Japan Australia Pages

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon in Japan

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon in Japan
Coca-Cola Japan has been busy in recent months with a wave of exclusive new products and limited-edition releases hitting the shelves. Hot on the heals of Peach Coca-Cola is the release of the world’s first frozen Coke slushie packs in Japan.

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon has been eight years in the making and will be a frozen version of the popular lemon-flavoured Coke. The drink will be sold frozen and unfrozen, allowing those who don’t want to drink it straight away to pop it into their freezers at home to enjoy at their leisure.

The slushie comes in a handy portable resealable pouch which is believed to be a world-first for frozen beverages. The packaging allows customers to massage the pouch to get their desired level of crunch, while also enjoying the taste of Coca-Cola with “a refreshing sherbet sensation”.

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon in Japan
Credit: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is banking on the drink being a hit and a summertime favourite that it is also going to release a range of Fanta frozen drinks in classic orange and grape.

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon will go on sale at stores around Japan at a recommended retail price of 130 yen (USD$1.20) from 16 April.

I will definitely be giving this one a try. How about you? Please leave your comments below.

Coca-Cola Japan 

Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon in Japan
Credit: Coca-Cola

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Takachiho Gorge Miyazaki

Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki
I have been writing this blog for over 10 years now and being based in Gifu, which is in the heart of Japan, I rarely get the chance to venture down south to Kyushu Prefecture.

Kyushu (九州) is Japan’s third largest island and is located southwest of the main island of Honshu. It is famous for its subtropical climate, active volcanoes, beaches and pristine nature. One of its most popular tourist attractions is Takachiho Gorge, which should be on everyone’s bucket list for Japan.

Takachiho Gorge (高千穂峡) in Miyazaki Prefecture is both a natural wonder and an important religious site to the Japanese. The impressive gorge was formed from lava from Mount Aso which over time eroded to create 80 ~ 100-meter-high cliffs. The ravine has countless waterfalls cascading into it, including the 17-meter-tall Minai-no-taki Waterfall. You can enjoy the beautiful gorge by hiking along its edge, but the best way to see it is up and close and personal in a row boat. You can rent a boat for ¥2000 for a 30-minute ride. The best time to visit is early summer for the vivid green leaves or fall for the tinted autumn leaves.

Takachiho Gorge
Image Source

Takachiho is associated with many myths and legends about the founding of Japan. Nearby Ama-no-Iwato Shrine (天岩戸神社) is a sacred Shinto shrine, where according to myth the sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave located on the shrine grounds. Another legend suggests that this is the place where Amaterasu’s grandson, Ninigi-no-Mikoto descended to earth to establish Japan’s imperial family.

Image Source

Please enjoy the amazing video below by Jon Bear, a cinematic videographer from Fukuoka in Kyushu, who recently visited Takachiho Gorge in Miyazaki and shot this video on behalf of us here at Japan Australia.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Ippin Japan Mall

Ippin is an online shopping mall for Japanese products with more than 150,000 Japanese products available on their platform from Japanese food & fashion to electronics & hobby goods. Their mission is a simple one, bring the widest selection of quality Japanese products to your doorstep, and by doing so, bring Japan to the world.

Ippin specializes in Japanese alcoholic products such as sake, shochu, whisky, and umeshu. With a vast online collection of more than 1350 Japanese sake products on their platform, they have one of the largest sake collections online. Some of their products are so unique that it can even be difficult to buy them in Japan such as Juyondai sake, known for its bold and expressive flavor.

Sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine has grown in popularity around the world in recent years. This fermented beverage is such an intrinsic part of Japanese culture that it is a common sight in Japan. Now, this rich element of Japanese culture can be yours with a simple click of a button. Visit the Japanese Sake section of the Ippin Japan Mall to view their extensive collection of sake.

Other Japanese alcoholic products available on Ippin include shochu, a distilled beverage typically made from rice, barley or sweet potatoes, umeshu, a plum wine liqueur made from ume (plums) which are steeped in shochu and sugar, and Japanese whisky.

Japanese whisky has been gaining international recognition in recent years with Nikka and Suntory distilleries producing world-class whiskies. Ippin has rare Japanese whiskies available such as Yamazaki 12 Years, Yamazaki 18 years, and Hibiki 17 years.

Ippin is a part of the C-Connect Corporation, a highly trusted company in Japan which amongst other activities operates Japan's No.1 printer ink retailing store, Ink-revolution.com.

Only working with trustable Japanese sellers, you know you are getting the finest quality product when you order from Ippin. Shipping is fast and convenient with customers getting their authentic Japanese products from Japan directly to their doorstep within a week.

Ippin is active in 16 countries with a different website for each country allowing you to shop in your preferred language. There are also different payment methods available allowing you to pay in your local currency. In Australia, you can find Ippin at https://au.ippin.com/

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Tour of Aichi Prefecture

A Tour of Aichi Prefecture
Aichi Prefecture is best known for Nagoya Castle and the Toyota Motor Corporation, but if you delve further under its surface you will discover many amazing and unique things about this wonderful part of central Japan. From Japanese food culture and umami as the home of sushi and matcha to innovation and technology from Japan’s first wooden robots to modern-day marvels, Aichi has it all with a vast array of attractions.

Join me as I explore the best off the beaten-path experiences that the heart of Japan has to offer.

Mizkan Museum (Handa) 

A fun and interactive museum where you can learn about the history of the famous Mizkan company as a vinegar producer in Japan. Traditionally Japanese vinegar was made from rice, but Mizkan being the innovative company that it is, decided to make vinegar from sake lees, a by-product of sake that is usually just thrown away. This new type of vinegar was cheaper to produce and tasted amazing giving sushi rice the kick it needed to elevate sushi to star status. In the early 1880s, as nigiri sushi was starting to take off in Edo (modern-day Tokyo), Mizkan saw a business opportunity and capitalized by quickly mobilising and shipping their amazing vinegar to Edo to catch the boom. The rest is as they say history. Today Mizkan produces vinegars, mustards, salad dressings, authentic Asian sauces, natto, pasta sauces and other food products, which are sold around the world.


Mizkan Museum

Japanese Restaurant Ittou (Hekinan) 

An amazing Japanese restaurant to experience the best food that the Chita Peninsula has to offer. Ittou specialises in traditional Japanese food made with the best local ingredients of the area. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch here prepared by chef, Nagata-san, who learned how to cook at the famous Tsukiji Tamura in Tokyo.


Japanese Restaurant Ittou

Hichifuku Brewing Corporation (Hekinan) 

The home of shiro shoyu (white soy sauce) in Japan with the Hichifuku Brewing Corporation being the only manufacturer of this amazing product. The amber-coloured sauce is organically made and keeps intact the colours of other ingredients it is cooked with unlike regular soy sauce. Hichifuku Brewing also manufactures shiro dashi (white broth) which is made with its famous white soy sauce along with a broth of carefully selected dried bonito, konbu (kelp) and shiitake mushrooms, giving umami to any dish. A tour of the factory will allow you to see and learn how these delicious products are made.


Hichifuku Brewing Corporation

Aiya Matcha Museum (Nishio) 

Although not as well known as Uji in Kyoto, Nishio City is the home of matcha (powdered green tea) with a history of over 800 years. The Aiya Matcha Museum gives you an interesting hands-on experience where you can learn how to differentiate between the different quality of matcha by colour, aroma, texture and taste, as well as make your own unique matcha blend, which you can grind with a mill stone, whisk up to perfection and enjoy in the traditional tea ceremony room.


Aiya Matcha Museum

Japanese Restaurant Genjiko (Minami Chita) 

Enjoy fresh seafood from the Chita Peninsula at this traditional Japanese-style Inn located in Minami Chita Hot Spring Village. The tasty dishes prepared by Genjiko feature a lot of fresh fish from Ise Bay including the famous Ise-ebi spiny lobster.


Japanese Restaurant Genjiko

Kameya Yoshihiro Confectionary (Nagoya) 

Wagashi are traditional Japanese sweets made of mochi and anko (red azuki bean paste) that were originally made to be enjoyed and counter the bitterness of matcha green tea. Nagoya established itself as a center for wagashi during the age of the samurai with the city home to many famous samurai warlords. One of the most famous wagashi makers in Japan is Kameya Yoshiro which was founded in 1949 and now has 17 shops around Nagoya. We experienced making Jonamagashi, fresh Japanese sweets designed to capture the colour and seasonal beauty of Japan. The wonderful experience included watching a certified wagashi master with 40 years of experience make a cherry blossom flower (spring), iris flower (summer), autumn leaf (fall), and chrysanthemum (winter), before trying our own hand at making a cherry blossom flower.


Kameya Yoshihiro Confectionary

Midtown BBQ (Nagoya) 

An American style BBQ restaurant in the heart of Nagoya in the Fushimi area. The steak & smokehouse make their own original BBQ rubs and sauces with everything cooked over fire. I enjoyed a fantastic lunch here specially prepared by the chef for our visit. The lunch included a A5 Black Wagyu Shiitake Mushroom Cheeseburger and BBQ Smoked Spareribs featuring an original BBQ sauce made with Hatcho Miso, a local variety of red miso. I really like how this restaurant combines American classics with Japanese umami through great local ingredients.


Midtown BBQ in Nagoya

Karakuri Dolls at Tsutamo (Nagoya) 

Japan is renowned for its futurist robots but did you know that these innovative marvels have their roots dating back to the age of the samurai? Karakuri Ningyo were Japan’s original robots made during the Edo Period (1603-1868) to entertain guests. These traditional mechanized puppets use only the power of springs or weights, and can do it all from accurately shooting arrows at a target to writing calligraphy and serving tea or sake to their guests. These days you can find them at the top of festival floats entertaining the crowds at local festivals. I was lucky to be able to learn all about the workings of these mechanical wonders at the traditional Japanese restaurant, Tsutamo in the Sakae area of Nagoya, where a 9th generation master craftsman of karakuri-ningyo gave us a lesson in all things karakuri.

Karakuri Dolls at Tsutamo

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (Nagoya) 

Did you know that the Toyota Motor Corporation started out in the textile industry? At the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya you can learn all about the fascinating history of Toyota from making innovative textile weaving machines to their evolution as a motoring giant. The museum utilizes and preserves the old factory and industrial heritage at the birthplace of Toyota in Nishi-ku, Nagoya. The interactive museum allows visitors to explore the wonderful history and technological revolutions of Toyota with over 3,000 real machines and moving exhibits spanning the modernization of Japan.


Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kyoto Journal: Japanese Culture Magazine

Kyoto Journal
Kyoto Journal is a quarterly publication that was founded in Kyoto in 1987 with the goal of covering Japanese and Asian culture. Its subtitle, “Insights from Asia”, reflects its commitment to local voices from all over Asia and promoting intercultural understanding. The award-winning magazine showcases life, culture and society not only in Japan by throughout the Asia region from a myriad of perspectives.

The publication is now the longest established independent English language publication in Japan with 75 high-quality print issues, 13 digital issues and several books.

Kyoto Journal (KJ) recently marked its thirtieth year with a return to print format. The latest edition, KJ89 fall/winter 2017, is a fascinating look at the artisan community in Japan and Asia, with an emphasis on the interdependent relationship between individual crafts people and businesses.

Cover of Kyoto Journal issue 89
Cover of Kyoto Journal issue 89

Picking up a copy of KJ89 it feels more like a high-quality book than a magazine and is something that can be revisited again and again due to the nature of its content. A highlight of the current issue for me was “Living Kagai Culture”, by Robert van Koesveld, where Robert delves into the role of local communities and businesses in supporting geiko (geisha) entertainers. I have a deep interest in traditional Japanese culture and in trying to help promote it and indeed keep the traditions alive in this modern world that we live in. This article takes a look at how a living traditional culture has evolved to survive in modern Japan without losing its true essence.

Living Kagai Culture by Robert van Koesveld

If you are not familiar with this magazine, do yourself a favour and take a look at it, I’m sure you will find it as hard to put down as I did.

You can order a copy of this fantastic publication via the Kyoto Journal website

Have you read Kyoto Journal before? What aspects of Japanese culture do you particularly enjoy? Please leave a comment below.

Credit: All photos copyright and courtesy of Kyoto Journal 

Kyoto Journal Insights from Asia

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