Sunday, June 26, 2011

Next time... Japan

I am sad to say that this will be my final post on our Japan trip. It was an amazing trip, and we created a lot of wonderful memories while we were there. It will be difficult to top this trip, but we know we need to return because our "next time..." list is quite big. I will be continuing to update this list as I think of things to do, places to eat, and what to buy...

  • Hanami- Cherry blossom sightseeing (March/April)
  • Yomiuri Giants (Tokyo baseball team)- Tickets can be bought here (Season: May-August)
  • Matsuri- Festivals (July-August)
  • Hanabi- Personal fireworks
  • "Pukikura"
  • Obon festival (August) Completed Aug 2016
  • Eat at kaitenzushi Completed Aug 2016
  • Tokyo
    • Shibuya- Shibuya 109, Hachiko statue, Shibuya Crossing watch from Starbucks
    • Ikebukuro- Toyota Amlux Showroom, Animate, Sunshine City, Tokyu Hands (pet shop, Nekobukuro cat cafe), Namjatown
    • Asakusa- Sensoji Temple- Big rides, food stalls- fresh senbei, soft serve, kakigori
    • Tokyo Imperial Palace and Gardens
    • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
    • Roppongi, Odaiba
    • Tsukiji Fish Market- Fish auction, Sushi Dai restaurant
    • Ueno- Yamashiroya toy store
    • Loft shopping
    • Private tea ceremony
    • Coconuts Toy Shop (Nakano)- vintage toy shop
    • Tokyo Sky Tree (Sumida, Tokyo)
    • Ginza- Alice in Wonderland restaurant (need reservations), Hakuhinkan Toy Park
  • Takayama- Hida beef sushi @ Kitchen Hida
  • Kamakura- Daibutsu, Hase temple, Beach
  • Hakone- Get Hakone Free Pass, go to an onsen, Owakudani's black eggs
  • Miyajima- Mount Misen, Anago Meshi restaurant
  • Nara- Himeji Castle, deer, Tonkatsu Ganko
  • Osaka
  • Beppu- Hot sand soak
  • Hokkaido
  • Kyoto- Arashiyama bamboo groves, Togetsukyo Bridge, Rent kimono for a day, Grill Miyata's kobe beef dinner (200g)
  • Fukuoka- Round 1, Sweets Paradise (3-4 hours by train from Tokyo)- amusement complex, purikura
  • Onsen
  • Ryokan
  • Festival/omatsuri
  • LOVE Hotel
  • Fujikyu Highland amusement park (near Yamanashi)
  • Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Garden
  • Menchi katsu- Breaded and deep-fried Japanese ground meat cutlet
  • Grill Miyata (Kyoto)
  • Tenya- Tempura fast food chain
  • Katsuya- Katsudon
  • Ekiben
  • Crab Cream Croquette
  • Tonjiru (pork miso)
  • Ramen
    • IVAN Ramen- A former NYer opened a popular ramen restaurant in Japan
    • Ichiran Ramen
    • Ichiroku Ramen
    • Tsukemen- Tsubaki (椿) in Ikebukuro
  • Yakitori from Ebisu (near Kichijoji)
  • Taiyaki from Roppongi area
  • Omoide Yokocho- Try yakitori
  • Kaitenzushi- Conveyor belt sushi
  • Sushi Dai- Fresh sashimi at Tsukiji Fish Market
  • Japanese fruits (summer)- momo, sakuranbo
  • Gyuan steak restaurant (Ginza)
  • Satou Steakhouse restaurant (Kichijoji)
  • Izakaya (Roppongi area)
  • Kakigori (snow cones)
  • Lotteria chicken sandwich with black pepper mayo
  • Tea- Sakura, Matcha Milk
  • Rokurinsha (tsukemen)
  • White "Adult Sweetness" Kit Kat
Need to buy
  • Japanese train jingles (Hakuhinkan Toy Park- Ginza, Yamashiroya- Ueno, Tokyu Hands)
  • Furin
  • Shuugi Bukuro
  • Studio Ghibli Museum posters
  • Plastic Sumo Caps (Ginza's Toy Park)
  • Daiso- Japanese ceramics
  • Ginza Itoya stationery store- lots of cute stationery here
  • Totoro posters (large)
  • Tokyo Giants t-shirt, baseball cap
  • MI Paste tooth enamel paste
  • Una KOOL  mosquito bite medicine
  • Pilot pens with erasable tops
  • Daruma
  • Japanese fan
  • Japanese cooking splashguard (metal/foil)
  • Kotatsu- This is a low coffee-table like table covered by a futon or heavy blanket. Underneath the table is an electric unit, and the blanket "traps" the heat inside. I've only seen this in Japan, and I really want one!
  • Yukatas
  • Snacks/Food
  • Gift ideas for friends back in the US
    • Umeshu (drink)
    • Erasable pens (Pilot FriXion- darker colors show better)
    • Japanese Stationery
    • Japanese travel coffee mug
    • My favorite osenbei
    • Exfoliating bath towel
    • Tenugui/handkerchiefs
    • Kokeshi doll
    • Maneki neko
    • Japanese pottery (mug, plates, etc)
    • Starbucks Narita Airport tumbler
    • Tokyo Banana
    • Souvenir ideas #1 and #2 and #3
  • Bring the maximum amount of luggage, even if you don't fill it up completely- When we traveled to Japan, we checked 3 total items (2 suitcases + traveling backpack) and brought 2 carry-ons. However, we could have taken up to 4 checked bags and 4 carry-ons total between the 2 of us. Since half of the checked bags were gifts for family, we thought we'd have so much empty room to bring back gifts so we didn't even bother checking in 1 more suitcase- BIG mistake. We really struggled to bring everything back and had to do some creative packing just so we could avoid extra luggage fees. Lesson learned- bring total amount of checked luggage. Even if it's not full, you'll avoid potential extra luggage fees or overweight limit fees
  • Sleep aid- I struggled for the first week due to the time change. Eventually, I went to the Japanese pharmacy to get some OTC sleep aid medicine. I will talk to my doctor and see if Ambien would be a good solution for me (for my next international trip)
  • Bring dri-fit or easy wicking clothing- Japanese don't have dryers and hang dry everything. Since we'll do laundry at my relatives' homes, it is imperative to have clothes that can dry easily (b/c it doesn't dry quickly when there is so much humidity)
  • Bring extra snacks/bars for when you're hungry (at night, on the go, etc)
  • Bring your passport shopping- then your purchases can become tax free
  • Get a global plan or rent Wifi device- Useful to communicate to Japanese family (via LINE)

Thanks for reading, and until then... Sayonara!


jacqui + erik said...

NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!! not your last post! T_T
so sad! your blog was so fun to read every day :) a lot of these things on this list are on our itinerary for our next time, so it gets me more and more excited. only about a month away now! :::butterflies in my stomach!::: hopefully my next blog will bring you as much joy as yours has brought me! :D

Sara said...

Aww, thanks Jacqui. It was so fun to write and I'm so sad to have it be over :(

We are already itching for another vacation- your is so soon!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jacqui this is so sad, its your last post. I have loved reading your updates almost daily. My daughter (12 yo) and I leave early November for 18 nights. I have wanted to go for years and she is so into Manga and their culture I know we will have the best time.
We will miss you here
Shasuu - Australia

Sara said...

Hi Sue,
Thanks for your kids words. If it weren't for Jacqui's blog, other travel blogs, and the people from the TripAdvisor forum, I would never have started this blog. Even though it took a long time, I am so glad I did it, and I am glad others are enjoying it!
If you do a blog, please make sure to let me know-
I would love to follow :)
If not, have a safe and wonderful trip. Your daughter is a lucky girl!

Rikki said...

Sara- this was amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your trip. Makes me so want to go back!

Dale said...

Hi Sara, I'm a JA from the Bay Area who's been to Japan a number of times (including last summer and another trip in 3 weeks!) and your blog has been very enjoyable to read. Moreover, there is a lot of useful information there even for someone like me, with some experience in Japan travel. You have to get back there again (as my family and I are going to do).

Thanks very much for all the great tips!