Author: pling

Inoda Coffee at Kiyomizu Higashiyama - Kyoto Cafes

Inoda Coffee // Kyoto’s Old School Café

Founded since 1940, Inoda Coffee イノダコーヒ has been a beloved coffeehouse for more than 69 years, serving the residents of Kyoto with its own brand of coffee. Its first café opened in 1947 in Sanjyo 三条, and it has 7 other branches in Kyoto, 1 in Osaka, 1 in Hiroshima, 1 in Hokkaido, 1 in Tokyo, and 1 in Yokohama. It also has a take-out cake shop in Kyoto, called Ketel. Don’t expect swanky or hipster vibes in this Kyoto café. Inoda Coffee houses an old school charm that still appeals to the everyday lives of locals. There are no frills, no fuss, just a strangely familiar comfort that seems to belong to bygone days. Since 1947, Inoda Coffee has been a beloved coffeehouse for more than 69 years, serving the residents of Kyoto with its own brand of coffee. Instead of visiting the flagship café or honten 本店, we always made our way to the one in Kiyomizu as part of our exploration of the Higashiyama district 東山区 after visiting Kiyomizu-dera. You need strong knees …

Kiyomizu-dera Autumn Maple Trees - Kyoto Temple

8 Things to do at Kiyomizu-dera // Kyoto’s Nailless Hillside Temple

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) is Kyoto’s most famous temple. Almost every traveller who passes through Kyoto would have made a trip to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, built on the hillside of Higashiyama. And if an airline or a travel agency would have to pick a representative picture of Kyoto, we bet a photo of Kiyomizu-dera in its autumn splendor would have been one of the top 3 choices, if not the first. For friends travelling to Kyoto with us for the first time, we’ll definitely put Kiyomizu-dera on the itinerary. This meant that we have visited Kiyomizu-dera 3 times! Don’t we tire of it? Not at all. The charm of Kiyomizu-dera extends beyond the temple itself to the Higashiyama district 東山区, a meandering historical area that seeks to be explored again and again. It’s also about an hour’s walk to the Gion district. An uphill trek through the steep Kiyomizu-michi 清水道, or Chawan-zaka 茶碗坂 (Teapot Lane) preludes a visit to Kiyomizu-dera. Shops selling souvenirs, Kyoto snacks, street food, and handicrafts line Chawan-zaka, marking it as a popular spot for getting gifts …

Nishiki Traditional Market - Kyoto Japan

Nishiki Market // 5 Must-Eats in Kyoto’s Kitchen

Nishiki Market (錦市場), fondly known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, has been around for more than 400 years. Traditional food vendors, small cooked food shops, and eateries line this 400-metre street. The potential of this street extends beyond these 400 metres. Running perpendicular to Nishiki Market is Teramachi-dori (寺町通), an organized labyrinth of shops and restaurants worth exploring. Weaved into the smaller lanes, you will find vintage shops, small eateries, and the famous Sou•Sou shops. Parallel to Nishiki Market is the shopping belt of Kyoto, Shijō-dori (四条通), where you’ll find bigger shopping malls and boutique shops. We’ll dedicate a separate post to these later on. Stay tuned!   The array of fresh vegetables, local fruits, seafood, meat, pickled foodstuff, condiments, and ingredients will have you weaving in and out of the traditional food shops if you love to cook. Such was the allure of seeing in person, those heirloom Kyoto vegetables (京野菜 kyōyasai) cultivated since the Meiji Era, that you’ve only heard of, or seen on television – the sweet spring onions called Kujo negi (九条ねぎ), round eggplants called Kamo …

Moss Bridge in Moss Garden - Kokedera Kyoto

Saihoji Kokedera // Kyoto’s Magical Moss Garden

It’s like walking in a giant terrarium. The place. A temple garden with thousands of moss varieties. The little figurines. You. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saihōji (西芳寺) or Kokedera (苔寺) is magical, out-of-this-world, surreal, and an ancient treasure. With such superlatives for this Kyoto site, you don’t see as much content or information out there as compared to say, Kiyomizudera or Gion. Why? Some might wonder. It’s not easy to get there. Not the usual tourist routes, there are buses to Kokedera but no trains. You have to make a reservation with a return postcard at least 1 to 2 months (depending on how fast your postal service is) prior to your intended visit. Advance planning is required, of which many didn’t get a chance to do for their travels. There are only 1 stipulated visiting time each day. The time of visit varies, and is decided by the temple. It has been said that latecomers do not get to enter and are shut outside the door. You know how travelling tends to get …

Tofuku-ji Kyoto // A Must-Visit for Spectacular Autumn Colors

Autumn is a fantastic time to be in Kyoto, Japan. During this season, leaves change their green coats to varying shades of vibrant yellows, flaming oranges and deep reds. Famed gardens and ancient trees are prevalent in the many shrines spotted all over Kyoto. I knew I had to be in Kyoto during autumn at least once in my life to witness these autumn colors or kōyō (紅葉) with my own eyes. With that many gardens and shrines in Kyoto, we had to be selective in the places we were going to visit. Time is limited during travels, but isn’t that always the case? Considered as Kyoto’s five greatest zen temples or Kyoto Gozan (京都御座), Tōfuku-ji (東福寺) was found in 1236 and its huge garden, which left an unforgettable mark in my experience and memory, was designed in the 1930s by landscape architect Mirei Shigemori – landscape architect of Tofuku-ji in Kyoto. Even before reaching the main gate where we had to pay our entry fees, towering trees in their glorious reds greeted us. Across … // 5 Superfoods for Stunning Hair

I’ve been obsessing about my hair and nails, noticing that they are getting brittle easily with age. On days when the weather doesn’t let up with its humidity and temperature, and when I’m shuttling between appointments and meetings, my fine hair gets limp and my scalp gets oily by midday. Not good at all. While we care for the outer beauty of our hair, I thought it is as important, if not more important, to look at our diet and what’s good for nurturing healthier, more beautiful hair. The first thing to do is to take a closer look at what I eat. As we advance in age, we take more care of what we put into our mouths. Gone are the days when you can just pop whatever your heart, no, stomach desires. While there are lots of food that are good for hair, I’ve written a list of 5 Superfoods known to fortify hairs with their natural nutrients – zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, proteins, Omega-3 and vitamins, and the recommended daily intake. I’ve … // Top 8 Cleansing Oils

Gone are the days when we have to use cold cream to vigorously rub off our makeup. I remember pulling at my skin using many cotton pads during my teenage years, and before discovering the wonder of cleansing oils. Since then, I’ve not looked back. Why? Because they are fast, simple and effective in removing all traces of makeup, including stubborn eyeliner and coats of mascara. Even though I have sensitive skin, veering from oily to combination depending on the weather and environment, I swear by cleansing oils to cleanly remove makeup without fuss and without breakouts. Like many, I thought that I should never use oil on oily skin. It would make it worse and even oilier, right? Wrong! It’s worse to go to bed with your skin still hinting of makeup in corners, clogged up, and unable to breathe. The technology has advanced so much that many cleansing oils are light and emulsify well to be totally removed by a single wash with no trace of oil remaining on our skin. With that … // Starstruck with Orange Lipsticks

Orange lipsticks have taken the world by storm. It is the new red for the lips! Be it the New York Fashion Week 2014 where Rag and Bone sent models strutting down in bright orange lips, or Hollywood stars donning matte oranges on their pouts, we suddenly see them everywhere. Asia is not spared from this onslaught of boldness either. Many could not fathom how they could ever wear this electrifying shade until they saw Jun Ji Hyun swiped one across her pouty lips on “My Love from the Star” (or “You Who Came From The Star”). Of course, our eyes are on the male lead Kim Soo Hyun too.   We found out from the good people at Laneige, that the actual lipstick, Laneige Serum Intense Lipstick YR25 Neon Orange (S$34), has been sold out worldwide for months. This is proof of the mammoth attraction of the shades (and the K-drama) that has created waves in the lipstick scene. You can leave your name with the Beauty Advisors at Laneige boutiques and counters, and … // Top 3 Telltale Signs of Aging

As some Asian cultures have it, it’s rude to ask a woman for her age directly. Some of my guy friends have shared that they sometimes guessed the age of women – not from their faces with all that makeup on and tons of SK-II – but from other parts of our body that women simply can’t hide. A quick survey revealed the top 3 telltale signs of aging. We are not talking about our faces and eyes, but other parts of our body that actually divulge our age. Some try desperately to hide aging signs of our faces with makeup and anti-aging skincare. Most forget to take care of the other parts of our body. Though we are unable to control the natural process of aging, we should not neglect to take care of our body. Aging gracefully – both body and soul, is an art, and one that we women should care about.