Japan News 2019

Ginza, Tokyo @ Night

Looking for new stories or travel tips for 2019? From new hotel openings and attractions, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and everything in between, we show you what Japan has to offer this coming year.

Hotel Openings

©The Thousand Kyoto

Due to open in January 2019 is The Thousand Kyoto, located conveniently just in front of Kyoto Station. The 222 guest room hotel boasts a simple yet sophisticated design inspired by the concept of natural harmony, emphasising natural light, greenery and light, as well as the Zen philosophy of 'less is more'; the Japanese Suite in particular proves how luxurious simple living can be. Amenities will include an Italian and Japanese restaurants, a cafe and bar, a banquet hall, a gym, a garden and a well-equipped rock spa and sauna, perfect after a busy day of sightseeing! Find out more here.

Hotel Zen Tokyo is a luxury capsule hotel set to open its doors in the Nihonbashi area in February 2019. It differs completely from regular capsule hotels in that the room design is based on the tea room of tea ceremony creator and pioneer Sen no Rikyu. The ceiling is higher than that of a standard capsule at 2.2m high and there are five room types varying in size, bed sizes and designs. The hotel has five floors in all with the first and second floors reserved exclusively for women. And hitting the big city couldn't be easier either: Ningyо̄chо̄ Station is literally a 30-second walk away and Ginza, Nihonbashi and Tokyo Stations are also very close. Find out more here.

Miyako Hotel Hakata is set to open in autumn 2019, a mere three-minute walk from Hakata Station, Fukuoka City. The hotel will similarly feature greenery, water and light as the main design theme, with a "hotel garden" on the third floor, rooftop restaurants and outdoor hot spring bathing, and even a waterfall facade! Find out more here.

Miyako City Takanawa is scheduled to open its doors on 11th February 2019 just a seven-minute walk from Shinagawa Station, easily accessible from both Haneda and Narita Airports and the perfect base for your Tokyo pursuits! The hotel's 199 guest rooms will all accommodate a maximum of two guests and will also include the usual amenities such as a TV, fridge, hair dryer, etc. Find out more here.

©Hamacho Hotel & Apartments Nihombashi Tokyo

Late-night trips to the conbini for a chocolate bar or two not necessary at this swanky spot - Hamacho Hotel & Apartments will have its own chocolate shop! Opening on 15th February 2019 in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, Hamacho Hotel & Apartments will be the perfect base for solo, duo or family travellers looking to stay in apartment-style rooms and experience a slice of local Tokyo. The in-house Tokyo Craft Room will also be the perfect platform for guests to familiarise themselves with traditional crafts from across Japan and the talented artisans that produce them. Find out more here.

You may just know MUJI as that amazingly simple yet sophisticated lifestyle retailer, but did you know they also operate a number of hotels? Following on from the success of its two branches in Shenzhen and Beijing, China, MUJI Hotel Ginza will be opening on 4th April 2019, together with the MUJI Diner. The new 79 guest room hotel will become the company's flagship hotel and will also feature a new MUJI store, replacing the former Yurakucho branch. The 6th floor where the hotel front is will also house ATELIER MUJI GINZA, a multi-purpose facility aimed at introducing visitors to the people and areas behind its designs and food through its cafe/salon, library and interactive lounge. Reservations will be expected to start around March 2019. Keep up to date with developments at MUJI Hotel Ginza here

©Halekulani Okinawa

Halekulani Okinawa, a luxurious beach-front resort set within the Kaigan Quasi-National Park in Nakama, Okinawa is set to open on 26th July 2019. The resort offers 360 guest accommodations, including 47 suites and five private villas, each with a breath-taking view of the emerald waters of the East China Sea, as well as a spa, large pool and four signature restaurants. The resort will be perfectly placed for guests to visit the nearby Busena Marine Park and Kouki Beach, as well as the less visited and therefore unspoiled north of the island. Halekulani Okinawa is accessible from Naha Airport by car in approximately 75 minutes. Find out more here.

Nishitetsu Hotel CROOM Nagoya is scheduled to open on 30th January 2019 close to Hisaya Odori Station, just under a 20-minute subway ride from Nagoya Station. All rooms are double or twin rooms and feature more than enough space for luggage and other items. 

©The Okura Prestige Tower

Opened in 1962, The Okura Tokyo boasted an impressive reputation as one of the three great hotels (御三家, gosanke) of Tokyo. The hotel regularly hosted dignitaries and celebrities and its modernistic style was iconic the world over. In 2015 however the main building was demolished to make way for the 17-floored Heritage Wing due to open on 12th September 2019 in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Guests staying in both the Heritage Wing and the new Prestige Tower will be treated to sweeping views over Tokyo that'll undoubtedly be the pride of anyone's Instagram, and will have at their feet a wide variety of themed bars and restaurants ready to transport you to another era and corner of the globe every night. Additional facilities such as a tea ceremony room, a gym, a spa and banquet rooms to name but a few will be sure to keep you busy but should you want to explore the concrete jungle that is Tokyo there are three metro stations conveniently located nearby! Find out more here.

Vessel Hotel Campana Susukino will open in May 2019 in Hokkaido's capital city of Sapporo. This new branch will be Vessel Hotel's 23rd by the time of its opening and will as ever cater for travellers of all kinds with a number of multi-bed rooms - 296 rooms in all. Under 18s staying with parents or grandparents may also request an extra bed free of charge. Vessel Hotel Campana Susukino will sport a modern take on traditional Japanese design inspired by shо̄ji (障子, sliding doors) and washi (和紙, Japanese paper). A sauna on the second floor will provide relief after a day touring Sapporo and the surrounding areas. Vessel Hotel Campana Susukino is located in Sapporo's downtown Susukino area and is a mere five-minute walk from Susukino subway station, and from there a three-minute subway ride to the main Sapporo Station.  

Opening its doors in summer 2019 is Glamday Style Hotel & Resorts Okinawa Yomitan. Located just a 50-minute car journey from Naha Airport, the hotel is well-placed to explore the Okinawan mainland's south or its less-travelled north and is surrounded by both the sea and lush greenery. The deluxe and premium rooms are especially spacious and both feature balconies - you'll have all the space you need to admire the amazing view. The hotel's ambiance is cool and casual but also glamorous so expect beautiful room interiors. Venture out of your room and you'll find an infinity pool that becomes a serene night pool after dusk, a warm cafe lounge, a restaurant serving the best Okinawan cuisine has to offer and a bar stocked with local and foreign tipples guaranteed to round the night off on a high. Find out more here [Japanese only].

©Hotel Visichio Kyoto by GRANVIA

Set to open on 30th May 2019Hotel Visichio Kyoto is perfectly placed to explore Kyoto and beyond - only a two-minute walk from Kyoto Station! Even without having to board a train Kyoto and its many fascinating temples and other attractions are easily walkable. The hotel  has a wide variety of rooms able to accommodate everyone from single travellers to families - 423 rooms in all. There's also an in-house sentо̄ (銭湯, large communal baths) and sauna, gym and restaurant should you tire from your Kyoto adventure at any point. Find out more here.

Eleven new APA Hotels, including one large-scale hotel and resort in Osaka's Midosuji, are scheduled to open next year:
Kokkaigijidо̄mae - 19th March 2019, 500 rooms
Ueno Inarichо̄ Eki Kita - 19th April 2019, 129 rooms
Ibaraki Koga Ekimae - April 2019, 164 rooms
Komagome Ekimae - May 2019, 184 rooms
Osaka Umeda May 2019, 161 rooms
Higashi Shinjuku Kabukichо̄ Nishi June 2019, 217 rooms
Shinjuku Kabukichо̄ Chūо̄ - July 2019, 166 rooms
Ayase Ekimae - July 2019, 170 rooms
Yamanote Ōtsuka Eki Tower - August 2019, 613 rooms
APA Hotel and Resort, Midosuji Honchо̄ Eki Tower - September 2019, 917 rooms
Kyoto Eki Higashi - October 2019, 400 rooms

Two new Hotel WBFs are also scheduled to open next year:
Namba BUNRAKU - May 2019
Osaka Sky Tower - October 2019

Two new Hotel Intergates are also scheduled to open next year: 
Hiroshima - 15th January 2019. Find out more here.
Kanazawa 16th March 2019. Find out more here.

Two new Hotel Resols are also scheduled to open next year: 
Sakuragi-chо̄ Yokohama - 1st March 2019. Find out more here [Japanese only]. 
Akihabara - 1st April 2019. Find out more here [Japanese only].

Attractions

©Moomin Valley Park

The much-anticipated Moomin Valley Park will open to the public on 16th March 2019 in Hanno, Saitama Prefecture as a complementing attraction to the recently-opened, Nordic-themed Metsä Village. Moomin Valley Park will of course include the Moominhouse, several attractions based on the original books, live shows and greeting events with the characters, replicas of the bathing house and the lighthouse and the three-floored 'Kokemus' exhibition centre where visitors can delve into the mind of the Moomin creator Tove Jansson. Massive Moomin fans will have a blast in the park's gift shop, stocked with exclusive Moomin items not available anywhere else. Find out more here

Snoopy is moving! Formerly based in Roppongi for the last two years, Snoopy Museum Tokyo will be moving to Machida in the western outskirts of Tokyo and is scheduled to re-open in autumn 2019. The new museum will continue to introduce the art of Peanuts through original comic strips and other exhibits, as well as an exclusive collection of original items in the museum store for die-hard fans to get their paws on. Prior to the museum's official launch, there will also be a travelling exhibition in Osaka and Nagoya. Find out more here.

Anpanman too is set to move! The new Yokohama Anpanman Children's Museum will be re-opening in summer 2019 at a new site a couple of blocks away and closer to Yokohama Station. The museum will be twice as large as the current museum and will offer more participation-based activities for children and adults alike to enjoy. Shops, restaurants and large car parks will ensure you stay firmly rooted within the Anpanman universe. Find out more here.

Cool Japan Park Osaka will be a new state-of-the-art entertainment complex located in Osaka Castle Park as of February 2019, consisting of the "WW Hall", "TT Hall" and "SS Hall" theatres; each of these halls will have different capacities ranging in sizes from small, medium and large."KEREN", a dazzling showcase of modern and traditional Japanese music, theatre and dance will be the entertainment centre's first show, debuting on 25th February 2019. Find out more here.

From the 31st March 2019 British Airways will be offering direct flights from London to Osaka! The newly announced service will bring the number of daily flights operated between British Airways and its joint business partner, Japan Airlines, to 32 per week, making UK-Japan travel both easier, and more reasonable than ever, with return flights from only £599. Travel around Kansai in particular will be easier and more convenient for ever, and will be a perfect location for rugby fans to fly into for their onward travels to rugby host cities. Find out more here.

Events

©Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee Japan 2019

Did we mention that Japan is hosting the Rugby World Cup next year? From 20th September to 2nd November 2019 cities across Japan will host 20 teams all hoping to have their country's name engraved on the Web Ellis Cup. This will be the first ever Rugby World Cup held in Asia and the first time that the event will take place outside the sport's traditional Commonwealth and European heartland. The tournament's opening match will take place at Tokyo Stadium, and the final match will take place at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Other cities that will be hosting the rugby include: 
Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 
Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 
Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture
Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture
Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture
Oita City, Oita Prefecture
Toyota, Aichi Prefecture
Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture
Fukuroi, Shizuoka Prefecture
Find out more here and here.

©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

The small town of Ranzan in central Saitama Prefecture will be running Japan's largest lavender park from 1st June to 1st July 2019. Roughly 35,000 lavender plants will span close to 8 hectares and for enthusiasts there will be a variety of different sub-species for you to marvel at. There is also the possibility of a lavender festival, craft workshops, lavender picking, and the purchasing of locally grown/produced goods. The park will be a 35-minute walk from Musashi Ranzan Station on the Tо̄bu Tо̄jо̄ line. Find out more here [Japanese only]. 

If teamLab's 'Borderless' exhibition at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo caught your attention then check out teamLab's fascinating projects set for the end of this year and the beginning of next. The revolutionary art collective have a number of more natural settings in my mind for the next colourful exhibitions: 
teamLab: Digitized Lakeside and Forest – 1/12/2018 – 3/3/2019Metsä Village, Hanno City, Saitama Prefecture
teamLab: The Tree of Resonating Colors of Life – 1/12/2018 – February 2019, VenusFort, Odaiba
teamLab: Digitized Hiroshima Castle – 8/2/2019 – 7/4/2019  
Find out more here.

Yayoi Kusama, the artist that made polka dots BIG is currently hosting a fantastic exhibition titled, 'I Want You to Look at My Prospects for the Future: Plants and I' at the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo until 28th February 2019. This exhibition will showcase Kusama's botanical-themed works alongside a variety of her self-portraits. Find out more here.

Did you know that this year marked the anniversary of 160 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Japan. Either way, a UK Season of Culture will take place in Japan from 2019-2020, bringing together British and Japanese artists, technologists, researchers and business and providing them with opportunities to share state-of-the-art digital technology, including VR and robotics. Find out more here and here.

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