Nowadays, there's so many "experiences" you can try out when you visit a city thanks to Airbnb Experience and other new travel websites, but don't you find that they all tend to be quite expensive and also often time-consuming?
So here's a couple of ideas for quick workshops you can try out in Tokyo for under ¥5,000 (approx. $45 USD)! We've chosen workshops that are in unique locations, so you can also walk around after and enjoy some sight-seeing :)
1. Ozu Washi ~washi paper making-
Location: Nihonbashi (traditional shopping district)
Availble Mon-Sat, book online in English here.
We actually went to try this one out! We first got taken upstairs to watch a video about the process in which washi paper in made (with English subtitles), and then went into the paper-making room where the staff kindly taught us step by step how to make it. It's so much more difficult than it looks but don't worry, he will give you a hand after 3 tries :P They also have a stationary shop with beautiful letter sets and note pads so its the prefect place to get souvenirs!
2. Ameshin -traditional candy craft making-
Location: Asakusa (near the Sensoji temple)
Available everyday except Thursdays, booking site only available in Japanese so contact them via their English website.
3. Ganso Sample Shouhinya -Food sample making-
Price: ¥2,160/person (¥2,300 from April 2018)
Location: Kappabashi (known for their wholesale market)
Available everyday, booking site in Japanese so contact them via their English site.
4. Edo Kirikokan -Edo Kiriko glass making-
Location: Kinshicho (near the Sky Tree)
Available Monday-Saturday, booking site in Japanese so contact them via e-mail on the website.
Kaoru has tried this one before and she mentions- A good friend from Taiwan was visiting Tokyo and we both loved crafty things and coincidentally saw this on the short TV program and signed-up via phone. The place is easy to find and since you get to practice carving you get to re-think about the designs after checking all the professional craftwork displayed around the shop. Time to time I see the intricate glass carvings and still amazed by the craftmanship!
5. Takagiya Roho -Japanese confectionary making-
Location: Shibamata (downtown area known as the setting of the famous Japanese movie series that ran for more than 20 years called "Otoko wa Tsurai yo")
Available everyday, booking site in English- there are so many other workshops you can participate in on this site!
P.S. BUAISO -Indigo dying-
There's actually one more workshop we've been eyeing for a while but haven't had the chance to try out yet by BUAISO, a Japanese Indigo farming/dying/clothing company.
This aizome indigo dying class is at their farm in Tokushima (which is farther than Osaka, around 1.5 hours by airplane from Tokyo) so I wouldn't exactly call it a "quick" experience, but I can already tell by the photos and hearing from those who have participated that it's well worth it! Did I mention it's only 5,000 yen for this authentic experience? They don't seem to have any coming up yet but let's hope they'll do it again next summer!!
Please do share with us your experience if you ever get the chance to try it :)
We stumbled into the agnes b. shop in Ginza the other day attracted to the beautiful winter pieces and found out they have two exhibitions running currently.
1. A mural painting by Abdelkader Benchamma all along the 1-3F staircase of the shop, as part of the "Point to Line" series.
So last week, we finally got to visit the Yayoi Kusama Museum Tokyo in Shinjuku, Tokyo. And here's a recap!
Time we chose: 15:30 - 17:00
Actual time we visited: 60min. / 16:00 - 17:00*
Cost: JPY1,000 / Children 6-18: JPY600 / Children Under Age of 6: FREE
Address: 107 Bentencho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 162-0861 JAPAN
Distance from the nearest Station: 10 min.
Web Reference: http://yayoikusamamuseum.jp/en/about/museum/
4 different time slots available between 11:00 - 17:00
ONLY 70 visitors per slot (when we visited, it didn't feel crowded at all and it was great!)
CLOSED/MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY
*FULL 60min since I came in late. But ended up being not bad, enough time to enjoy the entire museum.
It was our second time seeing some of her giant square-sized art works since we went to the big exhibition of hers at the National Art Center of Tokyo in Roppongi. But each peace looked familiar yet different with the placement, lighting, and also with people who truly enjoyed her work around. Right when we got to the museum top, we had a nice guide from one of the visitor who truly loved her art work and gave us great tips as well in checking out the place and to enjoy Yayoi Kusama's art works here to the fullest. Hope the Instastory collage will guide others through as well :) If you can get the ticket, it's definitely a nice visit.
Tokyo is big on coffee culture just like many other metropolitan cities with well known foreign coffee companies like Blue Bottle Coffee, and Fuglen having their first international flagship cafe in this very city (pssst...for those tea lovers, Alfred Tea Room is coming to Tokyo in a few days too!).
I'm sure you've also heard about some unique and crazy cafes here such as maid cafe, owl cafe, dungeon cafe or Alice in Wonderland themed cafe... I'm no expert in coffee, but if you're like me and are just looking for a quiet charming place where you can catch up with your friends or read a book, here's a list of 6 cafes that are perfect for you!
When visiting Japan for a limited number of days, it's natural to want to see all the landmarks like Asakusa Temple to visit the historical part of Tokyo, Harajuku for shopping and culture, Tokyo Tower to see the view, ...etc and before you know it its time to go to Kyoto and Osaka! However, sometimes its nice to escape from your busy schedule and take a few hours to stroll around the many free admission markets that exist on the weekends right in the center of Tokyo. It'll rewind you from looking up at all the tall skyscrapers, and be a nice chance to emerge into a friendly atmosphere where you can get some inspiration from local artists, and talk directly with the artisans to hear about their inspirations too!
1. The Farmer's Market at United Nations University
The most central and concise market you will find in Tokyo, if you want to spend just an hour or so getting to know what's trending in Tokyo. Every weekend they have a different theme whether its
One calm Sunday, we decided to visit the peaceful area of Ginza-Icchome just off of the big busy shopping district of Ginza. Below are a few of the shops we walked into and enjoyed, as well as a map of some other places and restaurants to check out if you are in the area :)
Click "Read More" to see some of the shops we visited:
◯Location where we met:
Meat & Bakery TAVERN, Nakameguro
◯What we drank:
A bottle of sparkling yuzu juice for Nakatani-san & Kaoru
Homemade lemonade for Kana :)
When friends come to stay in Tokyo, one of the first things they tell me is that hotels are so expensive here. A tiny little business hotel with bathtubs made for midgets can easily cost $100+, and although Airbnb is always an option sometimes even that can get quite pricey.
If being spot in the middle of Shinjuku is your priority, staying at a capsule hotel may be a choice.
But if you don't mind being a couple of stations away, here are 6 chic but budget-friendly hostels where you are more likely to meet some interesting people, so you can share a cab on your way back from a club in Shibuya, or drinks in Shinjuku at 3 in the morning!
Still chilly here in Tokyo, but we managed to get out and visit YAYOI KUSAMA: My Eternal Soul Exhibition at the National Art Center, TOKYO.
WE FINALLY WENT TO THE 21_21 MUSEUM :)
So we finally did. And it was unlike all the exhibitions we've gone in the past. Very articulate and oh-so detailed. If you have ANY questions or wonders about MEIJI's picked-up items: Kinoko no Yama, Milk Chocolate Bar, Bulgaria Yogurt, Super Cup Ice Cream, and Oishi-i Milk!
And experience put in short was...let's see... have you seen the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"?
(I'm going to assume you have and move on). It's just like that. We felt like we were dropped in the middle of thesaurus page after being shrunk by some scientific machine - bumping into magnified milk chocolates and detailed writings about how the product was made and designed and produced!
21_21 DESIGN SIGHT
9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 10:00-19:00 (Entrance until 18:30)
Closest station: Roppongi (on the Hibiya or Oedo Line)
Two places you can spend all day in are LOFT and MUJI, near Shibuya station.
LOFT has absolutely everything from beautiful stationary, to funky plants, minimal aluminum bento boxes, and even suitcases! You can think of it as a stylish Tokyu Hands.
MUJI is everybody's favorite, but for the tourists coming from abroad- make sure to check out their huge food section on B1 floor as well as the Café & Meal MUJI with its healthy deli style meals that you can choose and combine on the 2nd floor- perfect for vegetarians! :)
Now, who could refuse to this...
And EEK… I’ve been so behind on these blog posts being way too active in real life going to places and just enjoying all the events and exhibitions happening in Tokyo lately…an of course work (work hard, play hard!)
But how do people continue to manage and blog so efficiently? Anyways - enough with excuses…
Last week, Kana introduced me to DULTON Jiyūgaoka - it’s an American Interior shop with pretty much everything I would love to own in inexpensive, reasonable price. Really loved the inside here are so photos.
So yes, I think it was at 2nd floor of the place, Kana found a little postcard sized ads for DULTON's 1st Rooftop Cooking Workshop on Liver Pâté with wine. Not only roof top cooking in Tokyo, but learning how to make my favorite Liver Pâté while drinking Red Wine?? My answer? Oui! Si! Yes! Hai! I am there :)
^ Yup, that's the poster version of the ad we found at the store :)
And so there I was. Nice and autumn weathered Sunday evening, just a day before the chaotic Halloween, I went to DULTON for the second time and it started around 3pm so I guess it’s not really evening… the workshop was FULL (surprisingly it was all participants were ladies this time) so I’m glad I was able to book myself in last minute.
And the whole thing ended around 6pm which was perfect since sun sets right about 5:30pm lately and we were drinking red wine and having red wine with Chef Ozawa’s homemade baguettes and liver pâté by then. The chef was so friendly and he really gave us good Q&A time and all the good hints on what to watch out. (Apparently he's not only an owner of Restaurant/Bar of OZAWA in Yutenji but also a vocalist as well!) Definitely looking forward to visiting his restaurant in near future :)
The DULTON staff generously served us with their cafe’s coffee and the workshop also came with souvenir of their products - kitchen towel and small appetizer plate set (and best part was that you get to choose from quite a variety of selection!) All this for just 3000yen, which is like about $30. Not bad at ALL. Crossing fingers Kana continues to find random events like this haha. (and hopefully her schedule works out too!)
Now my plan is to make this amazing liver pâté back home in good California. Hopefully these notes I took will help… I’m terrible taking notes in Japanese so I ended up interpreting Chef’s instruction in doodles and in English :) And ending this post with DULTON eye-ed Kana haha :D
14, 2 Chome-25 Midorigaoka, Meguro, Tokyo 152-0034
Open hours: 11:00-20:00
Earlier this summer, we coincidentally found an article via Facebook (this is right when we were looking for a new place to live in Tokyo) about MUJI's unique contest - a lucky winner gets to live in a MUJI HOUSE 2 years for FREE with free customizable interior design upon request and all the lifestyle goods supported by MUJI! (What more could we ask for? that's pretty much free everything!!) Apparently they've done this before in Mitaka, which is in a peaceful residential area of Tokyo, but this time the location was KAMAKURA (Kanazawa prefecture - known for the ocean and the slow life.. oh and BIG Gigantic Buddha too).
Kamakura would be bit far from Tokyo (probably about bit over an hour from central Tokyo by train) , but 2 years being able to explore one of the beautiful and tranquil and stylish place near the ocean for free? Why not. So yes - we applied! Wish we'd filmed how overly excited we were imagining what we could do if we owned an actual house in Japan.... and to share a bit of our excitement, here's our application spread sheet that we sent to MUJI :)
Yup - it was endless ideas after ideas of all the possibilities!!!
With all this hype, with all our fingers crossed through the contest period.... we were probably few fingers crossing short. So no :/ We are not sure who've won the house but we were unfortunately not selected this time around. (We figured especially when the MUJI announced the house will be one bed room few weeks after the contest deadline... haha). Wonder who the lucky winner would be! 'til next time MUJI HOUSE~
*Also, just in case if someone's interested in details - Wallpaper also had an article about this too:)
Here's the link --> Prototype prefab: Muji unveils the no-clutter Window House
A quick recap of our experience at FNO Tokyo 2016 through photos, and 3 things we found interesting :)
#1. KARL LAGERFELD
While most people were window-shopping on the 1st and 2nd floor, we decided to immediately make our way up to the 3rd floor- no particular reason, but best decision made. We were the only customers there and were greeted by a kind staff that offered us goodie bags with a sample of their makeup line’s “Fresh Glow” Luminous Fluid Base inside. (shh… i don't think those on the 1st and 2nd floor got one!)
We took a look at the 2016 F/W ready-to-wear collection and were mesmerized by the lightweight checkered coat (the surprisingly perfect combination of elegant and punk rock), and the dark blue dazzling flower dress. Another generous staff approached us in the most natural way, to tell us some interesting facts about this collection.
INSPIRATION- Christoper Bailey often got his inspiration from the Bloomsbury Group, while making sure to mix the balance of tradition and modernity.
PRICE- Compared to past collections this collection is a lot more affordable because they have used a variation of fabrics including some cheaper synthetic materials.
They had a fun booth at the entrance of their shop to promote their “SHIPS SOUVEN!ERS” curation where they were giving out fan-shaped candy from the Asakusa candy craft (飴細工) shop called Ameshin (アメシン) , and a few lucky winners (I would say every 5-8 people are so) received animal shaped candy which the craftsman made on the spot! Very exciting promotion, but there are two things we would have done differently if we were to plan it ourselves-
- Event Report No. 001-
The arrows show how we went through the HOUSE VISION 2 Exhibition...
- No.2 Airbnb -
- No. 5 Mitsukoshi Isetan -
- No.6 Daito -
LOOKING FORWARD TO HOUSE VISION 3!
2016 Exhibition open: 2016.07.30-08.28