Archive for the ‘TRAVEL’ Category
posted all about the first part of our tokyo trip right here…and then our overnight trip on the train to kyoto here. and this is part TWO of tokyo! let’s do it…
as i said before, we stayed in meguro at the claska hotel. this was my favorite suite there…the beautiful retro minimal decor was so lovely. and the whole room was in the same warm tones which i really appreciated. above you will see jen performing sia’s “chandelier” for my snapchat haha. also, that’s the traditional breakfast they offer in the lobby which i liked (but they also have american style food if you wanted to switch it up)
after we got home from kyoto it was nice to come back here, relax and then go out for a nice meal. we had dinner at seriously the best sushi i’ve had in my life. it was just the four of us and the chef made each bite special. natalie even cried when he was cutting the cucumber because it truly was like watching art. it was probably top 3 meals of my life. the sushi was like butter and the care that went into the food was truly moving. you’ve seen this doc, right? similar experience to that.
one of my favorite places visually was yukamo suryo. it’s out of the way some, but it was so gorgeous. we made a reservation early in the week and had breakfast there our last full day. it really gave me the same feelings i had when visiting coqui coqui in tulum (see here) it felt tranquil, well thought out, chic, and fancy but not over the top. i think the meal was about $30 and that paid for about a 1.5 hour intimate breakfast experience of different teas and traditional food and dessert. i loved the details in the space the most. the bathroom sink was even amazing.
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kyoto is a pretty magical place. tons of gardens, temples, traditional wooden houses, geishas, and misty green views. we took the bullet train from toyko (about 2 hours) and spent one night in kyoto…so happy we did! here’s what we did while we were there…
i LOVED the bullet train. it was like 200mph (one of the fastest trains in the world) and the best way to decompress. i have always loved just zoning out to some music in my ears and staring at all the scenery…it’s always pretty emotional for me. makes me feel grateful to see new sights and relaxes me. price wise, the bullet train isn’t very cheap (about $125 each way) but it was such an important part of our trip so i don’t regret it one bit. p.s. people told us to get the bento boxes on the train…let’s just say, i wouldn’t recommend that. slimy ha.
tip for the train: we were curious if we needed to book beforehand, but it was really easy to buy at the counter when you get to the station and trains were running very often (like every 10 mins!) so don’t worry about it.
we stayed in a ryokan, which is a traditional japanese inn that usually offers tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and provide you with a yukata (a casual summer kimono made of cotton) the one we chose, and loved, was called gion hatanaka ryokan, and it was only about a 2 minute walk from the yasaka shrine you will see below. are ryokans expensive? yeah, it’s kind of a splurge (we each spent about $180 to spend the night, but that also included the clothes and the traditional breakfast, and public baths) very worth it, i’m telling ya.
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TOKYO! what a trip. so much to see. so much to explore. overwhelming, but amazing. exactly why i wanted to go and try to find a bunch of spots to share with you. because you gottttta go. let’s dive in..
we took a 4 hour flight from hong kong to tokyo and arrived into the narita airport. the airport is pretty far from everything (about 1.5 hours) so we decided to take the friendly limo company bus to the sheraton hotel and then a 10 minute cab to our hotel. it was about $26 a person as opposed to an expensive cab ride ($150-200) but it’s up to you, really. i actually liked the bus ride, it was nice, easy to book as you exit customs, and runs every 30 mins or something fast like that.
i’m going to try to break down what we did by neighborhood because there is a LOT to see in tokyo, and everything is pretty spread out. my suggestion is to use google maps on your phone and computer to plan the trip. type in a place you want to go and hit the little “saved” star so you get a bunch of stars on your map and you know how to plan your day. you don’t want to be going all over the city if you can stick in one neighborhood in the daytime and another in the evening.
tip: we rented little wifi devices from tep wireless that gave us a signal throughout the whole trip. verizon didn’t have a good data plan for the places we were visiting. we got two for four people so the signal would be strong. honestly worked perfectly in hong kong, and almost perfectly in tokyo. would also highly suggest a mophie for keeping that phone charged because maps takes up a loooot of battery.
natalie and i got in late and went straight to sleep but then met up with jen and jesse in the morning. it’s always fun to meet up with someone you know, somewhere new. it’s so exciting. the hotel we stayed in was the claska hotel through mr and mrs smith. it was definitely one of the most unique hotel experiences i’ve had. there is only 18 rooms, and we were able to move around and see a bunch of them. some are very modern and minimalist and some are very wacky and themed (stuffed animal theme or ship theme! ha) the place kinda felt like an ace hotel, but in japan. i liked having my morning coffee in the lobby and the store on the 2nd floor is absolutely stunning (a must.) as far as location, i felt it was sort of out of the way from things we wanted to see and more chill and residential, but a great hotel regardless. and we did find a lot of cool stuff in the meguro neighboorhood that were worth checking out. there’s also a lot of vintage shopping here!
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i recently spent about 10 days in hong kong and japan and wanted to document them as much as i could. i was only able to scratch the surface of hong kong, so i am not sure how much help i will be, but i think i can still provide you with some good insight on traveling there and a few fun things we did! something that made it very easy was that almost everyone could speak english which made getting around a breeze. (we didn’t have the same experience in tokyo!).
let’s just say it’s not a short trip from los angeles to hong kong, it took us about 14 hours! we flew united…not the best plane for long distances, but they did have wifi which was a savior and pretty rare for over the ocean travel! we arrived pretty late at night, checked into our hotel and went to mott 32 for dinner. we tried to go to ho lee fook (funny name if you say it out loud) because we heard it’s amazing, but it was booked up…so make a reservation! we really loved the dinner at mott 32 though. a very cool ambiance, unique decor, the best bbq pork (this and the peking duck is what they are known for!) it kinda feels like you are in a james bond film here, honestly. definitely on the fancier side, but an awesome welcome into a new place.
the upper house hotel was a true dream. i was working with a company called mr and mrs smith, a cool website that curates hip gorgeous hotels around the world. i always check this site when traveling somewhere new. the hotel was calm, neutral, comfortable, the best service, visually appealing and made it very hard to leave the room. because we arrived to hong kong at night we had no idea what our surroundings actually looked like, so to wake up and open the windows to this beautiful city with TONS of greenery was so amazing. i was freaking out on snapchat. it felt like we were in jumanji or something. this hotel is on hong kong island, and i would recommend staying in that area!
a few things: get your octopus card! it’s an electronic payment system using a contactless smart card. you can use these in convenient stores and for the subway. (you can get one in the underground subway stations) which by the way the subway is extremely easy to use and clean.
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i’m BACK! and in a jetlag haze. sleeping hours have been weird over here, but honestly i’ve been so excited to get back and start documenting everything i experienced in hong kong and tokyo. i will be working on extensive lists this week, but i also want to do some small posts on things that really stood out to me.
while i only got to spend two and a half days in hong kong, we did walk around for miles and miles and tried to take in as much as we possibly could. the main thing that struck both natalie and i was the soft pastel color combinations EVERYWHERE. no, the whole city wasn’t pastel, but there were so many little alleyways or tall buildings with the most gorgeous color combinations. it immediately made me think of this photo project by ward roberts who wanted to showcase his childhood in hong kong and the colors and feelings that he experienced. i felt lucky to have seen so many examples of this with my own eyes!! (see here!)
the colors in hong kong will be imprinted in my mind forever! especially the beautifully faded neon signs. more on hong kong soon!
photos by ward roberts