13 New Experiences That Will Draw You Back to Japan Immediately

Comico Art House Yufuin

From September 7, Australian travellers have been allowed into Japan. Though the country had been open to us since June 10 of this year, we needed to produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of flying, be part of a tour group, and be under the capped limit of tourists allowed to enter the country that day.

“In countries worldwide, international exchange is growing,” Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had on August 31. “To participate in these exchanges and to benefit from the weaker yen, we will raise the daily arrival cap to 50,000 from Sept. 7, as well as allow (tourists on) non-guided tours from all countries to enter the country.”

So, now that we’re allowed to move freely in Japan, what’s new that we can add to our next trip? Turns out, the country’s been busy. From a restaurant with the world’s first pasta robot, to an exhibition on Andy Warhol and a hotel with a DIY essential oils distillery, here’s everything that’s newly-opened and worth checking out in Japan.

Related: The Borders Are Open, So Why Are Australians Ignoring Japan?

Related: This Japanese Prefecture Offers an Island-Hopping Adventure With a Twist

New Hotels in Japan

FUFU Nikko

Within walking distance of the Nikko Toshogu shrine, FUFU Nikko offers travellers an elegant retreat in a beautiful green oasis. All 24 individually designed guest suites overlook the surrounding forests and come with private indoor or outdoor onsen (hot spring) baths. Though within easy reach of bustling Tokyo, Nikko feels like a different world.

With trekking and cycling already drawing visitors in, adventure-seekers can also try their hand at rafting across Lake Chuzenji, canyoning through Urami Falls or trekking and cycling.

FUFU Nikko


Minimalist digs Korinkyo are located minutes from Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen Garden. Onsite, there’s an aroma distillery where guests can create essential oils to be used in-room or while relaxing in the hotel’s rooftop sauna and bath. Its 18 guest rooms have simple wood and stone finishes and a neutral design palette, allowing the surrounding nature vistas to take the spotlight.

Comico Art House Yufuin

Near the coastal city of Oita in Kyushu and located within the stunning yet little-known Comico Art Museum Yufuin, Comico Art House Yufuin is new luxury accommodation, designed by Kengo Kuma. It comprises the ‘Tsuchi’ house and the ‘Take’ house, both inspired by Satoyama culture, where nature and community are deeply intertwined. Both houses boast private onsen, traditional Japanese gardens and spacious rooms with tatami mat floors.


Slated to open in 2024, YOTEL Tokyo will be centrally located in Ginza, one of Tokyo’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The 244-room tech-savvy hotel will showcase YOTEL’s signature robotic concierge YOBOT, motorised SmartBeds and touchless guest experience from reservation to check-out. YOTEL Tokyo is part of YOTEL’s wider expansion plans across Japan including Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. 

Yotel Japan

Club Med Hokkaido Kiroro

Club Med Hokkaido Kiroro will be an all-inclusive winter resort, 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport, set to open in time for the 2023 season. Conducted in two phases, Club Med Kiroro ‘Peak’ will open in December exclusively for guests aged 12 and over, where guests can kick back in a cosy yet hip environment with access to a natural open-air hot spring and spa. Open for all ages, Club Med Kiroro ‘Grand’ will follow in 2023 and will house a wide selection of family-oriented facilities.

Club Med Hokkaido Kiroro

New Arts and Cultural Experiences in Japan

teamLab ‘Planets Tokyo’

The latest immersive experience launched by teamLab, ‘Planets Tokyo’ sees guests walk through water installations or take in the scents of 13,000 real orchids that ‘react’ by making space for visitors to walk around. Michelin-starred restaurant Vegan Ramen UZU Tokyo has also opened on site, dishing up bowls of signature flower ramen.


Andy Warhol Exhibition 

An exhibition dedicated to iconic pop artist Andy Warhol will run at Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art until February 2023. The exhibition will be divided into five main sections, including a ‘Warhol, Japan and Kyoto’ chapter, which looks at Warhol’s first visit to Japan in 1956 and features a collection of sketches, souvenirs and keepsakes that the artist collected during his two-week visit.

Nakanoshima Museum of Art

Nakanoshima Museum of Art in Osaka has opened after nearly 30 years of planning. Housed in a dramatic box shape structure with a jet-black exterior, the museum boasts one of Japan’s largest collections — more than 6,000 art pieces in its collection (with a bespoke sample of around 40 pieces on display at any time) by modern masters such as Magritte, Dali, and Japanese artists, including painter Jiro Yoshihara.

New Restaurants and Bars in Japan

Heiwa Doburoku Brewery

Established in 1928 in Wakayama Prefecture, legendary sake brewery Heiwa Shuzou has opened the doors to Heiwa Doburoku Brewery, offering up a modern take on the classic Japanese tipple in the heart of Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district.

Ginza Hachigo

The newest member of the exclusive Michelin-starred ramen club, Ginza Hachigo’s beautifully complex soup is clear, flavourful, and made by boiling down Nagoya Cochin chicken, duck, scallop, dried tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms, konbu (seaweed), heirloom onions from Kyoto and cured ham.

Gold Bar

Nestled next to the hotel entrance on the ground floor, Gold Bar at EDITION is a ‘social playground’ that brings another dimension to Tokyo’s bar scene. Cocktails on the menu include a Nippon Pale Ale, made with local chardonnay from Nagano, pisco, grappa, pineapple, IPA and nutmeg.

Gold Bar at Tokyo EDITION


A 90-minute drive from Kyoto on the shores of Lake Biwa, Michelin pedigree chef Coleman Griffin is in the kitchen at culinary distination Sower. In a minimalist space designed by Teruhiro Yanagihara Studio, Griffin takes inspiration from the landscape to craft innovative tasting menus using the region’s rich seasonal produce.


E Vino Spaghetti

E Vino Spaghetti has opened in Tokyo Station, welcoming people who have very little time for a lunch break. It uses the world’s first automated pasta cooking robot to make a meal in 45 seconds. AI-based image recognition technology is used to understand the status of pasta ingredients and pasta cooks in a specially developed frying pan using high-powered induction. The robot makes up to 90 meals per hour and even washes its own pans.

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