Posts tagged with "Japan"

Miyagi Japan x Cherry Blossoms

BLOSSOM SEASON

With the advent of spring, Japan comesminto bloom with cherry trees blanketing the country with their signature pink pastel petals. In Miyagi, the northern Japanese prefecture known for its natural attractions, cherry trees begin flowering in mid-April, providing unique destinations for endless hanami (flower viewing) even if travelers miss the sakura in Tokyo.

The Mount Zao region offers several vantage points from which to witness the colorful blossoms. The city of Ogawara, which is a thirty-minute train ride from Miyagi’s capital, Sendai, is home to the famous Hitome Senbonzakura (translation: “one thousand cherry trees in a glance”). Trees line the grassy banks of the Shiroishi River, which travelers can view via a river cruise, or by wandering by foot through the scenic grounds. Visitors can also picnic under the trees and sample local street food.

Further up the river near Sendai University, the Funaoka Castle Park is one of the more popular spots in Miyagi for hanami. For easy viewing, there is a slope car that travels up and down the park to view the castle ruins, the area’s famous Kannon statue and the hundreds of blooming trees scattered throughout the grounds.

Further north in the city of Sendai, Tsutsujigaoka Park is a popular spot among locals to view cherry blossoms. The park boasts some unique cherry tree species, including the popular somei yoshino variety and the ukonzakura variety (turmeric cherry trees), which are a pale yellow color instead of the flower’s iconic pink. The park lights up at night as food stalls selling sake and street food pop up, while traditional paper lanterns are illuminated to create an intimate setting.

Mikamine Park is another park in Sendai popular with families, which can be easily accessed from the Nagamachi-Minami Station. Unlike most hanami areas, Mikamine Park has a play area for kids and while there are no food stalls nearby, there are plenty of spaces to have a family picnic.

One of Japan’s “Three Canonical Views,”
according to 16th-century Neo-Confucian philosopher Hayashi
Gahō, Matsushima Bay offers one of the best sites in Japan for
hanami, especially at sunrise. Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park offers uninterrupted panoramic views of cherry blossoms lining the bay. A quick thirty-minute train ride from the park will take guests to Shiogama Shrine, one of the most revered shrines in Miyagi, which lights up for two nights in April, allowing travelers a unique opportunity to view the shrine and cherry blossoms at night.

In the northern region of Sanriku Coast, Hiyoriyama Park at the peak of Mount Hiyoriyama offers not only a beautiful place to view the cherry blossoms, but also holds historical significance for the area.

Overlooking the Kadonowaki and Minamihama residential districts of Ishinomaki City, where more than 500 people lost their lives during the 2011 tsunami, viewpoints around the park display photos of the views before the disaster, giving the viewer an understanding of its true magnitude.
Kawatabi Onsen
offers relaxing views of the cherry blossoms in Northern Miyagi. This hot spring village features trees all along the
Yuzawa River that are lit up at night. Travelers should check out all of the nearby onsens for a relaxing retreat or take a train through the nearby Naruko Valley to view the lush forests. For more information on Miyagi, please visit
www.visitmiyagi.com

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Vaughn Lowery, jean jackets, denim jackets, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Of The Best Japanese Streetwear Brands Of Today

What was once one of the best kept secrets in menswear is now the topic of discussion when speaking about streetwear fashion. We’re talking about Japanese Streetwear brands. Over the past years many have become trendsetters, innovators and risk takers all while delivering high-quality products. 

If you’re familiar with Japanese Streetwear brands, you’ll most likely find plenty of your favorite brands below. If you’re foreign to all of this, prepare to be introduced to a brand new definition of style. Sites like CultEdge.com are among the best for you to know more about Japanese streetwear brands. Here is a list of 5 of the best Japanese Streetwear brands of today. 

NEIGHBORHOOD

Considered one of the OGs of Japanese Streetwear brands, NEIGHBORHOOD has been in the game for well over 25 years. Created by Shinsuke Takizawa (Shin) back in 1994, the brand was part of the original Harajuku streetwear scene of the early ’90s that helped birth labels you will find in this list such as BAPE, UNDERCOVER and WTAPS. NEIGHBORHOOD draws inspiration from historic motorcycle subculture and is best known for its authentic selvedge denim that is manufactured to specific specifications and customized with natural washes resulting in a wide variety of finishes.

mastermind Japan

Founded in 1987, mastermind Japan is known for two distinct traits: using the color black on virtually everything and their iconic Skull and Crossbones logo. Subtle in design, mastermind still finds ways to think outside the box. Inspired by the punk and goth scene, mastermind Japan prides itself on the quality of their products and the detail that goes into them. That being the case, most mastermind Japan products are sold at high price tags. Masaaki Homma (owner) closed the brand’s doors back in 2013 but soon thereafter opened up shop once more. In 2017, the brand celebrated its 20th anniversary by launching a global label named mastermind WORLD. This marked a resurgence of the label which resulted in mastermind JAPAN and mastermind WORLD working side by side while releasing collections for their own respective markets. 

A Bathing Ape (BAPE)

Arguably the most known Japanese Streetwear brand from this list, BAPE was founded back in 1993 by NIGO®. What started off as a brand that mostly sold graphic tees, BAPE eventually became a powerhouse that sold everything ranging from denim, jackets, toothbrushes and condoms. Yes, condoms. That said, some of BAPE’s most known items include their Bapesta sneakers, their shark hoodies, and the use of camo on a wide range of their products. BAPE has a very strong following that ranges from trendy teenagers to consumers who also dabble in high-end fashion. 

fragment design

Founded by the godfather of Japanese streetwear, Hiroshi Fujiwara, fragment design is easily recognized by its lightning bolt logo. Known for being a part of many notable collaborations, Fujiwara tends to keep the changes and alterations at a minimum when working on collaboration with other brands. Often times, the simple addition of the lightning bolt logo is more than enough to create a highly-coveted collaboration (see fragment design x Air Jordan ). Talk about brand recognition!

WTAPS

WTAPS, pronounced double-taps, was founded by Tetsu NIshiyama back in 1996. Before that, Tetsue was actually a protégé of Shin (founder of NEIGHBORHOOD) back in the early ‘90s when he started the FPAR t-shirt brand. WTAPS is inspired by authentic military designs. The brand fuses those authentic military designs with streetwear sensibilities and contemporary perspectives to create the aesthetic of their products. If you ever go to Japan, you will find that WTAPS is as popular as Supreme. Much of their product results in long lines on release days that sell out at a rapid pace. 

Kusama, NYBG, Cosmic Nature, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine

Yayoi Kusama x New York Botanical Garden

New Work by Celebrated Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama  The New York Botanical Garden Announces Highlights of 2020 Exhibition

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, Featuring New Work by Celebrated Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama

On view May 9‒November 1, 2020. Tickets go on sale February 26, at nybg.org/kusama 

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has announced highlights of its expansive 2020 exhibition KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), including new experiences and immersive installations, four of which will debut at the Botanical Garden. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view May 9 through November 1, 2020, the exhibition will be installed in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, across the Garden’s 250 acres, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building.

Tickets for the landmark presentation go on sale February 26, 2020, at nybg.org/kusama. Visitors to New York can easily reach the exhibit in 20 minutes from Grand Central Terminal in Midtown via Metro North to the Botanical Garden Station. They can also take advantage of the Exclusive Grand Hyatt New York Hotel & Ticket Package. The property is located next to Grand Central and visitors can book online at grandhyattnewyork.com, using the code NYBG. They’ll receive 10% off the nightly room rate at Grand Hyatt New York, two round-trip Metro-North Railroad tickets to NYBG and two KUSAMA All-Garden Pass tickets.

New Kusama Works Debut

The exhibition reveals Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s Nakatsutaya seed nursery. Multiple installations will be on view, including her signature mirrored environments and organic forms, colossal polka-dotted sculptures of flora, and mesmerizing paintings of plants and flowers and their diversity of colors and patterns. Several of these works are newly completed and will be shown along with archival works that have never been publicly exhibited, and more that will be on view for the first time in the United States.

Among the new works debuting are: Flower Obsession (2020), Kusama’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse where visitors apply coral flower stickers throughout the interior; Dancing Pumpkin (2020), a monumental, 16-foot-high sculpture presented on the Haupt Conservatory Lawn; Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart (2020), an immersive outdoor installation responding to changing light throughout the day and seasons; and, I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), a brightly colored, 13-foot-high biomorphic form with a yellow face and polka dots.

Complementing the artworks on view, Garden horticulturists will create spectacular in- and outdoor displays through the seasons. Glorious displays of tulips and irises in spring transform into masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall. Kusama’s plant-inspired polka-dotted sculptures will be installed across the Garden in dialogue with meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and other plantings. In the Conservatory, stunning floral presentations will bring one of Kusama’s paintings on view in the Library Building to life through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, chrysanthemums, and other colorful annuals. In fall, displays of meticulously trained kiku (Japanese for “chrysanthemum” and one of the country’s most heralded fall-flowering plants) will create a dramatic finale for the exhibition.

Sketchbooks, Paintings & Polka Dots

The Exhibition will include works from throughout Kusama’s prolific career and multifaceted practice. On display in the Mertz Library Building, her sketchbooks from adolescence signal the beginning of Kusama’s connection with the natural world that has inspired her aesthetic and practice across mediums. This early work also portends avant-garde ideas she developed while living in New York between 1958 and 1973, as a contemporary of Joseph Cornell, Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, and Claes Oldenburg, and continues to explore rigorously today. The Library Building presentation will also feature examples of her botanical sketches, paintings, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblages, and recent soft sculpture and canvas works depicting flora and their limitless variety of patterns. Life (2015) provides an immersive experience as visitors navigate a circular space enclosing polka-dotted forms with mosaic surfaces. Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017) comprises a mirrored cube reflecting an infinity of polka-dotted pumpkins. It is accompanied by a statement by the artist that reads, in part, “My pumpkins, beloved of all the plants in the world. When I see pumpkins, I cannot efface the joy of them being my everything, nor the awe I hold them in.”

Public Programs   

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will be accompanied by a roster of public programs for all ages, including lectures; film screenings of Kusama Infinity (2018) and Kusama’s Self-Obliteration (1967); fun-filled Polka Dot Picnics in spring; and Pumpkin Power Weekends in October with activities amid thousands of pumpkins of myriad shapes and sizes. Artist-designed merchandise will be available for purchase at NYBG Shop and there will be special Kusama- inspired menu items offered in the Hudson Garden Grill and Pine Tree Café. The KUSAMA All-Garden Pass ticket includes access to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building, Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Flower Obsession (2020) obliteration greenhouse, and garden features, including the Rock Garden, Tram Tour, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and grounds. The KUSAMA All-Garden Pass + Infinity Mirrored Room ticket includes KUSAMA All-Garden Pass access, plus timed entry to the Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart immersive outdoor installation. Tickets go on sale for NYBG Patrons and Members on February 19, 2020, and to the general public on February 26, 2020.

Visit nybg.org/kusama for additional ticketing information and pricing and to sign up for e-mail alerts on the exhibition.  The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is easy to reach by Metro-North Railroad, bus, or subway. The Garden is open year- round, Tuesday through Sunday and Monday federal holidays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please call 718.817.8700 or visit nybg.org The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458

Kumano Kodo, 360 MAGAZINE

Kumano Kodo Trek

Kyoto-based tour operator Oku Japan has launched a premium, upgraded version of its classic, self-guided Kumano Kodo trek, just in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 
The 5-day trip along the Kumano Kodo offers travelers the opportunity to experience a traditional Japanese pilgrimage walk — a spiritual adventure that explores Grand Shrines, historic villages and the ancient, forested mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula — in high-end comfort and style.
 
The new premium itinerary includes a stay at the freshly-refurbished Fujiya Ryokan, which features five Onsen (hot spring-fed) baths and traditional tatami mat rooms with their own private, outdoor baths. Located in the village of Kawayu, Fujiya Ryokan is situated alongside Sennin-buro, a famous open-air river bath that invites visitors to dig their own hot spring Onsen. The high-end upgrade also boasts a night on a private island at Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima, a modern, boutique retreat with sea-view rooms that include open-air, private baths and a chef-designed culinary menu that celebrates locally-caught seafood.
 
Hike the Yagyu Kaido trail, tracing the footsteps of warriors who walked this route to a historic sword-making village, and take in the scenic seaside on a train ride from Nara to Kii-Tanabe. Follow the pilgrimage trail from Chikatsuyu through small villages and forest trails over the sacred Kii Mountains to the Kumano shrine at Hongu, one of the three ‘Grand Shrines of Kumano’. Later, journey to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot-spring villages in Japan, and on to the port town of Kii-Katsuura with its island-studded bay and lively, early-morning fish market.
 
Guests will enjoy daily luggage transfers, most dinners and breakfasts, round-trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka, detailed daily itineraries and walking directions, and local support from Oku’s branch along the Kumano Kodo in Chikatsuyu.
 
5 -days; Priced from $2,3070 per person.
For more information, visit okujapan.com
 

About Oku Japan
Oku Japan is a Kyoto-based tour operator specializing in sustainable guided, self-guided and custom tours exploring remote regions of Japan. The very first travel brand to offer self-guided walking trips along Japan’s ancient pilgrimage routes, Oku continues to honor its passion for Japanese culture by fostering meaningful community partnerships, encouraging cross-cultural connections among locals and travelers, and forging new adventures in Japan’s still-undiscovered territories. For more information, visit www.okujapan.com.

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TOYOTA – WOVEN CITY

At CES, Toyota revealed plans to build a prototype “city” of the future on a 175-acre site at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

Called the Woven City, it will be a fully connected ecosystem powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Envisioned as a “living laboratory,” the Woven City will serve as a home to full- time residents and researchers who will be able to test and develop technologies such as autonomy, robotics, personal mobility, smart homes and artificial intelligence in a real-world environment.

“Building a complete city from the ground up, even on a small scale like this, is a unique opportunity to develop future technologies, including a digital operating system for the city’s infrastructure. With people, buildings and vehicles all connected and communicating with each other through data and sensors, we will be able to test connected AI technology… in both the virtual and the physical realms … maximizing its potential,” said Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation.

Toyota will extend an open invitation to collaborate with other commercial and academic partners and invite interested scientists and researchers from around the world to come work on their own projects in this one-of-a-kind, real-world incubator.

“We welcome all those inspired to improve the way we live in the future, to take advantage of this unique research ecosystem and join us in our quest to create an ever-better way of life and mobility for all,” said Akio Toyoda, president, Toyota Motor Corporation.

For the design of Woven City, Toyota has commissioned Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, CEO, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). His team at BIG have designed many high-profile projects: from 2 World Trade Center in New York and Lego House in Denmark, to Google’s Mountain View and London headquarters.

“A swarm of different technologies are beginning to radically change how we inhabit and navigate our cities. Connected, autonomous, emission-free and shared mobility solutions are bound to unleash a world of opportunities for new forms of urban life. With the breadth of technologies and industries that we have been able to access and collaborate with from the Toyota ecosystem of companies, we believe we have a unique opportunity to explore new forms of urbanity with the Woven City that could pave new paths for other cities to explore.” Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director, BIG.

Design of the City

The masterplan of the city includes the designations for street usage into three types: for faster vehicles only, for a mix of lower speed, personal mobility and pedestrians, and for a park-like promenade for pedestrians only.  These three street types weave together to form an organic grid pattern to help accelerate the testing of autonomy.

The city is planned to be fully sustainable, with buildings made mostly of wood to minimize the carbon footprint, using traditional Japanese wood joinery, combined with robotic production methods. The rooftops will be covered in photo-voltaic panels to generate solar power in addition to power generated by hydrogen fuel cells.   Toyota plans to weave in the outdoors throughout the city, with native vegetation and hydroponics.

Residences will be equipped with the latest in human support technologies, such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. The homes will use sensor-based AI to check occupants’ health, take care of basic needs and enhance daily life, creating an opportunity to deploy connected technology with integrity and trust, securely and positively.

To move residents through the city, only fully-autonomous, zero-emission vehicles will be allowed on the main thoroughfares. In and throughout Woven City, autonomous Toyota e-Palettes will be used for transportation and deliveries, as well as for changeable mobile retail.

Both neighborhood parks and a large central park for recreation, as well as a central plaza for social gatherings, are designed to bring the community together. Toyota believes that encouraging human connection will be an equally important aspect of this experience.

Toyota plans to populate Woven City with Toyota Motor Corporation employees and their families, retired couples, retailers, visiting scientists, and industry partners. The plan is for 2000 people to start, adding more as the project evolves.

The groundbreaking for the site is planned for early 2021.

Interested in partnering with Toyota on the development of Woven City? Visit: Woven-city.global

Spotlight: Japan 2020

With major hype surrounding the upcoming summer games in Tokyo, Japan is poised to have its best year yet. Plus: a roster of luxury hotel openings and exciting destinations beyond the popular tourist track.

Opening in January, the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono will offer a refined hideaway in one of Asia’s best ski destinations: Hokkaido. In May, the HOSHINOYA Okinawa will open in the Yomitan Village, an archipelago of serene coral reefs, as a sleek beachfront hotel with an innovative fusion restaurant.

A 90-minute bullet train from Tokyo is the Tohoku region, an ideal addition to an adventurous Japan trip. Known for its bustling capital city, Sendai, and dramatic landscapes allowing for myriad outdoor activities, Tohoku is home to off-beat culture and festivals, like the Namahage Festival in February.

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WENGIE × EILL

POP STAR WENGIE RETURNS WITH A VIBRANT REMAKE OF “TALK TALK” AND DRIVES FANS WILD WITH HER REVAMPED MUSIC VIDEO

Teams up with J-pop artist eill
Just when you thought you couldn’t love a song any more, YouTube sensation turned music artist Wengie revives her K-pop bop “Talk Talk” featuring J-pop artist eill with a colorful music video. The new and improved single will make fans dance like nobody’s watching between the vivacious beats and vibrant background in the music video. This version of the music video is completely new and reshot fully on location in Japan featuring a lively aesthetic that sparks a mystical take between the two artists.
 

eill has an increasing influence in the J-pop world collaborating on the song “721” with Korean hip-hop artists Rheehab and Ocean. Rolling Stone Japan magazine picked eill as “the top 20 artists to pay attention to internationally and domestically”.  She released her debut album “SPOTLIGHT” last month to rave reviews and her music has been on a rotation at more than 30 different radio stations across Japan since the release. The recent music video was also featured and played on “POWER PUSH” by Space Shower TV and “Recommend”  by M-ON! With outstanding feedback, the hit reached number 1 for two weeks in a row on the All Japan Radio On-Air chart. eill also participated as a composer/lyricist in a popular Korean girl’s group EXID’s 2nd single with Taku Takahashi (m-flo).
 

David Amber, the songwriter and producer for global superstars like TWICE, SF9 and NCT, who originally wrote “Talk Talk” makes a cameo in the new music video showcasing his guitar skills.
 

Wengie: “I loved J-pop music when I was younger so to be able to collaborate with such a talented Japanese artist named eill was such an experience she really added a unique twist to ‘Talk Talk’ that I was surprised with and loved! She’s so cute and fun, just really down to earth and having David be part of the music video was really the icing on the cake.”
 

eill: “Working with Wengie felt so surreal. She is so wholehearted and does everything with passion. There are not enough people like her in the world. She is a great artist and really loves her fans.”
 

Creating a channel back in 2010, Wengie has amassed a loyal YouTube following of over 19 million subscribers across her channels, over 25 million combined followers among all social channels and over 2.1 billion views total on YouTube. Since then, she has released seven singles and music videos, each of which have seen huge success and she will continue releasing new music this summer.
 
ABOUT WENGIE

As one of the most influential YouTube stars and personalities, Wengie’s unique ability to deliver vibrant, informative, and highly-relatable content (including her wildly popular life “hacks” series) to a global audience—with signature quirk and humor—keeps her zealous ‘Wengiecorns’ wanting more. This unparalleled closeness and trust with her fans has cemented Wengie’s power as a leading content collaborator for both high-profile and emerging brands. Wengie has leveraged her prominence on YouTube to tackle other creative realms—she recorded her first music album in China in 2017 and is the voice of the fourth “Powerpuff Girl” on the Cartoon Network. With Wengie’s single ‘Oh I Do’, hitting #5 on the Honggebang charts in China, her music career continues to blossom with each music release skyrocketing to the top of international music charts. She has accumulated over 26 million views on YouTube with her first three releases of “Oh I Do,” “Cake,” and “Déjà vu,” which continues to grow daily. Following those, Wengie dropped her holiday anthem “Ugly Christmas Sweater” song, which hit the #1 spot on YouTube’s trending list and garnered nearly two million views in its first day, and 8.8 million to date. Wengie’s first collaboration “Mr. Nice Guy” features Filipino star musician Iñigo Pascual, which reached #1 on the OPM Top 10 Chart in the Philippines! Wengie’s single “Empire” featuring k-pop superstar Minnie of (G)I-DLE debuted at number 22 on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales Chart week of November 2, 2019. Wengie’s music channel “Wengie Music” has over 75 million total views (as of December 2019). For the majority of her life, she has had multicultural musical taste, listening to mainly J-pop, C-pop, and K-pop. Wengie’s main goal in music is to create fun music that is “East meets West” / K-Pop-fused-with-American-pop, which is essentially all the things she loves. Her musical influences include BLACKPINK, TWICE, ITZY, HyunA, Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift. Wengie is managed by RARE Global, music by Asian Agent, and her agency is UTA.

Tamara Yomour, illustration, japan, miyagi, 360 MAGAZINE

Miyagi Prefecture

From its dramatic coastline cliffs to its picturesque mountain ranges, Japan’s lesser-known Miyagi Prefecture boasts some of the country’s best terrain and natural environments for adventure travel and fitness aficionados.

As the cherry blossoms begin to bloom across Japan this spring, Miyagi will get ready to host two of the biggest marathons in the country. The Tohoku Food Marathon in Tome City is one of the biggest events in the region with hundreds of participants, including many from overseas. Inspired by France’s whimsical Marathon du Medoc, the multifaceted event features participants in costumes from their favorite shows and video games. The marathon events begin on April 25, 2020 with a relay marathon, followed by a full marathon, half marathon and several smaller races for teenagers and children on the April 26, 2020. Multiple food festivals are held in conjunction with the races, allowing runners and spectators to sample regional delicacies including over a hundred varieties of sake.
For those looking for more of a challenge, the Sendai International Half Marathon will be held in Miyagi’s capital on May 10, 2020. The annual marathon hosts over 10,000 runners from around the world. The route begins in Kohshin Rubber Athlete Park, traversing the city’s parks, lush avenues and stadiums. The race has several divisions, including 5K and 2K races, and is accessible to those in wheelchairs.

From the big cities to the picturesque landscapes of mountains and forests, Miyagi’s title as the “Land of Contrasts” comes from the prefecture’s incredibly varied environments. One of the best way to experience its diversity is by hiking the Michinoku Coast Trail, one of Japan’s longest hiking trails. This 560-plus-mile trek runs from Fukushima to the Aomori Prefecture, passing through four of Miyagi’s inner regions. The most sought-after hiking location is the Northern Kesennuma Section on the Sanriku Coast, which features a scenic rocky coastline and the Ogama Hanzo Monolith and Dairiseki Coast, a shore composed of natural marble. 

Along the trail, hikers can take a break at Matsushima Bay, one of the great views of Japan, and paraglide along the bay’s iconic islands. At Shobutahama Beach, Takeshige Yamaya, a three-time paragliding national champion, offers tandem paragliding experiences. These experiences last around twenty minutes and offer incredible bird’s eye views of Matsushima Bay and, at higher heights, the city of Sendai and Mount Zao.

While the Michinoku Coast Trail and Matsushima Bay provide the best views along the coast, the Zao Hill Climb Eco event on May 24, 2020 is one of the best ways to see Mount Zao. Every spring, Miyagi Prefecture hosts this mountain biking tournament on two of Mount Zao’s roads: the Zao Echo Line and the Zao High Line. The challenging courses reach an altitude of 43,000 feet and a total length of 11.6 miles, starting from green terrain and ending at the snowy mountaintop. While many participants race, others go at their own pace to admire the incredible landscapes of Miyagi, including a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Asahi Mountain Range (only accessible from the peak).

North of Mount Zao, the Onikobe Ski Resort offers the best ski runs with a mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced slopes and boasts the longest ungroomed powder run in Miyagi. Skiers can also hit the slopes after dark, as night skiing is offered on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Many of the lodges feature on-site onsens – a cozy way to unwind after an eventful day of skiing.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com

engineers, Paolo Pininfarina, 360 MAGAZINE

Paolo Pininfarina

Born in Turin on August 28, 1958.

After graduating in Mechanical Engineering at Turin Polytechnic he began his career in Pininfarina in 1982 and in 1983 gained experience working at Cadillac in Detroit, USA, and then in Japan with Honda.

From 1984 to 1986 he was Quality and Reliability Manager for Cadillac’s Allanté project.

From 1987 to 1989 he was Program Manager at General Motors for the Engineering GM 200 project.

In 1987 he was appointed Chairman and CEO of Pininfarina Extra S.r.l., a Pininfarina Group company operating in the industrial, furnishing, architectural and nautical and aeronautical design sectors. Under his management, in a 25-year period Pininfarina Extra has developed about 500 projects and has consolidated relationships with prestigious international companies like Alenia Aermacchi, Bovet, Calligaris, Chivas Regal, Coca-Cola, Costa Coffee, Gorenje, Juventus, Lavazza, Motorola, Petronas, Samsung, Schaefer, Snaidero and Unilever.  

From 1999 to 2004 he has been a member of the Scientific Committee of Turin’s European Institute of Design.

In 2001 he became “Emeritus Participating Founder” of the ADI Foundation for Italian Design.

At the Pininfarina S.p.A. parent company he became a board member in 1988, from 2002 he has been a member of the Steering Committee and, again starting 2002, in his capacity as the head of the Quality System Department he contributed to the award of ISOTS/16949 certification to the Company, which took place in July 2003. On May 12, 2006 he was appointed Deputy Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A.

On August 12, 2008 he was appointed Chairman of Pininfarina S.p.A.

From 2011 to 2013 he was Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Farnesina Design Collection. 

On June 2011 France recognized him as “Italian Personality of the Year” for his contribution to the success of the electric car sharing program Autolib for Paris.

On April 2014 he was appointed President of the company network E.B.T. – Exclusive Brands Torino, of which he has been Vice President from 2011.

On April 2019, he was appointed Vice President of Automotoclub Storico Italiano (ASI), the most important Italian association of owners of historical vehicles.

Paolo Pininfarina
, 360 MAGAZINE
Japan, JNTO, 360 MAGAZINE

JAPAN’S TOP FESTIVALS IN 2020

With the arrival of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer, Japan is preparing for record numbers of tourists from around the world in 2020. Despite the high number of tourists heading to Japan, Japanese matsuri, or festivals, offer travelers an opportunity to escape the crowds and experience Japan’s rich cultural heritage alongside locals. A number of the country’s top matsuri will take place over the summer, allowing travelers heading to Japan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games an opportunity to experience Japanese traditions while traveling outside of Tokyo. 

Hifuri Kamakura Festival, Akita Prefecture, Tohoku

Taking place in the small farming town of Kakunodate, the Hifuri Kamakura Festival celebrates the Lunar New Year. Locals and tourists alike take part in the purification ritual, which involves twirling basketball-sized sacks of coal composed of rice straw above the head with rope. This tradition originated as a means for locals to rid themselves of evil spirits that may plague the year’s harvest, but today, the festival offers an opportunity for old friends and neighbors to catch up.

February 14, 2020

Kyokusui no Utage, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu

Held at the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, this annual festival recreates an aristocratic tradition from the Heian period. Poets dressed in Heian-style 12-layer kimonos sit amongst plum trees at the shrine and compose poems on narrow strips of paper, all while sipping from cups of sake that can be found floating down a man-made stream in the shrine’s garden. The poems are read at a recital later in the day. 

March 2020

Ningen Shogi, Yamagata Prefecture, Tohoku

90% of Japanese chess pieces, or shogi, are produced in the city of Tendo. Every year, as the cherry blossoms bloom, locals and travelers gather to watch a human chess game, or shogi battle, in Maizuru Park, where two professional chess players compete with humans dressed as samurai in place of chess pieces. The festival also features taiko (Japanese drum) performances and delicious local food specialties like yakisoba noodles and takoyaki fish balls. 

April 2020

Noboribetsu Hell Festival, Hokkaido

Noboribetsu is home to the famous Jigokudani, or “Hell Valley,” a volcanic crater locals believe resembles “hell on Earth,” due to the steam and boiling water that bubble out of small crevices in the frozen ground from the nearby volcano. This natural phenomenon also inspired the local villagers to start the tradition of the Hell Festival. Dressed up as yukijin, playful demons who protect the nearby hot springs, locals launch 24 fireworks into the air while three demons ritualistically beat drums. 

Thursday and Friday nights, June-July 2020

The Gujo Odori Dance Festival, Gifu Prefecture, Chubu

One of the most important dance festivals in Japan, the Gujo Odori Dance Festival consists of ten dances with corresponding songs, the most famous being “Kawasaki.” Originating over 400 years ago, this celebration is held over 32 nights, with the height of the festival, known as Obon, taking place from August 13-16, 2020. Based in the small riverside town of Gujo-Hachiman, locals and tourists dance together in a big circle all through the night to commemorate their ancestors.

July 13-September 7, 2020

Lotus Festival, Miyagi Prefecture, Tohoku

Instead of cherry blossoms, pink lotuses are the star of Lake Izunuma-Uchinuma, which transforms into a floral paradise each summer. The lake is so full of the perennials that visitors can barely see the water’s surface. Lake Izunuma Uchinuma is an incredibly popular destination for couples in the summer as travelers can take a romantic boat ride through the lotus blossoms. 

July-August 2020

Saijo Festival, Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku

A spectacle of lights, the Saijo Festival is a breathtaking festival with the main attraction being Danjiri, giant wooden floats, and mikoshi, portable shrines. Both are brought from local neighborhoods to float on the Kamo River. The main event takes place on October 16, when the Danjiri are assembled into a line on the river banks, allowing for the mikoshi to be moved across the banks to the Isono Shrine. 

Mid-October 2020ABOUT JAPAN NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANIZATION (JNTO)

As the official tourism board of Japan, JNTO is involved in a wide range of promotional activities to encourage international travelers to visit Japan. Through a variety of campaigns and initiatives, JNTO is inspiring more American travelers to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond, and is raising awareness of Japan in the lead-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For more information, visit us on our WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter, and Google+.

*Photo credit: Locals performing the purification ritual
(© Semboku City)