The Magical Kyoto, Japan

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By Abby Berman Mazenod

Kyoto is enchanting. This city’s natural and ancient beauty could not have stuck with me more. Fortunately, with only a weekend to enjoy this magical place, we were able to squeeze in as much sightseeing as humanly possible while still getting to enjoy some of the tastes and culture of the city. A two and 1/2 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, and you land in one of the coolest most modern train stations to ever exist, in the heart of one of the most ancient cities in the entire world. This is absolutely a destination that I need to visit again in the near future… one weekend just wasn’t enough!

Having been the capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years, this city has a very traditional conservative Japanese way about it. Women are seen dressed in the customary kimonos, and there are too many temples and gardens to count. For the ancient culture of Japan, this is the place to visit.

 

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

Nijo Castle. Kyoto, Japan

Niko Castle-The Shogun Temple

The first place on our sightseeing tour was the Shogun Temple. This was the residence of the first know shogun in Japan. Thought the actual exhibits were closed, the outside view was pretty marvelous!

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Golden Pavilion. Kyoto, Japan

Golden Pavilion

This is a zen temple covered entirely in gold. It is incredible! This experience was actually what I had expected to see when visiting Kyoto. The calming spiritual environment is what anyone would imagine of ancient Japan. The surrounding pond and gardens are beautiful and enormous (my husband and I actually got lost wile wandering through them). We finished off our visit with some super tasty green tea soft serve!

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

Garden of the Golden Pavilion. Kyoto, Japan

 

Ryōan-ji-The Famous Zen Rock Garden

I had read that this garden was a bit unexciting… yup… they were right. I had seen pictures of it because it’s so famous. Although it was interesting to see it in person, I can’t say it was exactly thrilling. This was the only temple we went inside of when we visited Kyoto, and that part was really cool and exciting! Any time I can have an inside view of such a devout aspect of a culture, I am all in! The outside gardens were very pretty… but I am still not exactly sure why the rock garden is so famous. (Explain  it to me in the comments if you have the time and knowledge 🙂 )

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

Ryōan-ji-The Famous Zen Rock Garden

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

Inside Ryōan-ji Temple

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Bamboo Forest

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Bamboo Forest

The Bamboo Forest

My favorite place that we visited in Kyoto was the Bamboo Forest! This overwhelming ocean of bamboo is an experience that I’ll never stop dreaming about. It is a perfect creation of nature and a safe haven of greenery that would be impossible not to fall in love with. I miss the Bamboo Forest.

 

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The city itself is so magical and has so much to offer! We found great restaurants, bars, shopping, and the cultural element is intoxicating.

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Magical Kyoto, Japan. www.tracingabby.com

The Venice of Asia… Kyoto, Japan.

I could not miss this perfectly magical city more. The culture and history, the restaurants and shopping, the beautiful people full of such kindness. I can’t wait to go back! If you’re visiting soon, you can fully expect an incredible adventure!

Happy travels and best wishes!

xoxo-Abby

www.tracingabby.com

 

A Weekend in Tokyo-An easy guide to an amazing city!

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A Weekend in Tokyo

A Weekend in Tokyo-Abby Berman Mazenod, www.tracingabby.com

 

By Abby Berman Mazenod

So my husband and I just left Tokyo, and my heart is breaking. This city might be our favorite place in the world! There is so much adventure and excitement to be had, and it is such a young and alive environment. We can’t wait to go back! But for now… I’ll just let you know what you must do if you have a few days to spend there.

 



Takeshita Street-Harajuku

This is the first place we stopped because I was overly excited to see some “Harajuku Girls”. It was packed and hectic! Everywhere we turned there were super yummy crepes and icecream cones-it was basically heaven. This was definitely worth the short trek. I was expecting to see masses of cute Japanese girls dressed like life size dolls, and while that wasn’t really the case, there were quite a few girls dressed up.  This is a great place for shopping and people watching! Just take the Harijuku exit off the JR metro line, and you will be let out right in front of the Takeshita Street gate!

 


Owl Cafe-Harajuku

I was desperate to go to a themed cafe while we were in Tokyo! It was a little overwhelming with so many choices… cat cafes, dog cafes, anime character cafes, Disney character cafes, Sanrio… You get the idea. We finally settled on the Owl Cafe in Harajuku. It’s just a minute walk from Takeshita Street. This place was fantastic! After a tasty drink in the cafe, you can go into the owl room to hold, pet, and even play with the owls! It is so cool!!!  Just make sure you make a reservation the day before… they get booked up fast.

 


Shibuya

Holy cow! This is by definition organized chaos. The Shibuya neighborhood is known for having the craziest crosswalk ever… And it is totally nuts! Right outside of Shibuya Station is the intersection. We went to the second floor of Starbucks to check it out in action… And although it is stressful, it is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss. This neighborhood also has tons of awesome restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities stacked up on each other. It’s a fun place to spend your whole day!

 


Shin juku

This neighborhood is awesome! It is a night owl’s dream! This is where tons of bars and restaurants are, cool Japanese arcades for adults and youth, and the exciting red light district. The lights in this neighborhood are explosive, and great for picture taking!

 


The Robot Show and Restaurant

Within the Shinjuku district, is the Robot Restaurant/Cabaret/Dinner Theater. This show will blow your mind! We knew we wanted to see it after watching the Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Tokyo episode… It was everything we could hope it to be and more! While waiting to go into the show, you start out in a bar that has walls covered in mirrors and twinkling lights with a robot band serenading you. The show itself is out of this world! There are lights and explosions and drums  and costumed dancers and of course robots! You’ve got to see this one for yourself.

 


Eat some real Ramen

…yummmm. I also got a poké bowl (deconstructed sushi bowl) that was delish!




Before you go… Check out a 7-11!

This sounds completely obsurd… I know. But my friend Dylan, who lived in Tokyo for a few years, told me to do this. At quick glance you might think that it is a normal 7-11… But it is waaaay better! They have fancy salads, sushi platters, bento boxes, noodle bowls, and my new obsession… onigiri rolls. They are basically rice balls, wrapped in seaweed with some kind of sushi-like goodness in the middle. They are the perfect on-the-go healthy snack! Here is a great guide to onigiri flavors


My husband and I are really going to miss this city. The people are so kind and friendly, and always willing to try to help despite the language barrier. The streets and subways are so clean and streamline. The food and sightseeing are incredible, and this is also one of the youngest, most alive places we have ever been. I cannot wait to go back and hope you will get the chance to love it as much as we do!

 

xoxo-Abby

www.tracingabby.com

 

 

 

A weekend in Tokyo-an easy guide to an amazing city! www.tracingabby.com