While traveling to Tokyo, I’ve decided to find accommodations that were less expensive so to save money for public transportation and food. Having stayed in economy hotels in the past, and even the Hardy Barracks, I decided to give a capsule hotel a try. After all, it is Tokyo.
Japan is notorious for their epic and impressive festivals. And the Nebuta Matsuri did not disappoint.
Designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan in 1980, the Nebuta Matsuri is a Tanabata, a summer-related festival (or matsuri in Japanese), that is held in the Tohoku, the northern region of the main island of Honshu. Towns in Aomori Prefecture all have their own version of the festival, but the largest is held in Aomori City which is held annually from August 2 to 7. During the festival, giant floats showcasing warriors from plays and myths are paraded down the street while hundreds of dancers dressed in costumes called haneto and shouting the chant “Rassera!!” and inviting others to join in.
It’s been over 71 years since the Enola Gay dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima. The nuclear debate is still ongoing, and while this is by no means a political blog, the detonations of Little Boy and Fat Man over Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively, effectively ended World War II. While on my trip to Japan last year, I was able to visit the beautiful city of Hiroshima and the Peace Memorial Park, a stark and somber reminder of the devastation that a nuclear weapon can cause.
Believe it or not, I actually had more noodles in Japan than sushi, sashimi…any kind of seafood combined. This includes the snacking at the Tsukiji Fish Market and Nishiki Fish Market in Tokyo and Kyoto respectively.
Springtime in Japan means one thing: cherry blossom season. Also known as sakura, the cherry blossoms begin to bloom near the end of March and the season lasts for about two weeks. Every marketplace, grocery store, Seven-Eleven, and boutique carries something that includes or celebrates sakura.
There is nothing like a good beer after a long day of traveling and exploring. After sight seeing in Kyoto, jumping on and off trains to see the shrines and temples, and finally the Nishiki Market, we came across the Craft Man Beer House next door to a restaurant serving kobe beef.
The Aoyama Tea House is truly a hidden gem in Tokyo, Japan. Nestled in the back of the small Aoyama Flower Market, the Tea House provides a lovely and calming ambience. Fresh floral arrangements decorate the tables and line the walls while friendly staff busily wait on the guests ensuring that their stay is memorable.