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.
The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) has released its annual State of the Sector survey, and it shows nonprofits like yours are struggling with a tough funding environment and increasing need for the services you provide. This is requiring tough choices – and changing the way you do business, according to the survey.Here’s a summary of the report from the NFF. Does it capture your situation? Are you better or worse off than your peers?According to NFF:Nonprofits need new funding sources and models:• 42% of survey respondents report that they do not have the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective in the next 3 years.• 1 in 4 nonprofits has 30 days or less cash-on-hand.• Over the next twelve months, 39% plan to change the main ways they raise and spend money.• 23% will seek funding other than grants or contracts, such as loans or investments.Nonprofits that receive government funding face particular challenges:• Only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement. Partial reimbursements require additional funding to cover the growing gap as nonprofits serve more people.• Government is late to pay: Among those with state or local funding, just over 60% reported overdue government payments; over 50% reported late payments from the federal government.Under these challenging conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:• For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.• This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.• Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.• 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.Nonprofits are changing the way they do business to adapt to the new reality. In the past 12 months:• 49% have added or expanded programs or services; 17 percent reduced or eliminated programs or services.• 39% have collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.• 39% have upgraded technology to improve organizational efficiency.• 36% engaged more closely with their board. For more on the survey and detailed data, go here.
by Kate Olsen, VP of Strategic Projects at Network for Good @Kate4GoodFellow cause marketers, wouldn’t you like a dollar for every time someone told you to ‘make it go viral?’ The beauty and frustration of virality is that you never know what will catch on. Context, creativity and conversation all have to align to get tens, hundreds or thousands of people to talk about your idea at the same time. We may not be able to make things go viral by sheer force of will, but Jonah Berger has a few ideas about how to engineer messages and campaigns that are more likely to spread. Below are a few tips from his new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Jonah outlines six key STEPPS that will transform your cause marketing messages into content that will entertain, inspire and incite people to spread the word.1. Social Currency: How will talking about your campaign affect the sharer’s status in his/her community? Will it make the sharer look knowledgeable, in the know, generous?Example: Packaging your message in a slick piece of media, such as the documentary Girl Rising, makes it easy for people to recommend – they seem intellectual, generous and pop culture savvy.2. Triggers: Can you relate your message to a context or habit that is already part of the sharer’s daily life? Examples: Workplace giving and volunteering as a social norm, giving a $1 at checkout, or this NYC Department of Health anti-soda campaign 3. Emotion: Does sharing your message move people emotionally? Can you touch the heart?Examples: Charity: Water puts the supporter as the hero of the campaign, showcasing the personal connection to the cause to share with social networks. This RedSnappa video epitomizes making an emotional connection with your message.4. Public: Can you add a social proof element to your message so people can see that others support your cause?Examples: Movember mustaches, breast cancer pink ribbons, Livestrong yellow bracelets, ‘I Voted’ stickers5. Practical Value: Does spreading your message help people help others? What is the impact you are driving?Example: Causes that make the supporter experience tangible include Dress for Success and Adopt A Classroom. Consumer campaigns that make a tangible donation alongside a useful product include One Pack = One Vaccine and FEED Projects.6. Stories: Is your message or campaign related to a larger narrative people want to share? Examples: Ben & Jerry’s went to congress with a 900 Pound Baked Alaska to protest drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Ben & Jerry’s made a social statement but used their product to illustrate their point, that makes the story sticky relevant and memorable.)Want to know how to craft a powerful story? Download this archived webinar presentation from Jonah Sachs on ‘Winning the Story Wars’.P.S. Thank you to PointWorthy for recommending this fabulous read.
Now create your own giving pyramid and think it through. If it feels ambitious but achievable, then it is a great place to start with a first year goal. If it seems too easy to achieve, boost the dollar amount. Too much of a stretch? Dial back.Leverage with matching fundsOne of the most powerful tools on #GivingTuesday is matching funds. Consider identifying a lead donor for your #GivingTuesday campaign who is willing to donate marketing fuel to your campaign engine, with matching funds.Even a small amount of matching fund dollars can provide significant benefit to a campaign. If you can raise as little as 5% – 10% of your total fundraising goal in matching funds, there are simple but effective ways to use this to amplify your campaign. These are a few ways to deploy the dollars effectively: · Match a % of dollar raised up to the amount of matching funds you have. So if you have $5,000 against a $50,000 goal, match $1 for every $10 raised until you reach your goal.· Match the first gifts every hour up to an hourly amount. So, if you have $10,000 in matching funds, match the first $1,000 each hour for the busiest ten hours of the day.· Match only gifts up to a certain amount. If one of your goals is number of donors, rather than just dollars, cap your matching funds at $100 or another amount that reflects your likely average gift.· Match gifts that further other objectives, like donors that set up recurring gifts. In this instance, consider doing a bonus match for a monthly donation, since these are an organization’s most engaged supporters over time. Your goal will be one of the most visible anchors of your #GivingTuesday campaign, so make it a motivator. It should be big and meaningful enough to get people excited to work hard. If it’s too attainable, it will feel like just another day at the office, and it will be hard to motivate your team.Everything you do for the next eight weeks depends on motivation and focus; set that goal today, and start planning your giving party on December 2nd! Party on!If you’re a fundraiser, you’re seeing news about #GivingTuesday everywhere.And the buzz is for good reason – #GivingTuesday is not only the launch of the giving season, but has become an international celebration of generosity. And your donors, prospects, staff and volunteers are likely to be hearing a lot about the big day – from you or someone. So, it’s time to solidify your #GivingTuesday plans.GivingTuesday, when done well, can have all the excitement and engagement of a great party, while building awareness and donations for your cause. It can also carry good feelings forward through the December giving season to boost your overall year-end fundraising efforts.What will make it a great day?Like a great party, the secrets to #GivingTuesday success combine great planning with a little magic. And like a party theme, your campaign goal is the part of the plan from which everything else stems. If you ran a #GivingTuesday campaign last year, you have a benchmark against which to think about 2014. If you’re in your first year, setting goals will be an educated best guess. Achieving your first year goal is where the (Planning + Luck) = Success equation comes in. Dollars are likely to be one of the key elements you measure, but it doesn’t need to be your only goal. These are a few goals to consider instead of, or in addition to, funds raised:· Number of donors· Number of new donors· Number of volunteers/hours (if you are including an activity)· Number of recurring donors· % Participation among key groups – like staffBuild a pyramidEven if you don’t have prior experience with #GivingTuesday, you can do some predictive planning around logical paths to your goals. Giving pyramids are a simple way to add a quantitative element to planning your dollar goal. They let you sanity check your goal by putting it on paper, rather than just guessing.How do you build a giving pyramid? Let’s take one example: Your nonprofit would like to raise $50,000 on #GivingTuesday. If you’re a small nonprofit, just eliminate zeroes from this example.Here is one illustration of how to predict a path to success with a giving pyramid:· $50,000 Goal· 8,500 donors in data file· 255 Donors if you achieve 3% participation (and you’ll definitely attract new donors too, so this should be a safe bet)So how might this set up in a giving pyramid?
5 Online Fundraising Tools that Should Be Part of Your Donation Management SoftwareBy the time a potential donor gets to your donation page, your organization has invested a significant amount of outreach effort in them. Make sure your online fundraising tools are user-friendly so your donation page doesn’t drive them away. If a page looks unprofessional or is difficult to navigate, users are not going to try to sort it out. They are going to leave the page—without making the donation they had intended to.A great call to action will be ignored if the user becomes frustrated with the page. You want the online donation experience to build trust and make donors comfortable. In order to make your donation management software as engaging and successful at increasing donations as possible, make sure you integrate these five online fundraising tools:Branding: Your constituents recognize your brand, so your donation page should include the same logo, font, colors and themes as the rest of your marketing material. When a donor clicks on a “donate now” button, they should arrive at a page that looks like the rest of your site, so that they are comfortable that they are in the right place for giving money to your organization.Mobile: 31% of all website traffic is users on mobile devices. A donation page should be “responsive,” meaning it is designed to display properly on mobile phones and tablets as well as computer monitors. (Don’t worry about the technical aspects, effective fundraising software has this feature built in—you just have to make sure you choose one that is optimized for mobile.)Call to Action: Your website and email communications should always include a “call to action.” You have to tell people what you want them to do. Your donation page should also include a call to action that relates specifically to making a donation to support your cause.Tracking: One benefit of reaching out to donors online is that you are easily able to track the effectiveness of your outreach. This is how we know how much traffic comes from mobile devices, or what percentage of emails get opened. This is an invaluable resource for nonprofits. Pay attention to what parts of your website get looked at, and which emails get opened. By comparing the results of various campaigns, and different approaches (email, website, etc.) you can see what call to action gets the most response—and the highest donation rate.Testing: Online marketers have found that in some ways, the virtual world reflects the physical world, and people respond the same way online as they do in person. But more often, people behave differently online, and there is no way to predict what way that will be. For example, subtle differences in headlines have been found to make big differences in the rates at which emails are opened. Your donor management software should allow you to compare results from changes that you make so that you know immediately if something has gone wrong—or right!Since 2001, Network for Good has helped over 100,000 nonprofit organizations raise more than $1 billion online. To discuss how we can help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts, contact us today or call 1-888-284-7978 x1.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on July 5, 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)The June issue of the Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition published by our colleagues at icddr,b focuses on the neglected issue of maternal morbidities.Introducing the issue, Mary Ellen Stanton and Neal Brandes of USAID write:This series of papers presents, for the first time in two geographic areas, a comprehensive snapshot of the short- and long-term consequences of acute maternal morbidity. The icddr,b surveillance site in Matlab, Bangladesh, has a unique set of records of the reproductive health of individual women that provide data accumulated for decades. This was selected as an ideal site to draw upon the database to examine retrospectively long-term and prospectively selected short-term consequences of maternal ill-health. This is the first attempt to obtain greater precision on the consequences of maternal ill-health, using a robust methodology and an extensive dataset, with added qualitative studies and postpartum physical examinations of women following childbirth. In addition, we have included a study that provides contrasting and additional information from Action Research and Training for Health in rural Rajasthan, India.In an editorial, Marge Koblinsky et al. note how little we currently know about maternal morbidities:While the estimates of maternal mortality and its consequences are built on relatively limited data, women who suffer from direct obstetric complications that kill—obstructed or prolonged labour, puerperal sepsis, septic abortion, severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, and postpartum haemorrhage—are estimated to be far higher in number yet less well-documented. The global estimates range from 15% of pregnant women suffering from complications—about 20 million women annually—to 1-2% in resource-poor settings when the definition is restricted to the most severe morbidities.Even less is known about the numbers and description of the consequences women may suffer as a result of pregnancy and childbirth and the life threatening obstetric complications. These consequences—maternal morbidities or disabilities—are estimated to affect 15-20 million women worldwide each year.The other papers published in the issue explore:the types and severities of maternal morbidities in Matlab and Chandpur, Bangladesh;social, economic, and cultural factors associated with maternal morbidities;perceptions and consequences of cesarean births;psychological well-being during pregnancy;physical and emotional violence against women with maternal disabilities;the impact of maternal morbidities on child development;the economic cost of maternal morbidities;community-based methods for understanding maternal morbidities; andthe physical, economic, and psychological consequences of morbidities in the first year postpartum.Share this:
Posted on May 24, 2013March 8, 2017By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultantClick 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)The MHTF is packing up and heading to Malaysia for the Women Deliver conference May 28-30. Women Deliver conferences always provides a unique forum for advocates, donors, researchers, programmers and policy makers to come together address a range of issues affecting women and girls.This year’s conference comes in the midst of a number of major developments for the global maternal health agenda. In the past year, the London Summit on Family Planning generated $4 billion in new investments in family planning, and launched the FP2020 campaign. This is big news for maternal health, since one third of maternal deaths could be prevented just by addressing the unmet need for family planning. And, the 1000 Day countdown to the 2015 MDG deadline began amid ongoing negotiations for the post-2015 global development agenda. In fact, in just the past week, the World Health Organization released the 2013 World Health Statistics report – which shows that maternal mortality continues to decline by around three percent annually – half of what is needed to reach MDG5 by 2015; the World Health Assembly began discussions of the recommendations of the UN Commission on Lifesaving Commodities for Women and Children; and the inaugural International Day to End Obstetric Fistula was marked.As we look ahead to the conference, we look forward to hearing:What will Melinda Gates say about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s family planning strategy?What will UN leaders and grassroots advocates say about how maternal health and the post-2015 global development framework?What will this year’s Countdown to 2015 country profiles show about which countries are accelerating progress toward improving maternal health?How will UNFPA’s new initiatives on family planning and maternal health foster new partnerships and innovative technologies to expand access and quality of health services?What discussions, announcements and events are you looking forward to? Please join us in person and online next week:On Tuesday, May 28, Ana Langer, Director the Women and Health Initiative and Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, will take part in the Presidential Session on Women’s Health on at 14:45 in the Plenary Hall.Throughout the conference, the MHTF will be at booth #201.Our colleagues at the Wilson Center will be blogging highlights from each day’s events.We will be sharing a special Women Deliver edition of the MH Buzz next week to highlight new research findings and other top news for the conference.Women Deliver will be webcasting videos of many sessions live, and will save videos as archives for viewing later. Plus, the Women Deliver website has links to tons of other ways that you can participate – even if you cannot make it to Malaysia. Check out their ongoing blog series on the 2013 conference, the conference agenda, and schedule of partner and side events.Whether you’re participating in the conference online or in person, please share your thoughts with us: the MHTF will be cross-posting blog posts and re-tweeting maternal health news throughout the conference. Follow us on Twitter @MHTF or email any blog posts that you would like us to consider for guest or cross-posting to Kate Mitchell: firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah Blake: email@example.com.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:
Spring is in the air and it’s the perfect time to launch a fundraising campaign. Use this time to engage and renew donors, attract prospects, build awareness, and plant the seeds that sustain your organization. Tailor your spring campaign to:Raise funds to support a new initiative.Expand the impact of your annual gala.Boost your end-of-fiscal-year giving.You’re just 30 days away from launching a winning spring campaign. Use the steps found in our 30-Day Spring Fundraising Plan to plan and execute your spring campaign and raise more money before summer begins. Want a taste of what’s in the guide? Here are three areas you can’t afford to miss.Establish Action PlansTo create the most compelling spring campaign that will generate the greatest impact—financial, engagement, awareness—consider your fundraising and nonfundraising objectives, and then answer the following questions:What are you trying to accomplish?What would the ideal results look like?Whom are you trying to target?What do you most want them to do for your organization?What call to action would motivate your target audience?Would a one-time donation or recurring gift raise the most funds?Choose Your Focus or ThemeA good fundraising campaign calls for so much more than simply communicating your organization’s financial needs. Develop a campaign theme and call to action that is compelling, donor-centric, and tells a personal story.Focus your appeal on an individual and their story to better resonate with donors on an emotional level. Incorporate photos that capture who your donor can help and what they can achieve through your mission and programs. Imagery can create a powerful attachment between your donor and your subject. Use similar imagery on your donation page to continue that connection through the entire donation process.Create Appeals and AssetsThe design of your appeal is the heart and soul of your spring campaign. Its impact and effectiveness will directly determine your fundraising results. Create an appeal that:Features donor-driven, inspiring content.Shares a relevant story that climaxes with an emotional hook.Focuses on the impact a donor’s gift will have.Specifies a call to action with a sense of urgency.Include images and materials that demonstrate value and quality.Want more spring campaign tips? Download the 30-Day Spring Fundraising Plan today!Read more on The Nonprofit Blog
The neighborhood around the JR Tennoji Station in Osaka, known as Abeno/Tennoji, was a place where tourists could experience the true atmosphere of working-class Osaka. However, after Abeno Harukas, Japan’s tallest skyscraper, was erected in the area, the vibe totally changed, and that common-denominator appeal has made way for a modern shopping spot. With hotels and museums, including the Harukas 300 observatory inside Abeno Harukas, the area has become a recommended stop for any visitor to Osaka, Japanese or international.In April 2015, the Foreign Customer’s Salon opened, with services designed to cater to international visitors. The Foreign Customer’s Salon is split into the “Service Salon” and the “Experience Salon,” and offers international tourists ways to have a more comfortable trip in Osaka.Get Sales Tax Exemptions and Have Goods Delivered at The Service SalonAt the Service Salon, you can undergo the process for getting sales tax exemptions, store your bags, and have purchases delivered to your hotel (Osaka Marriott Hotel/Tennoji Hotel/Sheraton Hotel Osaka) so that you can enjoy a stress-free shopping experience in Abeno Harukas. The Salon also offers regional tour information, so stop by if you’re not sure where to go in Osaka. The staff members speak English, Chinese and Korean so you don’t have to worry about not speaking Japanese either.Enjoy Traditional Japanese Culture at the Experience SalonThe Experience Salon is an venue for various Japanese cultural events. Previous events have included tea tastings and sweets tastings. There are future plans for other events that convey other interesting things about Japan, such as Tanabata decorating and traditional handicrafts. Check the Abeno Harukas Kintetsu calendar (Japanese) to learn about the ongoing events.Souvenirs for Sale at the Kokumin Drug StoreThe Kokumin drug store opened on the same floor at around the same time. Naturally it has all the standard items stocked, such as medicine and cosmetics, as well as appliances and souvenirs, so you can get all your shopping done here.Popular Hello Kitty goods include cell phone straps and towels. Kokumin also sells Japanese products like chopsticks and fans.We recommend these traditional items if you want something truly Japanese!The array of green tea-flavored sweets, along with a variety of rare products, will be of great interest to tourists. The Foreign Customer’s Salon was created to accommodate the increase in international visitors to Abeno Harukas as a new sightseeing spot. While Osaka has plenty of famous tourist areas like Namba and Umeda, why not go see what Abeno has to offer?InformationAbeno Harukas Kintetsu Foreign Customer’s SalonAddress: Osaka, Osaka, Abeno, Abenosuji, Abeno Harukas Kintetsu Wing-kan 3.5FHours: 10:00-20:30 (some floors inside the department store may have different closing hours, so confirm beforehand)Other Languages: English, Chinese, KoreanAccess: Tennoji Subway Station (Tanimachi, Midosuji Lines), JR Tennoji Station, Osaka Abenobashi Station (Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line), Tennojiekimae Station (Hankai Uemachi Line)Phone: 06-6624-1111Homepage: Abeno Harukas Kintetsu
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.
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium – Japan’s Smallest Rugby World Cup Venue When overseas visitors order dango, their country of origin is announced over a loudspeaker as the dumplings make their way along the rope. In addition to the dumplings, there will also be a miniature version of their country’s flag inside the basket.**Due to sudden, unforeseen circumstances, the teahouse staff may be unable to provide this additional service.Located beside the Gembikei Gorge is Sahara Glass Park, where glass craftsmanship from around the world can be seen. Outside, there are glass statues and artworks made from glass on display, so you can take pictures worth sharing with friends. Genbikei Gorge View Information Sahara Glass Park View Informationamusement_parkVisit Iwate and Immerse Yourself in NatureWe highly recommend Iwate Prefecture as a travel destination for outdoor lovers, looking for something that can’t be found in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. You can take in these outstanding, larger-than-life natural sites firsthand.For additional details on other sightseeing spots in Iwate Prefecture, access from Tokyo, and information on Kamaishi City’s rugby stadium, please have a look at the articles below.In cooperation with Iwate PrefectureMain image by PixtaRead also Iwate Travel Guide – World Heritage Sites, Nature, And Local Food Iwate Prefecture – Adventure to Gorgeous Outdoor SpotsIwate Prefecture in Tohoku Region’s is Japan’s second largest prefecture in terms of land area and offers visitors gorgeous views of the ocean and mountains. In other words, it’s truly a treasure trove of scenic spots.This article introduces seven scenic destinations in Iwate Prefecture by the coastline and inland areas. We also feature sightseeing locations near Kamaishi City, one of the host cities for Rugby World Cup Japan 2019™️ (from here on referred to as the World Cup).Stunning Destinations on the Iwate CoastlineWe start off by first introducing scenic spots located along Iwate Prefecture’s coastline, which includes the city of Kamaishi, one of the venues for the World Cup in 2019.Iwate’s coastline, called the Rikuchu Coast, faces the Pacific Ocean and has numerous places that will take your breath away, including Jodogahama Beach and the Kitayamazaki Cliffs.One great way to leisurely enjoy the stunning scenery is to rent a car and drive along the coastline as your skin feels the gentle sea breeze.1. Jodogahama BeachJodogahama Beach is one must-see spot along the Rikuchu Coast. You’ll be dazzled by the striking contrast of the steep, gray-colored cliffs, the blue-green ocean, and white seafoam!In Buddhism, Jodo means “Pure Land.” It’s been said that when a high ranking Buddhist monk first saw the beach, he likened its beauty to that of the Pure Land or Paradise. From that moment on, this memorable landscape came to be called Jodogahama.At Jodogahama Beach, there’s a popular forty-minute cruise that will allow you to get a close-up view of the bay area aboard a pleasure boat.If you purchase some black-tailed gull bread (100 yen) while onboard, you can feed the gulls as they hover around. As the birds will quickly come to the boat, it’s easy to get carried away with them. Feed the gulls in moderation so you can also catch the gorgeous coastal scenery.Jodogahama is about one hour away from Kamaishi City by car. Jodogahama Beach View InformationOfficial Homepage: Miyako Jodogahama Boat Cruise (Japanese)Price (40-minute cruise): Adults 1,400 yen (Junior high school and up), Children 700 yen (six years old to six-grade elementary school student), five years old and under are free.2. Ryusendo CavePhoto by PixtaRyusendo Cave is a limestone cavern that offers stunning views deep underground. It is located one hour and forty minutes from Kamaishi and just an hour away from Jodogahama by car.Photo by PixtaThe entire cave is some 5,000 meters in length and is said to house a total of eight underground lakes. Among those is an impressive 700-meter length limestone cave. Three lakes are open to public access.This subterranean lake is filled with transparent turquoise-blue water and is coined Dragon Blue. When the cave is lit up, the color casts a glow over the rock walls, creating a mystical mood.Photo by PixtaWhen you exit the limestone cave, you can spot a transparent stream and moss-covered rocks while strolling along a nature trail. There’s also a popular cafe called Ponte where you can try tasty Iwaizumi yogurt (350 yen excluding tax), so please stop in for a visit. Ryūsendō Cave View Information3. Kitayamazaki CliffsPhoto by PixtaKitayamazaki is an area on the Iwate coastline featuring breathtaking views of steep cliffs, reminiscent of Australia’s scenic Great Ocean Road. Towering 200-meters in height, the precipices extend along the coast for some eight kilometers.You can experience the impressive view above at Kitayamazaki Observation Deck, which appears as if it’s protruding out into the ocean. There is also a cruise you can take in the area. During the ride, you can look up and see the sheer cliffs stretching upwards from the ocean.However, the main feature here is catching the changing sceneries of each season. This includes the green foliage of summer, stunning foliage in autumn, and a snow-covered landscape in winter.By car, the Kitayamazaki Cliffs are just an hour from Jodogahama Beach. Kitayamazaki Cliffs View InformationOfficial Homepage: Kitayamazaki Cliffs Sightseeing Cruise (Japanese)Price (50-minute cruise): Adults 1,460 yen, Children 730 yen4. Goishi CoastPhoto by PixtaThe Goishi Coastline offers eye-catching sights such as Anatoshiiso, a rock formation in the sea with three openings caused by saltwater erosion. Located about one hour south of Kamaishi by car, this coastal area extends for about three-kilometers offering views of unusual rock formations.If you hop aboard one of the pleasure boats, you can pass through three different openings in Anatoshiiso. It’s been said that those who pass through the openings will be blessed with happiness.photo by PixtaOn the beach, you can see smooth stones and pebbles that resemble “goishi,” the stone pieces used in the Japanese board game called Go. This has resulted in the name Goishi Coast.Photo by PixtaThe area’s rugged shoreline, Kaminari Iwa (Thunder Rock) and Ranbo Iwa (Violent Rock) are all must-see spots. In addition to a nearby walking trail, there’s also a campground and the Ofunato City Museum, which exhibits locally excavated fossils and earthenware. Goishi Coast View Information Ofunato City Museum View InformationmuseumOfficial Homepage: Anatoshisen Boat Cruise (Japanese)Price (40-minute cruise): Adults 2,000 yen (Junior high school and up), Elementary school students and under are 1,000 yen.Scenic Spots in Iwate’s Inland AreaHanamaki, Morioka, and Ichinoseki City are located in Iwate Prefecture’s inland area. In Hachimantai, visitors can take in scenic views of some local valleys, including Gembikei and Geibikei Gorge.5. HachimantaiPhoto by PixtaHachimantai is a mountain located about 80 minutes away from Morioka City. It has a trekking course suitable for beginners. As you walk along the trail, you can enjoy observing the varied alpine vegetation and wild birds.photo by PixtaHachimantai is also a famous spot for viewing golden and crimson leaves, so we highly recommend visiting here in the fall.Photo by PixtaNear the summit of Mt. Hachimantai is Kagami-numa Pond. It earned the nickname Dragon Eye because when the snow starts melting in spring, the pond is said to resemble a gigantic dragon’s eye.Viewing times for this natural phenomenon can change depending on the year’s weather conditions. The Hachimantai Tourist Association homepage posts updates on the conditions near the summit, so please feel free to have a look. Kagami-numa View InformationparkOfficial Homepage: Hachimantai Tourist Association6. Geibikei GorgePicture courtesy of Geibikei TourismGeibikei Gorge is one of Iwate Prefecture’s most iconic scenic areas, situated only thirty minutes by car from Ichinoseki City.Here, boat rides are popular because you can see the sheer cliffs towering over both sides of the gorge from the boat. The bright greenery in spring and summer and foliage in autumn attract many travelers here.When the boat reaches Miyoshigaoka—the turnaround point for the trip—we’ll disembark and go for a walk until we reach a giant cliff called Daigeibi-gan. Daigeibi-gan is a cliff 124 meters high with a rocky surface dotted with small holes. It is thought that is you can successfully throw an undama or lucky stone (five for 100 yen including tax) into one of the holes, your wish will be granted. Be sure to give it a try when you visit. Geibikei View InformationOfficial Homepage: Geibikei Boat Ride (Japanese)Time required (round-trip): 90 minutesPrice: Adults 1,600 yen (Junior high school and up), Elementary school students 860 yen (six years old to grade six elementary school), Children 200 yen (3 years old and up)7. Gembikei GorgeIf you’re planning to visit Geibikei Gorge, then it’s also worth visiting Gembikei Gorge. The rugged rock surfaces rising up on both sides of the Iwai River make for a remarkably eye-catching tourist spot.You can get to Gembikei Gorge from both Geibikei Gorge (40 minutes) and Ichinoseki City (20 minutes) by car.While the actual valley at Gembikei is smaller in scale than that of Geibikei, it does offer some fun activities as well.Ordering kakko dango, known as flying dumplings (400 yen including tax), is a popular choice.To place your order, fill out your order slip and put your money into the basket. The basket will be pulled along a rope until it reaches the other side of the gorge, where the teashop is located. When your order is ready, it’ll be sent back to you in the basket along the same rope.
This is the second Lolita fashion snap. The first one introduced wonderful lolitas, and now I will show fantasy-world of pop Lolitas! They’ll make you fun and forget the hardness of this humid summer.Pop and Pink Lolita StyleThe big cute ribbon catches our eyes; her name is Iris. There are many unique motifs and pop abet prints on her dress. The white and black border socks add the enjoyable essence to her coordinate!She also decorated her fingers.There is a big heart-motif ring on her finger. The pair of white cuffs that goes with the blouse is a must in summer season.Starry Summer LolitaCathy was born in Germany and met Lolita fashion at the first time in England. Her navy heart apron dress is easy to move active, but kawaii of course! Her hair is like that of a doll… …too cute and it even makes us jealous!The head bow has big pretty stars.It gives more brightness to her coordinate!Even in summer, many Lolita girls dream of being surrounded by kawaii things!I hope you would enjoy your summer Lolita fashion style referring to these Lolita girls I introduced.■Special ThanksIris: FacebookCathy: Facebook YouTube
Usagi-no-nedoko is a guesthouse, shop and cafe found in a remodeled traditional house in Kyoto. At Usagi-no-nedoko you can spend the night, visit an interesting general store and go to a great cafe all in one place.In our other article on Usagi-no-nedoko, we introduced to you their unique shop and their overnight accommodation facilities. Today let’s take a closer look at their cafe, titled simply ‘Cafe’, which opened in the fall of 2015.A Unique Natural History Museum-like Interior Awaits YouThe appeal of Usagi-no-nedoko’s Cafe is its unique interior design that you just can’t find anywhere else.Let’s look at the three different types of cafe space available here.First the entrance area.Inside the stainless steel and glass table, sea urchins and other framed natural objects are displayed. This room has a similar feel to ‘Shop’, their store where you can purchase many natural specimens and other unusual items. As soon as you step inside the Cafe, you will find yourself completely immersed in the world of Usagi-no-nedoko.Going a little deeper into the store, you will next find this room in front of the kitchen. Set into the walls next to the tables are thick glass cases with more displays inside. This area has a more rustic air to it, making this space feel completely different when compared to the entrance area.Going even deeper into the store, you will reach the third type of cafe space. On your left hand side you can see a slightly elevated sitting room.The stores spokeswomen Junko Yoshimura says: “We arranged the seats in this room in such a way that customers with kids would be able to visit without worries. I have kids too and I think seats like these help make things easier for the moms.”That’s such a thoughtful and helpful service to offer! Only a mother could have thought of something like this.Beautifully Arranged, Well-Named DishesJust like the sitting room, the menu is filled with thoughtfulness and a lot of effort.Using the theme of “Naturally Made Beauty”, visually appealing dishes using delicious fruits and vegetables are offered in the Cafe.This dish is their red salad (980 yen), made entirely from warm-toned ingredients. The contrast between the vibrant reds and oranges of the salad against the stark white plate is striking. It looks like a flower bursting into bloom; it’s almost a shame to eat it.The red salad is a feast for the eyes and mouth. The flavors of the seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as the raw ham come together deliciously in your mouth, the rich tastes spreading out across your tongue.It can be said that this menu really brings Usagi-no-nedoko’s theme of “Naturally Made Beauty” to its peak.Here is a dessert called the black cocoa kōbutsu cake or black cocoa gem cake (590 yen).Inside this bittersweet black cocoa cake are several varieties of berries which shine against the blackness of the cake like gems within the earth.A Place that Combines the Unchanged with the PresentSo what do you think? Usagi-no-nedoko is the guesthouse, shop and cafe found in a refined example of traditional Kyotoarchitecture known as a Kyōmachi house. But, it isn’t as though they simply renovated it. “Naturally Made Beauty” can be seen in nearly every nook and cranny of this incredible space, making it a place for children of all ages to see, learn and have fun.Usagi-no-nedoko continues to grow in it popularity so, when you come to Kyoto, why not stop by this amazing guest house, cafe and shop too?Read also: Stay In A Renovated Traditional House – Usagi-no-nedoko, Kyoto(1)InformationUsagi-no-nedoko ウサギノネドコAddress: Kyoto, Chūō, Nishinokyō Minamiharamachi 37Hours: Shop 11:00-18:30, Cafe 11:30-22:00 (last order 21:00)Closed: Mise/Cafe on ThursdaysWi-fi: YesCredit cards: -Other Languages: -Menus in Other Languages: -Nearest Station: Nishiōji Oike Station (西大路御池駅), Tōzai line subwayAccess: 2 minute walk east from Nishiōji Oike StationPrice range: -Religion:Phone number: Accommodations and Shop +81-3-075-366-8933, Cafe +81-3-075-366-6668Website: Usagi-no-nedoko
We put on aprons and cleaned our hands with hand sanitizer. After hearing the explanation of the procedure from the craftsman, we’re ready to go.2. Spread The Dough Carefully But Confidently Tajimaya Roho is the oldest Japanese confectionery specialty store in Oita prefecture. All of the sweets found here have been created in the same traditional way since the shop’s establishment in 1804. For this hands-on experience, we will be creating the popular mikasano with the help of a craftsman.What is a Mikasano?A mikasano is a sweet that wraps around anko in the same way as the well-known dorayaki does. Dorayaki uses a thick, pancake-like bun, but the mikasano has a rather thin one, allowing the eater to enjoy a stronger taste of the anko.Book BeforehandTo take part in this experience, you must make a reservation at least 10 days before the day you want to participate. Bookings can be made by contacting the Taketa City Tourism Department. You will be able to make five mikasano for 1200 yen per person. After the hands-on experience, you can enjoy the fresh-made mikasano with some matcha tea. The experience can be booked starting from groups of four, and takes roughly an hour to complete.Let’s Try It! The best part of this experience is that you can enjoy fresh-made mikasano! You can only taste the delicious combination of the crisp bun and moist anko here. You’ll be able to have matcha green tea along with it later, so be careful not to eat all of them at once.Enjoy Your Sweets with Matcha at Sabo Dandan The staff who taught us how to make mikasano.In Conclusion First we put the dough on a very hot iron plate and spread it evenly into a circle. There are circular frames on the plate, so this part isn’t too difficult. While we were walking the mikasano buns became nice and soft, so you’ll be able to enjoy a different taste from right after they were made too. The not-too-sweet anko and matcha go well together, and really left us craving more. They will prepare a box for you if you want to take some home, but we ended up eating them all on the spot, because they were that good. After the hands-on experience, we moved to the Tajimaya main store, which is located about five minutes away on foot. We enjoyed mikasano with matcha in the tearoom, Sabo Dandan. You will be able to create five of your own mikasano here, and you’ll be sure to appreciate the skill of the craftsman more once you have. Having a look at our mikasano, ours were not closed tightly enough (because the dough was so hot), and the anko inside can be seen. This is the difference the skill of a craftsman makes.4. Enjoy Fresh-Made Mikasano In the actual experience you will be working in pairs to wrap up anko in the thinly spread dough. Applying a certain amount of anko swiftly onto the dough is actually quite difficult, so today we’ll be experiencing spreading the dough and wrapping up the anko.1. Preparation The key to this procedure is to not hesitate and spread the dough at once!3. Quickly Wrap It Up Experience Making Japanese Sweets!When traveling in Japan, you will have the chance to enjoy various hands-on experiences. Food-related events, such as cooking workshops, are especially popular. The best part about the experience is of course, eating the fresh-made product on the spot.Today, we’ll be introducing a mikasano making workshop, where visitors can take on the challenge of creating a type of traditional Japanese confectionery. The experience takes place at Tajimaya Roho, a long-established Japanese confectionery shop located in Taketa, Oita, which boasts a history of over 200 years.Read also:Make Personalized Mentaiko (Fish Roe) At Hakuhaku in Fukuoka!Making Mikasano at Tajimaya Roho After the craftsman lays the anko on the dough for you, it’s time to quickly wrap it up and shape it nicely. This has to be done before the dough gets burnt. The craftsman will make it look easy, but wrapping the dough is actually pretty difficult, not to mention hot! Senior managing director Nishimiya-sanand department manager Watanabe-san in front of the Tajimaya main store.Mikasano continues to offer the same delicious taste since its establishment. I felt the secret to the taste was the craftsmen continuing the tradition and the clean and abundant water supply of Taketa. If you are visiting Taketa, we recommend stopping by to create some sweets and enjoy the traditional tastes of the city! Tajimaya Roho Main Store View Informationrestaurantstore
A sculpture of his wife, Matsu, is also situated in a place not far from the statue of Toshiie Maeda. She almost appears to be quietly watching over her husband as he dispatches his troops.Highlight 4: East Shrine GatesThe East Shrine Gates, located in the back of Oyama Shrine, was originally an installation in Kanazawa Castle. By passing through the East Shrine Gates, you can visit the historic ruins of Kanazawa Castle where the Maeda household once lived.Visit Oyama Shrine when You Come to Kanazawa!Oyama Shrine is an unusual shrine that combines the three styles of Japanese, Chinese, and European architecture. It may even be said that this shrine is very much like Toshiie Maeda as he loved new things.Please also try visiting Oyama Shrine when you come to visit Kanazawa. There is no doubt that Toshiie Maeda himself would be pleased! Oyama Shrine View Information Kanazawa – the Northern Little KyotoKanazawa, in Ishikawa Prefecture, is nicknamed the Little Kyoto of the old Hokuriku region. Kanazawa retains a similar number of old townscapes and cultures as Kyoto and it is for this reason that this nickname was given to the city.The foundations of Ishikawa and Kanazawa were constructed during the Edo period. Ishikawa at the time was called the Kaga Domain and was governed by the Maeda family. The Kaga-Maeda family’s founder is Toshiie Maeda.Oyama Shrine was erected in Kanazawa to honor the spirits of Toshiie Maeda and the Kaga Domain. This article will introduce Oyama Shrine, a distinctive shrine that is furnished with a European-style appearance, while also being a blend of Japanese-Chinese styles.Toshiie Maeda and KanazawaToshiie Maeda loved new things. He built up the still-undeveloped Kanazawa and then strengthened the foundations for the economy, culture, and education of present-day Kanazawa.A well-known story is that of Toshiie and his wife Matsu. The historical drama “Toshiie and Matsu” featuring the pair was broadcast in 2002; this series handed down the tale of the harmony that existed in this couple, earning not only high TV ratings, but also rapidly increased the popularity of Kanazawa.Four Highlights of Oyama ShrineOyama Shrine is located nearby Kanazawa’s largest shopping district, Korinbo. The predecessor of Oyama Shrine is the Utatsu Hachiman Shrine that was dedicated to the Maeda household. The shrine was moved to its current location in 1873. Let’s visit some of the fascinating spots at Oyama Shrine.Highlight 1: The Japanese-European Oyama Shrine GatesOyama Shrine is different from most shrines as it has a gate that blends Japanese and European styles.This gate was designed by people from Holland and was constructed as a three-floor structure of brick and wood. Its most characteristic feature is its European-style stained glass on the third floor. Japan’s oldest lightning rod is installed on the topmost part of the gate.The Meiji period, when the shrine gates were built, was a time when European culture was pouring into Japan. Many structures built in those days, such as Dogo Onsen in Ehime and Yamashiro Onsen Kosoyu in Ishikawa, use stained glass in their construction.When compared to those buildings, the gates of Oyama Shrine are even more unique thanks to their inclusion in a shrine, where European elements such as bricks and stained glass are exceptionally rare.Please also pay attention to the carvings on the shrine gates. There are numerous carvings of ume (Japanese plum), which is the Maeda family crest.Those who visit in the evening should also watch the gates light up after sunset. The gentle light passing through the stained glass will enchant those watching. It is an experience that you will definitely not get at a typical shrine.Highlight 2: The Japanese-Chinese Main ShrineWhen you pass through the shrine gates, the first thing that will immediately come into view will be the Japanese-Chinese styled main shrine. The roof of the main shrine utilizes a traditional Chinese architectural style. The elements of Japan and China are melded together in one building.Enshrined in the main shrine is the founder of the Kaga Domain, Toshiie Maeda.Highlight 3: The Gold Catfish Tail HelmetYou can spot carvings and ornaments that honor Toshiie Maeda throughout the shrine.What is worth checking out is this gold helmet. Called the Gold Catfish Tail, this helmet is the same model as the helmet that Toshiie Maeda used long ago. It is designed to look like a catfish’s tail, which were thought to hold spiritual power, and is decorated with gold leaf, a specialty of Kanazawa.
Furthermore, as Shinoharu’s English Rakugo will put a new, unique spin on the traditional Rakugo performance, even those who have experienced Rakugo before would find themselves rediscovering new facets of this Edo Period performance art. It is also a great place for Japanese speakers to hone their English language skills at the same time!Following his first public English Rakugo performance in Japan (September 2015), this upcoming performance will be Shinoharu’s largest English Rakugo performance in Japan to date, welcoming over 200 guests from diverse cultures.The language barrier should not stop one from discovering the rich tradition and joys behind Rakugo. With his performance, Shinoharu hopes that more people, Japanese or otherwise, would be able to learn about the well-loved cultural art of Rakugo!Shinoharu Rakugo(6:15)Featured above is Shinoharu Rakugo – 4th Singapore Solo Tour 2014. You can feel his Rakugo intimately intertwined in Japanese culture.Ticket Purchase→ English Rakugo 2016 by ShinoharuMATCHA Special Coupon(10%OFF!) :MatchaRakugoEvent InformationJanuary 21st, 2016 (Thursday)Entry: 7:00pmStart: 7:30pmStandard: 2,500 yenStudent: 1,800 yenSchool bulk sales are also available at 1,500 yen per person, minimum of 20 people (negotiable). Send us an inquiry at 《firstname.lastname@example.org》 to check on how to purchase bulk tickets for your group! Students include university students, exchange students, and language school students. Please remember to bring your student ID or proof of affiliation on the day of purchase. Please do not hesitate to contact us for inquiries!AddressFukagawa Edo Museum (Small Theater)135-0021 Tokyo, Koto, Shirakawa 1-3-28 Rakugo (落語) is a traditional Japanese fine art of comic storytelling with roots dating back to the Edo Period. The storyteller spins a long and humorous tale, often depicting several characters that will have the audience laughing.Rakugo performances are traditionally performed in Japanese and hence limited to Japanese audiences in the past, but “English Rakugo 2016 by Shinoharu” welcomes both Japanese and non-Japanese people alike!Non-Japanese speakers will be able to experience Rakugo for the very first time in English, and discover the wonders of this age-old art form!Rediscovering Rakugo
Travelers Box is situated on the first floor of the central building in Terminal 1. Please look for the C1 Exit facing towards the bus terminal as a guide.3. Take Part in a Limited Time Event! Many of the capsule toys lining the zone are filled with only items associated with Japan. Why not buy cute Japanese souvenirs with the Japanese yen you were unable to use up! However, only 100 yen coins can be used. Please be careful as 50 or ten yen coins cannot be used in these machines. For more details, please read “Basics of Money in Japan: Currency Exchange, Duty-Free, and More!” Travelers Box, installed in July 2016, is also a facility where you can efficiently use the Japanese yen you were unable to spend all of during your trip. Those who participated were presented with a free sticker. Those that performed their ninja arts well were given two stickers. For those who do not have change or 100 yen coins, please use the exchange machines situated nearby. Participants were then able to download the photo they took to their smartphone using the QR code displayed on the screen. Challenge the ninja arts! If you were able to move well, you were also able to make clones of yourself like shown in the photo!! Hello Kitty, Daniel, and the others freely moved around inside a projection of the actual area you were on screen. There was a three-dimensional look to the game which really brought it to life. First, choose the e-money or points you would like to convert your change into. There are twelve types of credits available, including Facebook and Skype. Please be aware that there may be e-money with restricted usage in certain countries. Lastly, just to insert the amount of money you would like to convert into e-money. The gateway to sightseeing in Japan, Narita Airport. It is a fascinating facility not only as a point of access, but also as a place where you can enjoy shopping and food.In this article, we will introduce three popular fun spots and convenient services from among the facilities located inside Narita Airport.1. Turn Your Leftover Change into Japanese Capsule Toys! It was easy to participate. Participants only needed to stand in the designated area and move as directed on screen. The camera would recognize your movements so that you could control the game without touching the screen.By holding your hands out, a language selection screen would appear. The languages supported were Chinese and Japanese. This is the invisibility technique. It seemed like Daniel had no idea where the participant had disappeared off to. Languages supported include Japanese, Chinese, English, and German. This is the JAPANESE CAPSULE TOY GACHA zone that was introduced in July 2016. It is a zone with rows of over 100 capsule toy machines on the basement floor of the Terminal 2 building. The capsule toy zone is located next to the escalator connecting the basement to the first floor, so don’t miss it!2. Change Your Leftover Japanese Yen into E-Money! This was a photo spot recommended for visitors to create memories with when leaving Japan. It was a facility where travelers could experience taking a unique commemorative photo while playing together with Hello Kitty. It had been a special booth set up for a limited time until February 14th, 2017 on the third floor departure lobby of Terminal 2. A large Hello Kitty balloon was the landmark.* A similar booth was situated in the fourth floor south wing departure lobby of Terminal 1 as well. English, Chinese, and Japanese-speaking staff were always available so that participants were reassured even when they didn’t know how to operate the game. Once you insert the required amount of money and turn the lever to the right, a cute figure will come out. Your capsule toy will not come out unless you turn the lever until it stops. The amount required for each machine ranges from 100 – 400 yen. Both paper bills and coins can be inserted into the machine, however, please be aware that one yen and five yen coins are not supported. Additionally, dollar or euro bills can also be used so we recommend this facility to Japanese travelers returning from overseas as well. Next, please input your e-mail address. An e-mail will be sent to the inputted address after you have deposited your money, which will provide a link for you to click to carry out the transfer procedure. Finally, participants could take a commemorative photo. There were three possible background images prepared depending on the results of the participant’s ninja arts. It is also possible to change languages while using the facility. You won’t need to completely redo what you have already inputted, making it very convenient to use. Based on the idea that “Hello Kitty, her younger sister Mimmy, and her boyfriend Daniel are pretending to be ninjas,” participants were entrusted with a mission to protect the golden apple that invokes happiness from Daniel. While this photo event may be over, you can still find Hello Kitty and all her friends at Narita Airport through their official shops, and other amazing events that take place seasonally in Narita Airport.Efficiently Use Your Time Before Your DepartureThe wait time before your departure is the perfect opportunity to create final memories of your trip with shopping, food, and fun. If you will be spending some time in Narita Airport, why not enjoy the unique services and entertainment that can only found here?Sponsored by Sony Corporation / Digital Entertainment / Services
Nigori zake at the Craft Sake Week 2019 in TokyoJust like regular sake, sparkling sake is available in filtered and coarse filtered versions. Coarsely filtered sake only filters out the big particles and lets small particles of rice and yeast seep through. It has a milky color and is known as nigori zake. The taste is smooth and creamy because the rice flavor is still very much prominent. Even nigori zake that has not particularly been labeled as sparkling sake can be slightly fizzy as the remaining rice and yeast particles keep fermenting in the bottle.Filtered sake is clear in color. The taste is often sharper or even slightly sour as all the smoothing rice particles have been filtered out. However, it can also be the more refreshing choice that tastes less heavy.4. How Bubbly Do You Like Your Sake to Be? Picture from Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven – All-You-Can-Drink Sake And Delicious Edo-Style SushiSparkling sake is any kind of sake with an effervescent quality to it. This effervescence can be achieved in various ways. The main methods are fermentation or manual carbonation with carbon dioxide.Actually, every type of sake contains bubbles during the fermentation process. However, they usually evaporate into the air, leaving the end product flat and without bubbles. The goal of sparkling sake that only uses fermentation instead of artificial carbonation is to keep the carbon dioxide within the sake. This can be done in the tank during the sake production process or by adding an active yeast, known as kassei nigori, when the sake is bottled.The active yeast will produce a sparkling sake that gets more and more effervescent as time goes by. This process is very similar to the way sparkling wine and Champagne are made.While usual sake has an alcohol percentage of 15%, sparkling sake starts as low as 4.5% which is the same with beer. However, sparkling sake can be just as strong as normal nihonshu. When in doubt, check the bottle or ask the bartender for the alcohol content. If you are not used to sake or don’t like its strong flavor, start with 5% or lower and slowly increase the percentage if you want something stronger.Don’t be fooled! Even sparkling with 5% still doesn’t go down like beer. A 300ml bottle might last you a whole evening, or even two, if you are not used to sake.Why Is Sparkling Sake Becoming So Popular? Picture from A Day In Sakaiminato – With GeGeGe no Kitaro, Fresh Seafood, And SakeSparkling sake has been around for many years but there weren’t many companies producing it. With the approaching Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Japan decided to promote sparkling sake as “Japanese Champagne” to offer a celebratory drink with a Japanese flavor.For this reason, many sake companies introduced their own interpretation of the beverage. Some have even invented completely new ways to turn their sake into sparkling sake.Aside from this, people started to appreciate it as a tasty summer drink. Even the most enthusiastic sake lover might switch to beer during the hot summer months because they might want something bubbly and refreshing. Iced sparkling sake with a low alcohol percentage is just as refreshing as a cold beer so sake lovers can still enjoy the taste they like without the drink being too heavy.For the same reason, you might actually enjoy sparkling sake even if you’re not a big fan of sake. The writer of this article could not get herself to like sake over the ten years she has spent in Japan but she discovered that loves sparkling sake! The mild taste and sparkling bubbles make a huge difference to the flavor and feel of the drink.How to Enjoy the Sparkling Sake Picture from A Day In Sakaiminato – With GeGeGe no Kitaro, Fresh Seafood, And SakeSparkling sake can range from a little bit of a fizz to explosively sparkly. The latter is normally the kind that has the active yeast added when bottled. Some types of sparkling sake, like the Dassai Sparkling Nigori, even have extra carbonation together with the active yeast to make them extra sparkly.There are even cartridges especially made to infuse normal sake with carbonation. However, these are mainly available at restaurants that specialize in sake such as Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven.Discover a New, Refreshing Way to Enjoy Sake!We hope this article has given you a little bit of an insight into the new and exciting world of sparkling sake. No matter if you are a big sake lover or someone who doesn’t like sake at all, sparkling sake offers a great variety with something for every taste. It goes great with traditional Japanese food like sushi and tempura but also with western style cuisine such as steak.Why not try it out on your next visit to Japan or even picking it up as a special gift for someone? If you are a sake lover, already accustomed to the drink, the alcohol content shouldn’t matter to you. However, if you are someone who usually doesn’t drink or like sake or if it is a hot summer day, you might want to start with the lowest alcohol content, which is 4.5% or 5%. You can always work your way up.There is something about the effervescent quality of sparkling sake that makes even the 16% sake feel and taste different than regular sake. However, take it easy as its impact on your body will still be the same.Two very popular low-alcohol sparkling sake are MIO (澪) and Suzune (すず音). Both have only 5% alcohol. MIO uses artificial carbonation while Suzune uses the same fermentation method as Champagne to create fine bubbles.If you want something special as a gift, MIO and some other kind of sparkling sake are available infused with gold flakes as well. Suzune, on the other hand, can be purchased in three versions: clear, yellow and rosé. The yellow and rose Suzune has only 4.5% alcohol so they are perfect for starters.2. Do You Like Dry or Sweet Alcohol? Have you ever heard of sparkling sake? It is also known as “Japanese Champagne”, being much easier to drink than regular nihonshu (Japanese sake). It is so different that it is often popular even with those who usually don’t like sake.Let’s have a look at the types of sparkling sake and what makes it so unique.What Is Sparkling Sake and How Is It Made? Read also Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven – All-You-Can-Drink Sake And Delicious Edo-Style Sushi Traditional Sake Cups And Vessels To Use When Drinking Sake Sake-Flavored Chocolate? Try The Japanese Sake KitKat! There are various types of sparkling sake that are different from each other, just as is the case with regular sake. Depending on your preferences, you might want to carefully check the following four points to pick the right kind for you.1. Check the Alcohol Content Picture from Haneda Ichiba Ginza Seven – All-You-Can-Drink Sake And Delicious Edo-Style SushiYou can enjoy sparkling sake in the same way you would drink champagne or sparkling wine. Serve it as cold as possible. If you can’t keep it in the fridge, keep it in a bucket with ice.It is sake after all, so feel to use sake cups for your sparkling sake as well. However, a sparkling wine glass, or flute, is recommended to keep the carbonation for longer. It also makes the sake look more elegant and celebratory, as the bubbles get to stand out more when served this way.Sparkling sake is not meant to be served warm. The carbonation would quickly escape, leaving the sake flat. If you open a sparkling sake bottle while the sake is warm, it might explode and you will lose most of the precious sake.How to Pick the Right Type of Sparkling Sake Kurand Sake Market: Unlimited Tasting of 100 Japanese Sakes in Asakusa The next question is whether you like your alcohol dry or sweet. While most of the sweetness in sake comes from the rice without any artificial sweeteners added, depending on the fermentation process they can still range from very dry to very sweet.Generally, most sparkling sake will have a sweeter taste to it. The higher the alcohol content, the sharper will the taste be. However, you can find low alcohol brands like MIO in a dry version as well. The MIO Dry tastes light and fruity. It almost has a taste of Japanese pear to it.3. Do You Prefer a Creamy, Fresh or Sharp Taste?
One spot that I would personally like to recommend is the Love Statue, located in Nishi-Shinjuku. Made by the American artist Robert Indiana, this towering public art installation has its own legend. It’s rumored that, if you can pass between the ‘v’ and ‘e’ without touching the sides while thinking about your crush, your love will be returned.Great Souvenirs – Gag Chocolates To make your own homemade chocolates, you will need a mould to put your melted chocolate and any fillings in. These silicon moulds come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, and range in price from 100 to 1200 yen, depending on the type you select. The rose cups on the right are also perfect for making mini cakes or brownies in too. Steel cookie cutters are not only good for making fun cookies, but also for cutting out fondant icing for cakes, and even for making mini pancakes with. As you can see, they come in a great number of shapes and styles, and tend to cost from 200 to 800 yen. If you want to find the largest cookie cutter selection in Japan though, I recommend shopping in Kappabashi, where you can find kitchen supply stores that have baking sections with cookie cutters as far as the eye can see.Cute Carrying Bags Once you’ve finished making your treat, it’s time to decorate it! It may be shocking to see just how many different decorations there are in stores at this time of year; everything from pre-made fondant characters like Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma to intricate icing roses to glittery sparkles and edible pearls are available. There are also pre-packed tubes of colored icing so that you can easily write your greetings or draw on your baked goods as well. Not only that, but there are even containers of chopped nuts, candied fruits and fruit peel, bottles of flavored liquors, and much more that you can add to your treats.If you’re like me, you might walk into the store with one idea of what you want to make in mind, and walk out with something completely different.The variety of items is a treat for the eyes in itself!Sets For Non-Chefs After your treats are made, you’re going to need something to carry them in. If you’re making a lot of things to make for many people, then purchasing some little food bags is a good idea. These bags come with stickers and ties to seal them and are 100% food safe, so you don’t have to worry about anything contaminating your treats. You can easily pick some up at any 100 yen store, or at a variety store, and they typically cost from 100-350 yen for 10 bags. You can also find cellophane types, and much larger ones for full size cakes as well.Icing and Decorations Not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking, but Japanese stores have you covered. In any variety store or supermarket, you can find a wide range of pre-measured and packaged baking kits, many of which only need an egg or water to complete. Picture-stamped chocolates, heart shaped muffins, marbled brownies, cake lollipops – all are available and many come with picture based instructions so that even those not confident in their Japanese abilities can follow along. All you need with a kit like these are some decorations and packages to put the finished product in. Kits can range from 500-4500 yen, with the more expensive sets making anywhere from 15-50 portions of the food.A Recipe to Help You AlongBaking something for a loved one and decorating it yourself sounds like fun, doesn’t it?Unfortunately, baking is not my forte, so if I need to make a lot of treats in a hurry, I go to my old favorite: brownies.Pick up a box of brownie mix and prepare the recipe as per the instructions on the package. Then it’s time to get creative.1. Pour about half the mix into the bottom of your baking pan or mold.2. Add in a layer of either: chopped nuts, toasted shredded coconut, minced cherries, marmalade, mini marshmallows or marshmallow fluff, chopped chocolate or chocolate candies or chips, or any combination you can think of.3. Carefully pour the remainder of the brownie mix over this layer, and smooth out the top with a spatula or knife.4. Bake according to the instructions on the package and when they are ready, remove them from the oven and let them stand on the counter until cool to the touch.5. Slice the brownies and package them to hand out.And there you have it! You can easily make great unique treats for your friends, family or that special someone, especially if you have the right materials for the job. A trip to any 100 yen store, variety goods shop or supermarket will have you preparing adorable Valentine’s Day treats in no time.You May Also Like:Valentine’s Day In Japan – Special Events And Romantic Places To VisitJapanese Encyclopedia: Valentine’s DayLearn The Impossible! Untranslatable Japanese PhrasesPlum Blossoms – The Original Japanese Sign Of SpringMarimo – A Cute and Truly Unique Souvenir From Japan Chocolate ‘energy pills’ and a gummy and chocolate hamburger.If you want to pick up something funny, cute, or really unusual as a souvenir, then I recommend gag chocolates. They come in all varieties, from pill and band-aid shaped chocolates to nougat-filled hammers to life-like gorillas and dinosaurs. There are hundreds of options to choose from ranging in price from a few yen to thousands of yen. Why not take a look around and see what catches your eye?Made with Love – Valentine’s TreatsIf you don’t have the time to take part in any Valentine’s events, you can still take part in the atmosphere of the Japanese take on the holiday by visiting a 100 yen shop like Daiso, or a variety goods store like Tokyu Hands, Loft, or Don Quijote. Here you can find everything you need to make your very own Valentine’s treats!Moulds and Cookie Cutters Valentine’s Day, a time for romance, love, and most importantly chocolate! In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated somewhat differently than it is overseas. On February 14th, women present handmade sweets or chocolates to the person they have their eye on, while the men don’t typically do anything in return until March 14th, which is known as White Day.If you happen to be traveling in Japan during this romantic time, there are plenty of things you can do to celebrate. There are many great events to take part in and illuminations to see all around the city, so heading out for dinner and a night on the town is a fantastic option. If you’d like to know more about these events and lights, please take a look at Valentine’s Day In Japan – Special Events And Romantic Places To Visit.
Photo provided by: Public Interest Incorporated Association, Hirado City Promotion AgencyThe best part of Hirado Castle is the view of the landscape from the hillside castle tower. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, you’ll be able to view Kurokojima’s primeval forest across the ocean or Hirado’s very own Ohashi. You’ll also get a wonderful view of the city sights in Hirado. Since the inside of the castle tower has been made into a museum, you can enjoy learning about the history of Hirado Castle.Basic Information about Hirado CastleEntrance FeeAdults 510 yen, high schoolers 300 yen, elementary and middle schoolers 200 yen.Hours of OperationOpen from 8:30 – 17:30. Last entry: 17:00.HolidaysThe museum is usually only closed on December 30th-31st, but some extraordinary circumstances may cause the museum to be closed on other days, so please confirm beforehand.How to get to Hirado CastleFor those of you traveling from abroad, it is recommended that you use Fukuoka Airport. Since there are a lot of flights going in and out of that airport, you may also want to use Nagasaki Airport, which is also close.Here is a list of steps to take in order to reach Hirado Castle.STEP 1 : Fukuoka Airport→Hakata Station→Sasebo StationIt takes five minutes from the Fukuoka Airport Terminal Station to Hakata Station by subway. At Hakata Station, take the Express Midori Train (bound for Sasebo Station) and head for Sasebo Station. The train ride will last approximately two hours and cost 3360 yen for unreserved seats.STEP 2: Sasebo Station→Tabira-Hiradoguchi StationHead towards Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station using the Matsuura Railway (bound for Tabira-Hiradoguchi). The train ride will last approximately 90 minutes and cost 1340 yen.STEP 3: Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station→Hirado CastleAt Tabira-Hiradoguchi Station, take the Saihi Bus bound for Hirado Sambashi. You can reach Hirado Castle in 10 minutes on foot if you get off at either Yukokan Bus Stop or the bus stop in front of the City Office.For information on how to access Hakata from Tokyo, please look at the article: Ways to Travel From Tokyo To Fukuoka! A Thorough Comparison.Hirado’s Seasonal Events Photo provided by: Public Interest Incorporated Association, Hirado City Promotion AgencyIn Kameoka Park, approximately 1000 cherry blossom trees have been planted and every year at the end of March the park is filled with tourists coming to witness its beauty. Inside the park, there are also cherry blossoms that bloom once between October and January and then bloom once again in the springtime. It would also be a good idea to come and see these cherry blossoms blooming out of the standard season! What is Hirado Castle? Photo provided by: Public Interest Incorporated Association, Hirado City Promotion AgencyHirado Castle is located in Nagasaki prefecture, Kyushu on Hirado Island. It was constructed during the Edo Period as the home for the Matsura family who ruled over the land at that time. It was completed in 1718. However, in 1873, it was abandoned and what is standing there now is the 1962 version reconstructed by the city of Hirado.Incidentally, because the castle was built in Kameoka, it is also known as Kameoka Castle.Points of Interest at Hirado Castle