What Kind of Place Is Shirahone Onsen?Shirahone Onsen is located in Matsumoto city in Nagano prefecture. On the eastern side of the Norikuradake mountains of the Northern Japanese Alps, this hot spring is said to have over 600 years of history. Thanks to the combination of the minerals mixing into the hot waters, the springs turned into a creamy white color, giving this spring the name ”Shirahone Onsen” or the ”white bone hot spring”.Legends say that ”if you bathe for three days here, you won’t catch a cold for three years”. The Shirahone hot springs have always been known to be good for one’s health and many have visited to cure their illnesses and injuries here over the centuries.As a milky white hot spring surrounded by nature, there are plenty of fans of the Shirahone hot springs. In this article, we will feature access routes, the effects of the springs, as well as recommended bathing facilities found in this hot spring area.Traits and Effects of the Shirahone Hot SpringsPhoto courtesy of Nagano Sightseeing Information CenterThe Shirahone hot springs are known for their white, milky waters. The water itself that springs up is actually clear, but once the hot water comes in contact with oxygen, the hydrogen sulfide and calcium dissolved in it react turning the waters white. Therefore, depending on the time and weather of the day, the color of the hot springs vary.The spring quality is that of a simple hydrogen sulfide spring as it contains sulfur and carbon. Therefore, when you bathe in the slightly acidic waters, you will feel yourself warm up instantly. The spring is said to relieve chronic fatigue, stress, stomach problems and gynecological issues.In certain locations, you are able to drink the hot spring water as well. It is also said that the waters from this spring will help digestion and improve constipation.Getting to Shirahone Hot Springs from TokyoIn order to get to Shirahone Onsen, first, you would need to board the Asama train of the Hokuriku shinkansen at Tokyo Station and travel to Nagano Station. From Nagano Station, transfer to the JR Special Express train, the Wide View Shinano, bound for Nagoya and get off at Matsumoto Station. It will take about two hours and fifty minutes and cost 5080 yen.From Matsumoto Station, you will need to transfer to the Matsumoto railway Kamikochi line bound for Shinshimashima. It will take around 20 minutes to reach Shinshimashima and cost 700 yen.Upon arriving at Shinshimashima Station, you can take either the bus or taxi to Shirahone Hot Springs. The bus costs 1450 yen one way and 2350 yen round trip and takes around 70 minutes. By taxi, it will take around 50-60 minutes and costs around 10,000 yen.For more details on traveling from Tokyo to Nagano, please read What’s The Most Convenient Fare?! How To Get To Nagano From Tokyo.Go From Matsumoto Station by BusYou can reach Shirahone Hot Springs from Matsumoto Station by bus. The one-way bus ride is about an hour and 40 minutes long and costs 1950 yen (3500 yen round trip).One-Day Bathing Facilities in Shirahone OnsenHere, we will introduce you to one-day bathing facilities found at Shirahone hot springs.Shirahone Hot Springs Kokyo Notenburo Photo courtesy of Nagano Sightseeing Information CenterA famous hot spring inn with a grand open-air bath that is 230 meters squared. During the autumn, the view of the foliage from this bath is wonderful. Please note that this is a mixed bath (*1).For customers staying at this inn that would like a private moment, they are able to rent the ”Awa no Yu Gairai Yu” hot springs in the annex for 40 minutes for 2160 yen (tax included). Rooms are either Japanese style or a mixed style with a bed in a room with a tatami mat.*1 Mixed bath: A bath that can be used by men and women at the same time. Common in suburban areas.Address: Nagano, Matsumoto, Azumi 4181Website: Awa no Yu RyokanKonashi no Yu SasayaWith an irori fireplace, this is a small inn established in a renovated traditional Japanese house with only ten rooms.Customers of the inn may enjoy bathing in the open air bath privately for 30 minutes for free. When entering, you will hang a wooden sign, notifying the occupancy. When there is no sign hanging, you may bathe as many times as you wish. This is a perfect inn for those who wish to relax in the springs.Address: Nagano, Matsumoto, Azumi, Shirahone 4182-1Website: Konashi no Yu Sasaya (Japanese)Shirafune Grand HotelThis hotel has open-air baths separated by gender, an observatory bath, sauna, and family bath. You may pick from a Japanese-style, Western-style or mixed style with a bed on a tatami matted room. The Shirafune Nabe stew, which is made using soy milk, is their specialty dish. Otherwise, you may also be able to try the Shinshu beef, Shinshu salmon, Azumino herbal chicken, and other local delicacies.Address: Nagano, Matsumoto, Azumi 4203Website: Shirafune Grand Hotel (Japanese)Enjoying Shirahone OnsenThe Shirahone hot springs are located deep in the mountains of Nagano prefecture. During the winter, some springs will be closed due to the snow. Checking the websites of each location along with the Shirahone hot springs official website for information before going is advisable in the winter.It is also a good idea to check the weather in Nagano before going. There are times when it can get chilly even in the summer and you may want to bring a shawl or a light jacket. During the winter, you will definitely need a down coat, gloves, hat and you should be overall prepared for the cold.For more information on how to bathe in the hot springs, please read What You Should Know About Bath Culture In Japan.** Travel times and expenses are based on publicly available information and are current as of February 2017. They may be subject to change. Shirahone Onsen (Hotspring) Information Centre View Informationtravel_agencyYou May Also Like:Nagano Travel Guide: Sightseeing, Ski Resorts, Local Food and More!What’s The Most Convenient Fare?! How To Get To Nagano From TokyoViews Exclusive To Japan! Japanese Heritage And Culture – With Video!Enjoy Winter To The Fullest! Go Skiing In Nozawa Onsen Town, NaganoDelight In Obuse, A Town Famous For Chestnuts And Hokusai In Nagano Photo courtesy of Nagano Sightseeing Information CenterThis is an open-air bath located near the Shirahone Tourist Center. You can take a relaxing dip in the springs while gazing at the river and valley filled with trees. During the autumn, this location gets quite crowded with people bathing among the foliage. The hot spring is separated by gender.Bathing fee: Adults: 500 yen (with tax and bathing tax)Address: Nagano, Matsumoto, Azumi, Shirahone OnsenShirafune-so Shintaku RyokanA hot spring inn where the hot water comes straight from the source. Compared to other inns, the water here contains more carbon, which means you feel warmer faster after entering the bath. The view of the Japanese Northern Alps is a must see when bathing in this open air bath.Bathing fee: Adults 700 yen, children 350 yen (with tax and bathing tax)Address: Nagano, Matsumoto, Azumi, Shirahone OnsenWebsite: Shirafune-so Shintaku Ryokan (Japanese)Recommended Inns at Shirahone Hot SpringsLet us introduce you to some great hot spring inns in the Nasu area.Awa no Yu Ryokan
These gilt stickers can be applied directly to your phone or on a case, and, despite only being a sticker, give it a rather sophisticated and refined look. These come in a variety of patterns, including cranes, goldfish, Japanese deities and more. Which type would suit you best?Hotsuma Gilt StickerPrice: from 477 yen +taxPop Items Born from Diligence”Not necessary. But intriguing.”No matter how unusual the item, each is made with a level of diligence that the world has come to expect from products made in Japan, even simple keychains or figurines. You can find many other pop items sold at Tokyu Hands, in styles beyond those that we’ve shown you today. Why not have a treasure hunt through the store and see just what sorts of fun and unusual items you can find?To learn more about Tokyu Hands, please check out our special feature and read the Complete Guide To TOKYU HANDS too.InformationTokyu Hands Shibuya BranchAddress: Tokyo, Shibuya, Udagawa-cho 12-18Hours: 10:00-20:30Closed: NoneWi-Fi: Available on 7A and 5A floorsCredit Cards: AvailableNearest Station: Shibuya StationAccess: Walk straight towards the north from JR Shibuya Station Hachiko Exit. On the left hand you will see Seibu A and B towers. Turn left between them, and go along Inokashira-dori. On the right side, you will see Tokyu Hands ahead of youPhone: 03-5489-5111Website: Tokyu Hands Shibuya When you hear the phrase “made in Japan”, what is the first thing that comes to mind?Cars? Electronics? Stationery, perhaps? There are many high-quality and user-friendly products made in Japan, but these are not the only points to goods that the Japanese themselves are proud of. Making something that is weird but attractive at the same time is another one of the skills of Japanese artisans.Today we’d like to introduce some of the many uniquely Japanese pop items available at Tokyu Hands.Shinkansen at HomeTake a look at these reproductions of Japan’s shinkansen trains. The level of detail included in them is sure to surprise you. No, not exactly. It’s a pair of chopsticks, necessary for eating a proper Japanese meal.Thanks to these chopsticks, you can incorporate the fantasy world of Star Wars into your daily meal time. They are available in Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Yoda and many other character versions.George Lucas is a big fan of Japanese movies, and you can find the influence of Japanese movies in many scenes of his films. Just like Lucas, why not incorporate different cultures together? Eat sushi with your favorite lightsaber!Lightsaber ChopsticksPrice: 1000 yen +taxFigure Toys from JapanCapsule toys can be found in supermarkets or game centers, and are also known as “gacha-gacha” or “gacha-pon”. Each capsule costs between 100 and 300 yen, with some very special, limited edition ones selling for 500 yen a piece. At Tokyu Hands, there is a capsule toy corner, where you will find many children and adults getting some of these fun toys and figurines. Embossing with lacquer is one of the traditional decorative techniques in Japanese art. Maki-e involve adding gold or silver powder or leaf to the lacquer before it dries, creating brilliant works that stand out against the sleek dark surface around them. The “Hayabusa” is the shinkansen that attracts attention from people all around the world. Running between Tokyo Station and Shin-Aomori Station in the far north, this train achieves speeds of up to 320 km/h, making it the fastest in Japan. Thanks to its unusual shape and bright green color, it is a popular train among model fans as well. Here you can see the mini Yamanote line station signboards for the fashionable Shibuya area, and for the otaku-holyland of Akihabara. Each comes complete with the correct adjacent station names printed on them as well – they are identical to the real thing!They say that the most popular one is Shibuya, but you can also find ones for every station on the line, whether it is a major or minor stop. Why not pick up one for Otsuka, or the grandma-centric shopping spot, Sugamo?Station KeychainPrice: 500yen＋taxEat like Jedi!?Is that a lightsaber…!? This “Fuchico – hot spring” is literally a figure of a lady enjoying hot spring. Her cute face is even flushed from the hot water.No cup to display her on? No problem. There is also a boxed series that comes with a cup. Have fun and make your own display featuring these and other cute capsule characters. Attention to detail can even been seen on the back of the little figurine too, which may be surprising as these only cost 500 yen. The figurine manufacturing technology of Japan can never be underestimated.Fuchico – Hot springPrice: 500 yen +taxTraditional Handicrafts for Daily UseThere are many smartphone goods to choose from in Tokyu Hands. Unique cases and decorative stuffs can be found there, but we would like to recommend the Hotsuma maki-e or gilt stickers. Here you can see the shiny white “Nozomi” train here too.The elaborate details of these models cannot be conveyed completely through pictures. Please check it them out for yourself.E5 series Shinkansen “Hayabusa” Basic 3 cars setPrice: 9450 yen +taxE700A Shinkansen “Nozomi” Basic 4 cars setPrice: 11,700 yen +taxShibuya or Akihabara? Mini Station SignboardsThe public railway system is the main mode of transportation in Japan, one that most visitors will be very familiar with after spending some time here. In Tokyo, one of the most commonly used lines is the JR Yamanote Line. “Fuchico” is one of the most popular series to have come from these capsule toys, and features a woman that can hang from the lip of your cup (fuchi meaning rim of the cup, and -ko being a common ending for Japanese women’s names).
Unbelievably Fresh Vegetables In Tokyo! Explore Aoyama Farmers Market Read also Read also This event is usually held on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays at Inokashira Park in Kichijoji. You can experience the beauty in each season by walking through the park while selecting your products. Although the market is not opened during the cherry blossom season, you can still enjoy the fresh green foliage in early summer and the autumn leaves at the market.Here, you can discover unique products at reasonable prices as well as enjoy performances from artists. This is a park suitable for those with children as well. Inokashira-Koen View Informationpark Popular Items at Tegamisha, A Variety Goods Store in Chōfu Produce from Farmers and Organic GroceriesAt this type of market, you will find fresh vegetables and fruits harvested that very morning, shining brilliantly in the sunlight. Visitors can select produce while taste-testing and consulting with the shopkeepers at the stall about how to enjoy them.8. Farmer’s Market (Minami-Aoyama) Handmade in Japan Fes is Japan’s largest handmade crafts and goods exhibition. The event is hosted by the company operating the online handicraft marketplace creema (Japanese). More than 5000 organizations from around the world participate in this exhibition.At this event, you can browse through and view goods normally only sold online. There’s also a corner in the venue where you can sample different food and beer from around the world. On the final day of the event, some products are also marked down in price.In 2019, the exhibition will be on July 20 and 21. Tickets are sold on the same day from 11:00. One-day tickets are 1,500 yen and two-day tickets are 2,500 yen (please check current information on the market’s website to confirm).HandMade In Japan FesAddress: Tokyo, Koto, Ariake 3-11-1 Tokyo Big Sight East Halls 7 and 8 Google MapAccess: 7-minute walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo Station on the Rinkai Line. Or a 3-minute walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station on the Yurikamome (monorail).Official Website: https://hmj-fes.jp/ (Japanese)4. Marunouchi Street Market by creema (Tokyo Station) 7. Inokashira Park Art Markets (Kichijoji) This farmers’ market is every Saturday and Sunday in front of United Nations University in Minami-Aoyama. Vegetable and fruit farmers from throughout Japan gather here to sell fresh ingredients harvested that very day.Stores based on the monthly theme, from coffee and rice, to tea and alcohol, open stalls at the market. Here visitors can directly ask the farmers questions and for cooking tips. By coming here you can learn about various food and drinks, while enjoying the atmosphere of the market.Farmers’ MarketAddress: Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae 5-53-70 Google MapAccess: 10 minute walk from JR Shibuya Station. 5 minute walk from Exit B2 at Omotesando Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza, Chiyoda, or Hanzomon Lines.Official Website: http://farmersmarkets.jp/ (Japanese) Zoshigaya Handmade Market is held on the grounds of Kishimojindo Temple and Otori Shrine near Zoshigaya Station on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line. There are nearly 200 stores with stalls here.There are strict requirements in order to open a stall at this market, with sellers only able to sell goods made by them personally, and essentially excluding secondhand goods. As such, this event is popular with creators and craftspeople well versed in the arts.The market is held at different times each month. The next date of the market is published on the righthand side of their official website (Japanese). The event will be cancelled in the event of rain. Kishimojin View Information6. &SCENE Handmade Market (Sendagi) 5 Rare Ingredients You Can Only Buy at Aoyama Farmer’s Market Taiyo no Marche (Market of the Sun) is held every month outdoors. If you want to eat delicious seasonal vegetables and fruits, be sure to visit this market. Here, you can purchase agriculturally certified, high quality vegetables and fruits, loose leaf tea, jams, and other goods. Even visitors who don’t cook on a normal basis will have a good time at this market.The market also offers piping hot and tasty foods, like hamburgers, yakiimo (roasted sweet potatoes), and sausages.Taiyo no Marche is held every second Saturday and Sunday of the month. The market will be cancelled in the event of rain.Taiyo no MarcheAddress: Tokyo, Chuo, Kachidoki 1-9-8 Tsukishima Daini Children’s Park Google MapAccess: Immediately outside Exit A4a and A4b at Kachidoki Station on the Toei Oedo Line.Official Website: http://timealive.jp/#Marche (Japanese)Explore Tokyo’s Many MarketsMarkets are great for browsing through adorable handmade crafts and antique treasures. We hope you take the chance to enjoy these markets in Tokyo and interact with the shopkeepers at these stalls.* This article was translated and revised from an article originally in Chinese. Discover Your Favorite Things at Local Markets in TokyoIn Japan, you may sometimes come across markets and find yourself wanting to take a stroll through them. Luckily, these types of markets are held regularly throughout Tokyo.At these events, you’ll find unique products as well as converse and interact closely with shopkeepers. In this article, we’ll introduce information on nine different local markets occurring in Tokyo.Flea Markets and AntiquesWell-cared for products have appeared at flea and antique markets for many years. You will feel like you are being transformed back in time as you browse through the aisles of wares.The goods here that may find their way into your hands are full of history and their own stories.1. Tokyo Flea Market (Chofu) Spend A Day At The Artistic Handmade Market &SCENE Opened Only Twice A Year: Find Antiques at Tokyo Flea Market This small handmade goods market is opened every even-numbered month inside Yokenji Temple in Sendagi, Bunkyo. The market originated from an idea of the chief priest’s wife, who wanted people to think of the temple as an enjoyable space.The market is filled exclusively with well-made products like handmade pottery, dinnerware, and handwoven bags. Here, you’ll come across unique goods you can’t find anywhere else.The market is held each month at different times. The next opening date of the market is published on the righthand side of their official website (Japanese). The event will be cancelled in the event of rain. 2. Setagaya Boroichi (Setagaya) Setagaya Boroichi has over 400 years of history and is certified as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property. It is the largest flea market in all of Japan.Here you will find a large number of products bursting with history and nostalgia, like secondhand clothing, antiques, general goods, and European trinkets. The market also has stalls where children can enjoy playing games and those selling toy model cars. We think this is a market that offers exciting experiences for visitors of all ages.The market is held every year on December 15 and 16, and January 15 and 16. 世田谷パソコン教室 ボロ市通り校 View InformationOriginal Handmade Goods and TrinketsThis section introduces markets with truly unique and one-of-a-kind goods and accessories. There is no doubt that you’ll become a fan of the artists here, as customers can make personal and close connections to the shopkeepers and craftspeople.3. HandMade in Japan Fes (Odaiba) The Tokyo Flea Market is the largest flea market held in Tokyo. The market occurs twice a year in May and November. The products that are sold are not only from Japan, but also from around the world. You also will come across small and rare items here.Aside from the market itself, various events such as concerts and workshops are also held at this venue. In 2019 the 14th Tokyo Flea Market happened on May 11 (Saturday) and 12 (Sunday).The entrance fee to this flea market is 500 yen (please check current information on the market’s website to confirm). Tegamisha Tsutsujigaoka View Informationcafe 9. Taiyo no Marche (Kachidoki) Every month, over 70 stores selling handmade accessories are gather at Marunouchi Street Market, which is held on a street near Tokyo Station. Desks and chairs are also placed along the avenue, so you can enjoy the atmosphere with a coffee in hand.In 2019, the market will be on June 16 and September 14 and 15. 丸の内仲通り View Informationshopping_mall5. Zoshigaya Handmade Market (Higashi-Ikebukuro) Read also Inokashira Park In Kichijoji – Relax In Japan’s Dream Locale Read also
Hit The Town In Style – 5 Great, Unusual Bars In The Tokyo Area Picture from: Savor High Grade Wagyu Beef And Yakiniku At Jiromaru Shibuya! Jiromaru Shibuya is another yakiniku restaurant ideal for single diners. Here you can eat high-quality wagyu beef at reasonable prices.This is a stand while you eat (tachigui) establishment, with no chairs at the tables. We’ve been told that because of this dining style, customers stand close to each other and socialize naturally. 治郎丸 渋谷店 View Informationrestaurantbar Halal Sushi and Yakiniku Restaurants in Tokyo Yakiniku Restaurant DOGEN in Shibuya – Savor Juicy Grilled Beef Belly Read also 15 Popular And Less Common Things To Do In Ikebukuro Sumiyakiya: A Halal-Certified Grill In Roppongi Savor High Grade Wagyu Beef And Yakiniku At Jiromaru Shibuya! Read also Picture from Misono – A Yakiniku Shop In Ikebukuro Perfect For Solo Diners!Misono is a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant geared for those eating alone. It uses A5 rank wagyu beef and customers can order their meat by the slice and choose from the 55 different cuts of beef.At a typical yakiniku shop, a set for one person usually consists of four or five pieces of the same cut of meat. This makes it difficult to try different kinds of meat if you are by yourself.But no worries! This yakiniku shop has solved that problem.Our recommendation is the moriawase (assorted meat) course, which costs 3,000 yen plus tax. This course features twelve different varieties of meat, allowing you to savor the taste of wagyu slice by slice.This is the perfect shop for diners wanting to sample various cuts of beef when dining solo. Hitori Yakiniku Misono View InformationrestaurantstorebarRead also Picture from: 5 Things To Do In Shibuya – A Day In Tokyo’s Trendy CapitalMelt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef is a food that gives its diners pure bliss. One of the highlights of travel is indulging in delicious cuisine to be one of the highlights of their trip.How dropping in for a visit to one of these wagyu shops and creating some amazing food memories during your travel? 2. Jiromaru – Stand and Eat Grilled Meat in Shibuya! Read also Picture from: Yakiniku Restaurant DOGEN in Shibuya – Savor Juicy Grilled Beef Belly With a Japanese lantern hanging at its entrance, DOGEN is a yakiniku restaurant with the atmosphere of a Japanese pub (izakaya).This shop is famous for its grilled beef inner organs. Also popular is the Kuroge wagyu, with its delicious addictive flavor, as well as other varieties of beef that are served here.Also famous at DOGEN is a menu item called Apple, which is a grilled shoulder roast meat wrapped with thin strips of apple (one piece is 500 yen). If you have a chance to visit DOGEN we recommend ordering this.DOGENAddress: Tokyo, Shibuya, Dogenzaka 2-19-10 Google MapAccess: 7 minutes on foot from the Hachiko exit of JR Shibuya Station. 4. DOGEN in Shibuya Enjoy Delicious Wagyu Beef in Shibuya at Han no Daidokoro Misono – A Yakiniku Shop In Ikebukuro Perfect For Solo Diners! Read also 30 Great Tokyo Ramen Shops Selected By A Ramen Expert Enjoy Great Wagyu Beef in Tokyo! Also read: Sumiyakiya: A Halal-Certified Grill In RoppongiSumiyakiya is a restaurant where customers can enjoy halal certified wagyu beef and domestically produced beef.The plates and dishes are labeled with a halal mark, so customers can rest assured that they won’t mistakenly eat the wrong menu item.Alcohol and other off-limit ingredients are not used in the meat dipping sauces.Also, because the meat is flavored with fresh herbs and spices, it’s said to be good for digestion and improving your immune system. So this is a shop that serves food using wholesome ingredients while keeping the customers’ health in mind.SumiyakiyaAddress: Tokyo, Minato, Nishi-Azabu 3-20-16, Nishi-Azabu Annex 1F Google MapAccess: 6 minutes on foot from exit 1A of Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Subway Line).Official Homepage: http://sumiyakiya.com/index.html Indulge in Delicious Japanese Beef in TokyoIn Tokyo there are countless restaurants where you can sample exquisite Japanese and western-style food, including sushi, ramen, and local dishes.One food you definitely should try is wagyu beef.Today we’ll introduce different wagyu beef restaurants suitable for solo diners, groups of friends, and also for those following halal dietary restrictions.Try this truly delicious beef just once and you’ll become hooked to its great taste!Restaurants Ideal for One Person!1. Misono in Ikebukuro Where To Stay In Tokyo – Area Guide Wagyu Beef Restaurant Offering a Halal-Certified Menu5. Sumiyakiya in Roppongi Picture from: Enjoy Delicious Wagyu Beef in Shibuya at Han no DaidokoroAt Han no Daidokoro, they offer carefully selected, special cuts of beef. In particular, they feature Yamagata gyu beef, which has a characteristically soft texture.The most popular menu item is the marbled Yamagata beef assortment set, which has a balance of different cuts of meat. The four-variety meat set costs 4,980 yen (plus tax), and the six-variety meat set is 6,980 yen (plus tax).There’s also a unique item on the menu known as wagyu aburi nigiri. This is a slightly grilled beef slice placed over a clump of rice, resembling a piece of sushi. A two-piece beef sushi set is 800 yen (plus tax), and a two-piece marbled beef sushi set is 900 yen (plus tax). Han-no-daidokoro bettei View Informationmeal_takeawayrestaurantRead also Eat Delicious Wagyu Beef with Your Family Friends!3. Han No Daidokoro in Shibuya
One of Japan’s leading tourist spots is Kyoto. We at MATCHA have written about this renowned city often in the past.Today we will be introducing 6 Kyoto-related articles that you should absolutely read before visiting. Check out Kyoto from MATCHA’s perspective.1. Visiting The Kyoto International Manga MuseumWhen you think of Kyoto, you might think of a culture-rich traditional Japanese town. Yes, that is a large part of Kyoto, but that’s not all it has to offer. One example that immediately comes to mind is the Kyoto International Manga Museum.It is a library specializing in manga, where over 300,000 manga comics are stored. There is nowhere better to experience Japanese manga culture than here.There are original goods that can only be purchased here as well as some unique exhibitions and displays. Over 10% of the visitors here are said to be visitors from overseas. Find out for yourself why it’s so popular in our article focusing on it.Visiting The Kyoto International Manga Museum2. The Gate to the Old Capital – Kyoto StationThe first thing that Kyoto visitors notice and are surprised at is the beauty of Kyoto Station. The grid-patterned arcade is said to have been inspired by the old townscape of Kyoto. Sunlight gently pours in to help build the excitement of your upcoming journey.Just admiring the architecture is fun too, but from the rooftop, you can overlook the whole city of Kyoto, so we recommend you drop by at the beginning of your Kyoto trip.The Gate to the Old Capital – KyotoStation3. Ine-chō – a Quiet, Small Fishing Town in KyotoThe famous tourist attractions of Kyoto are located close to the center of the city so many tourists leave Kyoto without visiting anywhere outside of the city itself. But if you go a little way out of town, you will find yet another side of Kyoto.For example, to the north is the ocean, where you can enjoy the atmosphere and beautiful natural scenery of Japanese fishing towns. Ine is one of those towns. From the unique funaya (traditional fishermen’s houses), you can gaze out at the gentle waves of the sea.Ine-chō – a Quiet, Small Fishing Town in Kyoto4. Experience Zen Meditation at Ryōsokuin Temple, KyotoIf you’re going to Kyoto, you can’t miss the temples. Just visiting a temple is nice, but there is so much more to enjoy.Why not try experiencing some zen meditation?In this article, we introduce how you can casually experience zen meditation at a temple called Ryōsokuin temple.Experience Zen Meditation at Ryōsokuin Temple, Kyoto5. Jo – Social Sake Bar: Sake Tasting in Pontochō, KyotoThere are countless delicious Japanese restaurants in Kyoto, but we recommend Jo-Social Sake Bar to visitors from abroad.Jo-Social Sake Bar is a restaurant that offers sake tasting to Japan-visitors.At many long-established restaurants in Kyoto, communication might be tough in languages other than Japanese, but not here. This place has been targeted at visitors from overseas from the beginning. Not only can you taste some great sake, you can also experience transforming into a samurai or maiko for some photos.Jo-Social Sake Bar: Sake Tasting in Pontocho, Kyoto6. Let’s Explore Kyoto’s Most Popular Spot: Fushimi Inari Shrine!On travel review site TripAdvisor, Fushimi Inari Shrine was chosen as “Japan’s Most Popular Tourist Destination” in 2014. It is known for is wondrous Senbon Torii (“The One Thousand Torii Gates”).You can explore Fushimi Inari Shrine through Google Street View in this article.If you were wondering whether to go on a Kyoto trip, this article will help you get a feel of what it’s like.Let’s Explore Kyoto’s Most Popular Spot: Fushimi Inari Shrine!What do you think about our selection? We bet you’re feeling the need to go to Kyoto right away. We will continue to share great tourist spots in Kyoto here at MATCHA.Try searching “Kyoto” on our website to find more fascinating Kyoto destinations.You May Also LikeKyoto Complete Guide: Travel Tips, Sightseeing, Festivals And More!10 Amazing, Little Known Spots Worth Visiting In KyotoKyoto’s Best Hiking Trails And Hot Springs – 3 Recommended Routes
All About Travel in Takamatsu Read also Shikokumura is an open-air architectural park where visitors can see old homes that were relocated from all across Shikoku and rebuilt here. There are private homes from 100 years ago, during the Edo to Taisho eras. Within the houses, you can see the stoves used at the time, as well as tubs used for making soy sauce, which helps visitors to appreciate how people in the past lived in Japan.Juxtaposed with these buildings is the Shikokumura Gallery, which was designed by the world renowned modern Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. Here you will find paintings, sculptures, and works of Eastern art on display.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Yashima Nakamachi 91Google MapWebsite: Shikokumura (Japanese)8. Island Hop to Naoshima and Teshima for ArtAlthough they are small outlying islands, Naoshima and Teshima are home to many art museums. These islands also are major venues during the Setouchi Triennale.Chichu Art Museum on Naoshima was designed by renowned architect, Tadao Ando. Despite being constructed underground, natural light flows into this bright facility where works of masters such as Claude Monet and James Turrell are displayed.The Teshima Art Museum is famous for its collection of works by the artist and architect Rei Naito. The building itself is also a masterpiece.Where to Stay in TakamatsuTakamatsu is an ideal location to base a stay when visiting the Setouchi Triennale or sightseeing around the Setouchi Islands. Below are a couple of recommendations suitable for visitors from overseas.Konyamachi Guest House KuKu is a guesthouse located in central Takamatsu, right by a shopping alley. The guesthouse staff here speak Chinese, English, and Japanese, so it is a very international-friendly lodging. Another recommendation is SUNNY DAY, a casual lodging with shared rooms as well as more private options. Risturin Garden is a traditonal Japanese garden, recognized as a place of scenic beauty in Japan, was also awarded three stars by the Michelin Sightseeing Guide in 2009. There are six ponds and thirteen buildings on this 16.2-hectare site, the equivalent of three and a half Tokyo Domes, which creates a stunning landscape of pure Japanese style.Open: From sunrise to sunsetEntrance fee: Adults 410 yen, children 170 yenAddress: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Ritsurincho 1-20-16Website: Ritsurin Garden2. Encounter History at the Takamatsu Castle Ruins (Tamamo Park) Accessing Kagawa From Major Cities And Takamatsu From The Airport Shodoshima Island Guide – Things To Do, Access, And Accommodation Takamatsu is the largest city in Kagawa Prefecture, part of the Shikoku region of Japan. This scenic location is by the Seto Inland Sea, within accessible distance from Osaka, Kyoto, and the Kansai area.Takamatsu is also a great spot to stay when island hopping around art-filled Shodoshima, Naoshima, and Toshima, as well as dozens of other small islands. Its harbors make it a great place to stay when the Setouchi Triennale is held.Continue reading to learn what activities you can enjoy in Takamatsu, where to stay, and how to get there.Read also Sunport Takamatsu is located near Takamatsu Port. From its seafront promenade, you can enjoy stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. This is also the tallest building in the Shikoku Region. Bring your camera and snap some gorgeous photos of the landscape.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu Google MapWebsite: Sunport Takamatsu (Japanese)6. Appreciate Local History at the Kagawa Prefectural MuseumThe Kagawa Prefectural Museum is a museum exhibiting materials related to Kagawa history and culture. Among their exhibits, items related to Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism who was born in the Sanuki district 1,200 years ago, as well as Buddhist implements he brought back from the Tang Dynasty in China, are of particular note.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Tamamo 5-5 Google MapWebsite:Kagawa Prefectural Museum7. Experience Life in Old Japan at Shikokumura 4. Enjoy Gourmet Food and Shopping in Kitahama AlleyKitahama Alley is a popular shopping district located near Takamatsu Port. The old warehouse buildings here were renovated into a shopping center, resulting in a nostalgic, antique feel fused with modern.Here you can enjoy a wide variety of shops selling everything from apparel to fashion items and interior decor. There are also many cafes and restaurants, making this the perfect place for those that want to relax and shop.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Kitahama 4-14 Google MapWebsite: Kitahama Alley5. View the Seto Inland Sea from Sunport Takamatsu Kagawa Prefecture is also known as the “udon prefecture,” as the udon noodles here are some of the most delicious and high-quality in Japan. When visiting Kagawa, make sure to try Sanuki udon, a particular famous variety slightly thicker than other noodles. The area around JR Takamatsu Station is filled with famous udon restaurants. Below are some suggestions for authentic, flavorful udon:AjishoAjisho is a long-standing restaurant located only a two-minute walk from Takamatsu Station. Here you will find an orthodox version of Kagawa’s famous udon. The noodles are springy and surrounded with rich bonito fish-based dashi stock. Diners can add extra broth (tsuyu) to the dish. Guests will receive a bowl of the cooked noodles, and then using the faucet at your table, add in as much stock as they like.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Nishinomaru 5-15 Google MapMerikenyaMerikenya is a popular local chain restaurant just a three-minute walk from Takamatsu Station. They offer high-quality dishes with sturdy udon noodles in a thick soup.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Nishinomaru 6-2 Google MapWebsite: Merikenya (Japanese)Kawafuku HontenKawafuku Honten is a ten-minute walk from Takamatsu Station, or a three-minute walk from Kataharamachi Station. The noodles here are even slightly thicker than ordinary Sanuki udon noodles, and are said to have an almost mochi-like texture. You’re sure to enjoy the taste and texture of this dish.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Daikumachi 2-1 Google MapWebsite: Kawafuku Honten (Japanese)Teuchi Udon TsumaruTeuchi Udon Tsumaru is a fifteen-minute walk from Takamatsu Station or a five-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station. The restaurant is most known for its flavorful Japanese curry udon. The combination of the rich curry and the thick, handmade noodles is very satisfying.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Furubaba 9-34 Google MapWebsite:Teuchi Udon Tsumaru (Japanese)Zaigo Honke WarayaZaigo Honke Waraya is a ten-minute walk from Takamatsu Station, or a three-minute walk from Katakaramachi Station. The restaurant is known for serving their udon in great big tubs, suitable for multiple diners and families. They also have an exquisite bonito stock that receives high reviews.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Yashimanakamachi 91 Google Map 1. Admire Japanese Gardens at Ritsurin Garden The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum is an art museum exhibiting 150 works by prominent 20th-century sculptor, Isamu Noguchi, whose intention was to inspire artists of the next generation. The classic, minimalist pieces here amaze all visitors.If you wish to visit, please note that it is necessary to apply by postcard 2 weeks in advance of your desired visit date (see the official website for more details).Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (reservations required)Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Mure, Mure 3519 Google MapWebsite: Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum3. Enjoy Tasty Udon Noodles by Takamatsu Station Takamatsu Castle, also known as Tomamu Castle, was built 500 years ago. It was the only castle in Japan built facing the sea. Although most of the castle has been lost now, a part of the castle such as the moon viewing tower and many of the stone walls still remain. During a visit, you can walk around the castle, see gardens, and also ride in a traditional boat in the moat.Address: Kagawa, Takamatsu, Tamamo 2-1 Google MapWebsite: Takamatsu Castle Ruins (Japanese)3. Polish Your Senses at the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum Main picture courtesy of PIXTA Going To Setouchi Triennale? 5 Reasons To Stay In Takamatsu City Access to TakamatsuTakamatsu is accessible via public transportation from Honshu, Japan’s main island. It is a great side trip if you are coming from Kyoto, Osaka, or Kobe. Takamatsu also has an airport, with flights that connect to Narita, Haneda, and other areas of Japan. It takes a little over an hour to fly from the Tokyo area.For travelers coming from Osaka, Kyoto, or Kobe, it is convenient to take a highway bus. The ride takes a little over two hours.To use the train, ride the JR Marine Liner, which connects Okayama Prefecture to Takamatsu. This is an ideal option for JR Pass Holders: take the Shinkansen to Okayama Station and transfer there.Enjoy the Seascape, Art, and Hidden Charms in TakamatsuTakamatsu is a destination where visitors can experience one of Japan’s oceans and a remarkably different environment than that of a large city. The area still offers plenty of entertainment and unique experiences to those who visit, however, and it is a great place to stay when visiting other Shikoku prefectures or the inland sea islands.Read also Read also Shodoshima Island Guide – Things To Do, Access, And Accommodation [Kagawa] Sample The True Taste Of Sanuki Udon At Wara-ya
Picture from Mount Takao, Tokyo – Hike The Most Visited Mountain In the World!If you are looking for nature during Golden Week, hiking Mount Takao or Mount Mitake, both located in the western part of Tokyo would be a great choice. Because Mount Takao tends to extremely crowded at this time of the year, we recommend looking no further than Mount Mitake, which is located in the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park.Mount Mitake is 929 meters in elevation and is a popular hike, but is less crowded than other spots. Historically, the mountain was an area of spiritual importance, and Musashi Mitake Jinja, an ancient shrine, is located on the summit.The hike itself is suitable for a variety of fitness levels and can be done in about three hours. You’ll encounter amazing waterfalls and beautiful stone structures on the way. Part of the journey up the mountain involves riding in a cable car.Read alsoMount Mitake In Tokyo – Explore Scenic Spots And Spiritual Traditions Musashi Mitake Shrine View Information Picture from Yokohama – Make The Most Of A Day Spent In Minato Mirai!Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, is located just thirty minutes down the coast from Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture.Yokohama has a lot to offer visitors during Golden Week, including great shopping and entertainment without Tokyo crowds, coupled with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.For a day-trip, we especially recommend checking out the Minato Mirai District, where you can visit the historic Red Brick Warehouse for shopping, walk in Yamashita Park, and see the gorgeous cityscape at night from the iconic Landmark Tower and the Cosmo World Ferris wheel.Read alsoYokohama – Make The Most Of A Day Spent In Minato Mirai!5. Improve Your Love Life in Kawagoe Picture from Tokyo’s Everyday Life In Suginami – Nostalgic Shopping Streets With A Youthful VibeAnother area that is most surely pleasant to visit during Golden Week is Suginami in Tokyo.Within Suginami ward, we recommend Asagaya and Koenji, two charming towns with expansive shopping streets with vendors offering local groceries, food, and gifts. These neighborhoods are located on the JR Chuo Line, just past Shinjuku.Read alsoTokyo’s Everyday Life In Suginami – Nostalgic Shopping Streets With A Youthful Vibe Picture from Showa Kinen Park – A Year-Round Flowering Park For Young And OldThe Showa Kinen National Government Park is an expansive 180 hectares, or 444-acre national park with flower fields, a traditional Japanese garden, and other facilities including a giant pool. Several different types of flowers bloom in the springtime in April and May, from yellow and pink tulips to vibrant blue Nemophila.Located on the outskirts of Tokyo, you can reach this spot in about an hour from Tokyo Station. Take a day trip here and breathe in the fresh air and beauty of the park.Read alsoShowa Kinen Park – A Year-Round Flowering Park For Young And Old2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors on Mount Mitake in Tokyo Photo from Encounter Samurai And Ninjas At Nikko’s EDO WONDERLAND!Oku-Nikko and Edo Wonderland are two destinations we recommend visiting near Nikko, in Tochigi Prefecture.While Nikko is a popular tourist spot, Oku-Nikko, just a bus stop away from the Tobu Nikko Station, receives fewer visitors in comparison. Historically, the area used to be a retreat spot for royalty and boasts Meiji era architecture, a beautiful lake, and waterfalls.Edo Wonderland Nikko Edomura, or Edo Wonderland, is a cultural theme park that recreates a historical Japanese atmosphere through allowing its visitors to become residents of Edo (pre-modern Tokyo). Walk around the park wearing kimono, practice throwing shuriken, and watch an Edo-style parade on the town square. This interactive, fun experience is a must for anyone interested in Japanese history.Read alsoOku-Nikko – Architectural Wonders You Didn’t Know You Were MissingEDO WONDERLAND – Have Fun Exploring The Roots Of Japanese Culture7. Enjoy Vibrant Flower Fields at Hitachi Seaside Park 3. Quiet Shopping and Entertainment in the Heart of Tokyo Picture from Nakano Broadway – An Anime, Manga, And Otaku Paradise Near ShinjukuA third option is the Nakano area. In recent years, Nakano has gained popularity as a shopping spot for otaku, or geeky, items, but the area is still not as known to visitors as Akihabara or Ikebukuro.Once you arrive at Nakano Station, head to Nakano Broadway, a large shopping complex housing numerous stores, selling everything from manga and anime character goods to clothing and accessories. For more entertainment, be sure to stop into one of the numerous arcade centers for a classic Japanese gaming experience.Read alsoNakano Broadway – An Anime, Manga, And Otaku Paradise Near ShinjukuThree Game Centers in Nakano Broadway You Cannot Miss Out4. Spend a Relaxed Day by the Ocean in Yokohama Golden Week – The Long-Awaited Holiday SeasonGolden Week is a period of consecutive public holidays at the end of April and the beginning of May that comes each year, lasting anywhere from a few days to as long as a ten-day period. In 2019, Golden Week officially begins on Monday, April 29 and ends Monday, May 6.These holidays combined with the warm spring weather means that travel in Japan peaks during this period. This makes last-minute bookings for accommodation and transportation difficult, so it is important to plan your destinations accordingly to make the most out of your trip.We have made a list of seven lesser-known but not less exciting spots in and around Tokyo where you can beat the crowds and still have a great time in Japan during Golden Week.More about Japanese Public Holidays and Golden Week:Japanese Encyclopedia: Golden Week1. Get a Breath of Fresh Air at Showa Kinen Park Picture from Enjoy The Blue Sea Of Nemophila At Hitachi Seaside Park, IbarakiThe Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture boasts beautiful flowers year-round and is particularly famous for its blooming Nemophilia flower fields in the spring.In 2018, this season is late April to early May, overlapping with Golden Week, making this area a must-visit. The park itself is expansive, with over 350 hectares, or about 865 acres, abundant with flowers and nature, perfect for a day-trip from the Tokyo area.Read alsoEnjoy The Blue Sea Of Nemophila At Hitachi Seaside Park, IbarakiEnjoy a Memorable Golden Week In and Around TokyoComing to Japan during Golden Week, especially to the Tokyo area, means dealing with crowds and potential travel complications. By keeping this in mind and choosing your travel destinations carefully, you can make the most of your time and have an exciting and memorable trip in Japan during the spring season.You May Also Like10 Itinerary Suggestions For A One-Day Trip From TokyoGreater Tokyo – Recommended Travel Itineraries Around TokyoGreat For A Family Trip! Nasu – Enjoy An Exciting Day In TochigiA Two-Day Trip To Izu Oshima, Tokyo’s Beautiful Island Of CamelliasNikko – Aizuwakamatsu: A 2-Day Samurai Course For The History Books Picture from Shimokitazawa – Getting To Know The Favorite Town Of Japanese YouthNot all areas of Tokyo are crowded, even during the holidays. If you want to explore the city during Golden Week, we recommend the neighborhoods of Shimokitazawa, Suginami, and Nakano.Shimokitazawa is an artsy neighborhood housing many galleries, cafes, and vintage shops. This area has been a subcultural center since the 1970s and still maintains a young and funky atmosphere.Accessible via a short train ride on the Keio Inokashira Line, this is a great destination for relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea, looking at art, and shopping for unique items.Read alsoShimokitazawa – Getting To Know The Favorite Town Of Japanese Youth Picture from Hikawa Shrine In Kawagoe – 8 Things To Do To Improve Your Luck In LoveLocated in Saitama Prefecture, just thirty minutes away from central Tokyo, Kawagoe, is a Japanese city known for its historical Edo era district and shrine dedicated to love and relationships. Kawagoe was a prominent castle town during this era (around 1603 to 1868) and numerous traditional Japanese-style warehouse buildings still remain and are used today. As you walk down the historical shopping street you will find freshly-made traditional Japanese sweets and unique souvenirs.Another draw to Kawagoe is Hikawa Shrine, known as a power spot for romance and relationships. While at the shrine, be sure to grab a red snapper-shaped omikuji, which will inform you of your fortune in romance, career, health, and other areas of your life. Before you leave, you can also purchase a special red pencil charm as a souvenir, which is supposed to bring you closer to encountering a soulmate when you write with it.Read alsoHikawa Shrine In Kawagoe – 8 Things To Do To Improve Your Luck In Love6. Learn About Historical Japan in Oku-Nikko and Edo Wonderland
Flying is stressful and uncomfortable for everyone. Children are just more honest. When they are uncomfortable they voice their distress, which can in turn distress other passengers. Airlines will go out of their way to keep VIP flyers happy, but families traveling with children are often at a disadvantage.The whole process is complicated by more details to manage – from meal selection to reserving bassinets, checking carriers and finding adequate seating. Then parents are expected to run a gauntlet through the airport and on the plane, with children in tow. Junior PaxEx could use improvement.Making children happy and making it easier to travel with family can foster brand loyalty.Treating kids as VIPs pays off for airlines, not just because it reflects well on the brand but also because families include parents who – when traveling alone – could be premium business flyers.Etihad Airways grabbed headlines when it introduced trained nannies on its flights, but airlines don’t have to add staff to ensure that families are cared for, and that tiny travelers are happy.One popular tool for many years has been to offer children special amenities. These have gotten better, through partnerships with popular brands. Qatar Airways, for example, partnered with Hasbro to develop a fun line of toys and game boxes. Emirates also built a fan base with its children kits and featured a junior passenger who collected Fly With Me Monsters in a marketing video.Three years ago, the airline partnered with Lonely Planet Kids to introduce a new line of amenities, and changed over to Fly With Me Animals. The airline introduced a new collection of Animals and Lonely Planet gear this month, once again developed with its long-time supplier Buzz Products.Emirates’ new range of toys. Image EmiratesThough children’s amenities are fun, they aren’t a panacea. Some airlines also offer quality children’s meals and facilities for infants, like formula and extra diapers, which can help especially on longer flights. Of course, inflight entertainment channels with programming and games that are suitable for children are increasingly becoming a standard of service.Dedicated check-in desks for families, and dedicated security queues at airports are less common. Where these are available, they can help relieve stress for all flyers since parents don’t have to feel like they are holding up the queue, and solo flyers can speed through their own lines.We see too few digital tools to ease family travel, like being able to reserve seats for children’s carriers through the airline app or website instead of having to call reservations. This is an odd service gap in our digital society. An exception is KLM, where a number of family travel services can be managed on MyTrip.There has also been little innovation on comfort and safety. These elements of Junior PaxEx should be as high a priority for children as they are for adults, but policy has left the little ones behind.As RGN contributor Kathryn Creedy has reported, the lack of adequate child restraints available on board is an ongoing problem. Rules on what restraints parents can bring with them are confusing and vary from airline to airline. Offering certified seat restraints designed for children on board may seem like an added expense, but they would not put any greater burden on airlines than children’s life jackets and are more likely to be needed.Air New Zealand, meanwhile, is to be commended for its work on “the Cuddle Belt” for the Skycouch. The airline has taken the initiative to ensure that families are comfortable on long journeys.Toys and games are good. Eliminating travel friction for parents is better. Keeping children safe and comfortable during all phases of flight is optimal design.Related Articles:Air NZ explains new comfort and safety options for infants and childrenFrom diapers to air pillows, Air Transat gets amenity details rightTurkish Airlines turns to all-natural materials for new inflight toysPress Release: Skykids VR can keep kids entertained on long-haul flightsSaudia’s Disney Tsum Tsum kid kits win big at Tillywig Toy AwardsPint-sized #PaxEx presents challenges for parentsQatar Airways unleashes the fun with new amenities for kidsWhy children need restraint systems on boardPress Release: FORMIA enters the children’s amenity kit marketPress Release: Emirates brings new Fly With Me Animal to life via 3D AR
ABC International and Air Belgium are pleased to announce a new collaboration for the installation of a cabin branding element on the A340 fleet of the Belgian start-up.Air Belgium selected ABC International for the design and manufacturing of three different types of branding elements on board their A340s, in the different classes of service.ABC International worked constantly “shoulder to shoulder” with Air Belgium to achieve a product which enabled the start-up carrier to widen its onboard brand image. Being a new carrier, Air Belgium has invested in branding since the beginning of its new adventure, grasping the importance of having a widespread and recognizable brand in the competitive aviation market.The project started in the winter of 2017, and deliveries inclusive of all the relevant EASA approvals occurred in April 2018. The two companies met for the first time last year, during the Aircraft Interiors Expo, 2017.“The final result was amazing and we are very satisfied of Air Belgium technical department collaboration,” declared Alberto D’Ambrosio, ABC International Chief Executive Officer.“When the program was launched”, he continued, “Air Belgium was just at the beginning of its new life; everyone was excited [about] contributing to the establishment of a new airline.”He added, “Working for a start-up is really motivating and it gave us a challenging approach.”Air Belgium performed its inaugural flight on June the 3rd, 2018, from Bruxelles Charleroi to Hong Kong, and ABC cabin branding elements have successfully flown on board since then.ABC International designed, engineered, certified and manufactured three different types of branding elements:20” Airline’s Logo;15” Airline’s Logo;41” Airline’s Logo and Script (two units per A/C).Branding elements are made of aluminum varnished in high glossy red finishing, per Air Belgium’s corporate color, and can be seen in the following installation locations:Business Class Area, on Galley G4;Business Class Area, on Partition CTR;Economy Class Area, on Lavatories L61/L62 and Stairhouse.“ABC International has supported us accurately from the very beginning,” confirmed Christian Tolomé, Air Belgium Technical Manager, who is responsible for the cabin branding project with ABC.“First of all, we had to define the right color which matched our new cabin interior design and they found the best solution to accommodate our requests. The technical and program management support were prompt and they took care of all demands keeping high level the quality of their services.”He added that the ABC team “had to work under pressure to respect the deadline in order to present Air Belgium’s A340 first flight event. We were excited about our first takeoff, and thanks to the responsibility of each [of the] stakeholders involved in this program it was a great success. We are satisfied of ABC International collaborative support.”About ABC InternationalABC International is an EASA-DOA Company (EASA.21J.529) based in Naples, Italy. Since 2009, ABC has been a leading entity in the cabin branding market. During the years, thanks to its reliability, high professionalism and hard-work attitude, ABC International achieved successful results partnering with some of the most important airlines in the industry (THY, Etihad, TAP, Air Canada, Ethiopian Airlines). These results have represented a further motivation for ABC to grow in the right direction, looking at the future with innovation and industrial progress.About Air BelgiumAir Belgium is a Belgian Airline headquartered in Mont-Saint-Guibert and based at the Brussels South Charleroi Airport. With its first official flight on June 3rd, 2018, the carrier has jumped into the market with the intention to be the link between Belgium and several destinations in China. Premium onboard service, reliability and affordable fares make Air Belgium a new strong reality in the commercial aviation industry, with great plans to grow more in the near future.
With interviews recorded live at the Aircraft Passenger Experience Association (APEX) EXPO and co-located AIX Americas Expo in Boston, seven senior industry executives are in conversation with Runway Girl Network deputy editor John Walton on topics ranging from seating and entertainment to inflight connectivity.What does Finnair senior vice president for customer experience Piia Karhu want from expos like this? What can Claire Nurcombe, head of marketing at seatmaker Stelia, reveal about the new 4D cinematic VR headset technology, in partnership with Skylights and InSeat Solutions? How is Thales making the user interface on inflight entertainment systems more adaptable and flexible, asks Priti Arora, solution product line manager.How does Inmarsat vice president for aviation David Coiley see the next 120 days of the Panasonic Avionics-Inmarsat partnership playing out? What are the priorities for Seamless Air Alliance chief executive officer Jack Mandala? On the AIX side, we ask Acro senior vice president for sales Alan McInness what’s next for the innovative seatmaker. How is IFPL vice president of business development David Thomas pitching its “Charge to Charge” pay-per-use power socket system? And what was the overall feel at the pair of co-located expos, on and off the record?Listen here, or every episode of In Conversation is also available on iTunes.Audio Playerhttps://audio.simplecast.com/de8b0f00.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
At Finnair headquarters in Helsinki, the airline’s chief digital officer Katri Harra-Salonen is in conversation with RGN deputy editor John Walton, talking all things digital.What exactly is a CDO, and what do they do? How is Finnair transforming itself with the help of digital technologies? What platforms is Finnair investing in, and what’s onboard and at the airport? How does all this improve the passenger experience? How can new technologies help to find new options to offer passengers? What will the future bring?And just why is the tech industry descending on Helsinki — in December?Listen here, or every episode of In Conversation is also available on iTunes.Audio Playerhttps://audio.simplecast.com/88294854.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.
Raleigh & Drake, the experience-driven innovator, today announced that it has become the exclusive discovery platform partner for Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic).In its continued drive to further meaningful engagement with customers, Panasonic has incorporated Raleigh & Drake’s personalized and mission-driven platform into its technologies, which will soon be deployed in-flight.By integrating Raleigh & Drake’s platform into Panasonic’s NEXT in-flight entertainment platform, airline passengers will be able to book personalized experiences such as tours, activities while directly en route to a destination. A percentage of each booking fee goes to support local entrepreneurs in-destination via Kiva.org.Millennials are pushing the boundaries of travel further every day and have become arguably the most important global demographic when it comes to spending power. Additionally, recent trends show that travelers are far more interested in relevant and authentic experiences that enhance their trip.Raleigh & Drake’s platform is powered primarily by influencers whom resonate with this key target audience, and exhibit the knowledge and approach to global travel that appeals to the masses. Through this partnership, passenger audiences are provided with curated recommendations from experts and locals who are part of the cultural vibrancy of a city, in hopes of helping them discover the heart of each destination.Patrick Sarkissian, CEO and Co-Founder of Raleigh & Drake says: “Raleigh & Drake is the only mission-driven platform that offers quality experiences around the world to a variety of travelers. Our focus is on emotionally connecting with the traveler via personalization, rich-content and our mission to merge travel with social impact.”With years of professional experience evolving brand offerings and enhancing customer engagements, the team behind Raleigh & Drake has learned to capitalize on the power of curation. The idea of “less is more” proves true when it comes to client conversion and satisfaction. By creating specially designed activities and experiences, a strong level of traveler loyalty can be achieved.As greater adoption of in-flight Wi-Fi becomes apparent within today’s travel culture, Panasonic and Raleigh & Drake’s collaboration will take advantage of this upward trajectory, thus exponentially growing the booking industry’s current $180 billion revenue. By unveiling its mobile-first solution into apps, websites and in-flight entertainment systems, the platform seeks to boost the booking industry’s nominal 20% revenue currently earned via mobile booking technologies.Julie Lichty, Head of Digital Services and Solutions for Panasonic Avionics, says: “Our new NEXT inflight entertainment platform is designed to be able to build bespoke solutions for our airlines and their passengers. By partnering with Raleigh & Drake, we are able to curate compelling destination experiences for our customers and their passengers.”Driven by curated content, Raleigh & Drake will aggregate thousands of recommendations from the individuals and brands customers trust most, and in turn, heighten the Panasonic experience for all travelers.About Raleigh and DrakeDriven by authenticity, Raleigh & Drake (RAD) delivers the world’s first influencer-driven discovery platform. RAD offers millennials instantly bookable, personalized recommendations and guides from a trusted global community of creatives, photographers, culinary experts and explorers from around the world. Their curation of exclusive content which merges travel with social impact is unparalleled in the industry. In addition to their authenticated insiders’ guide, Raleigh & Drake’s supports the effort to alleviate poverty in local regions with each booking through their partnership with Kiva.About Panasonic Avionics CorporationPanasonic Avionics Corporation is the world’s leading supplier of inflight entertainment and communication systems. The company’s best-in-class solutions, supported by professional maintenance services, fully integrate with the cabin enabling its customers to deliver the ultimate travel experiences with a rich variety of entertainment choices, resulting in improved quality communication systems and solutions, reduced time-to-market and lower overall costs.Established in 1979, Panasonic Avionics Corporation, a U.S. corporation, is a subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. Headquartered in Lake Forest, California with over 5,000 employees and operations in 80 global locations, it has delivered over 9,000 IFE systems and 2,000 inflight connectivity solutions to the world’s leading airlines.
Cathay Pacific is taking a multi-pronged approach to continuing the development of its onboard soft product, with the revamped business class catering model already seeing benefits of the carrier’s use of both technical advancements and a pioneer group strategy to engaging cabin crew.The benefits of moving to a hybrid on-demand model (a structured first meal and on-demand service thereafter) are wide-ranging. Cathay Pacific has seen a dramatic increase in service speed on board, a significant cut to the amount of time needed to train crew and the opportunity to plug in big data to learn more about passengers and their preferences.Previously, the airline would have expected a major service change like a catering concept revamp to take four years in training, switching over routes progressively as crew learned how to carry out the new service style to avoid what general manager customer experience and design Vivian Lo jokes would be “operational hell”.Getting Cathay Pacific’s people on board with the new plan — and quickly — was the first step. “With the way we’ve structured the current service, we’ve responded a lot to what the crew was saying in terms of difficulty: simplifying complexities of equipment, platings, etc. We will be able to complete all crew training within a year to a year-and-a-half,” Lo explains to Runway Girl Network.The key? “You start with a pool of volunteers, a strong, very engaged and committed pioneer group,” Lo says. “You train them very well, launch the service and trial until you’re comfortable, then you scale up the training.”Getting the crew started with production and plating as soon as possible is a big plus. Image: Cathay PacificRamping up, explains Lo, “we still use the normal crew compliment, but we started with always having a pioneer group member within the team. A lot of the inflight service managers were trained first. The inflight service manager is not written into the service flow, so they have a lot to do in terms of helping, guiding the team, directing them and supporting them.Some of that adaptation includes feedback and an iteration of the concept, including where something might be too complicated or not working properly. Rapid feedback to Lo’s team enables changes to be made much more swiftly than in the past.“Obviously, in that ramping up stage you will inevitably start to have people who are serving – on that flight – the new service for the first time. So you’ll see very good service and then a little bit of learning, and a lot of adaptation from our side.” As an example, Lo says, Cathay Pacific is increasing its collaboration with catering and inflight services.“Once, when we launched with a particular port, the mashed potato was a bit sloppy, or they have understated the portion. In the past it would take a long time for that to be fed back to us. We actually managed to catch that within the first few days, and addressed the caterer issues.”Rolling out a new service concept requires much training. Image: Cathay PacificAnother example: when Lo’s team designed the new Hong Kong favorites line, the char siu pork with noodles was very popular, while a pumpkin curry was beloved by the team but ordered less by passengers. Feedback and data from the pioneer group allowed the team to speedily adjust the loading scale of these two dishes to meet demand.The char siu Iberico pork on egg noodles proved especially popular. Image: Cathay PacificThat feedback and data is increasingly digitalized thanks to work that Cathay Pacific is doing with Apple to start onboard ordering via iOS devices.“We used to assume that this can only be done when we have connectivity for all the fleet, but we managed to find out that we can achieve that even with peer-to-peer kind of communication. We’ve been working with Apple in terms of the prototypes, so the crew can take the orders. The tablet in the galley receives the order and [the galley crew] start doing plating and preparation.”Some Hong Kong favorites are more favorite than others. Image: Cathay PacificThe benefits to the crew – and of course to passengers – are multifold. For a start, meal preparation can begin as soon as the first order is taken, rather than waiting for either the whole cabin or an interim drop of a paper list by the order-taking crewmember. Whether that’s the first passenger to have their order taken or the last, that’s much less wait from order to meal delivery. The carts for table-laying and delivery can also be balanced and loaded much faster, and more efficiently, with a greater view of what each passenger has ordered.In addition to removing this critical path from the service, “we take out a lot of the walking to and fro, and also you have actual data about preference, and the crew can know how to merchandise and suggest, ‘would you like to try our curry’,” Lo says.Reducing the time from order to first bite in a large business class cabin is crucial. Image: Cathay PacificFrom the headquarters service design perspective, too, Lo concludes, that data is fed back faster and more usefully. “I know what [passengers] have ordered on record and have analytics. I know on a more real-time basis after the flight what is more preferred, instead of having to wait for complaints and crew reports before I know something is wrong, so my load ratio in the future will also be significantly improved.”Related Articles:Cathay Pacific moves beyond on-demand in meal redesignCathay’s 2010-era business seat is solid, but needs changesCathay first needs a soft product focus and soon a hard product upgradeHow airline catering is evolving: gategroupTaste-testing Thai AirAsia’s many meals in-flightIBM and gategroup take Cathay Pacific’s catering ops into the cloudFood service doesn’t have to be a punishment in coach
There are further explanations. Cathay uses long-haul aircraft on services within Asia, where delays are growing – and not just in mainland China. Regional delays could cascade to a long-haul A380 flight. Or worse, a large passenger load would need re-accommodation but Cathay’s long-haul load factor exceeds 85%.Then there is the dilemma Qantas experienced: Cathay’s midnight departures to London Heathrow are high-yielding and would have been prime candidates for an A380 up-gauge. Yet those outbound high-yielding flights are low-yielding on the inbound, departing Heathrow in the morning and afternoon. An A380 would bring large capacity at an off-peak time.When Qantas operated two A380 services to London, it kept the aircraft at Heathrow for the better part of the day so the return service would capture evening high-yielding passengers. This sacrificed aircraft utilization, which Cathay aims high for: its 777-300ER fleet averages 16 hours of utilization. Qantas shortened the ground time of one Heathrow A380 service by having it depart off-peak. Qantas had trouble filling the flight; it became known as the staff travel express.A Cathay A380 to Sydney would face the same prospect while another perceived flagship destination – New York – would have been unable to take a fully-loaded A380 year-round. Cathay was never aggressive in its explanation, as tends to be the style of corporate affairs in the region.Recently the public has seen that the #PaxEx darling that is the A380 is not always a long-term business proposition. Air France is returning to lessors three of its 10 A380s, according to Le Journal du Dimanche, while Qatar will retire the type after 10 years and Malaysia Airlines is moving its A380s to a charter pilgrimage unit.The shortened A380 program further shows not all aircraft are for all airlines. Improved passenger experiences have to be sustainable. A380 operators face heightened questions of the fleet’s in-service future and residual value exposure. Cathay is unencumbered on its way to a future of powerful twins, the A350 and 777X.Related Articles:Airbus ends A380 production with Emirates swap to A330neo & A350Cathay remains bullish on new first class for 777-9Airbus A380 cabin enablers fail to lure new operators for the typeWhen aged British Airways 747s offer a better PaxEx than its A380sHow Airbus is accommodating Qantas A380 refitMalaysia CEO sees future for A380, surprised by charter demandWither the future of the A380?High density A380 pitched to operators; Emirates cools on ideaAirbus expects 11-abreast A380 to attract new breed of customer The early cancellation of the A380 program is changing public perception of the superjumbo: passenger popularity – arguably stronger than ever – is not matched with business success for airlines or Airbus. Conventional wisdom was that if an airframer builds it and airlines fly it, then it must be right. An outlier was Cathay Pacific, which for years defended its repeated decisions not to order the A380. Recent A380 news culminating in the type’s cancellation is a vindication for the Hong Kong carrier.Cathay’s analysis of the A380 over the years did not see the numbers produce a business case. Yet Cathay found itself asking the same question passengers did: could Cathay successfully market itself as a premium airline without the A380? For passengers, merely possessing the A380 in a large quantity (Emirates) or small (the likes of Thai Airways) seemed to confer quality far better than a Skytrax award.Passengers saw the A380 reinforcing an airline’s premium position and adding what airlines long seek but often struggle to achieve: tangible differentiation. Etihad has the Residence, Korean Air a duty free shop, Qantas an onboard lounge, and many have bars. Yet these features were not the objective; they were usually the clever solution to utilizing cabin dead space.Cathay stood out by not being on the A380 customer list that comprised storied flag carriers, premium operators and – it was often noted – China Southern, portrayed as an up-and-coming neighbor.Cathay addressed its A380 absence, briefly explaining in a recent video that first, the aircraft had limited cargo payload. That is a significant factor given Cathay’s geography in and around manufacturing hubs; in 2017, cargo comprised 22% of Cathay’s airline revenue, with just over half of cargo by weight carried in the hold of its passenger aircraft. Second, Cathay argued the A380’s concentrated capacity precluded the high-frequency services that business passengers prefer; Cathay’s five daily Boeing 777-300ER flights to London Heathrow equate to the capacity of only three A380 services.
Seatback immigration? One-on-one with biometrics firm TascentLufthansa on wellness applications – what about the liability?“Wellness” trend expands into premium hard product at APEX EXPODifferent IFE focuses pursued by rivals Panasonic, Thales, ZodiacGDPR compliance and infosec top of mind as Thales personalizes IFECThales on how AI is making small but meaningful impacts in aviationPress Release: Panasonic, Tascent to enhance #PaxEx with biometricsPress Release: Wellness is Panasonic’s newest solution set for NEXT Panasonic Avionics’ vision for streamlining customs and immigration processing using inflight entertainment systems “serves as the perfect example of possibilities” for using cameras in IFE, posits Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) chief executive officer Dr. Joe Leader. Other applications include seat-to-seat video conferencing, inflight wellness monitoring, gaming, and security.But before the technology can be fully exploited for these and other applications, airlines will want to receive “explicit customer permission”, Leader stresses.Concerns about the presence of IFE cameras arose after a Singapore Airlines passenger observed a camera hole on the carrier’s Panasonic Avionics seatback IFE, and a tweet to the carrier went viral.Panasonic Avionics IFE systems are purpose-built in Osaka, Japan for airlines. These are not tablet-based IFE systems, such as found on Delta Air Lines’ new Airbus A220. So the cameras on Panasonic Avionics IFE are purpose-built as well. Passengers quite rightfully asked – am I being watched?“I have to do what my daughter does with her iMac, sticker over lens,” quipped a regular reader.Singapore Airlines responded directly to the passenger on Twitter, explaining that the cameras are disabled and that it has no plans to develop any features using them.Stressing that it takes airline passenger privacy “very seriously”, Panasonic Avionics released a formal statement, assuring that while cameras are included as part of its IFE systems, “at no time have these cameras been activated or used in any manner by either Panasonic Avionics or its customers. The cameras have simply been included to support potential future applications like seat-to-seat video conferencing.”In tight seating configurations, one might see the benefit of seat-to-seat video conferencing functionality, perhaps especially when friends and family members are not seated together. “Communicating by voice alone typically triggers customers to speak more loudly in a noisy aircraft environment. Communication via screen provides a visual aid to customers that prefer less high-volume communication,” notes APEX in a press release detailing potential future applications for IFE cameras.It’s a twist on various IFE technologies that have already been developed. Virgin America offered seat-to-seat messaging via its IFE system (without using video). And in 2017, Emirates and Panasonic announced a host of new innovations for the carrier’s newest Boeing 777-300ERs, including a “Room Service Video Call” feature to enable first class passengers to communicate in real time with cabin crew using video chat functionality from a tablet controller.But seatback immigration is arguably one of the more intriguing use cases for IFE cameras.The notion was first teased in the fall of 2017, when Panasonic and biometrics solutions company Tascent announced plans for a strategic partnership. Tascent founder and CEO Alastair Partington later explained: “With customs and immigration clearance being a common touchpoint in all international journeys, we believe that it makes sense to offer passengers a range of convenient choices to expedite these processes. In-seat clearance could well be one of those options: different traveler demographics have different preferences and different privacy concerns, and these will be best accommodated by offering them different clearance options. For example, my mother would feel extremely uncomfortable using a smartphone app to clear customs and immigrations, but she’d more than happily follow clear instructions on a trusted seatback unit at 38,000 feet!”Not everyone is thrilled with the idea. Yes let ICE have access to the camera, sounds awesome.— Liem Bahneman (@Liembo) February 24, 2019 There are, of course, myriad regulatory, privacy and technology hurdles to surmount before such a scenario is feasible. But in the meantime, Panasonic Avionics is promising it will never activate any feature or functionality within an IFE system without explicit direction from an airline customer.“Prior to the use of any camera on a Panasonic Avionics’ system that would affect passenger privacy, Panasonic Avionics would work closely with its airline customer to educate passengers about how the system works and to certify compliance with all appropriate privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR,” states the company.Leader agrees with this approach, telling Runway Girl Network: “For airlines and their suppliers, these cameras provide a perfect example for our industry to lead on providing genuine explicit concern and disclosure.”He continues: “For future applications, there is no environment quite like an airline seat for eye control of a screen if desired. The passenger sits in a defined area where airlines could serve as technology leaders. Just think about all of the hand controls in use today across airlines rather than touch screens. The airlines have been burned before by not being prepared for the future. Cameras allow them not only to prepare for the future, but set the example.”Related Articles:
illustration by Edgar and Suzanne Cabreraby CC ParkerEnding the day in one’s own bed is the highlight of “staycationing” for some people. But for many of us, bedding down somewhere new – but nearby – is another kind of fun.I first caught the bug when my friend Eli Pennington and I took our brood of children to the Embassy Suites near Crabtree Valley Mall for a spring break getaway. We had a fantastic time. The kids frolicked in the pool and hot tub. Eli and I enjoyed complimentary happy hour cocktails next to the babbling brook that runs through lobby’s jungle-themed lounge. The children were ecstatic to be chauffeured in the hotel van across Glenwood Avenue for dinner at the hibachi restaurant Kanki. An in-room movie for the kids and nightcaps for the moms ended the evening. The next day, we began with a morning swim, moved on to the complimentary breakfast buffet, then headed back to the pool once more.No one had to make a bed. The kids were enthralled with the telephone mounted in the bathroom. The pull-out couch facilitated a slumber party and wasn’t viewed as second-class bedding. And we all completely ignored the mountain of wet towels strewn everywhere. The jungle lounge foliage added an exotic touch. In fact, our pictures from this getaway looked very similar to photos actually taken in Costa Rica by more fortunate friends that year. We liked it so much we did it again the next year, at the Cary Embassy Suites, and had just as much fun.Historically, Raleigh has had limited hotel offerings. Back in the day, you’d have visiting guests stay at The Velvet Cloak on Hillsborough Street, which boasted an indoor pool and upscale restaurant. All sorts of weddings, prom dinners, Broughton Queen of Hearts luncheons, and debutante soirees were held there. I still hear stories about the shenanigans back at “the Cloak,” as we called it, after my own wedding reception. Walter’s own Jesma Reynolds confirmed her parents stayed there as well, en route to their exotic honeymoon many years ago. But, let’s face it: The Cloak was still a drive-up motel.There was also The Plantation Inn, “out in the country” (where Capital Boulevard and I-540 now intersect). This was once a prime location: Before I-95, the two routes that ran from New York to Florida were U.S. 1 and U.S. 301, so The Plantation Inn was in a good spot to offer upscale accommodation for people traveling up and down the East Coast. It was a family-owned hotel boasting an excellent restaurant, formal gardens, and a formal bar that served mixed drinks – very avant garde in the day when liquor by the drink was a novel concept in Raleigh.As a small child, I clearly remember my grandmother arriving from Kinston to babysit so my parents could spend the night at The Plantation Inn. I can just see my mother, lipsticked and dressed in her pleated Tyler House skirt and Farah-Fawcett-style silk blouse, holding her little square overnight case. The hotel’s owner, Jim Morse, was a business friend of my father, and my parents were delighted to find a gift-wrapped azalea plant as a welcome gift in their room. Mr. Morse was known for his personal touches.A hotel stay for a romantic interlude is not a new concept. But a hotel stay for a night alone…Several years ago, our friend Jack Rogers surprised his lovely wife Amy with a night away not long after their son was born. When the Rogerses arrived at the hotel room, he handed her a stack of magazines, a bottle of wine, and said he was leaving her to enjoy a night alone. He would retrieve her in the morning. This was an unanticipated, welcome surprise to Amy.When I recount this story, men usually scratch their heads, looking sheepish. They assume they weren’t listening closely and missed the point. “He left her alone in the hotel room for the night? Now why would he do that?”Women, on the other hand, visibly swoon. They don’t need me to repeat it. “He left her ALONE for the night? With wine and magazines!”After hearing the “Amy alone in the hotel” story 50 times, my husband surprised me with two nights at my own personal nirvana: The Umstead. That is, one night by myself. He joined me for the second. As he said, “There is more than one way to skin a cat…”This place is decidedly not a drive up motel. Plush, hushed, serene… the Umstead has a fabulous gift shop where you can buy your own Ben Owen urn, or a cashmere robe, or more magazines. The spa is equally wonderful, and the pool offers lots of options – cabanas, umbrellas, and a secondary deck away from the fray. On the main floor you can dine at Herons inside, or on the porch overlooking the rear lawn. My night of solitude was so very satisfying. Silence + Beauty + Room Service = Happy. My husband and I had an equally delightful time the second night, dining on appetizers and drinks by the outdoor fireplace.Local hotels are fun with families, alone, with your husband – what about with friends? Bright and early we desperate housewives wheeled up to The Umstead’s front entrance. No one planned to valet park (why spend the money?) and yet we needed assistance unloading the massive luggage required for the overnight stay.The Umstead understands that visiting groups have their… traditions. And like most fine hotels, this one is gracious enough to allow its guests do their own thing, discreetly looking away if necessary. Sort of like the scene in Pretty Woman when the Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s general manager sees Julia Roberts alight from the elevator in her smashing red gown and diamond necklace. He knows that at midnight she’ll turn into a pumpkin and that the necklace goes back to the jeweler, but he likes her just the same.It’s the same dynamic here. Graciously, the valets say, “Welcome back to the Umstead, Mrs. Parker,” (which I LOVE). They are unblinking as they unload our massive coolers. That’s plural.When we childhood friends gather, our tradition will be forever steeped in Needham Broughton High School Spring Break 1984. No gathering is complete without Martha Farmer’s signature dip and veggies and her world- famous sausage balls. John Peterson’s Mai Tais are a newer tradition. Beer? Yes. Wine? Of course. Tim Clougherty’s bootlegged Sex and the City movie? We’ve got you covered. Yes, we need those boat-sized coolers.For our part, in spite of our uncouth arrival, we do behave like ladies. No raging parties or topless swimming or drunken scenes at the bar. The Umstead does not embarrass us, nor do we embarrass The Umstead.This past fall, at beautiful Betty’s birthday there, her crew had also assembled their own cocktail party inside and outside. Quite the spread of favorites, from Kat’s pickled tomatoes to Adora’s top-secret curry dip, served on gold foil plates. The food and wine led to wonderful discussion and conversation. Everyone left refreshed.We all occasionally need a night away. Whether you are in the company of your children, your spouse, your friends, or alone, I highly recommend escaping to one of Raleigh’s local hotels. Your kids will love the Jungle Lounge. Save the Umstead for yourself!
Get OutTake a Child Outside Weekby Jessie AmmonsHeading outside for a breath of fresh air is rarely a bad idea. Taking a young person along with you: even better. This month, you can join the national movement to explore nature with kids during Take a Child Outside Week Sept. 24 – 30. The program, called TACO, motivates local museums and other organizations to create outdoor adventures that appeal to kids. Among the options in Raleigh are a family fishing night at Lake Johnson Sept. 25; a Terrific Turtles song and game session with live creatures for preschoolers Sept. 26 – 28; a family campout at Durant Nature Preserve Sept. 29; and a track and scat identifying class at Lake Wheeler Sept. 30 (that’s sure to be a 7-to-12-year-old crowd favorite). Happy playing!takeachildoutside.org
Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Agency, John O’Connor, outlines Ireland’s approach to tackling its housing crisis and discusses lessons learned that could be built into future action plans for Northern Ireland.In 2016, the Irish Government delivered an action plan to accelerate housing supply as a means to tackle the country’s housing shortage. Rebuilding Ireland, which received broad political support, was borne out of a cross-government committee which identified the key areas to be addressed.O’Connor, whose agency supports local authorities, housing associations, the Department and the private sector in relation to delivery of housing and housing services, outlines the five key pillars of Rebuilding Ireland, which include:addressing homelessness;accelerating social housing supply;building more homes;improving the rental sector; andutilising empty homes.Homelessness, he highlights, continues to be a major issue in Ireland since 2012, despite increased efforts towards prevention. In February 2019, there were over 6,480 adults recorded as homeless, of which 1,707 were families with 3,784 children.Offering a word of advice for Northern Ireland’s housing sector, he adds: “The trends showing significant increases in family homelessness were evident from data and research in 2014 and the trend continued. It’s very important to keep an eye to data, statistics and trends and to act on warning signs at an early stage.”Outlining some of the homelessness prevention initiatives currently being utilised, O’Connor highlights a particular focus on the issue of mortgage arrears, which affects over 60,000 households in Ireland. Some of the initiatives have focussed on mortgage restructuring and where this is not possible, utilisation of the Mortgage to Rent scheme, a government initiative that sees housing associations purchasing homes and facilitating the homeowner to continue living there as a social housing tenant.On the ambition of accelerating social housing supply, he highlights that the Housing Agency actively sources houses and apartments, from bank portfolios, for use as social housing by housing associations and local authorities. To do this the agency has a ⇔70 million rotating fund to buy houses and apartments from lenders or the market and sells them on to housing associations. The Housing Agency also buys houses and apartments in trust for local authorities.Turning to the ambition of building more homes, O’Connor outlines that Ireland needs to be supplying 30,000 plus homes per year across the public and private sector to meet demand estimates. Two key initiatives by government have focussed on land and on planning. Launched in 2018, the Land Development Agency was set up to to manage the State’s own lands to develop new homes and regenerate under-utilised sites, with the long-term ambition to assemble strategic land banks from public and private lands while stabilising land values and deliver increased affordability. The Government have also rolled out the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), providing funding aimed at enabling infrastructure on key sites to open up lands for early development.Probably the biggest issue that we face is that we are still not building the right types of homes for the current and future demand.O’Connor says: “In relation to public land, it’s important to identify how it is used. The Government have set parameters in relation to the sale of public land, outlining that 10 per cent must be used for social housing and 30 per cent for affordable housing. It means that even if a public sector body wants to sell land, they are now constrained by having to ensure terms of a social outcome for that land.”Planning has also been playing an important role. As well as new standards published in 2018 around urban development for local authorities and new apartments for planning authorities, O’Connor highlights strategic housing developments introduced in 2017 which allow for housing development applications over a threshold of 100 homes or 200 student bed spaces to be submitted directly to the Planning Appeals Board, rather than through the traditional local authority route. A mandatory deadline of 16 weeks for all decisions has been set.A further initiative in this area is the introduction of the higher vacant site levy, up to 7 per cent from 3 per cent from 2019 onwards.O’Connor sates: “Probably the biggest issue that we face is that we are still not building the right types of homes for the current and future demand. We are still building three and four bedroom houses despite 55 per cent of households in the south consisting of just one or two people. This isn’t sustainable.”The Chief Executive outlines his belief that too much of government policy has focussed on home ownership, to the detriment of the rental sector, pointing to the existing schemes such as the Help to Buy scheme and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan.Under the action plan’s fourth pillar, improving the rental sector, he highlights a focus on trying to control private rents through the initial introduction and recent extension of rent pressure zones, restricting annual rent rises to 4 per cent or less and improving security of tenure for tenants.He adds: “One major initiative that we are looking at and have started doing in a small way is providing a cost rental sector, which has been successful in many countries around Europe.” Cost rental housing involves a combination of state lands, infrastructure and long-term financing to reduce the costs of providing housing and therefore rents over a long-term.Acknowledging that social housing rents in Northern Ireland are cost-based rents, he emphasises that the building of a cost rental sector would incorporate a “much broader cohort of households and much broader incomes”.The final pillar O’Connor discusses is that of utilising empty homes. “Our 31 local authorities now all have Vacant Homes Officers with a major focus on getting empty homes back into use. There are various initiatives to assist this including property acquisitions from lender portfolios, the Repair and Leasing Scheme and the Buy and Renew Scheme.”Northern Ireland Offering some advice to stakeholders in the Northern Ireland housing sector, from experiences in Ireland, O’Connor says: “A strong suggestion I would make around home ownership is to have just one scheme. It would be a mistake for housing associations to develop their own shared housing schemes individually as this could be disruptive. However, there must also be a focus on affordability in the rental sector. There should be an ambition to provide rental accommodation that is affordable across a bigger cohort, not just a focus on home ownership alone.”On development of public sector land he suggests long-term leases, with guaranteed long-term advantages, rather than sale. He adds: “Another recommendation is to look at capital investment rather than grants. In Ireland there has been a focus on grants and the Government takes current expenditure into consideration. However, there is a greater role for capital investment in housing to be utilised.”Concluding, O’Connor says: “If there is one mistake we in Ireland have made that can be used as a reference for others, it’s that we have a large variety of initiatives. The lesson for the north is select a small number of initiatives and to stick with them.”
Walter readers travelled to Kinston, North Carolina, for an eventful day with North Carolina native and A Chef’s Life star, Vivian Howard.photography by Madeline Gray Walter readers travelled to Kinston, North Carolina, for an eventful day with North Carolina native and A Chef’s Life star, Vivian Howard. The day began with a private brunch at The Boiler Room Oyster Bar, followed by tours and tastings at Mother Earth Brewing and Social House Vodka. Guests then enjoyed a meet and great with Howard as they enjoyed her famous ‘Party Magnet’ cheese ball and other bites. The day concluded with a four-course meal with Howard in The Chef & the Farmer’s private dining space. Howard shared stories with the guests and signed cookbooks. The day would not be possible without WALTER presenting sponsor Great Outdoor Provision Co., as well as supporting sponsors Bailey’s Fine Jewelry and River Dunes. Oysters served at The Boiler RoomGuests enjoy brunch at The Boiler Room Guests tour and taste at Social House VodkaGuests tour Mother Earth BrewingVivian Howard with Ed and Hannah Mitchell of River DunesChef Vivian Howard meets and greets with WALTER guestsGuests enjoy dinner in the private room at The Chef & the Farmerguests enjoy a four-course dinner; braised pork and dirty farro
Over 200 Triangle area professionals joined WALTER magazine, presenting sponsor, Bank of America and supporting sponsor Diamonds Direct at The Umstead Hotel and Spa September 7, 2018. The fourth annual WINnovation celebrated women and innovation in the local community. SStartup workshops were led by Inspiring Capital and StartingBloc, following by a delicious meal and our five panelists. 2018 Panelists:Cicely Mitchell, Art of Cool festivalMelisse Shaban, Virtue LabsLindsay Zanno, Paleontologist-NCMNSEmily Sexton, The Flourish MarketSepi Saidi, Sepi Engineering