After our fantastic time in Phuket, we flew from Thailand to Beijing to Tokyo.
After we picked Tokyo as our second stop (using my silly little list method), we found out it was cherry blossom (sakura) season. If I remember correctly, I was literally jumping up and down on the bed with excitement at the thought of seeing the cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossom season usually lasts from late March through the first 2 weeks of April, with peak viewing day typically listed as April 1st. We were there on April 2nd.
In some photos, the blossoms look pink, but it rained many of the days we were there, so in most of my photos they look white. In person, they were a beautiful, pastel pink that was so beautiful.
I’d researched and found that Shinjuku Gyoen Park was one of the best places to see the blossoms. Even though the weather didn’t cooperate, the rows and rows of trees were just magnificent.
As we strolled through the park, the petals would just fall down around us and the wind would swirl them around like a pink snow filled wonderland. Even though my clothes were wet and it was slushy and my shoes were completely soaked through, I want to go back to that pink snow.
The next day, still on a cherry blossom high, we went over to the Imperial Palace. We couldn’t go in or get very close, but just walking up to it was awesome.
On our way back, we strolled through the city center and tracked down some treats.
And the shopping! Oh man was the shopping excellent. I wish I would have had a little notebook to write down all the shops we went into, because I can’t seem to remember them all now, but they were all organized and clean and HUGE!
We also went to one of my favorite places, Ladurée. The Tokyo location had just started serving ice cream, which made me happier than it probably should have. I collect their macaron boxes, and got the most gorgeous one (with cherry blossoms on it, of course!) at this shop.
One of the very best parts of Tokyo was the food. And the best food we found was at this tucked away ramen restaurant called (loosely translated) Dragon’s Banquet. The owner was behind the counter cooking, and we did a mix of hand gestures and smiles to place our order. He asked how spicy we wanted, medium for me, and the hottest it gets for Jer. The sweet owner was SO excited and proud that Jer was going to eat it like a local.
We went back to Dragon’s Banquet 3 times, and both decided it was one of the Top 5 meals of our lives.
One of the most surprising parts of the trip was when we were shopping in the Ginza area and found the brand new kate spade shop. I used to work at kate spade in Dallas and was an employee during this time. I walked in and they quickly informed me they weren’t officially open yet.
When I told them I was an employee in the US, they invited me to their opening party that night! The party was so fun, I mean, it was all in Japanese so I didn’t understand anything, but it was classic kate spade, so of course it was a blast! And the store was simply gorgeous.
Jer still talks about Tokyo as one of the places he’d love to live. For as large as the city was, it was clean and quiet. Everyone seemed to know where they were going and went without any hassle. The men were well dressed and the city was vibrant.
Who knows, maybe we’ll end up living there one day!