Paul Bassett Shinjuku Coffee of Champions

first_imgQ: What is it about cafes that makes you so drawn to them?It’s because in a cafe, you can relax and spend some time with yourself. You can take the time read a book or think about things. Then again, even if you don’t think about anything, just sitting down and resting is meaningful in its own way, I think. Living somewhere as hectic as Tokyo, especially in a crazy city like Shinjuku, it’s nice to know there are calm spaces. The difference between the two is also interesting.Q: What was it that made you come to love coffee so much?Back in my hometown in Australia, cappuccinos are normally drank with chocolate powder sprinkled on top. When I was a kid, I remember my mum would spoon off the foam with the chocolate powder and share it with me. The combination of the bitter coffee and sweet chocolate was really tasty. So I have fond memories of it. Then when I became a high school student, I spent my youth going to cafes after school. Now, I have a list of over 200 cafes that I want to go to. I also find it interesting that throughout history, many scholars, writers, and artists have been inspired by the time they spent in cafes.Q: Has anything memorable ever happened to you thanks to coffee?Yes, I actually had the honor of interviewing a real legend of the coffee world, who at the age of 101 is still running his coffee shop. When I met him, he had this awe-inspiring air about him, a strong aura that I can’t quite put into words. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.Japan might not be known as a country for great coffee, but the creativity and passion for quality that the Japanese people are known for is also thriving in their cafes – Paul Bassett Shinjuku being a prime example.Why not drop in for a coffee when you’re next in Shinjuku and discover a new side to Japan?NB: This article is a translation of a reproduction of an original article on Isetan Men’s net (links are in Japanese only).InformationPaul Bassett ShinjukuAddress: Shinjuku Nomura Bldg B1F, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-Chome 26-2, Shinjuku-ku, TokyoHours of Operation:Weekdays 07:30-20:30Saturdays 08:00-20:00Sundays, Holidays 09:00-19:00Open all yearWi-fi not availableCredit cards not acceptedJapanese-speaking staff onlyEnglish menu availableNearest station(s): Shinjuku Station (JR Line; Toei Shinjuku Line; Keio Line; Odakyu Line) Nishi-Shinjuku Station (Tokyo Metro Maronouchi Line)Access: 6-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, 4-minute walk from Nichi-Shinjuku StationPrice range: ¥1,000Phone Number: +81(0)3-5324-5090Official website::Paul Bassett Shinjuku (Japanese only) Welcome to our series introducing the multicultural city of Shinjuku through the eyes of foreigners living in Japan. Continuing with our coffee theme, we once again talk to coffee-crazy Tokyo Cafe expert Vaughan from Melbourne, the mecca of coffee and cafe culture.PROFILEVaughanFrom Melborne, Australia. Tours Tokyo cafes for his popular column in Good Coffee, a website created by coffee lovers for coffee lovers. Armed with his senses and personal tasting experiences, he continues to deliver the very latest coffee culture news. Currently active in many different fields, working as a fashion model, event organiser, and English teacher at Bunka Fashion College.Q: You recently went to Paul Bassett, a popular cafe in the center of Shinjuku’s business district. How was it?Most of my favorite coffee places don’t open until late morning, so I really appreciate that Paul Bassett is open early. The main barista here is Juichi Sasaki, the first ever Japanese winner of the World Aeropress Championship in 2014. The coffee is reasonably priced and guaranteed to taste good, and the shop has a friendly atmosphere. It’s also raised some great baristas – many people have spent years training here, and then gone on to be independent and open up their own place. I really like that sort of positive space.last_img read more

Unique Japanese Souvenirs Yukitakeya In Matsushima

first_imgMatsushima: Scenic Islands Surrounded By Nature In cooperation with Yukitakeya The most popular are the cracked soy sauce crackers. These rice crackers are freshly roasted and then split into four before being dipping into soy sauce. They are cracked into just the right size intentionally, by hand. The cracked edges allow the soy sauce to seep through, creating a rich flavor.At a certain time of the day during weekdays, customers are able to witness these rice crackers being made over the counter. The entire process of splitting, dipping and packaging the rice crackers takes about three days. Yukitakeya is a 7-minute walk from JR Matsushima-Kaigan Station, down the road facing Matsushima Bay. Their specialties are rice crackers and souvenirs from Miyagi Prefecture and the Tohoku region.According to shop manager, Goto, “Yukitakeya focuses on items that carry the culture of Japan. We also sell handmade products.” Products are specifically selected by the shop manager.Goto also added that the shop places importance on offering products exclusive to Yukitakeya.Let’s take a look at what kind of products they have to offer!Japanese Rice CrackersYukitakeya carries a wide range of products, including condiments and miscellaneous items. However, they are dedicated to making their signature senbei, which are Japanese snacks made of rice.These rice crackers are roasted daily over the counter and are also available packaged to take home.Taste Freshly-Roasted Rice Crackers Customers can take a rest and enjoy their rice crackers with roasted green tea at the rest area inside the shop.Delicious Souvenirs After roasting, the rice crackers are dipped into soy sauce and are immediately taken out to get rid of excess liquid. Too much soy sauce would ruin the texture of the rice crackers.Next, they are wrapped with a piece of seaweed and served in a paper pocket. As you take a bite of the warm rice cracker, the exquisite aroma of the soy sauce will fill your senses as you bite into the crunchy texture. The Matsushima Oko (1,404 yen including tax) is a specially-made oko (*1) of the fragrance of Matsushima. It has a calming forest scent. It comes in a Paulownia box with the motifs of Zuiganji Temple, pine trees, and a full moon on it.Matsushima is a famous place for moon viewing. This is reflected in the haiku (*2) of Matsuo Basho, the renowned Japanese poet from the Edo period.*1: Oko: Fragrant wood incense that releases aromatic smoke when burned.*2: Haiku: A short form of Japanese poetry based on the rhythm of sound.Add a Cute Touch to Your Home: Kokeshi Chopstick Holder We highly recommend Yukitakeya if you are looking for one-of-a kind souvenirs to buy in Japan.The shop offers unique and nostalgic Japanese snacks and fun goods. Each handmade, high-quality item is made with care. Visit Yukitakeya to experience this special environment for yourself! Yukitakeya View Informationstore The cracked brown sugar crackers (top-left picture) are customer favorites during summer and autumn. These cracked soy sauce crackers covered in large granules of brown sugar. The distinct soy sauce flavor brings out a delicious, sweet taste. The nurekari crackers (top-right picture) are also another hit item. These rice crackers are soaked with sweet soy sauce and are roasted twice to make them crunchy.Other tasty and adorably-shaped rice crackers are also available for purchase. There are rice crackers of the shape of the Zuiganji Temple (bottom-left picture) that can be seen from the shop. There are also heart-shaped rice crackers (bottom-right picture) with “Thank You” written on the packaging. With so many great options to choose from, it might take some time to decide which one to pick!Original Japanese Products Only At Yukitakeya! This “ONLY HERE IN THE WORLD” mark designates products that are sold exclusively at Yukitakeya. In this section of the article, we will be introducing this original merchandise.Seagull Plate: Great for Side Dishes Displayed in middle of the shop are packaged rice crackers, allowing customers to continue to enjoy them even after their trip ends. Some rice crackers can be sampled. The Pine And Bird plate (972 yen including tax) is small dish that comes in the design of the Zuiganji Temple. Pine trees and a seagull fly across the sky. In Japan, restaurants and shops have a custom of placing salt by the entrance of their business to ward off bad luck. These plates are the ideal size for this, but you can use them for snacks and side dishes, too.Matsushima Oko: Bring Home the Fragrance of Matsushima Read also Shokado Confectionery – Delight In Matsushima’s Classic Japanese Sweets You can find many tenugui at Yukitakeya. The eight different tenugui pictured above are exclusive to Yukitakeya. They come in designs of the full moon, kokeshi, and in other Tohoku region patterns. They are not bulky and make ideal souvenirs.Tenugui towels were a daily necessity during the Edo period and Meiji period. These towels can be used to wipe your hands and body, wrap water bottles, and used as decorations. They are absorbent and are quick drying. They are an excellent to bring with you for travel.Stop By The Second Floor For A Break We had the chance to try these expertly-roasted rice crackers during our visit. They were grilled evenly on both sides for five to eight minutes to prevent them from burning. It is a lot of fun to watch the flat surface of the rice crackers bubble and puff as they slowly brown. Picture from Shokado Confectionery – Delight In Matsushima’s Classic Japanese SweetsOccupying the second-story of the building is Shokado Confectionery, an affiliated confectionery and cafe. Over here, customers can enjoy homemade desserts with a view. It is a wonderful place to appreciate Matsushima’s spectacular scenery while taking a break from gift shopping at Yukitakeya.Unique Japanese Keepsakes in Matsushima Matsushima is a famous travel destination located a 30-minute train ride away from Sendai Station in the Tohoku region. It is known for its stunning views of the islands of the Matsushima Bay and pine trees scattered across the landscape. Matsushima Bay is regarded as one of the Three Views Of Japan, along with Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture’s Itsukushima Shrine and Amanohashidate in Kyoto.There are also tourist attractions such as the Zuiganji Temple, a Zen temple that is one of Japan’s national treasures, and the Fukuura Bridge, a vivid vermillion bridge. Travelers will also find treats and goods that make excellent souvenirs and gifts. Matsushima is a location you will fall in love with and want to visit again.In this article, we will be introducing Yukitakeya, a souvenir shop that specializes in products of the Japanese culture, exclusive to Matsushima.Yukitakeya: A Store Preserving Traditions and Culture The kokeshi chopstick holder (907 yen including tax) is used to rest the tips of your chopsticks on. The faces of the kokeshi (*3) are hand drawn, resulting in subtle differences in their expressions. It functions as a chopstick holder and also makes an adorable accent for your home.*3: Kokeshi: Japanese dolls carved out of wood. They are traditional crafts of the Tohoku region. Travel-Friendly and Multipurpose Tenugui Towelslast_img read more

Taste Japanese Flavored Gelatos at Gelateria TIEAN in Shibuya

first_imgAmong the busy streets of Shibuya, TIE-AN is a shop with a laid-back atmosphere that mirrors the feel of a relaxing tea house.Why not experience the Japanese “ichi go ichi e (*6)” style of hospitality at Gelateria TIE-AN? You may be able to further understand all the meanings behind the Japanese tea ceremony.*6 “Ichi go ichi e”: An idiom used in the world of tea, meaning “every occasion is a once in a lifetime experience that should be treasured”.Photo courtesy of Gelateria TIE-AN Gelateria Tie-an View Informationcafe Along with the tasty treats available for take-out, there are other great souvenirs sold at TIE-AN to take home as a souvenir. For instance, there is a tea that has been specially blended by a tea house in Shizuoka to match the gelatos of TIE-AN. For those who enjoyed the crispy senbei can purchase other senbei rice cakes made by the SENBEI BROTHERS to take home. Savor Gelatos in Shibuya with a Japanese TwistGelatos are known to be a type of ice cream that originated in Italy, but at Gelateria TIE-AN in Shibuya, they added a slight Japanese twist to this authentic Italian treat.With “Japan” as the main theme of the store, TIE-AN also carries crepes made of rice flour, detox soup made with soy milk and Japanese stock that can also be enjoyed with the gelatos.Three Meanings Behind “Gelateria TIE-AN”Gelateria TIE-AN, located in the Shibuya Hikari-e ShinQs Basement 2F opened its doors on September 10, 2016. It all began when the founder thought “What if Sen no Rikyu (*1) lived in our time and made a tea house that served gelatos to please his guests…”*1 Sen no Rikyu: A great tea master that spread the art of tea in Japan during the sixteenth century.Photo courtesy of Gelateria TIE-ANThe name of the store originates in the word Tai’an, which was the name of Sen no Rikyu’s tea house. It’s also a combination of the English word “tie” (to connect people with people) and the Japanese word “an” which refers to a tea room. One more meaning comes from the Japanese word for a day of good luck – Tai’an; this pun is also an expression of the hope that whoever visits the store would be blessed with good luck.Gelatos with Japanese Ingredients and FlavorThe gelatos at TIE-AN are made using soy milk and raw sugar as base ingredients. Along with the twelve regular flavors, there are also seasonal flavors as well. The soy milk and raw sugar have a mild sweetness, unlike the standard milk and sugar. It is used to draw out the rich flavors of the Japanese ingredients.Sizes start at two scoops for 441 Yen (with tax) and each cup comes with one crispy senbei cracker (*2). The senbei uses 100% non-glutinous rice flour and you will be able to enjoy the flavor and the sweetness of the gelato along with the crispy texture of the cracker.*2 senbei: A Japanese cracker made with rice flour. Frequently eaten as a snack, the thin crackers have a crunchy texture. Standard senbei are flavored with soy sauce or have some sort of salty flavor.You can find unique Japanese flavors inspired by traditional confectionery such as mitarashi dango (*3) and strawberry daifuku (*4) along with fusion flavors such as edamame raspberry white chocolate or tofu cream.For instance, the “edamame raspberry white chocolate” was inspired by the pistachios used in gelatos. When you actually have a bite, you will instantly taste the rich flavor of the bean mixed with the sweet and sour flavor of the raspberry, followed by the sweetness of the white chocolate.*3 Mitarashi dango: Bite-sized rice cakes are placed on a bamboo skewer that is flavored with a sauce made of sugar and soy sauce. The sweetness from the sugar and the saltiness of the soy sauce creates a unique flavor harmony.*4 Strawberry daifuku: A Japanese sweet where a strawberry is wrapped in red bean paste and a skin made of sweet glutinous rice. The tartness of the strawberry balances out the sweetness of the red bean.Enjoy Crepes and Soup in the Dining SpaceAt TIE-AN, you can also enjoy small meals such as crepes and soup aside from the famed gelato. There is an eating space inside the shop, so it is great for those looking for a light snack or lunch.Photo courtesy of Gelateria TIE-ANCrepes using rice flour are all 540 Yen (with tax) except for the ones made with butter sugar, which are 361 Yen (with tax). There is a nice variety of crepe fillings from sweet ones such as warabi mochi (bracken rice cake) with molasses, kinako soy bean powder and whipped cream, and the strawberry red bean paste with whipped cream. There are also savory crepes with fillings such as “Kinpira burdock chicken” or “tuna and avocado with wasabi and soy sauce” as well.*5 Kinpira burdock: A savory dish where burdock, lotus and other vegetables have been stir-fried with soy sauce and sugar. It is a typical household dish with a crunchy texture.Photo courtesy of Gelateria TIE-ANSpecially made by a nutritionist, the three types of detox soups at TIE-AN go for 540 (with tax). The soups can either have a soy milk base or a Japanese soup stock base according to your preference.Select a Japanese Souvenir at the Gelato Shoplast_img read more

Ice Cold Bubbly Ramune The Taste Of Japanese Summer

first_imgRefresh Yourself on Sweaty Summer Days!Summers in Japan are known to be sweltering, with strong UV rays and high humidity levels to contend with. Being drenched in sweat is no way to spend the day, but there are some pretty tasty ways to cool off in Japan! Many people may have tried kakigori before, but have you ever tried the summer specialty ramune?RamuneWhat’s Ramune?Ramune, or Japanese lemon soda, is a clear soda that typically comes in glass bottles and, while originally only available in lemon, can be found in a great variety of flavors all across Japan. The refreshing flavor and rush of gentle bubbles that this soda is famous for is why this is the drink of Japanese summers. But just what is the difference between ramune and a standard soda? The answer isn’t the taste, but the bottle that makes this such a ubiquitously Japanese drink.Ramune originated in England, from lemonade or lemon squash,but the evolution of the bottles in Japan since the Meiji era makes it quite the different drink altogether. As you can see from the photographs, ramune comes in a glass bottle with a slight separation between the top and bottom. There is a thick plastic top that you must pop before drinking it, which will in turn drop a glass marble down into the top half with a satisfying plop.How Do You Drink It?! The Ramune Bottle MysteryOne of the first things that ramune drinkers will notice is that the mouth to the bottle is quickly plugged by this large glass marble whenever you tip your head back to drink. This marble is really a nuisance for first-time ramune drinkers because, no sooner do you try to take a drink, but the marble rolls into place and blocks the mouth, trapping the ramune inside!.There’s actually a trick to drinking ramune that will stop this from happening. Want a hint? Take a close look at the top of the bottle. Have you got it?The trick to enjoying ramune uninterrupted.Not quite sure what I mean? The answer is to catch the marble between the small dents in the top half of the bottle. They might look too small to do the job, but these bumps are just the right size to do the job. When you’ve gotten the marble trapped, you can enjoy your ramune with ease – even if you tip the bottle all the way back to get that last, refreshing drop.Let’s hear it for calculated balance!That’s the great trick – just balance the marble and you’re set to drink some delicious cold ramune this summer. Share this trick with your friends, or amaze them with your skills – either way, you will get to enjoy the true beverage of Japanese summer. Grab a bottle, pop the marble, and enjoy!Beat the heat in style with ramune this summer.last_img read more

Felissimo NekoBu Goods Love For Cats Uniting The World

first_imgThe time has come to welcome another blooming trend in Japan – the so-called neko-boom (neko = cat), with cat cafes and cat-themed goods popping up all over the country. Perhaps this trend’s vast popularity is best depicted via the recently emerged and widely used word “nekonomics”, denoting all the economic profit that was made thanks to the neko-boom. This trend has spread not only throughout the nation but to the other countries, as well.Now, if you are a cat-lover and are at loss with where to go to get yourself some adorable neko-goods in this fast-spreading neko-trend, we have just the website to recommend you. Its name is Felissimo, and it is a “neko-lovers’ community” online shopping channel, where the world of neko-goods is waiting for any neko-holic. Curious as we are, we went all the way to Kobe in Hyogo prefecture, to the company’s head office and store.What are the Original Felissimo Neko-Goods? The first thing that caught our eye was a hand cream in a lovely packaging. It seemed like any other hand cream you’d find everywhere, but only at first sight! When we took another look at what was written on the case, we saw that its scent was supposed to be “cat’s paw aroma”! Just what kind of an aroma is that?! It is quite difficult to imagine, but, by the sound of it, we are expecting something extremely lovable! This product is Cat Tongue Oil-Absorbing Sheets (a set of 2 packs with 30 papers each, for 701 yen after tax). Abura-torikami, or oil-absorbing sheets (*1), are an absolute necessity in Japan, where both temperature and humidity levels are very high. Even if you aren’t really happy needing to have that kind of item always at hand, if it were to be this cute you’d probably go around bragging about it and showing it to your friends, now, wouldn’t you? At Felissimo Cat Department (Felissimo Neko-Bu) you can expect to find numerous exquisite and one-of-a-kind products related to the cat-world. But, what kind of a company is it? What about the people who created this world? What were their desires, what were they aspiring to achieve? Don’t you want to know a bit more about them and their company? Just in case you are intrigued by this peculiar site and the company, we decided to pay them a visit, and ask some questions to their department’s chief, Mr. Matsumoto.* 1 Aburatori-gami: a thin paper that absorbs (facial and other) skin’s oil when applied to it. Widely used as a cosmetics product.last_img read more

Zao Onsen Yamagata Stunning Hot Springs And Mystical Snowy Trees

first_imgThis facility offers Japanese sake from the 53 breweries in Yamagata Prefecture, along with local cuisine that pairs perfectly with these alcoholic beverages. We suggest trying the Kikizake Course (800 yen and up, including tax), where you can enjoy trying three sake varieties. Yamagata And Niigata – 5 Local Dishes And Tasty Snacks You Must Try! The kokeshi-decorating workshop takes about one hour. Participants will be instructed to first draw the face of the kokeshi with a toothpick, starting from the eyebrow to the eye, nose to mouth, then to its hair, and body. Coloring the kokeshi is done after you finish drawing your design.The instructions will be in Japanese, but the process is easy to follow, even for visitors without language skills. Tanaka Kokeshi Shop View Information14:30 – Zao Ropeway: Gaze Down at the Frost-Covered TreesFrom Tanaka Kokeshi Shop to Zao Ropeway: 12-minute walk From Yamagata Station, take the Sanko Bus bound for Zao Onsen. (See the timetable.) If you have any large luggage, stow it in the coin-operated lockers at the station.On your way to Zao Onsen, stop by Sakura Yamagata Shop for tea-flavored snacks and souvenirs.10:00 – Sakura Yamagata Shop: A Tearoom for Matcha Lovers!From Yamagata Ekimae Ichiban bus stop to Yamagata Onsen-guchi bus stop – 14-minute bus ride and 12-minute walk from the bus stop. Be sure to try the matcha gelato, which comes in six different levels of matcha concentration, with 1 containing the least and 6 containing the most. We recommend ordering the richly-flavored number 6, which has a truly delicious fragrance. Pictures courtesy of Zao Onsen Zao Center PlazaZao Onsen Zao Center Plaza contains open-air baths that offer amazing views throughout the seasons. Bathers can see hydrangea in June and July, autumn leaves from October to November, and snow-covered landscapes from December to March. The shops inside the plaza carry local souvenirs and mountain climbing equipment. Zao Onsen Zao Center Plaza View Informationlodging2. Genshichi Roten no Yu 6 Picture Perfect Spots In Yamagata And Niigata – Take Miraculous Photos! Yonezawa, Yamagata – Experience Local Cuisine And Traditional Crafts! Picture courtesy of Yamagata PrefectureThe juhyo resemble monster-like creatures during the day, but the trees illuminated at night transform into something completely different and magical. Check the official site of Zao Ropeway to see when the juhyo are lit up.After viewing the juhyo in the daytime, let’s head to the hot springs. Zao Ropeway View Information16:00 – Zao Onsen: Open-Air Baths with Amazing ViewsFrom Zao Ropeway to Various Onsen Facilities: 5- to 15-minute walkZao Onsen has acidic sulfur water, which is said to be excellent for the skin and health. We suggest visiting the following three spots in particular.1. Zao Onsen Zao Center Plaza This shop specializes in tea from all over Japan, such as genmaicha (brown rice tea), hojicha (roasted tea), matcha (powdered green tea), mugicha (barley tea) and sencha (green tea), sold in teabags. They also carry specialty utensils for enjoying tea. This shop has more than 50 years of history specializing in all different types and sizes of kokeshi. They also host workshops where guests can decorate kokeshi (a reservation is required to participate). Picture courtesy of Yamagata PrefectureZao is famous for its juhyo (frost-covered trees), which appear between late December and early March. A ride on the ropeway offers the best view from which to take in this unique scenery. When you arrive at Zao Onsen Bus Terminal, don’t forget to purchase the Yumeguri Kokeshi ticket (*3) at the tourist information center for 1,300 yen. It comes with three stickers and an unpainted kokeshi (*4). The stickers can be used at various hot spring facilities, and the kokeshi can be decorated at a workshop.*3 Yumeguri Kokeshi: A cost-efficient ticket which can be used at the 27 hot spring facilities at Zao Onsen. Ticket holders will be able to bathe in different waters at the facilities with a single sticker. Please note that two stickers are required for bathing at Zao Kokusai Hotel and Zao Shiki no Hotel. Tanaka Kokeshi Shop hosts a workshop where visitors can decorate the kokeshi (240 yen).*4 Kokeshi: A traditional wooden doll. Kokeshi are also seen frequently sold as souvenirs at onsen areas in the Tohoku region.12:15 – High-Quality Japanese Sake at the Yamagata Sake Museum and Yukemuri Bar TsumamiFrom Zao Onsen Bus Terminal to Yamagata Sake Museum and Yukemuri Bar Tsumami: 5-minute walk The perimeter of Zao Onsen Dai Rotenburo is framed with linden trees. This destination is recommended for those who want to enjoy particularly spacious hot springs. Visitors can enjoy the open-air bath while being surrounded by the stunning outdoors. Zao Onsen Dai Rotenburo View Informationspa17:30 – A Fantastic Nighttime ViewIf you want to enjoy the nighttime landscape of Zao, try the Night Cruiser snowmobile to see the juhyo.For details, please read Juhyo Illusion Corridor Tour in the Night Cruiser.JR EAST PASS – A Cost-Efficient Ticket to Visit Zao Onsen All the sweets here are all made in-shop. The most popular menu item is the matcha tiramisu (1,058 yen including tax), which comes with a drink. It is made from mascarpone cheese (*1) and Kitagawa Hanbee Shoten (*2) matcha.After enjoying the matcha desserts, let’s board the bus again.*1 Mascarpone: An Italian cream cheese.*2 Kitagawa Hanbee Shoten: A wholesaler of tea established in 1861, located in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture. Sakura Yamagata Shop View Informationstore12:00 – Arrive at Zao OnsenFrom Yamagata Onsen-guchi bus stop to Zao Onsen Bus Terminal bus stop: 23-minute bus ride Go to Yamagata And Niigata with JR EAST PASS!Yamagata And NiigataFor information about traveling the Tohoku Region, check the following site:TOHOKU BUFFETWritten by ChenSponsored by Yamagata Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture Abundant Nature and Hot Springs of ZaoThe Zao Onsen area in Yamagata Prefecture is renowned for its sightseeing spots and rich, natural environment. Visitors can enjoy the juhyo (frost-covered trees) from Zao Ropeway, or try various onsen (hot spring) facilities, with a cost-effective ticket.This model tour utilizes a bus from Yamagata Station, which is the most convenient form of transportation when traveling. From Tokyo, ride the Shinkansen, which will take between two-and-a-half to three hours, to Yamagata Station.The JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area) will come in handy on this tour. Holders of this pass can easily immerse themselves in the scenery, hot springs, and delicious cuisine of Zao.9:15 – Depart from Yamagata Station Facilities throughout Zao Onsen and the bus terminal offer free sake sample tickets, which allows one glass of sake at the bar.After a satisfying meal and Japanese beverages, let’s go decorate our kokeshi. Yamagata Sake Museum and Yukemuri Bar Tsumami View Informationbar13:15 – Tanaka Kokeshi Shop: Make Your Own KokeshiFrom Yamagata Sake Museum and Yukemuri Bar Tsumami to Tanaka Kokeshi Shop: 5-minute walk Genshichi Roten no Yu is renowned for its gensen kakenagashi (free-flowing spring) style. Both the indoor bath with its wooden bathtub and the open-air bath are spacious. This facility is frequented in particular by travelers who have spent the day hiking in the Zao area. Genshichi Roten no Yu View Information3. Zao Onsen Dai Rotenburo Picture courtesy of Yamagata Sake Museum and Yukemuri Bar TsumamiTwo popular dishes are imoni (*5), which consists of beef and taro (600 yen including tax) and the crispy and juicy chicken sanzoku-age (1,500 yen including tax).*5 Imoni: A traditional Yamagata stew of taro, spring onion, konnyaku, and beef. It is seasoned with soy sauce, sake, and sugar. Photograph Courtesy of JR EastThose who want to enjoy Zao Onsen and other Yamagata destinations are recommended to use JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area). This ticket allows the holder to ride all the JR trains and buses within the designated area of the pass. For further information, please check the link below.JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area)** JR EAST PASS can be purchased only by tourists visiting Japan. Please note that Japanese nationals and foreign nationals residing in Japan without a tourist visa cannot purchase this pass.Read alsolast_img read more

Ukiyoe Exhibition Cherry Blossoms And Mount Fuji In Woodcut Prints

first_imgVisitors will be able to see famous works by artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige, as well as by other artists whose beautiful representations of Japan’s most treasured symbols have delighted generations and generations of Japanese. By enjoying the ukiyo-e exhibition and watching the artisans’ demonstration you’ll discover how accessible are the woodcut prints in comparison with other types of art. In fact, the ukiyo-e prints may be touched and held in one’s hands. Feeling the texture of the washi (Japanese paper) and seeing the brilliant colors of the prints up close will enhance your experience of rediscovering the charm of these prints.It is also possible to purchase ukiyo-e works created by the artisans of the Adachi Institute for Woodcut Prints using traditional techniques. These wonderful works will bring color to your everyday environment, reminding you of the vibrant visual culture of premodern Japan.In ConclusionEven if you don’t manage to make it to the ukiyo-e exhibition of cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji this year, do stop by the showroom of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut Printing when you’re in Tokyo. They hold regular exhibitions of ukiyo-e works reflecting the highlights of each season. It is a facility worth visiting at any time of the year. Adachihanga Research Institute View InformationYou May Also LikeJapanese Encyclopedia: Ukiyo-eFinding Inspiration In Calligraphy – Mitsuo Aida MuseumLearn How To Make Woodblock Prints At Mokuhankan – In English!Delight In Obuse, A Town Famous For Chestnuts And Hokusai In Nagano Picture courtesy of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut PrintingOn April 4th, from 1 PM, a ukiyo-e printing demonstration with English interpretation will be held at the showroom of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut printing. Picture courtesy of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut PrintingThe Adachi Foundation is supporting the research and preservation of the traditional woodcut printing techniques by producing and publishing the famous works by Edo and Meiji period artists, as well as the new works created by contemporary hanga artists.Through regular exhibitions and workshops, the foundation promotes the art of woodcut printing, ensuring that knowledge about this art is spread within Japan and abroad.Until April 16th! Ukiyo-e Exhibition of Cherry Blossoms and Mount Fuji The Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut Printing has been established in 1994. Its purpose is to support the passing on of traditional woodcut printing techniques to future generations of artisans. An exhibition dedicated to the ukiyo-e representations of cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji will be held until April 16th (2017) at the showroom of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut Printing. Picture courtesy of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut PrintingUntil April 16th, the foundation holds an exhibition entitled “Ukiyo-e Exhibition of Cherry Blossoms and Mount Fuji Brought to Life in Brilliant Colors through Craftsmanship”. The exhibition displays woodcut prints inspired by the beauty of the cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji, the two prominent symbols of Japan.In addition, on April 4th, there will be a ukiyo-e print demonstration and trial session with English interpretation. The participants will be able to see a demonstration of woodcut printing by artisans, and even try their hand at making their own ukiyo-e print which they will be able to take home as a souvenir! The participation to this workshop is free of charge – a reason for us to warmly recommend it!The Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut Printingcenter_img The vividly colored works illustrating the famous places for cherry blossom viewing have enjoyed great popularity over the centuries. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the custom of enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing) in famous places such as Mount Yoshino (Nara) or Ueno and the Sumida River area (present-day Tokyo) was inspired by the brilliant ukiyo-e illustrations created at the end of the Edo period (1603 – 1868).While most of the works on display are images that have circulated widely ever since their creation, some of the ukiyo-e in this exhibition are very rare works that were originally commissioned by private collectors. These exquisite works feature extremely fine details that show the craftsmanship of the woodcut print artisans. There is no better way to enjoy them than admiring them carefully up close. One corner of the exhibition is dedicated to the ukiyo-e printing process itself, illustrating the various stages undergone by a ukiyo-e print until its completion. If you would like to learn more about the printing techniques that make possible the beautiful ukiyo-e works, take a close look at the tools used by the ukiyo-e carvers and printers. This display offers great insights into craftsmanship behind the fascinating ukiyo-e.Ukiyo-e Printing Demonstration and Trial Session for Foreign Guests Have you ever wondered how the vividly colored Japanese woodcut prints (also known as ukiyo-e or hanga) are made? The printing techniques used to create ukiyo-e have been developed in the Edo period (1603 – 1868) and have gained great popularity through the works of masters such as Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797 – 1858).The Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut Printing is an institution whose mission is to ensure that the woodcut printing techniques are kept alive through the work of contemporary artisans and to spread the public knowledge about this Japanese traditional art. In addition to regular ukiyo-e exhibitions held at the facility’s showroom, the Adachi Foundation holds woodcut print workshops and demonstrations showing the whole process of completing a traditional woodcut print. Picture courtesy of the Adachi Foundation for the Preservation of Woodcut PrintingWoodcut printing is a composite art resulting from the collaboration of three artisans: the artist who draws the image on paper, the carver who carves the image into a woodblock, and the printer who used the woodblock and colors in order to reproduce the original image. They work together with a publisher, the producer who plans each work by observing the social trends and who receives requests from clients.This whole process originates in the Edo period (1603 – 1868) when the ukiyo-e artists used to create images of everyday life, of famous views around the country, or of popular actors and courtesans who were captivating the citizens with their beauty. The participants will be able to see the artisans at work as they recreate one of the most famous ukiyo-e works. At the trial session after the demonstration, the participants will be able to try their hand at making a simple version of a woodcut print! These self-made works can be taken home as souvenirs.The participation to this event is completely free of charge so, if you are in Japan during this time of the year, we strongly encourage you to visit the showroom of the Adachi Institute for Woodcut Prints on April 4th. You will be able to see the both the demonstration and the wonderful exhibition of works illustrating cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji.Because the number of participants in the trial session is limited to 30 persons, please make a reservation by sending an e-mail with your name and the number of participants to the organizers at adachi@adachi-hanga.com.For further details on the event please refer to the website of the Adachi Foundation.last_img read more

Floating In The Sea Strolling Through Itsukushima Shrine Hiroshima

first_imgMomijidani Park is so named for its roughly 200 momiji, or Japanese maple, trees. Here you can also see a five storied pagoda, which lends the area a very classically Japanese atmosphere.The Omotesando Shopping Arcade When it’s high tide, the red Shinto torii of Itsukushima Shrine looks as if it’s floating in the ocean.Part of the Three Most Scenic Views of Japan, alongside Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture and Amanohashidate in Kyoto, Miyajima is a noted tourist spot, visited by many domestic and international tourists each year.The sight of the red torii reflected on the blue of the ocean is stunning, but if you manage to time your visit just right, you’ll be able to see a view so magnificent words will fail you.The red of the torii is reflected within the blue of the ocean. Apparently If you time it just right, you’ll be able to see a view so magnificent that it’ll take your breath away.Itsukushima Shrine isn’t the only famous spot to enjoy on Miyajima however, so today, using the magic of Google Street View (Japanese),we’ll take a trip to and do some sightseeing on this island.The Itsukushima Shrine Torii If you’re looking to buy souvenirs on Miyajima, we highly recommend the Omotesando shopping arcade. At this shopping arcade the large wooden rice paddle, known as a shamoji in Japanese, will surely catch your eye right away. Shamoji are typically used to scoop cooked rice from the pot or serving bowl. Miyajima is believed to be where the shamoji was invented, and as such, you will find many places selling them here.The largest shamoji on display in Miyajima is 7.5 meters long (roughly 24 feet) and weighs 2.5 tons (roughly 5511 pounds). Along with Itsukushima Shrine, the large shamoji here is also a well known symbol of Miyajima. Miyajima is also a famous spot for viewing the brilliant reds of the maple leaves in autumn. As shown above, you’ll be able to see some magnificent scenery when walking along the paths here. Let’s have a closer look at these paths by using Google Street View. After a short distance you’ll arrive at a stone paved path that, on your right, continues onto Momjidani Park.center_img Feel free to click on the screen above and explore the surrounding area.This is Itsukushima Shrine, a structure that has become famous for floating in the ocean. But do you know why it wasn’t built on the shore? Believe it or not, the island of Miyajima itself was looked upon as if it were a god, so they apparently weren’t able to build a shrine to worship that god on the shore.The god of Itsukushima Shrine is one that protects the area of the ocean that runs around it. Because of that, it’s believed that the god here grants wishes concerning ‘traffic safety’ and ‘safety at sea’.There is also apparently an area here that will help you increase your luck with school or studies. Let’s go to Itsukushima Shrine and hope for our various wishes to come true.The Autumn Leaf Path When peering out onto the shopping arcade, you’ll notice a number of stores selling another famous item from Miyajima: the momiji manju. This is a cute Japanese confection modeled after a maple leaf. The outside is made from flour, while the inside is stuffed full of the sweet bean paste known as anko.Part of the fun of visiting Miyajima comes from seeing and trying the various island specialties.At the End of Your TripMiyajima is not just home to a popular shrine, but numerous other sightseeing spots as well. If you’d like to learn more about spots outside of Itsukushima Shrine, take a look at More Than Just Itsukushima Shrine – All The Charming Places In Miyajima.InformationItsukushima ShrineAddress: Hiroshima, Hatsukaichi, Miyajima, 1-1Hours: 1/6-2/28, 10/15-11/30 6:30-17:30; 3/1-10/14 6:30-18:00; 12/1-12/31 6:30-17:00Closed: NeverWi-fi: NoneCredit Cards: NoneOther Languages: Japanese, some EnglishNearest Station: Miyajimaguchi Station, JR Sanyo Main LineAccess: 5 minute walk to Miyajimaguchi ferry, then a 10 minute ferry rideFee: 300 yen for adults, 200 yen for high-school students, 100 yen for elementary and middle school studentsReligious Information: ShintoPhone: 0829-44-2020Website: Itsukushima Shrine (Japanese)last_img read more

Urasandō Garden A Place Where You Can Enjoy Japanese Food and Culture

first_imgOmotesandō 表参道, Tokyo, is known as a fashionable area where one can find famous brands and trendy shops such as the shopping center Omotesandō Hills. “Urasandō Garden” (裏参道ガーデン) is a shopping district that was recently opened in this area, where customers can enjoy Japanese culture and food.Read also: Shopping in “Omotesandō Hills, Where Japanese Trends Are Born Urasandō Garden is Full of Japanese CharmsImages courtesy of Urasandō GardenThis building, which at first glance resembles an apartment building and is a bit different from other buildings in Omotesandō, is Urasandō Garden.On the first floor, there are four shops where you can experience Japanese food and culture. The second floor, on the other hand, is a space with three shops where you can find traditional products manufactured in Japan. Shops are lined up like those on a yokochō, a narrow side street off from the main street. Each shop is overflowing with Japanese charm.Image courtesy of Urasandō GardenThe building itself is originally an old Japanese house and retains that heartwarming atmosphere. Strangers talk to each other in the common space on the first and second floors. This place definitely has a relaxing atmosphere.Make and Taste Matcha Green Tea at “Ujien” (宇治園)At Ujien (Japanese), an old-established tea house on the first floor, you can choose your favorite bowl and experience Japanese sadō (茶道, Japanese tea ceremony) by making matcha yourself.You can find here beverages other than matcha green tea, such as hōjicha (*1). There are also sets popular with female customers such as matcha latte and sweets. “Kurīmu Pan (くりーむパン)” in green tea flavor, available for 250 yen, is their specialty. This is a very rare product which you can only purchase here or at “Ekimarushe Osaka” (エキマルシェ大阪) in the Shin-Osaka Station Building. This soft bread filled with fluffy green tea flavored cream isn’t too sweet and has a hint of bitterness from the green tea. We are sure you will find it delicious.*1: Hōjicha: A type of tea in light brown color made by roasting sencha (煎茶, green tea with a mild flavor) to enhance the fragrance. It has a refreshing taste with less bitterness.Try Japanese Traditional Nel Drip Coffee at “Cafe Façon”This is a coffee shop produced by a well-known cafe in Nakameguro, Cafe Façon. You can enjoy nel drip coffee made by the cafe owner.The nel drip method is a way to make coffee by using a filter made from flannel – a soft, raised fabric.Unlike with paper filters, with this method coffee needs to be dripped by hand each time. However, because of this process, the left-over residue of the coffee will be removed, making each cup mild and refreshing.As this is a method unique to Japan, some foreigners come just to experience the Japanese nel drip coffee.Enjoy The Combination of Wine and Japanese Pickles At Margaux (⚪︎郷)You can enjoy the combination of Japanese wine and Japanese pickles at Margaux.The combination of Japanese pickles and wine is even considered unusual by Japanese people. Most Japanese wine has a smooth taste to it, so it goes well with the sour pickles.This combination should be even more unusual to visitors from overseas. You can also try out shochū (a type of Japanese alcohol) and ochazuke (mixing tea with rice and pickles).At Gokaku, which is another Japanese bistro within Urasandō Garden, atsukan (熱燗, heated Japanese sake) and Japanese meals are available. For those who like Japanese sake, this restaurant is highly recommended.On the Second Floor, Find Products Made in JapanYou can find products made in Japan on the second floor.Kuragarō (蔵がろう) is a shop which introduces Japanese alcoholic beverages and products made in Japan. It is produced by a Japanese sake bar with a membership system in Nishi-Azabu. As you can see by its name, its concept is garō (がろう, a museum or art gallery). You will find Japanese sake samplers and plenty of other Japanese products.Juttoku. is a store specialized in Japanese incense sticks. Not only will you find high-quality, beautiful incense sticks, but you can also make your own incense sticks at their workshop (3,000 yen, material cost included). Workshops are available in English as well.Kakimori (カキモリ) is a stationery store with a full lineup of fountain pens and ink. You can also make your own original notebook by choosing the cover and paper. It only takes about 20 minutes to do so.Image courtesy of Urasandō GardenEach shop may be small but, due of this, you can experience different types of Japanese culture all at once. We hope you will explore Japanese culture using all your five senses at Urasandō Garden.InformationUrasandō GardenAddress: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jingū-mae, 4-15-2Hours: Different for each shopClosed: Open 365 daysWi-Fi: AvailableCredit cards: Different for each shopLanguages: Japanese and EnglishMenu in other languages: Menu available in English (partly in Chinese and Korean)Most accessible station: Omotesandō station (表参道駅) of Tokyo Metro Ginza, Chiyoda, and Hanzōmon lines.Access: 7 minute walk from Omotesandō stationPrice Range: -Religion: -Phone number: -Website: Urasandō Gardenlast_img read more

Nikko Pass Trip Day 1 Enjoy The Breathtaking Nature Of Nikko

first_imgMeasuring 70 meters in height and 30 meters in width, Yudaki Falls is the third of Nikko’s famous waterfalls, along with Kegon Falls and Ryuzu Falls. It’s a majestic and at the same time refreshing sight! First, How to Purchase the Nikko All Area Pass Dining at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel is one of the finest experiences one can enjoy in Nikko. Guests can choose between two types of full-course dinner. Each dish is savory and beautifully arranged on the plate.Breakfast also consists of various tasty dishes that are a feast for the eye and will give one the energy for a new day of explorations in Nikko. Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel View InformationlodgingEnd of Day 1, Get Ready for Day 2!Our recommended itinerary for the first day of a trip using the Nikko Pass focused on relishing the astounding nature in Oku-Nikko, the part of Nikko that’s located high in the mountains.On the second day of your trip, how about exploring the rich history of Nikko by taking a boat cruise on Lake Chuzenji and visiting Nikko’s World Heritage Sites? You can read our recommended itinerary for day 2 HERE.Nikko Pass Trip Day 1 – Route SummaryTobu Asakusa Station → Tobu Nikko Station → Akechidaira Ropeway → Lunch at Nikko Astraea Hotel → Yudaki Falls → Senjogahara Marshland → Chuzenji Kanaya HotelExpensesTransportation: Nikko Pass all area 4,520 yen (*An additional 1,080 yen was required for the express train ticket)Lunch: 2,000 yenAccommodation at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel (one night; two meals included): 19,000 yenFor more information on touristic sites in Nikko and the Nikko Pass, please visit this official webpage dedicated to the Nikko Pass.To find out more about the charms of Nikko, please refer to this website: http://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/Supported by TOBU Railway Co., LTD. Nikko, located north of Tokyo, is best known for being home to the exquisite World Heritage Sites of Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple and Futarasan Shrine. However, Nikko also has a long history as a summer resort area, favored especially by imperial princes and foreign diplomats who cherished the rich nature of this region.The most convenient way to travel to Nikko from Tokyo is using the Nikko Pass, which exists in two versions – the All Area Pass (4,520 yen), a 4-day ticket that includes a round trip from Tokyo to Nikko and unlimited train and bus rides in the Nikko-Yumoto Onsen-Chuzenji Onsen-Kinugawa Onsen area, and the World Heritage Area Pass (2,000 yen), a 2-day ticket that includes a round trip from Tokyo to Nikko and unlimited bus rides in the Nikko World Heritage area and the area around Nikko Station.In this article, we introduce a recommended itinerary that will allow you to enjoy the splendid nature of Nikko on your first day visiting here. This course will take you to the part of Nikko that is located in the mountains, to Lake Chuzenji and Senjogahara Marshland, a natural heritage site.A day spent relishing the beauty of this area will help you understand what inspired the ascetics from ancient times to build here the amazing temples and shrines that are known today as Nikko’s World Heritage Sites, which we recommend visiting on your second day in Nikko.Read also Nikko Pass – The Key to an Unforgettable Trip to Nikko Once in Nikko, head for the bus stop which is right in front of Tobu Nikko Station. In order to reach Akechidaira Ropeway, the first recommended destination on our itinerary, I took the bus heading to Yumoto Onsen from platform 2A of the bus stop.Get on the bus through the front door and show your Nikko Pass to the driver. Please aware that you need to show your pass again when getting off the bus so keep you Nikko Pass at hand.10:05 – 11:15 — Akechidaira Ropeway – A Sweeping View of the Oku-Nikko Area! Picture courtesy of TOBU Railway Co., LTD.After a 40-minute bus ride, I got off at Akechidaira bus stop. The Akechidaira Ropeway station is a few meters away from the bus stop. Just show your Nikko Pass to the ropeway staff and you’ll be guided to the first gondola.After a 3-minute ride on the Akechidaira Ropeway, you’ll reach the Akechidaira Plateau which offers a breathtaking view of the entire area of Oku-Nikko. In the distance, you’ll be able to see Lake Chuzenji, the Kegon Falls, and Mount Nantai, which has been an object of religious worship for many centuries.The view is especially beautiful in autumn when the forest changes color to many hues of red and yellow, creating a wonderful contrast to the blue waters of Lake Chuzenji.To make it in time to the next destination, please make sure to get back to the ground station no later than 11:05 to take the 11:15 bus that’s heading to Yumoto Onsen. Our next stop is Kotoku Onsen – Nikko Astraea Hotel which will be reached at 11:50. Akechidaira Ropeway View Information12:00 – 14:02 — An Exquisite Lunch at Nikko Astraea Hotel Nikko Astraea Hotel is a well-established hotel and onsen resort, ideal for those who seek to relax in tranquility. The hotel is located in the nature-rich area of Oku-Nikko. To enjoy some of the best cuisine of Nikko, we recommend having lunch at Nikko Astraea Hotel. I chose the Washoku Gozen set meal (2,000 yen) which includes delicious sashimi made of Nikko’s famous yuba (tofu skin), rice, simmered beef and various other smaller side dishes. It was a typical Japanese, delicious meal.After lunch, we suggest taking a walk around the hotel. Kotoku Bokujo, Nikko’s famous pasture, is located right in front of the hotel and right beside it is Kotoku Marsh, an area full of greenery that is part of Nikko National Park. Or how about trying the excellent hot springs at Nikko Astraea Hotel? Nikko Astraea Hotel View Informationlodging14:02 – 17:00 — Amazing Views! Yudaki Falls and Senjogahara MarshlandFrom Nikko Astraea Hotel, take the 14:02 bus for Yumoto Onsen and get off at Yutaki-iriguchi (i’s only two stops away). A few steps away from the bus stop in the direction of your bus, there is a pathway to the left leading to Yudaki Falls. The first half of the trail goes along Yukawa River, whose clear waters are home to rare water plants and algae. The second half crosses a plateau flanked by the majestic mountains of Nikko.In this area, besides the enthusiastic hikers who walk the trail greeting each other when they meet, you’ll spot many photographers taking pictures of the wild birds that inhabit Senjogahara. It is a truly beautiful trail that will make you realize just how rich is the natural environment of Nikko.Toward the end of the trail, the trail branches off in two: you can either choose to walk to the Ryuzu Falls which is 1.4 km away to the right, or head to Akanuma bus stop which is 200 m to the left. If you still have energy, feel free to go see the Ryuzu Falls too, but please be aware that you’ll have to return to the Akanuma bus stop in time to take the bus (after 18:00, the bus comes at 18:10, 18:35 and 19:40).*Please also be aware that in autumn and winter, it becomes dark after 17:00. We don’t recommend trekking in the dark.If you reach the Akanuma bus stop by 17:00, take the 17:05 bus heading to Nikko Station and get off after four stops, at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel-Mae. Senjogahara View Information17:15 ~ Stay at the Elegant Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel Nikko Pass Trip Day 2 – Discover The World Heritage Sites Of Nikko! To the right of the souvenir shop located in front of Yudaki Falls there’s a gate you might miss unless you look for it. This is the entrance to the Senjogahara Marshland, a place of scenic beauty Nikko is famous for. The fence around the entrance is to prevent the intrusion of deer which could damage the ecosystem of the marshland. Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel is one of the best hotels in Nikko, with a history going back to the Meiji Period. This facility is the ideal choice for a relaxing stay in Nikko, as it provides wide, comfortable rooms, tranquil surroundings full of greenery, refined cuisine and excellent hot spring baths. The first thing you’ll notice when getting off the bus at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel-Mae bus stop is Lake Chuzenji, glistening in the light of dusk. It’s the perfect moment to capture the beauty of Chuzenjiko, the lake located at the highest altitude in Japan – 1300 m above sea level. The Nikko Pass can be purchased online, at TOBU Tourist Information Center ASAKUSA, and at the 1F Ticket Counter in Asakusa Station (Tobu Skytree Line).If you purchase your ticket online, the voucher you receive can be exchanged at TOBU TIC Asakusa for your Nikko Pass on the day of your trip. There is foreign language speaking staff available who can offer useful information.At the 1F Ticket Counter, the Nikko Pass can be bought from early in the morning when the first train departs to the last train in the evening. However, the staff at this counter will offer support in Japanese only, therefore it is recommended that you decide beforehand on the type of pass you wish to purchase and on the date when you start using it.Please be aware that the Nikko Pass does not include the entry fees to the natural and historical tourist attractions of Nikko.Also, if you travel to Nikko by limited express (which we strongly recommend for a time-saving, hassle-free ride), you’ll have to book a limited express ticket. The limited express fare is discounted for Nikko Pass holders and is paid separately as it differs depending on train type. It won’t exceed 1,160 yen for a one-way ride.TOBU Tourist Information Center ASAKUSA opens at 7:20, so if you plan to leave for Nikko early in the morning, we suggest buying the Nikko Pass beforehand so that you can take the 7:30 limited express train for Nikko.The route introduced in this article can be followed using the Nikko Pass All Area. Tobu Tourist Information Center ASAKUSA View Informationtravel_agency7:30 – 9:20 — Traveling to Nikko from TokyoIn order to reach Nikko as early as possible, I took the 7:30 Tobu Limited Express for Nikko from Asakusa Station. Instead of going through the ticket gates, show your Nikko Pass to the Tobu Railway staff positioned near the ticket gates. Guests are welcome to while away in the lobby or in the lounge on the second floor, sipping a complementary cup of tea, browsing through the books in the lounge or gazing at the waters of Lake Chuzenji. The classic elegance of the facility will win anyone’s heart! The 4.5 km long nature trail through Senjogahara Marshland, from Yudaki Falls to Akanuma, will take you through some of the most beautiful nature sights in Japan. There are several other hiking courses but this might be the easiest to walk.Senjogahara Marshland is part of the Nikko National Park and is a natural heritage site, with many unique types of flora and fauna.last_img read more

Niigata See WorldFamous Art Ride A Unique Bullet Train And Relish Fine

first_imgFor lunch, go to Yukinto, famous for its bakudan onigiri, which is a large rice ball with a savory filling inside. All the onigiri is made from Koshihikari, a local rice product. Cooked on a stovetop, the rice is deliciously fragrant and has a nice texture. Photograph courtesy of JR EastGenbi Shinkansen, a remodeled version of the E3 type of train, is a train featuring artwork on its exterior and interior, connecting Niigata and Echigo-Yuzawa Stations. The stylish train was designed by the photographer and film director, Ninagawa Mika. Photograph Courtesy of JR EastJR EAST PASS(Nagano, Niigata area) allows the user to ride all the JR trains (including the Genbi Shinkansen) and buses in the designated area. For further information, please check the link below.JR EAST PASS(Nagano, Niigata area)** JR EAST PASS can be purchased only by travelers visiting Japan. Please note that Japanese nationals and foreign nationals residing in Japan without a tourist visa cannot purchase this pass.Read also “Rolling Cylinder, 2012” by Carsten Holler/Photograph by Osamu NakamuraPermanent exhibitions are on the second floor. The corridor of red, white will test the visitors’ sense of balance. Photographs of this piece are frequently uploaded on social network services. Sakata – Meet Maiko And Taste Exquisite Seafood In A Retro Port Town To visit the popular spots in Niigata City, take the Niigata City Kanko Junkan Bus (sightseeing loop bus). If you have any large luggage, stow it in the coin-operated locker at the station before embarking on the tour.9:30 – Niigata City Art Museum for Culture, Gourmet Treats, and GiftsFrom Niigata Station to Niigata City Art Museum – 30-minute bus ride Go to Yamagata And Niigata with JR EAST PASS!Yamagata and NiigataCheck the following site for Tohoku Region travel information:TOHOKU BUFFETWritten by ChenSponsored by Yamagata Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture Be sure to visit this museum when you’re hungry, as Kokage Cafe L’ombrage serves delicious bagels, made without eggs or dairy products. The miso bagel (346 yen including tax) is the most popular on the menu, and has a flavorful and enticing aroma, making it a satisfying choice. Ponshukan, a souvenir shop selling Niigata-based products, is located inside Echigo-Yuzawa Station. Don’t miss this store when passing through the station. Those who enjoy adult beverages should stop by Kikizake Bansho, where visitors can sample 132 types of Japanese sake. “Palimpsest: Pond of Sky” by Leandro Erlich/Photograph by Osamu NakamuraHara Hiroshi, who also designed the prominent Kyoto Station Building, is the architect of Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art KINARE. The museum was established in 2003. The square-shaped first floor is often used to hold special exhibitions. The museum collection consists of approximately 4,800 works of art. Most of the artists of these pieces are from Niigata, or have a local connection to the prefecture.You can also appreciate the architecture along with the artwork. The architect is Niigata-native Mayekawa Kunio, who is known as a pioneer and leader of Japanese modernism. Cloudy weather is common in Niigata, so the museum ceiling is painted a clear blue to cheer up the visitors.center_img KOJI-latte serves fermented drinks using koji (malted rice). These beverages are popular with both older and younger younger generations, as they are nutritious and come in smartly-designed cups. They are also popular on social media.The small-size koji latte (390 yen including tax) and koji soft-served ice cream (380 yen including tax) are among the best-selling choices on the menu. They contain a faint fragrance of sake and a smooth texture.After enjoying the various dishes at the station, use the Hokuhoku Line to go to Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art KINARE, located in Tokamachi. Ponshukan Echigo-Yuzawa Store View Information14:15 – KINARE: A Museum Full of Dreamy Art in NiigataFrom Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Tokamachi Station – 30-minute ride on Hokuhoku LineFrom Tokamachi Station to KINARE – 10-minute walk Photograph courtesy of JR EastCar No. 15 has unique seating which allows passengers to appreciate the works of art and the mystical atmosphere.With the JR EAST PASS(Nagano, Niigata area), visitors can ride the Genbi Shinkansen with no additional charge.12:15 – Ponshukan: Enjoy Fine Niigata Cuisine and BeveragesFrom Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Ponshukan – 1-minute walk Yamagata – Enjoy Scenic Yamadera Temple And Exquisite Fruit Parfaits! “○ in □” by Massimo Bartolini featuring Lorenzo P. Bini/Photograph by Osamu NakamuraKINARE is one of the sites for Echigo-Tsumari Art Field, a triennale exhibition held in Tokamachi and Tsunanmachi, Niigata Prefecture. The triennale’s seventh exhibition was held in 2018, featuring 378 art pieces from 44 countries.To find out the museum’s current exhibition, please take a look at the official site. After KINARE, let’s head back to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, and try the ashiyu (foot bath). Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, KINARE View Informationmuseum17:00 – Ashiyu Kannakuri: A Relaxing FootbathFrom Tokamachi Station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station – 30-minute ride on Hokuhoku LineFrom Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Ashiyu Kannakuri – 7-minute walk Lu lu lu, the museum shop, is run by designers based in Niigata. The shop offers items related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions, along with seasonal products.Ukihoshi, a traditional confectionery of rice cakes covered in syrup, is the most popular dessert on the menu (410 yen including tax). It would also make a nice souvenir with its simple, sweet taste.After enjoying the museum, head back to Niigata Station, and ride the Genbi Shinkansen to the next stop, Echigo-Yuzawa Station. Niigata City Art Museum View Informationmuseum11:00 – Genbi Shinkansen: The World’s Fastest Art Experience!From Niigata City Art Museum to Niigata Station – 30-minute bus rideFrom Niigata Station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station – 50-minute Shinkansen ride Photograph courtesy of JR EastThe design of Car No. 11 is inspired by gokoku hojo (*1) and light, along with the speeding image of the Shinkansen.*1 Gokoku hojo: A rich harvest of crops such as rice, wheat, and beans. Echigo-Yuzawa is renowned for its onsen (hot springs). After walking around all day, try the free foot bath at Ashiyu Kannakuri.If you really want to relax, stay the night at an onsen ryokan (Japanese-style inn) at Echigo-Yuzawa. Those interested in Echigo Onsen should read Strolling Around Echigo-Yuzawa. Ashiyu Kannakuri View InformationspaA Cost-Efficient Ticket for Appreciating Art in Niigata Niigata Prefecture: A Destination for Art LoversNiigata Prefecture is known for its production of delicious Japanese rice, but it is also a great place to appreciate art. Art lovers should head for Niigata City Art Museum, which showcases a local collection of pieces related to Niigata, and Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art KINARE, which displays internationally-renowned artwork.This tour starts from Niigata Station, a two hour ride on the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station. Read this article to learn about the artwork and fine cuisine of Niigata, using the JR EAST PASS(Nagano, Niigata area).9:00 – Start at Niigata Station Yonezawa, Yamagata – Experience Local Cuisine And Traditional Crafts!last_img read more

Enjoy ShabuShabu and Red Bean Rice Porridge at Ginza Shabusen

first_imgShabu-shabu is a Japanese meat fondue. Prime beef is cut into paper-thin strips and dipped into a hot broth for a few seconds. A special dip made from sesame sauce or ponzu-soy sauce (a mixture of soy sauce and citron juice) gives the meat an exotic flavour. Not only beef, but also onions,tofu,mushrooms,carrots,noodles are cooked in the broth.There are various restaurants where you can eat shabu-shabu in Tokyo.In this article,I introduce you about a restaurant where you can eat them in Ginza.There is a shopping building called “Ginza Core” on Ginza Chuo-dori Street. “Shabusen”, a restaurant that is a pioneer of pot dish for one person, is located on the second floor of the building. It is kind of a sister restaurant to “Zakuro” that is the first shabu-shabu restaurant in Kanto area established in 1955. It has another location with many counter seats on the second basement of the building.If you sit on the seat surrounding the preparing space, you can enjoy the elegant movements of the staff, protectively taking out the meat wrapped in cloth from the fridge, slicing the meat with the slicer in front of you, and serving it in a respectful manner. You must swallow hard until the very moment you bring the thinly sliced meat after plunging it in broth a few times.At lunch, a wide range of menu is available ranging from the casual lunch A with half-and-half of beef and pork (1,286 yen) to the Japanese black beef loin (4,423 yen). This time, I will introduce the casual lunch A which is the most reasonable choice in the menu.Enjoy Shabu-Shabu with Red Bean Rice PorridgeThe casual lunch A consists of 50 g of beef and 50 g of pork shabu-shabu, assorted vegetables, and rice or red bean rice porridge. The ponzu sauce and sesame sauce taste delicious. If you wrap spring onion with meat, it also tastes wonderful with slightly spicy taste.Among the vegetables, especially the brown seaweed with a melting texture tastes great and goes well both with the ponzu sauce and sesame sauce. Besides, the staff’s service is outstanding. They remove the foam from your pot, replenish soup and spring onion and offer a refill of rice or red bean rice porridge at the right moment. If you ask for grated garlic, they are willing to serve it for you. You can eat rice and red bean rice porridge as much as you like, so be careful not to eat too much.As many foreigners come to this restaurant, the menu is available in English, Chinese and Thai.You can choose rice or red bean rice porridge, but I would recommend red bean rice porridge. The rice porridge has the slightly sweet taste of winter-white rice and the aroma of red bean. They suggest you put as much sugar as you like on it, while people usually don’t put sugar on rice porridge. Filled with suspicion, I tentatively tried it. In fact, due to the refined sweetness, I could have endlessly eaten the meat and rice porridge alternately.Although organic sugar has been used before, white superior soft sugar is used now due to customer’s request. The taste has been slightly changed, but it is somehow different from the rice porridge I cook at home.The slightly sweet taste makes the red bean rice porridge delicious. Keep the adequate sweetness level for rice porridge and never add sugar to the level of ohagi (rice cake covered/filled with red bean paste).At the end of the lunch, they make soup using your shabu-shabu pot. If you order noodle instead of rice or red bean rice porridge, they will make ramen, which tastes great, too!That’s all for the casual set A. The service set includes dessert.If you would like to eat more, you can order extra meat and vegetables. Every customer can order dishes according to their own body condition and truly enjoy their time by receiving the Ginza style service.InformationShabusenAddress: Ginza Core B2F, 5-8-20 Ginza, Chuo-ku, TokyoOpening hours: 11:00-22:00 (L.O. 21:00) Lunch 11:00-16:00 (Sat, Sun, holidays until 15:00)Closing days: Dec 31, Jan 1, irregular holidays (follow Ginza Core’s holidays)Wi-Fi: Not availableCredit card: Available (VISA, MASTER, JCB, AMEX, Diners)Languages: Menu available in English, Chinese, ThaiNearest station: Ginza Station of Ginza Line, Marunouchi Line, Hibiya Line of Tokyo MetroAccess: 1-min walk from Exit A3 or A5 of Ginza StationPrice: 1,000 – 5,000 yenTel: 03-3572-3806Official HP (JP): http://www.ginza-core.co.jp/shops/gourmet/gourmet_10.html (Ginza Core HP)last_img read more

Enjoy a Walk through Oitas Little Kyoto Mamedamachi

first_imgHita (日田), a valley town in Oita prefecture (大分県), Kyushu region, is rich in forest resources and was an Imperial domain (tenryō) directly governed by the Tokugawa Shogunate (*1) during the Edo era. Even now, this charming town retains traces of its once very prosperous forestry industry.Read also: Japanese Encylopedia: Edo Jidai (Edo Period)*1 Tokugawa Shogunate: also known as the Tokugawa bakufu (1603-1867), it was a system of government that lasted for roughly 260 years. The power belonged to the warrior class, and the country was run primarily by the leaders in Edo (modern-day Tokyo). Imperial domains were directly controlled by the Here you see the mainly wooden JR Hita Station (JR日田駅). This particular attraction is located on the south side of the station and is a popular photography spot. If you stand between the H and the T, you can make yourself into the missing I. Why not give it a try?If you exit the station and head right, you will find the Tourist Information Center, which has pamphlets available in English, Korea and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional).From here, if you head north from the station and walk for 15-20 minutes, you will come across Mamedamachi (豆田町). Along the way, you are sure to see some signs of the current forestry industry, such as the stacked logs in this photo. This region is particularly famous for their excellent timber, Hita-sugi or Hita Japanese cedar.Upon entering Mamedamachi, one of the first buildings you encounter is the former residence of Hirose Tansō. He was a scholar in the Edo era and, for the sake of his young students’ education founded Kangien, a preparatory school here. Kangien existed in a time when, without regard to the social hierarchy (shinōkōjō 士農工商, *2) of the time, academic background, age or social position, most people could not attend school. Nevertheless, it successfully turned out a great number of scholars and educators based on their own individual merits.*2 Shinōkōjō: the class system established in the Edo era, according to which nobility and warriors were at the top, followed by farmers, workers and merchants at the bottom.At the temple on the way, you will see these stone Buddha statues and statues of Jizō all in a row. Here you can see some of the offerings that have been left by the locals, which shows how well-loved these icons are by the townspeople.We have finally reached the heart of Mamedamachi. The sight of the gas lamps lining this street proves the dedication of the locals toward preserving this beautiful townscape. With Miyuki road to the west and Uwamachi road to the east, these two roads running from north to the south are interconnected with numerous narrow alleyways that add to the elegant atmosphere of the townscape.Here you see one of the buildings on Miyuki road, which is well-known for its characteristic ocher mud walls. Called Nagaya, this long and narrow former tract house has been divided into smaller shops and residences.If you walk to the north end of Uwamachi road, you will find Isshin-bashi (Isshin bridge), spanning a clear stream. From here, you will see Miyuki bridge.Beyond Isshin bridge lies the Kunchō Sake Brewery (薫長酒蔵). Their oldest storehouse began in 1702. Within their facilities they have a museum and a shop where you can go on a tour and even sample some of their wares.Let’s Enjoy the Wooden Products of Hita!Along both of the streets lie different traditional Japanese shops which are great fun to shop at. Here is a shop selling wooden products specific to Hita.Here are some wooden chopping boards, with a characteristic style unchanged by time. For more modern tastes, wooden pizza trays and even cheese-cutting boards are sold here.This is a shop specializing in chopsticks; you can even have your name carved into your very own chopsticks.One of Hita’s special products are geta, Japanese wooden sandals. Various types of geta are available here, from those made from sealed raw timber to highly lacquered wooden sandals.If you would like to see how comfortable and easy it is to walk with geta, try them on before making a purchase. You can ask the staff: “Tameshi ni haitemite ii desu ka?” (“May I try them on?”) first.Hita’s Mamedamachi is most appealing for its community-minded protection and preservation of its historical townscape. By all means, rather than just looking about, try talking with the locals. You might find yourself making some even more incredible memories of your trip this way.Next time, we will take a look at a cafe in Mamedamachi that the Malaysian Prime Minister loved and more of their unique spots.InformationHita, MamedamachiAddress: Oita, Hita, MamedamachiHours/Closed: Depends on shopWi-fi: -Credit Cards: Depends on shopOther Languages: Depends on shopNearest Station: JR Hita Station (JR日田駅)Access: 15-20 minute walk north from JR Hita StationPrice Range: Depends on shopPhone Number: -Homepage: Hita-Mamedamachi (Japanese)last_img read more

The Fundamentals Of Donburi Rice With Delicious Toppings

first_imgDonburi (丼) is a good example of Japanese cooking: a large bowl with steaming hot rice and a warm, flavorful topping. Eating this topping with the rice at the base is a completely different taste experience compared to other dishes where the rice is served separately. Donburi are well-loved by all ages and genders. Today, let’s look at the six most popular types of donburi dishes.1. KatsudonKatsudon is a fried pork cutlet (*1) that has been lightly fried in a mixture of soy sauce and scrambled egg, then placed on rice. It combines Japanese flavors, fried foods and meat, making it very popular with many different groups of people. The average price of katsudon runs around 800 yen, and is a guaranteed part of most soba and set meal restaurants. Recently, the katsudon specialist chain shop Katsuya has been selling one variety of this dish for 500 yen.*1 Tonkatsu: fried pork cutlets that have been battered in a mix of flour, egg and bread crumbs.Read also:Japanese Encyclopedia: Teishoku (Set Meal)“Tonkatsu Tonki”, the Deep-Fried Pork of 74 Years in Meguro Crispy Tonkatsu at Kuramae’s Famous “Sugita”2. Ten-donPhoto by:hirotomo t on FlickrTen-don has tempura resting on rice with a mild sauce poured over it. As there are many different forms of tempura, from shrimp to seasonal vegetables, this dish in particular has a lot of variety to offer in taste. The price of ten-don also varies greatly. Shrimp or anago (grilled eel) tempura can be quite pricey, while “kakiage-don” (*2) is comparatively cheap. Ten-don is commonly found at tempura or soba restaurants and ranges in price from 500 yen to about 1500 yen.*2 Kakiage: a type of tempura where the ingredients have been chopped, battered and fried into cakes.3. Gyū-donPhoto by:jetalone on FlickrGyū-don is made from thinly sliced beef and onions that have been saturated in a salty-sweet soy sauce-based sauce then laid over the rice. Yoshinoya and Sukiya, two popular gyū-don chain restaurants can be found at almost every station so you can easily enjoy gyū-don anywhere. Your meal will arrive mere minutes after ordering it at one of these shops, and most bowls of gyū-don start from 300 yen, making it perfect for business lunches or a late dinner.4. UnadonUnagi-don is a slightly sweet, savory rice bowl that has kabayaki (*3) on top of the rice. As unagi is rather expensive to begin with, this donburi tends to cost about 1000 yen and is typically only available at traditional Japanese restaurants or unagi specialty shops.*3 Kabayaki: eel that has been dipped in a salty-sweet sauce before being broiled.5. OyakodonPhoto by:ume-y on FlickrIn this dish, the chicken is first cut into bite-sized pieces and then stewed in an egg soy sauce base, then put on top of the rice. The dish itself is called oyakodon because it refers to “oya” (“parents”) – in this case chicken – and “ko” (“child/children”) – the eggs. It’s quite popular thanks to the combination between the delicious taste of the chicken and the thick richness of the eggs. You can easily find this dish at set meal restaurants or soba shops.6. KaisendonFrom: Rice Bowl Filled with Seafood in Wakura Hot Spring AreaKaisendon refers to a beautifully arranged assortment of shrimp, squid and a variety of fresh fish sashimi placed on top of rice; this rice may be plain white rice or sushi rice. Rather than pouring sauce over this dish, many prefer to eat the sashimi separately with soy sauce. Kaisendon can be found at Japanese restaurants, sushi shops and of course near Tsukiji Fish Market. The pricing for this dish is somewhat different than the others as, depending on the ingredients and their quality, the price can run from very reasonable to quite expensive.last_img read more

Nadai Fujisoba Your GoTo Stop For Casual Soba Noodles And Katsudon

first_imgThe Niku Fuji Soba is soba noodle dish topped with meat and an onsen tamago (soft boiled egg). This one will satisfy your tummy for just 470 yen (with tax). It’s one of the few menus that have Fuji in its name.2. Tempura Soba Another dish we highly recommend is the katsudon. The chain’s special sauce is soaked into the chewy pork, which is covered with a soft blanket of egg. It’s one of Fujisoba’s signature dishes, and is so popular that many customers come here just for this. The bowls are made to order, so you can enjoy fresh katsudon here any time. Nadai FujisobaFounded in 1966, Nadai Fujisoba is a major soba and udon chain that has joints not only throughout Japan, but also in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, and other countries. Inside the shops you’ll hear enka (*1) music produced by the founder himself. The shops have a traditional Japanese-style atmosphere where you can sit back and relax while enjoying your meal.*1 Enka: a genre of Japanese music that was especially popular in the 1970s. The genre still has many fans today as a traditional Japanese style of music.Nadai Fujisoba Ikebukuro They say their tempura topping on the Tempura Soba have been fried at the shops since they installed a special fryer in 2014. This allows the chain to offer crispy and healthy tempura to customers.Fujisoba also takes their dipping sauce (tsuyu) from dashi stock made within their stores, and doesn’t use any preservatives.3. Katsudon Dishes Today we visit the Nadai Fujisoba shop in Ikebukuro. Maybe because of the fact that Animate Ikebukuro Main Store is located nearby, they say that about 40 to 50% of all their customers are visitors from Asia. The soba noodle dishes produced by this chain is very popular among tourists.3 Nadai Fujisoba Signature DishesNow let’s check out three of Nadai Fujisoba’s most popular dishes.1. Niku Fuji Sobalast_img read more

British Columbian members of the Order of Canada pen antipipeline letter

first_imgVANCOUVER – Dozens of Order of Canada members from British Columbia are urging the federal government to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Bonnie Sherr Klein, Dorothy Grant, Gabor Mate and Raffi Cavoukian are among 42 members who signed a letter asking the federal government to use the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling as an opportunity to rethink the project.In the letter, the signatories say they are concerned about the deep divisions that have been created by how the “economy vs. climate” debate is framed.They say they want to see investment in clean energy and a diversified economy as rapidly as possible, and retraining for those who would suffer immediate job loss.In a recent decision overturning approval for the pipeline expansion, the court said the federal government failed to meaningfully consult First Nations and to consider the impacts of tanker traffic on marine life in its approval process.Ottawa purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is considering options to get the project restarted.In place of the pipeline expansion, the Order of Canada members say in the letter released Thursday that the country needs to develop a comprehensive energy transition plan that is commensurate with the crisis of climate change.“As members of the Order of Canada, whose motto is ‘They Desire a Better Country,’ we believe it is our role as citizens to speak out about our government’s purchase and building of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” the letter says.“We call on the government to create an energy transition plan that respects First Nations land, resources and economic development issues, honours Canada’s commitments to the Paris Accord and includes opportunities for dialogue among Canadians to reduce divisiveness and create a future that is sustainable for all.”last_img read more

Fireweary California homeowners face long road to recovery

first_imgCalifornians who lost a home to the state’s wildfires could face a nightmarish recovery as they try to rebuild.It’s always a challenge to recuperate after any disaster, but California residents face a unique problem. Experts say the seemingly endless series of devastating wildfires in recent years has increased costs and limited the available pool of workers needed to rebuild.Homeowners can also find themselves confused by the insurance system and even underinsured, leaving them to bear more of the costs of rebuilding than they might have expected.Blazes have been so frequent that the state government recently passed a spate of laws intended to help victims of wildfires, but experts say it can still sometimes take years for a home to be rebuilt.California is currently fighting three fires — the Camp Fire in the northern part of the state and the Woolsey and Hill fires just outside of Los Angeles in the south. Statewide, thousands of people have been evacuated, more than 225,000 acres have burned and 44 people have died.The Camp Fire is now deemed the most deadly in the state’s history — killing at least 42 people and burning more than 125,000 acres. That follows this summer’s Mendocino Complex fire, which burned more than 459,000 acres and led to more than $56 million in insured losses, and a particularly brutal fire season in 2017.Credit rating agency Moody’s on Monday estimated that insured losses for the three current fires will be between $3 billion and $6 billion. The staggering price tag is due in part to the size of the fires but also the costs of rebuilding — both materials and labour.Dan Dunmoyer, president and CEO of the California Building Industry Association, said builders were having trouble finding enough workers prior to the fires because of high demand for housing in the state. The spate of fires has only worsened the problem and that adds to the delay for consumers.“If your home burns down by itself, you have no problem rebuilding, but if it burns down with 2,000 others, you have to wait,” Dunmoyer said.Homeowners also sometimes find themselves struggling to navigate the insurance system.United Policyholders, a non-profit that aims to help consumers with insurance issues, said that it regularly hears from policyholders struggling with their insurer following a disaster. Policies may not have been updated in some time or estimates of rebuilding costs were too low, so homeowners find themselves on the hook for large expenses. The group estimates, based on polls of communities affected by disasters, that roughly two-thirds of insured households are underinsured. Or, they simply are struggling to jump through the hoops.“The insurance piece really gets people because they felt like it was the rug getting pulled out from under them,” said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders. “OK, I lost everything, but at least I have insurance. But then insurance is a fight.”While it can be a smooth process for some, others feel like “mother nature just took my house, now insurance took my sanity,” she said.The process became so problematic that a series of laws were passed to help protect homeowners.Under the new rules, homeowners have three years to rebuild and a six-month extension if the delays are out of their control. Insurance companies must also now provide an updated cost for rebuilding every time a policyholder renews, to help prevent the sticker shock some victims suffered. Other changes allow more time to sue their insurer following a declared disaster, given that it now takes longer to rebuild.All the same, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has expressed disappointment the state couldn’t do more. Californians are still able to find property and casualty insurance, although Jones has previously warned that the increasing number and severity of wildfires will limit availability and increase costs in the future.Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Presslast_img read more

BJP targets Rahul Priyanka over land deals Cong dismisses allegation as baseless

first_imgNew Delhi: The BJP Wednesday dragged Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into alleged corruption involving land deals, claiming the opposition party has come to define “family corruption” by “institutionalising” graft. Citing a media report, Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani told reporters that Robert Vadra is “merely a mask” in the controversial land deals and his brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi is the “real face”. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! Dismissing the allegations, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Facing imminent defeat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his favourites are resorting to levelling completely baseless and fake allegations”. At a press conference, Irani said, “The country has come to know that the brother-in-law (Rahul) is also involved with his ‘jija’ (Robert Vadra) in this family package of corruption”. Referring to the report, Irani claimed that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra purchased land in a deal involving H L Pahwa, who was raided by the Enforcement Directorate, and Mahesh Kumar Nagar, who also had a role in land transaction involving Robert Vadra. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed Pahwa, she said, was lent money by C C Thampi who is “friends” with controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari. The BJP leader claimed that Gandhi’s opposition to a defence deal, an apparent reference to the Rafale transaction, was due to his “financial and family” interests as he wanted a rival company to bag the contract. The Congress president should answer about his relations with Pahwa in these land transactions, Irani said. To a question about Union minister Ananth Hegde’s controversial comments against the Gandhi family, including Sonia Gandhi, Irani parried the query saying she had not heard his statement but added that she was at the receiving end of the “same team Rahul Gandhi” when it comes to commenting against women.last_img read more

UN fight against hunger on earth receives spaceage help in raising awareness

This is the ninth consecutive year that Intelsat is distributing UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)TeleFood concerts, awareness-raising events that have mobilized resources for hundreds of community-based, hunger-fighting projects. To date, TeleFood has generated close to $21 million in donations and funded 2,400 projects in 132 countries. “Intelsat’s generosity and years of support have helped FAO to maximize the impact of the TeleFood message, by enabling global awareness of these events,” FAO Assistant Director-General for knowledge and communications Lorraine Williams said. “TeleFood has made it possible for FAO to share information in the more than 100 countries around the world which have benefited from roughly 2,400 hunger-fighting projects.” “Millions of people have, as a result of the reach of satellite technology, participated in the drive to eradicate hunger by donating generously to support TeleFood projects.” The two concerts, “Musica vs. Hambre” in Asunción, Paraguay and the “TeleFood Cuba” concert in Havana, Cuba, held respectively on 21 September and 11 November 2006, gathered an impressive line-up of world class performers in support of the TeleFood Campaign.Entertainment stars and other celebrities included Ronan Keating, Paul Young, Noa (Paraguay), the late Compay Segundo, Chucho Valdés and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuba). TeleFood is FAO’s annual campaign of broadcasts, concerts and other events around the world aimed at reaching out and raising awareness about hunger. “Intelsat is pleased to support the UN in this and the UN’s other communications requirements around the world,” Intelsat Vice President for Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Dianne VanBeber said, noting that with 52 satellites serving over 200 countries and territories the company is ideally suited to distribute global programming such as the FAO TeleFood concerts. 13 September 2007The United Nations battle against hunger on Earth will receive reinforcements from space today when Intelsat, the world’s leading satellite services provider, will use its global network to distribute two concerts in a campaign to help reduce the number of hungry people on the planet. read more

Joint opposition Parliamentarians protest in Colombo

He also said the Government is taking revenge on members of the former regime and is interfering in the judiciary. (Colombo Gazette) Joint opposition Parliamentarians staged a protest in Colombo against the Government today.Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa said that the Government has failed to keep to the promises it gave the public.