Friday, July 15, 2016

Tokyo Recap - Day 3

June 3, 2016

I was very much looking forward to Day 3 in Tokyo because we had arranged to meet up with fellow Graphic 45 designer and friend, Yumi Muraeda, who lives in nearby Yokohama. I first met Yumi at the Craft & Hobby Association Show a few years ago where we got to know one another during the Graphic 45 design team dinner. When she heard we were coming to Tokyo, she kindly offered to show us around the area. How exciting!

But first, coffee. Starbucks was near our hotel. As is the case in most big cities around the world, there are lots of Starbucks around. I had to snap this photo of the sugar packets and the creamers. As I've described in previous posts, everything is pretty in Japan. Just look a those creamers with the pretty flower print. And yes, I saved the Starbucks receipt as a piece of memorabilia. Of course. 

The weather was absolutely perfect during most of our stay in Tokyo. Sunny, breezy, and cool in the mornings and evenings. Warm, but comfortable during the day. On some days, I wore a light sweater all day. 

We sat outside as often as we could. This particular morning was a little chilly.

Yumi met us in the lobby of our hotel. I was so excited to see her and introduce her to Paul and Jamie. We asked if she would show us around a few stationery/art supply stores that she thought were worth a visit and she was happy to oblige. 

One of the first places Yumi took us to was within walking distance of our hotel. It was called Sekaido. The ultimate art store! We checked out every one of the six floors. Here's a basic breakdown of what one can find there:

1F: Stationery, office supplies, files, and formal business pens
2F: Art supplies for manga, design, drawing, drafting; computer design corner; Western and Japanese paper supplies
3F: Fine art materials & tools for Japanese and Western art, sculpture supplies
4F: Frames and prints
5F: Paintings and frames
6F: Gallery and art classes space

I purchased several things here like washi tape and sparkly highlighter pens. I highly recommend visiting this store if you travel to Tokyo. It truly was an artist's dream store. 

After that we took the train to Ginza to another fabulous store called Itoya. Nine floors of paper heaven. Very high end. Lots of unique items here. I can't do it justice with my paltry words, so I found this excellent blog post by Take Risks Be Happy which contains photos and descriptions of the fabulous things you'll find here.

Then it was time for lunch at one of Yumi's favorite spots (also in Ginza) called Tama Sushi. Excellent! One thing we discovered which we hadn't expected in Tokyo was that most people in service positions did NOT speak much English. We were surprised. I'm not sure where we got the notion that they all spoke English, but that proved not to be true. Thankfully, we had Yumi with us. And in many restaurants, they will provide an English menu. If not, we just went by pictures and pointed, not always sure of what we were selecting. But that made things kind of fun!

After lunch, Yumi took us down the street to the fabulous French bakery called Laduree. Oh my goodness, talk about pretty and delicious all wrapped into one! If you travel and love to eat dessert on vacation like we do (we rarely have dessert back home) then you must not miss this wonderful place. To see what I mean, just check out this mouth-watering post by Darin Dines. Not only are the dessert options beautiful, the restaurant itself is gorgeous.

We sat at a table which faced out onto the busy street in Ginza, drinking flavored tea and eating delightful sweets. We enjoyed it so much here, we returned on a last day in Tokyo to have just one more treat before returning to the States.

The last store Yumi wanted to show us was East Side Tokyo in Asakusa, but we had some trouble finding it and eventually gave up. (Watch for my upcoming post about East Side Tokyo, and how we discovered why we missed it before).  While in Asakusa, we couldn't miss the famous Sensoji Temple.

Here Paul is walking through the crowded market area leading to the temple. This shopping street is called Nakamise dori. This is the place to buy your traditional Japanese souvenirs, if you're so inclined. Lots of rows of vendors selling their wares and foods. A good deal? Not sure, since we didn't make any purchases here, but it appeared to be rather cheap and touristy, in my opinion.

After you get through the market, you see the famous landmark of Asakusa: Sensoji Temple.

This is a very popular visitors' spot and it was quite crowded this particular Friday. A beautiful site, isn't it? It's the oldest temple in Tokyo, founded in 628 A.D. but rebuilt a couple times since it's original. You can read interesting tidbits and the history behind this temple here.

This five-tiered pagoda is situated to the left of the main temple. It appeared to be under construction/ maintenance.

Yumi was always ready to answer any and all of our many questions we had about culture and religion. We appreciated her taking so much time with us...

...and for taking this photo of us in front of the temple. When it was time to say our goodbyes, Yumi rode the train back with us to Shinjuku to make sure we found our way, and we thanked her over and over for her kindness and generosity and hugged goodbye. This type of affection isn't common in Japan, but as I understand it they are more accepting if they see it's from a foreigner. They just aren't used to hugging like we are. Nothing wrong with it, just different. (Watch for my future post about Japanese men's reactions to me rubbing Paul's shoulders on the escalator one day. LOL!)

It was a fun-filled day of shopping, eating and sight-seeing. This is my little craft haul from the day. Washi tapes, markers, ruler, stickers, and decorative tapes in dispensers. Cute little images of fruits or birds on a frosty clear tape roll. Fun for decorating a planner or journal.

I can't thank Yumi enough for her kindness and generosity on this day. She made this one of my favorite days in Tokyo! It was great to connect with her again and spend time together doing what we both love. 


  1. So glad you got to meet up with Yumi-san! I think it enhances the experience when you get to see it through a Japanese persons eyes. Plus, they know where to go!

  2. Great post!! Loved hearing all about it. I have traveled to Thailand in March, so very nice to hear all about your deets on the local country experiences.

  3. Nothing better than getting a locals perspective and knowledge.

  4. Wonderful post, Annette! Sounds like a great day!

  5. I love to sit in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee for breakfast and visit Japan! Thank you so much for your travel posts as they contain information, beautiful sights, food, and culture. I LOVE these posts so much!!!!!!!!

  6. Love your trip pics and the stories that accompany them! Fantastic trip

  7. Love your trip pics and the stories that accompany them! Fantastic trip


Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have a question you would like answered, please e-mail me at