I am recently back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to JAPAN! My sister is currently living the ex-pat life in Tokyo, and I just had to go visit before she comes back this summer. I have so so much to write about that I’m not even sure where to start. I think I’ll start with an overall summary of the trip, and then write many individual posts about the various places and artworks I experienced on my journey.
First up, I’ll cover my first few days from the long trek to get to Japan and the first stops in Tokyo.
This will be a great journal for me to look back at my trip!
Day 1: Travel
I left bright and early on Wednesday morning from DFW airport. I flew 3-4 hours to Detroit and from there, I took a 13 hour plane ride to Tokyo. I slept very little and watched lots of movies. I splurged for the Delta Comfort seat, so I had a little bit of extra leg room. Worth it.
When I got to Japan, I took a 1+ hour train ride to Tokyo station where my sister met me.
I arrived at my sister’s apartment around 6pm Thursday. I powered through the exhaustion and jet lag with a dinner at Andy’s in the Ginza neighborhood. I don’t like crab, but these crab legs were amazingly delicious. Also gyoza-stuffed chicken wings.
I don’t know how they got the gyoza in there, but it as so so good. My number one question about my trip so far has been about the food.
We also wondered around the neighborhood, had some wine at a wine bar, and enjoyed checking out all of the store and restaurant fronts. Each one was such a spectacle, and I loved them all.
My sister said she wanted me to feel like I was in Japan on my first night, and boy did I!
Day 2: A Full Day in Tokyo
In the morning of the first day, we took it a bit slow and had brunch at a place near my sister’s house. Interestingly, my sister says it’s hard to find breakfast in Japan, because Japanese people don’t usually eat out in the morning. Fun fact.
After breakfast, we headed to Sensō-ji which is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. Originally founded in 645 C.E., it was destroyed in World War II and was later rebuilt.
It was packed with tourists, but it gave the area a very festive feel. There were lots of little shops and food vendors filling the streets around it.
I loved the giant sculptures and lantern of the Kaminarimon, or “Thunder Gate.” The sculptures, representing both Shinto and Buddhist gods, varied from fierce to calm.
I visited many more temples and shrines on my trip, and I will be writing about them in more detail in the weeks to come!
And since I know you care about the food, I then ate some bacon-wrapped rice balls covered in a green onion slaw from a food vendor. I smelled like onions the rest of the day, but I didn’t care one bit.
From Sensō-ji, we hopped on the subway a couple of stops to the Skytree Tokyo.
Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan, the second-tallest structure in the world, and the tallest tower in the world. After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we took the elevator up 350 meters for a 360 degree view of Tokyo!
It was beautiful and a perfect introduction to Tokyo!
Unfortunately, it was an overcast day, and Mount Fuji was hidden behind the fog and clouds. (But, you can see 36 Views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai in this post!)
We met up with some of my sister’s friends to view the Cherry Blossoms along the Nakameguro River. I happened to go to Japan during the short 1-2 week time period where all of the Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) were in bloom. How lucky am I? Holy cow.
The Japanese traditional custom of viewing the Sakura blossoms is called Hanami, which basically means “Flower Viewing.” Hanami dates back as far as 700 C.E.
We went to Aloha Table where we got to sit for 2 hours while they brought us champagne and a set menu of lots of different types of food.
Pink and white lanterns lit up the Cherry Blossoms from below, and it was gorgeous!
We then walked up the river and stopped by a pink champagne table where we parked it and enjoyed the spirit of Hanami.
Before I totally crashed from the jet lag, we also visited my sister’s friend’s high rise apartment with amazing views of Tokyo! It didn’t feel like real life, and it still seems like a dream!
I was in Japan for 8 days, so I have much more to say. To be continued!