Travel Diary: Tokyo & Mt Fuji

8:30 AM

I had such a blast in Tokyo and Mt Fuji. I spent around 3 days in Tokyo, which honestly is not enough at all. You'll need some time to see the popular attractions, but you'll also want a few days to explore the different cities within Tokyo as well. I would spend a week there to really get the full experience. I also dedicated a day to touring Mt Fuji and Hakone. It was a guided tour that took us to Mt Fuji and some of the picturesque spots to see Mt Fuji from. To be honest, I think I could have done better on my own. There was too much time wasted sitting in a bus driving around to different places and not enough time at the destinations themselves.

Places

Senso-ji Temple

Senso-ji Temple is a popular site to visit in Tokyo. They have this beautiful mini waterfall with huge koi fish swimming at the bottom. The temple itself is majestic and is a beautiful mix of red, white, gold and black. There are also a ton of vendors set up around the area because they know tourists are going to visit this area. Try to avoid them if you can: the food isn't authentic Japanese food and they normally overcharge you.







Ueno Park

Ueno Park is such a picturesque view. It's one of the popular spots for Sakura watching (cherry blossom watching). I actually missed the cherry blossom season by a week, which is so sad. There were a few trees still in full bloom when we arrived, so that was fun to see. I can just imagine how magical it is to see every tree full of cherry blossoms. I hope to come back one day to see it! 






Harajuku

Harajuku is a very fun city. It's full of shops and food (see food section below!). I didn't take many pictures while I was here because it was just a day full of eating and shopping. There aren't any sites to see. Most of the shrines and temples are in more remote locations surrounded by a park or forest. If you're looking for shopping, also stop by Shinjuku.


Mount Fuji

I had to come here while in Japan. Mt. Fuji has been on my bucket list, but after seeing it up close and personal, I want to hike it when I come back. Fun fact: The oldest person to climb Mt. Fuji was a 105 year old Japanese man. He had hiking/climbing experience from his past, but that is still very impressive. I hope to achieve something like that one day. The views were very impressive. 

The first place we went to was Mt. Fuji 5th Station. It's one of the seven stations on Mt Fuji that climbers can take a rest at. There are restrooms, beautiful views and a lot of souvenir and food vendors. The second place we went to was Mt. Fuji Hotel, a hotel with beautiful views of Mt. Fuji (as you can see by the 3rd picture below). How's that for lunch views? The hotel also hosts a lot of weddings throughout the year. I looked up the price out of curiosity and it's about $33,000 for a 100 person wedding. Not too bad for Mt. Fuji.





Food

Asakusa Eats

Chicken with Rice

I was pretty surprised by how popular these "meat with rice" dishes were in Japan. They just seem so simplistic. It's very common for dinner and late-night food. A lot of the 24 hour joints offer this meal; after a night of drinking, you can pop in and eat a hearty meal before heading home and falling asleep. The miso soup in Japan is also very different, the miso flavor is very strong because it's made with fresh miso rather than the powder mix that restaurants in the US use.


Ichiran - Spicy Pork Ramen

Ichiran is probably the best ramen I've ever had. Yes, I've had Ippudo and Totto Ramen in NYC and they both don't compare to Ichiran. The experience is quite unique too. You sit in individual booths. You can choose to remove the booth, but you'll be sitting next to each other, not across from each other. You will fill in a piece of paper that indicates your order: you can choose your broth level, noodle softness level, spice level, etc. Once you press a red button, the curtain in front of you will lift to reveal the kitchen where a chef will take your order. It takes 5 minutes to customize your ramen bowl and they hand it back to you with a soft-boiled egg, seaweed and mushroom. The idea is that you're supposed to focus on eating and the flavors. That's why they separate everyone into separate booths. There's barely any talking in the restaurant as foodies try to take in the full experience. It's very interesting and it definitely lives up to the hype (we waited about 45 minutes for a seat).


Harajuku Eats

Cotton Candy from Takeshita Street. Takeshita street is known for their food and shopping. They have a lot of interesting shops, mostly focused on socks and shoes. There are a few candy stores around and general clothing stores, but the fashion is very Harajuku: bright colors and patterns. I couldn't resist getting this cotton candy. It's so pretty and BIG. 


Pancakes with Berries, Cream, Cereal and Ice Cream

Yum! For $7, it's pretty expensive, but it is tasty and quite filling. My favorite part of the dish is the cream on top of the pancakes and the strawberry ice cream on the side. The cereal added a nice crunch and texture to the dish. I've had better pancakes, they weren't the star of the dish. That cream with the berries in the middle is incredible though, I could eat that all day.


Long, stringy fries with Mild Sauce

Wouldn't really call this Japanese, but it is kind of cool to look at. Everyone was eyeing our fries on the street.


Ikebukuro Eats

Malaychan - Malaysian Food

Gary and I wanted to try something different while we were in Japan, so we found this cozy Malaysian place near our Airbnb. It was the first time we've tried Malaysian food and it is amazing! It's really a blend of Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisines. The stir fried noodles below are popular in Chinese cuisine, but the spice level is similar to Indian cuisine. I've never had cumin in my noodles; it tasted delicious.


Gyoza - so delicious and flavorful!

I couldn't leave Japan without having some Gyoza. I always assumed it was an Americanized dish, but Gyoza is very popular in Japan. The charred dumpling skin is the same, but the filling is much much better. It tastes like fresh meat inside, not like a frozen meatball they just heated up like in the states. The flavor alone is all you need - there is soy sauce served on the side, but there's really no need for it.


Co Co Curry House: Chicken Katsu Curry with Rice

The chicken itself is cooked to the perfection, but the best part is the curry. I've had Japanese curry in the US but it doesn't pack the same flavor as it does in Japan. The curry is slightly thicker and has a stronger pork flavor that enhances the curry flavor well. The dish doesn't look big, but it's actually quite filling.


Osaka Eats

Beef Tendon & Green Onion Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is one of the traditional dishes in Japan and is very popular in Osaka. This pancake is very delicious! It's similar to a pancake and the mixture contains a flour, eggs, sometimes dashi stock (dry fish stock), and often a heap of finely shaved cabbage. Mine included beef tendon as well. On top, there's mayo and a gel-like brown sauce drizzled onto the pancake with a dash of fish flakes to finish it off.


Tully's Coffee: Mille Crepe Cake

This isn't specific to Japan, but these are so tasty! If you're into sweets, you'll love this crepe cake. It's just layers and layers of cream and crepe. It's a little on the pricey side though, that's the only thing.


What do you guys think? Would you ever go to Japan? Share your thoughts below! And don't forget to check back next week for my Travel Diary to Kyoto.
          

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4 comments

  1. Gorgeous pics! I would love to visit!

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  2. Thanks for sharing I might have to add Tokyo to my bucket list!

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  3. Wow would love to travel there someday!

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  4. I will suggest you to do yoga and get yoga belt for regular exercise. This will help your body to keep well and will make you more energetic and refreshing. I never miss my yoga no matter I went for tour or what. I use yoga mat bag to keep my things in place and organized. Also, this bags got many pockets, so its easy to keep glasses, keys, mobile and other things as well.

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