JAPAN – Travel Diary

PAGEANT studio

Last month, our marketing assistant Catherine headed to Japan for a fast and furious trip to the home of ramen, onsens and karaoke! Luckily for us, Catherine kept a diary while on her travels, which you can read below! 

Day 1

It's so nice being back in Japan. The escape from the frosty cold of Melbourne was very much needed, and it is just so refreshing to have a change of scenery.

Today we rode to Shimokitzawa. It's one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Tokyo, potentially the world. Maybe slightly extreme, but there's just something so special about it. We spent the day exploring on foot, revisiting some of my favourite consignment stores, and topped the day off with a visit to an incredible okonomiyaki joint. Plus, a long visit to Village Vanguard, one of my favourite silly 'has-a-bit-of-everything' shops.

Day 3

Dom and I got up early to go get pancakes today! We headed to a cafe called Gram in Harajuku, where three impossibly fluffy pancakes, drizzled with maple syrup and covered in cream awaited us.

That afternoon, we headed to Koenji for the Awa-Odori festival. The Awa-Odori is this huge street festival where thousands of people participate in a traditional Japanese dance through the streets of Koenji. About a million people head out over the weekend to see this most incredible display of colour and creativity. It was such a treat, and I still have the melody of the song they sang stuck in my head.

 Day 4

Finally - Omotesando and Shibuya ! I mean what is there to say. Shop shop shop, all day, all night. My feet – I can't feel them anymore. Good food was found at Tokyo Sorano, an entire restaurant dedicated to the humble, magnificent tofu! A vegetarian delight. Plus, we ended up at a sweet bar in Harajuku called Bonobo, and hung out listening to sweet tunes until the early morning.

Day 6

We caught the train out to Yokohama for the Yokohama Triennale. The Yokohama Triennale has been around since 2001, and this year the theme was 'Islands, Constellation and Galapagos'. It was really cool seeing a whole city transform into a gallery space of sorts. To top it all of, we headed to the amusement park in the centre of the city and went on a pastel pink rollercoaster. 

Day 7

Dom and I got up early today to pick up a rental car. We drove for seven hours, deep into the mountain side. We chose to stay off the expressway and even though it was an exhausting journey, it was so amazing being able to see the small towns and villages that populate Japan. We finally reached our destination after sundown, this little off-grid cabin in the woods. We're here completely alone, surrounded by the mountains and the surprisingly crisp summer air. It's such an extreme change from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, and it's hard to believe we were there mere hours ago.


 Day 10

Hello, Dom and I did a very special thing last night. We stayed at James Turrell's House of Light. An entire house is transformed into a piece of art, and we were lucky enough to participate in it. We watched the Sunset and Sunrise Light Programs, had dinner under the night sky, bathed in the onsen – somehow, all amazing in their own way, but as a whole, out of this world. 

Day 11

Of course, no trip to Japan is complete without karaoke! With a few of our friends, we grabbed a private karaoke room in Shibuya and sang late late late into the night. It was the perfect send off to Japan.

Day 12

I'm so sad to be leaving, it's never enough. Thank you Japan! 

Catherine xx

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