We all have that one friend whom seems to know the cool, odd little places to visit when he or she is out travelling to a new location and posts his/her pics on their Facebook, Instagram or share on your Whatsapp or Line groups, don’t we? If you happen to be visiting Tokyo soon, we’re hoping to be that friend to you!
These are the places that mostly catered to your shopping, food and picturesque spots, perfect for uploads on your Facebook and are definitely “insta-worthy”.
Kichijoji is quite a popular local alternative to the busier main streets of Shibuya or Shijuku, though it is located in the city of Musashino, in the west of Tokyo, about half an hour from the center by train. Since World War 2, the place has been an entertainment and shopping center and is filled with department stores such as Parco, Isetan and Tokyu and also tons of music venues, bars and restaurants.
What makes this area really popular during certain months is definitely the Inokashira Koen or one of the best parks for Hanami or cherry blossom viewing. On weekdays it is usually quiet and filled with lush greenery to rest your tired eyes though it is particularly crowded especially during the weekends (especially Sundays). On Sundays there are usually entertainers and a local market selling and promoting local handicrafts and arts.
Intending to do more shopping for cool stuff but don’t want to deal with the big crowds? Have you ever heard of Cat Street? This quaint little road that stretches from Harajuku to Shibuya or particularly from Miyashita Park near Meiji Street all the way down to near Shibuya’s Welfare for the Disabled building is another definite treasure!
Also sometimes known as ‘Ura-Harajuku’ or ‘Rear Harajuku’, this cute little stretch of road is littered with cozy cafes, nice big brand boutiques and even much more tiny stores offering the best of the city’s beauty and fashion related products. (Here’s a secret: there are lots of “Japan Only” releases by some of your favourite big brands and “Made in Japan” articles for a lot of the Japanese labels.)
Why Cat Street? Well legend has it that it was either because cats were found everywhere or because the streets were narrow like the forehead of a cat or even because the legendary band ‘Black Cats’ were born on these streets. It is an interesting place to visit, clearly for more reasons that one.
Still want more shopping? Why not try somewhere completely different? Have you heard of Shimokitazawa? Located near Shibuya and Shinjuku, this place is really popular with the ‘cooler’ local crowd because there’s something definitely special about its unique and rustic charm and energy and the town itself is unlike the crowded bases of closeby metropolises.
A short train ride from Shinjuku station will bring you to Tokyo’s popular creative bohemian acclaim, Shimokitazawa, an enclave of rock n roll pubs, small boutique stores carrying carefully curated, vintage items, cute little cafes and of course tons of shops selling used items from Americana themed t shirts, to Americana themed flags all the way to Americana themed vintage records.
Obviously slightly more chaotic as compared to other city centres around Tokyo, Shimokita, as it’s popularly referred to as, is more organic and its unique and sinewy road structures makes it nearly too narrow for cars, which gives the small town its added charm. Fans of the hipster movement trends will definitely enjoy this one!
If you’re a huge seafood fan, you’d probably have Tsukiji in your mandatory ‘to-visit’ list but you’ve heard stories of waking up in the wee hours and paying exorbitant amounts for taxi fares to get yourself to a busy yet wonderful parade of raw fish, big aggressive businessmen and fishmongers carrying 2 feet samurai Katanas to welcome a beautiful day of work!
Well, here’s a good alternative if you want to experience the whole Japanese fish market experience but without the crazy hecticness? Try Ota Wholesale Market located in Shinagawa, almost 30 minutes by bus from JR Shinagawa Station. Compared to its big brother Tsukiji, (they are on the same side of the bay, so trust us when we say the catches are quite comparable), this one is much more low key and you’d unlikely to be elbowed by other excited tourists.
This giant, modern market has much more space to accommodate people. You can choose to do it at 9am and still have a good time! Once you’re tired of the seafood section, there are even the huge vegetables and fruit sections and all of the wholesalers there are generally friendly to all customers.
SweetEscape is an on demand photography platform. Tired of hearing the overused new year, new me slogan from your circle of friends and acquaintances? Believe it or not... we are too! It's great and all in the sense that people would like to change within the new year (hopefully) for the better. But think about it, why wait for the new year to improve yourself as a person? At least, SweetEscape would like to (if we may) propose that improving, re-vamping and enhancing yourselves shouldn't be a yearly thing - if anything, it should be an everyday thing! "What? Are you serious?" You're probably asking. Life is short, escapists, and it's definitely too short to not make any changes in our lives so that we better ourselves for others as well. With that said, here are 5 things that you could do before the year finally ends:
As humans, we don't stop growing throughout our lifetime. The things we enjoyed doing when we were younger may differ from the things we now enjoy, and that's because we don't get any younger. Perhaps you adored your toy/figurine collection when you were in your teens, and was your number 1 prized collection in your entire room. Or maybe, you were the type to hang posters of your favorite bands and role models on the walls of your room, much like that of a late 80's or early 90's teen bedroom. Surely you've gone a long way from there, and if you haven't transformed your room that much... now is the perfect time to do so! Rearrange your furniture, or maybe even Feng shui it up - it won't hurt! You'll feel a thousand times better in a freshly organized room.
A whole year is a long time, 365 days long to be exact. When the same clothes are worn repetitively even over a period of 1 year, they can still become over-worn if worn too often. It's now time for you to, if not get a whole entire new wardrobe, re-vamp your closet and outfits. Do your clothes still fit properly? Are they still wearable in the times ahead? Can you still see yourself wearing your current outfits? If you answered no to all or most of them, then chances are that you need to toss them in the bin and purchase new ones. For future reference, go shopping for clothes that are more durable and timeless - that way, you wouldn't need to re-vamp your closet too often (hopefully). If your closet is mostly filled with bright and youthful colors, then try to balance it out by adding more neutral colors to your collection of items.
Have a careful look of your belongings, and recall whether were personally purchased or given by a certain person in the past. Perhaps you were in a committed relationship that just didn't last, and that's totally fine! People grow together while some just grow apart instead. In the case that you still have those belongings from your previous partner, or simply any item that brings back memories of your time together - let those items go and head on to a new chapter of your life. It could also be items that remind you of a certain time way back when, and perhaps you were a lot happier then than you are now. Having those items could really make you stuck in the past and eventually hinder you from moving forward. You wouldn't want that, would you? SweetEscape believes in you!
One of the most important things people tend to forget, is to pause for a moment and reflect upon what they have received in life. Often times we would forget about the things we have in life, and even the little things that matter are often missed. We don't blame you, life can get really tough at times... and during those times it's especially hard to sit back and be thankful for perhaps anything. Clear your mind and start from the smaller things. Do you have a roof over your head? Put aside the fact that your toilet is often clogged, or that your wooden floor is not the kind of wood that you prefer. Be thankful that you actually have a home - be thankful you aren't homeless! Do you have access to enough food and water on a daily basis? Then that's another simple thing to be thankful about. Remember, start with the little things. You'll be surprised as to how fortunate you are compared to many lives out there.
For as long as we're living on this planet, we will be making human errors - and it's inevitable. Mistakes aren't bad because you're expected to make them to be able to grow as a person. The more mistakes you made, the more you learn to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. If you have siblings, you probably have memories of their toddler days. Babies are curious beings, and chances are that you and your siblings were as well. Perhaps your parents told your kid sibling to not touch fire, but as expected, they did anyway. What happened next? Your sibling screamed in shock and pain, and your parents would give them the "I told you so" reaction. After this incident, we would like to believe that your sibling never repeated that same mistake again.
Growing up is hard, we'll give you that. But adult-ing is even harder! Think about it, first it's the school, then your first job, afterwards fall in love with your special someone, but you forgot to learn about taxes, then you'd have to learn about taxes, and don't forget the bills - electricity, water, and your groceries. We're not even half way done listing all of the adult-ing activities, but you generally get the idea. Since adults live such stressful lives, it's necessary for them to relieve from stress, de-stress and escape from the usual burden-some routine. Not to mention, adult lives seem to attract so much nuisance and irritating people almost on a day-to-day basis. For you and yourself alone, you should remember to take some time for yourself. In this case, we suggest for you to take a solo trip somewhere nice and serene where you can be free of all of your worldly problems for just a little while. It'll help you refresh your mood before the end of the year and beginning of a new year.
Last but not least (pay very close attention to this one) is you should release all feelings of anger, grudges and resentment towards anyone who have wronged you. It ain't easy, we know! But the thing is, having all of those pent up negative emotions are far from good for your mind, body and soul. You might not realize it now, but you'll slowly start to see how everything unravels as you prolong those feelings within you. If you'd like to let go of those negative feelings, try activities such as yoga and mediation. They're highly beneficial for your well being. If that happens to not be your cup of tea, then you could start a journal of all the things you feel. Trace it back, and find out why you feel those things. Once through, ask yourself, "Is all of this anger worth my time and energy?". Chances are, the person whom you have pent up emotions towards have long forgotten about their bad deeds to you, so why waste your time? They too, will get their taste of life later on. Life is short, don't waste it on negativity!
Doing something special before the year ends? Whether it’s a little solo trip somewhere beautiful, or as simple as spending some time with those in need, book a session with SweetEscape to capture those memories for you. SweetEscape connects you to thousands of local professional photographers in more than 500 cities around the world, so you can capture every moment and get beautiful photos directly to your devices in just 48 hours after your session. This holiday season, capture more with SweetEscape's JINGLE DEALS, where you can get sessions starting as low as USD 50! Download our app, book your session today and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!