In July, I decided to do one of the scariest, yet most fulfilling things of my life. I decided to pack my bags and go on a trip to Japan with my friends. While many may think that this isn’t a “big deal,” it was the first time I chose to go out of the country without my family. To say that my experience in there was amazing would be a tremendous understatement.
We spent eight days, exploring, eating and taking in all of what Tokyo had to offer.
Where we stayed
Instead of booking a hotel, my friends and I opted for an Airbnb in the heart of Shibuya. While not only was it more budget-friendly than a hotel stay, it was extremely convenient and we happened to be mere steps away from the famous Shibuya Crossing. (This is a must-go if you do end up visiting Tokyo.
What we ate
Being that the inner part of the Tsukiji Fish Market will be closing this year, we were determined to experience everything it had to offer – including the food. Being that we started our day at 8 a.m., it was only natural that we would start with an omelet. Tamagoyaki is a traditional Japanese dish, consisting of several layers of egg, rolled together – typically in a rectangular shape. Surprisingly, they were on the sweet side. I really enjoyed these.
To this day, I crave these. Each morning, before we went off for our daily adventure, we would stop by a 7 eleven and grab several packaged onigiri. These are a favorite of mine because of how simple they were. It’s made from white rice, formed into a triangular shape, wrapped in seaweed. There are various fillings to choose from. My personal favorite was the short rib.
If you think Ramen is great, you have to try Udon. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to Ramen in a bit.) Udon is very similar to Ramen in that it consists of noodles and some kind of soup, but typically, Udon pertains to a dish of soba noodles with a soup to dip it in. Ours came is Naruto and thinly sliced beef. Other words – it was delicious.
I think at this point, I am part-Ramen. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of what Ramen is made out of because I’m sure we’re all well aware. Only thing I must stress is if you visit Japan, try to make it out to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. I think it might have had my favorite Ramen in all of Japan.
What we did
Mt. Fuji is an active volcano that is probably the most memorable experience anyone will ever have when visiting Japan. I highly recommend taking a tour, where you’ll be able to package in sight-seeing, shopping, and an onsen experience all in one day. We went through Viator, and I have to say I highly recommend it. Our tour guide was extremely friendly and helpful. We took a bus from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji. Took a lot of stress off our shoulders. During the tour, we were able to visit the Gotemba Premium Outlets, visit an onsen bathhouse and get some delicious soba noodles.
If you get the chance to go to DisneySea, please visit. If I have to be honest, I’ve only been to Disney once in my life and being that I was only 4 or 5, I don’t remember much of my experience. DisneySea, however, is a place that I will hold in my heart forever. Located in the Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, DisneySea is a fantastic theme park. I fell in love with the mascot, food, and music. Also, definitely try to snag yourself a batch of Mochi Little Green Men from Toy Story. I, unfortunately, was unable to try them, but I heard they were fantastic.
Ginza, located in the entertainment district of Tokyo, is where all the shopaholics out there need to go. If you feel like splurging, Ginza is the place to go. Ginza is where you can find various internationally renowned stores, like the Swatch store, Gucci, and Apple. It’s also home to the famous Ginza 6, luxury shopping complex. (Also, if you’re obsessed with KitKats, much like myself, you can visit the KitKat Chocolatory.)
I was very fascinated by Japan’s Chinatown. It had some of the best sights that I experienced throughout the whole trip. A favorite was Yamashita Park, which has beautiful waterfront views and garden. If you do have some time to kill, I would definitely say that you should visit the Art-Trick Museum. It has various life-sized optical allusions for you to experience.
Takeshita Street, located in Harajuku, is one of the most famous fashion-forward streets you can find in all of Japan. There, you can find the trendiest shops, filled with unique and trendy clothes, all for super-reasonable prices. There are themed shops, where you can find a variety of styles – everything from goth to princess. Also, if you happen to visit, be sure to make a pit stop and get rainbow-themed foods!
Sensoji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. The historic temple dates back to 645 AD, dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. The temple is surrounded by shops, selling everything from handmade noodles to meaningful charms. Before entering the temple, it’s customary to purify yourself. Like many other temples and shrines in Japan, you’ll see small, stone fountains with ladles surrounding them. To purify yourself, you’ll have to:
- Take the ladle with your right hand and pour the water over your left.
- Switch hands and pour the water over your right hand.
- Switch hands again, pour water into your left hand, swish it in your mouth and spit it on the ground
- Tilt the ladle, letting the water run down the handle to clean it.
If you want to learn more about my experience, be sure to watch my Tokyo vlog on my YouTube Channel. (And don’t forget to subscribe!)