Since September 7, Australian travelers have been allowed to enter Japan. Although the country has been open to us since June 10 this year, we must produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the flight, be part of a tourist group and be under the capped limit of tourists allowed to enter in the country that day.
“In countries around the world, international exchanges are growing,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on August 31. as well as allowing (tourists on) unguided tours from all countries to enter the country.
So, now that we’re allowed to roam freely in Japan, what’s new to add to our next trip? It turns out that the country has been occupied. From a restaurant with the world’s first pasta robot, to an Andy Warhol exhibit and a hotel with a DIY essential oil distillery, here’s everything that just opened and is worth seeing in Japan.
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New hotels in Japan
Within walking distance of Nikko Toshogu Shrine, FUFU Nikko offers travelers an elegant retreat in a beautiful green oasis. The 24 individually designed suites overlook the surrounding forests and are equipped with private indoor or outdoor onsen (hot spring) baths. Although close to the bustling city of Tokyo, Nikko feels like a different world.
With trekking and biking already attracting visitors, adventurers can also try their hand at rafting on Lake Chuzenji, canyoning through Urami Falls, or trekking and biking.
Minimalist excavations Korinkyo are located just minutes from Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen Garden. On-site, there’s an aroma distillery where guests can create essential oils to use in-room or while relaxing in the hotel’s rooftop sauna and hot tub. Its 18 rooms feature simple wood and stone finishes and a neutral design palette, allowing views of the surrounding nature to take center stage.
Comico Yufuin Art House
Near the coastal city of Oita in Kyushu and located in the beautiful but little known Comico Yufuin Art Museum, Comico Yufuin Art House is a new luxury accommodation, designed by Kengo Kuma. It includes the “Tsuchi” house and the “Take house”, both inspired by the Satoyama culture, where nature and community are deeply connected. Both houses feature a private onsen, traditional Japanese gardens, and spacious rooms with tatami floors.
Opening scheduled for 2024, YOTEL-Tokyo will be located in the center of Ginza, one of Tokyo’s busiest areas. The 244-room state-of-the-art hotel will feature YOTEL YOBOT’s signature robotic concierge, motorized SmartBeds and contactless guest experience from booking to check-out. YOTEL Tokyo is part of YOTEL’s broader expansion plans across Japan, including Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.
Club Med Hokkaido Kiroro
Club Med Hokkaido Kiroro will be an all-inclusive resort, 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport, set to open in time for the 2023 season. Conducted in two phases, Club Med Kiroro “Peak” will open in December exclusively for guests aged 12 ages and up, where guests can relax in a comfortable yet hip environment with access to a natural outdoor hot spring and spa. Open to all ages, Club Med Kiroro ‘Grand’ will follow in 2023 and will house a wide selection of family facilities.
New artistic and cultural experiences in Japan
teamLab ‘Tokyo Planets’
The latest immersive experience launched by teamLab, “Planets Tokyo”, allows visitors to stroll through aquatic facilities or soak up the scents of 13,000 real orchids that “react” creating space for visitors to to go for a walk. Michelin starred restaurant UZU Tokyo Vegan Ramen also opened onsite, serving signature flower ramen bowls.
Andy Warhol Exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to iconic pop artist Andy Warhol will take place at Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art until February 2023. The exhibition will be divided into five main sections, including a chapter “Warhol, Japan and Kyoto”, which looks at Warhol’s first visit to Japan in 1956 and presents a collection of sketches, memorabilia and souvenirs the artist collected during his two-week visit.
Nakanoshima Museum of Art
Nakanoshima Museum of Art in Osaka opened after nearly 30 years of planning. Housed in a dramatic box-like structure with a jet-black exterior, the museum has one of Japan’s largest collections – over 6,000 works of art in its collection (with a bespoke sample of around 40 pieces exhibited at all times) by modern masters such as Magritte, Dali and Japanese artists, including the painter Jiro Yoshihara.
New restaurants and bars in Japan
Heiwa Doburoku Brewery
Founded in 1928 in Wakayama prefecture, the legendary sake brewery Heiwa Shuzou opened the doors of Heiwa Doburoku Breweryoffering a modern take on the classic Japanese drink in the heart of Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district.
The newest member of the exclusive Michelin star ramen club, Ginza HachigoThe beautifully complex soup is clear, flavorful and made by boiling Nagoya Cochin chicken, duck, scallops, sun-dried tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms, konbu (seaweed), heirloom Kyoto onions and cured ham.
Nestled next to the hotel entrance on the ground floor, Gold bar at EDITION is a “social playground” that brings another dimension to Tokyo’s bar scene. Cocktails on the menu include a Nippon Pale Ale, made with local Chardonnay from Nagano, pisco, grappa, pineapple, IPA and nutmeg.
A 90-minute drive from Kyoto, on the shores of Lake Biwa, Michelin chef Coleman Griffin cooks up a culinary destination Sower. In a minimalist space designed by Teruhiro Yanagihara Studio, Griffin draws inspiration from the landscape to create innovative tasting menus from the region’s rich seasonal produce.
E Vino Spaghetti
E Vino Spaghetti opened at Tokyo Station, welcoming people who have very little time for a lunch break. It uses the world’s first automated pasta cooker to prepare a meal in 45 seconds. AI-based image recognition technology is used to understand the ingredient status of pasta and pasta cooked in a specially developed frying pan using high-power induction. The robot prepares up to 90 meals per hour and even washes its own pans.
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