If you're a flower lover in Tokyo, head to Hanegi Koen mid-late February to view the more than 650 'Ume' trees in bloom. The scent is incredible and if you're lucky, you'll be able to catch the bustling Plum Festival with food, drinks and plants for sale. Unfortunately, this has been cancelled in recent years due to Covid-19, but hopefully it will return soon.
The plum grove is located on a small hillside on the Umegaoka side of the park. To be honest, we only go to that side of the park in Spring to see the blossoms, the rest of the year the kids are playing in the mud park and maze on the opposite side. This park is a firm family favourite with lots to do for the kids, food trucks at the weekend and a small shop selling icecreams, sweets, park equipment and coffee.
If you're into walking, walk from Shimokitazawa central to Shin Daita station via the new developments Tefu and Bonus Track, then along to Umegaoka Station. The walk takes around 30 minutes. On the way back, why not pop into Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory and munch on a Tottoro cream puff?
Umegaoka Station, Odakyu Line: 13 mins from Shinjuku
Higashi Matsubara Station, Inokashira Line: 8 mins from Shibuya
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Living and travelling widely in Australia and Asia over the past 18 years I noticed our beloved beaches and oceans becoming polluted with plastic and harming sea life. As a family we watched a disturbing documentary called 'A Plastic Ocean’. My then 10 year old asked me if people knew much about this plastic problem, I didn’t have an answer for him. The movie had such an impact on us that we took on the challenge of eliminating as much single use plastic from our lives as possible.
Using beeswax wraps is one way we can reduce our impact on the environment and embrace sustainable living. Beeswax wraps are the perfect alternative to plastic wrap for keeping food fresh. They are natural, reusable and versatile. Beeswax food wraps are perfect for storing cheese and prolonging the life of vegetables and fruit (avocados and apples do especially well). They are also good for covering any leftover food in bowls or for carrying sandwiches/onigiri and snacks on the go.
I absolutely love sharing my story with others and listening to other people’s stories. I am consistently inspired to continue what I am doing. Working together, we can reduce our plastic waste and care for our world for future generations.
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Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C
Large bowl for dry ingredients
Small bowl for wet ingredients
Butter knife or other non-sharp knife
200g graham flour
300g whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp honey
1. Mix the two kinds of flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda in the large bowl.
Add your extra ingredients and flavours at this point. You could add dried herbs, spices, raisins, dried figs, nuts, seeds...ANYTHING you like!
2. Juice one lemon and add to 400ml of milk to make butter milk. Mix until the mil thickens.
Add the honey and mix.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients bit by bit, mixing with a knife.
The consistency of the dough will be surprisingly wet and sticky! If it's runny, add some more flour until it turn sticky.
3. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper or a silicone mat if you have one (I'm using up my Costco bulk buy and then switching to silicone).
Wet your hands and shape into a ball.
4. Wet a sharp knife and make a deep cross into the top of the dough.
Bake for 40 mins at 200 degrees C.
NOTE: I've tried this recipe with a mix of rye, strong white flour and wholemeal and other combos too. As long as you have 500g of dry flour ingredients, it should work.
Here are some breads I've tried and LOVED:
I'd love to know how you get on with the recipe, so please share your bakes on social media using the hashtag ＃bikubread and tag me anywhere @bikudesigns. I promise I'll try to share you to my stories.
I'm Victoria, the founder, designer and creator at Bikudesigns, a vintage kimono accessories brand in Tokyo, Japan.