Osaka

Our adventures continued with a bit of a misstep this morning. As we checked out of the ryokan, we took off our slippers and went to grab our shoes… Only to see Brian’s were gone. It turns out the guy who put his shoes above ours had the exact same New Balance pair, but with green lining instead of orange. The inn keeper felt horrible and was super accommodating until he came back with Brian’s shoes. 

After heading back to Kyoto station, it only took about 10 minutes to get to Osaka. The station was located very close to a lot of must-see spots, including the Umeda Sky Building and HEP Five shopping mall.

the train

lunch at grand front osaka

       

umeda sky building

      

  

HEP shopping mall

      

we couldn’t resist

  

  

a glass slipper full of ice cream and sweets… kawaii

  

riding the ferris wheel

    

those guys photo bombing us make me laugh every time

 

  

  

there was a sweet arcade at the top of the mall

  

purikura photobooths everywhere! this was the high school hangout

  

  

Tenjimbashisuji shopping street

  

Imperial Palace, Gion “geisha district”

Happy Easter from Japan. It rained all day and after many miles, my boots started falling apart. Even still, we made the most of our last day in Kyoto.

We are staying in a traditional Japanese inn and hot springs. It’s a little intimidating at first because of all the rules. Certain shoes can only be worn inside, in the bathrooms, and walking out to the onsen. The onsen is separated by gender. You must strip down and shower around everyone else before getting into the hot springs to soak.

Luckily, there were some friendly people who make small talk to make the experience a little less awkward! And the hot pools feel amazing after a long day of walking in the cold rain.

yukata provided for lounging after a bath

  

The inn keeper said it was fine to wear the yukata around the ryokan, but we were the only dorks wearing ours to breakfast… That guy in the background is definitely judging us.

Brian was thrilled to use my girly umbrella… either that or leopard print

  

imperial palace

       

   

 

  

  

Then, on to the Kyoto International Manga Museum. They were really strict about where pictures could be taken, so I only have a few. It was a fascinating place with manga dating back from the 40s. It also serves as a library with hundreds of volumes of manga and cozy places to sit and read.

   

  

We trenched on to Gion, home of the geisha, or geiko to be more precise. So many people were wearing kimonos, but I was pretty sad when I found out they were mostly tourists!

   

    

 

Kyoto

Saturday we boarded the train to Kyoto! We lucked out with some gorgeous weather.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

    

To-ji Temple

  

  

  

   

  

outside the train station

  

view from Kyoto Tower

  

 

lunch at the most amazing ramen shop!

    

  

our room at the ryokan onsen, a traditional Japanese inn and hot spring

  

  

trying on the yukata

  

   

breakfast on Sunday morning

Yakitori, Asakusa, Cat Cafe, Tokyo Skytree

To say we were exhausted yesterday is an understatement. Walking 12 hours a day hit us hard in the evening, so we ended up calling it a day around 7. Even still, we made it to some fascinating places…

This was from our dinner and night out in Ginza that I didn’t get to post:

Dinner at Bird Land, which was right next to Sukiyabashi Jiro, the famous sushi spot featured in a documentary

  

Yakitori is chicken on a stick–gizzard, liver, breast, etc.

    

  

so delicious

      

we definitely lucked out getting into Bar High Five–we did not realize you needed a reservation

  

he made the prettiest, tastiest drinks

 

Ginza was our latest night out–we didn’t make it back to the loft until midnight.

Friday was our Asakusa area day…

   

  

shops on the way to the shrine

    

Senso-ji temple

  

   

        

 

 

  

  

  

 Then we headed to a Cat Cafe! There wasn’t actually any drinks at this place. I guess most cat cafes in the area are just a place you can play with kitties since many people in Tokyo can’t own pets due to apartment restrictions.

   

  

    

this one sat on my lap ^.^

    

Next on the list was Tokyo Skytree. It was too windy to go to the top so we ate some lunch and explored the stores inside.

 

  

  

  

 

some sort of banana chocolate dessert… looked like a Twinkie

  

bento for lunch

  

  

  

 We went back to Harajuku hoping to find some fashionable people hanging out on the bridge, but it seems it was too windy for them. We hung out in a taproom near Takeshita Dori and then headed back for a long sleep.

Today we are heading to Kyoto–more on that later!

Ginza: fish market, the best sushi, toys

Today is our Ginza day. It never fails to amaze me how clean this city is, despite the fact that there are no trash cans anywhere! 

   

  

starbucks was pretty much the only place open for breakfast

  

tsukiji fish market

    

I don’t know what I’m eating but it’s delicious

sweet bread with red bean paste

  

squid for Brian

 

   

4 floor toy store of magic

    

We ate lunch at a high-end sushi restaurant, Sushi Kanesaka. To die for…. 

  

  

  

Walked off our lunch at the Imperial Garden

           

Then off to Tokyo Station to see the character stores…

   

               

More Shibuya, Sushi Yasuda

More photos from Shibuya…    

    

disney store

  

cool Tokyo toilets, taken for Shar. I was afraid to push the buttons…

  

what does the girl’s head mean?I should’ve pushed it

  

purikura photobooth!

  

cherry blossoms

  

Yasuda-san had a sushi restaurant in NYC for years before returning to Japan

  

where there’s an Apple Store, Brian will find it

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Shinjuku Gyoen, Takeshita Street, Shiboya…

Tokyo is overwhelmingly cool. I don’t know how else to put it! We managed to stay out until 10:30 and slept like rocks to get on local time. We started the morning exploring and headed to Shinjuku Gyoen, a garden with beautiful cherry blossom trees. There were many families out sitting on tarps and eating their lunches. It’s a little muggy and slightly rainy, but the temperature is perfect.

   

      

  

Next we headed to Takeshita Street. It was so packed and music was blaring from every store…

 

  

  

this shirt says “gorgeous boobs”… couldn’t resist taking a pic

  

obama mask… 😨

   

Then we stopped at Meiji-jingu Shrine 

 

  

  

  

 

Shibuya! Someone back in ABQ told us NYC Times Square was based on this. I believe it