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

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

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

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

Aagje Kessels

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

Jan Siegrist

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Jenny Teer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Deeply rooted in Japan’s food culture

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

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

    どのえs

    天丼・ウナ丼 Tendon, Unadon

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

    Where to find Niigata rice in Tokyo

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

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

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


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

    馳走 紺屋
    Chisou Konya

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

    豪農 五十嵐邸銀座
    Gonou Igarashitei Ginza

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

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

    What kind of place is Niigata?

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

    Niigata travel guide

    must see

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

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

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

    must do

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

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

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

    must eat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Spring events in Saitama

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Saitama City’s famous Cherry Blossoms spots

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

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

    Shirakami Sanchi – Aomori, Akita

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    Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

    Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station
    URL: http://www.en-aomori.com/scenery-014.html

    Oirase Keiryu – Aomori

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    Oirase Keiryu, a picturesque stream flowing from Lake Towada, is representative of Japan’s unique beauty. You will never be bored by the enchanting waterfalls and stunning rocks along the 14-kilometer trek between Lake Towada’s Nenokuchi and Yakeyama. Be it the lush greens of summer or brilliant shades of red in autumn, the gorgeous sight itself is well worth the journey.

    Access: 50-min by bus from JR Hachinohe Station to Yakiyama (Nearby lake Towada)
    URL: http://towadako.or.jp/towadako-oirase/ (Japanese only)

    Oga Peninsula – Akita

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    The rugged peninsula, projecting west into the Sea of Japan, is home to the Namahage ogres (demon-like characters) in traditional Japanese folklore. Some of the breathtaking vistas include extensive cliff coastlines, the “Godzilla Rock” and a shrine with a flight of 999 steps, said to be built by the ogres themselves.

    Access: The trip from JR Oga Station around the peninsula takes about two hours (excluding sightseeing time).
    URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/akita/ogahantou.html

    Tono – Iwate

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    Tono – Iwate

    Tono is the place to go and see how people live in beautiful harmony with nature, as Japan’s traditional landscape is perfectly preserved here. With old Japanese farmhouses and unchanged rural landscapes, you can discover ancient traditions and folklore in this countryside village beloved by all Japanese.

    Tono tourism association office
    Hours: 8am – 7pm
    Adress: 5-8 Shinkoku-cho, Tono-shi, Iwate
    Access: Right outside JR Tono Station (Kamaishi Line)
    URL: http://www.tonojikan.jp/Several_languages/english/english.html

    Sasagawa Nagare – Niigata

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    Breathtaking coastline with a beautiful contrast between the clear blue sea and white sand. The strange name “Sasagawa Nagare” roughly translates to “Sasagawa Flow” and is meant to express the waves brushing the coastline and flowing back between the complex rock formations like a mountain stream. You can gaze upon the rocks towering above the coastline from a leisure cruise.

    Access: Area around Kuwagawa Station (Uetsu Main Line)
    URL: http://www.sasagawanagare.co.jp/ (Japanese only)

    Zao – Yamagata, Miyagi

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    Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, _boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

    Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station.

    Hatsushima, an island full of adventure


    A thrilling escapade away from bustling Tokyo


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    There is an island off the shore of the city of Atami in Shizuoka prefecture with the rare virtue of combining adrenaline and relaxation. The Hatsushima island adventure starts at the Atamiko port, where visitors ride either the “Ile de Vacance Premier” or “Ile de Vacance III”, the two high-speed vessels that serve the island with departures several times a day. It’s a 30-minute pleasant ride that gives passengers the chance to admire the breathtaking view of Sagami Bay and feed the sea-gulls that try to catch up with the boat.

    Hatsushima offers a variety of amazing outdoor activities such as the Asian Garden “R-Asia”, where you can relax in a hammock and admire a great variety of flowers such as daffodils, the bird of paradise flower, and even early cherry blossoms, allowing visitors to Hatsushima to enjoy the quintessential Japanese flower as early as mid-February!. Inside the garden, adrenaline lovers can also join the SARUTOBI experience, an adventure course featuring bridges, webs and ropes hanging from the top of the trees that you have to complete wearing a special harness.

    For lunch, there are many restaurants offering a great variety of dining options and seasonal dishes. For example, from February 4th to March 12th, visitors can taste the time limited Donburi Gassen, a delicious bowl of rice with fresh and tasty fish caught by local fishermen. Visitors can also take a relaxing dip in the ocean bath “Shimano-Yu” and admire the breathtaking view at the ocean pool during summer.

    At Hatsushima, you can also get a glimpse of majestic Mt. Fuji on a clear day from the top of Hatsushima’s lighthouse or go underwater for scuba diving, spend the night in the camping site, go fishing or visit the local Maritime Museum. You will never run out of things to do.

    Two of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of adventure at Hatsushima island and this is what they had to say about the trip.

    Santiago Basterra

    To say that my day at Hatsushima Island Resort was thrilling and exciting would not make it justice, it was so much more! The restaurants had such a friendly atmosphere, small and traditional with top notch food and great attention. The miso was delicious! The Sarutobi adventure was my favorite part though, the first course was exciting and good for people who are not used to obstacle courses. Meanwhile, the second course was amazingly challenging, with the zip-line at the end being the cherry on top of the cake as you celebrate having completed the hardest course! Afterwards, the ocean bath was exceptionally tidy, everything was perfect and the water deliciously warm. Special mention to the sakura in the garden which were already blooming despite the fact that it was only February!
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    We took a 30 minute boat ride from Atamiko port to Hatsushima island, and as soon as we arrived, we saw the great variety of restaurants offering Hatsushima’s delicious sea food. We got to try the Donburi Gassen, a special, time limited dish made with shrimp, fresh fish, rice and accompanied with miso soup. We then headed to Hatsushima Island Resort to join the Sarutobi experience. The staff was always there to help us put on our safety gear, and there is also a brief orientation where they explain the dynamic of the activity. After that, we were confronted with two courses, an easy one, where you can test your abilities and then a hard one, only for those who feel comfortable going further. At first, it can be a bit scary because of the height and the difficulty level that increases as you go along, but after a while I felt excited and had an amazing time.

    Samuel Estribi

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    Sample schedule for a day in Hatsushima Island
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    Hatsushima Island

    Open: Asian garden “R-Asia” 9am to 4pm (varies according to the season), Sarutobi experience 10am to 5pm, Ocean Bath Shimano-Yu 10am to 9pm, Lighthouse from 9am to 4pm.

    Address:(Atamiko Port boarding place) 6-11 Wadahama-Minamicho, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0023. (Hatsushima Island resort) 1113 Kamifuruji-no-yama, Hatsushima, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0004.

    Phone: Hatsushima Island resort, PICA Reservation center 0555-30-4580

    Price: the Asian garden “R-Asia” is 900 JPY, Sarutobi experience is 1,700 JPY for adults and 1,300 JPY for children, the Ocean Bath Shimano-Yu is 900 JPY for adults and 600 JPY for children, Lighthouse is 200 JPY for adults, free for children and the Atami – Hatsushima round-trip high speed boat is 2,600 JPY for adults and 1,300 for children.

    Website: http://www.hatsushima.jp/en/

    Access: From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen Kodama for Atami Station and then take the bus bound for Atami Port & Korakuen from Bus Stop #8 (15 min). At Atami Port, get on boat named either “Ile de Vacance Premier” or “Ile de Vacance III” to reach Hatsushima.

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

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

    With so much to do at Sagamiko Resort, the fun is guaranteed

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    If you ever find yourself undecided or at an impasse with your friends over what to do on weekends, consider this: nobody will have to compromise if you go somewhere that offers something fun for everyone like Sagamiko Resort. Located in Sagamihara city in Kanagawa prefecture, this amusement park is just 50 minutes away from Shinjuku station by train. It offers a variety of attractions divided into different areas. On Pleasure Forest you will find around 30 different attractions including a Ferris Wheel located at the top of a mountain with amazing views of the surrounding area. At Wild Cooking Garden you can make use of the BBQ facilities to enjoy a relaxed meal with friends on a sunny day, and even if it’s raining, you’ll be able to cook your BBQ inside the indoor facilities. And at night, the Illumillion decorations turn the park into a colorful wonderland as six million color light bulbs create a breathtaking landscape.

    For people who want to get in touch with nature, Sagamiko offers Paddington Bear™ Campsite, with different kinds of lodging options and everything you might need to enjoy a night outdoors, as well as mountain bicycle courses and one of Kanto area’s largest radio-control car courses.The park also offers the on-site Ururi onsen, with an open-air bath, bedrock bath, a restaurant and resting areas among other facilities.

    Three of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of fun at Sagamiko Resort and this is what they had to say about the trip.

    Kerstin Thies

    The first thing that amazed me was the view on the mountains all around the resort. It was a nice alternative to the bustling streets of Shibuya and the tall skyscrapers in Shinjuku. Since we arrived at lunch time, we had a barbecue lunch at the campsite and we even got to try a dutch oven where we cooked a tasty chicken. One of the highlights of the trip was the mirror maze, since it was something I had not done before and made me and my friends laugh a lot. But by far, the most amazing thing was the decorations once it got dark. The whole park was illuminated by pink, red, gold, blue and green lights in all shapes and sizes. There was even a field of glowing flowers and a light show. Soon after watching the show and taking pictures, we went to Ururi onsen. It was my first time in an Onsen and it was a great experience. It felt great to soak in the hot water after being on the move all day. I left Sagamiko Resort with a softer skin and a lot of beautiful pictures and memories.
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    We started our day with a delicious BBQ lunch, where we got to test our cooking skills. After our tummies were full, we went on to the attractions. The mazes were a lot of fun, especially the mirror maze. It was challenging and confusing at the same time but we had a lot of fun. We then visited the Ferris wheel which offered an amazing view. As the sun was setting, the “Illumillion” show started and the whole park lit with many beautiful colors, it was such an amazing sight. After a nice walk around the park, our bodies were tired so we decided to go to the onsen. It had many different kinds of baths with different temperatures to fit everyone’s preference. After an hour-long, relaxing bath my skin was very soft and my body felt really good and filled with energy. We then rode a direct bus from the park to Shinjuku, which was very convenient for us. This was an amazing experience, and I made really good memories.

    Maren Steine

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    Romina Bonilla

    I had an amazing day at Sagamiko Resort with my friends. We arrived around lunch time and we headed straight to the BBQ area, where we had a delicious meal and even got to use the dutch oven, which I had never used before. We then spent a few hours enjoying the many attractions that the park has to offer. My favorite one was the Ferris wheel because of the amazing view. At night, I was impressed by the beautiful lights that decorate the park. We also had the chance to soak in the onsen and I was surprised to feel that my skin was very smooth and relaxed. I would definitely like to come back soon, I highly recommend it for anyone looking to have an amazing time!
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    Sample schedule for a day in Sagamiko Resort
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    Sagamiko Resort

    Open: Open daily except Thursdays from 10:00am to 9pm on weekdays and from 9:30am to 9pm on weekends. Operation hours vary according to the season.
    Address: 1634 Wakayanagi,Midori-ku,Sagamihara,Kanagawa 252-0175
    Phone: 042-685-1111
    Website: http://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/(in Japanese)
    Access: Get on the JR Chuo Line from Shinjuku station bound for Otsuki and get off at Sagamiko station. Then, get on the bus no. 1 bound for Mikage and get off at Pleasure Forest Mae. You can also take a direct bus from Shinjuku bus terminal to Pleasure Forest. (Operates only during Sagamiko Illumillion display season).
    Price: Park admission 1,700 JPY for adults, 1,000 JPY for children and 1,000 JPY for pets
    Free pass including park admission and unlimited rides to all attractions is 3,900 JPY for adults and 3,100 per children.

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

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

    Besides bustling excitement, Saitama City is full of remarkable historical and cultural
    heritage which you can discover through walks and excursions. There is no place better to enjoy Japan’s rich and colourful tradition.

    Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine

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    With more than 2,000 years of history, this shrine is one of the oldest in Japan. As its name “Ichinomiya” suggests, it is the top shrine in the Musashi area. In fact, this is the shrine that gave Omiya its very name.

    Address:1-407 Takahana-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama Prefecture
    Access:15-min walk from JR Omiya Station East Exit and Kita Omiya Station
    on the Tobu Noda Line

    Hikawa Dango Shop

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    Located next to the path leading to Hikawa Shrine, this shop has won the heart of locals for years. Mitarashi dango, or grilled mochi balls dipped in sweet soy sauce, and fried manju confectionery are popular options.dangoahorasi
    Dango in sweet soy sauce two for 200 yen

    Hours:9am – 6:30pm (Closed Mon.)
    Address:2-130 Takahana-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama Prefecture
    Access:10-min walk from JR Omiya Station – East Exit

    Masuya Unagi Restaurant

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    Although there is no lack of restaurants in Urawa offering melt-in-your-mouth eel dishes, Masuya is the most famous because it has been around for over 120 years. The secret sauce gives the fish a special grilled flavor you can’t get anywhere else.
    Hours:11am – 2:45pm (last order time) 5am – 8:45pm (last order time) 7:45pm is the last order time on Sundays and weekends (Closed Mon.)
    Address: 7-1-3 Kishi-cho, Urawa-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama Prefecture
    Access: 6-min walk from JR Urawa Station – West Exit (Keihin Tohoku Line, Utsunomiya Line,Shonan Shinjuku Line)

    Minuma Tsusenbori Park

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    At the centre of this lush area is Minuma Tsusenbori, the oldest lock in Japan. The space, covered with graceful bamboo stalks flowing and green grass, is both beautiful and historic.

    Visit Omiya Bonsai Village
    Saitama’s Kita-ku Bonsai-cho is within a couple minutes walk distance from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. In 1923, a group of gardeners from Tokyo moved in after the Great Kanto Earthquake, laying a solid foundation for today’s bonsai village. Although the number of bonsai gardens has dropped from 30 to six in recent years, the place remains the centre of Japanese bonsai culture.


    Trivia information!

    According to the staff at Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, beginners should try looking at the bonsai from the bottom up for an amazing outline of branches. This is fun trivia, bound to impress your friends!
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    Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
    Opened in March 2010, this museum aims to preserve the tradition of bonsai culture. As the only public bonsai art museum in Japan, it welcomes bonsai beginners from all around the world. The multilingual voice guide explains how to appreciate bonsai and is invaluable for those who want to know more about Japanese culture.

    The 8th World Bonsai Convention in Saitama
    Bonsai is celebrated all over the world not only as an aesthetic piece of art but also as an affordable, cute interior design feature. The World Bonsai Convention, slated to be held from 27-30 April, is a great chance to check out the latest trend in bonsai art.
    Le Tour de France SAITAMA CRITÉRIUM
    Named after Le Tour de France, this closed circuit race has been held in Saitama’s Shintoshin four times, attracting top riders who have participated in Le Tour de France as well as professional riders from across the world. Experience the excitement and adrenaline rush of Le Tour de France by visiting Saitama!

    Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

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    Blossoms cascade like a waterfall from the top of one large benishidare (weeping cherry blossom) tree, leaving a stream of petals on the ground. During its nocturnal light-up period, this sakura is especially beautiful; all will be moved by such a magical sight.


    Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

    Hours: 6am – 6pm
    Admission: 300 yen (free for junior high students and younger)
    Address: Sakurakubo 91, Taki, Miharu-machi, Tamura-gun, Fukushima
    Access: 30-min by bus from JR Miharu Station
    URL: http://www.tif.ne.jp/lang/en/sightseeing/topic.html?id=41&category=4

    Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

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    About 10,000 sakura (dating back more than 90 years) form a magnificent, 2-km long tunnel along the Kitakami river. Enjoy the intertwined someiyoshino (hybrid sakura), yamazakura (mountain sakura) and yaezakura (double cherry blossom) from the sightseeing carriage at a leisurely pace.

    Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

    Hours: 24/7
    Address: Chiwari 10, Tachibana, Kitakami-shi, Iwate
    Access: 12-min by bus from JR Kitakami Station, get off at Tenshochi bus stop
    URL: http://www.kitakami-kanko.jp/english/events.php?itemid=47

    Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

    Sakura in Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park and Matsushima

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    Saigyo Hoshi, a renowned Japanese poet during the 12th century, expressed his love for cherry blossoms, as evidenced by his famous poem, “let me die under the blossoms in spring”. From Yukari no Koen (Yukari Park) you can see the wonderful contrast of the bursting blossoms of someiyoshino cherry trees with green pine trees and the blue waters of Matsushima Bay, considered to be “one of the Three Views of Japan.”

    Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park

    Hours: 24/7
    Address: Inuta 10-174, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
    Access: 5-min by car from Matsushima Kaigan Station
    URL: http://sendai-travel.jp/places/saigyo-modoshi-no-matsu-park/

    Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

    Hours: 10am – 4pm
    Admission: Between 1000 yen – 1500 yen for a cruise
    Address: Chonai 98-1, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
    Access: 10-min walk from JR Matsushima Kaigan Station
    URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/miyagi/matusima.html

    Nebuta Matsuri

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    Nebuta Matsuri Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture
    Aug. 2 – 7
    Highlight: fireworks festival on the final day

    Aomori city comes alive every summer to celebrate the Nebuta festival. Historically the festival functioned as a means of keeping harvesters awake as they worked in the fields gathering rice and other produce. As dusk approaches the parade begins and many floats feature illuminated lanterns with various designs and shapes.

    Hanagasa Matsuri

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    Hanagasa Matsuri Yamagata City, Yamagata prefecture
    Aug. 5 – 7
    Highlight: different types of dances using straw flower hats

    The iconic nature of the parade is the use of traditional agricultural workers hats decorated with red paper flowers that represent the beautiful safflower. The parade features all ages, with many young children dressed in traditional yukata. At the end of the festival, everyone is invited to celebrate and join in the last float, dancing the traditional hanagasa dance.

    Waraji Matsuri

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    Waraji Matsuri Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture
    Aug. 3 – 6
    Named after the traditional straw sandals for traveling, the 300-year-old festival features a huge waraji that measures 12 meters in length and weighs 2 tons. The gigantic waraji is carried in a parade by people who pray for strong walking and safe traveling before housed in a shrine.

    Tanabata Matsuri

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    Tanabata Matsuri Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
    Aug. 6 – 8
    Highlight: beautiful streamers in the shopping arcades
    and fireworks on Aug. 5

    The main arcades all through Sendai city are adorned with beautifully hung, crafted spheres made of washi-paper and bamboo, with long streamers hanging down like celestial jelly fish. One can spend hours happily strolling through!

    Kanto Matsuri

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    Kanto Matsuri Akita City, Akita Prefecture
    Aug. 3 – 6
    Highlight: see participants balance 50kg lantern poles

    A chorus of bamboo flutes signals the start of the festival and immediately various groups of men hoist the 12-meter bamboo poles hanging paper lanterns into the air. The Kanto festival can best be described as a performance of local groups showcasing their amazing dexterity and remarkable balancing prowess.

    Forget ramen – the noodles here are one-of-a-kind!

    Wanko Soba

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    These soba noodles are for the competitive eater! Stack up your dishes and see who will become the noodle master. These small servings can quickly add up and a popular goal is to reach one hundred bowls of soba.

    JaJa Men

    This dish uses flat noodles made from soy and wheat and is considered one of the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka.” One defining feature is its miso paste, which is different in every restaurant. Enjoy it with a variety of vegetables and finish by mixing your remaining miso paste with a special egg soup.

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    Negi Soba

    If you’re not confident in your chopstick skills, this dish is for you! This peculiar soba is scooped with a long, curved green onion and is a specialty of Ouchi-Juku in Fukushima prefecture. To add some flavor, you can actually eat your utensil with your soba!

    Inaniwa Udon

    This extraordinary noodle is the only one of its kind. Inaniwa udon is thinner than regular udon, glossier than ramen and is typically handmade. This udon is quite chewy, giving it a pleasant texture. It’s no surprise that it’s considered one of Japan’s “Three Greatest Udon.”

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    Reimen

    Another one of the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka,” reimen is served chilled with a piece of fruit. Don’t get cold feet! The combination works surprisingly well and the soup is designed to taste best when cold.

    Shiroishi Umen

    There is a tale from the Edo period about a son looking for a dietary food for his sick father. He met a monk who told him about a way to make noodles without oil. His father recovered quickly and the dish was named after the area, Shiroishi. These noodles have a smooth taste from being kneaded with salt water.

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    Yamagata castle (Kajo Park)

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    Kajo Park covers the site of the former Yamagata Castle and has a beautiful variety of sakura. Take a walk around the castle moat enclosed in sakura, and watch how the trees brush the surface, painting the water with swirls of pink petals. At night, the illuminated park castes a magical light on the flowers.

    Yamagata castle (Kajo Park)

    Hours: 5:30am – 10pm
    Admission: Free
    Address: Kajomachi 1-1, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
    Access: 10-min walk from JR Yamagata Station
    URL: http://yamagatakanko.com.e.db.hp.transer.com/spotdetail/?data_id=395

    Look for sweets made by locals with plenty of love

    Expect a vibrant spring and summer after the long and formidable winter!
    Be amazed by Tohoku’s sweets and fruits.

    Babahera

    The sight of ice cream being sold under colorful parasols on the streets may be reminiscent of tropical countries and seaside resorts, but here in Akita prefecture, the sight of little old ladies selling ice cream on a regular roadside is commonplace.
    This ice cream is called Babahera, a specialty of Akita. “Baba” refers to an elderly lady, while “hera” is the spatula that they use to shape the pink (strawberry flavor) and yellow (banana flavor) ice cream into a flower with practiced ease.

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    Cherry Parfait

    A variety of Yamagata’s delicious cherries top this luxurious parfait. Dig deep to discover the different unique ingredients that make up this multi-layered treat and compare the various cherries. The only time to enjoy this piece of art is during the cherry season, which usually starts in June.

    Sansa Matsuri

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    Sansa Matsuri Morioka, Iwate Prefecture
    Aug. 1 – 4
    The charm of the festival lies in a parade where taiko drummers and dancers proceed through the city. The origin can be traced back to a legend about a wicked demon. In summer evenings, locals would dress up in fancy costumes and dance and play drums to scare the demon away.

    Pilgrimage to the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples


    Aizu Culture through the eyes of a pilgrim


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    Aizuwakamatsu, or Aizu for short, is a historic castle town known as the “land of the last samurai” in the Aizu district of Fukushima Prefecture in Tohoku. The people of Aizu were people of good faith and had a custom of paying respect to all 33 Kannon Buddha temples in the form of a pilgrimage. More than a tough, ascetic ritual, though, this pilgrimage was for entertainment.
    In the Edo period, people would journey to the temples for sightseeing; even now, many people make the pilgrimage with friends. The image of Kannon makes its appearance everywhere, from wonderful temples in the city to the stone Buddhas in the mountains. Follow us on our journey as we visit some of them.

    Visit the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples around Aizuwakamatu

    Kannon, known as Kuan Yin or Goddess of Mercy to the Chinese, was known to have 33 manifestations. Most of the temples are modest, wooden structures, each dedicated to the various manifestation of Kannon. For example the Eryu-ji temple is dedicated to Juichimen Senju Kannon, the eleven-faced, one-thousand armed Kannon. The massive statue, standing at 8.5 meters high, was carved out of one single tree by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism, in 808. It is designated as a National Treasure of Japan.

    The temple itself was built in 1190. The statue is guarded by 28 Busyu divine generals and the gods of Wind and Thunder. The temple is believed to help visitors to overcome their negative attitude in life.
    Another unique temple on the trail is Sazaedo Temple on Iimoriyama Hill, built in 1796 with an extraordinary, 16.5 meters high, three-storey hexagonal structure with a sloping double-helix ramp. Visitors ascend the ramp in a clockwise direction and descend anti-clockwise, thus not retracing any steps in their spiral track. It is an ingenious design.
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    Sazaedo

    In a forest on a remote mountain in Aizumisato, built in 830 at an altitude of 380 meters high, stands a simple but important rustic wooden temple called Sakudari Kannon Temple that is wedged against a rock face. It is said that Kukai founded this temple and carved its 80 centimeters high principle image, Kubinashi Kannon, which is placed upon an altar in a grotto concealed from public view. Not only is the structure of the temple truly amazing, the view is simply breathtaking.

    Sakudari Kannon Temple
    Sakudari Kannon Temple
    Aizumisato
    Aizumisato
    Sakudari Kannon Temple
    Sakudari Kannon Temple

    Road to the Edo Period

    The main street of Ouchi-Juku
    The main street of Ouchi-Juku
    There is a place where you can still enjoy the same experiences as a traveler from long ago: Ouchi-Juku, which lies south of Aizuwakamatsu on an old road called “Aizu Nishikaido.” The village is reminiscent of the old post towns on the ancient trade route in the Edo period; merchants and feudal lords would pass this way to rest and refresh. It is a living museum of old traditional houses with thatched roofs and bustling shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. Here, you can experience and enjoy how the people of Aizu spent their everyday lives and lived their faith.

    Another Japan Heritage

    Aizu is a region steeped in samurai culture and natural beauty. One of the many scenic spots here is Lake Inawashiro, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountain ranges. It is a popular place for recreation for the local people, and also serves as the lifeline of the area by providing water for agriculture and hydro-electricity. The building of the canal during the Meiji era lead to the agricultural development of a previously barren land, and is considered a Japanese heritage site.
    Lake Inawashiro
    Lake Inawashiro
    Tsuruga Castle
    Tsuruga Castle
    Eryuji Temple
    Eryuji Temple
    Sazaedo
    Hours: 8:15am – sundown (April through December), 9am – 4pm (January
    through March) Admission: 200 yen (middle and primary school students), 300
    yen (university and high school students), 400 yen (adults)
    Access: 4-min by
    Akabe bus from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, get off at Imoriyama shita.
    Sakudari Kannon Temple
    Access: 12-min by car from Amaya Station (Aizu Railway Line)
    Ouchi-Juku
    Access: 15-min by car from Yunokami Onsen Station (Aizu Railway Line)
    Lake Inawashiro
    Access: Area around Inawashiro Station (Ban-etsu-West Line)
    The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku
    The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku

    Japan Heritage
    http://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkazai/nihon_isan/pdf/nihon_isan_pamphlet_english.pdf

    There are two other Japanese Heritage sites in Tohoku.

    In this edition, we briefly mentioned “The waterway that cleared the way to the future” (Fukushima Prefecture), and the “Culture honed by Date Masamune” (Miyagi prefecture) inspired by Sengoku warlords, these will be featured in our next publication of WAttention Tohoku 2017 Autumn & Winter Edition.
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    Nature and worship “A journey of rebirth”


    In The Realm of the Gods at Dewa Sanzan

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    In many cultures, mountains often have religious significance and are regarded as abodes of the gods. Tohoku has three holy mountains, known collectively as Dewa Sanzan, that is regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the country. Its landscape is defined by the stunning natural beauty of mystical mountains, volcanic lakes, hot springs and farmlands. This is where the soul of Japan lies in its traditional and religious culture, and where ancient mountain worship is still very much practiced. Against this background, we embarked on an epic journey to trace the footsteps of pilgrims who are followers of Shugendo.

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    The Three Mountain Blessings

    Shugendo is an ethnic religion influenced by Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and spiritual faith. Its main purpose is to strengthen the connection between people and nature, reaching enlightenment in this way. Practitioners preach the teaching that “nature is a manifestation of the gods and we should live alongside it with respect.” Mountains and forests have paramount importance in Shugendo. The Dewa Sanzan mountains of Mt Haguro (419m), Mt Gassan (1984m) and Mt Yudono (1504m) are the centres of pilgrimage in the region. The followers, known as Shugenjas or Yamabushi (mountain monks), have been following the rites of worship for the last 1,400 years. Followers embark on long pilgrimages and practice austere feats of physical endurance of natural elements as an ascetic rite of passage to gain spiritual power. We had the privilege of experiencing the immersive ceremony of Shugendo first hand by visiting the three sacred mountains that represents the present, death and rebirth at Mt Haguro, Mt Gassan and Mt Yudono respectively.

    Praying in the Official Shinto Style at Mt. Haguro
    We arrived at Mt. Haguro as dusk was setting in and, after a short visit to Ideha Museum nearby to get an insight of Shugendo and Dewa Sanzan, we entered the sacred site through the torii, a wooden gateway that is found in all sacred sites in Japan. A long flight of stone steps, known as the Ishi-Dan, led down to an enchanting forest with towering cedar trees along the ancient pilgrim route. The 1.7km trail built in 1648 has 2,446 steps leading to the Sanjin Gosaiden shrine at the summit. There are 33 carvings etched on the steps and it is believed that if you can find all 33, your wishes will come true. As we were pressed for time, we could only follow the sacred path as far as the 600-year-old Goju-no-to, the five-storied pagoda, a recorded national treasure. In the gloom of the forest, the ornate pagoda exuded an air of mysticism that lent to the belief that a deity of the forest lives in it.
    The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro
    The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro

    When we arrived at Sanjin Gosaiden, the main shrine at the summit, we were met by a Yamabushi dressed in his traditional religious garb. He sounded a horagai, a religious conch trumpet, as a welcome and to ward off bad spirits. We were led to the inner sanctum of the shrine. There, a monk dressed in a splendid ceremonial robe with motifs of cranes performed a special ceremony accompanied by a beating taiko drum, followed by space clearing of malevolent energy around us by wafting a pole with white paper strips attached to the end and ringing bells to cleanse the air. He then chanted some mantras in a trance-like voice, which reverberated around the room, sending powerful vibrations into the ambience. We felt blessed and awed as we bowed twice, clapped our hands twice and bowed once again, completing the ritual where we were “spiritually born.”

    Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
    Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
    Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
    Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
    We stayed the night at a shukubo, a traditional temple lodge owned by a Yamabushi and his wife, who welcomed us graciously by kneeling Japanese style where they sat on the floor with their legs folded behind them. The delightful lodge was immaculately clean and the minimalist décor was the personified tranquility that we badly needed after a long journey. I would highly recommend staying in a shukubo to attain a Zen state of mind. Early next morning, our landlord performed a Shinto ritual prayer to bless us and wished us a safe journey to Mt Gassan and Mt. Yudono.

    Stepping to Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono

    We headed to Mt. Gassan in howling wind and rain to visit a shrine. The pilgrimage trail was officially closed for the season, but we braved the elements by treading precariously on the path of a slippery, wooden walkway laid across a marshland of dwarf bamboo and grassland.
    After twenty minutes’ walk, we reached a small shrine presided by a giant stone rabbit, the guardian of the mountain.

    Mt. Yudono
    Mt. Yudono
    This mountain symbolized the path to death and it was apt that the short journey we took in the inclement weather seemed to convey that message. In the summer, pilgrims could hike to the summit, where the main shrine lies; from there, they could also hike to Mt. Yudono, the last mountain on the holy trail.
    Our visit to Mt. Yudono was an epic experience where we were sworn to secrecy by the priest about the ceremony of “rebirth” that we underwent to symbolize being spiritually reborn to start a new journey in life. It is a taboo to divulge the secret of the ritual, but suffice to say that the experience is something I will always remember.

    Dewa Sanzan is a pilgrimage, but mere mortals with spiritual interest will find the journey enlightening and soul stirring. Reflecting on my own awesome experience of the religious encounter, I now appreciate why mountains belong to the realms of the gods.

    Hagurosan

    Access: 40-min by bus from JR Tsuruoka Station, get off at Zuishinmon.
    55-min by bus to the summit.
    URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/47/

    Gassan

    Hours: Closed late September until June
    Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-
    Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to Gassan Hachigome.
    URL:ttp://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/48/

    Yudonosan

    Hours: Closed late September until June Admission: 500 yen
    Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to
    Yudonosan.
    URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/49/

    Mountain and sea delicacies that you can’t get in cities

    Local dishes you’ve never had before!

    Today, restaurant chains are so popular that there seems to be no diversity in the food and experience wherever you go. But this is not true in Tohoku, where food is reflective of local weather conditions and the region’s rich cultural heritage. Prepared to be greeted with an array of unique dishes that you have never heard of nor seen before. Time to challenge your taste buds!

    Shark

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    Your jaw might drop at the thought of eating shark meat, but in Miyagi prefecture they use every part of this marine mammal. Prepared in a multitude of ways, such as sashimi or shark fin soup, shark meat’s endless possibilities will surprise you.

    Tuna Steak

    The number one place to find tuna in Aomori prefecture is Fukaura Town, where natsu maguro (summer tuna) is available for a long period every year. This tuna has an exquisite taste both raw and cooked, and is most commonly found as part of a “tuna steak bowl.”

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    Hoya (sea squirt)

    Hoya looks like it’s part of another animal, but it’s actually a species of its own. The sea squirt is also called “sea pineapple” because of its thorny appearance, but its taste is anything but tropical. Being described as “the flavor of the ocean,” expect a surprising mix of sweet, salty, sour and sharp.

    Hokki (surf clam)

    The flavor of this ocean critter is said to reach its full potential when lightly cooked. In Miyagi prefecture, the favored way to eat hokki is as hokki meshi, a rice dish with thin slices of hokki.

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    Shojin Ryori

    This all-vegetarian Buddhist cuisine is part of monks’ daily lives. Buddhism teaches not to hurt any living creature and Shojin Ryori is an extension of that belief. Even so, this cuisine’s menu is not as meager as you might imagine. From pickled and braised wild mountain vegetables to bowls of miso soup with silken tofu, centuries of Shojin Ryori culture in this area has led to a variety of flavorful dishes. Yamagata’s three holy mountains are a famous pilgrimage spot and the abundance of mountain vegetables makes it a top location for experiencing the life of a Buddhist monk.

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    Himemasu (landlocked sockeye salmon)

    You don’t have to travel to the ocean to find fresh salmon. Himemasu can be found inland, making it a sweetwater fish with a different taste from saltwater salmon. Lake Towada is the top spot for this fish, where it is mainly served as sashimi to bring out its sweetness and soft texture.

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    Discover the warmth of Japan’s No.1 rice


    Japan’s best rice
    from Niigata


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    Rice is an essential part of Japanese cuisine. The rice cultivated in Japan (also known as “Japonica rice”) has a rounded, oval shape, is very sticky and features a slight sweetness. After making the effort to come all the way to Japan, don’t you want to sample the most delicious rice available? “Japan’s rice” is said to be produced in Niigata Prefecture so, for Japanese, Niigatamai (Niigata’s rice) is a very attractive brand. If you are familiar with Niigatamai, you’re already well on your way to becoming an advanced Japanese chef!

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    WAttention events

    Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

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    This is one of Japan’s three major sakura spots. The castle, as a backdrop to the flowers, provides the area with a reminiscent image. Not to be missed during full bloom are the flower petals on the castle’s outer moat, resembling a flower carpet. While the castle tower is under renovation this year, the beauty of the sakura stays unchanged.


    Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

    Hours: 9am – 5pm (paid area, closed from Nov. 24 – Mar. 31)
    Admission: 510 yen (adults) and 160 yen (children) for full access to all paid areas
    Address: Shimoshirogane-cho 1, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
    Access: 9-min by bus (Konan Dote-machi loop line) from JR Hirosaki Station, get off at Shiyakusho Mae (City Hall) bus stop
    URL: http://www.hirosakipark.jp/en/

    Skiing on the slopes of Mt. Fuji

    The ultimate Japanese winter experience

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    It’s hard to imagine a better way to experience the Japanese winter than to slide down the slopes of Japan’s most iconic and sacred mountain, Mt. Fuji. Located at an altitude of over 1,300 m on its southern slope, Snowtown Yeti is a ski and snowboarding park that offers visitors four different runs, three lifts and incredible views of the snow-capped mountain.

    The park is connected to Shinjuku station’s west exit by the direct Linerbus which takes two hours and half to reach the park. There are also buses from the nearby Mishima, Gotemba and Fuji Stations. Upon arrival, visitors can then rent the necessary equipment and enjoy the thrill of skiing and snowboarding on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. Snowtown Yeti features courses for all levels with an average inclination of 11 degrees and up to 25 degrees for a more challenging experience.

    The winter season starts early at Snowtown Yeti, as the park opens in mid October, when man-made snow covers the slopes, and the park even has all-night skiing days where the park remains open until early morning.

    Three of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of skiing and snowboarding at Snowtown Yeti and this is what they had to say about the trip.

    Lucas Vandenbroucke

    The trip started off really well, since the bus was confortable and had Wi-Fi connection. When we arrived to Snowtown Yeti, we rented our equipment, which was of a very good quality, and completely water proof. The ski runs where adapted to different levels of skill. The weather that day was great for skiing and snowboarding and we enjoyed a fun day of going down the slopes. We also had time to rest at the restaurant and purchase gear at the shop where you can buy all you need to enjoy a full day out in the snow. I’m glad to have experienced skiing in such a great place, and in the company of my friends.
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    I had an amazing day at Snowtown Yeti. The gear we got was comfortable and top notch. There were some restaurants too, where they serve appetizing hot meals. There was also a place where we could buy our own ski equipment like gloves or googles. We had fun enjoying the slopes, which had different levels, for both beginners and advanced skiers. Overall, we had an amazing time and I’m looking forward to come back soon.

    Simon Brodard

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    Ricard Roddy

    The first thing I realized when we arrived is that we were already at the top of the slope, so we didn’t have to wait to get on the ski lift, we were able to start having fun right away. I really liked that you can buy all the equipment you need at the park, since I had forgotten my gloves. That really saved my day! You can find everything you need on site, restaurant, shop, rental gear and changing rooms with lockers. I spent such a good time with my friends, that when we left we wanted to come back again the next day! I would definitely like to recommend this place to anyone who wants to have an amazing day.
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    Sample schedule using the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus from Shinjuku Station
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    Snowtown Yeti

    Open: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., weekends and public holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., all-night skiing 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next morning (available on certain days).
    Open mid-october to early April of every year.
    Address: 2428 Aza Fujiwara, Suyama, Susono-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture 410-1231
    Phone: 055-998-0636
    Website: http://www.yeti-resort.com/en/
    Access: Take the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus near Shinjuku west exit, in front of Kogakuin University.
    Price: Yeti Liner Package (Yeti direct liner bus + rental ski + 1 day ticket) Adult 9,000-9,500 JPY, Child (6 to 11) 7,000-7,500 JPY. Please check Snowtown Yeti’s website for all-night skiing rates and other pricing information.

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

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

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Kyushu

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

    Okinawa : Spots 1 ~ 9

    Quick jump links:

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

    Go to Okinawa list top

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa

    Okinawa 1~ 9

     

    1Yaese Park (八重瀬公園) in Yaese Town

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

     

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

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

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


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

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


    5Yogi Park (与儀公園) in Naha City

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


    7Manko Park (漫湖公園) in Naha City

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


    8Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園) in Naha City

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

    Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


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

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

    Gundam and Japan: ode to the statue

    Bandai Namco recently announced that it will remove the iconic Gundam statue in front of Tokyo Odabai’s Diver City next year (Model RG 1/1 RX-78-2 Ver. GFT to be exact). Its last public appearance will be on March 5th 2017 when it will be removed. Not only the statue, but also the nearby Gundamfront Tokyo entertainment zone will close its doors on April 5th 2017.

    The owners have not announced any plans of a replacement statue or where the current one is going, but with the Gundam franchise still strong in Japan there’s a high chance this won’t be the last time we’ll see giant robots in Tokyo. Fans speculate that we’ll see a new Gundam around 2019 when the franchise celebrates its 40th anniversary. In fact, the statue might even move if we can believe the “Gundam Global Challenge”!
    If you want to see the original statue in front of Diver City head to Tokyo before spring next year. As an ode to the iconic statue, let us share some interesting facts about Gundam and its history in Japan.

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    A hit since 1979

    The Gundam franchise was conceived in 1979 as an original production by animation studio Sunrise, titled Mobile Suit Gundam. It was the first show to use realistic working robots in a military setting and it spawned one of the biggest subgenres of hobby crafts in Japan. Nowadays there are still new creator kits released for Gundam enthusiasts by Gunpla.
    In fact, the 2016 Gunpla Builders World Championship will be held on December 18th, 2016 at Gundam Front Tokyo.

    Get your Gundam on

    Even with the statue and entertainment zone leaving Odaiba, you can still get your Gundam fix by going to the Gundam Café in Akihabara. This official café not only serves food but also sells official goods you can only get at the Café. While you’re in Akihabara you can visit various hobby shops selling Gundam models and kits.

    Tokyo Gundam Project

    The announcement of the removal of the Gundam statue and the closing of Gundamfront comes as a surprise to most fans, especially as 2016 was the special “Tokyo Gundam Project” year. This is not the first time Gundam fans collaborated on a Gundam project. In 2008 the Hiroshima Animation Biennale saw the rise of the “International Gundam Society” with lectures from actual scientists discussing the possibility of a real Gundam and fans giving opinions about the series. However, since then nothing has been heard of the International Gundam Society. A year before that, in 2007, the Japanese army announced “project Gundam”, the building of several weapons and suits inspired by the franchise. Even now you will occasionally see similar news pop up.

    The Statue’s Legacy

    Even with all these Gundam activities going on in both Japan and the world, it’s still sad to see the statue go. The statue was erected in the Summer of 2009 at Odaiba Waterfront and quickly attracted 4,5 million visitors in its first month. Still, it was moved to Shizuoka for the Shizuoka hobby fair in 2010, was disassembled for display to raise money for the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and only got its most known spot in front of Tokyo Diver City in 2012. Over the years it got more features such as a moving head, lights and smoke coming from its body.

    If you still need more Gundam, check out the official Gundam Info page for all the latest news in Japan and the world.

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    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

    Christmas Afternoon Tea in Tokyo’s Shangri-La Hotel

    Every month the Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo holds its special afternoon tea with a constantly changing menu in regard to the season. An étagère filled with sweet and savory goodies waits for you. Within a casual, yet elegant ambience you can enjoy the Shangri-La’s chef´s excellent skills and creations, as well as a breathtaking view over Tokyo out of the Lobby Lounge on the 28th floor.

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    Since Christmas is right around the corner, this month’s afternoon tea even features lovely Christmas decorations on the table.

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    You can choose your favorite tea out of a 2page menu, as well as other beverages. During these two hours you can change the sort of the tea as often as you like, as well as getting a refill anytime.

    After the tea is served, the étagère full with all the delicacies arrives.

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    Already the sight of these seven different goodies will make your mouth water!

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    1. Chocolate and almond Bouche de Noel; 2. Christmas tree shaped Mont Blanc; 3. Snowman cheese cake; 4. Christmas tree ball shaped ginger bread macaroon, 5. Sandwich made of brown bread and filled with roasted avocado, Russian salmon and yuzu butter, 6. Sandwich made of red wine bread and filled with roasted beef, truffle butter and radicchio cream, 7. Sandwich made of spinach bread and filled with sliced smoked duck, foie gras butter and smoked cherry wood honey mustard.

    Beside this you will also receive three kinds of golden brown baked scones (five-spices scones, traditional scones, vin brule’ scones) with several toppings like jam, honey or yuzu (Asian citrus fruit) butter.

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    While it´s getting dark outside, the lights of the Lobby Lounge are dimmed and candles are placed on your table which provides the perfect atmosphere for a cozy afternoon with your friends or a romantic date with your partner.

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    The last two goodies arrives, consisting of gold and yuzu mousse as well as roasted pumpkin royale with curry powder and apples served in a small cup (not included in the picture).

    After enjoying this nice afternoon, don´t forget to walk down to the 27th floor and take a look at the big beautiful Christmas tree. The Christmas decorations on the first floor also acts as a nice photo spot and the concierge is happily willing to help you taking your picture.

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    Information

    The Lobby Lounge – Christmas Afternoon Tea
    Date: December 3rd (Saturday) – December 22nd (Thursday)
    Time: 12:00 – 5:30pm (weekday); 1pm – 3pm & 3:30pm – 5:30pm (weekend and national holiday)
    Price: 4,500 yen per person
    A reservation is recommended: Tel 03-6739-7888 (English & Japanese OK)
    Access: 1min walk from JR Tokyo Station – Nihonbashi Exit; 2min walk from JR Tokyo Station – Yeasu North Exit; 2min walk from Otemachi Station – Exit B7 (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, Marunouchi Line, Hanzomon Line, Chiyoda Line or Toei Mita Line); 3min walk from Nihonbashi Station – Exit A3 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line or Toei Asakusa Line)
    Address: Marunouchi Trust Tower Main, 1-8-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-8283 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    The Lobby Lounge – Christmas Afternoon Tea

    Ninja ID: nene16


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

    Winter Illumination at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture

    Not even 2 hours away from Tokyo by train you can watch Japan’s No.1 Illumination Show at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture. 3,5 million warm and sparkling lights will surround you at this spectacular event during the cold days. Enjoy different carefully prepared themes to walk through. This event is divided into three main events:
    1. “Collaboration of lights and flowers”  (October 22nd – middle of November);
    2. “Flower Parks’ Christmas” (end of November – end of December),
    3. “New Year Illumination” (beginning of 2017 – February 5th).

    We visited the park in the middle of November and had the chance to see the first event of the season as well as some Christmas elements.

    First you will enter a big hall full of flowers and decorations that you can purchase. The flowers and decorations match the current season so during winter you can see hundreds of red shining poinsettias, cute Christmas decorations and many more.

    After entering the actual park, you will see booths selling delicious hot amazake (a traditional sweet, non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice). Warm up yourself before exploring the park. Aside from that, several food stands as well as a restaurant with a nice garden view provide local specialties.

    Enjoy the compilation of pictures of the most beautiful spots

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    Wisteria trees are decorated with thousands of LED lights to enjoy these beautiful flowers even during winter.

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    Red roses and water lilies out of LED lights offer beautiful picture spots.

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    Take a stroll through the lavender garden with its LED wisteria flowers.

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    Flowers placed inside big lanterns out of glass on the pond.

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    A Christmas tree made from LED lights, as well as more water lilies.

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    The rose garden features hundreds of color-changing LED roses.

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    A huge wall with changing themed illuminations, all related to winter and Christmas.

    If you liked the pictures, don´t hesitate and plan your next trip to the Ashikaga Flower Park!

    Information

    Illumination Period: October 22nd – February 5th
    Hours: 3:30pm – 9pm (weekends & national holidays until 9:30pm) [closed on December 31st]
    Admission: 800yen (adults); 400yen (children)
    Address: 607 Hasama-cho, Ashikaga-shi, 329-4216 Tochigi
    Access: 13min walk from Tomita Station (JR Ryomo Line) [Take the JR Utsunomiya Line from Ueno Station into Koganei direction and get off at Oyama Station (1h15min; 1,317yen). Change the train and get on the JR Ryomo Line into Takasaki direction until Tomita Station (32min; 583yen).
    Tel: 0284-91-4939
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    www.ashikaga.co.jp

    Ninja ID: nene16


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

    Tobu Treasure Garden in Tatebayashi (Gunma Prefecture)

    The Tobu Treasure Garden located in Gunma Prefecture about 55km away from Tokyo, can be reached within only 1hour from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) and is perfect for a day trip during spring, summer or early autumn. It´s especially popular for its beautiful Rose Garden, the moss phlox flower fields and the Blue Garden.

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    The entrance buildings are made out of bricks and resemble an English residence covered in rose bushes.

    After entering the park you will be welcomed by a fountain and a small canal which leads you to the Sakura-Tunnel, entangled by hundreds of small pastel pink roses.

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    After strolling through the tunnel you are inside the Rose Garden and the English Rose Garden.

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    Enjoy looking at many different kinds of roses blooming in dozen of shining colors.

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    Relax in the shadows of white roses which bloom during May and June.

    The main spot of the park features the pink moss phlox flowers fields.

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    Beautiful pink and white moss phlox flowers in front of blooming cherry blossoms. (Please refer to the image of the pamphlet ;D)

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    The next path leads you to the Brilliant Garden which features many colorful flowers arranged to a nice pattern. The lavender blue is one of the main colors for this theme.

     

     

    Take a break in the Victorian House and enjoy some delicious food, buy souvenirs at Koruri’s or purchase original Treasure Garden goods at Mary´s Room.

    Besides taking a visit to the park, you can also knot the tie with your beloved one in the chapel next to the park. You can book the full wedding-service and enjoy your special day surrounded by nature in the middle of a beautiful garden ambience.

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    The St. Peter & Paul Church was built and based on an original church from England and offers the best and most unique wedding location in this area.

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    A big rose window, typical curch stained glass windows, a pipe organ, pews and much more will let you experience a typical proper western wedding ceremony.

    Tobu Treasure Garden Info:
    Hours & Admission for 2017:
    ☆Moss phlox Festival: March 25th (Saturday) – May 7th (Sunday); 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
    Admission: 600yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
    ☆Rose & Garden Festival: May 8th (Monday) – June 30th (Friday); 9am – 5pm (las entry 4:30pm)
    Admission: 1000yen – 1800yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 400yen – 800yen (primary school students)
    ☆Autumn Rose & Garden Festival: Early October – Early November; 10am – 4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
    Admission: 800yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
    ・July – September & Middle November – March closed due to maintenance
    Address: 1050 Horikou-cho, Tatebayashi-shi, 374-0033 Gunma
    Access: 15min walk from Morinji-mae Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 80min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) station; 10min taxi ride from Tatebayashi Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 60min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo)
    Tel: 0276-55-0750
    URL: http://treasuregarden.jp/en/

    Ninja ID: nene16


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

    New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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

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

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

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

    New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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

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

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

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

    New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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

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

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

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

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

    Cheap all-you-can-drink Umeshu

    If you’re a lover of Umeshu, Japanese plum win, you MUST visit Puedo Bar in Tokyo. For the mere sum of 1,080yen you can drink all the Umeshu you want for one hour, possibly the best umeshu deal in Tokyo! Puedo has a large selection of umeshu from all over Japan so prepare yourself to explore all the different tastes in the world of umeshu. This Japanese plum wine is a drink typically enjoyed by women because of its sweetness. Besides Umeshu, the bar also has a dinner menu designed like the classic Izakaya offerings.
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    We stumbled upon Puedo after a fun day in kimono and felt a bit too dressed up for a bar. But Puedo is different, the interior is really nice and the friendly staff were ready to welcome us. We ordered some food from the menu when the waitress informed us about the cheap all-you-can-drink deal. We quickly decided to take this golden chance to get our money’s worth of umeshu.

    Rushing to make the most of our hour
    Rushing to make the most of our hour

    We received glasses and ice from the waitress and were told that the nomihoudai, all-you-can-drink, option was self service. Meaning you can freely take the bottles and pour your own drink.
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    When I said there was umeshu from all over Japan I meant literally from all over Japan. On the shelves you can find umeshu from Okinawa, banana umeshu, yuzu umeshu and even tomato umeshu.
    Umeshu
    When we asked the waitress what their best umeshu was one of the patrons quickly responded with “babaa no chi”, which translates to “grandma’s blood”. We were very surprised to hear this name for a bottle of umeshu but we found it right in the middle of the umeshu wall. The bottle’s label reassured us we heard correctly.
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    Everyone’s verdict was that all the umeshu were delicious and that the one hour deal made the evening perfect. And if you want to know how “grandma’s blood” tastes you have to visit Puedo Bar yourself. All I can say is that it tastes better than its name!

    Information

    Name: Puedo Bar
    Hours: 5pm – 11pm (closed on Sunday)
    Access: near Kitasenju station
    Address: 〒120-0026 Tokyo-to, Adachi-ku, Senjuasahicho, 41−14, Daiichi Building 1F

    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

    Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo

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


    1Tokyo Christmas Market – Hibiya Park

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

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


    2Christmas Marché – Yebisu Garden Place

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

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

    Ranking: ★★★★★
    gardenplace.jp

    Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


    53rd World Christmas Festival

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

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

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    yoyogipark.info


    6Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

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

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

    Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


    3Roppongi Hills Christmas Market

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

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


    4Tokyo Midtown Marché de Noël

    ©Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd.

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

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

    Dragonball themed Café at Tower Records Café – Omotesando

    The next time-limited café for November opened its doors in the beginning of the month. The popular anime series “Dragonball” celebrates its 30th anniversary, therefore the Tower Records Cafe branch opened three Dragonball themed café’s in Tokyo (Shibuya and Omotesando) and Osaka (Umeda).

    The dishes and drinks feature the motives and characters of the anime designed by Akira Toriyama.
    While enjoying your food you can listen to the original soundtrack and watch parts of the anime via a big screen.

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    The menu includes two main dishes, two desserts and four drinks. We decided for the “Trunks and My Special – Plate” which comes with grilled pork, fried rice, egg and salad (1,500yen (tax included)); the “Majin Buu‘s Sweets Plate” with light berry cream, sponge cake, frozen fruits, chocolate, cookies, marshmallows and ice cream (1,200yen (tax included)); …

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    … the “Planet Namek x Piccolo Soda” which is kiwi soda topped with grape sherbet and fresh cream (750yen /tax included) and the “Shenlong Soda”, melon soda topped with mango ice cream (800yen (tax included)).

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    Everything was very delicious and it´s a MUST-GO for every fan!

    Don´t forget to bring home some souvenirs as well!

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    The original soundtrack, anniversary plates and coasters, T-shirts, bags, hoodies and much more are on sale!

    We had a lot of fun and definitely plan to visit the other two cafe´s as well!

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    Information

    Date: November 1st (Tuesday) until November 30th (Wednesday)
    Hours: 11am – 10pm (L.O. 9pm)
    Tel: 03-5778-9491
    Access: 6min walk from Harajuku Station – Omotesando Exit (JR Yamanote Line); 2min walk from Meiji Jingumae Station Exit 5 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line); 8min walk from Omotesando Station Exit A2 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line, Ginza Line)
    Address: Imon Building 2F, 6-3-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆

    Ninja ID: nene16


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

    Gudetama lost in Edo!

    Japan’s popular lazy egg, Gudetama, is lost in the Edo period! This autumn and winter only you can visit Gudetama world at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park.

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    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    Born in 2013, Gudetama’s name is a play on gude gude, meaning someone without strength or spunk, and tamago, meaning egg. He has a negative attitude towards most things and spends his days lazing around, believing that some day he will be eaten. Of course Gudetama has no drive at all to return to the current times on his own, so you have to guide him. Go on a playful travel from the Edo period all the way to the modern Gudetama World.

    We don’t know how Gudetama managed to become a lord, but he did it. Enjoy these funny photo opportunities and become a lazy egg yourself.

    Gudetama photo
    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    Afterwards, get on your feet and learn the Gudetama dance. You can already practice it at home using this video.

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    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    After dancing, go back to a Gudetama lifestyle by relaxing in the Gudetama ballpit or resting on a giant Gudetama…yolk?

    Gudetama activities
    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    This special event also has limited edition goodies such as the Gudetama Edo Lord plushie.

    img_111866_2
    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    Try some of the Gudetama Edo specials which may or may not contain egg. Special dishes include Gudetama shuriken curry, Gudetama parfait and more.

    Gudetama food
    Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp

    If Gudetama isn’t your thing, the Kyoto Studio Park is still worth a visit. The area is a frequently used set for actual Japanese period dramas and movies. During the day samurai, geisha and townsfolk wander around the Edo style village and give performances. You can also visit the ninja show or ninja trick house and if you’re really brave, the haunted house.

    Information

    Dates: Sept. 10, 2016 – Dec. 4, 2016
    Hours: 9am – 5pm (Mon. – Sun., Sept., Oct., Nov.), 9am – 6pm (Sat.,Sun.& Holidays, only in Sept.) / December: 9:30am – 4:30pm (Mon.-Fri.) 9:30am – 5pm (Sat.,Sun.& Holidays)
    Admission: 2,200 yen (adults) / 1,300 yen (junior high & high school students) / 1,100 yen (children)
    Location Toei Kyoto Studio Park
    Access: 5-min walk from JR Uzumasa Station / 5-min walk from Randen Katabiranotsuji Station / 12-min walk from Subway Uzumasa Tenjingawa Station on the Tozai Line
    Address: 10 Uzumasa Higashihachiokacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616-8161
    Ranking: ★★★☆☆
    toei-eigamura.com

    Kapibara-san theme Café at Tokyu Plaza Omotesando

    Another limited-time café came to Tokyo in the beginning of November and enchants its guests with cute dishes featuring Kapibara-san a fluffy capybara and his friends.

    Located on the 5th floor of Tokyu Plaza’s Omotesando Building, the Tokyu Hands Café is holding a special collaboration event with a carefully made menu featuring cute dishes in the shape of Kapibara-san.

    neu3

    The place is nicely decorated with panels and stuffed animals, …

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    …as well as cute welcome messages at the entrance.

    The collaboration menu covers two main dishes, one dessert and two different drinks. Of course you can also choose out of the normal menu.

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    We decided for the Teriyaki-Chicken Sandwich plate (1,380 yen including tax), the apple pancakes (1,280 yen including tax) and the Marshmallow Latte (700 yen including tax).

    Everything was really delicious and carefully decorated!

    After enjoying your meal how about spending a relaxed evening at the Starbucks Terrace on the 6th floor and view the illuminations and the sunset over Shibuya?

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    Information

    Date: November 1st (Tuesday) until November 30th (Wednesday)
    Hours: 11am – 9pm (L.O. 8:30pm)
    Tel: 03-3478-0717
    Access: 4min walk from Harajuku Station – Omotesando Exit (JR Yamanote Line); 1min walk from Meiji Jingumae Station Exit 5 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line); 7min walk from Omotesando Station Exit A2 (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line, Ginza Line)
    Address: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku 5F, 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    tokyu-hands.co.jp

    Ninja ID: nene16


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

    5 Outdoor Autumn Activities in Karuizawa

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

    5. Shopping

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

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

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

    4. Ziplining

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

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

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

    3. Hiking

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

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

    www.tozai-trek.com

    2. Onsen

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

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

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

    www.hoshino-area.jp

    1. Bicycle Rental to Kumoba Pond

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

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


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

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    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

     

    15Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

    The whole theme park is covered in beautiful colorful lights and makes a normal visit even more special.

    Date: October 14th (Friday) – February 19th (Sunday); Park is closed on January 17th (Tuesday) – 19th (Thursday) and January 24th (Tuesday) – 26th (Thursday)
    Hours: 4pm – 8:30pm (December 17th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday) until 9pm)
    Place: Yomiuriland
    Admission: 1,800Yen (adults), 1,500Yen (junior-high and high-school students), 1,000Yen (children)
    Access: 5-10min ride with the Sky-Shuttle gondola or 5min Odakyu-Bus ride from Keio Yomiuri Land Station (Keio Sagamihara Line)
    Address: 4-4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi-shi, 206-8725 Tokyo

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    yomiuriland.com


    WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    13Venus Fort Christmas Projection Mapping “FROZEN VENUSFORT”

    This year’s projection mapping features the popular Disney movie “Frozen”. Creative company NAKED Inc. created a spectacular show which you can only enjoy at Venus Fort. Music and illumination takes you into another world where you will feel like a character directly popped out of a fairy tale. The Venus Fort is a shopping center designed in the style of an old cityscape of the Middle Ages.

    Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – middle of march / The show “Melting Story” around the water fountain takes place on November 3rd, 5th , 12th, 13th , 19th, 20th , 23rd , 26th and 27th ; in December on the 3rd, 4th, 10th , 11th ,17th , 18th , 21st , 22nd , 23rd , 24th and 25th.
    Hours: “Melting Story”: 11:30am / 12:30 / 1:30pm / 3:30pm / 5:30pm / 7:30pm
    Place: Venus Fort
    Admission: free
    Access: 3min walk from Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line) or Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
    Address: 1-3-15 Aomi, Koto-ku, 135-0064 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    venusfort.co


    14Showa Memorial Park “Winter Vista Illumination”

    The area between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space is covered in sparkling warm lights. Showa Memorial Park illumination theme changes every year. This year’s highlight will be a champagne glass tower made out of 15,000 glasses and located in the middle of the canal area located in the entrance of the park. You can enjoy a magical world of lights, featuring the light-up of the parks symbol, the big water fountain, and the alley.

    Date: December 3rd (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Hours: 5pm – 9pm (admission until 8:50pm)
    Place: Between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space area
    Admission: 410 yen (adults); 80 yen (primary – and middle – school students); free for children; 210 yen (over 65 years old)
    Access: 15min walk from Tachikawa Station
    Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★☆☆
    sp.jorudan.co.jp

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    11Meguro River Minna no Illumination

    Gotanda Fureai Waterside Square and the cherry trees along Meguro river will be decorated with light pink LED lights to create the image of blooming Sakura – Cherry blossoms during winter. The electricity used for this event will be extracted from edible oil which comes directly from restaurants and citizens living in this area.
    Date: November 18th (Friday) – January 9th (Monday)
    Hours: 5pm – 10pm
    Place: Gotanda Fureai Mizube Hiroba and along Meguro river
    Admission: free
    Access: 6min walk from Osaki Station (JR Saikyo Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Shonen-Shinjuku Line) or Gotanda Station (JR Yamanote Line; Toei Asakusa Line; Tokyu Ikegami Line)
    Address: 2-9 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, 141-0022 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    minna-no-illumi.com


    12DECKS Tokyo Beach Illumination “YAKEI” in Odaiba

    This all year-around Illumination takes place around Odaiba’s Shopping mall “The Decks” and offers the best view of Tokyo Bay, including the Rainbow Bridge, as well as Tokyo Tower. About 40 trees are decorated with LED lights, one 20m high tree sparkles in all colors and the first 360° Projection-Mapping tunnel, the “Illusion Dome” shows you another world.

    Date: all around the year
    Hours: sunset – 24:00
    Place: Decks Tokyo, Seaside Deck 3F
    Admission: free
    Access: 2min walk from Odaiba-Kaihinkoen (Yurikamome Line); 8min walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
    Address: Seaside Deck, Decks Tokyo Beach 3F, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, 135-0091 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    odaiba-decks.com

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    9Omotesando Hills

    The trees of the wide sidewalks of Omotesando are decorated with warm lights to make your shopping adventure even more special and luxurious during Christmas season. Don´t forget to pop into Omotesando Hills’ and enjoy their beautiful Christmas decoration. Due to Omotesando Hills’ 10th anniversary a sparkling 10m high Christmas-star-tree will be set up. The theme “Find your stars – A starry Christmas” features 15,000 LED lights and mirror balls reflecting and producing the twinkling and shooting stars.

    Date: November 9th (Wednesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Hours: 11am – 11pm
    Place: Omotesando Hills
    Admission: free
    Access:
    Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line) Exit A2 (2min walk)
    Meijijingu-mae (Harajuku) Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line) Exit 5 (3min walk)
    Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) Omotesando Exit (7min walk)
    Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    omotesandohills.com


    10Ebisu Garden Place

    Ebisu Garden Place features two illumination events, the “Baccarat Eternal Lights” shows a 8,4m tall and 4,6m wide crystal chandelier and the usual illumination event with its huge Christmas tree decorated with French ornaments.
    Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Place: Ebisu Garden Place
    Admission: free
    Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
    Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    gardenplace.jp

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    7Tokyo Tower – Winter Fantasy ~ONE PIECE Snow Dome Illumination~

    Beside the yearly illumination and the light-up of the tower, this year’s special illumination collaborated with Tokyo Towers One Piece Tower and created a huge Snow Dome which features one of the episodes of the popular anime One Piece called “The miracle Sakura which blooms during winter”.

    Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – February 28th (Tuesday)
    Hours: Snow Dome Show: every full hour between 1pm – 10pm for 5min; Illumination: 4pm – 11pm
    Place: Tokyo Tower (Shiba-Park), in front of the entrance
    Admission: free
    Access: 5min walk from Akabanebashi Station
    Address: 4-2-8 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, 105-0011 Tokyo

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    onepiecetower.tokyo


    8Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

    The 888m long Shinjuku Terrace sparkles in warm Christmas lights, featuring 300 Christmas ball ornaments and 235,000 LED lights.

    Date: November 9th (Thursday) – February 14th (Tuesday)
    Hours: 5pm – 24:00
    Place: Shinjuku Terrace City (Within the HALC building (Shinjuku Station west-exit); Odakyu Ace building; within the Shinjuku – My Lord shopping mall; Odakyu Department Store; My Lord Mosaic Street; Shinjuku Southern Terrace; Flags)
    Admission: free
    Access: Shinjuku Station (South- and West-Exit)
    Address: 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023 Tokyo

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    odakyu.jp

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    5Roppongi Hills – Artelligent Christmas – Keyakizaka Galaxy Illumination

    The main illumination takes place along Keyaki slope on the Azabu side of Roppongi Hills. The illumination covers two themes, the “Snow and Blue” one and the “Candle and Amber” one. 1,200,000 LED’s turn that place into a romantic illumination spot including a view of Tokyo Tower. Beside this illuminated street, you can also enjoy the Christmas Market inside of Roppongi Hills, featuring German decorations and traditional food.

    Date: November 14th (Monday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Hours: 5pm – 11pm
    Place: Roppongi Hills
    Admission: free
    Access:
    Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
    Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
    Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
    Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
    Address: 6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-0032 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    roppongihills.com


    6Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

    With the 150th year of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, this year’s theme for Tokyo Dome City’s Winter Illumination features the Italian folklore of Befana, an old woman delivering candy and chocolates to children throughout Italy in the night of January 5th, the Epiphany Eve. Besides that, the official title of the event “Fall in love ♡ Italy” describes the different love-powerspots of Italy which attract many customers from all over the world. This theme will take place at the Tokyo Dome Area.

    Date: November 10th (Thursday) – February 19th (Sunday)
    Hours: 4pm – 1am
    Place: Tokyo Dome City
    Admission: free
    Access: 1min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line); 5min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line; Toei Mita Line)
    Address: 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    tokyo-dome.co.jp

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


    3Marunouchi Bright Christmas – The marvelous story of “The Nutcracker”

    The main event takes place at the Marunouchi-Building and features a 15m high and 65m wide Christmas theater. The theater begins above the walkway of the 3rd floor along the window wall, which will act as the screen for the Projection Mapping “The Nutcracker”.
    On the 1st floor of the Marunouchi-Building, a 7m high Christmas tree with the images of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince will be prepared. Within the Marunouchi area many more attractions featuring this story are set up. Also a Christmas market and illuminated streets transform this area into a magical Christmas world.

    Date: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Place: Marunouchi Building, New-Marunouchi Building, Marunouchi Brick Square, etc.
    Admission: free
    Access: 1min walk from Tokyo Station (Marunouchi South Exit); 4min walk from Tokyo Station (JR Keiyo Line); direct access from Tokyo Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); direct access from Nijubashi-mae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 3min walk from Otemachi Station (Toei Mita Line); 8min walk from Yurakucho Station (JR Yamanote Line; JR Keihin-Tohoku Line; Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
    Address: Marunouchi Building, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-6390 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    marunouchi.com


    4Tokyo Midtown Illumination – Starlight Garden, Starlight Road and Tree-Illumination

    The Starlight Garden which is located in the Midtown Park Square is the main spot of this event and features up to 180,000 LED lights. With its blue and white sparkling lights it represents the image of the cosmos and attracts a lot of guests every year. This year’s highlight contains four spotlights reaching up to 100m.
    As a memento of this romantic event, a special Illumination Photo Service will capture your photograph in front of the Starlight Garden. It´s a limited service between 23rd November (Wednesday) and December 18th (Sunday) only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 6pm to 8pm. (The taken photograph can be purchased online for 1,080 Yen)
    Between November 26th (Saturday) and December 18th (Sunday) on Weekends at 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30pm for 30min each, you can enjoy Christmas classical live performances within the Galleria building.

    Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
    Hours: 5pm – 11pm
    Place: Tokyo Midtown
    Admission: free
    Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
    Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    tokyo-midtown.com

    Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

    1~ 15

    While many people come to Japan in spring and autumn, winter in Tokyo is made special with the many illumination lights on display throughout the season. WAttention presents you with the top spots in Tokyo to enjoy these romantic and fabulous spectacles.

    (Click on the markers on the map below to preview and get the quick jump link to each spot.)


    1Caretta Illumination

    This is one of the top Illumination spots in Tokyo and attracts thousands of light-up lovers every year. The theme of this year’s show is called “Canyon d’Azur ~Blue mystical forest” and features about 270,000 LED lights. The show takes place in a time interval of 20minutes starting at 5pm.

    Date: November 17th – February 14th (closed on January 1st and 2nd)
    Hours: 5pm – 11pm (January & February 2017; 6pm – 11pm)
    Place: Caretta Shiodome
    Admission: free
    Access: 2min walk from Shiodome Station (Toei Oedo Line; Yurikamome); 7min walk from Shimbashi Station
    Address: 1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, 105-7090 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★★
    dreamchristmas2016.jp


    2Tokyo Skytree Town – Dream Christmas

    Around the Skytree, a Christmas market will be set up with typical German decoration, food and a big Christmas tree. While strolling around the Christmas market, you can enjoy a special made projection mapping, as well as beautiful illuminated decorations made out of 350,000 LED lights.

    Date: Illumination: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday); (Illuminations until March 5th (Sunday) / Projection Mapping: December 10th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday); Between 5:30pm and 8pm all 30min / Ice Skating Park: December 10th (Saturday) – March 5th (Sunday); 11am~
    Place: Tokyo Skytree
    Admission: free
    Access: 20min walk from Asakusa Station, Direct access from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line); Direct access from Oshiage Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
    Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, 131-0045 Tokyo
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    dreamchristmas2016.jp

    Ninja ID: nene16

    Kappabashi: Home of Japanese Knives

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

    Over 100 Years of History

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

    Kamata Hakensha: Knives Galore

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

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

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

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

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

    www.kap-kam.com


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

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    3 Historic Fan Shops in Kyoto

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

    3. Aiba

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

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

    www.kyoto-kankou.or.jp

    2. Miyawaki Baisenan

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

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

    www.nytimes.com

    1. Sakata Bunsuke Shoten

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

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

    eng.trip.kyoto.jp


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

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    A Kyushu Trip the Whole Family Can Enjoy!
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    Autumn Foliage Hunting in Hanno, Saitama!

    1 (1)

    Wanna go hiking in the golden season of autumn leaves? There is no lack of such hiking routes in suburban Tokyo! To show you what Tokyo has on offer, students from the graduate school of tourism in Rikkyo University took a Seibu Railway train to Hanno in Saitama prefecture (adjacent to Tokyo). Our trip features not only autumn leaves, hiking, and onsen, but also surprises for anime fans!

    Anime pilgrimage: Yama no Susume

    2 (3)

    Speaking of anime pilgrimages in Saitama, the top destination might be Chichibu, which is the place featured in “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day”. While in Hanno, the talk of the town is “Yama no Susume”.

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    Hanno Ginza shopping street

    Departing from Hanno Station, we walked through the main shopping street and arrived at Kannon Temple, one of the locations featured in “Yama no Susume”. Be sure to check out those “Emas” (small wooden plaque on which worshippers write their wishes) and a distinctive statue of a white elephant featured in the anime. Take a group photo and see how it compares with the scene in the anime!

    2 (4)
    (C )しろ/アース・スターエンタテイメント/「ヤマノススメ」製作委員会

    2 (1)

    Ascending Mt. Tenran for its panoramic views and autumn foliage

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    Mt. Tenran (a small mountain at about 200 meters above sea level) and Noninji Temple are famous for their autumn leaves, especially when the leaves are expected to be in full glory from the end of November. Though we were here a bit earlier (first weekend of November), we still had a whole lot of fun taking loads of pictures!

    4 (4)

    An easy autumn hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa

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    Departing from Mt. Tenran, we continued our casual hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa. The air was refreshing and the forest a perfect location for taking pictures. It took us about 90 minutes to get to the lakeshore. Shall we rent a boat and fish on the lake, or take a walk along the lakeshore path? Well, taking a soothing hot spring bath maybe the first priority!

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    Reminder:

    1. Get some food around Hanno Station or refuel halfway in the super market near the Seibu Railway elevated tracks.
    2. Though this hiking route is beginner-friendly, there are some up-hills and down-hills that may become slippery after raining.

    Enjoy a lakeside hot spring bath

    6 (2)

    Our last stop is Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”, a hot spring facility boasting lake views from both the open-air hot spring bathhouse and the restaurant. After refreshing our mind and body with a soothing hot spring bath and a good meal, we hopped on a bus and returned to Hanno Station. What a perfect day!

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    How do you like our trip? For those interested in walking and hiking, do check out Seibu’s pamphlet for various hiking trips departing from stations of Seibu Railway. Hope it will be helpful during your next trip to Japan!

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    Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”
    Hours: 9:00~24:00
    Admission: from 1,000 yen (towel included)
    Website: click here (Japanese)

    Other useful information

    Hiking route and map from Hanno Station: click here (Japanese)

    Bus Schedule from Lake Miyazawa to Hanno Station (bus departs every an hour or so, takes about 10 minutes and the fare is 180 yen)

    Seibu Railway Walking & Hiking Pamphlet (online version)

    **For more information about tourist attractions along the Seibu Railway lines, check out Seibu Railway’s English website and facebook page!

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka

    Osaka 30~ 38

     

    30Katsuo-ji (勝尾寺) in Minoo

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

     

    31Minoo Falls (箕面大滝) in Minoo

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

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    minohfalls.com

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


    32Saiko-ji Temple (西江寺) in Minoo

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


    33Ryuan-ji Temple (瀧安寺) in Minoo

    A photo posted by lemonlime (@lemonlime0828) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


    34Sefuku-ji Temple (施福寺) in Izumi

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


    35Matsuo-ji Temple (松尾寺) in Izumi

    A photo posted by uripon_uriuri (@uripon_uriuri) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


    36Kyuan-ji Temple (久安寺) in Ikeda

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

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


    37Mount Ushitaki (牛滝山) in Kishiwada

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


    38Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) in Osaka

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kansai

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

    Kyoto : Spots 1 ~ 29

    Quick jump links:

    085e49afeea5e860458e2a1fd315bf0d_s_TN
    6Bishamon-do
    Mid to end of November
    m_158517_TN
    13Arashiyama
    Mid November
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    17Daigo-ji Temple
    Mid November
    m_143144_TN
    20Kiyomizu-dera
    Mid November

    Go to Kyoto list top

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto

    Kyoto 1~ 29


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

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


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

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


    3Yokoku-ji (楊谷寺) in Nagaokakyo

    みーさん(@yakimachiri)が投稿した写真

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    4Komyo-ji (光明寺) in Nagaokakyo

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


    5Kuwayama Shrine (鍬山神社) in Kameoka

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

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


    6Bishamon-do (毘沙門堂) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    7Shouji-ji Temple (勝持寺) in Kyoto

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

    A photo posted by Hiroshi Noguchi (@noguchibiyousitu) on

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


    8Yoshimine-dera (善峯寺) in Kyoto

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


    9Oharano Shrine (大原野神社) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    10Kosho-ji Temple (興聖寺) in Uji

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

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


    11Mimuroto-ji Temple (三室戸寺) in Uji

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


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

    A photo posted by @mina08128 on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    13Arashi Yama (嵐山) in Kyoto

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


    14Rokuo-in Temple (鹿王院) in Kyoto

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


    15Joujakkou-ji Temple (常寂光寺) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    16Nison-in Temple (二尊院) in Kyoto

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

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


    17Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺) in Kyoto

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


    18Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


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

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


    20Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto

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


    21Choraku-ji Temple (長楽寺) in Kyoto

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

    A photo posted by かず (@zutemasquerade) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    22Tofuku-ji Temple (東福寺) in Kyoto

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


    23Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺) in Kyoto

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


    24To-ji Temple (東寺) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    25Genko-an Temple (源光庵) in Kyoto

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


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

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


    27Nanzen-ji Temple (南禅寺) in Kyoto

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

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    jnto.go.jp

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


    28Enko-ji Temple (圓光寺) in Kyoto

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


    29Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) in Kyoto

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Niigata Prefecture

    Niigata 1~ 6


    1Dragondola (ドラゴンドラ) in Yuzawa

    First colors: Beginning of October
    Color Peak: End of October
    Details: Long gondola that gives you a panoramic view of the mountains in full fall beauty. The ropeway connects Naeba ski resort and Tashiro ski resort, so even in the winter this is a good visit. The gondola is the longest and fastest in Japan (5,5 km, 6m/s). Also visit the nearby Prince Hotel for the 1,800 yen all-you-can-eat buffet.
    Festival: October 31st (Monday) – November 1st (Tuesday). Autumn appreciation day.
    Access: 35min bus ride from Echigo-Yuzawa Station (JR Joetsu Line; Hokuetsu Express – Hokuhoku Line)
    Admission: 2,400 yen (adults) / 1,200 yen (children) for a return ticket
    Address: 202-4 Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6212
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    tripadvisor.com


    2Okutainai (奥胎内) in Tainai

    First colors: Middle of October
    Color Peak: End of October
    Details: This valley in the Bandai Asahi National Park is virtually untouched by human hands.
    Special sight: One of Japan’s best photo spots for crystal clear water. Nearby hut to enjoy nature.
    Access: By car: 50min from Nihon-kai Tohoku Expressway Nakajo IC
    90min from JR Uetsu Matin Line “Nakajo Station”
    Address: Okutainai-san, Shimoarasawa, Tainai-shi, 959-2816 Niigata
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    nihon-kankou.or

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Niigata Prefecture


    3Yuzawa Kogen Panorama Park (湯沢高原パノラマパーク) in Yuzawa

    A photo posted by Kazuhisa Inui (@kazuhisa_inui) on

    First colors: Middle of October
    Color Peak: End of October
    Details: During the winter this is a beautiful skiing area, but autumn is equally beautiful. Enjoy the 7min ride and observe the twisting mountains covered in colored foliage.
    Recommended Spot: Mt. Omine
    Access: 10min walk from JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station
    Address: 490 Oaza Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minami Uonuma-gun, 949-610 Niigata
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    nihon-kankou.or


    4Todo no Mori Water Park (杜々の森名水公園) in Nagaoka

    First colors: Middle of October
    Color Peak: End of October
    Details: Natural spring water still comes from the ground in this park. There are onsen nearby to enjoy while watching the trees turn color.
    Access: 50min by car on the Hokuriku Nakanoshima Mitsuke IC
    Address: 3996 Nishinakanomata, Nagaoka-shi, 940-0256 Niigata
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    enjoyniigata.com

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Niigata Prefecture


    5Kiyotsu Gorge (清津峡) in Tokamachi

    First colors: mid-October
    Color Peak: end of October – beginning of November
    Details: One of Japan’s three biggest gorges
    Special sight: The panoramic area with an overview of the gorge
    Access: 30min by bus from JR Echigoyuzawa, then a 25min walk
    Address: Koide, Tokamachi, 949-8433 Niigata
    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    snow-country.jp


    6Yahiko Park (弥彦公園)

    First colors: Middle of October
    Color Peak: End of October until the middle of November
    Details: Best known for its shrine, Yahiko also has a big park with lush greenery. Why not combine your autumn walk with a shrine visit and mountain hike?
    Recommended Spot: Maple Valley
    Festival: Chrystanthemum Festival at Yahiko Shrine (November 1st – November 24th)
    Access: 2min walk from JR Yahiko Station
    Address: Yahiko, Yahiko-mura, Nishikanbara-gun, 959-0323 Niigata

    Ranking: ★★★★☆
    vill.yahiko.niigata.jp

    Saitama Triennale 2016

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

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

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

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    Tam’s interview

    งาน Saitama Triennale 2016

    Profile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Event Information

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

    Sanrio Puroland

    I guess there are just a few people left who haven´t heard about the white fluffy cat with its big round eyes which enchants her fans since 1974!
    In  the western part of Tokyo you can find an indoor theme park dedicated to Hello Kitty and her friends. Opened in 1990, Sanrio Puroland attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year.
    If you want to treat your kids to a magical experience, or if you are curious about Japan´s popular characters itself, don´t hold back and immerse yourself into a whole new world full of cute adventures.

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    The entrance is a huge hall decorated with lovely artwork featuring the main characters of Sanrio Puroland.

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    After entering the park you will be welcomed by one of the many characters which whom you can take a memorial picture with. Further, at the merchandise and souvenir booth located near the entrance, you can transform yourself into one of your beloved characters while purchasing its characters hairband with attached ears.

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    Now you will take the escalator and reach Hello Kitty´s magical world.
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    Beside having the chance to take a sneak peek inside Hello Kitty´s and Little Twin Stars house, you can also make a trip through Mariland with My Melody´s newest ride attraction.

    While Cinnamoroll invites you to an exciting boat ride through the world of Sanrio Characters….

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    ….Hello Kitty takes you to see her fantastic musical at the “Märchen Theater”.

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    It´s a magical place not only for families and children, also couples and friends can enjoy a pleasant day at Santrio Puroland.

    Sanrio Puroland Info:
    Hours: The opening hours and closing days differ from month to month, please check the website in advance.
    Address: 1-32 Ochiai, Tama, Tokyo 〒206-8588
    Access: 5min-walk from Tama Center Station, Keio Line
    Keio Line: Central Exit / Odakyu Line: West Exit
    Tel: 042-339-1111
    URL: http://en.puroland.jp/

    Ninja ID: nene16


    WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

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

    Fukui Cosmos fields

    Not so many years ago the locals of Miyanoshita in Fukui had to decide what to do with a large piece of barren ground. One of the options was to turn it into a construction site, but the local council made the final decision. Eventually the whole area got turned into a beautiful field ten times bigger than the Tokyo Dome and full of cosmos flowers.

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    The reason for choosing cosmos flowers is that it’s a strong flower not in need of much maintenance. They come in a variety of colors and can be left to bloom as is. It was Miyanoshita’s hope that the cosmos field would attract tourists and give the area a relaxing atmosphere. We must confirm that they succeeded, as the whole area looks peaceful with the Mt. Hakusane range as a backdrop.

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    During our visit the cosmos weren’t yet in full bloom, but there were already plenty of visitors and kindergartens on school outings to check the earliest flowers. There are separate patches dedicated to single color flowers and there’s an area for the cosmos festival held from mid-october until the end of october. The activities include tractor rides and a fresh market all organized by the locals.

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    If you’re in the area during fall, don’t forget to visit this flower field.

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    Information

    Dates: from the beginning of October until the end of October
    Location: Miyanoshita Cosmos Park
    Address: 12-16 Goshogaichicho, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture 910-3112
    URL: info.pref.fukui.lg.jp (PDF)

    Eiheiji, the temple Steve Jobs wanted to study at

    In Fukui there are two well known temples, Daianzenji and Eiheiji, that differ very strongly from each other. Eiheiji Temple belongs to the “Soto Zen” school of teaching and its name literally means temple of eternal peace. The founder, Dogen Zenji, adopted Zen practices from China and applied them to his own “way of the Buddha” in Japan. In 1244 he built a mountain temple near Fukui City with the help of one of his most devoted followers, the samurai Yoshishige Hatano. Even though the Rinzai school was more popular with samurai at the time, the Soto school was more straightforward and easier to understand for most people. Because of these reasons Eiheiji and Soto Zen became the “to go” practice for the common folk.

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    A Temple School

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    More than an actual temple, Eiheiji is a temple school training monks from all over Japan. The strict teachings recorded by Dogen Zenji in his books attract more than 200 trainees who all live in the temple. They each have just one tatami mat measuring one by two meters on which they have to eat, sleep and meditate (zazen). The Soto Zen school teaches that every activity should be a religious practice, so talking and reading is never allowed in the priest’s hall. Because of the strictness and sanctity of most of the halls you are not allowed to take photos or even visit the trainees’ daily living quarters.
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    Eiheiji, the temple Steve Jobs wanted to study at

    What do priest trainees eat?

    PillarWith more than 200 people living under one roof there must be a very complex system for cooking, right? On the contrary, the monks prefer to keep the sober lifestyle dictated by their teachings and still use the same kitchen, Daikuin, as during the old days. Of course most of the equipment has been updated to keep up with the times. These modern appliances are a great help to the eight monks who have to make all the meals every day for everyone else. The cuisine at Eiheiji is strict vegetarian and prepared with local ingredients. Meals are always sober and plain. “Upon flowing into the pure ocean of dharma, there are no such discriminations as delicacies or plain food; there is just one taste, and it is the Buddha dharma, the world itself as it is.”

    The kitchen building is a three-story cooking complex with some interesting features. There is a shrine dedicated to swiftness and protection from fire. Praying here will give you the strength to deliver meals quickly and to warn everyone in case of fire…which hopefully won’t happen if you prayed hard enough. The nearby wooden pillar is as old as the temple itself and it’s said that if you rub it three times you become better at cooking. Rub it six times to become better at flattering.
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    Holy places

    Every hall, room and space in Eiheiji is a place of worship. Even when going to the bathroom one has to respect the rules written in the Senjo, a special chapter in the Soto Zen book stipulating rules for going to the toilet. Some of the other important places include the official entryway with statues of the Four Heavenly Kings who protect the Buddha (sadly, no direct photos allowed of the deities), the main temple called “Hatto” and the mausoleum of the founder Dogen Zenji. This mausoleum is officially called “Joyoden” and not only houses the ashes of Dogen Zenji but also the ashes of several of his successors. They are respected as if they were living teachers. There are living quarters near the mausloeum for the priests who are assigned to maintain this holy area. The framed kanji character means “shouyou”, roughly translates to “receiving the sun”, and was written by the Emperor Meiji.

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    Stay overnight

    If you want to experience Eiheiji life or start a training like Steve Jobs wanted to do, you can! You can do short overnight stays but if you want to sign up for the real deal you have to be affiliated with the Soto Zen Sect or prove your conviction. Of course there are also day courses to practice zazen Eiheiji style. If you’re interested you can read all about it here.
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    Information

    Hours:4am – 5pm (5:30am – 4:30pm during winter)
    Admission: 500yen
    Location: near Fukui City
    Access: Timetable for Eiheiji Liner bus
    Address: 5-15 Shihi, Eiheiji, Yoshida District, Fukui Prefecture 910-1228
    TEL:0776-63-3102
    URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/shritemp/eiheiji.html

    Five Fantastic Fukui Facts

    You might not have heard of Fukui but there are many amazing things in this lesser known prefecture. Let WAttention introduce you to some fantastic facts that you can use in your next conversation about Japan.

    1) Fukui has one of the few 8K Planetariums in the world

    The recently opened shopping complex “Happiring” features a brand new planetarium with an amazing 8K screen. Only a handful of planetariums in the world offer this experience.
    Besides the regular screenings the planetarium itself is a fun interactive environment.

    Location: Seiren Planet Fukui
    Hours: 10am – 6:30pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sun) / 10am – 9pm (Fr & Sat) / Closed every 2nd Wednesday of the month
    Admission: 400yen (adults) / Dome Theater 600yen (adults) , 500yen (high schoolers), 300yen (children)
    Address: 1-2-1 Chuo, Fukui City
    Access: right next to JR Fukui Station
    URL: http://www.happiring.com/english/
    Planetarium

    2) Dinosaurs are everywhere!

    The largest dinosaur excavation site in Japan is in Fukui. In fact, they were able to keep digging from 1989 until 1993 and still found dinosaur fossils. Even today they are still trying to find new fossils. Of course the city is extremely proud of its dinosaur museum which is considered 3rd best in the world. The scriptwriter for the movie “Jurassic Park” even came to the museum to give a lecture.

    Location: Katsuyama City, Fukui
    Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm) / closed every 2nd and 4th Wednesday
    Admission: 1,200yen (adults) / 1,000yen (high school and college students) / 600yen (primary/secondary school students)
    Address: 51-11 Terao, Muroko, Katsuyama, Fukui 911-8601
    Access: from JR Fukui Station, go to Katsuyama on the Echizen Railway Eiheiji Katsuyama Line (1hour). There is a bus from Katsuyama station to the museum (10min).
    URL: https://www.dinosaur.pref.fukui.jp/en/ & http://www.fuku-e.com/lang/english/feature/feature-dinosaur_museum.php
    Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum(1)

    more here
    inside Fukui Station

    Outside Fukui Station
    Outside Fukui Station. (They move and make sound too!!)

    3) The Matrix+Fukui=…?

    Glasses! Fukui has tons of glasses and in fact, they make about 10% of all the glasses in Japan. The brand Sabae was the first company to start using a light titanium frame for glasses and even now about 96% of all the frames in Japan are made by Sabae. These Japanese frames from Fukui are such top notch quality that Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, from the movie “The Matrix” allowed a pair to adorn his face.

    Glasses

    The people of Fukui are proud of their glasses.
    The people of Fukui are proud of their glasses.

    4) Amazing Cherry Blossoms

    The Asuwa River that runs right through Fukui City has a cherry blossom riverbed of 2km long with about 600 trees. Every spring visitors come from all over Japan and even deem it one of Japan’s finest spring views. It’s also included in the list of 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. When the trees are in full bloom there is a festival and illumination at night.

    Asuwa Rivre Cherry Blossoms

    5) Rich History

    As a first time visitor to Fukui I was surprised myself to discover how much history is packed into one prefecture. The ruling Matsudaira clan of Fukui produced the first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and was the main target for famous warlord Oda Nobunaga. On top of all that, Ichijodani had a rich culture well advanced for its time. There are streets from the Edo period that are still intact with picturesque storefronts and traditional goods. I’m sure that if you explore Fukui yourself you will find many more Fantastic Fukui Facts.

    History

    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

    Welcome to Mount Oyama and its Afuri Shrine

    One sunny autumn day we decided to hike Mount Oyama, located in Kanagawa Prefecture about 1,5 hours from Shinjuku Station. It takes a little while to reach the mountain foot, but the view across the valley featuring Mount Fuji is totally worth it!
    The Odakyu Line brings you to Isehara Station, from there it´s a 30min bus ride until “Oyama Cable Station.” Another 15min walk along small souvenir shops selling handmade traditional goods and snacks, brings you to the actual Cable Car Station.

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    The wooden plate says “Welcome to Mount Oyama, which brings nature and history together”

    We arrived at the station and took the Cable Car until “Afuri-Jinja Station.”

    DSC_0998a

    Ninja ID: nene16

    Welcome to Mount Oyama and its Afuri Shrine

    The view over the city from Oyama Afuri Shrine is very beautiful and the shrine area itself offers many things to discover.

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    The shrine was built more than 2,000 years ago and its name derives from the word “amefuri” which literally means “rainfall” or “rainy weather”. That´s why mostly farmers visited the shrine to pray for rain and a good harvest.

    Next to the shrine, a statue showing two children of the post war period caught my eye. The name plate says “Kagayakesugi no Ko” (輝け杉の子) which could be translated as “The children of the shining cedar”. Sugi, the Japanese cedar is the national tree of Japan. You can find it mostly around temple and shrine areas. Therefore, Sugi can also symbolize the country itself and refers to the children of the nation.

    DSC_0365

    After some research I found out that during World War II on June 30th 1944 the decision was made to evacuate elementary school children between grade three to six of Kawasaki-city (Kanagawa Prefecture). Out of those 7,100 children, 3,200 children were sent to Mount Oyama. Children from nine different schools left Kawasaki between August 21st and 24th 1944. Until the evacuation dissolution due to the end of the war in October 1945, children were sent to different places.

    This statue shows these young children during the reconstruction of the country after the second world war, sending gratitude and peace into all directions of the prefecture. It was built as a symbol to commemorate 40 years of the end of the evacuation.

    Welcome to Mount Oyama and its Afuri Shrine

    The real hike until the top of Mount Oyama starts on the left side next to the shrine. Steep stairs lead you to the hiking trail, which takes about two hours until the summit. Since it is a very tough hike, rugged footwear is a big recommendation.

    DSC_0998c

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    On a clear and sunny day, you can even see Mount Fuji in the distance.

    DSC_0998d

    On the top of the mountain, food and beverages are on sale, but keep in mind that it might become very pricey. We bought two bottles of water and two small portions of “Kakigori” (a dessert made of shaved ice) and paid 1,600Yen (about 15US$), which was quite a shock. The best way to enjoy the stunning view is bringing your picnic blanket, prepare a lunchbox and have a nice break surrounded by nature.

    DSC_0998e

    If you are lucky you can even spot deers on your way back to the station.

    Enjoy your trip to Mount Oyama!

    Information

    Access: From Isehara Station (Odakyu Line) it´s a 30min bus ride until Oyama Cable Station; until Afuri-Jinja Station it´s the second stop of Oyama-Cable (Last departure 4:30pm weekdays/5pm weekend/national holiday)
    Address: Isehara-shi, 259-1107 Kanagawa
    Ranking:
    www.ooyama-cable.co.jp (Japanese only)
    www.afuri.or.jp (Japanese only)

    WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

    Image_

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


    51Lake Tanzawa (丹沢湖) in Ashigarashimo – Yamakita

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


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

    A photo posted by てり~ (@telliart) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


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

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


    50Yumoto (箱根・湯本) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture

    Kanagawa Prefecture 47~ 54


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

    A photo posted by かえる (@rhacophorus101) on

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


    53Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺) in Kamakura

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


    54Sankeien Garden (三溪園) in Yokohama

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan: Tokyo

    Tokyo 33~ 46


    33Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) in Shibuya

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


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

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

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


    36Rikugien Garden (六義園) in Bunkyo

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


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

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


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

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

    showakinen-koen.jp

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


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

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


    42Mount Takao (高尾山) in Hachioji

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


    43Mitake Ravine (御岳渓谷) in Ome

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


    44Akigawa Ravine (秋川渓谷) in Akiruno

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


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

    454

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture

    Chiba Prefecture 28~ 32


    28Hondo-ji temple (本土寺) in Matsudo

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


    30Lake Kameyama (亀山湖) in Kimitsu

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


    31Komatsu-ji Temple (小松寺) in Minamiboso

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture

    Saitama Prefecture 21~ 27


    21Nagatoro (長瀞) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

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


    22Mount Hodo (宝登山) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

    A photo posted by Kzm Iwt (@kzmkzmmzkmzk) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


    23Nakatsu Ravine (中津峡) in Chichibu

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


    24Park Togo (東郷公園) in Hanno

    A photo posted by Misato Kitagawa (@misato_1966) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


    25Lake Kamakita (鎌北湖) in Iruma – Moroyama

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


    26Torii Kannon (鳥居観音) in Hanno

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


    27Mount Tenran (天覧山) in Hanno

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

    Ichijodani Asakura Ruins, remnants of a powerful clan

    The Asakura clan (朝倉氏) was one of the most powerful clans in Fukui during the Sengoku period (1467 – 1603). Ichijodani is the name of the city they built. At its height, Ichijodani had over 10,000 residents and an advanced culture.

    Map

    Background History

    The Sengoku period was a time of civil war in all of Japan. The last ruler of Ichijodani, Asakura Yoshikage, was an adept ruler who kept peace in the city. Because of this, Ichijodani became a refuge for people fleeing unstable areas in conflict. Warlord Oda Nobunaga seeked to unify Japan and captured Kyoto (then the capital) in an attempt to rule the country (1568). The Asakura clan was called upon to drive Nobunaga from Kyoto, thus creating a conflict. Oda Nobunaga’s answer was a siege on the Asakura domain and in 1573 he burned down the whole city.

    Luckily, in 1967, Ichijodani’s secrets were revealed during a large scale excavation. The city turned out to be much grander than anyone ever expected and is one of the only ruins in Japan with this much detail. You can visit the site and see a reconstruction of the village houses.

    maquette

    guideThe Asakura Ruins offer a very handy virtual guide that shows you how the original buildings would have looked by using a real time camera. Just point the guide to a location and a virtual reconstruction will begin. This guide costs 500yen and is available in both English and Japanese. This is very useful as most of the area is barren and you need a lot of imagination to picture the buildings.

    You can also choose to have a real guide tell you all the stories of Ichijodani. I would suggest to take both the virtual guide for the experience and the real guide for the secret stories and enthusiasm.

    Ichijodani Asakura Ruins, remnants of a powerful clan

    The City

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

    City Streets

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

    samurai

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

    ruins2

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

    GateKamon

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

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

    Information

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

    Restaurant Review: Ichijodani – Restaurant

    Near the Asakura ruins is a modern restaurant that is very much in touch with the seasons. Ichijodani Restaurant changes its menu every time new local ingredients are at their peak. They then turn them into Japanese-style dishes with a Western touch. After a visit to the ruins this restaurant is a must visit.

    A 7-course menu starts at 3,500 yen. We’ll take you through their current, delicious, offering.

    7

    Italian inspired stuffed Shiitake

    The starter already made a great impression. This Shiitake was stuffed with cheese and a topping of sweet basil. It’s difficult to tell if this is a Japanese dish or an Italian but it was delicious nonetheless.
    5

    Salmon with Citrus

    The appetizer made a combination that I never think would have worked, fruit with fish. It took a while to get to the salmon pieces at the bottom so at first you’d think this is a fruit dish. On my way down I recognized salmon roe, edible flowers, pomegranate and lemon jelly.
    8

    Steamed Onion

    Personally, I am not a fan of onions. But this onion truly changed my mind. I was told that Japanese onions taste a lot sweeter than their Western counterparts and the story seems to be true. The taste of the broth had completely seeped into the onion and transformed the flavor to something different. The kelp bag it was served in was also edible.
    Onion in Konbu

    Light soup with Steamed Egg

    This cup had so many little details inside that it was difficult to eat it, but sadly, it was delicious. The vegetables well precisely cut into maple leaves to visualize the season and the mushrooms gave it that autumn taste. The eggs were very fluffy and did not get soaked by the soup, I wonder how they did that.
    4

    Chicken with Red Fruit

    When they first brought out the plate it looked like a strange modern art painting. Upon closer inspection (and taste) you could see that the different sauces were used as “paint” for this abstract piece. Red fruit, vinegar, and a sauce reminiscent of sauce hollandaise.
    The only negative point; it was difficult to eat this chicken without a fork and knife.
    12

    Japanese Pumpkin Curry

    Of course this seasonal favorite couldn’t be forgotten. Kabocha, or Japanese pumpkin, has a sweeter taste than the Western pumpkin and a tougher skin, making it fairly difficult to use for Halloween carvings. But luckily kabocha makes for better food than decoration, adding a special flavor to the curry. The pickles on the plate give it that extra touch.
    6

    Dessert

    For dessert we had coffee and a fruit jelly. As a surprising detail, the grape had a part cut off so it would have a flat surface to balance properly on the jelly. That’s how much detail and thought was put into every dish.
    9

    The Restaurant

    Besides serving delicious food, the interior is extremely beautiful in its simplicity. The wooden theme gives a relaxing and cozy atmosphere. There is a big hardwooden table where large groups of guests can sit together.
    Interior

    Information

    Hours: 11am – 6pm
    Price: Courses are at 3,500yen / 5,500yen / 7,000yen
    Tel: 0776-37-3712
    Access: 21min walk from Ichijodani Station. Parking available
    Address: 10-48 Kidonouchicho, Fukui, Fukui Prefecture 910-2153
    URL:www.1jyoudani.jp (Japanese only)

    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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


    15Suwakyo Gorge (諏訪峡) in Tone-Minakami

    sightseeing_71

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


    16Sarugakyo (猿ヶ京) in Tone-Minakami

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


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

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


    18Kajika Bridge (河鹿橋) Illumination in Shibukawa

    河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


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

    榛名湖 (5)(高崎市,東吾妻町)_TN

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


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

    めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture

    Gunma Prefecture 13~ 20


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

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


    9Setoai Ravine (瀬戸合峡) in Nikko

    729E97ACF33D25EFEFC0D18CB60E7098_R

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


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

    toshogu

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


    11Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖湖畔) in Nikko

    R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R

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


    12Ryuzu Falls (竜頭ノ滝) in Nikko

    800px-Ryuzu_Falls_01_R

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture

    Tochigi Prefecture 7~ 12


    7Nasukogen (那須高原) in Nasu

    m_181159_R

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


    8Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) in Nikko

    AEDCAF576C14DE337E5614772D37B56F_R

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture

    Ibaraki Prefecture 1~ 6


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

    盛紅葉

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


    2Eigen-ji (永源寺) in Kuji – Daigo

    永源寺(もみじ寺)

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


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

    紅葉の花貫渓谷

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


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

    紅葉のコキア(写真使用の際は制限有 *下記参照)

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


    6Mount Tsukuba (筑波山)

    筑波山夕景

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kanto

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

    Ibaraki Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 6

    Quick jump links:

    ibaraki01_R
    4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge
    Mid to late November

    Go to Ibaraki list top

    Tochigi Prefecture : Spots 7 ~ 12

    Quick jump links:

    AEDCAF576C14DE337E5614772D37B56F_R_TN-2
    8Kawaji Onsen
    Mid October to mid November
    R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R_TN
    11Lake Chuzenji
    Early to mid October

    Go to Tochigi list top

    Gunma Prefecture : Spots 13 ~ 20

    Quick jump links:

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

    Go to Gunma list top

    Saitama Prefecture : Spots 21 ~ 27

    Quick jump links:

    nagatoro
    21Nagatoro
    Mid to late November
    nakatsu_TN
    23Nakatsu Ravine
    End of October to early November
    torii1_TN
    26Torii Kannon
    Early to mid November

    Go to Saitama list top

    Chiba Prefecture : Spots 28 ~ 32

    Quick jump links:

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

    Go to Chiba list top

    Tokyo : Spots 33 ~ 46

    Quick jump links:

    tokyo
    38Showa Memorial Park
    Early November to early December
    42Mount Takao
    Middle of November
    335_TN_TN
    45Okutama
    Early to mid November

    Go to Tokyo list top

    Kanagawa Prefecture : Spots 47 ~ 54

    Quick jump links:

    kanagawaTN
    49Lake Ashi
    Early November
    m_151997TN
    54Sankeien Garden
    Mid November to early December

    Go to Kanagawa list top

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture

    Fukushima Prefecture 36~ 45


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

    10_MG_5664

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


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

    2-2

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


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

    1618

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


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

    005648035

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


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

    005287037

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


    41Midorigaoka Park (翠ヶ丘公園) in Sukagawa

    0611-000

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


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

    11_MG_8988

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


    43Tonohetsuri Cliff (塔のへつり) in Minamiaizu

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


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

    0051500934

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


    45Nanko Park (南湖公園) in Shirakawa

    0053904749

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture

    Yamagata Prefecture 30~ 35


    30Sankyo Warehouse (山居倉庫) in Sakata

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


    31Chokai Forest (眺海の森) in Sakata

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


    32Mogami Gorge (最上峡) in Mogami – Tozawa

    nat212

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


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

    nanatsuwaterfall

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


    34Yama-dera (山寺) in Yamagata

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


    35Tengendai (天元台) in Yonezawa

    A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

    A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

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

    MoCHA, the stylish cat café

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    Image credit: PR Times

    Japan has many cat cafés, but this chain takes it up a notch. MoCHA, reminiscent of the French word for cat “chat”, is a stylish chain in Tokyo providing both cats and visitors with a relaxing atmosphere. Cat cafés are often built to be cosy, making MoCHA unique with its trendy interior.

    How does it work?

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    Image credit: PR Times

    Cat cafés all around Japan mostly have a similar system; you pay a set entry fee for a certain time limit (this may or may not include a drink) and you’re ready to go! Most often shoes are off limits, but this can depend on the café. The management will also ask not to pick up the cats or disturb them. These furry hosts get many visitors on one day and would like to be able to relax when needed.

    Rules at MoCHA
    -Don’t chase the cats
    -Don’t hold the cats
    -Don’t feed the cats any human food. If you want to feed them, you can buy some treats at the café
    -Photos are allowed, but turn off your flash
    -Don’t speak in loud voices

    What makes MoCHA different?

    The main concept of MoCHA is to provide a serene, healing space. MoCHA thought about both cats and humans while designing the interior. Wooden trees, fake bird cages, ladders and plants provide plenty of entertainment and relaxing space for the cats while being a treat for the human eye. Instead of regular chairs and benches there are relaxing sofas and reclining chairs.

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    Image credit: PR Times

    All that’s left to feel completely at ease is a kitty on your lap, and MoCHA has about 15~20 of them at every café! You can learn their names and favorite foods from one of the photo books. These adorable cat dictionaries also have baby pictures of when they were just a kitten.

    Cat themed drinks

    Besides offering the basic café drinks, MoCHA also has an “all you can drink” option for 350 yen. Some hot drinks come with a kitty-shaped marshmallow or snack.

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    Image credit: PR Times

    Starting September 2016, MoCHA is collaborating with professional marhsmallow maker “Yawahada”, creating treats based on the café’s three most popular cats, all coincidentally named after delicious food! Wasabi: a female black and white Siberian, Azuki(sweet red beans): a female calico Munchkin, and Kinako (roasted soybean flour): a male light-cream tabby Scottish Fold. For the paws you can choose between vanilla, chocolate and black tea.

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    Image credit: PR Times

    Information

    MoCHA Shibuya

    Shibuya
    Image credit: PR Times

    Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
    Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
    Location: Asoruti Shibuya building, 8F
    Access: 5-min walk from Shibuya Station
    Address: 32-12 Udagawachō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0042
    Characteristics: The café is like a big lounge, watching over Shibuya
    URL: http://catmocha.jp/shibuya/

    MoCHA Ikebukuro West

    Ikebukuro West
    Image credit: PR Times

    Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
    Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
    Location: Near Ikebukuro Westgate Park, there is a seven eleven store on the 1st floor
    Access: 1-min walk from Ikebukuro Station West Exit
    Address: 1 Chome-15-6 Nishiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tōkyō-to 171-0021
    Characteristics: Natural materials such as wooden trees and soft ambient light give this café its relaxing atmosphere.
    URL: http://catmocha.jp/ikebukuro/

    MoCHA Ikebukuro East

    Ikebukuro East
    Image credit: PR Times

    Hours: every day from 10am – 10pm (last entry at 9:30pm)
    Admission: 1,800 yen general admission
    Location: Sanke building 4F
    Access: 3-min walk from Ikebukuro Station East Exit
    Address: 1 Chome-22-5 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tōkyō-to 170-0013
    Characteristics: Relaxing lounge style
    URL: http://catmocha.jp/ikebukuro2/

    MoCHA Harajuku

    Harajuku s
    Image credit: PR Times


    Hours
    : every day from 10am – 8pm (last entry at 7:30pm)
    Admission: 200 yen / 10 minutes (1h stay is 1,200 yen)
    Location: Cross Avenue Harajuku 3F
    Access: Right next to Harajuku Station Omotesando exit
    Address: 150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 1 Chome−14-25
    Characteristics: Refreshing green carpets, wooden trees and fake bird cages for the cats to rest
    URL: http://catmocha.jp/harajuku/

    My Neighbor Totoro Café in the heart of Tokyo

    Hidden in the backstreets of the popular fancy Shimokitazawa Area, a small cute café called Shiro-Hige´s Cream Puff Factory attracts their customers with self-made cream puffs and cookies shaped in the silhouettes of the characters appearing in the movie “My Neighbor Totoro”.

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    The entrance welcomes you with selected Totoro merchandise and the whole ambience feautures the charm of a cozy, friendly and warm home.

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    On the first floor you can visit the little shop selling cookies and cream puffs for take-out.

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    The filling of the cream puffs come in different flavors, two standard ones (custard & fresh cream, chocolate cream) and some which are limited to the current season (caramel banana cream: January – April; strawberry cream: January – June; green tea cream: May – August; peach cream: July – September; chestnut & chestnut cream: October – December; raspberry & cream cheese: September – December).

    We went up to the second floor and where happy that a lunch and dinner menu is available as well, beside their speciality, the cream puffs.
    We ordered the steak lunch together with custard & fresh cream cream puffs. (The cream puff must be ordered together with a drink.)

    food

    It was really good, and we couldn´t stop taking pictures of the cute Totoro-shaped goodies.


    Information

    Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory
    Hours: 10:30am – 7pm (Closed on Tuesday)
    Tel: 03-5787-6732
    Access: 3min walk from Setagaya-Daita Station (Odakyu Odawara Line)
    Address: 5-3-1 Daita, Setagaya-ku, 155-0033 Tokyo
    URL: http://www.shiro-hige.com/ (Japanese only)

    Ninja ID: nene16


    WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

    Image_

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture

    Miyagi Prefecture 25~ 29


    25Naruko-kyo (鳴子峡) in Osaki

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture


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

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


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

    A photo posted by kan (@kiku_shin) on

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


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

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

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

    Kids’ Ninja Village

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

    ninja4-1

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

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

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    ninja4-2

    ninja4-3

    Ninja version vending machine!
    Ninja version vending machine!

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

    Information

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture

    Akita Prefecture 19~ 24


    19Mount Moriyoshi (森吉山) in Kita-Akita

    A photo posted by @mado.ca on

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


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

    A photo posted by ayuko! (@a1oxo5) on

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


    23Dakigaeri Valley (抱返り渓谷) in Semboku

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


    24Oyasu Gorge (小安峡) in Yuzawa

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


    21Senshu Park (千秋公園) in Akita

    A photo posted by @syuu_01 on

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


    22Kakunodate (角館) in Semboku

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

    Visit the Origin of Ninja (3) : Ninja Soba

    Togakushi Soba Yamaguchiya

    On the way back from the hill, we visited Yamaguchiya Soba restaurant. They specialize in making Togakushi Soba with a unique concept. The recommended menu is Ninja Soba (cold soba with shredded radish, vegetable tempura and original walnut soba sauce). Moreover, they have a ninja menu for ladies called the Kunoichi Soba that comes with a Japanese dessert. Both menus are ninja-themed with edible components such as shredded radish that represents ninja smoke bombs.

    Ninja Soba Set
    Ninja Soba Set
    Kunoichi Soba Set (Ninja Soba set for ladies)
    Kunoichi Soba Set (Ninja Soba set for ladies)
    Soft serve ice cream
    Soft serve ice cream

    Mr. Yamaguchi, the owner of Yamaguchiya and ninja master, told us that the secret to make delicious Togakushi soba are premium ingredients and pure water. He also said that in training to be a ninja, energy is extremely necessary so food that contains a lot of energy but can also be easily digested and healthy such as soba, is the best menu for ninja.

    Currently, Mr. Yamaguchi is an instructor for ninja training as well. Some ninja trainees are not local Japanese, and some even came all the way from Europe to explore the way of the ninja with different purposes. The key to be a ninja is not complicated techniques, high power or good items but ability to adapt all ninja skills. Moreover, those skills are for defend and protect ourselves not for attack others.

    Ninja pose with Mr. Yamaguchi
    Ninja pose with Mr. Yamaguchi

    Read other articles in the series:
    Visit the Origin of Ninja (1) : Togakushi Shrine
    Visit the Origin of Ninja (2) : Museums and a Ninja Trick House
    Visit the Origin of Ninja (4) : Kids’ Ninja Village

    Information

    ninja3-0989_R
    TOGAKUSHISOBA YAMAGUCHIYA
    Opening Hours: 9.00 – 17.00
    Address: 3423 Togakushi Chusha Nagano city, NAGANO Japan.
    TEL: (+81)26-254-2351
    URL: www.togakushisoba.com

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture

    Iwate Prefecture 11~ 18


    11Hachimantai (八幡平) in Hachimantai

    八幡平の紅葉(熊沼)

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


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

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


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

    A photo posted by true (@tellus_jp) on

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


    14Sennin Pass (仙人峠) in Kamaishi

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

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


    15Mount Kurikoma (栗駒山) in Ichinoseki

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

    Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


    16Chuson Temple (中尊寺) in Nishiiwai – Hiraizumi

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


    17Geibikei (猊鼻渓) in Ichinoseki

    A photo posted by もす (@mozuyamaaa) on

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