Japan 2016: The Best and Worst

It’s taken me quite awhile to write up our March trip to Japan. If I’m being honest, it’s just been a really crazy busy few months as I prepare for this baby and maternity leave (more on that next week). Still, I wanted to do this traditional recap to give you a breakdown of one of the best legitimate vacations I have taken in a long long time.

Total Days: 23

Total Days it Didn’t Rain: maybe 7? March is definitely a variable time of year to visit.

Affordability: Better than expected. Although Japan is often viewed as a pricy destination, a favorable exchange rate and planning our travel and meals carefully (AirBNBs, cheap eats), kept the costs down considerably.

Places Visited: Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kyoto, Tokyo (day trips to Nara and Miyajima

Favorite Place: I was pleasantly surprised by Nagasaki, which turned out to be a very pretty and culturally interesting city with lots of attractions beyond the atomic bomb memorials and museums.

Mike loved Tokyo, he had been dreaming about it for years.

Least Favorite Place: I chose Kanazawa as our first stop because of it’s historical significance, but ultimately it was too small of a city to keep us entertained for the full 3 days I had booked there. It was also the least interesting place culinarily.

Biggest Surprise: Not really a surprise, but I was happy to discover how pregnant-lady friendly Japan was. Lots of places to sit, clean public restrooms and food on every corner. I was pretty freaking happy.

Favorite Food: How to pick! I gave a rundown of my top 10 meals in Japan, but I would have to say my overall favorite was all the delicious ramen.


Least Favorite Food: Maybe this weird dumpling meal we had in Shibuya. Bonito flakes can be great but this was TOO MANY bonito flakes.

Most Annoying Thing: The smoking! As a pregnant woman I was exceptionally bothered by the public smoking in many bars and restaurants. Most arcades were also flooded with smoke and it made it really difficult to visit any izakaya or yakitori bars.

Exploring the markets in Kyoto with my Mom

Most Memorable Moments: Visiting a cat cafe in Fukuoka, hanging out with my Mom and Aunt in Kyoto, attending a Japanese wedding, eating all the things, flying home in business class, and most of all getting to see Mike explore his dream country.

Biggest Disappointment: I was majorly excited to show Mike the pretty island of Miyajima, which I remembered for it’s gorgeous temples, spectacular views and great food. Unfortunately it absolutely poured the entire time we were there. We tried to make the best of it and explore in the rain but eventually we got so soggy and cold that we gave up.

Soaked to the bone in Miyajima

Best Souvenir: A decorative tenugi featuring Darth Vader standing under a cherry blossom tree. It’s hanging in the baby’s room.

Biggest Regret: In a perfect world I might have skipped Kanazawa and spent more time in Kyoto and visited Osaka.

Best Advice: Get the Rail Pass if you’re visiting more than 1 or 2 cities. It saved us so much money but was still super flexible and easy to use.

Would I Go Back: Mike is already asking when we can go back with Baby Twenty-Something Travel, so I suspect we aren’t done with Japan just yet!

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6 thoughts on “Japan 2016: The Best and Worst”

  1. the rain sucks! 🙁 too bad we can’t control the weather. it’s good you didn’t go in summer though, I did and eh yeah, not sure what is worse.. constant rain of humidity. anyways i love your pictures <3

  2. I think I have the same luck when visiting a place I really wanted to see only to have it rain the entire time! Just curious, what is a “cat cafe”? Thank you!

    1. It’s a coffee shop that’s full of cats! You pay by the hour usually and you can pet and play with them. Very weird experience but fun.

  3. Sounds like a good trip, aside from the rain and the smokers! Andy really wants to go to Japan, so I’m sure we’ll get to it in the next few years. I’m definitely excited about the food, though we’re not sushi fans, so we’ll be eating lots of other things. Andy also wants to time our trip to be able to see a sumo wrestling match, so that should be interesting. I’m glad you guys had a good time!

    1. We didn’t eat much sushi due to pregnancy stuff and still ate REALLY well! I wrote a post on our top non-sushi meals so maybe go check that out for ideas. I misss the food so much.

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