All posts tagged: nagano

coffee, tea, treats.

For someone who doesn’t drink coffee I had my share in Japan. The coffee scene is on fiah and the attention to detail makes the experience so much more special. A few coffee (and tea!) explorations to follow. My favorites were the spots with coordinating tiny treats. & Coffee by Maison Kayser was one of our first stops. Hubby had an espresso; I had a lavender milk tea. We also ordered a pain du chocolate and our beverages came with little chocolate treats. It was quiet when we arrived (before 8AM on a Saturday). This was our in-between spot after sushi breakfast and before Itoya shopping. We heard about the Toyko Coffee Festival from a local magazine ~ I like to pick those up from airports; sometimes you get lucky with ideas. En route, we ran into a cousin-in-law who at the time lived in San Diego – so random! So we all tasted cups of brew together. There were over a dozen coffee vendors, mostly from the Tokyo/Kyoto area, but also a few international …

temples and towers.

I’m not one for crowds, but sometimes you just have to see something. I wanted to visit at least one temple in Japan because they are a big part of the culture (and also because I wanted a goshuin temple book!) and at least one trip to the top of a tower to get panoramic views of Tokyo. We visited the Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. The buildings are massive, and so are the crowds. I enjoyed admiring all the architectural details and taking in the history. Plus, learning about temple traditions, like the chozuya where you purify yourself with a water ceremony before approaching a shrine. My favorite part though was finding where they stamp your temple books and getting my first stamp! Each temple or shrine has their own custom mark. At Sensoji Temple they take your book to the back for stamping. Mysterious… The only other temple we visited was in Nagano. We passed through the Zenko-ji Temple en route from sakuras to miso ice cream. We weren’t planning to …