One of our last big international trips before the pandemic was to Japan. I traveled to Tokyo with my brother a few years ago, but Darren had never been. We were eager to explore Japan in the fall, and our trip did not disappoint. We spent time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hakone, and also took a day trip to Nara and Osaka. A few trip highlights:
- Witnessing a Shinto wedding at the Meiji Shrine- Of course my wedding photographer self was ecstatic to see this in action. On my bucket list of weddings to shoot one day!
- Taking in the beauty of fall in Japan- We arrived at the perfect time to leaf peep in Japan (around Thanksgiving in the States). The beautiful colors were everywhere! I haven’t been to Japan in the spring, but I have to imagine that fall is equally as beautiful as the spring is supposed to be in Japan.
- Hiking through the thousands of torii gates at Fushimi Inari- Pictures can’t describe how many of the gates there are- we just kept walking and walking under a sea of orangey red. I was expecting the area to be swarmed with tourists and Instagrammers, but surprisingly there are quiet pockets throughout the trek for you to take it all in.
- The delectable omakase at the 2-Michelin star Kikuchi- This tiny restaurant is a one-man show, and we loved watching the chef prepare our dinner and checking out his beautiful pottery collection that the food is presented on.
- An overnight onsen experience at Mount View Hakone- The perfect way to pass a rainy day soaking in the hot baths and exquisite Japanese hospitality
- Visiting the Gotukuji Temple in Tokyo, home of thousands of the “lucky cat”- which also happened to be quite empty when we visited. It was a little eerie but we enjoyed wandering around.
- Playing around with all the high-tech appliances and home features in our AirBnBs. Singing toilets, anyone?
Japan is definitely a ‘must-return’ destination for us. It’s the perfect combination of food (ahhhh the food), city vs nature mix, and extensive history and cultural sites. The easy public transport and direct flights from the DC area make it a no brainer and we can’t wait to return one day, with bebe in tow.