Travel tips, stories, and adventures from around the world.

Category: Travel

Walking Tokyo Series: Rainbow Bridge

Walking Tokyo gives an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of Tokyoites. Read our notes from the 5 mile (~2 hour) walk across Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge. Join us as we walk Tokyo!

TL;DRWe’re walking Tokyo (this time over Rainbow Bridge) to practice for next year’s Yamathon! Let us know in the comments if there’s anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about or if you’d like to join us! Thanks @noellechun for coming along this time! It was awesome catching up!

Rainbow Bridge?! Why?!@

Why Rainbow Bridge you ask? Why not?! Check out our first post to learn more about why we love to walk the cities we live in. This week we’re posting our weekend adventures with our friend from Hawaii, @noellechun! She was an awesome sport as we navigated and adventured around Odaiba. We ended up in Ginza with the intent of eating a GIANT cream puff, but didn’t realize we needed to reserve that thing a week in advance. Our spirits weren’t crushed though, since we still ate a ton of amazing food at the Taste of Tokyo event – and ended the night with some Cremia🍦!

Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge

Our Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Statistics

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Route

Walking Tokyo: Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge Statistics

 

Statistics

  • Odaiba to Rainbow Bridge – 4.92 miles
  • ~2.5 hours
  • Odaiba is pretty flat, but the bridge had a steady uphill on one side (as all bridges do 😂)
  • If you’re afraid of heights – this is NOT the walk for you.
  • Sunset views on both Odaiba Beach and the bridge are amazing.
  • On Rainbow Bridge, you pick North or Southside to walk on. North gives nice views of Tokyo’s skyline and a glimpse of the setting sun until you hit the turn in the bridge. The South path has nicer views after that.
  • Coming from Odaiba, there are two places to choose which side you want to walk on: once at the very beginning and again (you can switch sides) before the bridge turns.
  • Not much to see on the walk from Ariake Station area to Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station area, so hopping on the Yurikamome line is an option.
  • Neighborhoods we passed through: Odaiba, Shibaura Island
  • #FromPineapples difficulty: 🍍🍍 (of 5)
  • #FromPineapples things to see: 🍍🍍 (of 5)

Neighborhood Notes

  • There’s always something going on in Odaiba on the weekends and this Sunday was no exception! There were three outdoor festivals and a tourism expo:
    • Fiesta Mexicana – Mexican food, drinks and performances on the West Side of Odaiba near Daiba Station.
    • Mercari Flea Market – Similar to the Swap Meet at Aloha Staidum, there were tons of people selling their stuff on the cheap! This was in the West Promenade area near Diver City.
    • Tokyo Ajiwai Festival (Taste of Tokyo) – Food vendors from all over Japan as well as vendors representing various countries and ethnicities in the world! On the Southeast side of Odaiba, near the Ariake and Kokusai-tenjijo Stations (right in front of Tokyo Big Sight)
    • In Tokyo Big Sight, there was Tourism Expo Japan (we didn’t get a chance to check this one out)
  • To get to Rainbow Bridge from Odaiba, walk through Odaiba beach which was reminiscent of Ala Moana Beach at sunset – complete with standup paddle boarders (okay, there was one guy) and hula dancers. Lots of folks relaxing and just hanging out.
  • From the North side of the bridge, you can see both Tokyo Tower and (way off in the distance) Tokyo Skytree.
  • The pedestrian path on Rainbow Bridge is suspended below the cars, so you can’t see above you except in the lookout areas.
  • We walked through Shibaura Island and it was quite fancy looking. A quieter area, but the buildings were noticeably nicer than the area directly off the bridge.
No Comments on Walking Tokyo Series: Rainbow Bridge

Walking Tokyo Series: Hatchōbori to Nakano

Walking Tokyo gives an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of Tokyoites. Read our notes from the 10 mile (~5 hour) walk between Hatchōbori station and Nakano station. Join us as we walk Tokyo!

TL;DRWe’re walking Tokyo to practice for next year’s Yamathon! Is there anywhere in Tokyo that you’re curious about? Let us know below and maybe we’ll walk it or message us to come join us!

Walking Tokyo?! Why?!@

One of my favorite things to do when I travel abroad is to catch public transportation because it gives you an intimate glimpse into the daily life of someone local to the area.  Having lived in a few large cities, one of the first things Sara and I do is figure out how to walk it. Similar to catching public transportation, walking a city is immersive and gives you insight into the socioeconomic structures as well as the daily lives of those who live in a particular area.

Protip: Walking a city also allows you to scope out future places to live!

When we lived in NYC, we walked almost all of lower Manhattan (below 60th – it’s also why we know it so well!) and so when we moved to Tokyo, we figured we’d do the same – but this time, we’ll try to document our strolls so that they’ll hopefully give you some ideas for your own adventures.

In addition to the route and how long it took, we’ll have snippets about places we detour to along with neighborhood notes. To kick this series off, this past weekend, we walked Hatchōbori Station (a little East of Ginza) to Nakano Station.

Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station

Our Route

Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Route

Walking Tokyo: Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Route

Route

Walking Tokyo: Hatchōbori Station to Nakano Station Statistics

Statistics

 

Statistics

  • ~5 hours
  • A little less than 10 miles
  • A little uphill north of the palace, but overall, a pretty easy stroll – this looks a lot scarier of a walk than it really is.
  • We stopped at Lawson Station in Ichigaya to get a drink and some lemon cheese pancakes (for fuel, of course!).
  • We walked around: Yasukuni Shrine and the exterior of the Imperial Palace.
  • Neighborhoods we passed through: Tsukiji, Ginza, Chiyoda, Ichigaya, Shin-Ōkubo
  • #FromPineapples difficulty: 🍍🍍 (of 5)
  • #FromPineapples things to see: 🍍🍍🍍 (of 5)

Neighborhood Notes

  • Ginza has a lot of shopping areas. Duh, it’s obviously famous for them – but walking the area gives a very different perspective of just how many shops there are here. Narrator: there’s a lot of them!
  • Ichigaya is noticeably fancier than a lot of Tokyo neighborhoods – not quite Roppongi Hills fancy, but still very, very nice. The building facades and overall atmosphere oozes upscale.
  • Shin-Ōkubo is (in)famous for its Koreatown and it shows – everything around the station is cheese this and cheese that. From cheese dakkarubi to cheese corndogs – you’re going to encounter a ton of younger folk here – even younger than Kichijoji. If you know Sara, you’d also know she’s already been here to eat Korean food, but we’re definitely coming back to try all these チーズ (cheese) dishes.
1 Comment on Walking Tokyo Series: Hatchōbori to Nakano

Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri

The Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri is a summer festival that celebrates the uniting of two (literal) star-crossed lovers with wish-writing, colorful decorations and star-shaped everything. Mostly for kids, tbh. 

TL;DR The Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri is a summer festival that celebrates the uniting of two (literal) star-crossed lovers with wish-writing, colorful decorations and star-shaped everything. Mostly for kids, tbh. 

The Story

The Tanabata Matsuri, or Star Festival, is celebrated in Tokyo on July 7th every year (a few other places celebrate on August 8th since it was initially based on the Lunar calendar #themoreyouknow).

It’s a cute, but pretty depressing story of a Princess that falls in love with a Shepherd – all is flowers and candy until they start neglecting their respective jobs and the Princess’ dad decides that they work >>>>> love. Savage parenting, but life’s all about balance, I suppose.

He sees how sad she is and decides to give them ONE day a year to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month. – at the Amanogawa (Heavenly river, or Milky Way). For a cute illustrated story, check out this youtube vid (Japanese with subs).

Matsuri Weekend

The actual festival takes place in several locations all around Japan, so wherever you’re living/visiting be sure to give it a quick google. The festival we checked out, Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri, spanned July 5th – July 9th and included live performances, a parade, food, drinks and activities (mostly kid-focused).

It was blazing hot when we got there around 2pm on Sunday – but there was a ton to see! We walked from the Tawaramachi Station to Ueno Station, along the main street of the festival (Kappabashi Hondori).

There were decorations and tanzoku (slips of paper to write your wishes on) for you to tie to the bamboo branches strung up around the street.

We naturally wished to be fluent in Japanese by the end of the year. 😉

Most of the activities were for kids and my Japanese teacher actually mentioned that this festival was one of the less crowded ones of the summer. There were little pools to catch fish and crayfish, fresh puffed/popped rice, water balloon yo-yo’s and a bunch of tables selling beer / canned drinks / yakitori / yakisoba / mochi.

If I’m being 100% honest, unless I have a small child in tow (spoiler alert: not even on the radar yet hahaha) then this is probably one of the matsuri’s we’ll be skipping in the future – unless we take a trip out to Saitama, where I hear it’s epic.

Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri

Officially celebrated on July 7th (with events occurring on the surrounding days)
From Ueno Station to Asakusa Station along Kappabashi Hondori
Website (Japanese only but you could get by with google translate)

No Comments on Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri

Follow us as we document our move to Tokyo, Japan!

Follow us, a Japanese couple from Hawaii, as we document our move to Tokyo! Hopefully, through this experience, we’ll learn about our family’s history and what being Japanese is really all about.

For once, I don’t have a TL;DR for this post. The title says it all! We’ve moved to Tokyo!

Wait, what! We’ve finally moved to Tokyo!

Since a lot of people have been asking questions, we created a post to help answer them.

Why are you moving to Tokyo?

We’re not going for family nor work nor <insert your favorite, logical reason here> – I guess one could say we’re moving for adventure.  It’s been a dream of ours since we first met more than 8 years ago, and it’s been in the works since we lived in NYC / SF over 3 years ago. Hopefully, through this experience, we’ll both learn a bit about our family’s history and what being Japanese is really about.

What kind of Visa did you get?

I received a boring Spousal Visa. Lucky Me!

On the other hand, Sara received a Long Term Resident Visa via ancestry by proving she’s sansei (thanks grandma!). It was a long process that took a little over 6 months, and we had help from an immigration attorney to help submit our application. Sara’s planning to blog about what she needed to provide and do because there isn’t a ton of information online aside from a post or two in the Japan / Japan Life subreddits.

How long are you staying?

Sara says FOREVER!

(Just kidding, we’ll come back to visit.)

Seriously though, we don’t currently have any plans to return home, but life does come at you fast, so who knows?

What are you going to be doing?

Well, for one, we’re working.

Sara will be working remotely for Colliers International because it’s her first true love job – she’s been with them since she was a rebellious teenager – except for that one time she cheated on them with CBRE in New York. Hehe. For the past few years, I’ve been really interested in helping preserve the past – so to continue on with that journey, I’ll be working on a small storytelling app.

We’re also going to be exploring the city/country and learning a bit of Japanese in the process. My goal is to be able to give people tours of the city for the 2020 Olympics!

Where are you going to live?

For the next few weeks, we’re staying in an AirBnb in West Tokyo. Since neither of us have to go into Central Tokyo for work, we’re planning on finding a place near Tachikawa  station to get a bit more space so people can stay with us. Tachikawa is ~30 minute ride to Shinjuku.

Can I stay with you?

No.

Props out to you if you actually read this far, but then you’ll also know that we got a larger place so that people can stay with us. Just hit us up to see if the room is available.

That’s it for now! 🙂

If there’s anything else you’re curious about, let us know in the comments!

 

3 Comments on Follow us as we document our move to Tokyo, Japan!

#GirlsTrip – Apple Picking at Linvilla Orchards

Apple picking is amazing. Maybe it’s because it was my first time, but I’d for sure do this again! If you have fall travel plans, make sure you schedule in some time to visit a farm 🙂

TL;DRApple picking is amazing. Maybe it’s because it was my first time, but I’d for sure do this again! If you have fall travel plans, make sure you schedule in some time to visit a farm 🙂

More Philly! Well, sort of.

I thought about doing an all-in-one post about some of the things we did on our Philly trip, but decided it’d be way too long. So breaking it up and focusing on some of the big things we checked out. This post actually takes us out of Philly to Media, PA. Since I have zero sense of direction, here’s a google map for you.

Apple picking at Linvilla Orchards - Google Map Philadelphia to Linvilla Orchards

It’s about 30 minutes out, but definitely worth the drive! There’s more than just apple picking out here, and I’m sure if we didn’t have other adventures to conquer that day, we would’ve ended up staying there for most of the day.

Apple Picking

This was our main goal, and something I had never experienced despite living in NYC where there were apple farms upstate. A few things to note about picking your own apples:

  1. The season starts in September and ends in November.
  2. You pay per person (and the number of people corresponds to the amount you can pick)
  3. Means no paying per pound (which takes out some guesswork) but also means you can’t just go in and pick say, one each.

Apple picking at Linvilla - Pricing

Since there were four of us, we paired up and paid for 2x 2 pickers. This is where the fun begins. When you walk in, you’re greeted by a worker that shows you a map of the orchard. #ProTip: Take a photo of the orchard map because you will 100% forget where everything is. From there, you pick apples!

It seems pretty chill, but we had fun walking around and trying to find the largest / different types (some I’d never even heard of). Walking around the orchards we could also see some of the other fruits and veggies (not ready for picking, though). As a note – they offer hay rides, but even though it was mid-October, the sun was blazing and we opted out. Instead, we checked out apple slinging.

Apple Sling Shot

There are no words to describe how fun this is.

 

The simple pleasures of life. It should be noted that I didn’t do so well and Karen and Alani were the only ones that hit targets, but it was still pretty fun. We asked them if they pick up all the apples later, but nope. They just leave them. Once an apple hits the ground they’re not legally allowed to sell it for consumption, and there are a ton of apples that just fall from trees. This is how they make up for it, even if it’s just $5 for a bucket.

Other things to do

Here’s a full list of the things you can do while you’re at the orchards. Depending on the time of year, there are different festivals (They have strawberry and blueberry festivals!?) as well as animals, pony rides (we were too big for this LOL) and mazes. There’s also a market where you can buy not only their products and produce, but items from the surrounding area.

Linvilla Orchards

598 Linvill Rd | Media, PA 19063

No Comments on #GirlsTrip – Apple Picking at Linvilla Orchards

#GirlsTrip – Where we ate in Philly

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier…

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier neighborhood places. Loosen your belt loop a notch and enjoy!

Before we dive in

A little background – it’s been FIFTEEN YEARS since we graduated high school! Man those years have flown. What started as a Facebook post about a new food hall in Brooklyn escalated pretty quickly into a trip to the East Coast.

Scattered across the country since graduation, the four of us have not been in the same place together since… senior year when Alani came to visit us (she left us a year early). We’ve all come a long way since those days sitting under the library during lunch. College. Marriage. More College. Kids. It’s wild to think how long I’ve known these girls. 🙂

Flying in

Aside from Kristy, who lives in Philly and let us all crash at her place (thanks!!), we flew in. Alani from San Francisco, Karen from Minneapolis, and me from Hawaii. I expected epic jetlag the first few days, but my new strategy worked and we were all up and eating shake shack at 11pm because #vacay.

We crammed a LOT into those two days. Thanks once again to Kristy for being our tour guide and planning everything! She made sure we were able to see a ton for such a short trip.

 

Reading Terminal Market

While it’s a bit of a tourist trap, I’m still a sucker for a good food hall. We started off at Dutch Eating Place and Beiler’s Doughnuts in Reading Terminal Market. The turkey sandwich was delish, but the apple dumplings are what I’d go back for. Skip all the cake doughnuts at Beiler’s and go straight for the Fritters (blueberry or apple). The line can be long, but it moves fast and those fritters are legit. They were super fresh and reminded me of a combo between a malasada and a doughnut. This is also a cool spot to swing by for omiyage since there’s so many little Philly-only shops.

Chinatown and City Center Quick Eats

Philly has a LOT to offer in terms of shopping and eating. In the City Center, you’ll find Shake Shack, Uniqlo as well as all the standard retailers (H&M, Sephora, etc). Chinatown Square is a new-ish food hall that opened up with HALAL GUYS (!) and the original rolled ice cream place from NYC (I-CE-NY). We walked through, but since we just ate didn’t pick anything up (plus, we would be in NYC in a few days). We did manage to fit in a trip to Shake Shack, even though it was at 11pm.

Double Knot

Aside from the quick service places, there’s a huge foodie scene and tons of restaurants that are BYO (bring your own alcohol and no corkage = amazing). On our first night, we had happy hour at Double Knot, where the happy hour menu plates and drinks were $4! The food was amazing and the four of us left super full and a bit tipsy with a tab under $50.

Cheesesteak

What’s Philly without a cheesesteak!? We went to Jim’s but were a bit disappointed. The line was long, and while that gave us time to google the right words to order, it also maybe added to the hype. We’ll have to try one of the other places next time. The meat was more like ground beef and a bit flavorless. Maybe we should’ve had it whiz wit afterall.

Noord

We had dinner at Noord on the second night – Scandinavian fare. I had rabbit for the first time (and it was delish, sorry bunnies) and wow the bread here. I probably could’ve survived on just the bread, but the rest of the food was amazing as well. I’m usually not a huge raw fish person unless it’s poke, but the salmon was tasty! It was another BYO place and we brought 2 bottles of wine and took our time enjoying the food and the company. 🙂 The restaurant is small, but they do take reservations.

Honey’s Sit N Eat

Who knew that BYO BRUNCH places exist? Philly, definitely doing it right! Brought some champagne and made mimosas, because #vacay. We got the toad in a hole, corned beef and eggs and the honey cristo. The honey cristo was my fave because the sweet and savory was perfect – and it was topped with a sunny egg. Perfection. Toad in a hole was also delish, but a little too much cheese for me to handle *pops lactaid*.

La Colombe

After brunch, we went to the La Colombe in Fishtown. It was huuuuuge and this neighborhood 100% reminded me of Williamsburg. The guy at the register was even wearing plaid and had a handlebar mustache. Haha. If you haven’t been to a La Colombe (in Philly or in NYC) you should definitely check it out. Their draft lattes and cold brew (you can get a black and tan which is half cold brew and half draft latte) are delish.

Federal Donuts

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about donuts – but did you know that I actually do NOT like cake donuts? I mean, does anyone even like them? Hahaha. Moving on. Kristy said that we have to try this place, as she also doesn’t like cake donuts, but loves these! So we gave them a shot. We got a fancy (smores) as well as their standard hot and fresh (Cinnamon) – and okay, fine. I’m mayyyyybe sold – but only on the hot and fresh. 😉 The fancy was okay, but too sweet and too many things going on for me.

Talula’s Garden

A half-open garden / half-inside restaurant, we came here for dinner on our last night in the City. This one, although not BYO, is a place I would definitely come back to. We sat and had a drink at the garden bar before we moved inside for dinner. We ordered the Ricotta Gnudi, Berkshire Pork Belly, Collard Greens, and Overnight Bone-In Short Rib. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Seriously. Their menu changes often, so definitely check in with the servers on what’s popular for the type of food you’re craving.

Heh. Alani also sneakily told the server that it was my birthday. 🙂 It was our last dinner together, so it was kind of a perfect send-off.


It was an amazing weekend that I seriously should’ve written about earlier. I can’t believe it’s already been so long! While we were there, Kristy was taking part in the Holoholo Lens Project a neat traveling photography project coordinated by Ricky Li. You can check out her pics here: Kristy’s Holoholo Lens Project photos.


Heading to Philly?

I created a quick google map of everywhere we ate.

Map of our Philly Adventures

Map of our Philly Adventures

 

No Comments on #GirlsTrip – Where we ate in Philly

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search

We’re sad to see you go.

(Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter using the form below!)