Activities & Itineraries

5 Things To Do In New Zealand To Curb Your Japan Travel Cravings

By Jessica Ellis
16th Mar 2022

As borders slowly reopen, the taste of travel is finally within reach again. What's at the top of our list when we jet off? Japan, of course. 

The allure of this whimsical country is as enticing as ever. So much so that Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto dominated the top spots on Condé Nast's annual Best Cities in the World list. With an artful mix of old-school culture and neon-clad nightlife, it's easy to understand why wanderlusters are yearning to touch down in Japan. 

If you aren't quite ready to book those plane tickets, we've got you sorted. With the go-to fuel for Japanese locals, Suntory BOSS Coffee—no.1 conned coffee in Japan*, we've uncovered how to get your fix right here in New Zealand.

Here are five ways to get your Japan on in Aotearoa.  

Scope Out Local Japanese Creatives

It goes without saying—Japan’s a hub of creativity and innovation, often inspiring worldwide trends and accolades. Lucky for us, Aotearoa’s home a to a slew of these creatives. First up on the must-follow list is artist Jun Arita. Heavily influenced by pop culture and vivid colours, Jun’s eye-catching creations burst with good vibes and bold lines—making for un-mistakable masterpieces

Or, if you’re looking to level up your playlist—tune into entrepreneur, designer and DJ, Katana. Best known as the founder of Bassment —an underground electronic music community—Katana’s also the brains behind Vacant Studios, a hub for local collaboration—and that’s not to mention his slick merch. Check out Katana’s Instagram to keep up with his many ventures. 

Want more? Why not scope out some epic events going down, including the Japanese Film Festival and Kintsugi workshops.

Score A Sweet Fix

The Japanese sure know how to nail a sweet delight. Go-to flavours span red bean paste, strawberries, matcha and sweet potato, so it's no surprise their desserts are a hit. For a taste of the good life in Auckland, head to Atelier Shu for Asian-inspired pastries, TSUJIRI for crepe cakes or Uncle Tetsu's for fluffy cheesecake dreams. Meanwhile, Origami in Wellington dishes up a decadent oriental high tea, while Patisserie YAHAGI in Christchurch is all about fusion pastries. Drool.

Sink Your Teeth Into Sushi 

Sushi joints in New Zealand range from your favourite local to fine-dining eateries slinging top-of-the-line seafood. One thing is for sure—Auckland knows what's up when it comes to the best sushi in town. For low-key vibes and even a hit of ramen, stop by the cosy Moto Sushi Bar in Parnell Village. Meanwhile, &Sushi's spots around the city make for the perfect quick lunch—our must-have is the tuna Inari. When it comes to getting bougie with sushi, decadent restaurants like Azabu, Ebisu and Masu sure know how to keep the good times rolling.    

Shop It Up, Japan-Style 

While $2 stores might be the thing of Kiwi childhoods, they don't hold a candle to the Japanese version. In recent years, we've been blessed with plenty of options across the country for Japanese markets. Favourites include good old Japan Mart, Daiso Japan and Miniso. This is where you go to stock up on everything you never knew you needed. Whether it's innovative cleaning products, quirky accessories, stylish stationery or Japanese treats, there's a smorgasbord to choose from. 

Hunt Down Street Food

While sushi might top the list of Japanese eats, there are plenty of other delicacies to discover. We always love spotting the Temaki Truck around Auckland, home to the infamous rolled sushi cone—a blend of tastes from Japan, Brazil and Korea. Ichiban in Tauranga roams the markets offering colourful bowls with Japanese flair—think donburi, poke and more. Further south in Hawkes Bay, you'll find Piku parked up slinging izakaya-style bites like tempura, tataki and pork belly. No matter where you are in NZ, there's always a Japanese dish with your name on it. 

Calling all culture seekers—get a true taste of Japan with  Suntory BOSS Coffee. Flash brewed for maximum freshness,  get the crew together, crack open a can and make up for lost travel plans, stat. 

Editor's note: This article is sponsored by Suntory BOSS Coffee and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image credit: Jun Arita via  Instagram

*No 1. Canned Coffee brand in Japan based on 2020 sales volume. Source: Intage. 

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