Despite missing her terribly and begging her not to go (well not quite begging but you catch my drift), our marketing coordinator and graphic designer, Tegan, went on an enviable tour of Japan recently. Here’s Tegan’s top 10… Warning, we take no responsibility for the irresponsible behaviour that might follow the reading of this blog post (i.e. quitting your job, going straight to Flight Centre, and spending money you don’t have, cha-ching!)
Over to Tegan:
Beautiful but busy. Quiet yet chaotic. Traditional and modern. There is no doubt that Japan is a constant contradiction of itself, a real shock to the senses, but above all else a fascinating country. Arriving in the peak of cherry blossom season, Tokyo was a sea of fairy floss pink, which was a beautiful contrast to the grey of the city buildings and the flashing lights of the heart of Shibuya.
Here’s my top 10 …
1. Get lost in the sea of people trying to cross Shibuya crossing. It’s important to note that this is not suitable for anyone that suffers any form of claustrophobia. Take a quick snap before you get ambushed by the herd of people!
2. Don’t consider going in any season other than cherry blossom season. The country is a sea of pink and the pavement literally looks like someone has dropped a big bag of confetti. Nothing quite compares.
3. Stroll in and around Yoyogi park, admire the beautiful wall of block printed Sake bottles, wander the perfectly maintained gardens and say a prayer at the Meiji Jingu Shrine.
4. Join in on the crazy of Takeshita Street and shop up a storm in and around Harajuku. Anything goes here and nothing is considered a fashion faux pas, so let your inner Spice Girl out!
Not your style? Then just a few steps away is Omotesando and, just like the laneways of Melbourne, the back streets of Omotesando have the best shopping. For unique artisanal clothing and homewares this area is must. Just make sure you book extra baggage for your return flight… you’re going to need it!
5. Eat Sashimi for breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market. You have not eaten sashimi until you have eaten the most authentic and fresh sashimi the world has to offer. Get there early because the lines get lllooonnngg! After you’ve finished your sashimi breakfast, be sure to enter the dark depths of the market. Note – no Gucci slip ons here, appropriate shoes are a must!
6. Have one or ten coffees a day because they are good… really good. Keep an eye out for Blue Bottle, Fuglen and About Life Coffee Brewers. Coffee is more than a ritual here, it’s a career.
7. If you think of Tokyo as the Sydney of Japan then Kyoto is the equivalent of Melbourne. The city is populated with temples and it’s impossible to see them all! Hire a bike and cruise around the city… Just as breathtaking as the temples, are the gardens around the temples – sit and relax and feel that serenity.
8. Pat a deer. Where else in the world can you pat and feed wild deer a 5 minute walk from the train station? Nowhere! Nara is a must see – make sure you can spare 50 yen for your ‘deer cookies’ and have fun feeding all the wild deer whilst they bow to you. Strange but totally worth it!
9. Go for the modern art, go to have a break from civilisation or go to get your photo with Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin… But, for crying out loud, just make sure you go and see Naoshima Island. It’s a must!
10. Go to Hiroshima, order an okonomiyaki (a Japanese noodle pancake) and watch your chef cook it right in front of you. Unfortunately you won’t be able to eat an okonomiyaki anywhere else again but it’s totes worth it.
So have a I convinced you to book that flight yet? Bloody hell I missed my calling as a travel agent! Happy wanderlust lovelies.