As you may know, TATCHA is firmly rooted in two worlds: the ancient city of Kyoto, Japan and the high-tech hub of San Francisco, my home. Both cities offer stunning landscapes and expansive natural beauty with old-world history sitting alongside cutting-edge modernity. Both are celebrated cities with vibrant culinary traditions, esteemed artists and beloved cultural institutions.

I have found that the two cities share a distinctive kind of mindfulness, a movement towards simplicity that resonated with me deeply. I never tire of walking the streets in Kyoto or San Francisco, because there is still so much to be discovered.

Today, I am delighted to share with you a few Bay Area places that have earned a special place in my heart.

The Ritz Half Moon Bay. I don't get to spend many weekends in SF anymore but whenever I do, Alea and I love to stargaze over the ocean. The Ritz in Half Moon Bay is my favorite place for stargazing, because it is perched on a beautiful, ocean-front crescent. Watching the moonlight sparkle on the night waves reminds me of our company motto  - "ichi go, ichi e" - just this one moment, once in a lifetime. You cannot help but be reminded how magical and precious each moment can be. Happily, the Tatcha Signature Facial is also available here so I love treating myself to a facial when I visit.

Golden Gate Park. The whole park is full of treasures—I lived here for years with no idea it housed a paddock of buffalo!—but I always find myself drawn to the Japanese Tea Garden. It’s not one of the city’s ‘secrets,’ but remains one of my favorite places to visit, either alone or with my family. On a sunny day, Alea loves to paddleboat in Stowe Lake.

Peko Peko. I’ve had some wonderful meals courtesy of this Japanese catering company. The founder was born in Kyoto, and his food is simple but memorable, just like the meals  you would find at any izakaya.

Labyrinth at Land’s End. Although it’s often shrouded in fog, Land’s End is one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco. The view of the coast dropping sharply into the ocean never fails to take my breath away. If you walk around the area, you may just stumble upon a zen walk, a small meditation maze that helps to release your mental clutter.

Kinokuniya Bookstore. I have always loved books, from Tatcha’s 200-year old beauty text to Dr. Seuss. I visit this bookstore anytime I visit Japantown and lose myself in the shelves—they carry anything from Japanese magazines to romance novels to gifts. If you ever have the chance to check out a Japanese beauty magazine, like Voce, you are in for a treat.

Ito-ya. This is Ito-ya’s only location outside of Japan. They have a wonderful supply of stationery, travel goods and small items perfect for gifting. Alea loves when I bring home a little origami fun home for her.

Barneys New York. Even if I’m not shopping, I love to visit the Barneys New York location at Union Square. Everything inside is beautiful, and I have to say hello to our Global Director of Education, Justin “Magic Hands” Hopkins!

True SakeSake is one of my favorite gifts for an event or occasion—it’s synonymous with celebration in Japanese culture. This store opened in 1923 and brings handcrafted sake from Japan in stunning, simple packaging. 

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published October 2014

Living, Food, Travel
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Photo 1: One of my favorite cities with one of my favorite people.

Photo 2: A pagoda from the beautiful Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Photo by Thor Swift.

Photo 4: Ito-ya is a perfect place for gifts — and I always pick up something for myself while I'm there. Photo by Thor Swift.

Photo 5: I love the simple packaging at True Sake. Photo by Thor Swift.

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