – Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Just a 50-min bus ride from World Heritage site Shirakawa-go, explore Hida Takayama’s charming townscape at this secluded 17-room ryokan. Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama offers a personal touch, with lovely wooden architecture from local trees, and even assigns a serving lady to take care of you from arrival to departure. And thanks to the spring waters 1,200m underground here, you can soak in the silky sodium bicarbonate saline spring waters in your room’s onsen and the public and private spas. The bi-annual Takayama Festival—considered one of Japan’s most beautiful—makes a trip here in the spring or fall ideal, while the melt-in-your-mouth local Hida beef is delicious all year round.

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Access:
Take the Limited Express Hida train from Nagoya Station to JR Takayama Station, then take the free shuttle bus from the station.

WEB:
http://www.hanaougi.com/english/

Gora Hot Spring – Gora Tensui

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Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Take a picturesque ride along the Hakone Tozan Railway to its final stop, Gora, 550m high in Hakone’s mountains. Just a minute walk from the station, this stylish resort welcomes you with a footbath café and bar where you can dip your feet while sipping on a cool drink. Take your pick of eight styles of rooms, as well as two private onsens, including the “Myojin no Yu” microbubble function bath. This frothy spa offers a panoramic view of Mt. Myojogatake, towering at 924m, which lights up with a flaming “大” character and bursting fireworks on Aug. 16 for the Hakone Gora Summer Festival Omojiyaki—an awe-inspiring sight!

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Access:
Take the Hakone Tozan Line from JR Odawara Station to JR Gora Station. A 1-min. walk from the station.

WEB:
http://www.gora-tensui.com (Click on “English” site)

Shibuya Scramblers – Magda

People from all walks of life from all over the world come to the Shibuya crossing to experience the world’s busiest scramble. In this series, WAttention staff randomly asked foreign Shibuya scramblers what they were doing there and where they are headed for.

Magda

From: Germany

In Shibuya to: I came here to visit the hairdresser. I’m actually living in Japan right now.

The Shibuya crossing is: busy, loud and flashy, even though I’ve been on it many times before. It’s truly amazing in its own way. Today, there was a model on the crossing for a photoshoot. I wanted to take a picture but the staff said I wasn’t allowed.

Japan is fascinating because:

There are many things in Japan that still amaze me, the Robot Restaurant for example. I went to Onzawa Onsen in the snow, and it was amazing! It’s a small outdoor bath in the middle of the snow at 2150 meters high. The highest outdoor Onsen in Japan. Truly one of my best experiences in Japan.

After Shibuya I’m:  going to meet my friends and then we’re having a Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) party.

Note:

Magda loves onigiri – especially with fish eggs and with salmon. And as for her favorite food in Japan…. It’s sashimi!

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“I would like to dye my hair in a crazy color.”
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Thank you for the interview Magda! Please keep enjoying Japanese sashimi and onigiri.

 

How You Can Help Kumamoto Recovery Efforts

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One week on since the first magnitude-6.5 quake hit Kumamoto last Thursday – a foreshock before the main magnitude-7.3 tremor two days later – the prefecture has been assaulted by a rapid succession of over 600 powerful and minor aftershocks, faces a death toll of 45 and counting, over 3,000 casualties and more than 117,000 people seeking shelter after their homes were destroyed.

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This series of temblors is the same type as the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that hit Kobe and the surrounding cities, which killed over 6,000 people.

Here are some international relief efforts that you can support:

1) The International Medical Corps is deploying its emergency response team to Japan. It had also promptly assisted in the Great Tohoku Earthquake in March 2011. The Medical Corps has supported local partners in delivering critical humanitarian services including delivering hot meals, medicines, telecommunications equipment and mental health and psychosocial services and training.

2) The Japan Red Cross Society welcomes international cash contributions to its humanitarian assistance for the people affected by the earthquakes which hit Kumamoto. The Japanese Red Cross will issue reports on the activities funded by the contribution, and upload them on its official website. This donation drive will end on 15th June, 2016. Contact [email protected] for more details.

Bank Account Details:
Bank Name: SUMITOMO MITSUI BANKING CORPORATION
Branch Name: GINZA BRANCHSWIFT
Code: SMBCJPJT
Bank Address: 5-8-10, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, JAPAN
Beneficiary Name: The Japanese Red Cross Society
Account Number: 026-8372918
Beneficiary Address: 1-1-3, Shiba Daimon, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: +81-3-3438-1311

3) Second Harvest Kumamoto Earthquake Relief

4) Kumamoto Japan Earthquake Bitcoin Relief Fund

Plan Your Japan Road Trip With Tabirai Car Rental 

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Enjoy coastal drives, scenic mountain routes and get to places where the locals go in Japan with your own set of wheels. If concerns over not being able to read road signs or complicated booking procedures have been your main road blocks to planning your dream road trip, stall no more and check out the best deals at Tabirai Japan Car Rental.

BOOK NOW : http://en.tabirai.net/car/

Tabirai’s English website allows you to search for the cheapest rental prices for your trip all over Japan, covering all the major car rental companies such as Toyota Rent-a-Lease, Orix Rent-A-Car, Nissan Rentacar etc.

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Three reasons why it’s great for foreigners

The Okinawan-based rent-a-car company – founded 10 years ago – provides foreigner-friendly services such as:

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1) English GPS
Don’t worry about getting lost with cars equipped with GPS in English
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2) No Hidden Costs
Only major rental car companies are used and published prices reflect all rental costs, basic insurance, collision damage waiver, car navigation and consumption tax.
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3) Global support
Bookings are accepted in English and via email.

How to book with Tabirai Car Rental

Japan’s most convenient car rental service in Japan is easy to book:

Step 1:
Search for desired dates, vehicle model and location.
Select the area of your departure and search for a car rental office within that area.
Car types are categorized according to the car’s emission and model.
Input your conditions on the search box and press ‘Search’. You will then get a list of cars that match your needs.
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Step 2:
View all available options fitting your set requirements, compare prices and choose a suitable option.
This indicates the car’s emission and model.
These are the option menus for each plan.
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Step 3:
See details of desired vehicle. Cars with baby or child seats are available. Check the shop details here.
This is the plan currently selected.
These are automatic discounts applied to your plan.
Departure and returning offices mean where you hire the car from and where you return the car to.
If you return the car to an office different from where you hired it, you may be charged extra handling costs. Don’t forget to confirm the final cost for your plan because different car rental companies have different rates.
These are extra options available.
Proceed to booking.
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Step 4:
Input your contact details such as name, mail address, phone number and flight.
This is the plan currently selected.
Input a telephone number that can be used to contact you on the day of your trip and in case of emergencies.
Tick here if you would like to subscribe to Tabirai’s newsletters.
After completing the information, click here to proceed to the confirmation screen.
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Step 5:
Complete the booking!
Click here if there is a mistake in the information provided, or if you would like to make any changes.
After confirming everything, click here to complete the booking.
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That’s it!
No membership registration or credit card details are required at time of booking. After the online reservation is made, reconfirmation is not necessary. A confirmation message will be sent from the rental car company.
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So what are you waiting for?

BOOK NOW : http://en.tabirai.net/car/

Other links:
Hokkaido http://en.tabirai.net/car/hokkaido/
Osaka http://en.tabirai.net/car/osaka/
Fukuoka http://en.tabirai.net/car/fukuoka/
Okinawa http://en.tabirai.net/car/okinawa/

Fun Onsens

Even animals in Japan can’t resist a luxurious dip in an onsen. Have fun watching the onsen monkeys dip in the outdoor onsen till their faces turn redder than usual, or the capybaras monkeying around in their mandarin orange onsen.

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For out of this world onsens, do the Beppu Onsen “hell tour” of various coloured onsens!

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Read our full article on the Beppu Onsen “hell tour” here :
http://www.wattention.com/do-the-hell-tour-at-beppu-onsen/

 

Jigokudani Monkey Park
Nagano Prefecture
http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/english/html/top_e.htm

Izu Shaboten Park
Shizuoka Prefecture
http://izushaboten.com/

Beppu Hell Tour
Oita Prefecture
http://www.beppu-jigoku.com/

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box (Red)

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box (Red)

$23.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Travel Goods

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
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In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ top 5 travel goods. Pick these up during your travels in Tokyo to ensure a convenient and comfortable trip!

No. 1: earPlanes

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These ear plugs are your perfect companion for a comfortable flight. With a special porous filter that helps to regulate the sudden changes in air pressure that happen during take-off and landing of a plane. Disposable, and perfect for one round trip use, these ear plugs are also available in children’s sizes.

Price: 1026 yen (including tax) for one pair with case
Category: Ear plugs
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for a comfortable and quiet flight, especially if you’re hoping to get some sleep.”

 


 

No. 2: Hands+ Light Suitcase Front Open Type

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These popular lightweight suitcases are equipped with front pockets for easy access, as well as wheel locks to prevent rolling when on the train.

Price: 21,492 yen (including tax) (38L model)
Category: Suitcase
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Great for Japan touring, where lots of walking and riding on trains is unavoidable.”

 


 

No. 3:Eagle Creek 2-in-1 Travel Pillow

This versatile bead pillow can function as a neck pillow or cushion, perfect for airplane travel and more.

Price: 2,376 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillow
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Adjusts its shape to meet your every ache and need!”

 


 

No. 4: Solo Tourist: Aqua Pouch (Clear)

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Whether for cell phones, loose change, or other small items, this clear pouch will guard your valuables from getting wet.

Price: 972 yen (including tax)
Category: Travel Pouch
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Fits passports perfectly! With this you can even bring your passport or other valuables with you into the hot spring or to the beach!”

 


 

No. 5: Caldera Neckrest (Black)

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This pillow is designed to support your head weight, allowing your neck and shoulders to relax. For computer work, watching TV or movies, reading, or travel, use it for a variety of purposes.

Price: 3,672 yen (including tax)
Category: Pillow
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “More compact than your typical travel pillow, but also practical to have around the house for daily use.”

 


 

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

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Hachiko’s Overlooked Neighbour: The Green Train Carriage

The next time you are waiting for someone at the famous Hachiko Statue meeting point, why not check out the Shibuya Tourist Center which is set inside an old train. The interior is as cute as the outside and has many interactive displays.

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You can sing along to Japanese children’s songs or try your luck at the slot machine for speciale wallpapers for your phone. This Tourist Center has much more to offer than your standard information!

Shibuya Scramblers – Susanne and Lars

People from all walks of life from all over the world come to the Shibuya crossing to experience the world’s busiest scramble. In this series, WAttention staff randomly asked foreign Shibuya scramblers what they were doing there and where they are headed for.

Susanne and Lars

From: Sweden

 In Shibuya to: see every part of Tokyo and Shibuya is a must-visit.

The Shibuya crossing is: (Lars) Really busy!

Japan is fascinating because:

(Lars) People all wear these mouth masks. Do Japanese use it to protect themselves or to protect others? It’s a really strange sight.

(Susanne) The Japanese politeness is amazing, everyone is polite and kind. When we are only taking a small look at our pocket map Japanese people will come spontaneously to try and help us find the right place. Also, I was wondering with some many Japanese people on the street….don’t they have to work? It seems like all of Tokyo is gathered at Shibuya.

After Shibuya we are: planning to visit Mt Fuji and Kyoto. We are going to Mt Fuji by bus and then to Kyoto by Shinkansen. We also would like to try to visit Odaiba.

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Lars films all their Japan adventures on his GoPro
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Thank you for the interview!

The Myth of Tomorrow

This huge mural hangs at Shibuya station. Named “The Myth of Tomorrow”, it is made by the Japanese artist Taro Okamoto. It was painted in the late 1960’s in Mexico, but unveiled in Shibuya Station in 2008. The painting represents the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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The controversial Japanese art group Chim|Pom added a small painted piece about nuclear destruction eight weeks after the Great Tohoku Earthquake. It has now been removed and did no damage to the painting.

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Charge Up On Luck & Love At Kyoto Power Spots (2)

Feel spiritually recharged at these spots believed to impart its visitors with a special energy, and bring home some luck in the form of an omamori (charm)!

Jishu Jinja Shrine (Kiyomizu Temple)

Jisha Jinja
For: Love/Good Marriage/Matchmaking
Located  behind  the  World  Heritage  site  of  Kiyomizudera  Temple,  this  shrine  is  the ultimate  power  spot  to charge  up  on  luck in  love.  Japanese  have  made  pilgrimages to the gods of love believed to reside here since 1,300 years ago. The main god, Okuninushi no Mikoto, is worshipped as the god of abundance, luck and happy marriages. Test your love luck by walking between the “love fortune-telling stones” here. Get a love charm for 500 yen, or one for good marriage for 1,000 yen.
Address: Kiyomizu Ichome 317, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Hours: 9am – 5pm

Suga Jinja Shrine (Kotsu JinjaShrine)

Suga Jinja
For: Traffic Safety/Matchmaking
The  Kotsu  (Traffic)  Jinja  Shrine  is  the  only  shrine  in  Japan  dedicated  to the  gods of traffic  and  travel  safety  and  people  from  all  over  Japan  come  here  to  pray  for  safe journeys.  Car  owners  can  get  their  vehicles  blessed  at  a  drive-through purification station. In the same premise is the Suga Jinja Shrine, whose main god is the god of the sea and storms, Susano-o no Mikoto, who is married to another deity and prayed to for happy marriage.    
Address: 1 Shogoin Entomi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto  
Hours: 9am – 5pm

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
Fushimi Inari
For: Prosperity and good business
This  is  probably  the  most recognized  Kyoto  shrine  for  its  thousands  of  vermilion toriigates  lining  the  paths  in  its  compound.  Each  gate  is  donated  by  an  individual  or company, starting from 175,000 yen for a small gate and 1 million yen for a larger one. This  is  the  head  shrine  of  Inari,  the  Shinto  god  of  rice  and  patron  of  businesses  and merchants. Foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers, explaining the many fox statues in the temple grounds.
Address: Fukakusayabunouchi-Cho 68, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Hours: Always Open

Take A Day Trip Back In Time At Kawagoe

Kawagoe city makes for a pleasant day trip back in time – after all, it is known to the locals as “Little Edo”. This is because of the many traditional wooden buildings that still line the streets today. Edo refers to the historical period from 1603 until 1867 under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

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The passing traffic makes it a bit hard to get in the Edo mood, but try to focus on the old shophouses!

The bell tower in a sidestreet of the main street is a famous landmark of Kawagoe. It was rebuilt after it was burned down during the great fire of Kawagoe in 1894. The official name for this tower is Toki-no-Kane meaning Bell of Time. It has beautiful chimes that ring four times per day: at 6 am, noon, 3 pm and 6 pm. Be sure to wait for the chimes when you’re in the area as they have been designated on of the “100 best sound sceneries in Japan”.

One of Japan's 100 soundscapes, the Bell of Time.
One of Japan’s 100 soundscapes, the Bell of Time.

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The old shop houses still sell traditional wares such as wooden toys, tenugui (hand towel), items made from kimono fabric, various good luck charms and amulets, incense, kanzashi (traditional Japanese hair ornament), kimono shops and calligraphy writing tools utensils such as brushes and handmade paper.

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Candy Alley

This is THE place to go to for traditional Japanese sweets. The origin story of this street is that right after the Great Earthquake of 1923 in Tokyo there was a huge shortage of sweets in the city. Kawagoe had always been a supplier for Tokyo since the Edo period so this high demand made the amount of stores surge in a short time. The street boasts most noticeably with sweet potatoes and matcha.

Also made from sweet potatoes is the famous COEDO craft beer, which has won several awards globally including the European Beer Star and the World Beer Cup. The idea to make beer from sweet potatoes came when locals wanted to limit vegetable wastage. Since the famous Japanese spirit Shōchū can also be made from potatoes, they thought it would be possible to try the same for beer.

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Matcha heaven at Candy Alley.

Visiting The God Of Marriage

Hikawa Shrine enshrines the god of married couples, so many people hoping for happy marriages or to find true love come here to pray. The shrine harks back to the 6th century when it was part of Omiya Hikawa Shrine, a big shrine in the Omiya district of Saitama. During the July 7th Tanabata festival, similar to Valentine’s Day in the lunar calendar, the shrine has a “Tunnel of Love”, a wooden tunnel decorated with only wind chimes. If you can’t make it for Tanabata, on  the eighth day and fourth Saturday of each month a ritual is performed to pray for a good partner match.

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During Tanabata the wooden plaques are replaced with wind chimes.
During Tanabata the wooden plaques are replaced with wind chimes.

Should you draw a bad fortune (like I did), just tie it to a wire rack in the shrine area. This is to attach the bad luck to something else and to keep it away from you.

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My favorite spot on the shrine grounds were these trees. They grow in a small area surrounded by an uneven walkway. The rope they are tied with is called Shimenawa (Enclosing Rope) and is used for ritual purification in Shinto rituals. Trees are seen as places where Kami, the gods of Shinto, can reside. So if you see these ropes around a tree, a Kami is living in it.

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There are much, much more historical sights in this area, so I will definitely be back to explore them! Stay tuned!

Read also: Editor’s Pick: Top Three “Little Edo” Streets

Access

From Ikebukuro : Tobu Tojo Line express, 31 minutes (450 yen)

From Seibu Shinjuku: Seibu Shinjuku Line Limited Express, 43 minutes (890 yen)

From Shinjuku: JR Kawagoe Line Local, 60 minutes (570 yen)

Swashbuckling Samurai & Ninja Fun At Asakusa

Ninjas and samurai warriors show their fighting spirit!

Want to experience all the classic highlights of Japanese culture and history but only have around an hour to spare?

Then the Samurai & Ninja Show at the historical area of Asakusa is for you. This action-packed, interactive live show in English and Japanese has everything from samurai battles, ninja tricks, taiko drumming, geisha games and even soba making! You can also try on samurai armor or ninja outfits after the show.

activities

However, as the main stars – the Nagoya Omotenashi Bushotai (a popular samurai performing troupe made up of 6 army generals and 4 foot soldiers) – are usually based in Nagoya Castle and have a very busy schedule (and growing fan base!), the performance at Asakusa is only seasonal. WAttention caught the swashbuckling fun at its spring performance held over 3 days at the end of March and was bowled over by the realistic fighting sequences and hands-on fun.

Epic swordfight

Historical battles starting from the Warring States era leading into the Edo era are stylistically re-enacted, so you will see prominent 16th-century warlords Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa taking to stage, with the actor playing Tokugawa providing most of the English lines.

Each section of the performance allows for audience participation and our Belgian intern, Ilse, tried her hand at slicing through a samurai with a katana (Japanese sword).

Get on stage and slice your foe

If you are the shy type, however, don’t worry as after the main show ends, there is a 30-minute hands-on session where you can try out the various activities at different stations set up on and around the stage.

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I would say this show is a foreigner- and family-friendly introduction to Japanese culture – even some Japanese were spotted in the audience trying their hands at the shuriken (ninja star) throwing – and well-worth the time and money. After all, it would cost more than 3,000 yen to go all the way to Nagoya to catch this strapping samurai troop!

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Watch out for their next Tokyo performance at the following websites:

http://www.samurai-ninja-show.com/
http://busho-tai.jp/schedule/ (Japanese)

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 ‘Kichijousou’

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 ‘Kichijousou’

$29.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Happy Birthday PomPomPurin!

Sanrio Character PomPomPurin is 20 years old! For this celebration Sanrio placed huge, fluffy – and huggable- ads of the character in Shibuya station.

Wattention staff tested the big, fluffy pudding dogs and found them to be extremely soft and adorable.

If you listen closely, PomPomPurin’s stomach makes grumbling noises.

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PomPomPurin has a secret message for all his visitors.

On the back of one of the many fluffy ads there is a riddle. “Secret code: irakinbasuruo”. If you flip the characters of the code you get “orusuban kirai” (おるすばんきらい)-> I hate sitting at home. Be sure to remember this code because you can use it on the PomPomPurin 20th anniversary site to get digital goodies: http://bit.ly/22bBU2F

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This special advertisement is only here until April 10th, so be sure to check it out before it’s gone!

Location : Shibuya Station, 2F Keio Inokashira line ticket gate

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KitKat Mail

We found this display in the post office in Shibuya.

KitKat Mail allows you to mail  chocolate with a message on its package in collaboration with Japan Post. During this season, the messages are usually words of encouragement for newly graduates or people starting new jobs or schools. This year the campaign was promoted by Japanese band DISH and rugby coach Michael Ritchie.

In Japan KitKat is famous for bringing good luck as it sounds similar to the Japanese “Kitto Katsu”(I will win for sure).

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Know Your Kimono (5) – Kimono Etiquette

You’re all dressed up in a beautiful kimono, you’re in touch with the seasons and you are wearing everything correctly. Time to make your kimono debut.

Wait! Do you know how to act while wearing a kimono? If not, read this short guide on the do’s and dont’s while wearing a kimono.

Good Posture

When standing, sitting or kneeling you need to keep good posture. But don’t worry, the obi will help you keep your back straight. Remember to make slow movements as to not displace any of the folds in the kimono. Depending on the type of knot in your obi, you also have to be careful with leaning back. The general rule is, don’t lean back! You will crush the knot you put so much effort into.

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Watch your sleeves

Kimono sleeves should reach just above the wrist, but never too high. To keep your sleeve from sliding up, don’t raise your arms or make wild movements. This means no holding on onto the handles on the train or bus and no waiving your arms. Phonecalls with your cellphone are also a no, unless you hold your raised arm’s sleeve with your other hand to keep it from sliding down. But watch that the other arm’s sleeve doesn’t move too much! Be sure to take extra care of these things when wearing a long-sleeve Furisode.

As you might have noticed, all of this requires some practice.

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Walk slowly

You will notice that when wearing a kimono, it is difficult to make big steps. This is good, because you need to avoid doing this anyway. If you would walk in big strides, your kimono would fly open and reveal your underkimono or even your bare legs. This may seem weird in a modern world where shorts skirts and shorts are an everyday thing. But in Old Japan showing your legs and wrists too much was very scandalous.

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While eating

Kimono are difficult to wash, but easy to get dirty. Be careful while eating and place a napkin over your obi or put it on your collar like in a restaurant.

Be yourself!

Although a certain degree of standard etiquette is required when wearing a kimono, it is also important to be yourself. Nowadays there are many creative kimono with modern patterns and the hairstyles aren’t that stiff anymore. Basically, you can do what you want as long as you know the basics.

Careful with those sleeves!
Careful with those sleeves!

 We hope you learned something new about kimonos, and that we inspired you to try one on yourself. The world of kimonos is wonderful and waiting for your creativity.

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Know Your Kimono (4) – The Rules

Now that you know the basics to get dressed, you need to know the Kimono Rules. Yes, there is a list of rules concerning the kimono. But nowadays these rules are ignored to make way for creative freedom. If you do want to know and follow them you can study Kitsuke, the art of kimono dressing.

We won’t list all the rules, but here are a some useful pointers on how to wear the kimono correctly.

Left over Right

For both the nagajuban (kimono underwear) and the kimono there is one important rule. Always wear the left side over the right side. Only dead people have their kimono worn right over left. A good memory aid for this rule is the phrase “leftover rice”.

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She’s still in the land of the living

The position of the collar

The collar of your kimono needs to be firm and show the back of your neck. There should be an opening of about a fist-and-a-half in width. Young people are supposed to show of their neck and keep their collar in the front high and tight. Older women show less of their back and their front collar is lower and more rounded.

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Kimono are worn with an updo, so the neck is visible

Be Seasonal!

Japanese people are very much in touch with the seasons, and so is the kimono. Certain colors and patterns can only be worn during a specific time of the year. For example, any kimono or obi with a sakura tree on it can only be worn during the sakura blooming season. However, single sakura flowers without a tree are acceptable all year round. If you think about it it’s not difficult to keep your kimono in touch with the seasons. For autumn, leaves and colors such as brown, red and dark green are very fitting. For winter darker colors such as red and black, spring brings to mind pink and flowers and summer needs bright colors such as blue and yellow.

Kimonos

Keep it parallel to the ground

Kimonos are worn so that you have a tube-shaped body. If your body is not naturally like this, padding must be worn to change your shape. A kimono is a very symmetrical garment; the seams need to be aligned and the bottom of the kimono needs to be parallel to the ground. Doing this is more difficult than it sounds and it requires some dressing practice before getting it right.

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The kimono should cover the ankles

Formal and Casual

There are two ways to wear a kimono; formal and casual. This goes back to the kimono types where we’ve also looked at the formality of kimonos. A general rule of thumb is;

  • Does it have gold/embroidery/silk/shiny fabric? Is the pattern only visible on certain parts of the kimono? -> It’s probably a formal kimono.
  • Is the kimono made of cotton? Does the pattern repeat itself? Are there no embroidery or shiny parts? -> It’s probably a casual kimono.

casual and formal kimono

Always wear your obi on the back

This might seem like a basic rule but obis were worn on the front by women who worked in the red-light-district. So make sure to always wear your obi on your back!

Courtesans had heavy obi knots on their front
Courtesans had heavy obi knots on their front

Click here for the final part of the Kimono Series, where we will take a look at how to act while wearing a kimono.

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Know Your Kimono (3): Footwear

Japanese traditional footwear was invented by the Chinese and then came over to Japan. Nowadays you won’t see many Japanese people with traditional footwear unless they’re wearing a kimono of course. Tabi (socks with the big toe separate) are worn to keep the feet warm and to prevent friction from the shoe strap.

Geta

These sandals are made from a flat piece of wood on two slats that raise the sole part off the ground. This is to keep the kimono from getting dirty. Geta can be very high or very low depending on the season and clothes worn. For example, high geta can keep your kimono safe from high snow and rain puddles. The strap on the geta is called hanao and it can be made with many sorts of fabric. But cotton with traditional Japanese patterns is a bestseller. The hanao is knotted in a special way on the geta so that it can be replaced when needed. The hanao is always tied in the middle of the geta to prevent the wearer from walking sideways on the geta.

Geta are quite informal footwear and are mostly worn with a yukata and without tabi in the summer.

Geta under a yukata
Geta under a yukata
Japanese patterns
Japanese patterns

Zori

The main difference between geta and zori is that zori are not made from wood. Compared to their clunky cousin, zori are elegant and formal.  They have a taller wedge-shaped heel that is covered in fabric. Never wear geta under a kimono, but always wear zori. Even if it’s a casual kimono.

Originally, the zori was made from straw and does not look anything like the zori we see with formal kimonos today. They evolved into a dress shoe that is often very expensive. When wearing a formal kimono, the color of your purse and zori matches. Of course this is always up to the individual’s taste.

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Okobo

Also referred to as pokkuri or bokkuri geta from the sound made when walking. Just try repearing “pokkuri bokkuri” a few times, you will noice it sounds like a clomping shoes. They are quite uncommon and only worn by apprentice Geishas called Maiko. The color of the strap indicates the Maiko’s ranking. When you see a red strap, you can be sure the Maiko has just begun her training. The height of these shoes not only insures that the expensive kimono doesn’t get dirty, but it also forces you to walk with small and slow steps.

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Boots

The only time when boots are acceptable to wear under a kimono is when wearing a hakama. And this privilege is given only to women. During graduation ceremonies young women often wear a hakama with furisode combination. The boots worn underneath the hakama are very stylish with a low heel.

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EXTRA: Tabi socks

Nowadays tabi exist in many different colors and designs. The age of all white is over. Tabi have also moved on from being kimono exclusive and are liked by Japanese for their comortable fit. If you’re wearing a casual kimono or just geta under jeans, these socks can make a statement.

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Click here for Part 4: The Rules of Wearing Kimono

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

$152.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Know Your Kimono (2): The Obi

Last time we talked about the different types of kimonos. Now we will look at how you tie them.

Just as with the kimono, there is an obi for every occasion. And every kimono needs a type of obi. We will take a look at the most common obis.

Obi Types

1) Tsuke Obi

Also known as the ‘easy obi’, it was invented to help older ladies dress themselves easier. Nowadays it is very popular because of that reason, it’s easy to tie! It can be any color and/or pattern but generally isn’t considered a formal obi. To make tying easier, seperate knots and bows can be purchased to avoid having to learn any tying techniques.

 

2) Nagoya Obi

Designed by a lady from Nagoya, this obi type was made to make tying the typical “Taiko Musubi” knot easier. It can be a formal or casual obi depending on the colors used. If there’s gold thread, the obi is almost always formal. Many Nagoya obi only have a design printed on the front and on the part where the taiko knot is visible. Since the Nagoya obi was originally used as everyday wear it can never be part of a truly ceremonial outfit.

Taiko knot
Taiko knot
Pattern on front of the obi
Pattern on front of the obi

3) Hanhaba Obi

An unlined and informal obi that is used with a yukata or an everyday kimono. Hanhaba obis are very popular these days for use with yukata. Since this is an informal obi it is sometimes worn in self-invented styles with decorative ribbons and charms. Because tying this obi is relatively easy many Japanese people wear it during festivals.

Simple knots
Simple knots
Bunko Musubi
Bunko Musubi

4) Fukuro Obi

This is the most formal obi used today. It can be tied in the Taiko knot but it is capable of many other styles as well. It is used used for ceremonial wear and celebration. A fukuro obi is often made so that the part that will not be visible when worn is of smooth, thinner and lighter silk. Obis of this level of formality can be worn with a Furisode. The knots are often very elaborate and big, making them elegant and feminine.

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Fukura Suzume Musubi
Fukura Suzume Musubi

5) Maru Obi

A Maru Obi is the most formal obi.  An ornate pattern runs along the entire length on both sides. Maru obis were at their most popular during the Taisho and Meiji-periods. Their bulk and weight makes maru obis difficult to handle and nowadays they are worn mostly by Geishas and Maikos. Another use for maru obi is as a part of a bride’s outfit or when bride-like formality is required. When a Maiko wears a Maru obi, the symbol of her Geisha house is visible on the bottom of the obi.

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EXTRA: Children’s Obi

Children wear either imitations of adult obis or softer versions. The knots can be simple or elaborate. Usually children’s kimonos and obis are more decorated and the hair decorations for girls are more playful.

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Click here for the next Kimono 101, where we talk about kimono footwear!

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Know Your Kimono: 9 Different types of Kimono

types-of-kimono

Kimono literally means “something that is worn” – but there are many types of kimono worn on different occasions.

The basis of the kimono is, of course, the kimono robe itself. There are various kimono patterns and colors to match the seasons, but there is also a stark difference in types of kimono. Impress the locals with your knowledge of kimono!

Furisode (振袖)

Let’s start with the most formal type of kimono, the furisode. The furisode is worn by unmarried women and has sleeves between 100cm- 107cm long. There are actually three different types of furisode with different sleeve lengths; the Kofurisode (小振袖) with short sleeves, the Chu-furisode (中振袖) with medium sleeves and the Ofurisode(大振袖) where the sleeves almost reach the ground. The most common furisode is the Ofurisode.

Kimono Furisode
Furisode Kimono

Hikizuri (引きずり)

Before the Meiji era, Hikizuri kimono was worn by affluent women of high rank. The chances you will see this kimono in public are very slim unless you are in Kyoto or the Asakusa area of Tokyo. Hikizuri means “trailing skirt” and the kimono got this name because of its length. Currently, this type of kimono is mainly worn by geisha, maiko or stage performers of traditional Japanese dance. With modern times, women had more opportunities to leave the house which resulted in the current style that requires folding the extra fabric around the waist.

Hikizuri Kimono
Hikizuri Kimono

Tomesode (留袖)

This is the most formal kimono worn by married women. The pattern of a Tomesode is always below the waist and has a beautiful design which sometimes includes gold. It has either 3 or 5 crests, the latter being more formal, and there are color or just black varieties. A Tomesode can be worn at formal events like weddings and tea ceremonies.

Tomesode Kimono
Tomesode Kimono

Houmongi (訪問着)

The literal meaning of Houmongi is “visiting wear”. These are semi-formal kimonos worn by both married and unmarried women. The pattern flows over the shoulder to the seams in the back and is visible on the sleeves and under the waist.

Houmongi-kimono
Houmongi-kimono-2

Iro Muji (色無地)

These kimonos have a plain color without any patterns. Their formality depends on the amount of crests on the kimono and there is even a specific kind of Iro Muji kimono for tea ceremonies.

Iromuji Kimono
Iromuji Kimono

Komon (小紋)

This kimono is also known as the casual kimono. They have a repeating pattern that often incorporates vertical stripes. Do not wear this kimono for a formal event! It is suited for a stroll around the town, or small celebrations. This was the most common way to dress before Western clothes became popular in Japan.

Komon Kimono
Komon Kimono

Yukata (浴衣)

This lightweight summer kimono is made of cotton and does not require any special kimono undergarment. It is the most informal but also the most popular kimono in Japan. The yukata is worn during festivals or on a hot day out. Geta, wooden shoes, are worn under this kimono and the obi is tied in a simple way.

Learn more about Yukata.

Yukata
Yukata

Wedding kimono

This is a pure white kimono worn by the bride. The official name for the dress is ‘Shiromuki’. The white color of the kimono dates back to the days of the samurai, when a woman would show her submission to the family she was marrying into. Being white, it meant she could easily blend into the family’s colors.

Wedding Kimono
Wedding Kimono

Men’s kimono

We’ve mainly talked about women’s kimono but of course, there are also kimono for men. In the old days men wore kimono every day but in modern times, men’s kimono are not as popular as women’s. Men’s kimono are simpler in construction and the colors are more subdued. The most formal men’s kimono is a combination of a hakama (kimono pants) and Haori (kimono jacket). The most common men’s kimono is simply worn with an obi belt tied around the waist and it is known as kinagashi.

Men`s Kimono
Men`s Kimono (hakama)

And many more…

Kimonos have evolved over time and the rules for wearing one became less strict. Young people make kimonos out of modern fabrics and mix flashy colors with unconventional accessories.

Click here for part 2, where we will take a look at all the different obi styles.

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Convenient Kitchenware

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Convenient Kitchenware!

No. 1: Honey Spoon

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Deep, v-shaped, stainless steel spoon created by our unique processing technology eliminates excess mess when you scoop up honey. Simply turning around the spoon perfectly stops honey from dripping. Made in Japan.

Price: 1,296 yen (including tax)
Category: Spoon
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Not just for preparing food in the kitchen, but great when serving tea and toast to guests!”

 



No. 2: Butter Peeler Knife

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Even the hardest butter straight out of the fridge is no match for this butter peeler knife, which smoothly shaves off a thin layer with just a simple glide across its surface. Ready to spread in seconds!

Price: 950 yen (including tax)
Category: Knife
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Ensures an even spread every time!”

 



No. 3: Kiwi Cutter

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Just three simple steps to peel and cut at all at once, without even needing a separate knife: 1. Cut kiwi in half. 2. Insert Kiwi Cutter. 3. Rotate.

Price: 778 yen each (including tax)
Category: Cutter
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “For the green smoothie drinker or for serving up fruit plates for friends, this little tool will revolutionize the way you cut your kiwi!”

 



No.4: Choioki Leaf

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For ladles or cooking chopsticks that just don’t have a place on your counter while cooking, this little leaf is the ideal place to rest your kitchen utensils, firmly keeping them from falling over or dripping on your countertop.

Price: 268 yen (including tax)
Category: Utensil Holder
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “So simple, and yet so revolutionary for such a small price.”

 



No.5 Super Stone Barrier Pan

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This sturdy pan is made with ten layers of stone barrier, providing quick heat conduction and anti-stick properties.

Price: 5,940 yen (including tax)
Category: Pan
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Incredibly affordable considering its versatility and high-quality.”

 



TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

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Wear A Kimono In Tokyo

Always wanted to wear a kimono but don’t know how or where to go?

Just make a booking with Japanese culture lecturer Shino Fukuyama who teaches Japanese and foreigners alike how to wear a kimono in her traditional Japanese home in Meguro, Tokyo. In just two or three lessons you will learn how to wear a kimono correctly. The fee is 3,000 yen per person for a private lesson, 2,000 yen per person per lesson for two to six people.

If you do not have a kimono, Shino will rent you one for 1,000 yen. You can also join one of her kimono tours in Asakusa and get information on all the shops. After your first class you will also receive information on where the best (and cheapest) shops are to buy your kimono.

Shino also offers sushi classes in her home. This class includes a morning visit to the fish market where you buy fresh fish for your sushi.

Visit Shino Fukuyama’s blog for more information (http://samuraigeisha.blogspot.jp/) or send her a mail at [email protected] to make an appointment.

 

kimono class
Source: Japan National Tourism Organization

Hidden Hachiko?

Did you know that in front of the biggest Tower Records (media store) in Japan stands another Hachiko statue? However, this Hachiko seems like he’s being blown away. Maybe because the music is too loud?

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Don’t miss a photo opportunity with this special Hachiko statue!

Shibuya Tower Records is a 4-minute walk from the original Hachiko statue near Shibuya station.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”

$147.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Highlights of AnimeJapan 2016

For those of you anime fans who didn’t make it down to AnimeJapan 2016 at Tokyo’s Big Sight over the weekend, here’s a flashback of all the amazing anime events and goods that were on display!

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The Main Area

This is where all the dealers and important animation companies set up their booths with information and goodies. Japanese conventions are different from European and American conventions in that they are very organized. Dealers do not freely display their goods but hand out papers where you mark what item you want and then you pick it up from the booth.

All the displays are detailed and have mascots and/or cosplayers promoting them.

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What was most exciting is that the stages in the main area were very loud. The atmosphere was really like a concert, with everyone shouting for their favorite voice actor or designer. The free goodies you could get at almost every booth were very surprising. From blow up clinging dolls to big paper bags with flyers in them, they all looked very well-made and definitely collectors’ items. An interesting booths was the “Garo Museum”, where they displayed custumes and props from the Japanese tv-series “Garo”. Another interesting booth was “Studio Chizu”, the animation studio most known for animator Mamoru Hosoda and movies such as ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’ and ‘Wolf Children, Ame and Yuki’. Here, they displayed real storyboards and rough drafts from their new movie, ‘The Boy and the Beast’. Sadly, we were not allowed to take photos in this area.

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Anime fashion was brought to life at the booth of  “Super Groupies”. This label makes high class anime and manga-inspired clothing and accessories for women. Their booth displayed a plethora of fashionable shoes based on characters from popular series.

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The Food Park

In our article “All about AnimeJapan 2016” we talked about the anime-inspired food that would be at the event. Of course we had to try these! The line at the food park was very long and just to get a slice of pizza or cup of oden, the waiting time was at least 40 minutes. We tried ‘Hachiken’s pizza’ from the manga (and anime) Silver Spoon and ‘Hokkaido cheese curry’ from the anime WORKING!!!. All this food was AnimeJapan 2016 exclusive and was actually very good! After finishing all the food it was easy to see why people would wait in line for so long. This was not your regular run-of-the-mill convention food.

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Children’s Area

Only people with children could enter this area, so parents would not have to worry about losing their children in a big crowd. Activities included coloring, origami, crafts and watching kid-friendly anime shows on a big screen. Everyone seemed very energetic and the staff made sure the parents could participate in the activities as well.

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The cosplayers

Of course one of the main attractions of every convention are the cosplayers. There was a special area set up outside so photographers could have better lighting. It was very windy and cold in the shade, but that didn’t stop the cosplayers from posing in character with the amazing Tokyo Bay as a backdrop.

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The best stop for everything Anime

If you haven’t realized by now, this is an anime fan’s paradise. If you are planning on visiting AnimeJapan next year, there are volunteer English guides who give information about all the booths, but remember to sign up early at the information desk. The whole event is very foreigner friendly, so do make plans to come over for the event next year!

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Charge Up On Luck & Love At Kyoto Power Spots (1)

Feel spiritually recharged at these spots believed to impart its visitors with a special energy, and bring home some luck in the form of an omamori (charm)!

Kifune Jinja Shrine

For: Rain, protection from floods, ship traveling

This 1,600 year old shrine is said to enshrine the gods of water, Takaokami-no-kami and Kuraokami-no-kami.  As  a  sign  here  says, “Water  is  life”,  and  through  the  centuries, farmers, Imperial messengers and more have come to seek rain, protection from floods, and  safe  ship  travels.  Pick up  a Mizuura  Mikuji (water  fortune  paper  slip),  unique  to this shrine, which reveals your fortune when placed upon the sacred waters here. It can even be translated into four languages (including English) by scanning the QR code on the slip!

Address: 180 Kuramakibune-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Shrine Hours: 6am – 6pm (Dec. – Apr.), 6am – 8pm (May – Nov.)
Omikuji & Omamori Conferment Desk: 9am – 4:30pm

Kifune

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

For: Academics, passing exams, improving skills

The first Japanese shrine to enshrine a person as a deity, this is the main shrine of over 12,000, dedicated to the god of academics, Sugawara no Michizane. Likewise, students preparing  for  exams  and  anyone  wishing  to improve  their  skills  come here  to rub  the cow statues at this National Treasure, also famed for its picturesque ume (plum) trees. If the Ume Blossom Festival on Feb. 25, is too early for your trip, stop by on the 25th of any month for the street market, “Tenjin-san’s Festival”. Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyou-ku, Kyoto   Roumon Gate Hours: 5am – 6pm (Apr. – Sept.), 5:30am – 5:30pm (Oct. – Mar.) Prayer Hours: 9am – 4:30pm Office Hours: 9am – 5pm Kyoto Ebisu JinjaShrineWealth, good business, agriculture and fishing Ebisu  is  the  god  of  wealth  and  prosperity,  and  the  only  one  of  the  seven  lucky  gods native to Japan. While small business owners and shop keepers especially flock here in early January for the Toka Ebisu festival – visitors come all year round to seek blessings upon their businesses from this fisherman god, picking up charms here in the form of boats and red sea bream (tai). Knock on the worship hall wall before leaving, as it’s said Ebisu is hard of hearing!

Address: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato-oji Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Kitano

Imamiya Jinja Shrine

For: Longevity, good health, matchmaking

Relocated here in 1001 to prevent the spread of epidemics in Kyoto, this shrine protects from illness and disease, and enshrines deities for good health. Besides bringing home an  omamori,  find  the  deity’s  stone  Ahokashi-san  here,  which  is  said  to  possess wish-granting powers. During sakura season, stop by the Yasurai Matsuri – one of the Kyoto’s Top Three Unusual Festivals – on the second Sunday of April. Those who walk under the sakura and camellia decorated giant red umbrellas are said to stay healthy throughout the year!

Address: 21 Murasakino, Imamiya-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Imamiya

Kyoto Ebisu Jinja Shrine

For: Wealth, good business, agriculture and fishing

Ebisu  is  the  god  of  wealth  and  prosperity,  and  the  only  one  of  the  seven  lucky  gods native to Japan. While small business owners and shop keepers especially flock here in early January for the Toka Ebisu festival – visitors come all year round to seek blessings upon their businesses from this fisherman god, picking up charms here in the form of boats and red sea bream (tai). Knock on the worship hall wall before leaving, as it’s said Ebisu is hard of hearing!

Address: 125 Komatsu-cho, Yamato-oji Shijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

Hours: 9am – 5pm

Ebisu

 

Sakura Sightseeing In Kyoto (2)

See the Eternal City tinted in the delicate pink of Spring and sigh at the fleeting beauty of the sakura. Here are the top spots to for ohanami (cherry blossom viewing).

5) Maruyama Park

The  12m  tall “Gion  no Yozakura (Night Sakura of Gion)” weeping cherry tree here is a Kyoto sakura icon. The night illumination of this and some other 680 cherry trees in four varieties make Kyoto’s oldest park (since 1886) a favourite night spot.

Maruyama

6) Keage Incline

Once used as a ship-transporting railway between canals until the 1940s – the longest incline  rail  in  the  world –  this  582m  track  is famous  for  its  nearly  100 Yamazakura  and  Somei  Yoshino cherry  trees.  The  eastside  of  Niomon  Dori  is  the best viewing spot!

Keage

7) Philosopher’sWalk

Named  after  famous  philosopher  Kitaro Nishida  who meditated daily along  this path, the cherry blossoms here form a pink canopy over this 1.5km canal route, gently  sprinkling  petals  along  its  waters. Cited  as one  of  Japan’s  Top  100 Walking Paths, there’s no better place to ponder!

Philosopher

8) Kamo River

Stroll  along  the  river bank  or  have  a  picnic  under  the  cascade  of beni  (red) weeping  sakura  that  forms  during  full  bloom,  before  following  the  path  to  the  Kyoto Botanical Gardens’500 cherry trees consisting of 70 varieties, which are illuminated at night.

Kamo river

All about AnimeJapan 2016

This weekend is Anime Japan 2016, so here is a guide to introduce you to all the activities before you head to the Tokyo Big Sight.

What is Anime Japan?

AnimeJapan is not only an entertainment event but also an opportunity to connect with the Anime industry. Professionals from all corners of the animation world will give panels, host talk shows, provide workshops and will discuss your dream career plans. Why not bring your portfolio with you? This could be your big break!

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Navigating the exhibition halls

The area at Tokyo Big Sight is divided into different sections, each dedicated to an area of the anime industry.

Stages

There will be four stages; a red, green, blue and open stage. The colored stages host a variety of events such as panels, talk shows, news about series and cast appearances. However, these stages require a reservation and access is limited. The open stage is open to the public and free to enter. It will feature unique events, information about upcoming anime, talk shows and more.

Dealers

With more than 40 dealers selling unique merchandise, a fan is sure to find something to their liking. Big animation merchandise stores as well as smaller shops will sell and exhibit their goods. Definitely stop by the booth with Anime Japan 2016 exclusive merchandise and Premium Goods area.

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Food Park

Have you ever wanted to eat the food you saw on an anime? Now you can! Try the special Hokkaido pizza from agricultural hit manga Silver Spoon or other dishes such as Homemade Corn Soup from the adventure manga The Seven Deadlines Sins.

Creation Area

Anime Japan created a special area for all aspiring and professional animators. The Creation Stage will hold business seminars with lectures from creators about new developments in the industry. Experienced staff of professional schools will provide career counseling in a separate area and production works will be on display in the exhibition area.

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Business Area

This area is meant to provide business chances for both attendees and exhibitors in a comfortable environment. Be warned, students and people who are planning to start their own business are not allowed to enter the Business area. The area is strictly for business talks with exhibitors and to collect anime-related information for business.

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Children’s Area

For families with young visitors there is a special exhibition area with workshops and play corners.  Pose for a photo with popular manga characters such as Pikachu and Yokai Watch’s Jibanyan.

The festival goes on

After AnimeJapan closes, the party continues until late. On Friday and Saturday there will be a variety show and special event by Anison CLUB. Dance all night on Saturday at the AnimeJapan 2016 Night Festival, featuring some of the best DJ’s of Japan.

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With this much going on, there really should be no other way to spend your weekend than by going to AnimeJapan 2016. See you there!

Sakura Sightseeing In Kyoto (1)

See the Eternal City tinted in the delicate pink of Spring and sigh at the fleeting beauty of the sakura. Here are the top spots to for ohanami (cherry blossom viewing).

1)  Tenryu-ji Temple

This is Kyoto’s most famous temple, with the Arashiyama mountains as a backdrop and a Zen garden – Sogenchi-teien – that has been recognized by the Japanese government as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. The weeping sakura tree at the Tahoden Sanctuary is a must-see.

Tenryu-ji

2)  Ninna-ji Temple

This World Heritage Site is famous for its locally-cultivated sakura trees, called the Omuro sakura,  which  are  shorter  in  height  and  bloom  one  week  later  than  the  mainstream Somei  Yoshino  variety.  See  the  timeless  beauty  of  these 200 sakura  trees,  which  have been enjoyed here for over 400 years.

Ninnaiji

3)  Hirano Shrine

See over 60 varieties of sakura trees here, particularly the early blossoming of the Sakigake sakura which  is  said  to  herald  the  start  of  the  ohanami  season.  The  shrine’s  annual  cherry blossom festival is the oldest in Kyoto, dating back to 985 AD.

Hirano Jinja

4)  Nijo Castle

50  varieties  of  sakura –  including  Satozakura  and  many  rare  types –  are  scattered throughout  this  World  Heritage  Site,  built  as  the  Kyoto  residence  for  Japan’s  first shogun. Evening entertainment such as taiko drumming, koto performances and tea ceremonies accompany the evening “light up” hours.

Nijo

Watch out for Part II of this series for more must-see sakura spots!

 

How to ohanami:

-Ohanami involves sitting under a sakura tree end enjoying its natural beauty with a picnic. So bring a mat or sheet to sit on for your ohanami session and a small blanket as it can get cold sitting in the open.

-Check the dates of the local ohanami festival, where plenty of food stalls and some public events or performances will be set up

-Go early if you want to get a good ohanami viewing spot!

-The start of the cherry blossom season varies from year to year, but is generally from late March to mid-April in Kyoto (depending on the region).

 

 

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box

Akashiya handmade natural bamboo fude pens

Each Akashiya natural bamboo fude pen is made by hand, and a 14-step process is involved in the selection and treatment of the most suitable animal hairs for the brush. Due to this process and the use of natural materials, each pen is unique in terms of width, shape and colour. At the same time, to meet the needs of a modern and mobile lifestyle, the touch of a genuine calligraphy brush has been combined with the convenience of a refillable cartridge pen. This fusion of traditional craft and modern technology presents you with the best of both worlds.

Akashiya Natural Bamboo Fude Pen With Paulownia Box

$23.00

Buy from store

See other Akashiya products: http://wattention.com/articles/akashiya-fude-pens

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】Top 5 Stationery Supplies

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.
tokyuhands

 

In this article, we bring you TOKYU HANDS’ Top 5 Handy Stationery Supplies, from slim-folding scissors to fun-designed sticky memos — all worthy of taking note of!

 

No. 1: Fitcut Curve Twiggy

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The long-awaited portable on-the-go version of the Bernoulli-curved scissors’ Fitcut Curve series–the number one selling* household scissors (based on 2014 Japan stationery scissors market sales).

Price: 702 yen (including tax)
Category: Scissors
WAttention Editor’s comment: “Fits perfectly in your pen case, and is quite sturdy for its small size. You won’t find a more convenient pair of scissors!”

 



No. 2: Memo Can 

memokan

These memos will sway back and forth on your desk when folded in half and stood up on your desk. Use the stylish can for storing small items afterwards!

Price: 648 yen (including tax)
Category: Memo
WAttention Editor’s comment: “This gift is a 2-in-1 deal (memos and can case), both practical and playful for kids to adults.”

 



No. 3: Clip Family

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Not only can you use this bear-shaped clip as a paper clip or bookmark, but dip it in water for 5 minutes and you can bend it to a variety of positions, serving as a key hook, pen stand, and more. Available in multiple colors and varieties, including clip man, clip girl, clip monkey and more.

Price: 518 yen (including tax)
Category: Clip
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Unbearably cute, with endless creative ways to use just by bending!”

 



No. 4: Celebrity’s Mutter Sticky Note

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Become a big name celebrity — even Einstein — with this collection of sticky notes designed with famous faces.

Price: 410 yen (including tax)
Category: Memo
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Your ordinary messages will become the spark of many smiles with this fun addition to your desktop.”

 



No. 5: Ninja Pins

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The secret to these wall pins are their “V” shape, leaving little evidence of being used, compared to pins with a typical circular shape.

Price: 432 yen for 5 packs, 864 yen for 15 packs (including tax)
Category: Wall Pin
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “These pins leave hardly any trace of their presence, just like a true ninja!”

 

 



TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

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Kyo Karakami Stamp ‘Four Seasons’ A・B Rakkan Set

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Kyo Karakami Stamp ‘Four Seasons’ A・B Rakkan Set

$85.00

Buy from store

See other Karakami stationery products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-stationery

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

$170.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”

$597.00

See in store

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

【TOKYU HANDS × WAttention】The Top 5 Health Care & Beauty Products

TOKYU HANDS is “THE ONE-STOP SHOP” chock-full of all kind of goods such as kitchen utensils, beauty goods, stationery, bags and tools, joined by fun discoveries and surprises. Visit TOKYU HANDS and gain a better understanding of today’s Japan.

 

スクリーンショット 2016-02-05 11.40.13

No. 1: MISOKA Toothbrush

MISOKA1

This is the toothbrush that requires only water for use. Its bristles are coated with nano-mineral ions, and activated by water. MISOKA not only cleans your teeth but also leaves an ionic coat on the surface of your teeth.

MISOKA2

Simply dip it in water and you’re ready to brush! It is especially popular amongst Japanese and Asian customers.

Price: 1,080 yen (including tax)
Category: toothbrush
WAttention Editor’s comment: “For the outdoor and businessman who’s always on the go, you won’t find a better toothbrush than this one. And it actually works!”

 

 



No. 2: Green Bell Nail Clipper w/Magnifying Glass G-1004

clipper

Tired of straining your eyes when trimming your nails? This nail clipper comes with a 2x magnifying glass, which can also stand up on its own and be used for reading and other needs.

Price: 1,188 yen (including tax)
Category: nail clipper
WAttention Editor’s comment: “The perfect gift for seniors in particular, but I picked up one for myself too!”

 

 



No. 3: BOTANIST Smooth Shampoo & Treatment

BOTANIST

This non-silicone shampoo and treatment uses low acidity soap, making for a foamy and moist lather, and an unexpected silky feel. The shampoo and treatment each have their own distinct scent, and using both at the same time makes for a wonderful mixed fragrance.

Price: 1,512 yen each (including tax)
Category: shampoo, treatment
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “What a relief to finally have a non-silicone shampoo and treatment that still leaves my hair feeling as smooth and shiny. No more worrying about the silicone weighing down and drying out my hair!”

 

 



No. 4: Propolinse

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The secret to this mouthwash is its ability to remove protein impurities that build up within your mouth area. Since you can see with your own eyes the results of each rinse, you’ll feel even more refreshed!

Price: 271 yen for 12ml pouch (6 pack), 1,058 yen for 600mL bottle (including tax)
Category: mouthwash
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “Having seen for myself the disgusting things this mouthwash cleaned out of my mouth, I don’t think I can go without!”

 

 



No. 5: maNara Hot Cleansing Gel (200g)

manara

Even though technically a cleansing lotion, it functions similar to a beauty lotion, with a 91.4% serum content! When applied, this lotion will create a warming sensation, helpful for opening up your pores and removing dirt and oil. Utilizing no additional food coloring or mineral oils, it is especially easy on your skin.

Price: 4,104 yen (including tax)
Category: makeup remover
WAttention Editor’s Comment: “I didn’t expect it to warm my skin so quickly, and its citrus fragrance made for an even more refreshing feeling!”

TOKYU HANDS -Shinjuku Store-

Times Square Building 2-8F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

WEBSITE:http://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/foreign.html

スクリーンショット 2016-02-17 9.32.40

Ski in Japan: Resorts Near Tokyo

karuizawa3

Here are our picks for slopes near Tokyo that will give you a satisfyingly ski-filled day trip and still leave you time to head back to Tokyo in the evening in time to watch the city light up.

Snowtown Yeti (Shizuoka Prefecture)

 

Yeti1English instructor : No
Number of courses : 5
Located on the southern foothills near Mt.Fuji, Snowtown Yeti starts its skiing season from October, perfect for those who can`t wait to ski. This resort is mostly for beginners, and night-skiing is available for those who find the winter daytime too short.

Yeti2

Address: Fujiwara 2428, Suyama-aza, Susono-shi
Access: Take the Yeti Bus from Gotemba Station to Snowtown Yeti
Web: www.yeti-resort.com/en

Fujiten Snow Resort (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Fujiten1

English instructor : Private lessons only (advanced booking needed)
Number of courses : 7
Fujiten Snow Resort makes for a great ground to learn the basics of skiing, and has child-friendly courses as well. You can also enjoy a day of skiing with Mt.Fuji in the backdrop.

Fujiten2

Address: Fujisan 8545-1, Narusawa-mura, Minamitsuru-gun
Access: Take a taxi from Kawaguchiko Station to Fujiten Snow Resort
Web: www.fujiten.net/pc/en

 

Prince Grand Resort Karuizawa (Nagano Prefecture)

Karuizawa1

English instructor : Yes
Number of courses : 10
How about skiing in the chic town of Karuizawa? After skiing, you can shop at an outlet mall or enjoy the hot springs in the area. This is the ultimate integrated winter resort near Tokyo.

Karuizawa2

Address: Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun
Access: A 10-min. walk or 1-min. by taxi from Karuizawa Station. Free shuttle bus is also available.
Web: www.princehotels.com/en/ski/karuizawa/index.html

 

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

$85.00

See in store

See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

WAttention Tokyo+ VOL.15 讀者贈獎活動!

本期的讀者抽獎活動,贈品是旅行筆記文字者Milly所撰寫的《東京大人旅》,共有兩個中獎名額。請於2016年6月30日前填寫以下問卷,即可參加抽獎。我們將於2016年7月初抽出中獎名單,並以電子郵件與得獎者聯絡寄送地址。

注意事項:
1. 寄送地址限台灣
2. 本活動如有未盡事宜,全公司擁有保留、修改、暫停及解釋活動內容之權利,修改訊息將於網站及臉書專頁上公佈。

獎品:《東京大人旅》,共兩本。

getImage-2

Nishimura leather iPad cover design 3

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 3

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

$76.00

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See other Karakami interior and accessories products: http://wattention.com/articles/kyo-karakami-interior-accessories

In Harmony with the Seasons: Zoni

text & coordination/ Rieko Ido, photo/ Hajime Watanabe, decoration/ Junko Kibe

The pictured zoni dish is a soup of chicken dashi stock with simmered root vegetables,
to which roasted mochi and fragrant mitsuba (cryptotaenia japonica) has been added.

Zoni is the name of a soup containing mochi that is traditionally eaten in Japanese households on the first day of the New Year. Depending on the region, the ingredients can vary, and the soup may be a clear soup, soy sauce-based, or made with miso or white miso. But whatever the style, zoni is a combination of a soup containing several vegetables.

Preparations for a New Year’s feast traditionally begin on December 31. Considering that the first day of the month had been called tsukitachi (rising

of the moon), a dark, moonless night was important for resetting everything, and eating zoni on the morning after that also meant that the body was being prepared to accept new things.

Burying yourself in the diversity of a full year—despite being surrounded by an array of happenings, the people of ancient times must have focused their wisdom and consideration for their health into these tiny servings of zoni, praying that they could continue to live on.

 Eating mochi, where the god of the New Year had been believed to dwell, first thing in the New Year, is an act that represents receiving their energy. For the Japanese, this god had no been doubt a manifestation of their ancestors.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

In Harmony with the Seasons: Toshikoshi Soba

text & coordination / Rieko Ido, photo / Hajime Watanabe
text & coordination / Rieko Ido, photo / Hajime Watanabe
The tradition of eating soba on the last day of the year – Dec 31, also called omisoka – has been around in Japan since the mid-18th century, or the mid-Edo era. This came to be known as toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing soba. Eating soba right before the new year is meant to symbolize cutting off or puting an end to all bad events that happened within the year, hence the choice of soba, as it can be easily cut by chopsticks. On the other hand, the fact that it is long and thin is meant to symbolize longevity and a sustained prosperity for the family.
 In addition, the soba plant also embodies resilience and sturdiness as it survives even in cold climates and recovers quickly from damage by wind and rain with just a little sunlight, plus, it is known to be good for cleansing the blood and lowering blood pressure, hence it is said that eating soba helps to clean the body from the inside to welcome the new year.
There is another interesting saying that goldsmiths in the Edo era would, on the last day of the year, use a ball made from
soba flour to gather all the gold dust that had gathered within the year off the tatami mat, and this association between soba and wealth accumulation made toshikoshi soba popular.


Rieko Ido
A graduate of Kokugakuin University, researcher of ancient Japanese customs and knowledge, conducting technical analysis on findings to apply them to modern lifestyles. Currently teaches at Tama Art University.

Nishimura leather iPad cover design 2

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 2

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Situated in Fushimi-ku, about 2km south-east of Kyoto station, the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine is said to originate from the Hata clan’s worship of the god of rice and sake in the 8th century. As centuries went on, the god also became known as the one to ensure prosperity in business. People often call it “Oinari-san,” and is the head shrine of no less than 30,000 Inari branch shrines nationwide today.

3The Fushimi Inari-taisha has drawn countless businessmen to worship here, especially at the first prayers of the New Year. After all, Oinari-san is the god of prosperity. Visitors may be overwhelmed by over 5,000 orange-colored torii gates standing on the approach that were donated and inscribed by worshippers thankful for their prosperity.
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The shrine is also characterized by dozens of statues of foxes, which are considered to be messengers of the god. In Japanese mythology, foxes can be both a force of good and a force of evil. However, the foxes from Fushimi Inari are good-natured and divine. A fox’s power is determined by how many torii gates there are on the shrine’s property. It is said that messenger foxes have to jump over all their shrine’s torii gates every day, thus becoming stronger. The more gates a shrine has, the more a fox has to jump. Fushimi Inari has the most gates of all the Inari shrines, making the foxes here the strongest.

The sanctuary consists of several buildings, including the Sakura-mon Gate and Go-Honden Shrine, followed by a 4km tunnel trail with thousands of torii gates that stretches to the top of Mt. Inari. These tunnel gates have become very famous as they’ve been featured in movies such as “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

4Additionally, there are small restaurants and shops along the street to the shrine, where you can try the shrine related dishes such as kitsune udon (fox udon), a noodle soup topped with pieces of fried tofu that is said to be fox’s favorite food, and inari sushi, fried tofu wrapped around sushi rice. Of course you cannot leave without buying a fox-themed souvenir.
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Access

A 5-minute ride from Kyoto Station to JR Nara Line Inari Station and a short walk from Keihan Electric Railway Main Line Fushimi-Inari station

toco. is a great place to go!

Stay in a traditional Japanese house in a historical district from 2,700 yen.

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For backpackers that have had enough of capsule hotels, toco. provides the experience of staying in a traditional Japanese house ? complete with tatami mats and futon ? without busting your budget.

Located in Iriya, a historical area in downtown Tokyo, you have easy access to everything going on in the city, but can enjoy a more laid-back life as well by soaking in the nearby public bath house or having dinner at some of the local restaurants.

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From the facade of its main entrance, toco. looks like nothing more than your average Tokyo building. The simple but cozy bar at the entrance where local people come to mingle with international visitors like yourself, isn’t anything to shout about either.

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However, once you exit the building from the back, you will be amazed by the sight of a 90-year old traditional residence with a spectacular Japanese garden right before your eyes.

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toco. is one of the few spots in Tokyo where time seems to have stood still, and the best thing is that you are not just here for sightseeing, you are actually staying here for the night! As you lay down on your futon in this historical residence, you may feel like you are one of those Dutch or Portuguese that were the first westerners to visit Japan.

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The rooms here are mostly dormitories where you can stay for between 2700 yen and 3000 yen, and chose from either bunk beds or a traditional Japanese tatami room with a futon on the floor.

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Interested in staying here? Be quick as toco. is usually booked full!

 

Hotel information:

Name: toco.

Price range: 2,700 yen – 3,000 yen

Location:Shitaya 2-13-22, Taito, Tokyo

Access: A 3-min walk from Iriya Station (Hibiya Line)

Website: http://backpackersjapan.co.jp/english/

Kyo Karakami by Maruni Stationery

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What is Kyo Karakami?

Simply put, Kyo Karakami refers to a type of woodblock print, using hand-carved printing blocks made from magnolia wood with traditional patterns from days of old. The characters for Karakami mean “Tang Chinese paper”, harking to the origins of the beautifully crafted paper that came from the Tang Dynasty during the Nara Period. As the production of Karakami started in Kyoto, the capital during the Heian Period, the paper has since been referred to as Kyo Karakami.
This paper, which brings out the beauty of brush calligraphy best, was first used by aristocrats to write letters or poetry, and also began to be used for fusuma shoji (paper screens for sliding doors). Through the centuries, it became popular with the nobles, samurai warriors, tea ceremony practitioners and finally, with the merchants during the Edo era.

Karakami Gift

While not everybody may be able to appreciate the texture of karakami via calligraphy, almost anyone, from young to old, can experience the joy and satisfaction of making your own printing block creation with Maruni’s Karakumi Gift sets. With this, anyone can create their own patterned paper greeting cards.

Sophisticated yet easy to use, all that is needed is a desire to send a heartfelt greeting made by hand.

Kyo Karakami Stamp ‘Four Seasons’ A・B Rakkan Set

$85.00

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Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 ‘Kichijousou’

$29.00

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Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 2 ‘Onami’

$40.00

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Kyo Karakami Stamp Kit 1 “Kanae” Lucky items

$65.00

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Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Small) Peony Tang Grass

$53.00

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Kyo Karakami Karabaco (Large) Metal Lines

$71.00

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Campaign Registration

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Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1

Nishimura with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen. These covers come in three sizes to use for you iPad, iPad mini or iPad air and can be ordered in navy blue, red or beige. Chose your favorite out of the three different designs and add a unique Japanese taste to your iPhone!

Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1

$322.00

for iPad

$276.00

for iPad mini

$303.00

for iPad air

See other Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku products: http://wattention.com/articles/nishimura-yuzen-chokoku-craft

Cloudy with a Chance of Crazy: Fuji-Q Highland

Fuji Q 10232015

Cloudy with a Chance of Crazy: Our Fuji-Q Highland Experience

Jelaine from the Philippines was one of two winners of our recent Fuji-Q Campaign. Here, she gives WAttention readers a first-hand review of three of Fuji-Q Highland’s most daunting rides.

Jelaine, at the Fuji-Q Highland entrance.
Jelaine, at the Fuji-Q Highland entrance.

Fuji-Q Highland was a relatively unknown entity to me, unlike Universal Studios or Disneyland. So when the opportunity to visit the theme park presented itself, the only reasonable reply was, “YES PLEASE!”

The day we visited though started with a disappointing 91% cloud cover forecast, which meant a very narrow chance of seeing the magnificent Fuji-san. However, we were still stoked by all the crazy attractions, and at once queued at the nearest and most imposing roller coaster: Fujiyama, fittingly called the King of Roller Coasters.

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Fujiyama

Fujiyama previously held the title for the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster. Although these records have since been beaten, Fujiyama is still one heck of a ride. The coaster started slowly, taking its sweet time to reach its peak height (with markers on the way up indicating the height), which just added to the excitement and tension, and the drop from its highest point left us gleefully screaming our lungs out.

Dodonpa
The highest point of Dodonpa, on the left of the ferris wheel.

Our next stop was Dodonpa. We were curious about this screamer after we saw its length and speed. The coaster began with a countdown, after which it took off at its fastest speed of 172 km/hour immediately upon launching. I was literally speechless for a few seconds from shock, but before I could scream properly, the ride ended. It was just too fast!

DSC_6106
Takabisha

Last, and definitely the most impressive of them all, was Takabisha, which had some exciting inversions and rolls leading to the vertical lift. Similar to Fujiyama, the ascent was teasingly slow, but this one had more of a fear factor, since we were leaning back and couldn’t see anything but the sky in front of us. It stopped for what seemed like an eternity at the top before its scary 121 degree descent.

Fuji Q entrance 10232015

Fuji Q Highland is a must try if you’re a thrill seeker like me. But even if you’re not, there are plenty of less heart-stopping attractions to try like the 4D Fuji Airways. Plus, you will have a great view of Mt. Fuji on clear days. Just be sure to check the weather forecast!

Fuji Q group 10232015

Get Bowled Over By Kourakuen

Real Ramen at Unreal Prices 

For tourists who can always do with more time and money, Kourakuen brings happiness and fulfilment just as its name suggests.

Click here for a 10% discount coupon at Kourakuen! (Detailed information can be found at the end of this article)

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Ramen was first known in Japan as “chuka-soba”, or literally, Chinese-style noodles. That is why Kourakuen, which has been selling ramen for over six decades since the Showa era, says “chuka-soba” on its signboard and not ramen. Kourakuen’s rapid growth from a 3-man hole-in-the-wall eatery in the Aizu area of northern Japan to a nationwide ramen chain of over 500 stores comes from its founder’s mission to provide ramen that is tastier, cheaper and faster.

Kourakuen in Roppongi

Goma Miso Chashu Ramen (Sesame and miso-based ramen with chashu) 637 yen
Sesame and miso go well together and also with the toppings of sweet corn, spinach and chashu (barbecued pork slices). The sesame fragrance is enhanced by a generous sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds! Yummy!

gomamiso
Though it looks rich, it’s surprisingly light and refreshing!

Tonkotsu Kotteri Chashu Ramen (Rich pork-based ramen with chashu) 637 yen
For those who love full-on flavor, this kotteri (thick) broth is your best bet. Combined with thick and chewy noodles and a generous portion of chashu, you won’t find a more satisfying bowl of ramen at this price!

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The richness of this ramen will satisfy your cravings

Tsukasa Ramen (Pork broth and soy sauce-based ramen with thinner noodles) 561 yen
A must-try for those who sometimes find pork broth too cloying or strong-tasting but crave something a little more than just soy sauce.

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Perfect balance of richness without being cloying!

Tsukemen (Noodles and dipping sauce served seperately) 421 yen
This has gained popularity lately. Dip and slurp up on generous portions of noodles that go well with an addictive sweet, spicy and sour dipping soup.

tsukemen
Shio Yasai Ramen (Ramen noodles topped with a mountain of veggies in a salt soup) 529 yen
This salt-based vegetable ramen is a healthy choice especially popular amongst the ladies.yasai

On the side…

Gyoza 216 yen
Golden-browned to perfection with lots of juicy pork and cabbage filling.

gyoza

Half-Sized Fried Rice 334 yen
Kourakuen was the first to introduce half-sized fried rice as the perfect side-kick to your ramen.

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Kourakuen Original Pudding 194 yen
Ladies rejoice! This pudding surprises with its creaminess and delicate sweetness that belies its ramen roots!

pudding

Korakuen Roppongi Branch

Hours: 24 hours

Address: Roppongi 7-14-13, Minato

Access: A 1-min. walk from Roppongi Station (Hibiya Line & Oedo Line)

10% Discount URL: http://www.wattention.com/kourakuen-coupon/ (Valid until Dec. 10, 2015 for use at these branches: Roppongi, Dogenzaka, Nihonbashi Sakuradori, Hirakawacho, Nakano Station (Southern Entrance), Shinbashi-karasumori. Not valid with other coupons or discounts.

URL: https://www.kourakuen.co.jp/

Ramen for Beginners

For a smooth slurping experience

haruki
It has become almost impossible to find someone that has never had ramen before, let alone someone that has never heard of it. Still, without knowledge of the Japanese language, stepping into a ramen shop in Japan can be a little bit intimidating. That said, this is an experience not to be missed, so get familiar on how ramen is served and slurped in Japan with this article before you duck under a noren, or shop curtain.

1. How to order

Most ramen shop menus are very simple, but that doesn’t mean ordering is simple if you don’t know how to. While ordering methods differ depending on the shop, here is some basic knowledge that won’t hurt you on your ramen rendezvous.11992214_949889525069984_530041929_n

Ticket vending machines: At the majority of ramen shops, you purchase a food ticket at a ticket machine (usually located at the entrance) and put this ticket on the counter in front of your seat or on your table. If the ticket machine has no pictures and you can’t read Japanese, find any of the following characters for a portion of ramen → ラーメン らーめん 中華そば
Once you get used to purchasing food tickets in advance, it is easy to forget to pay at ramen shops that have no ticket machines, so be mindful!

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From Konaotoshi to Barikata: At most ramen shops, you can order how you want your noodles cooked. This is especially common in Fukuoka Prefecture, where you will hear customers loudly shout their preferences. If you see people around you do this, how about giving it a try yourself? Just shout any of the following: konaotoshi (almost uncooked), harigane (extremely firm), barikata (very firm), kata (firm), futsu (normal), yawa (soft), bariyawa (very soft).

2. Mastering the art of slurping, or deciding not to.

Depending on your culture, slurping noodles might be unheard of. However, in Japan, slurping your ramen (or other noodles for that matter) are the basics of the basics. Noodles are slurped not with the pure purpose of cooling them down, but also to allow the soup’s flavor to spread throughout one’s mouth. This might sound strange if you are not used to the concept, but note that wine experts are on the side of the Japanese as they prefer to slurp their wine in order to savor its fragrance throughout the mouth. Slurping your noodles can also be seen as a gesture towards the master, showing that you are enjoying your bowl to the max.

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Once you have mastered the way of slurping (and even if you decide to go on without doing so), let’s move on to the next step!

3. Don’t take too much time!

Dining at ease while enjoying a conversation is great, but not advisable when you are having ramen. The noodles loose their firmness and become too soft after a short period of time, so eating them right after they are served is considered best. Also, keep in mind that popular ramen shops often have people waiting in long lines in front of the shop to get their hands on a bowl of ramen, so staying too long after finishing your dish can be impolite.

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4. End with a gesture from your side

Some might say that the customer is king, but showing that you enjoyed your slurp will make your ramen master’s day. If you are sitting at a counter seat, putting your finished ramen bowl back on the counter top is a gesture that is always welcome. Don’t forget to say “Gochisosama”  (thank you for the meal), and give a friendly nod as you leave.

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Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku

nishimura-takeshi

About Nishimura Yuzen Chokoku: From kimono dyeing to iPad case design

From kimono dyeing to iPad case design
Takeshi Nishimura from Kyoto is a living legend in the world of yuzen-chokoku, which is the craft of pattern paper carving used for yuzen-zome dyeing in the process of making a kimono.
With shrinking demand in the kimono market, Nishimura decided to transfer his craft to the products used in daily life to add a touch of tradition to modern life.
This has resulted in two series: Nishimura with Collectif Prémices, which is a collaboration with a French design team, and Nishimura with iPad.

Nishimura with Collectif Prémices
This simple yet exquisite leather collection is the product of collaboration between French design team, COLLECTIF PRĒMICES, and the traditional techniques of yuzen-chokoku, a pattern paper carving technique used in the dyeing process of kimono.
This series includes, Landscape – the name of a stylish table piece to store various modern day devices, as well as the self-explanatory Wallet and Pockets, for the storage of various items.


Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape”
$597.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Pay Card”
$147.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Phone”
$156.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Wallet”
$138.00

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Nishimura with Collectif Prémices “Landscape Pocket Business Card”
$138.00

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Nishimura Yuzen-Chokoku Paper Pattern
$276.00

See in store

NISHIMURA with iPad
Combining traditional craft with modern vision, Nishimura has created this intricately designed iPad cover that transports you into a different dimension with an illumination of vivid and powerful motifs when backlit by the iPad screen.


Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 1
$303.00

See in store


Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 2
$303.00

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Nishimura leather iPad Air cover design 3
$303.00

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Nishimura iPad leather cover design 1
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad cover design 2
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad cover design 3
$322.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 1
$276.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 2
$276.00

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Nishimura leather iPad mini cover design 3
$276.00

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Continuing to Bring Enchantment to the World, Noritake

From Ginza to Your Dinner Table

It’s the fine chinaware from Noritake that makes your special dinner hour even more of a delight.

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Established in 1904, Noritake’s roots can be traced back to “Morimura Gumi”, set up in New York during the turmoil at the end of the Edo Period when the brothers Ichizaemon and Toyo Morimura decided to start international trading for the sake of their country.

noritake

Ichizaemon and company visited the World Exposition in Paris and were stunned by the intricate European porcelain they came across and eventually decided to start production in Japan. Upon overcoming numerous difficulties, it was in 1914, a decade later, that the first dinnerware set was manufactured in Japan. And since then, with its superb technology and the incomparable beauty of its designs, Noritake china has been loved by people the world over.

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From the finest quality series such as Maestro, the epitome of elegance, to the Totoro series featuring the popular animation, Noritake will always have available the perfect chinaware to match an array of budgets and purposes. Particularly recommended is the Champagne Pearls set. The elegant design and the warm white colors will enhance the fine taste of any type of cuisine. Another reason for the high acclaim that it enjoys among many women and professional chefs is its wide range of use, a fine match not only for western food but for Japanese cuisine as well. Approved by the professionals, the series is a sure winner that will enhance the fun, lovely dinner scene at your home.

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Introducing a new 20-piece home set for the popular Champagne Pearls series, with trim designs that change depending on the glittering light (scheduled for launch at the end of September). (Four 27.5-cm plates, four deep plates measuring 21.5-cm, four coffee cups and saucers) priced at 70,000 yen.

Drop by the Noritake Ginza store for a chance to see these authentic Noritake chinaware. Ginza is where Noritake’s first store had initially opened. While the location of the store may have changed, our desire to bring our customers top of the line products at a top-class venue remains unchanged. This is a place where you’re bound to find that special item you’ve always wanted.

Store information

Noritake GINZA

003

Address: Ginza 3-4-12 Bunshodo Building 2F, Chuo

Number of products on exhibit: Approximately 1,000

Hours: 11 am – 7:30 pm Open throughout the year (except for New Year’s holidays)

Tel: 03-3567-6121

Access: 1-min walk from exit A 13 of Ginza Station (Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line)

URL: http://www.noritake.co.jp/tableware/shoplist/index.html

Kyo Karakami by Maruni Interior and Accessories

Own a unique piece of classic Japanese design

Add a touch of taste and tradition to your home with a Kyo Karakami wall panel made according to your preferences.

Karakami – which literally means “Tang Chinese Paper” – originated from China during the Tang Dynasty but since it started production in Kyoto over 1,000 years ago, has become a treasured form of washi (Japanese paper) that is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It was first used by aristocrats as a patterned paper on which to write letters or poetry.

Timeless Classic

Kyoto-based Maruni continues to observe the ancient methods of making Kyo Karakami – by hand, and with all-natural materials, from magnolia printing blocks harking back nearly 200 years, to ingredients derived from seaweed and shells to make the colouring materials. The patterns are classic designs from the Nara Period.

The crushed shells give karakami printing designs its unique iridescent shine that adds to the paper’s timeless appeal.

During the Edo era, this paper, which brings out the beauty of brush calligraphy best, also began to be used for fusuma shoji (paper screens for sliding doors).

Now, you too can transport the art of ancient Japanese living to your living room.

Applying this traditional craft to modern fixtures such as wall panels, wall paper, lanterns, fans and other accessories, Maruni has made this intangible cultural heritage, tangible to the homes and lives of the discerning.

Just like before the days of mass production, at Maruni, you can order a unique wall panel to your liking, choosing everything from the printing block pattern, to paper colour, printing colour and paper type.

Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN SUN “Kuchikigumo”

$152.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Tradition “Tatsutagawa”

$85.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase HOLE DESIGN MOON “Kotogasumi”

$152.00

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Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Wave Design

$74.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Vase LACK DESIGN BAMBOO “Kumokiri”

$170.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Geometric “Kakutsunagi”

$76.00

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Kyo Karakami Wall Panel Nature “Kohrin-ohnami”

$76.00

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Kyo Karakami Paper Fan Chidori Design

$64.00

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