Quick Takes – October 11th, 2018

Welcome to another edition of Quick Takes! This week, we have pre-Halloween festivities, good locations off the beaten track, and beer!

  • Fun place to go this weekend: in recent years, the Japanese had caught the Halloween bug in their own way. Instead of trick-or-treating, they like to dress in costumes and join parades. The Shibuya parade on Halloween day is the biggest, but there are others in other cities and districts. Kasugasaka will host their eleventh Bakeneko (literally “monster cat”) Festival this Sunday (Oct. 14), with a monster cat costume parade in the afternoon. Participants are encouraged to dress as cats to join the parade, which will cost 500 yen. There are also costume rental and makeup service on site for a cost.
  • A planetarium in a temple? There’s one in Tokyo. The chief priest for Shogansenji Temple is a big Astronomy fan since childhood, and once he inherited the temple from his family, he had developed the way of spreading Buddhist teachings through Astronomy, thus the building of the planetarium. There are two monthly shows for one hour, on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Participants must register through their website for a lottery, as each show had only 22 seats available. According to some sources, there are translations available for foreign visitors.
  • For most people visting Nikko, the focus are usually about Nikko Toshou-gu Shrine (first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu’s home shrine), and the hiking in the area. But Lake Chuzenji in the neighbourhood, which boast wonderful natural beauty and more temples, is also worth a visit. The article here is a pictorial for Chuzenji, the namesake of the lake, which will celebrate the 1234th anniversary this year. 
  • Japan’s weather had been wild this year, but with the storms calming down and temperature drops, the feeling of Autumn and Winter are finally coming in. Surprisingly, one ski resort in Shizuoka (next to Mount Fuji, no less) is already set to open for skiing in less than a fortnight. Ski Resort Yeti will open their ski season by October 19th, the earliest in Japan for the past twenty years. While it seems to be a little bit too early to hit the slopes, for people who are dying for cooler weather and some snow, This might be the best place to go this month.
  • Now that Japan government and the tourism sector are dropping air fares and hotel rates for Hokkaido, there’s certainly going to be more people heading north. While you might be enjoying the fabulous seafood, produce and milk, don’t forget there’s beer. And at Sapporo Beer Museum, aside from the free unguided tours, there’s also a guided tour available daily (except public holidays and Mondays). For the admission of 500 yen, you will have a 50 minutes tour of the museum, the only beer related museum in Japan. And it includes tasting of two beers for each adult participant! Sweet. 

That’s it for this week. Anyone planning a Hokkaido trip? Let us know in the comments if you are, and where you will be going. See you next time!