After two weeks in Japan, I am in love and I wasn't expecting to be. I imagined not being able to get around because I don't speak Japanese and not liking any of the food. I was wrong. Book your trip now and here are a few of my favorite finds in Japan.
Before you go download this App: NAVITIME for Japan. Although it includes a lot of sightseeing advice, this app is great for mastering the train system in Tokyo. Just click on the route icon on the bottom and you can enter your starting point and your destination.
The app will tell you what time it will leave, arrive, how much it cost. It also will tell you which train line to take: JR Yamanote line-- in this image
Which platform to find it: Platform 1.
Purchase a card such as SUICA because it is refillable and you receive a discount on each ride. In this image: IC154 yen instead of 160.
It will also tell you how many stops or if you have to change trains.
It will even tell you where on the train it is better to sit/stand
This was an invaluable tool because so few people speak English. Trains come every few minutes so you are not waiting very long.
Also, the SUICA card may be used in vending machines and stores within the train station.
My daughter is eating Coolish. It is delicious frozen goodness found in all the convenience stores. We found two flavors while we were there: Vanilla and Pineapple.
We had Pineapple Coolish every morning for breakfast because it tasted like a smoothie so it must be healthy...
The best part is the nutritional information is all in Japanese. Since all the people we saw were slim, it has to be good for you.
While Sadie ate Coolish at night, we had Korean Pancakes. You could choose between plain honey, honey/cheese, chocolate, beans, honey/nuts and several savory flavors.
These are crispy on the outside with cheese and honey (my favorite) oozing from the middle. Pro Tip: Tell them you want to eat it right there and they will give you the open ended packet. Even if you plan to take it and eat later, the open air packet keeps the pancake crisp on the outside.
Our favorite vendor was in Shin Okubo. He has a large yellow square sign above his area that looks like the drawing on the packet. This pancake was 300 yen or about 2.70 us dollars. That is cheap enough to have twice a day...
One unique thing about the culture...they don't eat or drink and walk. So you can stand by the rail and wait till it cools a little to eat, or you can carry it back to your house.
Kichijoji is our favorite city. It has a great vibe with lots of great restaurants and shopping. Several nights we would sit outside, eat dessert and listen to a live local band.
Located in Kichijoji is Marion's Crepes. Even though we have this at Ala Moana on Oahu, these were crispier around the edges.
She closes at 7:30 so on this night we were forced to have them as an appetizer before dinner. Definitely worth it.
Are you a cotton candy fan? I am not but this Totti Candy Factory may have transformed me into one. To me, no matter what color cotton candy you chose, it all tasted the same. Here though at this shop in Harajuku, each flavor was distinct, delicious, airy and melted in your mouth.
As large as this is, it disappeared within minutes. You would think our daughter would be so appreciative that she would share such a large treat with us...You would be wrong. She kept moving around making it difficult for us to pull it off the stick.
Milk Tea. Just the mention of it makes me happy. It is creamy tea with a slight malted flavor. We found the large bottles on sale at Don Quixote so we packed them in plastic and prayers to transport back to Hawaii. Happy to report they all made it back safely.
Another plus to this drink: 38 calories per 100ml. (Because clearly I am health conscious)
As a photographer it is hard to go on vacation without wanting to film all the adorable families I see. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to document this beautiful family in a local park. Nothing makes a photographer happier than good light and an over grown field!
Tokyo is so different than what I was expecting and I can't wait to return. These are just a few of my favorite discoveries while in Japan. You may have noticed that most of them are food related but you don't know the best part...Because we walked an average of 6 miles a day, I actually lost weight.
Japan is full of miracles.
Now that I am home, if you would like to schedule a family session of your own, click HERE.
I look forward to hearing from you.