Barcelona’s most inspiring couple Nuria Val and Coke Bartrina are restless globetrotters, but there’s one place they’d never visited before even though they had been talking about it for years: Japan. To launch our fw '18 collection, we decided to give them carte blanche to go on a road trip around the land of the rising sun. Now they’re telling us all about their 14 days journey starting from Tokyo.
“ Japan is a country with a completely different culture and super inspiring. Everybody who went there told us it was a whole different world and it made us very curious. We wanted to visit their museums, eat their food, visit their cities, meet Japanese people and so much more”
TOKYO - KANAZAWA - KYOTO - NARA - KINOSAKI - TESHIMA - NAOSHIMA - TOKYO
DAY 1 : Tokyo
The first thing we did was visiting (very jet lagged) Yoyogui Park and Shibuya where we had lunch at Uobei Shibuya Dogenzaka, a sushi place where you order sushi and it comes to you rolling on a conveyor belt. After that, we crossed the famous Shibuya crossing, where hundreds of people cross the street at the same time in all directions.
On our first day, it felt very unreal—everything was shocking. For diner we went to a local place where the owners couldn't speak any english at all. Nuria ended up eating raw calamari without knowing it and had to pretend everything was fine as everyone in the small restaurant was looking for a reaction.
DAY 2 : Tokyo
We walked around Ginza and its shops. The design and clothes we found really amazed us. In one of the most well-known shop called H Beauty and Youth, there’s a pizza place called Slice where you can grab a pizza surrounded by trendy Japanese people. In the afternoon, we had a walk around Akihabara which is well known for its arcade center and crazy Japanese video games.
DAY 3 : Tokyo
On the following day we visited Shinjuku because we wanted to buy new lenses for our cameras. Nuria got a crazy looking analog camera in a very small shop run by an old man who didn’t speak any English. We also climbed up the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building where we got amazed by how huge the city is.
What to wear to eat a pizza slice in Tokyo
Day 5 : Kanazawa
We picked up the Japan Rail Pass first thing in the morning and left Tokyo to start our trip around the country. Our first destination was Kanazawa, so we jumped in the Shinkansen (high speed train).
Kanazawa is a beautiful small city— very traditional and old fashioned. We went to the Omicho market and had a traditional Kanazawa dish called Oden. We then rented bikes and rode to the 21st Century Museum where we spent a lot of time taking pictures in the swimming pool installation from Leandro Erlich.
DAY 6 : KANAZAWA
We woke up early, rented bikes again and headed to the D.T. Suzuki museum. Its zen art and architecture was probably one of our favorite of the whole trip. For lunch we ended up going to an Izakaya restaurant and had one of our best meals in Japan: a traditional sea bass dish with rice served with miso soup called Nodoguro Meshi. We also visited the Kanazawa castle and walked around the old Geisha neighborhood. After a green tea matcha ice cream we went for dinner to a Japanese barbecue place called Chikichi where we met an employee and his boss who were having dinner together. They made us laugh so much even though we weren’t able to fully communicate because of the language barriers.
What to wear to stand in a swimming pool
Day 7 : Kyoto
After around 4-5 hours train we arrived to Kyoto. Our neighborhood was very cool and we had breakfast every morning at Efish café by the river where we also bought some souvenirs. That day we took the metro—which was way less crowded than the one in Tokyo— and arrived at the Fushimi- Inari temple. We climbed all the way to the top. At first we thought it was too crowded but once you start walking to the top you don’t feel like there’s so many people. In the evening we walked by the river and had dinner at an Italian restaurant since we needed a small break from Japanese food.
Day 8 : Kyoto
The following day we went to the Golden Temple, it’s beautiful but it was really crowed so we decided to go for plan B : the botanical garden in Kyoto. As you can imagine, the botanical garden was wonderful. We took pictures around until they closed.
We went to see the Face House building, which is really fun and curious designed by architect Kazumasa Yamashita. After a long walk, we met a friend who was around Kyoto at that moment, he’s from Canada and we knew him from Instagram. We met up and we had dinner at some restaurant where everything was cook with leek, very curious!
What to wear in Kyoto
Day 9 : Nara
On our way to Kinosaki we made a quick stop at Nara. We wanted to visit its temples and the Park which is full of deer! We had a nice walk and fed the deer with some special rice cookies that you can buy to local people. The deer sometimes get very excited and they even look in your pockets for more!
Day 10 : Kinosaki
We took a very long trip to Kinosaki because some friends recommended this small town where Japanese people go to spend some relaxing time at the onsen. Onsen are the traditional hotsprings baths in Japan. Men and women can’t bath together so we got separated at the entrance. There are many rules you have to follow to enjoy the baths, it’s very curious. One tradition is to wear the Yukata, a kind of robe that everyone wears all the time around town while going from one onsen to the next.
We stayed at the most beautiful places in town : Nishimuraya Kinosaki hotel.
We spent our time going to baths and walking around town, it's perfect to relax and get strength for the final stretch of our trip. We had lunch at Masuya restaurant, a traditional noodles bar, highly recommended!
What to wear to feed the deer
Day 11 : Teshima
The following day we left to the UNO port where we stayed for the following days because it's where the ferrys leave to Naoshima and Teshima.
As soon as we arrived we jumped on the boat to Teshima and we were really happy and excited! When we arrived we realized we had no bike reservation so it was really hard to convince the woman from the rental place to get one, but we finally got the last two!
We went straight to Teshima art Museum, there's no words to describe how beautiful the building is, we spent like an hour just looking and hearing the sounds from Rei Naito’s exhibition. After that we got some beers and laid in the port until the next ferry departed.
Day 12 : Naoshima
We woke up early and went to catch the ferry to Naoshima. It was Nuria’s birthday so we tried to make it as special as we could since we were away from Barcelona and our families and friends. We felt very lucky to be in Japan working on this project for Bellerose on Nuria’s bday, it made it super special and we will always remember it. This time we couldn’t rent bikes no matter how much we insisted so we decided to visit the island walking. We spent the day surrounded by amazing museums and artworks. We laughed a lot while queuing to take a picture together at Kusama’s pumpkin and after a long day we watched the sunset and I (Coke) gave Nuria her bday’s present which I carried in my luggage during all this days. Jumped into the ferry and went back to Uno.
What to wear on an island of museums and artworks
Day 13 : Tokyo
We spent the day travelling back to Tokyo in the Shinkasen. At this point we had been in Japan for almost two weeks so our first impression once we arrived back to Tokyo had changed and we realized that after the first layer there are many hidden characteristics of Japanese people and its culture that one can’t see in the first approach.
Day 14 : Tokyo
We wanted to experience sleeping in a sky scraper in Tokyo and this is why we booked our last two nights in Park Hotel Tokyo. The views were outstanding and the sunset was out of this world. It was probably the best gift before going back home. We went for some shopping before going back to Barcelona.
On japanese style
During the trip, we've only been wearing the Bellerose fw '18 collection and we felt like the style of the clothes matched perfectly with our trip. The patterns and colors made us feel a little bit on the Japanese side. Nuria remembers specifically wearing the Amigo dress in Kyoto and feeling that it was the perfect dress to visit and walk around the city. For me (Coke), the best was wearing the green corduroy Pixer blazer. I wore it in multiple occasions and it always combined perfectly with different trousers.
a new vision of japan
We feel like we just began scratching the surface and there is so much more to discover. We will go back for sure and visit other different cities and areas.
At first we were very shocked with the education, discipline and the quietness of the people. We’ve heard about it before going from people who had visited Japan but it was still very surprising. After spending two weeks there we realized it’s a very complex society and we feel like there were many things we didn’t fully understand. Their culture is so different to ours that it takes a lot digging to have a better idea, this is one of the reasons why we want to return.
Text and pictures by Nuria Val and Coke Bartrina