Tuesday, September 24, 2019
When a local Tokyoite says they're heading to Shinjuku for the day, you know that means they're going to shop till they drop! But a shopping trip in downtown Tokyo doesn't have to wear you out; some of Shinjuku's best shopping can be found right outside the train station's ticket gates. Head towards the southern end of "Shinjuku Eki" (新宿駅, Shinjuku Station) and you'll find some of our most highly recommended shopping destinations: Shinjuku Mylord (pronounced "me lord") and Flags. Between these two shopping centers, you'll find everything you need to shop your heart out. Don't get lost down Shinjuku's myriad alleys and avenues, Mylord and Flags have fashion options and music, vinyl records and k-pop, anime goods and lunch offerings including sushi, ramen, and even gourmet vegan meals.
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Once a city found mostly on the itineraries of temple-lovers, Kyoto has changed into a go-to travel spot in the past couple dozen years. And it's no wonder; Kyoto's wonderfully historic streets and temples, largely unchanged for hundreds of years, alongside modern food and cafe culture, are all pretty tempting. Who doesn't want to stop in for a look at the glittering golden Kinkakuji Temple, the spectacular cliffside view of Kiyomizudera Temple, or the intriguing red gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine? With the incoming crowds, new hotels and transformed hotels are opening their doors around the city, including historical streets like Shinmachi, once a destination for kimono fabric wholesale. There are even hotels where you can return in the evening to experience Japanese tea ceremony, or even an entirely authentic performance from a maiko (Kyoto's geisha)!
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Uniquely high-quality Japanese chocolate, Mary's Chocolate has been producing sweet treats in Japan for almost 70 years now. They even played a huge role in bringing the fun of Valentine's Day to Japan - if it weren't for Mary's Chocolate, the chocolate-giving tradition might have never caught on! These days you certainly don't have to wait for Valentine's Day to check out their luscious chocolates, of course. The wafting smell of chocolate might just draw you right out of Tokyo Station the next time you pass through, pulling you into the Mary's Cafe across the street. Not only does this cafe have all the tasty drinks and snacks you'd hope for, you can even treat yourself to a custom chocolate bar there (or make one to bring to a friend). So don't waste your time with the waxy oversweet snacks at the convenience store. Next time you're craving a dose of chocolate, direct yourself towards Mary's Cafe (or even get some Mary's Chocolate in the airport on your way out of Japan).