Wearing Yukatas at Koedo Kawagoe and Yono Summer Festival

It’s summer! (However, as I write this, I’m huddled up in my dark kitchen because it’s super cloudy outside..) Summer in Japan means fireworks, festivals, and yukatas. I absolutely love wearing yukatas (summer kimonos), and this year I decided to get a new one.

My yukata from 1-2 years ago (left).

My friends from America actually happened to be visiting, so we decided to buy yukatas for them so that we could all wear them and find an omatsuri. We also took a trip to Koedo Kawagoe, a small town in Saitama retaining the culture and atmosphere of the Edo era in Japan. There are plenty of old storehouse merchant houses and some great authentic Japanese cuisine restaurants.





The main street can get a little crowded, but it definitely wasn’t unbearable or filled with just tourists. There are plenty of little side streets to explore as well.

After walking around for a bit, we found an udon restaurant to go to for lunch. It was actually already about 2-3pm, so some of the restaurants were closed!

Delicious udon with braised pork.

We got really full after a great lunch, but as they say, betsu bara (separate stomach) for dessert! Some of my friends decided to sip on some roasted green tea, while I opted for some cold ice cream.


One popular street in Koedo Kawagoe is Kashiya Yokocho, or “penny candy alley.” It’s basically a small road with lots of shops selling traditional, nostalgic candy from the past. Unfortunately, again, we were a little late and most of the shops were closed for the day.



When it was evening, I started searching for a festival to go to. I wanted to go to one with food stalls, so we decided to hop on a train to Yonohonmachi (与野本町) to go to the Yono Summer Festival!

Athough there were definitely lots of people, rather than a famous festival where it’s so crowded that everyone is pushing through the crowd, it felt more as if just the neighborhood kids and families came to enjoy a nearby festival. There were a lot of food stalls as I had hoped, including yakisoba, takoyaki, shaved ice, baby castella, okonomiyaki,  and more.

The stalls all closed around 9, so we all started to head home around then (but of course, not without taking some yukata photos first!)

Wearing a yukata really makes you feel like it’s summer. I’ve still got a week of finals left, but I’m looking forward to wearing it a few more times this year!



Koedo Kawagoe

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Fancy Ice Cream Cakes in Omotesando

Recently I feel like I’ve been going to Omotesando every week, for one reason or another. It’s a really nice place to go for a less crowded, slightly classier feeling compared to Harajuku. I personally like the various cafes there, and one that I’ve found recently is an ice cream cake cafe called Glaciel. When I think of ice cream cake, I imagine a huge rectangular cake with some cartoon character drawn with frosting at a child’s birthday party. Glaciel, on the other hand, has some of the prettiest ice cream cakes I’ve ever seen.

Downstairs, they have a shop where you can order cake to take home and also try their gelato.

Outdoor sitting area.

The two times I’ve gone, I went to the sitting area upstairs. They have a variety of cakes, but the menu that you can order from changes every day. They put an orange sticker on the ones available for that day, and those are your options. I wish I could have ordered some of the ones that weren’t available that day, but I guess that’s their tactic to bring you back haha ^^; worked on me..

They have an option to order two different pieces of cake for ¥1,200. Although it may be a but pricey, I think it’s worth it for some  yummy ice cream cake (which I’ve never seen elsewhere in Tokyo) and of course, the photos. Not only are these delicious, but the designs are amazing. You can see the whole cake in a bigger size downstairs at the shop showcase.
I first ordered the “Mango Passion,” which is a tart with frozen mango and passion fruit on coconut ice cream. I’ve been super into mango recently, so this was a really refreshing summer treat. The second piece I chose was the “Caramel Chocolat”, which as you can tell by its name, is a caramel chocolate cake on a shortbread crust with Hokkaido butter. There was also vanilla ice cream concealed in the center of the cake!

The second time I went, I decided to order the Petal de Rouge, which is a gorgeous combination of tayberry and earl gray, and it had a wonderful rose aroma.  I also chose the classic tiramisu, but of course, in ice cream cake form.

And both times that I went, my friends ordered the Herrison, which is actually one of the individual cakes.

It’s an adorable chocolate hedgehog cake, made up of Madagascar vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sorbet, and almond-chocolate dough.

It’s definitely already become one of my favorite nearby cafes to go to, tucked into a small street in Omotesando. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is nice. I’m looking forward to trying the other cakes on my future trips! (Aiming for that lego cake..)




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Saying farewell to hydrangea season

One thing I love about Japan are the flowers. I’ve never really paid much attention to them before, but here, the flowers are blooming everywhere according to the season and I find myself being late to class sometimes because I have to stop and take some photos.

I loved the cherry blossoms in spring, and it was so sad to see all the pink around the city slowly diminishing. But not too long after, the hydrangeas started popping up everywhere. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t even notice then. One day I wouldn’t even think about them, and the next they’re suddenly in full bloom all over the city. I don’t know what kind of magic that is (or if I’m just not paying enough attention to my surroundings..) but I’m not complaining!

Blue hydrangeas at a shrine near my school.

But the sad thing about it is, as quickly as they came, they’re beginning to disappear. But this is a sadder, slower process. I can see my favorite hydrangeas around the neighborhood fading in color and quantity. Even the way that these flowers die is pretty. They used to be so vibrant, but now they’re much lighter but maintaining its shape.

I am actually pretty sad about not being able to see them for a while, but on the bright side, I’ve started seeing some sunflowers popping up on my way to school in the morning! Looking forward to some beautiful sunflowers!

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Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse

Today, I want to introduce one of my favorite cafes of all time here in Tokyo. To be honest, even though I say that, I’ve only been there once. But that first time was more than enough for me to fall in love with it. It’s the Aoyama Flower Market Teahouse, and they have 3 shops (Akasaka, Kichijouji, Aoyama), and I went to the Akasaka branch!

Aoyama Flower Market is an actual flower shop with the most beautiful flowers, and they happen to run three cafes as well. As you can imagine, a cafe of a flower shop is bound to be gorgeous and covered in flowers.

I went on a Sunday morning for brunch, and apparently the Akasaka store is less crowded than the other branches. It definitely wasn’t crowded, but had a good flow of customers coming to enjoy their peaceful weekend morning as well. There were seats outside to enjoy the weather, but we decided to sit inside to appreciate the amazing interior. I was in so much awe of the foliage and just the overall atmosphere of the cafe, I felt classy just sitting there. It was so perfect for a relaxing brunch, to read a book or catch up with friends.

They have some really pretty herb tea, but we decided to just try the sweets since we were quite hungry! (They also have various savory foods, tea, alcohol, and juice.)

Flower French Toast ¥918

Rose Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream ¥756

We ordered the french toast topped with fruits and edible flowers to fill us up, and the also the rose jelly as a little dessert(?)! I had no idea what rose jelly would taste like, and it was actually really delicious. Just the perfect amount of sweetness without being too much.

I would love to go to the other stores and be surrounded by the all of the season’s different flowers as I dine, with some fancy jazz music playing in the background. This is one of my top recommendations for cafes to visit if you’re into flowers, or if you just want to munch on some edible flowers. (They’re actually not that yummy, would not recommed.. Just take the photos, and pick them off ^^; )

Aoyama Flower Market Tea House


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Elementary School-themed Restaurant in Shibuya!

Like any typical college student, I miss the days where I studied the multiplication tables and got to go out for recess. However, I unfortunately never had the chance to experience being an elementary school student in Japan, having moved to America after preschool. I’ve always had the general idea from watching dramas and hearing stories, but since I wanted to try and see what it would be like to wear the randoseru and put on the cute little hats, my friends and I headed to the next best thing: an elementary-school themed izakaya. We found out about 6Nen4Kumi (6年4組)online, advertised as a restaurant with lunch-type foods and “classrooms” to eat in. The restaurant is only a few minutes walk from the station inside of another building.

The entrance where you put your shoes inside the lockers.

The staff were all dressed as specific teachers, wearing jerseys and aprons and such, I could hardly contain my laughter as they actually spoke to us as if we were students.

We were led to one of the “classrooms,” with wooden desks and chairs and various artwork and posters decorating the walls.

The menu consisted of so many different dishes typically served in a school cafeteria or brought from home in a bento. We decided to order two interesting drinks, the strawberry mil-make (ミルメーク) in which you make your own milk(?) and the science experiment soda!

Science experiment soda!

For our dishes, we decided to order the adorable octopus sausages, fried bread with soybean flour, and nikujaga! All were delicious, and definitely adorable.

After our meal, one of the “teachers” came in and handed us a quiz. (It’s all in Japanese though! We jokingly suggested to one of the staff later how they should have one in English for all of the tourists, but they laughed it off saying that kids don’t learn English in elementary school haha.. True..)


We all managed to get it all correct and treated ourselves to the “100 points parfait”!

All of the staff there were really friendly and let us take photos and such afterwards with the iconic randoseru backpacks. Definitely a fun, unique experience that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else! ^^

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