If you don’t follow me on social media, you may not be aware that I travelled to Japan around a month ago. The time has gone so quickly, I can’t believe that I’ve been back home for so long already!
It’s also pretty criminal with how lax I have been with blogging since my return. I blame jetlag 😛 #onlyhalfserious. So, in light of ending procrastination, I’ve decided to begin writing my Travel Diary. I’m still unsure how many parts there will be, and if there will be accompanying ‘sister’ posts with a more deliberate point. Let me know what you’d like to see in the comments below.
Dani and I began our holiday by travelling from Brisbane to the Gold Coast in 39C weather. We braved a long train ride, a seemingly longer bus ride (without air conditioning) and a quick walk to our hostel. We stayed at the Coolangatta YHA, which wasn’t The Ritz but it served it’s purpose – a bed to sleep in, close to the airport and the added bonus of a pool to cool down in. After a night of that excited kind of sleep where you are sort of half awake, we awoke and walked to the airport in plenty of time for security checks.
As we were flying Jetstar, I contacted them ahead of time to see if they could cater for my dietary needs of being vegan (after seeing the vegetarian options of pretty much just eggs and dairy). I was told that it’s “too expensive” to cater for vegans (?) and to bring my own food. Now, if you’re familiar with a plant based diet you know this isn’t true at all, and having a simple pasta or salad option on their menu wouldn’t break the bank. /end rant. Instead, I opted to buy a chic pea and roasted pumpkin salad from Sumo Salad before boarding (it was freaking delicious by the way!) and came prepared with a few snacks.
We arrived over Tokyo, watching in awe of how many lights lit up the city, and excited to find our way to our first Air BNB. Going through customs and passport checks is never a pleasant experience, but after this we found a bathroom (always necessary after a long flight) to change and to our pleasant surprise, experience our first Japanese toilet. I cannot tell you how funny and exciting it was to have music playing as you pee. It’s the little things, you know?
We decided at the airport we should search for a quick dinner, and we were greeted with a 7-11. Now, if you haven’t been to Japan, it is worth a visit purely for 7-11 alone. There were so many fresh meal options including full ramen bowls, western options like spaghetti bolognese, and so many weird and wonderful options of sushi!
We boarded the Skyliner, a super fast airport link train, to the station we needed to be at to get to our Air BNB, only to find…the directions didn’t make sense. To be fair, a lot of stations, exits and streets tend to share the same name in Tokyo, so it was an easy mistake. Turns out we were one subway stop away, and a lovely Japanese couple who spoke English gave us very specific directions to our destination. They even walked us some of the way there! For 9pm at night in a big city, this was so unexpected and warmed my heart.
After arriving in our cosy apartment, complete with free slippers, heating and a warmed toilet seat, we were so tired that we went pretty much straight to sleep!
We awoke the next day, fresh and excited for our day ahead! As our Air BNB was in Shinjuku, we decided to spend our first morning in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens. For only ¥200 (about $2.30 AUD), you can stroll around the gardens for hours, taking in the beautiful native gardens, koi and catfish ponds, and a greenhouse with tropical plants (most of which I recognise from Australia). The cherry blossoms (Sakura) also came early this year for us to see which was freaking magical. I can only imagine how special Golden Week would be in Japan!
After spending the morning in the gardens taking in the sights, we made our way to meet two of Dani’s friends in Shinjuku. While we were waiting, we had to stop by the Godzilla Building. We weren’t there around the time to see the light and smoke show, but it was still spectacular!
The four of us chatted, went back to Godzilla Street for a look, and enjoyed a late lunch at a ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant in Shinjuku. Rio, who speaks Japanese, was the handiest friend we could have had in Japan, it was a life saving moment to have her translate some of the menu options for us. I enjoyed a Sweet and Spicy vegetable dish with a side of rice – delicious! Afterwards we took the subway to Shibuya to check out Shibuya 109 – a vital stop for any fashion lover. To get there, we walked across the famous Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble – 45 seconds of chaos – and enjoyed the ten floors of women’s fashion.
After such a bustling day in Tokyo, we decided an early night before tomorrow, another day of travel to Kyoto! We headed back to our cosy apartment, had a cup of tea and went to bed.
Hope you enjoyed the first part of my Japan Travel Diary!
Let me know if you enjoy this type of post and if you’d like to see more!