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Our first week in Japan was great. We spent 4 nights in Tokyo, 3 nights in Osaka, and one night in Yokohama:
We arrived in Tokyo on April 2, 2023 via United Polaris Business Class from Tampa, Florida.
We arrived at Haneda airport, picked up our wifi rental, waited an hour in line to try to get our rail pass, gave up, and took a taxi to our hotel: Kimpton Shinjuku. For more details on the immigration process and tips for Japan, click here.
The Kimpton was great. The rooms were very comfortable. The front desk clerks and restaurant employees spoke English. The menus were more geared to a Western palate. We enjoyed the included specialty teas and coffees in the morning and the evening happy hours.
April 3, 2023
We booked a Cherry Blossoms tour through Viator. It was great. We started at Hama-rikyu Gardens, ate a quick lunch at the Tsukiji Fish Market, and explored Senso-ji and Asakusa Shrine.
April 4, 2023
We had a Tsukiji Fish Market Tour through Context Travel. We enjoyed exploring all the stands in the market. The highlights were the barbeque eel, fresh oysters, and amazing tuna sushi.
In the afternoon, we headed to the Ueno area to visit the Tokyo National Museum. It’s a huge complex and we didn’t leave enough time. I was bummed we arrived too late to view the gardens.
April 5, 2023
We started the day at Mag’s Park Rooftop Shibuya Crossing. Shibuya Crossing is known as the busiest intersection in the world. Mag’s Park Rooftop gave a great view. There’s another a 2nd level Starbucks that offers good views.
We headed to Meiji Jingu Shrine. This is Shinto shire dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. Since the Emperor and Empress were very much in love, this is known as a great place to pay for a happy marriage or love life. Many couples celebrate their weddings here.
A short walk from the shrine is Takeshita Street. This area is very popular with the youths with its many sweet shops and clothing shops.
April 6, 2023
We took the Shinkansen train to Osaka. We grabbed a taxi from the Osaka station. I was glad we had Google Maps working because our taxi driver needed a little guidance. We stayed at the Liber Hotel Universal Studios Japan.
We headed to Do-tonbori Shopping Street. We couldn’t resist the giant hand of sushi so had a snack at the a sushi conveyor belt restaurant. We also tried the Takoyaki octopus balls. Definitely worth a try and be sure to compare stands.
April 7, 2023
We had a full day at Universal Studios Japan. It was pouring rain, but we still had fun. The highlight were Super Nintendo World and all the fun themed food options.
April 8, 2023
We decided to explore more of Osaka and headed to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. This is a terrific museum if you are interested in urban development. For dinner, we headed back to Do-tonbori Street.
April 9, 2023
We took the train to Yokohama for an afternoon Bay Stars baseball game. It was so much fun!
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