We just got back from a fantastic trip to Japan!  We booked our plane tickets for this trip about a month before the earthquake and nuclear disaster occurred in Japan, and given these extreme events we seriously considered cancelling our plans.   As it turned out, our tickets were non-refundable, so we forged ahead with our plans and we’re very happy that we did.  The Japanese were gracious and welcoming hosts and I think those in the tourism industry were especially pleased to see foreign visitors starting to come again.

We spent the majority of the trip exploring the southwest and central regions of Japan and were very impressed by how easy and efficient the train system was for getting around.   From our starting point in Tokyo, we traveled down to Kyushu and visited the cities of Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Kumamoto.  We then took the train up to Kyoto and spent a day and a half hiking around a number of beautiful Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples.  Before heading back to Tokyo, we took a short train trip to Nara and visited some more famous sites and fed the deer, which are regarded as heavenly animals and allowed to roam the city freely.

One of the highlights of our trip was of course all of the great food we ate along the way.   While we did encounter some issues finding vegetarian food in Japan, for the most part we ended up doing pretty well.  Some friends of ours we visited in Fukuoka took us out for an incredible multi-course meal at a restaurant that specializes in tofu.  We were served a variety of creative and tasty dishes that featured tofu skin, creamy silken tofu, fried tofu, and even tofu/soy ice cream.

We also enjoyed many other traditional Japanese meals and even found some great Italian, Indian and Thai food.   Of course we also sampled a number of Japanese sweets—my favorite were probably the sweet red bean-filled mochi and Graham was drawn to the less traditional sweet ice cream-filled crepes.

Now that we are home I’m looking forward to getting back into the kitchen and catching up on all of the blog posts in my Google Reader.  We are also starting to pack up and get organized for our next adventure—our big move across the country!

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8 comments to Japan!

  • Welcome back Sally, I am so glad that you had a great time in Japan…seeing your pictures brought memories of the time that I was in Japan a few years ago…thank you so much for sharing them.
    Hope you are having a great week :-)

  • My husband and I had begun talking about a trip to Japan about a month or so before the earthquake too. Luckily we hadn’t begun making any arrangements though. But after hearing about your trip, it makes me want to start planning again!

  • Oh, I miss Japan -so- much..! Your photos are making me so nostalgic. It’s been years since I was there last, but I just love the country, the culture, and the people dearly. I hope it’s not too much longer until my next visit…

  • Looks like you had a great trip! Y’all travel like we do – it’s all about the food. Bobby does all of our pre-travel research and he spends more time researching restaurants than he does hotels. He hasn’t failed me yet! Your food pictures are wonderful. The plating of each dish is like a piece of art. Thanks for sharing.

  • I can’t wait to go back to Japan! My fiancé is half Japanese and he has a very close connection to his motherland.

  • thanks for sharing photos! have never been to Japan, but love its food ;)

  • Wow, sounds like you had a great trip in beautiful Japan! It’s such a wonderful place isn’t it, the people are so welcoming and the food, oh man!! A little jealous of the tofu menu you got to sample, looks and sounds so good!!

  • [...] though.  It is a recipe that I made before our move and shortly after we got back from our trip to Japan.  Inspired by the food we ate during our trip and desperately trying to use up all of our [...]

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