Planning My Trip to Japan

As previously mentioned, Simon has been in Japan for work (he returns today, hooray!) and I will be joining him on his third business trip there in January. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I’ve never been anywhere in Asia and Japan has long been on my bucket list. I can’t wait to explore the beautiful temples, eat endless sushi, and of course, shop! Have you ever been to Japan…? What museums/boutiques/restaurants did you love…? We’ll be in Tokyo and Kyoto (I read they have a pug cafe!?) and I would love to hear your tips! Below, in celebration of my upcoming trip, I’ve rounded some fun Japan-inspired finds. While I’m there I hope to buy some blue and white ceramics, lacquered chopsticks, woodblock prints, stationery (I’ve heard the selection is amazing!), Comme des Garçons Play tees, and so much more. Can’t wait to hear your Japan travel tips!

Japanese Garden Dinnerware

Panda Bear Chopsticks Rest (also available on Etsy)

Cherry Blossom Garden Stool

Audubon Floral Kimono

Sushi Made Simple

Japanese Garden Bowls

Kawaii Cakes: Adorable & Cute Japanese-Inspired Cakes & Treats

Kokeshi Doll Salt and Pepper Shaker Set

Ramen at Home: The Easy Japanese Cookbook for Classic Ramen & Bold New Flavors

Lucky Cat Salt and Pepper Shakers Set

Handmade Japanese Paper

Shiba Inu Sweatshirt

Color Block Chopsticks

Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches

Kiso Dinnerware

Yayoi Kusama Wooden Artist Doll

Origami Crane Chopstick Rests

Noguchi Light Sculpture

Sumo and Cat Sticker Set

Blue and White Ceramic Chopsticks

Felt Sushi Play Food Set

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering & Organizing

Comme Des Garcons Play Stripe Tee

Washi Tape

Reproduction Japanese Woodblock Print

Japanese Garden Dinner Plate

Lucky Cat Coin Bank

Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking

Black and Red Bento Box

Bamboo Garden Stool

Japanese Nesting Dolls

DIY Sushi Kit

Fish Chopstick Rests

Noguchi Light Sculpture

Reproduction Japanese Woodblock Print

Vintage Japanese Ceramic Glasses

How My Parents Learned to Eat

Play Heart Shirt

Lucky Cat Cookie Jar

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11 comments on “Planning My Trip to Japan

  1. Tara

    I have never been to Japan but look forward to hearing all about it from you–it is definitely on my wish list. And HELLO, Pug Café?? I am owned by two black pug ladies and would be all over that as well! Enjoy every moment!

  2. Katie Armour Post author

    Tara – Thank you! Will report back on the pug cafe! My husband just got home and brought me all these hilarious Japanese pug things. I’ll have to share them on instagram!

  3. Charlotte

    I used to work in Tokyo for a few months and ever since I loooove that country.

    A great museum in the nezu museum. It is located in one of the coolest neighborhoods Harajuku, so you can combine shopping and culture. Omotesando is Harajukus main street, but the by-roads are amazing.

    Great high class souvenirs are to find in Tokyo Midtown, für stationary is everywhere in Japan but the department store LOFT in Shibuya is a must. In Ginza is Itoya, where you can find delicate paper, etc.

    The roads in Asakusa offer great traditional Japanese Food, ohhh I could write pages;-)
    You are lucky! Enjoy your trip

  4. Elizabeth Ross Hubbell

    I lived in Japan for a year. You will be in decor heaven! If you can get to a shrine sale, that’s where I’ve picked up almost all of my pre-War blue and white. (This site is helpful: I also recommend visiting Kichijoji and walking down Nakamichi Dori. They have tons of decor stores including Puku Puku that has pre-War porcelain. Finally, Meguro Dori is great for housewares. (Tokyo Jinja wrote a nice post about it here:

    For non-shopping, the Meiji shrine and the forest you walk through to get there is stunning. While in Kichijoji, Inokashira Park is lovely and I loved the Thai restaurant in the park (Pepa Cafe Forest).

    Have the loveliest of times!!

  5. Michael Hampton

    Im going to Japan for the first time too. Were going early January. Very excited. A few must have travel books that I just picked up are “Pocket Precincts Kyoto” by Steve Wide and Michelle Mackintosh. The little travel books by wallpaper are also great!

  6. Nicole Perry

    You’re going to love Japan, Katie! My boyfriend and I visited a few years ago (Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto) and had a wonderful time. That pug café sounds amazing :).

    I’m a little fuzzy on some of the places we visited, since it’s been a few years, but here are a few things I remember loving in Tokyo: This tonkatsu place in Aoyama is superlative: (get one of the sets; I had the kurobata and it was great). The tea ceremony here is very elegant and it’s in the middle of Ginza, so it’s a great stop if you want to do some shopping/check out one of the depachikas (Mitsukoshi’s is great) nearby. I’m not sure if you’re already completely booked up with hotels, but if you aren’t, I’d recommend spending a night at a ryokan; we loved this one which is about 2 hours outside of Tokyo: It was gorgeous; at once traditional and modern, and so relaxing.

    On a semi-related note, I recall you visited Morocco a while back — we’re planning a trip there at the end of the month, and if you have any recommendations for things to do, see, eat, places to shop, etc, I’d love to hear them!

  7. Tiffany

    OOoooooooh I’m so happy for you and so insanely jealous at the same time! You deserve it! Please take us along! I am planning a trip for 2019 :)

  8. Susan

    What a wonderful adventure for you, Katie! When you mentioned blue & white it made me nostalgic for a sweet little shop in Tokyo called Blue & White I used to visit when I lived there some 25+ years ago. Well, a little Googling magic later and wouldn’t you know, they are still alive and thriving! Do hope you can pop in and treat yourself to some treasures …

  9. Aly

    Was in Japan this past May – really loved staying in Nakameguro neighborhood in Tokyo!! Cool, young neighborhood that is so beautiful and off the beaten track but still accessible to touristy visits. Walking along the canal during golden hour one evening was really a highlight of my whole trip. You will be so inspired in Japan, it is truly a visual person’s dreamland.

  10. Jenny

    Hi! I lived in Yokohama for a year after I graduated college. One of the best meals I have ever had was in Kyoto. I was dining with a friend and we both joked at the end of the meal we were both going to marry chefs and they must cook for us like these chefs did every day for the rest of our lives and we would be the happiest wives in all the land. Still a happy wife over here even though I married an accountant. ;)

    Anyways the restaurant was named Guilo Guilo Hitoshina. They have a second location in Shibuya.

    You also must visit the 100 Yen Shops (the Japanese dollar store) I actually bought the cups and matching set of bowls and plates that are pictured in your line up (fourth picture from the bottom) for a 100 yens each! Lots of treasures to be found in them and all made with great quality! I still use those bowls daily and this was eight years ago.

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