We had a magical three weeks honeymooning in the land of the rising sun and it was the best. Yes, we say that about all of our trips, we know and perhaps it’s the company! But as a honeymoon destination it was spectacular. We had lots of fun, ate some great food and stayed in some great places and fell hook, line and sinker for the culture.
We arrived in Osaka late at night and found our hotel with no internet – no mean feat in this day and age. The next day we’d planned to go to the F1 so a little dazed we made our way on to our first of many bullet trains on our mini-adventure. The F1 was so exhilarating. It’s bucket list stuff for us and we loved every minute. The smell, the sounds and the sights were just as we’d hoped.
We spent another full day in Osaka and tried to cram in as much of the place as possible in our limited time frame. We visited the castle, zoo and walked through the parks. And we couldn’t not eat at their famous street food market, Dontonburi.
We left Osaka for a day to visit Nara. A wonderful park covered in deer and temples. The deer charmed us and we adored it!
We travelled on to Kyoto – one of the most magical places we’ve been. It’s everything we imagined Japan to be. From ancient streets with Geisha dotted all over, to temples up in the hills and forest.
We ended our first week in Japan with a trip to the remote Art Island of Naoshima. It was a beautiful, sunny and clear day when we arrived and it was perfect from the moment we arrived on the Island to the moment we left. The art was great, but for us the food, people and views far outweighed it as a reason to visit. We were treated to a spectacular sunset, a sensational dinner and being awoken by the sound of crashing waves, in your yurt on a beach, knowing you’re on an island off the Japanese coast is a never-forget experience. We look forward to dedicating a post to this place, looking through the photos and reliving the magic.
Our second week we got the bullet train down to the south of Japan, stopping off for a day in Hiroshima. Hiroshima is a big, modern and bright city. So different to the cities we’d already visited. We headed straight for Andersen’s, a bakery inspired by Danish bakes that also has a branch in our beloved Copenhagen. After we headed to the memorial park. It was a beautiful warm and sunny day. The dome, the monument of the epicentre of the atomic bomb, the last thing standing, was shocking to see. It instantly grounded us in our surroundings. We wandered slowly around the park – past the peace monument and soaked it all in. It is a beautiful, resilient city.
Next stop was the most southern point of the main island we’d travel to, Fukuoka, where we had a plane to catch the next day. We stayed the night, enjoyed the street food and night markets and seeked out a late night ice-cream parlour.
We boarded our flight to Okinawa to stay a few days in tropical luxury! However, the forecast was awful! It rained the whole time and our expectations of this portion of our holiday seemed rained off. But we actually can’t complain, in fact, the rain was almost a blessing. We found the best places to eat (and the driest routes to get there!), spent lazy mornings in our hotel, and had late night dips in the rooftop pool. Honeymoon bliss. The whole place was a holiday in our holiday.
We had seven nights and six days in the capital on our final stop in Japan. It was busier than busy arriving on a Tuesday, late at night with suitcases! We were staying in Shinjuku, in a pretty good central location. Day one musings – TOKYO IS BLOODY MASSIVE. We tried to break down our to-do list into daily achievable tasks before realising we might not get the chance to see it all. We explored Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza and of course, Shinjuku – barely scratching the surface of the city. But it was amazing!
As part of our registry we asked our guests to gift us experiences of Japan and most came to fruition in Tokyo. We saw wrestling at the Tokyo Dome, went on a day trip to Mount Fuji and visited a cat cafe.
Our week quickly passed, but we still allowed ourselves one last trip on the bullet train and a trip outside of Tokyo. We visited Nikko which was around 2 hours north west of Tokyo. The weather was significantly cooler and the landscape was beautiful. We’d forgotten just how beautiful rural Japan was.
Our last day was quickly upon us but we didn’t go directly home, instead we had a two day, one night stopover in Dubai. The first impression wasn’t great. It was 7am, excruciatingly hot and no taxi would take us round the block to our hotel. So we walked. Despite the short distance, the heat made it impossible.
We eventually made it to our hotel and for our troubles, they upgraded us to a suite. Our mood improved! We got our bearings and learnt that aircon is our friend. We mostly explore the Dubai Mall complex and stayed pool side in our hotel, and it was certainly a different type of city and experience.
And then we were homeward bound. We arrived back in the UK at 7am and made our way home. Three joyous weeks, everything you’d wish for from a honeymoon.
Things we loved
Anders kept a travel diary of our trip interspersed with stamps, memories of Japan and quirky things we adored. Here’s some of our favourites:
Meji Cubes are excellent
Everything has a jingle — loos, train doors closing, just doors in general
The Japanese love to cover songs
They give you PJs in every hotel
As well as sugar sachets, every cafe has sugar syrup; IDEAL for iced coffees.
Hello Kitty is actually British! Well a British character created in Japan
The crows have a very deep, menacing tone — it’s hilarious
7/11’s are good; Family Mart’s are better; Lawson’s are BESTEST
[2020 Edit: this was written in 2018, the travel diary is in storage and the memories *slightly* faded. This next part may be a long way off.] We’re hoping to write a few more in-depth posts about where we’ve been and with recommendations and places and all the useful stuff that people like! We’re so grateful we have our travel diary to look back on too. We’d absolutely recommend keeping one. Especially for Japan.. especially for the stamps!
We look forward to sharing more of our Japanese adventures here soon!
Dan & Anders x