Saturday, February 29, 2020

Shopping, Eating, and Entertainment in Shibuya!

Made your way to the Hachiko statue (Shibuya's most famous dog)? Arrived at Shibuya Scramble, the famous Shibuya crossing? Found your way into the huge mass of people, but not sure where to go from there? Shibuya has just about anything you might want from Tokyo, from Tokyo's trendiest food and shopping to classic Japanese karaoke, so if you're looking for some Shibuya recommendations, we've got 'em!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Not Sure What to Buy as a Souvenir from Japan? How About Some Sleek Leather Accessories from Naughtiam

Pick up a Naughtiam wallet as a memento of your trip to Japan, and you'll have it for life. And there's no better place to start looking for the perfect leather accessories than Osaka, a lively city known for friendly people, delicious food, and some excellent shopping options.

Kansai Airport's Most Comfortable Hotel - Oriental Suites Airport Osaka Rinku is Chic & Convenient

Travelers flying in or out of Kansai Airport, take note! If you want the most convenient hotel possible, that's a great place to do some outlet shopping to boot, you'll want to take a look at Oriental Suites Airport Osaka Rinku. These accommodations are 10 minutes on foot to Rinku Premium Outlets, and less than 10 minutes by train to Kansai International Airport, so with some great views of the bay and the outskirts of Osaka, you won't find a better location.

Oriental Suites Airport Osaka Rinku

Thursday, February 20, 2020

A Zen Getaway, A Teahouse Garden, a Meditation Retreat, Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo is a Hotel Just Minutes from Kyoto Station!

Arrive in Kyoto, and everywhere you look is a peaceful Zen temple or a quiet Shinto shrine, but with the beautiful sights come hectic crowds. After a day weaving through the many citizens and visitors to Kyoto, it's understandable if you just want a tranquil retreat to return to every evening - and that's why we recommend Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo. The peaceful ambience and natural spaces right inside the lobby create a calming effect as soon as you walk into the lobby, and the theme only continues from there!

Japan has long been proud of its "omotenashi" (おもてなし) hospitality culture, and since Oriental Hotel Kyoto Rokujo opened in November 2019, it's clear they've been committed to maintaining the omotenashi spirit all over the premises. Take advantage of the hotel's efforts to produce ideal Zen meditation spaces right in the rooms, relax in the comfortable lobby/lounge seating, and enjoy the wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto travel!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Shopping for Outerwear with Arc'teryx, and Exploring the Scenery of Fukuoka's City Life

The convenient loop between Tokyo and Kansai is beloved by visitors to Japan, sometimes to the point that travelers miss out on some of the country's most precious gems, locations a little off the beaten path. One destination that is attracting more and more travelers in the know, however, is Fukuoka. Found far south on Japan's island of Kyushu, it has its own distinct atmosphere, and it's also a pretty great destination for Hakata ramen-loving foodies and shopaholics. Get ready for cool spring breezes and stock up for next winter - head to the Arc'teryx in the MARK IS Momochi shopping mall, and plan yourself the perfect winter shopping trip in Fukuoka!

Feeling the Fresh Air, Seeing the Fall Leaves, and Admiring the Spectacular Autumn Cherry Blossoms of Toyota City, Aichi

For a few glorious weeks every fall, the city of Toyota in Aichi prefecture turns into an autumn wonderland. Leaves turn into a mosaic of reds and yellows, and pale pink petals float down from the unique fall-blooming sakura trees, carried on crisp, fresh breezes. While the name Toyota is likely to bring thoughts of vehicles to the minds of many, the city is a great destination for travelers looking for a lot more than automobile museums! Highly recommended for travelers heading to Japan in the fall, the city's views of extremely rare autumn cherry blossoms, and the colorful foliage of Korankei Gorge, are things to behold.

Friday, February 14, 2020

EVENT HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! Speeding Over to Ibaraki on the Tsukuba Express & Checking Out Makabe's Hinamatsuri Festival!

The JAPANKURU team loves a little off-the-beaten-path excursion, and when it's a day trip just outside Tokyo, that's even better! Which is why we hopped on a Tsukuba Express train in Akihabara this week to head over to the Makabe area of Sakuragawa City in Ibaraki, still composed mostly of old-fashioned buildings, all in the foothills of nearby Mt. Tsukuba. While the hundreds of historic buildings and dozens of national tangible cultural properties are beautiful year-round, Makabe turns from a sleepy village into a bustle of activity for Hinamatsuri Festival every year, so we went to check it out!

From Tokyo to Festival-Filled Ibaraki with Tsukuba Express

Friday, February 7, 2020

Feel the Culture and See the Treasures of Kyoto without Leaving Your Hotel - at Oriental Hotel Kyoto Gallery!

For travelers looking to stay in a bright, cheerful hotel, and simultaneously immerse themselves in the mystique of Kyoto, this hotel on a historic main road is the place to go. Oriental Hotel Kyoto Gallery not only has (as its name implies) a small gallery in the lobby that displays Kyoto cultural items and art, the building's architecture incorporates points from traditional Kyoto Machida houses and local design, making for a full Kyoto experience. Plus, the rooms are new, clean, and simply designed, the breakfasts are familiar and tasty with unique Kyoto touches, and location-wise, the hotel's steps from a Kiyomizu Gojo subway station and within walking distance of famous Kyoto temple Kiyomizudera!

Head to Shiga-chiku (the Shiga Area of Matsumoto City) to Stay the Night in a Kominka House with Traditional Japanese Architecture, and Immerse Yourself in Rural Nagano

Whether you've seen them in Ghibli films or in paintings by Katsushika Hokusai, the gorgeous old-fashioned Japanese folk houses found around Japan are called kominka, and they're symbols of Japanese architecture. Rooms with tatami mat floors and thatched or tiled roofs and long, sturdy ceiling beams that run the length of the house, kominka are iconic, and they're wonderful examples of Japanese cultural history. In a country constantly hurtling between the traditional and the modern, these days most Japanese citizens tend to build new houses with modern architecture, and as kominka have fallen out of fashion, their numbers have dwindled. Here at JAPANKURU we think it's a shame that the beautiful old buildings aren't used and maintained, which is why we were especially excited to travel to Nagano's Matsumoto City in the fall. Matsumoto City is home to some interesting agritourism, friendly locals, and a project looking to bring old kominka back to life, based in the city's Shiga area. These houses are being restored and returned to everyday use, and we couldn't wait to see.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Japanese Uniform-Style Shoes Made Stylish with Made-in-Japan Quality, Haruta

It's no secret that Japanese school uniforms have a certain style to them that's popular all over the world. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to learn that uniform-style leather loafers have become the in-thing in recent years, an iconic fashion item necessary to complete that Tokyo look. And for some loafers and oxfords with a little history, you can pick up a pair of Haruta's shoes in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku or Omotesando.

Get Out of Tokyo and Over to the Sights, Treats, Lodgings, and Views of Kawasaki

A great city for shopping, snacking, and visiting temples, instead many Japanese people know Kawasaki for its mysteriously beautiful factory-filled night views. A city with lots to offer, you'll have no trouble filling up a fun day's itinerary in Kawasaki.

First, Get Yourself to Kawasaki:
Tokyo Station → Kawasaki Station / JR Keihin Tohoku Line / Travel Time: 25 minutes

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Nostalgic & Not Far from Tokyo, Find a Manga Museum, Factory Nightscapes, and Japanese Tradition in Kawasaki City's Tama Ward

Famous as a destination for fascinatingly beautiful nighttime views, Kawasaki City (川崎市) is half-an-hour or less from Tokyo. The city's Tama Ward is especially fun for a little retro-style travel, with a museum celebrating long-beloved manga Doraemon's creator, parks featuring traditional Japanese architecture, and plenty of spots to fill up a day... or three!