Her trips and adventures

Kyoto Nishiki Market and bento box hunting

I still have lots of photos and blog ideas left from my summer 2016 Japan trip so I try to keep blogging about some places I visited slowly but surely. Soon it will be 2017 so I better get more quickly at finishing my posts, haha… In this post I am going to share some pictures from Kyoto`s famous Nishiki Market and talk a little about my Bento box hunting!

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Nishiki Market in Kyoto is probably one of the “must see” places I Kyoto and although I visited there already in summer 2015 me and my boyfriend wanted to revisit there on our second trip. Nishiki Market is full of small shops where you can find all kinds of food related things such as seafood, knifes, sweets and different kinds of “Kyoto specialities” like tsukemono (“pickled things”) besides some souvenirs and accessories.

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Different kinds of tsukemono.

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The small boxes in the middle have some uni in them!

This year my main mission for the Nishiki Market was to taste some uni (sea urchin). After watching Japanese tv-series called “Amachan”, in which both diving and eating sea urchins plays an important part, I had gotten really curious about how uni actually tastes like.

My wish came true and we easily found some raw uni and ended up buying a tiny box of it. I personally liked the flavor (I think) but my boyfriend thought the taste was slightly “sea-water-like” to him and later during our trip we ended up trying a few actual uni dishes and even I had a little mixed feelings about them, haha… It takes a while to get totally used to the taste I guess! I still hope to try unidon (the food they constantly eat in Amachan) one day!

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I love this package design, ah!

Nishiki Market is a great place to find some traditional kinds of snacks and sweets and getting some food related souvenirs (among other things). I absolutely love Japanese package design and even more affordable products are often very beautiful packed, also in Nishiki Market! I admit buying several products only because I liked the packaging but trying out new things won`t probably do harm, hehe. I have found most of the snacks and sweets really yummy so far!

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Nishiki market`s cute “SUGI honey shop” carries different kinds of honeybee products

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Snacks, tea towels, hand fans and much more.

Nishiki Market has nice atmopshere, interesting possibilities to try out different foods and I like how the place looks like but unfortunately it is often really crowded… Personally I get really tired if I have to spend too much time in crowded places so I try to avoid the busiest times if just possible. I would guess that the best time to visit places like Nishiki Market are normal weekdays and possibly kind of early in the morning.

Last summer one of my shopping goals for the trip was to find myself a cute bento box! In Finland lunch boxes tend to be kind of basic and even a little ugly so compared to that Japan`s lunch box selection seems almost endless.

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Korilakkuma Halloween Bento by Shirley Wong

Seeing cute food and bento by Shirley Wong on instagram always makes me smile and I hope to try out some of her recipes one day. During my trip I also bought a few bento specialized cookbooks from Book Off (a second hand book store chain) so I naturally still needed to find a bento box, haha… During my lunch box hunt I decided to snap some photos of my favourite bento boxes: I photographed mostly cute and colourful boxes but especially Tokyu Hands had also more traditional and simple designs available!

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Han (introduced a few posts earlier) had some really cute lunch boxes and their furoshiki selection was also quite good!

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Han

I admit that my criterion for the lunch box was mostly cuteness and not so much the practicality. There were also lots of different designs available from simple, traditional and mature to cute and artsy which made my decision quite difficult!

I noticed that the many of the boxes that appealed to me the most were kind of small: some of them might have been meant for children or then I may be more used to bigger portion sizes, eheh… While looking for my Bento box in Kyoto I visited Han, Bento&co and Tokyu Hands before I found my favourite lunch box.

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Bento&co`s window display

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Bento&co

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Bento&co

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Tokyu Hands

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These bento boxes in Tokyu Hands were among my favourites!

I think that Tokyu Hands` selection seemed especially diverse and interesting which is handy, because they have stores all around Japan (so you can find them outside of Kyoto too!)!. In the end I fell in love with an oval shaped lunch box they had by AIUEO. I couldn`t resist their charming illustrations and cute pastel shades! I bought two sets of bento boxes featuring the bird character (each set includes three small boxes) and a matching furoshiki.

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AIUEO lunch boxes at Tokyu Hands

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I love their style!

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Two bento box sets I bought (pictures from AIUEO online store)

*pictures shown in this post were taken in June 2016.

Exploring cute shops in Kyoto

When travelling I am always curious to check out some cute and creative local shops and especially stores with unique interiors interest me. In Japan many shops tend to put lots of effort into their interiors which really makes shopping there an experience. After reading some online recommendations and hearing some tips from my Japanese friends I have come across with many interesting shops and places so I thought why not to share some of them with you!

This summer when I visited Japan me and my boyfriend stayed one week in Kyoto and this time I was determined to see a few places that my Japanese friend recommended me. I was able to visit Kyoto for the first time last summer and I was actually supposed to visit some of these places already back then but unfortunately I run out of time. There is always so much to see that choosing where to go can be tricky! But yes: the shops featured in this post are located in Kyoto!

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Maiko Antiques

This small but fascinating shop was one that my local friend recommended me and my boyfriend to see. Maiko Antiques sells all kind of curious old Japanese things such as dolls, wooden things, vintage toys, jewellery, postcards, old photos etc. My friend told us that she used to work there part time during her studies: sounds like a dream to me!

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Old wooden blocks: Maiko Antiques offered several personal but affordable souvenir ideas!

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address: 157 Komatsuchō, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0811, Japan

Mariebelle (Kyoto)

This small Chocolate shop was also recommended me by my friend: she said that this shop is a must thing for me to see since I like cute things. I found out that Mariebelle was founded in New York so it is an American brand but they have only a few shops around the world: in USA and Japan.

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The signature blue entrance to the Mariebelle.

When I entered Mariebelle Kyoto I was immediately impressed with their carefully created interior! All the products were beautifully presented and I really liked the blue shade they used in the interior and the packaging. Since the day was a bit rainy and the lighting inside was not very bright I feel that my photos don`t do justice for the cuteness of the shop..!

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The packaging is so beautiful!

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The pricing at the Mariebelle is a bit on the higher side since the chocolate they make is hand crafted. But I think the products are worth their price since they clearly put lots of effort into every little detail. I wanted to support the shop and buy something small to remember the visit so I ended up getting a cute tin box of chocolate powder. The staff packed my Hot Chocolate very beautifully: they even included some faux rose pendants and a cooling gel bag (to prevent the chocolate from melting) into the bag they gave me! I wish I had realised to take a picture of it…

address: 604-8112 京都市中京区柳馬場三条下ル 槌屋町83番地

Leur Getter (Kyoto)

Leur Getter is a girly Japanese Lolita style brand (I am talking about Lolita fashion, not Nakobov`s Lolita) that produces beautiful dresses that often have cute patterns. I had visited Osaka`s Leur Getter store once in summer 2015 because they stock also my favourite brand Katie, but to be honest otherwise the brand itself wasn´t too familiar to me. I actually came across with Kyoto`s Leur Getter accidentally while looking for another store called “Enfant” that used to stock also Katie, Milk and Leur Getter. Unfortunately the shop lady at Leur Getter told me that Enfant had been recently closed for good and now there was only this tiny Leur Getter store left.

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The tiny store front

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Leur Getter dresses

I was slightly disappointed but I must say that the tiny Leur Getter shop was also very fascinating and adorable. The shop is literally one of the smallest shops I have ever visited (even by Japanese standards) but still very charming! The shop staff lady was also very friendly and sweet and she talked a lot with my boyfriend (I wish I knew more Japanese…). We felt so welcome that we wanted to visit the store twice just to talk with the lady although we didn`t end up purchasing anything (I feel a little bad…). I also ended up taking some really cute pictures of the store but the lady kindly asked me to not post them online so I respect her wish: the only picture that I publish is from the store front. In Kyoto Leur Getter is located near the main shopping streets so I really recommend to pay a visit there if you enjoy girly fashion and aesthetics!

address: 京都市下京区寺町通四条下ル貞安前之町619-3-1階

Han

“Han” is a cute shop that we came across while randomly wandering around but I felt it was also worth mentioning! The selection of the shop is very good and there are lots of different (mostly smalls sized) design products and crafts available that would be perfect souvenirs or gifts. Besides Japanese brands and creators they also sell products by foreign designers: I even managed to spot some small Finnish brands that I hadn`t heard of before which was interesting! In any case I felt that their selection is well curated and everything presents certain kind of fresh, cute and colourful style quite well!

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Lunch boxes, jewellery, home decorations and accessories among other things!

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address: 京都府京都市中京区中京区 弁慶石町48 三条 あり も と ビル 1F