Best Places to Visit in Japan - Travel Squad Podcast

Best Places to Visit in Japan

In this two-part episode we take you with us to the best places to visit in Japan on a two week trip in winter.

The squad, plus or minus a few others, spent 14 days traveling through Japan, eating ramen and sushi, sightseeing, and enjoying all the attractions this amazing country has to offer. 

We share Japan travel tips, what to pack if going on a Japan vacation in the winter time. 14 days is a ton of time to really tour the country! For this trip, we put on our travel guide hats and planned a self-guided tour through Japan using public transportation.

  • Sensoji Temple
  • Tokyo Tower
  • Hedgehog cafe 
  • Shibuya crossing
  • Ginza District
  • Mt Fuji
  • Lake Ashi
  • Imperial Palace Grounds
  • Harajuku area
  • Michelin star ramen
  • Disneyland Tokyo
  • Disneyland Tokyo Sea
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
  • Arashiyama Monkey Park
  • Kinkakuji Temple 
  • Nishiki Market 
  • Walking the Streets of Gion
  • Nara Park 
  • Kasuga-taisha Shrine 
  • Fushimi Inari-taisha 
  • Hiroshima
  • The floating shrine , aka Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island
  • Kuromonichiba Market  in Osaka
  • Dontonburi area 

Best Places to Visit in Japan – Episode Transcript

1 (56s):
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we are taking you to Japan,

4 (1m 3s):
Japan, the land of the rising sun. Japan is such an amazing country from the metropolis of Tokyo. Kyoto’s classical charm and Osaka is foodie paradise. Japan is filled with tons of culture and history and should be on any travelers bucket list destination.

2 (1m 20s):
We took a 14 day trip to Japan. So we’re going to break this down into two episodes. Okay? So we went to Tokyo, Kyoto Osaka Hiroshima, but this episode we’re solely gonna be talking about Tokyo and the magical charm.

3 (1m 34s):
And this was not a full on squad trip because I, Kim did not go. This was mostly Brittany’s family. The rest of the squad went and our friends, Ryan, and Casha that we’ve talked about many times before

2 (1m 48s):
We missed you though, Kim,

4 (1m 49s):
I was going to say, boo, on you, Kim, for not coming. You

3 (1m 51s):
Know, I’m really sad that I did miss it because I absolutely love ramen, but I’m not that upset because I heard it was really cold on this trip.

1 (1m 59s):
It was really cool, but it was still worth it. It

4 (2m 2s):
Was, you just need to embrace the cold, embrace the

3 (2m 5s):
Cold. Okay. So since I wasn’t there, what are some tips I should know for when I do go?

1 (2m 9s):
So when you do go, the biggest tip I have for you is to stay at a place near a Metro, whether that be a hotel or an Airbnb or anything else staying near the Metro is essential. Tokyo is so big and there are so many different districts within Tokyo and the Metro is really reliable and it can pretty much get you anywhere. So I do recommend staying near a Metro spot so that you can get to all of the destinations you need to get to in Tokyo and at some of the stations or at the airport, you can buy a Metro card and that can get you unlimited access for 24 48 or 72 hours. And it’s an unlimited card for tourists to get around, to any destination for a set price.

4 (2m 51s):
Yeah, it’s a flat price and you pay depending on again, if you’re going to do the 24 48 72 hours, and I would definitely recommend picking up the card at the airport when you arrive, Tokyo has two airports. So each airport will have a location where you can pick up those cards. If you go into the city itself and try to get it only very few stations have it. So I don’t want it to be a situation where somebody goes and they’re not at the appropriate station to pick up that card. So definitely just pick it up when you’re at the airport, before you go on out. And it definitely makes a lot of sense. And again, if you stay away from Tokyo city center, in terms of a hotel, it’s going to be a lot cheaper, staying on the outskirts of Tokyo and with the Metro.

4 (3m 34s):
You don’t need to stay close in the city and spend that extra money for a more expensive hotel. And that’s exactly what we did.

2 (3m 42s):
I’m in fact, jealous of Japan for how amazing their Metro system is. Like, I wish San Diego had something even comparable to them.

1 (3m 49s):
Even New York, like Tokyo had really nice bathrooms in Metro stations

4 (3m 54s):
Were nice, super clean

3 (3m 56s):
On the Metro, not

1 (3m 58s):
On the Metro, but inside every station we went to, there was an accessible bathroom and day with a day. Wow. And they were clean. Like it wasn’t grungy or smelly. It was legit. Like we looked forward to going to the bathrooms and the Metro. If we had to go,

4 (4m 13s):
That’s another thing about Japan, not necessarily in the tip section, but they are a very clean culture in terms of not littering. And they take their go into the restroom very seriously. They have like the seat, the days seat warmers on the toilet. It’s amazing.

2 (4m 29s):
And this is a little bit of a sidebar, but do you guys remember when we were in the Metro station and we were in line for the bathroom and there was someone in the handicap bathroom and she passed out and so Brittany screamed, Ryan, we’re going to need your manpower. And he totally Colton Underwood jumps the bars and went in to help like carry this lady out. Oh

3 (4m 51s):
God,

1 (4m 51s):
Yeah.

2 (4m 52s):
Someone passed out in the bathroom, but you know what? It was a good bathroom to pass out in. Do

3 (4m 56s):
You have to pay for the bathroom?

1 (4m 57s):
You do not have to pay for the bag at the station.

3 (5m 1s):
And then are there any homeless people in

2 (5m 4s):
Japan? No,

1 (5m 5s):
We didn’t see any. Wow. And we didn’t see anyone in the Metro stations that look to be homeless either. So speaking of the Metro system, still one app that you can use to navigate the Metro system is called Tokyo subway navigation app. And this app is essential while you’re in Tokyo, because you can either input station to station. If you know which stations you’re going to. But if you don’t know what station you’re going to, you can put in destinations or landmarks. So for example, you can put in, you need to go from Tokyo Tower to the Ginza District and it’ll tell you what stations to start from and what station to exit on.

4 (5m 43s):
Yeah. I really liked that feature about it because if you’re not really a local and especially don’t know the language, you don’t necessarily know the station names, unless you do super, super like dedicated research, like, okay, look at a Google map, find out what station is to this. See the name. So in some instances we did know the station names from a little bit of research, but that landmark feature is really, really clutch because you know what sites you want to see? So you could put in those sites and then it just arranges the appropriate station for you based on that really clutch really good.

1 (6m 15s):
So another tip we have is to buy the J our rail pass and advance. And the Jr rail is different from the Tokyo Metro, because it is a train rail. So like it has some of the high speed trains and some local trains. And you do have to buy this in advanced, if you were a tourist, it actually has to be delivered to you in your home country. You can’t pick it up in Japan and they sell it in seven day, 14 day or 21 day increments at a really good value.

4 (6m 43s):
Yeah. We ended up buying it for the seven days. And the price that we paid for a seven day was equivalent to the price of one train ticket. When we looked from like Tokyo, Tokyo photo. So you definitely save a lot of money, but it’s only available to tourists, Japanese citizens can’t purchase this. So purchase it online. It gets delivered to you at your home, but it’s not even your official pass. It’s really a certificate that you have to redeem at the train station for them to give it to you. And it’s matched to your passport number. So definitely don’t go to Japan and think you’re going to buy it there. You really have to purchase it ahead of time to get your certificate to redeem.

3 (7m 24s):
And how long did it take to come in the mail from the time you ordered it online?

4 (7m 28s):
I think maybe four or five days.

1 (7m 30s):
Yeah, it was definitely within a week. Yeah, but it’s something that you need to do in advance. You don’t want to wait till the last minute to buy it online, because if it doesn’t have time to get delivered to you, then you’re screwed.

4 (7m 39s):
And one other thing that I do want to say is we purchase this, but because Tokyo has such a good Metro system, we really didn’t have to use any of their bullet drains or regular regional trains that they had within Tokyo, except for when we were leaving to go on to our next destination. So don’t redeem it at a train station until you’re actually going to use it because the moment you redeem it, that’s when your day period starts, whether it be the seven, 14 or 21 days, it’s right when you redeem it. So if you redeem it and don’t use it for three days, you’ve already lost three days on it.

1 (8m 14s):
Exactly. And one app that we can recommend for using the Jr rail pass is called hyper DIA. And this app tells you the train times, it even tells you what platform you need to get on while you’re at the train station and it updates frequently. And also because the Jr pass isn’t valid for the two most high-speed train systems, you can filter that out in your search so that you’re not looking at those specific trains. And you’re only looking at the trains that work for, with your pass.

2 (8m 45s):
Yeah. And just to repeat that, that’s, hypertonia H Y P E R D I a.

4 (8m 50s):
Yeah. And we’ll include that in the show notes just as well, but definitely good call on that one and letting people know so that they can search it. But one thing to note about the hyper DIA is the app only works if you have wifi or data, which brings us to our next tip, which is to buy the pocket wifi.

3 (9m 8s):
I had never heard of a pocket wifi. So tell me what it is.

4 (9m 12s):
So a pocket wifi has a small little device that gives you data mobily. It’s pretty much the size of a pager. If we all even remember what pagers are, but basically it’s smart. Just imagine it like a small, old flip phone back in the day, but it’s not a flip phone, but that’s pretty much the size that it is and you carry it with you. And then it gives you a mobile hotspot wherever you go. So you can pick this up at the airport, or it can actually be delivered to the hotel that you’re going to stay at if you do it, but you can purchase the pocket wifi from the Jr rail pass website. So on there, they actually have a link. So you can tell them I’m landing in this airport or that airport gram stain at this hotel.

4 (9m 53s):
And it’s really convenient because they also give you a prepaid envelope to drop it in a mail slot to actually return it. So you can choose how long you want it. For however many days, they obviously have a set amount of days maximum. I think it goes up to 121 days, but I don’t really think anyone’s going to be spending that long in there. But in terms of the cost super cheap, definitely a lot cheaper than going to your mobile carrier and telling them I need mobile data. It’s so, so cheap. How much did we pay for the 14 days? I think less than a hundred bucks, right?

1 (10m 24s):
I think it was less than a hundred bucks and you can connect more than one phone or a device to it. You can connect up to five. Of course, if you connect the maximum five, it’s going to slow the speed down. But Jamal and I did purchase it. And we were both able to stay connected at all times, use it with us. And the website that we use was the Jr pass website to buy this from. And we got a portable charger with it too. So the battery on it runs low during the day, but it came with a portable charger. As long as you keep that up, you’re fine. For the entire day.

3 (10m 54s):
Had you not had the pocket wifi? How difficult would it have been to navigate or was it easy to get wifi in restaurants?

1 (11m 2s):
No. It would have been very difficult to navigate the city without pocket wifi

3 (11m 6s):
Where the signs in English as well.

1 (11m 8s):
Some of them, yes, but a lot of them, no,

4 (11m 11s):
I mostly saw signs in English when we were on the Metro. But in terms of other signs throughout the city, not so much at all, but on the Metro. Yes. But definitely need that pocket. Wifi helps you navigate with your Google maps. It saves you from having to download it offline, but even so it will help you with bus routes if you wanted to take buses to, because again, you have Google maps, you can use that definitely came in handy. And if you want to do translation, you could use that pocket wifi for your translation app. So it makes a lot of sense to have it. And then a place like Japan, I would definitely recommend it

2 (11m 43s):
And major shout out to Brittany because she manhandled the entire thing.

1 (11m 47s):
Yeah, I did all of the itinerary research. I did all of the bookings for everyone. I would recommend the hotel. Everyone would then book after I did the recommendations, I would say, I think we need the pocket wifi. And then I was the one to purchase it and do all of the research behind everything that we did for this two week.

3 (12m 3s):
By the way, one of the things that we’re thinking about doing for you guys listening is we have these amazingly built out itineraries that we would love to share with you, but it’s a little bit of work for us to finesse it into a presentable piece of resource for you guys. So if you’re actually interested in having our detailed itinerary with where we stayed in the bus routes we took and how much things cost and all of that, do us a favor and comment on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, or Email us Travel Squad Podcast at gmail.com. And just let us know if you’re interested in, if you are, then we will get moving on creating those itineraries.

4 (12m 38s):
Yeah. And I’m really excited to get into the meat of this episode and talk about our trip, but there are a couple more tips I do want to go over before we get on and talk about exactly what we did in Tokyo. And one of them is Tokyo and Japan in general for that matter is a cash based society. That’s not to say at hotels, you can’t pay credit card and do other things and certain restaurants, but a lot of restaurants are literally like holding the wall shops that fit maybe seven to 10 people at a maximum seating capacity. And so those places don’t really take credit cards. A lot of the dining options, it’s only cash. And as a matter of fact, they use vending machines for you to place your order, which gives you a ticket and then you give it to somebody and then they prepare it.

4 (13m 25s):
So just definitely keep that in mind. You know, and I’m not saying that there’s not sit down restaurants, that don’t accept credit cards, but not as many as you would think. A lot of the dining establishment is again small. And you order from a vending machine. It’s quite crazy. I wasn’t expecting anything like that, but it’s unique and it’s enjoyable. But if you’re prepared and understand that, then it’s not going to be an issue.

1 (13m 44s):
Sir, our last tip is in regards to toilets. Cause we can’t get through an episode without talking about a bathroom or toilet experience.

3 (13m 51s):
Brittany’s favorite parts.

1 (13m 53s):
And in Japan, they are crazy about their toilets. Like some of the toilets we came across, our key did, when you sit down, some of them play music when you’re in the stall, going to the bathroom and then

2 (14m 7s):
It’s an experience.

1 (14m 9s):
It is

4 (14m 10s):
They take their bathrooms seriously. Like I loved it. I’ve looked to see how much those toilet seat warmers cost with the today’s cars they have built in, but days that’ll spray and clean you and they cost anywhere between $800,000. And I’m ready to spend that money on luxury.

3 (14m 24s):
I have never been more interested in having a day in my house,

2 (14m 29s):
My coworker, Jimmy, he actually got one for him and his wife as a wedding gift. And so he doesn’t know what to do with it.

4 (14m 35s):
Oh

1 (14m 36s):
Yeah.

4 (14m 38s):
I’ll buy it off of him.

1 (14m 39s):
But one of the tips that we have in regards to the toilet is there is a button because it has a day on it to clean you and it’ll squirt water out. But you can, if you’re a female, there’s this specific button for you. If you want it in the vaginal area, or if you had a bowel movement, there

4 (14m 57s):
Is so professional with the bat.

3 (14m 59s):
I believe you have it written here as posts or Tish.

1 (15m 2s):
I think the one that wrote that, I’m pretty sure looking at the show notes. Xena wrote pus or two.

4 (15m 8s):
No, no, it wasn’t me. But one thing I do want to say about that though. It’s absolutely crazy. Not that I used it on the post portion, but from what I heard from the girls, it’s crazy because clearly you can say, do you want it for the front or the back? And it doesn’t matter. Apparently the girls were telling me how far back or forward you sit on it. It’s like, it has a camera. And it knows exactly where to spray right on target. Like every time, like it doesn’t miss, which I don’t know how they created something like that. But it’s so unique. Apparently it’s on target all the time, regardless of if it’s poster Tosha, Kim,

2 (15m 42s):
But you know what, Kim, okay. I got to tell you a funny story because when we first landed in Tokyo and we went to the restrooms, I went into my style and I’m like, Ooh, look at that the day there. So I hit it. So it hits the pus and the water just, it just kept coming. Right. So I’m sitting there and I’m being patient,

3 (16m 0s):
I’m cleaning it

2 (16m 1s):
Up, I’m waiting for it to stop. And I’m like, okay. And then finally it gets to the point where this is really awkward. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know how much water is going to come out, how dirty they think I am. But in any case, finally, I look over camera. I know. And I realized there’s a stop button. And so it was like, oh, I have to push stop. So I pushed stop and it stops. And I’m like, okay. Cause like I said, it was really awkward there for a moment. So then I finish up and I go wash my hands. And as I’m at the sink, Brittany comes out and I’m telling Brittany that like it got really awkward because it kept coming out. And the exact same thing happened to Brittany. So there is a stop

4 (16m 40s):
Button, that’s the tip push stop.

1 (16m 44s):
And the water is warm. So it’s really nice and refreshing. And again, you can do it to the vaginal area of your lady or the anus if you’re either a male or female or puss or tush like vantage mall referred.

2 (16m 58s):
You know, when I sat on the show notes, the first thing that I thought was fucking Brittany, man. She’s so funny, but I don’t know. Maybe it was me who knows

3 (17m 5s):
Tamale for sure. Yeah.

4 (17m 7s):
Maybe it was me. I don’t know. It’s going to be the new mystery of who put the extra pair of underwear on there who put closer tush.

1 (17m 15s):
So getting right into it, we did not stay in the heart of Tokyo. We actually stayed on the outskirts because we wanted to go to Tokyo Disneyland.

3 (17m 24s):
Do you recall the neighborhood you stayed in?

4 (17m 27s):
Yeah, we actually stayed in the cosign district, which is outside of Tokyo and closer more to Tokyo Disneyland, but again, right on a Metro line, one of the main Metro lines to get you into downtown Tokyo area and close to Tokyo Disneyland just as well. So that’s the region in which we had stayed there. So there was a purpose to it, but I would definitely recommend it, cheaper hotels and very easy to get around. Again, it goes back to our tip, stay close to a Metro station

1 (17m 53s):
And it did have free breakfast. Totally stayed in, but you know what? Free breakfast in another countries. It’s interesting.

3 (17m 59s):
Take me through the spread

2 (18m 1s):
Kim. They had potato salad for

1 (18m 3s):
Breakfast,

4 (18m 4s):
Mac salad.

3 (18m 5s):
Okay. I think I have seen that

4 (18m 7s):
Before. Weird boiled eggs

1 (18m 8s):
And dogs

2 (18m 9s):
There, what their eggs were, not the eggs that we’re used to. I mean their eggs, but they taste differently. And the yolk was orange

3 (18m 17s):
Yolks are always weren’t.

2 (18m 20s):
It was a different kind of orange,

1 (18m 22s):
Like a, more of a bright, deeper orange

2 (18m 25s):
Jamal kept trying to convince me they were duck eggs.

4 (18m 29s):
They might’ve been done though. They weren’t, they weren’t big enough to be decayed because they tasted different. I don’t want to say bad, but they definitely just tasted different. And I don’t know if it’s because they’re more organic over there, not organic, just different types of chickens. I mean, I really don’t know all in all. It wasn’t a bad breakfast. It was just definitely different because they had, again, Mac salad, potato salad for breakfast, like, well, they weren’t full-sized hotdogs. They were like little mini hot dogs and stuff. And so it was definitely interesting, but I will say this, they had a lot of breads out and they were sweetbreads. Like they had a chocolate stuffed bread, croissants and other types of things. So those were actually pretty good as a matter of fact.

4 (19m 9s):
Okay.

2 (19m 9s):
So for me though, there was a seven 11 across the street and that was a saving grace because I appreciate the free breakfast, but I wasn’t a fan of it. So I would go and Kim, it was so interesting because seven 11 has a cold section and they also have a warm section. So they had warm coffee in glass bottles. And so I would get one of their coffees. Yeah. It was like a latte, a warm latte. So instead of grabbing a cold one, like a Starbucks frappuccino that you would hear in the United States, they have a warm section where you pull out a warm latte, frappuccino. Yeah. Tea. It was delicious.

1 (19m 44s):
I think that when you’re in the beverage section and everything you pull out is cold, they have the glass windows kind of thing, but everything in that refrigerator, but not refrigerator, it’s actually a heater is warm.

4 (19m 56s):
Yeah. And that’s another tip that I forgot to really kind of mention, they take their seven 11 seriously over there. They’re like Starbucks here in the United States on every corner. And they have lots of different stuff. You know, here it’s either like nachos or hotdogs from a seven 11, they have fried rice packets. They have pot stickers, other types of like chicken satay or things like that. So I would wake up every morning and just get snacks for the day. And I definitely would do that for my morning coffee. I would get one of the hot beverages in a plastic bottle and I absolutely loved it. So if you’re not staying at a place with the free breakfast, but they don’t want to really find restaurants, you can definitely make, do with what you find at seven 11.

2 (20m 36s):
I would get the coffee and two pork buns.

1 (20m 39s):
Oh

4 (20m 39s):
Yeah. They had like little pork buns. Super good.

2 (20m 42s):
You could even probably Google Japan seven Eleven’s and you’ll see all the interesting food that they do have.

3 (20m 49s):
Tell me about prices though.

2 (20m 50s):
Cheap.

1 (20m 51s):
Very, very

3 (20m 52s):
Cheap. How much it was a pork bun,

2 (20m 53s):
I think like less than a buck. Okay.

4 (20m 54s):
The dollar, dollar 50, maybe depending on the size, because they have larger, small

3 (20m 59s):
And I have heard Tokyo and Japan in general is expensive.

4 (21m 2s):
You know, I feel like that’s a real big misconception. I heard that too, going to there and maybe like in terms of living and other stuff, but in terms of hotels and food, I found them to be normal American prices. I really didn’t find it to be that expensive.

1 (21m 17s):
I think that total on average, we paid no more than $125 a night per hotel

3 (21m 23s):
For the whole thing split between however many were in the room, right?

1 (21m 26s):
No, like that’s the nightly price.

3 (21m 28s):
Oh wow.

2 (21m 29s):
But here’s the thing. The hotel that we stayed at in Tokyo was super tiny. How

3 (21m 33s):
Tiny,

2 (21m 34s):
Okay, so you walk in and as soon as you walk in to the left is the bathroom. And then all of a sudden, the bedroom is right there in front of you. And it’s so tiny that you have the bed up against the wall. And when I tried to get down and do push-ups, I couldn’t because my elbows would hit the wall to my right and the bed to my left,

1 (21m 53s):
Less than 250 square feet. But I do want to say this, this is another really good tip. When you are booking for one person or three people don’t expect the same size bed as you do get in America. A lot of the times they will give you twin size bed. So if you are saying, you’re booking for one, you’ll either get a twin size bed or a full size bed. You’re not getting a queen or king.

3 (22m 13s):
Did you and Jamal have to sleep in a twin size bed

1 (22m 16s):
In one of the rooms we booked. We actually got, I think two twins.

4 (22m 21s):
Yeah. That’s one thing I was going to say too. Even if you say you’re two people, you would think like, oh, it might be like one queen or king or something like that in the United States or other places. It’s not uncommon for them to give you two twin beds. If you say you’re two people. So when you make reservations, you really kind of have to specify. And I love how you were just talking about how we’re going to get into our day. And yet now I feel like we’re still giving tips. That’s such a good thing to mention because Japan is just so unique, but in a really good way and enjoyable way. And again, if you know these things going into it, it’s going to make your trip a lot smoother to

2 (22m 51s):
What I really loved about every single hotel that we stayed at is they had robes house slippers and shoe horns.

3 (23m 0s):
Oh

2 (23m 1s):
My goodness.

4 (23m 2s):
The devices that go in the back of your heel to help you like just slip on your shoe without really having to go down and touch it or anything like that. So every place had robes, every place had slippers. Yeah.

3 (23m 13s):
It was really not.

1 (23m 14s):
Yeah. So let’s get into our first Metro experience.

2 (23m 19s):
We okay. So we get to the Metro right next to the hotel and it is crowded. Like you see a Metro go by and legit, not even exaggerating. You see someone’s face squashed up against the window.

4 (23m 31s):
You could even YouTube videos where you actually see police officers or platform, station workers who help push people into the train so that it can close. So it’s really crowded during rush hour. But I want to say this shout out to the Japanese culture. So respectful, you know, we talked about when we were in Mexico city or even if we’re in New York, you know, when the doors open, it doesn’t matter if you’re going in or out, it’s a free for all people push. They are so respectful in Japan. Everybody who’s on has the right of way to come out. First, everybody, once they come out, then you go in, everybody on the platform is waiting in a straight line and there’s order to it. So it’s super, super respectful and it is crowded on the train itself.

4 (24m 15s):
But everyone as crowded as it is, is completely respectful of your space. It’s really hard to say an imagined, but really as crowded and cramped, like a starting you are, everyone’s respectful of your space.

2 (24m 26s):
He made a rookie mistake. Okay. So there was Brittany Jamal, me Dasia Brittany’s niece, Brittany’s mom Casha and Ryan. So that’s seven of us and it was so crowded that we thought there’s no way seven of us are going to fit into one cart. So let’s break it up into like four and three. And this is the station that we want to go off on. So we waited a few times because like, it was just so crowded and we were a little intimidated. So finally we jumped on a car and then we realize all seven of us could have fit into one. Because even though it doesn’t look like there’s any room I promise you, there is, I mean, people are going to have their faces up against the window. People are going to be all on top of you, but there is room and they will make the room.

4 (25m 8s):
I can’t wait to actually post one of those photos and we will do it on our Travel Squad, Instagram here, because we took photos as hard as it was while we were on the subway. Just seen how cramped we were. So be on the lookout for that. We have those photos

2 (25m 20s):
And it felt so safe to,

1 (25m 21s):
Yeah, I felt so safe. And then when we did split up, I could get a view of Asia or cash and Ryan and I would nod to them when it was like the next station to get off that. So we like had a system of how we were going to do it. But once I realized like how easy it was to get on them, once we learned the system, we were all able to get on together.

4 (25m 39s):
And it’s crowded during rush hour in Tokyo, but outside of rush hour and working hours, it’s still crowded, but it’s not as like cramped like sardines. So there is space, but just again, during rush hour, really, really crowded

2 (25m 51s):
And be respectful, give seats to elders. Cause there are times where you are going to be able to get seats. And if an elder comes on, just stand up and give it to them. In fact, you can say, what is it

4 (26m 1s):
Dozo after you? I use that a lot with the old ladies and flirting with them. When I was in Uganda, they loved it. They loved it.

2 (26m 8s):
I don’t give a giggle man,

4 (26m 11s):
But so that was our first Metro experience starting our day off. And the first thing that we did was go to Sensoji Temple. Now it is a free entrance. So it doesn’t cost anything to get into account getting so excited. Well, one, again, it is free, but it is an ancient Buddhist temple located in the ASA Coosa district. Now, just so you guys are aware of the ASA Kusa district in Tokyo is actually one of the oldest classical Tokyo districts. Even like before pre-World war two, it just still has that classic feel in that urban metropolis. But this temple again is an ancient Buddhist temple and they also have a Shinto shrine there.

4 (26m 55s):
And just cause I learned this when I was in Japan and as much as I love history, I was dumbfounded and it makes so much sense just so as we’re moving forward and talking about the places that we go at temple is a Buddhist thing. If you hear a shrine, it’s a Shinto thing and Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion. And obviously we are all familiar with what Buddhism is. So Buddhist, temple, Shinto shrine. So they have two of them there and it is one of their most famous ones in Tokyo to go to and really, really amazing to see. I loved it. And it’s really famous because it’s also said to have some of Buddha’s relics there. And if you guys aren’t familiar with that as, as Buddhas ashes, because when Buddha, the original Buddha originally passed away, they gave his ashes to his followers and it’s been divvied up all over the world.

4 (27m 46s):
So they have some of his ashes at that location.

2 (27m 48s):
And they also have candles there that you can light and say a prayer for.

1 (27m 53s):
And as you walk up to the temple, there’s a whole bunch of traditional shops and restaurants and you can get little eateries or little souvenirs along the way. And in front of the temple, there’s also a place to wash your hands before you enter. So it’s just like such an experience and it’s such a really respectful and cultural thing to participate, especially on day one.

4 (28m 13s):
Yeah, I really enjoyed it. And like Brittany was saying, they do have the vendors there. And I did a little bit of research on that temple after we had visited. And they were saying that the vendors that are there and again, they sell all sorts of things from, you know, traditional like geisha, folding out fans to street food. Other types of souvenirs, those vendors are still there because they pay a modge to the original street vendors that sold to pilgrims in ancient times when they came to visit the temple and the shrine. So they’ve been there literally for centuries selling stuff, but originally it was to pilgrims and now it’s to tourists and obviously still worshipers who go there more for spiritual purposes than anything else.

2 (28m 53s):
So from there, we went to the Tokyo Tower, not to be missed. It looks a little bit like the Eiffel tower, but it’s certainly not. It’s 1,092 feet and it’s the second tallest structure in Japan. It was pretty amazing.

3 (29m 7s):
Totally sound like one of those hop on, hop off bus narrators to your left, the Tokyo Tower sitting at 1,152 feet.

4 (29m 19s):
Oh,

3 (29m 20s):
She’s the expert, not me,

4 (29m 22s):
But you know, it was really cool. It, it does look a lot like the Eiffel tower, like if he didn’t know any better, it looks exactly like the Eiffel tower, the differences instead of that boring color that the Eiffel tower is Tokyo Tower is bright orange and white, but it’s truly a structure to support antennas at the top for Japanese broadcasting. So it’s not really anything that’s aesthetic. It’s actually serves a purpose, but you can go up and get amazing 360 degree views of Tokyo. And that’s exactly what we did in there. So when you go, they have two options that you can do. You can buy tickets either for the main deck or a top deck.

4 (30m 3s):
Now the main deck is in the middle and it stands at about 492 feet. And it costs roughly 900 yen at the time that we went to get into the tower, which roughly converts to about $8 and 30 cents, that’s a

1 (30m 17s):
Steal.

4 (30m 18s):
Or you can go to the top deck, which is 820 feet high. And it costs 2,800 yen, which is roughly $25 and 80 some odd cents. So definitely a lot more expensive to go to the top. But I think from the main deck, you get amazing views. And I don’t necessarily think it’s worth the price difference to go to the top unless you want the novelty of it. Because flashing back to when Brittany and I were in Paris and we went to the Eiffel tower, we went to the top, we went to the deck right below that. And there really wasn’t that much of view of difference when you’re that high. It doesn’t seem like it’s that much higher from one level to the next. So I don’t see it as worth spending it to go to the top.

1 (30m 58s):
The highlight on the main dock for me was there are places where there is a glass floor where you can stand on and see through to the bottom and see how far down the drop would be. So that was amazing to see. And then also on a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji, which was great because we actually were able to see that while we were there

2 (31m 18s):
And we were able to see Mario kart racing. So that is a thing people do, Mario kart racing.

4 (31m 25s):
So Nintendo was created in Japan. I don’t know if you know that, but it was created in Japan. So they take Nintendo. And if video games in general, like real seriously over in Japan, it’s like part of their culture. So they have places in Tokyo where you can dress up as Mario, the Weegee princess Bowzer and get in little go-karts and drive around the city as if you’re playing like Mario kart on Nintendo, but in real life. So as we were walking to the tower, we saw people dressed up in Nintendo outfits and just play Mario kart in real life, on the streets of Japan.

2 (31m 58s):
We did pass on that, but we saw it. So

3 (32m 1s):
I wish you guys would’ve done that.

4 (32m 2s):
We’d saw it as we were walking to the tower, but I would’ve loved to do that.

1 (32m 5s):
And after we were done with a tower, you know, Japan is famous for their unique cafes. Like they have cat cafes, Al cafes. We saw once for corgi cafes, bunnies, mini pigs, but what most of

4 (32m 18s):
The pig

2 (32m 19s):
Cafe.

4 (32m 20s):
Yeah. And what these are, is like you literally go to sit with and pet and play with these animals. You know, you can feed them, you can pet them. It’s supposed to be some sort of like relaxing therapy with these animals.

1 (32m 32s):
We decided the seven of us decided that we were going to go to the Hedgehog cafe and hang out with the cute little hedgehogs. He’s so

4 (32m 40s):
Cute. The only Hedgehog I’ve ever really known as Sonic. And let me tell you something I’ve never released. I mean, you’ve seen him in nature, channel documentaries or other things like that, but to see one and hold one in person, I thought that was like really, really unique. It was cool. So at least at the Hedgehog one, you know, and I’m sure it’s similar with all the other ones. Cause we’ve looked into doing other ones. You could either do it in 30 minutes to one hour increments. When you go in, if you pay a little bit more, you can actually get stuff to feed them. So we ended up doing the 30 minutes with food, which costs about 1,600 yen, which translates to roughly about $16. But it also came with a free drink. When you did that from their famous machines, you could get sodas, you could get hot tea, you could do whatever.

4 (33m 25s):
But again,

2 (33m 27s):
Not the Hedgehog.

3 (33m 28s):
Yeah.

4 (33m 30s):
But the food is for the Hedgehog. So you can feed them and whatnot. They’re really, really cute. So

1 (33m 36s):
One of the fattest hedgehogs I’ve ever seen, he was like a big rurally pulley. And all he liked to do is sleep and like lay on his back. He was so cute.

2 (33m 46s):
It was like Sonic on quarantine break. Yes.

7 (33m 50s):
Too soon.

1 (33m 50s):
So you do have to wear gloves while you handle the hedgehogs. So you have to like wash your hands before you go in, you have to wear special gloves while you hold them. And all they really do is they just like burrow up and sleep in your Palm while you hold them.

3 (34m 5s):
That’s adorable.

4 (34m 6s):
Yeah. That the hedgehogs were cool. We did that one specifically because our niece Dasia, she really wanted to go to one of these cafes. They even have a cat cafe here in San Diego. I know Brittany. I was going to say, no, you and Brittany have gone to one. So since cat cafes are more popular here in the us and Brittany and I have a cat, we’re like, eh, I don’t want to go to a cat. Even though that was the original, I would have loved to do the owl. I think the owl would have been really cool, but I was, I was definitely happy with the Hedgehog. And that was really, really fun.

3 (34m 35s):
They had a pygmy Falcon cafe.

4 (34m 38s):
I would have died for the picnic. And this goes back to our things to do in San Diego episode that we had and listing the zoo as one, they had a pygmy Falcon. It’s like a bird of prey, but pygmy man, it was like a couple of inches tall. I couldn’t even believe it. I would have

2 (34m 55s):
Died

4 (34m 57s):
Falcon.

2 (34m 57s):
That’s right, buddy. I’m admiring you. I

4 (34m 59s):
Was, but I was also admiring that hedgehog in the cafe. So when you go to Japan or Tokyo in general, definitely check out any one of these cafes. It’s definitely unique and definitely something very cultural that they’re famous.

3 (35m 11s):
Did you have to reserve a time before or you just kind of walked in? We

1 (35m 15s):
Walked in.

4 (35m 15s):
Okay. There was a weight. So we did have to wait. They are popular. I don’t know if some of the places do do reservations, but the one we did, we were able to walk up, but we had about a 10 to 15 minute wait before we were in. But like I said, you do it in 30 minute to hour long increments. So people are coming out every 30 minutes truly, you know, at that point. So it won’t be too long, depending on what time you show up,

1 (35m 40s):
Basically you get a sitting area and you have this little, I would equate it to like a little play area for these hedgehogs that each group gets. And there’s a few hedgehogs per group. So there’s not just one Hedgehog for each person. You get like five in front of you and then you guys can switch off on like holding the,

2 (35m 58s):
So after we played with Sonic and his friends, we went to Shibuya crossing

1 (36m 4s):
And Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest crosswalks in the world. It’s multi intersectional. So there’s probably like seven, at least seven different intersections. And everyone is walking across to cross like in any direction at one time. So when it’s your turn to cross or when it’s the time to cross for the people, everyone is just going in every single direction to manage.

4 (36m 27s):
So you say what? Kim? I heard that I

3 (36m 29s):
Get seven different.

4 (36m 30s):
Yeah. So I guarantee you you’ve seen Shibuya crossing in a movie or any TV show that shows Tokyo because you know, like in TV shows, movies, like when they show kind of the city, they do little flashes of famous places. Shibuya is always listed in them. It is a famous shopping district area. And so when all the crosswalks are going, it’s all directional at the same time. So it’s not like, oh, there’s a four way intersection. And you know, you can go one way, but not the other, like everybody’s crossing at the same time busiest intersection. And you’re just in a crowded mass doing it. And it’s really unique and there’s a Starbucks across the street and you can go to the top level and actually watch it from above.

4 (37m 12s):
It gives it a bird’s eye view. It’s actually really, really crazy. We walked through a couple of intersections ourselves to go do it. It’s more novelty to see, but it’s definitely uniquely Japanese. And I would highly recommend going to Shibuya just to see it. And it’s a cool shopping district. So if you want to see neon lights and all that stuff that Japan’s famous for, you definitely will see it at Shibuya.

3 (37m 32s):
That is what I think of when I think of Tokyo is almost like New York times square. The lights everywhere billboards.

1 (37m 39s):
Yeah. That’s exactly Shibuya. It’s times square, New York on crack.

2 (37m 44s):
It’s amazing.

1 (37m 46s):
Wow. So we did cross it a few times and then we went to the Starbucks across the street. We went upstairs and we just, people watch for a good 15 minutes or so

3 (37m 53s):
Just did you buy anything at Starbucks or just went for the view?

2 (37m 56s):
You can go in just for the view, but squad tip, it’s going to be crowded. So it’s not like you have a guaranteed spot there at the window. Like you’re behind people because everyone’s going there to get that good view of the crossing.

4 (38m 8s):
And like I said, there’s such an orderly society. So when it says don’t cross, nobody’s like crossing or doing anything, but as soon as it turns green, like in seven different directions, because multiple streets are intersecting in that area, everyone’s just like mass crossing to the right to the left straight ahead, catty corner. It’s crazy.

2 (38m 25s):
I mean, you’ll see a unicorn before you see a jaywalker.

4 (38m 28s):
Yes.

1 (38m 30s):
So from there it was getting pretty late in the day we went to the Ginza District and we went to this district specifically because it has lots of boutiques and ritzy, cocktail bars and sushi bars. And we wanted to go out for sushi for dinner,

4 (38m 44s):
No haka song, no haka song, but how can you go to Japan and knock at sushi? So we were like, Ginza District is famous for it. Let’s go over there. And we found one particular restaurant and I forgot what it was called now, but it’s so popular that the way they told us was going to be two to two and a half hours long. So we decided not to do that. And we found another sushi place in that area that we went to and where we went relevant because there’s tons of them around. I wouldn’t say one’s any better than the other necessarily.

1 (39m 14s):
So one thing I want to say is before going to Japan, Jamal had been talking up a storm about, oh my God, I can’t wait to try Fu and Fu if you guys don’t know is pufferfish, which is safe to eat as long as it’s prepared correctly, because it is toxic and it can kill someone.

3 (39m 32s):
And you wanted to eat this so badly because

2 (39m 35s):
In fact you have to be certified to even be able to make the food.

4 (39m 40s):
Yeah. Do you have to do like so many years of schooling to cut it? Because if you cut into one of their organs, when you’re dissecting the fish or anything, all the toxins come out and you can definitely die. And the way the toxin kills you is it really paralyzes you, you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything. And if prepared, yeah. If prepared incorrectly, you for sure will die. And it is regulated that the emperor of Japan cannot even eat foo, even though it is a national delicacy because of the risk associated with it. But not a lot of people die from it. The amount of people that die from it is because people have home cooked it themselves and aren’t officially trained. I don’t think anybody within the past 50 years has died from a chef who was classically trained and licensed to be able to sell it.

4 (40m 26s):
So I wanted to eat it just because it’s a Japanese delicacy. It’s like really famous over there.

2 (40m 33s):
Cheap too. It’s not like, like Jamal and Brittany paid $5 for a fish.

1 (40m 37s):
Yeah. So Jamal has been talking for weeks, maybe even months about how much she wanted to try the food guru. And we finally get to a restaurant that has it on the menu. So Jamal’s like, oh yeah, I’m ordering this bam Fu I can’t wait to,

4 (40m 56s):
Well, you could either have it as sashimi style, you know, which is kind of raw or they will batter it and fry it. And so the restaurant that we went to offered it fried. So Brittany and I got it. And as we were getting there and ordered it, I mean, I’m not going to lie. I was getting a little bit nervous. I understand that. Not a lot of people, if any, die from it again, except for those people who aren’t licensed and have prepared it. I think again, within the last like 15 years, I think I’d only said like 18 people have died and all of them were,

3 (41m 24s):
Yeah.

4 (41m 25s):
Well, I Googled it because I started to have a panic attack. So we ordered it. I was starting to get a little bit nervous. It came to the table eventually. And I had to mentally prep myself before I ate it. But then Brittany just went crazy. She came to the table and she ate it. I’m just like, oh

3 (41m 41s):
Fuck.

4 (41m 42s):
Yeah.

2 (41m 42s):
Oh no, no, no. I think that was after you said, you know what? I think I might just let this $5 go to waste. And then Brittany took her fork and took a bite first. And then you immediately took a bite after, because it was your modern day, Romeo and Juliet. And Jamal was like, well, Brittany can’t die without me.

4 (41m 57s):
Yeah. I was like, I was like, if Brittany, Brittany had it, I gotta have it now. But I like, I ate it before. I finally mentally prepped myself because Brittany like rushed it. And beforehand I had read some of the side effects of what happens. Like if it’s going to kick in and a lot of it is, you know, your mouth will go a little bit numb or tingly. And I swear to you, like after five minutes of like having a little bite again, I get panic attacks and I self-induced them, myself. I started thinking like, man, I lips are numb. I’ve been a hard time breathing right now. And then I was like, you know what? I’m not even going to eat this. I gave the rest of cash and Ryan because cash and Ryan wanted to try it, but they didn’t order it. And you know, I’m like panicking. I really felt like when we were done with dinner and like on the subway, I was telling everybody, I was like, don’t talk to me.

4 (42m 41s):
Don’t talk to you.

3 (42m 42s):
I,

4 (42m 43s):
In my own personal space, being on the Metro with all the people was giving me anxiety. I got back to the hotel and I told Brittany, she was like, no, you’re fine. Like if it hasn’t kicked in within two hours and it’s just like, I’m having a slow metabolism, it’s going to take like extra amount of time to like kick in. I was like, tell me, I’m fine in the morning. It’s like right now I’m panicking. I was.

1 (43m 3s):
And the next day I was like, baby, survive the night. You’re good to go here. No, I could still be metabolizing it right now. It might kick in later for me.

2 (43m 13s):
And I remember the next morning seeing Jamal and Brittany at our free breakfast buffet. And I was like, oh my gosh, Jamal, you’re fine. Because Jamal yelled at me the night before I was trying to give him advice because us Marusha is OCD. And for you guys

3 (43m 26s):
That aren’t fully aware, this is typical, Jamal freaking out over some crazy shit. And Zayna is usually not far behind him.

4 (43m 35s):
I ended up saying is usually the one who’s more freaking out. I’m usually more calm, but I will say

1 (43m 39s):
This.

2 (43m 41s):
I wasn’t. I thought you guys, cause I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. I’ve been like, like when you have anxiety, anxiety is real. So I do feel for you on ball. Cause it’s very,

4 (43m 50s):
Very intense.

2 (43m 51s):
The mind is the mind is very powerful. So I was trying to talk to Jamal and Jamal was just not having it. He didn’t want me to talk to him. He wanted to be alone. So the next morning when I congratulated you on surviving the night, Brittany was telling me that, you know, Jamal was freaking out so bad that he said, well, if you’re having symptoms, would you not tell me because you don’t want to freak me out. And I’m just like,

4 (44m 11s):
He would do that.

8 (44m 13s):
We

3 (44m 14s):
Kind of have to filter ourselves around you. We don’t want,

4 (44m 17s):
I know. So that, so that was my food goo.

1 (44m 20s):
And then he was like, freaking out on me. Like, why did you eat it when I wasn’t ready?

3 (44m 25s):
Hilarious. Because we always make fun of Jamal for having freak outs on vacations. And for a long time before me and Dana started traveling a lot with you guys, we would only hear them for Brittany. And then we started seeing them on our own trips. So I wasn’t on the,

4 (44m 37s):
But admit that there are a lot more milder than Brittany says they are.

3 (44m 40s):
It depends. But this was the, I think I got a text from Brittany saying Jamal had a freak out. It happened.

2 (44m 49s):
I have a really good picture of them prior to eating the food goo. So we’ll post that on Instagram. And I just got to say that a week later when we were in Kyoto and we were sitting down at a conveyor belt, sushi place, they did have Fu and I remember looking at Jamal and asking him, Hey sir, are you going to grab the raw FUBU? And he just like gave me a look that could kill the

3 (45m 7s):
Smell,

2 (45m 8s):
Not having it tomorrow was a one and done kind of Fu guy.

1 (45m 12s):
You know, I’m like the type that’s all in. If I’m going to go skydiving, I want to be the one that jumps first. If I’m going to jump off a cliff, I’m going to be the one that does at first. I don’t want to watch anyone else do it. I’m going to go all in and do it myself. So when the FUBU came out, I was like, all right, it’s my time to eat it, pop it in. See what happens. Nothing happened.

4 (45m 29s):
It’s a shame because it was actually pretty good. It just freaked me out a little bit. I wish I had more in hindsight, but even if I went back, I don’t know if I would have

1 (45m 37s):
Long story short. We Jamal survived the night and the next morning we had a full day booked to Mt. Fuji. And we actually booked this excursion through Viator, which we’ve talked about before.

3 (45m 49s):
Love biter,

1 (45m 50s):
And actually on our website, Zayna has created Vite or widgets with a specific tours that we’ve done so that you can purchase them directly from our website. So check it out at Travel Squad, Podcast dot com,

3 (46m 4s):
By the way, Zena’s killing the website game for us. She’s been working tirelessly to bring you quality content. Not only in our audios here, but on our website. So if you haven’t checked it out, go check it out. It’s beautiful.

2 (46m 17s):
Thank you guys. Thanks either. Cause I do text them and I just say to you, I love

3 (46m 22s):
It.

4 (46m 24s):
So go check out the violators that we talk about on all our trips. You’ll find this one here to Mt. Fuji listed on there as well. So if you’re planning your trip to Japan, definitely do this cause I highly, highly recommend it. So we knew we wanted to go to Mt. Fuji. If we were going to Japan anyway, and Mt. Fuji famous and Japanese lore history, it’s their most active and famous volcano in all of Japan. And we were going to go regardless. But when we were talking with Casha and Ryan and figuring out our itinerary and what we wanted to do, cash was like, you know what, whatever I know you can make a good one, Brittany. But the one thing that Ryan specifically wants to do as Mt. Fuji. So we’re like done. That’s already on our list too. So we went, but this tour was amazing.

4 (47m 5s):
It included a bus ride from Tokyo to Mt. Fuji. We were able to go up to it and it also included lunch and a tour of lake ashy. And we were able to ride a boat. And that lake is at the foot of Mt. Fuji. And you could see amazing views of it and everything like that. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more about the trip Brittany?

1 (47m 26s):
So the only part that we were able to get to it was called the fifth station. Cause we went in January and in Japan, January’s very, very cold. So there is a stopping point of how far you can go up, Mt. Fuji in the summer, you can actually hike the whole thing if you want to. And once we got off the bus, it was so cold. We were all freezing

3 (47m 45s):
Cold. We talking

4 (47m 46s):
Kim, you would have freaked out. And how, how I acted for the Fu you would have acted for the fool that helped Fuji.

1 (47m 53s):
The saving grace was there was a bathroom up at the fifth station and their toilet seats were heated. And we were like probably sitting on the extra just to get warm.

2 (48m 3s):
I, you know, and I remember seeing that we had bathrooms there and I thought to myself, there’s no fucking way. They’re going to have heated toilet seats up here on the fifth station in Mt. Fuji. And this toilet seats were warm.

1 (48m 17s):
They also had a little gift shop at the top. And when you walked in, they gave you this little bell that like symbolize good luck. And I actually still have,

4 (48m 24s):
I still have that belt too. And in that gift shop, they had little space heaters. So a lot of people were going in there and standing around the space heaters while they were doing gift shopping and everything like that. But when we’re saying the stations, we’re talking about different levels up the volcano and mountain itself. So you can go up via car via bus. And again, as Brittany said, during the right season, you can actually hike, but it’s crazy because when you see Mt. Fuji from a distance, it looks, oh, are you shaking that bell? You carry your good luck bell on you. You didn’t just bring it for the episode. You really cared about.

2 (48m 58s):
No, it’s in my big puffy black jacket. Cause remember one time we went someplace and you were like, Zena, are you, are you ringing? Do you have a bell to bell from Mt. Fuji?

4 (49m 8s):
Very nice. Then it carries it. Good luck. So again, those stations are at different levels up the volcano. And when we say station, I would equate it to just little rest areas for like views and certain spots on the mountain. But again, it’s so crazy because when you’re at it from a distance or at the base, it looks so huge. And when we were at the fifth station, we can see the top, but I thought to myself, this doesn’t even look that big, but I know it’s huge. So as perspective when you’re on it, it gets small, but you can see down and it’s just amazing to be on it. Yeah.

1 (49m 39s):
The better views of Mt. Fuji or when you’re actually not on it, when you’re on it, it’s cool that you’re on it and you’re there, but the views aren’t that amazing. So just squad tip there. But one of the things that we also did is we stopped for lunch. We had a traditional lunch, which consisted of a soba noodle, hot pot, and then it had sides like seaweed and fermented veggies and fish. And Diana’s favorite sardines.

2 (50m 5s):
I save those for the last and then I realized how not good they were? So I gave them to Brittany’s mom.

4 (50m 11s):
She loved them.

3 (50m 13s):
Soba noodle hotpot explained to me.

1 (50m 17s):
So it was an individual suit, but underneath it, it had like a candle that was lit to keep it warm.

3 (50m 22s):
Okay. So it wasn’t like a bowl in the middle of the table?

1 (50m 25s):
No. It was like your own personal hot pot.

4 (50m 28s):
Yeah. So soba noodles and broth and like a few veggies and obviously Japanese seasoning and flavors. It was definitely, really good. A lot of the side dishes again were, you know, like seaweed chips, some fermented veggies and fish. So, I mean, that’s definitely an acquired taste for some people, but it was very, very traditional and at a traditional Japanese restaurant

3 (50m 50s):
For somebody that doesn’t like seafood, how easy would it be to visit Japan?

4 (50m 56s):
I think it would be easy. Cause you could eat like a lot of ramen or they have their chicken katsu and other types of dishes and curries and you can avoid, you know, fish and other things that way we were having this conversation though, because Brittany’s sister is gluten intolerant and has celiac. I don’t think you can visit Japan and need a lot of food if you have that. But if you want to avoid fish, you could definitely easily do that in Japan.

1 (51m 21s):
So it would be very, very hard as a vegan because Dasia, my niece who went on the trip with us, she primarily did vegetarian as much as she could, but she definitely couldn’t do vegan and even vegetarian with stretching it. A lot of the bras that they have are pork based and it’s very hard to substitute out. So she found it difficult to be vegan, more doable, vegetarian, but still very difficult.

4 (51m 46s):
Yeah. And also with our tour after lunch, we were going to go to , which is a national park that they have really close to Mt. Fuji. And they have cable cars that go up. So originally we rode the boat on lake OCI, which is at the foot of Mt. Fuji. And from there, it gets us to the cable cars at Tacony. And you’re supposed to have an amazing view from the top of the lake and Mt. Fuji. But it was so cloudy at the top that we couldn’t really see more than 10 feet in front of our face. So we got the novelty of writing the cable car, but just going in January, again, colder weather, more clouds. It was difficult for that view. So if you go during a better time of year, you’ll probably get a better view than we did when you visit .

4 (52m 30s):
If you do this via her tour,

3 (52m 31s):
Brittany.

2 (52m 32s):
Yeah. So they are going to give you a ticket. Oh, I couldn’t wait for this part. So they are going to give you a ticket to get up and you are going to need that ticket to get down. So as soon as we’re ready to get down, all of a sudden Brittany is freaking out because she’s like, oh my God, where’s the ticket. Where’s the ticket. Where’s the ticket. And yes, Brittany lost her Jamal’s ticket. And so Casha and Ryan ended up finding an extra ticket on the trail and brought it back.

1 (52m 56s):
That was

3 (52m 59s):
Going in the books.

4 (53m 0s):
That was the big Brittany fuck-up.

1 (53m 3s):
Yeah, I know

3 (53m 3s):
It doesn’t happen often. So when it does, I got to make it a big deal,

1 (53m 8s):
But you guys get so pissed at me when I call you guys out on your fuck ups,

3 (53m 13s):
See, that’s just too frequent.

2 (53m 15s):
I mean, like if you’re making, can’t take, it takes a day, get enough to rub it in our face,

1 (53m 20s):
But on this tour as well, it was included for us to take the bullet back to Tokyo. And this was our first bullet train experience,

3 (53m 30s):
Fast as a bullet train

2 (53m 31s):
Kim, when we were on the rail station, waiting for it. And all of a sudden a train comes, you try to whip out your phones, even take a picture. Cause it’s so amazing. And by the time you pull your phone out, it’s gone. Not joking, no one got it the first time, because it went too fast before you could actually pull out your camera

4 (53m 48s):
And I’m going to tell you exactly how fast it goes here in a second to answer your question. But when you’re in the station, they don’t slow down as they come through. If they’re not stopping there. So you can really feel the wind pressure. You know, sometimes if you’re driving and a big rig passes, you, you can feel that wind and kind of that jerk and the steering wheel on your vehicle. I can’t even describe what you feel when that train comes through and it doesn’t stay down so fast. And you’re just like, whoa, it’s like a shockwave coming through the station.

3 (54m 15s):
So I’ve experienced that in Italy. They have trains that don’t stop, but I don’t think they

1 (54m 20s):
Were bullet

3 (54m 21s):
Train. Can’t be as fast as what you guys are talking about.

4 (54m 23s):
No. Okay. So their bullet trains, their fastest ones go 320 kilometers per hour, which is roughly 200 miles per hour. Wow. So super, super fast. And I’m telling you, they do not slow down coming through the station. Does

3 (54m 37s):
It feel very intense when you’re on it?

4 (54m 39s):
No, not at all. Actually

2 (54m 40s):
You look out and you’re like, ah, I can’t even believe we’re going that fast.

4 (54m 43s):
And when you’re on the train, it is luxury. So much space to sit down so much space from the seats in front of you. And you can actually rotate your seat to turn around because depending on, you know, if it goes to one station and then it turns around the other way, you know, you may or may not want to ride backwards. So the seats actually swivel to turn, if you want to turn.

1 (55m 4s):
Yeah. So you can swivel to turn towards each other. And then each seat has like a tray. Terri bill dropped down like an airplane woods. So you can put your drinks and on each of the stations, they have a place to get snacks or beers to take with you on the train

4 (55m 17s):
With you or beers and drink beer on the train all the time.

1 (55m 20s):
They have a

3 (55m 21s):
Meal, drink beer on the train.

1 (55m 22s):
Yeah, we did. They have sockets so that you can charge your phone. And then there is

3 (55m 29s):
What kind of plugs are they? Us style.

1 (55m 31s):
They are us style.

3 (55m 33s):
Oh, perfect. So you don’t need any kind of converter then if you’re coming from the us, you do

1 (55m 36s):
Not.

2 (55m 37s):
I just want to say this was in 2019 while I was doing my oath of sobriety. So when Jamal and Ryan were drinking their beers, I was not

4 (55m 46s):
Sorry for you. I’m not being able to drink, bring your sobriety’s Anna. But yes. You know, it shocked me because I had no clue. I thought, okay, going to Japan, they’re going to have, you know, foreign outlets, but they did. And they had the American style ones. So really crazy. So you don’t need those when you’re there. Okay.

1 (56m 2s):
In fact, Zayna had her first freakout in Japan while we were on a bullet train. No.

2 (56m 8s):
What happened? You

1 (56m 9s):
Were getting, you had your earache and then you were switching back and forth,

4 (56m 14s):
Not sick on a vacation. You know, as much as you guys say Jamal freaks out on every vacation, what is, Zayna not sick.

2 (56m 21s):
I do get sick a little bit right now because I’m transition with everything that I’m doing and it’s a lot of stress. And so my body is clearly trying to tell me something and I get that because it’s not natural to get sick that often. So whatever. Okay. I am getting sick. It wasn’t actually an ear infection though. Once I came back and did see the doctor, it was that I had water behind my eardrum and that was driving me crazy.

1 (56m 44s):
But it does not mean you did not have the freak out on the train.

3 (56m 47s):
It’s it? The freak out.

2 (56m 49s):
Honestly, all I was doing was complaining about my ear and I couldn’t figure out like what was wrong because I had him oxacillin and it wasn’t working because I thought it was an ear infection. So why isn’t amoxicillin working? And it’s because I had water behind my eardrums, which God knows how I got water behind my eardrums.

4 (57m 6s):
She pulled the Jamal Fu experience. So as much as I Know, no, but as much as I didn’t want anyone to talk to me when I was freaking out, Brittany was trying to triage Zane and figure out what’s going on. What are your symptoms?

1 (57m 20s):
No, this is what happened. Zaina told us that she was taking one antibiotic and there’s three nurses on the trip, myself Casha and my mom, all three of us are nurses. And Dina said, you know what? The amoxicillin wasn’t working, I’m going to switch. And she did switch to another different antibiotic. And I said,

3 (57m 37s):
Self-diagnosing yeah,

1 (57m 39s):
She’s, self-diagnosing taking two antibiotics. Back-to-back and I was like, that’s not what you want to do. That’s how you’re going to create a super bug. And then Xena freaked out and went to a different section of the train to have her lone freak out. And wouldn’t talk to us for the remainder of the train ride.

2 (57m 57s):
I don’t really remember this truly. I do remember the water behind my eardrum, but it’s such a vague memory that if they didn’t bring this up to drag me through the mud, then I wouldn’t have even remembered it.

4 (58m 8s):
It’s big because it happens every time how you’re supposed to distinguish

3 (58m 12s):
My question is though, did you continue taking both antibiotics?

2 (58m 16s):
I don’t even know what the other antibody cause. All I know is that I had amoxicillin. So honestly I’m not too familiar with what Brittany’s talking about. What’s the

4 (58m 23s):
Other antibiotic that I had.

3 (58m 25s):
You’re just like, fuck it. I’m going to take it all and hope it works. Yeah.

2 (58m 28s):
I don’t know because I mean, I had an unopened package of Cipro that I took with me to Lebanon, which

3 (58m 34s):
In these trying times anybody could become a nurse or doctor when needed, you know, look at me in Peru when you got sick and I nursed you back to health in the middle of the night, all I had was Tums.

2 (58m 47s):
Tums is my best friend.

1 (58m 49s):
So moving on from our first bullet train experience and Zena’s freak out one of the things that we wanted to do because Japan is known for their food and the culinary experience. And in Japan, they actually have Michelin star ramen. And it’s the world first Michelin star ramen that we went to and it’s called Japanese soba noodles.

4 (59m 11s):
So we knew we definitely wanted to do this. Brittany and I are more the foodies of the group in general, I would say even between us and the squad and in general of all our friends that I know Britney and love to eat food, love to try different things. And so in terms of Michelin starred restaurants, when you go places they’re usually expensive and ramen in Japan, depending on where you go costs anywhere between, you know, eight to $13 in terms of the conversion, but here at SUTA, it was about $25 for a bowl of ramen, which is expensive, but for Michelin star food, relatively inexpensive. So it’s almost labeled as the cheapest place to get Michelin star food.

4 (59m 51s):
So we were like, all right, Japan, Japan’s famous for ramen and general. Let’s have Michelin star ramen it’s in Tokyo. So we did our research and found out that you had to actually put your name on a wait list in order to eat there. Because as we were saying earlier in the tip section, a lot of restaurants are hole in the wall. Places only fit anywhere. Sometimes between seven to 12 people, this was definitely one of them. So we got there in the morning, they open at 7:00 AM. You have to put a thousand yen deposit down to put your name on the

3 (1h 0m 23s):
List, ramen for breakfast.

1 (1h 0m 25s):
Yes, but this place wasn’t open that early for serving people. It was open that early cause they’re prepping their kitchen and they want you to put a deposit down for the lunch or dinner hour.

4 (1h 0m 36s):
So that thousand yen that you put down, it gets you a time slot to return and they give the time slots in order for the day based on what’s available and what they actually have left. I’ve read stuff online that basically even says, if you go and you get there sometimes at nine or nine 30, they’re already out of slots for the day. So that thousand yen deposit applies towards your meal when you go. So it’s not a deposit and then you have to pay more. It applies towards your meal.

3 (1h 1m 4s):
Did you guys see any takeout in Tokyo? Could you have gotten this Michelin star ramen to go? No,

4 (1h 1m 11s):
No,

1 (1h 1m 12s):
No.

4 (1h 1m 12s):
The only, the only real takeout that I saw is if you’re going to do fast food in terms of actual restaurants, not really a thing,

1 (1h 1m 21s):
It’s a sit down culture. Yeah. The Japanese also don’t eat wall. They’re walking. Like they sit down and have a meal it’s very disrespectful

3 (1h 1m 30s):
To disrespectful,

4 (1h 1m 31s):
To eat and walk

3 (1h 1m 32s):
And really

1 (1h 1m 32s):
Walk. Yeah, really. So it’s very interesting. But we did go to the suit to Japanese soba noodles. We put our deposit down, we got little tickets for a time slot. And just another squad tip is even though you go as a big group and you go, they’re showing up as a group, you are likely not to be seated together because in their restaurant, there was only nine seats available. So they would call in like two or three at a time to have this Michelin star ramen experience. And even though it’s like Michelin star restaurant, you’re still ordering your ramen through a vending machine.

4 (1h 2m 9s):
Yeah. And so obviously we put our name on the list. It was later in the afternoon that we were set to come back. So we didn’t just really hang around there. We put our name on the list, did other, but to avoid coming back, talking about suit to Japanese soba noodles, we ended up ordering what they’re most famous for, which is their miso ramen with fresh truffle and seasoned egg has a rose pork topping. It was absolutely delicious. And this is what I would recommend that you guys get. If you go there.

2 (1h 2m 37s):
And when we say you order through a vending machine, it’s not like something comes out of the vending machine. It’s more of you don’t have a menu. The vending machine itself is your menu. So it’s going to tell you your style of broth and what you actually want chicken or this or that. And then once you choose what you want, you put in the money, cause it’ll tell you how much it is. And then it’ll give you a ticket. And then you give the ticket to them when you go into the restaurant. And so based on what’s on your ticket is what they will prepare for you. So you get your ticket, give it to them and then you get your food. So you don’t have to worry about the check afterwards. And there are no substitutions.

3 (1h 3m 12s):
Okay. Couple of questions. If you were to order water as your beverage, is it something you have to pay for? No.

4 (1h 3m 19s):
No. It’s not like Europe where that’s the case. That’s actually a really good question. You know, in Europe, if you order or they charge you for bottled water and that’s what they bring, not in Japan. We were able to just get glasses of water, like here in the United States.

3 (1h 3m 31s):
And then how is tipping?

4 (1h 3m 32s):
No tipping, Tipping, no tipping in Japan.

2 (1h 3m 36s):
So the majority of the places, pretty much every place that you go ramen wise, you will order out of a vending machine. You will give your ticket and then you don’t have to deal with the bill and you don’t have to deal with tipping. And they usually have water on the table too. Yeah.

4 (1h 3m 50s):
You pay in advance through the vending machine. It’s your ordering process. So your weight or just really brings it to you and refills your drinks. If that’s what you want.

3 (1h 3m 57s):
Could you drink the water from the faucet in general? Or did you need to buy water?

4 (1h 4m 2s):
We bought bottled water just because we were on the go, but you can drink from their faucets. The, it is clean water in terms of their taste. I don’t know. Didn’t really try it because again, we were on the go throughout the entire day that we were just buying bottled water so that we had water when we needed it. But again, we did that later in the afternoon, eating it. Obviously we got our reservations in the morning. It was amazing. It was

1 (1h 4m 25s):
Delicious.

4 (1h 4m 26s):
It was amazing. It’s still the best ramen that I’ve ever had. Oh yeah. I’m not even exaggerating because it is official

3 (1h 4m 32s):
Star. He

1 (1h 4m 33s):
Shot,

2 (1h 4m 35s):
I really like Minea in San Diego. And I think that that tasted better than the Michelin star.

4 (1h 4m 39s):
Well, you ordered the wrong stuff. I don’t think he got the truffles. Zena.

1 (1h 4m 42s):
Yeah. We all have differing opinions, but best ramen I’ve ever had.

4 (1h 4m 46s):
Yes. Men yet. Sorry, Brittany. But yes, many as good. Be shock trash Kim.

3 (1h 4m 52s):
That’s a bullshit. You know what? This is actually just a little sneak preview because we are coming out soon with our favorite places to eat. And San Diego episode Is going to be on it

4 (1h 5m 4s):
On it and say minions, better

3 (1h 5m 6s):
Ramen kind of sore. And that shit is bomb

1 (1h 5m 8s):
Because you’ve been to

3 (1h 5m 9s):
Japan. I don’t need to travel far and wide of San Diego ramen. And I know it it’s locked down.

1 (1h 5m 16s):
So while we were waiting for our ramen time slot, we went to the Imperial Palace Grounds and it’s free entrance. You can’t see the Imperial Palace itself. This is the garden area only. And there’s actually an option to have a free walking tour app that will walk you through the gardens and give you information along the way. So I had downloaded that while we were there with the pocket wifi and I was our little tour guide through the gardens.

4 (1h 5m 43s):
Yeah. You know, I know I mentioned this earlier, when we’re talking about the Fu and I said, even the Japanese emperor is not allowed to have it. Not a lot of people realize that they still have a monarchy in Japan instead of calling them king or queen it’s the emperor impressed. So if you were in London, you would go to Buckingham palace and at least look at it, right. So if you’re in Japan, why would you not go to the Imperial Palace and Imperial gardens? At least that’s the way that I looked at it. So like Brittany said, you can’t really tour the palace itself. And by the palace, I really mean the home, but they have this surrounding gardens of the palace. And you know, we always hear Japanese tea gardens, et cetera, things like that. So they have it on their palace grounds. They have beautiful koi ponds, beautiful bonsai tree section areas.

4 (1h 6m 28s):
There was even one spot that I really liked where in Japan they have what’s called prefectures, which are our versions of states, right. Instead of states, they call them prefectures. They had a specific area of the garden, where they had a unique tree to each prefecture. So really unique to see coy pawns. Beautiful. And it was just amazing to really be there and think like, wow, this is like, palace has been here for hundreds of years,

1 (1h 6m 53s):
Definitely worth checking out. You can spend hours inside of the gardens. There’s so much to do. And see old buildings are in there as well.

3 (1h 7m 1s):
About how long would you say you stayed,

4 (1h 7m 3s):
Would say maybe an hour to hour and a half?

1 (1h 7m 5s):
Yeah, I would say the same,

2 (1h 7m 6s):
One thing about the Imperial Palace Grounds that I was not expecting is in the bathrooms. There are no toilet seat heaters.

4 (1h 7m 14s):
I was shocked and all hotels on the metros, on the subways everywhere.

2 (1h 7m 20s):
Mt. Fuji.

4 (1h 7m 21s):
Yeah. Everywhere you go. Toilet seat warmers and the days. And yet I would imagine in the Imperial Palace gardens that their restrooms would have it. No, no,

3 (1h 7m 32s):
No.

2 (1h 7m 33s):
Once a year on

4 (1h 7m 34s):
Regular toilets, that’s the only regular toilets that we saw in Japan. No.

2 (1h 7m 39s):
And very cold water to wash your hands because every year on the King’s birthday, he comes out and he waves at all the people. And it was just so shocking that all the people come here to see the king and he doesn’t warm the toilet seats for them. Wow.

1 (1h 7m 52s):
So after the Imperial Palace, we went back and had our ramen, like we said, it was delicious. And then after we did that, we went to visit the Harajuku area. And the Harajuku area is a quirky vintage clothing store and cosplay shop area in Tokyo,

3 (1h 8m 8s):
Anna May kind of stuff.

1 (1h 8m 9s):
Yeah.

4 (1h 8m 10s):
And I’m a character dress up. And just, even if you’re not dressed up as a character, the quirky sense of fashion, just like crazy here, crazy clothes. I imagine if people aren’t familiar with Japan probably where they’ve heard Harijuku is if they’re thinking Gwen Stefani and her song, she talks about Harijuku girls. It’s talking about really all of them dressing up their cost, play their style, their uniqueness of it. So it’s a very famous area to go to lots of shops and it’s super crowded. We even saw some people dressed up doing some sort of weird dance on escalators, going up into a mall. Like I don’t even know how to describe what I saw was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen in my life, but yet so intriguing.

1 (1h 8m 50s):
We have a video, we’ll put it on Instagram. They also have tons of crepe shops. They have like dessert crepes, not savory crepes. So Jamal and I got one that was like a crepe with strawberry and vanilla and ice cream. And it was delicious. And the lines are huge to get all of these crepes. And they have so many different combinations and different styles that you can try.

3 (1h 9m 12s):
I got to say, crepes really transcend countries. Like every country you go to bam,

4 (1h 9m 19s):
Bam got a creep.

1 (1h 9m 23s):
Truly.

4 (1h 9m 24s):
Yeah. And they had them there. They had like giant cotton candies.

3 (1h 9m 28s):
Yeah.

4 (1h 9m 29s):
It was really weird, but I definitely did enjoy Harijuku. I mean, you could spend a lot of time there if you want just people watching, seeing the shops. But we really went to go visit, have the food and kind of get out of there. We didn’t spend too much time there. One spot of notable interest for me that I found to be unique. And our niece Dasia actually pointed this out. They have a condom mania where it’s a shop specifically selling condoms

3 (1h 9m 54s):
And sex and like

4 (1h 9m 56s):
Sex toys stuff, but not really toys, but like playing cards, playing dice. But all their condoms are either like labored glow in the dark, like extra ribs, super like crazy like off-brand stuff. No, I just went in to go peek it out. I shouldn’t just say I went and we all went in to go pick it

3 (1h 10m 12s):
Out.

1 (1h 10m 13s):
My mom was

4 (1h 10m 15s):
She’s like, how are people using this? How are people using that? No, I don’t know. I’m just a bit,

1 (1h 10m 20s):
I wouldn’t be surprised. So that was like main Tokyo stuff that we went. But let’s be honest who didn’t go on this trip to also go to Disneyland Tokyo.

4 (1h 10m 32s):
Well, that was one of the main reasons for me to go on this. Japan trip is because as we’ve talked about before bucket list item for Brittany and I had to go to all the Disney parks throughout the world and

1 (1h 10m 43s):
One for cash and Ryan.

4 (1h 10m 45s):
Yeah. And they have the Tokyo Disney parks.

3 (1h 10m 48s):
I’m so excited to hear about this. I’ve been to Shanghai Disney with you guys. And that was top of the line. How does this one compare?

4 (1h 10m 57s):
So very good question. We actually split our days because they have two parks over there and Tokyo, they have the regular Tokyo Disneyland and they have their Tokyo Disney sea park. So one day we did regular Tokyo Disneyland. The other day we did Tokyo Disney sea there, Tokyo Disneyland. I mean, it’s great because if you love Disney, you’re going to love it. But it was really crowded and nothing. There was truly unique compared to any of the other Disney parks pirates, not as cool as Shanghai. That’s exactly what I was going to say. I still think Shanghai Disney is still my favorite Disney park that I’ve been to. Obviously Disneyland here in California holds a special place in my hearts.

4 (1h 11m 38s):
The original it’s our local one. But in terms of Tokyo Disney, it was fun, but nothing special. The only thing special I would say about it is they have a really cool Winnie the Pooh ride. And you could say to yourself, how can Winnie the Pooh be really cool? Let me tell you something fucking amazing bad ass. As we talked about pirates of the Caribbean being at Shanghai Disney, this is how cool the fucking Winnie the Pooh

3 (1h 12m 0s):
Is so cool in Japan.

4 (1h 12m 2s):
So Disney has created what they call a trackless ride system, where there is no designated track. The whole ground of the ride is magnetic. So every time you go in, it’s going to be random. Now they have the same scenery that you’re really going to look at, but how your vehicle moves, where it goes, what it focuses on is always random and different every time. So the other Winnie the Pooh rides that we’ve been on, you know, it’s on a track, it just follows through its plane. This one is on their tracklist system and it’s intense. It like goes in different places, does like spinning around and just random directions. And they have one spot where they put you in front of Tigger and they make the thing actually legit bounce, like up and down.

4 (1h 12m 45s):
I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s just wild. Yeah.

1 (1h 12m 49s):
Winnie the Pooh wasn’t originally like on our top to do rides. So we kind of saved it for last. And it was one of the highlights of being at Tokyo Disneyland. You

3 (1h 13m 0s):
Do Dumbo.

4 (1h 13m 1s):
I don’t think we did Dumbo at Tokyo Disneyland. No. I mean, we were trying to ride the big ones and in general, the one in California and the other ones, we love the Winnie, the Pooh, no doubt. But I had no clue. It was going to be like this and Cassia and Ryan didn’t necessarily want to ride it. They wanted to do something else in the interim. And so we waited in line because it was about 45, 50 minutes. It was actually a long wait for it. And when we got off, we told them, no, seriously, you guys need to ride this. This is like exceptionally cool. And so they ended up writing it after that fact too. Cause they’re like, okay, if they’re raving about and they ended up loving it too. It was awesome.

1 (1h 13m 39s):
Yeah. So I have a few things to say about Disneyland, Tokyo itself. So like Jamal said earlier, we stayed in the Kocide district. And in that area next to the Metro station, there was a bus stop. And there was a bus that specifically took you to, and from Disneyland from that area also, we bought our tickets online for two days, one park each day, it costs approximately at the time $120. So about $60 per park, per day, which is super cheap, great deal, great deal comparison to the United States. It was a very difficult to purchase online. It would give us like prompts saying that we needed visa verified and a whole bunch of stuff.

1 (1h 14m 22s):
We went through like three different credit cards before it finally went through. And Casha was never able to get it to go through online as an online purchase and had to buy it in person. Also Disneyland is super, super crowded even before you even get there, the lines are crazy. So I do recommend getting to the park about an hour before opening just to wait in line because it’s just that busy

3 (1h 14m 44s):
Where people are running,

4 (1h 14m 45s):
You know, I don’t really remember. I don’t really think so because they’re excited over there. But like I was saying, just in general about the Japanese culture with shout out, I love it. They’re really respectful. So it’s not like it’s running and oh, I’m getting there first F you get out of my way. If they’re running, it’s kind of like with, you know, just giddy excitement, but it’s not constant. It’s really respectful out there. So everyone’s waiting in a calm line. But again, if you’re not there early, like we got there an hour before it opened just to be kind of at the front of the line, when they open, we did everything that we wanted to do, but it really took all day because we stayed the entire day and wrote the last ride that we wanted to ride at closing. So super, super crowded.

1 (1h 15m 26s):
And like we said earlier, Japan’s a culture where you can get food and then eat it in line. No one’s eating in line on the go. So you would get food and you would have to eat it there and then go to the next destination. You want to go to the next ride you want to go

3 (1h 15m 40s):
To, did they have corn dogs?

4 (1h 15m 42s):
Unfortunately not. It’s like an American thing. And Disneyland is famous for one specific spot where they have an amazing corn dog. Definitely didn’t have it at Tokyo. Disneyland

1 (1h 15m 51s):
Didn’t have seafood pizza. Kim,

3 (1h 15m 53s):
Did you get it?

4 (1h 15m 54s):
Ryan got it. And he loved it.

3 (1h 15m 56s):
If they had duck, I might’ve been down.

4 (1h 15m 58s):
They did have duck on a pizza. I’m pretty sure they did.

1 (1h 16m 1s):
The highlight for the food for me was they had toy story, alien Moochie balls, and the mochi balls were filled with different flavors. They had vanilla chocolate, strawberry

4 (1h 16m 13s):
Lemon. Oh, it’s

1 (1h 16m 15s):
So good. We’ll definitely post pictures. I loved the toy story. Alien mochi.

4 (1h 16m 22s):
It was super good, but you know, as exciting as it was truly, there’s not a lot of difference between Tokyo Disneyland to any of the other Disney ones. I would say the most unique Disney land park itself would be Shanghai. So nothing unique, but definitely worth going to. But the next day we went to Tokyo Disney sea, and this is the one that I was the most excited about. And I was getting my Disney geek on for it because I read constantly and heard constantly that this is the best themed Disney park. And by themed, I mean just in terms of general scenery around the park. So it’s called Disney sea and it has a nautical theme. So each land is a unique port area.

4 (1h 17m 3s):
So the entrance to the park is set up to look like Venus, for example, Italy. Yes. And then one of the other areas is set up to look like American waterfront. So it has a 1920s like east coast, America theme to it. There’s another area that’s Arabian coast. Then their center attraction area is a mythical volcano like island land and things like that. So the whole park, you can walk anywhere. You need to go. But a lot of their transportation to get from one area to the other, you take boats, whether they be canals or steam boats or other things like that. And it was really, really cool. Did they

1 (1h 17m 41s):
Have a log

4 (1h 17m 42s):
Ride? They did not have a log ride, but I’ll tell you what they did have. They had a ride called journey to the center of the earth. That’s probably one of the fucking coolest rides I’ve ever been on

1 (1h 17m 50s):
Legit. One of the coolest rides ever. It was very interesting. So like, you’re in this cart, you feel like you’re going down into the center of the earth and you’re seeing all of these creatures that we’ve never seen before that look,

4 (1h 18m 5s):
They’re like fluorescent lit up with blacklight. They’re like purples and blues and reds and all these greens, all these vibrant, like black colored lights. You want me to cut you off Brittany, but the center that you get my Disney geek on the center land is that volcano. So the ride itself is as if you are journeying to the center of the volcano and you’re in like a little mining cart and that cart is what’s going through the volcano itself. And then you discover a mythical land like buried beneath the volcano.

1 (1h 18m 36s):
And there’s gemstones that are lit up with these fluorescent lights that the critters are crawling over. So it looks like you’re in this very beautiful mythical mine, and the creatures are like, life-sized, their bugs are like the size of you. They

4 (1h 18m 53s):
Did I say scary or something like that. They’re not really scary. But the finale you do come across a big mythical creature who is scary and that’s when the ride gets intense, because then it speeds up. And then you launch out of the volcano at the end. And it’s really, really intense and really, really cool.

1 (1h 19m 9s):
So I do recommend writing this right first, when we got into this park, the girls all rushed to this area to save a spot in line while the boys went to get fast passes for toy story mania that ride the Japanese go crazy for it. And there’s a huge wait. So Jamal and Ryan went to go get the fast passes while the girls held down the line. And we ended up writing journey to the center of the earth twice. Amazing.

4 (1h 19m 33s):
So they have the toy story, mania ride here in the United States and other parts. But in Japan, they really, really love it. It’s relatively new, not super new, but relatively new to Tokyo Disney sea, but they still average wait times of three and a half to four hours just to even write it. And so I read online that if you don’t get a fast pass from the beginning, you’re either gonna wait in line or you’re not going to write it at all. And one of the cool things about Disney parks is as long as the park is officially open, let’s just say the hours are from like eight to 11:00 PM. You can get into the line 11 o’clock and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. As long as you’re in the line, they’ll allow you to ride it. But toy story mania over there is not one of those.

4 (1h 20m 16s):
They actually close the line early because it lasts for so long that you’re not really staying at the park like three hours past the time. So we knew we wanted to ride it. Ryan and I rushed over there to get the fast passes. Well, the girls were kind of like saving a spot at the entrance for us to get to journey to the center of the earth.

1 (1h 20m 33s):
Yeah. And there’s a few things that I want to talk about for Disneyland, Tokyo Sea. That makes it unique. Does anyone know what Duffy bear is? No. So Duffy bear is one of the newest Disney characters and it really didn’t land in the United States or anywhere else in the world, but it is super popular in Japan and the Japanese take it very seriously when people have Duffy bear backpacks, Duffy bear, purses, Jeffy, bear bears, and Duffy bear has friends as well. So while we were in the line for getting into the park, we saw people with wagons, strollers, backpacks filled with Duffy bear and Duffy bears friends. And throughout this park, there are Duffy photo points where you can place your bear and their friends and get little photo shoots of, of your stuffed animals.

4 (1h 21m 23s):
No, we didn’t get one Casha was really interested in it and went into a store to see how much it costs and their smallest bear was like 70 bucks. Wasn’t it? And she

1 (1h 21m 31s):
Got one, oh

4 (1h 21m 32s):
My God, did she get one? I remember her getting one. I could, I don’t remember. I just remember it was an outrageous price and I thought to myself, like, man, that’s more expensive than the ticket to get in the park. If I remember it correctly, like it was expensive. That’s how popular it is over there. Okay.

1 (1h 21m 45s):
Everyone was focused on getting Duffy to these photo points. No one was really riding the ride. So we were able to ride several rides multiple times and we actually finished this park early in the day.

4 (1h 21m 58s):
Yeah. It’s not as crowded as their regular Disneyland. The only exception to like really, really long line, I would say is that toy story ride. But another unique thing about Tokyo Disney sea is they have flavored popcorn in different areas of the park. So, you know, here, like we’ll just either have regular popcorn or caramel corn or something like that. And you’d probably get it in the same spot. It’s one of their things to do where you go to different locations in the park and they only have one flavor in one specific spot. So if you want strawberry flavor, do you have to go all the way to the end? If you want the chocolate it’s in this spot, if you want the garlic shrimp flavored it’s in that spot. So really different, unique, well, I’ll tell you what that garlic shrimp smelt.

4 (1h 22m 41s):
Amazing. Definitely didn’t taste as good as I was expecting it to, but just smelling like strawberry flavored popcorn and oh my gosh, it was so, so good. So that’s one of the unique things there, but in terms of it being a well themed park in terms of their design and aesthetic looks, I have to say, I’m not disappointed. And I really do believe it in terms of just visually appealing. It’s probably the prettiest Disney park that I’ve been to and I’ve been to them all except for Hong Kong.

1 (1h 23m 8s):
So that pretty much sums up our time that we spent in Tokyo. Anyone have any final thoughts?

2 (1h 23m 14s):
It was amazing. Go to Tokyo. I mean,

3 (1h 23m 17s):
I do kind of wish that I went, do you,

4 (1h 23m 22s):
I’m disappointed that you didn’t go Kevin, you would’ve had a really good time. It was fun. I will say this as my last final thought. You know, we talked about the Disney parks the last few days, but the highlights that we did such as, you know, going up Tokyo Tower or going to Shibuya the Hedgehog cafe, the Imperial gardens, there’s a lot to do in Tokyo. And unless you spend your whole trip in Japan, just in Tokyo, you’re probably not going to do it all. We did other things too, but these were our main highlights and I would definitely recommend doing these things or if not, all of them, at least adding the majority of them to your itinerary one in Tokyo.

3 (1h 23m 58s):
All right, everyone. Thank you so much for tuning into this week’s episode. Keep the adventures going by following us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast and our brand new YouTube page at Travel Squad Podcast.

2 (1h 24m 10s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or you thought we were just playing funny, please share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.

4 (1h 24m 16s):
Please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every Travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (1h 24m 22s):
Keep your bags packed. Because next week we were taking with us on a bullet train to Kyoto and Osaka Japan.

4 (1h 24m 29s):
I’m excited

1 (1h 24m 30s):
Bye guys.

Best Places to Visit in Japan – Part 2 – Episode Transcript

4 (58s):
Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we are continuing our adventures in Japan, but this time talking about our visits in Kyoto Osaka and Hiroshima,

1 (1m 11s):
Kyoto is famous for being Japan’s old capital, and it’s a big city that doesn’t have any skyscrapers at all. It’s known for its classical architecture. So it’s Buddhist temples, Imperial palaces, Shinto, shrines, and traditional wooden houses, and also famous for its geishas.

2 (1m 29s):
We used Kyoto as a home base for our day trips around Japan, and it was a really great idea. It’s perfectly located. It allowed us to explore Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima before we stayed in Osaka for our last few days.

3 (1m 42s):
And I am so, so excited to hear about this trip because I don’t think that I’ve yet to hear about it in depth. And I wasn’t on the trip. Like you heard last time.

4 (1m 50s):
I know. Well, I’m excited to continue because you know, we’ve always talked about Japan and you’ve said Kim, like, ah, you know, I don’t really regret it. And then you kind of said at the end of our last episode that you did, so it made me feel good. Not that you regret it, but like, yeah. Like,

3 (2m 3s):
Well, to be honest, who would ever go on a trip and say, I regret taking that trip? No,

4 (2m 9s):
That’s very true. So in our last episode, we went over some vital tips for Tokyo and Japan in general as a whole. So we’re just going to touch on them real quick and brush over them, not go into too much detail, but I just want to reiterate again, stay at a place near a Metro station for mass transportation do by the Japanese rail pass, which again gives you unlimited use of their bullet trains, regular trains, and have the hyper DIA app, which is the app that shows you what train is leaving from. What station, what time, where it’s going when the next one comes. And do you have that pocket wifi vital for all travel throughout Japan and super vital for our locations that we’re talking about here in Kyoto Osaka and Hiroshima.

4 (2m 58s):
So why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about our time in Kyoto?

1 (3m 2s):
Yeah, so like we had previously said, we took a 14 day trip and the first few days we stayed in Tokyo and we took a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. How

3 (3m 13s):
Long is that route?

1 (3m 14s):
I want to say it took us about two hours and 30 minutes where if you were to drive in a car, it listed it as an eight hour drive. So it got us there very fast. Additionally, like we had previously sat in the other episode, you’re going to want to buy your J our rail pass in advance. And it was when we left Tokyo to go to Kyoto where we activated it at the train station. And that started our seven day pass to get to Kyoto countdown

2 (3m 41s):
On

4 (3m 42s):
Count. Don’t on admit it works really, really good. So

1 (3m 44s):
We took the bullet train from Tokyo station to heel-toe station and, oh my God. So when you get to hear a station, you’re thinking it’s just a train station, right wrong. It is a huge mall with tons of shops, restaurants. They even have like a 10th floor level with just ramen shops at the top of it. It’s crazy. There’s like seven

4 (4m 6s):
11 there and everything.

2 (4m 8s):
If you don’t take the elevator inside, they do have stairs outside and the stairs light up and do a light show at night.

1 (4m 16s):
Gotcha. Yeah. It’s like, you would think you’re just going to a train station, but it’s so much more, it’s like everything you need right in that once.

4 (4m 23s):
And, and it’s really cool because it’s an amazing contrast. Like Brittany said earlier, heel-toe is famous for its more classical Japanese feel. There’s not really any skyscrapers whatsoever old buildings, but here you are at the train station. And in this area, that’s obviously where it’s the most modern in terms of buildings. Not that it’s like anywhere left behind in time, but in terms of just like building design and everything like that. So it’s a crazy contrast. And even one of our favorite sushi spots and one that’s recommended to eat at in Kyoto is in the train station. And we ate there a couple of times and it was dynamite

1 (4m 57s):
And it has like the conveyor belt sushi go on around. This is where, when Zena said, Jamal, do you want to get the shashimi FUBU? Jamal was like, no, no, no, no, no

4 (5m 7s):
Kyoto trend suggest

3 (5m 9s):
Pluck it if you want it, it keeps coming by.

1 (5m 12s):
Yep, exactly. So what I do want to say about Hiroto is Kyoto only has two Metro lines and they basically go north to south and east west. Otherwise Kyoto has a ton of buses that operate throughout the city and they also have local trains in and out of the city. So the J our rail pass is clutch to have in Kyoto, especially if you’re going outside of the city of Kyoto. And while you’re at the Kyoto train station, there is a visitor station there, and you can buy an unlimited pass. That’ll get you unlimited use on the Metro and the buses. And they have it for a one day or two day unlimited for a set price.

4 (5m 55s):
Yeah. And we found ourselves using bus more than the Metro. Cause again, it’s only a north south line and an east west line. So it takes you in that general direction. But in terms of all around the city, not so much. So the bus is more useful than the Metro, but that visitor center that they have in Tokyo station really, really good. Because if you have your itinerary and know what you want to do, the workers in the visitor center are very proficient in English and they can basically tell you, okay, you want to go here, take this bus line. It’s this bus number. This is where this station is, so they can help you map it out. If you already know what you want to do. And they give out free courtesy maps of the city itself.

4 (6m 37s):
So very, very helpful to go in there, regardless of what you’re doing. I recommend that you go there and at least talk to somebody cause they give you advice.

1 (6m 44s):
And if you’re having a difficult time with the metros and the trains and the buses and whatnot, if you put in your destinations that you want to get to on Google maps, as long as you have the pocket wifi, it will actually tell you which bus to take, to get to the next destination you want to get through on Google maps. So that’s really helpful as well.

4 (7m 2s):
Yeah. And I would also recommend staying at a hotel that’s close to Kyoto station, which we did. Our hotel was easily visible from the station. You were able to just walk with your luggage. And again, since there isn’t a vast Metro system, you know, you don’t really want to carry luggage on a public bus or on the train. Yeah.

3 (7m 21s):
Actually going to ask about that, how is it to bring luggage on this crowded train? Like you guys were talking about it in our last episode.

1 (7m 27s):
So there’s actually space above the seats for your luggage. And there wasn’t any issues at all, putting them up, carry

3 (7m 33s):
On or bigger. We

1 (7m 35s):
Actually had a larger size luggage because it was Japan for two weeks in the middle of January. So the large luggage fit on top as well.

4 (7m 44s):
They fit on top. And if you’ve been on any of the trains in Europe, you know that they have some spaces at the entrance where you can kind of just stack the luggages with the racks over there. They did have that too. But I really liked this about the bullet trains. As it’s like an airplane, you can just put it above, but they had sufficient space to where even large sized luggages can fit up there. So you can keep your bag close and personal to you also. But going back to what I was saying, I really think it’s a good idea to have a hotel close to the train station. That way you can just walk to it. And that’s your main center of transportation of wherever you’re going to go, buses regional trains. When you want to leave the city, take the bullet train. It’s just right there.

2 (8m 23s):
You know, we didn’t put this on the tip section, but I feel like it should be, even though it might be kind of common sense, but wearing really comfortable shoes. So I missed the mark on this one. So

4 (8m 35s):
Always

2 (8m 36s):
Giggle, if you want laugh,

3 (8m 38s):
I always do as well, you know, fashion over function.

2 (8m 42s):
Yeah. You know, so it was cold and under normal circumstances, there are specific shoes that I wear, but it’s winter. And so I brought boots. And so I thought, oh my gosh, I haven’t worn these boots in forever. And so under normal circumstances in San Diego, these are comfortable boots. But when we were walking everywhere, especially when you’re going through the train station. Cause one of the things we didn’t mention, like when we went to the Imperial palace, when we were in Tokyo, I felt like we walked a mile through the train station underground. Like there’s so much walking. So just make sure that you have comfortable.

1 (9m 11s):
That is a good tip. One other thing I wanted to say that we didn’t mention earlier is when you book the bullet trains, for example, if you don’t reserve a seat and you can’t with the Jr rail pass, you have to get on like specific areas or specific carts that are open to the general public. And we never had an issue getting a seat, but you can’t board at certain carts because they’re designated seats for people that have paid more or Yeah. Reserved whatnot.

4 (9m 40s):
Yeah. That’s another good tip. So we arrived in Kyoto and some of the amazing highlights to do there. We started right away. Really? We went to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Brittany, why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

1 (9m 54s):
So it’s a big, large bamboo Grove. It’s famous in Japan and you get very beautiful photos. However, when you see it in person, it’s not as massive as you would imagine the pictures make it to

3 (10m 8s):
Be how massive is,

4 (10m 9s):
You know, in terms of time to walk through it, doesn’t take really more than 20 minutes. But in terms of the bamboo being massive, I mean they’re tall, they’re like 50, 60 feet in the air. They’re really thick and close together. So if you didn’t know otherwise, because it was a clear path, you would feel like you were in the jungle or something, but

3 (10m 28s):
The bamboo garden,

4 (10m 30s):
This is the bamboo forest and garden that they’re famous for in Japan.

1 (10m 33s):
So Jamal did mention that the bamboo Grove was the first place we went to and I would recommend going there first thing in the morning because it’s the farthest thing outside of the city center. So it’s nice to start there and then work your way back into the city center.

3 (10m 48s):
And you navigated your way from bamboo garden to city center, through the buses,

4 (10m 52s):
Through the buses, through a little bit of walking and really clutch again, go into that visitor center because we knew what we wanted to do. And the lady who helped us with our itinerary and said, this is the buses that you do want to take.

1 (11m 4s):
Yeah. So squat tip, while you’re at the bamboo Grove, I actually have two. One is when you get your first glimpses of the bamboo Grove, don’t get so excited. Just walk a little bit farther. And if you want pictures of yourself with no one else in them, all you gotta do is just walk a few extra hundred feet around the corner. Cause right, when you get to the first entrance of it, everyone is taking their picture. Everyone’s crowding that space. But if you just walk a hundred extra feet down the line, you’re going to get great photos.

4 (11m 32s):
Yeah, they’re definitely, really cool. I, again, thought it was going to be bigger than it was. And by bigger, I mean, in terms of just areas space, but in terms of height, I mean, they’re just massive. And so once you exit it, you’re kind of like in a park at the outskirts of the city itself, but by the bamboo Grove, you were also close to the Arashiyama Monkey.

1 (11m 53s):
That was gonna be my second tip while you’re in that area, go to the monkey park who doesn’t want to go

3 (11m 58s):
Visit called the monkey park.

1 (12m 0s):
It’s called the Arashiyama Monkey Park. Also known as the, I want to Yama monkey park. So it’s in the bamboo Grove area. It’s about a half mile walk from the bamboo forest and you actually have to hike up a steep mountain,

3 (12m 15s):
Easy day, easy to do.

4 (12m 17s):
Yeah. Cause you walk that mile and a half and it’s a really scenic, beautiful walk. Because as soon as you exit the Grove, you are in a natural park area. You can see the mountains and the river in the back. And we’re like, all right, let’s go to this monkey park. You can feed some Japanese macaque monkeys. They’re natural inhabitants to the area and live there. So I didn’t know that there was actually going to be a hike because you enter base level by the river. I mean, you see a mountain, but I wasn’t expecting to have to hike up it. So you pay about 500 yen, which is a little less than $5, but that’s at the entrance at the bottom. Then you have to invest a 20 to 30 minute steep hike up the mountain because that’s where they actually live.

4 (12m 58s):
So if you aren’t physically fit or don’t want to hike, this activity may not be conducive for you. But if you can, I would definitely recommend doing it. I mean, it’s awesome. You go up there, you have a beautiful top level view of the city of Kyoto from below. And then you just have hundreds of monkeys all around you feeding, just living naturally you can pay for a hundred yen, which is like a dollar you could buy nuts and bananas and feed the monkeys. It’s

3 (13m 22s):
Really cool.

4 (13m 23s):
I would say they are about the size of a small dog,

3 (13m 28s):
10 pounds, 20 pounds.

1 (13m 30s):
I would say anywhere from like eight pounds to 40 pounds, depending on the age of the monkey,

3 (13m 37s):
My dog Emma could have been a monkey. Yeah.

4 (13m 40s):
And that’s why I said small dog. I was trying to correlate it to Emma. There

1 (13m 44s):
Was a medium dog, depending on how old they were.

4 (13m 46s):
I mean, they’re not like they’re not like giant eighths or anything like that, but I mean, they’re not like little tiny pygmy monkeys, you know, they’re good size monkeys.

1 (13m 55s):
So it’s an outdoor space. So no one jumps on you. If you want to feed the monkeys, you actually have to go into this little hut and buy the food and you have to feed them through like the wire on the hut,

4 (14m 6s):
Chicken wire cage,

1 (14m 7s):
Because the monkeys can’t get aggressive during the feeding times. And so they don’t want them to attack you when you have the food. And sometimes the monkeys fight with each other about the food. So I think just for monkey safety, your safety, you have to feed them from that barrier

3 (14m 21s):
Monkey safety first.

1 (14m 24s):
Exactly. You have to wash your hands beforehand and everything before that too. And Jamal tried the monkey food. How was,

4 (14m 30s):
I mean, it was just bananas and nuts

3 (14m 33s):
And they’re worse than the Fu

4 (14m 35s):
Well, cause I didn’t have a panic attack. I would say better. I don’t know. But you see monkeys of all different sizes. I know you asked the size, but when I say that, I mean, you’re seeing little babies. You’re seeing full size adults, adolescents, et cetera. They’re just laying basking in the sun, grooming each other. Like you’re up close with what you see on nature documentaries. When you see like monkey is trying to pick fleas and bugs off each other, like here they are doing that. You’re feeding them. It’s so cool. And they’re definitely, really cool animals.

2 (15m 1s):
They did a monkey feeding at one point too.

1 (15m 3s):
Tell us about

4 (15m 4s):
That. Yeah. So for the monkey feeding the workers that are up at the top of the hill, they just threw out like huge bucket of nuts and fruit and just scattered it all over the place on the open grass. And it was really cool because when they did that, they played like some background music like dah, dah, dah, you know, like that chaos music in the back and all the monkeys are just scrambling, running all around you, the collecting nuts. They’re not even eating any of the fruits or nuts while they’re doing it. They’re like collecting it. And then when it’s all done and everything’s gone that go to the corner and like huddle with it and then they start eating it from there. But it’s just like a mad dash on the grass that they’re just running all around, trying to collect everything scavenging up. So yeah,

1 (15m 42s):
It was definitely a sight to see. And you’ve hiked to the top of the mountain. You get this beautiful view of all of Kyoto, because again, you’re on the outskirts. So it was a really nice hike up and you get beautiful views and you get to feed these monkeys and see the monkey feeding it’s definitely worth doing and also props to my mom because she didn’t know we were going to do this. None of us knew we were going to do this at the time of at least

4 (16m 5s):
The hike,

1 (16m 5s):
The hike. Yeah. We knew we were going to do it was a three price

3 (16m 8s):
Somehow. I think you knew

1 (16m 11s):
Maybe, but my mom, my mom, she was a trooper and she, she

3 (16m 15s):
Did it. Your mom is a trooper.

1 (16m 16s):
Yeah, she is. Yeah.

3 (16m 17s):
I knew I’ve known your mom’s a trooper since she took us to beta breakers. When we were like 12

2 (16m 24s):
Beta breakers.

1 (16m 25s):
It’s like, it’s a marathon in San Francisco on the bay and there’s tons of people running it nude

2 (16m 33s):
Shtick. You guys when you were 12. Yeah,

3 (16m 34s):
She did.

1 (16m 35s):
She did.

3 (16m 37s):
I got to say that baby monkeys on their mommy’s back is one of my top 10 favorite things

4 (16m 43s):
A shit time.

1 (16m 45s):
I should’ve gone, Kim, you should have gone.

4 (16m 47s):
So after we did the monkey park, what goes up must come down. So we had to make the hike down, which obviously isn’t as bad as the going up. But after that we caught the bus again, working our way back to city center of Kyoto. And one of the other main highlights is the Kinkakuji Temple. And it’s very famous in Kyoto. It’s actually a UNESCO world heritage site and it’s a beautiful temple. And it literally translates to the temple of the golden pavilion. And it sits in the middle of a lake surrounded by a Japanese garden. And obviously the roof is a golden temple. It does have a cost associated with it.

4 (17m 28s):
It’s about 400 yen to get inside, but you can’t even get into the temple because again, it is on the lake itself. So truly it’s a circular path around the gardens, but it does give you amazing views. Originally the temple and the gardens was built in 1397. So really, really old, but in the 1950s, a monk actually burnt it down, but it didn’t burn down the whole thing. So they rebuilt it with what was left of it. So what you see now, again, unfortunately isn’t the original part of it is, and it’s really famous again because like the one in Tokyo that we talked about, this one also has some of Buddha’s relics were ashes in it as well.

1 (18m 8s):
It was a really beautiful temple. I really enjoyed the sites. Take your time walking through the garden because it’s just a one-way path. So there’s really not an opportunity to go back or turn around, to get the pictures that you want when you want to do it. But there’s plenty of spots along the way to get your picture in front of it. You can get it from the front, from the side, from the back, all around. I like that, but it’s one of the temples we did pay to get into a lot of the temples and shrines are free. I do think it’s worth the 400 yen to get in. So just keep that in mind, 400

3 (18m 39s):
Yen equivalent to about four bucks.

4 (18m 41s):
Yeah. 107 yen is a dollar. So just to make it simple, like a hundred yen is $1. Okay.

1 (18m 47s):
Yeah. So it’s really cheap. It’s not bad at all. And we just took the bus to get there. And so from there we took the bus back into Kyoto and we hit up Nishiki Market. And the markets in Japan are crazy. They’re tiny little shops, but they’re so jam packed with so much merchandise and food and other things. They have vendors produce, shop selling cutlery and cookware. Yeah. Everything.

4 (19m 13s):
And I would have to say going to the markets where some of my favorite things that we did while we were in Japan, I enjoyed it a lot because here in the U S like, okay, we have farmer’s markets and there may be like once a week. And you know, people go to it as an event, like once a week more. So sometimes even just to do something than to buy, but over there they go every day. And that’s where they get their daily stuff. Instead of grocery stores, it’s markets. I love it. It’s really cool, really unique. And it’s amazing.

2 (19m 42s):
I really love the atmosphere. And again, you know, I think it was in the last episode, we mentioned that it’s kind of disrespectful to walk and eat. So there’s so many food options at the market. And so when you do buy food, you just stop and you eat. Which for me was a little bit different rather than just continuing on and eating and looking and walking.

4 (20m 1s):
Yeah. But this market’s so big too. It has like over a hundred shops. It spans five city blocks.

1 (20m 7s):
It’s known as Kyoto’s premier market. What did you buy? Oh my God. So I was looking at these tiny little octopuses and they were on a little stick. So they were like an octopus pop gross.

2 (20m 19s):
That’s Brittany, it’s

1 (20m 21s):
Disgusting. You know what? It was the culinary delicacy. And it looked fake. It really did look fake. We’re going to post a photo of

4 (20m 28s):
It. You forgot the best part. What was in the octopuses head.

1 (20m 31s):
So inside the head was a stuffed quail egg, which I wasn’t expecting

4 (20m 36s):
Boiled QuilliChew.

1 (20m 37s):
Yeah, it was. So I don’t know how I felt about

2 (20m 40s):
It jam,

1 (20m 41s):
But overall it was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting the quail egg though. If I knew about it, I might feel a little bit

4 (20m 46s):
Differently. They had a lot of stuff. I mean, you can get which again is going to be Japanese potstickers. You could get Tim Pura, you could even buy Fu sashimi out there, sushi, all sorts of stuff. But beyond just general street food to eat again, it is a normal market. I mean, they have cookware shops, they have fresh fish that you can buy, whether it be crab shrimp, regular fish that you could just take home produce. So it is a full blown market. But I do want to reiterate this again. A lot of the places out there, and especially in the market, no credit cards, you definitely do need cash. So definitely have cash.

2 (21m 23s):
So I didn’t get the octopus with the quail egg, but what I did get was SU GB. So they had these hot tea samples in one store and in the tea they put, I don’t know, even know what it is. It’s kind of like this sugar honey and it flavors the tea. And so I was introduced to that and I totally signed up for their card to get a discount. And I got some Sue GB stuff for when I get sick here in the United States, which you guys know happens kind of frequently. And I enjoy it with some tea and hot water. And it’s delicious.

4 (21m 53s):
We bought that too and have yet to open it.

2 (21m 55s):
Oh, I opened mine.

3 (21m 56s):
We may need it sooner or later. But my question for the market is, did you buy any thing to bring home an ornament? Any souvenirs?

2 (22m 5s):
I got the Sioux GB.

4 (22m 6s):
You know, I can’t remember if we bought a specific ornament there, but again, Brittany and I love to collect ornaments to put on our Christmas tree. And those are the souvenirs of the places that we go. I know in another market, it may have been this one. It may have been another one. I mean, in there too, they have little random gift shops. Maybe we found a magnet that we converted. I can’t really remember, but yes, they do have little knickknack stuff that you can get as souvenirs to. And at least in one of the other markets that we went to, if not this one that we’ll talk about, we did get one that we converted to an ornament.

1 (22m 37s):
So two things I want to talk about while we were in the market, some shops offer samples. So you can get samples of like the tea Zeno was talking about or coated nuts, like wasabi, coated, nuts and things like that. But also we haven’t mentioned this yet, but Japan takes their fruit. Seriously. Fruits are really a delicacy and they are really particular about making really prestigious fruits

4 (23m 2s):
That look

1 (23m 3s):
Beautiful. And their fruits cost a lot in comparison to all other foods,

2 (23m 8s):
They had white strawberries and they have like red strawberries and both varieties were super pricey for just a few.

4 (23m 16s):
Yeah. If you wanted to buy a fruit basket, you know, like a small basket with maybe a couple apples or bananas, some berries and not anything special or good, maybe like strawberries or something. Those are some of the most expensive things I saw in Japan. Maybe 50 to a hundred dollars just for fruits,

2 (23m 32s):
But you know, what was cheap octopus? Bops

4 (23m 36s):
Love

1 (23m 37s):
Me. Some puss pops.

4 (23m 40s):
Yeah. I really enjoyed the initial rekey market. It was definitely one of my favorite things that we did in, in, because beyond something to just sight, see like one of the temples or shrines or the forest, this is really an every day living activity. That’s unique and fun. And I love to immerse myself in another place as culture when I go and no better place to see Japanese culture than the market. I feel.

1 (24m 3s):
Yeah. So from the Nishiki Market, we went to Gian, which is the famous geisha district.

3 (24m 9s):
I have to say, I was considering going on this trip for a minute there. And the one thing I wanted to do, I said, I’m not going to go to Japan unless I get to dress up like a geisha. And I even found a place that we can do it. And I sent it to Brittany and she said, I don’t think we’ll have time. And that is exactly why I did not go. That

1 (24m 27s):
Was the whole reason why you didn’t go on a 14 day trip to Japan.

4 (24m 30s):
I will tell you this when we were there. Cause we walked that district. Nobody

3 (24m 34s):
One time

4 (24m 35s):
There wasn’t really anybody dressed up or doing anything like that. I think they have it more as a tourist trap, but truly not a lot of people. Okay. Well, not a lot of people do it though.

1 (24m 44s):
Well, there were people doing it. We didn’t see any real geishas. We saw people dressing up and going to the sites they

3 (24m 51s):
Had.

4 (24m 52s):
But I will say this though. They were actually Japanese and not tourists.

1 (24m 56s):
That’s true. That’s

4 (24m 57s):
True. So I think they were doing it more as a true cultural thing for themselves then as a touristy.

1 (25m 2s):
And let me tell you, those shoes looked uncomfortable that they were walking in

3 (25m 7s):
Looks can be deceiving.

4 (25m 9s):
I know you said it earlier, beauty over a

3 (25m 13s):
Function.

4 (25m 14s):
Yeah, there you go. I was tongue tied and my words there,

1 (25m 17s):
But this area, even though you, we didn’t see any geishas, they do have restaurants, shops, tea houses. And if you wanted to have a geisha experience, there was tea houses that you could book reservations with and have a geisha serve you. So that’s available as well. So that was our first day in Kyoto. What we haven’t said yet is we did stay at a hotel and the hotel, I do want to let you guys know which hotel we stayed at. It was called Royal hotel. Grande’s Kyoto. And it was the best hotel we stayed in, in all of July. Their robes were luxurious. They were beautiful pinks, orange. They had achiness Brasso station in the room. They had the shishito facewash for you to wash your face.

1 (26m 0s):
They had slippers for you. When you enter the

3 (26m 3s):
Room, recommend this hotel. I would

1 (26m 5s):
Recommend this.

4 (26m 5s):
So it was nice. The one thing I do want to say no breakfast buffet, but we were next door to a seven 11 and right by Kyoto station. So anything that you wanted to eat was available and cheap. And one thing that we didn’t mention about Kyoto station, they had a bomb bakery down there and we would go get Mellon bread, croissants, melon, bread. Yeah. Super good stuff.

1 (26m 29s):
Yeah. I don’t even know how to describe Mellon bread. Melon

3 (26m 32s):
Flavor.

4 (26m 33s):
Yeah. Kind of like a cantaloupe or a honey. And then they have just regular stuff. Chocolate croissants, other types of savory breads that had like melted cheese and other and funds

2 (26m 44s):
On it.

4 (26m 45s):
Yeah. To them it’s more sausage than a hot dog. I guess it depends on what you want to call it.

3 (26m 49s):
It’s it a hot dog? Just like a weird word in general to describe a food.

4 (26m 54s):
Yeah. That’s why I like to use sausage, but so the fact that it didn’t have a breakfast buffet. Well, I know we always talk about it. We love them. You could purchase an addition to it. We did not because we had that bread shop and we had the seven 11 right by us and it was substantially less expensive and you could get really good stuff either way. So it didn’t really matter for that.

3 (27m 16s):
My last question about Kyoto. How many nights did you stay there? I

1 (27m 19s):
Believe we stayed three nights and it was the perfect amount.

4 (27m 22s):
Okay. We did stay three nights, but one day was exclusively. Like, let’s see Kyoto. And then the other two was using Kyoto as a hub to go other places. Yeah. So for the second day we took a day trip to Nara as well as the Fushimi Inari shrine, which is along the way. So we’re talk about that and a little bit, but again, we used Kyoto as a hub to get there. And this is where having the Jr rail pass came in handy because the train that we took was a regional train and it was free for us to use because we had the Jr rail pass. Now Nara is a 45 minute train ride from Kyoto.

4 (28m 2s):
And as a matter of fact, Nara used to be one of the old capitals of Japan. But why don’t one of you ladies, tell us why we specifically went to Nara.

2 (28m 11s):
It is filled with deer. It is filled, filled, filled with deer. They’re adorable. They’re cute. They respect the crosswalks.

3 (28m 21s):
Are they the tourists?

2 (28m 21s):
Swear to God. Yeah. We’d like the tourist attraction are the deer and you get to feed the deer and you get to mingle with the deer and take pictures with the deer. And if you’re lucky enough, like Brittany, one of them butted Brittany in the butt and threw her in the air. Sure

3 (28m 39s):
Did

2 (28m 40s):
Her face. Brittany was trying to take a picture of me feeding one of the deers and all of a sudden two deer were fighting. And next thing you know, one of them goes, and this is like, Brittany’s back is towards it. So she doesn’t see it. And it’s kind of like in fast motion because you don’t even have an opportunity to warn Brittany. But at the same time, it’s slow motion because you’re like, oh my God, this was about to happen. And then boom, boom, they’re fighting. Boom, boom. They’re fighting. And then boom one gets under her butt and lifts her and the rose, her in the air and her face was just like, woo.

4 (29m 11s):
Yeah. So let’s give this whole thing that Zana just set a little bit of context. So Nara itself is a city, but they have a large park. And in that park, local deer live and that’s the attraction. They stay within the park. There’s hundreds, if not thousands of them. And they’re so acclimated to humans that they want you to feed them, pet them, take photos with them. And this is the attraction. So as we were getting to the park to go there, vendors are selling what they call deer cookies, which you can buy like little crackers and feed the deer. And obviously they want to get fed. So they get a little bit aggressive.

3 (29m 47s):
Brittany, how bad did it hurt?

1 (29m 49s):
It didn’t really hurt. It was more of a shock. I mean, luckily the deer headbutted me right in my butt and my butt’s pretty cushy. Anyone wants to know. So I just went flying in the air. Luckily I landed on my feet because God there’s so many deer there. You can just imagine there’s probably deer poop all over the grass to you landed on my feet. Didn’t really hurt. I mean, I was fine. It was just more of a shock. Like, oh my God, this just happened. Cause I wasn’t even paying attention. I was focusing on taking a picture of Xena who was feeding the deer. And all of a sudden that happened.

3 (30m 21s):
I wish there was a picture, a video of

1 (30m 24s):
Two. I mean those moments, you just really can’t get a picture of it, but you have to live it.

3 (30m 29s):
So what other kinds of damage to the deer do?

4 (30m 32s):
Eight Brittany’s map. That’s number one, like we were out there,

3 (30m 35s):
They had a target on

4 (30m 36s):
You. We were just petting it at one point, trying to take like photos and selfies with it. And Brittany had a map and one of the deers just came and started eating the map and we had to try to pull it out of its mouth and everything like that.

1 (30m 49s):
So squad tip. When you get to the park, you’re going to see your first glimpses of deer and you’re gonna be so excited and you’re gonna want to take all these pictures with you and the deer and you petting the deer and whatnot. Once you go inside the park farther, you’re going to get so many opportunities to take pictures with deer and come across those deer crackers and those temples. And when you get closer to the shrines, the deer actually bow at you when they want something because the Japanese people bow to them.

2 (31m 16s):
Yeah.

4 (31m 16s):
Yeah. You can meet them. Sometimes they will bow

1 (31m 18s):
To you. And like Dana said earlier, there was the crosswalk to cross the street. The deer will wait to cross the crosswalk and they know when to go

3 (31m 28s):
Here. Oh my God.

4 (31m 30s):
It was really fun.

3 (31m 32s):
Idaho deer just darting across the freeway.

1 (31m 34s):
These deer have respect to difficulties.

2 (31m 38s):
Jamal did try the deer food

4 (31m 40s):
Guide, a dear cookie. How was it tasted like a fortune cookie

3 (31m 44s):
Or worse than the Michelin star ramen

4 (31m 47s):
Worse. Cause the Michelin star ramen was delicious.

2 (31m 52s):
Yeah. I think Jamal specifically said, I wonder what these deers are getting like a wild for, you know, what does it even taste like? And then that’s why he did too.

4 (32m 1s):
It’s said like a fortune cookie. It wasn’t bad. I mean, it truly is not deer food. And even if it was what a deers eat, they eat grass and other. Nah, I mean, I wouldn’t eat grass. I knew it wasn’t grass, but you know what I mean? It’s like, Well, what could they possibly be eating? But like I would say Nara used to be one of the capitals of Japan and they do have lots of temples and UNESCO world heritage sites within the park itself. So most people come for the deer, but don’t underestimate the beauty that you see of the temples, the shrines, et cetera, really beautiful. And one of the more famous ones that they have in Nara is the Kasuga Taisha Shrine.

4 (32m 43s):
And we came across this at the very end. And this is where we started to see the deers bow at us. And this was amazing when we were there. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about a Brittany?

1 (32m 52s):
Oh my gosh. So this was my favorite shrine in the park. It was actually established at the same time as the capital and this shrine is famous for its lanterns. There are hundreds of bronze way interns hanging from the buildings and hundreds of stone lanterns lining the pathway to approach the shrine. So the lanterns are only actually lit two times per year during lantern festivals in early February and mid August. But walking up and seeing all of this is just amazing.

4 (33m 22s):
Yeah. Even though the lanterns weren’t lit and we were there during the day, just seeing them hang as cool. And then the pathway to it again, just the stone structures that hold the lanterns. All the deers are congregated in there. It’s tree line. And that’s where they’re literally bowing at you. They’re just standing right by the lake.

3 (33m 40s):
Are we talking

1 (33m 41s):
Thousands?

4 (33m 42s):
Thousands I’ve even read some. No, they naturally have them, but they do cut them, I think, to prevent injury. But there’s so many deer that I’ve read articles that the Nara city government has thought and propose the idea of calling some of the deer calling. You’ve never heard of that term before. No, it means exterminating some of the population Because there’s so many of them. Yeah. Luckily they haven’t done that. But to answer your question, that’s how many there are, they’re talking about population control of the deer.

1 (34m 16s):
I heard of you find a deer outside of the park. You can actually take it home with you.

4 (34m 20s):
That’s a news to me, wouldn’t surprise me though.

1 (34m 21s):
But anyways, these specific deer called Sica deer. And once we were done with the park, the highlights being the shrines, the temples and the deer, we headed back to Kyoto and we went to the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.

4 (34m 36s):
Yeah. This shrine was really, really cool. And again, this goes with the method of starting on the outside, which was Nora and working your way back in. So halfway between Nara and Kyoto is the shrine. And this one is really famous. It sits at the base of a mountain. Although there are many other smaller shrines as you go up the mountain, the main one is at the base, but the true highlight and what makes this area of the Fushimi Inari shrine unique is all of the Torii gates that line, the pathways up to the shrine and the Tory gates are those famous Japanese archways. If you will, that look like the mathematical PI sign. And so there’s literally hundreds of them, bright orange line in your pathways.

4 (35m 20s):
It’s just so beautiful to hike your way up the path under those

1 (35m 23s):
And squad tip. When you go, there’s going to be hundreds of people there at the entrance trying to get photos because there’s a Torii gate after Torii gate, after Torii gate. But again, the farther you walk, the less crowded it will become and you can get a photo without other people in your picture. So I do recommend doing that and it’s one way there are specific turnaround points. So just be aware of that. You can’t walk in and walk out of the same entrance. So you have to wait for a designated area to go to the other side and turn around. So although it goes all the way up to the mountain, there are several spots you can turn around before you get to that point.

4 (35m 59s):
Yeah. I really liked this one a lot. And what made it unique again, as those gates that you have to go under, they make for cool photo spots. It just makes for unique architecture, super bright orange color and so incredibly unique. This was one of my favorite places that we visited when we were in Japan.

1 (36m 15s):
So that was the last thing that we did on that day. We went back to Kyoto station, probably had some ramen for the night and the next day we GaN use as our home base. And we took another Jr train using the rail pass to Hiroshima.

2 (36m 30s):
This one was a super emotional day because I feel like most people probably should know what Hiroshima is. We, the United States dropped in a bomb on them. And it’s just a very emotional experience because they have one building still standing and they say that, well, why don’t Jamal? You tell us what happens when an a bomb goes off.

4 (36m 52s):
Yeah. So as Dana said again, the United States has dropped a nuclear weapon on the city of Hiroshima was the first nuclear weapon that needed as an act of war to world war two. And obviously the city has been rebuilt. It’s a vibrant metropolis, but there are some places in the city, although we didn’t see it where it created, what’s called a nuclear shadow where the blast was so bright that people, when they were standing, their shadow is permanently etched into the stone, like on some of the buildings and the steps. And we didn’t see any of those spots, but you can find them in certain locations. But the main thing that we did see and went to was the Hiroshima peace park and the peace park has a cenotaph and a cenotaph is like a grave or a monument for unconfirmed like bodies as a Memorial.

4 (37m 46s):
And it’s shaped in the shape of an arch, which I thought was kind of like representative of a mushroom cloud that the bomb is notorious for. But it’s truly designed that way by the Japanese architect in order to shelter, the souls of the dead. And as Dana was saying, had one building left standing and that’s a focal point of the peace park. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about that, Brittany?

1 (38m 10s):
So it’s called the atomic bomb dome, and this is the area where the bomb was dropped and it was dropped pretty much straight above this building. And so when the bomb detonated, it actually went outwards and kind of protected the building below. So although it was destroyed, it still standing because it didn’t hit the brunt of the bomb. And it’s just so emotional when you see it. Because when we first walked through, we walked through the Memorial peace park, the Hiroshima peace park mall was talking about and you see it through the cenotaph and it’s just so powerful and just so emotional when you see it, like, okay,

3 (38m 50s):
I can feel the energy and you just speaking about it. And it feels like when you were talking about the trade towers in New York, when you went to that Memorial, it’s just like, you know, the amount of history and impact of what happened in that space and how many lives and the history was changed forever. And that energy and that weight, I can feel it. And I haven’t even been there. It

1 (39m 13s):
Was intense.

2 (39m 15s):
I mean, can you imagine a blast so hot that you disintegrate like less than a second? I

3 (39m 20s):
Can’t even imagine, you

2 (39m 21s):
Know what I mean? Like all those people that just disappeared.

4 (39m 25s):
Yeah. And it’s really humbling and sad to definitely be there just in terms of the life lost. I get that we were at war, but it was dropped on civilians for that matter. You know what I mean? And so it’s just really humbling to be there regardless of the sides or anything like that. Just to know the amount of life lost and definitely really intense feeling and humbling there. And the whole purpose of the peace park is to serve as a Memorial of the horrors of war. Not necessarily the atomic bomb itself. Like, yes, it’s the focal point, but the whole peace park is like an antiwar Memorial to talk about like, this is what war does if you will. Okay.

1 (40m 3s):
And to advocate for world peace. And that park is located in what was the busiest, residential and commercial part of downtown Hiroshima. And when the bomb dropped, it created an open field by the explosion and that’s where they made the park.

4 (40m 16s):
And I just think the, a bomb dome is so fascinating because as Brittany was telling the story, they detonated the bomb mid air. So as the explosion radiated outward, since it was pretty much dropped on top of that building, even though it didn’t land on, it just exploded on top, even though it was destroyed, the shell of it remained because it didn’t have the brunt end of the blast because it was right on top. So that’s like, that’s one

3 (40m 40s):
Of the tornado.

4 (40m 41s):
Yeah. It’s like one of the few things that was left standing and now it’s the focal point there and you just see it and you think, wow, how old is this building? And this was left standing from a nuclear bomb and everything else around it is brand new.

1 (40m 53s):
It’s one of those places where it’s okay to take a picture of the monument or the atomic dome, but it’s not respectful till take selfies in front of it. You know what I mean? Like there are certain places where you shouldn’t take selfies in front of these historical areas and then tie felt in the park, but that’s just a personal opinion. Agreed. Yeah. So this area in Hiroshima is actually really famous for what’s called , which is a really savory pancake that’s cooked on a flat grill. And it has like eggs, cabbage, bean sprouts, sauces, green onions, and usually top with the meat. And you can get this anywhere in Japan, but in this area, they make it differently because they stack it versus mixing it and they add noodles to it.

1 (41m 37s):
And in Hiroshima, they actually have a entire building dedicated to this type of food and each level has different vendors and they each have their own way of preparing it. So you can go

2 (41m 49s):
Through, we debated on where to eat. There are so many places in that building so many different floors. And so eventually we settled on a place that we all agreed on. And for me personally, it was okay,

1 (42m 2s):
It’s an experience.

2 (42m 4s):
It is, it is.

4 (42m 5s):
And they cook it for you on like a top and Yaki style grill like you, if, you know, if you go to Benihana, it’s the flat grill it’s cooked in front of you, et cetera. I mean, this is how those pancakes are prepared and they have these 20, 30 different shops in that building. And I just want to say, you know, Hiroshima, the main reason people go there and know of it obviously is because of the atomic bomb. But at the same time, it is now a rebuilt vibrant city. It has its own culture and it is unique to the Japanese food scene because of these specific type of pancakes. So when we were there, we’re like, we have to try this out. Did I absolutely love it? No. Did I hate it? Absolutely not. Do I think one of the other vendors in there could have made it a lot better?

4 (42m 45s):
Yes. You know, so I mean, you can scope them out and try to see how they’re making it and see, but it’s not anything. I was like, oh my gosh, this is amazing, but I definitely would try it there because if it’s unique to that area, it’s a unique cuisine. You know, why not try it,

3 (43m 1s):
Try it when you’re there.

1 (43m 2s):
Yep. So we had the pancakes we passed by Hiroshima castle real quick.

4 (43m 8s):
Yeah. Hiroshima, castle. I mean, when we say castle, we can European style castle. It’s not really like that, but it’s a classical Japanese building on a little open lake and it was actually destroyed during the explosion of the atomic bomb. And it was rebuilt exactly as it was before. And now it’s a museum to Hiroshima’s history before world war two. But the castle itself is famous because it was home to an ancient feudal Lord of Hiroshima at the time. And the feudal Lords were the people who ruled militarily civilly throughout history and time. So it was the feudal Lords, old castle. And again, now it’s a museum, but even if you don’t go into it, it’s just amazing to see, even though it’s rebuilt, it’s rebuilt exactly as it was.

4 (43m 52s):
And it’s just a beautiful classic example of Japanese architecture. So beautiful history to be seen throughout the buildings. I love it.

1 (43m 58s):
It was definitely worth walking by. We walked by it on our way back to the train station and we wanted to go to Miyajima island, which is home to Lee floating shrine. So

2 (44m 11s):
Cool. Yeah. Brittany pointed out that the people of Japan have this on their bucket list. So we were like, oh my gosh, let’s go. Let’s see what it’s all about.

1 (44m 20s):
And squad tip, we’ve been to talking about the Jr rail pass this entire time. And there’s actually a J R ferry to go to this island that’s included in your pass. So you don’t have to pay any extras. There’s only two ferries that go to the island. You know what?

3 (44m 35s):
That is fucking them hard.

1 (44m 39s):
So the Jr ferry is included in your pass. And so you get free transfer to the island and back, whereas the other ferry you would have to pay. And we actually ended up going during low tide. So when we went, it didn’t look like it was floating so much, but we were actually able to go straight up to it.

4 (44m 58s):
Yeah, because Miyajima is the name of the island, but it’s famous for the shrine that’s on there, which is the Itsukushima shrine. And it’s known as the floating trine. And the reason why it’s called that as, as Brittany was saying, there is a Torii gate that is built on the water. And when it’s low tide, obviously you can walk up to it and it’s sand. But when it’s high tide, the water covers the base portion of it. And it looks like this Tory gate is floating and it’s perfectly aligned right in front of the shrine. So when we got there, it was low tide and we could walk up to it. But as our time went on at, when we were on the island, the tide started to come in. So we were able to get our photos of it with it floating.

4 (45m 41s):
And by the time we took the ferry back, you could definitely see it as The floating shrine because the tide was up. But on the island, they have lots of shops and they also have deer, not as many as a Nara, but you can get real up close and personal with the deer as well with the

2 (45m 55s):
Same thing. But really I just, you know, you, you, it makes you wonder how did the deer get to an island chicken or the egg or the egg, but yeah, so the, this is a UNESCO world heritage site as well worth mentioning. So

4 (46m 8s):
Yeah, a UNESCO world heritage site, and this shrine was built in the 11 hundreds for that matter. So, I mean, we’re talking, this was built in 1168. So really, really old.

2 (46m 19s):
One of the things to note is that the Jr train does have its own schedule. So while we were on the island, Brittany realized that, wow, if we don’t catch this specific cause of, of course, you know, we still have to go on the ferry to go back to the mainland. And on the mainland is where the Jr is. And Brittany realized that, oh, if we miss this train, then we’re going to have to wait an additional two hours to take the next train. So we hauled ass to the boat, ran on the boat, ran off the boat, ran back to the Jr station. And we made the train pretty much just in time.

1 (46m 53s):
I think we have all collectively ran so fast, except for in that moment,

2 (46m 57s):
Again, shout out to your mom. She

1 (46m 59s):
Kept,

4 (46m 60s):
Oh, and shout out to the pocket wifi. Cause we checked again on hyper DIA, the train schedule. And if we didn’t really look at it, we would’ve had to sit there for another like two hours and just kind of wait around. So that was really good on that, but that was our day in Hiroshima. We went back to Kyoto and then the next day we woke up early in the morning and we went to Osaka. Now I just want to say Kyoto and Osaka are really, really close to each other. The next major city also is Kobe where a Kobe beef comes from and it makes the shape of a little triangle, the cities. And so we didn’t go to Kobe itself, but we were in that little cluster area of those three main cities and went from Kyoto to Osaka.

3 (47m 43s):
Did you eat any Kobe beef?

4 (47m 45s):
We did in Osaka and we’re going to get to that. But with the bullet train, it only took about 30 minutes, but Osaka is really famous for being Japan’s foodie paradise. They have a really famous food scene, just like Austin, Texas, for example, is famous for having a food scene or New York Osaka. Is that in Japan? So

2 (48m 4s):
Before we get into the food scene real quickly, I just wanted to say that we did move to Osaka in terms of getting a hotel there. Okay.

3 (48m 12s):
But I didn’t know. It was only 30 minutes away.

2 (48m 14s):
Yes. We thought, oh, it’ll be so fun to stay in Osaka.

4 (48m 17s):
Casha really wanted to do that too. Okay.

2 (48m 19s):
Yes. And hindsight looking back, it would have been better to stay in Kyoto because it’s so close. Our hotel was so nice and I don’t know, I just, it would have been easier to stay at

3 (48m 30s):
NATO’s where are you in Osaka and

2 (48m 32s):
Just one.

3 (48m 33s):
Okay. You know what, as a squad tip for any destination, any trip I do not like staying one night in an city. If it’s just going to be one night and you can do a day trip, I would rather do that. I just don’t like checking in and only staying one night and I’ve done so many trips where it’s been, go, go, go see as much as you can. All of that. But I know now I don’t like seeing one night,

1 (48m 55s):
It’s fair to say. We didn’t know at the time. And one of our members wanted to stay there and you know, we want to respect everyone’s wishes. So of course it’s a learning experience and I’m glad we did. And we learned from it.

3 (49m 7s):
Would you have stayed two nights?

4 (49m 9s):
I don’t think we needed it in terms to see stuff I would have liked to have stayed two nights in order to just eat more food. But in terms of like, did I see everything of Osaka? I mean, I felt pretty much so, so I think one day is sufficient in that. But if you want to sit there and really eat, maybe, you know, a second day would have been good. So we got to Osaka in the morning and right when we got there, it was still too early to check into the hotel, but we left our luggage at the hotel and we hit the ground running. And the first thing that we did was go to the Kuromonichiba Market, which another amazing Japanese market.

4 (49m 49s):
And I really enjoyed this one and Osaka.

2 (49m 51s):
It’s one of the largest markets in Western Japan and had over 180 shops.

3 (49m 56s):
Did you buy anything there?

1 (49m 57s):
We bought food. We all bought food. So this market is known as Osaka is kitchen. That’s a nickname of the market and they had soft serve ice cream over melon. And all of us got some of

3 (50m 11s):
That in there.

2 (50m 12s):
I just got the ice cream on a cone or an a bull. I don’t know if, whether it was a cone or a bowl, but I just know that I didn’t really necessarily need the Mellon. And they had two different types of melons. One was a very pricey melon and one was a more cheaper melon. So Jamal us about your experience.

4 (50m 28s):
Well, Brittany and I got the soft serve ice cream over the crown melon, crown Mellon. So it’s a specific type of Mellon, you know, I really don’t know what more to say other than it’s kind of like a honeydew, cause it was more green when you were asking me, what’s it like, I thought you were maybe saying in terms of flavor, like, it was like really sweet, but I would say it’s like a honeydew and the Mellon was good itself, but that wasn’t the highlight, the ice cream was the highlight. I like the ice cream a lot because it’s not like American ice cream where it’s sugary and it tastes like vanilla. This one really tasted tart. It really tasted like milk was the ice cream in a tart way. And it was really good.

4 (51m 9s):
I enjoyed that flavor. It was almost like what you would say a bowl of milk tastes like after you’re done with the cereal, but still have milk, but I couldn’t say what type of cereal it was good. I enjoyed it a lot.

1 (51m 22s):
And then also at the market, we got beef skewers and crab leg. It’s four or 500 yen, which were delicious

4 (51m 30s):
By the

1 (51m 30s):
Way. Yeah. I would highly recommend doing that. They had several different stations and they also had a vending machine and the vending machine had peach beer inside of it.

4 (51m 41s):
And it was

1 (51m 42s):
Delicious.

2 (51m 44s):
You love that piece of

1 (51m 44s):
Beer. Oh my God. It was so good. I wish I had spent extra days in Osaka just to get the peach beer. Oh,

2 (51m 51s):
So this was during my time of sobriety. So I was unable to enjoy the peach beer, but I certainly heard about it.

4 (51m 59s):
No, it was definitely good. I love beer and I’m not a fruity beer person, but I tried Brittany’s and it was absolutely delicious. I thought to myself, like I could drink this, you know, but if I drank it, it’d be more summer style because of its fruitiness and it was winter, but nonetheless really, really good. And this is where our niece Dasia, she tried the white strawberries. Again, they take their fruit very seriously there and that’s where she had the white strawberries. But I definitely do recommend the Kuromonichiba Market. Just like we were talking about when we’re in Kyoto. It’s an amazing way to experience the true daily life of the locals and see the culture. And I just absolutely love it in there.

1 (52m 40s):
And it’s super crowded. We actually went to this market two days back to back the day that we arrived and the day that we were leaving and my mom loved the beef skewer and crab legs so much. And there was a huge line for it. We waited in line, she got it. And we walked to the front of the market and Jamal and I got tempura and potstickers and she was like, oh my God, I want another beef skewer and crab leg surgeon mall very nicely went all the way back and waited in line again for her to get an extra one of each.

4 (53m 10s):
Yeah. I had to go to the complete opposite end because we were there and she was like, oh, this is good. And we’re like, do you want another one? No. And then we get to the front of the market acting as if we’re about to leave. Cause we really weren’t just like, you know what? I want another one. I’m like what?

1 (53m 24s):
She’s like, oh, go go. My Jamal was like, oh my God, you’re going to get lost.

4 (53m 28s):
Well, not even lost. We were kind of in a time crunch because this was the second day when we were actually leaving. When we went back to it. I think that the story you’re telling, so we had a train that we were trying to actually catch. So I was like, oh, Brittany’s, mom’s just gonna walk too slow. I was like, I’ll go fast. I don’t want her to get lost. I know where it is. So I had to run to the complete opposite end of the market to do that. But another awesome thing to do when you’re in Osaka is go to Dontonburi and it’s actually Osaka is most popular tourist spot. And not even just for foreign tourists, even Japanese tourists, they love to go to Dontonburi and it originally was a theater district and it’s evolved into being a popular nightlife and shopping and entertainment district.

4 (54m 14s):
And why don’t one of you ladies, tell us a little bit about Dotan boring.

1 (54m 17s):
So it’s a long a canal. So it’s really nice to see lit up at night because there’s a whole bunch of neon lights and billboards, and there’s a whole bunch of restaurants that line the canals too. So it’s a really popular night spot to go see with a lot of restaurants. And in this area we came across the first hop lows and Pablo’s is a cheese tart chain. And I fell in love with Pablo’s while we were in this area.

4 (54m 44s):
Yeah. Like cheese tarts, cheesecakes, they have multiple flavors, you know, their original chocolate, strawberry macho lemon. And so it is a chain, but most of them are in Osaka area. Like you’ll find very few in Tokyo or other places they’re mostly in Osaka. So that’s why we’re talking about it specifically here. But definitely if you’re trying to settle a sweet tooth, it’s a good place to go and I would highly recommend it. But one thing that I also want to say too about Dotan Bori is again, sometimes when we think of Japan, we think of the bright neon lights, everything lit up amazing nightlife. Dolton board is that area there’s restaurants, but it’s a nightlife in terms of partying and bars and they’re famous for their neon lines.

4 (55m 27s):
So it’s fun anytime of day. But if you go squad tip, definitely do go at night and check out all the lit up neon signs. It’s amazing.

1 (55m 36s):
So, you know, we specifically went to Osaka because it is a foodie paradise and we wanted to enjoy all of the good food Japan had to offer and what Osaka had to offer. And one thing we had been looking at and hadn’t tried yet was called AAMI rice and almond rice is an egg omelet that still has runny yolk in the middle. And it’s usually topped over rice and served with savory meats and sauces. So we went to a specific place and this was just Jamal and I called Lagoonies when we got there Kobe beef, Alma, rice, and it was so delicious. So we had a bed of rice. We had the omelet on top and that was split open and there was Koby beef or along the outside.

1 (56m 18s):
And it was so good.

4 (56m 20s):
Yeah. They have AMO rice all over Japan. And I know it sounds so simple, like a bowl of rice and then you have an egg on top and split it and have some of the insides run out. But they put a lot of savory sauces and meats and different flavors that really elevates it to make it really elegant and delicious, you know, being so close to Kobe, the original place of Kobe beef. I definitely wanted to try and eat as much as I could since we weren’t going there. So I was like, all right, I’m going to try it eaten a famous Japanese dish. And I love the AMO rice at Magoon’s. But I do want to say if any of you guys do go to McCune’s, I would highly recommend it. That’s number one. But again, as we’ve said, lots of dining establishments in Japan have small seating capacity.

4 (57m 3s):
This restaurant only holds 12 people at a time. So there is a wait list to get in, but don’t be deceived by going up and just standing in line and thinking that saving your place. They do have a sign in at the door. So unless you put your name on the list, you’re definitely not in line, even if you’re standing in it, but the good news is it’s right by Dotan Dontonburi. So once you put your name on the list, go peruse around a little bit. You’re definitely going to have a good time and it kills a little bit of the weight.

3 (57m 30s):
I can say that I am so hungry listening to you. Talk about that. That sounds so good.

4 (57m 36s):
Really?

1 (57m 36s):
It really was good. Do you guys have any final thoughts?

4 (57m 40s):
I just want to say in general, that Japan is such an amazing country for many different reasons. I mean, you get it sense of its classical culture worth its modern take on Tokyo metropolis of Saka metropolis, and then you go to Kyoto and then it’s more classical it’s food scene. It’s history. I can’t recommend enough going to Japan. And what makes Japan even more enjoyable to visit is truly the amazing culture of the people there that maybe in and of itself was my favorite thing about Japan truly was the people. Not that we talked to them like personally, but just seeing how they act their culture, the way they do things. I love that a lot.

1 (58m 19s):
Yeah. Their culture was amazing. I really respect their culture and I really love their bullet trains. And in fact, we ended up taking a bullet train back to Tokyo and we’re able to use RJ or passes one last time to take a special line to the Narita airport and fly home. So, Kim, I think it’s your favorite time of the episode

2 (58m 41s):
Question

3 (58m 42s):
Of the week.

2 (58m 52s):
I love it.

3 (58m 53s):
All right. So we have several questions that came in from different people on our Instagrams. We’re not going to name names here today, but we have a few so we’re we can get to them pretty quickly. So our first one is what’d you go back?

1 (59m 5s):
Yeah, I would definitely go back. I really enjoyed it. I would love to go and see the cherry blossoms at some point. So going at a different time per year and I would also want to see some other parts of Japan. I feel like we hit the highlights, but there are other areas I do want to see as well

3 (59m 19s):
As you do the geisha outfit.

1 (59m 20s):
I would consider if

2 (59m 22s):
I spoke Japanese, I would live in Tokyo.

3 (59m 24s):
It was that cool.

2 (59m 25s):
Yeah. It’s just such an interesting experience to different culture. It’s just, I really liked it a lot.

3 (59m 31s):
Anything you’d do differently?

4 (59m 33s):
I think differently, we kind of touched on it earlier when we were mentioning how we did the one night in Osaka, but that was a learning experience for us. And as Brittany was saying, it was because someone of our traveling group wanted to spend the night there, which is totally fine. But in hindsight, being so close with the bullet trains, didn’t really need to, especially if you have the Jr pass, if I wanted to wake up early even a second day and stay in Kyoto and go to Osaka twice, you know, we could have done that. So I would definitely recommend using Kyoto as a hub to wherever you want to go in that region and not necessarily checking out and getting into different hotel,

2 (1h 0m 7s):
I would stock up on more wasabi. Nuts.

4 (1h 0m 9s):
Yeah, those were good.

1 (1h 0m 11s):
So

2 (1h 0m 11s):
Good. Oh my goodness.

3 (1h 0m 12s):
Okay. Next question. What Japanese words did you learn

4 (1h 0m 16s):
For me? I learned one in particular that I remember other than just, I got though, and I got though means thank you. But the one word that I’m talking about is dozo, because if you are riding the Metro or the bus, just like here in the United States, they have designated areas for, you know, handicap or seniors. But over there more. So the signs say for seniors, if a senior comes in, you must get up, let them have the seat. These are their designated areas. In particular, even regardless, I would always give up the seat and I would tell the elder people, those all which means after you and they would just absolutely love it.

4 (1h 0m 56s):
So that’s one word other than the main ones of like, thank you. And hello, Konichiwa.

2 (1h 1m 3s):
I used to do jujitsu when I was a kid. So I know how to count in Japanese. Do

3 (1h 1m 7s):
You know how to say cheers?

4 (1h 1m 8s):
I don’t remember that. Well, we would know if you were there that said that that word is on you, Kevin, you failed us.

3 (1h 1m 15s):
All right. Moving right along. You guys mentioned ordering off of vending machines quite a few times. Did you feel there was less human interaction?

1 (1h 1m 23s):
I don’t necessarily think that there was less human interaction because there was someone still like helping you at the vending machine. If you needed it, someone’s still serving your table and coming around. So I don’t feel like that there was less human interaction. I just think that they have a system of how they do things and it works for them.

3 (1h 1m 40s):
And then I know this is a pretty big group,

1 (1h 1m 43s):
Seven of us,

3 (1h 1m 44s):
And it wasn’t an organized trip, Brittany, you were the tour guide. So how was it as a group?

1 (1h 1m 49s):
So I don’t think it was bad as a group. The hardest part was finding places for all of us to eat at the same time, because a lot of places were just small hole in the wall restaurant. So it was hard for us to get a large table. And even at times we had to split up, but I think it was fine to travel as a group. It just took a lot of work, finding the itinerary, finding things to do. And although I gave the option for everyone to pitch in and say what they wanted to do, no one related. So I just pretty much plan the, the trip that I wanted.

4 (1h 2m 19s):
You know, I just didn’t think about this till right now. When you said that, I feel like, again, the hardest part was like, okay, where do we all want to eat? I’m thinking now, what if Kim was there? Ooh,

3 (1h 2m 32s):
Come on to the left. People

4 (1h 2m 34s):
Giving you a hard right.

3 (1h 2m 35s):
Left, right. Move along

2 (1h 2m 37s):
Fairness though, like when we did eat lunch or dinner, you know, we would say to that hae or Jamal and Brittany would be like, you know what? We really want to do this. So we’re going to go there if you want to come with us. Great. If not, like let’s meet at this time and you guys can go do what you want. I think the hardest thing is food.

4 (1h 2m 54s):
Yeah. We made it work. I was joking about you, Kevin, just, you know,

3 (1h 2m 58s):
I

4 (1h 2m 58s):
Know playing with you a little bit.

1 (1h 2m 60s):
And like we said, at Goonies, it was just Jamal and I, the eight there, everyone else went off. I think Dasia went to a cat cafe during that time Zayna cash and Ryan went somewhere else for food.

3 (1h 3m 12s):
So you guys were okay being out and about in the streets by yourself. He didn’t feel endangered.

1 (1h 3m 17s):
No, not at all.

3 (1h 3m 18s):
Super

4 (1h 3m 18s):
Safe.

1 (1h 3m 20s):
Yeah. So we just all said, okay, at this time, we’re going to meet up at this hour, be here. And that’s how we went.

2 (1h 3m 26s):
I just thought of a final thought.

3 (1h 3m 27s):
Let’s hear it.

2 (1h 3m 28s):
Japanese porn, you can buy it very important. You can buy it in seven 11, but the posts and the boom and the Dick will be censored out. They’re not going to be there, but you can buy it now. I didn’t buy it for myself. I’m not going to name who it was bought for, but yeah, Japanese porn and it’s a lot of it’s anime porn too. So there you have it. Okay.

3 (1h 3m 52s):
Hey, well on that, no, thank you so much for tuning in to our part. Two of our Japan episodes, keep these venture going with us. Follow us on Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, and please follow us on our brand new YouTube page Travel Squad Podcast.

2 (1h 4m 8s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.

4 (1h 4m 15s):
Please subscribe, rate, and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (1h 4m 21s):
Next week we were mixing it up and we are traveling with our pallets.

3 (1h 4m 25s):
Ooh,

1 (1h 4m 26s):
Our episode will be on middle Eastern food.

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