Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yanaka Day Trip

Okay, it really isn't an actual day trip when it's only an afternoon out a few minutes away by train, but I haven't traveled much lately and this felt like an actual holiday. I've been running out of inspiration, chained to my laptop and growing tired of staring at a blank page, so I treated myself to a little lunch out that turned into a fun afternoon exploring the city.

A friend and I went to the traditional area of Yanaka, which is located near Nippori station. I had written a feature a long time ago about shopping in that area (one of my first freelance gigs, nostalgia), and this time I finally made it back without having to stress out about collecting information and a deadline (even though I have a few looming deadlines ahead).

The day started out with a lunch set in a traditional restaurant on a narrow side-street, then a walk around the area to soak in the Edo vibe and check out the secondhand shops. We found lots of treasures, such as teapots, glasses, handbags, and (at times dubious) collections of clothes. I think Yanaka is a mecca to go scour for vintage finds, as it's lesser-known, cheaper and there are more chances to find unique items.

We went to a temple that look a lot like Fushimi-Inari, my favourite temple in Kyoto, with the rows of red torii gates. We stopped for traditional Japanese sweets at the end of the day, and looked for cats, as Yanaka is famous for all its cats roaming about, and numerous cat-themed cafes and shops.

I love Yanaka! I bought a hair ribbon, and came home to return to my work, with a clear head.

Thanks to my friend Stephanie for introducing me to her favourite spots!!

Katsudon lunch set (breaded pork on rice, with miso soup and pickled veggies)

Looks like Fushimi Inari, but in the middle of Tokyo. Happiness and bliss.

Vibrant colours and a watch dog

This ribbon and hair accessory shop is heavenly

Traditional Japanese dessert- sweet red beans on top of jelly cubes

Yanaka is so old-school and local


Beautiful patterns and textiles all around


Christine said...

Beautiful place and you are so lucky that you can experience this all in one afternoon :)

philly said...

Julie Cameron in her book The Artist's Way describes this type of excursion as an "artist's date." She recommends that artists make a regular commitment and schedule such time to explore something that fills the well of your creativity.

Thank you for this, Vivian. I'm determined to check out this spot next time I'm in Tokyo. Btw, that guardian is a fox (inari) not a dog.

Vivian said...

Christine: Thanks! Yes, I do feel lucky all this beauty is so nearby, and I feel guilty for not taking advantage of it more!

Philly: I LOVE that expression, "artist's date"- thanks for sharing!! It truly was inspiring and helped me clear my head :)