Over the past week, I traveled around Japan with my friend Amelia, who I have known since 2010. While in undergrad, she and I lived on “Grassroots,” and later in college we held many similar jobs (we were both Resident Assistants, we both had internships with various parts of Residence Life) and we used to have coffee together and work on schoolwork almost every Sunday during my final year at school.
Amelia has been living in Japan for over six months now (although this is not her first time residing in the country), and she took a few days off from work to travel around Japan with me! We both were pretty worn out from our jobs, so it was nice to travel in a more relaxed manner.
Out first stop was her own home near Shizuoka, and it was fun to see her apartment and see a bit of her life there.
Next, we took took the Shinkansen to Kyoto, where we stayed at a Ryokan for a night.
For all those who do not know, Ryokan are “traditional” hotels with tatami mats, in our case, an onsen (natural hot spring) in the room.
My list of things I really wanted to do was pretty short, and this was at the top. Not only was it relaxing and totally gorgeous, the food was INCREDIBLE.
Plus, we got to wear Yukata while in the room, which was both comfortable and cute.
Our second stop in Kyoto was to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which features rows of vibrant, orange torii gates. The gates weave rough the trees in a seemingly endless ascension.
In the evening, we walked along the river, which had some cool stepping stones embedded into it, as well as a beautiful view of the mountains.
A trip to Japan would not be complete without eating a lot of sushi, so one day for lunch we ate sushi at one of the shops where the sushi comes along on a belt, and you take your selection off as it passes your table.
In Tokyo, we explored Harujuku, sifted through towers of toys in the Akihabara streets, ate Ramen, walked though the temple streets, and enjoyed each other’s company.
One afternoon it rained, so we shopped in the Tokyo Station shops. I bought a bunch of cute Studio Ghibli and Sailor Moon trinkets– probably the same purchases I would have made as a seven year old… but I have no regrets. 😛
On our last day, we met up with another friend, Drew, who also lived on our floor in undergrad. together, we ate Taco Bell, sang at Karaoke, and went to an international bookstore.
All in all, it was an incredible week.