EAT | ONIGIRI (🍙) + PURPLE PEANUTS (Tokyo + Melbourne)

It wasn't until our Tokyo adventure that I understood the sheer importance of this emoticon: 🍙. Light bulb moment! So much happiness... so much packaging. 

Onigiri (🍙) are little parcels of rice, stuffed with salty or sour ingredients like umeboshi (plum), tuna, pickles or salmon, and wrapped in nori. 'Wait, so you mean like sushi right?' Oh heck no.. this little guy is a Japanese specialty in its own right. You will find the convenience store fridges heaving with these perfectly wrapped parcels all over Japan.

Each morning we would grab an onigiri or two (forever restrained from grabbing three) for the road. The ultimate snack to tide you over until breakfast. Onigiri fuelled many a hunt for a decent flat white or batch brew through the streets of Tokyo.  

I stumbled across Purple Peanuts on Collins Street during my last trip to Melbourne, conjuring memories of Tokyo. This little Japanese cafe has been going strong since 2011 and championed the brown rice sushi explosion. You'll find a range of traditional eats including Tsuke Don, salmon sashimi marinated in mirin, sake, sesame and soy, and perfectly wrapped 🍙🍙 on the counter.   

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Just a couple of stops away from the mayhem of Shinjuku is a little place where Tokyo's flickering tempo slows right down to an almost lazy pace. Here the bright lights fade into two storey pastel buildings dotted with vintage shops and record stores.  Its easy to lose yourself in the intricate labyrinth of tiny lanes beckoning you to explore.  The cafes are kitsch, hidden in basements or up an unassuming flight of winding stairs. 

'Shimokita' as it is affectionately known has a charming, untouched organic vibe, a haven for artists, musicians, Tokyo-ites and travellers wanting to tap into hipster Tokyo.  By day the streets are peaceful but as dusk settles, the laid-back alleyways come alive with Shimo's vibrant bar and rock n roll music scene. Do yourself a favour on your next trip to Japan, book a homely airbnb and spend a few days uncovering the gritty magic of Shimokitazawa.


Asakusa (浅草) is located in the heart of Tokyo's shitamachi (literally 'low city'), one of the  districts where past decades still echo in the atmosphere and landscape.

The main attraction is Sensoji , a popular Buddhist temple built in the 7th century. Enter the temply by Nakamise, a shopping street that has been providing temple visitors with delicious local snacks, souvenirs and tradition for centuries. Try the seasonal mochi and dorayaki. 


Searching for things to do in Japan that are a little off the beaten track is near impossible.  We stumbled across this cool site called Voyagin where you can attend workshops or tours with English speaking hosts.  From doing your makeup like a Harajuku girl, taking a traditional cooking class and tuning up your ninja skills.      

Whilst you can purchase tickets to the Studio Ghibli Museum from its official website you may find buying from Voyagin just a little easier. 

I am so excited for our little adventure to Mitaki for a dose of Ghibli wonderment, I am jumping up and down like Totoro!