Hidden gems in Osaka/Kyoto

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My last trip to Osaka and Kyoto was a perfect vacation after half year of work, and it was my third time there. Unlike previous trips, this time I didn’t rush at all and I gave up most of the famous sights so I just visited one or two places a day. I tried to explore these cities’ hidden gems, which you won’t find them on guidebooks. And normally I would prefer to walk instead of taking public transport if possible, because then I can have deeper understanding of how the city actually looks like by strolling around 🙂 And the following article is going to introduce some of the “hidden gems” in these two amazing cities. You could consider them if you also want to make your Japan trip different from other tourists!

Nanten-en 

Nanten-en is an authentic  Japanese onsen ryokan located at the suburb area of Osaka, well, a really suburb area of Osaka called Amami. I took 1-hour train to get there from the city, and literally the ryokan is just next to the station. Amami is a small village which doesn’t even have a vending machine or convenient store, the ryokan itself is already the landmark of the village. So for local people, here is definitely an ideal place for weekend getaway; and for foreign tourists, it is a good place to experience the authentic half-board culture in Japanese ryokan with hot spring.

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Source: Internet

Since there’s no other restaurants/convenient stores nearby, you can only choose to have the dinner and breakfast at the hotel, but trust me, this authentic ryokan with over 100-year history knows how to make good Japanese food. I strongly recommend you to choose the Kaiseki Cuisine(懷石料理) for dinner. You can enjoy quality food here with much lower price than in Tokyo or Kyoto.

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The selection of material in Kaiseki Cuisine is based on season and different themes, like this one is called “flower”. (@Fashionmimo)

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Dinner is served in a private guest room and breakfast is in a big dinning room with pleasant garden view, but first, let me take a snapchat 😉 (@Fashionmimo)

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The village and the Amami Station, if you are looking for entertainment, this                         place might be a bit boring but for me, the tranquility here is priceless. (@Fashionmimo)

Chion-in 

Well, Chion-in(知恩院) is well-known. The temple is located at Gion, the heart of Kyoto while also the busiest part of the city. However, even though thousands of people visit the temple at day time, only few of them know that actually you can actually spend a night here.

Nothing is special if you choose to stay here, only if you choose to attend their morning buddhist ceremony, this would be one the the most memorable things you’ve done in Kyoto!

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Source: Internet

Since photo shooting is not allowed during the whole ceremony, so I found the picture on Google. In a nutshell, only hotel guests would be invited to attend the ceremony and it starts at 6:30 every day, which means you need to wake up very early and the staff will lead you to the temple. The whole ritual includes monk chanting and worship. Overall it is a very interesting experience.

AWOMB

Now it’s time to talk about food! AWOMB is an experimental restaurant in Kyoto providing artistic DIY sushi set, which means you can make your own sushi with the material provided like this:

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Super cute isn’t it? I believe that every girl would scream out like I did when they first see this! Despite of the food, the interior decoration of the restaurant should not be ignored as well, it is influenced by Japanese minimalist aesthetic: the gate is too small to be noticed, everything inside is made by wood…

Normally the restaurant is very popular and requires reservation, if you want to walk in, hope you have the same luck as we have! (Yes we made it!)

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Yeah my excited face lol (@Fashionmimo)

AWOMB has two restaurants and a studio, both of the restaurants are in the central area of Kyoto but with different policies, for more detail you can refer to their website http://www.awomb.com/ (@Fashionmimo)

Singapore Restaurant Week

Before we start, let me have a self-celebration: woohoo! I’m having 600 followers! (For those who hasn’t subscribe me, click the button at upper right corner on my homepage then you will see how to follow)

Frankly speaking, I love eating, but I’m not fastidious about food. First, appearance of the dish is totally not the thing I would consider. Before using Instagram, I didn’t even take any pics about what I have had (and I’m such a bad food photographer ). Second, I always believe that dining is not only about the food, but also the environment and the mood of yourself. Therefore, to me, rather than giving detailed comment of a dish like a food critic, I only focus on those “Ah-ha” moments when those magical chemical reactions happen in my mouth.

Singapore Restaurant Week (March 19th to 26th)

When I firstly  heard about this term I was like “What is this for? Is this a promotion by some restaurants or it’s a traditional festival for SG people to dine out?” Don’t laugh, sometimes I really find it hard to understand the dinning culture in Singapore. After a while I realized that this is an event held by Dinning City  , some selected restaurants (usually those fancy ones) will show their special Restaurant Week menu in a discounted price than usual.

Then I laughed. To be honest I have dined out a lot in Singapore over these months but I never get any “Ah-Ha” moments sadly. Seriously I get confused and I can’t tell why. Sometimes I try to convince myself: maybe that’s because the restaurants you have been to are not expensive enough (I don’t get the logic behind this tho haha). But dinning in those fancy restaurants in Singapore gives me the feel like having a feast on the airplane. Perhaps the meal is really good, but the place and the vibes, or the whole feeling gets wrong 😦

Ok never mind, I still booked some restaurants through this event though. Why not? So let’s check them out.

The Clifford Pier@Fullerton Bay Hotel

Yep, my first stop is of-course Fullerton Bay Hotel. In spite of those recommendations I’ve received from my local friends, the reason why I choose here is quite simple: the environment.

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The restaurant is famous for local cuisine, which is a fusion of Chinese food and southeast asian flavour. But it’s a pity that my friends and I we all think that the curry is too plain. The only highlight is the icecream I think…

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(Sorry I really donno how to take food pics…)

BOCA

People say it’s the most authentic Portuguese cuisine in Singapore. Since I haven’t tried Portuguese cuisine, I can’t compare. But one of our crew is from Portugal and his comment is: you could find all these dishes much more cheaper in Portugal. (Well the only rule to survive Singapore is NEVER thinking about the price lol)

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Sources from the Internet (@Fashionmimo)

Based on what we’ve ordered, I guess Portuguese cuisine is mostly about seafood? And the mussels tastes pretty fresh 🙂

Salt Grill & Sky Bar

“When you’re elevated 55 floors above ground in the middle of town, it goes without saying that the view is nothing short of magnificent.” -Cleo Magazine

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Bangkok

Hi hi wish you all having a great start of April. I told myself I should have updated more in March but obviously I failed again. (have been busy preparing for my job interviews ) Actually plenty of funny things happened around me last month and I really need to deal with my wordpress backlog:(  After this bloody week maybe I could write more about the Singapore restaurant week review or about the return of my Street Snap Monday Series lol (was too lazy to take pics)

Well, I’ve just flied back from Bangkok this afternoon so I think now it’s the best time to record my journey before it gets blurred. First, it’s an impromptu trip and I just decided to join my friends and booked the tickets at the last minute. I have no idea how Bangkok would be like and didn’t do any research before I departed. But thanks to my luck, everything went well and even the congestion didn’t bother us a lot 🙂

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Street Food Haul  (@Fashionmimo)

My main purpose this time is to have a vacation rather than travel, so it’s a pity that I didn’t explored a lot in Bangkok. I have been to the night markets in Khao San Road and Siam, and… that’s all. And the craziest thing we did is spending 3 hours on taxi and 20 mins speed boat to Koh Samet…Despite the taxi fee, it’s really risky to try the BKK-bound highway at weekends (I wanna thank GOD once again for no traffic jam)

Koh Samet is a small island near Rayong. To those who live in Bangkok, it’s an ideal destination for a getaway from the hustle and bustle. And the highlight of this tour is Parasailing!! I was turning ecstatic when flying above the sea and saw the spectacular view with the breeze 🙂 I wish I had a Go-Pro with me.

 

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If you are looking for travel tips, I need to say sorry in advance cause I am not the one who planned this trip. But I’ll try to donate some advices:

1. Taxi is an ideal transportation in town, I mean, you can go anywhere by taxi with an affordable price. We rent a car to Koh Samet and taxi back, the price is quite acceptable. Tuk tuk is fun, but in Bangkok somehow it could be really dangerous cause every car is just cutting each other off and the road could be such a mess :/ However, most taxi drivers don’t use meters; and you won’t know how the traffic would be like when you are in a hurry. So sky train could be a good substitute.

2. Put Thai pants on the must-buy list, this is the only souvenir I’ve bought this time cause I do need a loose and comfy pants for my flight. (Wearing shorts on flight is totally a nightmare for me) Besides, although this blog is no longer “fashion” anymore (lol), I still wanna recommend the loose pants with special pattern cause they provide you the perfect laid-back vacation mood!

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Thai Pants: your best travel/lecture/office companion 🙂 (@Fashionmimo)

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What I talk about when i talk about brunch

Long time no see! Hope you all are doing well 😉

First, apologies for my super-long title, it’s from a book title of Haruki Murakami. However, this post is all about my nagging and has no relation with the great writer at all lol.  People have always been asking me how my life is in Singapore, feels like I really seldom update anything about this place. Is it because of the sunshine and hot weather here making me lazy?

Out of my expectation, life in Singapore can be very slow. Sometimes I even feel like I’m having a retired life here compared to in Hong Kong.

So, here I’m just gonna randomly post some photos, please understand my laziness. (@Fashionmimo)

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Shot at the Open Farm Community, Singapore’s first farm-to-kitchen restaurant.(@Fashionmimo)

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The organic meal: Mud crab pappardelle with thai sauce; the sustainable brand I was browsing: Reformation. (@Fashionmimo)

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Summer vibes, thank you Siwen for modelling ❤

 

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Cozy Weekend

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Cou cou! Here comes our awesome cozy weekend again. This sunday’s gonna be Chinese Moon Cake Festival so I’m already home and gonna spend it with my family. Normally we barbecue near the pool at night, in order to appreciate the silver moonlight reflected on the water and have a bite of lava-custard (?) moon cake 🙂 Actually there are so many types of moon cakes that I just couldn’t distinguish them…

So what’s your plan for this weekend? I got that feeling maybe I’m too old to go out now… Most of the time I just like to chill at my place and share pics on social media to pretend being socializing but ACTUALLY I’M NOT and I hate going out hahaha. Just kidding, but if you are also a couch-potato advocate, make yourself a good music collection and a cup of coffee 😉 or afternoon tea,whatever. (@Fashionmimo)

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Afternoon tea set in 1881 Heritage, Tsim Sha Tsui. A good place above the noisy TST, with awesome city view. (@Fashionmimo)

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Dress from Korean brand ALAND. (@Fashionmimo)

BTW, I started to do some portrait shootings and will post them on Instagram, include some OOTDs, follow me if you are also interested!

https://instagram.com/skinnymimimi/

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Happy Stroll

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Finally back in Hong Kong for school but obviously I am not in working mood in the first week. Hence I met up with some friends and started a shoot-stroll-eat day 😀 Sheung Wan(the soho area near Central) has always been my favourite strolling spot in Hong Kong, so this time we shot our OOTD there and had some delectable plates in a restaurant with a petit garden.

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Casual denim look. Both shirt and jeans come from H&M while the heeled sandals are from Japanese popular brand MOUSSY. (@Fashionmimo)

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Tote bag from Michael Kors and sunglasses from Karen Walker.(@Fashionmimo)

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My favourite black and white. Top: Aritzia, bottom: Pageboy. And the shoes are from Chinese brand Huili(回力). Lots of high school memories could be recalled when I saw these shoes (laughed).(@Fashionmimo)

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The Food

We randomly walked in Mo’s Bros because of it’s delicate little gate. It is so lucky that we got walk-in seats. Cuz later when I checked online, people complained that this place is always full. The address is B/F & G/F, 16 Elgin Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong. (@Fashionmimo)

The little gate. (Internet Source)

The little gate. (Internet Source)

The little outdoor area. (@Fashionmimo)

The little outdoor area. (@Fashionmimo)

Rosted chicken as a main dish. (@Fahionmimo)

Rosted chicken as a main dish. (@Fahionmimo)

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Teatime

Just spent another couple days in Hong Kong, and as usual, I strolled around Central and looked for some good places to eat.

Having a piece of cookie and a cup of tea is a good way to kill time. Not just formal English one, different restaurants (it’s very typical that in this place any restaurant (no matter Chinese,  Italian or Thai) )could have their own afternoon tea set. But this time I tried a homely cafe/gift shop who only concentrate in afternoon tea.

IMG_5450Walking along the escalator from Central to Mid-Levels, there are lots of bars, restaurants, nail shops…then we see the Prince Terrace. Like a little garden above the chaotic commercial area. There are only a few restaurants there, and here is the little place called Another Fine Day.

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Go with their tea set, you could write a letter to someone and send it one year later. (@Fashionmimo)

Go with their tea set, you could write a letter to someone and send it one year later. (@Fashionmimo)

The English country style decoration is  homely and comfy. And it’s lucky that we were the only customers. The tea set contains  cookies, salmon tarts and muffins. We also tried the rose soda. If we only consider the price and the product, it’s kinda below the Hong Kong criteria. But I would say it’s totally a different experience that you could chill on the sofa and really  enjoy your afternoon tea time rather that queuing up in the Peninsula (Peninsula is also good though).

Since there are so much choices of afternoon tea in Hong Kong, maybe next time I should make a recommended list of those restaurants with awesome tea sets and great views, but I still have no idea where the edge is:) (@Fashionmimo)

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When Salmon Meets Thai Spice

Greyhound café-a brand from Bangkok now is getting popular in Hong Kong. You know, in this fast paced, expensive city with extreme competitions, a new brand could be easily squeezed out if you cannot catch much attention ASAP. But the fact is, this brand is occupying HK’s luxurious areas: Central, Tsim-sha-tsui, Kow Loon Tong… It’s not that common for a Thai restaurant to reach such high achievements, in Hong Kong.

I’m already a fan of it, so…hope that you could tolerate my following little-bit exaggerated description.

Here comes my must-haves:

1.Salmon Carpaccio in Spicy Hot Sauce 

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With best reputation, the fresh salmon slices swim in special Thai spicy sauce. The spicy sour sauce is like a catalyst, making the salmon tastes even fresher.

2. Crepe Cakes

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The very first time when I tried the banana chocolate crepe cake, I nearly shouted out! Come on! I will have a lifelong crave for this. Then I kept trying the strawberry crepe cake and the coconut one, they are all cute. But the banana one is always my favourite.

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Compared to those surprising appetizers and desserts, the main dishes are kinda “average”. I mean, they are all delicious, but you can try them at any Thai restaurants. So my advice is, to try more appetizers. (@Fashionmimo)

Hong Kong Branches

ifc mall
Shop 1082, Podium Level 1, Central

Ocean Terminal
Shop OTG01, G/F, Ocean Terminal,
Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Festival Walk 
Shop L2-42, Festival Walk, 80 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon