I’m back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference. At one of my sessions, I talked about the importance of taking the vast problems we seek to address and the critical importance of translating them into a scale that is:1.) Relatable2.) Addressable and3) InspiringWhen we fail to do this, we overwhelm people and create the impression their support won’t make a dent in our social problem.Here are examples of making this translation. At the conference, See3, YouTube, NTEN and Cisco announced these videos were among the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards. They take big, faraway issues and make them immediate to the kinds of people who are likely to take action for that cause. They stake a point of view with a clear audience. And they inspire action in a funny way. Enjoy.
If you’re still not sure what your organization should be doing with social media, it would be a good idea to figure it out soon. As social media use continues to grow, this channel is becoming even more important to online donors as a way to connect with causes and find news and information.Here are some social media fun facts: Free WebinarWant some help with your nonprofit’s social media strategy? Nonprofit communication expert Farra Trompeter of Big Duck will join us on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1pm EDT for a free Network for Good webinar. Farra is a seasoned fundraising and nonprofit marketing professional who has helped hundreds of nonprofits create amazing campaigns and communicate more effectively via social channels. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from one of the best. Registration is free and I hope you can join us. (Note: If you can’t attend the live stream, we’ll send you the presentation so you can review it on demand.)Develop Your Social Media StrategyTuesday, October 22nd, 2013 1 pm EDT 27% of online time is now spent on social networking. Source: Experian Tweet this stat.47% of those 45 and younger in the U.S. say social media is more valuable than search for discovering news. Source: Reuters Tweet this stat.Thanks to recent algorithm changes, Google now uses many social factors as top criteria for ranking search results. Source: Searchmetrics Tweet this fact.Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds. Source: Global Web Index Tweet this stat.
An organization’s ability to accomplish its mission is only as strong as the organization’s infrastructure. As you fight to make the world a better place, how do you make sure you’re providing a nonprofit workplace that fosters fairness and complies with the necessary rules and regulations? I recently had a chance to catch up with the Aina Gutierrez, author of Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profitand Deputy Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. Her new book is an easily digestible, yet comprehensive, practical guide to organizing and improving internal operations and finances.NFG: What drove you to write this handbook? Aina Gutierrez: The national nonprofit I work for, Interfaith Worker Justice, has a network of more than 40 affiliates that are small organizations with less than 10 staff. Part of my job in the last twelve years has been to train these groups on the subjects outlined in the book (office administration, fundraising, financial management, board development and human resources). There were two trends I saw in talking to these groups and other small nonprofits I’ve been involved with. The first is that most small groups struggle with these “back office” issues because there were few training resources and materials for those that juggle multiple roles and don’t have the time (nor passion!) around building systems and procedures. And yet, many of them were really struggling with personnel issues and managing their budgets. It caused many staff and board leaders stress and burnout.The second is that many of the policies and procedures of small nonprofits don’t seem to reflect the values that the organizations espouse in their programmatic work. A number of staff work for low pay and few benefits. Most small organizations don’t have access to constructive feedback or support. I felt strongly about the need to reflect the organization’s values in the way it operates, and that a written resource might be the best way to do that.NFG: The book is geared toward small nonprofits with fewer than 10 employees. We work with many organizations who also have volunteer “staff” or staff members who are running their nonprofits on the side? Can you share some advice for those situations? AG: Sure. It’s pretty amazing, but the smallest nonprofit isn’t that much less complicated to run than a more established organization. Both have boards, raise money, file government forms and have policies. This can be tricky for groups without paid staff, or with part-time staff. There’s never enough money or time to accomplish everything.NFG: Can you share some advice for those situations?AG: So I would recommend that your readers do a quick assessment of each area outlined in the book and highlight parts that seem important to the organization that are missing. The book has chapters on staff, board, office systems and management, government requirements, finance, and fund development. And just start working on it, bit by bit. Include a few tasks in the organization’s workplan, or find a board member or two that are willing to help. There’s a lot of information online and from allied organizations that can be easily adapted and used for small nonprofits. It’s really just being aware of the back office work that needs to be done and doing a little bit at a time.NFG: There’s an entire section on building and managing your board. We hear from many nonprofits who struggle with this relationship. Why do you think this is often such a difficult piece of the puzzle?AG: I think any institution made up of passionate people who bring with them varying ideas and perspectives will not be without its share of internal struggles. An organization’s board is no different. Managing the board can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating at times.. And, as staff, it can sometimes feel like its not worth the time and energy to build a strong board, so it falls by the wayside.But, it is worth it. The key is to continue to recruit and develop leaders that care about the organization and have something wonderful to contribute to its success. If someone doesn’t have a skill set or experience to help, or creates a lot of drama, or brings a different agenda to the table, or doesn’t want to do any work – that person shouldn’t be on the board. It can be time consuming to recruit and keep the right people for the job, but a small group of people that really connect and are willing to work can help build the organization in some really incredible ways.NFG: What are some of the challenges you’ve observed in nonprofits who don’t have strong administrative systems? AG: Oh goodness, there are so many stories. Every nonprofit I’ve worked with has at least one horrible story that cost a lot of time, energy and usually money to fix. I certainly have made plenty of own mistakes in this area!The biggest challenge with organizations that don’t have strong systems is that it’s not an efficient way to operate. Pulling together a 300 person mailing shouldn’t be an all day job. But if your database is disorganized, the printer jams the envelopes, and you have to run to the post office to buy stamps, it can take hours. It impacts the important work that the group should be doing. And its super frustrating for the staff!Having weak systems can also cost a lot of money. I’ve worked with a number of groups that miss government filing deadlines and have to pay late fees. Or groups that order office supplies last minute and pay expensive overnight shipping for a meeting. Or, groups that miss grant deadlines because there are not good tracking systems for applications or reports. These things all cost the organization a lot of money, and there often isn’t money to go around.NFG: What are the payoffs for getting it right?AG: One of the biggest rewards of those with good administrative systems is that they are able to engage more people in their work. Organizations that are able to efficiently communicate with their constituents and potential supporters via email or direct mail are more likely to receive more donations and support than those that don’t communicate. Donors that are assured the organization is run well will continue to give and often give more. Board members that are better connected or informed about the work will more likely be better engaged and provide more help.Having good administrative systems is really the backbone of any strong nonprofit organization. It has a direct impact on its programmatic work and financial viability.NFG: This book is obviously a great guide for emerging organizations, can established nonprofits learn a trick or two as well? Should these organizations re-assess their processes? How often?AG: Yes, definitely. I encourage readers of more established groups to first review the policies and practices outlined in the book and make sure they have similar structures in place. Second, take a look at their own policies through a values-centered lens and see if there are areas that don’t reflect the organization’s values. And third, consider if its time to update a few things. For example, my organization recently looked at our healthcare plan to see if we should try the state-based exchange through the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t make sense for us to change right now, but it is likely something that will impact our healthcare benefits in the future. Even long time organizations should try and keep up on policy changes that could benefit small nonprofits.All organizations should look at the administrative and financial progress made every year. Don’t look at everything, but when the organization is making its annual goals and objectives, it should include some work on internal policies and procedures. Incorporate this work incrementally into the organization’s board and staff and new things will be done every year. Progress is something to feel good about!Thanks to Aina for her insight and for providing a handy guide to policies and processes that can sometimes feel daunting. For more tips and insight, check out Walking the Walk: A Values Centered Approach to Building a Strong Non-Profit.
Nonprofits are finding new ways to tap the most vocal supporters outside their core networks to become active supporters of their causes. These supporters, or peer influencers, could be even more important than your brand. While young people may be inclined to “like” or share your existing information, you must respect the fact that they are capable of much more. Focus instead on inspiring Millennials to create and share their own perspectives. Give them the opportunity to take greater ownership over how you are perceived in the world. Peer influencers can help establish trust, exchange ideas and information, and demonstrate relevance. You can begin to embrace peer influencers and make them work for you by following these steps:￼Consider working with influencers so you can know the message they are sending while giving them room to adapt and remix it.Create opportunities for influencers to be creative, and recognize their efforts when they have success.Make sure your website and landing pages are easy to read and access, or the influence will not work.Monitor the reach of your influence (retweets, etc.).Help your staff understand and leverage the power of influencers.At the end of the day, Millennials are highly selective about what organizations they engage with in a crowded and noisy marketplace. Even though peer influence might attract a Millennial to click or read, it might not be enough to persuade them to follow your social channels. The key to reaching and engaging Millennials isn’t to do more traditional, expensive advertising and marketing campaigns or flashy, creative social efforts that emerge from inside your operation. It’s about finding a way into conversations between Millennials, and then letting those conversations take their course.Adapted from Network for Good’s eBook “The Millennial Donor Playbook,” by Kari Saratovsky, Chief Engagement Officer at Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies
Are you being honest about what the experience is?Let’s all agree on this: the giving experience is much more than a donation form. In fact, it’s even more than the moment when you make the ask.Your nonprofit’s giving experience begins at awareness and continues through acknowledgement. Each part of this experience should connect and build on the pieces that come before (and after) it. This consistency reinforces your message and keeps prospective donors in the moment of giving. Your appeals, newsletters, website, online donation page, social media, thank yous, and everything else in your campaign should all have the same compelling story, call to action, and impact statements that help donors clearly understand the impact their gift will have.Step into your donors’ shoes and walk through the entire campaign to ensure that the journey they see is the one you intend them to experience. (It just so happens that Network for Good has a free guide that will help you audit your giving experience. Download your copy now.) Are you putting enough emphasis on the follow through?Getting a supporter to give to your campaign is important, but the stewardship plan to thank, retain, and grow these donors is critical. For each campaign and each core segment, have a clear plan for following up with these donors in a way that connects your communication to the reasons they gave in the first place. As we covered in the first question, this is still part of your donor’s journey and paying attention to retention help you get more from the investment you make in your fundraising campaigns. Do you understand what your data is telling you?It’s very difficult to get smarter about your campaigns if you’re not sure what’s working. And it’s almost impossible to do that if you’re not collecting and tracking the right data. (And no, a spreadsheet no longer counts.) And when you’re not getting smarter, you’re wasting time, money, and your donor’s attention.Make sure your donation and campaign data is flowing into an easy-to-use donor management system that will allow you to quickly track and report on your results. You’ll see who’s giving (and who’s not), understand which outreach works best with each segment, and be better equipped to form the right strategies to meet your goals. (Check out this archived free webinar to learn how to use your donor data to increase your fundraising results this year. You’ll also get a sneak peek at Network for Good’s new donor management software, which is going to make your life a whole lot easier. I promise.) Your communications plan should focus on engaging and inspiring your supporters, but when it comes to making the ask, are the odds in your favor? Here are three questions that will help you optimize your organization’s giving experience.
Event DonorsAttended an event in the current fiscal year, but has not made an annual giftFirst gift, flat amount of $25-$40 for a special program Earlier in my career, I was terminated after a spectacular overestimation of my abilities.Armed with a tone-deaf, supreme confidence that I could make great things happen, but for a new tagline and a new brochure, I not only created barriers for 2,000 donors who gave a combined $400,000 each year to give again, but I spent $55,000 more than budgeted to produce the worst possible results during the best possible time for fundraising—and made all of these decisions, relying on roughly seven different spreadsheets of names, gift dates and gift amounts.Consequently, and without much warning nor surprise, I got fired. I was certain, though, I was leaving an organization that didn’t understand me or fundraising, but at the time (and as a young, early 20-something), neither did I. Like many new-to-fundraising professionals, I had more passion than expertise; I had more hubris than self-awareness; and had more “I tried to say” than “I tried to understand.”I also had more ideas than organized data.Since that time, I have learned a great deal, but see many, talented fundraising professionals making the same unnecessary mistakes I did. While I do have genuine empathy for passionate people who try to help and fail (or succeed too slowly), I also see the great cost it has for each nonprofit organization, most of whom could not sustain a mistake of $5,000, let alone $55,000.Within the nonprofit sector, there is a widely known—and not yet wholly addressed—dysfunction in the fundraising profession: We quit or get fired after a comparatively record short amount of time—just 277 days, on average.The first no-nonsense assessment of this dysfunction came from the study UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. A joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the report found high levels of turnover and lengthy vacancies in development director positions throughout the sector. More significantly, the study reveals deeper issues that contribute to instability in the development director role, including a lack of basic fundraising systems and inadequate attention to fund development among key board and staff leaders.For its part, the report quantifies much of what the sector has long known, but fails to accept and address: We have to create the conditions for fundraising success before we can demand it, let alone budget it. In last fifteen years, though, I have worked with more than 200 professional fundraisers and their boards, executive directors and see what we need to understand, embrace, and commit to action.Data, not opinions or “hunchery,” creates results.You were hired because you are creative, tenacious and care deeply about the cause you will leverage inspire your community to give. You have great ideas, but they should be considered only in the context of what has been tried before at the organization, why it worked or didn’t work, and what your donors are telling you based upon when they gave, how much and for what reasons. Without that these basic data elements, there is a high probably you won’t success as planned—or at least in the time you’re allotting and/or needed to achieve success.Data is power and power for fundraisers is know who to ask for how much and when. It’s difficult to do this when you are fundraising with spreadsheets. However, start with the basics and make sure, if you are not yet using donor management software, you work those spreadsheets to do what I call Gift-Level Recency Segmentation: SegmentAttributesTarget Ask Amount Non-DonorsProspects for whom you have a mailing or email address, but have not ever yet made a giftFirst gift, flat amount of $25-$40 for a special program Renewed DonorsMade a gift in the current fiscal yearSecond gift, upgrade/special program appeal Current DonorsMade a gift in the last fiscal year, but not yet in the current yearLast gift amount + 50% more; or recurring/monthly giving program enrollment Lapsed DonorsMade a gift two years ago, or prior, but not since or in the current fiscal yearLast gift amount, special program appeal If you can create simple segmentation as shown in the chart above, you have a much greater chance of increasing donor retention, renewing current donors and converting event attendees into annual donors. The right donor management software will make your life much easier—it will make this process go smoothly, it will be more accurate and it will allow you to spend time fundraising, instead of “spreadsheeting” behind a desk when you are scrambling for time to get it all done.
Reflecting on Developing Country Parallels at Launch of Program to Address U.S. Maternal Mortality Crisis
Posted on November 23, 2013November 17, 2016By: Priya Agrawal, Executive Director, Merck for MothersClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As an OB/GYN who has worked in dozens of developing countries, I have seen firsthand what it’s like to give birth in places where resources are strapped and conditions are bleak. I’ve seen the way women struggle to gather the money needed to give birth at a facility. I’ve seen women walk miles – while in labor no less – to reach the closest health clinic or hospital. I’ve seen women get to a facility only to find that it’s overcrowded, understaffed or lacking in critical medicines and supplies. And for all these reasons, I’ve had the misfortune of seeing women die in pregnancy and childbirth, their deaths often hand tallied on the walls of health facilities, if counted by the system at all.These are circumstances under which no woman should have to give birth. Yet they persist, day in and day out. But what I’ve found most surprising since I’ve taken on a new role as Executive Director of Merck for Mothers is that these issues are actually not confined to the developing world. Sadly, there are communities in the United States that face challenges not all that different than those facing women in places like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.I recently travelled to some of these communities for the launch of Merck for Mothers’ new programs to reduce maternal mortality here in the U.S. As part of this work, we’ve partnered with organizations in Baltimore, Camden, New York City and Philadelphia, where I had a chance to witness some of the challenges women face in getting the care they need for a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth. What I saw and heard was astonishing, revealing three striking parallels.Our partner in Camden told me that many of the women their program serves interact with the health system for the first time when they become pregnant. Whether it’s because they don’t have the funds (or insurance) to afford preventative care, or don’t have a full understanding of the services available to them, a lot of these women go years or decades without seeing a health provider. Because of this, it is common for women in low-income communities to miss out on things like primary care visits and prenatal check-ups. In fact, only 50% of pregnant women in Camden receive first trimester care, making it much more difficult to identify conditions that could lead to a complicated – and, at times, life-threatening – childbirth.Transportation is also an issue. I remember one woman in Baltimore telling me that – even if her family could afford public transportation – health care services were located too far away for her to use regularly. And because taxis rarely venture into the poorer communities, she is cut off from the transport services she needs to reach care on a routine basis. Harking back to time I spent in rural parts of Zambia and Uganda, this story sounded all too familiar, and little did I know that it was such a prevalent one in the U.S.Finally, perhaps the most profound parallel between maternal mortality domestically and abroad is the lack of reliable data. I knew that many maternal deaths in the developing world go undocumented, but I had no idea that more than 1 in 3 of these deaths are unidentified on death certificates in America. This type of information is critical in our effort to save women’s lives during pregnancy and childbirth, as it allows us to spot trends, better understand the problem and create targeted policies and clinical practices to address it.Considering this range of unexpected realities – and factoring in the escalating rates of chronic health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – it is no wonder that maternal mortality is on the rise in this country. In fact, as an OB/GYN, I fear that these chronic conditions will soon become the fourth major parallel, as these same challenges are beginning to spill into developing countries. The rise of chronic conditions in poor countries has the potential to jeopardize the progress made in bringing down maternal death rates throughout the world, much like they did in the U.S.In view of these common and emerging similarities in maternal health, Merck for Mothers has launched new partnerships in the U.S. that build on our global portfolio of programs in more than 20 other countries. While the contexts are certainly different, many of the obstacles are the same, and I look forward to the opportunity to help overcome them and ensure safer and healthier pregnancies and childbirths for all women – at home and abroad.To learn more, visit Merck for Mothers’ U.S. programs, watch this video on the personal toll of maternal mortality, or watch story by CBS 13 in Baltimore on the program’s work in that city.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
The changing of the guard is as old as time. It can be a bumpy road if you don’t plan for it. The older donor generations can feel pushed out of the very causes they helped launch. Meanwhile, the younger generations cry out for change and inclusion. How do you reach across the generations and bring everyone to the table?Compare the four primary generations of donors—Mature, Boomer, Gen X, Millennial—and you’ll see there’s more that unites us than divides us. Research scientist Jennifer Deal observed similarities in her book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground. She found that all generations:Value family, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness.Want respect.Believe leaders must be trustworthy.Like to receive feedback.Don’t like change.Base loyalty on context, not age.Want to learn and better ourselves.In “How to Engage Multiple Generations of Donors,” we explore additional generational insights on giving activity, volunteer rates, tech use, and communication preferences. Incorporate these findings into your donor engagement to create lasting relationships.Generational Communication TipsYour donor’s preferred method of communication doesn’t always depend on their age. Gen X may prefer email and Boomers may prefer a phone call, but they both enjoy receiving a thank you card in the mail. Ask your donors how they prefer to be contacted, record that information in your donor management system, and use it to create a deeper level of engagement.Matures respect authority and respond to tradition and long-term commitment. Highlight your organization’s history and your position as a leader in your field.Boomers are dedicated, hard-working, goal-oriented individuals. They expect quality services and treatment. Put your nonprofit’s work—and your results—front and center. Inspire them with your story and your mission.Gen X donors risk being overlooked in favor of their Boomer and Millennial counterparts. Pay special attention to them today. As they enter the peak years of their careers, many Gen Xers are looking for proactive ways to support organizations they believe in.Millennials are drawn to transparency and access. As donors, they’re interested in more than just their name on a donor list. They want to contribute in different ways. Incorporate more targeted contact and engagement as part of cultivating this generation of donors. Bring them into your work on a deeper level.Never before has there been such a wide array of communication options. From the classic approach of direct mail to the modern invention of instant messaging, each generation has their preference. Use your donor data to create engagement that bridges the generation gap once and for all.Check out our infographic, Bridging The Donor Generation Gap, for more information on generational giving!
The neighborhood around the JR Tennoji Station in Osaka, known as Abeno/Tennoji, was a place where tourists could experience the true atmosphere of working-class Osaka. However, after Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest skyscraper, was erected in the area, the vibe totally changed, and that common-denominator appeal has made way for a modern shopping spot. With hotels and museums, including the Harukas 300 observatory inside Abeno Harukas, the area has become a recommended stop for any visitor to Osaka, Japanese or international.In April 2015, the Foreign Customer’s Salon opened, with services designed to cater to international visitors. The Foreign Customer’s Salon is split into the “Service Salon” and the “Experience Salon,” and offers international tourists ways to have a more comfortable trip in Osaka.Get Sales Tax Exemptions and Have Goods Delivered at The Service SalonAt the Service Salon, you can undergo the process for getting sales tax exemptions, store your bags, and have purchases delivered to your hotel (Osaka Marriott Hotel/Tennoji Hotel/Sheraton Hotel Osaka) so that you can enjoy a stress-free shopping experience in Abeno Harukas. The Salon also offers regional tour information, so stop by if you’re not sure where to go in Osaka. The staff members speak English, Chinese and Korean so you don’t have to worry about not speaking Japanese either.Enjoy Traditional Japanese Culture at the Experience SalonThe Experience Salon is an venue for various Japanese cultural events. Previous events have included tea tastings and sweets tastings. There are future plans for other events that convey other interesting things about Japan, such as Tanabata decorating and traditional handicrafts. Check the Abeno Harukas Kintetsu calendar (Japanese) to learn about the ongoing events.Souvenirs for Sale at the Kokumin Drug StoreThe Kokumin drug store opened on the same floor at around the same time. Naturally it has all the standard items stocked, such as medicine and cosmetics, as well as appliances and souvenirs, so you can get all your shopping done here.Popular Hello Kitty goods include cell phone straps and towels. Kokumin also sells Japanese products like chopsticks and fans.We recommend these traditional items if you want something truly Japanese!The array of green tea-flavored sweets, along with a variety of rare products, will be of great interest to tourists. The Foreign Customer’s Salon was created to accommodate the increase in international visitors to Abeno Harukas as a new sightseeing spot. While Osaka has plenty of famous tourist areas like Namba and Umeda, why not go see what Abeno has to offer?InformationAbeno Harukas Kintetsu Foreign Customer’s SalonAddress: Osaka, Osaka, Abeno, Abenosuji, Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Wing-kan 3.5FHours: 10:00-20:30 (some floors inside the department store may have different closing hours, so confirm beforehand)Other Languages: English, Chinese, KoreanAccess: Tennoji Subway Station (Tanimachi, Midosuji Lines), JR Tennoji Station, Osaka Abenobashi Station (Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line), Tennojiekimae Station (Hankai Uemachi Line)Phone: 06-6624-1111Homepage: Abeno Harukas Kintetsu
The Hida area is famous for Shirakawa-Go, a village with traditional houses.Hida, also known as Hida Takayama or Hida Furukawa, is an old name for the northern regions of present-day Gifu prefecture.Set deep in the mountains and blessed with fine timber, woodwork became the main industry of this area. In the medieval period, woodworkers were sent to the central government at the time as a way to pay the local tax, and they brought back the Kyoto style of architecture to Hida.Hida Furukawa (Gifu prefecture, Hida, Furukawa-cho) is a rare sightseeing spot boasting a well-preserved, traditional townscape.Sukiya Suehiro no Ie (Suehiro House) is a place where the visitors can actually view traditional architecture up close. Suehiro House is an inn, located on a street lined with traditional houses, operated by Satoyama Office & Stay. The inn was converted from a Japanese-style house, and it is perfect for those who want to enjoy their stay in a traditional area.
White rice is THE comfort food for the Japanese. We have long been pursuing the search for a perfect harmony created with white rice and its side dishes.Delicious and capable of long-term preservation, chinmi spices up the white canvas of rice served on a rice bowl.Chinmi, A Japanese Side DishChinmi has roughly two genres. One is eaten as snacks or munchies with alcohol the way dried food is eaten, and the other goes on the dinner table as a side dish. Just like eating bread with jam, Japanese people eat rice with side dishes.If you take a look at Japanese supermarkets, you will see numbers of chinmis in the shelves. In this article, I will introduce three popular chinmis sold in supermarkets.Rich and deep, ‘Uniika’This is a mixture of squid and sea urchin, one of the three major unusual foods in Japan. It also has sake lees and herring roes mixed into it. When you open the lid, you smell a wafting scent of sake lees that appeals to your appetite. Once in the mouth, the taste of sea urchin fills the mouth and the thick taste of sake lees and sea urchin melts together on the tongue. When you chew it with rice, the toughness of the squid and the herring roe will enhance the delicious taste.Just a spoonful of ‘uniika’ will make a good side dish on its own.Light Tasted Golden ‘Mamakari’Japan is a country surrounded by the sea, so it is no wonder that marine products have been on the dining table for as long as anyone can remember. ‘Mamakari’ is a pickled product of a kind of a herring. The smell of vinegar floats off from from the package when you open it. When you put it in your mouth with white rice, the mild taste of the rice will spread in the light sour taste of vinegar.The fish is tough and the dish is filling, whose texture is similar to that of sardines. There are almost no fish bones in this dish, since it is processed beforehand. I would recommend it to those who want to eat fish without the fuss of preparing it.’Ikamemtai’ for when you want a strong accent on the tableThis dish is a good fit for those who want to eat a lot of white rice. It is made by dressing raw squid with ‘mentaiko’. Each time you chew, the flavor of the squid spreads in the mouth, and a moment later you get the punch of pepper. Now you put rice in your mouth – it counters the spiciness and makes the taste milder.White rice and its side dishes are an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine, and chinmis are a part of it. Other than the ones I introduced here, many chinmis are hidden in the shelves of supermarkets. Why not eat and compare a number of those chinmis?
There must be many people who want to take a bath in hot springs in Japan if you come to Japan. It is good to go to hot springs and relax while taking a bath in there. But some people might not feel like taking off your cloths or washing your body before getting into a bath which need you to have time and work to do. Some people even feel that taking a bath together with people you don’t know is not your thing.It is true that you can not drop off at a hot spring easily since you need to have enough time to do all the process. So those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in hot springs, here are better choices for you, which are “foot baths and hands baths”. Foot baths means that you only put your feet into a hot spring pool. As you can imagine, hands baths means that you only put your hands into a hot spring pool. The only thing you need to do for those two is taking off your shocks or roll up your sleeves. You can get to try even you don’t have much time.Also there is more special things you will definitely like here in Wakura hot spring area (妻恋舟の湯).Let’s take a look at two of them here.Food bath which gives you a feeling of oneness with the oceanThere is a foot bath place called Tsumakoibune-no-Yu (妻恋舟の湯) inside of Yuttari Park (湯っ足りパーク) along the coast line. You can get to use it for free.There is a roof which allows you to take a food bath even its raining. There are also bathrooms and vending machines near there.There are shoe storage you will get your shoes in at an entrance. You will take your shoes off there then get in barefoot.The special thing in this place is incredible view especially the horizon you will get to see while you are taking the food bath.There are no walls for a side which faces to the ocean. So it let you see the huge ocean without anything in front of youYou will get to see Notojima island (能登島) and Notojima Bridge (能登島大橋) clearly over pine trees planted along the coast line if it’s nice weather and you are lucky.You can also get close to the ocean barefoot if you want since there is a wood path from this place all the way to the coast line.But we put walls up in winter season. So if you come here in winter, you need to see the view through windows.Wakura foot bath place “Tsumakoibune-no-Yu (妻恋舟の湯)” gives you a feeling of oneness with the ocean. Don’t forget to bring a towel with you.Warm you up at a Hand bath place then eat Onsen eggs afterwards!There is a hand bath shaped like a circle with a roof on the top inside of Bentenzaki Park (弁天崎源泉公園) near the ocean.You can cook eggs in hot spring water here. So you should have eggs with you when you come here. If you put your eggs in hot spring water for about 15 minutes, you are ready to eat. Good for you. It will be ready while talking with your friends.Related article ：Hand baths are the easiest way to try hot springs. You don’t need to take anythings off.You will feel that your body is getting warmer even you just soak your hand up till your wrist.Also there are wooden benches near there. If you sit there, you feel warm on the bottom since they make benches warm using hot spring water.It will be a good idea to stop off here, bringing eggs with you while you are taking a walk in Wakura hot spring area.There are more foot baths and hand baths in Wakura hot spring area. Foot baths and hand baths will get you take a break from walking around, enjoy the horizon over the ocean taking a bath, stop off to warm your body up in winter, relax while waiting to get eggs done.Most of the foot baths and hand baths are free.Let’s give it a try. Highly recommended.Information”Tsumakoibune-no-Yu (妻恋舟の湯)” inside of Yuttari Park (湯っ足りパーク)Address：1-1 Wakuramachi Hibari, Nanao-shi, Ishikawa-PrefecturePhone：0767-62-1555（Wakura Onsen Tourism Association）Opening Hours：7:00～19:00Closed day：NonePrice：FreeWi-Fi：NoneStation：Wakura Onsen Station (和倉温泉駅) on JR Nanao Line(JR七尾線）Access：Take a taxi from Wakura Onsen Station (和倉温泉駅) for about 5 minutes or walk from the center of Wakura hot spring area for about 8 minutes.Bentenzaki Park(弁天崎源泉公園)Address：Wakuramachi, Nanao-shi, Ishikawa-PrefecturePhone：0767-62-1555（Wakura Onsen Tourism Association）Opening Hours：24 hoursClosed day：NoneWi-Fi：NoneStation：Wakura Onsen Station (和倉温泉駅) on JR Nanao Line (JR七尾線)Access：Take a bus toward to Wakura Onsen (和倉温泉行) from Wakura Onsen Station(和倉温泉駅) and get off at Wakura Onsen bus stop (和倉温泉) then walk about 3 minutes.
I was wrong about cemeteries. The stone paved road is heartwarming. I wish I’d have noticed it much earlier and visited cemeteries many more times by now. That is what I am thinking right now. Having come here, I finally realized that Kinoshita was right. Cemeteries and their landscapes are of tangible cultural heritage value in Japan.Because you always feel someone and their warmth here, you feel like dropping by again.InformationYanaka CemeteryAddress: Tokyo, Taito, Yanaka 7-5-24Nearest Station: JR Nippori StationAccess: Take the South exit of Nippori Station on JR Yamanote Line. Turn left to go up the stairs and then walk straight about 30 meters. You will see Yanaka Cemetery in every corner of your sight.Phone: 03-3821-4456Website: http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/reien/park/index073.html What is of cultural heritage value in Japan?A friend of mine, Kinoshita answered “Cemeteries”. So I followed his advice and visited Yanaka Cemetery located in Nippori, Taito-ku.It’s like Dropping by a Friend’s PlaceI shouldn’t have asked him…Thinking that maybe he was just teasing me, I passed through the south exit of the Nippori Station on the JR Yamanote Line and then turned left to take the stairs up.I reached the top of the stairs to find many bicycles there. If you ever visit Japan, you will see bicycles practically everywhere you look in the city. If you visit Japan, you will often see many bicycles so tightly parked around train stations that it might seem impossible to separate them from one another.It’s only a 30 meter straight walk from here. You will see Yanaka Cemetery right ahead of you.On both sides of the straight road are bloomed cherry trees. Since not only cemetery visitors, but also locals take this road to get to the Nippori Station, there are always many people here.It is very easy to get to the cemetery: from the south exit of the Nippori Station, it is only 200 meters, or 3 minutes away. If you have ever dropped by a friend’s place as a student not because you have some purpose in mind, but just because they lived nearby, then you may remember that feeling. I had the same feeling while visiting Yanaka Cemetery.All the green part of the map is Yanaka Cemetery, which is much much bigger than the red part that is the station. The cemetery has an area of approximately 100,000 square meters and 7,000 tombstones, making it one of the largest cemeteries in Tokyo.Strolling straight through the cemetery, on the right is the setting sun illuminating tombstones, some with offerings of flowers on them.There is a column-shaped one which looks like the rook from a chess board. It must be over 2 meters tall, and looks formidable.This one is more standard in is size and shape. Are those flowers offered dandelions? Dandelions are not an impressive type of plants, but their cheerful yellow color makes for a clear contrast between this grave and those with elegant blue and white lilies.So I feel that by looking carefully at the tombstones and offerings of each grave, I am able to see what the deceased and their family were like.Feel Someone’s Presence”A cemetery is a depressing place.” That is what I thought before the visit, but my stereotypical view has been ruined into pieces like sand you grasp running through your fingers.I realized one thing, though, which is that a cemetery is filled with the warmth of people. You can always feel someone’s presence here.I wonder what messages the bereaved ones left with their flowers. Did they choose the flowers because the deceased liked them? Or is it because of the flower’s own meanings? I can’t help thinking about the meaning of the flowers offered and the stories behind it.I realized that it was already 17:30. The sun is almost set.
Pamphlets advertising various attractions in each region of Japan are gathered in one section in Tokyo City i. While there are mainly guides on Tokyo, there are others as well as some pamphlets on events and museums available here too.4. Surprises! Irregularly Held Sightseeing Events “I would rather look up what I want to know by myself than ask!”If you’d rather search online for yourself, then we recommend trying a tourist information machine with a touch screen. This machine provides information about popular attractions and events in and around Tokyo, local gourmet dishes and places to stay, while its touch screen offers an intuitive experience as it provides relevant information based on your interests, such as traditional culture or great shopping spots.3. Pamphlet Section with Information on Places Across Japan At the concierge desk, visitors can receive a wide range of services in four different languages, such as getting information about tourist attractions, consulting with the staff about your trip or routes to your accommodations, how to book train tickets, and the like. These multilingual staff will help you out, so you need not worry if you cannot speak Japanese at all.2. Tourist Information Machines with Touch Screens In the event space, irregularly held themed travel fairs, sightseeing highlights and other fun events are held. You might even be able to purchase seasonal local specialties, souvenirs or traditional crafts here as well. This is a great place to stop and experience Tokyo and Japan as a whole. section, various events themed travels or sightseeing are held irregularly.5. Take a Break in the Tokyo City i Restaurant and Taste Japanese Food A cute Pepper robot will guide you.What do you think? Tokyo City i is the place to find information and experience Tokyo and Japan in multiple languages. If you haven’t planned out your schedule or want to know more things about your chosen destinations, why not visit Tokyo City i? It’s really worth checking out! And, if you would like to learn more about KITTE, where Tokyo City i is located, please take a look at this article: Beautiful, Carefully-Selected Japanese Goods At KITTE, Tokyo. Tokyo City i View Informationtravel_agency There is a small cafe restaurant located within Tokyo City i where you can take a break or arrange to meet your friends easily within Tokyo Station. Here you can find plenty of travel magazines, and even places to charge your phone. The dishes served in the cafe are based on travel, culture, regions and even local dishes related to current events and activities at Tokyo City i, making it a lovely spot to enjoy some authentic Japanese cuisine while taking a break from your travels.Useful Information and Great Services for International Travelers Tokyo Station is the main gateway to Tokyo and is used by many people each day as it offers excellent access to major attractions in Tokyo as well as other areas of Japan.Have you ever heard of the tourist information center for international travelers located right by Tokyo Station? Tokyo City i will help you out with various things, from arranging transportation and finding a place to stay to suggesting where to go and what you should do while in Tokyo.Services and Facilities Tokyo City i Offers to International VisitorsTokyo City i is situated within a commercial building, KITTE, which is one minute away on foot from the Marunouchi south exit of Tokyo Station. First of all, as KITTE is the best spot for shopping, stopping by Tokyo City i allows you to easily go shopping right after consulting about your travels.Tokyo City i provides tourist information and travel arrangements to domestic as well as international travelers who visit Tokyo and Japan. We will introduce some of their services in this article.1. Concierge Desk Available in 4 Languages
Photo by SuzumuraYuseiKochias are soaked in red from their stems. By climbing the hill, right in front of your eyes, there is the contrast of blue sky, green trees and crimson Kochias.Photo by Photo by 神谷和紀If you continue to look at this view, you feel like you accidentally came to another planet.This “Hitachi Seaside Park” shows another side to us in spring.・ Nemophilas were more blue than the sky. Overlooked panoramic views at “Miharashi Area” in Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki.Crimson carpet of Kochias endlessly extends. Under the autumn sky, please do enjoy this amazing world!(記事及び写真作成：神谷和紀&SuzumuraYusei）InformationHitachi Seaside ParkAddress: 605-4, Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka-city, IbarakiOpening Hours：Please refer to HP (change depending on the season)Closed Days：Mondays (When Monday is a public holiday, the following day (Tuesday) is closed), 31 Dec, 1 Jan, the first Tuesday to Friday in FebWi-Fi：UnavailableCredit Cards：UnavailableLanguage：JapaneseStation：Katsuta station on JR Jyoban lineAccess：By bus 2, 20min from East Exit of Katsuta stationPrice：~¥999Phone：029-265-9001Official HP：ひたち海浜公園 Although numbers of rare and magnificent landscapes exist in the world, many of those lovely landscapes can be seen in Japan as well. This time, we will introduce one of them, which can be seen only in autumn.What is Kochias?This magnificent view consists of plants called Kochias. This Kochia is a mysterious plant with the length of 50cm and fluffy round shape. If you look at it from far away, it looks like a massive moss ball. Its Japanese name is Houkigusa (broom bush). As the name shows, back in the old days, people made brooms with Kochias. Kochias make people amused by turning into bright red in autumn.Where can we see them?We can see Kochias at “Hitachi Seaside Park” in Hitachinaka-city, Ibaraki prefecture. Although many people get there by car or highway bus, this time, let us introduce you how to get there by train.Photo by 神谷和紀The closest station is Katsuta station on JR Jyoban line. It takes approx. 70min by limited express (Super Hitachi J) from Ueno station or 2 to 2.5 hours by local train. Now that Shunjyu (春秋) airline is in service at Ibaraki Airport, after arriving at the airport, you can get on a direct bus to get to Katsuta station’s west exit in 1 hour.Photo by 神谷和紀After exiting from the gate, please head to the east exit. When you get off an escalator, there is a bus station. Get on a bus from the bus stop 2 (picture above).From the bus stop, it takes approx. 20min to get to the destination, Hitachi Seaside Park. Although there are two closest bus stops, “Hitachi Seaside Park West Gate” and “Hitachi Seaside Park East Gate”, please get off at the former because it’s much closer to Miharashi Area with Kochias. By the way, if you want to get to the park from the station by taxi, it takes approx. 15min.Photo by 神谷和紀This is the west gate of the park. First of all, please purchase an admission ticket from the ticket machine in the middle. After buying a ticket, simply push your way to Kochias. Although there is a path surrounding a big pond near the gate, you can get to your destination from either side of the path.Crimson, brighter than you expectWhat you see at the front are cosmoses. The crimson carpet at the back — it consists of Kochias.Photo by Photo by Photo by 神谷和紀Let’s look at them closer.Photo by SuzumuraYusei
Seven Hokkaido Hotels with Convenient AccessHome to the most hot springs in Japan, Hokkaido is a hot spring haven with a total of 244 onsen resorts. There are several accommodations that take pride in utilizing the natural waters gushing from their hot springs.We introduce accommodations with spacious hot springs that also have great access from Sapporo, a major destination Hokkaido, and each airport on the island. Relax at these lodging and enjoy a much-deserved soak!Hakodate Yunokawa Hot Spring ResortPhoto by PixtaYunokawa Hot Spring Resort in Hakodate is ranked as one of three best onsen facilities in Hokkaido alongside Jozankei and Noboribetsu Hot Spring Resorts. It is also one of the most famous hot springs compiled on a list of 100 onsens. A five-minute drive from Hakodate Airport, it is known as a hot spring district located near Japan’s best airport.A Picturesque Outdoor Bath! Yunokawa Prince Hotel NagisateiYunokawa Prince Hotel Nagisatei is fifteen minutes from JR Hakodate Station or five minutes from Hakodate Airport by car. Its location gives it convenient access for those traveling from afar.Equipped with a picturesque open-air bath that overlooks the Tsugaru Strait and Mt. Hakodate, the hotel also has the most accommodations in Japan with 124 rooms and an outdoor hot spring bath. In other words, this is an onsen facility that hot spring connoisseurs will find irresistible.The hotel’s interior was renovated in 2018, creating the stylish but warm environment felt at the restaurant buffet, and other communal spaces.An on-site kitchen is utilized during the dinner buffet. You can taste made-to-order menu items from sushi, tempura, steak, and much more that will fill adults and children alike with excitement.Students on school trips are not accepted into the restaurant. The restaurant, which caters to each diner’s individual needs, is recommended for guests who plan on booking an extended stay. 20 Top Hakodate Spots – Guide To A Port City With A Million Dollar Night View! Access from the Nearest Station9 minutes by bus and foot, 11 minutes by tram and foot, or 15 minutes by foot from JR Hakodate Station Main image by Pixta Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest AirportTake the Niseko Express Bus from the Sapporo Station Bus Terminal (in front of Ikoino Yuyado Iroha). Express buses are also available from New Chitose Airport in the winter. Check now for available rooms at Yunokawa Prince Hotel Nagisatei! Yunokawa Prince Nagisatei View InformationlodgingLa Vista Hakodate Bay – Boasting a Million Dollar Night ViewLocated in the Hakodate Bay Area, La Vista Hakodate Bay is surrounded by popular Hakodate tourist spots such as the Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse: a commercial complex packed with interesting shops. By car, it is 20 minutes from Hakodate Airport, which may seem a bit far. However, buses connecting to Hakodate Airport and Hakodate City Tram are located next to the hotel, making it a convenient location.You’ll find four types of open-air baths—a bathtub encased in rock, cypress wood bath, clay bathtub, and barrel bath—on the hotel’s top level (13th floor). Known in Japan as a “Million Dollar Night View,” you can take in Hakodate’s spectacular night view while bathing in your favorite bathtub.Once you’ve finished soaking, take a break with a complimentary popsicle at Sora, the outdoor rest area on the same floor.La Vista Hakodate Bay is also known for its delicious Japanese and Western-style breakfast buffet. The Katte Don is a bowl of rice topped with as much fresh seafood as you want—including salmon roe, squid, northern shrimp, and cod roe. It is a very popular dish. Website Language SupportNone Photo by Pixta Kojohama Onsen is located near Noboribetsu Onsen and sits along a national highway overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Its water output is so abundant that it’s said to be the best in all of Hokkaido with its many varieties of hot springs. There are also sightseeing spots in the vicinity like Lake Kuttara, a circular caldera lake that is a must-see.Kokorono Resort Furukawa – Wheelchair Access and Dog-Friendly!The amazing scenery at Kokorono Resort Umino Bettei Furukawa appears as if it transformed to become one with the Pacific Ocean, with nothing obstructing it from your view in the open-air baths. The open-air baths and footpaths are where bathers can appreciate the ocean. Hammocks on the open terrace also add to the relaxing mood that hangs in the air throughout the premises.The employees at Kokorono Resort work their hardest to make sure everyone visiting will enjoy their stay. By considering the needs of guests with young children, the inn offers a plan that allows them to leisurely use a private bath with a sweeping view of the ocean for 110 minutes. A wheelchair-accessible Japanese-Western style room with electric beds and a terrace are also available.Additionally, there are two types of rooms where you can stay with your dog. The twin room has a yard furnished with a washing area and there’s the Japanese-Western style room that can accommodate up to five people. The fact that both of these rooms have an entryway is another great feature. On-site English SupportAvailable Photo by Pixta The Niseko Hot Spring Resort boasts a variety of hot springs gushing from the many wellsprings found on Hokkaido.Niseko Resort is the generic term for the hot springs in the Niseko area, including Niseko Konbu Onsen. It was selected as one out of a hundred most prestigious hot springs in Japan.Relaxing Family Time at Hotel KanronomoriHotel Kanronomori is where the Forest Concert, performed in the lobby by local musicians, is held every night.In the Forest Sky Open-Air Bath, you’ll be able to bathe as if you’re floating in a forest. With a scenery lined with trees, this view will change with the coming of each season. This attractive feature also makes it an ideal place to visit during different periods each year.The private bath can hold up to ten people and even comes with a sauna. This allows families or groups to simultaneously soak and relax in the hot springs.Dinner is a semi-buffet that comes with a main course, such as sashimi (sliced raw fish) or a meat dish, and as many appetizers, seasonal dishes, and desserts as you like. Stay in one of their top-quality rooms to indulge in a multi-course meal in the lounge.Niseko is known to be difficult to navigate around. However, you can access the inn on just one bus from Sapporo or Otaru Station by taking the Niseko Express Bus. Direct buses to Niseko also leave from New Chitose Airport in the winter. Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest AirportTwo hours by the Waku-Waku Shuttle Bus from Sapporo Station Check now for available rooms at Wakamatsu Hot Spring Resort! Kappo Ryokan Wakamatsu View InformationlodgingNiseko Konbu Onsen On-site English SupportAvailable Access from the Nearest Station10 minutes by taxi, 18 minutes by bus and foot from JR Noboribetsu Station Access from the Nearest Station13 minutes by taxi, 15 minutes by bus from JR Noboribetsu Station Sapporo Travel Guide – Sightseeing, What To Wear, Local Food, And More! Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest Airport100 minutes by hotel bus from Sapporo TV Tower Website Language SupportNone Check now for available rooms at Kokorono Resort Umino Bettei Furukawa! Kokorono Resort Umino Bettei Furukawa View Informationlodging Check now for available rooms at Hotel Mahoroba! Mahoroba View InformationlodgingDai-ichi Takimotokan – Sumptuously Soak in 5 Types of Hot Springs with 35 BathsAt Dai-ichi Takimotokan, guests can soak in five types of hot springs (sulfur, sodium sulfate, acidic iron sulfate, common salt, and alkaline springs), which is half the number of onsen varieties found in Japan. Its large public bath is open 24 hours so you can bathe for as long as you want, whenever you want.There’s also a 25-meter heated pool, a 50-centimeter deep children’s pool, and water slides that families can enjoy. This is sure to become a very fulfilling stay for both adults and their playful children.For dinner, you can choose to have your meal served in your room, in the dining hall, or at the buffet. In the buffet dining area, menu cards for dishes that use seven specific ingredients (wheat, egg, shrimp, crab, buckwheat, dairy, and peanuts) are marked with an icon for guests with allergies. For vegetarians, please let the inn know beforehand to prepare non-meat meals.The official website is complete with language support in Japanese, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean. A private shuttle bus also departs from Sapporo Station, making the inn easily accessible for international tourists. On-site English SupportAvailable Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest AirportNone On-site English SupportAvailable Access from the Nearest Station5 minutes by taxi from JR Noboribetsu Station. A shuttle bus is available. Website Language SupportJapanese, English, Chinese Access from the Nearest Station13 minutes by taxi, 18 minutes by bus and foot from JR Hakodate Station Website Language SupportJapanese, English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean On-site English SupportAvailable Read also On-site English SupportAvailable Access from the Nearest Station15-minutes by taxi, bus, or foot from JR Hakodate Station Check now for available rooms at Hotel Kanronomori! Hotel Kanronomori View InformationlodgingNoboribetsu Onsen Check now for available rooms at Dai-ichi Takimotokan! Dai-ichi Takimotokan View InformationlodgingKojohama Onsen Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest Airport21 minutes by shuttle bus (in front of Hakodate Bay Area) and foot from Hakodate Airport Website Language SupportJapanese, English On-site English SupportAvailable Access from the Nearest Station10 minutes by taxi or hotel bus from JR Niseko Station Check now for available rooms at La Vista Hakodate Bay! La Vista Hakodate Bay View InformationlodgingWakamatsu Hot Spring Resort – Michelin Star AwardeeOpening its doors in 1922, Wakamatsu Hot Spring Resort has a long history dating back to the Taisho period—even earning one star in the “MICHELIN GUIDE to Hokkaido.” It is a long-established resort with beautifully furnished facilities and guest rooms that are reminiscent of Japan at every turn.Upon arriving, you will be treated to a matcha welcome drink accompanied with the “Matsu no Midori”: an original dessert consisting of a meringue-filled dacquoise layered with matcha cream. At the inn, you can experience a tea ceremony and soba noodle making workshop, creating a space where guests can immerse themselves in both Japanese aesthetic and tradition.Seasonal seafood and other ingredients are used in abundance for dinner. For breakfast during the summers, you can eat squid freshly-caught that morning.The spacious public and open-air baths that look out onto the Tsugaru Strait and Shimokita Peninsula are free-flowing from its own wellspring (*1). You can see the water gushing from the wellspring in the pavilion at the front of the entrance.*1 Gensen-kakenagashi: a bathtub filled directly from a gushing wellspring. Minimal amounts of outside-sourced water and heat are added for temperature regulation. Photo by Pixta Noboribetsu Onsen is a famous Hokkaido hot spring that boasts nationwide popularity. There are nine different types of hot springs—a rarity even internationally. It’s considered to be a hot spring department store in Japan.Infants Are Welcome at Hotel Mahoroba!A feature of Hotel Mahoroba is its theme park-like hot springs spread across the first and second-floor basement levels! Here, you can soak in four hot springs with 31 different types of baths.The hotel warmly welcomes guests with infants. Naturally, you can enter their large public baths with your baby, but there are also cribs placed in the dressing rooms and a portion of the women’s restrooms. Additionally, high chairs for bathing use can be rented, as well as a diaper trashcan and diaper-changing mats. Diapers are sold in the stores on the premises.Dining can be served a variety of ways, including in the banquet hall, your private room, or at a buffet restaurant. At Green Terrace, a restaurant on the second floor, diners can indulge in all-you-can-eat crab. You’ll be able to enjoy Japan’s top three crabs (hairy, red king, and snow crab) to your heart’s content. Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest AirportNone Website Language SupportNone Direct Buses from Sapporo or the Nearest AirportNone Website Language SupportNone Niseko Sightseeing Guide: Access, Area Information and Souvenirs
Are you familiar with the Japanese otaku term, ‘itasha’?Itasha is a term referring to cars that are decorated with designs of characters from anime and games. Due to the ”almost painful to see” visual effect they create, they are called itasha (itai=painful + sha=car). The itasha is now a major part of the otaku culture and there are many events are held nationwide where itasha owners and itasha fans gather.This time we would like to feature a major itasha event, The Takada Honcho Itasha Festival. Marking their fifth year in 2016, during this time, unique itashas gather together from all over Japan and are displayed in Joetsu city, Niigata.In 2016, 38 cars were entered in this event, making it a record for the festival. The event was a great success and, aside from itashas, there were live concerts held by local idols along with cosplay gatherings.In this article, we would like to show you what the itasha festival was like along with some of the anime characters that were featured on the cars.The Itashas Displayed at the Event!1. Love Live!This is a Toyota Voxy where the left side is decorated with the character Maki Nishikino from the TV anime, ”Love Live!”.The back of the car has all nine of the main characters.”Love Live!” is a fictional high school girl anime group and a popular Japanese anime series. It was popular among a wide age range of fans from kids to older anime otaku.2. Macross FThis is a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with the two main characters, Sheryl Nome (left) and Ranka Lee (right) from the TV anime ”Macross Frontier”.”Macross F” is a popular science fiction Japanese robot anime. For fans of this series, this car is irresistible.3. GUMI (Vocaloid)On this Toyota Sera, there is the Vocaloid (*1) character, GUMI designed on. One of the most popular Vocaloid characters is Miku Hatsune, but GUMI is just as popular.*1 Vocaloid: A computer program made by YAMAHA used to make songs using human voices.The bright green and yellow colors are very vibrant and eye catching among the many itashas.4. Lily (Vocaloid)Next is another popular Vocaloid character, Lily, designed onto a Nissan ELGRAND.5. Miku Hatsune and Rin Kagamine (Vocaloid)Lastly, we cannot miss the cute blue haired pig-tailed idol, Miku Hatsune along with the blonde Vocaloid character, Rin Kagamine designed on the Toyota Alphard.In the back seat area, there was a Playstation 3, and a monitor and controllers set where you can enjoy playing music games featuring Miku Hatsune.Music was blasting from the car as steam rose in sync with the music. With the amazing performance, fans that stopped by began to dance along with the music. We were able to understand the popularity of Miku Hatsune right away seeing this itasha.This is the owner of this car who goes by Mikuphard.Cosplayers Dressed as Anime and Vocaloid CharactersAt the itasha festival, we encountered some cosplayers who dressed up as anime and Vocaloid characters. This is a cosplayer dressed as Snow Miku, who is the snow fairy version of Miku Hatsune.Next to this itasha is a cosplayer dressed as Honoka Kosaka, who is the main character of the anime, ”Love Live!”.Local Foods and Idol ConcertsOn the day of the event, the shopping district opens up for foot traffic and many pop-up shops are available. You can sit and enjoy meals at the tables or on the sidewalk. At the Former Daiyon bank Takada branch in the shopping district, you can enjoy a live concert held by local idols for only 500 yen.Miku Hatsune Live Stage at NightAfter spending the day looking at itashas and tasting local delicacies, there was a free outdoor stage featuring a ‘concert’ by Miku Hatsune.Itasha festivals are held nationwide, but whether you are an itasha enthusiast or not, the Takada Honcho Itasha Festival can be enjoyed in many ways. There is a paid parking lot near the event area, but it is recommended to take the train due to crowds that attend. Why not take this opportunity to visit Joetsu city in Niigata?InformationTakada Honcho Itasha FestivalAddress: Niigata, Joetsu city, Honcho 3-2-18Hours: Itasha display from 10:30 – 18:30 / Miku Hatsune live concert from 18:30Languages: JapaneseNearest Station: JR Takada Station in Joetsu city, NiigataAccess: 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo to Joetsu Myoko on the Hokuriku shinkansen. Transfer to the Haneuma line on the Echigo Tokimeki train and go on a 10-minute ride to Takada station. Walk 5 minutes to the event area.Price: Free entry (500 yen for the idol live concert)Telephone number: +81-025-522-1829Website: Takada Honcho Itasha Festival (Japanese)
Furthermore, as Shinoharu’s English Rakugo will put a new, unique spin on the traditional Rakugo performance, even those who have experienced Rakugo before would find themselves rediscovering new facets of this Edo Period performance art. It is also a great place for Japanese speakers to hone their English language skills at the same time!Following his first public English Rakugo performance in Japan (September 2015), this upcoming performance will be Shinoharu’s largest English Rakugo performance in Japan to date, welcoming over 200 guests from diverse cultures.The language barrier should not stop one from discovering the rich tradition and joys behind Rakugo. With his performance, Shinoharu hopes that more people, Japanese or otherwise, would be able to learn about the well-loved cultural art of Rakugo!Shinoharu Rakugo(6:15)Featured above is Shinoharu Rakugo – 4th Singapore Solo Tour 2014. You can feel his Rakugo intimately intertwined in Japanese culture.Ticket Purchase→ English Rakugo 2016 by ShinoharuMATCHA Special Coupon(10%OFF!) :MatchaRakugoEvent InformationJanuary 21st, 2016 (Thursday)Entry: 7:00pmStart: 7:30pmStandard: 2,500 yenStudent: 1,800 yenSchool bulk sales are also available at 1,500 yen per person, minimum of 20 people (negotiable). Send us an inquiry at 《firstname.lastname@example.org》 to check on how to purchase bulk tickets for your group! Students include university students, exchange students, and language school students. Please remember to bring your student ID or proof of affiliation on the day of purchase. Please do not hesitate to contact us for inquiries!AddressFukagawa Edo Museum (Small Theater)135-0021 Tokyo, Koto, Shirakawa 1-3-28 Rakugo (落語) is a traditional Japanese fine art of comic storytelling with roots dating back to the Edo Period. The storyteller spins a long and humorous tale, often depicting several characters that will have the audience laughing.Rakugo performances are traditionally performed in Japanese and hence limited to Japanese audiences in the past, but “English Rakugo 2016 by Shinoharu” welcomes both Japanese and non-Japanese people alike!Non-Japanese speakers will be able to experience Rakugo for the very first time in English, and discover the wonders of this age-old art form!Rediscovering Rakugo
re:Dine GINZA is a rather unique restaurant. It provides you with separate menus for appetizers, main course, dessert, and coffee. You get to choose the dish combination you want.The chefs are specialized in a certain dish and will prepare your meal depending on what you choose. You can even vote for the best dishes and help promote a chef to work as the main chef at a different restaurant once he graduates with good reviews. re:Dine is one of the rare places in Japan that is cashless. They offer several payment options, including credit card and Suica cards.Coiparfait – Fruity and Creamy or Black and Rich? Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAThe coisof milk (600 yen plus tax) decorated with “oiri” can also be purchased again at re:Dine GINZA. Oiri are colorful rice cracker balls with a thin sugar coating. In Kagawa, oiri are believed to bring good luck. coisof Harajuku Moves in with re:Dine GINZA Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAWhile expanding their menu, re:Dine GINZA has also started a seasonal limited menu. During the rainy season, they had an Ameiro Soft (rain colored soft serve). Drizzled with silver and blue candy and blueberry sauce. Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAThe Milk Strawberry Coiparfait is a mixture of strawberries, strawberry sauce, delicious vanilla sponge and coisof milk soft serve. This version comes with cherry-flavored liqueur.The Harajuku coisof Menu is Back! Picture from The Most Flavorful Sesame Ice Cream On Earth! Gomaya Kuki In HarajukuThis ice cream might taste familiar to people who have been to Gomaya Kuki in Omotesando. It was originally created through a collaboration of Gomaya Kuki and coisof. If you want a pure sesame flavor instead, you can also purchase most of Gomaya Kuki’s menu at re:Dine GINZA. Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAFor the summer months, they offer a Lemon-Cheese Coiparfait (1,200 yen plus tax). Bitter lemon is layered with cream cheese, milk soft serve, and cheesecake. It is served with a ginger liquor which is very strong and spicy. The KitKat Chocolatory Ginza – Handmade Chocolate And Sweets coisof was a small quirky soft serve shop in Harajuku serving pastel-hued ice cream alongside its famous, black as the night sesame flavored soft serve. It was located on a side street of Takeshita Street and hard to find if you didn’t know where to look. However, one day, it was gone.Its disappearance was a surprise to its fans and Instagram followers but it turns out that coisof was just moving in with a friend. It reappeared in a slightly upper scale version when re:Dine GINZA opened in January 2019.re:Dine GINZA – A Unique Restaurant Concept? While GINZA is known as an upper scale district, the prices at re:Dine GINZA are rather affordable. You don’t have to order a whole course and you can also just drop in for a coffee or, in this case, ice cream. Although the parfait looks light and fresh, it is very powerful in flavor. You can taste the distinctive flavor of cream cheese and bitter lemon. This is great for people who like bitter flavors and something that isn’t overly sweet. If you want something sweeter, I recommend opting for the Strawberry Coiparfait.Come to re:Dine GINZA for Delicious and Instagrammable Soft Serve Ice Cream!If you happen to be in GINZA, you should definitely visit re:Dine GINZA. Try a whole course created by promising chefs if you have time or just get yourself some delicious, Instagram worthy ice cream. The choice is yours! coisof View InformationstoreIn cooperation with CoisofRead also The Thick Rich Black Coiparfait (1,200 yen plus tax) is sesame and dark cocoa flavored soft serve mixed with rich chocolate cake and crunchy dark cookie crumbles presented in a long-necked glass.It is served alongside coffee liqueur but can also be ordered without it for 200 yen less. Be warned that the liqueur is fairly strong in flavor so it can overpower the other flavors. Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAre:Dine GINZA introduced the new coisof menu upon opening the new restaurant. Until June 2019, they only had the parfait-style soft-serve known as Coiparfait. The Most Flavorful Sesame Ice Cream On Earth! Gomaya Kuki In Harajuku Picture courtesy re:Dine GINZAcoisof milk has a mild milk flavor which goes well with the crunchy candy. It also softens any other flavors it is paired with. It can be also be purchased in a half-and-half sesame and milk version if the black ice cream is a little bit too strong for your liking or if you just want to try both at once.Limited Edition Soft Serves Since June 2019, the core Harajuku coisof menu was reintroduced to re:Dine GINZA. It can be ordered as take-out.First up is the famous Goth Soft (600 yen plus tax). It is the same rich chocolate and sesame soft serve as in the Coiparfait version but served on its own in a black ice cream cone made with charcoal and dark cocoa. This Instagram worthy dessert is even served with a black napkin.It has a rich sesame flavor with a slight bitterness from the cocoa. It is not too sweet and surprisingly refreshing for ice cream with such deep flavor. The waffle has a rich chocolate flavor. There is no trace of charcoal taste in either of them. Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven – All-You-Can-Drink Sake And Delicious Edo-Style Sushi
Bavarian cream with ginger, fig compote and sorbet L’Atelier de NOTO is found at a few minutes walk from the Asaichi area in Wajima. Surrounded by a quiet residential area, the original building used to be a traditional house. It has been renovated, and now, the modern interior is one of the characteristic features for which L’Atelier de NOTO is known. In the elegant interior using wooden furniture or in the beautifully illuminated inner garden, you can find the distinguished atmosphere of old, traditional Japan.The Irresistible Appeal of the Exquisite Dishes Made with Local Ingredients Wajima is famous for the local lacquerware which is a precious element of Japanese culture, as well as for the fresh seafood one can find at Asaichi Market. The city has been gaining popularity as a sightseeing destination. If you have the occasion of visiting Wajima, do pay a visit to L’Atelier de NOTO. The delicious cuisine and the wonderful service you will enjoy at this restaurant will make you want to come again! L’Atelier de Noto View Informationrestaurant Marinated mackerel with lemon flavored foam Noto confit with foie gras Noto Roast Beef with Fresh VegetablesThe chef, Ikehata Toshiya, was born in the Noto Peninsula and is a first class cooking master, having been trained at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a famous restaurant in France. L’Atelier de NOTO has been opened in 2014 and offers only course meals. It is a dining place where you can enjoy authentic French cuisine for an affordable price in comparison to the Tokyo area, so we highly recommend it to gourmet food enthusiasts. A French Restaurant in Noto’s Wajima, the City of Gourmet FoodIshikawa prefecture is often called a “repository of delicious food”. In the Noto Peninsula, which faces the Sea of Japan, there is bountiful fresh seafood that is a genuine treat. Did you know that in Wajima, a city located in the Noto Peninsula, thereis a French restaurant run by a chef who learned the art of cooking at a top French restaurant in Europe? Or that the dishes created by this chef, who was born in Wajima, have been receiving a lot of attention recently among the fans of gourmet food? Today we will introduce to you the secretly famous L’Atelier de NOTO, a restaurant where exquisite French cuisine is made with local ingredients. Sitting at your table, you will be able to see the chef himself enjoying conversation with the guests. The warmhearted personality of the chef is probably another reason behind L’Atelier de NOTO’s countrywide popularity. Seabass fried with bread, garnished with Chutney sauce made with tomatoes and red paprikaAll the dishes that are brought one after another are made using local seabass and Noto beef. Through this menu, you get to know the depth of Noto’s food culture, which is another unique feature of this restaurant. In addition to the delicious taste and visual appeal of this food, every bite makes you smile when you realize that the chef has put all his heart and feelings for his hometown in these dishes.The Elegant Interior and Polite Service Characteristic to Noto