Home / Lifestyle / Sakura and Soul Food

Sakura and Soul Food

Facebook Linkedin twitter Pinterest Google Plus E-mail this link to a friend.


We had been planning to celebrate our Father’s 60th birthday with a nice holiday together for the 9 of us. So the work started on finding a place which would be enjoyable for a 60 year old as well as a 9 year old and all the ages that fall in between. There was so much being said about the cherry blossoms in Japan; people were raving about how beautiful it was and how essential it is to time it right. We didn’t know what the hype was about… but since the holidays for the kids fell at the ‘right’ time, we decided to go for Japan. The theme was going to be Sakura, and while it gave a lot for nature lovers like my parents, it also gave something for the foodies amongst us and for the kids as well. 

We started our trip in Tokyo. We took the airport limousine bus form the airport that dropped us straight at out hotel, The New Otani. We started our tour of the city with our private guide, Kahoko-san, booked through www.triplelights.com. Kahoko-san is a former air stewardess, and is fluent in English. She understood our vegetarian needs, and explained the Japanese culture and traditions to us very well through our one and a half days together. She made ‘Suica’ passes for us, which were extremely useful for using all the underground and other railways during our guided tour with her. We went straight to Harajuku to visit the Meiji-jingu shrine. The shrine is in the midst of a beautiful forest, walking through calms one down before reaching to offer ones prayers. On the way is a huge wall of drums full of sake. All the sake manufacturers of Japan offer their produce to the Gods before selling in the market. Some of the international wineries have also followed this tradition and made a wall of their wine offerings. At the entrance of the shrine gates is a water feature like a big tub filled with water, with bamboo cups, tradition is to wash your hands, gently touch your mouth with the water, and then tilt the cup to wash the long handles of the cup before entering the shrine. There are no idols inside the temple, you pray to the spirits of your ancestors. The drill is to fold your hands and bow twice, then clap twice, then close your eyes and pray, then bow once more and make your small offering in the offering box. 

On the way back, there are small shops that sell souvenirs like good luck charms for specific purposes, for business, education, success, happiness, etc. My nieces picked up charms for education. We later found out that these are very popular amongst the local people. We also saw three weddings take place one after the other, while at this shrine, a popular wedding venue for Tokyo residents. They have a very calm procession where the bride and the groom follow the priests, behind them walk their family and close friends. 

MORE IN Lifestyle

Interview of the Week: Jesse Veverka

Jesse Veverka

Passfire All around the world, fireworks are synonymous with celebration. People from different parts of the world may speak different languages

Vir Das

3 Mins with Vir Das

As his first world tour kicks off this Thursday in San Francisco, we connect with Vir Das and discover what makes him

Fashion Issue 2017

Inside our Fashion Issue 2017

Our Fashion issue is not about what's 'trending'. It's not about the hottest looks or the must haves of the

W, Goa

High on Design

As February takes off, we bring you three hotels with a sharp design edge to their story. W, Goa Dappled in sunlight and


Base Instinct

It’s normal for there to be a sense of apprehension when venturing to a new place. That fear is multiplied


One Thing at a Time

Variety gets a whole new twist as restaurants whip up a world around a single item. As the year draws

In God We Trust


Munem Wasif

The Artist  I was born in Bangladesh in 1983 and I studied at the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka,

Profile of the Week: Ishrat Sahgal


Ishrat Sahgal

Mishcat Co, Design House Following a degree in interior architecture, when Ishrat Sahgal returned to Indian shores from The States, it




A white oxford shirt reinterpreted with a diaphanous accordion detail; a monochrome jumpsuit with a cape for an accent; an

A still from Kaash



Ishaan Nair, Director The Filmmaker The new director in Mira Nair’s family, Ishaan has been working after his degree in direction and

A graphic story written and illustrated by Aindri Chakraborty


All That We Want - The Gaysi Zine

The fifth edition of The Gaysi Zine embarks on a journey to explore the unchartered realm of queer desires, and

Rush by Mali


Rush by Mali

When Maalavika Manoj aka Mali started strumming her own tunes she found inspiration in long-lost friendships, memories of home and