Thursday, July 6, 2023

What’s new in #Japan: the most exciting new things to do, and places to stay

The Ritz Carlton, Fukuoka

Japan has well and truly cemented itself as a must-visit destination in 2023. With a sliding Japanese yen against the Aussie dollar, and plenty of new hotels and attractions on offer, now has never been a better time to plan and book.
New accommodation offerings set to wow

The Ritz-Carlton Fukuoka (pic above) opens its doors

Renowned for its unparalleled luxury and exceptional service, The Ritz-Carlton has arrived in Japan’s westernmost island Kyushu’s capital, Fukuoka. The Ritz-Carlton, Fukuoka overlooks Hakata Bay, a historically rich and picturesque landmark in the heart of the city.

The hotel features dining options that echo Fukuoka's reputation as a food haven. Locally sourced Japanese Black wagyu beef from Iki Island, seafood from the Genkai Sea, as well as local Kyushu-produced sake, shochu, and green tea, that brings a taste of the region.

OMO3 Asakusa by Hoshino Resorts to open in July

OMO3 Asakusa by Hoshino Resorts opens in the heart of Asakusa, an area of Tokyo packed with attractions new and old, and always bustling with activity. Rooftop space OMO Base on the 13th floor offers breathtaking views, with massive floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the grounds of historic Sensoji Temple to the west and Tokyo Skytree to the east, creating an impressive contrast between the old and new icons of the city.

Japan’s first ASAI property opens in Kyoto

Thailand's Dusit Hotels and Resorts has opened ASAI Kyoto, its first ASAI in Japan in the heart of historical Kyoto, a short walk to the famous Nishiki Market. Stylish and functional rooms are the main appeal but touches like Soi Geang, the on-site restaurant fusing Thai food with premium Japanese whisky, sake, and beer, offers another reason to book.

ASAI Kyoto

Competition in Kyoto’s mid-range hotel market is also heating up with the opening of two budget-friendly hotels. For families, Mimaru Suites offers apartment-style hotels with spacious living and dining areas and fully equipped kitchenettes while nearby Hotel Vischio Kyoto is preparing for its reopening in July after a full renovation.

Mujinto Project launches, offering overnight stays on some of Japan’s most remote islands

Mujinto Project (mujinto means uninhabited island in Japanese) aims to tap into the demand for travel that has a greater focus on sustainability, wellness, and adventure while providing deeper encounters with nature. Individuals and groups will be able to stay overnight on six islands that are part of the prefectures of Wakayama (southern Kansai), Okayama (on the Seto Inland Sea) and Nagasaki (eastern Kyushu).

Each island offers different appeal, from white sandy beaches and lighthouses to historic shrines. Many islands are home to plentiful fish and seafood stocks, providing excellent conditions for fishing, and offering views of pristine nature during the day and starry skies at night.

The first Hilton resort has opened on a remote Okinawa Prefecture island

Known for its clear blue waters and stunning beaches, the secluded Miyako Island has welcomed the brand-new Hilton Okinawa Miyako Island Resort. Adjacent to Miyako Sunset Beach, the resort offers breathtaking views of the impossibly blue hues of the Miyako Sea, which visitors can enjoy from their private balcony in each of the 329 rooms.

Families with children will enjoy an onsite kids’ club and five indoor and outdoor pools. With a rooftop bar, lobby lounge, spa, and all-day dining options, visitors can lounge at the hotel or venture out and enjoy Miyako Island's famously pristine natural landscape and abundant outdoor activities.

Where to eat, drink and play

Bulgari’s freshly reopened La Terrazza Lounge in Ginza

Set on the open-air rooftop terrace of Bulgari Ginza Tower, La Terrazza Dom Pérignon Lounge offers champagne connoisseurs a magnificent original. Guests can sample the exclusive Dom Pérignon Blanc and other rare vintages.

The stylish terrace has a refined contemporary design, accented by an Italian-style garden and unparalleled views of Tokyo. The luxe but relaxed atmosphere proves the ideal destination for a champagne aperitivo or private parties.

‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo - The Making of Harry Potter’ reels Potter-heads

Officially the ‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter’, the long-awaited attraction, modelled on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes production of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. The 30,000 sqm exhibition will include replica sets from the main films, including Hogwarts' Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the 9 and 3/4 line.

Various food options feature traditional English dishes, desserts, and the world's largest butterbeer bar. The Studio Tour is located in Nerima, northwest of Shinjuku. In addition to the new studio tour, various Tokyo train stations will be getting a Wizarding World-themed makeover to resemble the Hogsmeade train station featured in the Harry Potter books.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo - The Making of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Japan launches NO LIMIT! Summer event

Universal Studios Japan has announced NO LIMIT! Summer is set to run from July 5 to August 24. The NO LIMIT! Summer event has a ‘Super Mario Power-Up Summer’ theme, where park-goers can soak up the fun (literally) with Mario and the gang.

This NO LIMIT! Summer event will provide guests with special water guns, along with shirts that change colour when they get hit with water. Nintendo’s characters will be heading outside of Super Nintendo World to soak guests, expect to see Mario, Luigi, Toad, Princess Peach, and Bowser Jr. making the rounds.

Art, culture and festivals

Gion Matsuri brings theatre, music and food to Kyoto

The Gion Matsuri, held annually in Kyoto, is one of the country's most renowned and vibrant cultural celebrations. Rooted in tradition and spanning the entire month of July, the festival is centred around Yasaka Shrine, located in the historic Gion district.

During the Gion Matsuri, the entire city of Kyoto comes alive with a multitude of events, including tea ceremonies, theatre performances, and traditional music concerts. Food stalls line the streets, offering local delicacies to try. The festival's origins lie in prayers for protection against plagues and natural disasters, and today it stands as a testament to Kyoto's rich cultural heritage.

‘Toshio Suzuki’ Studio Ghibli exhibition arrives in Fukuoka

A special Ghibli exhibition ‘We meet again!’ will come to Fukuoka and highlight one of the key figures behind Studio Ghibli and its films, Toshio Suzuki. It explores the contributions of Suzuki, who collaborated with directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata on numerous masterpieces, including My Neighbor Totoro, shaping the unique identity of Studio Ghibli’s films.

Visitors will gain insights into Studio Ghibli’s lesser-known aspects through a display of materials, project proposals, and three-dimensional models. Studio Ghibli is known for producing some of the world’s most renowned animated films. The event will be held at the Fukuoka City Museum until 31 August.

teamLab brings its digital lights to Kanazawa Castle

A new teamLab exhibition is coming to Kanazawa Castle. Immersive digital art installations from teamLab will take over historic Kanazawa for the inaugural ‘teamLab Kanazawa Castle: Festival of Light’. The special exhibition in Kanazawa Castle Park, Ishikawa Prefecture, will allow visitors to enjoy a variety of digital art, including a light art space that changes according to the presence of people and the behaviour of nature.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is a space where brightly coloured animals shaped as flowers walk along the stone wall of Kanazawa Castle. The event will be held from 30 September to 26 November.


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