Born in Tokyo, raised in New York, now residing in Southern California, designer Mizuki goes back to her native land each year to re-charge and find inspiration. Mizuki’s jewelry is the embodiment of her rich, cultural heritage, so we wanted a little inside look at some of her Eastern sources of inspiration. Join us as she takes us on a journey through her favorite places in the Land of the Rising Sun!
COUTURE: We understand you take a trip to Japan every year….can you give us some of your “insider” tips on where to go, what to see, and what to do?!
Mizuki: I’ve discovered some of my favorite and most memorable places on my trips back to Japan. When I visit, I mainly stay in Tokyo and plan weekend getaways in search of inspiration and an oasis. Here is a list of my favorite places in Japan. I hope you will enjoy visiting on your next cultural and spiritual journey!
One of my favorite Japanese restaurants in New York City was Honmura An. It was tucked away on a 2nd floor loft space on Mercer street. Their handmade soba, giant prawn tempura and seasonal menus were divine.
It closed its door in early 2000 and reopened back in Tokyo and now you can still experience the delicious handmade soba in Roppongi. This is not to be missed!
A few years ago I went to Naoshima, an art island in Seto Inland Sea. My favorite architect, Tadao Ando, designed the Benesse House Museum and Chichu Art Museum.
Benesse is a museum/ hotel on a hill overlooking the inland sea.
Can you imagine staying at the museum overnight and having 24 hour access to the museum? It was so serene to look at works from Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Kan Yasuda in the very early morning when the museum was dead silent.
It is a short monorail trip to the top of the museum where the very charming oval room and the bar are housed.
Claude Monet’s room at Chichu art museum is one of my favorite experiences. The room is dark and you have to take off your shoes before entering. It’s very intimate.
The Shinto shrine in Mie prefecture is dedicated to the sun goddess Amatesaru. The shrine is known as the “soul of Japan” and is rebuilt from scratch every 20 years to represent the renewal of nature and impermanence of all things. You can lay your hands on the tree and feel its life through your fingertips. It’s a very tranquil and spiritual experience.
Another fun getaway is a day or long weekend trip to Onsen. My favorite area is Atami or Hakone.
You can experience delicious food and sake, wonderful hospitality “omotenashi” and tranquility.
A room with a bath “rotenburo” is great because it’s outside of your room- you can take a dip anytime and it’s private.
If you have time to spend exploring Tokyo, the shopping experience is a must.
Walk down the tree lined street called Omotesando, it runs from Shibuya to Minato. From one end to the other, you will find everything from luxury brand flagships to street fashion stores to Kiddy Land. It is condensed and exciting.
Nezu museum is a great place to start the adventure or end your day. The exhibition and its café is a delight- it’s an urban oasis.