After our Korea trip, Mattie and I flew over to Tokyo. Looking back, we did and saw quite a bit without feeling rushed despite the fact that we were there for only six days. It was our very first visit to Japan, and everything was foreign and fascinating. I really mean ‘everything.’

As soon as we dropped off our luggages, I wanted to find a ramen restaurant which you order from a vending machine. I heard about this from a friend who lived in Japan for a short period. Turns out, this was the norm in Japan- you select from a vending machine, put in some money, grab the ticket, hand it to the person who is the cook and also the server, and be surprised by what he cooks up for you since you absolutely have no idea what you’ve selected at the vending machine. We were never disappointed ; )

Jimbocho, used-bookstore district

Out of thousands of fascinating things, i loved all the sampuru‘s displayed in front of every restaurants. The flying forks were the best of them all. If you have time, watch how they make sampuru, also amazing.


Tonkatsu, real food, ordered from a vending machine


From Tokyo, we took a train to Kyoto. Never ever been on a train as comfortable, clean and spacious as this one. Also this is when I fell in love with a bento.

Also never been to a city this clean, sober and honest.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

While in Kyoto, we visited a few temples and shrines. We walked through thousands of bright orange gates at Fushimi Inari shrine to the top of the mountain. I mimicked the locals and clapped, bowed, prayed and rang bells in front of most of the shrines I passed. I think Mattie was more mesmerized by the craziness of Tokyo, while I liked the calm and slightly melancholy undertone of Kyoto and its temples.


A view from Kiyomizu-dera

We missed the autumn leaf color in Korea because we arrive a week or two too late, and all the leaves have fallen off already. It is a beautiful site I remember seeing in Korea, and I wished Mattie would have seen it. But when we arrived in Japan which was significantly warmer than Korea, the leaves were in their brightest shades of oranges and yellows. The view from Kiyomizu-dera temple was especially special.

We sat at the top left window of this homey restaurant. Looking at this picture now, I wonder how we have looked from outside, sitting here, eating various small Japanese plates curiously.

Owakudani, volcanic valley in Hakone

From Kyoto, we stopped in Hakone before returning to Tokyo. A great thing about doing the least research as possible (even though it is difficult at times) before arriving somewhere is that everything you come across is unexpected and surprising, and this makes every findings ten folds more extraordinary. This view of massive smoke fuming out of sulphur vents was one of those moments. We then followed the other tourists and bought some black eggs, Kuro-tamago. The story goes, eating one egg will add seven years to your life, eating two will add 14. We also enjoyed a perfect view of Mount Fuji before we took a boat ride across a lake. After the boat ride, we ate our longevity black eggs. Mattie ate one. I ate three.

We started our Japan trip with ramen ordered from a vending machine, and we ended with the same. On our last evening in Tokyo, we came across this ramen bar by accident, which can feed maybe ten people at a time. I believe it was the best ramen house in the neighborhood by the length of the queue outside, and indeed the ramen was out of this world. Another great thing about not doing too much research about where to go nor where to eat while traveling is that things feel more like serendipity.

Then we were back in Paris. It has already been more than half a year since we got back. How time flies, how I miss being in a foreign place.

Sharing with your friends : )
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on Google+