Japan Australia Pages

Monday, October 13, 2014

Winner of Japan’s World Heritage Sites Announced!

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition for a chance to win a copy of the book Japan’s World Heritage Sites by John Dougill.

There can only be one winner, and once again we used the traditional method of selecting a lucky person by randomly drawing a name out of a kabuto (samurai helmet).

I’m pleased to announce the winner is…..

*** Lola ***

Congratulations Lola, you will be contacted shortly so we can collect your details to pass on to the publisher.

Commiserations to those who did not win. Don’t worry as Japan Australia will be announcing another competition very soon. Stay posted!

Selecting the lucky winner from the samurai helmet
Selecting the lucky winner from the samurai helmet

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature
Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature by John Dougill, published by Tuttle Publishing is a great guide to Japan’s amazing collection of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is a must have book for any fan of travel in Japan and for people who are looking to explore the must see tourist destinations and attractions in Japan.

Japan is rich in both natural and cultural wonders, and UNESCO has registered 18 natural and cultural sites in Japan. The sites span the north of the country to the south, from the subarctic of the Shiretoko Peninsula in Hokkaido all the way down to the Ryukyu Kingdom in subtropical Okinawa.

I love exploring Japan and have been lucky in my over 10 years of living here to have traveled around most of the country. When I visit a region in Japan, one of the first things I look for are its World Heritage Sites. You could call me a temple, shrine, castle and garden explorer as these are typically the places that you will find me in. Japan has these in abundance as well as natural wonders which will leave you speechless.

This book at 192 pages outlines the World Heritage Sites of Japan with large colour photos and detailed text explaining what makes each site so special. It is filled with more than 350 colour photos, illustrations and maps. It is the perfect coffee table book to provide you with an introduction and outline of Japan’s World Heritage Sites. The description of each site contains practical information for the visitor as well as lush photographs and detailed maps. The book is an excellent guide for travel planning in Japan, or as a resource to use while exploring the country.

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature Cover

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature Back

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature Inside

From Mount Fuji to ancient Kyoto, readers of the book are introduced to temples, shrines, castles, gardens and the natural wonders for which Japan is famously renowned.

The author, John Dougill describes each World Heritage Site in detail, explaining why they were singled out by UNESCO. Dougill traveled the length of the country to visit all of the sites in Japan to research the book and describes his journey in detail in the book. Some of his favourite sites include:

Mount Fuji, Japan's tallest and most sacred volcano, it is considered the sacred symbol of Japan.
Himeji Castle, a monument from Japan's long feudal history. Also known as Egret Castle, because it looks like a bird taking off in flight.
Horyu-ji Temple, the world's oldest surviving wooden structure - a center of Buddhist learning that still serves as a seminary and monastery.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial, or Atomic-Bomb Dome - one of the few structures to partially survive the atomic blast in 1945.
The Ogasawara Islands, a remote archipelago of over 30 islands - that is home to rare wildlife and spectacular scenery.

This is the perfect book to keep at home and plan your next trip in Japan, inspire you to visit the country, or just to sit back in your comfy chair and let it whisk you away for a journey across the country.

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature is the perfect book for anyone interested in the must see attractions and sites in Japan. You can check out the book yourself on Amazon.com

*** Competition Time *** 

Japan Australia has a FREE copy of Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature to give away to one lucky winner, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below on the following topic, “What is your favourite World Heritage Site in Japan? And why is it your favourite?

We will select a winner at random and announce the result after the closing date.

Entries close on Sunday, 12 October 2014.

Note: Please do not comment as Anonymous, use a profile such as Google or WordPress, etc, so we can contact you if you are the lucky winner. We will also announce the winner in a future blog post, so stay tuned to Japan Australia.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your entries

*** Competition Has Just Ended ***

Japan’s World Heritage Sites: Unique Culture, Unique Nature

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mr Croissant Donut

Mr Croissant Donuts are back with a new series of croissant doughnuts. Earlier this year Mister Donut Japan released their first series of croissant doughnuts, which featured Chocolate and Custard Whipped Cream, White Chocolate and Caramel Whipped Cream and Maple and Angel Whipped Cream. The doughnuts are made from croissant dough that is fried and then oven baked.

The donuts were a big hit with their very light and flaky texture so a new range has hit the shelves of Mister Donut across Japan.

The new range features three new flavours; Apple & Custard Whipped Cream, Cherry & Cream Cheese Whipped Cream, and Crushed Marron Whipped Cream.

Apple & Custard Whipped Cream 

The doughnut contains apple and custard with a cinnamon glaze. It is available for ¥194 (USD$1.80).
Apple Custard Whipped Cream

Apple Custard Whipped Cream

Cherry & Cream Cheese Whipped Cream 

The doughnut contains cherry and cream cheese which is a fresh combination. It is available for ¥194 (USD$1.80).

Cherry Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

 Cherry Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

Crushed Marron Whipped Cream 

The doughnut contains crushed marron whipped cream with a marron chocolate coating. It is available for ¥194 (USD$1.80).

Crushed Marron Whipped Cream

Crushed Marron Whipped Cream
We tried the Cherry & Cream Cheese Whipped Cream and were very impressed. The sour cherry and cream cheese was an awesome combination and worked together really well. We will definitely be having this one again before these are taken off the shelf. 

Cherry Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
Cherry & Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

Mister Donut Japan Website

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Black Kuro Burgers from Burger King Japan

Burger King in Japan is Back in Black with the release of a new line of Kuro (Black) Burgers that look very interesting. You may remember that we posted about the Black Ninja Burger last year. These new burgers take the dark side even further with the addition of black cheese. Yes, that’s right, black cheese!

The burgers come in two varieties, the Kuro Pearl and the Kuro Diamond. Kuro (黒) means black in Japanese and these burgers certainly live up to their name with a selection of black coloured ingredients.

They went on sale on 19 September and will remain on the menu for a limited time. Here is a brief outline of the two burgers.

Kuro Pearl Burger (KURO パール) 

The Kuro Pearl Burger features black buns (made from bamboo charcoal), a black pepper beef patty, black cheese (also coloured with bamboo charcoal) and a black Chaliapin sauce (a garlic, onion soy sauce coloured with black squid ink). The Kuro Pearl Burger costs 480 yen (USD$4.40).

Kuro Pearl Burger

Kuro Diamond Burger (KURO ダイヤモンド) 

The Kuro Diamond Burger features all of the above with the addition of lettuce, onion and tomato as well as mayonnaise. The Kuro Diamond Burger costs 690 yen (USD$6.30).

Kuro Diamond Burger

Would you be willing to give these a try and turn to the dark side?

Read more on the Burger King Japan Website

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tsukimi Burger is Back for 2014

The Tsukimi Burger is back for 2014 at McDonald’s restaurants across Japan. The Tsukimi Burger is a sure tell sign that Autumn has arrived here in Japan and has long been a favourite of ours at Japan Australia.

Autumn is considered a time to enjoy delicious seasonal food, cooler weather after the summer heat, and koyo (紅葉) which is viewing of the colourful Autumn leaves. The Tsukimi Burger is only available for a limited time during the early Autumn in Japan and made its appearance back on the menu again on 3 September, 2014. It will remain on the menu until early October.

The Tsukimi Burger contains a beef patty, smoky bacon, poached egg and a special sauce (ketchup mixed with Japanese mayonnaise).

The Tsukimi Burger (月見バーガー) is named after the famous Japanese tradition of tsukimi (月見) or moon viewing, which is a festival honouring the bright Autumn moon. The poached egg in the Tsukimi Burger is said to resemble the Autumn full moon. Here is a breakdown of the egg and tsukimi. The egg yolk represents the bright Autumn full moon, while the egg white represents the white sky.

The Tsukimi Burger first made its appearance on the menu way back in 1991 and has been a popular seasonal favourite ever since.

The Chicken Cheese Tsukimi Burger also makes a reappearance this year after its successful debut last year. Joining the Tsukimi line-up in 2014 will be the brand new Kinoko Tsukimi Burger, which is available from 17 September.

Tsukimi Burger 

The original Tsukimi Burger as mentioned above contains a beef patty, smoky bacon, poached egg and a special sauce. It is available for 339 yen (USD$3.20).

Tsukimi Burger

Cheese Tsukimi Burger 

The Cheese Tsukimi Burger is our personal favourite and features the addition of cheddar cheese. It is available for 369 yen (USD$3.45).

Cheese Tsukimi Burger

Chicken Cheese Tsukimi Burger 

The Chicken Cheese Tsukimi Burger is back on the menu again and features a crispy chicken patty and two pieces of smoky bacon. It is available for 389 yen (USD$3.65).

Chicken Cheese Tsukimi Burger

Kinoko Tsukimi Burger 

The Kinoko Tsukimi Burger is new for 2014 and features the addition of mushrooms, kinoko in Japanese to the burger.


The burgers are only available for a limited time, so rush in if you want to give them a try.

Japan Australia did just that and headed out to our local McDonald’s to get reacquainted with our good old friend, the Cheese Tsukimi Burger.

Cheese Tsukimi Burger Set at our local McDonalds

The Cheese Tsukimi Burger

A close-up look at the Cheese Tsukimi Burger

Under the skin of the Cheese Tsukimi Burger

McDonald’s Japan Website

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Foods in Japan

It’s mid-August and summer is fully upon us now in Central Japan. It is really hot and humid with no relief in sight! We recently posted 10 Tips to Survive Summer in Japan. Now continuing on with our summer theme is our latest article about Summer Foods in Japan. Food is a big indicator of the season in Japan and changes depending on the time of year. Summer offers a variety of unique seasonal dishes that are intended to provide you with stamina and raise your energy levels (to withstand the summer heat) as well as cool you down. 

Here are a few of our summer favourites:

Hiyashi Chuka (冷やし中華) 

Hiyashi Chuka is a popular summer dish that consists of chilled ramen noodles topped with cold ingredients and a special sauce. Restaurants in Japan only serve it during the summer months but it is pretty easy to make at home yourself. You can also find it at Supermarkets and Convenience Stores across Japan. Popular toppings include tamagoyaki (cooked egg), boiled chicken, ham, cucumber, bean sprouts and tomatoes. The sauce is made from a combination of water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. It is a delicious dish that actually does help cool you down.

Hiyashi Chuka

Unagi (うなぎ) 

Unagi or Japanese freshwater eel is another popular summer food in Japan that has been eaten since the early Edo Period. A popular way to eat Unagi during summer is in a dish called Kabayaki. The eel is put on metal skewers and grilled over charcoal while being dipped and basted in a thick sweet soy sauce. It is usually served on a bed of rice like a don-buri. Unagi is believed to help withstand the hot and humid days of the Japanese summer, and is packed with both Vitamin E and A as well as protein. There is even a special day in mid-summer called “Unagi Day” in Japan for enjoying this wonderful summer stamina dish.

Summer Vegetable Curry (夏野菜カレー) 

Japanese curry or just kare (カレー) as it is called here is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. Curry was originally introduced to Japan during the Meiji Era by the British. It can be eaten all year round and is a lot sweeter than your traditional Indian Curry. In summer, it is enjoyed with a lot of seasonal summer vegetables such as eggplant, tomato and peppers.

Goya Champuru (ゴーヤチャンプルー) 

Goya or bitten melon as it is called in English is another popular summer food in Japan. It is the key ingredient in a famous Okinawan summer dish called Goya Champuru, which is a healthy stir-fry dish made with pork or spam, tofu, thinly sliced goya and scrambled eggs. Goya is a summer stamina food and provides you with healthy doses of Vitamin A and C as well as antioxidants.

Hiyayakko (冷奴) 

Hiyayakko is a chilled tofu dish that is a great summer appetizer or side dish. The chilled tofu is topped with sliced scallions, daikon radish, yuzu rind, sliced myoga ginger and mustard. Hiyayakko is perfect in summer as tofu is packed with B Vitamins which stimulate your metabolism and help provide you with energy to withstand the heat.

Kakigori (かき氷) 

Kakigori or shaved ice is a summer favourite in Japan and can be enjoyed anytime of the day to cool down. Kakigori consists of shaved ice that is topped with a flavoured syrup and sweetened with condensed milk. Some of our favourites include Ichigo Milk (Strawberry Milk), Blue Hawaii (Soda) and Matcha (Green Tea) with Anko (Sweet Azuki Beans). A lot of cafes and restaurants will serve Kakigori in the summer and you can always find it at one of the many summer festivals. Kakigori might not be as healthy or nutritious as the other summer food listed above, but on a hot summer day in Japan nothing beats it.

Matcha Green Tea with Sweet Azuki Beans
Matcha Green Tea with Sweet Azuki Beans

 What is your favourite Japanese summer food? Please share with us in the comments below.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Winner of Things Japanese Announced!

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition for a chance to win a copy of Things Japanese by Nicholas Bornoff and Michael Freeman (see the book review). We had an overwhelming amount of entries and lots of fantastic comments about your favourite Japanese traditional objects. The competition has come to an end and now it's time to announce a winner. The winner has been selected by a traditional ancient Japanese method (drawing names out of a “kabuto” samurai helmet) and will be contacted shortly.

I’m delighted to announce that the winner is…

*** Buzz Quantock *** 

Buzz we will need your details to pass on to the publishers for your free copy of the book. If you could please email us at japanaustralia2011@hotmail.com in the next few days we can get everything organised for you.

Thank you everyone for entering once again and Buzz, we hope you enjoy the book.

Drawing the winner from the samurai helmet

Things Japanese

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