This is my Christmas post for Ale and for all crafty readers that fancy a trip to Japan …
During the last years, I visited Japan several times. I have traveled from the far south (Mijakojima) to the far north (Rishiri & Rebun) and spent three month in Tokyo for work. In fact it was during these three month that Ale and me got to know each other via internet.
Now Ale is about to travel to Japan and I though I prepare a little post summarizing some of my insider tips.
My absolute favorite parts of Tokyo are Shimokitazawa and Koenji. Shimokitazawa is great to forage for second hand cloth, cute accessorise and Japanese craftiness. Koenji is perfect to enjoy some yakitori (see food section) and a beer in one of the many street shops and just watch the people. A very nice music club can be found in Ropongi, which is however a bit touristy otherwise. In general, just drift trough the city and speak with the locals!
Of course you can always find a hotel (this one is a really nicely located one in Tokyo). If you want to treat yourself with a comfortable but more traditional accommodation choose a RYOKAN (this one is the nicest I know, close to Mt Aso with private onsen and an amazing japanese bbq for dinner). If you travel with children book a MISHUKU. These are budget versions of ryokans and often you will be treated just as part of the family of your host. The cheapest option are youth hostels. And I have to say, I have never experienced so nice youth hostels elsewhere. Often they also offer double rooms and they are the best location for travel advice (a very nice youth hostel chain that can be found in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka,… is J-Hopper).
Oh well, food in Japan is amazing!!! I will restrict myself here to my top five:
RAMEN – japanese noddle soup (if you ask yourself, what can be special about a noodle soup watch the “ramen-western” tampopo!!!)
SUSHI – sushi in japan are not comparable with sushi elsewhere!
OKONOMIYAKI – japanese cabbage pancake; the best food at a cold day or after a long hike!!!
YAKITORI – chicken (or other meat/vegetables) on a skewer prepared on the bbq. Perfect match with a japanese beer.
A Japanese food speciality for the crafty souls among us are BENTO boxes. Check out the blogs littlemissbento or kawaiifood and you will find amazing works of art!!!
Japan has to offer a lot and in fact the north is a whole different world than the south. If you have time, travel to the north and hike on the remote islands of Hokaiido, Rishiri & Rebun. Afterwards fly to the far southern islands of Okinawa like Mijakojima and enjoy the crystal clear and warm ocean. You wont belive it is the same country! Whil visitin Japan, you have to see at least one volcano. Fuji is the obvious one, which is however usually very crowded. A good alternative is Mt Aso (and there you can then also check out the best ryokan I know, which I mentioned above). If you just want to escape Tokyo for a day, rent a car and drive along the west coast of the peninsula Izu. On a clear day you will have a stunning view of Fuji from there.
All right I guess I could go on forever, but this is no travelers blog. Here one and two more links to crafty blogs with some more tips. And maybe also our readers have some more tips for Ale?
I am already looking forward to read Ale’s post, about her Japanese discoveries!!!
P.S. Instructions for the origami ornaments will follow in the next post :-)