What's Trending in Japan?! Weekly Digest (11/12 - 11/16, 2018)

Are you sick of getting late news on the newest hot topics in Japan? Here's a quick and easy weekly digest that'll give you the scoop on the top 3 trends making waves on Japan's social media platforms! This week is focused on leisure activities in or near Tokyo: the world's first Harry Potter collaboration cafe, a hidden spa that's not filled with tourists, and all-you-can-eat CHEESE! Keep reading to find out what spots you should add to your Japan bucket list.


Japanese Culture

The Harry Potter Universe is Finally Getting an Official Theme Cafe

Theme cafes are a staple of Japanese culture, especially in the megacity of Tokyo, and over the years there have been limited-time theme cafes for countless popular media franchises, including Pokemon, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Alice in Wonderland, and more. Some theme cafes are even so popular that they become permanent establishments! 

A theme cafe devoted to Harry Potter, arguably the most popular media franchise in the world, seems like a no-brainer, but there has surprisingly never been an official one before... until now.

As of the 9th of November, you can find this cafe, known as the "Wizarding World Cafe", in both Fukuoka and Tokyo. Once you open up the menu, shown in the picture above, you'll notice that wafers with adorable character art of popular Harry Potter universe characters and animals come with every item on the menu, instantly jazzing them up.

While you're there, choose which house you belong to by ordering a drink! If you go together with friends, you can take turns picking each other's house! How well do you think your friends know you?

While we're on the subject of cafes, we'd like to introduce a really awesome cafe to you that'll be closing up shop in December. We've visited the cafe and talked to the organizers ourselves, so we know for sure that the cats at this cafe are treated fairly and all up for adoption. If you're curious and planning to visit Tokyo in November or December, check out the article below!

You'll Never Believe How Close This Hidden Spa is to Central Tokyo

A lot of visitors to Tokyo probably think that they have to give up rest and relaxation while they are in the bustling city, but that couldn't be farther from the truth! There are actually plenty of quiet and relaxing places within Tokyo, some of which are shockingly close to the bright lights and clamor of major areas like Shibuya and Shinjuku. 

One such place is Toshimaen Niwa-no-Yu, just 20 minutes away from the center of Tokyo by train. It offers lots of relaxation services and facilities, such as the Bade Zone pictured above. Set at roughly 35 degrees Celsius, it is a hot spring that you enter with your bathing suit on - a rarity for Japan. If you're looking for a whole body massage, the jacuzzis and aqua jets in this area promise a therapeutic, relaxing time!

The above picture is of the Onyoku Zone, in which you can enjoy bathing in natural hot spring waters while gazing at a gorgeous outdoor garden. Can you imagine how pretty it would look in the autumn, when the trees turn gorgeous reds and golds?

This facility even has a Rock Bathing Zone for those who prefer to sweat all their stress away while lying down! The temperature is set lower than regular saunas, so if you've never been able to stand the heat of a regular sauna, do give this one a try. When you've had enough of the heat, all you have to do is walk over to the neighboring Cool Room.

To complete your Japanese culture experience, hop over to the indoor restaurant, Ryokusuitei. You'll get to indulge in classic Japanese dishes like tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) and soba (buckwheat noodles) while gazing at the surrounding Japanese garden!

Since this is a hot spring facility, make sure that you read up on the manners and etiquette surrounding hot springs in Japan. The article below should do the trick!

Two Words: Unlimited. Cheese.

This specialty cheese shop just opened on the 19th of October, and it's already making waves on Japaense social media! Here, you can try cheese samples from all over the world. The selection will be changing constantly, but rest assured there will always be at least 40 varieties of cheese for purchase and tasting.

The most notable thing about this place, though, is definitely its all-you-can-eat cheese course! For just 1,680 yen, you can eat unlimited amounts of 20 varieties of cheese. If you're not quite hungry enough for all-you-can-eat, you can also order certain cheeses a la carte, or get one of the many items on the grand menu. Also, if you're in a hurry, you can buy some cheese to-go from the store.

Japan is home to many other all-you-can-eat offers that are a lot more peculiar than cheese. If you don't believe us, check out what sort of foods you can eat unlimited amounts of in the article below!

Bonus: 3 Must-Visit Autumn Leaf Spots in the Kanto Region for November

Japan is finally in its peak autumn season! This is the best time of the year to visit Japan if you love autumn-leaf viewing. For all you fans down in the Kanto region, which is home to popular tourist cities like the capital, Tokyo, we've filtered through all the so-so spots to come up with the top three fall foliage spots in the region to visit! Curious to find out if your favorite spot made the list? Take a look!