Tokyo is every bit as massive as I expected, full of skyscrapers, flashing billboards, and busy intersections. It is truly something to see! But Tokyo is surprisingly charming at the same time. Hidden just a few train stops away from the hustle and bustle of areas like Shibuya are spacious green parks and tiny local coffee shops. I did not realize that each area of Tokyo would have their own character and history. Of course, it’s no surprise that every area in this city is incredibly clean – even though you rarely see a trashcan!
Kamakura is the perfect day trip from Tokyo. Once a political capital in Japan, this ancient city runs at a welcomed slower pace and is full of rich history. The Daibutsu is a must see. This incredible Buddha statue has been standing here since 1252! Just a few blocks over from the temples and shrines is a thriving beach town. When sitting on Zaimokuza Beach with an acai bowl or frozen cocktail in hand, it is hard to imagine you are just outside of the world’s busiest city!
Favorite things to do in Kamakura, Japan
Do: Zaimokuza Beach
Harajuku is easily one of my favorite spots in Tokyo. It truly has something for everyone – from high end stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel to bright kawaii shops and themed cafes on Takeshita Dori. It is sensory overload! A trip to Harajuku is never complete without a rainbow colored cotton candy or sweet filled crepe.
Favorite things to do in Harajuku, Japan
Drink: Lattes at Reissue
Yokohama was our first adventure after arriving in Tokyo. We had dinner on the water and did some shopping at Marine and Walk before checking out the Red Brick Warehouse. Later, we made a trip back to Yokohama to check out the CupNoodles Museum. (Am I the only one who has called them Cup *OF* Noodles?!) Word to the wise – stick with the ramen and do not try the CupNoodles soft serve. It is not a joke when they ask you to choose between soy sauce and curry ice cream!
Favorite things to do in Yokohama, Japan
It is a weird feeling to pack a suitcase for roughly a month knowing the next time you come back, it will be with your baby! But pregnancy in Japan has been nothing short of an adventure and this is the final big one! With no hospital on base in Iwakuni, there are two options: have your baby out in town with a Japanese doctor and translator or travel to Tokyo a few weeks before your due date to live in the Yokosuka Stork’s Nest until you deliver. From the beginning, I knew that Tokyo was the only reasonable option for me. As a first time mom, I wanted doctors that spoke english and I wanted American medicine. So far – no regrets on that decision!At 37 weeks, we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Tokyo to move into the Stork’s Nest. The Stork’s Nest is free lodging connected to the hospital on the Navy Base, provided to medevaced families from bases in Japan without hospitals to live until their babies are born. It is nothing fancy but it does the job. Yokosuka is a suburb of Tokyo so there are endless opportunities to explore while walking this baby out! Not to mention, Yokosuka has a Chili’s and a Dunkin Donuts right on base 🙂 I plan to take full advantage of living in the “big city” while I can!