Early this year, I booked a flight to Tokyo for work and a supposed vacation. After a few weeks, I was invited to Tokyo by Google Japan and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and coincidentally, the dates overlapped the trip that I had just booked. Talk about fate!
METI invited different bloggers from all over Asia to be ambassadors for Cool Japan (クールジャパン), a government funded initiative to bring more attention to Japanese contents such as anime, manga, food, fashion, etc. to other countries.
The main purpose of this trip was for us to participate in a new campaign called “100Tokyo”. “100Tokyo” is a new website which hopes to present Tokyo’s 100 best places and things to experience. This explains all our #100Tokyo hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
I can never, ever get tired of going to Japan. I already went multiple times last year, but I still have tons of things I want to try. Thanks to METI and Google Japan for bringing us to different places so we can experience the best of Tokyo for ourselves.
On the night before the main activities, we had a welcome dinner at Ginza Sushiko Honten, a one-star Michelin restaurant that dates back to 1885.
You can find it at Marunouchi Bldg. 35F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6335.
Easily the best sushi I’ve ever tried in my entire life. Everything just melts in your mouth!
I was able to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi a few years ago, and have since included eating in any fancy sushi place in Tokyo as part of my bucket list.
After watching this documentary about Jiro Ono (an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant), you’ll definitely want to go to the nearest Japanese restaurant for a quick sushi fix! So inspiring, and not to mention, visually appetizing.
Similar to the documentary, the sushi chefs at the restaurant we ate in also experienced years of rigorous training and hard work.
The next day, we went to Nihonbashi Hunatsukiba and rode a boat limo to experience the “Venice of Japan”. I’ve never been to Nihonbashi before so this was a new experience even for me.
With Laureen, Camille and pretty Thai blogger Melissa.
Rainy days always get me down! But dark!Nihonbashi was still gorgeous nonetheless.
Nihonbashi (日本橋) literally means Japan Bridge. The area was built around the first construction of the bridge in 1603, thus the name. Because it was the starting point for “Edo Five Routes”, a cluster of roads that connected Tokyo with outlying prefectures, Nihonbashi served as an immensely important place where people interacted and traded with each other.
Nihonbashi boasts of Japan’s first public company, postal system, bank and department store.
I’ll definitely come back to this place when the weather is better! I’m so intrigued after Miho from METI expressed her genuine love for Nihonbashi. I really want to check out Haibara, a 200-year-old shop that specializes in washi (type of Japanese paper). Their products have always been so good that it became part of the Vienna World Exposition in 1873 and the Paris World Exposition in 1878.
Another place I’m interested in is Yoshino-zushi Honten (吉野寿司本店) where the toro nigiri (fatty tuna) originated! Food is always a priority! NOM.
It’s both a good and bad thing that the JR Yamanote Line exists. I heavily depend on it to go to places like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa (where I like staying), Tokyo, Ueno, Yoyogi, Harajuku, and Akihabara, but sometimes it is too convenient that it discourages me from trying all the other subway lines!
To get to Nihonbashi Station, you can go on the Ginza, Tozai and Asakusa lines or Mitsukoshimae Station on the Hanzomon and Ginza lines. Nihonbashi is also a 5-10 minute walk from the Nihonbashi Exit of Tokyo Station.
After the boat ride, we headed to a new mall called COREDO Muromachi! It just opened on the day of our visit!
Our first agenda? Dressing up in kimono/yukata! Another dream come true!
Kyorakutei/Megurian (橋楽亭／囲庵)in COREDO Muromachi 3 is a place where you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture. This includes tea ceremonies, kimono dressing, etc. Definitely a must-visit for tourists.
We were free to choose the design we wanted to wear and I chose black and pink with hot pink color accent simply because it matched the lipstick I was wearing, lol. And because BLACK!
We had to strip down to our undergarments before these lovely ladies helped us to dress up. 3 layers and lots of ribbons to secure the layers in place, but it was all surprisingly very comfortable!
Tried it on once and I still have no idea how they were able to do this. I heard some people have to put on kimonos and yukatas on their own! It’s definitely not an easy feat!
There were some ladies who also volunteered to fix our hair and tie them hair up with cute floral clips to match our outfits! How thoughtful of them!
Cool Japan / 100 Tokyo crew and representatives from the Philippines (Me, Camille, Laureen), Thailand (Melissa), Taiwan (AiAi), China (Lala), Singapore (Xiaxue, QiuQiu), Malaysia (Cheesie) and Indonesia (Stella).
There was a kimono exhibit in the same mall so we went there to check it out.
We were allowed to wear our kimonos for a while so I can definitely attest to its comfort! I was so sad when my little dream sequence had to end and I had to go back to wearing normal clothes! /CRY
Took detail shots of the patterns and embroidery on the exhibited kimonos. It’s no wonder how some of these go for tens of thousands of dollars.
Would love to wear this dainty-looking one.
Kimonos are definitely works of art!
Patterns printed on washi. These became my iPhone wallpapers for a while.
You can find a cute souvenir shop at the mall’s ground floor. Here’s a quirky fan that needs no introduction.
It’s traditional x modern/pop culture collaborations like this one that give me so much life! Japan will never be not cool.
Calling all Hello Kitty fans!
The next photos are all about the stores and products that you can find in the new COREDO Muromachi.
Because it’s Easter today, here are some bunny chopsticks at a chopsticks store that sells so many different designs and colors!
Not your ordinary slippers.
World-famous Tabio socks that are proudly made in Japan.
Unique design from a glasses store called POKER FACE (ポーカーフェイス). The items are produced in Sabae, Fukui Prefecture, the leader in Japanese glasses production.
Can I live here?
Looks like my future house, lol.
Team Singapore/Malaysia decked out in pastels! Too adorable not to post.
Lunch time at Hounenmanpuku, still in Nihonbashi! Finished this in about 10 minutes. SO GOOD.
I heard getting a visa to go to Japan won’t be required anymore for Filipinos. I noticed there are more flights from Manila to Tokyo too. It’s definitely our year! You can check out the 100Tokyo website as you plan your itinerary. You can also refer to my blog’s Tokyo tag to read about my own experiences.
Happy Easter! <3
Things went very well in Tokyo. Too well that I still can’t believe how I was able to stand properly after meeting so many wonderful people!
One of the major highlights of my recent trip was meeting MURUA creative director and Japanese style icon Momoko Ogihara herself. I’ve watched her fashion for about 3-4 years now, and I always get giddy whenever I see her in my magazines because I’m such a fan of her signature look. Japanese girls named the high-cheekbone / under-eye blush style after her. Such a trendsetter.
I really believe that she is partly responsible for the popularity boom of Japanese MODE style. She definitely plays a huge role in setting trends for girls who want to dabble into edgier, more mature coordinates by combining classic, wearable items with unique MURUA accents.
Ogihara-san with MURUA press Kotake Asami-san.
I’ve been in contact with Kotake-san for a while now because she sends me stuff from MURUA to share on my blog and Lookbook. We used to just pass by each other in fashion shows last year but I’m glad we finally got to meet! She is one of the nicest people I know and I always have a huge smile on my face whenever we talk on LINE because she is absolutely adorable. I love her new hair!
I started feeling a little sad that I wasn’t able to communicate to them as much as I wanted to because my Nihongo is still not very good, but nonetheless, they didn’t make me feel like it was a problem at all. I kept on thanking them and saying sorry and telling them that I’ll study harder so we can all casually talk better next time! They were so kind and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m really thankful because they trusted me enough to share MURUA to the world. I’ll study harder so I can translate more information about Japanese fashion into English.
We met up at the MURUA in Shinjuku LUMINE EST.
Another favorite MURUA store of mine is the one at Shibuya MARUI. One of the shop staff there can speak and understand English!
I swear we didn’t plan on wearing matching stripes/borders. I just wore it because it seemed like a very MURUA thing to wear. True enough, both Kotake-san and Ogihara-san wore stripes too!
They personally picked some items as presents for me! I can die now. This included one of their currently super popular items - the off-shoulder striped top that she’s wearing. You can also see it on the mannequin in the picture of me and Kotake-san. It’s so popular that it already sold out in other MURUA stores.
After a short introduction, Ogihara-san toured me around the store and showed me some of their key S/S items. Of course, I took pictures so I can share them with all of you.
Studded pointy heels in MURUA colors.
Graphic pullovers, chain necklaces in pastel colors, and dangling earrings (the girl on the sweater has them too).
Stylish everyday shoes with gold accents to match your gold jewelry.
Off-shoulder statement sweaters, linen bomber jackets, sleeveless knits, denim miniskirts in white and dark gray washes.
I wanted the black and white pointy heels so bad but they ran out of stocks in my size!
MURUA wedges are still a huge thing.
Round sunglasses and leather caps.
Monk straps and low heels.
Dark blue version of the denim jacket that I’m wearing. It comes in 3 washes!
Whole outfit from MURUA minus the bag and shoes. Would’ve worn my MURUA wedges if only I didn’t have a lot of walking to do that day!
Florals for spring, but not in the usual powder pink that we see everywhere.
Blue/purple and yellow seem to be the top colors for MURUA S/S14.
MURUA’s signature black and white with a pop of color. I got this bag for myself because I realized that I don’t have a lot of yellow bags! And to think that I really love yellow.
It’s all about edgy and unique accessories with MURUA.
Lace, gray denim, and a pale green cardigan. Classy color combination.
Oversized pastel cardigans, embellished tops, stripes (lots of them), and nostalgic ’90s-vibe jumpers.
Cardigan-top-skirt sets and fun patterns.
Berets! I kind of regret not buying any during my trip because they were so popular, but the mere thought of the hot weather in Manila strongly discouraged me from doing so.
MURUA scents! I have the vanilla one (gray) and it smells so good!
Hope you had fun with that little tour of MURUA’s current collection. Don’t you want to just buy everything?
Thanks MURUA for this opportunity! MURUA stores can be found all over Japan, but they also have stores in Hong Kong (The One mall), China, Taiwan (FAVVI Party), and Hawaii. You can check the specific list here.
Back from Tokyo! I had the busiest time but I’m not complaining. I originally planned this trip as some sort of vacation, but so many work opportunities came up and I just suddenly found myself having no free time at all!
One of my agendas while I was in Tokyo was to take up RANDA’s offer to visit any of their stores. I always pass by the one in Shinjuku every time I’m in Tokyo, so I chose this particular store as I was most familiar with it.
I blogged about them last summer, and I remember mentioning how much I swear by Japanese shoe brands. You can never doubt the quality of their shoes because Japanese girls walk around A LOT, and I don’t think they can survive walking (and sometimes, running) around the whole day in poorly-made shoes.
Maho-san from RANDA gave me two pairs as presents (YAY) but I bought two additional pairs because I couldn’t resist all the pretty shoes. I also never owned a pair of white/off-white boots so I finally got one that I can comfortably walk around in.
I also took the opportunity to take photos of their latest S/S14 collection. So many girly designs that you can easily pair with your floral skirts and light denim bottoms.
Perfect beach shoes!
Tropical print is still popular for most S/S collections in Japan. These shoes are sure to be a hit!
Bejeweled flats for lazy days! No need to excessorize anymore.
The most popular silhouette for flats right now. RANDA offers them in unique designs that you can’t find anywhere else.
RANDA collaborated with famous blogger Zina from Fashionvibe to create these shoes. So chic! I can already imagine them paired with tattered boyfriend jeans (another popular S/S trend).
Not your ordinary booties.
Summer sandals! RANDA always has the most interesting wedge designs. Makes your feet look like a million bucks.
A whole wall of RANDA shoes. Can I live here?
One of my favorites from their latest collection. Kawaii yet classy!
Got the black version of these flats for everyday use. I love the subtle bejeweled heels.
RANDA x Hello Kitty collaboration! So many girls in the store fit the beige Hello Kitty loafers.
Wore my RANDA boots immediately! They are insanely comfy, and the heels are just the right height for walking. I traveled around Shinjuku and Shimokitazawa that day and my feet didn’t hurt at all.
Thanks to the RANDA Shinjuku shop staff for the hospitality! I wish my Nihongo were better but I tried my best, lol.
She is wearing a pair from the latest S/S collection. Two-tone also seems like a huge trend this season.
A better view of my outfit (thanks to Asian Impressions for taking this picture). Can’t wait to show you my new shoes in the next couple of weeks!
Fortunately for us who can’t go to Japan all the time, RANDA opened its global webstore that can ship to over 120 countries. YES, the Philippines is included. You just need to have PayPal!
Crying deep inside because this will be the last of my Japan posts this year, and I won’t be spending Christmas in Fukuoka. I got used to it already - I could totally use some warm Ippudo and Christmas lights at Hakata Station. /tears
The good thing about it is that I can finally do the whole Christmas Eve with relatives thing again, a tradition that I also miss very much! And I’ll still be traveling with my family during the holiday break. We decided to fly to a place we haven’t visited together in 5 years - Taiwan. I’m pretty excited about it because I can’t remember much the last time I went there. I’ll make sure to properly document it this time.
Anyhow, I spent my last day in Tokyo with some Filipino bloggers who are based in Japan. They are an amazing bunch, and I wish they could adopt me so I can join their Japanese fashion escapades regularly! Even if I only met them for the first time, I felt like I knew them already because we shared so many similar interests. They made me feel like I belonged.
Harajuku sun. Don’t be fooled - the weather was horribly bipolar the time I was there. It was right in the middle of summer and autumn, and I suffered so badly from the drastic weather changes and developed a bad cold, aggravated some more by lack of sleep and the adrenaline rush from my EMODA activities.
After my touristy morning at Meiji Shrine, I met up with fellow Filipinos Ashley, Gervin, and Kiko somewhere in Harajuku. They brought their pretty friend Junko along, and it was all so wonderful and kawaii kawaii doki doki hajimemashite lol you get the point. Junko is a popular Japanese blogger, and you might recognize her if you follow some active Japanese Lookbookers! She was so sweet to drop by and meet me even if she had a lot of activities that day! Can I swap faces with her? She is absolutely gorgeous.
Ashley contacted me when I tweeted about going to Tokyo, and I’m really happy that she did because I wouldn’t have had as much fun during this trip if it weren’t for this meet-up!
Junko had to leave early but was kind enough to snap a photo of the 4 of us! Here I am with my new friends Kiko, Gervin and Ashley. Sorely missing them while I type this entry out. I now have more reasons to go back to Tokyo.
I love how we all sort of had matching outfits. Red is totally the color of the season.
We had a fun, spontaneous field trip to Koenji which is located in West Tokyo. I haven’t finished reading 1Q84 yet (I’m only a few pages in) but it’s apparently set here. As is Dare mo shiranai/Nobody Knows, a heart-wrenching movie I was able to watch in Japanese Film class back in college. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to be depressed, huhu I am scarred for life because of that movie
We got lost for a while because it was everyone’s first time here. This couple was lost too. I love the girl’s Chun-Li hair!
We stopped somewhere to check out Google Maps and to camwhore a little because we knew our time together was limited huhu
I changed to flat shoes because of all the walking we had to do! Slip-ons also from EMODA.
Shopping area near the Koenji station.
The cutest neko drawing.
The stores in the area were very quaint! Koenji is supposed to be popular for this kind of fashion, as well as for selling very good used clothing. I wasn’t able to do any shopping but it was nice to just browse through all the pretty.
Old shoes that were glued to the ground.
Kiko and Gervin (who changed to his sporty ninja-inspired look). Somewhere in this area, we found an owl cafe! Ashley was game to try it out but the rest of us were like HUU~ THEY LOOK SCARY!
Now I’m like, why was I afraid of a bird
Bike props. Of course, they have to be kawaii.
The most adorable pink bike.
Not quite summer, not quite fall.
I love the light in Japan. Achieving this quality doesn’t require any effort. Soft, natural lighting wins forever.
Floresta Nature Doughnuts. So cute it would be a shame to eat them.
The donut is looking at our lattes and secretly judging us.
With teacher Ashley! She teaches elementary school kids for work! If I had a teacher like her, no question she would be my instant fave.
Families passed by as we had our little coffee break in a corner. Noticed a lot of kids in this community.
Back in Harajuku before dinner time! My condition was so bad at this point I couldn’t think straight anymore and just wanted to go to bed and sleep. Which I did. The walk back to my hotel felt painfully longer than usual.
I wish I could go back and have more adventures with Kiko, Gervin and Ashley when I’m not sick anymore! Universe, let’s make it happen soon.
I love that all-pink outfit!
Grabbed something to eat in Shibuya before heading back to my hotel. I settled for something quick, and McDonalds was selling McPepper. I couldn’t resist. Way to make myself feel better. With fast food.
I also dropped by the BIC Camera in Shibuya to buy a gift to myself for finishing my book - a new camera! My friend Edric talked me into converting to Fujifilm.
One of the best decisions I made this year. I am so in love with my X Pro 1. It also helped that the salespeople at BIC Camera were kind enough to give me a quick tutorial, as well as tourist discounts on top of the existing promotions that they had.
The next day, I had a few hours to kill early morning before my flight back to Manila.
I went to Ginza, which is a very upscale area in Tokyo that is known for high-end shopping and luxurious everything.
The Uniqlo there is amazing!
The iconic Ginza Wako. There has always been a clock tower in this building since the late 1800s.
I went so early in the morning! There weren’t a lot of people yet.
Would’ve shopped here for my grandma if I only had enough time! She would totally love it in Ginza.
Shortly after this, I had to get my luggage back at the hotel and head to the airport. The best way to go to Haneda Airport from the city is by bus/airport limousine. I took the one in Shibuya Mark City as it was nearest to my hotel.
Last sushi meal in Japan.
Took photos in the bus because I was already missing Japan even if I haven’t left yet.
Wonder if I got included in his photo.
Gloomy day in Shibuya.
A view I can never get tired of.
To Shibuya Hikarie.
Tokyo Sky Tree from afar. I haven’t had time to visit it yet, but hopefully next year I can come back and check it out! Another place I should visit is Shimokitazawa. I’ve heard great things about it.
Must make good use of my multiple-entry visaaa. In an ideal world, I would fly to Japan 4 times a year. Once every season.
Watched Shingeki no Kyojin episode 1 and 2 again on the plane. Day made. See you again soon, Tokyo!
EMODA flew me to Tokyo for the second time this year, and it made my October even more memorable. It didn’t matter that my flight was scheduled so early the morning after my book launch, since I was on such a #TriciaGosingtianStyleBook high that I didn’t care if I was running on 2 hours of sleep with a full schedule ahead of me.
On days when I didn’t have work, I went around Tokyo on my own to take pictures as I always do. What I love most about Tokyo is its “organized chaos” that speaks to me very strongly. I don’t think any other place in the world can compare to it, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it either. I qualified for a multiple-entry visa when I just applied for single-entry, so expect more Japan travel diaries in the next 3 years!
I was just there last May, but it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm at all. You will never run out of interesting things to find and experience in Tokyo. This time, everyone was preparing for Halloween, and imho, no one does Halloween better than Tokyo. Sadly, I missed all the Japanese Halloween events as I’ve been traveling all over the US since late October, but at least I got to experience it in Times Square NYC!
Who’s watching Ando Roid ~ A.I. know LOVE?
How can I not watch this when they casted 2 flawless actors as the leads?
Hysteric Glamour’s Shibuya store on my way back to my hotel.
ASOKO! Somewhere in between Shibuya and Harajuku. The lines outside this place were crazy long, so I wasn’t able to go in because I didn’t have the luxury of time.
I did, whoever, manage to take a quick peek inside before I left. They sell really well-designed novelty goods at super affordable prices. I thought I saw a sign that read 20 yen and 100 yen!
Because no Japan post will ever be complete without some Arashi.
WEGO Harajuku! One of the most affordable places to get the latest trends. Prices are generally cheaper than brands in Shibuya 109 but the themes are quite similar.
Limited edition MCM. If you follow K-pop closely, a lot of male idols have sported MCM backpacks in the past.
Things that I don’t normally see in places outside Tokyo.
ROLA! I love her so much, I can’t even.
Walked along Harajuku and had to take a photo of the pretty light and shadow play on the buildings.
P.S. This giant Nike has free wifi, hohoho
This brand is always brings me back to those days when I dressed in a more girly-dainty style.
merry jenny is also a MARK STYLER brand like EMODA, MURUA, etc, and also presents collections at touchMe fashion shows.
In front of Shibuya Hikarie.
KEIKO AND KYOKO IN ONE MOVIE. SO MANY FEELS.
Through the years I have mastered the art of taking pictures of interesting backs.
When matchy matchy goes extreme.
Subtle fairy-kei? They were so cute I wanted to put them inside my pocket!
Hello Kitty is cute, but I just have to point out the Bananas and Pajamas illustration! (!)
Shibuya Crossing before the chaos.
Kata-cute, lol (I finally get to use it!) Kowai-kawaii~!
Visited Meiji Shrine in Harajuku one morning. The sun was so lovely and cooperative.
I went in from one of the many entrances, and managed to do a bit of self-reflection while I braved the long walk to the main shrine. Some people think traveling alone can make you feel lonely, but for oh-so-introverted me, I enjoy the silence very much.
It was a wonderful day for family bonding.
So lucky I went the same time parents were bringing their kids to their coming-of-age ceremony.
Someone just got married, and I took a quick photo of them organizing themselves for a formal family portrait.
Messages from all over the world. It doesn’t get any more international in other places than in Meiji Shrine.
Family portrait under the shade.
One of the interesting details I found on a gate. 4 hearts forming into some sort of 4 leaf clover. Or maybe it’s just me.
Clear blue sky. Thank you to the rain gods for not punishing me with unnecessary drizzle during this trip.
Looks like scene from a movie. One of my travel entry trademarks are these candid couple photos, and this one is slowly climbing up my favorites chart.
The beginnings of an anime series.
The surreal view on my way out of the shrine. Part 2 coming soon!
One of the reasons why I’m posting this on time (and not 3 months late) is because I think I took way too many photos over here in the US. Prepare for my next travel diaries on Chicago, New York and Boston because I didn’t bring my heavy dSLR with me for once. I’m so psyched about my new baby - I bought a Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in Tokyo as a present to myself for completing my book. I could’ve easily gotten myself my dream designer bag or a pair of designer shoes, but this girl’s obviously got different priorities. :)