• The second round of the Oi-sen (throne game), which is one of the major shogi title matches, was held in Sapporo on July 13 and 14. Sota Fujii (17), a seventh-dan high school student, played against the Oi title holder Kazuki Kimura (47) in this hot match. Lunch meals ordered by players known as “shogi meshi” and snacks served during the match attracted as much attention as the match itself.

  • The season has begun again for the herring roe flavor enhancing process of sun-drying in Rumoi City, Japan's top herring roe producer.

  • With the arrival of July, tourist orchards in central Hokkaido's Yoichi Town and other places are crowded with people enjoying cherry picking. Orchards are taking precautions against the novel coronavirus, including placing antiseptic solutions on the premises and providing containers to put cherry pits in.

  • In June, Niseko Cheese Factory ( relocated its facility within Niseko Town and opened a new factory. In August, a café will be added to the facility, and customers can taste Japanese sake and wine together with dishes that highlight the deliciousness of cheese.

  • Beer gardens are now open in commercial facilities and other places in downtown Sapporo. However, some major locations, such as the Sapporo Odori Beer Garden, are closed due to the novel coronavirus. Each venue has come up with ways for infection control, such as the introduction of a self-service drink system.

  • On July 15, major tea retailer Lupicia will move its headquarters from its current location in Shibuya-ward, Tokyo to Niseko Town.

  • An establishment called Takibi (bonfire) Café, featuring mini-bonfires at each table has opened up in Nishi Ward, Sapporo. Word about the café is quickly spreading. The café had been closed temporarily to prevent spread of the new coronavirus, but reopened. “This is a totally new style of cafe, and I hope to make it a new Hokkaido specialty after the pandemic has subdued,” said owner Mr. Fujii.