01AWOMB-kyoto-japanesefood-japan-food-travel

I've been thinking about AWOMB in Kyoto ever since I visited there back in November. It's a dining experience I've never had before! Most tourists are unaware of this place, hence we were the only foreigners and everyone else was local when we went. Part of me want to keep this a secret... but here I am, sharing with you this hidden gem. Let's see, I am not even sure how to explain what "teae sushi" is. I read all about it before going but I was still a bit lost when I got there even after looking at their cute little illustration/instruction. Basically for each of the little dishes, you mix it with different condiments and you can choose to mix it with matcha shredded eggs and/or rice as well. There's also a tea soup which you can drink alone or pour into the rice. This tea soup!!! I've been dreaming about it since, the broth is just so delicious, so light yet flavorful. Where can I get it? How do I make it? That's all I wanna know! You can tell that everything was thoughtful curated and everything tasted so fresh and incredible. I really enjoyed AWOMB for so many reasons. Obviously I loved the food. I also really appreciate the fact that this restaurant was basically in/structured as a house. We even sat traditionally on tatami. I loved it! I hope that when you go to Kyoto, you'll have a chance to eat at AWOMB. I went to the one in Gion district but I believe there are two other locations in Kyoto as well. Also, please note that it is reservation only.

04AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel
02AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel03AWOMB-kyoto-japanesefood-japan-food-travel
05AWOMB-kyoto-teaesushi-japanesefood-japan-food-travel
06AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-tatami-japan-food-travel07AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-japan-food-travel
08AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel

AWOMB, Kyoto, Japan

March 24, 2020

01AWOMB-kyoto-japanesefood-japan-food-travel

I've been thinking about AWOMB in Kyoto ever since I visited there back in November. It's a dining experience I've never had before! Most tourists are unaware of this place, hence we were the only foreigners and everyone else was local when we went. Part of me want to keep this a secret... but here I am, sharing with you this hidden gem. Let's see, I am not even sure how to explain what "teae sushi" is. I read all about it before going but I was still a bit lost when I got there even after looking at their cute little illustration/instruction. Basically for each of the little dishes, you mix it with different condiments and you can choose to mix it with matcha shredded eggs and/or rice as well. There's also a tea soup which you can drink alone or pour into the rice. This tea soup!!! I've been dreaming about it since, the broth is just so delicious, so light yet flavorful. Where can I get it? How do I make it? That's all I wanna know! You can tell that everything was thoughtful curated and everything tasted so fresh and incredible. I really enjoyed AWOMB for so many reasons. Obviously I loved the food. I also really appreciate the fact that this restaurant was basically in/structured as a house. We even sat traditionally on tatami. I loved it! I hope that when you go to Kyoto, you'll have a chance to eat at AWOMB. I went to the one in Gion district but I believe there are two other locations in Kyoto as well. Also, please note that it is reservation only.

04AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel
02AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel03AWOMB-kyoto-japanesefood-japan-food-travel
05AWOMB-kyoto-teaesushi-japanesefood-japan-food-travel
06AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-tatami-japan-food-travel07AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-japan-food-travel
08AWOMB-kyoto-restaurant-architecture-japan-food-travel
01osaka-castle-japan-fallfoliage-autumn-travel

To tell you the truth, Osaka isn't my favorite. It's not as cool as Tokyo and not as unique as Kyoto. If you're making a side trip out of Tokyo and you don't have too much time, don't even bother going to Osaka but Kyoto is a must and I highly recommended Hakone as well. Now don't get me wrong, Osaka is a lovely city but it just doesn't have much going on. You've got the Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Shinsekai, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Umeda Sky Building, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and that's pretty much it. We were only there for a day and so I didn't even bother going to some of these places.

Let's talk about the castle... Not gonna lie, I enjoyed Osaka Castle Park and the grounds around it way more than the castle itself. The castle was beautiful on the outside but the inside was underwhelming. It was more like a museum and you don't get to see what it actually looked like back in the days. I wish they had at least preserved a section of it to show. Anyways, the ground of the castle was stunning. We went in the fall and all the trees were all sorts of red and yellow. The moats were cool, the rocks were cool, and we actually explored both during the day and night. I highly recommend heading over at night, no one was around, it was slightly eerie but mostly magical.

Other than that, it was fun walking around Dotonbori at night. This is the area where there are bridges and waterways with lots of shops and restaurants, as well as the infamous Glico "running man" sign. We tried some takoyaki (did you know takoyaki originated from Osaka?) and melonpan and just enjoyed all the lights from buildings and billboards reflecting on the water.

As for accommodation, we stayed at Hotel Noum which is a fairly new hotel right on the river. Upon checking in, I knew I would love this hotel. They have a cute little cafe next to the lobby (the breakfast there was so tasty and fresh), a rooftop patio, and even bikes for you to rent out! The room is minimal yet modern and I love the giant floor to ceiling window and view! Thank you Hotel Noum for hosting us!

Where to go:

Where to stay:

Japan Day 5: Osaka

March 22, 2020

01osaka-castle-japan-fallfoliage-autumn-travel

To tell you the truth, Osaka isn't my favorite. It's not as cool as Tokyo and not as unique as Kyoto. If you're making a side trip out of Tokyo and you don't have too much time, don't even bother going to Osaka but Kyoto is a must and I highly recommended Hakone as well. Now don't get me wrong, Osaka is a lovely city but it just doesn't have much going on. You've got the Osaka Castle, Dotonbori, Shinsekai, Kuromon Ichiba Market, Umeda Sky Building, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, and that's pretty much it. We were only there for a day and so I didn't even bother going to some of these places.

Let's talk about the castle... Not gonna lie, I enjoyed Osaka Castle Park and the grounds around it way more than the castle itself. The castle was beautiful on the outside but the inside was underwhelming. It was more like a museum and you don't get to see what it actually looked like back in the days. I wish they had at least preserved a section of it to show. Anyways, the ground of the castle was stunning. We went in the fall and all the trees were all sorts of red and yellow. The moats were cool, the rocks were cool, and we actually explored both during the day and night. I highly recommend heading over at night, no one was around, it was slightly eerie but mostly magical.

Other than that, it was fun walking around Dotonbori at night. This is the area where there are bridges and waterways with lots of shops and restaurants, as well as the infamous Glico "running man" sign. We tried some takoyaki (did you know takoyaki originated from Osaka?) and melonpan and just enjoyed all the lights from buildings and billboards reflecting on the water.

As for accommodation, we stayed at Hotel Noum which is a fairly new hotel right on the river. Upon checking in, I knew I would love this hotel. They have a cute little cafe next to the lobby (the breakfast there was so tasty and fresh), a rooftop patio, and even bikes for you to rent out! The room is minimal yet modern and I love the giant floor to ceiling window and view! Thank you Hotel Noum for hosting us!

Where to go:

Where to stay:
01hakone-japan-fuji-travel

Hakone is a crazy beautiful mountainous town in the Fuji area that reminds me of something out of a Miyazaki film. It was raining for the majority of the time we were there but the fog only made it extra mystical. The only regret I have from this part of the trip was that we only stayed for one night and I wish we had stayed for at least two, perhaps three.

Where to stay:

Where to go:

Where to eat:
Since Hakone is very mountainous and transportation is limited. There aren't many restaurants around and most places to eat are at hotels. But do get some black onsen eggs at the gift shop in Owakudani!

02hakone-japan-lakeashi-travel

Japan Day 4: Hakone

March 16, 2020

01hakone-japan-fuji-travel

Hakone is a crazy beautiful mountainous town in the Fuji area that reminds me of something out of a Miyazaki film. It was raining for the majority of the time we were there but the fog only made it extra mystical. The only regret I have from this part of the trip was that we only stayed for one night and I wish we had stayed for at least two, perhaps three.

Where to stay:

Where to go:

Where to eat:
Since Hakone is very mountainous and transportation is limited. There aren't many restaurants around and most places to eat are at hotels. But do get some black onsen eggs at the gift shop in Owakudani!

02hakone-japan-lakeashi-travel

01japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel

I have put off working on these blog posts on Japan for SO long because of a few reasons. First of all, I did a crazy amount of things during this trip that I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Second of all, I've been contemplating about the format, whether I should group things by days or by categories. And lastly, I want these posts and guides to be helpful to you and therefore I want them to be perfect. Truth is, they won't be perfect and I have to understand that it's ok. So here we are, let's dive in!

Japan has always been a familiar yet strange place to me. I grew up in Hong Kong so traveling to Japan is just a little over 3 hours and I've gone countless times during my childhood (especially when my dad was living in Tokyo). This trip last year was truly the first time I went there as an adult. I've been to Tokyo and Osaka before but not Hakone and Kyoto which is why we only spent 3 days in Tokyo so that we can explore other places...

Where to stay:
Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho
Luxury, sky view, cool bar, lovely room
Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi
Convenient location, close to (some rooms have view of) Tokyo Tower, nice spa.

04japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel06japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-couple-kimono-tea-travel
02japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel03japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel05japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-bar-travel07japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel

Japan Day 1-3: Tokyo

March 13, 2020

01japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel

I have put off working on these blog posts on Japan for SO long because of a few reasons. First of all, I did a crazy amount of things during this trip that I feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Second of all, I've been contemplating about the format, whether I should group things by days or by categories. And lastly, I want these posts and guides to be helpful to you and therefore I want them to be perfect. Truth is, they won't be perfect and I have to understand that it's ok. So here we are, let's dive in!

Japan has always been a familiar yet strange place to me. I grew up in Hong Kong so traveling to Japan is just a little over 3 hours and I've gone countless times during my childhood (especially when my dad was living in Tokyo). This trip last year was truly the first time I went there as an adult. I've been to Tokyo and Osaka before but not Hakone and Kyoto which is why we only spent 3 days in Tokyo so that we can explore other places...

Where to stay:
Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho
Luxury, sky view, cool bar, lovely room
Candeo Hotels Tokyo Roppongi
Convenient location, close to (some rooms have view of) Tokyo Tower, nice spa.

04japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel06japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-couple-kimono-tea-travel
02japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel03japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel05japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-bar-travel07japan-tokyo-princegallery-kioicho-luxuryhotel-travel
01higashiya-tea-ginza-tokyo-japan-shop-travel

Japanese cares a lot about details and that is exactly what you'll get at Higashiya. A hidden gem above the busy street of Ginza, Higashiya is a green tea and wagashi (confectionery) shop and cafe where you can slow down and experience tea drinking in the most respectable level. I am not doing an individual write-up on every place I ate during my Japan trip, but I wanted to highlight Higashiya because it was such a memorable experience and I highly recommend visiting if you are ever in Ginza. I opted for the tea and wagashi pairing, but if you're a sake lover, you can do the same pairing but with sake instead of tea instead! What I love most about this experience is that it forces you to slow down and truly enjoy and appreciate your tea and wagashi. Each tea is roasted/prepared and poured right in front of you to ensure its freshness. It was also lovely to watch how the staff carefully handles everything!

02higashiya-wagashi-confectionery-ginza-tokyo-japan-shop-travel

Here are some tips for you if you plan on visiting Higashiya:

1. Make a reservation. Although this was on my list, I didn't have time to squeeze everything in on my itinerary so when my day opened up, I hopped over to Ginza to see if there was any opening and luckily, they told me to come back in an hour! But I would definitely make a reservation as this place is becoming very popular.

2. When I say hidden, I mean really hidden. When you get to the address, it looks like an office building or something. Take the elevator on your right to the second level and ta da!

3. Be prepared to spend at least 2 hours, close to 3 here. When I say it makes you slow down, I really mean it. You take your time to drink each tea and eat every dish, in the best possible way of course!

4. Phone photos are ok but don't make the same mistake as I did and pull out your DSLR with loud shutter sound. I didn't know but as soon as a staff kindly told me to put my camera way, I quickly obliged.

5. Don't forget to check out the shop and grab some tea and wagashi when you leave! They make perfect souvenirs!

Higashiya, Ginza, Japan

March 12, 2020

01higashiya-tea-ginza-tokyo-japan-shop-travel

Japanese cares a lot about details and that is exactly what you'll get at Higashiya. A hidden gem above the busy street of Ginza, Higashiya is a green tea and wagashi (confectionery) shop and cafe where you can slow down and experience tea drinking in the most respectable level. I am not doing an individual write-up on every place I ate during my Japan trip, but I wanted to highlight Higashiya because it was such a memorable experience and I highly recommend visiting if you are ever in Ginza. I opted for the tea and wagashi pairing, but if you're a sake lover, you can do the same pairing but with sake instead of tea instead! What I love most about this experience is that it forces you to slow down and truly enjoy and appreciate your tea and wagashi. Each tea is roasted/prepared and poured right in front of you to ensure its freshness. It was also lovely to watch how the staff carefully handles everything!

02higashiya-wagashi-confectionery-ginza-tokyo-japan-shop-travel

Here are some tips for you if you plan on visiting Higashiya:

1. Make a reservation. Although this was on my list, I didn't have time to squeeze everything in on my itinerary so when my day opened up, I hopped over to Ginza to see if there was any opening and luckily, they told me to come back in an hour! But I would definitely make a reservation as this place is becoming very popular.

2. When I say hidden, I mean really hidden. When you get to the address, it looks like an office building or something. Take the elevator on your right to the second level and ta da!

3. Be prepared to spend at least 2 hours, close to 3 here. When I say it makes you slow down, I really mean it. You take your time to drink each tea and eat every dish, in the best possible way of course!

4. Phone photos are ok but don't make the same mistake as I did and pull out your DSLR with loud shutter sound. I didn't know but as soon as a staff kindly told me to put my camera way, I quickly obliged.

5. Don't forget to check out the shop and grab some tea and wagashi when you leave! They make perfect souvenirs!
© it's not her, it's me. - Los Angeles Fashion Lifestyle Travel Blog. Design by Fearne.