Thursday, 10 July 2014

Japan - Tokyo - What To Wear When You're There

Sunflower girl troop in Harajuku
Blossom and lanterns in Tokyo
Where? Tokyo, Japan
When? June 2014
Why? I've always wanted to go to Japan, so when The Chinzanso Hotel asked me to stay I couldn't say no!
Best time to go? The most romantic and picturesque time to travel to Japan is in April / May when the cherry blossom is in full bloom. September is also spectacular when the trees turn amber and gold with the changing autumnal season.
Thanks to? The Chinzanso Hotel, Harita Shah, Carl Esprit, Kyoko Shoji and Yosuke Nakajima for making my trip so much fun!

View of Mount Fuji from the Bullet Train (photo by Harita Shah)
Yep! That's me!! Dress like a geisha for the day in Kyoto
What to wear when you’re there?
Tokyo is without doubt one of the most stylish cities I have ever visited. The locals are so on-trend, it feels like they’ve just stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine, even if they’re just out shopping or on their way to work.

Whether you dress in an outlandish, eccentric fashion like the infamous Harajuku girls, suited and chic like the city slickers and salary men or opulent and feminine like a geisha, as long as you look stylish you’ll fit in perfectly.

This gorgeous Harajuku girl accessorised with homemade cigarette packet earrings!

The Boys

Cool couples 

The Harajuku girls
Cool girl working the 'my little pony' look 

Where to shop? The streets of Tokyo are filled with quirky boutiques, shops and retailers. For high end designer shops head to the luxurious tree lined streets of Omoto Sando.

If you take a little detour off to the back streets of Ula (which runs perpendicular to the main stretch of Omoto Sando) you’ll come across a much cooler, home grown style of clothing. Think edgy Japanese aesthetic.

Circus Store in Ula
The best place for street style spotting is Takeshita Street. Grab a smoothie at one of the roof cafes and watch the outrageous Harajuku Girls in full-kitch ensembles go by.  Make sure you take your camera! Want to join in the fun and fancy dress? Visit one of the many Photo Booth stores frequented by Japanese teenagers. 

Kyoko and I couldn't resist the photo booth shop on Takeshita Street
Mount Fuji

Japan - Tokyo - After Dark - Restaurants, Bars, Clubs

After dark? Restaurants and Cocktails.
The two busiest and most fun areas to go out in Tokyo are Shibuya and Shinjuku.

The world-renowned Shibuya Crossing is a sight to behold. It’s Tokyo’s equivalent to Times Square, filled with neon lights, hoards of people and bustling shops and bars.

Tiny lanes of Golden Gai
Nearby the back streets or ‘lanes’ of Golden Gai (the red light district) house tiny, sake, drinking-dens with seating for small groups of 8 to 10 people. It’s a unique experience and worth a visit. Be warned though, the sake is much stronger than you think! :)

The Robot Restaurant
There are thousands of quirky and unique drinking experiences to sample in Tokyo, ranging from karaoke bars, fancy dress theme venues to The Robot Restaurant pictured above! Enough said.

The affluent Rappongi area famed for art galleries and high end boutiques, houses one of the most spectacular views of Tokyo. Take in the panoramic 360 degree view of the Tokyo night skyline from the stunning Sky Deck at the Mori Art Museum (above).

The interior at Gonpachi
Then head round the corner to traditional Japanese restaurant Gonpachi (which inspired the fight scene from Kill Bill). Complete with authentic rustic style cooking, rice paper screens and bamboo booth interior, it’s a Tokyo celebrity haunt!

Me at Gonpachi Restaurant
Trump Rooms, Tokyo (photo from Timeout Tokyo)
Clubbing and late night drinks
End the night drinking experimental cocktails with a view at the Park Hyatt New York Bar, as featured in Lost in Translation. For late night drinks and a spot of dancing, house music fans should head to Womb or to hang out with Tokyo's chic party set, try out the opulent Trump Rooms!

Neon lights of Shinjuku

Japan - Tokyo - Sleeping

Where to Stay? Chinzanso Hotel, Tokyo
I stayed at the stunning Hotel Chinzanso, just on the outskirts of Tokyo, famed for it’s immaculate gardens, pavilion and over 700 years of history. Built as a beautiful oasis of calm in the heart of Tokyo, it was lovely to come home to the serenity of the hotel.

Original antiques and ceramics fill the elegant interiors and fresh flowers adorn the stunning garden hotel.
Garden views from the bathroom window
Breakfast is served, the view of the pagoda from my room
We had a spectacular six course dinner at Mokushundo, Tokyo’s top traditional stone grill restaurant set within the grounds of the hotel. The set menus include seafood and meat specialities, including the delicious lobster which was my favourite (above). The flavours are subtle, fragrant and the courses are beautifully presented with edible flowers and leaves.
The classical exterior at Mokushundo Restaurant

Japan - Kyoto - Sightseeing

Golden Temple of Kinkakuji
Culture & Sight seeing - Kyoto

I would highly recommend taking a 2/3 day trip out of Tokyo on a bullet train, to the ancient capital of Kyoto.

There's so much to see and do here, you can literally immerse yourself in Japanese culture and discover the secret world of the Geisha.  My highlights included:
Japanese school girls hired Geisha costumes to spend the day sight seeing
A visit to the opulent Golden Temple of Kinkakuji (above) with it’s immaculately kept zen gardens.

Take a trip to the stunning shrine at Fushimi Inari (as seen in the film Memoirs of a Geisha) and wander through the mesmerising miles of orange gate shrines.

Path to enlightenment, endless walkway of shrines at Fushimi Inari
Two girls in kimono visit the expansive temple complex of Kiyomizu Dera
And finally don't miss out on the enchanting experience of being served dinner and entertained by authentic geishas in the Gion District (below).

Tuesday, 1 July 2014 / Links of London Takeover

What? The gorgeous guys at Links of London asked me TheStyleTraveller to do a website takeover to celebrate the new spring summer jewellery collection. 
The brief? What to wear when when you're there, my favourite subject! So I picked my top 4 summer destinations and created capsule wardrobes for each hotspot, accessorised with gorgeous Links pieces of course!
Click on? LinksOfLondon to check out TheStyleTraveller/LinksOfLondon Takeover! Enjoy!
Here's a little taster!

To see the full takeover click on LinksOfLondon!