24 Hours in Tokyo | Japan Travel Diary

24 hours in tokyo24 Hours in Tokyo | Japan Travel Diary

Yes, the frequently asked question “What do I do with 24 hours in Tokyo?”. Ok let’s be realistic, unless you’re on a stopover, you’re unlikely to only have one day in this exciting city. However, it can be difficult to decide where to visit, what to eat etc. So when faced with the task I like to think of all the places I would visit if I only had a short period of time in a city.

24 Hours in Tokyo: Harajuku

As cliche as it is, it wouldn’t be worth stopping by Harajuku without a walk down Takeshita Dori (take the metro exit of the same name). Grab some cute stationary from Daiso, pick up some vintage designer goods in the back streets, try one of the famous crepes for breakfast, and just generally basque in the atmosphere. It’s fun and it’s fast.

For those who prefer something more chilled, Meiji Jingu is just behind the Omotesando Exit of Harajuku station. It’s one of the most famous shrines in Japan, and is well worth a visit. Located in a small woodland, it’s hard to tell whether you’re still in bustling Tokyo or not. If you hang around for a while, you may even see a traditional Japanese wedding taking place.

From Harajuku you can walk/hop on a train to…

24 Hours in Tokyo: Shibuya

Famous for it’s giant crossing, you really should try and get to high ground just to witness it. Even if that means stopping by Starbucks for one of their limited edition Japanese drinks. Afterwards, head to 109 for some retail therapy before checking out “Basketball St” and one of the various arcades. You must do purikura (Japanese photo booth)!

Stop by Nabe-zo for lunch, and all-you-can-eat Shabu Shabu (hotpot with thinly sliced meat). I’d suggest the sukiyaki and collagen soups. The staff here are helpful, and the meat is in abundance, so don’t be shy about asking for more. They’ll even replace your soups…if you can manage to finish them that is.

24 Hours in Tokyo: Asakusa

Asakusa is a haven for traditional Japan. Head through the large red gates of Senso-ji, and walk amongst the market stalls. Buy some Amazake (a sweet alcoholic drink made from rice), a side of Senbei (traditional rice crackers), and maybe a mask of your favourite childhood character. The souvenirs here are great for taking home to family. The shrine itself is beautiful, and the grounds ditto. Take your time here and find your inner Buddhist.

If you’re a stationary fan, make time to visit Kakimori for handmade, Japanese stationary. Afterwards, take a walk down Kappabashi-dori, a street famous for kitchenware and plastic food models. Pick up a bacon bookmark, or a pancake keychain etc.

Finally, go for dinner at Sometaro. This Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurant has been around since the 1930s, and it hasn’t changed much since. The friendly staff speak English, and can offer an English menu also. They’ll even show you how to prepare this must-try dish yourself. Truth be told all of the fillings here are delicious, but pork and seafood are great go-tos.

Of course there’s plenty more to do in Tokyo! Keep an eye out for more Japan Travel Diaries soon.
I’d also suggest checking out Alice’s Tokyo Travel Guides and Park and Cube’s 3 Days in Tokyo.

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Coffee Valley | Tokyo Travel Diary

Coffee ValleyCoffee Valley | 2-26-3 Minami-Ikebukuro, Tokyo, 03-6907-1173 | Website | Nearest Station: Ikebukuro

This is a bittersweet post to write, as I sit here sipping coffee in my London apartment. Only a couple of weeks ago I was walking around the backstreets of sunny Ikebukuro, searching for this elusive spot. I actually discovered Coffee Valley whilst reading an old issue of Vikka magazine. The feature was pretty tiny, but the emphasis on good coffee and natural food caught my eye. It may sound silly but this little cafe was on my list of must-visit spots whilst we were in Tokyo.

How is the coffee and food?

We arrived late afternoon to find a queue of around 10 people. As a Londoner, this is nothing for me. People seemed curious about us. Maybe because this well-loved spot isn’t exactly on the tourist map. I don’t know. Either way we happily waited with everyone; which consisted of mainly dates and friends. After around 15 minutes we were directed into the cafe. We were spoken to in fluid Japanese, and told to find a table (spread out over 2 floors) before ordering at the counter on the ground floor. The menu here is small, just a coffee list and the daily sandwich, French toast and cake. Don’t worry though if you don’t speak Japanese. It’s all pretty straight forward, the food is displayed on the counter – so you can easily point – and the staff are very friendly.

We ordered two of “today’s sandwich” whilst I had a flat white, and Ben a drip coffee.  Our egg sandwiches were seasoned well with pepper and small bits of vegetables, which created a nice blend of textures. The sandwiches also came with a side of various pickled vegetables to continue the theme – my favourite! The bread was fresh and soft, and the filling was very tasty. I really appreciated the use of natural, wholesome ingredients. The best way to describe the food here is: simple flavours, done well.

As for the coffee, well it was great! Just as good as my favourites in London. They used freshly roasted beans, with a couple of options of origin. I tried some of Ben’s drip coffee, which was smooth and full-flavoured. If I hadn’t been after a slightly milkier alternative, I would have easily chosen the drip.

Final thoughts on Coffee Valley…

For me, Japanese cafes are in a league of their own. Coffee Valley is no different here. Not only is their branding on-point, but their ideology is too. For me food and coffee should be simple at heart, and transparent. By that I mean the use of fresh ingredients which you can trace back to their source. Again, this is something independent cafes in Japan do well. I hope I’m not coming across as pretentious, but at the end of the day Coffee Valley offers up great food, and even better coffee. So if you find yourself in Tokyo, looking for a chilled cafe, make sure you pop by.

You can find out more about Coffee Valley here (non-Japanese speakers can this Google translate version).

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I’m in Japan! | Japan Travel Diary

japan travelI’m in Japan! | Japan Travel Diary

Yes, by the time this post goes live, I will be in Japan.

I have some posts lined up for you whilst I’m away, however I won’t be live blogging from Japan. I will however be keeping you all up to date on what I’m doing via my social media accounts. I’ll be posting photos, videos and sneak peeks! I’m even been asking people what kind of things they’d like to see during my travels, so hop on over to my Twitter and let me know yourself.

So if you fancy an insight into Japan, come follow me around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and more…

Follow my Japan travel diaries on:

Don’t worry, I will be doing plenty of Japan travel posts when I’m back. In the meantime keep an eye out for new blog posts, and come say hi on social media!

Photos in this post are my own, from previous trips to Japan.
Check out my old post from living and travelling in Japan.

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5 Instagram Travel Accounts You Should Be Following

You may remember my ‘Instagram 5′ series. Well it’s been a while since I last graced the blog with one, which is surprising as my love for the app is stronger than ever. Here I have picked out 5 of my favourite instagram travel accounts.

instagram travel

Who? @tokography
Why? This is one slick Instagram account. Tobias is constantly travelling the world, as is made evident by the “now in: …” section of his profile. I love his consideration of colour and viewpoints when shooting. This isn’t your typical travel account; you’ll definitely feel inspired to pick up your passport when browsing his feed.


instagram travel

Who? @josephowen
Why? With the prevalence of “big” travel Instagram accounts using DSLR, you may be shocked to find that Joe takes all of his photos on his iPhone. Even more so when you catch a glimpse of his crispy and clear photography.


instagram travel

Who? @iikkyu
Why? I started following Joe after I saw some of his photos from Tokyo (a city he visits often). I felt that he considered his subjects in a similar way to how I do so myself. That, and he’s also a big fan of Brooklyn coffee. You can take the boy out of London…


instagram travel

Who? @cerealguides
Why? Of course Cereal had to make it onto the list. The Cereal Guides (created by Rosalia Park), are in-depth guides to cities across the world. So far Cereal has released London, Paris and New York. Each guide offers an in-sight into the best cafes, restaurants, shops and places of interest. If you don’t know a local, this is the next best thing.


instagram travel

Who? @nihaojoe
Why? My friend Joe is currently travelling around India, and he’s an awesome photographer. Nuff said? Nuff said.

Do you have a favourite Instagram travel account?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.

A Travel Resolution for 2016

amsterdam-rijksmuseum-travel-diary-3Travel Highlights from 2015

Part of the reason I’m so excited about the New Year finally being here, is thanks to some pretty awesome moments in 2015. Last year I made a resolution to visit as many new countries (ones I had never been to before) as possible. Well I don’t think I did too bad; I visited Germany, The Netherlands and Italy. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, and it has spurred me on to work even harder in 2016.

I will be returning to Japan in March. It’s been almost five years since I was there last, so naturally I am already planning all of the things I want to see/do. Of course I intend to reunite with all of my friends. I also hope to eat ALL of the delicious food, and take plenty of photos. My inner photography geek is pretty excited about this, because when I was living in Tokyo I only took snapshots on my mobile phone/digital camera. Oh hey there, my name is: the annoying tourist in the corner with the DSLR.

I’d also like to take more long weekends away from London, and discover more European countries I’ve yet to visit. On my travel wish list this year? Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. I wonder if I can best 2015 and manage to do those alongside Japan… I’ll certainly try my best.

You can check out my 2015 travel posts here.
Send me your travel recommendations in the comments below.

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A Blogger Adventure | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-fermo-marche#SeeWhatYouWearTour with Expool Consortium & EmilCar

I can’t believe it’s been a month since my whirlwind blogger adventure (on the See What You Wear Tour) in Italy with Andy (Andy Sparkles) & Elena (Vasilieva) – alongside some of Italy’s top Instagrammers. I was shown the amazing world of luxury, handmade Italian shoes. The delights of the local food. The beauty of Marche. But most importantly, I discovered a whole new country that I’d never been to before. I took far too many photos to count, which has probably given me enough content for the next month. However I believe that you should end things on a high (read: don’t drag them out). So this will be my final Italy Travel Diary post. A small photo round-up, highlighting all of the things I fell in love with during my visit. You can also see my Instagram adventures via #BloomzyItalia, and check out the people who joined me on my journey. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.


I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

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Food with a View | Italy Travel Diary

italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-Coba-Beach-RestaurantCobà Beach Restaurant, Porto San Giorgio | Marche, Italy

I believe that almost anyone can bond over food. That’s why I find food to be an integral part of travel. Discovering new dishes, and connecting with others over them is so important. Even better if a local/friend can introduce you to the best dishes around. Lucky for me that’s exactly what happened, whilst I was in Fermo, Italy. During my stay I was taken to a restaurant with a view, invited into people’s homes, and even dined at 1 of only 2 five star hotels in Marche.

It may sound cheeky, but for full disclosure I really do feel that I should say, I don’t really like Italian food. Well, that’s not entirely true. I just don’t really like pasta. But I figured that if I was going to enjoy it anywhere, it would be Italy…right? With that shocking announcement made, what were the food highlights of my trip?

  • Soul Kitchen made me realise that I really do love thin, crispy pizza – it’s the best!
  • During our homemade meal at Rio Maggio Winery I happened to have the best lasagne ever made. True fact! It was light and flavoursome – nothing like the lasagne we have here in the UK (naturally).
  • Cobà has the best view you will ever see from a restaurant table. This is the stuff of 90s slow-pop music videos (think Britney Spears ‘Sometimes’).
  • Villa Funari probably has the most delicious matured cheese and ham in the region. It was also my favourite restaurant of the whole trip – small sharing plates are my one true love.

So what did I take away from my foodie vacation? Well I now know that I don’t actually mind pasta so much, and that the Italian people I met were incredibly warm and welcoming. I genuinely felt as though I was a part of one big, Instagram-loving family. Thank you to everyone that made my trip so memorable.

Check out the rest of my Italy Travel Diaries.
Thank you to Elena (Vasilieva) for the photo of me.


I was invited on the #SeeWhatYouWearTour by Expool Consortium. However all images, words and opinions are my own.

italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-villa funari italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo-food-Rio-Maggio-Winery-2 italy-travel-diary-marche-fermo food Rio Maggio Winery