I visited Japan in 2016 during the autumn season and it was the most amazing experience ever. Here’s my attempt of documenting my Japan trip in 3 parts, since my trip was about 13 days long and it’s too hard to pick just 8 things from Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
[6D7N itinerary can be found at the end of the post]
Reason #1: Food oh glorious Japanese food
The Japanese have an amazing way to make many things taste glorious. During this Tokyo leg alone, I’ve tasted some of the best yakitori (Aburidori Barichou), melt in your mouth bbq beef (Ushigoro Bambina), fresh scallops from the shell (Tsujiki Market) and amazing piping hot gyoza (Harajuku Gyoza Lou) ever. Just thinking about makes my mouth water again.
Despite all the awesomeness, I must say Osaka has the best food by far 😀 Look out for the next few Japan posts.
Reason #2: Mount Fuji
With a commanding presence that is visible from many parts of Tokyo’s skyline, it’s no wonder Mount Fuji is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the world. One of the best ways to view this magnificent wonder is to view it from one of the five lakes around the area. During my trip, I stayed around Lake Kawaguchiko and had the fortune of having a clear view of Mount Fuji for the 3 days I was there.
Reason #3: ONSENS or Public Bath
Onsens are fantastic for the skin and the soul. If you have any inhibitions of getting all naked with strangers, throw them away. With the various benefits (soft and smooth skin; relaxation of muscles) of soaking in hot spring mineral waters, it is extremely easy to get addicted to visiting the onsen.
Lucky for me, my accommodation at Lake Kawaguchiko not only had a nice bath just on the balcony, but also a public bath on the premises which not only was free for guests to use, but also had the most amazing ceiling to floor glass window that overlooked Mount Fuji.
Reason #4: Omotesando
A gorgeous tree lined avenue, a shopping district with plenty of food options. Seriously what is there not to like about this place? The area has an incredibly relaxed vibe, that differs from the likes of Shibuya and Harajuku that is incredibly youthful and bustling.
Additionally, it has some of my favorite brunch places (Aoyama Flower Market and Dominique Ansel Bakery) in Tokyo on this trip and Gyoza Lou (which I mentioned earlier has some of the best Gyoza I’ve eaten in a while).
Reason #5: Stunning Temples and Shrines
It is a wonder how Tokyo despite being a modern city, has found many ways to retain the many stunning temples and shrines. Locals and tourists alike partake in peaceful rituals. Even for a non-religious person like me, everytime I visit an attraction like Sensoji Temple, Asakusa Shrine and Meiji Jingu Shrine, I feel a sense of calmness wash over me. Its these moments like this during the trip that I get to truly relax amidst the rush of getting from one attraction to another.
Reason #6: Shibuya Crossing
In direct contrast to Reason #5, the Shibuya crossing is possibly one of the most hectic and busiest pedestrian crossings in the world. This is where you go to marvel at how order and chaos can co-exist at the same time. In a way it is quite therapeutic to grab a drink at a nearby cafe and people watch the crossing.
Reason #7: Gorgeous Parks to relax
Even though the parks are famous during the Sakura season, I think they are definitely worth a visit during the other seasons maybe except for winter. During autumn, the leaves turn a beautiful shade of orange and brown which looks like a perpetual sunset scene on the landscape. On a day with good weather, lying down on the neatly manicured lawns of the parks is a luxury many of us do not have back home, so give it a try while on holiday.
Reason #8: Ichiran
I know this should have fallen under reason number 1, but because I’m such a ramen fan, this deserves a standalone reason. To be honest, I was all skeptical about all the fuss both online and offline (my friends). Boy am I glad I went. In total I think I had Ichiran twice just in 6 days, not counting the times I went in Osaka too :p
Steps to eating Ichiran:
- Purchase ramen ticket from vending machine
- Before entering the staff will pass you an order chit (to customize your ramen)
- Look out for a vacant seat panel or the staff will guide you to an open booth
- Proceed to the booth and pass the order chit & ramen ticket through the window to the staff behind the counter
- Ta-da! The world famous Ichiran ramen will appear before your eyes. Enjoy.
And….that brings my 8 reasons for visiting Japan (Tokyo) to an end.
For more details on how I spent my time in Tokyo. here’s a quick overview of the itinerary that my travelling companion & I followed.
Look out for more Kyoto and Osaka highlights and itineraries in upcoming posts soon!