Food & Drink
JAPAN FARM STAY: Ancient Japanese self-sufficient rural living based on the theme of interaction with locals in an off-grid, one-story house
The village of Ueyama in Mimasaka City, Okayama Prefecture, is a place where country challengers who are neither "outsiders" nor "country people" gather, and about 40 percent of its 150 residents are young newcomers. Here, young newcomers pass on and evolve the history and culture of Japanese farming villages as they learn about them from the elderly locals, who make up the remaining 60 percent of the local population. Residents always call out to each other when crossing paths, go to their neighbor's house to borrow soy sauce if they are running short, and take their neighbor's laundry inside when it rains. It is a beautiful village filled with warmth and care, and it shows the richness of the traditional Japanese way of life.
Experience this way of life through a tour that includes accommodation in an off-grid, one-story house away, which combines solar power and a rainwater filtration system. The tour also offers spectacular views of terraced rice fields recognized as "Tsunagu Tanada Heritage," a sea of clouds, as well as a clay wall smoked sauna experience and a bamboo craft workshop using Ueyama bamboo.
Intimate discovery of Benesse Art Site Naoshima: Enjoy the wide array of entertainment in the Seto Inland Sea for 2 days on Naoshima Island
A local guide will lead participants through the art facilities and provide support as they take the opportunity to explore and connect deeply with the history and philosophy of the activities of Benesse Art Site Naoshima. The tour offers first-class hospitality, including an introductory video created especially for this tour that summarizes the thoughts of the founders and architects, a helicopter and cruiser ride to see the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea archipelago from every angle, a stay in the Oval Suite at Benesse House, a special menu at the hotel's Terrace Restaurant, and a special charter of the Chichu Art Museum before the museum opens. Special menus in partnership with the island's eateries are also available for local dining options and socializing in the area.
Kushiro Wetland, the largest marshland in Japan and one of the world's great natural wonders, can be experienced through a tour that allows visitors to enjoy the marshland from multiple perspectives, including from the Ainu culture, which has strong roots in the region.
■ Experience the rare marriage of magnificent panoramic views and traditional culinary culture on an exclusively chartered train running through the Kushiro Wetland ■
・From the windows of a special chartered train that runs through the wetland, visitors experience the vastness of the marshland up close with panoramic views.
・A special lunch will be served on board the train, offering a glimpse of traditional Ainu culture through food.
■ Experience these marshlands and the wonders of nature from Takkobu Auto Camping Ground, located in a national park ■
・Private night canoeing experience on Lake Takkobu: Enjoy the extraordinary experience of being enveloped in the world of a full moon floating above the lake under a star-filled sky.
・An immersive, realistic experience in a marshland using drones: Enjoy pristine, unspoiled nature over the vast plains, including the meandering Kushiro River.
・The tour also offers a comprehensive Ainu cultural experience (cooking class under direct supervision of Ainu people, traditional dance performance, and hands-on experience with authentic Ainu musical instruments).
・Unique grand viewing experiences are ensured from the observatory points.
In Okawa, Fukuoka, Japan’s home of woodworking, visitors will dine at an Important Cultural Property and enjoy an exclusive hands-on Okawa kumiko joinery activity with master artisans
On this guided tour, visitors experience Okawa’s woodworking and culinary culture, which developed thanks to the Ariake Sea and Chikugo River.
While admiring the symbolic Chikugo River Lift Bridge, visitors can experience the natural beauty of the Ariake Sea and Chikugo River while learning the history of woodworking. Afterwards, visitors will explore the Kobo and Enokizu area, the birthplace of Okawa woodworking where the old townscape still remains. Participants will enjoy the profound delight of woodworking and kumiko joinery through making an authentic kumiko lampshade available exclusively for this tour and taught by a kumiko artisan.
At the end of the tour, enjoy a delicious dinner filled with foods from Okawa and the Ariake Sea coastal waters. The dinner will be held at a historic storehouse on the grounds of the former Yoshihara Family Residence, a National Important Cultural Property located in the Kobo and Enokizu area. Enjoy the taste of Okawa, where ingredients from sea, river, and land are all plentiful, in a fantastic space surrounded by folding screens of kumiko joinery and illuminated by lights.
1,000 years of traditions and techniques: Bizen ware pottery production and a trip to the Seto Inland Sea
Bizen ware pottery, fired at high temperatures of 1,200 to 1,300°C without any glaze, is also known as the art of "clay and flame," boasting a charming earthy quality. Under the guidance of renowned artists and traditional artisans, participants will create their own one-of-a-kind Bizen ware item. Deepen interactions with artists by strolling together around the town of Imbe, the home of Bizen ware, and dining featuring Bizen ware at the long-established Ebisu Araki Ryokan, where famous artists such as Rosanjin and Isamu Noguchi once stayed. The next day, spend time in an artist’s workshop, enjoying a meal and experience "apprenticeship" with the artist.
Bizen (Hinase) is a fishing port facing onto the Seto Inland Sea. It was admired by Western intellectuals visiting in the 19th century, such as Thomas Cook, the founder of modern tourism, who was astonished by the never-ending, ever-changing natural beauty of the landscape. Take a cruise on the adorable NORINAHALLRE ferry and enjoy the cuisine of Seto Inland Sea fishermen.
Night Party of Atami Cherry Blossoms (winter cherry blossoms that bloom the earliest in Japan) ~Atami Onsen / Showa Nostalgia Journey~
Atami, famous for its hot springs and beautiful ocean views, is only around 40 minutes from Tokyo Station by bullet train. In addition to hot springs, Atami is replete with wonderful places rich in culture, nature, and food.
For this event, Atami's early-blooming cherry blossoms, its Showa retro town, and Kiunkaku/Atami Geigi Kenban have been packaged together to create a single event: Atami Cherry Blossoms: Night Party.
Enjoy a nighttime light-up display of Itogawa’s Atami cherry blossoms, which bloom the earliest in Japan and can only be viewed at this time. This display and a mystical lantern monument create
a view of cherry blossoms that can only be enjoyed in Atami during winter.
Also, at Kiunkaku (Tangible Cultural Property), which can usually only be observed and not entered, visitors can do a photo shoot wearing a yukata or Showa retro clothing at this limited-time event.
Although Atami is often thought of in Japan as a place for young people to gather during trips, it has the atmosphere of the Showa period and is a historic tourist site.
Please come enjoy this Showa retro world while gazing at the winter cherry blossoms.
Experience the history and charm of 400-year-old Arita porcelain culture through a hands-on premium tour
This premium tour, the theme of which is "Succession: Learning from Traditional Industries for Sustainable Business Management," allows visitors to experience the history and charm of authentic Arita porcelain with all five senses.
Arita porcelain involves as many as 26 steps to make a single plate—and to turn raw materials into finished Arita porcelain, more than 50 artisans are involved.
On this two-day tour, visitors learn about the 400-year history and various traditions of Arita porcelain while touring the historic quarry and potteries, and then enjoy dinner in an exclusive space that is otherwise impossible to visit normally. The creative cuisine is served on the finest Arita porcelain dishes produced by living national treasures and renowned potters.
During the meal, guests can learn the history and process of Arita porcelain production through a spectacular video that uses projection-mapping technology.
The tour includes commentary on Arita porcelain from living national treasures and Arita potters whom most people never have the opportunity to meet.
Enjoy the ultimate Arita porcelain experience through this premium tour.
For two days on November 4 (Saturday) and 5 (Sunday), the FUSHIMI YOKAI SAKE FESTIVAL will be held in Fushimi, Kyoto. Just as the name suggests, this event is themed around sake and “yokai” (monsters).
Fushimi is one of the top sake producing towns in Japan. The charming and nostalgic town streets are lined with historic sake breweries. Just like Japanese sake, yokai are an aspect of Japanese culture that has gained international attention.
Now, the FUSHIMI YOKAI SAKE FESTIVAL is being held to encourage people to learn more about Japanese culture through Japanese sake and yokai.
Various activities will be prepared, such as the “Fushimi Night Parade of 100 Demons,” where yokai will walk through the town, sake tasting by yokai, and a bar-crawl style event that involves enjoying sake from various bars. The general public can also wear yokai costumes, adding an extra element of fun to this spooky event.
[Produced by JUNKO KOSHINO] Limited time event from 12/17-12/24! POP-UP BAR fusing the music culture of Koza (Okinawa City) and table tennis as well as street table tennis that suddenly appears in town
The professional table tennis team Ryukyu Asteeda from Okinawa is holding the Asteeda Festival from December 23 to 24! This festival will be a fusion of sports, tourism, technology, entertainment, and food at the Okinawa Arena, the most cutting-edge stadium in Japan!
Ahead of the Asteeda Festival, internationally acclaimed designer JUNKO KOSHINO will produce a street table tennis event and table tennis POP-UP BAR!
● Table Tennis POP-UP BAR
Dates open: December 17 to 24
Venue: REF Okinawa Arena by VESSEL HOTELS, Floor 8, Music Bar “LEKT”
Tickets: 5,000 yen with two drink tickets (tax included)
● Street Table Tennis
Event period: December 17 to 24
Location: Koza Music Town, Southeast Botanical Gardens, REF Okinawa Arena by VESSEL HOTELS, other locations in Naha City
REF Okinawa Arena by VESSEL HOTELS, the site of the table tennis POP-UP BAR, is a hotel opened on August 1, 2023, based around the concept of THE CHANPURU. This space lets visitors feel the atmosphere of Okinawa City, where a unique culture has taken root that “CHANPURU” (mixes up) the cultures of Okinawa and America.
The music bar on the top floor of the hotel, LEKT, fuses the Koza music culture and a pool terrace that is reminiscent of an Okinawan resort. In this event, the worldview of JUNKO KOSHINO and table tennis will be “CHANPURU” (mixed together) as well. What sort of chemical reaction will be created? Please come and see for yourself!
The ultimate tasting seminar will be held at the historical Kagamida Yashiki building in the city of Ukiha.
Specialists from two highly popular distilleries—renowned not only in Japan but also worldwide—have been invited to hold exclusive, in-depth tasting seminars for a limited number of participants.
Please enjoy to your heart's content whiskies specially brought out from the distillery, as well as rare bottles no longer available for purchase.
Afterwards, during the Bar Time, participants will enjoy a meal, cocktails, and a variety of whiskies that offer a different perspective.
Appreciate precious moments in a serene atmosphere achieved by patience and time.
Lecturer: Day 1: December 2; Day 2: December 3; Tatsuro Kusano, Chief Distilling Manager and Blender of Tsunuki Distillery, Hombo Shuzo Co., Ltd
Day 3: December 9; Day 4: December 10; Yumi Yoshikawa, Brand Ambassador, Venture Whisky Chichibu Distillery
Dates: December 2 (Sat.), December 3 (Sun.), December 9 (Sat.), December 10 (Sun.) 2023
Capacity: Limited to 18 individuals per session
Fee: With accommodation at Minamo: 50,000 yen (incl. tax); Tour-only ticket: 55,000 yen (incl. tax)