The best of Japanese culture in Barcelona

Japanese culture in Barcelona is multifaceted, but fascinating. It may be steeped in the deepest traditions, but on the other hand, the country everyday develops new technologies rapidly that pushes back the boundaries of the possible. Japan has brought many amazing things like sushi, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Karate and so on. Samurai  spirit and fascinating traditions have spread a beautiful image of Japan in people’s mind. Therefore, we want to introduce the best of Japanese culture in Barcelona: Manga Fair, Matcha, and Japanese style shops.

Japanese culture in Barcelona

MANGA FAIR BARCELONA

In late October/early November each year, Japanese comic fans from all over the world gather together in one of the most exciting Manga fairs in Europe: Manga Fair Barcelona, or Salón del Manga de Barcelona in Spanish. This fair is held at the Fira de Barcelona at Montjuic near Plaza Espanya and attracts around 100,000 participants being in love with Japanese culture , comics, cartoons, etc. The fair offers various activities from contests of cosplay, karaoke, musical concerts, manga workshops to Japanese cuisine and other activities about Japanese culture. Manga Fair Barcelona is proud to be visited by numerous notable guests in manga world.

Japanese culture in Barcelona, Manga Fair Barcelona

This year, the Manga Fair Barcelona will take place from October 30th to November 2nd. Kengo Hanazam, author of the world wide success manga “I am a hero”(already  published in Spain) will visit the fair. Takeshi Obata, the author of “All You Need Is Kill” as well as the artist of the famous Death Note will  come as well. For foodies, they definitely should not miss out on tasting the best Japanese cuisine from Michelin-star chefs who are working in the best sushi restaurants in Barcelona including Tamae Imachi, the sommelier at Dos Palillos and Hideki Matsuhisa, the chef at Koy Shunka restaurant. The admissions fee is 7 EUR. Here are some popular and useful vocabularies that you should know as you will hear them a lot during the fair

Manga: Japanese comic books and graphic novels

Anime: Japanese film and television animation

Cosplay: costumer play

Otaku: anime and manga fandom

Origami: paper folding Kawaii: cute, lovely

MATCHA, JAPANESE TEA AND DESSERTS

When it comes to Japanese food, Sushi is often mentioned most.  However, in recent years, Matcha (Japanese green tea powder) has become a new star. Matcha is premium bright green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as ingredients in recipes. Complex, Addicting, Pleasant Bitter and Sweet are the words used to describe Matcha. There are more and more people becoming Matcha enthusiasts. You can easily notice Matcha coffee, ice creams, tiramisu, macarons, cookies,…in menus at many coffee or gelato shops around Barcelona. The big name Starbucks has already updated the trend and added Matcha in their Frappuccino, Latte, Smoothies and Tea products.

Best of Japanese culture in Barcelona, Matcha, Green tea

There are so many choices on where to drink and relax in Barcelona. But if you want to find a place to chill after strolling around and feel the unique Japanese atmosphere  as well as try the “real” matcha taste you should try these amazing  two: Caj Chai tea room and Takashi Ochiai bakery shop. Being listed as one of the best tea rooms in town, Caj Chai offers extensive high quality tea menus which can surprise any tea lovers. This tea shop serves tea imported from Asian countries such as Japan, China, Vietnam and more. Seeing Asian tea pots, bamboo chairs, etc in this tea room, I feel like I enter a little Japanese town. With its cozy atmosphere, Caj Chai is a relaxing oasis of peace in the middle of Barcelona’s Gothic area as well as an ideal place to take the first date. If you want to know which kind of tea they offer, you can check Caj Chai’s menu at here.

Address: Carrer de Sant Domènec del Call, 12 Opening hours: Monday: 15 – 22; Tuesday – Sunday: 10:30 – 22

Japanese culture in Barcelona; Caj Chai, Tea rooms in Barcelona

Takashi Ochiai is another perfect option for dessert lovers. In this bakery shop, you can find exclusive Japanese desserts which spread the popularity of this brand. Takashi Ochiai is also a provider for dessert menus in most of the best Japanese restaurants in Barcelona. Although Takashi Ochiai has a big selection of Japanese desserts, I suggest to try Daifuku (glutinous rice cake with sweet filling) and Dorayaki (red bean pancake). Daifuku is a very popular dessert in Japan. About Dorayaki, it is very famous among manga readers because this is also called as “the Doraemon cakes”. Doraemon is a best-selling manga being a part in many Asian people’ childhood. And finally, Matcha Kastera (or Castella) absolutely should not be forgotten. Kastera sponge cake is originally from Castilla, Spain. But the Portuguese merchants brought it to Japan and now Kastera is well-known as one of Japanese specialties. Address: Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 110.

Opening hours:

  • From Tuesday to Friday: 8 – 14 and 17 – 21
  • Saturday: 8 – 15 and 17 – 21; Sunday: closed

Best of Japanese culture in Barcelona

JAPANESE STORES

While Japonisme is a typical Japanese store in Gracia area,  in the heart of the old Jewish quarter of Gothic Quarter, there is a small independent shop called “Momo” (means Peach) which is a little Japanese house of traditional Japanese ceramics, chopsticks and silk lanterns. Peaceful and quiet, Momo shop is a place for little escape from crowded tourist attractions, find comfort and admire the subtle Japanese design. Many lovely ceramics here are hand made by the Japanese community in Barcelona. Perfect to pick up a gift for your friend, the shop features from origami cranes, eyeless “Daruma” figures, silk kimonos, lanterns and to the beckoning cats Maneki-neko which bring luck and encourage optimism for the future. Located on Carrer Arc de St.Ramon del Call No6, the shop is opened on Monday 4:30 pm-8pm, on Tuesday-Sunday 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-8pm.

Japanese culture in Barcelona, Momo shop

So, if you have not had a chance to visit Japan, you still can feel amazing and fresh Japanese atmosphere inside Barcelona ! Have any other great suggestions we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!

~Trang

Top Things Not to Do in Barcelona!

What you should not do in Barcelona!

 

what not to do in Barcelona

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T plan a relaxing day at the Barceloneta beach!



Barcelona is a touristic place, with a lot of people coming to enjoy the sun! Unfortunately, the Barceloneta beach – the cetnral beach in the city, it is NOT the cleanest one and is full of the tourists covering the sands. If you really want to lie down, get a tan, get in the water and have a good time check our ebook “The Barcelona Bible: Barcelona Beaches”. As well, you can visit one of the neighboring towns, e.g. Castelldefels, to which you can get in around 20 min by train.

 

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T drink on the street and don’t buy from beer sellers!

 

It is forbidden to drink on the streets of the Barcelona, although we know that there are many street beer sellers everywhere and people are purchasing their 1 euro beer, but if the police pick you up drinking in the public place you can be fined. It is better not to buy from people who are saying on the streets pestering you to buy their beer. Most of the times, they are offering warm beer which they are carrying in their bags, or hiding in some other places – it can be just really unsanitary, and it is illegal to sell the beer this way and it hurts local businesses. You can find the beer sellers in all most popular touristic places in Barcelona, like: Plaza Catalonia or Las Ramblas.

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T think that SIESTA is just the myth!


Remember! “Siesta” time still exists in Barcelona!

Barcelona embraces the Latin lifestyle of leisurely mornings, mid-afternoon siestas, and late dinners. There are two periods of siesta in Spain – siesta for shops and businesses, during which many people go to a bar or restaurant, and then siesta for the restaurants, which obviously can’t rest when everyone wants to come and eat. SO…! Shops might close during lunchtime (1:30-4pm) whereas restaurants might close after lunch and before dinner (5-8 pm). Small neighbourhood shops are quite often closed from 2pm till 5pm . It is better not to plan shopping during that specific hours or going out to eat in the restaurants, but you can find out that in the city canter of Barcelona, in the touristic areas, most places are open all day.

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T expect everything to be in Spanish!

 

Catalan and Spanish are both official languages in Barcelona. The Catalan language is used by approximately 50-60% of the inhabitants of Barcelona when Spanish is spoken by 98% of people, but a lot of people are more comfortable in speaking in the regional language and at the same time feel very strongly their connection with Catalan culture and need for independence. You have to be ready for this, that you will hear the Catalan language all the time in the city and that most signs, names, and menus are written in Catalan first and then in Spanish. But hey, that’s not a bad thing at all! If you’re going to live here especially, it’s pretty nice to learn some Catalán and it shows the locals you actually care.

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T show too much of your body!

 


Barcelona is the hot city in which everyone is trying to wear the least amount of clothes as possible. You can be shocked  at topless girls with thong bikinis on the beach, however Catalan woman tend to be more conservative in the centre of the city, dressing more smart despite that it is hot, sunny and holidays seem to never end here, mainly tourists are the ones wearing shorts/mini skirts with strappy tops/bikinis in the city centre. As well a lot of guys are trying to take off their T-shirts and just walk on the streets half naked, or leave the beach without any tops. I have to tell you that only in the really close area to the beach you can do that! Boys, when you are already on the streets of the city you have to have your T-shirt on, as the police always react and stopping the men who are not dressed appropriately. So if you don’t wanna be the one of them, remember, don’t show too much of your body – you have beach for that in Barcelona. Check our blog to find out more about one of the beaches in Barcelona where you can enjoy sun wearing as least as possible, or simple, nothing at all ;)

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T eat on Las Ramblas!


Las Rambla is the main touristic spot in central Barcelona, where you can find a lot of restaurants, cafes and shops. It is over-rated, over-crowded, tacky, filled with tourists, and most importantly over priced. All that combined with the fact that the quality of the food isn’t usually great. Don’t be silly and fall for posters with pictures of the dishes and overly eager ‘hosts’ trying to entice you in. This is not what you want from Barcelona. Better try food on the backstreets of the Old Town or go to beautiful Passieg De Gracia where food is usually really good or find some other great place to eat in Barcelona by reading some of our food blogs:

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T think that church in Spain is just a touristic attraction!

 

Not always, but it happens, that people have been turned away from the churches in Barcelona because of the bare shoulders, especially during the masses. I would recommend covering your shoulders and legs in a traditional sign of respect in religious settings. On a hot days, toss a lightweight scarf in your bag which you would use to cover your shoulders or tie around your legs for entrance into churches and cathedrals.

 

Don’t do in Barcelona!

DON’T take a sightseeing bus to see the city!

 

Barcelona is the amazing city with a lot of places to see, and because of this tourists are not too confident, thinking that the best way for them would be just take a sightseeing bus. But in reality this is the biggest mistake – the city communication is really easy to use, it is really cheap compared to another big European cities, and… is gives a ton of possibilities for planning sightseeing days without losing too much time. You can spend  your money a lot better  while experiencing  real life in the city. The bus can be really packed, especially in August, and simply you can end up waiting in the queue hours on end in the sunny hot day. At the end of the day you will feel that you didn’t see that much. Barcelona is a city which is hiding a lot of beauty in the tiny streets where the bus is not going, and as it is not that big, it’s better is to take a walk and enjoy the lazy day, stopping for a coffee and some tapas in nearby places (Check one of our Tapas Blog!).

 

Let’s summarise our  top things which you should not do in Barcelona:

  • DON’T plan a relaxing day at the Barceloneta beach
  • DON’T drink on the street and don’t buy from beer sellers
  • DON’T think that SIESTA is just the myth
  • DON’T expect everything to be in Spanish!
  • DON’T show too much of your body!
  • DON’T eat on Las Ramblas
  • DON’T think that church in Spain is just a touristic attraction.
  • DON’T take a sightseeing bus to see the city.

 

If you would like to share with us any more tips about things which people should not do in Barcelona, than please leave us a  comment below ;) Or if you don’t agree with one of our points we’d also love to hear from you! Cheers,

~Natalia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L’ AQUARIUM FOR A FAMILY DAY OUT

 

Aquarium in Barcelona

While having a holiday in Barcelona, visiting an aquarium is not the first choice for most people. However, L’Aquarium is definitely worth seeing, especially if you come with your kids. Located in Port Vell, L’Aquarium features a fantastic harbor and sea view, which gives you a chance to explore the port area, the Maremagnum Mall and the L’Aquarium. All in all, they offer a great family day out and a break from the heat of the day as well as letting your children have fun and explore the undersea world. So, let’s discover the largest Mediterranean-themed aquarium in the world: L’Aquarium Barcelona.

L’Aquarium has a total of 35 aquariums representing the sea life of the Mediterranean Sea, tropical waters and other unique species, which makes you feel as if you are having a journey around the world! Although there are a lot of big tanks, it is easy to follow the instructions. You just need to follow the sign-posted path and you will not miss anything.

OCEANARIUM

The one that everyone looks forward to while visiting any aquarium are the walk-through tunnels. The spectacular Oceanarium is a transparent 80-metre-long walk-through tunnel letting you experience the most amazing Mediterranean species from all angles. Through a underwater walkway in the Oceanarium, I had an exhilarating feeling and the closest look at beautiful and unique species than ever before. The real stars of L’Aquarium are two types of sharks: the sand tiger shark (Carcharias Taurus) and the sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus). The Oceanarium is a microcosm and a house of many of the treasures of the Mediterranean Sea such as: ocean sunfish, rays, guitar fish, etc.

TROPICAL AQUARIUMS

Let the avalanche of colors begin by enjoying fascinating tropical fish and corals from the Caribbean Sea, the Red Sea,… These tropical aquariums will bring endless fascination for your children, as they can easily recognize Nemo, Dory and Sebastian from Finding Nemo in real life.

Tropical fish

PLANETA AQUA

In Planeta Aqua, I am sure you will have a lot of fun by discovering many creatures which can adapt quickly to diverse conditions. Piranhas, tropical turtles, jelly fish and especially penguins will amaze you! If you are penguin lovers, you cannot miss this place as Planeta Aqua contains a tank full of penguins that are ready to play with you.

Penguins tank

EXPLORA ZONES!

Explora Zones are designed especially for children to learn about underwater life by joining many interactive activities. The space has 50 interactivities covering all senses: seeing, hearing, touching and smelling. Besides, the pre-booked activity “Sleeping with sharks” offers the chance for children (aged 8-12) to spend a night with sharks.

There are several restaurants, cafes inside and outside L’Aquarium. After you discover all the corners of L’Aquarium, I recommend that you to have a drink or a meal here and enjoy the stunning view of the harbor, the sea and the sun.

Children's area

HOW TO GET HERE

L’Aquarium is quite near the center and can be easily reached by different modes of transport.

  • By car: B-10 motorway (Ronda Litoral), junctions 21,22 or 23
  • By metro: you can use the L3 metro and stop at Drassanes station or L4 to Barceloneta station. If you stop at Drassanes station, you will be at the bottom of the Ramblas. At this point, there is a wooden bridge, just cross the bridge; then you can see Maremagnum mall. From here, you need to turn left and you will get to L’Aquarium.
  • By bike: At the entrance of L’aquarium, there is a bicing bike station.

 

Harbour in Barcelona

Port Vell

 

OPENING TIMES:

  • Opening time: 9:30AM
  • Closing time:

- Monday-Friday: 9:00PM
- Weekends and bank holidays: 9:30PM
- June and September: 9:30PM
- July and August: 11:00PM

PRICES

  • Less than 0.90m: Free admission
  • 0.90m to 1.10m: 5 € (“Mini”)
  • 1.10m to 1.40m: 15 € (Child)
  • Taller than 1.40m: 20 € (Adult ticket)

 

So, let’s prepare and have an amazing underwater adventure in L’ Aquarium !

Trang

What to do in Barcelona on Sunday

There are many activities to do on Sunday in Barcelona, you just have to pick!

In such a busy, lively city like Barcelona, there is something happening every day. Especially on Sunday, when you have many, many things planned for during the week. Sometimes it can get overwhelming; you cannot choose what to do and you end up lazing on your couch the whole day (I know it happens, don’t deny it). So we have made a list of available things to do on Sunday in Barcelona for you. Pick one and waste no more beautiful sunny days, cause winter is coming!?

Things to do in Barcelona on Sunday

 

What to do in Barcelona on Sunday

Go Shopping

Groceries stores and Shops are closed on Sunday, I know I know; but there are still some options available. So if you are shopaholic don’t freak out, we have listed the shops that are open on Sunday for you here.

 

 

Go to a restaurant

After a hard-working week, you deserve a treat. How about dining in a fancy restaurant with your family or friends? Thanks to its coastal location, Barcelona can offer you many type of seafood with superb freshness. Moreover, Barcelona surpasses Madrid by the number of Michelin-starred restaurants (29 compared to 13 in Spain’s capital city) making it a gastronomy heaven. Have a look at oursuggestion here, from traditional Catalanseafood to vegan restaurants and so on.

Free museums!!!

Many museums in Barcelona open for free in Sunday and that’s why many people put this on their to-do list on Sunday in Barcelona. I mean, good way to enjoy the finest pieces of art on a budget. One thing to keep in mind though, I have seen long line of visitors waiting outside Museu Picasso during its free entrance hours. So be prepared to wait for an hour or more to get inside.

picasso-museum-What to do on Sunday in Barcelona

Below is the list of them.

  • MNAC: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
    Parc de Montjuïc, Sants-Montjuïc, 08038
    Free admission on first Sunday of every month

 

  • MUHBA Museu d’Història de Barcelona
    Pl. del Rei, Ciutat Vella, 08002
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month.

 

  • Museu d’Història de Catalunya
    Plaça de Pau Vila, 3, Ciutat Vella, 08039
    Free admission on first Sunday of every month

 

  • Museu de la Música
    Padilla 155, Eixample, 08013
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month

 

  • Museu Frederic Marès
    Plaça de Sant Iu, 5, Ciutat Vella, 08002
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month

 

  • Virreina Centre de la Imatge
    La Rambla, 99, El Raval, 08001
    Always free

 

  • Museu Picasso
    Montcada, 15-23, Ciutat Vella, 08003
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm to 7pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month

 

  • Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona
    Montalegre, 5, Raval, 08001
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm to 8pm

 

  • Museu Marítim de Barcelona
    Av. de les Drassanes, Raval, 08001
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm

 

  • Jardí Botànic
  • Doctor Font i Quer, Sants-Montjuïc, 08038
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month

 

  • Museu Blau
    Pl. de Leonardo da Vinci, 4-5, Sant Martí, 08019
    Free admission on every Sunday from 3pm and the whole day on first Sunday of every month

Party & festival

In this festiv city, there are always some parties or festivals, especially during the weekend. You can find them in our frequently updated blogs about bars or incoming events in Barcelona.

Things to do in Barcelona on Sunday: sardana

You want to try something local? Ever heard of Sardana dancing? It is a type of circle dancing, typical in Cataluña. This dance shows the unity and pride of Catalan people. There is a chance you might randomly catch on Sardana in Barcelona. If you are in Barcelona during the summer months, head to plaza Jaume I where you can admire this dance every Sunday from around 18:00.

Beaches and day trips

If you really run out of idea on what to do in Barcelona on Sunday then why not take a day trip. Really, you have the whole day available, take my advice and go to some beaches further than the tourist-cramped Barceloneta or Icària. The choices are diverse: Sitges, Tossa de Mar, Sant Pol de Mar, Castelldefels etc.

You don’t want beach? Don’t worry, there are beautiful town just an hour or two driving from Barcelona, take a look at some of our suggestion here. Hey, have we told you already about the secret waterfall in Barcelona? Shhhhh, between us only, ok ;)

What to do on Sunday in Barcelona: Foradada Cantonigros

Made up your mind yet? If you need more info with the options above, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below.

Enjoy!

T.Vu

 

Barcelona’s Places of Worship

Barcelona’s places of worship

Barcelona is an amazing place to visit, with all its monuments, restaurants, beaches, etc. but there’s no vacation for believers to pray to God, hence here are Barcelona’s places of worship to meditate and pray.

Religion in Spain in few figures:

Catholism in Spain reprensents the majority with 68,8% of believers. The other religions amount to 1,9% and the others haven’t belief or are Atheists. In our humble opinion though, the most subscribed to religion here is… Football!

Christianity:

Catholicism:

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Here are the top 5 of Churches, Cathedrals and Basilicas of Barcelona both for visiting with spectacular architecture and praying.

Orthodoxy:

Here are some Orthodox Churches or places:

*Saint Nectarios Orthodox Church in Sarrià – Sant Gervasi
* Protection of the Mother of God Orthodox Church in Eixample
* Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Sants
* Saint Megalomartyr George Orthodox Church in Sant Antoni
* Mother of God Orthodox Church in Ciutat Vella

To know more about it, you can visit their official website.

Orthodox Church Barcelona

* Església Ortodoxa Espanyola – Patriarcat de Sèrbia,    Eixample
Església Ortodoxa Apostòlica Antioquena d’Espanya,  Sant Martí

To know more about it, you can visit their official website.

New project:

Besides those Orthodox churches, there’s a project for a new one called “Sfantul Gheorghe” and “San Jorge” in Spanish. It will be the first private Orthodox Temple propertie in Spain. The opening is expected in autumn in Navas’ neighborhood.

orthodox church barcelona

Protestantism:

protestant church

Here are some Evangelical Churches:

* Esglesia Evangélica de Sant Despi
* Iglesia Evangélica Molins de ReiI
* glesia Evangélica Barcelona Salem
* Esglesia Evangélica Trèvol
* Iglesia Evangélica Bautista de Gracia
* Esglesia Evangélica Baptisto Bonanova
* Iglesia Evangélica de Pau Sans
* Iglesia Evangélica de Cornellà
* Iglesia Evangélica Rey de Reyes
* Iglesia Evangélica de Avivamiento
* Iglesia Evangélica Española
* Esglesia Evangélica de Poblenou
* Esglesia Evangélica de Sant Feliu Llobregat

Judaism

old synagogue barcelona carrer marlet

There’s a synagogue in Barcelona called “Old Synagogue” or in spanish “Synogoga Medieval de Barcelona”, in el neighborhood Gotic, Carrer de Marlet, 5. There is also a synagogue in the Sant Gervasi neighbourhood on c/ Avenir 24.

Islam

islam barcelona

There’s no really official places like mosques but however there are about ten local places where you can pray. A new project is discussing to build a real mosque to gather all believers. Neveretheless we can find in Catalonia The “Centre Cultural Islàmic Català” (CCIC), it is one of the centre islamic most visited.

Hinduism

There is a community called ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and their place in Barcelona is Plaza Reial 12.

Buddhism

Here is the Buddhist community to know more about it.

Taoism

Here is the Taoist community to know more about it.

So whatever God you might pray to, hopefully this blog has been helpful in directing you to the right places! Know about anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

~Lucie

 

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