Growing up, technology and futurology was always fascinating to me. This naturally led to Japan being one of my top countries to visit for over a decade. Fortunate, for me, Mary always wanted to visit Japan in her youth as well. Although every culture has particular traits that define their culture, and most likely all Asian cultures are the same to some degree, I’d have to describe Japan, in one word: ‘unique’. Japan is unique. Currently, we have visited a total of 8 countries (including Japan) but Japan has been our favorite thus far. The transcendental experience could be because of the respectful culture which is a reflection of such an interconnected society both spiritually (to the land) and in a technological aspect. Maybe it’s vice versa. Whatever the case, everyone should visit this country to to experience a similar journey as ours:
FUSHIMI INARI, HIGASHIYAMA DISTRICT, GION, BAMBOO FOREST, ARASHIYAMA NEIGHBORHOOD, MONKEY PARK, AND GOLDEN PAVILION
FIRST DAY: We hiked (yes, HIKED) up a temple named Fushimi-inari.
After the temple, we walked more but this time in an old, preserved village called Higashiyama district.
Around this area, we witness a few people wearing Geisha outfits. However, they weren’t “real” ones as those only come out for certain parties and events.
SECOND DAY: Visited the famous Bamboo Forest and were entranced by it’s quiet yet, dazzling branches as tall as apartment buildings.
We then rented bikes and cycled our way to The Otagi Nenbutsu-Ji houses, where it was populated only by tourists and hundreds of these statue people.
After taking a quick rest, we peddled a few more miles down the road followed which led us on ANOTHER hike up a mountain side to visit the Monkey Forest.
After eating and visiting the monkeys, we rode our bike around kyoto and stopped at the Kimono Forest of Arashiyama.
We completed the last tourist attraction for the day at the Golden Temple.
THIRD DAY: We boarded a train in the early morning of day 3 and headed over to Nara where we fed and caressed wild deer!
A light drizzle began to pour into the night as we explored the nearby area of our Kyoto Hotel. Our last stop in Kyoto (apart from the train station) was also our last meal in Kyoto; we found a famous noodle place, (thanks to Yelp) around the corner from our hotel. Look at that line – it was absolutely one of the best ramen noodle places we have ever eaten at.
One of the best ramen we’ve ever tasted!
BULLET TRAIN, SHIBUYA CROSSING, HACHIKO, DISNEY SEA, ODAIBA, TOKYO SKYTREE, ROBOT RESTAURANT, TSUKIJI FISH MARKET, AND HARAJUKU
FOURTH DAY: Our last day in Kyoto and first day in Tokyo. We left Kyoto in the morning to board the famous bullet train. We arrived in Tokyo just a bit after noon.
Hachiko right outside of Shibuya Station. History: Long story short, it was a friendly and loyal dog to his master and beloved by everyone. He walked with his master to his train stop everyday and waited for him to get back. Hachiko knew what time the master would come and waited patiently for his return. Upon the death of his master, Hachiko continued his journey of walking to the station where his master would board and persisted on waiting even though his master had long passed. One morning, Hachiko didn’t show up. The end.
The famous Shibuya crossing! Shibuya was helpfully made famous by Hollywood. Films trying to display the busy life of humans and population overload of our planet is emphasized via Shibuya. Also, the most famous scene goes to Tokyo Drift.
FIFTH DAY: Visited on of the 11 worldwide Disney Parks – DisneySea.
Gundam Earth Protector found in Odaiba.
Odaiba’s beautiful view at night overlooking Tokyo Bay, Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower.
SIXTH DAY: Visited the tallest building in all of Japan – The Tokyo Skytree.
Top observation deck of Tokyo Skytree had the most amazing views. It was like hovering in a helicopter.
Following the sky views, we defended to ground views and explored a bit around Tokyo. This is the Asakusa Kannon Temple – in the middle of a bustling city!
Concluded our last night at the famous and outstanding show: Robot Restaurant. This place was intense; We recommend watching our recording of the show. The show themes change frequently so what we saw may be different from what you may see!
SEVENTH DAY: We weren’t able to make to see all the action at Tsukiji Market but it was still one of the better experiences we had while in Japan. Personally, it was my (Reid) favorite. Best tasting fish I have ever tasted!
Our final stop was to shop with the chaos at Harajuku which is known as Takeshita Dori – the famous Harajuku alley way is known for the many different styles of youth coming out of the woodwork in new clothing styles.
We randomly walked in a Starbucks and came to find out that it was the first Starbucks in Japan!
BACK HOME TO HAWAII
Back home we go. (It was about 5am in Japan)
Japan was truly one of the best experiences of our lives. Although we’ve traveled to almost a dozen countries and multiple different states, Japan will hold a special place in our hearts. The people are so kind and everything was so easily accessible. It is interconnected like no other society that exists which makes it that much more appealing to me. Cruises are a close second and even visiting new countries give me a rush but Japan is just something different entirely. I feel when we visit again we will be seeing things in a new light and unfamiliar, in a good way. It’s an eye opener and I wish for everyone in the world to see this amazing country once in their lifetime.
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– Gustave Flaubert