If you feel the need to strengthen your financial management savvy, check out StrongNonprofits.org, a new website featuring free tools, how-tos and guides.Developed in partnership between The Wallace Foundation and Fiscal Management Associates, the site contains more than 64 resources for anyone involved in nonprofit financial planning, monitoring, operations or oversight, and particularly nonprofit afterschool program providers. Features range from a nonprofit accounting guide, to an article on sensible growth strategies, to a podcast on how to understand the true costs of programming. The site also offers an array of helpful tools, including the “Go or No Go Decision Tool,” a questionnaire that helps an organization decide whether accepting a contract would help – or hurt – the group’s bottom line.The site includes:• A Five-Step Guide to Budget Development—a presentation that describes a team approach to budgeting essentials such as setting financial goals, forecasting results and monitoring progress.• Budgeting and Financial Planning Tools—Excel-based templates to provide organizations with a framework for building program-based budgets, projecting cash flow, and evaluating revenue scenarios.• Guide to Effective Board Leadership—an easy-to-follow description of how nonprofit boards can do the necessary financial oversight of their organizations.You can find the site here.
A story’s emotional power is a fundraiser’s best tool to gain the attention of donors and inspire action. One fundraising campaign that is hitting it out of the park with its emotional “wow” factor is Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Season of Giving. The campaign’s message reinforces the work that RMHC does by reminding supporters that there is strength in numbers and that they are really giving the gift of togetherness when they make a contribution. I had a chance to chat with Jennifer Smith, Senior Director of Communications & Special Programs at Ronald McDonald House Charities to learn more about this campaign and its approach to connecting donors with the work they make possible. Jennifer was kind enough to share a bit of the process behind this amazing campaign and offer some tips to other nonprofits this holiday season.“For any nonprofit, but certainly for Ronald McDonald House Charities, our goal is to share the impact of the work we do with the support of our donors. Every campaign we do lets our donors know that the work they make possible is making a difference in the lives of the families we serve. For potential donors, this illustrates the fact that they are needed,” Jennifer says.The Seasons of Giving campaign includes donor communication pieces, direct mail appeals, videos, online ads, and social media outreach. In this multi-channel campaign, there are unifying elements, such as a red ribbon motif that provides visual connectivity across platforms.Jennifer has a great reminder for all nonprofit fundraisers: Don’t forget to match the message with the medium. “We’re careful to tailor the message. You can’t just stick your direct mail language on Facebook. Different elements pull out different aspects. Use the different components of the story to target specific audience at the right time. We make sure the content is relevant but there are still the connected elements, such as branding and the overall messaging.”How did RMHC arrive at this campaign?Jennifer shares a fundamental, yet natural, shift, “There was a time when we spoke more to facts, figures and children served, but we found that to add more dimension to the message, we had to do that by telling the family stories. People are already willingly telling their stories—they want to be able to share what they’ve been through. They often want to give back and say, ‘We want to help YOU.’ You can’t manufacture authenticity. You need real people telling real stories.”Here are Jennifer’s tips for other nonprofits looking to capture and share stories:1. Listen to what people are already telling you. What are your supporters and beneficiaries saying? Take those words and insights and build a story from them. This helps your supporters understand how our work is making a difference, and that donors are the ones making it happen.2. Sharing stories encourages others to tell their stories. After seeing the Season of Giving campaign, it’s clear that it’s not just about the official videos or stories—it’s about allowing more people to open up and share their stories. “Social media is a wonderful listening tool; the dialogue that happens is inspiring. I haven’t been in their shoes, so when they’re sharing their stories organically, it is a powerful experience,” Jennifer says, giving us a great reminder of the beauty of social media. “If you’re listening you can be more insightful and tuned in to messages that resonate. It also allows those stores to be shared more easily and more widely.”3. Ask, but be sensitive. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Would you be willing to share your story?” Jennifer’s team is careful to recognize the challenges, “We’re very sensitive to the fact that some of these families are going through what they are going through. What is powerful about [the stories featured in our videos] is that Kayla and Christina are still fighting and working to heal from cancer.” Jennifer also reminds us that it’s important to have checkpoints throughout the process. Continually ask, “Are you still comfortable with telling this story?”4. Make it a part of your organization’s culture. Jennifer shares how this works at RMHC, “The way our system is structured, we rarely have to do a formal process. If we see something that catches our eye, we first reach out to our Chapter and ask permission to find out more. Then if timing is right, we talk to the family.” Jennifer adds, “We also use stories from corporate donors, such as McDonald’s owner/operators, volunteers, and staff, etc. One of our core tenets is our compassion, from our training of our staff people to volunteers. We exist to provide resources when people really need it, and this permeates throughout everything we do.” A big thank you to Jennifer for sharing her insight with our readers and to the people at RMHC for the great work they do. To find out more about the RMHC Season of Giving campaign, visit http://www.rmhc.org/season-of-giving.
Creating your year-end email appeals? Don’t forget these six key ingredients:An obvious donation button.Your donate button should be big, bold, and above the fold. When your donors want to give, it needs to be as easy as possible. They shouldn’t need to hunt for the link to your donation page.A clear and specific call to action.A vague call to action like “support us” is more likely to confuse than to motivate. To be effective, make your calls to action highly specific and feasible.A sense of urgency.Compel your donors to take action with a real sense of urgency. Let your supporters know when there are only a few more days left to meet your annual goal.Contact information.Make sure to link to a contact page so donors can get in touch if they have an important question. It’s also important to include an easy way for readers to opt-out of your nonprofit’s emails (if you’re not sending from an email service provider like Constant Contact, be aware of CAN-SPAM laws).Mobile-friendly design.Smartphones make it easy to act in the moment, which is important because the decision to donate is often impulsive. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly so you can easily connect with donors at any time, no matter where they are.A compelling case for giving.Asking for a donation is not enough. To stand out from the crowd, nonprofit fundraisers must make a compelling case for giving by using stories, building credibility, and packaging your message.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on May 16, 2012June 21, 2017Click 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)New global maternal mortality estimates were released today in a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank. The report,“Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010”, shows that the number of women dying of pregnancy and childbirth related complications has almost halved in 20 years. The estimates show that from 1990 to 2010, the annual number of maternal deaths has dropped from more than 543,000 to 287,000–and that a number of countries have already reached the MDG target of 75 per cent reduction in maternal death.Major highlights from the report:• In 2010, the global maternal mortality ratio was 210 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest maternal mortality ratio at 500 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.• In sub-Saharan Africa, a woman faces a 1 in 39 lifetime risk of dying due to pregnancy or childbirth-related complications. In South-eastern Asia the risk is 1 in 290 and in developed countries, it is 1 in 3,800.• Ten countries have 60 per cent of the global maternal deaths: India (56,000), Nigeria (40,000), Democratic Republic of the Congo (15,000), Pakistan (12,000), Sudan (10,000), Indonesia (9,600), Ethiopia (9,000), United Republic of Tanzania (8,500), Bangladesh (7,200) and Afghanistan (6,400).• Ten countries have already reached the MDG target of a 75 per cent reduction in maternal death: Belarus, Bhutan, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Iran, Lithuania, Maldives, Nepal, Romania and Viet Nam.Read the full press release here.Read the full report here.Join the conversation on Twitter at hashtag: #motherhood #MMR2012Over the past few years, the global health community has witnessed and contributed to the publication of more frequent and more technically advanced estimates for maternal mortality than ever before. This report adds to the growing body of evidence that is helping the maternal health community to measure and better understand the scope and trends of the problem. It is an exciting time in the field–and we encourage you to read the new report.Share this:
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on June 15, 2012June 16, 2017By: Gary Darmstadt and Wendy Prosser, Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationClick 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)This post was originally posted on Impatient Optimists.With almost 200 million people living in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, a state more populous than the entire country of Brazil, the sheer breadth of exciting, new ways to improve maternal and child health is enormous. With all of those people and increased investments in health research and service delivery along with a growing economy, imagine how much information and knowledge can be shared when it comes to finding solutions for some of the most challenging women’s and children’s health issues. But also imagine how complicated it must be to find the right people with the right information to learn from to scale up these programs.I had the chance to talk to our partners at the Urban Health Initiative (UHI) in Uttar Pradesh last week. The Urban Health Initiative works to improve the health of the urban poor—particularly in enabling women to plan their families and access the contraceptives that they want—in this densely populated area. I asked their opinions about what we’re doing that works, what doesn’t work, what we should change—and what we are not doing that they would like us to do.They encouraged us to do more in the area of knowledge sharing, because they see the tremendous benefits of learning from other organizations, partners, the private sector, and global thought leaders. They see the synergies that can exist even between sectors, like family planning and HIV, and want to exploit those in the most beneficial ways.For example, foundation partners who work in the contraceptives arena know that, in Uttar Pradesh, 21 percent of women want to use some form of birth control but they don’t. Knowledge is understanding why those women don’t use birth control—for example, because the health center closest to her house has been out of stock of her preferred method for a couple of months, or because she is too embarrassed to get condoms from her neighborhood store—and then to act on that information to create lasting solutions.This conversation I had in Uttar Pradesh reminded me of the thoughts that were shared at the Achieving Lasting Impact at Scale convening at the end of last year. That convening brought practitioners, researchers, and global experts together to start the conversation on diffusion and dissemination, and of scaling up successful interventions for impact in maternal and child health—not just documentation of inputs or things done, but real impact in improving the health of women and children.The ideas from our partners at UHI are the catalyst to change the way we think and talk about the ways in which we provide women’s and children’s health care in developing countries. They specifically suggested the breakdown of “silos,” or separation between organizations and sectors working in different health arenas, by creating platforms to share learning and knowledge.We’re talking about much more than sharing information, data, trip summaries, or progress reports from activity implementation.Our partners in Uttar Pradesh are asking for inventive ways to share knowledge to scale successful interventions which have a positive, lasting impact on women’s and children’s health. And we’re working to address this need, given the tremendous potential to increase our collective ability for impact when it comes to maternal, newborn, and child health in India—and to disseminate this learning from India for benefit throughout the world.Share this:
Posted on July 10, 2013March 6, 2017By: Dr. Alice Self, Sandwell General Hospital, Lyndon, West Bromwich; Hannah Knight, Research Fellow, Health Informatics, Office for Research and Clinical Audit, Lindsay Stewart R&D Centre, Royal College of Obstetricians and GynaecologistsClick 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)It can be hard to imagine the challenges some women and their families face whilst trying to access timely and effective maternity care:“By the time they struggled to get her an admission card, by the time she was admitted, by the time her file was made up, by the time the midwife was called, by the time the midwife finished eating, by the time the midwife came, by the time the husband went and bought some gloves, by the time the midwife examined the woman, by the time the doctor could be found, by the time the husband went out to buy drugs, IV set, drip and bottle of ether, by the time the haematologist was called, by the time the haematologist came and took blood from the poor tired husband, by the time the day and night nurses changed duty, by the time the day and night doctors changed duty, by the time the t’s had been properly crossed and all the i’s dotted and the husband signed the consent form, the woman died.”Extract from a letter by F Tahzib, University of Sokoto, Nigeria (1989), cited in Thaddeus & Maine (1994)Although it was written almost 30 years ago, this powerful excerpt serves to illustrate some of the numerous and persistent barriers that still prevent many women from receiving effective and timely care, even once they reach a health facility.A group of researchers from the University of Oxford decided to examine the literature on this topic in order to better understand these facility-level (otherwise known as Phase III) delays. Previous studies had tended to focus on the challenges women face in reaching a hospital on time, rather than what happened once they arrived.PLOS has now published this systematic review in its MHTF-PLOS Maternal Health Collection. The review identifies 32 different barriers that can prevent women from receiving timely and appropriate obstetric care once they arrive at a medical facility, and classifies these into 6 categories: human resources; drugs and equipment; facility infrastructure; policy and guidelines; patient-related and referral-related.The most commonly cited barriers in the literature were:inadequate training/skills mixdrug procurement/logistics problemsstaff shortageslack of equipmentlow staff motivationTwo important conclusions emerge from this work and are worth highlighting:Although patient-side delays in the decision to seek care and in reaching a medical facility are responsible for a great number of maternal deaths, focusing only on these delays can mask the fact that many health facilities in the developing world are still chronically under-resourced and unable to cope effectively with serious obstetric complications. Providers and policy-makers must work together to address supply-side barriers alongside demand-side factors if further reductions in maternal mortality are to be achieved.Simple, replicable tools to assess facility-level barriers are badly needed to assist health managers in identifying facilities that deliver sub-optimal care, and in both making and monitoring the required improvements. No generally accepted methodology exists and this makes comparisons between countries very difficult. The authors call for the introduction of benchmark indicators that assess the content and quality of maternal care, rather than the rates of skilled attendance at birth alone.Read the systematic review. Take a look at the MHTF-PLOS Maternal Health Collection.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:,The MDG report draws from official statistics to provide up-to-date summary data on each target at global and regional levels, with country-level data available online. There is much to celebrate: maternal and child mortality rates have dropped, and fewer people are dying from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis than ever before. After two years of steady decreases in development aid, official development assistance hit a record high of $134.8 billion in 2013. However, aid has been redirected away from the poorest countries where it is needed most. This trend will need to be reversed in order to see future progress.Despite declines in maternal deaths, almost 300,000 women continue to die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, and largely from preventable causes. Access to family planning has been identified as a life-saving, cost-effective intervention, yet more than 220 million women in the developing world still have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk, with 117 out of every 1000 adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa giving birth in 2011.Given this, it is critical that girls and women are prioritized and have a voice in planning the new sustainable development goals. Women Deliver Young Leader Esther Agbarake, Co-Founder of the Youth Climate Coalition, spoke today at the High-Level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and drove home the importance of engaging with youth.“For young people to also make successful transition to adulthood, they need access to affordable and quality adolescent-and-youth friendly health services and information,” she told the high-level participants. “It is, therefore, imperative that the issues of governance and participation, health including reproductive and sexual health and rights, peacebuilding and security as they relate to young people are reflected in the new development framework… Young people can and are providing the answers, ideas and innovations that can drive sustainable development and produce solutions to today’s greatest challenges. This requires the meaningful participation of young people in governance and decision-making processes across all levels.”Read the Press ReleaseRead the Report The MDG report draws from official statistics to provide up-to-date summary data on each target at global and regional levels, with country-level data available online. There is much to celebrate: maternal and child mortality rates have dropped, and fewer people are dying from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis than ever before. After two years of steady decreases in development aid, official development assistance hit a record high of $134.8 billion in 2013. However, aid has been redirected away from the poorest countries where it is needed most. This trend will need to be reversed in order to see future progress.Despite declines in maternal deaths, almost 300,000 women continue to die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, and largely from preventable causes. Access to family planning has been identified as a life-saving, cost-effective intervention, yet more than 220 million women in the developing world still have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. Adolescent girls are particularly at risk, with 117 out of every 1000 adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa giving birth in 2011.Given this, it is critical that girls and women are prioritized and have a voice in planning the new sustainable development goals. Women Deliver Young Leader Esther Agbarake, Co-Founder of the Youth Climate Coalition, spoke today at the High-Level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and drove home the importance of engaging with youth.“For young people to also make successful transition to adulthood, they need access to affordable and quality adolescent-and-youth friendly health services and information,” she told the high-level participants. “It is, therefore, imperative that the issues of governance and participation, health including reproductive and sexual health and rights, peacebuilding and security as they relate to young people are reflected in the new development framework… Young people can and are providing the answers, ideas and innovations that can drive sustainable development and produce solutions to today’s greatest challenges. This requires the meaningful participation of young people in governance and decision-making processes across all levels.”Read the Press ReleaseRead the Report Posted on July 9, 2014August 10, 2016Click 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)This article originally appeared on the Women Deliver blog on July 7th, 2014Since their implementation fourteen years ago, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have made critical strides, yet challenges remain for girls, women and young people, says a new report released today by the United Nations. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014 shows that while some MDG targets have been met, including the reduction of extreme poverty by half, other critical targets such as MDG 5—the reduction of maternal mortality by 75%—remain far off course. The report indicates that large-scale progress is possible, but only with sufficient funding and data to address staggering inequalities.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Share this: Posted on December 9, 2014November 2, 2016By: Katie Millar, Technical Writer, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthClick 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)Today, WHO released the annual World Malaria Report for 2014. This report reviews the state of malaria throughout the world and also provides 98 country profiles detailing epidemiologic, policy, financing, intervention coverage, and impact information.Preventing malaria through intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) remains a key strategy and appears in the Roll Back Malaria objectives and targets for 2015. The key indicator for IPTp remains the same: the proportion of women who received at least three or more doses of IPTp during ANC visits during their last pregnancy.The report also summarizes the state of national IPTp policies. Country profiles state whether or not an IPTp policy is in place and, if so, when it was adopted. In addition, the report details the number of new IPTp policies adopted in 2013: a total of 37 new policies were adopted, 34 of which occurred in the African Region. Lastly, for each country the report recommends if policies should be adopted on either IPTp or seasonal malarial chemoprevention and summarizes the current antimalarial drug policies for IPTp.Check out the full report!
The last six weeks of the calendar year are make or break time for nonprofits.In fact, nearly 30% of nonprofits raise 26-50% of their annual fundraising in November and December – when folks are feeling their most grateful and generous.Nearly a third of all annual giving happens in the single month of December, and 12% of all giving happens in the last three days of that month!You really don’t want to miss out on this most giving time of year!That means going above and beyond simply sending out a single year-end mailed appeal letter.Because once you’ve sent it, and waited a few weeks for responses to come in, that single appeal becomes pretty much a lame duck.If that’s all you’ve got, you’re sunk.If you want to get in on more of that holiday spirit, you must get all your ducks in a row. Now!Let two little words be your mantra:PLAN. AHEAD.Let’s get you some tips that will help you have the best fundraising season ever!Year-End Nonprofit Fundraising Action Tips1. Send Impact Reports to Set the StageIf you’ve not done so already, get ‘quacking’ and send a report to remind donors how they helped. Every donor should get something, even if just a brief email with a photo of someone they helped and a quick “You’re our hero!” or “You did it!” Also consider sending a special thank you gift to donors and volunteers who went above and beyond during the year. I don’t mean anything expensive (that could backfire); thoughtful tokens of appreciation that just say “I’m thinking about you” are welcome, effective and pre-suasive.2. Clean Up Your Prospect DatabaseGet rid of the dead ducks on your mailing list. There’s no sense spending money to mail duplicates and/or deceased and wrong addresses. Ditto to folks who’ve repeatedly demonstrated they aren’t going to support you.TIP: Make sure you do an annual address correction request using a process like NCOA.TIP: Purge prospects and donors who’ve not given for quite some time, if ever. I recommend purging any donors who haven’t given for five years and any prospects who haven’t given for three years. You can archive them for historical purposes if you wish, but stop paying to mail to these folks.Editor’s note: Ask Network for Good about our contact address cleanup service, available with select donor management packages. Click here to schedule a call.3. Establish Priority Goals Based on Last Year’s ResultsLook at retention, upgrades and downgrades from last year and evaluate your areas for improvement. Your database is a potential gold mine when it comes to setting your year-end strategic fundraising objectives. If you don’t focus in on what’s working/what’s not, you’re likely to repeat last year’s results. And you prefer to exceed them, right?TIP: Consider how you’re doing with various donor segments and other constituencies in terms of retention, upgrades and downgrades: (1) first-time donors; (2) ongoing donors; (3) lapsed donors; (4) multi-gift donors, and (5) upgrades/downgrades. Also look at how you’re converting volunteers and clients (e.g., parents, patients, ticket buyers, members, subscribers) to financial donors. Create specific strategies designed to improve your results in areas that offer the greatest potential.For more insights into using your data for your year-end campaign, register for this webinar: Fundraising and Technology Insights for Your Year-End Campaigns.4. Prioritize Contacts with Your Most Promising SupportersYou don’t want to lose your sitting ducks. Even folks not on your major donor cultivation list may be among the top 10 – 20% of donors who give you 80 – 90% of your funding. If you want to keep these folks, build a plan that assures you don’t duck out on them during the time of year they’re most likely to give!TIP: Create a list of LYBNTs (gave last year but not this). Sort them according to dollar range, so you can prioritize contacts with the largest donors. You’re going to want to remind these folks of their generous past support (thank them!) and let them know they’ve still got time to renew and make a difference this year.TIP: Make sure to evaluate folks based on cumulative annual giving. A $100/month donor is not a $100 donor, but a $1,200 donor. When you sort based on most recent gift, you’ll miss these important loyal supporters.TIP: Don’t overlook Peer-to-Peer fundraisers who bring in significant gift totals. These folks can be the functional equivalent of major donors, and you want to be sure to put in place strategies to encourage their continued engagement and investment.TIP: Don’t overlook volunteers. Research by Neon CRM shows volunteers are twice as likely as non-volunteers to donate. Sometimes, they simply aren’t asked well. Consider making them a separate campaign segment, and send them a tailored appeal that recognizes their already generous contribution to your cause.5. Prepare a Year-End Email SeriesThis will not only bring in gifts on its own, it will also bolster your offline campaign by reminding folks they intended to give. You want to send enough emails to maximize your chances during this most heavy giving period of the year. Did you know 10% of gifts arrive in the last 48 hours of the year? It’s best to plan at least five email touches in December (one can be in your e-news), with a year-end blitz of at least three e-appeals between December 26th and 31st.TIPS: Take advantage of best practices:The best times to email prospects are between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Source: GetResponse).Subject lines should not be an afterthought. 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone (Source: Convince and Convert).Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Source: Aberdeen Group).Send fundraising emails more than once. You never know when you’ll reach someone at an optimum time. 23.63% of email opens occur within the first hour of delivery (Source: GetResponse) and only 23% of sales emails are opened (Source: TOPO). Give your message a few chances.TIP: When folks click on the “donate” link in your email, make sure you send them to a branded donation page that reflects the same message featured in your appeal. This can help you raise as much as seven times more than a non-branded page.6. Plan a multi-channel campaign. Maximize your chances prospective donors will notice and act on your appeal.People today are more (or less) responsive depending on the way you connect with them. While your email appeal was like water off a duck’s back for Prospect A, they may take to a tweet with a link back to a compelling story on your website just like a duck takes to water! For Prospect B, on the other hand, direct mail may be the golden duck. Even they, however, might wait to act until they’re reminded via email.This is why, when it comes to messaging, the “flock” (e.g., direct mail, email, website, social media, and telephone) will do better than any single duck trying to make it on its own. Don’t be afraid to include campaign messaging on several different channels. While you may not be tweeting out direct asks, it doesn’t hurt to include similar campaign theme, messaging, images and graphics so your year-end appeals stays top of mind for prospective donors.TIP: Send a sequence of messages across different channels. If your donor receives a mailed appeal, then sees a similar message via email or on a blog post or social media link a week later, this may trigger their memory and remind them to make a gift.TIP: Create a multi-channel campaign content calendar, work plan, and timeline that incorporates all of your offline and online appeal messaging. Plan to use a consistent theme across all channels so your integrated messages reinforce each other.7. Plan Ahead to Call Your Most Important Lapsed DonorsWho you call, and how many you call, will depend upon your own resources and the makeup of your donor base. Again, begin with those who’ve given the most, as well as those you believe have the greatest potential to become more major donors. Also take a look at those who’ve given consistently over a period of years. These are your most likely future planned giving donors – the ones who might leave you a bequest. The same holds true with ongoing, loyal volunteers. You don’t want to lose these folks, so find out why they may not have yet renewed.TIP: If you’re strapped for resources and staff to make calls, organize this as a year-end phonathon and enlist your board and other volunteers to help. It may even inspire some of them to give! No band width this year? Put it on your calendar for next year as a ‘must do.’ Why? It’s much more cost-effective to renew an existing donor, or convert a volunteer into a donor, than to acquire a brand new supporter.TIP: If it’s been awhile since your monthly donors got a real thank you, consider folding a ‘thankathon’ into your plan. Recruit board members, development committee members and/or other volunteers to help. If you’re a school, ask students to help. This sets you up to ask for an increased monthly commitment this year.8. Plan to Send a “We Miss You” Letter to Lapsed Donors You Can’t CallSome folks may manage to duck the question up until the last minute. Don’t give up! Send them a letter letting them know you miss them. Also send this letter to donors you called, but were unable to reach. Make it brief, direct and as personal as you can manage (e.g., if you called and left a message, reference the fact you’re sorry you missed them). And stay upbeat and positive. Reward your donor for their past giving and praise them for their ongoing generosity and good intentions.TIP: Tell them you know they intend to give because you know how much they care. One of Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence is “commitment and consistency.” People are inclined to keep doing what they’ve already done in an effort to appear consistent. Assume in your tone and language that your donor simply has forgotten/just not got around to it due to the busyness of daily life (based upon my own experience, this is often true; many folks think they already gave and just need a reminder). I used to send a short note (in an envelope emblazoned with a finger tied with a little red reminder ribbon) that said “Did you forget?”SummaryThe end of the calendar year only comes around once annually.If you miss it, your would-be donors will have already flown the coop, having spent their wad. Elsewhere.Plan ahead to get your full piece of the fundraising pie this year.Prime the pump with an impact report.Get your mailing list ready. It’s fruitless to mail to dead ducks.Set goals based on past performance. It makes sense to hunt where the ducks are.Prioritize strategies based on potential for highest yield. This should be a no-brainer – as easy as duck soup – yet too often nonprofits focus more on the 80% of donors who give 20% of the money because mailing seems easier than phoning or meeting face-to-face.Plan as carefully for email as for direct mail. Don’t make your email a bit of a strange duck.Build a multi-channel strategy so no one strategy is all duck and no dinner.Don’t neglect lapsed and other loyal supporters. Compared with cold prospects, these folks are more likely to take to you like a duck to water.Now that you’ve got your duckies in a row, may you have smooth sailing this year-end.Data not otherwise attributed courtesy of Neon CRM.
Virtual Conference – Live StreamingCreating a Nonprofit Donor Experience to Increase Giving and Drive RetentionTuesday, March 27, 2018 | 12:00PM – 4:00PM ET The highly anticipated upcoming Virtual Conference hosted by Network for Good will bring together industry leaders for a robust discussion on the importance of amplifying the donor experience.Register Now to grab one of the few spots left!Great donor experience and engagement generates more giving, keeps donors close, and boots your personal satisfaction level and achievement. It is a win-win! Here are some additional thoughts about donor behaviors: Donors support causes to accomplish their personal missions, not yours!Those who get a great experience when supporting one organization (vs. another, because that’s the choice your donors make—there’s only so much attention and dollars to go around), engage significantly more than someone who doesn’t.That means more donations, but also more volunteering, campaigning, and program participation or advocacy. As your donors get more engaged—and become part of your organization’s family, in a way—the more likely they are to stay close, for the long term. More donations, greater retention. All good!But there’s even more to gain! Engaged donors When your donors are more engaged, they’re far more likely to share their passion with family and friends, expanding your organization’s reach and prospect base with NO ADDITIONAL staff or budget. You couldn’t do the same even if you had the staff and budget, because it’s your donors who have these trusted relationships in place.If your organization has between 100-2500 donors and prospects with contact information and has raised at least $15,000 in the last year from individual donors, ½-day, no-charge, Virtual Conference will be a real game changer. REGISTER NOW for our Virtual Conference where we will explore this topic in great detail. There’s no better investment in the future of your organization—and in yourself.You’ll learn:The theory and research behind the donor engagement phenomenon (great for building buy in and excitement)How your donors and prospects brains really work, so you work with them, rather than againstFrom the most-experienced experts out there, including a colleague fundraiser who will share his organization’s eye-opening donor engagement story.And you’ll have the opportunity to schedule a one-to-one readiness assessment session with one of our engagement coaches!Don’t miss out: Register today!
Last March, Martha Allen became the new executive director of Extra Table, and in Martha’s own words, “time flies when you’re having fun.”Launched in 2009 by well-known Hattiesburg restaurateur Robert St. John, Extra Table makes a difference in the lives of Mississippians by fundraising to stock food pantries and soup kitchens across the state with wholesome, nutritious food; serving 39 food pantries and soup kitchens across 29 counties in Mississippi. In 2017, Extra Table shipped over 130 tons of food to pantries in need.“We’re out of food here.”In 2009, St. John received a call from the Edwards Street Fellowship Center—a food pantry that was helping feed 800 families a month—in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. They had completely exhausted their food inventory and desperately needed help to make sure that they could supply their clients who would be showing up in a few days.A 30-year veteran of the restaurant industry, St. John figured the fastest, easiest way to get food to the pantry would be to call his food distributor, Sysco, place an order, and have the truck drop-ship the order at the agency’s doorstep the next day.Afterward, he wondered if other agencies throughout Mississippi, who were responsible for feeding those in need, were having similar problems. Skeptical that there was a hunger problem, he dug into the issue only to discover that he was living in the state that had the most food insecurity in the nation.On his tour of other food pantries and agencies, St. John learned that hunger and obesity almost always go hand in hand. If one doesn’t have enough money to purchase proper food at a grocery store, he or she will go to the nearest convenience store and eat junk. As a result, a primary element of Extra Table’s mission is to provide food that is healthy and conducive to pre-existing conditions and diets. The organization not only feeds people but makes a difference in the long-term impact that food has on a person, and in turn, their community, state, and resources.Feeding the Hungriest StateIn a small nonprofit, the executive director does everything. As Allen says with a laugh, “You’re the person who gets to lead the organization by day and scrub the floors by night.” By managing a team of interns from the University of Southern Mississippi as well as an active board who volunteer, she juggles an intricate system of schedules, communication, and delegation.“It’s not just about delegation; it’s about recognizing people’s talents and abilities. Much of what I’ve learned over the past 15 years is how to inspire and motivate volunteers in a way to gain their trust so that you are the person or organization they call when they have volunteer time. You must be smart about how you plug volunteers into supporting roles. You can’t ask the accountant to always do financial related things; that is their day in and day out job. How can you tap their talents and keep them fired up and feeling needed?”For example, Allen has found that you can ask the preacher to write a press release because, while writing sermons is their wheel house, press releases are a slight challenge. The hair stylist can recruit volunteers because they see many people on a daily basis. It’s about figuring out how everyone’s talents align with the jobs you need to get done. That insight evolves in a leader over time.Like many of the nonprofit leaders Network for Good works with, Allen didn’t set out to be an executive director. An art student with a degree in art history and interior design from the University of Alabama and a Masters in Architecture from Mississippi State University, Allen worked at Sotheby’s in New York and designed casinos with a Memphis-based firm. When she moved back to Mississippi, she knew she didn’t want to design schools and libraries, so she looked for another career quickly finding herself knee deep in the non-profit world.Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Allen credits her ability to succeed in the nonprofit world to those southern hospitality roots. “Fundraisers are one quarter dinner party!” she says. Nonprofit work is all about developing relationships, sustaining those relationships, and sharing your message in an attractive way.Allen’s passion and desire to take care of others continues to drive her.“I think it drives a lot of women. You have to love something intensely and intimately to do this type of selfless work that requires long hours and depends on lots of delegation and balance. Everyone spends so much time at work, but nonprofit work is different. It’s all consuming. There are so many things you do to prepare before you even get to the office and in the evening after you come home. But I go to bed at night knowing I made a difference in the lives of people that can’t break the cycle of their current circumstances, and they just need help. They need a meal. Food is a basic human right. No one should be hungry. Many days their world is so dark and bleak, but the food that we provide gives them hope. It shows them that someone noticed them and that they’re important. I like being able to make that kind of imprint. In the nonprofit world you spend your time going the extra mile. Because that’s what makes a difference.”On Fundraising“I don’t mind a bit asking people for money when it’s making a difference! There are people with hearts of gold who don’t know what to do with their money. And there are people that make an extra $500 or $5 a month and they would love to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”For Allen, it’s all about being able to tell people about Extra Table and the impact they have. When she sees those same people with tears in their eyes say, “I want to be a part of this,” she knows she’d never leave something that makes that kind of impact. Extra Table launched their first year-end fundraising this year and surpassed their goal. They’ve been named Charity of the Year by multiple organizations. Still, Allen knows fundraising in the nonprofit world is hard work. There’s no product to sell like in the for-profit world. If funding goes away or the economy takes a downturn it makes things even harder.That may be why Allen says her greatest accomplishment some days is to just keep going, to constantly be inspired by the world around her and stay open to people“Everyone around you is important and has something to teach you. If you work hard, great things are going to happen. If I continue to work hard and keep learning and put one foot in front of the other and keep a good team around me, then positive things and great accomplishments are going to keep coming Extra Table’s way. It’s my mantra.”Women in Philanthropy is an ongoing blog series in celebration of Women’s History Month, featuring some of the incredible women Network for Good has the pleasure to work with.Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum – A Paradise for Ramen LoversFor ramen enthusiasts who have eating an authentic bowl in Japan on their to-do list, a visit to the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum is a must.Called “Ra-Haku” (short for Ramen Hakubutsukan) in Japanese, this museum is like a food theme park, with a collection of famous ramen shops from all over Japan. Here, you can taste some of the most popular noodles nationwide, from Hokkaido to Kyushu. In this article, we feature popular ramen shops in the museum, along with other things to do.Two Recommended Ramen ShopsThe first floor of the museum contains a gallery and museum shop. The first and second basement floors have eight ramen shops (as of July 2019) where you can enter and order food. Listed below are two popular and recommended ramen shops.If you wish to taste ramen from different shops, we recommend ordering the mini-ramen size. The mini-ramen is a slightly smaller portion and is a little more than half the standard size. It’s perfect for those who wish to try more than one type of ramen or for people with a smaller appetite.At Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, all shops have the mini-ramen size available to order.Some shops at Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum offer vegetarian and vegan options and/or non-pork ramen. See the official website for the latest details.1. Hacchan Ramen (Fukuoka City, Fukuoka)The first shop is Hacchan Ramen from Fukuoka Prefecture, famous for tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen.Started in 1968 in Fukuoka, the main restaurant operates exclusively at night, between 21:00 and 2:30 since its opening. With no website, Hacchan is known only by the most dedicated ramen fans.The staff of Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum negotiated for around 25 years for Hacchan to take a spot. The shop owner refused many times before accepting the offer and adding their location in March 2019. With increasing visitors to Japan and the Tokyo Olympics coming, Hacchan decided to take on the challenge and expand into Yokohama.Try Hacchan’s Rich Tonkotsu Soup 15 Best Ramen Shops In Asakusa And Tokyo Skytree – Chosen By An Expert! Yokohama – Make The Most Of A Day Spent In Minato Mirai! Read also Tsukemen And Abura Soba Noodles – Differences And How To Eat Them The inside of the museum is designed like the streets of Japan in 1958 during sundown. 1958 is the year when the world’s first instant ramen was invented.The subdued, dark ceiling colors, and decorations give a relaxing evening feeling to the museum. There are also movie theaters, allies, and public baths that will make you think you’ve slipped back in time as you walk around.The posters and signs inside are carefully made to match the atmosphere and are great for taking and sharing photos with friends.Retro Dagashi Snacks at Yuuyake Shoten!A must-visit is Yuyake Shoten, a shop selling cheap retro, Japanese-style candy and snacks known as dagashi.You can find classic Japanese snacks such as Baby Star Ramen (pictured above, to the right) and squid snacks in the shape of paper money. Prices start from as low as 10 yen, making it’s easy to pick up a few items to try.If you’re lucky, you may be able to meet the joyful store manager. He may joke with you, saying things like, “here is your 100,000 yen change,” while giving you a 100 yen coin.He sometimes even jokes in English so non-Japanese speakers can enjoy the humor. Be sure to stop by during your visit to the museum.Yuyake Shoten: http://www.raumen.co.jp/floor/dagashi.html (Japanese)Access to Shin-Yokohama Raumen MuseumThe video above shows how to get to the museum from the closest station, Shin Yokohama Station. Use the Yokohama Subway Line for convenience; it is a minute walk from exit number eight. Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum View Informationmuseum1-Day Admission Price: Adults (middle school age and above) 310 yen; children (elementary school students) 100 yen; seniors (age 60 and above) 100 yen.In cooperation with Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum Mini Ramen (570 yen with tax)Hacchan’s ramen has a rich tonkotsu broth made with a generous amount of pork bones. The soup is boiled on high heat in a specialized pot and cooked until the bones melt. The resulting flavor is full without a strong pork smell.To emphasize the soup’s deep flavors, the ramen is topped simply with scallions and char-siu. The richness is apparent from the first sip, so if you plan on trying several bowls of ramen, start with an empty stomach.On the table, you will find red pickled ginger, garlic, and soy sauce to add to your ramen. The ginger provides a lighter but delicious taste. Try adding different seasonings to enjoy a new flavor as you enjoy your bowl.Hacchan Ramen: http://www.raumen.co.jp/shop/hacchanramen.html (Japanese)2. Rishiri Ramen Miraku (Hokkaido Rishiri Island)A second recommendation is Rishiri Ramen Miraku, a restaurant from Hokkaido. From Yokohama, it is approximately an eight-hour journey to the main shop on Rishiri Island in Hokkaido, requiring a plane and ferry ride to get to.The main restaurant location normally operates for only two and a half hours, but this extremely rare ramen can be enjoyed at the museum.Delicious Broth Made from Rishiri KelpMini toasted soy sauce ramen (570 yen with tax)The staple dish is the toasted soy sauce ramen. Many visitors come to Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum just to sample this.The secret behind its popularity is the Rishiri kelp dashi (broth) used in the soup. The exquisite broth made from Rishiri kelp has a slight saltiness, used at high-end restaurants in Kyoto and Osaka. The Rishiri kelp broth mixes with pork, chicken, or toasted soy sauce soup broth to create a delicious harmony of flavors.The dark-colored soup has a smooth yet rich flavor without any heaviness. It complements the firm noodles well, creating a delicious dish.We recommend topping it with tororo kelp (additional 100 yen). The tororo is another form of Rishiri kelp, and adds a refreshing extra layer of flavor to the rich soup.Rishiri Ramen Miraku: http://www.raumen.co.jp/shop/rishiri.htmlSlip Back in Time to the Showa EraMost people come to enjoy delicious ramen at the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, but there areas where you can enjoy different activities. The interior of the museum is in a classic Japanese Showa-style, revealing what Japan used to look like in the mid-twentieth century. There is also a dagashi candy shop and a street performance area where magic shows and Japanese story-telling are held.It is a great place to walk around while waiting for vacancies at ramen shops or even after your meal.
What Is the Yokohama Triennale?The Yokohama Triennale is an art festival that is held every three years. It is open for 88 days, from August 4th to November 5th, 2017. 2017 is the 6th anniversary of this event. The theme for 2017 is “connection” and “isolation” and is entitled “Islands, Constellations, and Galapagos”. It shows current international issues where different values cross.The Yokohama Triennale 2017 is located in the center of Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture. The main venue is the Yokohama Museum of Art. It is a 10 minute walk from Sakuragicho Station on the JR or Yokohama City Subway.While some of the art is displayed at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1 and the basement of Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall, in this article, we will introduce you to the main collection in the Yokohama Museum of Art.Read also:Retro Cute In Yokohama – Minato Mirai’s Red Shoes Sightseeing BusWhat’s the Most Convenient Fare?! How to Get to Yokohama from TokyoThe Collection at the Yokohama Museum of Art At the entrance of Yokohama Museum of Art, you will encounter Safe Passage (2016) and Reframe (2016) by Ai Weiwei, a Chinese modern artist. Weiwei was born in Beijing, China, and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.Safe Passage is made of approximately 800 life jackets. These jackets were worn by refugees who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East and North Africa to Lesbos Island. Reframe is made of 14 orange lifeboats. Both works alert us to the reality of refugee issues.
There is a fountain and cafes in this park. Since they built cafes, its scenery has changed. More people visit here and drink a coffee in the morning.ssAnd others use cafes to meet or rest. There is a peaceful atmosphere in this park. There are the: “National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo (国立科学博物館, Kokuritu Kagaku Hakubutsukan)”,”Tokyo National Museum (東京国立博物館, Tokyo Kokuritu Hakubutsukan)”,”Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum(東京都美術館, Tokyo-to Bijutsukan)”, and “Ueno Zoo(上野動物園, Ueno Doubutsuen)” around Ueno park. Moreover, you can also find “the Ueno Royal Museum (上野の森美術館, Uenomori Bijutsukan)” and “Tokyo Art University(東京芸術大学, Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku” just near by. As you see, this area is an important place for various people and has many faces created by many people coming and going. A picture of Kanei templessKiyomizu Kanondo (寛永寺清水観音堂, Kaneiji Kiyomizu Kanondou). Ueno park (上野公園, Ueno-Kouen) is a famous park with a historical background. In this park, there are several art museums where huge exhibitions often take place. It is surrounded by a musical hall, the national museum, “Ueno zoo(上野動物園, Ueno-Doubutsuen)” , the very first zoo in Japan, and “Tokyo art university(東京芸術大学, Tokyo Geijutu-Daigaku)”. In addition, this park is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms.ssThere are temples and shrines in neighborhood. Historical places such asssAme-yoko street and Tokyo station are also in Ueno area.Here, Everyday is Like a SundayMany people including foreigners visit the Ueno area every day. I’ll show you another side of this area today.This is the main building of “The National Museum of Western Art (国立西洋美術館本館, Kokuritsu Seiyou Bijutsukan Honkan)” designed by the internationally renowned 20th century French architect Le Corbusier. Many junior high school students visit here and learn about art with their class.Ueno park is always alive with families, couples, and students. Ameya shopping street(アメヤ横丁, Ameya Yokochou) used to be a residential area, where there were rows of Japanese style single story houses. However, after the War, many candy shops (飴屋, Ameya) lined the streets and many American goods were sold in black-markets on this street. Today, there are many shops such as seafood shops, dry food shops, restaurants, clothes shops, and fancy goods shops. This street is bustling with many people. This street attracts people by showing its atmosphere and the buildings of those years. There were beautiful cherry blossoms in Gojouten Shrine(五條天神社, Gojouten Jinja) when I visited. This shrine is small but it’s a beautiful place to visit.If we walk a little bit more, we can get to Ame-yoko street(アメ横, Ameyoko)! The atmosphere here is different from Ueno park. You can feel the energy of people and this street’s history.ssMany people come to this street when they visit Ueno area. Now, we are in Ueno station(上野駅, Ueno Eki). Even though my article was simple, I hope you noticed that the Ueno area is very different from the Shibuya area (渋谷, Shibuya) or Ginza area (銀座, Ginza) which is also in Tokyo. Or maybe Japan looks he same wherever you go. However, when you walk while seeing the history and rhythm of the area, you’ll find Tokyo and Japan more attractive.By walking through Ueno area, you can see various sceneries of from the end of the Edo period to the present. I find the that atmosphere of the Ueno area is always like Sundays, because it feels peaceful.InformationUeno 上野Address：Tokyo, Higashi-ku, Ueno, 7chomeAccess: Ueno Station, JR east lineUeno Station, Tokyo Metro Ginza line/Hibiya line
They had a variety of exhibitions. There are captions about raw silk and history of this factory. The caption about how to make raw silk was very detailed and easy to understand. When I arrived to Tomioka city, I could see the sign boards which says “Congratulations! It was placed on the World Heritage List!” everywhere. This path lead to Tomioka silk mill. Although, the weather was not good, there were many visitors. The entrance fee is 500 yen.Learning history at Touken warehouse First, I entered to Touken warehouse which has brick wall. I feel that is the Meiji-era (1868-1912) appearance! The reeling hall was workers reeled silk off cocoons. It was used to use until 1987, then they were conserved well. I work at a manufacture and I was taught that the most important fact is looking directly at actual place, the original parts and equipment. So it was interesting for me that I see the starting point of industry in Japan. I want to see when the machine is working!!The volunteer staff are fantastic! This is reeling hall. It was the most crowded. The volunteer stuff who is in orange vest explain about display here and there for free. You can go around without their help, but I recommend to listen them if you have time. Every staff explain well, you can get more information additional from display.ConclusionI was impressed that the Japanese technology level by visiting Tomioka silk reeling factory. As you know, there are a World Cultural Heritage Sites and a World Natural Heritage Sites. This facility is a World Cultural Heritage Site. Compared with other World Cultural Heritage Sites such as the Taj Mahal or the Church of the Sagrada Familia, this might be plain. However, Tomioka silk Mill has a history which leaded Japan from the period of national isolation to the world powers with modernized techonology. And even today, the spirit is existing in Japanese brand makers.InformationTomioka silk reeling factory Address：〒370-2316 Tomioka 1-1, Tomioka city, Gunma prefectureOpen：9：00～17：00Closed:Dec 29〜Dec 31Wi-Fi：NoCredit card：YesLanguage：unsure HP: English, Chinese, French, KoreanClosest station：JR Jo-syu Tomioka station access：15 minutes walking from JR Jo-syu Tomioka station 、From Jousinetsu high way Tomioka exit about 10 minutes (3 km)、10minutes walking（500m) from car parkingEntrance fee：500 yenPhone number：0274-64-0005HP：Tomioka Silk Mill Do you know a world heritage site in Japan? I will introduce this time Tomioka silk mill in Gunma prefecture. On 21st of June 2014, this hot spot was just placed on the world heritage list. It must be interesting to reviewing about Japanese history of modern industrialization.What is Tomioka silk mill?In 1872 (5th in Meiji era), government established Tomioka silk reeling factory as a first model mechanical factory for modernization of Japan. The end of Edo-era, Japanese government changed their national isolation policy and started to trade with foreign countries. To getting foreign currency and making fair trade, government had to rapid modernize progress for industry, science and technology. To obtain for that, they focused on silk industry which was main exports at that time. They established this model factory with westernized reeling machine for trying to make an improvement in quality, mass-production, and training a technical expert. This facility which closed in 1987 is only one remained nearly perfect shape among these government enterprise by Meiji-government. ・Tomioka Silk Mill Web site in EnglishWhole city of Tomioka got excited! This booth was the most popular one. The volunteer staff demonstrated how to reel silk off cocoons. If you candidate, you can have an experience of it.The reeling hall It started from High way exit, but not only this, the train station, public facility, road and shops. This whole city got so excited to be chosen. There was a TV screen which describe about this factory.
Kawasaki Daishi Templein Kawasaki city, Kanagawa, is known for its ability to ward offfuture misfortunes (yaku) and is a popular spot frequented by a large number of visitors.Surrounding the front of this large, well-known temple is a shopping street which sells goods related to the warding-off of evil. Among them are the candy specialty shop Matsuya Sohonten, the popular Tsudaya , which sells daruma-shaped rice crackers, and Sumiyoshi , where you can find a local favorite called kuzumochi. These famous shops are an excellent choice for souvenirs.The area can be reached within ten minutes on foot from Kawasaki Daishi Station on the Keikyu line. Kawasaki Daishi Station is about 30 minutes from Haneda Airport. If you are coming from the direction of Tokyo Station, hop on the Keikyu line at Shinagawa Station and you will arrive in about 45 minutes.Easy to access and full of Japanese charm, the Nakamise-dori is a must-see when visiting the popular Kawasaki Daishi Temple. Within the grounds you will find well-known souvenir shops sporting unique gifts for home that may also grant you a bit of luck.Read also:3 Million Visitors In 3 Days! Kawasaki Daishi Temple In Kanagawa1. “Tontoko Candy” fromMatsuya SohontenAs soon as you set foot in Nakamise-dori you will find a shop called Matsuya So Honten. This confectionery specialist, founded in 1868, features a tempting storefront with rows of candy in all shapes and flavors.Manufacturing is done in-store, and on holidays and weekends the staff put on live performances designed to drum-up business. After kneading swathes of white candy called sarashi ameto mix air inside, they slice the long sticks then into bite-sized pieces with a knife. The sight of the confectionery makers skillfully cutting up the candy is almost like seeing a magic act.Their most famous product is called Tontoko Candy (300 yen). This name comes from the quick, rhythmical sound made by the knives when cutting the candy. The idea is that the sound ‘cuts’ misfortune or evil, thereby bringing in good luck.Here we have a perennial item since the company’s establishment, cough drops made with extracts from medicinal plants. Sekidome ame(300 yen, pictured above) is made with a blend of five herbs and, as its name implies, is used for treating coughs. It’s a particularly good choice for those who feel a cold coming on.Also popular with visiting tourists is the Ningyo ame (500 yen, pictured below), otherwise known as doll candy. A sweet little item with a variety of faces – it’s an entertaining sight. Apparently some of them are even winking! Wouldn’t this make a wonderful souvenir to buy?2. “Daruma Rice Crackers” from Tsudaya “Kashiwa Uematsu Shouten” specializes in Daruma.Walking along the Nakamise-dori shopping street, your eyes will be drawn first and foremost to this unusual doll. Known as a Daruma(around 500 yen） in Japan, these dolls are said to fulfill wishes. Kashiwa Uematsu Shoten, Ishidayaand Kadoya Kaiundoare among the shops in Nakamise-dori specializing in these dolls.There is a wealth of daruma to be seen in every color and size! From ones designed to ward off evil to ones that promote success in business or even exams, there is a daruma for every type of wish. As you browse these famous shops, you will undoubtedly find a daruma suited to whatever you desire.Those looking for something a bit easier to transport will want to stop by Tsudaya, a shop with over 60 years of history. Their daruma senbei (350 yen) are well worth picking up. Senbei, or rice crackers, are a Japanese snack made from actual rice and are similar to a cookie but without the sweetness.These snack items range from mini-sized at 2-3 cm to the jumbo 30 cm, and come in different flavors such as soy sauce, sesame and chili pepper. Cushioned packaging is available for the jumbo sized ones, so you can transport them easily without having to worry about your rice crackers breaking.Incidentally, the absolute largest daruma rice cracker they have in-shop is a massive 60 cm in size! While this item is not for sale, the detail and craftsmanship put into the design is a definite must-see.3. “Kuzumochi” and “Yakuyoke Manju” from SumiyoshiRight in the heart of Nakamise-dori, just in front of the gate (Daisanmon) to Kawasaki Daishi Temple, you will find a shop called Sumiyoshi.Kawasaki Daishi is famous for a food called kuzumochi, made from the fermented starch of wheat flour. Boasting a 150-year history, many of the temple’s visitors buy this item as a souvenir. This item doesn’t keep long though, so why not give it a taste while you’re in the area?Kuzumochi (430 yen) comes covered in brown sugar syrup called kuromitsu and a yellowish powder made from soy beans called kinako. The velvety kuzumochi, combined with the subtle sweetness of the syrup and the savory kinako, produce a unique texture that will leave you craving more.Another popular choice is the Yakuyoke Manju (290 yen.) This type of soft, steamed bun is made from a wheat flour dough filled with a sweet paste called anko, a combination of boiled red beans and sugar. The brown one is filled with ‘tsubuan’ (anko made from azuki red beans with the skin left on) and the white one is ‘koshian’ (anko paste without beans’ skin). Both are very tasty.The gentle heat of freshly-made manju, combined with their elegant sweetness, are sure to ease the aches and pains of your journey. Enjoyed with a cup of green tea, this combination is sure to give you the energy and strength you need to make the most of your trip.Lined with old shops and always bustling with people, Nakamise-dori features a vast selection of goods to ward away misfortune. If you also stop by Kawasaki Daishi to pray, you may just find yourself blessed with even greater luck than usual.Why not take a stroll down Nakamise-dori and sample some of their famous foods?InformationKawasaki Daishi Shopping StreetAddress: Kanagawa, Kawasaki, Daishimachi 4-47Nearest Station: Kawasaki Daishi Station, Keikyu Daishi LineAccess: 10 minute walk from Kawasaki Daishi Station
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)
The Toilet and Shower RoomThe shower room is open 24 hours for the guests. Even if you’re not a guest, the shower can be used between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., for 600 yen.An Ideal Location for Asakusa SightseeingFrom Sakura Hostel Asakusa, you can walk to Asakusa’s famous sightseeing spots, such as Sensoji Temple, Kaminarimon, and Hanayashiki amusement park.The hostel staff can speak English, so it’s easy for the first-time visitors from aboroad. Sakura Hostel Asakusa offers great service and facilities, making it an ideal place to stay for the tourists.InformationSakura Hostel AsakusaAddress: 2-24-2. Asakusa, Taito City, TokyoCheck-in Time: 1 p.m.Check-out Time: 11 a.m.Wi-Fi; AvailableCredit Cards: VISA, JCB, American Express, Diner’s Club, UC, DC, and Master Card are accepted.Language: Japanese and English.Stations:Asakusa station (Tokyo Metropolitan Subway Asakusa line, Tsukuba Express)Access:Eleven-minutes walk from the Asakusa line station.Four-minutes walk from the Tsukuba Express station.Room Rates: From 3,000 yen to 25,000 yen, according to the room type.Telephone: 03-3847-8111Official HP: Sakura Hostel Asakusa Sakura Hostel Asakusa hosts various events, such as calligraphy lessons, kimono class, and okonomiyaki [Japanese-style cabbage pancake] parties, so that the guests can experience Japanese culture.The event in the photograph is the Geisha Night, which was held in the lobby from 7:30 p.m. on March 27, 2015. It was a big hit, drawing more than 40 guests, some of which even opted to try on an authentic Kimono.The FacilitiesCoin LaundryThe laundry is equipped with both washers and dryers.KitchenThe kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, microwave oven, and an electric range. The kitchen is open 24 hours a day. From Sensoji, the oldest temple in Tokyo, it takes three-minutes on foot to reach Sakura Hostel Asakusa. The hostel, a cherry-blossom colored building, is also next to the Asakusa Hanayashiki, the oldest recreation park in Japan. This is an ideal location from which to enjoy Asakusa.First Floor: A Chic Lobby and A Cafe with A TerraceThis little scene is where patrons of the hostel can enjoy an inexpensive, yet satisfying, breakfast. The menu consists of toast, butter, three kinds of jam, coffee, tea, green tea, and hostel-made soup. It only costs 325 yen, so it’s very popular.If the weather is good, the guests can use the terrace, as well.Two Bulletin Boards to Link the GuestsThere are two bulletin boards at the Sakura Hostel Asakusa. By using the Join Me BOARD, a guest can call out to other guests to join on a trip.For instance, messages like”I wanna go to the TSUKIJI FISH MARKET in the morning. But the taxi is too expensive if I go alone…””It’ll be fun if I can go to KARAOKE with other backpackers…”are written on it.The Guest to Guest Message BOARD is for sending messages to other guests, who got acquainted while staying at the hostel.The RoomsThere are three types of rooms: Dormitory, Twin, and Group. All the rooms are equipped with lockers (guests need to supply their own padlock), reading lights, and air conditioning. Wi-Fi is also available.Let’s take a look.Dormitory RoomThere are three types: Male, Female, and Mixed. Each room has six to eight beds, and the rate is 3,000 yen per bed for one night.Twin Room (for couples)The rate is 8,500 yen per room for one night, and there are two types: Two single beds, or one bunk bed.Group Room (for families and groups)The rate is 13,000 yen per room for four people, 18,600 yen per room for six people, and 24,400 yen per room for eight people. The numbers are flexible, so a group of five can stay at the six-bed room.This is the view from the terrace of the room facing Sensoji Temple. You can see other famous sightseeing spots, such as the Tokyo Skytree, the five-story Pagoda of Sensoji Temple, and the Hanayashiki amusement park.Various Events to Experience Japanese Culture