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!