In November, I was sitting at my desk when this email notification popped up
...and I text Nick's sister, "let's go" and basically the rest is history. If you don't know about Scott's Cheap Flights then, boy, are you missing out. Scott's is an email subscription service that sends you emails about international flight deals about every other day. You can choose the free service (I do) or you can pay less than $50 a year (what I should do) and you get more emails. The flights they send out are all over the world and from tons of different US departure cities.
We flew from PHX to LAX and from LAX to Narita Tokyo. Our flight from LA to Tokyo was... 12 hours. We left LA at noon on Thursday and landed in Japan at 4 PM on Friday. Guys, the jet lag was real. It was super hard to sleep on the plane because 1. I was so stoked about our trip 2. I was terrified of flying over the ocean and 3. it never got dark outside throughout our entire flight. We flew on ANA airlines and I was so impressed! American based airlines can really learn a thing or two from Japanese based airlines. Everyone was so friendly, everything was so clean, and the food was not only edible but actually tasty!
After about 2 hours of attempting to figure out the trains to get to our Airbnb without cell phones, we finally made it! We stopped by the 7-11 on our way to the Airbnb and grabbed a bento box, ate dinner, and passed out. All of us proceeded to wake up at 4:30AM the next morning, ready to get our day going. I told you, the jet lag was real.
Luckily, someone gave us the advice to go to the Tsukiji fish market on our first day when we would be jet lagged because all of the action is in the morning. We booked a tour through Voagin and it was one of my favorite things we did/saw on our whole trip! Our tour guides showed us the most delicious Japanese treats such a Japanese omelet (way better than your typical IHOP omelet) and I slurped (ew) up the most delicious oyster that was literally the size of my face. After the fish market, we found super cool swan boats in Ueno Park and stopped by the Akihabara- The Electric City. (I can't be the only one who thinks of, "SCRANTON. WHAT? The electric city!" when reading this)
What surprised us about Tokyo is that it is a city that wakes up late. Most places didn't open until around 10AM. This totally worked in our favor though because we got to see some amazing places that are usually extremely crowded, completely empty. Two of these places were Menji Shrine and Takeshita street in Harajuku.
One night when we were wandering Shinjuku, Nick and I found a cute stand-up sushi restaurant. It was hands down the BEST sushi I have ever had in my entire life. The sushi chefs made it right in front of you and all it was made up of was rice, a thumb or wasabi, and whatever kind of raw fish you wanted. The fish was so incredibly fresh and delicious! The best part was that each order (2 rolls) was about $1. You can't find that anywhere in the US! We ended up coming back to this sushi restaurant three times during our visit because I mean how could you not?
One place that was on the top of my bucket list for our trip was Disney Sea. Disney Sea is most similar to Epcot with the different "seas" that you visit in the park. To get a better understand, I would watch this YouTube video. It was definitely the most unique Disney park I have ever been to. There were a few rides that were the same like Indiana Jones and a few that were similar like the Tower of Terror and Simbad's Adventure (It's a small world-esque). My favorite part of Disney Sea was Mermaid's Lagoon. We went with Nick's 3-year-old nephew and he could ride all of the rides in Mermaid Lagoon so if you go without a little one it may not be as fun. It was "under the sea" and everything was decorated in pastels and it was adorable. A few things that were a bummer about of Disney Sea trip- it was FREEZING. Disney Sea is located next to the Tokyo Bay so it was significantly colder at Disney than it was inland where we were staying. The lines were insanely long. Tower of Terror- 210 minutes (we got fast passes and still waited about 40 minutes). Indiana Jones- 170 minutes (we did single rider and got on almost immediately) Toy Story Mania- 300 minutes. The lines for snack foods like popcorn and churros looked to be over 30 minutes! and I heard that the park wasn't even that full because of the crumby weather. CRAZY! and there were not that many food options- not compared to CA or FL at least BUT overall such a cool experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone!
The last thing I want to highlight from our Japan trip is the cherry blossoms. They were just beginning to bloom when we were visiting and they were breathtaking. I know you can see cherry blossoms all over the world but there was nothing like it! It seems that the whole spring season revolves around the few days that the cherry blossoms are actually in bloom. The city was decorated in the famous light pink color (my all time favorite color) and everyone stopped to take pictures of the gorgeous trees. Truly amazing.
If you got all the way through this post, I'll personally give you a hug because it was a doozie and I hope you are already planning your trip. Have any questions, ask them below- I love talking about my trip (obviously) and would love to give you any insight!