Thursday, June 8

Our Japan 01 - Tokyo at a Glance

 
This past February my family and I traveled to Tokyo, Japan for a two week, much needed, dream filled vacation. Traveling to Japan has always been on my husbands bucket list, and once I did more research on all of the lovely things Japan has to offer, it made perfect sense that this would be our first family vacation. We arranged to stay in Tokyo for the entire two weeks of our vacation. We realized that there was so much to experience, see and do, with the city being a perfect mix of Modern and Historic Japan - it was an easy decision to make. Don't get me wrong, we plan to come back and visit Kyoto, see (me) & climb (him) Mount Fuji, and experience the beauty of the cherry blossoms. For this trip, however, Tokyo was perfect, and at the end of it all, we barely scratched the surface. Two weeks was definitely not enough time to experience all that Tokyo has to offer. 

Here are some of the things that we did during our two weeks: 
- See the Ume (plum) blossoms
- Eating lots of sushi and ramen
- Visit the Samurai Museum
- Visit the Edo- Tokyo Museum 
- Visit with Husband's friend from Tokyo
- See the Pokemon Centre 
- Explore Tokyo some more

One of my regrets was not bringing out my DSLR camera at all during the entire time we were on holidays. I was both exhausted and burned out creative-wise that the thought of bringing it with me everywhere left me even more exhausted. So I didn't. And at the time, it was the best decision for me. Yet now, all I want to show you are AMAZING photos and all I have are iPhone photos. Please forgive me. Regardless, I hope you enjoy seeing our Japan. 
A couple of pictures of the AirBNB that we stayed at. At first I was disappointed that there wasn't a queen size bed (for some reason I thought there was one, haha). However, after a night of Bug sleeping with me, she decided to spend the rest of the time with the Husband, leaving me alone with so much room to sprawl out. It was exactly what I needed.
Thirsty in Tokyo? No worries, there are vending machines on every other block - we were never thirsty for long! We also found a slide during one of our walks to the train, so of course we had to slide down it!
City life! I love the mixture of tall cityscapes with beautiful trees and succulent flowers. The streets were packed with people, the air smelled fresh, and the sun was shining - a perfect Spring filled vacation. I just love exploring the city, coming across what we do, seeing what we see, no rhyme or reason. The best way to spend the day, in my opinion.
Our "secret" little pathway from our AirBNB to the road. Bug loved walking on all of the rocks and she made sure she didn't miss stepping on a single one.
We found out that there was a Christian Church in Tokyo and decided that it would be fun to go and see what it was like. (We had the most amazing ramen for lunch beforehand too, mmm) The church was amazing. It was a branch off of the Hillsong Church in Australia, and we found ourselves instantly welcomed into an amazing community. Spending an hour visiting afterwards, we were then invited out to supper by a couple. An amazing story short, they easily became our friends. We went out to an awesome dinner and they showed us around the area. We made arrangements to meet up with them the following Sunday and spent the whole day with them again. It was so lovely to be able to make friends in a "strange" country, they made us feel like home time-after-time, and we look forward to seeing them again face-to-face one day ... hopefully soon!
Excuse the messy hair, but I had to pose with the police mascot! 
Playing pokemon just seemed so appropriate during a couple of our slower, Starbucks filled days. I am actually kind of missing it now that we are back in Canada and the weather is warmer. Maybe I will download it again? Also seeing the Pokemon centre was pretty awesome! Bug may have wanted her picture taken with every single statue she could find! :)
We spent a lovely couple of hours with one of Brad's friends who returned back to Tokyo after visiting family in Alberta. He took us to an amazing French Bakery and the cakes were to die for. I ended up going for a layered crêpe, whipped cream, and fruit one - I must attempt to make it one day. 
There were two museums that we wanted to go to: the Samurai Museum and the Edo-Tokyo Museum. They both blew our socks off. The Samurai Museum had so much more to it than we expected including a hands-on experience and we ran out of time for the Edo-Tokyo Museum because it was HUGE!! I highly recommend both. Let me know if you want to see more museum photos. I know that it is not high on everyone's to-see list, and so if I get enough interest, I will definitely write a separate blog post about them. 
Walking under the Torii -  traditional gates placed near shrines. 
An amazing statue of ramen noodles and moving chopsticks outside a restaurant window! Food display is huge here. And a photograph of a typical train station, this is how we traveled the entire time we were in Tokyo. We were train pros by the end, especially Bug.
Conveyor-belt sushi was a huge hit with the family! Bug loved watching the plates go by on the belt and handed us our orders as they came to the table. Husband loved the quality of the tuna and I fell in love with the shrimp tempura. Oh and kabocha tempura (pumpkin)! mmm.
Another huge goal of ours was to visit the very famous giant Gundam statue, a popular robot character, in Odaiba. We found out that it was going to be replaced by another one in March so we thought we better head over there and see the massive guy before he came down. We also found the Statue of Liberty and managed to grab a great shot of the Rainbow Bridge behind her.
We were able to experience a lovely indoor festival at the Oedo Onsen in Odaiba. I am not going to lie, since everyone had to wear yukatas, and it was my first time ever putting one on, my anxiety levels rose a lot at the beginning of this festival. I was so nervous that I would put it on wrong. haha. However, there were carnival games, delicious food, and foot baths. It was a nice time and I only wish I was able to relax quicker so that I could have enjoyed this experience more.
Shibuya Crossing - aka the largest intersection in all of Tokyo. I didn't realize that I was on this famous intersection until I was on it. I took many blurry photographs of my attempt to walk in the middle of it, however, this one, right before the action starts, came out clear. "They" say that during rush hour, thousands of people can cross this intersection every single time the light changes.
~~~
That is a brief summery of our Tokyo, Japan adventure! I hope you enjoyed. Don't worry there will be more photos coming soon. I took a lot of photos of Disney Sea and Disneyland, the Ueno Zoo, Ume Blossoms, and the Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens, so if any of those are of interest, stay tuned for more blog posts. If Museum photos are more up your alley, let me know and I will add that to my list of posts to write up. Also, if you have any questions about my photographs or experiences, feel free to ask, if I don't have the answer, my husband will! 

We really enjoyed our trip to Japan. We started off with a too large of bucket list and eventually realized that we needed to add a few rest days to our crazy schedule. Who knew! ;)  I think the only little regret that we found was that we didn't eat enough sushi during our stay. Luckily Husband is already planning to go to Japan again this year and we are trying to figure out a way to travel back to it as a family in the next couple of years. The more we look at our photos, the easier it is for us to get the travel bug back in our system and we are very excited at the possibility of being able to explore new and old places, and see Japan in full sakura bloom, as well as cross some of the other things off of our bucket list. If you have any recommendations for visiting Japan (things we must see, restaurants we must try out, etc), please let me know! I would love to hear all about them and make the ultimate visit trip to Japan.  

ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu - thank you very much!) 

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