My name is Amandine. Les Berlinettes is my lifestyle, fashion and travel blog. I have always been interested in Fashion and it is for me here the place to share the work of my favorite designers, shopping tips and my personal style and my beauty favourites.
Unique things to do in Tokyo
Mori Building Digital Art Museum Epson
by Kristin Addis
If you enjoy art museums, interactive science museums, pretty lights, music, or the pleasing effect of symmetry, you must not miss out on the Mori Building Digital Art Museum Epson teamLab Borderless in Tokyo. Artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, architects and graphic designers pool their talents to create interactive works of magic. The end result? A 10,000 square meters space with digital art that’s constantly changing, morphing, and interacting with spectators. It was said to be a temporary exhibition but has now been made permanent due to its popularity. To make sure there is adequate space for its visitors, tickets are sold in advance and I recommend buying it online ahead of time as they could be sold out on the day that you want to go. There are about 11 rooms with different themes, so you should budget half a day for this. I spent 4 hours exploring and would’ve stayed even longer if it wasn’t for jetlag! Expect to share the space with a large crowd at anytime of the day, though you might get lucky if you choose to be the first or last group to enter.
Alternative things to do in Tokyo – Mario Kart Tokyo Shibuya
One of my favorite and unique things to do in Tokyo is Go-Karting in Tokyo. Often referred to as Mario Cart, or Mari Kar, whatever you want to call it, it’s one of the whackiest, and quite possibly most dangerous things you’ll ever do! There are several companies who offer this tour and they are all reputable.
You must be sure to have an international drivers permit in order to participate, and your tour must be booked ahead. I suggest booking at least one month in advance, if not more.
Once you arrive for your tour you can select your costume. I always choose to go for a classic Mario or Luigi! Your guide will then teach you how to drive the go-kart, which is a small and simple two pedal machine. Now it’s time to cruise around Tokyo in a go-kart!
The tour has several different route options, but can take you through Shibuya crossing, the busiest intersection in the world, or over Rainbow Bridge, which gives you an incredible view of the city! It’s truly exhilarating to drive around this vibrant city and so much fun!
You can’t visit Tokyo (or even Japan) without dressing in a traditional Japanese Kimono.
I would highly recommend the Kimono Gallery for Kimono rental in Tokyo. It is located in the luxurious Tokyo neighborhood: Ginza. The Kimono Gallery is easy to spot along the main street. When you arrive you can choose from 2 packages: the basic or luxury package which costs between 5400 yen and 8640 yen. If you would like the professionals to take some photos of you in your Kimono, you can include a photo package for an additional 1080 yen.
I loved the full kimono experience, where you are dressed by professionals in your choice of kimonos (there is plenty to choose from!), then they complete the look with an up do for your hair to suit your face and kimono. Finalizing the whole look with a pair of traditional wooden sandals, called geta.
Once you’re dressed, you can head out and wander the surrounding area for a few hours, stopping to take photos in the nearby Sukiyabashi Park, the Old Kabuki Theatre or the main pedestrian crossing, which is similar to the Sibuya Crossing but on a smaller scale.
The Kimonos and sandals are surprisingly comfortable and very supportive to wear for hours. Make sure to take your time, take lots of photos and enjoy the whole experience!
Watch a Japanese Baseball Game
by Serena from Serena’s Lenses
Watching a Japanese baseball game in Tokyo Dome is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Tokyo. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Japan ever since it was imported by the US in 1872. There are obviously similarities between watching a baseball game in Japan versus in other countries but there are quite a few unique things about watching a Japanese baseball game live.
At every stadium there is an area specifically for the hardcore baseball fans that’s almost entirely local for both teams. These fans are known as the “cheering squad”. They yell, single, wave flags and towels and bang on drums. It is a truly unique experience to sit near the cheer squad fans at a Japanese baseball game. In addition, some teams have their own chants and “dances” making the experience even more unique.
Food offered at a Japanese baseball game is quite different from what you eat during an American baseball game. Instead of getting hot dogs, you will be purchasing Bento boxes and other Japanese food that are both well-presented and tasty. In addition, you don’t even need to leave your seats to purchase beer. There are a ton of young Japanese girls carrying kegs on their back running up and down the stadium selling drinks. In addition, you are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks to a Japanese baseball game.
Alternative things to do in Tokyo – Ghibli Museum
by Thais from World trip diaries
One of my favorite things to do in Tokyo is the incredible Ghibli Museum. If you have ever watched My Neighbour Totoro, or Spirited Away, or any of the other movies (there are so many!), you’ll love it!
This museum tells the evolution of the animation movies from the ’80s until now. Between incredible zoetropes, clay models, murals, stained glass art, you can really see how it works.
Then there’s the art room, with replicas of the walls, original paintings and sketches, and even cigarette stubs (fake, I presume); a short movie, that changes every couple of months; a roof garden with real life-size giant robots and more; a café totally in character; and the seasonal exhibits.
For the little ones, there’s a special playground with a cat bus.
You really shouldn’t miss the shop and the library there, both incredible!
Photos aren’t allowed inside the building, which makes people really experience the whole museum and it does help things move smoother.
It’s in Mitaka, a short train ride from Tokyo Station, and from there, you can either walk the 10 minutes to the museum or catch a thematic loop bus. The bus is also adorable.
The only catch is that the tickets must be bought in advance, at a Lawson store or from your travel agent. They do sell out quite fast, so make sure you grab one at least a month prior to your planned visit or you may end up missing it!
Unique accommodation in Tokyo
Stay in a Ryokan
by Sarah Carter from ASocialNomad
What better way to experience the culture of Tokyo than stay in a traditional Japanese inn?
Japanese Inns or Ryokans are found throughout the country, but you’ll find great luxurious ryokans in Tokyo. Ryokans were developed for Japanese travelers in the Edo period (1603-1838) who were transiting between Tokyo and Kyoto. A stay in a traditional Japanese Ryokan would be spent soothing away the challenges of travel and it’s a great way today to do just that! Long and elaborate dining experiences and bathing in private onsens is the perfect way to experience Tokyo in a complete immersion of culture.
Wear a traditional yukata, take your meals in your room and experience Japanese Haute Cuisine in the form of Kaiseki Ryori and sleep on a traditional futon. Tokyo has some of the most luxurious ryokans around, including the Hoshinoya Ryokan, where you’ll be pampered for your entire stay. Staying in a ryokan is indeed a complete Japanese cultural immersion. Ryokan etiquette is simple and easily explained – your Japanese hosts will assist and explain, even if you don’t speak Japanese, we found our hosts to be genial, helpful and ever forgiving of any mistakes we made.
Unique things to do in Tokyo – Spend a night in a capsule hotel
The fact that space is so limited on the Japanese islands has prompted some ingenuous ideas. One of the greatest of them is the invention of capsule hotels. Instead of offering entire rooms to travelers, you only get a small sleeping pod.
When we were looking for a hotel in Tokyo, we also wanted to try the experience of a capsule hotel. There are many capsule hotels in Tokyo and we decided to go for a more traditional one. As soon as we entered the hotel building, we had to take off our street clothes and change into traditional Japanese clothes. The first floor of the hotel was a relaxing area with comfortable leather chairs, a massage area and a small spa. During our two night stay, we only met one other foreigner among the many guests which made the stay much more authentic.
The capsules were located in the floors above and looked quite small from the outside but they seemed more spacious from the inside. They were equipped with power outlets, an alarm clock and a small TV screen – with Japanese channels only. The opening of the capsule was lightproof but still left enough air into the capsule so I didn’t suffocate. So all in all, I had a great night and a great experience in my capsule hotel and I can definitely recommend it.
Unique things to do in Tokyo – Themed cafe and restaurant in Tokyo
Unique things to do in Tokyo – Watch a robot show at robot restaurant
I already advised to go to the robot restaurant in my article about Tokyo. As I said it is quite expensive but it really is a lot of fun and one of the unique things to do in Tokyo and Tokyo only! While watching the robot show you will have a bento box to go with and lasers for the animation. Seriously one of my best memories of Tokyo!
The Totoro Cafe (Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory)
by Allan Wilson from Live less ordinary
For anyone new to Totoro, he/she/it is a giant bear/cat/god type character famous from the classic animation film by Studio Ghibli called “My Neighbour Totoro”. But the character itself has taken on a life of its own, having garnered a global cult following due to ridiculous cuteness, and the first official Totoro Café opened recently in Bangkok Thailand in 2018. However, there has always kind of been a Totoro Cafe, in Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory, which is the first cafe to have an official license from Studio Ghibli, and is coincidentally owned by a man surnamed Miyazaki (Hayao Miyazaki is the founder of Studio Ghibli). But a highlight for me was just getting lost in the quaint and sleepy suburban backstreets of the Setagaya area where Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory is found, which feels miles away from the highrise mayhem of Tokyo’s city centre. And while there are lots of official memorabilia from Totoro, as well other Ghibli franchises, the highlight is most definitely Shirohige’s Totoro Cream Puffs. Shaped like the cat/bear/god himself and are available in four different flavours (chocolate, caramel banana, strawberry and custard). Which just makes it hard to choose, and so we just ordered all four flavours, and enjoyed them with a pot of tea.
The Kawaii Monster Cafe is one of the highlights in Harajuku in Tokyo, and if you’re looking for a unique dining option, this is the place to go. Japan is famous for its many themed restaurants, and the Monster Cafe certainly lives up to the expectation.
Upon entering the cafe, you will be welcomed by the staff which will lead you to your table. The inside of the cafe is decorated in various themes with different rooms.
The food is themed as well, and you can get rainbow pasta, cereal served in a cat bowl and all kinds of crazy foods that fits the Monster theme.
Every 30 minutes, there will be a performance by the Monster Cafe girls who are dressed up and will sing and dance for the guests. It’s so much fun and some guests will even get the chance to come up on stage and join them while singing silly songs.
Monster Cafe is a place for every age, and if you want a silly yet fun and unusual experience I warmly recommend a visit here. The food isn’t too shabby either, and some dishes were actually tasty even though its appearance is not what you’re used to.
I recommend to book your visit beforehand since it’s very popular. It is also kid’s friendly, so it will be a fun experience for the whole family as well.
by Laura from What’s Hot blog
There are many wonderfully unique activities you can get involved with in Tokyo but one of the most popular is animal cafes. Japan is notorious for its cutesy characters, cafes, fashion and more and what could be cuter than cuddling up a real life fluffy animal?You’ve probably heard of cat cafes but
how about bunny cafes, owl cafes or hedgehogs cafes?
Hutch Asakusa, a bunny cafe, spans over 5 floors and is one of Japan’s biggest animal cafes. As soon as you enter, you are met with a mass of bunny rabbits chilling in their cages. You can spend as much time as you want in this room, taking the bunnies out of their cages to have a quick cuddle. Then you’ll choose just one bunny to spend some quality time with and will take him up to a lounge space where you can sit on a comfy sofa in an enclosed area for just you and your bunny.
It’s also one of the most expensive animal cafes but that’s because you get proper one-on-one time with these bunnies and they’re well looked after. As you’re selecting your bunny, you can see that each day a fair number of bunnies are “off work” because they got in lots of play time with customers the day before. There’s also more space for the bunnies to roam in upstairs and, crucially, you’re not falling over other people trying to grab the poor animal.
Sessions last from half an hour to two hours depending on how keen you are! If you’re going for a longer session they may also give you the option to take another bunny out for half of your session so you get to cuddle not one, but two different bunnies!
Recently, we went to Helsinki in order to see behind the scene of the creation of Finnair’s business class menu.
Flying business class to Helsinki – A taste of Finnland
From Berlin we flew to Helsinki business class with Finnair for the second time. This time again the first thing we experienced was the great service on board : very friendly staff, very forthcoming.
The aim of Finnair is for it’s passengers to experience Finland before arriving on Finnish soil.
This is represented by a collaboration of Finnair with Finnish brands such as Littalia glasses used for service in flight or Maku Brewery who created a limited Edition Maku blueberry Beer available on board but also through Finnish meals mixed with flavors inspired by travels!
The business class meal is always a 3 course dinner, this time we had :
Amazingly tasty Finnish bread with salted butter + fish starter
Pea puree with Gulash served with wine
Apricot cake with coffee and tea
Finnair business class menu signature created in 2013
It is since 2013 that Finnair offers a signature menu created by star chefs on their long haul flights.
It started with a signature menu made by Pekka Terävä, Michelin starred chef of the restaurant Olo in Helsinki.
Indeed, it makes sense for an experienced chef to create in flight meals as the taste of food changes with the altitude.
We had the chance to eat at three of the Olo restaurant group while in Helsinki : Nude, Ola and Emo. All three restaurants that we recommend you to try if you are Helsinki!
Finnair business class menu created by Star chef Tommy Myllymäk
The actual business class menu was created by star chef and Tv personality Tommy Myllymäk. We had the chance to meet him for lunch and his brand new Spring 2019’s new Finnair business class menu.
The concept of it is seasonality and regionality, an healthy option for the Finnair’s passengers.
One of the challenges for Tommy Myllymäk was to experiment a lot with what still stays fresh, tastes and looks good after it is reheated. He created also some vegetarian and vegan menu options!
Visiting the Finnair Kitchen
While in Helsinki we had the chance to go into the Finnair kitchen and see the behind the scene of how are prepared the meals before the flight.
See the pictures below and here are a few facts!
– The Finnair kitchen is not that big, if you consider how many meals are prepared in one day for all business class flights.
– The production starts early in the morning, but the busiest hours are in the afternoon, when most flights take off.
– The Food is then stored for 1-2 hours before being heated up again during the flight.
PS : Don’t miss my article about what to do if you are on a layover in Helsinki with Finnair!
If you spend a few days in and around Fortaleza, you should definitely spend a few days in Canoa Quebrada. A Fortaleza highlight!
Canoa Quebrada’s landscape is made out of sand dunes,red cliffs, and long white beaches!
Canoa Quebrada|Fortaleza excursion
Canoa Quebrada is around 3 hours drive from the Fortaleza city center. You can access by car or book an excursion from Fortaleza. The best is to spend around 2 nights there to fully enjoy the destination but if your time is limited, you can also book a day trip to Canoa Quebrada. It will be enough to go for a buggy ride on the sand dunes, do some zip lining and enjoy the beach.
Things to do in Canoa Quebrada
Next to Fortaleza, Canoa Quebrada is the ultimate beach holiday destination. With it’s 320 day’s of sun, beside laying on the beach, activities available are : dune buggies, horse riding, sailing in a ‘Jangada’ boat, sandboarding, kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Dune buggy ride in Canoa Quebrada
Dune buggy ride in Canoa Quebrada is probably the most famous thing to do. You can find buggies to rent on broadway, the main street of the town. Buggy drivers will take you for a fun ride up and down the sand dunes and to a zip lining activity.
Sandboarding and Zip lining in Canoa Quebrada
In the middle of the sand dunes there are 2 little oasis where you can do sandboarding and zip lining. Both will make you land in some fresh water. Perfect to refresh yourself after the buggy ride in the sun! Price is around 5 dollars.
Kitesurfing in Canoa Quebrada
The region of Ceara is one of the best spot in the world for kitesurfing. You will see many kitesurfers along the coast. Also in Canoa Quebrada you will find some good spots. Several schools offer kite classes with gear rental and sand buggy transfers to the spot. Also many pousadas can arrange kite lessons.
Nightlife in Canoa Quebrada
In the weekend especially, Canoa Quebrada turns into a little party town. The main street : Broadway has many bars and restaurant to spend the night! Don’t miss to dance Forró, a traditionnal Brazilian dance.
Hotels and Pousadas in Canoa Quebrada
If you decide to spend a few nights in Canoa Quebrada, there are many affordable hotels and pousadas.
We stayed at Long Beach hotel. A fabulous little hotel with two pools!