Japan Photoblog

My family came to visit me in Japan / 家族に日本に来た

I’m grateful that my Mum and Alistair; her husband, were able to come and visit me in Japan last year. Having travelled a lot; and fallen in love with Asia, and Japan in particular, I was really excited to share it with them.

They travelled all the way from Scotland! With only a week in Japan it was tough to plan an itinerary that would allow time to recuperate from the trip, while also seeing a range of what Japan has to offer.

It was Cherry Blossom season in Japan. The plan was to visit Naka Meguro and Asakusa in Tokyo. Then take a trip on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto to see the temples and gardens. On our return to Tokyo; a visit to a nice hotel for afternoon tea. Yes! – I know ‘afternoon tea in Japan?’, but that’s one of our favourite activities. And afternoon tea is a delight in any city.

Unfortunately, my camera decided to break on our first day. It’s sad I couldn’t record the week with my usual photos. I did however take some pictures with my mobile phone and a compact camera.

Naka Meguro

We had a walk along the riverside. The riverside in Naka Meguro is one of the best spots in Tokyo to enjoy Hanami; Cherry Blossom viewing. There are small stalls and stands set up along the side of the street selling snacks and drinks. We indulged in some chocolate strawberries!

Cheery blossoms lining the riverside in Naka Meguro
The lanterns are donated / provided by local businesses and each individually decorated with that businesses name and message.
Mum at Naka Meguro
Chocolate covered strawberries!
Mum may have a sweet tooth!

Our second day in Tokyo was rainy. My original plan was to walk around the temples at Asakusa. Instead we had a coffee at February Cafe; one of my favourite hidden-away coffee shops, and then a walk around some of the shops. Many cafes in Japan serve toast and it’s often delicious. I recall mum ordered one at February Cafe that sounded tasty, but ended up having way too much cream on it!

Mum was a big hit with the Japanese staff in the store and was making more friends in one day than I’d made in the previous month!

Unfortunately due to the weather we couldn’t walk around and see the temples in Asakusa (see my previous blog posts here and here for some photos of the temples).

There are a few covered streets and alleys in Asakusa with a good variety of shops. Alistair spotted a specialist brush shop; kanaya brush (かなや刷子), and purchased a horsehair brush. I think this was the most excited I saw them! I should have planned a tour of craft household item stores!

One of the nicest things about Japan is the high number of specialist stores. We also went to Coffee Tengoku for some pancakes and more coffee. It was definitely cafe weather!

Trip to Kyoto

There were some reservations about food on the run up to the trip. I’ve been known to post lots of sushi pictures online in the past and Mum and Alistair aren’t keen on the idea of raw fish. The chopsticks make things a little intimidating too.

I was keen on buying us all bento boxes for the Shinkansen to Kyoto. I was keen on buying us all bento boxes for the Shinkansen to Kyoto. It’s a Japanese tradition to buy a bento and eat it on the train.  I think Mum and Alistair were more keen on a Sandwich though!

I stealthily bought a couple of bento boxes and a back up criossant. I I stealthily bought a couple of bento boxes and a backup croissant. I was delighted to see Alistair polish off at least the egg from his Bento box in a flurry of moving chopsticks.

The three stooges on the Shinkansen!
Alistair quickly got stuck into his eggs, they had no chance!
I picked a variety Bento, they look so pretty!

My client at work in June was Coca-Cola so we were all drinking Georgia coffee.

Around Kyoto

We went to Kinkaku-Ji, Ryoan-Ji and Kiyomizu-dera.

I think a highlight was having tea in the garden at Ryoan-ji. It would have been lovely on a longer trip to spend more time in Japanese gardens.

We also enjoyed a hoix in the shops near Kiyomizu-dera, where there are lots of snack shops and souvenir shops.

Mum and Alistair at Kinkaku-ji, about to see their first Japanese temple
Kinkaku-ji; we had good weather
Mum at Kinkaku-ji
Around Kinkaku-ji
Around Kinkaku-ji
Mum and Alistair at Ryoan-ji
Yours truly at Ryoan-ji (photography skills courtesy of Alistair)
桜 / Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms at Ryoan-ji
Two girls in pretty Kimono’s near Kiyomizu-dera
To dispel the myth that you can peacefully enjoy temples in Cherry blossom season!
Mum at Kiyomizu-dera.
Mum at Kiyomizu-dera
The Kimono’s are so pretty!!

Whilst in Kyoto we had a lovely dinner together. Originally, I wanted to take Mum and Alistair to a traditional Kaiseki meal, but I was a bit nervous about the food including Sushi or other challenging items. In the end, I remembered a casual kushi-katsu restaurant with a fun owner that I’d been to before. This is the place. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos, I think we were enjoying the food and drinks too much and forgot!

Afternoon tea in Tokyo

On return to Tokyo we went to the Shangri-La near Tokyo station for afternoon tea. It’s a lovely spot with beautiful views.

Our best picture from Japan, we must be in our natural habitat with afternoon tea
I think this was the highlight!
And a sneaky cocktail to finish things off
View of across Tokyo from the Shangri-la

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