Not entirely different than a dream, you visit certain countries and just have to pinch yourself…Japan is one of those places. Sitting high on my 2015 bucket list, November rolled around and everything came to fruition. The tickets were booked, the camera’s loaded with blank SD chips & us two, eager tourists with zero expectations on our mind. I had only heard great things from the culture to the food, to this and to that, etc. I had to see it for myself. Despite being from California I admit that growing up I wasn’t taught (nor went out of my way to learn) the differences in Asian culture. Sure that country had dumplings, and then that one had sushi but WHAT ELSE. This was our moment, and the only thing that stood in-between us was 14 hours of flight time. So we boarded, buckled our seat belts, put on some shitty movies & waited.
“What planet are we on?” I remember thinking to myself as I stepped out of Narita International Airport. I glanced up in awe at the bright and vivid advertisements AKA photos of overly photoshopped women with fish eyes. We quickly found a cab, hopped in, and it was in that moment that I realized it was raining. It took me that long to realize something so apparent because I was already enamored upon entry. After an hour on the road & dodging early morning traffic we found ourselves unloading our bags in front of The Prince Sakura Tower hotel (part of the Autograph collection) Without going into it too much, we stayed there for 4 days and it was AMAZING due to its central location and (walking) distance within the major Shinagawa train station.
It wasn’t until our last, and final full day of exploring did we decide to take a 3 hour train ride to KYOTO. For those of you who aren’t aware, Kyoto was the former capital of Japan & boasts some of the most sacred, & senior temples & shrines. I highly recommend it on your visit to Japan.
I know, I know, I skipped the ENTIRE trip in my writing above but instead of ranting for 4 hours about each day & the experiences in them, I have compiled a complete list & city guide. ENJOY
HOW TO GET TO TOKYO
Delta has a nonstop from JFK that usually starts around $1500
Delta also has nonstop from LAX that prices around $1000
HOW TO GET TO KYOTO (FROM TOKYO)
There are multiple trains with different rates that take you to Kyoto. we took Tokaido Shinkansen.
WHERE TO STAY in TOKYO
Park Hyatt Tokyo (for a Lost in Translation Experience)
WHERE TO STAY IN KYOTO
WHAT TO SEE in TOKYO
Shibuya pedestrian Scramble
Senso-ji temple/Kaminarimon Gate
High tea/views of the city at Park Hyatt
Tokyo tower at night
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
WHAT TO SEE in KYOTO
Kinkaku-Ji (the golden temple)
Fushimi Inari-taisha shrines
Kiyomizu-dera views & temple area
Arashiyama Bamboo grove
WHERE TO EAT IN TOKYO
Tsukiji Kiyomura Sushi-Zanmai Higashi Shinjuku
WHERE TO EAT IN KYOTO
Ramen Sen No Kaze
WHERES THE PARTY in TOKYO?
photos: Nick Pierce & Myself
(thanks for reading)