Hopefully we can get caught up on recap posts so we can write about our other experiences in more details, but for now we are doing our best!
Japan exceeded every expectation we had and is our favorite place we have been on this trip (and ever). It was a perfect blend of modern, exciting, clean, orderly, and safe. While we loved everything about Japan we also loved being able to experience it with my parents! We traveled way too fast, probably saw too many places, and I wouldn’t change anything! Japan is hands down the favorite place we have been to so far. We could not get enough of the culture, the language, and the food.
Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima
Things We Liked
More specifically: great food, time with family, fancy toilets, friendly/helpful people, sushi, rules, bullet trains, easy availability of anything, craft beer, cleanliness, fall weather, ramen, people follow rules, seeing friends, efficient train/metro system everywhere….did I mention incredible food?
Things We Disliked
Expensive, crowds, strange showers, small hotel rooms/apartments and lack of trash cans.
Also, we didn’t get JR Passes (Japanese Railway) ahead of time…and you can’t get them once in Japan. This was a bummer as it would have saved us money and made our trip easier! Instead of the overnight bus we took to Tokyo we could have arrived in style by bullet train in less than half the time (and would not have had to sleep upright on a bus).
1. The Bueschers Take Japan
My parents came to Japan and it was some of the most fun weeks I have ever had. We made so many memories together and I am so damn proud of them! They adopted our independent style of travel (which can be so much work) and by the end of the trip they were pros at getting around the city. Also, big props to my Mom who chose Japan as a location even though she struggles to eat Japanese food. She did not like everything, but she tried *mostly* everything and was such a good sport! It was the best time and we were SO sad when it was time for them to go.
A ryokan is a Japanese style inn popular among Japanese tourists. When we decided on Japan as our location we knew that a ryokan stay was on the must do list. We walked into our room we found a traditional style room with tatami floor mats, a table with floor seats, fancy Japanese robes and no beds. We were not exactly sure how any of this works, but from what we learned on the internet is that ryokans are known for their multi-course meals they serve, onsens (Japanese hot springs), and traditional sleeping arrangements. We were so out of our comfort zone, but you know what they say about doing as the locals do. So we did! I feel like this expereince needs more explanation than I can offer here so a blog post is in the works.
3. Sushi Dai
We waited in line for 3 hours to eat at the famed Sushi Dai. We sat down in the restaurant will 12 seats around 7:15 am. I knew since we were going in with high expectations that we would most likely disappointed….luckily, we were blown away! This is by far the best sushi I have ever eaten. I would go so far to say it was the best meal I have ever had. We went with the “omakase” which means trust the chef. The chef continued to put one delectable piece of sushi after another on our plate until we got to choose one last piece to end off on. For my last piece I asked the chef what her favorite was since she seemed to know what was up. Her reply was the sperm-sack of cod fish….uhhhh, I will go with the fatty tuna. Thanks.
Tsijuki Fish Market
It is a tale that has been told before and will be told many times in the future by other travelers. We were out to see the famed tuna auction that takes place at Tsijuki Fish Market. We read online to get there between 3-4 am if you want a chance to be one of the lucky 120 people to see the auction. We arranged a taxi to pick us up at the apartment and drive us across the city, as the metro was not running at that hour. We arrived at the fish market at 3:30 am and we were greeted with the guards telling us we were out of luck and that the auction tickets were all gone for the day. Half asleep still and with no way back home until 6:30 in the morning we got in the queue for Sushi Dai, a famous restaurant in the Outer Market nearby. We waited for three hours before we ate the best meal we have ever had. See highlights for more on that experience.
We had to wait another hour or two to get into the inner market to check out what all the hype was about. It was crazy and hectic with lorries driving everywhere (quickly I might add) and fish everywhere. It was visually overwhelming and we are so glad we waited to see it! The quick driving lorries seemed a bit hazardous to us, but we did our best to stay out of the way and not get hurt.
After spending two months in Asia we have had our fair share of watery, Asian brews. They aren’t terrible beers, but they are nothing like our beloved craft beer. Living in Denver (and really anywhere in the US now) craft beers are all around. We love us a good, hoppy IPA and have missed them on our trip. Enter Japan’s craft beer scene. Not only do they have a lot of craft breweries they also have a small population of Japanese people interested in craft beer so they import many different kinds from the States too. My Dad is a fellow craft beer lover so it was only natural that we had to seek out some breweries and craft beer bars on our trip to Japan.
Total Number of Nights: 16
Currency: $1 USD = 103 Japanese Yen
Number of Miles Traveled: 4,060 miles (including our flight from Thailand)
Number of Miles Walked: 125.3 miles (average of 7.8 miles per day)
Steps Taken: 269,561 steps (average of about 16,846 per day)
Transportation Used: train, Shinkansen (bullet train), bus, overnight bus, boat, taxi, gondola, cable car
Type of Accommodations: Hotel (1), Apartment (4), Ryokan (1)
Number of Beds: 6