2nd to 4th November 2016
Osaka was our last stop in Japan. As we only spent two nights here, we didn't really get to know Osaka as well as Tokyo or Kyoto.
We had a mixed experience, sometimes not feeling quite as welcome as in other parts of Japan, but 90% of our Osaka experience was something I'll remember with a smile.
Here are the most smiley bits...
22nd October to 4th November 2016
About halfway through our Japan trip, we realised that even though food and drink are huge interests of ours, and something we really wanted to write about, we were doing a terrible job of photographing it for the website.
So, in week 2 we upped our game and tried to take photos of as much as possible. The disclaimer here is that many of the photos here come from my phone, hastily snapped so as not to be that tourist spending 10 minutes getting the right Insta-shot while the food goes cold. Also, there's only so long I can leave food in front of me without eating it...
29th October to 2nd November 2016
If Tokyo's words are neon, zany, and modern then Kyoto's are laid-back, welcoming, and traditional.
We arrived here on a cold, Saturday evening after our stop at the Snow Monkey Park in Nagano and Kamesei Ryokan in Togura. After getting settled in at our Capsule Ryokan, we went off in search of food and eager to get a feel for Kyoto's personality.
When you read about Kyoto in most guidebooks, you'll see the words "temple" and "shrine" dotting the page like commas. It does seem like there is a temple or shrine on almost every street in this, one of Japan's most historic cities, but we discovered that there is so much more to Kyoto than incense and Buddhas.
These are our Kyoto best bits...
28th to 29th October 2016
We left Tokyo on the shinkansen (bullet train) to get to Nagano. The train was an experience in itself. You hardly even feel like you're moving as this rapid form of transport rockets from one city to another.
We took the train so that we could visit Nagano, home to the famous Snow Monkeys. We had heard that - due to mating season - we might not see any. However we weren't to be put off, and we set out through the picturesque national park that surrounds their home.
25th October 2016
The Tsukiji Fish Market is a Tokyo institution, the place that launches millions of pieces of sushi.
Both Nick and I have a healthy love for sushi, so it was on our hit list from early days of planning. We came across the Sushi Insider Workshop online and as it combines exploring the market with making (and most importantly, eating) lots of sushi, we booked our spots immediately.
22nd to 28th October 2016
If Nepal was the detox, with its copious nature, healthy eating, and tiny doses of internet, Japan was the re-tox!
The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of sound, taste, and sight. There's a lot to cram in for our time in Japan, so we've broken it into a few posts, starting with this, highlights of Tokyo.