Culture

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara)

Lunch, Sweets, Coffee and Naramachi (Nara) Naramachi is the former traditional merchant’s quarter in Nara – the old capital of Japan. Spending time, slowly walking around its narrow streets is evocative, like stepping back in time. Many of what were previously merchant stores and warehouses have been sympathetically rennovated; repurposed into a charming tapestry of boutiques, cafes, restuarants and craft shops – most of which are either family-run or solopreneur businesses. There’s no Starbucks or…

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Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka

Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka

Gaspard and Lisa In-Store Appearance, Kiddy Land, Osaka Warning! Kawaii! Gaspard and Lisa, are two friends, neither dogs nor rabbits but featuring elements of both, appearing in a series of children’s books created by wife and husband Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben. Gaspard (black with a blue scarf) and Lisa (white with a red scarf) go on various adventures. Gaspard, Lisa and their family members are drawn as animals, but live among humans in Paris,…

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Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store, Ashiya

Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store, Ashiya

Making Taiyaki, Daimaru Department Store In this short film, we see how the popular fish-shaped snack taiyaki are made. Taiyaki (literally “baked sea bream”) are Japanese fish-shaped cakes, made using pancake or waffle batter. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings include custard, chocolate, cheese, and sweet potato. In this film, shot in the food hall of Daimaru department store in Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture,…

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Limousine Bus to Kobe Minato Onsen, Luxury Ryokan REN

Limousine Bus to Kobe Minato Onsen, Luxury Ryokan REN

  Sit back. Relax. Let’s ride to the spa. Kobe Minato Onsen is a luxury contemporary ryokan and natural hot spring, just five minutes from the heart of Kobe city centre. Located in a prime location, overlooking Kobe’s famous Harbourland, the hotel offers extensive, spa, health, dining, pool, sporting, yoga, personal training and relaxation facilities. Not only for guests but to those taking advantage of its Day Spa – which we indulged in. Included within…

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This Is How You Make Okonomiyaki! – Ajinoya Restaurant Osaka

This Is How You Make Okonomiyaki! – Ajinoya Restaurant Osaka

  Ajinoya is a go-to restaurant in Osaka specialising in okonomiyaki and yakisoba dishes. Staff prepare, mix and then cook the food on a hotplate at your table in front of you. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients. The name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “how you like” or “what you like”, and yaki meaning “grill”. Okonomiyaki is mainly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan….

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Boiling Eggs at Japan’s Oldest Hotspring – Yunomine Onsen

Boiling Eggs at Japan’s Oldest Hotspring – Yunomine Onsen

  Yunomine Onsen village, commonly referred to as Japan’ s oldest spa, can be found nestled in the sacred mountains of Kumano in Wakayama Prefecture, Honshu. The village was built on a natural hotspring where the waters are naturally heated up to 90 degrees. High quantities of sulpher in the water creates myriad colours on the rocks. The sulpher also adds to the water’s medicinal properties. Along the riverside, just below the Yunomine Onsen bus…

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Goshikizuka Mounded Tomb, View of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe

Goshikizuka Mounded Tomb, View of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe

Goshikizuka Mounded Tomb, also known as Sentsubo Kofun, is an ancient burial ground between Kobe and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (which can be seen in the film). Goshikizuka Mounded Tomb is the largest keyhole shaped tomb mound in Hyogo Prefecture, constructed around the end of 4th century. The site has been restored to the original construction. The sides of the large tomb are covered in fukiishi, which are stones taken from nearby riverbeds, typically used…

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Steam Locomotive Exhibit Ride Kyoto Railway Museum

Steam Locomotive Exhibit Ride Kyoto Railway Museum

All aboard! This film follows the journey onboard the steam locomotive exhibit ride at Kyoto Railway Museum in Kyoto. The original Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum opened in 1972, but was expanded and modernized in 2016, becoming the current day Kyoto Railway Museum. For a small additional fee, passengers can access the steam locomotive exhibit and ride in cars pulled by one of the actual steam locomotives kept and maintained at the museum. The 1km round-trip…

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Tsugaru Shamisen Live Performance Asobenomori Iwakiso Ryokan, Aomori

Tsugaru Shamisen Live Performance Asobenomori Iwakiso Ryokan, Aomori

This live Tsugaru shamisen performance was recorded in the Asobenomori, Iwakisou ryokan in Aomori Prefecture – right at the very northern-most tip of the largest island Honshu. Tsugaru jamisen or Tsugaru shamisen refers to both the Japanese genre of shamisen music originating from Tsugaru Peninsula in present-day Aomori prefecture and the instrument it is performed with. Tsugaru jamisen is considered the most recognized genre of shamisen music, and has enjoyed multiple periods of popularity in…

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A Secret Tour of Tokyo National Museum

A Secret Tour of Tokyo National Museum

Noh Mask, Edo period, 18th Century The very first time I went to Japan it was mainly for leisure, but also partly for business. I was working in intellectual property (copyright) licensing at the time and, although my employer was a UK-only not-for-profit agency, it is a member of a global federation of intellectual property rights organisations. Meaning they had a counterpart in Japan. And the one in Japan was some years behind in its…

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