Japan [+Singapore]

Dan had to go back to Tokyo for another long business trip.  Lucky for me, I was able to join him for the last half of the trip!  This was our third time in Tokyo.  I said it the last two times we were there, and I’ll say it again – I love Japan!  I was so happy to be back!

Dan’s time in Japan was primarily spent working.  And after only one week in Tokyo, he had a 2 day work training in Singapore.  He was able to fly to Singapore the weekend before the training began to get some sightseeing in.  Here’s a brief glimpse of his time in Singapore:

Marina Bay Sands

After a long [almost] four weeks apart, I was able to join Dan in Tokyo! I spent the first few days reacquainting myself with the city I love so much [and was quickly reminded of how HOT and HUMID it is there!] Dan made sure to welcome me to the city with a beautiful view of the sunset from Tokyo Tower on my first night in Tokyo.

We had already done a lot of exploring the easy to reach cities outside of Tokyo [Kyoto, Hakone, Yokohama…], and only had a few left on our list to check out.  We decided on Kamakura for our first day trip on Saturday.  It was a really easy one hour direct train ride from Tokyo Central Station.

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We wandered the little shopping streets on our way to the first temple, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.  We grabbed a quick lunch then made our way over to the Kotoku-in (Great Buddha of Kamakura).  This thing was MASSIVE!  I knew from photos that it would be large, but I did not expect it to be THIS BIG!  It’s uber impressive, and is quite the sight.  I love that it is also a different kind of sight to see versus another temple.  The last real sight for us was the Hase-dera Temple.  It was beautiful, as it sat up on a cliff with beautiful views of the sea.  It also had an underground tunnel system that we were able to walk through [although, we still can’t figure out what it was used for!  Everything was only in Japanese!].

The final stop of the day was the beach!  As it was nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit with 75% humidity…we needed the ocean!  Although it was not a beautiful white beach with turquoise waters, it was perfect for a quick dip in the water before hopping back on the train to Tokyo.

When Sunday rolled around, I was still fighting jetlag and Dan was pretty tired from long hours at work.  We decided to sleep in late and relax before heading out to DisneySea for the afternoon/evening.  DisneySea has an awesome deal where you pay a much lower ticket price to visit the park anytime after 4:00 PM until closing.  I’ve been nudging Dan to take me to DisneySea the last two visits to Tokyo, and he finally gave in and we had the most amazing time.  DisneySea is gorgeous – it is set up like a sea version of Epcot.  We spent six glorious hours riding rides, stuffing our faces with overpriced park food and enjoying the shows.  Some of our favourites were the Toy Story ride and the light show they put on in the water at night.  Let me tell you – DisneySea was well worth the wait.  I loved every minute of it.  It was so much fun!  Lines weren’t very long, the park was SO clean [typical Japan!] and it is the only DisneySea park in the world!  I HIGHLY recommend going – just the water light show at night is worth seeing in itself!

While Dan was working the next week, I explored more of Tokyo.  I strolled around the parts of the city that were my favourites, as well as checking out a few new areas.  I also spent a decent amount of time relaxing in some of my favouite quiet parks found dotted throughout the city.  I love how quiet, clean and green Tokyo parks are.  It seemed I always found myself ending up at a park sometime throughout the day to either to some yoga or just catch up on some reading.

Hard to believe I haven’t mentioned it yet, but it’s definitely time I talk about the food.  It’s no secret, I’m OBSESSED with Japanese food.  Some people complain that after some time in Japan, they get sick of it…but I seriously think I could eat it all the time.  It’s incredible!  When I was on my own, I checked off the places that were my favourites from trips past.  Ramen still sits at the top of my list.  I love the variety that each shop offers [and there are SO many ramen shops, you can never get bored trying!].  It should also come as no surprise, that spicy ramen happens to be my favourite variety!

One of the most memorable dinners from the trip was with Dan’s work team when we went out and celebrated the finish of their project with a Kobe beef dinner.  The restaurant was Teppanyaki style, and it reminded me of Benihana.  Our chef prepared the courses on the stainless cooktop in front of us.  The Kobe beef was unreal.  Super buttery [and garlicky] and melt in your mouth delicious.

The best part about this trip to Japan was having Scott and Christine come visit for our last week!  Scott is just as big of a foodie as me, and has always wanted to visit Tokyo for the food and culture scene.  As they’re about to have their first baby (yay!), they figured this was the perfect time to visit and celebrate with a babymoon!  AND – they just moved to LA, so the flight to Tokyo is just about the same as a flight to London would be!

It was incredible having our brother and sister in Tokyo with us.  I played tour guide for them while Dan was at work during the day.  And we took them to our favourite restaurants in the evenings.

For the weekend, the four of us decided to take a day trip up to a countryside/mountain town called Nikko.  We took the train straight there, which only took about an hour.  It is such a quiet small town – it was a nice escape from the city! After dropping our stuff off at our hotel, we spent the afternoon checking out all of the temples and shrines.  All of them are located in the Nikko National Park, so it makes checking all of them out super easy and convenient as they’re all right next to each other!  The park is home to some really cool and unique things; including:  Japan’s most ornately decorated shrine the Toshogo Shrine and the famous Three Wise Monkey’s (Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil).

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That night, we stayed in a traditional Japanese Ryokan.  It was quite the experience!

The next day, we took a bus over to the lake/mountain area to do some hiking and see some waterfalls.  It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect (ok – it was quite hot, but it was manageable!). After a full day of hiking, we headed back to Tokyo for two final nights together.

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We finished our time together with a trip to Tsukiji Market and two incredible meals and invaluable time together.  We miss Scott and Christine so much, and our time together is never long enough.  It was such a special treat to be able to experience Japan together.  Something we’ll cherish forever and ever….and it’ll be a great story for Baby Glaser!!! Her first trip to Japan 🙂

Glasers

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