Capture Tokyo: Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba Beach

Odaiba is by far my favorite place to relax in Tokyo. The man-made island is known as somewhat of a date spot among locals, so you can often find young families or couples strolling around the area. The island is filled with many tourist attractions, including Joypolis (an indoor amusement park), the Fuji Television Building, Palette Town, Venus Fort, Aqua City, and Diver City (mostly shopping malls).

There’s so much to do in Odaiba, but my main reason for frequenting the area is because of its gorgeous night views! It also has the closest “beach” to where I live, Odaiba beach. I say “beach” lightly because we can’t actually swim in the water due to all the pollution. In my opinion, this beach offers one of the best scenic views of the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay (it’s also a beautiful place to watch the sunset… quite romantic)! The suspension bridge connects the Shibaura Pier to Odaiba, and you can actually bike or walk over the bridge (about 1.7 km). The Yurikamome train line also passes over the bridge, starting from Shimbashi Station and ending Toyosu Station. It’s illuminated from dusk till midnight, so I would definitely recommend viewing the Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba beach as it looks absolutely stunning at night!

Capture Tokyo: Owl Forest

Fukuro no Mori, Harajuku

Within the past few years, I’ve noticed that Japan has undergone an animal cafe boom, with cat, dog, rabbit, hamster, owl, and hedgehog cafes popping up throughout Tokyo. Last summer, I had the chance to visit an owl cafe for the first time (…well, sort of)! I should note that this isn’t actually a cafe, and is instead called an “Owl Forrest”. Fukuro no Mori is located in the heart of Harajuku right on the famous shopping strip, Takeshita Street. The forest is a type of walk through experience. The inside of the shop is filled with trees and a small path to walk though. After paying the $7 fee, participants can start on the trail.

When we went, there are various owls resting on trees along the way, so we were free to stop and pet the owls as we pleased. Most of the owls were incredibly well behaved or were sleeping. The owls had a chain on their leg, preventing them from moving or flying away from their branch, while some of the larger ones were in a caged off area on the ground instead. The course took about 10-15 minutes at most to walk through (the area is small, but there were a decent amount of owls). As there is only one path, we had to wait until the group in front of us moved before we could proceed though, so the timing was a little slow.

Overall, I would definitely recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. It’s a nice change of pace and I found the cafe to be more relaxing than the other animal cafes I’ve been too (even if the experience is a little shorter). I should also note that this particular shop didn’t allow us to pick up the owls, but I’ve heard of an owl cafe in Shibuya where you can actually let the owl rest on your head or shoulders. Perhaps I’ll visit there another day though!

Taste Tokyo: Rainbow Bagels

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New New York Club, Jiyugaoka

I know this trend is a little outdated, but I thought I would post about my rainbow bagel experience in Tokyo last summer, so please bear with me. When the craze first broke out last year, I was dying to try these fun-colored bagels myself (I was a huge bagel fan in college… Till this day jalapeño cheese bagels are my favorite ♥︎). Anyway, it took a few months, but Japan finally got its own rainbow bagels store, New New York Club! This little trendy boutique restaurant is located in Jiyugaoka, and it’s about a 7 minute walk from the station. They only serve a limited amount of rainbow bagels on Saturdays and a few chosen holidays . In order to ensure they didn’t sell out, I made sure we were there at 11:05 (the store opened at 11:30). There was a line of about 3-5 people in front of us, so it wasn’t too bad. This was also back in July, so the bagel craze was already dying out.

We ended up ordering two bagels. One strawberry bagel and one of their signature rainbow bagels; plus their mac & cheese dish. They had a couple other flavors, but it would’ve been way too much food for us! I would say the bagels were normal. Quite tasty, but nothing super extraordinary. I preferred the strawberry flavor over the rainbow one (mainly due to the strawberry cream cheese). The rainbow bagel itself had a really sweet light cream cheese filling that I wasn’t a big fan of. The mac & cheese was delicious though and overall the restaurant had a cozy ambience. It had a vintage old American diner feel to it, and the counter was lined with boxes of American candies (Nerds, Reeses, etc.) for decoration.

I would recommend trying out the New New York Club for anyone in Japan looking to get a taste of the rainbow bagel. I’m really curious though as to how the Tokyo rainbow bagels compare to the original New York ones!

Capture Tokyo: Tokyo Disney Resort

 

Tokyo Disney Resort Hotels ♥︎ Ikspiari, Maihama

If you’re a Disney lover in Japan, you’ve probably had the chance to visit Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. However, for those of you who aren’t willing to always shell out the $80 for a day at Disney, I would recommend visiting the Tokyo Disney Resorts and the connecting Ikspiari mall nearby. It’s a great way to recreate that magical Disney feeling without breaking your bank account. The Tokyo Disneyland hotel might not be the ritziest hotel compared to the ones in Florida or Cali, but it does have that special Disney atmosphere. There are restaurants, bars, gift shops, and even a princess hair salon and photo studio! The hotel also features a cute little Alice themed garden in the back.

The Ikspiari mall (although not super Disney themed), does have its own unique décor. It’s home to many popular clothing shops (Folli Follie, Lowrys Farm, GAP, etc.), a movie theatre, hair salons, restaurants, etc. Each part of the mall has its own unique theme (cinema theme, futuristic theme, etc.). There’s even a jungle themed restaurant inside, where customers can enjoy eating in a Disney-esque jungle, while listening to the soothing sounds of the waterfall inside the restaurant. Walking all the way to the end of the mall, we came across a cute little pond with a romantic pagoda in the middle. I would definitely recommend bringing your date here to set the mood, haha! The little pond leads to another hotel, which although it’s not the main Disney hotel, is still within walking distance of the park and is just as beautiful.

Although I’ve personally never stayed at these hotels before, I would recommend walking around the area if you want to get a taste of Disneyland outside of the parks!

Capture Japan: Karuizawa

Karuizawa, Nagano

I know summer is creeping up on us already, so I wanted to post about a famous resort area in Japan that I recommend visiting! Karuizawa is a quaint city located in Nagano Prefecture (about 1hr away via Shinkansen). Many famous celebrities are known for frequenting the area… such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono as well as other Japanese celebrities. The luxury inns or ryokan in Karuizawa offer beautiful private villas for its upper class customers. Many of the buildings look distinctly European or Japanese, so the city has a very unique appeal and aesthetic.

Karuizawa is most popular in the summer due to its cool and breezy weather and lush greenery. In the 1900s, many wealthy merchants who owned ritzy boutiques in Ginza would set up second stores in Karuizawa in the summer to escape the scorching hot weather in Tokyo (hence the old shopping area in Karuizawa was named “Ginza” after its Tokyo counterpart). However, the newer area of Karuizawa, south of the station, is host to a brand new outlet shopping mall, which includes all the luxury European designers (Prada, Saint Laurent, Gucci, etc.). Aside from shopping, there are many hikes, golf courses, and other activities tourists can partake in!

While I wasn’t able to visit Karuizawa in the summer, I did get the chance to go this past February. During the winter, the city turns into a ski resort with relaxing hot springs or onsens! We ended up staying at one of the Prince Hotels (which is a Western Style Hotel). The hotel had a shuttle that would take us from the hotels (West, East, and Villa, The Prince, and Asama, I think) to the ski area, shopping mall, and station, so it was incredibly convenient. Although the winter scenery was beautiful, I would love to visit this city again during summer if I get the chance. Any chance to escape the summer heat!

Capture Japan: Uchiura

Uchiura Gulf, Shizuoka

Although I definitely consider myself a city girl, Japan never ceases to amaze me with the beauty of its nature! Last November I was lucky enough to travel to Uchiura, a small town in Shizuoka prefecture, for work and it was absolutely gorgeous. Although it took about 3-4 hours to reach the small town of Uchiura, riding along the coast of the Uchiura Gulf was an amazing site to see, especially at dusk! Across the gulf, we could see a stunning view of Mt. Fuji (unfortunately it was a little cloudy when I took the picture). The gulf is apparently one of the few places in Japan where you can view Mt. Fuji from across the water! The small town is mainly known for its fishing and its orange orchards, and i’s also famous from the anime, Love Live! I’ve never actually heard of this show, until I visited this town; however, it seems to be quite popular! I would definitely check it out if you’re ever in Shizuoka!

Capture Tokyo: Mori Building

Sky Deck, Roppongi Hills

When it comes to city views, Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Sky Tree might be the initial obvious choices; however, I would recommend visiting the Sky Deck on top of Mori Building in Roppongi Hills! Mori Building stands at 238m tall at the heart of Roppongi and houses some of the world’s most prestigious international companies as well: Google, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, etc. just to name a few. The observation deck is on the 52nd floor of the building. It’s also the entrance to the Mori Art Museum and houses the popular cafe/ high-end restaurant, THE SUN & THE MOON, where you can enjoy the beautiful night view while dining. The building also features an open air sky deck on the roof of the building. The 360 degree view is absolutely gorgeous. I definitely recommend going during the warmer months though (perhaps from April-October), as when we went this past winter, it was unbearably cold! The winds were quite strong as well on the top of the building, so I would recommend bringing some warmer clothes for going up to the deck if you’re planning on visiting in the colder months!