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Aloha Yanaka: Vintage Tokyo

Aloha Yanaka: Vintage Tokyo

Strolling the leafy lanes of the atmospheric quarter of Yanaka is like stepping back in time. Dotted with historic temples and traditional low-rise wooden houses, this laidback area is one of Tokyo’s oldest neighbourhoods, dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867). It’s also one of...
Cat Cafes and Other Tokyo Eccentricities

Cat Cafes and Other Tokyo Eccentricities

It’s no secret that the Japanese love the kawaii or cute character Hello Kitty, but also wildly successful has been a more tangible rendering of cats — the cat café. While pet ownership is up in Japan apparently — pet shops are everywhere and small breeds...
Sake 101 — Tokyo Sake Tasting

Sake 101 — Tokyo Sake Tasting

We’ve always loved sake – since we used to hit the karaoke bars with friends in Sydney’s Kings Cross years ago. We wouldn’t think of eating Japanese food with anything but sake*, but, unlike wine, we knew very little about the drink until recently. Being...
Tokyo Take-Homes: Kitsch Keepsakes for Kids (and Big Kids)

Tokyo Take-Homes: Kitsch Keepsakes for Kids (and Big Kids)

My, how the souvenirs for kids sold in Tokyo have changed since my mother returned from Japan when I was a kid in the early ’70s, bringing back suitcases bursting with gifts. Then, my Mum brought me a beautiful white-faced geisha in a fragile glass...
Tsukiji Outer Market, Tokyo

Tsukiji Outer Market, Tokyo

After visiting the Tsukiji fish markets proper (see Part 1 of this post), our guide for the day, Tokyo foodie and sake expert, Etsuko Nakamura, takes us across the road for a wander around the outer market. “For me, this is just as interesting, if...
Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Although many of our readers seem to think we’re on a one-year round-the-world food odyssey rather than a grand tour of the globe, we just like visiting food markets and talking to chefs, waiters, restaurateurs, and food enthusiasts. All the same, I was ambivalent about...
Tokyo Take-Homes: Stationery Souvenirs

Tokyo Take-Homes: Stationery Souvenirs

Stationery makes for terrific Tokyo souvenirs, especially for long-term travellers, because it’s not only pretty, but it’s practical, affordable, and weighs nothing at all. I’m an incessant scribbler, so wherever I go, I’ll buy a few notebooks. Postcards also make a light souvenir for the...
Tokyo Take-Homes: Quintessential Keepsakes

Tokyo Take-Homes: Quintessential Keepsakes

Tokyo take-homes must be the most covetable in the world for travellers who appreciate beautiful things. I don’t need to give you ideas as to where to find lovely locally made mementoes, although it’s a task I’ve relished, as there’s no shortage of elegant shops selling enchanting souvenirs, or omiyage...
Why Would You Cook in Tokyo When You Can Eat Out So Well?

Why Would You Cook in Tokyo When You Can Eat Out So Well?

Why would you cook in Tokyo when you can eat out so well is something I’ve been asking myself every day. Tokyo is the first destination of our year-long grand tour where I haven’t cooked. If you’ve been to Tokyo, you can appreciate why. If you...
Local Knowledge: Yuto from Tokyo

Local Knowledge: Yuto from Tokyo

Tokyo locals aren’t friendly, we’d heard. “They’re shy, so they won’t make an effort to speak to you,” said one person. “They’d rather you just go away, because they get embarrassed they don’t speak English,” said another. “They actually don’t want you here at all,”...