This is sponsored post but all opinions are based on experiences from our personally funded trip to Japan 2 years ago.
Two summers ago we traveled to China and Hong Kong on a family trip with my parents and stopped in Japan on our way home. Our stay in the Japanese neighborhood of Shinjuku may have only been a few days but the time we spent exploring Tokyo caused enough intrigue that our kids dream of the day we can return to see more of the country.
Sushi, yakitori, ramen, freshly made rice crackers, mochi, curry, and katsu are just a small sampling of the foods we tried in Japan but the possibilities presented for your palate are endless! Our kids fell in love with Yakitori Alley, a small alley full of tiny yakitori places that came as a personal recommendation from our hotel concierge. We’ve tried to find the same variety and quality of yakitori in the small eatery where we dined here in the states, we haven’t had any luck yet!
Japanese innovation makes stops in multilevel department stores fun but a trip to Akihabra if a must for lovers of technology. We spent a whole afternoon in Yodobashi Camera, making our way through ten levels, each dedicated to televisions, cameras, speakers, household gadgets (heated toilet seat covers, anyone?) and more.
Nestled in bustling neighborhoods, beautiful temples can be found to provide momentary zen while a Japanese tea ceremony transports you to a different time. Japan is a place where old meets new and for a stark contrast, visit Shibuya and just watch as people flood this massive intersection which is probably the most famous crosswalk in the world! Tip: The Starbucks a floor up from the street level provides a great view!
Japan does mass transit well. Traveling into Tokyo from Narita Airport was a dream. Clean fast JR NEX trains provide a picturesque view of a landscape that we wouldn’t have seen if we had taken a bus into the city. We also loved the subway. Thankfully my husband spent a lot of time in Tokyo for work in previous years and navigated the subway system like a pro despite massive underground stations and signs that are only in Japanese. Next time we’re there we want to take the bullet train!
In the meantime, events like Japan Week serve as a way we can soak in the culture, cuisine, and tourism whose regional foods, technology exhibits, traditional arts and performances would have satisfied our wanderlust without a 14 hour flight. Last weekend, Takumi Japan was on hand shares some products from some of Japan’s small businesses and artisans at Japan Week New York. Designed to introduce the thriving Japanese small business community to new markets, Takumi Japan brought small craft and design companies to showcase crafts and goods created by local artists.
If you’re going to be in New York City over the weekend, take a look at the participating restaurants that are a part of Japanese Restaurant Week!
Bottom 2 images provided by Japan Week and Takumi Japan. All other photos are personal photos.