Category Archive for Tokyo Gothic Lolita

Visiting teamLab Borderless Digital Mori Museum & Planets Tokyo! For Love & Lemons dress, Hermès Collier de Chien.

For Love and Lemons Cherry Cutout Tie Front Dress, mini black cutaway dress

Before I take you inside the Tokyo teamLab museum — I wanted to thank you for the birthday wishes on my Facebook and Instagram! I took these quick outfit photos on August 17, before celebrating with friends. 

OOTD: I’m wearing a cherry print mini dress with a cut-out waist by For Love & Lemons, and black platform sandals from Le Babe by Ferca Italy.

If you haven’t heard of For Love and Lemons, I think you’d love the dresses below (click the images to see):


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I accessorized with a short pearl necklace from Japan, and here’s the current hair situation. 

hermes sterling silver collier de chien bracelet, small model cuff bangle jewellery

I had a lovely birthday, with plenty of surprises. Still can’t believe I received this fantasy bracelet… a Hermès Collier de Chien. 

This is the silver CDC small model hinged cuff (Hermes has various versions with different hardware, leathers, and sizes). The studs and dog collar O-ring give it Gothic BDSM vibes — a perfect fit.

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What I wore on my birthday, for a party. This short sleeved For Love & Lemons dress is as summery as I’ll get. The cherry print sundress has a 1990s feel, with revealing cutaway sides and a tie front. 

hermes collier de chien silver bracelet, goth fine designer jewelry cdc hinge

Couldn’t resist taking some closeups of my first Hermès Paris jewelry and the iconic orange gift box. Love the minimalism of this silver collier de chien design (it’ll go with all types of outfits). The Medor pyramid studs and circular ring give the CDC bracelet a Goth punk S&M edginess. 

asian fashion blogger, revolve influencers, for love & lemons

I matched my For Love and Lemons cherries dress with Le Babe peep-toe sandals. See more of my favorite black platform shoes below: 


For Love Lemons Cherry print Cut Out sides waist short Dress

Thank you again for the well-wishes, as another year goes by. Now, let’s segue into my guide to visiting Teamlab, the hottest new museum in Japan. 

Every time I visit Tokyo, there’s always something new and wild to discover. On my last visit, my friends and I received a private guided tour of the Digital Mori Museum, by one of its creators! 

japanese girl digital mori museum

I’m sure you have heard of (or seen scintillating photos) of Tokyo’s recently-opened teamLab Borderless and Planets. These museums push the boundaries of futuristic technologies, and encourage you to interact with art in unexpected ways. 

Read on for a full guide to visiting teamLabs Planets and Borderless in Tokyo — including the difference between the two museums, how to get tickets, and more.

teamlab borderless odaiba digital art exhibits

Japan’s teamLab collective dreams up contemporary art exhibitions, with a focus on interactive media. In June 2018, they established a permanent location in Tokyo’s Odaiba.

As you might guess, the Mori Building Digital Art Museum is extremely popular with both locals and travelers. Tickets sell out quickly, so be sure to book passes well in advance from their website.

tour guide, tours digital mori museum

I visited teamLab Borderless with Portland-based artists Becky Hawkins and Naomi Rubin. We were fortunate to have a personal tour with Takashi Kudo, a member of the Digital Arts Collective that created this exhibition.

Becky made this watercolor postcard that perfectly illustrates how mesmerized we were by this digital wonderland.

tokyo instagram museum, japanese immersive digital art

We walked into a series of rooms with no boundaries, spanning 10,000 square meters. The digital artwork is generally divided into five zones, each transitioning seamlessly into fantastical new worlds.

mori building digital art museum tickets

The digital works are in constant motion, and flow over the walls, floors, and ceilings. We were awed by how the art responds to your presence: for instance, the flowers changed pattern and color at my touch.

At traditional museums, the staff puts up barriers and yells “dah-meeee” if you get too close to the art. In contrast, teamLab Borderless invites you to experiment, touch, and play with everything you encounter. Naomi illustrates this by bounding through the balloons (which change color) in the “Weightless Forest of Resonating Life.”

teamlab borderless exhibitions

Photos and video don’t do justice to teamLab Borderless. You’ll have to come here yourself, to see how it feels to wander through the ever-morphing exhibits.

This room had rows of glass panels, each with a translucent human or animal figure wearing a Japanese festival outfit. When you stop in front of them, they’ll perform different enka dance moves, and emit various sounds. The music and visuals are therefore constantly changing, depending on the number of people interacting with them. 

inside digital mori museum tokyo japan

This lion covered in flowers strolled through Borderless World, a zone inspired by nature. Likewise, your presence and actions will affect the way the creatures emote.

interactive 3d digital art museum japan

One of the most Instagram-ed areas is the Athletics Forest. It’s as mix of art and PE — you can’t help but run around and explore the physical space. 

For more active types, there are even stations for bounding on a trampoline, and climbing through a maze of swings. 

digital art museum tokyo tickets

Takashi Kudo, our teamLab guide, spoke about how Borderless explores new dimensions of learning. Today, children engage with computers and apps. In the future, how can we keep using technology to learn in new ways? 

strings of lights digital mori museum

In the “Crystal World,” friends gather to take dynamic silhouettes poses in front of the curtains of sparkling lights.

strobe light show teamlab borderless

Another room featured dancing strobes of light set to sound, much like a sci-fi movie or EDM party. 

tokyo World's First Digital Art Museum

It’s remarkable that these enormous, evocative displays — like this “waterfall” — are made with digital art and sound effects. 

drawing sketch art teamlab digital museum

Artist Becky Hawkins created a watercolor travel postcard that shows a scene from our tour. “Every few centuries, there’s a revolution that brings about a new way of seeing. The internet is the latest such revolution.

How does our relationship to images change when they can be shared instantly, across the world? We don’t know yet!”

travel blogger blog teamlab digital

“This room was inspired by Hokusai’s “Great Wave,” We celebrate Japan’s past while we look to the future.”

Takashi told us about Japanese monks who sat by the ocean for decades, meditating. This space encourages you to do the same, in front of the shifting digital waves. 

japanese schoolgirls tokyo digital museum lanterns

The Forest of Lamps allows only a limited number of people inside at one time, so there may be a line up for this popular exhibit. When you approach a lantern, it responds by emitting light that spreads to nearby lamps.  

lantern lights room teamlab borderless

Becky Hawkins bugs out at Naomi’s insightful connection between the forest and ocean zones. 

“‘The Wave’ is a really good parallel, actually, because woodblock printing was another technology that enabled an image to be reproduced and shared on a previously unimaginable scale…”

kid's playground mori museum

We peeked into this room designed for children. The screen shows a bird’s eye view of a city, which mirrors the layout of the room.

Anyone can add bridges, homes, and other movable objects to the urban design — which immediately changes what you see on the screen! 

artists immersive digital art japan

“Future Park” is another educational experience that merges art and technology.  The “Sketch Aquarium” lets you add color to outlines of ocean creatures. 

チームラボ digital art review

Then, you pass the page through a digital scanner. The creature comes to life as an animated digital image that moves through the exhibit.

Naomi colored in this phoenix, and once she scanned it, the bird flew over the mountains and valleys of the park. 

en tea house team lab museum

Don’t leave before a cup of matcha (powdered green tea) at the museum’s EN Tea House. In this unusual cafe, you sit on long benches in a dark tearoom.

When the server pours tea into your glass bowl, it lights up with floral patterns. When you sip the tea, neon flowers bloom and petals float out to the table and walls! 

teamlab planets stand in water

Takashi Kudo then took us to visit teamLab Planets Tokyo a temporary museum by the same collective, located next to Shin-Toyosu Station. (It requires a separate ticket, which you should also book well ahead of time.) These virtual installations are more intimate, and play with themes of new worlds.

When you enter, you must take off your shoes and walk up a ramp streaming with water! You’ll explore the entire museum barefoot, including parts where you wade through a glowing pond of water. 

tokyo crazy art museum selfies instagrammers

One of the “dimensions,” called the Infinite Crystal Universe, was surrounded by mirrors on all floors and ceilings. Here, Takashi is showing how anyone can use a special app to change the light and sound patterns in this room.

teamlab planets tickets tokyo japan

When you look around, you see yourself mirrored to infinity — a trippy feeling, especially amidst these glistening strands of lights. 

swimming pool pond water teamlab planets

I’ve never visited any art installation like this one, called “Drawing on the water surface created by the dance of koi and people – Infinity.” You wander through a calf-high ocean that is filled with virtual fish and lights.

When you touch one of the goldfish, it bursts into flowers and floats through the water. The visuals are constantly in flux, as each interaction changes how the space looks. 

tokyo light installations teamlab planet

teamLab Planets ends on a beautiful note, with the “Falling universe of flowers.” Lie down, and watch flowers drift throughout the room — blossoming, changing, and dying with the seasons. The floral free-fall evolves in real-time, depending on how you respond to the installation. 

teamlab planets tokyo vs borderless

teamLab Planets and Borderless (Mori Digitual Art Museum) are powerful, immersive spaces that merge the boundaries between the viewer and works. Above all — they encourage you to activate your imagination, and have fun with friends! If you are heading to Tokyo, book teamLab tickets as soon as you can, as you don’t want to miss out.

kagaya izakaya tokyo crazy restaurant

We ended our Tokyo trip with another type of interactive art… Kagaya, our favorite izakaya restaurant! Long-time readers of this blog will know that we always come back to see Mark and his zany performances. 

weirdest themed restaurant tokyo kagaya

I’ve been to Kagaya at least 6 times now, and his surreal, head-scratching, hilarious antics never get old. Will the teddy bear manage to carry the heavy tray to Trevor, or will he buckle under the weight? We cheered, “You can do it, bear!”

friends at restaurant sketch

Becky Hawkins made this illustration of our joyful group dinner. Kagaya serves wonderful traditional Japanese food, including mackerel, all types of tofu, kabocha (pumpkin), and sake. 

kagaya bizarre bar restaurant tokyo mark

Whenever you order a drink, you get to choose the name of a country from a list on the menu. “Normal Mark” ducks into the closet …. and comes out as a wild character!

I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but you have to trust us: Kagaya is a true gem, and the site of some of my fondest memories in Tokyo. You can reserve at table and find the map to Kagaya here.

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There’s no doubt I will be back in Asia soon, to bring more crazy tales to you! I want to visit the new permanent Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo when it opens… I also have some comprehensive Japanese travel guides coming out on another website, so keep your eyes peeled.

PS – if you’re hungry for more Tokyo tips, I have over 10 years (!!) of subculture coverage on La Carmina blog. You can find everything in my Japan travel section.


Naoshima Art Island travel guide! Yayoi Kusama pumpkins, tickets to Chichu museum, Hiroshima Goth shops.

realisation par model, dresses, shanghai emilie mini dress

Did you know… Japan has an island populated by giant polka-dot pumpkins? 

If you’re a contemporary art-lover, then you might have guessed that I’m hinting at the magical isle of Naoshima.

(Wearing an Emilie Shanghai Nights dress by Realisation Par. Full grain leather dark blue backpack by Leo et Violette.)

big yayoi kusama pumpkin naoshima

Read on for my guide to visiting Naoshima, Japan — including how to get tickets to the Chichu Museum, and find limited-edition Yayoi Kusama merch.

You’ll also see illustrations from our trip, by artists Naomi Rubin and Becky Hawkins… who made a new home inside this dotty pumpkin!

realisation par emilie dress, shanghai nights asian print dresses

To get in the mood, I’m wearing a dress with a traditional Asian print. This is the Emilie Shanghai Nights mini dress by Realisation Par — love the pink floral pattern on dark blue silk.

pentagram earrings, alex streeter gold star studs earring

Details of my 18 karat gold star stud earring, by Alex Streeter. I wear it with the point down, making it a lucky pentagram! The Gothfather of occult jewelry also sent me the silver Marquise ring, carved with two scorpions holding a black stone.

The pink sparkle Sailor Moon ring is by Sapphire Studios. (Always combine Satan with kawaii, right?)

revolve fashion blogger realisation par clothing

I was drawn to the sakura blossom design of this Realisation Par Emilie Shanghai dress. It’s an A-line fitted mini dress with adjustable straps, and looks great under a leather jacket.

layering gold necklaces fashion  blogger stacking chains coin pendants

On my other ear, I hung a thread-thorough earring with a gold ankh by Wendy Nichol.

I also layered gold pendant necklaces on chains of different lengths. The bumble bee is Stephen Einhorn, and the Queen Nefertiti bust is from Luxor’s gold shop in Vegas.

(Click the thumbnails to see similar Egyptian queen pendants below…)

fashion blogger realisation par emilie chinese silk dress

And now, the story of how we visited Naoshima, Japan! For a long time, I’ve been eager to travel to this “art island,” which sits in the Seto Inland Sea.

yayoi kusama gift store shop

Naoshima has become a hub for avantgarde museums and creative exhibits, shrouded in architecture that reflects the beauty of the isle. The famed Yayoi Kusama (painter of dots and pumpkins) has several permanent works here.

(If you’re unfamiliar with this madcap artist, check out my report on Yayoi’s exhibit in Sweden.)

kusama pumpkins naoshima island japan chichu

It’s important to plan ahead, if you want to make the most of your visit. You can’t simply arrive on Naoshima Island and waltz into the main sights.

Tickets to the main Chichu art museum sell out weeks to months in advance, so be sure to book your exact date and time slot well before you come. Check the Benesse website for closure dates, and for info on how to get passes to the numerous other art sites on the island.

tickets book ferry to naoshima island japan

Then, there’s the matter of getting here. Most people begin by taking the train to Okayama, which you should reserve in advance. Next, transfer to the local train and ride to Uno Station. Cross the street to the boat terminal, and buy a ticket for the ferry to Naoshima, which leaves frequently.

Since we were coming from Hiroshima, we managed to book the Hello Kitty bullet train to Okayama!

red pumpkin yayoi kusama naoshima isle

Since we had limited time, we only did a day trip to Naoshima (arriving in the morning, and leaving in the late afternoon when the museums closed).

If you’re keen to see more of the artistic attractions, I recommend staying for at least one night. Be sure to book a hotel room in advance, or you might have to camp out in Yayoi’s giant red pumpkin near the port!

shuttle bus to Benesse Art Site Naoshima chichu museum

After the ferry docks, you can board a free shuttle bus that takes you to all the major art sites. As you can gleam, it’s a bit of a trek to get to Naoshima — but worth it to see the quirky pumpkins and art.

Naoshima Tourist Cente visitor

We first stopped at the Naoshima Visitor’s Center, as our Chichu museum tickets were for later in the day.

Here, we bought tickets for the Honmura Art House Projects (you can’t get these in advance online). The Art Houses are abandoned village homes that were transformed into thought-provoking works. There are six in total; you can purchase passes to see as many as you’d like.

art house project ticket office naoshima

The Naoshima tourist center also has an enticing gift shop, featuring limited edition items with Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkins.

 yayoi kusama pumpkin print scarf cloth fabric

I couldn’t resist picking up a red and white Yayoi pumpkin scarf. Later, I got a paper hand fan from the Chichu Museum gift store. (It took a lot of effort to get to Naoshima, and these designs are only available here, so I was keen to pick up some mementos.)

naoshima buildings houses

We decided to see three art houses that were within walking distance from the visitor center. On the way, we encountered adorable village houses with peaked roofs.

details street art naoshima japan

Naoshima grew from a tiny fishing village into a one-of-a-kind island that celebrates contemporary art. The works are constantly changing, and you’ll find little expressions everywhere.

art house project houses naoshima

A docent welcomed us into this Art House Project. Photos aren’t allowed inside, so you’ll have to imagine a dark pool filled with LED lights, with glowing numbers counting up and down.

Chichu Art Museum, visit tourists travel guide

Allow plenty of time to get around to each place. You can check the bus schedules to see when the next one departs.

tadao ando chi chu museum architecture

We arrived at Chichu Museum in time for our slot. There was yet another trek up the path to the museum, which passed by lily-topped ponds inspired by Monet’s paintings.

Finally, we arrived at the stark, geometric museum designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The galleries are entirely underground, and photos aren’t permitted, so this is just a glimpse at the Chichu entrance.

chichu naoshima cafe interior

We were allowed to take photos in and outside the Chichu Museum Cafe, however. After the long journey, it was lovely to sip on cold coffees and munch on salmon sandwiches, while looking out at the sea and mountains.

chichu museum guide program booklet

Benesse’s Chichu isn’t like most museums. There’s only a handful of permanent exhibits, which blend harmoniously with Tadao Ando’s modern architecture.

These include five waterlily paintings by Claude Monet, an alien-like room with a giant sphere by Walter de Maria, and James Turrell works including an interactive one that alters your perceptions through light.

sketches art exhibits naoshima

While photography isn’t allowed inside, artists are at leisure to capture the experience through sketches! Naomi Rubin shows the room with the big metal ball (it feels as if you’ve been abducted into a spaceship, and approaching an alien overlord). She also has a behind-the-scenes of me napping as we waited for the ride back!

naoshima cafe benesse chichu art gallery

The concrete, minimalist architecture creates lights and shadows that change throughout the day. Chichu Museum is one of those places that you wouldn’t really “get” unless you see it with your own eyes — so if this story intrigues you, I hope you’ll make an effort to visit.

naoshima ferry boat pumpkin port

I was tempted to spend more time here, and see the Lee Ufan Museum, Ando museum, and other exhibits.

Alas, we have to say sayonara, Naoshima… Here’s a last look at the Yayoi Kusama Red Pumpkin, a cabin-sized gourd that anyone can enter.

shinkansen window bullet train view

We caught the train back to Hiroshima, where we spent another day exploring. In my first dispatch from Hiroshima, you’ll recall we went to the Peace Memorial Museum and castle.

becky hawkins travel sketchbecky hawkins comic artist postcard

There’s just too much to see in this city of culture… Becky Hawkins made this funny travel postcard about how we hustled to see the exhibits and get to the top of Hiroshima castle, before it closed!

bomu koba rock bar hiroshima

Fortunately, there are many nightlife spots in Hiroshima that stay open late. We loved hanging out at Koba, a rock music bar run by the personable Bomu! (Koba bar address: 1-4 Nakamachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, 730-0037, Japan)

heavy metal rock bar goth hiroshima

Bomu is a die-hard fan of hard rock and heavy metal, especially from the 1970s and 80s. We headbanged along to hair metal music videos broadcast on the big screen, and admired his collection of KISS memorabilia.

bumu bar owner hiroshima rock music bars

Koba is a fab place to hang out with friends, listen to rock n roll, and share bottles of hot sake. Many people leave notes and drawings for Bomu, which he hangs above the bar. You can also order terrific izakaya food here (small, homey Japanese plates) — including Wagyu steak.

hiroshima sun mall goth fashion

While in Hiroshima, we also stumbled upon an old school Goth mall! Located in Hondori, the ironically named “Sunmall” has an entire floor dedicated to dark and alternative Japanese fashion.

japanese goth grunge fashion

As you know from my Tokyo posts, these types of shopping centers have become increasingly rare. Marui and Laforet have very little Gothic Lolita Punk fashion these days, and many of the alt brands have closed down.

hiroshima moi meme moitie mana clothing

However, Hiroshima Sunmall still has an impressive selection of Gothic and Lolita styles, including Moi-meme-Moitie. We wondered if this was because Hiroshima is the hometown of Mana-sama…

emily temple cute chouchou ange

Hiroshima Sun Mall has lots of boutiques on a single floor, including Chouchou Ange, Metamorphose, and Emily Temple Cute.

lolita cat print dress

Cat print Lolita dresses and white feather hats… this reminds me of the “old days” in Tokyo.

clothing pentacle pentagram japan

If the frilled Lolita dresses are too girly for you, you can find pierced berets and pentagrams in the punk area.

goth punk street style hiroshima

Hiroshima Sunmall gave us major throwbacks, as this type of Harajuku fashion is no longer prominent in Tokyo.

gothic sweet lolita shopping sunmall

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright lives on here.

cutie frash cyber gothic hiroshima

Qutie Frash, with their cyber / Japan / Wa inspired clothing, sits next to the Tyche Maria shop.

kawaii alternative goth boutique hiroshima

Pastel Gothic bomber jackets and spooky bear print shirts caught my attention.

gothic lolita dresses sale hiroshima

There hasn’t been much change in these Goth and Lolita styles over the years.

baby stars shine bright hiroshima shop

Pink dolly shoes and red-eyed bunnies sit in birdcage displays.

sweet lolita bonnets headdresses

Would you wear a lace bonnet like this?

angelic pretty hiroshima sun mall

As you know, I’ve sold most of my Lolita dresses (you can still find my clothes for sale here). However, it’s still fun to see browse these designs and reminisce about the old days.

sweet lolita pastel dresses rack

Shine on, Sunmall. (This is the place to go in Hiroshima, if you’re looking for Lolita, Goth, Punk and street style.)

big eyes purikura japan

My friends and I also ducked into a Hondori game center, which had floors of video games and purikura machines.

hello kitty ufo catcher machine sanrio

The UFO catcher machines were filled with giant stuffies, including Hello Kitty, Winnie the Pooh, and Sanrio’s Pompompurin.

kirby video game center japan

Look, it’s Kirby… next to Gackt! (So many questions, and no answers as to why Gackt is inside a UFO catcher game.)

pokemon center hiroshima japan store

The Hiroshima Pokemon Center also had an impressive selection of stuffed toys. Which pocket monster is your favorite?

witch halloween pikachu toys plush

Since it was around Halloween in Hiroshima, we were pleased to see Pikachu in a purple witch’s hat.

snorlax pokemon pillow toy

This yawning Snorlax pillow made us chuckle.

ghost pikachu mimikyu stuffed toys

Mimiyku, is that you? The ghost Pikachu character is a Gothic favorite.

visual kei jrock hiroshima concerts bands

As you can see, Hiroshima is one fun city with rock bars, old-school Goth and Lolita shopping, and kawaii pop culture. And Naoshima was an inspirational island of art.

Have you been to these Japanese destinations? For more travel tips, check out my previous Hiroshima article.