Celebrating the season at The Haunted Chateau: Witches’ Halloween Tea

Celebrating the season at The Haunted Chateau: Witches’ Halloween Tea

Themed sweets buffets and “high tea” services are very popular in Japan, especially during different holiday seasons. I’d wanted to experience one for the last few years, but most are reservation-only and until now I’d failed at getting my act together in advance. Last year, most of them were canceled (for obvious reasons), but as of autumn 2021 they’re back–and this week I headed out for the HAUNTED CHATEAU: WITCHES’ HALLOWEEN TEA at The Strings Omotesando. When I arrived, the staff escorted me to the private dining room for the Haunted Chateau (below). Apparently, witches prefer to have high tea

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Vegetarian Kaiseki in Kinosaki Onsen

Vegetarian Kaiseki in Kinosaki Onsen

Last month, I celebrated my birthday with a trip to Kinosaki Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture. Kinosaki Onsen is one of Japan’s most famous onsen towns; it sits near the Sea of Japan, about three hours by train southwest of Kyoto. Kinosaki Onsen has two major draws: the town’s seven volcanic hot spring baths (which have various properties, based on the springs that feed them) and the food, which I’d heard was some of the best in Japan. The town is most famous for snow crab and Tajima (Kobe) beef, but when I heard that Nishimuraya Honkan (the traditional Japanese inn

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Hiking–and Riding–on Daishiyama at Kinosaki Onsen

Hiking–and Riding–on Daishiyama at Kinosaki Onsen

To celebrate my 50th birthday in July (2021), I headed five hours southwest to Kinosaki Onsen, a famous onsen (volcanic hot spring) town in Hyogo Prefecture. In addition to some of the best hot spring baths in Japan, Kinosaki is famous for the Japanese white storks that live and nest in the area (there’s a preserve within bicycling or walking distance of the onsen town)–and the large white birds also lend their name to the Stork Express, the train that runs between Osaka and Kinosaki Onsen Station. Although the “nature” portion of the hike wouldn’t start until I reached the

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