Kamogawa Delta In Kyoto A Popular Local Spot With Fun Rock Art

first_imgWe asked Ikenishi what he enjoys about balancing rocks the most.Ikenishi: “I enjoy seeing people’s reactions when they view my works. It motivates me when I think about how my rock sculptures can bring a smile to others.””These formations get destroyed by strong wind or after getting touched by people. However, it doesn’t matter to me. I enjoy the process more than the final product.” Kamogawa Delta’s stepping stones are also well-known for appearing in the famous anime series, “K-On!.” There are also stepping stones in the shape of a turtle and bird. Be sure to take a photo! Read also Rock Balancing Artist, Ikenishi Daisuke, a chiropractor by day, creates these rock sculptures.Ikenishi started rock balancing art in 2016, and in 2017 he started working on the rock sculptures every day. On weekdays, he begins at 8:00 and spends around 20 minutes before heading to work. He dedicates more time to this art on Sundays and national holidays. This rock sculpture is the result of our first attempt at rock balancing. The rocks at the riverbank were warm to the touch, and each had a distinctive expression.We lost track of time, concentrating on the challenging process of balancing a slightly risky choice of rock on a more sturdy one. We felt overjoyed once we succeeded!It is inevitable that the rocks will collapse suddenly. Put your safety first before anything else when attempting rock balancing.A Fascinating Art Form – Rock Balancing Ikenishi added: “In the past, I used to be so focused while balancing the rocks that I blocked out the surrounding nature and sounds around me. However, this became a source of calmness for my spirit and mind. Over time, I was able to absorb the sound of wind and the voices of children.”Now, Ikenishi can focus on his rock sculptures in front of people without becoming distracted. Relax with Kyoto Locals at Kamogawa Delta In cooperation with Ikenishi Daisuke (Twitter: @IsmDaisuke) Where To Stay In Kansai – 6 Great Guesthouses In Osaka, Kyoto, And Kobe! These stacked rocks are found near the river bed, and their stable form stands out to those passing by. Discovering these rocks will leave you in amazement. These rocks also show how humans and nature exist together.Ikenishi shared that, a long time ago, a lady in her fifties once told him, “I have been feeling down recently, but for some reason, looking at your rock sculptures puts me in a good mood.”Ikenishi does what he does for people to enjoy his work before it collapses and leaves the river bed. It seems like his purpose for being an artist reaches his audience. After experiencing rock balancing, let’s explore the rest of Kamogawa! There are stepping stones near Kamogawa Delta. These stones allow people to cross the river and also help improve visitors’ experiences of the river. Ikenishi’s works can also be found here. The sculptures have excellent balance. Once the rocks are balanced, Ikenishi adds an extra touch by dampening the stones with water, bringing out their natural textures and patterns. Use Exit 3 of Demachiyanagi Station of Keihan Electric Railway to get to Kamogawa Delta. Ikenishi’s artwork is also located around this area.Within walking distance are the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shimogamo Shrine, and Kyoto Imperial Palace, the former ruling palace of the Emperor of Japan up until 1869. We recommend seeing these destinations after visiting Kamogawa Delta.center_img A crowd has gathered around Ikenishi. He is friendly and will happily answer any questions. People are also more than welcome to take pictures of the art or him working and share them on social media.Local and international tourists alike appreciate Ikenishi’s artwork. We heard comments such as “Wow!,” “That is not easy!” and “He’s so focused!” If you see him, please tell the rest of the world about Ikenishi from Kyoto!Check out Ikenishi’s Instagram account (daisuke__ism) for regular updates on his creations.How to Enjoy Kamogawa Experience Life In Kameoka, Kyoto: 5 Spots To See In A Castle Town Impressive rocks formations can be found on the riverbank of Kamogawa Delta. These mysterious rocks have attracted attention from the media, curious about uncovering the origins and intentions behind these artistic pieces.The Artist Behind The Rock Sculptures “What is challenging about rock balancing?” we asked.He replied, “There isn’t much. The more rocks you balance, the more fun it is. Even if you are not good at it, it is hard to feel disappointed.”It is clear how relaxing and enjoyable rock balancing is to Ikenishi.Try Rock Balancing for Yourself! There is a considerable distance between each stepping stone, and the river’s water level can become high. Please take safety precautions before using the stepping stones to cross the river.How To Get To Kamogawa Delta Be sure to visit Kamogawa Delta, a spot popular with Kyoto locals. Don’t forget to look for Ikenishi’s rock art and experience the natural landscape of Kamogawa! Children at the riverbank were also asking Ikenishi for tips.He told them, “Start searching for rocks that you felt comfortable with, keep trying, and do not give up.” His advice sounded similar to that of a school teacher.”Do not force anything, understand your strength, do not give up, focus, do not hold your breath, and stack the rocks one at a time, at a steady pace.” His words have a philosophical aspect to them and can even be applied to our own daily lives.There might be a connection between rock balancing and the way we live. Kobishiya Chube In Kyoto – Make Your Own Mini Japanese Lantern! Kamogawa is a river in Kyoto that runs north to south, connecting the Takano River to Kamo River. This iconic river contains much history and tradition.Kamogawa Delta is a triangular-shaped piece of land at the junction where the two rivers meet. It is abundant in nature and is frequented by Kyoto City residents. If you are interested in rock balancing, why not try it out yourself with some advice from Ikenishi? This is one of Ikenishi’s pieces. His secret is to choose a flat rock as the base and save the best piece for the top.He also shared several tips: make use of the unevenness or rocks, start simple, be aware of your strengths, focus, and not give up.We were also told not to hold your breath. Holding your breath will focus more strength in your hands, causing the rocks to collapse more easily.last_img read more

Shikinen Zotai Once in 20 Years at Kasuga Taisha Nara

first_img The Reception for the Special AdmissionAfter entering the south gate, the reception for the special admission is on the right side, where you pay the 500 yen admission fee. There is also a leaflet with an English commentary. The Mikasayama Ukigumonomine Youhaijo, Outside of the East CloisterThe Mikasayama Ukigumonomine Youhaijo [a special place of worship], which is usually closed to the visitors, will be open during this period. The South GateAfter passing the Ni-no-torii, the main sanctuary, where the special admission is allowed, comes into view. Kasuga Taisha is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage. This year, a special event called Shikinen Zotai is under way.What is a Shikinen Zotai?Shikinen means a certain period of time, and Zotai means a rebuilding of the sanctuary. Every 20 years, the deity moves from the place of residence [Gohonden: main sanctuary] to a temporary site [Karihonden: temporary sanctuary]. During that period, the main sanctuary will be rebuilt, or restored.Since 768, the year Kasuga Taisha was built, Shikinen Zoutai has been repeated once every 20 years, for more than 1,200 years. The year 2015 will be its 60th anniversary, and the move from the main sanctuary was on March 27th, and the move back to the main sanctuary will be on November 6th, 2016.Special AdmissionFrom September, 2014, a special admission to the main sanctuary has been granted. It will be an opportunity for the visitors to see usually closed areas. Ichi-no-torii: The Entrance to Kasuga TaishaFrom Kintetsu Nara station, it is a ten minutes walk to the Ichi-no-torii [first gate], where the sando [approach to the shrine] starts. The distance from here to the Ni-no-torii [second gate], which is near the main sanctuary, is about 1.2 kilometers, a 15 minutes walk. The stone lanterns lining up the sando is an impressive sight, creating a solemn atmosphere. The Mascot for the 60th Anniversary of Shikinen Zoutai, Sugachan the White DeerSugachan is the mascot for the 60th Anniversary of Shikinen Zoutai. It is sold at the ofiicial goods store located inside the grounds.On March 1st, the Shikinen Zoutai started with Kozukuri Hajimeshiki [the opening ceremony for the rebuilding of the sanctuary] and will continue until Honden Senzasai, on November 16, 2016, which celebrates the return of the deity to the main sanctuary. Other ceremonies and functions, such as the special admission, are also scheduled.This is the time to visit Kasuga Taisha, a shrine worshipped by the Japanese people for over a thousand years.InformationKasuga TaishaAddress: 160 Kasuganocho, Nara CityTelephone: 0742-22-7788Open Hours:6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (From April to September)6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (From October to March)*The special admission is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.*Kasuga Taisha is open all through the year.*500 yen will be charged for the special admission.Multilingual Support: An English leaflet is available.Station: Kintetsu Nara stationAccess 1 (on foot): 25 minutes walk to the main shrine.Access 2 (by bus): Take the Nara Kotsu bus, headed for “Kasuga Taisha Honden,” from the Kintetsu Nara station or the JR Nara staion. Get off at the “Kasuga Taisha Honden” bus stop.Access 3 (by bus): Take the Nara Kotsu “shinai junkan” [city loop line] bus, or the “shinai junkan sotomawari” [city loop line, outer circle] bus, and get off at the “Kasuga Taisha Omote Sando” bus stop. It is a 10 minutes walk to the main sanctuary.Official HP: Kasuga Taisha (English information is available on this site.)From April 1, 2015, special viewing of the Gohonden [main sanctuary], a Japanese national treasure will start, and visitors will be able to see the Gohonden Iwakura [a rock of myth] for the first time.Open Period: April 1st to May 31st, 2015Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.Admission: 1,000 yen (A commemorative item is included in the admission.)Once every 20 years, the Gohonden is open to the visitors, though this is the first time that the Iwakura, a rock of myth enshrined in the Gohonden, will be shown.A visit to the Karihonden [temporary sanctuary] will also be granted, but this may be cancelled due to the ongoing ceremonies. The Dreamlike Stone Lanterns at the Fujinaminoya HallAt the Fujinaminoya Hall, an important cultural asset designated by the Japanese government, the quiet beauty created by the stone lanterns can be appreciated.Visiting MannersKasuga Taisha is a place where a deity resides, so be careful not to sit down where ever you like, or wander into restricted areas.Also, taking a photograph from the front of the main shrine is regarded as disrespectful, and taking photographs of the shrine maidens are forbidden by the Kasuga Taisha.A Great Time to Visit Kasuga Taisha A Voice Guidance Application Experiment for Visitors from AboroadAt Ni-no-torii, Nara Audio Guide, Nara Prefecture’s official voice guidance application, is on trial until the end of March for the visitors from abroad. English, Chinese, and Korean versions are available, along with the rental terminals. Click here for the application. Detailed information about Nara, as well as Kasuga Taisha, will be presented in each language. The Ushirodono Gate, Opened After 140 YearsThe Ushirodono Gate, in the back of the main sanctuary, has been opened for the special admission after 140 years.last_img read more

Maps to Uenos Hospitals Evacuation Shelters and Smoking Areas

first_imgTravel is often accompanied by some kind of problem. There’s a chance you may hurt yourself, lose things, or meet a natural disaster, such as an earthquake.It’s tough to find hospitals or contact the police in a new country. In this article, we will show you where you can find restrooms, police boxes, smoking areas, hospitals, and emergency shelters in Ueno.Reference Article: Useful Maps to Asakusa’s Hospitals, Evacuation Areas, and More!RestroomsUeno is a place with hardly any public restrooms, and oftentimes you are forced to search in restaurants, shopping malls, electronics stores, or train stations.If you go to the Ueno Park, however, there are several public restrooms available. It can take a while to walk from one end to the other, so it’s helpful to figure out where the restrooms are located beforehand.Ueno Park Public RestroomsThe restrooms found inside of the Ueno Park, Bentendo, art exhibits, and museums are all western-style and easy to use.Ueno Park Multi-purpose restroomsMulti-purpose restrooms are more spacey than normal toilets to make them accessible for those with trouble walking, and those in wheelchairs.Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Inaricho StationMultipurpose restrooms found inside of the station.JR Okachimachi Station, South ExitIf you’re near Okachimachi, this is the closest restroom.Public Washrooms in Yushima TenjinThis restroom is would near the former Iwasaki House and Yushima.Smoking AreasSmoking in Taito: it is not recommended to smoke while you walk. If you throw your cigarette butts on the ground, one of the city’s advisers could intervene. If you want to smoke, you should do so in a public smoking area, or in a restaurant with a smoking section.  There are three smoking areas near Ueno Station.Ueno ParkSmoking inside of the park is banned. If you need to smoke, try at this smoking area near the south entrance. It is located right at the bottom of the stairs.The Marui entranceMarui, is a department right next to the Ueno Station, and this smoking spot is found right at its entrance.AmeyokoInside of Ameyoko there is only one place where you can smoke. It is located right in front of the big pachinko parlor.The three public smoking areas are found in front of the station, and once you move towards the downtown area, there is hardly anywhere you can smoke. If you feel the need to smoke, find a restaurant with a smoking section.Police BoxesIn Japan, you can find police boxes (little police offices) all over town. If you get lost, or find yourself in trouble, you should got to one for help.Ueno Park Police BoxFound right next to the Keisei Ueno Station. It is located at the southern exit of Ueno Park.Ueno Police StationThis is the a police station, not a police box. It’s right next to JR Line and Subway Ueno Stations.Ueno Zoo Police BoxFound right near the center of Ueno Park, it is easily accessible from anywhere within the park.Shitaya Police StationThis is the nearest police facility to JR Uguisudani Station, and the Tokyo National Museum.HospitalsHere we will introduce the best places for patients needing emergency care, as well as for those that need help in several languages.Eiju General HospitalThey accept emergency patients. They accept all those who come into the emergency room and perform initial care. Those that require long term care are divided into specialty wards according to their needs.Closed: SundayConsultation Hours: 8:30-11:00Ueno Physicians OfficeThey can help you in Japanese, Korean, or English.Closed: Wednesday, Sunday, and National HolidaysConsultation Hours: 10:00-20:00Kokumin Ueno Station StoreThis is a drugstore. If you are well enough not to go to a hospital, you can find drugs and first-aid supplies here.The Tokyo Medical Health Information CenterThis is a call center located in Tokyo to help you with your health needs. Use it if you need help finding a hospital near by.Phone: 03-5385-8181Hours: 09:00-20:00Language Accessibility: English, Chinese, Thai, and SpanishEmergency Translation ServiceIf you can’t get your message across in an emergency situation at a hospital, call the number below. Their employees will help translate your message.Phone: 03-5285-8185Hours: 17:00-20:00(weekdays), 09:00-20:00(Weekends and National Holidays)Language Accessibility: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and SpanishEmergency SheltersWhen a natural disaster strikes in Japan, there are places for people to go for shelter.It is often safer follow the instructions of employees of the store you’re in, or the Japanese people around you, rather than going by yourself. First calm down, and then take a look at those around you.Next, we will disclose which shelters to use in times of emergency.Kuromon Elementary SchoolThis is the shelter nearest to Yushima Station, Okachimachi Station, and Shinobazu no Ike.Shinobuoka Elementary SchoolThis one is nearest to Ueno Zoo. If you find yourself near the zoo, this is the one you want to head for.Ueno Metropolitan High SchoolThis shelter is right next to the Tokyo University of Arts, and very close to the Tokyo National Museum, and the Tokyo Museum of the Arts. If you find yourself in any of these places, this is where you want you go.Ueno ParkUeno Park is designated by Tokyo as a shelter in times of major natural disasters.last_img read more

The Edo Period Lives On NozakiKannon Temple At Mt Iimori In Osaka

first_imgBy focusing your mind and heart on your prayers, you will soon find that the sounds of the people around you and of the wind will grow distant. Enjoy the deep silence you encounter here.Read also: Four Things to Do When Visiting Shrines in JapanSavor History by Viewing the Stone MonumentsThroughout the grounds of Nozaki-Kannon, here and there you will find stone monuments that speak to the long history of this area’s contribution to the traditional performing arts of the region and to Japan.For example, the grave of Osome and Hisamatsu.Their story is based on a true incident that happened in the Edo period (1603-1868) and was famous by joruri performances. It is the story of an oil merchant’s daughter, Osome, and the hokonin (*3) Hisamatsu, who fell in love with one another, were torn apart, and committed lovers suicide. Their tragedy, based on their different social positions, is demonstrated by this stone mound monument.Being moved by the heartrending tale of their impossible love, you cannot help but stop to pray here for their spirits as well.*3 Hokonin: a type of house servant that lived in a samurai’s residence; they took part in the family business and performed household chores as well.This is a monument inscribed with the lyrics to the Nozaki Ballad. An extremely popular song from the Showa era (1926-1989), the grounds of the temple were open for a concert performance of this piece the day that we visited, and the visitors here were all becoming rather nostalgic when gazing at this stone and listening to this song once again.Strolling Through the Fresh Verdant GroundsHere you can enjoy sweet sakura in the spring, brilliant foliage in fall, and snow-covered grounds in the winter – but the fresh green leaves that appear in the early summer here are just as charming. Near the grave of Osome and Hisamatsu, there is also a pond, where koi fish swim about freely.This is the Important Cultural property, the stone built Nine Story Pagoda. It is quite the divine sight to behold when surrounded by greenery. This was a nine-storied pagoda, but in the past, the top layer was lost, and now it actually has only eight stories – but that’s between you and me.Take a Rest at the Viewing Platform and See Osaka Plain in One SweepAfter having climbed all the way up that long stone staircase and made your way through the grounds of the temple, you might find yourself getting a bit tired. Now is the perfect time to take a break in the rest area.If you follow the signs and walk just past the main temple building and head slightly uphill, you will see the vast, beautiful Osaka Plain opening up right before your eyes. Just sitting here and resting your weary legs as you gaze out at the landscape will surely inspire you to think about the Osaka of the past and present.Nozaki-Kannon: the ideal place to enjoy a light stroll, take in the splendor of nature and feel the flow of history surrounding you. Even in Osaka, actually, for this reason in fact, this area has been continually beloved by the people of Osaka.If you would like to get out of the city for a bit, then please come and perform the Nozaki-mairi for yourself.By the way, the hiking course doesn’t just end here. Actually, from here you can climb even higher up Mt. Iimori, so if you are in the mood to keep on hiking, please follow the trail upwards to the summit.InformationNozaki-Kannon (Fukujusan Jigen-ji)Address : Osaka, Daito, Nozaki 2-7-1Hours: 9:00-16:00Closed: Open all yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: -Nearest Station: JR Nozaki StationAccess: 10 minute walk from JR Nozaki Station along the temple roadAdmission: FreePhone Number: 072-876-2324Website: Nozaki-Kannon (Japanese)** Nozaki-mairi takes place at the start of May, and is a time wherein the streets are bustling with events and street stalls. There are many other events that take place here throughout the year as well, so you can come to visit or pray at any time. The city of Daito, which helped to support the ‘Kitchen of the Nation’, Osaka, is now most famous for its Nozaki-Kannon Temple. The Nozaki-mairi, a visit to this temple to pray, has been taking place for the past 300 years, and even today you will find a great number of people making this pilgrimage.Japan is known for its numerous forms of performing arts, and the rakugo (*1) recitation “Nozaki-mairi”, the joruri (*2) performance of the tragic tale of Osome and Hisamatsu, not to mention the hit song of the Showa era titled “Nozaki Ballad”, all refer to the Nozaki-Kannon Temple and this region of Osaka, making it a very well-loved place.Now let’s take a step back in time and head towards Nozaki-Kannon Temple!*1 Rakugo: a form of Japanese comedy, in which humorous stories are told by an individual performer.*2 Joruri: a type of dramatic recitation accompanied by a puppet theater and shamisen performance.Walking the Road to the Shrine – Tread the Stone Steps to Nozaki-KannonWhen you arrive at JR Nozaki Station, you will notice a sign indicating which route to take to head to Nozaki-Kannon Temple, which is on the mountain ahead of you. During the Nozaki-mairi season, this street is full of vendors and stalls, and you are sure to enjoy the walk to the temple even more if you snack on their castella sweets and candy apples as you stroll along.After walking for about 10 minutes, you will come to the stone staircase that leads up the mountain to Nozaki-Kannon.It’s an unexpectedly long staircase… But do your best to climb it.Once you’ve made it up the stairs, you’ll find yourself now at the main temple building! The blue sky, fresh greenery, and azalea blossoms all combine to create a gloriously vivid scene around you.First, stop to pray at the main temple building. Here prayers specifically for marriage, easy childbirth, child conception, better fortune, protection against evil, and many other wishes are said to be granted. Set your mind at ease, then bow twice, clap twice, pray and bow once more to finish your prayer.last_img read more

The Charms Of Eastern Tottori Beautiful Places Cuisine Access And More

first_imgPhoto courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureInside the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), Japan’s oldest historical record, there’s a legend of a weeping rabbit whose skin was peeled off by a shark but was saved by Izumo Shrine’s deity Okuninushi.The Hakuto Shrine was built in connection with this legend and is where Okuninushi married the beautiful Princess Yagami, which has made it a great location for marriages. The shrine is located 40 minutes from Tottori Station by bus. Hakuto ShrineAddress: Tottori, Tottori, Hakuto 603Website: https://hakutojinja.jp/foreign-language/Lodging in Chizu/Ishitani Residence Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureAt the center of Eastern Tottori lies Tottori City, a city first established as Inabanokuni in the 7th century with its own unique, developed culture. Inside the city are a number of historic ruins as well as excellent traditional handicrafts.Also in the area are Japan’s largest sand dunes, known as the Tottori Sand Dunes and the beautiful, deeply indented coastline of Uradome Coast. There are also a number of other outdoor leisure spots you can enjoy throughout the area.How to Get to Tottori’s Eastern AreaThe best place to use as a base in the eastern area of Tottori Prefecture is Tottori City. You can either take an airplane, a train or a bus from either Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, or Fukuoka.Access From TokyoThe most convenient way to get to Tottori City from Tokyo is by airplane.If you’re taking an airplane from Tokyo, head from Haneda Airport to the Tottori Sand Dune Conan Airport. The approximate length of the ride is one hour and ten minutes. From the airport, you can take a bus to JR Tottori Station. You will reach the station in 20 minutes. Furthermore, if you use ANA’s Experience Japan Fare you can fly from Haneda to Tottori one-way for 10,800 yen.If you decide to come by shinkansen, take it to either Himeji or Okayama then change to the express train for Tottori Station. It takes between five to six hours and costs approximately 20,000 yen.Access From OsakaIf you are coming to Tottori from Osaka, take the Super Hakuto Express and get off at Tottori Station. It takes approximately two and a half hours and costs around 7000 yen.Access From FukuokaIf you are coming to Tottori from Fukuoka, take the bullet train to Okayama and change to the Super Inaba Express. It takes approximately four hours and costs around 17,000 yen.Access From HiroshimaShould you be traveling from Hiroshima, to Tottori City, you will want to take the shinkansen to Okayama, then transfer to the Super Inaba Limited Express train. It will take about two and a half hours, and cost about 10,000 yen.Recommendation For Cheapest TravelFor those of you wishing to come by the most convenient route, we recommend taking the bus.The bus from Osaka to JR Tottori Station takes roughly three hours and usually costs 3700 yen. Currently, there is a special discount ticket for people from overseas for 1000 yen available until the end of March 2018.Or, if you take one from Hiroshima to JR Tottori Station, it will take about five and a half hours, and cost just 4500 yen.There are night buses that run from Tokyo and Fukuoka to Tottori Station. The bus from Tokyo takes about nine and a half hours and costs 10,500 yen while the bus from Fukuoka takes nine and a half hours and costs 9700 yen.Transportation in the Eastern Tottori AreaTransportation Within Tottori CityWithin Tottori City, there is an all-you-can-ride taxi service for 3 hours for 2000 yen, which we highly recommend.Website: 2000 Yen! Tottori City Tourist TaxiThere’s also the Kururi Bus within the city that only costs 100 yen per ride, and a loop bus operating especially for main tourist spots on Saturdays and holidays called the Kirinshishi Bus. The Kirinshishi Bus has a day pass, which lets you ride freely all day for 600 yen.Transportation in the Outskirts of Tottori CityFor tourist locations outside the city, how about taking a bus or taxi from the nearest station? The number of buses that run is quite low throughout the day, so be careful not to miss yours. We also recommend renting a bicycle for more convenient travel.8 Recommended Spots in the Eastern Tottori AreaThe Tottori Sand Dunes Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture50 minutes from Tottori city lies Chizu, a lodging town from the Edo period. Within the city is the Ishitani Residence, a structure that signifies the transition of architectural technology from Azuchi-Momoyama period to the present day.Nearby is the traditional Japanese restaurant Mitakien that’s famous for using edible wild plants (vegetables growing wild in the hills and fields) in their dishes.Ishitani ResidenceAddress : Tottori, Yazu District, Chizucho, Chizu 396Website: http://www.ifs.or.jp/ (Japanese)Wakasa Railway Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureIn Tottori, from the time before the war through to its end, the town doctor Shoya Yoshida spearheaded the restoration of folk crafts in the area.Near JR Tottori Station is the Tottori Folk Museum Street with award-worthy, beautiful pottery at the Tottori Folk Crafts Museum, handicrafts you can buy at the Tottori Takumi Craft Store and local cuisine you can experience at the Takumi Restaurant.Folk Craft MuseumAddress : Tottori, Tottori, Sakaemachi 651Website: http://mingei.exblog.jp/ (Japanese)Jinpukaku Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureUradome Coast (San’in Kaigan Geopark) is a place with a beautiful clear sea and breathtaking view. There you’ll be able to cruise around all of the islands, go kayaking or enjoy some snorkeling.To learn more about sea kayaking and other activities on the coast, please click here, and if you’d like to make a reservation for any activities, click here.The best way to get to Uradome Coast is to take a train to Iwami Station and rent a bicycle at the shop in front of the station.Uradome CoastAddress: Tottori, Iwami district, Iwamicho, UradomeWebsite: http://translate.google.co.jp/translate?hl=ja&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iwamikanko.org%2FHakuto Shrine Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureTen minutes by bus from Tottori Station is the Jinpukaku, constructed in 1907  for Emperor Taisho in San’in. Constructed in the style of the French Renaissance, this two-storied wooden building was used as a lodging house and to this day, retains an exquisite interior worth seeing.JinpukakuAddress: Tottori, Tottori, Higashicho 2-121Website: http://www.tbz.or.jp/jinpuukaku/ (Japanese)Uradome Coast (San’in Kaigan Geopark) Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureTottori’s Sand Museum was opened in 2006 and is the world’s only museum featuring works of art created using sand. Every year, sand artists from around the world are invited to create new works of art devoted to the theme of “World Traveling Using Sand”.The museum is located near the entrance of the sand dunes, so it would be great to pair these two experiences together.For more information on the Sand Museum, please go to Historical Sculptures Made Of Sand?! The Tottori Sand Museum.Sand MuseumAddress: Tottori, Tottori, Fukubechoyuyama 2083-17Website: http://www.sand-museum.jp/en/Folk Museum Street Eastern Tottori – The Charms of the Region Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureThe Tottori Sand Dunes are approximately 16.4 km east to west and 2.4 km north to south, making it Japan’s largest in the area. It’s a great place to view the Sea of Japan.Whether it’s riding a camel through the dunes, paragliding above or doing yoga and riding bikes on the sand, you will undoubtedly enjoy yourself. Close by at the Sakyu Kaikan, are wonderful souvenirs so when visiting the sand dunes, you should definitely stop by for a look.To learn more and make reservations for different activities on the sand, please click here.You can access the sand dunes by bus from Tottori Station, which takes about 25 minutes.Sakyu KaikanAddress : Tottori, Tottori, Fukubechoyuyama 2164Website: http://sakyu.city.tottori.tottori.jp (Japanese)Sand Museum Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureWakasa Railway, established in 1930, is a nine-station local train line that runs from Koge Station to Wakasa Station. Along the tracks remain the same old sights from when it was first opened. You can purchase an all-day pass for 760 yen.For more information on Wakasa Railway, take a look at Wakasa Railway – Feel The Local Charm Of Tottori!Wakasa StationAddress : Tottori, Yazu District, Wakasacho, Wakasa 345-2Website: http://www.infosakyu.ne.jp/~wakatetu/ (Japanese)Eastern Tottori Cuisine Photo courtesy of: Tottori PrefectureIn Eastern Tottori, you’ll, of course, be able to eat fresh seafood but you’ll also be able to experience things like Fried Noodles with Offal, fried noodles with pan-fried offal.If you’re looking for a nice seafood restaurant, there’s a great place close to JR Tottori Station in Tottori Harbor’s Market called Karoichi. There you’ll be able to experience fresh seafood caught right there in Tottori’s very own harbor.A bit farther away yet just as important to check out is Coco Garden, Oenosato’s Natural Farm, where you can eat the popular pancakes made with eggs from free-range chickens.In ConclusionYou’ll be able to have a myriad of pleasurable experiences when visiting Eastern Tottori, such as touring historic sites, various leisure activities and fabulous cuisine. So don’t just visit the inner city of Tottori but take yourself out into the surrounding areas to get the full experience. You’ll surely have the chance to experience the nostalgic sights of old Japan.For more information please check the official website of Tottori Prefecture: https://www.tottori-tour.jp/en/Please also check out our articles in the Tottori section.Sponsored by Tottori Prefecturelast_img read more

Makizushi All You Need To Know About Sushi Rolls

first_imgEnjoy Sushi In Japan! Useful Tips And Tokyo’s Best Sushi Restaurants From the top: the yellow roll is oshinkomaki, green is a cucumber roll, and the red is a shibazuke roll.Hosomaki are long, thin makizushi. Although made in the same manner as other makizushi, hosomaki use half the seaweed of other rolls. They also tend to only contain one ingredient and are usually cut in bite-size pieces.Two of the most common hosomaki are oshinomaki made from takuan. Takuan are yellow pickled daikon radish slices. Kyuri maki, or cucumber rolls, are another common option and typically called “kappa maki” in restaurants. Shibazuke, which is a type of pickle preserved with red shiso (perilla) leaves is another popular type of hosomaki.Some of the most popular hosomaki in sushi restaurants are tekkamaki, made with red tuna meat, and negitoromaki, which is made with minced tuna and green onions. Nattomaki , one the other hand, is a good way to try natto and a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians.Futomaki – Savor many Flavors at Once Temakizushi means “hand rolled sushi” in Japanese. Just as its name indicates, these are sushi that you roll with your hands without the need of a sushi mat. Rather than something served in a restaurant, temakizushi are often made and eaten at home instead.The base is a nori seaweed you hold in one hand as you add your desired ingredients on top of it. Once you have added the desired ingredients, you roll the seaweed into a cone. The ingredients in these rolls can be almost anything. Most common is raw fish, egg and vegetables. One of the best points of this kind of makizushi is that you can enjoy a different combination of toppings every time you make one.Makizushi – Where to Eat It? Uramakizushi is actually inverted makizushi. The sushi mat must be covered in plastic wrap when making uramakizushi to prevent sticking. Instead of the seaweed, the vinegared rice is first laid on the sushi mat. Then the seaweed followed by the other ingredients is placed on the rice before rolling the sushi up in the usual manner.The bright white rolls are often rolled in sesame seeds or small fish eggs for a nicer presentation as well as extra flavor. Popular ingredients in uramakizushi include salmon or other raw fish, avocado, crab, lettuce, canned tuna and mayonnaise. and more. This type of makizushi was originally made with non-Japanese customers in mind, as the dark green of the seaweed was thought to be potentially off-putting to those not used to it. Now uramakizushi is considered to be a standard sushi enjoyed by everyone.Temakizushi – No Sushi Mat Needed Makizushi is a very common type of Japanese food. You can find it at most sushi restaurants as well as in department stores, supermarkets, and even in convenience stores. It is also a very common food to be made at home as wellMakizushi – How Do You Make your Own? Gonpachi NORI-TEMAKI Harajuku – Try A Different Kind Of Sushi Read alsocenter_img If you want to make makizushi, you will need something called a makisu, or sushi mat. It is made from fine, thin pieces of bamboo held together with string. These sushi mats can easily be found in the cooking ware aisle of any supermarket and often even Asian markets in your country.On this mat, you place the ingredients for the makizushi. The placement order is seaweed, sushi rice, then fish, egg or any other ingredients you would like to include in your roll. Next, you roll up the mat from one end to the other, pressing and holding the roll tightly so that it keeps its shape. Be careful not to overfill your makizushi as the seaweed might not be able to wrap the whole roll completely otherwise.Generally speaking, the most popular ingredients in makizushi are cucumber, simmered shiitake mushrooms, Japanese rolled omelette and sakura denbu (cherry blossom preserved rousong also known as “meat wool”). After the makizushi has been tightly rolled up and the mat removed, the rolls can be cut to size and arranged on a plate.Makizushi – One of Sushi’s many VarietiesWhen hearing the word sushi, most people imagine a piece of fish sitting on top of rice. However, makizushi does belong in the same category.While the price will vary based on the ingredients used, you can easily find makizushi in sushi restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets and in department stores all across Japan. Why not give the different variations a try when you come to Japan? Oshizushi (Pressed Sushi) – Japanese Encyclopedia Futomaki are thicker sushi rolls that feature a number of different ingredients. It usually contains omelet, sakura denbu and cucumber alongside other ingredients. You can even find futomaki rolls with grilled eel and other ingredients high-class ingredients. Depending on when and where you visit in Japan, you can even find fun, seasonal futomaki.Setsubun is an event held in February and it involves a special futomaki called ehomaki. “Eho” refers to a lucky direction, this direction changes every year. The custom is that you should eat an entire ehomaki while facing this lucky direction. You must eat the entire roll in silence while thinking about a wish. If you can do this, it is believed that your wish is likely to come true.This event originated in Osaka, but spread all across Japan. As a result, sales of futomaki or ehomaki surge during the first few days of February. During this time, these special rolls are being sold everywhere, from convenience stores over supermarkets to pop up stores. If you happen to be in Japan in February, why not try out this custom for yourself.Uramakizushi – Roll it Inside Out Makizushi is also known as rolled sushi or sushi rolls. This common type of sushi is made from seaweed and vinegared rice filled with different ingredients such as fish and vegetables. Seaweed is one of the main ingredients in this type of sushi so it is also often referred to as norimaki (seaweed roll).What distinguishes makizushi from other types of sushi is that you can enjoy several different flavors in the same roll. There are several types of makizushi, not only based on the ingredients, but also on the thickness of the roll itself.There is a version called Temaki Sushi, “te” means “hand” in Japanese. It received its name because it is rolled by hand without any tools. It is rolled into a cone rather than a cylinder. Other than this, it is very similar to most other kinds of makizushi.In this article, we will take a look at the different types of makizushi that are common in Japan.The Different Types of MakizushiThere are many different kinds of makizushi. They mainly vary by their shape and how it is rolled. The following are the most common types of makizushi.Hosomaki – Great for Snacking How To Order Sushi – 6 Simple Japanese Phrases To Use At Restaurants!last_img read more

Museums And Art Galleries In Tokyo Where To See What

first_imgWhether you are an art fan or history buff or just looking to kill time, visiting a museum or gallery can be an enriching experience. Perfect to visit in all kinds of weather, here we have compiled all the articles thus far on the many museums and art galleries to be found in the greater Tokyo area.This article will be continuously updated as we visit other exciting museums and art galleries, so please check back often to stay on top of the newest cultural enrichment spots in the Tokyo Area.Stations with Multiple Museums and GalleriesThe 6 Museums of Ueno ParkPerhaps the most densely concentrated area of museums and art galleries, Ueno is where you will find most of Tokyo’s largest and most highly visited culture centers.Three Museums You Can Walk to From Roppongi StationA wild nightlife spot, Roppongi also has its fair share of culture – modern museums and art galleries featuring unique exhibitions abound here. These galleries also tend to stay open later than others, making Roppongi a good place to head after work.Japanese HistoryTraditional ArtsFinding Inspiration In Calligraphy – Mitsuo Aida MuseumEven if you cannot read Japanese, the brilliant brushstrokes and gorgeous works of Mitsuo Aida are sure to inspire you. You can also try your hand at Japanese calligraphy in an interactive display.Visit the Theater Museum in Waseda to See Japan’s Stage Arts All in One PlaceWould you like to learn more about Japanese traditional performing arts? At the Theater Museum in Waseda University, a facility with free entrance, you can do just that. Lovers of Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku and more will find this a truly stimulating place to pass an afternoon.Ukiyo-e, Mandala And More: Tokyo National MuseumHousing over 100,000 pieces of Japanese history, the Tokyo National Museum is a must for Japanese history fans. You can spend an entire day here, or take the shorter tour we have outlined in this article.Asakusa’s Textile Culture and Ukiyo-e Art MuseumWould you like to see some of Japan’s rich textile history? Then visit the Amuse Museum near the Nitenmon gate of Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Here you can even interact with some of the exhibits – something that fabric and sewing fans are sure to love!Experience Ukiyo-e In One Of Japan’s Trendiest Cities, HarajukuIf you have worn yourself or your credit card out from shopping, why not visit this hidden gem, tucked away in the trendy fashion haven that is Harajuku? Here you can see limited exhibitions of various ukiyo-e works and learn more about the history of this art form.Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts: Make Your Own Woodblock Prints!If you are artistically inclined and want to try your hand at a Japanese art form, then please visit the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts where you can view works by local artists and make your own woodblock print too.HistoryExperience The Old Capital: Edo-Tokyo Museum, RyogokuThe history of Edo and Tokyo comes alive here in Ryogoku! If you would like to see what life was like in this capital city 100 or more years ago, then this is the best way to experience it.See Japan’s Festivals Any Time – Omatsuri Museum, AsakusaIt may be hard to schedule a trip to Japan that coincides with festival season, but never fear! At the Omatsuri Museum in sightseeing hotspot Asakusa, you can see what a typical festival looks like all year round.Learn How to Use a Katana! The Samurai Museum in ShinjukuWould you rather be a ninja or a samurai? Good choice – at the Samurai Museum in Shinjuku, not only can you view different types of historical armor, katana and matchlock guns but you can take photos in samurai garb and even take lessons on how to properly wield a Japanese sword.Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts MuseumIf you are a craftsman or artisan, then a visit to the Edo Shitamachi Crafts Museum is a must – here you can see finely made pieces of furniture, copper ware, and even iron files, all produced by workers in the Asakusa area.Dive In The Fabulous World Of The Nezu MuseumHere we provide a brief overview of one of Japan’s few private museums – the Nezu Museum, where you will find artifacts and works collected since the earliest days of the 20th century and before. Located in the heart of the metropolis, this museum is extremely popular for its insightful exhibitions and beautiful Japanese garden.Slip Back in Time at Ueno’s Shitamachi MuseumWalking through the doors of this museum and you will find yourself back in the past, surrounded by the Japan of over 100 years ago. To truly appreciate the changes that occurred after the Great Kanto Earthquake, you need only look around here!Fukagawa Edo Museum: Edo Fans Must Visit!Although there are many different places where you can see what life in the Edo era was like, here you can walk among historical buildings and experience life in the past.Modern, Contemporary and Western ArtArt and Architecture at The National Museum of Western Art, UenoFans of modern or contemporary Western art will be thrilled to find this museum: with many exhibitions featuring works collected from across Europe and North America, this is an excellent place to learn more about Western art, architecture and statuary.A Mysterious Experience Awaits! The Tokyo Trick Art MuseumInteractive works of art are all the rage – here you can enter the paintings and make yourself a part of the works! The Tokyo Trick Art Museum is a place where you can experience the fascinating world of optical illusions.Advertising Museum Tokyo in Shidome: All About Japanese AdvertisingAdvertising in print has been a source of inspiration for many artists, and at this museum you can see the impact culture has had on the media and vice versa. A must for graphic design and nostalgia fans.Tokyo Station Gallery, Enjoying Art in Tokyo’s Busiest StationFor those on the go or waiting for a bullet train, there is a lovely art gallery right in Tokyo station! This article introduces the gallery now that it has been renovated.Tokyo East: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo – Why Here?Contemporary art has its home here in the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; international and domestic artists are shown here in Eastern Tokyo which has long been known as the off-beat side of this metropolis.Hara Museum & Café d’Art: Contemporary ArtFound in a renovated home in Shinagawa, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is a charming oasis of interesting contemporary art in Tokyo. They also have an onsite cafe that sells cakes inspired by the works in their current special exhibition.Watarium: A Museum And Shop In ShibuyaThe stylish Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando areas are better known as popular fashion centers, but they should be known also for their art! The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, or Watarium, is a modern art gallery located in an unusual building. This small but powerful gallery has two shops and a cafe where you can leisurely enjoy the art.Modern CultureGoing Back to Childhood – A Visit to the Ghibli Museum, MitakaEverything you could need to know about visiting the Ghibli Museum – a truly enjoyable day trip. Ghibli fans will find themselves wandering about happily in this fantasy world come to life.The Ghibli Museum, Mitaka – Information on Booking Tickets and AccessGuidelines on how to reserve and purchase tickets for the Ghibli Museum can be found in this helpful article.Free Admission! Suginami Animation Museum: Experience Anime ProductionHave you ever wanted to make your own anime? Well you can learn the tricks of the trade at the Suginami Animation Museum. Here you can learn about the history of anime, the techniques used to make each frame and even see some rare works – all for free.Enter The World Of Doraemon! The Fujiko F. Fujio MuseumWould you like to walk through the Dokodemo Door? Or enjoy eating some ankipan? At the Fujiko F. Fujio Museum you can do just that! Fans of Doraemon, Nobita and all Fujiko F. Fujio’s characters will really enjoy this oasis just outside Tokyo.Snoopy Museum: A Happy Spot in Roppongi, TokyoThe Snoopy Museum located in Roppongi is the first and only authorized satellite location of the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. Peanuts fans can see rare drawings, learn the history of Charlie Brown and the gang and even enjoy Snoopy-related treats in the cafe.Natural History and SciencesLearn About Earth at the National Museum of Nature and Science, UenoRenewed in the summer of 2015, the Global Gallery at the National Museum of Nature and Science is a fabulous place to learn all about the world around you. Great for kids and adults a like, this is Japan’s oldest and only national natural science museum.The National Film Center – A Gate to the World of Japanese CinemaJapanese cinema buffs absolutely must check out the National Film Center. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Japanese cinema, in this museum you can not only see vintage and historical film equipment, but research Japanese films in their library and attend screenings of classic movies in the theater.Connected To Tokyo Station: The Scholarly Museum IntermediathequeIf you would like to see just what university collections look like, then Intermediatheque is the place for you; not only that, but you can take part in historical activities like old movie screenings and more.Public ArtPlay With Art: The Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, AoyamaArt that is not like anything else – visit the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum to not only see, but touch and surround yourself with works by this prolific Japanese artist. A must for fans of Surrealism and abstract art.The Myth of Tomorrow: Taro Okamoto’s Mural In Shibuya StationFans of Taro Okamoto’s abstract art should definitely take a moment to gaze at the amazing mural called “The Myth of Tomorrow”, located in the pedestrian walkway between the Yamanote and Keio Inokashira lines in Shibuya station. This mural has a fascinating and mysterious history.Top 5 Stunning Public Art Installations in TokyoBy following the maps in this article you can find some impressive public works of art that others may have missed while traveling through Tokyo. Can you find them all in one day?Roppongi: A Town Filled with Public ArtBest known as a night spot, Roppongi is also home to many embassies, multi-national companies, luxury shops and some incredible art galleries. Not only that, but you can also find many outdoor works of art throughout the city too.This is our selection of cultural institutions, museums and galleries that will enrich your stay in Tokyo through their fascinating exhibitions. Please check out for updates of this list, as we add further information on great cultural facilities!last_img read more

Meet Detective Conan In Tottori Explore The World Of Manga And Anime

first_imgPhoto courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANIt is rumored that Mr. Gosho Aoyama, believe it or not, works on three to four hours of sleep on a regular basis to serialize “Detective Conan”. In the factory, there is a corner that has recreated his work desk. Through this corner you can sense his passion towards his work.Try Out Hiroshi Agasa’s InventionsGosho Aoyama Manga Factory’s greatest charm is the fact that you can experience the various inventions developed by Hiroshi Agasa, a character that appears in the series, for yourself. Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANManga artist Mr. Gosho Aoyama, the author of “Detective Conan”, was born in Tottori prefecture. Hokuei, a town near Kurayoshi and his hometown, is now called the “Town Where You Can Meet Detective Conan”.A Conan Train decorated with “Detective Conan” characters runs at the entrance to Hokueicho, JR Yura Station (Conan Station). Objects and artworks modeled after the characters stand at many places throughout the town, making it almost feel as if you’ve strayed off into the world of the series.JR Yura Station is ten minutes by train from JR Kurayoshi Station and can be accessed in approximately one hour from both JR Tottori Station and JR Yonago Station.Enjoy Detective Conan at the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory!A Popular Spot Visited by Detective Conan Fans from Around the World Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANThere are also T-shirts printed with an image of Conan riding a camel in the Tottori Sand Dunes, a symbol of Tottori, as well as a camel-riding Conan doll. Conan looks so adorable!The souvenir shop also accepts credit cards, so visitors needn’t worry about having enough cash on hand while shopping. Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory View InformationmuseumConan’s House Beika Shopping Street: Stop for a Break and Souvenirs Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANMr. Gosho Aoyama, born in 1963, dreamed of drawing a detective manga since he was a child. Thanks to an elementary school teacher who fervently supported his dream, he strove to create manga and debuted as a professional manga artist following his university graduation.The serialization of “Detective Conan” began eight years after his debut following his publications of manga series such as “Magic Kaito”, a story that follows a high school phantom thief, and “YAIBA”, a story that depicts the adventures of a samurai.You will be able to see the process of how “Detective Conan” was created as well as original drafts from the series at Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory. Do you know “Detective Conan”? It’s a story about an elementary first-grade boy who solves difficult cases one after another using various inventions.The detective manga series “Detective Conan” began its serialization in Japan in 1994, followed by the beginning of its broadcast as an anime in 1996. The series gained popularity among various generations for its breathtaking tricks, unique characters like its protagonist Conan Edogawa, and the thrilling struggle against the mysterious “Black Organization”.Even now, over 20 years since the series’ debut, the serialization of the manga and broadcast of the anime are still ongoing. Additionally, the series has gained fans from all over the world with the manga being translated and sold in 25 countries and regions around the world while the anime is broadcast in 40 countries worldwide.Hokuei in Tottori: Meet Detective Conan Characters Everywhere! Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANAt the Conan Department Store, there are several original goods that aren’t available at the souvenir shop at the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory. A T-shirt featuring a large print of Conan and other characters from the series is especially popular. There are also Conan Body Pillows and more available at the store.The Yura River flows near Conan’s House Beika Shopping Street. The cherry blossoms simultaneously go into full bloom on the riverbed in the spring, making the shopping street a wonderful place to view the flowers while having tea. Conan’s House Beika Shopping Street View InformationFor more information please check the official website of Tottori Prefecture: https://www.tottori-tour.jp/en/Please also check out our articles in the Tottori section.You May Also LikeTottori Travel Guide: From Sand Dunes To Local Cuisine And More!The Charms Of Eastern Tottori – Beautiful Places, Cuisine, Access And More!Central Tottori Sightseeing Guide – Historical Sites, Local Food And More!The Highlights Of Western Tottori: Museums, Temples, And Travel Tips!The Tottori Daisen Tour – From Fine Cuisine To MuseumsSponsored by Tottori Prefecture Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANThis is the Voice-Changing Bowtie that Conan uses to disguise himself as an adult when conducting his deductions. You can change your voice exactly like it does in the series.Additionally, there is also a corner where you can experience some of the tricks that have appeared in the manga too.Where It All Began! The “Detective Conan” Chapter One Projection Mappingcenter_img Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANA projection mapping recreating the first chapter of the manga is shown at the end of the exhibit. Enjoy the story that triggered the start of the battle with the Black Organization through this large, impressive screen show.“Detective Conan” has been made into 21 animated films as of November 2017. You can also view a catalog of the posters of the movies that have been released until now at the factory.There also appears to be many overseas visitors that frequent the factory because of its limited-time exhibits.Complete With Souvenirs! You Can Buy a Camel-Riding Conan Doll! Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANA souvenir shop is also located next to the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory. One particularly popular item here are the magnets that feature the “Detective Conan” characters. They’re perfect to give to your friends and family after your trip. Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANYou will find Conan’s House Beika Shopping Street when you walk about ten minutes from the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory in the direction of JR Yura Station.Here, you’ll find Poirot Coffee, a recreation of the café that appears in the series, Conan’s House Bakery, where you can enjoy fresh bread and coffee, CONAN GELATO, where you can taste gelato made using locally grown fruits, and the souvenir Conan Department Store. Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANHere is the Turbo Engine Skateboard that Conan uses when pursuing criminals. Once you get on, you can enjoy the feeling of being a detective pursuing criminals. Photo courtesy of ©GOSHO AOYAMA/SHOGAKUKANGosho Aoyama Manga Factory, located a 20-minute walk from JR Yura Station (Conan Station), is an especially popular tourist attraction in Hokuei. Here, there are various fun devices for you to enjoy the world of “Detective Conan.”Thanks to overseas visitors being able to fully enjoy the factory with support available in English, Korean, and traditional Chinese, many people from around the world have come here since its establishment in 2007.Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory Website: http://www.gamf.jp/english/You Can Even See Original Drafts!last_img read more

Savor Sushi In Shinjuku 5 Restaurants For Every Occasion

first_imgSushi is synonymous with Japanese cuisine. At MATCHA, we’ve introduced many sushi restaurants before, and this time round we will introduce five sushi restaurants in Shinjuku which have English menus and different styles to them.1. Uogashi Nihonichi: When You Want to Eat with Friends and FamilyUogashi Nihonichiserves fresh fish newly bought from Tsukiji’s auction every morning.You should definitely try out the Kohada (gizzard shad) sushi. The chefs know that relying purely on the freshness of Kohada is not sufficient to make it delicious, so it is seasoned with salt and vinegar after slicing. The delicate seasoning matches well with the fattiness of the in-season Kohada, and coupled together with the well-matched lightly sweetened vinegared rice (rice used for sushi that has been cooked in kombu and seasoned with vinegar and sugar), allows the flavors to spread throughout your mouth with a depth you cannot experience with any other sushi.Shinjuku-Minamiguchi-ten is characteristic for being rather close to the station, as it is a five minute walk along Koshukaido Street from the south exit. There’s a bountiful assortment of food, and courses range from 3,500 yen to 5,500 yen. Seating arrangements come in wide varieties, consisting of tatami rooms called zashiki where you sit on the floor in front of a low table and eat, table seats (with private rooms also available) as well as counter seats. Not only is it good for couples and large family groups, it is also ideal for times when customers prefer eating alone.Plus there’s also peace of mind because there are English, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) and Korean menus.last_img read more

7 Great Cherry Blossom Spots Near Tokyo In 2019

first_imgHow To Get To Yokohama From Tokyo – 6 Different Ways And Fares Picture courtesy of Odawara City Tourism AssociationOdawara Castle, one of the most easily reachable castle in Eastern Japan, is just a 35-minute Shinkansen ride from Tokyo.In spring, you’ll get to relish a view of about 320 Yoshino Cherry trees. This is truly a remarkable sight with the castle’s tower in the background. In the night, the castle looks magical, lit up with bonbori (paper or cloth-covered lanterns). If you’re visiting during the night, don’t forget to dress warmly as it gets cold.There are also many cherry blossom spots in the nearby Shiroyama Park, so you can enjoy plenty of cherry blossoms here. Furthermore, prior to the cherry blossom season, from February to early March, you can see the plum blossoms and attend the Plum Festival (Ume Matsuri).Odawara CastleAddress: Kanagawa, Odawara, Odawara Castle Google MapAccess: 10 minutes by foot from JR Odakyu Line Odawara Station. Ride the Shinkansen Kodama from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station for 35 minutes (reserved seat 3,540 yen), or JR Tokaido Main Line Rapid Train Acty for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (1,490 yen).Price: Tenshukaku (castle keep): adults 500 yen, children (elementary and junior high school students) 200 yen; Tokiwaki Gate: adults 200 yen, children (elementary and junior high school students) 60 yenOfficial Webpage: https://odawaracastle.com/ (automatically translated English page available)2. Sankeien Garden, Yokohama: A Japanese Garden with Beautiful Cherry BlossomsPicture courtesy of Sankeien Hoshoukai FoundationSankeien is a Japanese garden in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, which boasts a magnificent 175,000 square meters in width and length. It holds rich traditions and welcomed its 110th anniversary in 2016. In the past, it drew attention from many artists. It is said that many representative modern Japanese paintings were created in Sankeien Garden.When spring comes, around 300 cherry trees bloom all around the garden. Numerous structures of great historical value brought in from Kyoto and Kamakura, pair perfectly with the flowers. Visitors can experience the traditional Japanese atmosphere characteristic of Kyoto close to Tokyo.Also, in Sankeien Saryo, situated inside the castle grounds, rules the kingdom of sweetness. In spring we recommend the sakura ice cream. Ground cherry leaves inside this frozen treat create a classic Japanese flavor similar to sakura mochi. Sankeien Garden View InformationparkRead also Kumagaya (Saitama Prefecture)March 29April 5 Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture)April 2April 8 First BloomFull Bloom Mt. Fuji-Gazing And Forest Bathing At The One-And-Only HOSHINOYA Fuji Kofu (Yamanashi Prefecture)March 27April 3 The 44 Best Cherry Blossom Spots All Around Japan – 2019 Guide 5. Kawazu-zakura, Izu: Enjoy the View from Hot SpringsPicture courtesy of Kawazu-cho Tourism OrganizationIzu is famous destination in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for its hot spring spots. As it takes only 2 to 2 and a half hour to reach it from Tokyo, it is a popular area for short trips.One part of Izu is especially famous for an amazing cherry blossom view: Kawazu Station. Every year from early February to early March, a special Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival is held. During this festival, the visitors have a chance to use three ashiyu hot springs (footbath) for free. You’ll also find a variety of hot springs in the area, as well. Some of them even offer views of the cherry blossoms you can enjoy while soaking in the hot water.Picture courtesy of Kawazu-cho Tourism OrganizationAt the Kawazu Cherry Blossoms Festival, take in the night illumination of the cherry blossoms. We especially suggest seeing the lit-up riverside cherry trees. The scene is overwhelmingly beautiful. Take this chance to compare the cherry trees in the daylight and during the night. The views will transform completely.Keep in mind that the weather during cherry blossom-viewing season is still cold. This hanami spot provides guests not just with a stunning cherry blossom view, but with warm and cozy hot springs to admire it from.Kawazu StationAddress: Shizuoka, Kamo, Kawazu, Hama Google MapAccess: Within walking distance from Kawazu Station of Izu Kyuko Line. If you’re heading to Kawazu from Tokyo, ride the Odoriko train from JR Tokyo Station for about 2 hours and a half; get off at JR Kawazu Station (6,190 yen).6. Hill Hitachi Fudoki, Ibaraki: The Magnificent Sakura Tunnel Read also Japan’s Cherry Blossoms In 2019 – Forecast And Best Spots! 3. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura: The Ancient-City FeelPicture courtesy of Tsurugaoka HachimanguSurrounded by nature, the old city of Kamakura is only an hour-trip from Tokyo. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is one of the major shrines in the area with cherry blossoms blooming. The contrast of pink and the background colors of the shrine will take your breath away with their outstanding beauty.The shrine’s main hall and the cherry trees, with the mountains towering in the background, is a scene viewable only in Kamakura. How about enjoying the beautiful cherry blossoms and a relaxing walk through the endless shrine grounds on your next visit to the shrine?It takes only 10 minutes by foot from Kamakura Station to reach this spot. You’ll also find numerous souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes in the vicinity. Take your time and relish the charming cherry blossoms as much as you want. Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū View Information Read also Cherry Blossoms in Eastern JapanIt is the season for admiring cherry blossoms, or sakura. There are many beautiful cherry blossom spots in the city, but just outside of Tokyo are endless cherry blossom viewing spots waiting to be discovered, with unique and picturesque Japanese landscapes, including hot springs and historical cities.We will introduce 7 spots around the Kanto area, where you can enjoy a different cherry blossom-viewing experience than what you can see in Tokyo. Read also Table of Contents:1.Odawara Castle, Kanagawa: View Cherry Blossoms and a Castle2.Sankeien Garden, Yokohama: A Japanese Garden with Beautiful Cherry Blossoms3.Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura: The Ancient-City Feel4.Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi: Together with Mt. Fuji5.Kawazu-zakura, Izu: Enjoy the View from Hot Springs6. Hill Hitachi Fudoki, Ibaraki: A Magnificent Cherry Blossom Tunnel7.Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama: Cherry Blossoms and Rapeseed Flowers1. Odawara Castle, Kanagawa: View Cherry Blossoms and a Castle Kamakura Day Trip Model Itinerary – Just A Train Ride From Tokyo!center_img Picture courtesy of Hill Hitachi FudokiHill Hitachi Fudoki (Hitachi Fudoki no Oka) is a famous cherry blossom spot in Ibaraki Prefecture, located northeast of Tokyo. There are three types of cherry trees that bloom in succession: Yoshino Cherry Blossoms, blooming in the early April, Prunus pendula (Shidare Zakura), blooming in mid-April, and botan zakura (also known as yaezakura), blooming in late-April. Be sure to walk through the shidare zakura tunnel.Hill Hitachi Fudoki is also famous for having the largest shishigashira (*1) in Japan. If you take a walk inside the park, you’ll get a glimpse of what Japan was like during ancient times as there are models of the traditional houses on display.*1 Shishigashira: Shishi refers to an imaginary animal resembling a lion. A few festivals in Japan have traditional dances during which wooden heads of shishi animal appear.Hill Hitachi FudokiAddress: Ibaraki, Ishioka, Someya 1646 Google MapAccess: Ride the Kantetsu Green Bus bound for Kakiokashako from JR Ishioka Station of Joban Line for about 10 minutes (290 yen); get off at Murakami bus stop and walk for 15 minutes. To reach Ishioka Station from Tokyo, ride the Joban Line Tokiwa limited express from Tokyo Station for about 1 hour; get off at Ishioka Station (2,490 yen).Official Webpage: http://business2.plala.or.jp/fudoki/ (Japanese)Read also Yokohama (Kanagawa Prefecture)March 26April 3 Shizuoka (Shizuoka Prefecture)March 25April 3 Picture courtesy of Kumagaya Tourist AssociationAlong the bank of Arakawa River at Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama Prefecture, cherry blossom enthusiasts can marvel at a magnificent, 2-kilometer long row of 500 cherry trees. This spot has been known for its cherry blossom scenery since the Edo Period and also appears on the 100 Best Sakura Spots in Japan list. Here you can appreciate the delightful contrast of rapeseed flowers and cherry blossoms.In early April, the Cherry Blossom Festival is held in this area. Visitors can enjoy both the flowers and delicious food from the festival stands.Kumagaya Sakura TsutsumiAddress: Saitama, Kumagaya, Kawaracho 2 Google MapAccess: 10 minutes by foot from JR Kumagaya Station. If you’re heading to Kumagaya Station from Tokyo, ride the train of Shonan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station for about 1 hour and 10 minutes; get off at JR Kumagaya Station (1,140 yen).Official Webpage: http://www.city.kumagaya.lg.jp/kanko/matsuri/sakura_matsuri/kaika.html (robot-translated English page available)See Iconic Cherry Blossoms near Tokyo!At these spots, you can take in the harmony of the cherry blossoms with historical buildings, cherry blossoms at an onsen, and even Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms. Each of the scenery is charming in a different way.Cherry blossoms have a beautiful and unique appearance that transforms depending on the surroundings, be it in the middle of a city, in nature, or during the day or at night. Admiring cherry blossoms in Tokyo is enjoyable, but you can also take a trip to the outskirts to enjoy sightseeing and being in the great outdoors.Read also 15 Tokyo Cherry Blossom Spots That You Just Have To See! 7. Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Saitama: Cherry Blossoms and Rapeseed Flowers Read also The original article written by: Mami Wakamatsu**This article is a 2018 edition of an article published on February 22, 2016. Japan’s Cherry Blossoms In 2019 – Forecast And Best Spots! Weather-Appropriate Clothing For Tokyo In April First Blossoms and Peak Bloom Days in KantoThe annual dates of the first and full bloom of cherry blossoms in cities around Kanto Region are as shown below. The 44 Best Cherry Blossom Spots All Around Japan – 2019 Guide 4. Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi: Together with Mt. FujiPicture courtesy of 富士河口湖町観光課Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi Prefecture is famous for its view of Mt. Fuji from its shores. You can relish seeing Mt. Fuji in each season and also enjoy the stunning surroundings. It takes just 2 hours to reach this spot from Tokyo.In spring, you can take in the view of the cherry blossoms and Mt. Fuji at the same time. As it is located on higher grounds, the first bloom appears around mid-April so you can still enjoy the lovely cherry blossom season a little later, even if you’ve missed it in Tokyo.In particular, Nagasaki Park on the coast of the lake offers a spectacular front view of Mt. Fuji. The scenery of Mt. Fuji and the cherry trees blooming seem like a beautiful, real-life painting, and will surely put a smile on your face when you see it. A row of cherry trees can also be admired in the surrounding area. The serene atmosphere, adding to the stunning view, will surely create a lasting memory.Lake KawaguchiAddress: Yamanashi, Minamitsuru, Fujikawaguchiko Google MapAccess: Within walking distance from Kawaguchiko Station of Fujikyuko Line. To reach Nagasaki Park, ride the bus bound for Oishi from Kawaguchiko Station, or the Kawaguchiko tour bus for about 15 minutes (400 yen); get off at Sunnidemae-Nagasakikoen-iriguchi bus stop, then walk for 3 minutes. When departing from Tokyo, ride the Main Line Kaiji or Azusa limited express from Shinjuku Station for about 60 minutes (reserved seat 2,570 yen); change trains at Otsuki Station and ride the train of Fujikyuko Line for about 60 minutes (1,140 yen); get off at Kawaguchiko Station. Also, you can ride a bus from Shinjuku or Tokyo Station.Official Webpage: http://www.fujisan.ne.jp/ (a robot-translated English page available) Mt. Fuji-Gazing And Forest Bathing At The One-And-Only HOSHINOYA Fuji Kyoto’s Cherry Blossoms – 15 Recommended Spots And Viewing Tipslast_img read more

Ginzas Bird Land A Michelinstarred Yakitori Restaurant

first_imgThe restaurant has both counter seats and tables. At counter seats, you can see the yakitori being made right before your eyes. Read also:How To Enjoy Yakitori: A Guide to Yakitori Types and RestaurantsToday, we’ll introduce you a must-visit place for yakitori lovers in Ginza called Bird Land Ginza. It acquired 1 star in the Michelin Guide Book 2015 Edition, which made it famous not only in Japan but also worldwide.How did such a common yet well-liked dish from Japan gain acclaim from a French gourmet guide? Here, we took to figure out the reasons why.Bird Land, lurking in Ginza’s undergroundBird Land is located on the basement floor of the building connected to the C6 Exit of Tokyo Metro’s Ginza Station.At Bird Land, you can enjoy your yakitori made exclusively with Ibaraki’s original okukujishamo chicken with a glass of wine. Okukujishamo chicken is best known for its low fat content and springy texture.The entire menu consists of only 2 types of Recommended Courses (5 plates for 6,300 yen or 8 plates for 8,400 yen). The 6,300 yen course comes with popular Bird Land standards like 8 kushiyaki skewers and chicken liver pâté. The 8,400円 course includes the above as well as some slightly rare types of yakitori, and white meat enjoyed with a basil sauce. It also comes with dessert. If you want to eat a bit more after you’re done with the course, you can order some extra food.The restaurant is most often fully booked between 19:00-20:00 (regular business hours are 17:00-21:30), so we recommend you visit before or after that block of time if you haven’t made a reservation. Japan has many unique dishes such as sushi, ramen, tempura, and teppanyaki that draw in visitors from all over the world.When it comes to Japan’s famous chicken cuisine though, there’s yakitori. It is relatively unknown dish, compared to sushi and ramen.last_img read more

Saitama Travel Guide 35 Sightseeing Spots Food Shopping And More

first_imgAlong with Chiba and Kanagawa, Saitama is one of the prefectures surrounding Japan’s capital, Tokyo, and with the capital right near it, this area is blessed with abundant rivers and prosperous agriculture. Thanks to these plentiful natural wonders, Saitama is also a great place to take part in outdoor activities too. Known for its cast metal and traditional handicrafts, here you can also purchase souvenirs the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else in Japan.Table of Contents:1. How to Reach Saitama2. About the JR TOKYO Wide Pass3. Transportation in Saitama4. Saitama Area Guide5. 35 Recommended Sightseeing Spots6. Hotels and Accommodations in Saitama7. Saitama’s Gourmet Scene8. Shopping Spots in Saitama9. The Weather in Saitama10. Other Important Travel InformationHow to Reach SaitamaLocated in the dead center of the long and narrow Japanese islands, Saitama is found to the north of Tokyo.The base for sightseeing in Saitama is the prefectural capital, Omiya. From Omiya Station, there are the JR East trains, Tobu Railways, Saitama New Urban Transit trains (New Shuttle), as well as many different buses to choose from. Now we will introduce how to travel to Omiya from Tokyo, as well as from Tokyo’s two major airports, Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.Traveling from Tokyo Station to Omiya StationTokyo Station (Ueno-Tokyo line) to Omiya StationIt is possible to travel from Tokyo to Omiya without having to transfer trains. It takes about 31 minutes and will cost about 550 yen.Traveling from Shinjuku Station to Omiya StationShinjuku Station (Saikyo line) to Omiya StationShinjuku Station (Shonan-Shinjuku line) to Omiya StationTraveling from Shinjuku to Omiya via the Saikyo line takes about 33 minutes, while by the Shonan-Shinjuku line it takes 31 minutes – both routes cost 470 yen.Traveling from Shibuya Station to Omiya StationShibuya Station (Saikyo line) to Omiya StationShibuya Station (Shonan-Shinjuku line) to Omiya StationThe route from Shibuya to Omiya is the same as that from Shinjuku to Omiya; the Saikyo line will take 38 minutes, while the Shonan-Shinjuku will take 40 minutes, and both routes will cost 550 yen.Traveling from the Airports to Omiya StationNow let’s look at how to travel from Narita and Haneda airports to Omiya.Narita Airport to OmiyaThere are countless ways to travel from Narita Airport to Omiya. Here are our most recommend routes.JR and Keisei SkylinerThis is the fastest route possible from Narita to Omiya. Take the Keisei Skyliner from Narita Airport to Nippori Station, then transfer to the Keihin Tohoku line and get off at Omiya Station.Price: 2860 yenTakes: about 90 minutesWebsite: Keisei SkylinerHighway BusThere are numerous bus services that travel between Narita Airport and the west exit of Omiya Station. Though taking somewhat longer than the Keisei Skyliner, these are the perfect option for people traveling with a lot of luggage as there are no transfers required.Price: 2800 yenTakes: about 2 hoursWebsite: Highway busJR Narita ExpressWhen traveling from Narita Airport to Omiya, this is the most expensive route that also may or may not require many transfers, so this route is not recommended. If it is possible to take this as a direct route, though, it can be good.Price: 3840 yenTakes: about 2 hoursWebsite: JR Narita ExpressFrom Haneda Airport to OmiyaTraveling from Haneda Airport to Omiya by train requires you to do at least two transfers in the Tokyo area, making it somewhat inconvenient. If you would prefer a transfer-free route, then we recommend taking the bus from Haneda to the west exit of Omiya Station instead.Although Japanese public transportation tends to be quite reliable, there are cases where, due to traffic jams or road congestion, the buses can get off schedule easily and run late. If you are going to be taking the bus, then you will want to give yourself plenty of time to travel or leave somewhat early, just to be safe.Airport BusesOn the route from Haneda Airport to Omiya Station’s west exit, there are numerous different buses companies offering airport bus services. The time required and the schedules for each varies.Price: 1-way adult 1540 yen (late night and early morning 3080 yen)Takes: from 65 to 110 minutesWebsite: Airport BusesAbout the JR TOKYO Wide PassIf you plan on traveling in the Tokyo area, JR East offers the JR TOKYO Wide Pass which is very economical and convenient to use. This is the new version of the former JR Kanto Area Pass, which was updated in November of 2015; the JR TOKYO Wide Pass allows the holder to travel more widely than the former.The validity period of this pass is three consecutive days and allows the holder to ride as much as they want on the JR routes during this time. This ticket, for those 12 years old and up costs 10,000 yen, while for children ages 6-11, it costs 5000 yen. JR TOKYO Wide Pass can be purchased at the locations listed below. Please note, however, that you will need to present your passport at the time of purchase.Sold at:- JR EAST Travel Service Center (Narita/Haneda Airports, Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station)- Byuu Plaza (Shinagawa, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Yokohama and Mito Station)- Station Ticket Windows (Narita Airport Station Terminal 2 Station)The Japan Rail Pass and other passes intended for tourists are also available. It is a good idea to take a closer look at the types of tickets and routes available before traveling.See Tailor-Made Holidays in Japan with Japan Rail Pass for more.Transportation in SaitamaStarting with the JR East lines, numerous different train lines travel through Saitama, connecting the various sightseeing spots and making it easy to move about the area. By separating the railroads from the buses and pointing out their features here, this article may also function as a reference guide to your travels.* The above photograph shows the routes through Saitama, and lists the lines in this order: Chichibu lines (green routes), Tobu Tojo lines (blue routes), Seibu Ikebukuro lines (orange routes), JR lines (striped pattern), as well as the mobile highway lines (double lines).Railway RoutesJR EastWhen traveling in Japan, you cannot beat the JR lines. There are various JR lines that pass through Saitama (Takasaki line, Utsunomiya line, Keihin Tohoku line, Saikyo line, Musashino line, Hachiko line) and connect the cities of Saitama, Kawagoe, and Kumagaya.Tobu RailwaysRunning through the east side of Saitama city to most major cities are the Tobu trains (Noda line and Isesaki line). And, the Tobu Tojo line travels from Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station towards Kawagoe Station and beyond. Along this railway line you can find the Satoe Memorial 21st Century Art Museum and Koedo Kawagoe as well.Seibu RailwaysThe Seibu railways are best for those heading in the Hanno, Chichibu and Hanyuu directions. Along this line you will find Hitsujiyama Park, Seibu Prince Dome, Chichibu Shrine and other attractions.Chichibu RailwaysThe Chichibu lines connect the Kumagaya, Nagatoro and Chichibu areas. The SL Paleo Express and the Nagatoro-Chichibu areas and other sightseeing spots are found here.Saitama New Urban Transit LinesThis area extends from Saitama city’s Omiya Station northwards to Okegawa. Along this railway line there is a popular railway museum.Saitama High Speed RailAlong the Saitama High Speed rail you will find the Saitama Stadium 2002; from the Tokyo area towards Wako you can take the Tokyo Metro lines.Tsukuba ExpressThis is a means of accessing and connecting the Yashio and Misato area with the Tokyo metropolitan area.Bus RoutesTobu BusesConnecting Koedo and other Kawagoe-centric sightseeing spots, these buses link this major Saitama city with Haneda Airport and Narita Airport.Kokusai Kogyo BusesConnecting the JR, Seibu Ikebukuro, Chichibu, and Tobu line stations, these buses are a good means of accessing places throughout the prefecture. They also operate the highway buses that connect Saitama’s major cities to Haneda and Narita airports.Seibu BusesPrimarily traveling from the northwest of the Tokyo metropolitan area to the southwest of Saitama prefecture, these buses connect the Seibu railways heading towards Chichibu and the Tobu Tojo line.Japan Taros BusThese buses travel to those areas not serviced by major buses; particularly in the eastern side of Saitama, to Matsubushimachi, Yoshikawa, Koshigaya and Saitama city directions.Kokusai JuoMainly serving the northwest of Saitama prefecture and connecting this to Isesaki in Gunma prefecture, these buses also travel to Haneda Airport.Saitama Area GuideNow, let’s take a closer look at the 6 areas that Saitama is divided into and their regional features.1. Omiya AreaThe prefectural capital of Saitama, this is where the Nakasendo (the former Edo-Kyoto highway) and the old post town of Shukubamachi (where there were many inns) once prospered. Even now this area prospers as Saitama’s business and commercial center. In Saitama Shintoshin there are many large shopping centers and multipurpose halls such as the Saitama Super Arena. Two of the highlights of this region are the incredible Bonsai Village, Omiya Bonsai Museum, and the headquarters of the Hikawa Shrine are also located here.2. Kawagoe AreaA former Edo era castle town, Kawagoe is located in central Saitama. Known as Koedo, there are many lovely warehouse style buildings that still remain here, and it feels like you have fallen back in time when you visit this area. Along the Kashi Yokocho you will find numerous shops selling traditional Japanese sweets as well as contemporary candies that you can eat as you walk along the street.3. Soka and Kasukabe AreaThe Soka and Kasukabe area is located in the eastern side of Saitama prefecture. Soka is best known for Soka sembei, while Kasukabe is where the popular anime Crayon Shin-chan is set. It is said that the haiku poet Matsuo Basho passed through this area and the stone paving promenade and the 600 matsunamiki trees that make up the Soka Matsubara are a well-loved place for rest and relaxation for the citizenry of the area.4. Tokorozawa and Sayama AreaTokorozawa and Sayama are surrounded by nature and located in the southern side of Saitama prefecture. Endowed with the Seibuen amusement park and the hill country at Sayama Nature Park, this amusement park and recreational facility rich area is an excellent place for families to spend time together. And here, Studio Ghibli fans will be delighted to be able to call on Totoro’s forest and Kurosuke’s home here too.5. Chichibu AreaThe Chichibu area is in the western side of Saitama prefecture and is surrounded by mountains and nature. Easily reached from the Tokyo area by express train in about an hour and a half, you can take the Hodosan Ropeway, or the Nagatoro Line downward train, as well as enjoy other outdoor activities. The closest steam locomotive running to a city center, the Chichibu railway, the SL Paleo Express, is exceptionally popular.6. Kumagaya and Fukaya AreaKumagaya and Fukuya are located in the northern side of Saitama prefecture and this is where there are many ancient burial mounds, known as kofun. A famous sakura spot since the Edo era, the Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi and the protected national monument, the roughly 1200-year-old Ushijimanofuji are just two of the sights that can be enjoyed in this area.35 Recommended Sightseeing SpotsAs there are numerous sightseeing spots to choose from in Saitama, now we will focus on a hand-selected collection of 35 of our most recommended tourist attractions.Recreational Facilities and Art Museums1. Koedo – KawagoeThe personality-filled warehouse style buildings of Koedo are the number one tourist attraction in the Kawagoe area. Upon arriving, one of the first things that you should do is to pick up a tourist map from the nearest station. Toki no Kane, Kashiya Yokocho, Taishoroman-dori – there are plenty of things to see in this area. Don’t miss it.Address: Saitama, Kawagoe, Motomachi 1-15-8The nearest station to Koedo is Kawagoe Station, serviced by the JR Saikyo, JR Hachiko, Tobu Tojo, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho, and Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin lines. From the station’s east exit you can take the Koedo Meisho Meguri Bus, or from the west exit, the Koedo Junkai bus. Or, you can take the Seibu Shinjuku line to Hon-Kawagoe Station and catch the Koedo Junkai bus from there.2. SL Paleo Express – ChichibuThe steam locomotive SL Paleo Express, operated by the Chichibu Railway Company, starts from Kumagaya station and ends up at Mitsumineguchi station, running for 2 hours and 40 minutes through the heart of Chichibu’s natural scenery. This is a highly popular spot with Japanese tourists as well. Before venturing out first be sure to check times in the Chichibu Railway schedule.In addition to the first and last stops on this line, it’s also possible to get on and off at other stations in between as well. For example, JR Takasaki line, Joetsu-Nagano shinkansen’s Kumagaya station, JR Hachiko line, Tobu Tojo line’s Yorii station and Seibu line’s Seibu Chichibu station’s Ohanabatake station.In addition to a ticket for the section of the line traveled, passengers booking a reserved seat will also be required to purchase an SL reserved-seat ticket, and passengers booking a non-reserved seat will have to purchase an SL numbered ticket (non-reserved seat). Both the SL reserved-seat and non-reserved seat tickets go on sale one month before the first day of train service. These tickets are limited, so to avoid disappointment it’s best to purchase them as soon as possible.SL reserved-seat ticket – 720 Yen (adults and children – same price)*ticket holders are guaranteed a seat.SL numbered ticket (unreseved) – 510 Yen (adults and children – same price)*this is a non-reserved ticket so there might be instances when ticket holders won’t be able to board the train.3. Ota Private Residence, Yashio CityThis is the former private residence of the Ota family. From the middle of the Edo period, they were in the business of trading sake, rice, shoyu (soy sauce), oil and other products plus they operated a hatagoya, a place providing both accommodation and meals. It’s been said that this two-storey wooden house with a tiled roof has a history dating back roughly 150 years. Even today, two large warehouses remain. The house is open for public viewing but only on the third Saturday of every month, from 10 am to 3 pm.The nearest station is Yashio station on the Tsukuba Express line. From the station’s north exit get on board a Yashio city community bus going north (Yashio #3 or Yashio #4) and get off at the Waheibashi bus stop. From here it’s a 3-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Yashio city, Hachijo 3732Admission: Free4. Seibuen Yuenchi (Amusement Park), Tokorozawa cityAt Seibuen Yuenchi, located in Tokorozawa city, not only are there rides such as a Ferris wheel but there are also many attractions featuring Hello Kitty and other Sanrio characters which are popular overseas as well. The swimming pool facility is used as a pool in the summer and as a fishing spot in the fall. In the winter visitors can enjoy riding snow sleds in the area.The nearest stations are Seibu Yuenchi station (Seibu Tamako line, Yamaguchi line) and Seibuen station (Seibuen line). Access from any station is 5 minutes or less on foot.Address: Saitama, Tokorozawa, Yamaguchi 2964Admission: only necessary for amusement park entryAdults (junior high school students and up) – 1,100 Yen, Seniors (over 60 years of age) and Children (3 years old to elementary school students) – 500 YenOne day free ticket (admission to amusement park and all-you-can-ride on park attractions): Adults (junior high school students and up) – 3,300 Yen, Seniors (over 60 years of age) and Children (3 years old to elementary school students) – 2,800 Yen5. Musashi-Kyuryo National Government Park, Hikigun And Kumagaya CityThis park which centers around a wooded area is comprised of ponds and swamps, and marshy areas and grasslands. Inside the park there is a cycling course, a full-course athletic facility, a water park and many other facilities that allow parents and children to enjoy themselves. In the fall season, visitors can enjoy looking at an illumination that lights up the sky in the colors of autumn.The nearest station is Shinrin Koen station (Tobu Tojo line) and Kumagaya station (JR Takasaki line). From both stations there is a bus that goes to the park.Address: Saitama, Hikigun, Namegawa-machi, Yamata 1920Admission: Adults (high school students and up) – 410 Yen, Seniors (65 years old and up) – 210 Yen, Children (elementary and junior high school students) – 80 Yen6. Musashino Mura, Kazo CityMusashino Mura, which is run jointly with Saitama prefecture’s agricultural cooperative, is not simply an amusement park. It’s a leisure facility aimed at families where you can have agricultural hands-on experiences such as picking fruit and so on. There’s also a barbecue area and a pet farm where you can come into contact with various animals, making this the perfect spot to enjoy nature with your children.From Kazo station (Tobu Isesaki line) it takes 15 minutes by taxi. At certain times of the year, complimentary shuttle bus service is available.Address: Saitama, Kazo city, Shidama 1700-1Admission: Adults (junior high school students and up) – 1,200 Yen, Children (over 3 years of age) – 650 YenFree pass (park entry, all-you-can-ride attractions, pool in the summer): Adults (junior high school students and up) – 2,900 Yen, Children (over 3 years of age) – 2,300 Yen7. Railway Museum, Saitama CityWith an exhibition featuring actual trains and a giant diorama, this railway museum is one spot where railway enthusiasts won’t be able to get enough. Here visitors can learn about the mechanics of railway technology and also have an experience operating a train with the driving simulators, making this a museum where both adults and children alike can enjoy themselves.The nearest station is just one stop from Omiya station, Tetsudo Hakubutsukan station (JR East). It’s 1 minute away on foot from exit #1.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Taisei-cho 3-47Admission: Adults-1,000 Yen, Elementary, Junior High and High School Students-500 Yen, Children (3 years of age and up) – 200 Yen8.The Museum Of Modern Art (MOMAS), SaitamaLocated within the confines of Kita-Urawa Park is the Museum of Modern Art.There are many works of art on display here. From international master painters such as Chagall and Picasso, all the way to artists connected with Saitama prefecture, and also contemporary Japanese artists. Exhibitions are also regularly held.The nearest station is Kita-Urawa station (JR Keihin Tohoku line). It’s 3 minutes on foot from the station.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Urawa, Tokiwa 9-30-1Admission: Free9. Satoe Memorial Art Museum Of 21st Century, Kazo CityThe Satoe Memorial Art Museum of 21st Century has a Japanese-style garden dotted with 20 sculptures and a creek filled with colored carp. This is a museum where one can enjoy the harmony of each season’s natural beauty, combined with the sculptures and other works of art.The nearest station is Hanasaki station (Tobu Railway). From the station it’s 15 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Kazo city, Mizubukaodateno 2067Admission: Adults-900 Yen, University students / High School students-700 Yen, Elementary / Junior High School students-600 Yen, Disabled persons-500 Yen, Pre-school children-free10. Omiya Bonsai Village, Saitama CityVarious kinds of plants tucked away inside pottery bowls, miniature sized but natural in appearance. This is one of the bonsai’s appealing features. Nowadays the popularity of bonsai has spread outside the boundaries of Japan to all corners of the world. Though Tokyo was once devastated by the great Kanto earthquake, bonsai lovers got together and built this bonsai village. When in Saitama you can also enjoy the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.The nearest station is Omiya Koen station (Tobu Noda line). From the station it’s 3 minutes on foot. From Toro station on JR East’s Utsunomiya line (Tohoku-Honsen line), it’s 10 minutes away on foot.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Kita, Bonsai machiAdmission: Adults-300 Yen, High School students / University students / Persons over the age of 65-150 Yen, Elementary School and Junior High School students-100 YenRead also:Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai Discover The True Beauty of Bonsai at Omiya Bonsai Art MuseumNature11. Ranzan Valley, HikigunRanzan Valley, which was once visited by the Japanese female poet Akiko Yosano, is an ideal spot to enjoy each season’s colorful appearance brought on by the abundant trees. Ranzan Valley looks similar to Kyoto’s Arashiyama, so it’s sometimes referred to as Musashinokuni no Arashiyama, and annually attracts many visitors.The closest station is Musashi Ranzan station (Tobu Tojo line).Address: Saitama, Hikigun, Ranzan machi, Kamagata 262712. Nakatsukyo, ChichibuNakatsukyo, located in the Chichibu region, is called the most picturesque place to see kōyō, or the autumn colors. Famous for its beautiful fall foliage, the Nakatsukyo Valley starts from Oname and continues for roughly 10 kilometers until it reaches Nakatsugawa. An autumn festival is held when the color of the leaves reach their peak, and the many visitors that it attracts create a lively atmosphere. You can enjoy hiking, mountain stream fishing, and camping, and there’s also a hot spring nearby.The nearest station is Chichibu Tetsudo Mitsumineguchi station. From here you hop onto a Seibu Kanko bus headed for Nakatsugawa. Your ride will be about 50 minutes and then you get off at Aiharabashi.Address: Saitama, Chichibu city, NakatsugawaRead also:5 Spectacular Places To See The Colors Of The Fall In Eastern Japan13. Nagatoro, ChichibuEvery year about 2 million people visit Nagatoro. Nagatoro river white water rafting is a popular activity that you can try from early March until early December every year.One of the area’s highlights is the Nagatoro Sekiheki cliffs which are associated with Nagatoro Iwadatami (rocks resembling layers of tatami) and the Chinese story Sankokushi (Battle of the Red Cliffs).The nearest station is Chichibu Tetsudo Nagatoro station. From here it’s only a 5-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Chichibu, Nagatoro machi, NagatoroRead also:Only in Saitama Prefecture! Exciting Activities and Gorgeous SightsSpots You Must Visit in Saitama Prefecture!14. Naguriko, Hanno CityLocated in Hanno city, Lake Naguri is a man-made lake courtesy of Arima dam. Near the lakeside, surrounded by mountains, one can enjoy canoeing, fishing and having a barbecue. We recommend venturing out for a one day trip to a hot spring called Sawarabino-yu, where you can rest and ease your travel fatigue.The nearest station is Hanno station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line. At the station hop on a Kokusai Kogyo bus and ride for 45 minutes, then get off at Sawarabi no Yu and walk a further 20 minutes.Address: Saitama, Hanno city, Shimonaguri15. Sayama Hills, Tokorozawa CityAt the Sayama Hills, which straddle both Tokyo’s Higashi Murayama city and Saitama prefecture’s Tokorozawa city, you can see some gorgeous scenery offered by the nearby woodlands. Apparently, this area also served as one of the models for director Hayao Miyazaki’s famous animated movie, Tonari no Totoro. Highlights worth noting are the areas operated by The Totoro no Furusato Foundation such as Totoro’s forest, Kurosuke’s house and Sayama lake to name just a few of the numerous areas.There are several ways to get here, but one of the simplest routes is to head straight for Kurosuke’s house. The closest station is Seibu Ikebukuro line’s Kotesashi station. From the station hop on a bus going to Waseda University or Miyadera Nishi, get off at Dainichido and then walk 5 minutes.Address: Saitama, Tokorozawa city, Arahata16. Kuroyama Santaki Falls, Iruma CityKuroyama Santaki consists of three waterfalls: odaki (male waterfall), medaki (female waterfalls) and tengudaki (the long-nosed goblin waterfall), and is a great place to go hiking as you look at the falls.With Kuroyama as its focal point, the area has been designated Saitama Prefectural Kuroyama Nature Park, and is also listed on Japan’s top 100 sightseeing spots.The nearest station is Ogose station (Tobu Ogose line and JR Hachiko line). From the station get on a Kawagoe Kanko bus headed for Kuroyama and get off at the final stop.Address: Saitama, Iruma-gun, Ogose-machi, Kuroyama17. Hashidate Limestone Caves, ChichibuDesignated a natural monument, it’s the prefecture’s only sightseeing cave. Still remaining inside the cave after many years is a sacred place for worshipping.Being inside this 140-meter-long cave and breathing in the cool mountain air will perk up your sense of adventure. Inside could be a little slippery so be sure to wear sneakers. Take note that the cave will be closed for the winter season from the middle of December until the end of February.The nearest station is Urayamaguchi (Chichibu Railway). After exiting the station it takes about 15 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Chichibu city, Kamikagemori 70818. Hitsujiyama Park, ChichibuHitsujiyama Park which sits at the foot of Mt. Bukoh is located in the eastern part of Chichibu city. This sightseeing spot is known for its superb views not only in Japan but overseas as well. With Mt. Bukoh serving as a backdrop, the blooming flowers dazzle visitors with their seasonal colors. At the interactive pet farm, the sheep (hitsuji), which the park is named after, make a charming sight as they leisurely roam inside the grounds.The nearest station is Ohanabatake station (Chichibu Railway) and Seibu Chichibu station (Seibu Railway). From either station it’s no more than a 20-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Chichibu city, Omiya 6360Read also:Spots You Must Visit in Saitama Prefecture!19. Omiya Park, Saitama CityOmiya Park which was chosen as one of the top 100 spots in Japan for viewing cherry blossoms, has numerous sports facilities and is known in Saitama as one of the most heavily used prefectural parks. Inside the park grounds there is a zoo and a Japanese-style garden and at the park’s entrance is Hikawa-jinja Shrine.From the east exit of JR Omiya station, it’s 20 minutes on foot to the park. Also, from Tobu Noda line’s Omiya Koen station or Kita Omiya station, it’s only 10 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Takahana-cho20. Tobu Zoo, Minamisaitama districtThe Tobu Zoo is a leisure complex incorporating a zoo, amusement park and other attractions.Many events geared for children are held here. During the summer there is a wave pool and kid’s pool, and in the evening fireworks light up the sky.The nearest station is Tobu Zoo station on the Tobu Skytree line (Tobu Isesaki line). From the west exit the park is only 10 minutes away on foot.Address: Saitama, Minamisaitama district, Miyashiro-machi, Suka 110Admission: Adults-1,700 Yen, Children-700 Yen, Seniors-1,000 YenOne-Day Pass (includes zoo entry and all-you-can-ride attractions): Adult-4,800 Yen, Children-3,700 Yen, Seniors-3,700 YenRead also:Only in Saitama Prefecture! Exciting Activities and Gorgeous SightsSpots You Must Visit in Saitama Prefecture!21. Soka Matsubara, Soka CitySoka Matsubara, also known as Sembon Matsubara (literally 1,000-tree Matsubara), is a promenade paved with stone and lined with hundreds of pine trees, and is one part of the Nikko Kaido*. Nearby is the Hyakutaibashi bridge and Yatatebashi bridge, both of which are associated with famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho’s work entitled Oku no Hosomichi, or “The Narrow Road to the North”. This area has a relationship with haiku, so for those interested in poetry this is a great place to visit.*Nikko Kaido: a route built during the Edo period, connecting Edo (present-day Tokyo) with Nikko.The nearest station is Matsubaradanchi station (Tobu Isesaki line). From the east exit it’s only 5 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Soka city, Sakae-cho 1Read also::RAINY JUNE: Haiku about Rain at Rakushisha in Sagano22. Ushijima no Fuji, Kasukabe CityIn every region of Japan there are numerous places famous for flowers, and this is the place to see wisteria. With wisteria trees dating back some 1,200 years, Ushijima no Fuji (the Wisteria in Ushijima) has been designated as a national treasure. During peak periods, the flower clusters of the silky wisteria reaching 2.7 meters in length is an impressive sight. Best viewing times are generally from late April until early May. If this period coincides with your travel plans, definitely try to make a visit here.The nearest station is Ushijima station (Tobu Noda line). From the station it’s a 10-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Kasukabe city, Ushijima 78623. Kumagaya Sakura Tsutsumi, Kumagaya CityWhen spring arrives, the banks of the Arakawa river are beautifully lined with 500 cherry trees (somei yoshino variety) extending some 2 kilometers. Every year during the blooming period which runs from the end of March until early April, the Kumagaya Sakura festival is held and the area comes alive with the sound of visitors enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing). From the early evening until 9 pm the cherry trees are illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.The nearest station is Kumagaya station (JR East). From the south exit it’s a 5-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Kumagaya city, Kawaramachi 2Read also::Experience Spring Festivals and Events in Japan from March to MayEvents24. Seibu Prince Dome, Tokorozawa CityThe Seibu Prince Dome is the home stadium of the Seibu Lions professional baseball team who are based here in Saitama. In addition to baseball, the stadium is used for a variety of events and the roof is retractable allowing the stadium to be completely enclosed.The closest station is Seibukyujo-mae station (Seibu Sayama line and Seibu Yamaguchi line). It’s 7 minutes on foot from the station to the dome.Address: Saitama, Tokorozawa city, Kamiyamaguchi 213525. Saitama Super Arena, Saitama CityServing as a concert hall and also as a venue for sporting activities and trade fairs, the Saitama Super Arena is a multi-purpose facility that can be adjusted to accommodate a wide variety of events. This facility is indispensable to the events scene in the greater Tokyo / Kanto area.The nearest station is Saitama-Shintoshin station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku line, Utsunomiya line and Takasaki line (Ueno-Tokyo line) and Kita-Yono station (JR Saikyo line). From either station it’s a 7-minute walk.26. Keyaki Hiroba, Saitama CityAdjacent to the multi-purpose Saitama Super Arena and set up with restaurants and other services, the Keyaki Hiroba is an open space built on man-made land. Loved by the locals, everything from concerts to flea markets and other events are held here.The nearest station is Saitama-Shintoshin station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku line, Utsunomiya line and Takasaki line (Ueno-Tokyo line) and Kita-Yono station (JR Saikyo line). From either station it’s a 7-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Chuo, Shintoshin 827. Omiya Sonic City Hall, Saitama CityOmiya Sonic City Hall is the largest multi-purpose convention center in Saitama prefecture. This huge complex is comprised of three separate buildings and houses an event hall, hotel, office space, meeting rooms and other amenities.The nearest station is Omiya station on the JR Tobu Noda line. From the west exit it’s 3 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Sakuragi-cho 1-7-528. Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama CitySaitama Stadium 2002, is one of Japan’s largest soccer stadiums and has a natural grass field. In addition to J League (Japan pro soccer league) games, the stadium also hosts high school soccer and international soccer games.The nearest station is Urawamisono station (Saitama Railway line). From the station to the stadium there is a special pedestrian route that takes about 15 minutes.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Midori, Nakanoda 500Temples and Shrines29. Hikawa Shrine, Saitama CityHikawa shrine, located in Saitama city, is the head shrine of the approximately 200 Hikawa shrines located throughout Tokyo and Saitama. During the year many rites and festivals are held here. During Shōgatsu sanganichi, or the first 3 days of the new year, approximately 2 million worshippers make a visit here, reportedly making it one of the 10 most visited shrines in all of Japan.The nearest station is Omiya Koen station or Kita Omiya station, both on the Tobu Noda line. It’s 10 minutes on foot from either station.Also from Omiya station (JR East and Tobu Noda line) it’s a 20-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Saitama City, Omiya, Takahana-cho 1-40730. Chichibu Shrine, Chichibu CityChichibu shrine, located in an urban area, is the sochinju, or the place where several local deities from the Chichibu region are enshrined, making this old shrine one of the most well known in the Kanto area with its long and distinguished history. Along with Hodosan shrine and Mitsumine shrine, it is referred to as Chichibu sansha. Inside the grounds there is an impressive sculpture called “Hokushin no Fukuro” (North Star Owl) and is considered to be a power spot (a place thought to be flowing with mystical energy).The closest station is Chichibu station (Chichibu Railway Chichibu Main line). From the station it’s a 3-minute walk. Also from Seibu Chichibu station (Seibu Railway Seibu Chichibu line) it’s 15 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Chichibu city, Banbamachi 1-331. Mitsumine Shrine, Chichibu CitySitting at an altitude of 1102 meters, it is thought to be one of the shrines closest to the gods and is also known as one of the foremost power spots in the Kanto area. Standing on both sides of the stone steps that overlook the front shrine, are two tall cedar trees that look as though they were planted in order to unite into one tree. If you touch one of these sacred trees of marriage, perhaps some good luck might just come your way!The nearest station is Mitsumineguchi station on the Chichibu Railway line. From here hop on board a Seibu bus. Or from Seibu Chichibu station (Seibu Railway) get on a Kyuko bus headed for Mitsumine Jinja. Either way, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes by bus.Address: Saitama, Chichibu City, Mitsumine 298-132. Hodosan Shrine, Chichibu CityHodosan shrine is situated at the foot of Hodosan mountain and every year attracts about one million worshippers. Along with Mitsumine shrine and Chichibu shrine it is considered to be one of three shrines that have mystical power and energy. The energy of Hodosan shrine is thought to be somewhere in the middle between the strong energy of Mitsumine shrine and the gentle energy of Chichibu shrine.The nearest station is Nagatoro station on the Chichibu Railway. From the station it’s 10 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Nagatoro, Nagatoro-machi 182833. Kawagoe Hachimangu, Kawagoe CityKawagoe Hachimangu was founded by the samurai Yorinobu Minamoto. Not to be outdone by Kawagoe Hikawa shrine, Kawagoe Hachimangu is also said to possess matchmaking powers symbolized by the meotoicho, or husband-and-wife-gingko tree that stands nearby.The nearest station is Kawagoe station (Tobu Tojo line, JR Saikyo line and Yurakucho line). From the station it’s 6 minutes on foot. From Honkawagoe station (Seibu Shinjuku line) it’s a 7-minute walk.Address: Saitama, Kawagoe City, Minamitorimachi 19-334. Kawagoedaishi Kitain Temple, Kawagoe CityKawagoedaishi Kitain temple, which has many buildings designated as important cultural properties by the Japanese government, is the head Tendai sect temple in the Kanto area. Its history dates back some 1,200 years. Throughout the year many rites and festivals are held here and perhaps the most famous is the Daruma festival held on January 3rd.The closest station is Kawagoe station (Seibu Tojo line). From here it’s about 20 minutes on foot to the temple. Also, you can get to the temple from the Honkawagoe station (Seibu Shinjuku line) taking just 15 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Kawagoe city, Kosemba-machi 1-20-135. Tsuki Jinja Shrine, Saitama CityAlso sometimes called Tsukinomiya-sama, Tsuki Jinja is a shrine loved by all the local people. “Tsuki”, the name of this shrine, has the same sound as “moon” in Japanese, so the god of the moon joined with its messenger the rabbit, which explains why instead of guardian lion-dogs which are found at most Shinto shrines, there are stone rabbits on watch.The closest station is Urawa station (JR East Keihin Tohoku line, Utsunomiya line and Takasaki line). From the station’s west exit it’s 10 minutes on foot.Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Urawa, Kishicho 3-17-25Hotels and Accommodation in SaitamaIn Saitama prefecture there’s a wide variety of places to stay; modern, large-scale city hotels, resort hotels, hot spring hotels and Japanese-style traditional inns just to name a few. With many places matching your desired destination, your budget and accommodation style, you’ll have plenty of choices at your disposal. To go along with these choices we’re adding seven of our own recommendations, each highlighted with some unique points worth considering, which will definitely make you excited about your travel plans.Number 1: 200 Year-Old Miyamoto Residence, Chichibu City1. You can stay at a historic Japanese private residence that’s been renovated.2. You have the chance to meet a real sumo wrestler (retired).3. At certain times of the year (excluding summer) you can enjoy a variety of dishes cooked at an irori, or open fireplace, including chanko nabe, a special stew traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers but recently gaining popularity among mainstream consumers.Read also::Japanese Encyclopedia: SumoCheck Out Pro Sumo Tournaments In Tokyo! How To Buy TicketsJapanese Encyclopedia: IroriNumber 2: Yunoyado Wado, Chichibu City1. In the Chichibu area, one of the oldest wadokosen medicinal baths where you can ease your tired body and cure what ails you.2. You can enjoy delicious specialty cuisine prepared with the freshest of ingredients from the local mountains and streams.3. You can spend the night in one of our newly renovated clean and comfortable rooms.Read also:What You Should Know About Bath Culture In JapanNumber 3: Suzaki Ryokan, Chichibu City1. You can have your own private bath at this retro-style hot spring inn, that’s been in operation since the Meiji era.2. While staying here you can choose your own yukata to wear.3. You might have an opportunity to see a kabuki play performed by the citizens of Ogano town.Read also:Japanese Encyclopedia: Kabuki TheaterKabukiza Theater – How to Enjoy It Without Buying a TicketWhat You Should Know About Bath Culture In JapanNumber 4: Shiki-no-Yu Onsen Heritage Resort, Kumagaya City1. You can enjoy golf and tennis, and in the summer there’s a swimming pool.2. In addition to a regular hot spring, the communal outdoor hot spring is suitable for those wearing bathing suits.3. Services are provided in English and also Chinese.Number 5: Urawa Royal Pines Hotel, Saitama City1. You can see Mount Fuji (world heritage site) from the restaurants on the hotel’s upper floors.2. You can enjoy a variety of food and drinks in the hotel’s eating establishments and bar.3. Close to Omiya station, and from Tokyo there is easy access to other sightseeing spots as well.Number 6: Palace Hotel Omiya, Saitama City1. There’s a fitness club with a pool and sauna, and a beauty salon so you can take a break and relax here.2. It’s located right next to the terminal station in a business-commercial district, convenient for both shopping and sightseeing.3. Just 3 minutes on foot from Omiya station where you can take a Haneda airport and Narita airport limousine bus.Number 7: Ikoi No Mura Heritage Minoyama, Chichibu City1. This is an inn with its own natural hot springs, located in the Chichibu / Nagatoro sightseeing region.2. There are nature tours arranged exclusively for hotel guests.3. There are 6 hour and 10 hour plans for those making a one day trip here.Read also:Saitama’s 7 Best Accommodations: Resort Hotels To Traditional RyokanWhat You Should Know About Bath Culture In Japan Saitama’s Gourmet SceneOne of the highlights of any trip is being able to sample the cuisine exclusive to that particular area. Before venturing to Saitama prefecture let’s take a look at what kind of gourmet dishes they have to offer.Read also:If You Visit Saitama, You Must Try These Gourmet Dishes Kōnosu Kawahaba UdonAs you stare at Saitama’s specialty udon, you can’t help wondering, “Are these noodles?”. The brainchild and inspiration for this dish came from Saitama prefecture’s Arakawa river. Reportedly Japan’s widest river, it inspired some locals to create these noodles which are 8 cm in width!Read also:Saitama’s Unusual B-rank Cuisine: Kōnosu Kawahaba Udon Noodles Unagi (eel)Both Urawa city and Kawagoe city are famous in Japan for unagi, or eel. Once you experience the soft and fluffy texture of the unagi dipped into a salty-sweet sauce, you’ll be instantly spellbound!Ayu (Sweetfish)When someone mentions the word fish in landlocked Saitama prefecture, ayu, a river fish naturally comes to mind. Found in the natural wilderness of Saitama’s mountainous region, dishes made with fresh ayu are famous.Chichibu SobaIf you come to Japan, one food you should try at least once is soba, or buckwheat noodles. And if you make a trip to the Chichibu region then definitely try some authentic soba called Chichibu soba with its hand-made noodles.Niboto UdonNiboto udon is the local cuisine in the Fukaya area. It’s a delicious dish characterized by thick, wide noodles and freshly picked vegetables.Koshigaya Duck / Green Onion Hot PotKoshigaya city’s young business people came up with this dish as a way to promote the city. The Imperial Household Agency maintains one of their Imperial Wild Duck Preserves in Koshigaya.Soka Senbei (Rice Crackers)Mention Saitama prefecture and many people will think of Soka senbei, or rice crackers. Soka city is known as the starting point for these tasty Japanese treats. By all means take in the tantalizing aroma and eat one of these delicious rice crackers!Read also:Make Rice Crackers At Yamako Senbei’s “Soka Senbei Garden” In Saitama!Japanese Encyclopedia: Senbei (Rice Crackers)Shopping Spots in SaitamaJapan is a shopper’s paradise. Saitama also has many shopping spots that we’d like to recommend to you.Mitsui Outlet Park, Iruma CityTo get to the outlet shopping center in Iruma city, it’s 15 minutes by bus from Iruma City station. Here’s your chance to get brand-name goods from both within and outside Japan, all at reasonable prices.Homepage: Mitsui Outlet Park, IrumaAddress: Saitama, Iruma city, Miyadera 3169-1COCOON CITYCocoon City is a shopping mall located just 3 minutes on foot from Saitama-Shintoshin station. Inside the mall are popular shops including Ito Yokado, Yodobashi Camera and Uniqlo.Homepage: COCOON CITY (Japanese only)Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Kishikicho 4-263-1LUMINE, OmiyaLumine Omiya is a shopping center with direct access to Omiya station. For fashion-conscious shoppers in their late twenties to thirties, there is an ideal selection of goods here.Homepage: LUMINE OmiyaAddress: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Nishikicho 630Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport-ShinmisatoThis is a large-scale shopping mall located only 3 minutes on foot from the west exit of Shinmisato station (Musashino line). Also next door there is IKEA and Costco, and a free loop-line bus can whisk you off to wherever you’d like to go. Here you can enjoy an entire day of shopping.Homepage: Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport-ShinmisatoAddress: Saitama, Misato city, Shinmisato LaLa city 3-1-1Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport-FujimiSaitama prefecture has another large-scale shopping center called Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport-Fujimi, which has a staggering 300 shops inside.It’s only 6 minutes on foot from the Tobu-Tojo line’s Tsuruse station.Homepage: Mitsui Shopping Park Lalaport-FujimiAddress: Saitama, Fujimi city, Yamamuro 1-1313Saitama Prefecture Products & Tourism-SOPIAJust 3 minutes on foot from Omiya station (JR Tobu-Noda line) and on the second floor of Omiya Sonic City is SOPIA.Homepage: Saitama Prefecture Products and Tourism-SOPIA (Japanese only)Address: Saitama, Saitama city, Omiya, Sakuragi-cho 1-7-5 Sonic City Building 2FRead also:8 Special Shopping Destinations In Saitama PrefectureThe Weather in SaitamaThe climate in Saitama differs greatly between the predominately flat terrain of the prefecture’s eastern region and the mountainous western region.Let’s take a look at the seasonal changes in weather in both areas.Saitama’s Eastern RegionIn the springtime, the climate is easily influenced by the atmospheric pressure resulting in drastic temperature differences. During your travels here it’s a good idea to have at least one thick coat or garment in order to deal with these temperature swings. In the summertime the eastern region of Saitama is extremely hot and humid. In order to stay cool during this hot season, it’s recommended that you wear loose-fitting, light clothes. Always be sure to drink plenty of liquids and try to avoid the direct sunlight by wearing a hat and or sunglasses.In the fall season the heat will begin to ease up and the climate will become more comfortable, but it’s also the time when precipitation increases. This region has many rivers so when enjoying outdoor activities be cautious about rising river levels and flooding. When fall deepens, the temperature also drops, so you’ll probably need thicker clothes.In the winter a northwesterly wind starts to blow across the region, and as a result there will be many days in which it feels much colder than the actual temperature. To keep warm during this season try to wear clothes that will shield you from the wind and cold.Saitama’s Western RegionIn the springtime, the mountainous western region still has low temperatures. Until early April it’s best to think of the climate as an extension of winter and it’s a good idea to have thick, warm clothing with you. When summer arrives the temperature goes up but the mornings and evenings tend to be cool so you’ll need some outerwear. Compared to the eastern region, the days in the western region generally have low humidity, and the shaded areas will be fairly cool.Just like in the summer, mornings and evenings in the fall tend to be cool. The difference in the daytime and the morning/evening temperatures is extreme so be sure to have warm clothing to ward off the cold. Winters in the western region are particularly harsh, so it’s absolutely essential to have proper winter clothing with you. Make sure you have a warm down jacket, gloves and a scarf. Other Important Travel InformationThe article below will show how much the food costs in Japan, so take a look when planning your budget.Average Food Expenses For A Day In JapanIf you need to exchange currencies, go to the bank, or try the ATM at 7-Eleven.Need Japanese Yen? Four Ways to Get Cash in JapanIf you’re short on cash, look for the ATM with the “PLUS” logo, which offers cash advance with credit cards.Where You can Find ATM Available with International Brand CreditThe article below will show the simple phrases you can use when checking into hotels.10 Japanese Phrases You Can Use At A Hotel”Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi” is a service for the visitors from abroad. Be sure to download the application in advance.Where To Find Free Wi-Fi In Japan – Japan Connected-Free Wi-FiThere is so much to see, do, and eat in Saitama that it can’t easily be covered in just one guide. Take a look through the many articles we have linked here, and hopefully you will find yet another reason to enjoy this fun prefecture!last_img read more

Press Release Astronics AeroSat receives China IFC certification

first_imgAstronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Astronics AeroSat, recently received the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Validation of Supplemental Type Certification (VSTC) of its satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity system.Specifically, the VSTC validates Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream® F-310 connectivity system and its new ARINC 791-style AeroShield™ radome and adapter plate system. Complete data for this inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFE&C) solution is available in CAAC VSTC0870.According to Matthew Harrah, President of Astronics AeroSat, “We are excited to announce the completion of our CAAC VSTC covering our inflight internet connectivity systems on Boeing 737-800/900/900ER aircraft for China installations. This enables Astronics to offer our Chinese customer base a proven & reliable IFE&C solution for next-gen Ku-Band high-throughput satellite (HTS) networks, which includes installation and all structural, antenna, and radome system components. The customer can pair the FliteStream IFC with either the Astronics CSC’s Summit™ line of in-cabin IFE equipment for an integrated, scalable, high-performance solution or with their own IFE equipment supplier of choice.”With industry-leading technical performance, Astronics AeroSat’s FliteStream fuselage-mounted antenna systems are ready to improve the Chinese airline passenger connectivity experience.“This CAAC VSTC, along with the in-process European EASA STC, and the near term A320-family STC, will provide global opportunities for airline operators and passengers to experience the benefits of our FliteStream & AeroShield connectivity solutions,” Harrah continued.About the FliteStream F-310 Satellite Connectivity SystemAstronics AeroSat’s FliteStream solutions are the only products available with patented lens-horn technology, which creates the most efficient, reliable and highest-performing SATCOM antenna system available. The FliteStream F-310 integrates next-generation satellite modem technology and is the only system in production today that is compatible with next generation Ku-band high throughput satellites and iDirect Velocity networks, which provides maximum internet and data speeds in a single antenna.Key features include:Seamless connectivity for passengers to browse the internet, send and receive emails, make calls using Voice-Over-IP (VoIP), access virtual private network (VPN) services, conduct video conferences, and enjoy favorite work or entertainment applicationsMost efficient Ku-band SATCOM antenna system, critical for maintaining low angle satellite coverage while flying at higher latitudes, where most flights occurA three-piece LRU system: antenna, antenna controller & modem, and high power transceiverCompliance with RTCA DO-160 and RTCA DO-178About the AeroShield ARINC 791-Style Radome & Adapter Plate SystemAstronics AeroSat’s AeroShield radome and adapter plate solution is the only next-generation ARINC 791-style solution that provides optimal Ku-band performance combined with the lowest drag design, while meeting all FAA & EASA bird strike safety requirements.Key features include:Aerodynamic shape to reduce drag and increase fuel savingsFAA & EASA bird strike compliance for large radome installations, to reduce certification time and costSealing robustness against fluid intrusion from water, ice, deicing fluids and other environmental conditionsAdvanced aluminum adapter plate design to minimize total IFC system weightConnectivity systems commonality & interchangeability across entire fleetsAstronics AeroSat keeps people connected no matter where they fly. For over a decade, Astronics AeroSat has provided fuselage- and tail-mounted SATCOM solutions for general aviation, business aviation, commercial transport, VVIP, and military aircraft around the world.ABOUT ASTRONICS CORPORATIONAstronics Corporation serves the world’s aerospace, defense and semiconductor industries with proven, innovative technology solutions. Astronics works side-by-side with customers, integrating its array of power, connectivity, lighting, structures, interiors, and test technologies to solve complex challenges. For 50 years, Astronics has delivered creative, customer-focused solutions with exceptional responsiveness. Today, global airframe manufacturers, airlines, military branches, completion centers and Fortune 500 manufacturing organizations rely on the collaborative spirit and innovation of Astronics.last_img read more

An amenity kit item thats forbidden for use on board

first_imgOnce the fabled “goodie bag”, and then more focussed towards a few key items for onboard use, the airline amenity kit is seeing a resurgence as airlines realise the benefit of having passengers throughout the aircraft thinking positively towards their brand as they take an item off the plane and use it in their every day life.“The challenge,” says Roland Grohmann, chief executive officer & managing partner at inflight soft product powerhouse Formia, “is to get away from the traditional understanding of the amenity kit to see the potential it has in terms of giveaway.”And giveaway is the focus for much of Formia’s most impressive latest work.“Airlines are mastering the concept of the amenity kit as a gift to passengers, not just a functional aid on board,” Grohmann explains. “The idea that it is the only memento of your flight you take off-board, gives it an enormous potential to portray the image of the airline and carry home a token of the trip.”Airlines may well need assistance determining what giveaways are most appropriate for their markets. Image: Formia(It may not be the only thing passengers take off-board, however…)Indeed, Formia, renowned within the industry for its high-end amenity kits, including the highly successful Qatar Airways BRIC’S series that features on many an Instagrammed tableau, is driving innovation in the luxury giveaway space with an item in one kit that passengers are absolutely, positively not allowed to use on board: a scented candle from Lalique for Singapore Airlines, a 190g version of which retails at sixty-five euros.The Qatar Airways BRIC’S kits come in a variety of collect-them-all colours. Image: FormiaThe idea is that passengers can open and sniff the candle, then tuck it away in their bag to use either at home or at a hotel, and has been well received. Formia received an Honorable Mention in the Best Onboard Amenity category of the International Flight Services Association Compass Awards this year for its set of Singapore Airlines Lalique first class cabin amenities.Singapore Airlines’ Lalique candle sits alongside a generous amenity kit. Image: FormiaBut it’s not just that: Saudia’s Furla clutch bag can be reused or regifted, while Malaysia Airlines’ Cerruti kits include a keyring.“The link to “home’ becomes key in blurring the edge between home and journey,” says Grohmann. “It is no longer only an extension of the use of inflight amenities at home, but a total new angle as the highlight of the gift is not meant for use during the flight.”The Saudia Furla clutch is great for reuse or regifting. Image: FormiaBut it’s beyond re-using a case for an iPad, or as a cable wrangling bag within luggage. For Swiss, “We offered a Winter collection amenity set that included, on flights into Switzerland, a wool beanie hat, and a neckwarmer, winning several innovation awards at the time,” Grohmann notes.A hat or scarf with amenities inside makes a useful addition — not least if transiting frosty Switzerland in the winter. Image: FormiaPart of the puzzle is ensuring that a brand in a giveaway is of the appropriate level of attractiveness for the market. Not all premium customers are the same, and many items have different meanings in different cultures.Indeed, an ultra-exclusive brand that a passenger in a more workaday business class may never have heard of may mean less to them than a better-known brand with which they’re familiar and have a positive if not aspirational opinion.So what does the brand itself get out of it? “The brand lends its name and image to endorse an amenity program whilst being associated to another brand, which is the airline’s name,” Grohmann says. “It is a key factor for success that this association has mutual benefit and creates positive synergies for both parties whilst adding value to the passenger.”As the gift trend expands at the very pointiest end of the plane, though, passengers in premium economy and even economy can look forward to some trickle-down. Indeed, at your author’s front door sits a reusable shopping bag that was part of a Lufthansa premium economy. It seems that reusability — still not a reliable option even in business class — may well be the watchword for this expanding segment.Cathay Pacific’s premium economy kit suggests some trickleback for PaxEx Image: FormiaWhy airlines should invest in branded #PinchablePaxEx soft productRelated Articles:Why airlines should invest in branded #PinchablePaxEx soft productTowards designing Instagram-worthy modern premium PaxExIncreasing reusability of airline inflight amenity kitsTurkish Airlines turns to all-natural materials for new inflight toysMay only be a matter of time until amenity kits are digital deliveriesAmerican premium services director details amenity kit design driversA first class amenity kit renaissance blossomsNew United amenity kit aims for younger business/first flyersDesigner and amenity kit maker aim to kill ‘Kleenex mentality’Little things matter in airline amenity kitsCelebrating innovation in amenity kitsGodmother of amenity kits works her magicPress Release: FORMIA enters the children’s amenity kit marketPress Release: FORMIA, Austrian introduce amenity kit for delayed paxlast_img read more

Press Release United to launch tripleclass 50seat Bombardier CRJ550

first_imgBombardier Commercial Aircraft is pleased to officially launch the new CRJ550 aircraft, the first triple-class 50-seat aircraft in the world designed to meet the expectations of today’s passengers.The CRJ550 is a new CRJ Series aircraft model, with a new type certificate based on the CRJ700. United Airlines is the launch customer of this new model.“The new CRJ550 model is the only solution in North America that can replace the existing fleet of ageing 50-seaters, a market of over 700 aircraft,” said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “It offers improved passenger experience with ample on-board storage for carry-on bags and more passenger living space. This is one more example of how we are focusing on creating value for our customers and a very important endorsement from United in regards to the CRJ platform.”The CRJ550 will feature a self-serve beverage and snack station and more overall legroom per seat than any other 50-seat aircraft flown by any U.S. carrier, in addition to all the benefits for which the CRJ Series aircraft are known.With the CRJ550, the CRJ Series is the only family of regional aircraft that can offer 3-class cabin across all-market segments, while meeting the current operational requirements.One of the key benefits for the US operators will be to leverage the cockpit commonality from the CRJ200 to the CRJ900. The CRJ550 will also delight operators by delivering a 99.5 per cent proven dispatch reliability, the elimination of gate check bags, and providing connectivity.About BombardierWith over 69,500 employees across four business segments, Bombardier is a global leader in the transportation industry, creating innovative and game-changing planes and trains. Our products and services provide world-class transportation experiences that set new standards in passenger comfort, energy efficiency, reliability and safety.Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Bombardier has production and engineering sites in 28 countries across the segments of Transportation, Business Aircraft, Commercial Aircraft and Aerostructures and Engineering Services. Bombardier shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, Bombardier posted revenues of $16.2 billion US.last_img read more

Former CBB customer Korean Air reembraces IFC with MAX deliveries

first_imgAfter a 15-year story arc, the final airline to have once offered the long defunct Connexion by Boeing inflight connectivity system is ready to once again offer connectivity to its passengers. Korean Air will take its upcoming Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft linefit with the Panasonic Global Connectivity Suite, signaling an end to the airline’s longstanding hesitance to offer connectivity once again after getting burned the first time around.Korean Air announced plans to outfit its longhaul fleet with the Connexion by Boeing Ku-band connectivity system in April of 2004, aiming to connect 33 Boeing 777-200s and 747-400s by 2008. Korean had installed the CBB system on 10 aircraft by January 2006, just months before Boeing pulled the plug resulting in the airline suing Boeing to recoup costs associated with the expensive installations.Korean Air will take delivery of six 737 MAX 8 aircraft with Panasonic Ku hardware this year, but has not yet decided to move forward with retrofitting existing aircraft with a connectivity system. Pricing plans for the system have not been announced, but the Korean Air web site does indicate that connectivity will be a paid service and stop short of mentioning whether or not streaming video will be available or blocked.While the airline is adding connectivity, it will be moving away from an embedded entertainment system on its narrowbodies. As it did on the recently introduced Airbus A220 fleet, Korean Air will shift to a streaming platform for the 737 MAX 8. Its current 737NG’s feature a mix of embedded entertainment and overhead screens, with only approximately a third featuring the former. All 140 seats will offer a personal device holder, USB port and power outlet.The 737 MAX 8 is currently slated to begin revenue service with Korean Air on 1 May 2019 to various destinations in Japan with a few smaller cities in China also served.Korean Air’s competitors in Japan include JAL and ANA, both of which offer various connectivity options from Panasonic, Gogo and Inmarsat. Korean Air may now see connectivity as a must-have to compete in markets where passengers have become accustomed to its availability.Related Articles:Four strange choices make for an odd Korean Air regional first flightKorean Air fingers partners for Apex seat problemsKorean Air picks same B/E Apex seat for 787-9 business and firstCSeries makes short-hop premium economy a snap; see KoreanPaxEx odds and ends: ANA goes guns blazing on IFEC and LIFT gains liftAsiana spikes first class while Korean Air re-upsKorean Air’s first class: And Heather Cho flipped out on nuts?last_img read more

Bee City Alice Hinman keeps it buzzing

first_imgCreating a Buzz: Leigh-Kathryn Bonner Like Alice Hinman, third-generation beekeeper Leigh-Kathryn Bonner is also working in the Triangle’s urban environments to help honeybee populations rebuild and thrive. Bonner’s company, Bee Downtown, which she founded when she was a junior at N.C. State, tends to nearly 130 hives across downtown Raleigh and the Triangle.      Unlike Apiopolis, Bee Downtown is a for-profit company (a “beesness,” they call it) that maintains beehives sponsored by individual companies.        Bonner’s idea is that she can help save the honeybees while providing a unique marketing tool for companies whose hives are used as tourist attractions and educational outreach tools. “People of all ages are fascinated by honey bees, so having hives for them to see and experience is a fantastic educational opportunity,” says Bonner, whose hives flourish at landmark locations including the American Tobacco Campus, N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, and Burt’s Bees World Headquarters, home to North Carolina’s largest clear observatory hive.Bonner, who comes from an agricultural family, understands what would be at stake if the bees were to disappear entirely. One-third of all the food we eat owes its origins to a honeybee, something she wishes more people knew. With Bee Downtown, she aims to encourage cities and their businesses to work together to rebuild healthy honeybee populations, as hives grow and eventually create new colonies elsewhere.The job is personal for Bonner, and so is the city. “I was raised in Raleigh, and now that it is one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial cities in the country, starting Bee Downtown here was a no-brainer,” she says. “North Carolina is the eighth largest agricultural state in the nation…For us, having a company that honors the history and foundation this state is built upon is so exciting and rewarding.” With a view to the west behind her, Alice Hinman inspects a hive on the roof of Clearscapes on West Martin Street.by Hampton Williams Hoferphotographs by Peter HoffmanAlice Hinman is a regular at many of Raleigh’s hottest spots: Kings, Centro, Garland, Standard Foods, Big Boss Brewing Company, Stanbury.  She hits them all weekly, but she doesn’t use the door. Usually, she uses an extension ladder to climb onto the rooftops to check on the honeybees who live there. Thanks in part to Hinman, founder of the nonprofit urban bee sanctuary Apiopolis, Raleigh is a bee city. Under her care, as many as 6 million of the fuzzy pollinators – which play a vital role in sustaining our local ecosystem – are currently thriving in 60 colonies all over town.The city offers its challenges, but also its benefits. Bees in cities, she found, actually can fare better than those in rural areas, because no matter what, cities have diverse nectar sources like potted plants and colorful flowers on display. Rural bees may struggle for nectar in agricultural areas that are cultivated with only a few crops. So with the city as her focus, Hinman tends to downtown bees, enabling them to do their important work of pollination.  She scoots around town in her silver Dodge Dakota, a ladder in the truck bed, a hat and veil on the seat beside her. “It’s quite different from their idyllic rural environment,” she says, “but I think we can affect positive change wherever we are.” It isn’t just the Raleigh honeybees that have benefitted from her efforts. Artists, brewers, bakers, saxophonists, photographers, and educators have come together to help Apiopolis’ cause, painting murals and making T-shirts and entertaining guests at bee events, none accepting any payment beyond hugs and jars of honey. With that, Hinman has helped weave a community.With eight hives in her own yard in northeast Raleigh, Hinman also has a community of neighbors who appreciate her work and have embraced her use of an empty lot to keep even more colonies nearby. She also works as a beekeeper for hire, tending to bees beyond her own, and beyond Apiopolis’ downtown fleet. One client is Eliza Olander, for whom Hinman keeps 16 hives. The honey from Olander’s hives is bottled and sold, with all profits going to the Frankie Lemmon School, which provides education for special needs children. “Alice’s utter passion, her thirst for knowledge, and her striving to educate everyone about bees is not only contagious,” says Olander, “it’s exhilarating.”Above: Hinman points to the queen bee among the workers while checking hives at Camden Street Learning Garden, shown below. Interfaith Food Shuttle created the garden for neighbors to grow their own food.Buzz of interestHinman’s interest in bees began about seven years ago, when she started reading books about the insects, mostly because she liked honey. She enrolled in a Wake County beekeeping class and taught herself to be a natural beekeeper. “The bees … these remarkable, beautiful creatures,” she says, “as much as we need them, right now and because of what we’ve done, they need us.” The idea for Raleigh’s bee sanctuary was born after Hinman spent two years studying sustainable biodynamic beekeeping at a bee mecca in rural Virginia called Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary. She describes Spikenard as “magical,” a place overflowing with vigorous hives of bees that thrive in the pollinator gardens and fields planted with forage just for them. In contrast to commercial beekeeping practices aimed at maximizing production, the bees at Spikenard are revered, honored. Hinman decided to translate the philosophies of Spikenard to Raleigh’s urban environment.When she was getting started in 2010, Hinman needed to raise money for her new urban bee sanctuary. She wanted to sell her honey, but she needed a place to do it. She emailed Craig Heffley, owner of Wine Authorities, to see if he’d sell it for her, and she brought him a jar to taste. Today, she sells almost all of the honey from her own hives at Wine Authorities, and uses 100 percent of the proceeds to buy bees for Apiopolis. It was over drinks with Heffley at Players’ Retreat that they came up with the name “Apiopolis” – a combination of the Italian ape for bee, and the Greek polis for city. Heffley, who describes Hinman as “a ‘roll up the sleeves and jump right in’ force of nature,” praises her proactive stance: “Most of us recognize that the decline of pollinators is a terrible thing, but the problem seems too remote from our daily business for us to make a difference. Alice sees this same issue and understands that meaningful change to a colossal problem can be achieved at the personal level.”Hinman descends her ladder from the balcony at live music venue Kings.Sweet gigLike many people making a difference here, Hinman originally moved to Raleigh to study at N.C. State. She grew up in a one-light town in Pennsylvania, came to finish her bachelor’s in horticulture, and fell in love with the city she’s made her home. At first, she worked in the service industry, doing everything from teaching yoga to painting houses. For a while she tended bar at Poole’s Diner, which is where she got the idea of using restaurants as homes for hives. But not all of Apiopolis’ urban beehives are at restaurants. Escazu Artisan Chocolates has hives; so do VAE Raleigh, Videri Chocolate Factory, and the art and architecture firm Clearscapes, which is home to Thomas Sayre, the artist behind the massive ellipses at the NCMA, among many other Raleigh landmarks. “It’s fun running into Thomas Sayre at Clearscapes when I’m climbing up and down the ladder with my gear,” Hinman says. “He climbed up with me once and sat and watched the bees coming and going.”Indeed, beekeeping is a meditative practice for Hinman. Only peaceful thoughts, she says, are allowed in her apiaries. Bees, she has discovered, are sensitive to energies and pressure systems. She has found that they, like most animals, can sense fear, anger, goodwill, and even can recognize people. Hinman is rarely stung. However, on one occasion, she was particularly rattled after a visit from an ex-boyfriend. It was on that day that she was stung the worst. The bees, she knows, perceived her discomfort, her frenzied emotional energy.In many ways, the bees are like family to Hinman, who names each hive. One is called “Sue” after Sue Hubble, the author of the first book she read about beekeeping. Another is “Frida,” after the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Others are named for Hinman’s own mother and grandmother, though she says she must be careful about naming the hives after people close to her. One thing the names all have in common is that they are female. That makes sense, considering that most of the 60-100,000 bees in a hive are females called worker bees who do just about everything: cleaning cells, foraging and collecting water, building the comb from wax they produce. The male bees, called drones, who do not sting or collect nectar, fly between hives with the goal of mating with a fertile queen. Hinman easily identifies the different members of a hive: Females are trimmer, the queen has a longer abdomen and graceful movements, and the drones are bigger-bodied and fuzzy.Hinman transports her extension ladder around in her Dodge pickup. She likens the workout to “crossfit for beekeepers.”Above it all Hinman gets to see a different side of Raleigh through her work. At Centro restaurant, she slips through the roof hatch, admiring the magnificent pottery installation from a unique vantage point. Centro’s owner, Angela Salamanca, says having Hinman’s bees on the roof is delightful: “Alice comes and goes without much fuss. We love having her because she adds to the overall sustainability aspect of our mission.”In order to access the bees on the roof of Garland Restaurant, Hinman makes her way up the service stairs from Martin Street, past the restaurant’s kitchen, and up to the live music venue Kings. Once inside, she climbs to the balcony where muppets keep watch over the dance floor, carefully stepping around cords and wires for light and sound. Behind the curtain is another small ladder up to the roof hatch. “It’s silly and good and it’s probably only my idea of a dream job,” says Hinman.  “It’s also cool to run into rock stars in the hallways.”At Big Boss Brewing Company, she spots a bee whose job she identifies immediately. She’s leaning down to glance at a hive that looks like a little wooden file cabinet on top of a purple painted platform when a guard bee emerges defensively from the entrance. Every bee, she says, has a role.Hinman respects their roles and cares for them all with regard, using only organic treatments. Much of modern beekeeping, she says, is propped up with chemicals meant to kill parasitic mites, but those mites form immunities, creating a need for even more chemicals, making for an ineffective cycle. The bees have to evolve to fight their own parasites, or else they’ll die. And as Hinman explains, “No bees, no food. Okay, no delicious food. Oatmeal and corn and wheat by themselves are boring, even with all the chef talent we have in Raleigh.”Of all of her hive locations, this one, in the “Secret Bee Garden” at Big Boss, is the hub. It lies past the fermenters and tanks of beer, and out the rear door of the warehouse. There, on the back of the building, in front of a stunning mural of a massive bee surrounded by dripping honeycomb, are pollinator plantings, a fountain, a bee shrine, and hives. “We are just proud to be a part of what she does,” says Big Boss owner Brad Wynn. “Alice is a dynamo. She has created something that is great for Big Boss and great for Raleigh.”In fact, Hinman is only just getting started. She has big dreams of turning Raleigh into an official Bee City USA, of starting a pollinator habitat initiative, of implementing programs like Chicago’s Sweet Beginnings, which teaches inmates how to tend hives. “The more I learn and unlearn, the more fascinated I am with these creatures, and the more aware I am of the urgencies they face,” Hinman says. “The longer I walk the earth, the more compelled and obligated I feel to make a difference in some small way.”last_img read more

Profiles Courage NC National Womens Soccer League

first_imgThe starting eleven players before a pre-season scrimmage for the North Carolina Courage against Wake Forest University on Saturday, April 1, 2017.Profile in {NC} Courageby Liza Robertsphotographs by Ray Black IIIIt’s a late March afternoon at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, where 25 professional soccer recruits are gutting it out on a secluded practice field behind the stadium.These players – some of the best athletes in the world – have a lot on the line. They’ve survived a first cut from an initial list of 30. They have less than two weeks before a final 20-player roster will be announced. It’s their second practice of the day. And everything they’re doing is new.They’re creating a new team for a new organization in a league that’s only five years old. They’ve moved to a far-away, new place to do it. And they’re a new kind of professional player for these fields: They’re women.With fuel-injected speed, precision skills, and athletic grace, they tackle their practice scrimmage like they take nothing for granted. None want to miss a chance to suit up for the North Carolina Courage’s inaugural National Women’s Soccer League season, just a few weeks away. All want to be prepared once they get there.Team owner Stephen Malik compares them to the NFL players of the 1920s, pioneering athletes who built a sport from the ground up not for dollars or fame but “for the love of the game.”That’s clear. They’re willing to give a practice all they’ve got, even though the core of the squad on the field ranks as national champions already. They secured that title last year in their previous incarnation in the National Women’s Soccer League as the Western New York Flash. Some also represent the best of their native countries, playing for the national teams of Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S.Maybe it’s that earned confidence that frees them up to smile, joke, and laugh as they do their precision drills; why they’re loose and chatty as they sprint and kick. A possession drill is underway: They need to complete eight passes before shooting. Coach Paul Riley counts their passes and shouts instructions and encouragement as they go: “Five passes, guys, come on … play it, play it, OK! Great football!” Then: “Everybody down!” The women drop to the grass and deliver 25 sets of push-ups and crunches with gusto – and more laughter.“They have a lot more fun in training than the men,” says Marco Rosa, director of communications for the North Carolina Courage and the North Carolina Football Club, who watches from the sidelines. “The vibe is different. It’s joyful, almost. Happy.”Also happy: Malik, the team owner and local entrepreneur who also owns North Carolina F.C. (the North American Soccer League men’s team formerly known as the Carolina RailHawks) and sits on the board of the U.S. Soccer Federation. His goal of building world-class soccer in the Triangle got a major boost when he bought the Flash and brought them here in January; the announcement came just one month after he renamed the RailHawks, put in a bid for a Major League Soccer franchise, and said he’d build a new 24,000 seat stadium to hold it all. He started pursuing a women’s NWSL team at the same time but wasn’t expecting it to come together so quickly. When he realized the Flash was “a perfect fit for our area,” he sped things up.“Not only are they the champions,” he says, “but they’re young. They have a lot of soccer ahead of them.” His vision for the team is bold: “I think we can be the best women’s team in the world, and I’m not so sure we aren’t already.”Malik’s counting on fans to agree. In another strategic move, he announced a partnership in March with two youth leagues, the massive Capital Area Soccer League and the Triangle Futbol Club Alliance, creating the largest youth-to-pro soccer club in the country. “Now we have 14,000 youth playing with us,” he says. “And half of them are young women. To be able to offer those girls a chance to see some of the best women players in the world…” And, for a few, the chance to train with those players. In April, the club announced a girls’ development academy similar to the NCFC’s existing boys’ development academy. It will begin competing in the fall.Sportsmanship, fellowshipThe Courage development academy will undoubtedly teach girls skills and stamina. But if these professional players – and their coach – are also able to pass on some of their sportsmanship, they just might be able to create another generation of world-class stars.Ask a Courage player what she likes about soccer, and she’ll tell you about the team: why the players like each other, what motivates them, and why they respect their coach, who also led the Flash.“We take it day in, day out,” says Jessica McDonald, a 6-foot-tall forward who was a starter and top assister for the Flash last year and helped win the 2008 national championship when she played at UNC-Chapel Hill. As she cools down from the two-hour practice, she doesn’t hesitate to zero in:  “We encourage each other.” Captain Abby Erceg, a defender who also serves as captain for the New Zealand national team and was captain for the Flash, says the squad is unusually tight-knit. “I’ve played on a lot of teams around the world, and this is more like a family,” she says; her teammates nod. “It’s good for the game.” She credits coach Paul Riley for providing the glue. “He’s done a really good job of bringing the girls together. He’s included us in the process, and he’s instilled a lot of confidence in the players.”Goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo – a member of the Canadian women’s national soccer team, an Olympic bronze medalist, and a former star at the University of South Carolina – agrees. “We’re lucky to be with Paul,” she says. McDonald sums it up: “He opens our eyes, and takes us to a place we didn’t think we could be.”The visionary coach is modest. “It’s just about the process, about the journey,” Riley says, smiling, low-key. “We spend a lot of time talking about the mental part of the game. And it’s fun if you work hard. It pays off at game time. Our mantra is ‘stay the course’ … We just try to have as much fun as we can.”last_img read more

Breath of fresh air NCMAs public art initiative

first_imgJaime Hayon, SCULPT. C, 2016, painted wood and metal, H. 117.3 x W. 288.2 x D. 94.1 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Gift of the family of Bill and Holly Blanton“We want to connect art and nature and people,” says Marjorie Hodges, director of external relations at the N.C. Museum of Art, and a key player in the museum’s Art in the Environment Fund. To accomplish this simple but profound goal, the Fund has enhanced much of the 164-acre Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, transforming it into a lush landscape of native plants, greenway trails, and art that complements it all. You might already know the iconic earth-cast ellipses that comprise Thomas Sayre’s Gyre, or remember those larger-than-life inflatable bunnies by artist Amanda Parer on loan last fall: They’re two distinct examples of what public outdoor art can look like, and just a sliver of the genre’s vast possibilities. “We don’t want (art in the park) to be static,” Hodges says. “We want to constantly inspire creativity and engagement.”Since the park is free and open to the public – visitors often come through on a greenway walk or bike ride – the art will continue to span the spectrum, with something to appeal to everyone. Hodges says it will remain dynamic thanks to a mix of permanent installations and works on loan, collaborations with other art institutions, and constant interaction with Raleighites.The museum reached out to include all of its diverse park audience in March with the installation of its newest permanent work, Sculpt C. The zig-zag-patterned pig-shaped sculpture, meant to be an interactive kids’ play structure, inspired the museum to host a social media competition for its nickname (which had yet to be unveiled at press time). Meanwhile, last month, Jaume Plensa’s pair of massive human heads, Awilda & Irma, made of steel mesh (a stunning long-term loan) were installed. They are as as striking as Parer’s bunnies and will likely enjoy a similar level of local Instagram fame, Hodges predicts. “The idea of public art having a role in these shareable moments is, I think, a great way to think about art.”Jaume Plensa, Awilda & Irma, 2014, stainless steel, H. 157.5 x W. 157.5 x D. 118 in. each, © J2017 Jaume Plensa, Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York. Installation view: Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, Cheekwood Museum and Sculpture Garden, Nashville, TN, May 22–November 1, 2015; Photo: Dean Dixon.The future holds even edgier Museum Park art. Hodges says we can look forward to works that combine light, sound, color, and digital interaction. The Art in the Environment Fund’s vision is an exciting one for NCMA, and also for the city and the region. “So much of public art is about accessibility. People can just stumble upon this. You don’t have to pay to see it, and it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. It’s accessible and it’s inclusive, and that’s so important.”  –J.A.last_img read more

Oakwood Pizza Box

first_imgFor Guerra, good pizza starts with strong foundations: housemade sauce, long-fermentation dough that’s never refrigerated, quality ingredients. And family is a bit like a good pizza; with a second child on the way now, due in September, that strong foundation is paramount.“I am a father first and I have a pizza place second. If anything ever were to happen where I needed to be with the baby, this place is gone. It’s the baby – babies, now – first. That’s it,” he says. “The rest of this stuff, I love it, it’s personal goals, but I have a responsibility. The childhood that I had let me achieve what I have achieved. If I don’t provide that for Vivian then I let everybody down.” And because it was the end of the night and things were winding down, he ended up talking to Joe Beddia himself for a while. As he walked out, he turned to his wife, Brett Guerra: “Something’s different now … At the end of the day, do we really want to eat wood-fired pizza?”For Guerra, that answer is no. He saw his own spot in a new light: He wanted to make pizza he wanted to eat every day. He wanted to make the pizza that had made him, the pizza he had eaten as a child, so he could share it with their child. They had just found out a month prior that they were expecting. “What if we made something as American as me as I possibly could?” Guerra says. “What if I stopped trying to be a Neapolitan version of me and just be myself?”Flash-forward about eight months to that black-and-white linoleum floor. The sight of it stirred something in Guerra, took him back to his roots, back to Umberto’s, back to diner booths and his grandmother’s mid-century modern kitchen with its formica countertops and walnut wood furnishings and brass accents. The ideas for the place went running wild after that, flowing naturally, he says. Really good neighborhood pizza, American pizza, would be the focus. ‘I’m here to make pizzas’Oakwood Pizza Box is low-frills, unless you pay attention to the oven. Guerra bought a Montague 1857 Hearth Bake oven, the hottest and heaviest on the market, which cooks at around 650 degrees. He took some of the things he had learned about wood-fired ovens and applied them to this gas oven with custom tweaks, such as additional stone on the ceiling of the oven, and thicker stone than you would find in general. He calls it a “tricked-out version” of what you might see everywhere else.The tricks work, because the pizza is good – the pizza is really, really good. But most importantly, at least to Guerra, the pizza hearkens back to his childhood, and he’s sharing it with his family, and with the adopted family of his neighborhood.As the primary caregiver (Brett Guerra works full-time in software sales), Guerra brought daughter “Viv” to every single meeting prior to opening Oakwood Pizza Box, and she remains a familiar face to regulars. Her toys are in the back, and he just ordered a “scoot car” for her to ride around the restaurant. “Look at this runway!” he says, gesturing to the long hallway running along the diner booths.According to Guerra, before Vivian, his restaurant would have been more ego-driven, but having a child shaped him. “Having a kid now, for me, balances it out. OK, what’s important, and what’s not? What’s important is that I’m here to make pizzas, and people come and enjoy it.”And they do. Get there early; with only a handful of booths and bar seats, the place fills up quickly, and you’ll likely be vying with the familiar faces of neighbors for a seat. Oakwood’s instant-classic neighborhood pizza spotby Laura White photography by Jillian ClarkIt all started with Anthony Guerra’s family, and a floor: battered, black-and-white checkered linoleum in an old office building.He passed it every day on his walk down to Crawford and Son, where he was general manager at the time. He had been searching for more than three years for a location in Raleigh where he could open a pizza joint, and he was determined to do it close to his own home, close to his family. He had a daughter on the way, and the burgeoning Person Street corridor felt more small-town than downtown, which was an energy he appreciated.One day, there was a sign in the window; peering through the dirt and grime on the glass, he caught sight of that floor. A couple of months later, he had the keys in hand, and Oakwood Pizza Box was officially under construction.Now, not long after opening in September 2017, the proof is in the pie. With a hyper-focused menu – choose between a classic cheese or white pizza, and add your favorite toppings – and simple, playful cocktails, this slice of nostalgia feels like it’s been a neighborhood favorite for ages.Family foundation No stranger to pizza, Guerra, his father, Rick, and his brother, Louis, opened the much-beloved Bella Mia Coal Fired Pizza in Cary in 2010. At the time, none of the family had direct experience in food service. His father worked in wholesale produce. His brother had a background in economics and was working with a bank. Guerra was a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying history. “We did not have any clue what we were about to do; we just knew that we wanted to do it,” Guerra says. “It was a big advantage to not have that experience. We never saw the limits of what you should be doing in a pizza place.”While gearing up for the launch, Guerra and his family did two years of extensive research, though he jokes that he’s really been doing pizza research his whole life. Italian American, he was born and raised on Long Island, with easy access to some of the best pizza spots in the U.S. His neighborhood pizza joint was Umberto’s, and looking back, he says that shaped everything. Umberto was even making his own cheese. “But that was just, like, neighborhood pizza for us,” he says.His more formal research included a stint working at Kesté under acclaimed pizza-maker Roberto Caporuscio, U.S. President of the Association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli. While at Kesté, Guerra learned the traditional Neapolitan style of pizza making: long-fermentation dough fired for 90 seconds in a 900-plus degree oven. He was instantly enthralled. “We have this thing where we fixate (in my family). Pizza is one thing, but there’s everything around it, which is what made that restaurant: our fixations on things,” Guerra says. “A lot of the way that we’re wired is about challenges.”They sold Bella Mia in 2012, moving on to the next round of challenges: His brother wanted to join the military (he’s a Green Beret now), and Guerra was ready to open his own place in Raleigh. Slice of lifeFor a long time, the plan was to open another wood-fired place. With this in mind, he decided it was time to finally visit Naples, the birthplace of pizza, and mecca of wood-fired pies. That trip changed everything – but not in the way he was expecting.“It helped me out in a really weird way because I was miserable,” Guerra says, “I felt like I didn’t belong.” As an Italian American, he felt like an imposter pizza- maker in Italy. This led him to reconsider his approach to what made “good” pizza. The sentiment compounded after a visit to Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia in June 2016. Beddia, which just closed in March (a larger location is slated to open in Fishtown later this year), was a concept revolving around a tiny spot, roughly 800 square feet, cash only, with a gas oven, no phone, no public restrooms, and one guy, John, taking pizza orders, while another guy, Joe Beddia, cooked them. Beddia personally made every single pizza, and he had since day one. They only made 40 a night, and by the end, Beddia was selling out all 40 pizzas as soon as they had opened the doors, with lines forming as early as 2 p.m.Guerra and his wife waited in line for an hour to place an order, and then were told to come back in another hour-and-a-half. He doubted anything could be worth that wait. Then he had the pizza.last_img read more