Tag Archives: Japan

chocolate spa

Japanese take chocolate spa for Valentine’s Day

A hot spring resort in Hakone, Japan, is offering customers a chance to relax in chocolate baths for Valentine’s Day.

Yunessun spa resort customers paid 27 USD for the twice daily bathing session which some women believe will lead to good skin and smell. In Japan, it’s traditional for women to buy gifts for men on February 14.

chocolate spa

So for those wondering what to give their Valentine, perhaps, in 2015, instead of a box filled with chocolate, it will be a tub filled with chocolate instead!

Madonna Premiering Skin Care Brand

Madonna launches skincare line in Japan

Madonna has launched a range of products under the label MDNA Skin.

Madonna Premiering Skin Care Brand

Created in collaboration with Japanese beauty company MTG, the line will be exclusively available at a pop-up store in the Ba-tsu Art Gallery in Shibuya, which will open from February 13 to 23 and will also contain visual projections, testing areas and a VIP room.

The collection is composed of three products: Chrome Clay Mask, an enriching clay oil therapy that uses a base of Italian clay from Montecatini Terme; Skin Rejuvenator, designed to revitalize the skin and remove impurities using a ‘Deep Derma induction system’; and a serum created especially for the pop star that’s designed to leave the skin glowing.

“Using these products routinely as part of daily skin care regime creates firm, resilient and radiant skin overflowing with energy after every use,” said an announcement on the singer’s website.

Skin care expert Michelle Peck, who is also Madonna’s personal skin care advisor, has been signed on as the brand’s ambassador.

After the pop-up, MDNA Skin will then go on sale at selected department stores in Japan on February 26.

Gucci Flora handbags

Gucci set to celebrate 50 years in Japan

Gucci is celebrating half a century in Japan with a series of events and special products. Gucci’s first relationship with Japan began back in the 1940s, when the brand imported Japanese bamboo for its handbag handles.

The Italian brand then launched its 1st store in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood to coincide with the 1964 Olympics which took place in the Japanese capital.

Gucci Flora handbags Japan

Gucci has remained a popular luxury brand with Japanese customers, and to celebrate its half-century in country, the label is creating a limited edition Flora collection of bags and accessories.

The items, which will arrive in March, include a special scarf (below) which will see 100 percent of sales go to the UNESCO Association Scholarship – GUCCI Scholar initiative (a joint effort between the brand and the NGO).

Gucci Flora print scarf for UNESCO

The collection will be unveiled alongside an event, at the Isetan department store, called “The House of Artisans“, designed to show off the brand’s craftsmanship.

Later in May the brand will fête the reopening of the Aoyama flagship store which will also see an exhibition of Gucci Première gowns as well as the Japanese debut of the tailoring capsule collection created with Lapo Elkann.

Lapo Elkann x Gucci

CEO Patrizio di Marco and creative director Frida Giannini will play hosts at a dinner for UNESCO in the second half of the year, and the brand will also work with former Roma, Parma and Fiorentina player Hidetoshi Nakata.

The retired Japanese footballing legend has roped in Gucci for the second year running to help with his ‘Revalue Nippon Project’, a charity gala aimed at preserving traditional Japanese design skills and heritage. Special one-off items will be created for the event, ready to go under the hammer for charity.

Kyushu Railway Seven Star train

Japan railway unveils super-luxury train

Kyushu Railway Nanatsuboshi

A Japanese railway operator on Friday unveiled a new super-luxury train it hopes will appeal to well-heeled travellers who don’t mind splashing out to have their every travelling need fulfilled.

Kyushu Railway’s “Nanatsuboshi” — Seven Stars — service has a lounge car with a piano and a bar, top-end dining and 14 private suites.

Kyushu Railway luxury train

Each wood-panelled bedroom has plush beds and a desk along with an ensuite bathroom with a shower and toilet, equipped with a heated seat. The train travels around the rural southern island of Kyushu, with a four-day, three-night package costing up to 1.13 million yen ($11,000) per couple.

Kyushu Railway Seven Star train

The company’s website boasts of a “refined and dignified” design that is a “fusion of Japanese and Western and of new and old”. The train is already fully booked until June 2014.

Seven Star train

Bowers Wilkins 805 Maserati Speakers

Prabal Gurung redesigns All Nippon Airways uniforms

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung is set to design uniforms for around 10,000 All Nippon Airways cabin and ground staff to celebrate the airway’s 60th birthday in 2014.

Famed for dressing celebrities as diverse in the style stakes as Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga, Gurung has built up a dedicated following for his use of modernist prints and clean lines.

Based in New York City, where he previously designed for Bill Blass, Gurung launched his own label in February 2009 and was awarded the runner-up prize at the 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Gurung has previously collaborated with Target on a capsule collection, but this is the first time the designer has created a uniform for an airline.

Earlier this month British punk designer Vivienne Westwood unveiled new eco-friendly and sustainably sourced designs for the Virgin Atlantic airline staff.


Paris’s first sake salon set for June


Paris is poised to get its first sake tasting salon in a bid to demystify the Japanese rice wine that is still relatively unknown to Western consumers.

Owners of Japanese restaurants Sakebar and Sola – which holds a Michelin star – will be hosting what they’re calling the first Sake Salon in Europe in June, bringing in sake experts from Japan who will lead tastings for curious French consumers.

Sake producers, distributors, and sommeliers will help European palates understand the nuances styles and complexities of the fermented rice wine in roundtable discussions, workshops and conferences.

One of the roundtable discussions, for instance, will center around sake and French gastronomy, and food pairings possible with the unexpected dinner companion.

The arrival of a sake salon in Paris comes as little surprise, given the city’s love affair with Japan’s culinary heritage. Rivaling the number of bistros and cafés in the city is the number of sushi restaurants in Paris that have popped up in response to the ever-growing demand.

The Sake Salon will be held June 21-22. Tickets are €10.


Loewe Collaborates With Junya Watanabe

Loewe Junya Watanabe

Japanese fashion designer Junya Watanabe showed off his latest collaboration with Loewe in Tokyo.

The famous Spanish luxury brand Loewe is celebrating 400 years of Hispano-Japanese bilateral relations with a new capsule collection of bags and ready-to-wear, created with Japanese designer Junya Watanabe of Comme des Garçons.

Loewe creative director Stuart Vevers and Watanabe of Comme des Garçons held a presentation at the Spanish embassy in Tokyo on May 21, where models with spiked and dyed punk hair showed off 24 looks which featured Spanish leather, and Japanese denim.

Watanabe told WWD that he was able to express himself fully with the collection: “basically I asked them to let me do whatever I wanted. Our relationship was like an adult accepting child’s play.”

A video released by Loewe shows models strutting their stuff, dressed in a mix of vintage Junya Watanabe and Loewe pieces and the new capsule collaboration.

“I came up with the idea of combining the essences of each other’s icon. The combination of leather and denim. This is a combination of luxuries and casualness, and also the combination of the fashion agriculture of Spain and Japan.”

The collection will go on sale first in Japan in August where it will hit Dover Street Market concept store in Ginza, Tokyo, before later being unveiled at around 40 locations around the world in September, including Loewe boutiques and online at Loewe.com.

Jiro On sushi

Japan gets another three-Michelin-star restaurant

Jiro On sushi

Michelin inspectors have awarded Hiroshima the city’s first three-star restaurant in the inaugural issue for the region, which now expands the brand’s coverage of Japan’s culinary landscape from three guides to four.

Nakashima restaurant, which serves traditional Japanese dishes using seasonal ingredients, puts the overall tally of triple Michelin-star restaurants in Japan at 37.

The inaugural Hiroshima guide expands Michelin’s coverage of Japan’s food scene, which covers Tokyo, Yokohama, Shonan; Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nara; and Hokkaido.

The latest guide out of Japan also recognized regional Hiroshima cooking styles and specialties for the first time, including anago (saltwater eel), okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes), and dishes made with oysters, says Michelin.

In addition to inducting Nakashima into the exclusive three-star club, inspectors awarded five restaurants with two stars and 24 restaurants with their first star.

The 2013 Hiroshima guide also lists 49 Bib Gourmand restaurants, defined as being excellent value for money. Bib Gourmand eateries offer a complete menu for no more than 3,500 Yen (€27).

Foods represented in the Hiroshima guide include Japanese curry, ramen, udon, yakiniku (grilled meats), yoshoku (Western-influenced Japanese foods), while cuisines range from Thai, Italian, French and Spanish fare.

Michelin guide Hiroshima 2013


Amphibious tourist buses put into service in Tokyo

amphibious bus

Tokyo’s first amphibious buses were put into service Sunday, carrying 40 passengers through the city’s low eastern side by road before taking to the Naka river during a 100-minute “Tokyo Splash Tour.”

The two buses, dubbed “Sky Ducks”, departed from Tokyo’s new landmark Skytree, the world’s tallest communications tower at 634 metres (2,080 feet).

The bus moves up to 100 kilometres per hour on the ground and up to 13 kilometres per hour in the water. Tickets are priced at 2,800 yen ($30) for an adult and 1,400 yen ($15) for a child under 12.

Solid gold Lionel Messi’s foot on sale in Japan

Solid gold Lionel Messi foot

A solid gold replica of footballer Lionel Messi’s left foot, complete with blood vessels and the swirls of skin on the bottom of the toes, is to go on sale in Japan.

The 25-kilogramme (55-pound) statue, worth $5.25 million, was created from a mould of the star striker’s foot by Ginza Tanaka to mark Messi’s record-breaking fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or award.

The golden foot is due to go on sale on Thursday, along with a number of miniature versions and a solid gold plate of the Barcelona FC frontman’s footprint.

Part of the profits from the sale will go to help people affected by the quake and tsunami that hit Japan two years ago next Monday, through the Leo Messi Foundation, a charity run by the Messi family.

Rainbow Bridge

World’s Most Expensive Cities to Live In 2013

Rainbow Bridge

Tokyo and Osaka have topped an index of the world’s most expensive cities to live in for 2013, familiar positions for the Japanese megacities which have traditionally dominated the list prepared bi-annually by The Economist.

The Worldwide Cost of Living report put the Japanese capital at the top of the index after comparing more than 400 prices across 160 products and service such as food, clothing, household supplies, rent, utility and recreational costs.

Since 1992, with the exception of six years, Tokyo has been the world’s most expensive city to live in, toppled only by Zurich, Paris and Oslo. Asian cities dominate the index, with 11 of the world’s priciest cities coming from the east, and eight coming from Europe.

Tokyo’s inauspicious reign on the list, meanwhile, comes despite a fall in the relative cost of living in Tokyo that comes with Japanese deflation, a weaker yen and rising prices elsewhere in the world.

Notably, Australian cities have also risen quickly through the ranks due economic growth, ensuing inflation and currency swings, making them more costly to live in.

Here’s The Economist’s 10 most expensive cities to live in for 2013:

1.      Tokyo, Japan
2.      Osaka, Japan
3.      Sydney, Australia
4.      Oslo, Norway
5.      Melbourne, Australia
6.      Singapore, Singapore
7.      Zurich, Switzerland
8.      Paris, France
9.      Caracas, Venezuela
10.   Geneva, Switzerland

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Florale Edition

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Florale Edition

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Florale Edition

Perrier-Jouët unveils “Belle Epoque Florale Edition by Makoto Azuma” in Japan, the first designed Limited Edition of Belle Epoque since Emile Gallé in 1902.

The launch, held in Tokyo last week, marked a historical event for the company and fortified its ties to one of the thirstiest markets in the world for luxury goods.
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mixed compote of raw and stewed fruits

Pierre Hermé creates desserts for ANA Airways

mixed compote of raw and stewed fruits

The man who’s been described as the ‘Picasso’ of the pastry world has been tapped by All Nippon Airways to cater its dessert menu.

Passengers on international flights traveling in First and Business Class will tuck into a range of in-flight desserts created by French pastry wizard Pierre Hermé, best known for his inventive macaron flavors and gourmet cakes.

The trio of desserts will debut in June for First Class customers and in September for Business Class passengers.
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Lady Gaga teacup

Lady Gaga teacup hits $50,000 and rising in Japan

Lady Gaga teacup

Fans bidding in a charity online auction to buy a teacup used once by pop diva Lady Gaga had offered more than four million yen ($50,000) by Tuesday.

The china cup and saucer set was used by the star at a press conference in Tokyo three months after the massive tsunami of March last year swamped a large stretch of coastline.
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apartment Minami-Azabu Tokyo

World’s most expensive one-bedroom apartment

With an astonishing asking price of US$21.1 million, this Tokyo pad is the most expensive one-room apartment in the world.

apartment Minami-Azabu Tokyo

Dubbed “The House”, the luxury penthouse is located in the most expensive neighbourhood in Tokyo, the Minami-Azabu district.

Featuring 4,434 square feet of living space, the owner spent the past 18 months renovating it to become a live-in masterpiece.

The world's most expensive apartment Tokyo

In the living room is an original art piece by Hiroshi Senju painted on-site. Most of the furniture in the home is custom designed by Ceccotti Collezioni, as well as Italian imported stone and wood used for many of the walls, flooring, and doors.

most expensive 1-bedroom apartment kitchen

The dining room is designed for dinner parties in the special Japanese “Ryotei” syle where the chef can serve guests directly from the gourmet kitchen.

Japanese Ryotei style dining room

There is also a separate casual dining room with the Parisian-style terrace overlooking the peaceful Arisugawa Park. The bright and cheerful eat-in kitchen is fitted with all La Cornue appliances.

most expensive 1-bedroom apartment bedroom

The one and only bedroom boasts an extensively fitted walk-in closet space and an extremely luxurious bathroom with hot tub and a 60 inch television.

most expensive 1-bedroom apartment shoes

Also, from the entrance down the long hallway, the walls open up as a massive shoe storage unit that holds up to 200 pairs of shoes.

walk in wardrobe

The focal point of this amazing home is the courtyard garden. The corridor surrounding it is designed as a lounge space for guests to enjoy the charming seasonal garden. Source: Sotheby’s.

most expensive 1-bedroom apartment courtyard garden