During my first trip to Japan last February, I felt that I had only seen a glimpse of Tokyo. Fortunately, I had a second trip coming up. I was anticipating my return so, so very much.
That second trip happened last November. It was actually the first ever trip with my new Perreras family. To be honest, I was apprehensive at first because I didn’t know what it would be like. All my life I had traveled with my own family. I knew the drill and I knew what our schedule would be like. This time, I found myself completely out of the know. I wasn’t even aware of our daily itinerary until we got there! For a cautious person who likes to be informed and prepared when entering into unknown territory, this is a bit nerve-racking. My ever-assuring husband told me, “You have to let go and just trust that everything will be fine.” So, instead of worrying, I resigned to just go with the flow and welcome each day as a surprise.
Now that the trip is over, I’m glad that it unfolded in that manner, a surprise every day. I was more relaxed and I didn’t need to keep track of time or of our whereabouts. I just really enjoyed and absorbed everything Japan had to offer. Here are some highlights from the trip.
On our first day, we went to Fuji-Q Highland, the theme park that sits at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It’s famous for the Takabisha, a ride that holds the Guiness World Record of the steepest rollercoaster in the world. It has a drop angle of 121 degrees. Why, of course we rode this! It was a chance we weren’t going to miss.
[Ice skating rink and Takabisha]
We also rode on the Eejanaika. This ride was out of this world, I tell you! It was my first time to experience a ride with seats that turn 360 degrees. Most of the time you don’t know what direction you’re moving in. I didn’t know being disoriented could be so fun. I had such a blast! My pictures don’t do justice to these rides so check out the video I posted in Facebook.
[Entrance to Eejanaika]
[Thomas Train Land]
When we were not busy screaming our lungs out during the rides, we would sit and marvel at the majestic, ice-capped volcano behind us. The skies weren’t very clear but Mt. Fuji would peer through the passing clouds and reveal itself every now and then.
Days two and three were a feast for our senses and spirits that were hungry for Japan’s natural beauty and culture. We visited the Ghibli Museum, home of the works of esteemed Japanese film producer, animator, author, and artist, Hayao Miyazaki, and made a quick stop at Chiyoda to see the Imperial Palace. We also walked around the small town of Nezu. There we visited a Shinto shrine and bought some local food from small shops along the streets. Since that bit of shopping wasn’t quote enough, we also sneaked in some night shopping at Harakuju.
[Streets of Chiyoda]
[Shinto Shrine at Nezu]
We visited the Yebisu beer factory and got to taste different types of the premium brews. The males in our group enjoyed this tour very much and raved about the beer for quite some time after.
Autumn is just too lovely a season. It was my first time to witness its many colors. Bright orange and red trees line the horizon and fallen leaves rustle along the streets when the wind blows painting the sidewalks all sorts of hues. To me, walking along the streets in the middle of autumn was an experience that affirms we are merely stewards of this beautiful world and we are more than lucky to call this place our home.
I loved the daily commute too. Zig-zagging among the crowds in the local train station with was a fun maze-like adventure. Even if there were a lot of people, and even if everyone seemed to be in a rush, everything was still so organized. This is one of the things I love about Japan–everything is so efficient and well-thought of!
Of course, I have to mention that the food was absolutely delicious everywhere. I love Japanese food, so I was more than willing to eat everything that came my way. We had really good ramen in Taketora, Shinjuku. We also had fresh, melts-in-your-mouth sushi in Tsukiji. We also had the opportunity to eat in a traditional Japanese house where we were served food in a bento box. Finally, I had Gindako takoyaki, a discovery from my first trip that I really looked for during this second trip. (Sadly, I don’t have a picture because I devoured everything almost instantly). It’s THE best takoyaki I’ve ever tasted.
[Ramen from Taketora]
[Sushi from Tsukiji Fish Market]
[Traditional Japanese Bento Box]
I thought this second trip would leave me satisfied. On the contrary, I actually left Japan yearning for more–more city street walking, more leisure strolls in the many scenic parks, more food adventures, and more cultural discoveries! There’s still so much to see and do in Japan. So, our next target is to go back and include Kyoto and Osaka in the itinerary. I can’t wait! I sure hope I can book that third trip soon. ‘Til then, these photos will have to keep me company.
If anyone planning a trip to Japan wants more details about our itinerary feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 🙂