This competition has finished at the end of September. Prize will be sent to the winners.
Entry 1Kokuya Hotel Nagano:Traditional ryokan welcomes guest from around the world
Kokuya Hotel is located in historic Shibu Onsen near Jigokudani in Nagano, which is known for its nine famous old public baths, each with different effects on your body. The hotel was established about 400 years ago. Their well-known appreciation of wooden architecture is demonstrated in each guest room, which refl ects different architectural styles. To date, Kokuya has welcomed guests from 32 countries. They have six different onsen water sources and two of them spring from underneath the premises. Guests are encouraged to try out the different types of baths available here.
Entry 2Shibu Hotel: Feel relaxed in a traditional room with their omotenashi
At Shibu Hotel, their friendly staff welcomes you with a smile and sends you off with smile. Your stay will surely be filled with excellent omotenashi hospitality. This traditional ryokan is decorated to the brim with goods from the 1960s, which will make you feel like you have traveled back to the good old Showa period (1926–89). Dishes using fresh local ingredients such as rice and wild vegetables will satisfy your appetite, while its highquality onsen water will make you feel rejuvenated. Don’t hesitate to walk around the neighborhood wearing a Yukata, since it is absolutely normal here.
Entry 3Kanbayashi Hotel Senjukaku: Take a moment to meditate in the beautiful Japanese gardens
Located in Kanbayashi Onsen in the northwest part of Nagano, Kanbayashi Hotel is known for its two breathtaking Japanese gardens which are filled with 120 kinds of wild fl owers and trees that are over 100 years old. You can soak in the open-air bath in the forest while enjoying the views of an onsen fountain nearby. A natural cycling system keeps this rich onsen water continually fresh. A perfect place to unwind in nature, the two open-air baths are available for private use upon reservation. You can also find lots of wild monkeys enjoying the onsen at Jigokudani Yaen Koen, about 30-minute’s walk away.
Entry 4Nozawa Grand Hotel:Delicious local dishes with fresh seasonal ingredients
Nozawa Grand Hotel is located in Nozawa Onsen, one of Japan’s most popular ski resorts with various off-season attractions. You can choose either Western-style or Japanese-style guest rooms. Enjoy magnificent views from the open-air bath overlooking the onsen town underneath. Flowerbeds along the hill present guests different colors each season. Nearby attractions include old temples, Lake Hokuryu, as well as many onsen within walking distance. Local cuisines, such as Shinshu (Nagano) beef, carp sushi, and horse sashimi, are a feast for your eyes, as well as your tastebuds.
Entry 5Saito Hotel:Take a long holiday to explore various attractions and activities
The long-established Saito Hotel is located in the quiet mountainous countryside which offers various unique attractions during your stay. The hotel has sports facilities including an onsen swimming pool, a training gym and a beauty spa; and it’s a good idea to stay longer to maintain bodily health. Extra activities such as Kamikochi Highland trekking, local wine tasting, as well as sightseeing bus tours are also available, while live concerts are often held in the lobby area. Breakfast and dinner are offered in buffet style with 40 different dishes from Japanese, Western and Chinese cuisines.
Entry 6Ito Grand Hotel:Fresh seafood and onsen in a location few hours away from Tokyo
Ito Grand Hotel is located near the center of the popular Ito Onsen in Shizuoka. The town is home to an onsen fountain that produces 32,000 liters per minute of hot spring water. The hotel has a newly-renovated large bathing facility and three different open-air private baths. Gastronomic treasures from the oceans and mountains are sure to satisfy every guest’s appetite. Its vintage building evokes a sense of nostalgia, while their omotenashi will make you feel like you went back to the good old days of Japan.
Entry 7Hotel Katara Fukushimaya:Enjoy onsen resort in your own style
Want to enjoy both the onsen and the sea? Then Hotel Katara Fukushimaya is your destination. It is located in Atagawa Onsen on Izu Penisula, with every guest room facing the ocean. There are various options for rooms, from a suite which comes with a private open-air bath and foot bath, to reasonablypriced Japanese-style rooms. Breakfast comes as a buffet, but you can take your time to enjoy a dinner full of fresh local ingredients right in your room. Nearby attractions include Izu Animal Kingdom and Atagawa Banana Crocodile Garden.
Entry 8EBESA:A tour guided by locals for a unique experience of Nagano
When you visit the northern part of Nagano that includes Yamanouchi, Yudanaka Shibu Onsen-kyo and Shiga Kogen Highland, you can join unique tours offered by EBESA. All guides are local residents who know every detail of the region and its attractions. Their tours let you enjoy various experiences, from hiking to traditional performances.
Entry 9Jigokudani Yaen Koen: Meet adorable monkeys enjoying the onsen
Jigokudani Yaen Koen is a park where you can find monkeys bathing in an outdoor onsen. In winter, people call these bathing monkeys “Snow Monkeys,” and their adorable bathing action attracts tourists from all over the world. The park is close to several onsen towns including Shibu and Kanbayashi.
Entry 10Ito Onsen: Find your special spots around this attractive onsen town
Ito Onsen is a traditional and popular resort town only a few hours’ train ride from Tokyo. The Ito Onsen Ryokan Hotel Association provides information on events, activities and attractions in town, as well as information on unexplored destinations. It also publishes an informative magazine in Japanese, edited by local female writers. Visit www.ito.or.jp.
Entry 11Shimanchu MiRiKa: Okinawan Anime delivers a message to the future in Asia
Watch a special edition of this Okinawan animation where three little local girls send a message to the future through their fantastic adventures. This special edition is only available on OKAERI channel at www.okaerich.jp.
Entry 12Kiri-e: Fantastic paper works attract all generations
Kiri-e, or paper cutting art, is one of the renowned Japanese traditional arts. Finely cut Kiri-e art – which resembles colorful stained glass – is now transforming into modern art with new twists.
Entry 13Tokyo Great Cycling Tour: Explore Tokyo with a bicycle
Whether you are the first-timer or a frequent traveler in Tokyo, this tour is a great way to explore this gigantic metropolis. English-speaking guides will take you to various spots including the Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo Tower, Odaiba, Asakusa, and the fashionable Harajuku/ Omotesando areas. Bicycle tours will give you a different view of Tokyo and its many interesting interactions.
Entry 14Oasis Grill and Italian:Relaxing Italian restaurant in Ginza
Although trying Japanese food is the first priority during your stay here, nothing stops you from trying other dishes in this gourmet city. You won’t regret dining out in this cozy Italian restaurant in the center of Ginza, which offers both authentic Italian and multi-national dishes.
Entry 15Grand Park Hotel Excel Chiba: Stay at a hotel with an easy access to Tokyo and Narita
With easy access from Tokyo and Narita, this reasonable business hotel (with rates from 4,000 yen and free wi-fi service) has rooms ranging from single to triple, ideal for both business and family. Ask the friendly staff for information on nearby attractions.