R A U X E THE JAPAN JOURNAL
A / LETTER In the Australian spring we ticked our long awaited dream of travelling to Japan. Here are some curated snaps of both detail and splendor that continually remind me of the awesome experience. It was overall eclectic, with traditional and ancient elements colliding with the modern urban. It did have fantastic people, food and English signage. Love, Esther
TOKYO 07 FUJI 27 KYOTO 33
HIDDEN 21.9 In the quest for food – Entered out of all places
Around 10 pm we arrive at Ebisu, just one station from Shibuya. After a trek we found our little apartment situated in a small street next to other Japanese residents. This was home now. Dinner was yet to be consumed and we had agreed to meet up with some Aussie mates who have been ‘localised’ over the years. Tall men with adequate Japanese, we ventured to a dimly lit alleyway where it housed not one but many little restaurants, rather a place of endless taken seating. An aromatic strip packed with warm bodies and little plates of food that appear seconds after ordering. Lemon sours and beef slices dominated the table, and with ten people, we tried to make do. I was mostly mesmerised by the vibe, the skill and ability to accommodate people (aka a small village) (the ten of us were not separated) and the very fact that it was our first local, Japanese meal.
CO EXI STEN CE 22.9 Tokyo Imperial Palace
Time builds something beautiful. For those in the past do not disappear as time progresses, rather they age in the presence of the new. Time is respected over here in Tokyo as the old is preserved well. The city urbanises and develops around the imperial palace as well as its remaining terrain. I love this coexistence. I’m reminded of a scene in Inception where Cobbs and his wife walk in limbo, a constructed dream with architecture across the decades – eclectic and surreal. Despite its outmoded facades they are brought to life by a people who identify with the authors. à
S H I N J U K U 23.9 Shinjuku Gyoen
Situated in the city, this massive plot of greenery includes several gardens including an English, French and its very own Japanese. The manicured trees, still waters and overgrown greenery offer a comfort you’d easily be drawn in. The park closes at 5 pm, just in time to see the sun set onto the plains and painting them golden. It is one contemplative walk!
EBISU DINNER 23.9 In the neighbourhood
We found this hidden jewel by serendipity near by our home. It was located in a quiet alleyway illuminated by restaurants that each exuded a dim, cosy atmosphere. I believe this was the most traditional meal we had on our trip – individual dining rooms, gravel and slate path, traditionally dressed staff, a foot massage log at the bottom of the table. What pointed out to be the most odd is the Chinese-‐speaking chef who kindly conversed with us when we couldn’t fathom the all-‐Japanese menu. While we may have opted the 100 yen sushi vendor in town, traditional dining in this fine place is an invaluable experience.
The night is happening and street food is accessible absolutely everywhere. Dinner is sorted by walking around the block, picking as you go, and surprising your friends with a bizarre food that you might have to trace back to get one for them too. Harajuku is the spot for Cosplay and people dressed decadently, so be sure not to miss out on them.
Yakidori + Sake
Fast food sushi by a personal service â€“ 1.20 Aussie per plate!
CI TI ZEN 23.9
SOLI TUDE 24.9 Mount Fuji Homebody
Away from the noise and concrete jungle of Tokyo, Fuji takes upon a seclusive feeling, being enveloped by mountains and mysterious mist. The rural environment strips Japan of its contemporary era and its quietness reveals to be quiet authentic. Our residence for the night was a wood cabin was located on top of the hill that required a steep, 10-‐minute hike with baggage.
The home shouted warmth with serious floor to ceiling wood beams and fixtures. It had a perfect sight of Mount Fuji (or what it is supposed to be) as the climate had made the mountain too mysterious and unidentifiable. Other than that, with the tune of mellow jazz and the sweet surrounds of wet foliage and mystery, Fuji posed a contemplative setting for getting away. Solitude is bliss.
AN TI Q UI TY 26.9 Moments
KI YO MI ZUD ERA
Located in the Higashiyama District, Ninen-‐ zaka and Sannen-‐zaka are neighbouring streets to Kiyomizudera. Along these preserved paths are shops selling souvenirs, pickles and ready to wear kimonos. Also keep your eyes out for Geishas. Our modern clothes and technology is an odd juxtaposition to the traditional environment.
G I Â N K A K U J I
K I N K A K U JI
I MPERI AL PALACE
ARASH I YAMA
CI TI ZEN
URBAN / RURAL