You the moment when you think better go somewhere and go somewhere far.
Well it happened. Went on what Danyon and I have decided was our celebratory happy 10 years of friendship trip to Japan.
It was a an incredibly busy and sweaty trip (it was real hot and humid).
We were in Tokyo. First stop was coffee.
Japan has great coffee if you can find the shops tucked away in corners and what I think are alleys.
Then it was the Senso-Ji Temple. This was the first introduction to how hot it was going to be and accepting how much sweat
was going to be happening.
We got our first fortunes. It was a struggle to decide whether they
were good or bad but mine involved a large bird, waiting and a mealy fish so there's that. I think
something was lost in the translation.
After a bit of a cool down and nap we ventured back out and went to Shibuya.
We did the busy crossing which was super calm and weirdly organized for how many people are
criss-crossing. Then we walked to the tallest tori in Japan and Harajuku.
There were a lot of people but we didn't really see much of the famous fashion there. Possibly because
it was SOOOOOOO very hot. (Just know the whole time we were there it was very hot)
For the morning we went to the fish market which was a delight. There were some delicious things all over.
There was also a huge ice block that you could touch to help not be so hot. I resisted hugging it. A stranger clearly
noticed my struggle to not hug it and put his ice hands on my arms and sympathetically nodded at me.
We had our first sushi in Japan and it was incredible. The fish basically melted in your mouth.
I would eat there always. Just always.
That afternoon we went on our first Airbnb experience. It was a biking tour and soba cooking lessons.
Our bike guide Tomo was so much fun and gave us a great tour all over. We stopped at temples
for ice cream, learned about the Kappa monster, and stopped by a traditional home. He showed
us how to do wishes at the temple and answered all the questions we had been wondering about.
The chef that taught us about soba also just great. I would highly recommend booking experiences like this.
Took our first of many bullet trains to Nagano then a little further out.
Because I have tattoos, most osens in Japan will not let me use them, but we found, through another blog, an osen
that you can use with tattoos that is also a part of a ryokan.
The owner was so friendly and accommodating. This hotel was located near the snow monkey park outside of Nagano.
There isn't a train there but the hotel owner drove us there and picked us up.
The osen I could use is private so there is a small fee use it. It was so worth it. It was outdoors and has a beautiful view.
The snow monkeys were quite a thing. Obviously there was a lack of snow but there was no lack of monkeys.
They were everywhere and had no respect for the parks rule of three feet of distance between you and them.
I reminded them of that but they were very busy being monkeys to care.
Next stop Kyoto. Dressed cute for day because we were heading to super photogenic places. Did not realize we were
going to be basically hiking the day away.
First stop here was the bamboo forest. It was amazing seeing this much bamboo in one place. It was nothing
like anything I've seen before.
Next we headed to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This is possibly one of my favorite places we went. It is ENORMOUS.
There are thousands of tori's and temples. We thought we would walk through all of them but we completely underestimated
how long of a hike that was going to be. Totally worth the sweat though. They were amazing.
That night for dinner we met up with a friend of Danyon's in Osaka.
We had a tea ceremony scheduled and as part of this we also took the chance to wear kimonos.
There is so much to a kimono. Looks simple but no, many many layers are involved. We wore the yukata, which
are a lighter summer version of a kimono but still required many layers. It was really fun to walk through the
neighborhood in these. We had many photos of us taken. A couple of Japanese girl in kimonos took a selfie
with us in ours. It was a nice moment. However I am a bit worried about how many stranger's photos I'm in
acting like a dinosaur/bird. Hope they enjoy my weird face and totally get that I was
a flying dinosaur.
That evening we went to Gion. This is were the geisha are. This was also a highlight.
It was so strange to see some very traditional things intersecting with tourist everywhere.
The streets were lined with people hoping to catch a glimpse of a geisha.
We were among them. After some patient waiting and pacing, we saw a few quickly and quietly
walking to and from appointments.
They were beautiful.
Another train another day. We headed off to Hiroshima/Miyajima. This island was my favorite.
It has the famous floating tori. We took a ferry out to the island and while we were on the way a sting ray jumped
out of the water. It was clearly going to be the best place. We took the ropeway up Mt. Misen and then hiked down.
The view from the top was amazing and made me wish we had a week to just explore this area.
After a very very steep hike down we sat on the beach and watched the sun set by the tori.
It was magic.
Day 7 & 8:
Back to Tokyo we went. One day was a 6 hour train ride which was a welcome break from walking and heat.
Once back in Tokyo we went on our second Airbnb experience. This time it was a night kayaking trip through the
canals in Tokyo to the base of the Sky Tree Tower. Again the guide was fantastic.
He had so much information to share and was so very kind. We chatted most of the way to the tower.
It was a great way to see the tower as we paddled right up to the base.
The next day we had planned to go to Nikko National Park. However thunderstorms were in the forecast.
We stayed in Tokyo and went to the national museum.
It was lovely.
Them we headed to the train station and has some of the best ramen I have ever had.
Then we headed to the teamLab Planet. They had a light art installation that was so very worth the trip.
It was a great last day in Japan complete with a gorgeous sunset.