It's time to talk about TOKYOOOOOO! I tend to hesitate writing posts about our trips abroad because it's impossible to write down every thought/feeling/experience and adventure which always leaves me feeling a little disappointed. Even though we only spent 3 days in Tokyo, we managed to jam pack a years worth of sightseeing (hyperbole, of course) into 72 short hours. Thankfully for us, the rail system in Tokyo is one of the worlds best so darting around from neighborhood to neighborhood was relatively painless and unbelievably cheap. Our only real trouble occurred during our first 30 minutes in the city. Not only could we not find the train that was going to take us from the Narita Airport to Tokyo, but when we finally boarded we realized that we had bought tickets for the wrong route. This mishap meant that it took us over an hour and a half to get from the airport to our airbnb. The only consellation was that we were able to see plenty of Tokyos outer communities which included densely packed suburbs and sparse rural areas.
When we finally did reach the city, our first stop was to check out our Airbnb. For those you know who are unfamiliar with Airbnb, it's a vacation rental company that lets you rent out other people's apartments while you're traveling. Since we were traveling with our couple friends, we rented two apartments (or so we thought....) on the trendy cat street in Harajuku. However, when we finally got to our temporary home we realized that we had somehow only rented one of the apartments out... That meant that we were all going to be sharing one little studio for the entire weekend. Fortunately, it wasnt much of an issue since we hardly spent any time at all at the apartment and the four of us get along quite well which made for an easy, enjoyable weekend.
Once we were all settled in it was finally time to explore!! We spent the rest of our first day wandering around our neighborhood Harajuku which happened to be one of the trendiest shopping districts in the city. The shopping was endless and truthfully a bit overwhelming. I definitely didn't complain at all though when we check out the five story Forever 21, I've been stuck online shopping for almost an entire year so this was some MUCH needed retail therapy. Harajuku was also home to plenty of adorable boutiques, cafes and eating establishments. I almost cried when we discovered the famous "Santa Monica Crepes" which we unfortunately not so great. My chocolate banana creme brûlée crepe sounded much better than it tasted!
For our first dinner we ate at a delish ramen joint in Harajuku. Overall, since we have already been living in Japan for quite some time I was less motivated to try out the cuisine in this city and was more focused on seeing Tokyo's unique attractions. We shamelessly ate at TGI Fridays (they don't have them in Okinawa) two separate times on this trip and pretty much ate exactly what our taste buds were craving rather than eating for the experience. I can't say I feel shameful though because in the last 11 months I've easily eaten enough Japanese food for a lifetime!
I could probably talk about Harajuku for hours upon hours. If you've ever heard of "Harajuku Girls" or how "Kawaii" (aka cute) Tokyo is it's most likely because of this neighborhood. In Harajuku the best place to be in particular to see all of the cuteness is Takeshita Dori Street. Here you will see plenty of crazy & cutsey fashion, adorable merchandise, and Instagram worthy food. I'm pretty positive that this is where I was meant to live, everywhere you turned there were cats, Crepes and cuteness... Just thinking about it makes me miss it!
Our second day in Tokyo was spent primarily at Disney Sea. Ben and I aren't really "Disney" people per say, but we figured that this could be a cool opportunity since it's the only Disney Sea in the world. A train ride out of the city to the neighborhood of Chiba took us right to the park. Although I hate to admit it (theme parks aren't my favorite), this place was incredible. There was no attention to detail spared. The park is meant to look like different ports of call ranging from a Cape Cod Harbor, to an Arabian coast, the canals in Venice, a seaside castle village and more. Disney does a great job at making you feel as though you really are in a foreign location. Ben and I got a little homesick when we were in the New York Harbor district because it felt so painfully real.. Overall, although Disney isn't cheap the experience was worth it. It really is impossible not to have fun at a Disney amusement park!
Yoyogi Park & Meiji Shrine
A quick stop to Yoyogi Park and the Meiji Shrine ended our weekend getaway. Yoyogi is the "Central Park" of Tokyo and the perfect place to escape the craziness of the city. Inside the park we visited a historic tea house, a lake filled to the brim with hungry fish, an ancient well and of course, the gorgerous Meiji Shrine. I can say for sure that all of Tokyo definitely lives up to the hype and I'd happily show any of my friends of family this awesome place if they'd ever want to come *hint hint*. Until next time, blog readers!
We're Kara, Ben and baby Zoe also known as the Lesniaks. We’re a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Yorktown, Virginia after a three year tour in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together!
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