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Kyoto - So many sites for 4 days!

Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 08:24 AM
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Kyoto - So many sites for 4 days!

Many of you have provided very helpful info regarding the cruise portion of my first visit to Japan and now Iím asking for your help about my 4 days in Kyoto. Iíve done lots of research on this site, japan-guide, other web sites and paper guide books. My interests are gardens/nature, temples and old houses so Iíve identified the sites below; I have minimal interest in shopping and am not a foodie. I typically plan a fairly full day, knowing that once Iím there, I may enjoy one site so much that I spend more time there and eliminate some other place from my list. But, I also have a history of underestimating how long it takes to get from point A to point B so Iíd appreciate help organizing my list into a reasonable order based on location/transportation between them. I think Iíll need to devote two separate days to the Arashiyama and Sagano sites. If my ďto doĒ list seems crazily ambitious or would only allow for a quick jog through, please let me know Ė thatís not my travel style! Or, of course if Iím missing a ďmust seeĒ, please let me know that too.

I will arrive Kyoto on Monday, April 15 via Nozumi from Tokyo at 11:22 am and will need to check into my hotel. I will leave Kyoto on Friday, 4/19 around noon to Yokohama to board the ship, so will have 3 full days and 2 half days in Kyoto.

1. Miyako Odori: at Minamiza Theater; only Premium seat tickets left are at the 12:30 performance on 4/16, 4/17 and 4/18. Which one will fit into a dayís plan best? (one hour perf)
2. Daitokuji Temple & Garden Complex
3. Tenryu-ji Temple (do 3,4 & 5 together)
4. Bamboo Grove
5. Okochi Sanso Villa & Garden
6. Tofuku-ji Temple Honbo garden
7. Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple (do 7 & 8 together)
8. Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple
9. Nijo Castle
10. Giō-ji moss garden (I didnít make a reservation for the Kokedera Temple so this is in place of that)
11. Daiso in AEON Mall
12. Chicago Store, 258 Rokkaku Kudaru Shikibuchō, Teramachi Street, Nakagyo Ward
13. Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka (historic preservation district)

Hotel: I made a reservation for four nights (checking out on Friday, 4/19) at The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Shijo, 668Nijohanjikicho, Bukkoji-agaru Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku. It is $207 per night which is higher than I wanted to spend (was hoping for around $150) but many of the hotels I checked had no rooms available for my dates. I thought a hotel in the more western side of the city would make getting to/from the sites I want to see easier, but itís refundable, so if anyone has suggestions for a different/better location, please let me know! Thank you for all any input.

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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 04:44 PM
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I don't know how to estimate YOUR visit times and so would simply encourage you to think through your priorities, with an eye to opening and closing times, so that you can adjust your plans as necessary. To estimate travel times, have you tried google maps? IME, it's surprisingly accurate (though I always add 20 or 25 percent just to give myself a bit of latitude for getting lost).

I'm glad I stayed in the Kawaramachi district, just blocks from the Royal Park. You'll have good access to several public transportation lines there, and its an interesting area with a wide array of restaurants.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
Hotel: I made a reservation for four nights ... at The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Shijo.
For me, that location would be fine. If you're arriving at 11.22 am, I assume you're taking the 9.10 am Nozomi # 19 from Tokyo? The easiest way to get to the hotel would be to take the subway (use your Suica card...) two stops (north) from Kyoto Station to Shijo. That station shares an underground concourse with Karasuma Station on the Hankyu line (which runs east/west) and has numerous exits. Japanese stations usually have signs telling you what's at each exit (and various signs pointing you to the exits). Look at the station map (ground floor) on this site: head for exits 5 and 6; exit 6 is nearer the hotel. Note that both those exits appear to be stairs (of which there are a lot in Japan...). Exit 4 - round the corner and up the street from the hotel - appears to have an elevator, so use that if carrying luggage up the stairs is an issue. As for checking in, check-in times in Japan are strict - 3 pm means 3 pm, not "a couple of hours earlier because that's when you happen to get there". They'll hold the bags for you so check-in when you get back later.

One thing you don't have on your list is the Nishiki Market. It gets crowded but worth wandering along (even if you're "not a foodie") - it's a long covered alley that runs east/west just to the northeast of the hotel. After you drop off your bag(s), re-trace your steps to Shijo station, go back underground and head towards the concourse and then head for exit 17 (you'll be going north and then east). Turn left, up the short escalator and you'll find yourself in the basement food hall of the Daimaru department store. Amazing stuff, all beautifully presented so worth a look. Head to the back of the food hall, out the doors and up the steps. If you need a coffee, there's a Starbucks about 50 metres to your left, the entrance to the Nishiki Market is about 100 metres to the right. Find something to snack on for lunch in the market (though note that walking and eating is not polite in Japan so just stand to the side as you eat).
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 07:29 PM
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Just a quick comment - totally ditto to tt7's info re daimaru dept store and Nishiki mkt. surprisingly they were two of the highlights of my 4 days in Kyoto
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post

3. Tenryu-ji Temple (do 3,4 & 5 together)
4. Bamboo Grove
5. Okochi Sanso Villa & Garden

7. Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple (do 7 & 8 together)
8. Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple
I would try to do these on the same day, rather than doing two trips. I haven't been to Otagi Nenbutsuji or Adashino Nenbutsuji (shame on me, though they're now on the list for next time...). It appears you get there either by a 40+ minute walk from Arashiyama or on a bus (# 62, 72, 92 or 94). Those buses appear to stop at Otagi Nenbutsuji and get you to within a short walk of Adashino Nenbutsuji. The 62 and 72 buses seem to go from Kyoto Station via Arashiyama whereas the 92 and 94 appear to be more 'local' Arashiyama buses and may be more frequent.

If it was me (... and it's not...), I would get the train (about 8 am or so) from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama (takes about 15 minutes). Walk to the Bamboo Grove and, once at the top of the Grove, visit Okochi-Sanso (the entrance gate is ahead and to the right when you get to the top of the Grove). I haven't looked them up again but I think Tenryu-ji opens at 8.30 and Okochi-Sanso at 9 am. From Saga Arashiyama train station to the Grove and up to the Okochi-Sanso gate takes maybe 30 minutes. If you visit Okochi-Sanso when it opens at 9 am (so I would be trying to time my arrival for that), chances are you'll have it more or less to yourself. Spend 45 - 60 minutes there - don't lose your entrance ticket, because it gets you a cup of green tea and a very nice green biscuity thingy in the tea house at the end of your tour of the gardens. Walk back down through the Grove and enter Tenryu-ji by the north gate. Once done there, find the bus stop for the 92 or 94 (or the 62 or 72 if there's one coming) and go and visit Otagi Nenbutsuji and Adashino Nenbutsuji. Once done, head back to Saga Arashiyama and get the train back.

That will probably take most of the day. You'd be finished at Tenryu-ji by maybe 11.30 or thereabouts and then head to Otagi Nenbutsuji and Adashino Nenbutsuji for the afternoon. Should be a nice day out .....
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
... re daimaru dept store and Nishiki mkt. surprisingly they were two of the highlights of my 4 days in Kyoto
When you get to the (eastern) end of the Nishiki Market, just before the very end (where the Nishiki Tenmangu shrine is in front of you), turn left up Terimachi-dori. There are two streets/shopping arcades that run parallel (and fairly close) to each other - Terimachi-dori is the first one you come to and, immediately after it and slightly to the east, right in front of the shrine, is that-other-one-whose-name-I-can't remember. Turn left (north) up Termachi-dori to ....

12. Chicago Store, 258 Rokkaku Kudaru Shikibuchō, Teramachi Street, Nakagyo Ward .... it should be about 200+ metres up Terimachi-dori, on the left.

If, after your buying spree at Chicago, you need a coffee, if you cross over to the other street (where there's a little triangular shaped area on the map) and continue north, there's a Starbucks that will be on your left. After coffee, carry on and the street will dead-end at Sanjo-dori - there should be a JTB travel store directly in front of you. If you have any interest in (or need of...) sewing needles, turn right and along on the right (maybe 50 - 75 metres?) you'll see a store called 'Tanaka' (brown sign with gold lettering). Opposite that should be a sign for a palm reader and next to that, a small alleyway. Go down the alleyway and you'll find yourself in an exquisite little garden courtyard - the needle store is tucked away in the small building at the back of the courtyard. If you don’t know it’s there, you would never stumble across it – you wouldn’t even notice the alleyway, let alone have any reason to go down it. It took us three visits to Kyoto before we finally figured out where it was. They’ve been in business for a long, long time so one can only suppose they have a loyal clientele who return again and again (as we have…). Last time we were there, Mrs. tt7 acquired some needles for sashiko (which just looked like any other needles to me but then what do I know?). It does seem to show up in google maps - at least, the picture appears correct and you can just see a glimpse of the garden courtyard at the end of the alleyway.

[Edited to add: if you have no need of needles, they also make various pins, with small resin heads in various shapes - flowers, animals etc.]

Last edited by tt7; Apr 2nd, 2019 at 09:33 PM.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
9. Nijo Castle
After your shopping spree at Chicago and a visit to the needle store, carry on along Sanjo-dori another 50 metres or so until you emerge on to Kawaramachi-dori. Turn left and walk up to the corner of Oike-dori. The massive building on the left across the street is Kyoto City Hall. On the corner you should find an entrance to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae subway station. Take the subway two stops west to Nijojo-mae. The entrance to Nijo Castle is on the east side of the Castle, just north of the subway station. Be sure to visit the Ninomaru Palace to see the interiors and to experience the Ďnightingaleí floors. If the Waraku-an tea house is open, sit outside (if you can) on one of the red-covered benches and enjoy the view of this part of the garden while enjoying a matcha tea and Japanese sweet.

To fit all this into your arrival day -- drop the bags at the hotel, visit the Daimaru basement food hall and the Nishiki Market, Terimachi-dori and Chicago and on to the needle store (if it's of any interest) and then on to Nijo Castle -- will take some doing but it would get a couple of items on your list taken care of ....
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
10. Giō-ji moss garden (I didnít make a reservation for the Kokedera Temple so this is in place of that)
Whoops - forgot this one for a busy Arashiyama day. Even harder to get to than Otagi Nenbutsuji and Adashino Nenbutsuji. Maybe walk there from Adashino Nenbutsuji and then walk back to Saga Arashiyama?
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post

6. Tofuku-ji Temple Honbo garden

11. Daiso in AEON Mall
The AEON Mall is on the south side of Kyoto Station and Tofokuji is one stop south-east of Kyoto Station so these two would logically go together. Perhaps on the morning of the day you leave for Tokyo?
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 10:57 PM
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Vickeybypass: Have a great time in Kyoto. I also had a room at the Royal Park Hotel, but the Sanjo one (two blocks from the river). One day a taxi driver accidentally took me to the Royal Park-Shijo and I had to inform him that he had gone to the wrong one. So, if you're in a taxi make sure that the driver understands which one to go to.

I was in Kyoto both last summer, the the previous summer, and have booked to go back again this summer. I stayed at 3-4 different hotels, on each visit, while there as I'm one to hotel hop. LOL!

And speaking of the Chicago boutique, it's really nice to browse there. I found a really beautiful, pre-owned, polyester kimono jacket for the equivalent of US$18.00 and which was in mint condition.

After exhausting oneself at the Chicago store, if you want to just sit, relax, take it easy, and have a healthy light meal, then the below restaurant is very good. I eat there regulalry. It's in the same arcade as Chicago and very near. You'll need to walk through a boutique, to the back, and then up a flight of stairs and there is a hidden delight of a restaurant.

https://www.insidekyoto.com/mumokute...downtown-kyoto

Kyoto is a great place to visit.

Happy Travels!

Last edited by Guenmai; Apr 2nd, 2019 at 11:12 PM.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2019, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
13. Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka (historic preservation district)
In the interests of making sure you're totally exhausted by the time you leave Kyoto, here's a suggestion .....

Take the subway to Keage, turn right on the main road and after about 50 metres, turn right through a small tunnel. Follow the road up to Nanzen-ji (don't miss the Tenjuan Garden) and then Eikan-do, visiting both on the way. From Eikan-do, turn right on Reisen-dori and walk up to the beginning of the Path of Philosophy. Turn left and walk all the way up the Path (alongside the canal). At the top, turn right up the approach road to Ginkaku-ji. After visiting Ginkaku-ji, go back to where you turned right at the end of the Path and go straight over - the bus stop for the #100 bus is about 50 metres on the left. The bus heads towards Kyoto Station but you can get off at Heian-jingu (by the massive torii gate) opposite the Museum of Modern Art (worth a visit) before walking back up to Heian-jingu. Donít miss the Heian-jingu gardens, which wrap around the sides and back - the entrance is on the left if youíre facing Heian-jingu. Continue on the #100 bus further south and visit the Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka areas, from where you can walk to Kiyomizadera. Walk back down to the main road through the cemetery and catch a bus back to Kyoto Station.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 12:01 PM
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Thank you all! I've traveled to many places but I have to admit that Japan has overwhelmed me, so I'm very appreciative of your help.

tt7 - thank you, thank you...your detailed directions are what I need to feel comfortable getting around. Each trip, I think "I'll plan relaxed days with time to meander and watch the world go by" but there are always so many places I want to visit, that I end up going from 8:00 am - dark. And Kyoto is no different, so I agree that I'll be exhausted by the time I leave Kyoto but I board a cruise ship in Yokohama so will be able to relax a bit. This may be a dumb question, but since you mentioned buses, is there a web site for bus lines? (with maps, etc.) I could ask the concierge but i like to have the info myself in case i change plans during the day.

Guenmai - those quilted, pre-owned jackets are what I'm looking for (and maybe a yakuta). Glad to hear you found a gem at Chicago....and good to know about a restaurant since I think I'll be ready for a sit-down after a full but satisfying 1st day in Kyoto.

And Nishiki is on my list now, along with Daimaru dept store.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 01:52 PM
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>>along with Daimaru dept store.<<

An anecdote meaning next to nothing in the overall scheme of things but buying a single mascara at Daimaru made me feel like a queen . . . two young ladies neither speaking English and me knowing about 3 words of Japanese. They pulled up a chair for me to sit at the counter and through their and my pantomimes we took about 10 minutes to sort though several brands and pick the the best one for my needs, wrapped it in a small packet and thanked me profusely - the whole transaction was so refined and elegant.

. . . and the food halls put Harrods to shame.

Not to imply this was the actual highlight of Kyoto for me -- the whole city/temples/gardens etc were wonderful. It was just such a pleasant interlude.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 02:08 PM
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Vickeybypass: Daimaru is one of my favorite department stores in Japan. I bought my yukata at the Daimaru in Kyoto on the summer 2017 trip. I had looked high and low to find the right one, but was looking for the perfect one to wear to a parent's 90th birthday celebration here in L.A. So, I wanted a dark-colored one and found a gorgeous, heavier, polyester-fabric one and in dark, navy blue with tiny, lavender-colored flowers. I selected all the accessories and then the two, salewomen wrapped me up in it as I hollered in pain a few time. They went into laughing hysteria along with shoppers who were passing by.

I travel with that yukata and wear it even to breakfast at some of my hotels in Japan. I take along my MacBook Air and prop it up, in my hotel room, and go to my Youtube links on how to put on a yukata. Now, it only takes me around 20 minutes to do it alone as I've done it so much.

I'm going to try to upload my photo of the kimono-style jacket that I bought at Chicago. It's not a padded one, just a light-weight, polyester one. But, for the equivalent of US$18.00 that's all I needed. Plus, I live in L.A. where it's hot and don't really need anything heavy.

Happy Travels!

Last edited by Guenmai; Apr 3rd, 2019 at 02:22 PM.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 02:19 PM
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Vickeybypass: Sorry, but my photo wouldn't upload as I received a Fodor's message that it's 2.38 MB and the limit is 1.91MB.

Happy Travels!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 04:49 PM
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Thanks for trying to upload the photo! Good tip about the yakuta - it would be fun to enjoy the peripherals of purchasing something at such a fine department store. I had thought of using the yakuta as a travel bathrobe so glad to hear I wasnít wrong!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
2. Daitokuji Temple & Garden Complex
Love it. You can never be sure which of the 20 or so Daitoku-ji temples/gardens will be open - some are always open, some never open, some open only for short periods at certain times of the year etc. so it's a bit of crap shoot but it's great to just wander around and go in whichever ones are open. Last visit we enjoyed Koto-in (love the bamboo-lined entrance path), Korin-in and Zuiho-in (where one of the monks took it upon himself to correct my bad posture...)

Take the subway from Shijo 5 stops north to Kita-oji Station. From the bus terminal there, take a bus (probably a 101, 102 or 204 but there should be some signs) about 3 stops west along Kitaoji-dori. Alternatively, just walk. It's probably about 15-20 minutes more or less due west of Kita-oji Station so just meander the backstreets and you'll get there. The entrance is on the east side, opposite Cafe Du Mon (which shows up on both Apple and Google maps).
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 05:19 PM
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One of the things I love about travel -- and I know it isn't something everyone treasures -- is the sense of mastery I gain from laying out my own plan and following it, or modifying it, as necessary. If that is something that you enjoy, I think that you will find Japan surprisingly easy to navigate and extremely rewarding.

Enjoy!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
.... since you mentioned buses, is there a web site for bus lines? (with maps, etc.)
Well, there's this and this. I've always found it pretty much incomprehensible .....

Using 'directions' in either Apple Maps or Google Maps may help. What I usually do is look on Apple Maps for bus stops close to where we want to go, so we can figure out likely bus numbers. The map will show you the bus route for each bus from that stop ... so does it go anywhere close to where we are? Figure out where on the bus route is the best place to get it from and then go from there.

One thing to note about Kyoto buses is you get on in the middle, get off at the front and pay when you get off. There's a fare box and an IC card reader next to the driver - just use your Suica card. It's usually flat fare, so you don't have to worry about figuring out how much it is.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2019, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by vickiebypass View Post
Thanks for trying to upload the photo! Good tip about the yakuta - it would be fun to enjoy the peripherals of purchasing something at such a fine department store. I had thought of using the yakuta as a travel bathrobe so glad to hear I wasnít wrong!
The kind of yukata that I bought is not the type that I would use as a bathrobe as it's quite elegant. Shop around as there are so many choices. It took some real looking around to find the right one for what I wanted and also for what and where I wanted to wear it in the future. I wish I could wear yukatas/kimonos every day while in Japan as they're so beautiful and easy to wear and also provide great support for my lower back.

Below are some of my favorite bookmarked Yukata videos and other links. Intersting that in one video it's said that yukatas are made of cotton and kimonos of silk and in the other video, it's said that yukatas are made of either cotton or linen and kimonos are made of either silk or polyester.

When I bought mine, I first thought casual kimono, but since it wasn't silk, I thought that maybe it fell into the yukata category although it's made of polyester that looks like silk.

As for the lengths in both arm-length and hem length, well...that's out of my control as I know that my yukata/kimono is too short in the sleeves and that the hem length could be longer. But, my height is my height and my arm length is what it is.





https://japanobjects.com/features/kyoto-kimono


https://nextshark.com/wafrica-africa...h-african-art/



Adorable

Incredibly beautiful kimonos. I went to the boutique in the Ginza 6 building (Tokyo) on the main street in Ginza across the street from the huge Uniqo store. https://ginza6.tokyo/welcome-to-gsix

https://furifu.com/kimono/ My absolute favorite kimonos. I forgot to look for them last summer while in Tokyo. I need to make a new shopping list fot this summer.

Speaking of shopping, if you want a really cool handbag, then it's Hanaa-fu . Although they're Japanese, I bought mine in Bangkok, three months ago, as they're popular there. It's the origami handbag that changes into different shapes. The one that I bought is white with black polka dots. Cool.

Hanaa-fu | waza shop


Have fun shopping in Japan.

Happy Travels!

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