A Trip to Japan

Hello, again! I’m finally back from my trip to Japan. Jet lagged and completely loopy, but back nonetheless. (Is this real life???) I’ve had a lot of great travel experiences in my day, but this was definitely a trip to remember.

It all started when my grandma turned 80 a couple months ago and wanted to visit some old friends in the Japanese countryside. As a gift, my family bought her a ticket to Japan. Unfortunately my grandma is not currently in the best health–despite her feelings on the topic. So my sister and I traveled to Japan with her and spent some time in a town called Fujioka in the Gunma prefecture, about three hours outside of Tokyo. My sister and I then traveled to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka before rejoining with our grandma in the countryside. It was a pretty last minute trip, but one that I’ll never forget. We had the most hospitable friends in both Fujioka and Tokyo, which made the trip extra special.

Here are a few snapshots from our trip, most of which are of food. Would you expect anything else from me?

Our first home cooked breakfast in the countryside. Saba shio, miso, tamago, hijiki, gohan, nori….and some clam thing that I can’t pronounce, but tasted mighty delicious!

Our friends took us to this tiny sashimi shop on the side of the road in Fujioka. They chose the fish they wanted and the shop owner cut and beautifully organized the sashimi on a platter to take home.

Our friends also took us to an amazing all you can eat shabu shabu restaurant in Fujioka. Side note: the beer was all you can drink as well.

We stayed in Shinjuku while in Tokyo–which I highly recommend!

We took sushi lessons near the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I made the plate above full of rolls and nigiri. If you go to Tokyo and love to cook, I highly recommend walking around the Tsukiji outer market and taking a cooking class.

Obento on the Shinkansen on the way to Kyoto.

If you love to cook, you have to swing by Aritsugu in Kyoto. The store itself is tiny, but Arisugu is very well-respected for their handmade knives, pots, scissors, and other utensils. The best part is that you can get anything engraved on the spot. Not by a machine, but by an actual artisan–it’s seriously amazing. We bought a knife for my dad and had our last name engraved in Japanese on it.

Tasting green teas at Ippodo, one of the oldest tea shops in Kyoto.

Love the Shinkansen!

Quail egg and yam sushi at a conveyer belt sushi place in Kyoto Station. I don’t know the name of this place, but it’s across the way from McDonalds in Kyoto Station, if that helps. Every plate (yes, every single one) is 137 yen, about $1.80 US. We nommed here on multiple occasions, I can’t lie.

Shinto shrine in Kyoto.

Takoyaki in Osaka! “Tako” means octopus in Japanese and takoyaki are basically octopus dumplings topped with everything from mayo and teriyaki sauce to poached eggs and green onions.