Hello friends! Ben and I are officially back from our 3-and-a-bit weeks in Japan and we’re already back at work! No time for rest ever, apparently! We had an AMAZING time on our trip, we barely stopped until close to the end and only because we were totally exhausted.
Our first stop was Tokyo where we spent 10 days. The first two we stayed with our friends Anekie and Iain who have been there for four years and are both teachers. They took us around a few of the days we were there including a huge day in Harajuku, to an Oktoberfest (yes, in May) in Odaiba, to a traditional street festival with lots of drunk people carrying shrines, karaoke, maid cafes and much more. On our own we explored places like Shinjuku (where we stayed), Nakano Broadway, Roppongi, Akihabara and Shibuya. We visited the Ghibli Museum, took a day trip out to see the plum blossoms in the shadow of Mt Fuji, went to the Robot Restaurant and both Disney parks.
The 2nd stop was Osaka where we stayed for one week. We discovered Ame-mura for fashion, music and pinball arcades. We explored Dotonbori and it’s many touristy sights. We wandered through rose-filled parks and visited excellent looking shrines (not all of which were open, damn 5pm closing times). We took a day trip to Nara to pat deer, look at massive shrines and then sneak into abandoned theme parks. We made friends with the owners of an awesome toy shop who happened to be famous Universal Monsters collectors, who took us out and about and made us feel incredibly welcome. I even got my nails done and we spent a day at Universal Studios.
The 3rd spot was Hiroshima where we had four days, which turned out to not be nearly enough. We met a heavily tattooed man named Potty who’s famous for being the #1 fan of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team and his sweet wife Misa. They took us out to dinner and were fabulous hosts, though I got stupidly drunk at the BBQ we all went to (possibly the drunkest I’ve been in many years, but gosh it was fun). We went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum which probably would have been a lot more moving were it not for the 200 or so school kids crowding the place and being rowdy. We went to Miyajima Island to pat more deer (much nicer than the ones in Nara) and admire the floating shrine. We spent a day traveling to and on Okunoshima Island (while I was stupendously hungover) which is overrun by wild but friendly bunnies who were more than happy to climb all over you for the perfect photo. No amount of hangover can withstand the power of bunnies!
Our last stop was Kyoto because we knew we’d need a place to wind down after so doing so much. We still managed to visit a number of shrines and temples, walk through the bamboo forest and got halfway up the Fushimi Inari Shrine walk. We even stumbled upon the delightful Kyoto Arashiyama Orgel Music Box Museum which we highly recommend! We did manage to find a decent amount of time to wind down, relax and get acquainted with the fact our trip was ending. We’d done so much that we were actually pretty ready for it, plus we missed our dogs :)
I won’t be so bold to suggest I will get around to posting more detailed accounts of the trip (we all know how badly I did with my US trip in 2013) but I’ll definitely post a bit more about some of my favourite days, such as the time spent in Harajuku and our Nara day trip.