Work hard, play hard: ways to unwind in Japan

Feeling the need to let off some steam? To get away from it all and just have fun? Then plan ahead for an activity-filled vacation to Japan to get your adrenaline pumping and put a smile on your face!

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From white water rafting in Gunma to cosplay in Tokyo, you’re sure to have a blast.

Thrills of the mountains

Base yourself in the heart of Nikko National Park, and you’ll have a wealth of ways to let loose. At Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko, the mountain wilderness of Okunikko is on your doorstep – perfect for hiking and canoeing from spring to autumn, or snowshoeing in the winter.

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And, just beyond, there are plenty more options for fun.

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Around 45 minutes by car, Edo Wonderland is a chance to dress up as a ninja, a samurai, a princess or a feudal lord– and then step back in time to 17th century Japan.

This historic amusement park recreates a town from the Edo era, offering workshops to let you master the art of samurai swordplay!

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West of Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko, the town of Minakami in Gunma Prefecture is one of Japan’s top destinations for outdoor adventure. The ideal place to let yourself go! How about some world-class rafting?

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Head to the Tone River for 12 miles of high thrills! In spring, you’ll be thrown around by grade 3 to 4 white water. Other adrenaline-pumping programs include canyoning, hydrospeeding and bungy jumping.

Sleep with your bike

If you’re mad about bikes or just fancy a one-of-a-kind hotel, Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura should be top of your list. Set in an area known for its spectacular cycling, this recently-opened hotel is bike-friendly and bike-themed!

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The setting is the shores of Lake Kasumigaura, an hour north-east of Tokyo. Thanks to the hotel’s handy location next to the JR railway station, you can take your bike off the train and ride straight into the reception area. The lobby has been designed with plenty of space so you can check in and check out on your bike.

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Even better, you can take your bike up to your room – where a wall rack awaits it. For those who are really passionate about their bike, it’s even possible to take it to bed! On request, special bedding made of dirt-repellent material can be provided, so you can tuck your bike up with you.

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Strut around the hotel in your cycling shorts and head to the TAMARIBA open space to meet like-minded bike fans. This café-bar is open 24/7 with a giant screen broadcasting live pro cycling races. The perfect place to compare bike routes until late at night.

Outside, the scenery is stunning, with prime views of the verdant Tsukuba mountains.

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Recommended courses range from a beginners’ bike path to an 80-mile loop of the entire lake.

Hokkaido highs

Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido is a choice destination for natural highs. At Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu, the mountainous landscapes become a vast playground for fun. In winter, you’ll have direct access to Japan’s famous powder-snow ski slopes – and you’ll also be able to reawaken your inner child!

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How about hurtling down one of the world’s longest snow karting courses (4.2km)? Being towed through deep snow on a banana boat? Or taking to the wintry plains on a James Bond-style snowmobile? In summer, you can drive through mud-filled forests in a four-wheel drive buggy. All this without ever leaving the Tomamu resort.

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The hotel can also help you organize further adventures in the area, including tree climbing or flying over the colourful fields of Furano on a powered paraglider.

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Tokyo eccentricity

If you prefer your fun urban-style, Tokyo has more than enough to meet every need! Stay at Hoshino Resorts OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka and you’ll be well-positioned to experience the wacky side of Japanese culture.

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Cosplay is the art of dressing up as characters from manga, anime, video games, etc. – and Tokyo’s Harajuku area is a hotbed for the practice. Just people-watching the streets is fascinating enough, but how about joining them?

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The district of Akihabara is filled with cosplay stores where you can find the ideal costume to express your inner-otaku. There are even cosplay photo shops where you can rent a costume and get your portrait taken.

Alternatively, sing yourself blue in a karaoke box?

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Eat at a deranged restaurant where bikini-clad women combat giant robots? Or get handcuffed to a prison cell while sipping on a cocktail? There’s more than one way to unwind in Japan!


Photo credits:

arcreyes [-ratamahatta-] / CC BY-NC-SA

A taste of Japan’s coffee culture

Think of hot drinks in Japan and you probably think of green tea. But the Japanese are also big coffee drinkers – with Japan among the top importers of coffee in the world.

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You’ll find coffee, both hot and cold, in the country’s ubiquitous vending machines, and specialist coffee shops are now common in big cities – from chain stores to independent coffee houses.

Homemade coffee

In Tochigi Prefecture, Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko has created its own unique coffee. Mori-no Shizuku is a blend of Nikko Coffee that mixes Brazilian beans with Indonesian Mandheling from the island of Sumatra. The result is the smooth fruitiness of Mandheling combined with the chocolatey flavours of Brazilian beans.

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We’re giving away a pack of this unique coffee in this month’s contest, along with two classic Mashiko-yaki cups, handmade using clay from Mashiko, a village in Tochigi known throughout Japan for its exemplary pottery.

Try to win Nikko coffee and two Mashiko-yaki cups!

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Update: contest is now closed, results available below.

The contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the contest is Jose Hernandez (from France). Congratulations!

If you are not the lucky winner this time, please keep reading our webzine to discover two new articles every week about Japanese lifestyle experiences. And follow us on social media to take part in our next contest!

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