Day 10 of the trip was the last day we were in Japan.
Our Airbnb hosts had a lovely breakfast prepared for us when we woke up.
James had to leave super early that morning, but Nicole, Paul, and I decided to
go into Tokyo one last time to see the Imperial Palace and eat lunch. The palace
was closed but we got to walk around the grounds.
We then got on the Narita Express train to take us to the airport. I said
goodbye to Nicole (who I would see the next day because we’re roommates) and
Paul and headed to Terminal 2 for my flight back to NYC.
This is the final video of the Japan 2017 Series! Look forward to a
lot more travel content to come later this summer, as I’m leaving my job
this week to start a new adventure.
On day 9 of the trip we headed back near Tokyo for our last night in Japan.
Our bullet train left Osaka Station at 1:43PM and we arrived in Tokyo around
5PM. We then headed to our Airbnb in Chiba, which is on the north side of Tokyo
and closer to Narita Airport, which we’d all be going to the next day.
The house we stayed in was a lovely traditional Japanese home where a family of
three lived. The mother and daughter were learning English together, and one of
the ways they practiced was by giving guests a tour of their house.
We headed out to find dinner, but on a week night this far outside of Tokyo most
places were closing early. We ended up in a mall that was eerily empty but had
some snack food to try out. For dinner we of course chose the place that spoke
zero english, and google translate wasn’t much help. The meal ended up being
really good though.
Afterwards we walked in the rain to an American bar which was run by a
Japanese-speaking Persian man. At the bar we watched the movie Bartender
starring Tom Cruise, and enjoyed our last night in Japan.
On day ten of the trip: we leave our Airbnb and head into Tokyo one last
time, before making our way to the airport to fly home.
On day 8 we travelled to Osaka, where we ate the most delicious meal of the trip
and also rode on a ferris wheel.
We left at 11A.M. to head to Kyoto Station. Our Japan Rail train left at noon,
and the trip to Osaka was about 30 minutes long.
After arriving we made our way to our Airbnb, then Nicole and I went out to get
massages. We had to make appointments for later in the day, so we wandered
around a pet store in the meantime.
We all then met at a restaurant for dinner. We chose a place that served
okonomiyaki, which is a grilled pancake / omelette from heaven. The restaurant
had a map where customers could pin where they were from.
After dinner we went to ride on a ferris wheel!
Brandi then left for Thailand, so we said goodbye to her and then went back to
our Airbnb to do laundry.
On day nine of the trip: we take yet another train ride, and stay with a
family for our final night in Japan.
During the second half of day seven we visited two shrines in Kyoto.
Before getting to the shrines, Nicole and I went in search of an afternoon meal.
Most restaurants close between 2 and 5P.M., so all we could find was a cafe that
had some alright spaghetti.
The first shrine, Kiyomizu-dera, was under renovation so we could only see part
All of the the buses were packed on account of it being tourist season, so we
decided to take a taxi to the next shrine. That shrine, Fushimi-inari, is famous
for having thousands of gates winding through trails in the woods. The cicada
bugs were really loud here too.
Afterwards we tried to get into a fancy restaurant but it required reservations,
so nicole and I split off to get tacos while Brandi, James, and Paul went to eat
at a hotpot restaurant.
On day eight of the trip: we eat okonomiyaki in Osaka.
We began day seven of the trip eating street food at Nishiki Market in Kyoto.
All of us tried some interesting food, and we wandered around the little shops
in the market as well.
Nicole tried a fried octopus ball and did not enjoy it. Paul was very
adventurous and tried just about everything.
After we’d had our fill we all got ice cream or slushies then went back to our
Airbnb to take naps around 2. When we woke up we were hungry for a full meal but
unfortunately most restaurants close at 2 and open again at 5. Nicole and I went
to find a cafe that might be open. We found a place that had some okay spaghetti
which held us over for a while.
During the second half of the day we visited a couple of shrines.
On day six of the trip we hiked to a waterfall near mount fuji and then traveled
We woke up at 4:15A.M. to watch the sunrise, because we were told that it is the
best time to see Mount Fuji before the clouds roll in.
After eating breakfast, we packed our bags and left them in the front office of
our villa. We needed to store them for a few hours while we went on a hike to a
local shrine and waterfall. The shrine was a 15 minute walk from our villa, and
the waterfall was a 30 minute hike from there.
After cooling down at the waterfall, we decided to walk down the road that led
back to where we started instead of taking the trail down. We also met a solo
traveler from Luxembourg who hung out with us for a few hours.
When we got down to the road we were pretty hungry so we found a place to eat
lunch. We were told to try the local Yoshida Udon Noodle which is only available
in this area. It did not disappoint.
We then got caught in a downpour, so our villa was nice enough to send a van to
pick us up and take us to the bus stop so we could make our way to Kyoto.
The 3:20P.M. bus ride was about 45 minutes long, and took us to Mishima station
where we got on a bullet train. This bullet train ride would be our first on the
trip. The train ride was a couple of hours long, and we got to Kyoto around
On day seven of the trip: we eat street food at an outdoor market in
On day five of our trip we leave Tokyo and travel to Mount Fuji! It took us most
of the day, and a few trains, to get there, but the views of the countryside
were worth it.
To get out of Tokyo, we first took the local subway to Shinjuku station, where
we got on a Japan Rail train at 1:30PM. This train took us about an hour outside
of the city to Otsuki station.
Once we arrived at Otsuki station, we waited for our 3:15PM train towards
Kawaguchiko station. This trip took about an hour as well, and we made many
local stops while passing through smaller towns along the way.
At Kawaguchiko station, a van from our hotel was waiting to pick us up. When we
got in the van, we were informed that we were being taken to a supermarket, and
that we had 30 minutes to buy groceries for dinner and breakfast. Apparently,
the few restaurants that were nearby closed early and opened late. The
supermarket was a godsend because they had real peanut butter!
After we unpacked everything at our villa, we walked across the street to Lake
Kawaguchiko. Typically the clouds part after sunset, unveiling Mount Fuji, so we
waited by the lake and took in the scenery.
We got back to our villa after dark and made dinner. I believe it was some sort
of burrito / stir-fry hybrid. We also found out that we’d accidentally bought
alcohol-free beer. Oops.
After dinner we played cards, then went to the hot spring baths at our hotel.
There were separate rooms for men and women, and we had to get naked and take a
shower before getting in. Apparently the water was directly from the lake, and
meant to have healing powers.
On day six of the trip: we hike to a waterfall, we leave Mount Fuji, and
we ride on our first bullet train!
On the fourth day of the trip I met up with my cousin who was also in Japan, and
we went to Tokyo Skytree.
Day four was our last full day in Tokyo. We took it easy since the next morning
we were leaving for Mt Fuji. My cousin Lauren and I met up and spent part of the
day together. She wanted to check out Shibuya Crossing so we went back there. We
then got lost trying to find the sushi restaurant the rest of the group was at,
but eventually made it.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the Imperial Palace (which was closed)
and running into a popup Oktoberfest, before heading to the Tokyo SkyTree Tower
to get a birds eye view of the city at night. Tokyo SkyTree was pretty neat, and
showed how huge a city Tokyo is. I’d be interested to check that view out during
After saying goodbye to Lauren, I headed back to the house. Unfortunately I
didn’t get any video, but we then went to a local bar for a couple of hours. We
had a very fun conversation with the bartender and another guy there, using
their bit of english, James' bit of Japanese, and a lot of assistance from
Google Translate. It was a great evening.
On day five of the trip, we leave Tokyo and make our way to Mt. Fuji!
On our third day in Tokyo we attend the Shinjuku Eisa Matsuri Festival, walk
around the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, walk through Shibuya Crossing, and
see the Sumida River Fireworks.
I woke up around 8AM today, so I got a lot of sleep. I was still laying in bed
at 9:15AM, and everyone else is pretty tired as well. We have two festivals to
go to today so we are taking it easy this morning. We left around noon to go
towards the Shinjuku festival. We hung around there for an hour or so watching
the drum and dance performances. It was possibly the hottest day of the trip,
and incredibly humid, so we only lasted so long in the crowds.
To cool off we headed to the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I bought a lemonade
for 350 yen and we got in for 200 yen. We walked around for an hour or so,
before heading to Shibuya Crossing, one of the busiest intersections in the
world. We stopped in the Starbucks that has a view of the crossing from above so
we could take some video. There’s a timelapse in the video I linked at the
beginning of this post.
In the afternoon some rain set in so we went to find some food. I didn’t realize
how long it’d been since I’d last eaten so I was getting a little out of it and
rather hangry. We found a nice place though and the noodles and shrimp hit the
Newly energized, we walked to the Sumida River Fireworks Festival. Sort of. We
walked down a street next to the park the fireworks were at because there were
so many people. There was zero standing room, and the police were making sure
nobody stood in the street so we had to keep walking. It also was raining on us.
When we left we had to walk past one subway station because there was a mob of
people trying to get into it.
We went to Ropongi Hills for dinner. Turns out it’s a really expensive area so
we went to a German place. I got a beer and pesto German noodles with smoked
salmon. We headed home around 11PM.
On day four of the trip I meet up with my cousin and we check out Tokyo
On the second day of the trip we explored Akihabara, Tokyo, The Miraikan Science
Museum, and Rainbow Bridge.
We left around 10AM to make our way towards Akihabara. Our first
stop was a giant 6 story arcade. It was loud, smelled like cigarettes (smoking
is still allowed indoors in Japan), and dark because there weren’t any windows.
We walked through all of the floors, and some of the group tried out a game or
After wandering around some more we ended up at a Maid Cafe. It
wasn’t lunch time yet so I had a waffle with ice cream. They didn’t allow
filming so we couldn’t get video or pictures. I didn’t quite understand the Maid
Cafe thing, but James and Paul went back later in the trip and had more
authentic experience. Our next stop was the Don Quixote, a multi-story
Walmart-type store that has tiny aisles and anything you could need.
We’d had our fix of the area, so we took a driverless monorail over
a bridge and to The Miraikan Science Museum. On our way over we saw people
dressed up in Mario character costumes driving go-karts down the street. At the
museum we saw a demo of Asimo, Honda’s robot that can walk, kick a ball, and hop
on one leg, among other things.
When we left the museum we saw that we were near a BMW driving
experience course so we stopped to watch people drive cars around cones. It
seemed rather lame, or the drivers were timid. From there we walked to a mall to
sit inside and relax because it was really hot and humid outside.
After spending an hour or two at the mall we regrouped and made our
way to Rainbow Bridge. When we got there it wasn’t lit up, and an internet
search told us that it only lights up during a certain time of year. We did,
however, sit on the beach and enjoy a nice view of the Tokyo skyline and a lot
of really colorful boats out on the water.
At this point it was way past dinner time so we went to a ramen
place then made our way home. I picked up some bananas at the supermarket across
the street from our house, dumped my camera card onto my computer, and went to
On day three of the trip we attend a couple of festivals.