Tokyo's Not So Secret Cherry Blossoms Spots

June 1, 2020

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Cherry blossom blooms, Tokyo's Not So Secret Cherry Blossoms Spots That You Might Not Know Of - Style and Travel Blogger Van Le (FOREVERVANNY.com)
It’s undeniable that Japan is one of the most beautiful places to witness cherry blossom season. Though cherry blossoms do not last very long, their fleeting nature is exactly what makes them so captivating. To top off their beauty, seeing them bloom among the urban metropolis of Tokyo, or traditionally charming towns in Kyoto is something that many people would not hesitate to add to their bucket-list.

Over the past few years of living in Japan, I was lucky enough to experience cherry blossom season in a few different ways-- as a tourist, as a second-time admirer, and as a local. When I first experienced cherry blossom season as a tourist, the whole experience can easily be described as a rush. Although I’ve seen almost four seasons of cherry blossoms by now, I still can recall the pure excitement and admiration for them, the very first time I saw them. When trying to capture their beauty, I was constantly torn between taking a close up shot to show their delicate features as opposed to taking a wide-angled shot to show how vast and abundant they were. I took note of the things I missed most about these cherry blossoms and what made them so precious to me for the second time I got to see them again.

By now, I was in Tokyo and I came to appreciate just how cool it was to see all of these cherry blossom trees engulfed over highways and giant buildings. It became clearer to me that it’s not just the cherry blossoms that are beautiful, but it’s also their sceneries and surroundings. If you’re reading this article, I’m assuming that you’ve seen plenty of cherry blossom photos with Mt. Fuji, shrines, torii gates, and trains somewhere along with your searches, and I’ll warn you now, that none of the spots that I’m sharing in this list will feature that. Instead, I want to share a few of my favorite not so secret cherry blossom spots that I’ve come to frequent and love as a local.

I've listed their general location as well as their best public transportation stations to help you locate these spots if you're looking to have a different cherry blossom experience in your upcoming Tokyo trip.

Shingashi River
Access: Kawagoe Station
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Among the locations that I’ve shared, this one is probably the most touristy but local at the same time. Kawagoe isn’t a town that’s known to many tourists, but if you come for the cherry blossom, you should also stay to check out this cool little Edo town.

Shakujii River
Access: Naka-Itabashi Station
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I hope I won’t regret sharing this spot, but the cherry blossoms here go on for miles and miles along this prefecture where it’s majority locals. Please be respectful and enjoy the calm atmosphere if you decide to check this spot out.

Sakurazaka
Access: Roppongi Station
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If you can drive in Tokyo or are able to get an international license. I highly recommend driving down Sakurazaka. It’s so scenic and stopping to enjoy these cherry blossoms is easy since there are parking spots available along this road.

Chidorigafuchi Moat
Access: Kudanshita Station
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Chidorigafuchi Moat isn’t a secret by now, but it’s locally still a spot that many people here still get excited about and go out to experience. A tip would be to get maximum time and row to the end of the moat to avoid the boat-crowd and see the almost-lake-sweeping cherry blossom branches.

Kandagawa
Access: Takadanobaba Station
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This river is one of the major ones in Tokyo and it also runs along the Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line) route. You can even strategically plan out to visit this spot, then take the tram closer to Ikebukuro and access the Shakujii River location.


Camera Gear Used: Nikon D600 (body only) with 50mm F1/4 and 24-70mm F3.5 lens.
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Crop Knitted

May 27, 2020

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In the years that I've had this blog and through the number of posts that I've shared- I didn't think that there would come a day where I would be starting off by saying the most generic email opening: I hope that you are doing well. I really mean it.

Somehow two months have passed since the world was flipped upside down, and 2020 skipped all of Spring. Wherever you are, I hope that you have something to at least look forward to whenever it may be that we get out of this, together.

For now, I wanted to share this quick outfit that I wore literally around the block (since you guys know that construction sites have always been my aesthetic anyway). I stumbled upon this top via Simonett's Instagram not too long ago, and it was something that I bought within an hour of thinking about it (which is super rare for me). This 'Nanu Top' is so versatile because it's a knitted material. I love that it's the perfect transition piece at the moment as it's warm enough for a chilly morning, but cropped enough to bare some skin especially with a pair of high waisted skinny jeans. There's actually a multitude of ways to wear this crop knitted top thanks to its unique construction and it's a piece that I can't wait to later with comes the fall again.

Top: Simonett 'Nanu Top'
Pants: Levi's 501 Skinny
Shoes: Chanel Espadrilles
Bag: Chanel WOC

Photo by Shun S.

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Cherry Blossom Season Blues

April 13, 2020

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Just like that another cherry blossom season came and left so fleetingly. I wish I could say it was beautiful to enjoy the blooms without all of the tourists like every other year, but instead, it felt a little empty. It's a weird time in the world, but it's also the perfect time to fully reflect on everything that comes and goes without a warning. It has made me worry about the future, but so grateful for the present, now, more than ever.

I, of course, will miss these glorious days during this time of the year when all I need is a sweater to be comfortable walking around, but I also can't complain about having more cozy things to wear at home in a few weeks when I'll be cold with the AC on at home. Hoping that this made you feel a little better about all the sweaters that you probably bought but didn't get the chance to wear out either.

Until next Spring.... or chilly summer nights!



Sweater: Line and Dot via Shopbop
Pants: GRLFRND Denim 'Helena'
Shoes: Acne Studios Jensen Boots
Bag: Chanel WOC
Earrings: Clustered Pearl Earrings (similar)

Photo by Shun S.

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Golden Hour Plaid + Spring Trends

March 20, 2020

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Plaid for spring, easy spring outfits, beige trousers with black top, square neck tops, Tokyo street style, spring transitional outfits - FOREVERVANNY.comHoping to maintain a bit of a routine, I'm turning back to the blog to share some quick outfit updates and trend forecasting for the upcoming Spring season. The world might seem a bit upside right now, but I know that this will soon pass. It may get worse before it gets better, and once it does, all of the outfits we've been saving will finally be worn with positivity.

As usual, I haven't added much to my rotating wardrobe, and pretty much just transition some winter pieces to work for slightly warmer weather. For a quick afternoon for grabbing coffee, I threw on a simple square neck ribbed knit top, cargo trousers in a neutral beige, everyday sneakers, and this plaid/houndstooth coat that I've been layering with since I got it back in December.


Coat: Aritzia Plaid Overcoat
Top: Aritzia (similar here)
Pants: Zara (another beige trouser option)
Shoes: Common Projects
Earrings: Floating Pearl Huggies
Bag: Chanel

Photo by Shun S.

Some Spring trends that I think will be quite prominent for Spring happens to be some of the key components of the pieces that I'm wearing. Talking about square neck tops and sweaters, baggy trousers, and plaid/houndstooth patterns. Of course, I've been seeing more gold and pearl jewelry all over as well (but let's be real, gold and pearl are as timeless as it can get).


Square-neck Tops and Sweaters


Beige Trousers


Plaid/Houndstooth


Gold and Pearls Jewelry

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Kanazawa and Shirakawago, Japan

March 11, 2020

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It’s been a while since I covered a travel destination in Japan, but I finally got the chance to check out Kanazawa and Shirakawago a few weeks ago after almost one and a half years spent in Tokyo. Honestly, although Kanazawa is a town that I’ve been dying to check out, I had very little expectation of what this place had to offer. We also had crossed our fingers and hoped for snow on the day we went to Shirakawago but sadly, it was all melted. Despite what my initial thoughts and expectations were, it was safe to say that it was a well-worth 3-days-weekend trip with my boyfriend.

I’m not big on guides and I ended up just winging it for most of this trip so below is a rough recap of my itinerary of the 3 days and 2 nights in Kanazawa from Tokyo. I hope that you can pick up a thing or two to check out on your travels here.

Day One
Kanazawa Station and Higashi Chaya District

We arrived at Kanazawa Station from Tokyo around 1 pm. Generally, it’s about 3.5-4 hours to get to Kanazawa from wherever you are in Tokyo. For the weekend, I booked a private house through Bookings.com and the owner offered a complimentary pick up at the Kanazawa Station when we got off the train. Our accommodation, Kaimoku-an was a recently renovated place so the whole thing was quite beautiful. It was located in a central location as well (pretty much a 15 min walk to the famous Higashi-chaya Street). My favorite thing about this accommodation was the delicious bakery that’s just next door. On the day that I checked out, I even grabbed two Madeline muffins to bring back to Tokyo.

After we dropped off our things, we went out to do a bit of exploring. As we were quite close to Higashi Chaya District, we decided that it would be the first place we would explore. We passed by some bridges and saw an interesting bar called HUNI. We wanted to stop by for a drink at night but found out that they were closed for the New Year. Our accommodation host actually really liked the place and highly recommended it. So if you’re looking for a place to grab a drink in Kanazawa, it might be a good spot to venture out to.

When we got to Higashi Chaya's main street, I was overwhelmed with all of the gold flakes street foods that were all around me. From gold flakes on takoyaki to croquettes, and even soft serves (of course I tried them all). And yes, the gold doesn’t contribute anything to the taste of these foods, it just makes it look expensive and extra as hell.

Since the location was super close to our place, we went back for a quick rest after before heading out for dinner.

Kanazawa is known for its seafood so we had to try a local sushi spot for omakase. My chef was the funniest for dropping gold flakes on some of my sushi pieces through the course.

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Wearing: Zara textured coat, Acne Studios sweater, Trave Denim cropped jeans, Chanel WOC, and By Far Sofia boots.
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Wearing: Aritzia houndstooth coat (similar) and thermal, NanoUniverse cashmere plaid scarf, GRLFRND Denim cropped jeans, Topshop boots and Chanel WOC.
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Day Two
Omicho Market and Shirakawago Day Trip

We got up very early on the second day. We grabbed some pastries from the bakery next door before heading out for Omicho Market to sample some fresh seafood.

Omicho Market is similar to Nishiki in Kyoto. There are seafood stands that either sell fresh fish, sashimi, and other shellfish by samples or wholesale. Kanazawa region is especially known for their crabs so of course, we didn’t hold back from trying. We had some wild scallops, uni, and giant oysters as well. Seafood in Japan is generally highly praised but it honestly lives up to all the hype. There are other interesting foods that you can explore in the market like sashimi rice bowls (some places even drop gold flakes on them as well). My favorite snack there though is fried baby shrimp. If you come across it, do yourself a favor and buy a bag.

After our market snacks, we made it back to Kanazawa Station to catch the bus to Shirakawago. By now, it’s about noon and getting there takes about an hour. As mentioned before, we were hoping that it would be snowing, or there would be some leftover snow on the roofs of these gassho-zukuri farmhouses infamously known in this UNESCO world heritage site, but the weather was clear and mild. Still, the site was quite charming. As I was reading up on this town, I saw that there were some accommodations in the area, and many people recommended to stay the night. However, after visiting for half a day, I realized that there wasn’t much to do aside from sightseeing and grabbing a casual lunch. The observation point of this town was something we did check out and that provided a nice aerial view of the town’s landscape. It was also beautiful to see multiple triangle huts so uniformly laid out next to one another.

Right before the sun went down, we decided to head back to the main bus station to get back to Kanazawa for some dinner. Close by to the station was a restaurant that we happened to stumbled upon. It ended up being one of the best meals both Shun and I have had in a long time. PLAT HOME was so well decorated that it didn’t really feel like an izakaya-style place at all. On top of their well put together menu, they had some really good wine options as well. The sashimi platter here was one of the most impressive ones I’ve had in terms of creativity in how they used normal ingredients. For example, their ginger came chopped up in stringy form and was soaked with soy sauce and wasabi to go perfectly with each piece of sashimi. Aside from that, some classics like potato salads and fried fish were really elevated too. As if we still weren’t stuffed enough, Shun wanted to check out a few more local izakayas along Katamachi street. It’s an area that is very reminiscent of any yokocho alleys that you might have come across in Tokyo and all over Japan. We stopped by a lotus root focused izakaya around here and I discovered lotus root chips (also known as 'renkon') for the first time. Pretty much changed my life. I even tried ordering another round but it was so popular that it was sold out by then.

At some point, that night Shun and I made our way to one of the most well-known shrines in Kanazawa and did a little prayer as well as got our little blessings for the New Year. Random, but glad that we were able to check out one shrine in this town full of major ones.

We called it a night after the third spot because it was pouring so bad that night.

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Wearing: Zara textured coat, Uniqlo crewneck, NanoUniverse cashmere plaid scarf (similar), Trave Denim cropped jeans, Tabio wool socks, Monica Vinader ringCommon Project sneakers and Chanel WOC.
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Shirakawago
Day trip from Kanazawa Station
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Shirakawago, UNESCO site in Japan, Kanazawa trip from Tokyo, must-visit cities in Japan, photogenic and charming towns in Japan - FOREVERVANNYShirakawago, UNESCO site in Japan, Kanazawa trip from Tokyo, must-visit cities in Japan, photogenic and charming towns in Japan - FOREVERVANNYShirakawago, UNESCO site in Japan, Kanazawa trip from Tokyo, must-visit cities in Japan, photogenic and charming towns in Japan - FOREVERVANNYShirakawago, UNESCO site in Japan, Kanazawa trip from Tokyo, must-visit cities in Japan, photogenic and charming towns in Japan - FOREVERVANNYShirakawago, UNESCO site in Japan, Kanazawa trip from Tokyo, must-visit cities in Japan, photogenic and charming towns in Japan - FOREVERVANNY

Day Three
Nishi Chaya Street, Kanazawa Castle, and Kenrokuen, and D.T Suzuki Museum before last meal at Kanazawa Station

On our last day, we took a cab over to Nishi Chaya District in the morning just to quickly check it out. In general, most of the main attractions in Kanazawa might seem underwhelming because they’re quite small but still, I found them to be pretty charming. Most of the teahouses didn't open until later on in the day at Nishi Chaya so we both headed over to Kanazawa Castle and grabbed a tea lunch set at Mamezara Chaya. Kanazawa Castle is one of the most aesthetically pleasing castles that I’ve seen in Japan so far because of how minimalistic it seems among the grounds that surround it. Or maybe it was just so pleasant because there weren’t so many tourists and people crowding everywhere. The tea set came with a sushi rice ball, a soup, and some sweets to go along with either coffee or green tea as well as a gold flaked soft serve. I have to say that the rich soft serve is honestly one of the best in Japan that I’ve tasted so far. Reminds me a lot of the Milk Bar ones back in NYC.

As we walked over to Kenrokuen Garden, which is said to be one of the three most beautiful gardens in all of Japan, it started to pour a bit. Still charming though, as is the rest of Kanazawa. We decided to head to a museum right after this and the boyfriend especially fell in love with D.T Suzuki’s space. We ended up spending a good 2 hours there just watching the rainfall from their main observation spot. From there, we headed back to Kanazawa Station and grabbed a quick meal at a local izakaya. The sashimi platter never disappoints and this one was pretty filling. We left Kanazawa Station around 6:30 pm and got back before it was too late.

It might have seemed like we did a lot, but I found it to be one of the most relaxing trips so far. One of my favorite things about visiting lesser-known areas of Japan is that the crowds of tourists are much more controlled allowing you to fully experience and see all of the beauty of these main attractions. For those of you who are seeking the Kyoto charms but would like to avoid huge crowds and getting up way too early to be able to see things, I highly recommend visiting Kanazawa. Keep in mind that accessible transportations from Tokyo to Kanazawa pretty much only existed since 2015, so I’m sure that this is an area in Japan that will quickly become more well-known.



Camera Gear Used: Nikon D600 (body only) with 50mm F1/4 and 24-70mm F3.5 lens.
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