This trip has been a whirlwind, I’m in disbelief that I’ve been here 2 weeks and even more at all I’ve seen — and none really yet of Tokyo! I’m visiting my friend Maria who has lived here for 8 months and it rocks to have a bit of a local reference while still sharing the excitement of exploring things that are new to her.
My first night off jet lag was Halloween, and I quickly learned that Tokyo means business — there will be no lack of nights out in these few weeks.
We hopped on the bullet train (Shinkansen) the next afternoon for a long weekend in Kyoto, Japan’s pride and joy, with a group of her friends. Apparently there are all sorts of extra national holidays here, sweet deal.
They arranged a house and one of them is a native, so we were really, really spoiled not having to navigate or make any decisions other than prioritizing what we wanted to see in Kyoto — MAJOR interweb shout out to Yukino.
I’ll put together full itineraries based on where we saw/materials picked up along the way, but that’s for a later post.
For now, know that Kyoto is a magical place with an incredibly serene energy that you MUST see when you visit Japan and I feel so grateful to have had Yukino as our tour guide because I ate two of the best (and wildest) meals of my life under her menu ordering. I took notes for you guys!
Fast forward 4 days and we made a pit stop in Osaka on the way back to Tokyo, where I then jumped on the plane the next morning to Seoul. I made this decision of opportunity while we were in Kyoto and wish I’d prepared more, but it was a unique learning experience to go into a new country completely blind — and will make for some useful posts. My first full day in Tokyo was my 11th day here (crazy), and I’m feeling serious pressure to balance visiting/posting/notes/freelance work and exploring so I spent Monday working out of the Tsutaya Bookstore in Nakameguro. This three-building, two-story, dual-cafe complex is a wonderland. The architecture of everything here is so minimal and design-y and it’s great.
Yesterday I finally got out in Toyko to explore Shibuya, Harajuku and Aoyama and today I’m back in a segment of reality at the bookstore. Be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter for live updates, but here’s what I’m planning to put out over the next few weeks on Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Seoul:
+Travel Tips: Packing for 3 Countries and 7 Airports without Checking a Bag
+Navigating Tokyo: Figuring out the Train System + Basic Japanese Phrases you Need to Know
+Neighborhood Guides: Nakameguro/Daikanyama, Shibuya/Harajuku/Aoyama, +
+Dinner with a View — Two Rooms Grill | Bar
+Kyoto: Temples, Shrines + Magical Designs
+How to Order Food in Japan’s Former Imperial City
+Arashiyama: Bicycles, Bamboo Forest + Monkey Selfies
+Club World — Yes, Kyoto Nightlife Exists
+Street Snaps + Communal Dipping Oil in Osaka
Seoul, South Korea
+Travel Tips: What You Need to Know Before Going to a Foreign Country for the First Time
+Navigating Seoul: Language + Getting Around
+Hiking Ingwansan + Seoul’s Best Views
+Dancing with Koreans at the World’s #9 Club
+Seoul Shopping: Fish Markets, Six-Story Malls + High Fashion
+Cheonggyecheon Stream + the History of the Seoul Lantern Festival