10 Things I Love about Japan

It’s hard to believe I have been in Japan for 9 days now!  We are heading out to Thailand tonight so thought I would share a few of my favorite things in Japan:

1.  Japanese People:  I have never met a more kind and welcoming group of people.  They go out of their way to help direct you when you are looking for directions. (Not that I ever got lost! Ha! 😉 )  One gentleman stopped what he was doing, took out his iPad and looked up the direction of the train station for me.  They bow–a lot! 🙂 And always greet you when you enter a store or restaurant…immediately. Super nice. Super friendly.

Japanese people

2. Bamboo Forests:  For me, this was my favorite experience. I found being around the tall bamboo was quite peaceful.  I enjoyed the Hokokuji Temple in Kamakura outside of Tokyo where I enjoyed a wonderful Matcha Green Tea amongst the bamboo.tall bamboo

Matcha Tea at Hokokuji Temple.

Tea at the shrine

Russ and I also enjoyed the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama in Kyoto too. So tranquil.russ bamboo

3. Tea time:  Whether it was just a cup of green tea with a meal or a zen moment with matcha tea in a temple, you can’ t help but feel a sense of calm and peace take over with a cup of green tea in hand.

4. Packaging and presentation:  The Japanese have a beautiful way of presenting their wares whether it be candies or silk scarves…everything is just so! The food is also beautifully prepared and presented.  Uniforms are common in the school aged children heading to school and in restaurants or hotels. candy

5. Rice crackers:  I just love the many varieties that are available!rice crackers

6. Matcha ice cream:  Where else can you get green tea ice cream?  I couldn’t eat a whole cone…but happy to share with my guy!

7. Tempura: Like nothing you have experienced in the States.  So light and tasty.tempura

8. Shrines: It’s somewhat overwhelming how many shrines there are in Japan.  My favorite included:   Hokikuji Temple,  Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), Hase-dera in Kamakura. And if in Kamakura, a must see is the Great Buddha.

Loved this Great Buddha!great buddha

The Golden Temple is world-renown. Here it is on our visit…snow topped!golden temple

The grounds of the Hokokuji temple were exquisite and pristine. rock pile Hokokuji templeSo pretty.Stairs to the Hokokuji Temple

If you are looking for peace and zen…this is your place!Stone walk Hokokuji temple

9. Rickshaws:  Russ and I took one of these cart rides for a little spin through Kyoto’s bamboo forest.  Super fun! And warm…which was nice on this snowy day in Kyoto!rickshaw

10: Monkeys: Arashiyama Monkey Park was very cool.  Take a steep 20 minute hike up the hilltop to see the wild monkeys.  These guys were quite amazing to see.monkey

And lastly, an honorable mention.  My 11th favorite top thing in Japan….heated toilet seats. It’s a nice feature.  Just sayin’ Ha! 🙂

As for the food here…it’s been a mixed experience. Some meals have been stellar…and some downright scary (at least for me).  I like to know what I am eating…and with the language barrier and some of the unusual foods eaten here…I will admit I was a bit nervous about indulging. I wish I was a bit more daring…but with a sensitive belly…it’s hard to be!

Off to Thailand!



9 replies on “10 Things I Love about Japan

  • Anne


    thx for the nice pics, looks lovely and just made me add Japan as a future vacation destination, I have never been to Asia, so it is on the list as is Vietnam, love vietnamese food! Well Sushi too 😉

  • Nancy

    What wonderful experiences you’re having! Thank you for posting the photos. It looks beautiful and so clean. Glad you’re trying some new foods. Enjoy Thailand, too!

  • Jen

    What is your best advice for dining out in a foreign country while following (or at least trying to follow) the low-FODMAP diet? Airplane tips (what foods did you carry-on?)? I’ll be at the 7 week mark in the elimination diet when I travel to a foreign country. I plan to meet with a FODMAP-familiar dietician before leaving. I’m guessing that when I get back from the trip, depending on how I feel, I may need to do another few weeks of strict elimination before determining which foods I can safely add back to my repertoire. What are your thoughts?? Thanks!!!

    • katescarlata

      When traveling to a foreign country, I recommend a few tips: Bring portable snacks with you. I always have peanuts, peanut butter or almond butter packets, Go Macro peanut butter mini bars, and bananas for the plane. Plane food is a mixed bag….mostly would avoid it. I like to pack something hearty for the plane ride instead of relying on the poor processed food they serve. Also, I always purchase a BIG water bottle for the flight. You should hydrate at least 1 cup of water per hour in the air. Another important thing to do is to learn about traditional foods in the country you are visiting and look up recipes to have an idea what is in them. I will admit, I was somewhat ill-prepared for Japan and didn’t have enough information to feel I could order food at a restaurant with confidence. Fortunately, rice is a big staple–and I knew I could always get a rice based meal such as a rice bowl. I don’t like raw or undercooked meat–and this posed a bit of a problem…so vegetarian dishes with tofu worked well. I visited the local convenience store and stocked up on foods I could keep in my room. Getting a refrigerator in your room is usually not a problem–so be sure to put in a request if there isn’t one already in your room. Now, I am in Thailand–and the food options have been so much easier and delicious.

  • Kaylan

    Hi Kate! I am new to your blog and OH MY Gosh! You have made me feel like this new way of life might be do-able. I have two questions for you. First, where did you get your really cute colorful muffin tin? And number two is I haven’t seen turkey anywhere on a do or don’t eat list.


    • katescarlata

      Nice to hear from you Kaylan! I purchased my cut muffin tin from Anthropologie–though I have seen them at Home Goods too! And, protein rich foods such as most unflavored meats–pork, turkey, chicken etc–do not have carbs–so are low FODMAP.

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