March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While there are plenty of favourite options out there, why not seek out something unique and lesser-known from Japan? 

Held by JR East, Japan’s largest railway company, the "Omiyage Grand Prix" (おみやげグランドプリ) started in 2017 and has introduced a variety of souvenirs from all across East Japan, with awards ranging by category and area. 

 

Takachiho’s prized snack — Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat
Takachiho’s prized snack — Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat | Photo by Takachiho
 

As the winner of the Koshin’etsu Area Prize for Omiyage Grand Prix 2023, we are proud to share that the Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat (信州小布施 栗のラング・ド・シャ) by maker Takachiho (タカチホ) is featured in our exciting snack box in March 2024! We spoke to the brand’s Marketing Representative Ms. Matsuyama (松山) to find out more about the story behind this winning snack. 

 

Firstly, congratulations on being the winner of the Koshin’etsu Area Prize in last year’s Omiyage Grand Prix! Tell us more about your company’s origins.

Takachiho’s prized snack — Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat | Photo by TakachihoPhoto by Takachiho

Thank you so much! Our company was founded in the year Showa 24 (1949). As a leading company in the souvenir industry, we provide products that respond to the changing times and the needs of our customers. Currently, our focus lies on developing products deeply rooted in the local community, with a focus on specialty products, in order to meet the changing needs of the era, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For instance, the Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat snack presented in this month’s Omiyage Snack Box is a product created from the local specialty “Obuse chestnuts” harvested in the town of Obuse, located in the northern part of Shinshu. 

 

What is Takachiho known for?

Ringo no Sasayaki
Ringo no Sasayaki or “Whisper of Apple” | Photo by Takachiho

Produced in our own factory, our flagship product is the Ringo no Sasayaki (りんごのささやき “Whisper of Apple”), which has been a specialty confectionery from Shinshu cherished by many since its launch in 2015. In 2023, it was awarded the Excellent Taste Award by ITI (International Taste Institute) and the Gold Award by Japan Food Selection (a system for judging and certifying food products and ingredients from Japan by 23,000 food analysts).

In particular, the evaluation by Japan Food Selection not only praised our flagship product’s rich flavour of chocolates and cookies with apples, but also rated highly its packaging design, which evokes the majestic mountains of Shinshu and the imagery of a “hometown scenery”, leading to it winning the Gold Award as a representative local souvenir confectionery.

 

Ringo no Sasayaki sounds like a delicious snack and we hope to try it one day! Please tell us more about the backstory behind the Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat which is included in this month’s Omiyage Snack Box, as well as your company’s impressions on being one of the winners of the Omiyage Grand Prix.

Chestnuts from Obuse, Nagano

Chestnut from Obuse, Nagano, JapanChestnuts from Obuse Town, Nagano | Photo by Takachiho

The town of Obuse (小布施町) in northern Shinshu is home to delicious chestnuts (栗 kuri). The chestnuts produced here are unmatched and second to none, thanks to the region’s climate, its well-drained fan-shaped terrain, and distinctive acidic soil.

The deliciousness of Obuse chestnuts have been known throughout Japan since the Edo Period (1603-1868), and these chestnuts have gained recognition as a national brand since 250 years ago such that they have been presented as offerings to the shogun

 

Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat
Takachiho’s prized snack — Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat | Photo by Takachiho

The Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat is made by blending Obuse-grown Japanese chestnuts into a paste and sandwiching it gently between thin cookies made with rich white chocolate. It's a delightfully fragrant confection which features the rich flavour of Obuse chestnuts. We would be happy if this product could help people learn a little more about Obuse chestnuts and the charms of Shinshu, and if they could choose it as their next travel destination.

As for our journey in the Omiyage Grand Prix 2023, we were thrilled from the moment of entry when our product Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat had been nominated, which we had developed with great effort to make use of local ingredients through our sales office in Nagano.

Regarding the award, we were very happy to know that customers found our product to be delicious, with some remarking that “buying them as souvenirs brings joy to my family”. 

 

 

Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat
Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat | Photo by Takachiho

Moving forward, we hope that the award-winning Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat will become a staple Shinshu souvenir, and that more and more people will be delighted to receive it.

 

What a rich history and heart-warming story behind such a yummy souvenir—no wonder this was selected as one of the winners in the Omiyage Grand Prix 2023! What should our readers know about Shinshu in general?

Ueda Castle, Hakuba, Kamikochi, Snow Monkeys
Clockwise from left: Gems of Nagano — Ueda Castle, Hakuba, Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Kamikochi | Photos by ©Nagano Tourism Organisation

“Shinshu” is actually the former name of the province that is now known as Nagano Prefecture, and it is an area with a lot of popular sightseeing spots! There are many tourist spots, including historical infrastructures such as Zenkoji Temple (善光寺), Matsumoto Castle (松本城), and Ueda Castle (上田城); world-class ski and snow resorts such as Hakuba (白馬), Nozawa Onsen (野沢温泉), and Shiga Kogen (志賀高原); highland resorts such as Karuizawa (軽井沢) and Kamikochi (上高地), dozens of hot springs, and the gateway to these is Nagano City (長野市). 

Our head office is located in Nagano City, and we work every day to ensure that domestic and foreign visitors to the city enjoy the souvenirs they take home with them as a reminder of their enjoyable trip.

Also, since the Edo Period, the custom of giving souvenirs as part of our trips has been handed down from generation to generation, based on the belief that it is thanks to the cooperation and support of those around you that you are able to travel. In Japan, we cherish this value of gratitude.

 

Are there any ways for our readers to know more about the Chestnut Langue de Chat and other souvenirs handled by Takachiho?

A screenshot of a souvenir website page by TakachihoJapanese OMIYAGE Guide website by Takachiho

Since last year, we have launched our own unique service, the Japanese OMIYAGE Guide website which introduces souvenir products in English and Chinese. By scanning the 2D barcode at our stores, customers can access detailed information about products that may not have been fully introduced before. Here, you will also be directed to the introduction page of the Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat, so we hope you can take a look.

On this website as well, we introduce photos of the cross-section of the sweets, ingredient names, and allergy-related information for each product. We are increasing the number of products featured on the site with the hope of providing foreign visitors to Japan with the opportunity to experience the joy of choosing Japanese souvenirs, otherwise known as omiyage.

 

That sounds fantastic! Are your products typically exported or sold abroad?

Scenery of Shinshu
Scenery of Shinshu“We would be happy if our product could help people learn a little more about Obuse chestnuts and the charms of Obuse.” | Photo by Takachiho

While some of our souvenir products have been introduced through our overseas distributors, this is the first time that we have had the opportunity to share our products directly to our customers. In addition, the Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat is a new product released in the summer of 2023, so this is the first time that we introduce this product to overseas customers!

  

Wow, JAPAN RAIL CLUB is indeed honoured to have such a prestigious snack as part of this month’s line-up and we’re sure that our members will appreciate this exclusive and new product! Lastly, do you have any message to our readers and members?

Shinshu Obuse Langue de Chat Cookie, The Koshinetsu Area Prize Winner in Omiyage Grand Prix 2023
The Koshinetsu Area Prize Winner in Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 | Photo by Takachiho

I’ve heard that Japanese sweets and confectioneries are highly rated by people from overseas as being of a high standard and delicious. The Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat presented in this box is the Winner of the Koshin'etsu Area Prize (1st place in the number of votes in the area of Nagano, Niigata, and Yamanashi) in the Omiyage Grand Prix 2023, which was organised by JR East. It has been endorsed as a souvenir that "everyone wants to give" and "everyone wants to recommend", so we hope you will enjoy this confectionery that is full of Obuse chestnuts, while thinking of Shinshu’s original landscape.

 

The Shinshu Obuse Chestnut Langue de Chat is available as a special feature in JAPAN RAIL CLUB’s Omiyage Snack Box this March 2024. Subscribe today to enjoy this delicious snack from Nagano!

From Tokyo, Nagano Station (長野駅)—the gateway to Shinshu—is conveniently accessible by the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) and takes about 1.5-2 hours. If you’re planning to travel around the area, consider getting the 5-day JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) today!

Meet the author

Sue Lynn

Currently based in Tokyo, Sue Lynn first came to Japan as a university exchange student. With 6 years of experience in Japan's inbound tourism, she is familiar with Japan, particularly on rail passes and East Japan spots, and has a passion for travelling.

Sue is also passionate about Japan's thrifting culture, and is keen to uncover more hidden gems while visiting all 47 prefectures during her stay in Japan.

Sue's 5Cs are cats, cameras, cinema, climbing, and city pop. Ask her about how her favourite JR Pass (JR TOKYO Wide Pass) saved her life (and wallet).

Hungry for more?

Get on track with our monthly offerings of exclusive snacks from all over Japan!

Find what you’re interested in

The Art of Shinrin-yoku: Best Places to Experience Forest Bathing in Japan
Sue Lynn

The Art of Shinrin-yoku: Best Places to Experie...

Have you heard about Japan’s staggering number of national parks? With a total of 34 parks stretching from Hokkaido to Okinawa, Japan’s national parks are endowed with lush forests, dynamic...

Wendy Ng Nature

The Art of Shinrin-yoku: Best Places to Experie...

Have you heard about Japan’s staggering number of national parks? With a total of 34...

Uncovering the secret to Shizuoka's green tea
Sue Lynn

Shizuoka Green Tea: Uncovering the Secrets of J...

Having continuously cultivated and refined its flavours for centuries, Shizuoka produces exquisite green tea that is distinctively Japanese. What exactly sets Shizuoka tea apart and makes it so highly sought...

Dawn Sim

Shizuoka Green Tea: Uncovering the Secrets of J...

Having continuously cultivated and refined its flavours for centuries, Shizuoka produces exquisite green tea that...

Japanese matcha powder
Sue Lynn

So Much Matcha: The Many Ways to Enjoy Matcha

One of the most recognised flavours of Japan, matcha (抹茶) is a finely ground powder made with young tea leaves, characterised by its vibrant green colour that come from its...

Carissa Loh Culture

So Much Matcha: The Many Ways to Enjoy Matcha

One of the most recognised flavours of Japan, matcha (抹茶) is a finely ground powder...

Beyond beverages, matcha is also used in many other aspects of Japanese food, including Japanese wagashi and even in staples such as buckwheat noodles and mochi.
Sue Lynn

So Much Matcha: Exploring Matcha and The Top Ma...

Matcha, Japan’s most iconic green tea that has attained global popularity. | ©PhotoAC When you think of Japan, matcha (抹茶) or maccha inevitably comes to mind as one of the...

Dawn Sim Culture

So Much Matcha: Exploring Matcha and The Top Ma...

Matcha, Japan’s most iconic green tea that has attained global popularity. | ©PhotoAC When you...

So Much Matcha: An Essential Guide to Green Tea in Japan
Sue Lynn

So Much Matcha: An Essential Guide to Green Tea...

High in anti-oxidants and packed with anti-inflammatory properties, green tea (緑茶) is one of Japan’s most popular beverages and an important part of its culture, and can be found all...

Carissa Loh Culture

So Much Matcha: An Essential Guide to Green Tea...

High in anti-oxidants and packed with anti-inflammatory properties, green tea (緑茶) is one of Japan’s...

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikonocha Honpo
Sue Lynn

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikon...

When it comes to green tea from Japan, Kyoto stands as the hub of tea culture. Originally introduced by returning Buddhist monks from their travels in China in the 9th...

Sue Lynn Food

Maker's Story: Gyokuro Tea from Kyoto by Maikon...

When it comes to green tea from Japan, Kyoto stands as the hub of tea...

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji, Kyoto by Kyoeiseicha
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji...

This May, JAPAN RAIL CLUB celebrates the joy that matcha brings to our lives with the special “So Much Matcha” Omiyage Snack Box. May marks the start of the traditional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Premium Matcha Products from Uji...

This May, JAPAN RAIL CLUB celebrates the joy that matcha brings to our lives with...

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Explore During Japan's Shinryoku Season
Sue Lynn

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for nature―Midori-no-Hi (みどりの日 Greenery Day). Observed annually on 4 May, this national holiday is a testament...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Greenery Day: 5 Must-Visit Places to Expl...

Nestled amongst Japan’s vibrant festivities and cherished traditions lies a celebration rooted in reverence for...

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central Wholesale Market
Sue Lynn

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top producer of agricultural products and seafood: the vast lands covering Japan’s second largest island and...

Wendy Ng

Fresh From Hokkaido: A Guide to Sapporo Central...

Hokkaido is Japan’s food paradise as the northernmost part of the country is the top...

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of Japan
Sue Lynn

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes but even amongst these, there are three locations that rise above the others and are...

Dawn Sim Nature

Nihon Sankei (日本三景): The Three Scenic Views of ...

Japan is an island nation that has always been known for its stunningly beautiful landscapes...

Japan celebrates Golden Week between April 29 to May 5
Sue Lynn

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of Japan's most prominent and bustling holiday periods, usually spans from late April to early May...

Dawn Sim Culture

Golden Week: Exploring Japan's Week-Long Festiv...

What is Golden Week? Golden Week (ゴールデンウィーク or 黄金週間 Ogon Shukan), recognised as one of...

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉
Sue Lynn

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Carissa Loh Nature

春暖花開:櫻花之外的六種當季花卉

賞花的樂趣之一,就是它們轉瞬即逝的特性:花期每季只有幾天,但那短暫幾天卻難忘極了。來看看六種春天當季花卉,以及賞花最佳時機!

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Than Sakura
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with spring than the beloved cherry blossom (桜 sakura). However, other than these pretty, pink blossoms,...

Carissa Loh Nature

Spring Beginnings: 6 Seasonal Flowers Other Tha...

Flowers herald the beginning of spring, and in Japan, no flower is more synonymous with...

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in April and May
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of a new beginning in many Japanese literature. | Photo by Dawn Sim   A symbol...

Dawn Sim Spring

Spring Beginnings: 7 Things to Do in Japan in A...

Cherry blossoms, or sakura, are flowers symbolic of spring, often alluded to the promise of...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other than the mesmerising cherry blossoms painting the landscape, spring is the best season to experience...

Wendy Ng Food

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Try Spring Foods in J...

Spring in Japan is a time for celebration as the season marks new beginnings. Other...

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festivals in Japan
Sue Lynn

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing with it beautiful flowers, comfortable temperatures, and a time of celebration. While most travellers head...

Carissa Loh Festival

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing...

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in Japan
Sue Lynn

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich history and enduring cultural heritage, is particularly famous for its magnificent Japanese castles (お城 oshiro)....

Carissa Loh Culture

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich...

Sakura Karinto and Marui Suzuki
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions of celebrating this season is to enjoy “ohanami” (お花見)! Ohanami means “flower-viewing”, and this is...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions...

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the start of springtime in Japan. Spring is the prettiest and most enjoyable season with radiant...

Wendy Ng Spring

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the...

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of Shochu Distilleries in Miyazaki
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Considered to be Japan's national spirit, Shochu is gaining great...

Wendy Ng

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese...

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultural Icons
Sue Lynn

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition, Tohoku (東北), the northeastern part of Japan comprising of six prefectures – Aomori (青森), Akita...

Dawn Sim Culture

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition,...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you can unearth more culinary treasures spread throughout the country if you venture into the less...

Wendy Ng Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you...

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo for Ohanami
Sue Lynn

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you have witnessed the enchanting sight of cherry blossoms (桜 sakura) in full bloom. A cherry...

Carissa Loh Culture

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful...

Carissa Loh Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six...

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souvenir & Gift-Giving Culture
Sue Lynn

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably seen the colourful and beautifully packaged boxes of local confectionery filling the gift shops along...

Carissa Loh Culture

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably...

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers from Akita by Kanaeya
Sue Lynn

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as an example, a prefecture where lush landscapes meet premium rice fields. Renowned for its exceptional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as...

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)
Sue Lynn

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the...

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Sue Lynn

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known...

Dawn Sim Culture

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the...

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers
Sue Lynn

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2...

Dawn Sim Travel

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of...

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi by Kameya Foods
Sue Lynn

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the Japanese horseradish is a unique spice native to Japan and is a staple in Japanese...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the...

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan and Must-do Activities
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in regions lying alongside the Sea of Japan (日本海), otherwise known as Yukiguni (雪国), or Snow...

Dawn Sim Festival

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in...

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to Enjoy in Japan
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s also a time to indulge in winter cuisine as Japan is blessed with bountiful harvest...

Wendy Ng Food

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s...

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and Setsubun Culture
Sue Lynn

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo on its east, perhaps, unknowingly, you have already stepped foot into Chiba Prefecture. If you...

Carissa Loh Culture

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo...

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gems in Every Corner of Chiba
Sue Lynn

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than the prefecture of Chiba (千葉県). Contrary to the popular belief that “There is nothing much...

Dawn Sim Travel

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than...

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of Strawberries in Japan
Sue Lynn

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of S...

Did you know that 15 January is Strawberry Day (イチゴの日 Ichigo-no-hi) in Japan? It comes from a word play on the date (“ichi” = one and “go” = five) and...

Carissa Loh Food

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of S...

Did you know that 15 January is Strawberry Day (イチゴの日 Ichigo-no-hi) in Japan? It comes...

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracing Moments in Life
Sue Lynn

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracin...

As the New Year’s celebrations and confetti settles, we enter the new year with new hopes and wishes. The start of the new year marks a good checkpoint in our...

Wendy Ng Culture

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracin...

As the New Year’s celebrations and confetti settles, we enter the new year with new...

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day
Sue Lynn

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day

Seijin-no-Hi (成人の日) or Coming-of-Age Day is an important Japanese National Holiday, observed on the second Monday of January each year. The day serves as a rite of passage, celebrating and...

Carissa Loh Culture

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day

Seijin-no-Hi (成人の日) or Coming-of-Age Day is an important Japanese National Holiday, observed on the second...

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japanese Twist from Edogoshiya
Sue Lynn

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japane...

"What is a snack that would pair well with Japanese tea and is well-loved by all in Japan?", the makers of Edogoshiya wondered and found themselves in the world of...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japane...

"What is a snack that would pair well with Japanese tea and is well-loved by...

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses Found in Japan
Sue Lynn

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses ...

If you have been to Japan during the colder months between December to February, you will notice the sudden abundance in citruses such as yuzu (柚子・ゆず) and mikan (蜜柑・みかん mandarin...

Sue Lynn Food

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses ...

If you have been to Japan during the colder months between December to February, you...

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in Japan
Sue Lynn

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of the traditions that have been influenced by Shinto, Buddhism, and modern beliefs!

Carissa Loh Culture

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of...

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditions Old and New
Sue Lynn

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world, known as a time to get together with family and friends, and a...

Carissa Loh Festival

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around...

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Hokkaido: Exploring Japan's Best Slopes
Sue Lynn

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a means of transportation had been around for centuries in communities living in high snowfall areas,...

Carissa Loh Winter

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a...

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa Kajuen
Sue Lynn

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught up with Mr. Ueyama (上山) from Sowa Kajuen from Arida City, Wakayama Prefecture to find...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught...

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village in Kochi
Sue Lynn

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr. Iwasada (岩貞) of Umaji Village Agricultural Co-operative, to find out more about the village of...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr....

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding the Appeal of Kyoho Grapes
Sue Lynn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to some incredible creations, and their grapes are no exception. Enter Kyoho grapes (巨峰), star-studded grapes...

Snack Lover Autumn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to...