My husband, Drake, always wanted to go to Japan and I love traveling so I thought I would surprise him with a trip! We spent 2 weeks there and traveled with one of his best friends. It was an amazing experience and I'm IN LOVE with the culture there. I could talk about it for days...so prepare for a long post lol.
So while we were staying in the Tokyo area, we had some help from our friend, Matt. Most of our transportation involved utilizing the train system or by foot. If you ever find yourself going to Japan and plan on going to a lot of places, the Rail pass is SO worth the money. It also gets you on some local train systems. You avoid having to find and/or pay for parking and train stations are so close to everything.
So while we were staying in the Tokyo area, we had some help from our friend, Matt. Most of our transportation involved utilizing the train system or by foot.
Our first stop was Kyoto.
We were there for only a couple nights before traveling down towards Iwakuni. We walked around e v e r y w h e r e. One thing that I noticed was that everything opens later than what we were used to and closes later than we're used to as well.
So we got up at around 6:30 A.M. thinking that we'd get an early start to the day. The typical work week there is Monday-Saturday. But nothing was open until around 10:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. and everything closed around 5:00 P.M. - 6:00 P.M., the local mom and pop shop places at least.
Funny thing about Fushimi Inari-Taisha (the orange gates), the same day that we got up early to see the Shinto shrine and nothing was open, we decided to visit this place. I was in awe. Of course, the place was PACKED...towards the beginning. What was amazing was that people that wanted to take a picture or saw that people were trying to take a picture like the ones you see, they all stopped and waited behind the person and allowed them to take time to get shots like these.
Ok...so on with the story. We all knew nothing of this place and I had only see these gates from other fellow photographers. We only expected to go on a short walk and thought it was going to be a short walk. Soon we started to realized it became less and less packed as we continued to walk up stairs. Listen...it turned into a 5k walk up a mountain. Our poor friend, Bee, had foot surgery not long ago, I didn't have the right shoes to support this hike, and my husband, Drake has garbage knees (it's fine, he knows it). We walked half way up and saw this view...
So we thought, might as well go all the way up, the view will be better! WRONG. Don't get me wrong, it was still awesome to see the shrines along the way. But we weren't sure if we were at the summit and by the time we realized we were, we started heading back down. It was so worth it.
Of course we saw the bamboo forest, ate pounds of ramen, and visited other shrines. We ended up hiking another mountain to...
No we didn't get to pet any but we got to feed them if we walked into a caged area because they are still wild animals. They still roamed freely on this mountain, we could walk next to them, just not crouch next to them, or smile at them.
mkay...here's the rest of Kyoto.
Vending machines. Why am I so stoked on vending machines? We have them here. BUT...Japan has vending machines EVERYWHERE, we had a vending machine by our Air Bnb that wasn't near any city. They had vending machines with not only pop (yes, it's pop), but beer, coffee (hot and cold), and ICE CREAM. Trash cans were also hard to find. If we wanted a drink while we were walking, a common question was, "do I feel like carrying this for miles until we find a trash can?" Even with the lack of trash cans the streets were kept SO clean! Welp, anyway...there's my hype on Japan's vending machines.
Here's our next stop, Iwakuni. We were lucky enough to have a friend that knew a friend to help set up a driving experience of a lifetime for Drake. We were so overwhelmingly grateful for this chance and left Iwakuni with a bunch of new friends♥.
It was also the first time I was able to get these kind of shots with my camera!
The Skinkansen (bullet train) is the best decision we made for this trip (apart of getting the rail pass). I know I already said it before. But traveling across country in 6 hours, going maybe 200?
I'm not good at transitions so here's more photos! (^_^)
So these last two pictures are apart of an 4 story arcade, an arcade called Anata No Warehouse. I spent most of the time just walking around while Drake and Bee played video games.
Another tourist trap to consider is the Robot Restaurant. No, there are no "real" robots with A.I. There was an option to get food, but I feel its better to get food around the place and just be there to experience the show. It's loud, it's bright, and you'll get lost in the mix of it all. But so worth it!
I could talk about the entire two week trip, but I don't feel this post would ever end.