We headed out of the Mt. Fuji area with lots of 7-11 snacks and embarked on a bus ride followed by a bullet train, arriving in Kyoto in the early afternoon. We checked into Kiyomizu Samurai Machiya, a private traditional home in a quiet neighborhood in Kyoto, which featured 3 Japanese futons and 2 western beds, along with a full size Samurai warrior costume on display like a museum piece. After doing a bit of bed rearranging, we headed out to start exploring.
We ventured out from our hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo with a few too many bags and headed to the train station for a high-speed train to Otsuki, where we changed to the Mt. Fuji railway for a scenic ride towards Kawaguchiko, a serene lake-side down in the foothills of Mt. Fuji.
Though we've visited Tokyo a few times before, we've never been in Japan for cherry blossom season or with family, so for this quick three-day Tokyo trip, we dedicated our time to sakura hanami (enjoying the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms) and immersing ourselves in the art, history and pop culture that is so unique to Tokyo.
After spending nearly two weeks in Vietnam, we felt lost in time. We spent our days rotating between winding around the maze-like cacophony in the old town of Hanoi, and trekking the countryside. We didn't watch any tv or interact with technology much beyond our cameras, and we ate local street foods from simple roadside stalls and restaurants with no electricity or modern facilities. Juxtaposed with our Vietnam adventure which cut out many of the comforts of western culture, our journey to the ultra-modern city of Tokyo was like a trip back to the future.
Seoul, Kyoto, Tokyo
In October 2013, we embarked on our first transpacific flight to Asia from California. Our first stop was Seoul, South Korea to visit Erin's sister Aubrey. Once together, we traveled to Kyoto and Tokyo. We departed from SFO at 11 am and arrived in Seoul 12 hours later. We dropped our bags off at the Designers' hotel, which featured Banksy-like graffiti in each room. Although our body clocks were 12 hours off, we couldn't wait to explore Seoul's contrasting Eastern culture.
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