Archive for June, 2020

The 4 Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Tokyo – A Tokyoite’s Recommendations

Monday, June 1st, 2020

 

A lot of people think that it is easy to find places to buy souvenirs in Tokyo because there are millions of shops there. Fair enough… but it used to be very difficult for me to find the right places to buy souvenirs for my Aussie friends.

 

Then, one of my friends from Tokyo suggested where to go for great souvenir shopping. Her advice is perfect!  So, let me share her knowledge with you about the places that will make your souvenir-finding journey easier.

 

Tokyu Hands  

Tokyu_hands_Tokyo

 

Tokyu Hands has been getting popular amongst foreign tourists because they sell unique products! There is a great range of products: such as Japanese quality stationery, kitchen goods, and DIY crafting kits.

 

As I visit the Tokyu Hands Shinjuku store, I spend hours wandering around the different floors. From my personal experience, when I buy DIY crafting kits for my friends, they absolutely love it.

A large range of age groups can enjoy this store, so even if you have to take along the kids, they won’t get too bored. That is a bonus for family travellers!


If you are looking for good quality and different products, this is the place for you. Recommended large stores are as below:

 
Shinjuku Store: Japan, 〒151-0051 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Sendagaya, 5 Chome−24−2 2~8F Times Square Building 

Shibuya Store: 12-18 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo  

Ikebukuro Store: 1 Chome-28-10 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo  

 

Village Vanguard  

Village_Vanguard

 

Village Vanguard originally started its business as a book store but it is far from an ordinary book shop because the theme of their business is to be a “Playful Book Store”.

As the theme suggests, it is so much fun to wander around inside. I have taken my Australian friends who visited me while I was there, their eyes nearly popped out because of the product range!

 

There are plenty of Anime & Manga character goods, vintage items, and weird & cute treasures just waiting to be discovered! Village Vanguard covers a large part of Tokyo, so if you visit major areas, you will find one. But here is a list of locations that might be close to where you visit in Tokyo:  

 

Shibuya Main Store: Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 23−3  

Shinjuku Store: Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 3 Chome−38−1 Lumine Est Shinjuku 5F 

Odaiba Store: 1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan DiverCity Tokyo Plaza  

 

Loft 

Loft_Shibuya

 

Loft is a chain store, so you may see many of them across Japan! This store is becoming a popular spot amongst foreign tourists because of their stationery range. It is truly amazing!


There are a large variety of stationery items, but also Japan-themed products too. When I look for souvenirs for my friends, I normally visit Shibuya Loft where you can find stylish Japanese gifts.


The great thing here is that Shibuya Loft knows what tourists need! They don’t offer very typical souvenirs. What you can find there are modern and stylish souvenirs.

 

A lot of my friends love the ones from Loft Shibuya. If you are around the Shibuya or Shinjuku area, it is worth taking your time to investigate Loft.   


Loft Shibuya :  21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan 

 

Natural Kitchen 

Natural_Kitchen_Image

 

Japan is pretty famous for its cuisine. Because the food culture has been developed in its own way, kitchen items have been advanced in their way too! Natural Kitchen was one of the most loved shops by my female Aussie friends. This is simply because the shop design and items are so cute!
 

What caught my friend’s eye there were Japanese plates and bowls. When you travel overseas, you always find it very difficult to pack your suitcase, but Japanese plates are not too big (most of the time), so they are a good size for souvenirs. If you are looking for something for your daily life in your souvenirs, Natural Kitchen is the place for you. 


Shinjuku Store: Shinjuku City, Nishishinjuku, 1 Chome−1−3 Tokyo 

Shibuya Store: Shibuya City, Dogenzaka, 1 Chome−12−1 Mark City West Mall 2F 

  

Summary 

I have covered four different stores that I normally go to for souvenir shopping. If you are around Shinjuku and Shibuya areas in Tokyo, it is worth it to take your time to wander around these shops! You will find something that you or your favourite ones love.

 

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Yufuin: Onsen Town – A Great Weekend Away in Kyushu Region

Monday, June 1st, 2020

 

Yufuin is located in Oita Prefecture, 10 Kilometres from Beppu, this charming Onsen town is spread across the foot of Mt.Yufu, and the view of this very extinct volcano just takes your breath away. It’s also an amazing place for anyone to visit as there are no tall buildings here, only boutiques, café, and mother nature.


To enjoy your trip further, do catch the Yufuin no Mori Express Train to Yufuin. This particular locomotive has a beautiful green exterior and there is a lounge area with a wooden interior where passengers can avail themselves of this space. Combined with the gigantic glass windows, passengers can’t help but stare at the scenic view as it’s very mesmerizing.

Upon arriving Yufuin station, you have the opportunity to soak their legs in the footbath instantly at platform 1 before they continue on their journey.

 

Onsen Lovers

 

Yufuin_Musoen-Onsen

 

If you love a good soak, there’s a total of 12 different public Onsen that’s available for use. Musoen has a beautiful outdoor bath that is 250 sqm wide that’s made exclusively for woman.

When soaking in the hot springs, you get to take in a panoramic view of Mt Yufu. Indulge in their signature Crème Caramel after your bath with a cup of tea. On the other hand, Shitanyu Onsen has a mixed gendered hot spring where you get to soak on the shore of Lake Kinrinko. 

 

Nature Lovers 

 

Lake_Kirinko_Near_Yufuin

 

As Yufuin is surrounded by traditional Japanese houses and snowcapped mountains, Mt.Yufu  is visible in the backdrop, a prominent feature of Yufuin’s skyline on a beautiful sunny day.

For nature lovers who love a good scenic walk, please take the forest route and walk for 1.5km. At the end of the path, Lake Kirinko would come into view, and oh boy it is stunning.

The bottom of this lake consists of both Hot Spring and Crystal Water. The flow of the water runs through so frequently that it completely changes twice a day. You can also hike Mt.Yufu and it’ll only take 90 minutes 1 way. 

 

Art Lovers

 

General-picture-of-Yufuin

 

Another attraction of this town is that it has an abundance of art galleries. One of them being – The Yufuin Kiyoshi Yamashita Museum which showcases eccentric artist work. Yamashita was known as the Japanese “Van Gogh” and is famous for his art that’s made from the cut or torn pieces of paper.

If you’re a big fan of Van Gogh, I do recommend checking his art pieces out. The other being the Sueda Art museum, established by artists Ryusuke and Shiori Sueda. The interior of the museum is also the same architect who designed Kyoto Station – Hiroshi Hara.

 

Animal Lovers

 

Yufuin_Floral_Village

 

If you’re wanting to interact with animals, head over to the Yufuin Floral Village. This village looks like it’s been cut out from a children’s fairytale book as everything is just so cute.

Walking through the shop really does feel like you’ve stepped into a different world as it feels so magical. They have an Alice in Wonderland cat café, Owl Forest and petting zoo there as well. You can even buy some food to feed the squirrels. 

 

 

Food Lovers


Bungo_beef_mabushi

 

A gourmet must-try dish in Yufuin would be the Bongu Beef Mabushi. Bungo Beef is a type of black-haired cow from Bungo, Oita Prefecture. When combining the beef with delicious Yufu rice, it’s a match made in heaven.

Another must-try would be the Yufuin Kinsho Croquettes. The croquettes have a crunchy exterior with beautiful minced Japanese beef on the inside.
Dorayaki lovers would be thrilled as they sell “purindora” here. Dorayaki filled with pudding instead. They not only look amazing, but it tastes heavenly as well. Feel free to grab a couple to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours!

 

Shopping on Yunotsubo Street

 

Yufuin_Yonotsubo_street

 

Yunotsubo street is the street connecting Yufuin Station with Kinrin Lake. The pathway is filled with traditional Edo period styled tile buildings that consist of cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

The items that they sell are unique to Yufuin and you could spend hours and hours exploring the shop as it’s so interesting. The handicrafts here are hand made locally using high-quality materials. Do take your time and wander around the beautiful shops!

 

Summary   

In a nutshell, Yufuin is a beautiful onsen town that’s popular with the locals. It not only offers a charming magical atmosphere to anyone who comes to visit but it the experiences made here that are very memorable thanks to its unique gourmet food, art, and its scenic surroundings. So if you happen to be in Kyushu and would like to find a unique destination for the weekend, do stop by Yufuin as it really does give you that little magical spark! 

 

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