Tag Archives: Japan

Japan trip photo album

I’m back from my vacation in Japan! And, it was awesome ❀

It’s hard to choose our favorite moments from this trip, but here are some of the highlights!

Tokyo

I almost always book hotels that include breakfast buffet because Japanese breakfast buffets are THE BEST. There are usually a few different kinds of rice, several veggie dishes, meat and fish, pickles, soups, condiments, pastries, fruits, coffee, tea, etc. etc. We ate SO well while we were there.

We stayed in Ryogoku, Tokyo for the first couple of days. Ryogoku is the Sumo capitol of Japan. They have these portraits and hand prints of sumo champions at the station.

Seriously big hands!

Nagano & Obuse

After Tokyo, we took a bullet train to Nagano.

We accidentally joined the underground tour at Zenkouji temple, where you walk in a pitch black darkness for like 20 minutes (it felt like an eternity) guided only by feeling the wall next to you.

The idea is you find a “key to heaven” mounted on the wall but it’s so sacred, you’re not supposed to see it. Your eyes never get used to the darkness and there is no going back, so you just keep going forward even if you’re freaking out… It was surreal!

(And, yes, we found the key to heaven!)

Lotus in the pond.

It was the height of the chestnut season in Japan. We tried to eat it in all forms possible. Here we’re enjoying mont blanc soft serve (by the way, the Japanese LOVE their soft serves. If you see a sign for “ice cream,” 99% of the time, it means “soft serve.”) and regular mont blanc.

We spent a day in Obuse, which is a little town 30 minutes outside of Nagano city. In Obuse, we stopped at their folk history museum.

Museums and other recreational facilities are super cheap to get in there. This one was only 100 yen per person to go in (that’s about 88 cents). The most we paid to get in to a museum was 1,200 yen (about $10.50) for Hokusai Museum in Tokyo, where you can see the Hokusai originals – but still a really good deal when I think of going to an exhibit at Seattle Art Museum!

Kanazawa & Noto Peninsula

Then we traveled to Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, and met up with my parents! They’d driven for 6 hours that morning from home to meet us there… (Also, I’m impressed with Dave’s selfie skill. No selfie stick needed!)

Of all the things we saw at Kenroku En Japanese Garden, I was most attracted to moss and lichens πŸ˜€ I just love their textures so much.

After our walk in the park and a visit to a ninja temple, we stopped for tea and treats. My dad and Dave got a sweet bean soup and they got to roast their own mochi!

Another superb breakfast buffet at the hotel in Kanazawa… It makes me drool even now!

We made our way out to Noto Peninsula the next morning. We got to drive on the beach at Chiriga Hama Beach Drive. The ocean was so calming…

After going to Wajima morning market and having our lunch, we stopped to see the terraced rice paddies. It was overcast but still quite a view!

This region is known for its salt. We stopped at a salt farming demonstration site where they harvest the salt from the ocean using a traditional method.

We took a hike up to see Rokko Saki light house in the afternoon. Simply stunning.

Selfie time!

We stayed at a quiet inn overlooking the sound. Gorgeous view from our room at sunset.

Shirakawa Go

On our way back to Himeji, my hometown, we visited Shirakawa Go historic village.

They’d moved these super old houses from a nearby village to preserve the culture and educate the public about traditional ways of living. I have no idea how exactly they’d moved these houses here, but some of the houses have been converted into a living museum so you can go in and check out the inside of the house and see the old tools etc.

Pretty much every region of Japan has a “thing” they’re known for. I tried theirs for lunch: soba noodle and beef steak rice bowl! Delicious!

Himeji

We got back to Himeji, where I grew up, and visited my brother’s cafe, Kamada Kura No Coffee! Weee!

My brother opened the cafe about 2 years ago. It had been his dream for a long time, and I was beyond impressed with what he’s done!

Kura is an old Japanese storage house, and he’s converted the building into a modern cafe. Much of the original structure is still there, including walls and beams that are 150 years old!

It’s a really chill space, and Dave and I were there every day while we were in Himeji πŸ™‚

Dave says my brother’s coffee was the best he had in Japan!

Oh and I designed their logo. It was nice to see how everything fit together.

I even hosted a block printing workshop there πŸ™‚ Now I can check off my goal to teach overseas on my goals list.

While in Himeji, we visited the Himeji Castle – it’s a pride of every Himeji person (Himejian? Himejilite?) Ask anyone in Himeji about the castle and they’ll tell you it’s the BEST in Japan πŸ˜€

Last couple of times we were in Himeji, it was undergoing renovation, so we weren’t able to see the inside.

This time around, most of the construction was done so we go to see view from the top of the castle.

We had a great time there and wish it was closer – like an hour drive – so I could visit my family and friends more often.

Thanks for letting me share my photos with you! Maybe you’ll make it out there some day πŸ™‚

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

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My Food Journal Drawings from Japan!

I just got back from my Japan trip on Friday, and it was awesome ❀

I doodled while I waited for my flight to Japan :D
I doodled while I waited for my flight to Japan πŸ˜€

In this visit, I didn’t actually go home. Instead, I visited my parents in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, where they spent the summer this year.

my parents by the Lake Mashu. It was the most beautiful and peaceful lake I've ever seen!
my parents by the Lake Mashu. It was the most beautiful and peaceful lake I’d ever seen!

Hokkaido is so big and spacious!

They have a huge commercial agriculture and farming industry up there. I felt like I was in Montana or somewhere in the midwest half the time πŸ˜€

This was a typical view while we drove around.
This was a typical view while we drove around.

The nature was absolutely breathtaking. My parents took me to see some of their favorite spots.

Lake Mashu, Ashoro, Hokkaido
Lake Mashu, Ashoro, Hokkaido
A Garden at Takushin Kan, Photo Gallery, Biei, Hokkaido
Beautiful cosmos at Takushin-Kan Photo Gallery, Biei, Hokkaido
Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido
Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido

Pretty magical, isn’t it??

And another highlight of my Japan trip was, of course, the food! Hokkaido is known for many foods, like potatoes, corns, beef, pork, and seafood to name a few.

I ended up drawing what I ate every day during my stay. Here are some of my favorites!

(I had plenty of meat-y dishes, and they were all good. But I want to highlight more seafood dishes here because I think turned out prettier :D)

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My parents and I had dinner at New Chitose Airport the first night I arrived. I had to try their seafood donburi. It was delish!!
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What I enjoyed the most was a simple meal with rice, grilled fish (here I had Hokke) pickled veggies, and miso soup. I appreciated they offer a wider variety of fish in Japan!
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We stayed at an onsen (hot springs) inn in Ashoro. Onsen inns typically serve you dinner and breakfast that consist of seasonal local foods in tiny dishes. I love these tiny dishes ❀
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Here is what we had for breakfast at the onsen. So simple and delicious ❀ I wish we could’ve stayed there longer!
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My mom and I went shopping in Asahikawa and ate at the same restaurant I had the simple grilled fish earlier. They’d started serving Sanma, which is a very common fish you get in Japan but not in the states. Sanma had just come in season, and it was GOOD!
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We had sushi at the airport before I left. Yes it was at the airport and it was the conveyor belt sushi (the conveyor belt sushi is actually pretty good in Japan) – BUT we thought it was the best sushi we ever had. WE ATE SO MUCH. I was high from all the glorious sushi for hours afterwards.

I can’t believe how quickly 10 days went by. It’s always so hard to say good bye at the end of my visit. My mom and I usually can’t get too many words out of our mouth because we’re crying… 😦

Mom!
Mom!

I also noticed we’ve gotten closer as we got older.

Maybe I’ve become more mature? and am more compassionate towards them… I think my daily meditation practice also helped me stay calm every time they pushed my button πŸ˜€ Oh parents.

I hope we all stay healthy and get to enjoy many more visits together! Thank you for the lovely vacation, mom and dad! ❀

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot