Each February, the former samurai neighborhood of Kakunodate comes alive with fire during the Hiburi Kamakura festival.
On Feb. 13 and 14 , thousands of participants descend on the town to take part in the historic purification ritual, which involves swinging burning sacks of charcoal on ropes.
Those who dare swing the flaming ball around their head make spectacular patterns in the night sky. It’s a traditional dance that marks the end of winter and the beginning spring, inviting good spirits to enter in the new season.
The town is found in Akita Prefecture, along the Kinokinai River, which sometimes freezes over. Along its banks you will find small Shinto shrines called kamakura, little igloos built by locals to make offerings to the spirits.
It’s an amazing spectacle that offers a window into Japanese culture and its traditional Shinto religion. Kakunodate is also one of the most famous examples of samurai architecture in the country, and you can visit some of the old buildings such as Ishiguro House. There is lots to see around town, including hundreds of cherry blossom trees, and it’s just three hours by train from Tokyo.
InterContinental Hong Kong is gearing up for its biggest renovation in 30 years; the hotel will close its doors April 20, before reopening as Regent Hong Kong in 2022. The transformation will position the hotel as one of the world’s most iconic, spanning all guestrooms, suites, bathrooms, public areas, restaurants, event venues and the façade.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
BOTANIUM SMART GROWERS Indoor gardening is a great way to grow your own food, improve air quality and add a touch of natural beauty to your living space. Botanium takes the hassle out of the process thanks to a smart hydroponic system that works without soil and is impossible to overwater, a great feature for those not blessed with green thumbs. You can even leave it alone for weeks while you travel, as it takes care of the plant for you. The growers work with a number of herbs and lettuce, vegetables such as tomatoes and chili peppers, and even orchids. Botanium also sells nutrient pipettes to give your indoor garden a health boost in order to grow more of your chosen produce. From $73. botanium.se
Hotels around the world temporarily closed their doors, while others host healthcare workers in support of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, hotels light up their windows at night with messages of love and hope for local communities.
Pasadena, California, is home to plenty of places to experience great art, but none so impressive as Norton Simon Museum. Nestled in an enclave of greenery along the city's famed Colorado Boulevard, this museum offers a peaceful retreat from the bustle of the city outside for connoisseurs to experience the work of some of the world's most famous artists.