This year we made it a point to explore some old and new places in our hometown in Narita, Japan. The great thing about Narita is that it’s only one train stop away (about 7 min) from the Narita International Airport.
If you’re visiting Japan for the first time and think that most restaurants are all about sushi, you’re in for a big surprise. There is so much good food in Japan that sushi isn’t something we look forward to eating when we make our yearly visit home.
We were looking for places in Tokyo that was more low-key and not bombarded by tourists and stumbled upon a city called Yanaka, also known as Yanaka Cat Town, which is located in Nippori. It was a breathe of fresh air stopping by here after being surrounded by an immense crowd at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.
We feel lucky that we grew up in Narita as it is home to a gorgeous Shinshoji Temple, so we rarely ventured out to other temples in Japan. This year, Crystal wanted to visit the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, which is about an hour and a half away from our hometown.
Miyoshiya is quiet hidden gem and it can easily be missed as it’s nestled in a small alleyway along Omotesando (表参道), a road that approaches a temple. The alleyway opens up to an intricate Japanese garden which instantly takes you back in time as it’s a stark contrast to the bustling streets.
When we think of museums, we picture large white spaces with artwork hanging on the walls or sculptures in the middle of an open space. You stare at the piece, perhaps read the description, and then move on to the next piece of artwork. At teamLab Borderless, it is a completely different experience. It’s a group of digital artworks that creates a borderless world where you find yourself roaming around exploring for hours in awe.
We usually visit our family in Japan during the holidays but this year we made it a point to visit during the cherry blossom season so that we could see these special trees blooming in Tokyo at Meguro River. We haven’t seen the cherry blossoms in a very long time and to be honest, I don’t think we really appreciated it as much as we should have while we were living in Japan. We weren’t going to take it for granted this time!
This year when I returned home to Japan, I was looking forward to visiting my best friend’s cafe Eagle 137. It’s located in Kashiwa and it’s not your average tourist spot. Actually, it’s not touristy at all as it’s where the locals go to unwind, relax, and eat delicious local ingredients.
This time of year in Japan can be tricky to pack for. It’s a transitional season where some days you’ll be fine wearing just a sweater, but other days you’ll find yourself needing a coat. Here are some of our suggestions on what to wear during the early spring cherry blossom season in Japan.
We get asked quite often for food recommendations in Japan and it's so hard for us to pick a favorite as everything in Japan is so delicious. We decided to put together a list of dishes that we always have to eat when we go home to Japan.
Japan is full of cute cafes and especially adorable themed cafes. They have everything from cat cafes to Totoro cafes to hedgehog cafes and it's so hard to choose between all these awesome cafes with limited time (and cash). These are some of the cutest cafes we have visited in Japan.
Since we were making a visit to Oo-edo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba, we wanted to check out the rest of the city while we were there and needed a place to stay. Hilton Odaiba was the perfect hotel in a prime location!
One of the stores we always make a visit to while we're in Japan is the Daiso store. Daiso was around when we were kids, but throughout the years, their products have really expanded. Daiso is a huge franchise that sells a range of products from kitchen goods to travel goods to stationery and more all priced at 100 yen (~US $1).
We are obsessed with ramen and have been eating ramen since we were kids. We've been noticing the ramen boom in the US and have been impressed with Ichicoro and Dosunco in Florida, along with Tajima and Jinya Ramen Bar in California. Now it was time to taste the real deal at Tokyo Ramen Street where 8 of the best ramen shops are under one roof at Tokyo station.
Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo and is a very popular tourist attraction and popular date spot. The island is super clean and during the planning of this city, it was built to give it a futuristic vibe. Here are our suggestions on the top 5 things to do in Odaiba.
We love wearing yukatas whenever we're in Japan, but since we don't actually own one, we thought it would be fun to visit Oedo Onsen Monogatari to borrow one of their cute yukatas and walk around their park. This place is a one-of-a-kind theme park where you can experience the Japanese hot springs, foot baths, street food, carnival games and more.
Did you know that Cup Noodle was invented in 1958 and Momofuku Ando is the inventor of instant noodles, instant ramen, and Cup Noodle? We didn't know this until we visited the awesome Cup Noodle Museum in Yokohama, Japan.
I booked my recent flight to Japan with JAL and sat in the Premium Economy Class for the first time. The seats were spacious and comfy, but the in-flight meal is what really blew me away.
I’ve always been infatuated with coffee art and since we were making a trip to Japan, I already knew of a couple of places I wanted to stop by because now there is 2D and 3D coffee art in Japan!
We've become a lot wiser over the years on how to dress properly and comfortably for winter in Japan. These are our must-haves to staying warm, comfortable, and cute.
Preparing for any trip can be overwhelming, especially if you are traveling overseas for a long period of time. We have traveled to Japan countless number of times, so we've become pros at getting ready for our trip. These are some tips on how to prepare for your trip to Japan.
Most Japanese know a little bit of English since they have to learn it in high school, but every once in awhile, you might catch someone that doesn't know any English at all. Here are the top 10 Japanese phrases to know when navigating Japan.
Japan is the land of quirky, wacky and unique things and that's why we, along with millions of other travelers, love this country so much. On our last trip to Japan, I was on a mission to find the most unique and wacky things to do in Tokyo and here is my top 10 list:
There are so many things to see and do in Tokyo that it's hard to narrow down what to do if you only have a couple of days to spend in this iconic city. We grew up in Japan and still visit on a regular basis, so these are our recommendations from a tourist and local's perspective.
I have visited a Maid Cafe years ago when I went with a group of friends, but Ryan had never experienced one before, so we made sure to visit one this time while we were in Japan. Maid Cafes have been in Japan for awhile now and they are popular among otakus (Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the anime and manga fandom) and tourists. They are cafes with waitresses dressed as maids and they treat their customers as “masters”.
Karaoke isn't something new and has been a favorite pastime in Japan for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Japan and my classmates and I would go as often as 2-3 times a week. When I moved to the United States, I was surprised at how different the Karaoke experience was in the Western culture. It was nothing like Japan's Karaoke.
Grand Hyatt Tokyo is located in Roppongi Hills and it's an outstanding location right in the center of everything with shopping, entertainment, restaurants and more. It was perfect for our one night stay because we wanted to visit a couple of places that were within walking distance from the hotel: Hedgehog Cafe and the Mori Art Museum.
I was on a hunt for the cutest cafes in Japan and came across Pompompurin Cafe in Harajuku. Japan is well-known for creating kawaii (cute) dishes and this cafe did not disappoint. The entire yellow cafe explodes with cuteness from their decor to tabletop settings to dishes.
I recently visited the Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan store and this store is ridiculous with all the gachapon machines they have. If you’re a gachapon lover, you must go here.