Saturday, 12 April 2008

Japan - Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo

Last Thursday night we jetted off to Nagoya for Jim and Rits wedding. It was our first time to Japan!!

On our first day, Rits took us for a day trip to Kyoto on the Shinkansen. We were sooooo lucky that our holiday coincided with flowering of the cherry blossoms which only happens for a few weeks a year!! Kyoto is a beautiful city and the cherry blossoms were spectacular!! We spent the day touring shrines in and around town.

The Japanese equivalent to the McDonalds Happy Meal (complete with little toy for the kiddies)!!

Will and I wearing our bibs for dinner!! Japanese BBQ

The purpose of our trip was to attend Jim and Rits wedding in Nagoya. The wedding was a traditional Japanese wedding held in the Atsuta Jingu Shrine. It was absolutely beautiful and we felt very privileged to be a part of their special day!!

The blushing bride... and her drag queen friends:)

On the Sunday we headed off on the Shinkansen bound for Tokyo.

A pic of Mt Fuji as we passed by it on the train.

In Tokyo we managed to squeeze in a lot. We visited the Meiji Jingu Shrine and caught a glance of the Harajuku girls on Takeshita Street all dressed up and posing in their gothic lolita get-up.

We managed to drag ourselves out of bed at 4.30am to visit the tuna auctions at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Couldn't bring ourselves to eat sushi at that time of morning though - no matter how fresh it was!!

As the shops don't come alive till around 11am - we managed to go back to the hotel in sneak in another few hours sleep before heading back out to explore Tokyo.

We were lucky enough to visit Origami Kaikan when the master was in town - he spent about an hour demonstrating his fine art!!

Of course we managed to sample a lot of Japanese cuisine - with a dinner at Morimoto XEX (understated and suave euro-meets-tokyo grill (teppanyaki), and delicate raw cuts), as well as some fabulous lunches at YabuSoba (heaving, homely, soba noodle institution) and Tofuya Ukai (quaint repro-traditional tofu and seafood beauty with lacquered pillars, tatami floors and stunning rock garden in the shadow of Tokyo Tower) (thanks for the recommendations Katie)!!

Morimoto XEX - sake and starter. This dish was amazing - you take the paddle, start at one end, scoop to the top, then dip in the sauce and gobble - YUM!!!

Lunch at YabuSoba (the little place was sooo cute)!!!

Lunch at Tofuya Ukai - the scenery was amazing!!

Some more sushi!!

There are sooo many amazing shops in Tokyo - I especially loved ItoYa (stationery and paper shop - they even had Kate Spade stationery)!!! There were hundreds of chocolate shops, tea shops, chopstick shops, and ofcourse the clothes and jewellery shops.

A cute little Japanese side street off Kagurazaka Dori.

We stayed at The Peninsula - and OMG - it was worth every penny!! The rooms were HUGE, the views were amazing and the bath........ simply divine.

Japan in an amazing place - the people are unbelievably helpful and friendly (despite the language barriers), the country is absolutely beautiful, the food is amazing, the shops are incredible, the transportation system is second to none... I could go on and on.
Simply put - you must go!!
Until next time - Sayonara

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