Category Archives: Japan

Isetan – Tokyo, Japan


Isetan Department Store

(81)  33.352.1111
Shinjuku, 3−14−1
Tokyo 160-0022, Japan

Open Hours:
10:00 – 22:00    Daily

In a city where Department Stores rule, the youthful and luxury Isetan, in the heart of the Shinjuku district, stands out.   Isetan is a wonderful place to see and shop for new and established Japanese designers; and most importantly, to eat!

The lower level of the building, as in most department stores in japan, holds a football pitch of food!   Supermarket, specialty food booths, tiny kitchens preparing delicious  dishes for take away, Liquor and wine sections, and a sprawling pastry area, create a food fantasy!  In the sweets,  It is very difficult to choose; each stand has the most seductive sweets and chocolates most of them french but with the Japanese touch of perfection.

The top floor of the building  is a green roof park with a children’s playground area, as well as benches and tables where one can consume the delicacies from the lower level.  This is a perfect way to start the day with a quick bite in a lovely setting 🙂

If You are visiting Japan, Isetan and Mitsokushi are the two best places to buy food to bring home.  It is definitely  worth visiting the 2 department stores  as they both sell supreme Japanese food, from all over the country.

    Isetan_055Noix de Beurre – Chestnut pudding
Isetan_059Noix de Beurre – Chestnut pudding
Isetan_045Patiserie Aoki éclair, beer, Sandwich Magic – Brie mini Baguette
Isetan_048Patisserie Aoki éclair, Andersen’s Veggie quiche, beer
Isetan_043Noix de Beurre – Breads
Isetan_049Shredded turnip puffs
  Isetan_073Patiserie Aoki – Green Tea Opera Cake
IMG_9142Patiserie Aoki – Green Tea Opera Cake

Isetan Tokyo

Ghibli Museum – Tokyo, Japan

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Ghibli Museum

(81)  57.005.5777
1 Chome-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka
Tokyo 181-0013, Japan

Open Hours:
10:00 – 18:00     most days

Totoro, Kiki, Chihiro, the Catbus – these are names that speak to me the way that Snow White, Ariel and Nemo might to many an American Youth.  Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation institution; a corollary to Disney.

And if an American pilgrimage to Disney Land is necessary for some, then our trip to the Ghibli Museum was a destined moment in life.

The museum itself is designed as if you were in the movie.  Your transverse a series of watercolor sketches and story boards.  Spend time in both the animation studio and the worlds created there.  From the miniature to the larger then life, you are smiling the entire time.  From the basement dioramas up to the external  spiral staircase to the green roof where the iron Giant stands, across interior bridges, and balconies – Ghibli museum is a dream brought to life.

The Studio Ghibli Museum is located in Inokashira Park.  Please note there is a strict no-photo policy inside the museum.  It is  Very important to buy tickets ahead of time , a month if possible as the museum is not large.  You can buy tickets online prior to arrival in Japan.  Once in country, you can buy tickets at any of the Lawson’s convenience stores.  Also note you cannot buy tickets at the museum itself.

museum_planabove © Ghibli Museum Ghibli Museum 014
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Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.38.47 PM above © Ghibli Museum

Cha Cha Hana – Tokyo, Japan

chachahana4above photo © Cha Cha Hana

Cha Cha Hana

(81)  35.292.2933

Tokyo , Japan

Open Hours:
17:00 – 23:30    Daily

Hidden about 1/2 down the charming path behind the Golden Gai neighborhood sits Cha Cha Hana.  A charming restaurant that soon became our ‘local’ while staying in Shinjuku.

One of a series of restaurants across tokyo, sporting the same menu – a mix of thraditional , such as Yuba from Kyushu,  and modern japanese foods (like lovely shrubs).

It was the combination of cute, friendliness, price, location and menu that made Cha Cha Hana our go-to for a nice bite.

And of course, you feel a little special knowing about the secret entrance (that is only secret to tourists!)

chachahana3above photo © Cha Cha Hana

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abovephoto mochi © seventyoneplace
chachahana2above photo © Cha Cha Hana
chachahana1above photo © Cha Cha Hana