Harajuku Shopping

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Top: Vintage Slazenger | Mesh Long Sleeve: ASOS | Pleated Pants: Topshop | Puffer Jacket: Uniqlo | Fishnets: ASOS | Sneakers: NO NAME | Earrings: Curated Wholesale | Sunglasses: Dior

 

I recently went on a trip to Japan and when I was in Tokyo, I had a good shopping day in Harajuku. It was a bit cold so i went with a puffer jacket and mesh top underneath to keep warm. Some of my favourite stores were Kinji for vintage clothing and XLARGE for street fashion.

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Tokyo | Japan

Our last stop of the Japan trip was Tokyo! We spent a few days here and tried to cover as many areas as we could while fitting in a lot of shopping.

Tokyo was crazy busy with people, lights and noise. It was exactly what I imagined Japan to be like.

 

Taito

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We visited Ueno Park towards the end of cherry blossom season so there weren’t many left around. It is a beautiful park to walk around and we even went to the lake and took a swan boat out!

 

Harajuku

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Harajuku was my favourite area of Tokyo. The shopping and food were amazing – we spent most days in Harajuku walking along the streets shopping and eating.

Laforet was an amazing department store with really interesting styles. I also liked walking the streets around one of my favourite cafes, Bio Ojiyan. Other cafes and restaurants to visit in Harajuku are Cafe Na for green tea lattes, and Harajuku Gyoza for fantastic gyoza!

 

Chiyoda

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We visited Chiyoda for a spa treatment at Mandarin Oriental, which was phenomenal, and walked around the area. This was very different to Harajuku and Shibuya – I would say it is a good deal quieter.

 

Shibuya

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Shibuya was another area we spent a fair amount of time in. I visited Shibuya 101 quickly but found it to be overhyped – Laforet was much more my style. It was still fantastic to walk around and there was so much going on – there are also quite a few nice bars to visit. Coins Bar is a fun foreigners bar and the club Womb is really fun for great music and dancing.

If you’re like me and struggle to find allergy-friendly food or are vegan, check out Little Bird Cafe. They make fantastic gluten free food and also have quite a few vegan options.

 

 

My final, overall tips for travelling in Japan would be to get the JR train pass if you’re travelling to different cities. We had to travel from Okayama to Tokyo on the Shinkansen and if we didn’t have the rail pass, we would have had to spend a few hundred dollars to get there. There are different areas you can cover for different periods of time so look up the one that suits your trip the best!

Another important thing to note is not to rely on people knowing English, especially if you’re travelling outside of Tokyo! Learn the basics: arigato (thank you) and sumimasen (excuse me). Also download google translate so you can use it offline. Something that saved us on this trip was using the camera on google translate to translate Japanese writing – it was an absolute lifesaver to read menus and signs, even though it wasn’t always 100% accurate!

Finally, if you can, get pocket wifi. It is portable wifi you can carry around and is super useful to find your way in Japan, which can be a bit difficult!

 

It’s an incredibly fun and busy country with so much tradition and advancement all in the same cities. Overall, it was a fantastic experience!

 

Leah x

 

Osaka | Nara | Kyoto | Naoshima | Toyko

Naoshima | Japan

Naoshima was the highlight of my trip. It is a little island of the coast of Japan that is dedicated to architecture, artwork and sculptures. It is a short train and ferry ride to the island (about an hour) from Okayama and well worth the trip.

 

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We rented bikes and rode around the island to the different galleries. I would highly recommend renting electric bikes, the entire island has massive hills that would have been a struggle if our bikes weren’t electric.

 

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The Benesse House was a beautiful gallery full of installations inside and sculptures surrounding it.

 

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The Chichu Art Museum had almost interactive installations which you could walk through. It was really interesting because some of them you had to take your shoes off and remain completely silent. It was quite an experience!

 

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I was told that on weekends and during the summer you may have to line for hours for the museums. We were very lucky and went mid-week and the weather was overcast so there were no lines for anything. So if possible, try to visit the island during the week!

 

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I went into this not knowing much about the artwork but this was the one thing I did know about – Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin. It was everything I had hoped for!

 

I would recommend spending more than one day on the island as there is so much to see. It is possible do go there as a day trip (I did) but you won’t get to see everything the island has to offer. There are many types accommodation available from hotel to camping but get in early as they tend to book out!

 

Leah x

 

Osaka  |  Nara  |  Kyoto | Naoshima

Kyoto + Day Trips | Japan

Our next stop was Kyoto – it was our first busy city of the visit. The streets were full of people and music, it was a lot of fun at night!

 

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In Kyoto we decided to try out a themed hostel and chose Book and Bed. It is pretty self explanatory – beds in little capsules among the books. It was not the most comfortable nights sleep but it was a lot of fun and a new experience!

 

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We went to the 1 Michelin star sushi restaurant Sushi Iwa for dinner in Kyoto. It was an amazing experience and still affordable considering the incredibly high quality. You can easily just order single nigiri and sushi and have a great, affordable dinner. I ordered the Chefs Menu which came with sashimi, nigiri, soup and dessert and every single element was delicious. And it was Steve Jobs’ favourite restaurant in Kyoto!

 

Arashiyama

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On a mini day trip I went to Arashiyama to visit the bamboo forest. It’s only 15 minutes via train from the Kyoto Station so it is very easy to get to. Walking through the bamboo forest was beautiful if somewhat crowded. There was also a beautiful temple, Tenryuji Temple, which had a lake with koi fish and cherry blossoms throughout the gardens.

 

Inari

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I also went to Inari to see the Fushimi Inari-taisha and the famous orange tori gates. I recommend you try and get there early in the morning, by afternoon it’s absolutely packed!

 

Leah x

 

Osaka  |  Nara  |  Kyoto | Naoshima

Nara | Japan

Nara was our first day trip from Osaka. The first thing you notice is the deer – they are the focal point of Nara and there are pictures of deer everywhere. It is a really nice town with beautiful parks and temples. The town has a large buddhist influence so there are a lot of beautiful buddhist temples to visit.

 

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The deer were beautiful and friendly. I had heard stories that they could be aggressive but I didn’t experience that at all. They were actually incredibly polite – if you bow at them they will bow back! And if you want to get close to the deer I recommend buying some deer biscuits to feed them!

 

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Nara Park was beautiful – it is so big it’s overwhelming! I went to the Yoshikien Garden which was a small moss garden. It was beautiful to walk though and was free for tourists which was a bonus!

 

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The Todaiji Temple in Nara Park was once one of the Seven Great Temples and also houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana or Daibutsu in Japanese. It’s definitely worth visiting – the Buddha is as tall as the temple is – it’s amazing and not something that you can really capture in a photo.

 

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Next up: Kyoto! Check out my first stop in Osaka!

Leah x

 

Osaka  |  Nara  |  Kyoto | Naoshima

Osaka | Japan

I am currently mid-way through a trip through Japan and thought I would start sharing some pics and things I have been doing along the way.

Osaka was my first stop. I have never been to Japan so it was a massive culture shock to me. It was a nice, somewhat quiet city with nice parks. The train system was hard to grasp at first. My only tip is to ask the train conductors – they are so helpful! If you are ever lost in Japan, many people are willing to help you just have to ask!

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We saw our first cherry blossoms in the Osaka Castle Park and they had just started to bloom!

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The Osaka Castle was phenomenal – it was so hard to capture its beauty in a photo. I highly recommend if you are in the area to go see it. It is surrounded by a beautiful park and moat.

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The Osaka city centre was very busy – unfortunately we didn’t get to spend too much time there but there was some good shopping. The Umeda Sky Building was really nice to go to to see a birds eye view of the city as well!

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I found there weren’t many options in terms of food but a good tip is to go to the basement of the train stations. It might sound like a weird place to go but they have the best food!

I’ll be posting the other cities I’m visiting soon!

Leah x

Osaka  |  Nara  |  Kyoto | Naoshima