Posted on Aug 18, 2013
Posted in Personal Chaos

We’ve been home for just about 2 months now, but life got busy with summer, kids, and now back to school.  More for my own record keeping than anything else, I wanted to finish documenting our trip to Japan.

These next series of pictures are just some of our experiences around the various cities…  I said it before, but once again, I’m amazed at how much I truly did enjoy this country.  I would definitely go back.  I know the kids would LOVE it – ONE DAY…  🙂

Wherever we would go, students would come up to practice their English with us.  We had a great time trying to communicate with them!

Yummy Yaki Niku restaurant in Kobe, Japan.  It was quite the experience and definitely not up to American codes.  I was quite surprised that the restaurant didn’t go up in flames.  I think the roof was cardboard and trash bags.  They even had bottles of Fabreeze by the front door to get the smell off of you as you left!  LOL!  The food was good and the experience was even better!

I actually enjoyed the food a lot more than I thought I would.  In fact, for the most part, I thought it was actually really good.  Of course, there were a lot of very odd options and I, admittedly, wasn’t very daring about trying anything unrecognizable or with heads still attached.

I did miss ICE and large glasses. I don’t know how the Japanese survive.  They really do not drink very much water at all.  It was so hard to find and get more than a sip!  Thank goodness for McDonalds.  100yen (just over $1) for any size drink – just like US.  We stopped a few times for a nice fountain soda even though their LARGES are actually our small cups in the states.

I definitely liked the country better than the city.  Both Tokyo and Osaka were huge concrete jungles and for the most part very ugly, crowded cities.  There were some pretty neighborhoods for sure, but I had never seen anything so big, industrial, and crowded in my life!  We found the maze of roads intriguing.  Roads built on top of roads, on top of railways – stacked as high as the skyscrapers.  It was very interesting.


Love the parking lots…  So funny to see these parking structures outside apartments.  And the maze of telephone and power lines with every balcony covered in clothes hanging from the lines. had these yellow tiles down every sidewalk, path, subway, etc.  It is designed to help the blind navigate through the city.  It was quite interesting.



This is where we stayed for the first 1/2 of our trip:  The LDS Kobe, Japan Mission Home.  My aunt and uncle are the mission presidents.  It was fun to be able to visit them and see the service that they have been doing for the last 2 years here in Japan.

More church sites… a church we visited a few hours (via car) from my aunt and uncle’s, and the Tokyo Temple.

Canal that runs through the middle of Kobe, Japan by my Aunt and Uncle’s.

Downtown Osaka:

Shopping in Yodobashi Akiba…. A 9-story mega-complex electronic store.  I think anything ever made with a battery or plug, including every conceivable accessory could be found in one of these stores.  You literally could get lost in here for hours.

We did a lot of traveling on the bullet trains, or shinkansens, subway, and feet.  This was so fun to see these two come into the station like this.

Here’s Mike waiting to get off a ferry.  Yeah, even I felt REALLY tall in Japan.


This was one of the tour boats we went on in Hakone (by Mount Fuji).  We saw little doors like this everywhere in Japan.  Crazy!

This was one of my favorite spots, Nara, Japan.  I absolutely loved how these wild deer would come up to greet you and walk besides you down the shops.  It was a gorgeous little town and an amazing experience.  DEFINITELY a must see spot for anyone visiting Japan. Well worth the day trip out there.  I think my kids would have loved this!  I loved it!

Supposedly, if you could fit through this large tree, you have good luck, a lifetime of happiness, or maybe just a blackmail video.  It was quite tight, but I made it.  And vowed to diet (someday).  But, it was more fun to watch everyone laugh when Mike got down to try.  Needless to say, he got his head in and that’s about it.

In Hakone, we took a little trolley car through the town – one of the most gorgeous railways ever.  It was lined with Hydrangea – huge, wild bushes.  Absolutely beautiful!

We did a lot of walking and sightseeing in Hakone, and got a little lost when we got on the wrong bus.  But our mistake was such a blessing, on the way back to the train station, we came across this cute little cafe on the side of the mountain with a natural hot spring.  Sure, why not sit down, soak your feet and order a drink… Absolutely loved this!

We also took a gondola up to the top of one of the sulfur springs in Hakone.  Apparently for every black egg you eat, it will add seven years to your life.  The eggs are boiled on site in the sulfur springs.  Mmmm… They were actually quite good (just like a regular hard boiled egg), cost 500 yen, and now we will all live 7 years longer!


And finally, our view from our amazing room at the Ritz, in Tokyo.  Apparently we were in the tallest building in Tokyo and had incredible views of the city.  IF it were clear enough while we were there, we would have seen Fuji from our window, but every day we had a very welcomed cloud cover.  Our weather was just perfect!

We had such a great trip – many wonderful memories and experiences, and I am so grateful that Mike pushed me to go!  A big thanks to my parents (especially my dad) for being a great tour guide and helping with the language and knowledge of the country, and my aunt and uncle for doing the same and taking time out to show us around the Kobe area and surrounding cities.  We sure had a blast and are forever grateful for this experience.


Post about Temples and Shrines, click here.

Post about Japan Country and Scenery, click here.