Japan

TOKYO

TOKYO

April 6 - 10, 2018

Next, we flew back to Japan. We were lucky enough to overlap our time in Tokyo with some of our close friends from LA, Lindsey and Clement. Jonathan’s parents volunteered to take care of Cody for one night while we went out with our friends for dinner and drinks. A great break fro parenthood for one night.

Cody wasn’t on solid foods yet, but that didn’t stop us from tempting him with some good eats in Tokyo.

NARA

NARA

March 25, 2018

With the cherry blossoms in bloom, we went in search of hanami to enjoy some chill time underneath the sakura. We took the train for the day to Nara. We had not been before, but Nara is known for the local friendly deer that visitors love to feed and take photos with. We found that most of the deer were pretty dirty in appearance and we chose to distance ourselves, quite the opposite from the other tourists. We were lucky enough to find an area with blooming sakura where we had a small picnic and took a break.

OSAKA

OSAKA

March 22, 2018

We joined the rest of our group by flying into Osaka. They had already been in Tokyo for a few days prior to our arrival. After a delayed flight and arriving at the AirBNB very late, we woke up early the following morning in an effort to claim tickets for a sumo match at the Edion Arena in Osaka. There are always a certain number of tickets available first come first served for these sumo matches so we arrived early and waited patiently in line and luckily were admitted. After purchasing our tickets we went to have breakfast and bought some food to take into the arena with us. This was our first time watching an actual sumo tournament inside of an arena. Previously, we had seen a ceremonial tournament in Tokyo, but seeing it in an arena was a different experience that I would say is definitely worthwhile if you get the chance. I think its easy to think of sumo wrestlers as just big fat men, but in reality their agility, strength and flexibility is extremely impressive.

TAKINOUE, YUBETSU, ENGARU, AND KATAMI

TAKINOUE, YUBETSU, ENGARU, AND KATAMI

May 26, 2017

Over the next few days we drove around the northern island of Hokkaido in search of shibazakura. The shibazakura may have been past full bloom in the Mt. Fuji area, but in Hokkaido they were at their peak! And the flower parks were absolutely incredible fields of pink and purple flowers. And of course, they had flower flavored soft serve.

BIEI AND FURANO

BIEI AND FURANO

May 23, 2017

Today we took the long train ride from Tokyo to Sapporo. After arriving in Sapporo we rented a car and made our way to the small city of Asahikawa. Over the next two days we drove around to check out the sites around nearby Biei and Furano. Unfortunately we were a little too early (by at least a month) for the lavender season and hillsides full of blooming multicolored flowers. Google Biei and you'll see what I'm talking about. We did, however, still get to catch some flowers in bloom and eat some flower flavored soft serve. Let's just say we took in some beautiful flowers and ate a lot. In fact, some of the best ramen we had on this trip was in Asahikawa.

HITATCHINAKA

HITATCHINAKA

May 22, 2017

From Tokyo, we took about a 2.5 hour train ride to check out the flowers at the Hitachi Seaside Park. When we first arrived, we were a little confused where we were since the entrance seemed kind of drab or like we were entering an airport base or something. Once we entered the park, we found a large amusement park that also had large spaces of grass to hang out and areas dedicated to different types of flowers. 

MOUNT FUJI

MOUNT FUJI

May 20, 2017

From Kagoshima, we made our way to Nagoya for a day of eating and met up with Stef, Jonathan's cousin who lives in Hong Kong. No trip to Japan is complete without her! :) We stopped in Tokyo for a couple days and took some day trips to different flower parks to see what we could find. 

We took a train to the Fujii Five Lakes area and took an hour bus from Kawaguchiko to check out the Fuji Shibazakura Festival. Shibazakura is a flower that covers the ground like a lawn and the flower's petals look like that of sakura or cherry blossoms. It didn't hurt to have Mount Fuji in the background. :)

BEPPU

BEPPU

May 17, 2017

Beppu is most famously known for being the home to over 2,000 onsens. Sadly, because I was already pregnant by this time, I couldn't partake in any of the activities, which included mud and sand baths and a visit to the hot springs. So bummed!

Instead, we took a day trip to Oita, visited a museum, and did a little more people watching outside the train station. Can't help but fall in love with all the little kids in their cute school uniforms! :)

NAGASAKI, KUMAMOTO AND KAGOSHIMA

NAGASAKI, KUMAMOTO AND KAGOSHIMA

May 15 - May 17, 2017

Since we were in the south of Japan, we decided to hop around to different cities, try the local fare and explore a bit since we didn't know when we would be back again. 

Our Airbnb host picked us up from the station and took us to a restaurant in Chinatown with what he considered to be the best champon. Champon is a Chinese style of ramen, where the noodles are cooked with the broth then topped with various vegetables and meat. Unlike Japanese ramen, where the broth and noodles are cooked separately and only put together when served. 

ARITA

ARITA

November 13 - November 15, 2017

We took a two hour train ride from Fukuoka to Arita, a small town known for its porcelain and ceramics. We heard about Koraku Kiln the last time we were in Japan, which was founded in 1865 and has been producing ceramics for the past 150 years. Over time, they've accumulated overstock and have been housing product in warehouses over the years. Just recently they started hosting a "treasure hunt" where visitors can pay 5000 yen to 10000 yen and can spend 90 minutes digging through the different crates and whatever you can fit in your basket is yours to take home. 

FUKUOKA

FUKUOKA

May 10, 2017

Yatais or food stands in Fukuoka are really popular and are sprinkled all over the city. They usually set up shop in the early evening and stay open until the early morning. We decided to eat at Yatai Mama Chan and it did not disappoint. Mama Chan wasn't there that night but her son and husband held down the fort and prepared our dinner. It was so simple but we quickly fell in love with the fried rice and ramen. So delicious!

EATING IN NAGOYA

EATING IN NAGOYA

November 2, 2016

I hope you're reading this next post on a full stomach. If not, you're tummy will definitely grumble for the next few minutes.

In our 24 hours in Nagoya could be summed up in two words, it would be "happy tummies". All we did was EAT EAT EAT. We had every intention of seeing the fall colors here but again, we were a little too early so we did the next best thing.

HALLOWEEN IN TOKYO

HALLOWEEN IN TOKYO

October 28, 2016 - October 30, 2016

Halloween isn't Halloween, until you've done it in Tokyo.

Our best friends, Hajime and Maily, spent last Halloween in Tokyo and told us it was the best party of their lives. It didn't take much convincing us or Jonathan's cousin, Stef, to join in the party this year. Knowing the Japanese and their love to dress up, we knew we had to be something special. I would try to explain what we were...but I feel like the pictures can pretty much do all the talking. Just as we expected, there was a big party in the Shibuya area, where thousands of people flocked the streets and would stop to take pictures with anyone and anything!

TOKYO - SUMO!

TOKYO - SUMO!

days two hundred and eleven thru two hundred and fifteen: april 17, 2016 thru april 21, 2016

Coming to Japan, we had really wanted to see a sumo match. After doing much research, Jonathan discovered that every year there is a free match at Yasakuni Shrine in Tokyo. Of course, the seats are first come first serve, so we tried to show up an hour early, but still ended up waiting in a long line. However, the arena is fairly large and we were able to get pretty good seats in the shade where we could see.