Posts tagged with "Japan"

travel illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Japan’s Most Unique Museums

With an incredibly rich history, it’s no wonder that Japan has more than 5,700 museums across its 47 prefectures; and with so many to choose from, travelers are bound to find some unexpected surprises among them. Below are some of Japan’s most interesting museums that travelers can visit, once travel restrictions are lifted.

Cup Noodles Museum – Kanagawa Prefecture
A fun destination for kids and adults, the Cup Noodles Museum in Kanagawa Prefecture is full of exciting activities. Along with interesting exhibitions, such as a replica of the shed where instant noodles were invented and a small collection of modern art pieces made from Cup Noodles, visitors can make their own personalized cup noodle at the My Cup Noodles Factory. At the My Chicken Ramen workshop, guests can make their own instant ramen noodles from scratch. The Noodles Bazaar also gives visitors a chance to try out nine different noodle dishes.

Towel Museum of Art – Ehime Prefecture
An incredibly unique institution, the Towel Museum of Art in Ehime Prefecture is the world’s first towel museum dedicated to the art of towel manufacturing. Inside, visitors can find galleries and displays showcasing intricate traditional towels, art made from towels and an exhibition on the towel-making process. The museum gift shop features a wide array of original goods and local products available for purchase.

TOTO Museum – Fukuoka Prefecture
Japan’s famous TOTO brand is best known for its bathware and in celebration of its 100th anniversary, the TOTO Museum was opened in 2017. The elegant two-story building leads visitors through the history of TOTO, especially focusing on the evolution of its toilets. From the first ceramic flush toilet seat that was developed in 1914, to modern toilets with bidets and heated seats, guests can learn about the company’s evolution, spanning more than a decade. While the museum’s signage is in Japanese, visitors can download the museum’s app for an English audio guide or to translate the signs.

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum – Saitama Prefecture
Located in the heart of the Omiya Bonsai Village, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum is home to more than 120 bonsai masterpieces and bonsai-related artifacts, such as woodblock prints, books, bonsai pots and more. Art pieces are selected in accordance with the season and around 50 pots of bonsai are always on display in the garden and gallery. After visiting the museum, travelers can wander around the village and check out local artisans and stores. The village was originally founded in 1925 when the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 forced bonsai nurseries and garden industry workers in central Tokyo to relocate.

Yokote Masuda Manga Museum – Akita Prefecture
The first manga-themed museum in Japan, the Yokote Masuda Manga Museum showcases the artwork from manga artists across Japan and the world. The museum houses around 400,000 original illustrations from around 100 artists in the permanent exhibitions. The museum also pays honor to the works of Takao Yaguchi, whose work helped highlight Akita Prefecture and attracted visitors. Guests can enjoy a large library of manga and read to their heart’s content for free.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit this website.

ABOUT 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.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its WebsiteFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Travel illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine

TREEHOUSES, SAMURAI HOMES & KIMONO RETREATS

With Japan on the top of many travelers’ bucket lists once travel restrictions are lifted, the country is expecting a tourism boom like no other. This has lead to the creation of many new hotels and resorts, particularly located outside of Tokyo and Kyoto. Along with new properties to open in 2021, many hotels that have opened in 2020 with unique experiences and offerings, and are eager to welcome international guests. Below is a sampling of some of the most unique hotels in Japan:

wanoi KAKUNODATE – Akita Prefecture-Opened March 13, 2020
Renovated from a historical storehouse, wanoi KAKUNODATE offers travelers a step back in time. The town of Kakunodate was known as “Little Kyoto” for samurai residences. Each of the three rooms at wanoi KAKUNODATE highlights this incredible history. The Nishinomiyake Bushigura room, inspired by the ancestor of the Nishinomiya family who was a highly regarded samurai at the time, echoes his story through its design, including tactile tools once used by samurai. The Nishinomiyake Gakkogura room was originally a storehouse for pickles. Guests can experience that history by taking a bath in a repurposed pickle barrel bathtub. The Tanmonogura room is located right next to the samurai residence street. It stands as the oldest of the three storehouses, originally built in the late Edo period.

The pickle bathtub in the Nichinomiyake Gakkogura room at wanoi KAKUNODATE (© East Japan Railway Company), Geoffrey Weill Associates, the Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Nordisk Hygge Circles – Mie Prefecture-Opening Spring 2021
Located in Japan’s Mie Prefecture amidst towering trees and roaring waterfalls, the Nordisk Hygge Circles is a new luxury campground. The campground is intended to be a healing space for guests, while providing a sustainable camping experience. The Nordisk Hygge Circles was designed by Japanese-Danish architecture team Third Nature, who won a regenerative tourism competition launched by Danish outdoor gear company Nordisk. The campsite will consist of three main areas: a rest area with reservable circular cabins and glamping tents, a “learning field” for nature-inspired excursions and workshops, and an area where guests can pitch their own tents.

Nordisk Hygge Circles in Mie Prefecture (© Third Nature, Structured Environment, Henrik Innovation), The Japan National Tourism Organization, Geoffrey Weill Associates, for 360 Magazine

Nipponia Shirataka Former House of Okuyama – Yamagata Prefecture-Opening April 2021
Renovated from a house that was previously owned by a distinguished Japanese family in the silk production business, this “kimono retreat hotel” offers guests an escape in the rural town of Shirataka while experiencing Japan’s kimono culture. The hotel will span 8,000 square meters with five different buildings and eight guest rooms. Owned by Tomihiro, a 400-year-old kimono fabrics store, the retreat allows guests to partake in traditional craft and local lifestyle activities.

NIPPONIA Shirataka Former House of Okuyama  (© 2021 NIPPONIA Shirataka), Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Treeful Treehouse EcoResort-Okinawa Prefecture-Opening Spring 2021
Located in Nago city, in the north of Okinawa island, the Treeful Treehouse EcoResort lives by the ethos of ‘sustainable luxury.’ Using minimal electricity produced solely by solar power, the resort features a number of sleek and design-forward treehouses that are seamlessly integrated with nature. One is completely suspended with 360-degrees views and contemporary interior design, built on the side of Genka River–considered one of the clearest waters in Japan. A passionate environmental project, the resort has engaged with Okinawa locals on various initiatives, including removing man-made concrete to restore the natural landscape, and re-building a watermill in an effort to “improve their area environmentally, culturally, and economically.”

Treeful Treehouse EcoResort in Okinawa (© Treeful Treehouse EcoResort), Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

Fauchon Hotel Kyoto-Opening March 16, 2021
A meeting of two worlds, the Fauchon Hotel Kyoto, from the famous French gourmet food company Fauchon, will stand as the company’s first hotel outside of Paris. The hotel will open in the center of Kyoto with 59 guest rooms and suites. Along with its iconic Pâtisserie & Boutique Fauchon, Fauchon Hotel Kyoto will be home to a variety of restaurants and bars, including Salon de Thé Fauchon and Le Grand Café Fauchon. The hotel will also be home to Le Spa Fauchon, which will offer a wide range of body and face treatments.

Rendering of the Grand Café at the Fauchon Hotel Kyoto, Geoffrey Weill Associates, and Japan National Tourism Organization for 360 Magazine

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit this website

Kusama with Pumpkin, 2010 for 360 Magazine, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner, Victoria Miro

NYBG Newest Installation

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) has announced the dates for its expansive 2021 exhibition, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature, featuring work by internationally celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition will include four experiences that will debut at the Botanical Garden. NYBG is the exclusive venue for KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature. On view April 10 through October 31, 2021, the exhibition will be installed across the Garden’s landscape, in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, and in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. Advance, timed, limited-capacity tickets for the landmark presentation go on sale to the public March 16, 2021.

The exhibition, related programs, and accompanying publication will reveal Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world and its countless manifestations, beginning in her childhood spent in the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery in Matsumoto, Japan. The exhibition will include works from throughout Kusama’s prolific career and multifaceted practice. By integrating seasonal horticultural displays, KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will further illuminate the power of nature that pervades the artist’s practice and dynamic body of work.

Multiple outdoor installations will be on view, including monumental sculptures of flora that will transform the Garden’s 250-acre landscape and visitor experience. Her signature polka-dotted organic forms and mesmerizing paintings of plants and flowers will also be presented. These vivid observations of biodiversity will be shown along with archival material that has never been publicly exhibited, and more that will be on view for the first time in the United States.

Among the works created for and debuting in the exhibition are:

  • Flower Obsession(2017/2021), Kusama’s first-ever obliteration greenhouse;
  • Dancing Pumpkin(2020), a monumental sculpture presented on the Haupt Conservatory Lawn;
  • I Want to Fly to the Universe(2020), a 13-foot-high biomorphic form presented in the Visitor Center; and
  • Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart(2020), an outdoor installation reflecting its environs.

Spectacular seasonal displays will complement the artworks on view, making each visit unique as new plantings, textures, and palettes are introduced. Glorious outdoor displays of tulips and irises in spring give way to dahlias and sweet peas in summer, and masses of pumpkins and autumnal flowers in fall. In and around the Conservatory, Kusama’s plant-inspired polka-dotted sculptures will be nestled among meadow grasses, bellflowers, water lilies, and other plantings. Stunning floral presentations will bring to life one of Kusama’s paintings on view in the Library Building through a seasonal progression of violas, salvias, zinnias, and other colorful annuals. In fall, displays of meticulously trained kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum, one of that country’s most heralded fall-flowering plants) will create a dramatic finale for the Conservatory displays.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, Ph.D., said, “For Kusama, cosmic nature is a life force that integrates the terrestrial and celestial orders of the universe from both the micro- and macrocosmic perspectives she investigates in her practice. Her explorations evoke meanings that are both personal and universal. Nature is not only a central source of inspiration, but also integral to the visceral effects of Kusama’s artistic language in which organic growth and the proliferation of life are made ever-present.”

In the Garden

On the Conservatory Lawn, visitors will encounter the monumental Dancing Pumpkin, a 16-foot-high bronze sculpture in black and yellow. Both playful and powerful, it will be sited in an immersive landscape of river birches, flowering plants, grasses, and ferns. The setting is inspired by the sculpture itself and the plants native to Kusama’s childhood home.

Visitors can marvel at the bright, purple-tentacled floral form with a vivid yellow primordial face of I Want to Fly to the Universe in the Visitor Center Reflecting Pool, and then behold Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2021), where soaring trees adorned in vibrant red with white polka dots will pop in the landscape along Garden Way.

Narcissus Garden (1966/2021), 1,400 stainless steel spheres each nearly 12 inches in diameter, will be installed in the 230-foot-long water feature of the Native Plant Garden. The reflective spheres will float on the water’s surface, moved by wind and currents, each mirroring the environment around them to captivating effect.

The exterior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart, a cube-shaped structure with a reflective surface, will be on view, revealing and repeating the changing landscape throughout the seasons. Interior access to the installation, which responds to natural light through colored glass throughout the day, is planned to begin in summer, per New York State and New York City guidelines for COVID-19. A timed-entry ticket will be required for limited-capacity access.

In the Galleries

In Flower Obsession, visitors may opt to apply coral-colored floral stickers to the glass-paned walls and interior objects. Over the course of the exhibition, the stickers will transform the greenhouse. Through works like this, Kusama employs the repeating patterns and forms of flowers to represent the concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity.

Three galleries in the Conservatory will be transformed into a horticultural celebration of Kusama’s self-proclaimed biophilia. My Soul Blooms Forever(2019), colossal polka-dotted flowers made of stainless steel and painted in dramatic colors, will greet visitors under the newly restored dome of the Palms of the World Gallery.

In the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, Starry Pumpkin (2015), adorned with pink and gold mosaic, will be featured in a woodland garden of foliage and flowers chosen to harmonize with the sculpture’s pink polka dots. Using Kusama’s vibrant painting Alone, Buried in a Flower Garden (2014) as inspiration, NYBG horticulturists have designed a living work of art to mimic the painting’s bold shapes and colors, with plantings that will change seasonally. The patchwork of shapes in the painting reads as garden beds seen from above.

In the Conservatory Courtyard Hardy Pool, the exuberantly colored and patterned sculpture Hymn of Life:Tulips (2007) featuring outsized, fiberglass flowers will be bordered by water lilies and other seasonal plantings. The buoyant flowers echo the stunning horticultural displays in the Conservatory.

Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity (2017) comprises a glass cube with two-way mirrors reflecting an infinity of glowing polka-dotted pumpkins within it. The work, one of Kusama’s signature mirrored environments, will be installed in the Visitor Center Gallery. Viewed from the outside, the installation 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.”

On display in the Mertz Library Building, Kusama’s 1945 sketchbook reveals the 16-year-old artist’s keen eye for detail in some 50 drawings capturing the bloom cycle of tree peonies. This early work is the product of a lifelong connection with the natural world that has inspired her practice across mediums, and also portends the avant-garde ideas she developed while living in New York City 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 feature examples of her botanical sketches, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblage boxes, and recent soft sculpture and paintings on canvas depicting flora and its limitless variety of patterns.

Kusama’s considerable body of performance works is represented in the exhibition by projected photographs of Walking Piece (ca. 1966), a performance in which Kusama walked the streets of New York wearing a bright-pink floral kimono and carrying an umbrella decorated with artificial flowers. Art historians have analyzed Walking Piece as a carefully calculated representation of the artist’s ethnicity and gender, one that was intended to demand attention. Interpretation will provide further context for the artist’s performance works.

From monumental polka-dotted pumpkin sculptures to abstract paintings that suggest cells magnified thousands of times, Kusama’s works suggest the patterns that can be observed all around us. In Patterns in Nature: Science Walk, a self-guided walking tour bringing together living plants and images of magnified laboratory specimens, visitors will explore the visible and microscopic patterns that can be found in nature, and how they reveal what makes species unique, as well as how all living things are connected at the genomic level.

Lauren Turchio, NYBG Vice President for Garden Experience, said, “When the exhibition had to be postponed last spring, Yayoi Kusama shared a moving message that read, in part: ‘The passion that I and those at The New York Botanical Garden have poured into this exhibition is still burning. Everyone, I hope you will wait.’ We are so grateful to our visitors for waiting for this once-in-a-lifetime presentation.”

Programs and Publication

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature will be accompanied by a roster of public programs for all ages, including pop-up performances by musicians, jugglers, and puppeteers; self-guided “Kids Get Cosmic” activities in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden; and more. Signature exhibition merchandise will be available for purchase at NYBG Shop.

Coming in summer 2021, a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, co-published with Rizzoli Electa, will include essays by KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature guest curator Mika Yoshitake, art historian Jenni Sorkin, curator Alexandra Munroe, and NYBG curators and scientists that focus on Kusama’s lifelong engagement with nature and the ways in which her interest in nature and plants has formed her career-long investigation of themes of the cosmos and the interconnectedness of all living things. Images of works displayed at The New York Botanical Garden will be featured.

Ticketing

Since reopening July 28, 2020, the Garden has incorporated safety measures based on best practices and guidelines from health authorities and government agencies. Admission to the Garden is currently available through the advance purchase of timed tickets.

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature tickets go on sale for NYBG Patrons beginning on March 9, 2021, Members on March 11, 2021, and the general public on March 16, 2021. The new, limited, timed-entry ticketing system staggers visitors’ arrivals and promotes social distancing. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required and will be confirmed by e-mail with the option to print or download a mobile ticket.

The following options will be available:

  • KUSAMA Garden & Gallery Passincludes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds and access to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, installations in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building and Ross Gallery, as well as interior access to Flower Obsession and Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity in the Visitor Center Gallery, plus the Tram Tour and Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (Non-NYC Residents)includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature outdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • KUSAMA Garden Pass (NYC Residents) includes access to all KUSAMA: Cosmic Natureoutdoor installations across the grounds, plus Garden features including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and outdoor collections.
  • A timed-entry ticket will be required to access the interior of Infinity Mirrored Room–Illusion Inside the Heart. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

NYBG will welcome Bronx Health Care Heroes and Bronx Neighbors to KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature with complimentary tickets. Communities in the Bronx are among the most severely impacted by COVID-19 in New York City. Through these community access initiatives, the Garden seeks to acknowledge, with gratitude, the dedication, strength, and resilience of Bronx frontline health care workers and residents. Additional information about these initiatives will be available in the coming weeks.

About The New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape, which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.

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KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is presented by:

Major Sponsors: Tom and Janet Montag and MetLife Foundation

Generous support provided by: Citi and Delta Air Lines

Digital experience provided by: Bloomberg Philanthropies

Additional support provided by: Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Exhibitions in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory are made possible by the Estate of Enid A. Haupt.

LUESTHER T. MERTZ CHARITABLE TRUST: Providing leadership support for year-round programming at NYBG

The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458. For more information, visit their website.

Setouchi Cominca Stays Recognized by UNESCO

Setouchi Cominca Stays, a unique collection of traditional Japanese kominca homes that have been lovingly restored and transformed into exclusive-use, modern vacation rentals, exemplify many of the 17 traditional Japanese architectural techniques now recognized on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Of the 17 newly enshrined techniques, many are on display for guests of the traditional kominka homes in the Setouchi Cominca Stays portfolio.  In the 19th-century merchant town of Uchiko in Ehime Prefecture, Setouchi Cominca Stays has preserved and restored two historic homes in the Yokaichi and Gokoku Quarters of Old Town.  As the two homes, named Hisa and Ori, are located in a preservation district, the restoration of their outer walls, which hewed closely to the traditional architectural style of the other preserved merchant buildings of Uchiko, are a prime example of the recognized technique of “restoration of traditional buildings.” And both houses’ roofs exemplify “roofing with kawara tiles,” while the method of Shinkabe-zukuri plastering used in both properties are examples of “decoration of traditional structures.

In the remote hamlet of Shobara in Hiroshima Prefecture, the Setouchi Cominca Stays collection is made up of three historic farmhouses – the 100-year-old Furosen, 150-year-old Kozako-Mori and 250-year-old Chojaya.  All three are one-story wooden houses with wooden posts that rest on natural stone foundations, with no bolts or screws used to secure the posts in place – an example of “traditional woodworking techniques for structures.”  And the Chojaya and Kozako-Mori homes both feature traditional thatched roofs, another of the newly recognized UNESCO techniques. The Furosen and Chojaya properties also exhibit traditional lacquer techniques on their floors and ceilings.

“Many kominka have been abandoned and properties left vacant are at risk of being destroyed; but this would mean an irreplaceable loss of culture and heritage,” says Mr. Yo Kimura, General Manager of Setouchi Cominca Stays. “Built using sophisticated traditional techniques, they cannot be rebuilt using modern materials once torn down. Instead, reimagining vacant kominka as new lodgings for travelers will help protect these residences and preserve a crucial part of the region’s history and culture. Our project seeks to revitalize the tourism industry in the Setouchi region by creating new opportunities for employment and drawing more visitors to these rural areas.” 

The new recognition of traditional Japanese techniques used in wooden architecture, announced by UNESCO last month, is Japan’s 22nd listing on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which also includes Japanese paper and cuisine.

ADVENTURES IN MIYAGI PREFECTURE

Known as the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is home to a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From cycling to surfing and even paragliding, Miyagi’s wide range of landscapes has no shortage of opportunities to try something new. Below are a few places travelers can dream of visiting when travel restrictions are lifted.

With a variety of biking trails to choose from, Miyagi is the perfect place to cycle through paths that stop by some of the prefecture’s most famous sights. For coastal views, Oshika Peninsula offers more than 40 miles of rolling hills and coastal panoramas, including a view of Kinkasan Island, a majestic island home to sacred deer that roam about the island freely. In the countryside, Marumori Loop is a popular cycling spot for locals. The low plains offer excellent views of the mountains, charming villages and rice fields. Experienced bikers can cycle through the mountainous wilderness of Mount Zao. These incredibly remote passes are grueling but are totally worth it for the beautiful scenery, secluded hot springs and countryside cafes.

Speaking of Mount Zao, the region is one of Miyagi’s best destinations for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders can opt to tackle the remote slopes on their own, but a guide is considered essential for anyone not trained in winter mountaineering and acquainted with the terrain of Mount Zao. Luckily, M’s Guide is a winter mountain guide service based at Sumikawa Snow Park and can tailor any outdoor excursion for guests.

For watersports, three-time paragliding national champion Takeshige Yamaya offers tandem paragliding experiences in Matsushima Bay, perfect for travelers to experience one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. Setravelndai and even Mount Zao can also be seen from the sky. In Sendai, Barefoot Surf offers a variety of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) and surfing excursions for any skill level.

Travelers looking to spend the night outdoors can stay at the Fukiage Kogen Campground in Northern Miyagi. The grounds are surrounded by scenic views of mountains and quiet forests. The campground even has its own hot spring, walking trails, pub and plenty of cute goats. While travelers can bring their own equipment, guests can be supplied with all the gear they need with advanced reservations.

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

PR-Social Media Ad Spending to Jump 15% YoY & Hit $105B in 2021

After a sharp fall in March, digital ad spending has witnessed a strong growth worldwide, as millions of consumers shifted from brick-and-mortar stores to webshops amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to data presented by Finaria.it, social media ads, as one of the fastest-growing segments of the digital advertising industry, are expected to continue booming and hit $105bn in spending in 2021, a 15% jump year-over-year.

Global Social Media Ad Spending Surged by 68% in Three Years

In 2017, brands and media buyers spent $54.4bn on social media advertising worldwide, revealed Statista Global Consumer Survey. Over the next two years, this figure jumped by 57% to $85.7bn.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a sharp fall in the global digital advertising industry between January and March 2020, the market recovered in the second and third quarter of the year. As a result, global social media ad spending is expected to hit $91.3bn this year, a 6.5% increase compared to 2019 figures.

The Statista data also revealed the social media advertising segment is set to witness the second-largest increase in spending in 2021, growing by $13.7bn in a year. Only the search advertising segment is expected to see a more considerable boost in spending and grow by 16% YoY to $172.2bn in 2021.

Statistics show the increasing trend is set to continue in the following years, with social media ad spending rising to $124.6bn by 2025.

Mobile Ads to Hit 80% Market Share

The average ad spending per social media user is expected to amount to $31.90 in 2020, slightly more than a year ago. In the next five years, this figure is forecast to rise to $36.67.

Statista data also showed that in 2017, 71% of the total social media ad spending was generated through mobile devices. Mobile advertising continued growing in the last three years and hit a 79% market share in 2020. Statistics indicate this figure is set to jump to 80% next year, and by the end of 2025, mobile ads will account for 83% of total social media ad spending.

Analyzed by geography, the United States represents the world’s leading market in social media advertising, expected to hit $37.8bn in spending in 2020, a 4.5% increase in a year. This figure is forecast to jump by 16% and reach $44.1bn in 2021.

As the second-largest market globally, social media ad spending in China is expected to grow by 11.3% YoY to $24.9bn in 2020. United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia follow with $5.7bn, $2.4bn, and $2bn, respectively.

Exploring Japan’s National Parks

Japan is home to 34 national parks — from Hokkaido in the north to tropical Okinawa in the south — all of which boast incredibly diverse landscapes, climates and natural phenomena. All national parks in the country are managed through a region-centric natural park system meaning local residents, governments and private organizations come together to preserve the natural environment and maintain visitor facilities of each park. This is led through a variety of local initiatives including the annual nationwide Natural Parks Clean-up Day, to maintain parks and keep them trash-free, a Junior Park Ranger program which educates young people about the importance of these lands, and Green Worker programs that educate the community about nature preservation. Below are a few of Japan’s dreamiest national parks which offer incredible national attractions throughout the year.

Akan-Mashu National Park, Hokkaido Region

A beautiful snapshot of thousands of years of natural forces at work, the extraordinary landscape of Akan-Mashu has been molded by millennia of volcanic upheaval. Dotted with multiple serene caldera lakes, the park offers visitors guided canoe tours to quietly explore Lake Kussharo and Lake Akan, and row upstream along the Kushiro River while watching for local fauna. Because of the area’s volcanic activity, several hot springs are located throughout the area, including Kawayu Onsen and Akanko Onsen. The largest Ainu settlement is located in Akanko Onsen and travelers can learn about the indigenous group at the Ainu Theater Ikor. There, visitors can watch a traditional Ainu dance that has been designated as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Towada-Hachimantai National Park, Tohoku Region

A diverse landscape full of contrasting imagery, Towada-Hachimantai National Park’s ecosystem has been shaped by ancient volcanic activity and bitter winters, making it a premier destination for ski lovers. The park is split into two regions which both offer an incredible array of activities, including a boat tour of Lake Towada, snowshoe trekking to Oyunuma Pond, and hiking across the Yakehashiri Lava Flow. Mount Hakkoda also offers a variety of activities, including skiing, hiking and the Hakkoda Ropeway, an aerial lift line which gives travelers ease of access throughout the area’s mountain range and offers exquisite winterscape views of the land. After an incredibly long day of exploring the snow-covered landscapes of this park, the region has a variety of onsen towns for travelers to unwind and relax, such as Tsuta Onsen and Nyuto Onsen.

Nikko National Park, Kanto Region

A two-hour train ride from Tokyo, Nikko National Park offers a serene escape from the city. Along with its incredible diversity in landscapes, ranging from valleys to highlands and canyons, the national park is also home to many UNESCO Heritage sites including Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan-jinja Shrine and Rinno-ji Temple. For guided experiences, guests can try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Chuzenji, cruise down the Kinugawa River in a gondola, hike to the secluded Sukkansawa Waterfall, and practice Zen meditation and waterfall purification rituals in Kirifuri Highland. However, travelers who prefer to go their own way will find no shortage of hiking trails and nature paths, including many that go through the Nasu Heisei-no-Mori Forest, the Numappara Marshland, and Mount Nikko-Shirane.

Daisen-Oki National Park, Chugoku Region

A massive area spanning three prefectures, mountains, forests, coastlands and islands makes up the Daisen-Oki National Park’s varied landscape. The region is so diverse in its geography that many stories from Japanese mythology were directly inspired by this park. In the Okinoshima Area, visitors can get incredible views of the coastline and the Oki Islands from Jodogaura Beach and take a walk along the coastline to see how it was sculpted by the sea and by ancient volcanic activity. Mount Sanbe and its surrounding areas are a great place to hike and the three ponds around the mountain provide an excellent opportunity to learn about marshland wildlife. The true crown jewel of the Daisen-Oki National Park is the Oki Islands Archipelago. Consisting of 180 islands created from volcanoes, the islands can be explored by boat, canoe or cruise with plenty of opportunities for snorkeling to meet oceanic fauna.

Aso-Kuju National Park, Kyushu Region

Filled with lush green fields, caldera lakes and towering mountains, Aso-Kuju National Park gives visitors a special place to relax. The landscape allows travelers to have unique experiences in the park, including paragliding around Mount Aso, horseback riding and a helicopter ride to see an active volcano. The Mount Aso area is home to the Aso Caldera, one of the largest calderas in the world and within its central crater is a bubbling acidic turquoise pool surrounded by a rocky area. Surrounding the caldera is the Kuju Plateau, a vast green field often used by farmers as a pasture for their livestock. Other natural attractions in the area include Kikuchi Gorge, which is home to various waterfalls and streams, Komatsu Jigoku, a natural fumarole zone near the volcano, and the Shirakawa Headspring, one of the water sources of the Shirakawa River.

For more information on the national parks of Japan, JNTO has a database including information on 34 parks on their website at www.japan.travel/national-parks.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/.

ABOUT 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.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit JNTO on its Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To contact the New York office of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) directly, please e-mail jntonyc_press@jnto.go.jp.

Akan-Mashu National Park

Aso-Kuju National Park

Daisen-Oki National Park

Nikko National Park

Towada-Hachimantai National Park

Kaelen Felix illustrates Japanese flag for 360 Magazine

The Art Museum That Spans 700 Islands

Thousands of pieces of artwork dot the landscapes that kiss the Seto Inland Sea in Setouchi both outside to greet visitors, and as well as lining the halls of every type of gallery housing. In addition there are, the finest works of priceless art, sword museums, interactive motorcycle design experiences and centuries old architecture best viewed by exploring charming villages on foot.

ART IN SETOUCHI

Setouchi spans over 700 islands, 12 of which are heavily used for the exceptional Triennale where visitors flock every 3 years to spy curious and creative works from artists ranging from emerging to renowned. Naoshima stands as the undisputed art island capital, boasting incredible contemporary installations year round along with a series of exhibits connected to the Benesse House Museum by the esteemed Tadao Ando. Featured here is also the Art House Project where empty houses have been turned into residential artworks.

2021 will welcome visitors, once borders open, with fresh content. Tokushima’s Otsuka Museum of Art celebrates its 75th anniversary as Japan’s largest permanent exhibition space with over 1000 reproductions of treasured Western artworks. Also, Inujima Seirensho in Okayama, set in a former copper refinery, uses “what exists to create what is to be” with unique industrial works. Beyond that, countless museums await across the region’s seven prefectures along with exterior installations that beckon to be photographed.

ABOUT SETOUCHI

Setouchi is comprised of seven prefectures and more than 1200 islands set on the Seto Inland Sea, an authentic side of Japan boasting a pleasant climate, stellar beaches, sparkling blue seas, a thriving art scene and delicious culinary creations.

teamLab's Forest of Resonating Lamps is an iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum as announced by 360 MAGAZINE.

JNTO x Japan’s Winter Illuminations

In celebration of the coming winter months, Japan lights up across the country with winter illuminations in cities, rural areas and natural attractions. While travelers can’t experience many of the illuminations due to travel restrictions this year, below are a few galleries of some of the most exciting events taking place this winter.

Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave by teamLab, Tokyo

An iconic exhibit from the MORI Building Digital Art Museum, teamLab’s Forest of Resonating Lamps – One Stroke, Ice Cave is an interactive exhibit featuring a seemingly endless arrangement of Venetian glass lamps. The arrangement of the lamps is mathematically determined and when a person stands still close to a lamp, it will shine brightly and cause a chain reaction with all of the surrounding lamps.

Sendai Pageant of Starlight, Miyagi Prefecture

On Jozenji-dori Street in Sendai, about 160 zelkova trees are decorated with over half a million LED lights. With the street Illuminated in a warm glow, it becomes the perfect place for a nice romantic walk while dining on tasty treats from local vendors and shops. In addition to the scenery, there is an ice skating rink and a light tunnel at Kotodai Park.

Ashikaga Flower Fantasy, Tochigi Prefecture

Ranked #1 by the Japan’s night-view critics, Ashikaga Flower Park’s Flower Fantasy is one of the most popular seasonal illuminations in the country. Running through February, the Ashikaga Flower Fantasy changes lights about every six weeks to match with a different theme. For November and December, the park puts on a Christmas fantasy and in January and February, the New Year is celebrated with the blooming winter peonies.

Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination, Mie Prefecture

The Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination utilizes millions of LED lights to bring even more color and brightness to the large flower park. Visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the lights from a special observation deck, “swim” through a sea of lights that shine in a huge field and navigate their way through various light tunnels.

Otaki Ice Festival, Saitama Prefecture

Located in the former Otaki village, the Misotsuchi Icicles are illuminated every night during January and February. While there are two other “Great Icicles” in the local city of Chichibu, the Misotsuchi Icicles are the only ones that are naturally occurring. Visitors can view the icicle light-up from the north side or along the river on the south side. The nearby Tsuchiuchi Camping grounds also serve hot food and drinks during the ice festival. (Note: Whether this event will be held is still being determined.)

For more information and to discover more of Japan’s local attractions, JNTO has put together a collection of the best of the country’s local treasures on a new section of their website for would-be travelers to browse through HERE.

For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, click HERE.

Corey Taylor – CMFT

Corey Taylor, vocalist for Stone Sour and Slipknot, charted extremely well with his first solo album “CMFT.”

The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Current Hard Rock Albums chart, No. 2 on Billboard’s Current Rock Albums chart, No. 6 on Billboard’s Vinyl Albums chart and No. 9 on Billboard’s Top Albums chart.

It also debuted in the top ten in Australia and Germany and in the top 20 in the United Kingdom and Japan. You can stream the album in its entirety by clicking right here, and you can purchase limited edition merchandise bundles by clicking right here.

Forbes praised the album, calling Taylor’s singing “the best it’s ever been” and saying he’s “easily among the best sounding rock singers alive.”

Kerrang! said Taylor’s album is just what 2020 needs, and The Daily Beast said the album “finds the singer broadening his horizons and showing off his considerable versatility.”

Taylor premiered the album at The Forum in Los Angeles for a globally streamed rock show, and you can see the performance of “Halfway Down” by clicking right here.

“CMFT” includes songs like “Culture Head,” “HWY 666,” “CMFT Must Be Stopped,” and the radio hit “Black Eyes Blue,” which is vying for No. 1 positions on the charts.

Some of the songs were recently written, but others were written as far back as Taylor’s teenage years. The entire tracklist is as follows:

1. HWY 666

2. Black Eyes Blue

3. Samantha’s Gone

4. Meine Lux

5. Halfway Down

6. Silverfish

7. Kansas

8. Culture Head

9. Everybody Dies on My Birthday

10. The Maria Fire

11. Home

12. CMFT Must Be Stopped

13. European Tour Bus Bathroom Song

You can learn more about Corey Taylor by clicking right here.